DUMA OVERTURNS YELTSIN'S VETO ON SAVINGS LAW.
The State Duma has
overturned a presidential veto, imposed for the second time, on a draft law on
the restoration and protection of citizens' savings, Interfax reported on 5
April. The law was supported by 337 deputies, seven more than the minimum
required. Communist deputy Viktor Zorkaltsev, chairman of the Committee for
Public Associations and Religious Organizations, said the law "guarantees that
the state recognizes its commitments to 70 million citizens, whose savings lost
their value when economic reform began in 1992." He rejected Yeltsin's argument
that the law will destabilize the country's economy, saying it is general in
character and does not specify how the money should be repaid. When he vetoed
the draft on 14 March, Yeltsin said the measure could boost the budget deficit
by 500 trillion rubles. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA DISCUSSES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN THE GOVERNMENT.
An initiative group
in the State Duma has collected more than 100 signatures in favor of holding a
no confidence vote in the government, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 6
April. CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Zatulin initiated the move,
citing two reasons. First, he argued that the Russian delegation at the
negotiations with Ukraine, led by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets,
did not defend Russia's national interests. He was particularly incensed with
the delay in Ukraine's repayment of its debts to Russia. Second, the government
refused to cooperate with the Federal Assembly in the fight against crime,
twice ignoring Duma no confidence votes in Interior Minister Viktor Yerin.
Other deputies supporting the measure included Sergei Baburin, Anatoly
Lukyanov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yury Kalmykov, and Viktor Ilyukhin, Interfax
reported. The issue will be discussed in the Duma by 13 April, Russian Radio
reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN SIGNS LAW ON FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE.
President Yeltsin signed
the bill on the Federal Security Service on 3 April, Interfax reported. It will
come into force on the day of its publication. Under the law, approved by the
Duma on 22 February, the Federal Counterintelligence Service will be renamed
the Federal Security Service (FSB) and its powers will be broadened. The
legislation has been harshly criticized: an article in Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 30 March, for example, attacked it on the grounds that it could
"reanimate the KGB." The article also speculated that Yeltsin's security chief,
Alexander Korzhakov, might have instigated the reorganization and that he had
designs on the post of director of the new service. For its part,
Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 4 April that acting Prosecutor-General
Alexei Ilyushenko is being considered as a candidate for the post--an
appointment that does not require parliamentary confirmation. The Duma has
repeatedly refused to confirm Ilyushenko as the country's chief prosecutor. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS TO FORM ELECTORAL ALLIANCE WITH SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
Russian Social Democratic Union leader Vassily Lipitsky told
Interfax on 4 April that his party has agreed to a proposal made by the
Federation of Independent Trade Unions on forming an electoral alliance,
Interfax reported on 4 April. The federation has also asked the Communists, the
Agrarians, the Socialist Party of Working People, the Federation of
Manufacturers, and Women of Russia to join the alliance. -- Penny Morvant,
DUMA PASSES DRAFT LAW ON CHECHNYA SETTLEMENT.
The Duma approved on its
first reading a draft law to settle the Chechen crisis, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 5 April. Communist Vladimir Semago described the vote as
an opportunity to end Russia's "national shame," Interfax reported. The law
would intruct the government to begin negotiations with the Chechen authorities
and would create a commission to oversee peace talks. In addition, the draft
would grant amnesty to Chechen fighters in exchange for a permanent ceasefire.
The law passed by a vote of 228 to 56, with most dissent coming from Agrarians
and the Liberal Democratic Party, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 6
April. A second reading will take place in mid-April. Meanwhile, human rights
advocate Sergei Kovalev blamed the Russian government for consistently
rejecting peace initiatives and warned that violence in Chechnya could continue
for years if a settlement is not reached soon, Russian Radio reported on 5
April. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA SUSPENDS PRIVATIZATION OF MASS MEDIA.
By an overwhelming majority,
the Duma passed a law suspending all privatization of state-owned television
and radio companies until special rules are outlined, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 5 April. Specifically, the law freezes all funding for the
partly private Russian Public Television company, which was declared invalid
and was prohibited from broadcasting on Channel One. Even if approved by the
Federation Council, the law is almost certain to be vetoed by President
Yeltsin, who ordered the restructuring of state-run Ostankino TV in November
1994. Advocates of the plan say bloated management and unpaid bills at
Ostankino justified creating the new partly private television company. Critics
have charged that the restructuring, which was carried out in secret, was
designed to give the government control over television during an election
year. On 1 April, Russian Public Television began broadcasting on Channel One,
which is the only network reaching approximately 200 million viewers throughout
the former Soviet Union. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
CHERNOMYRDIN ENCOURAGES LAND OWNERSHIP . . .
The Russian government
intends to continue agricultural reform, primarily in the area of marketing
land, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said in an address to the All Russian
Assembly of Peasants in Moscow on 5 April, Interfax reported. The minister said
the most urgent government task, according to the medium-term program for
1995-97, is to grant all landowners certificates of ownership. Land auctions
will held to facilitate the process. The government will also discuss a draft
law to permit the sale of land now occupied by enterprises. Chernomyrdin said
measures will be taken to keep insolvent agricultural enterprises afloat, but
first Russia must "defeat inflation in order to lower prices and attract
investments into industry as well as raise efficiency." He stressed that
neither the economy as a whole, nor individual sectors, including the
agro-industrial complex, can survive with the current inflation rate. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
. . . WHILE PEASANTS' ASSEMBLY OBJECTS.
Meanwhile, delegates to the
assembly said they support equality of ownership and land use but objected to
private ownership and called for a ban on the sale of land, including small
garden lots and summer houses owned by city residents, Interfax reported on 5
April. In a draft document, the Peasants' Assembly called for the right to
obtain tracts of land for use and ownership in order to organize and develop
peasant and farm households. In addition, the assembly called upon President
Boris Yeltsin and the government to provide funds to carry out the spring
sowing and introduce the necessary economic regulations within three days.
Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin, who also chairs the Coordinating Council
of Agricultural Collective Activities, said he will organize a national peasant
strike if the demands are not met by 10 May. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN MINISTRIES TO COORDINATE CASPIAN POLICY.
Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Shafranik have agreed
at a special meeting to pursue a coordinated policy in future with regard to
major Caspian shelf oil and gas projects, Interfax's Petroleum Information
Agency reported on 4 April. The move is clearly intended to preclude a repeat
of last year's disagreement over Russian participation in the international
consortium to exploit three Azerbaijani offshore oil fields. The two ministers
reaffirmed their commitment to forming a coordinating committee of all Caspian
littoral states and supporting Iranian participation in international Caspian
oil and gas projects. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
NEW ARMENIAN CATHOLICOS ELECTED.
The Armenian National Church Council
elected Syrian-born Catholicos Garegin II as the new head of the Armenian
church on 4 April to succeed Vazgen I, who died in August 1994, Interfax
reported. Garegin II heads the rival diaspora Cilician Catholicosate in
Lebanon, which has strong links with the Armenian opposition Dashnak party.
According to Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11 March, Garegin II was the
preferred candidate of Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, who hopes he
will contribute to overcoming internal divisions within the Armenian church and
to strengthening ties between Armenia and the diaspora. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI,
GAMSAKHURDIA FACTION TO CONTEND GEORGIAN ELECTIONS.
The Round Table/Free
Georgia coalition created in 1990 by Georgia's late President Zviad
Gamsakhurdia will field candidates in the October 1995 Georgian parliamentary
elections, Interfax reported on 5 April quoting Vakhtang Bochorishvili, one of
the faction's leaders. The faction has recently instituted an award named after
the late president, the first recipient of which is Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
TURKEY CRITICIZED BY LDP.
The Liberal Democratic Party faction in the
State Duma has protested against Turkey's foray into northern Iraq, Interfax
reported on 5 April. The LDP condemned the UN and NATO for their alleged
indifference to the violation of the borders of a sovereign state and claimed,
"The Turkish war machine has long conducted genocide in northern Kurdistan.
Now, with the whole `civilized' and `democratic' world watching, it is
victimizing people who are not even Turkish citizens." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
PERRY VISITS ALMATY.
U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry arrived in
Almaty on 4 April to hold talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev on various
issues including the continued reduction of Kazakhstan's nuclear arms,
conversion of military facilities to consumer industries, and U.S. aid,
Interfax reported. Perry seemed satisfied with progress on dismantling nuclear
weapons, noting that Kazakhstan is two to three months ahead of schedule. The
U.S. will give Kazakhstan $37 million for conversion of defense industries ($15
million from the Nunn-Lugar program and the additional $22 million from four
U.S. firms). The U.S. will also continue to buy uranium from Kazakhstan as it
did in December 1994 when 600 kilograms were purchased, AFP reported. Perry
also commented on the referendum to extend Nazarbayev's term saying, "The
president reaffirmed to me . . . he is committed to moving Kazakhstan towards
democracy." A senior official, traveling with Perry warned, "If we see in
Kazakhstan a narrowing and constricting of the political process rather than
the opposite, it will over time cause a reduction in confidence," Reuters
reported. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN DEPUTY TEARS UKRAINIAN FLAG IN DUMA.
In protest over Kiev's
recent moves to take control of Crimea, Duma deputy Nikolai Lysenko, a member
of the right-wing National Republican Party, tore up a Ukrainian flag in the
legislature and threw its shreds at parliamentary speaker Ivan Rybkin,
international agencies reported on 5 April. The incident almost started a fight
in the Duma when some deputies had to be restrained from advancing on Lysenko.
The Duma then voted to deprive Lysenko of his right to speak in parliament
until 26 April. Vladimir Zhirinovsky and members of the ultra-nationalist
Liberal Democratic Party, however, supported Lysenko. There was no immediate
response from Kiev to the incident which was broadcast on television throughout
Russia and Ukraine. The speaker of Ukraine's parliament, Oleksandr Moroz, urged
parliament not to issue an official statement condemning the action saying that
would only draw attention to the event. Moroz also praised the Duma for
condemning Lysenko's action and taking steps to reprimand the deputy. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN DEMOCRATS DEMAND PARLIAMENT SPEAKER'S RESIGNATION.
hundred members and supporters of Ukrainian democratic parties and
organizations picketed the parliament building on 5 April demanding the
resignation of parliament speaker Oleksander Moroz and his deputy, Oleksander
Tkachenko, Ukrainian Television and ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Leaders of
such groups as Rukh, the Democratic Party of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian
Christian Democratic Party accused Moroz and Tkachenko of blocking
implementation of reforms and supporting attempts by the leftist parliament
majority to revive the communist regime in Ukraine. They also charged the
parliament leaders with corruption, pointing to the recent arrest of one of
Moroz's close aides for allegedly embezzling government funds. Moroz maintains
the charges are false and part of a politically motivated conspiracy against
him. He has threatened to file libel suits against his critics. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN KGB DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN ELECTIONS.
deputy head of the Belarusian KGB press service, has denied that the KGB has
been assigned to interfere in the upcoming parliament elections in Belarus by
intimidating some candidates, Radio Rossii reported on 4 April. Kuzhanau was
responding to a statement by Zyanon Paznyak, the leader of the nationalist
opposition Belarusian Popular Front. He said allegations of unlawful KGB
activities in connection with the elections were slander and propaganda stunts
by some politicians. Belarusian radio on 3 April reported that the majority of
deputies will be running for re-election in May. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
VAHI APPROVED AS ESTONIAN PREMIER.
The Estonian parliament on 5 April
voted 62 to 34 with one abstention to approve the nomination of Tiit Vahi,
chairman of the election-winning Coalition Party and Rural Union alliance, as
prime minister, BNS reported. Vahi has seven days to present his cabinet to
President Lennart Meri, who will then have three days to approve it. Vahi said
before the vote that the coalition partners would continue the market reforms
launched by the previous government. But he added that more attention would be
paid to people in rural areas by working out effective farm credit regulations.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
ASIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM IN LATVIA REMAINS UNRESOLVED.
The 100 or so Asian
refugees whom Latvia wants to deport to Russia remain confined to two wagons on
a siding at the Karsava railroad station, Western agencies reported on 5 April.
Sholastika Maksimenkova, chairperson of the Ludza district Red Cross, which is
taking care of the refugees, complained that her staff was allowed only limited
access to the wagons and had to obtain permission from the border guard
commander for each visit. Local farmers and businesses have been donating food.
Interior Minister Janis Adamsons told a press conference in Riga that the
refugees might be moved to a nearby camp, but upgrading the facility would take
time and require $800,000--funds that Latvia does not have. -- Saulius Girnius,
RUSSIAN DESERTERS LEAVE LITHUANIA.
Russian soldiers Alexander Vaselkov
and Ruslan Kurdiukov, who asked for political asylum in Lithuania on 27 March
to avoid serving in Chechnya, were handed over to representatives of the
Russian embassy in Vilnius on 4 April and then returned to Kaliningrad, BNS
reported. They had requested to return to Russia, apparently appeased by
embassy officials who assured them they would not be punished or sent to
Chechnya. Lithuanian Foreign Ministry officials said they had no grounds to
reject Russia's repeated requests to extradite the soldiers because the two
countries signed a legal assistance treaty providing for the return of
criminals. Moreover, Lithuania has not yet passed a law on refugee status and
therefore cannot grant political asylum. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PREMIER WANTS NATO DECISION ON EXPANSION.
Jozef Oleksy, visiting
NATO headquarters in Brussels on 5 April, said Poland expects NATO to make a
"concrete decision" to expand eastward in 1996, Rzeczpospolita reported.
Oleksy chose Brussels for his first trip abroad since becoming prime minister
to emphasize that European integration is Poland's foreign policy priority. At
a Warsaw press conference, Oleksy dismissed Russian objections to Polish
membership. "This is a matter between Poland and NATO," he stressed. He told
NATO ambassadors that delay in accepting Poland into NATO would disillusion the
Polish public and encourage "other countries" to voice ever stronger
reservations about expanding the alliance. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
WALESA TO MARK WWII ANNIVERSARY IN WARSAW.
President Lech Walesa on 5
April announced he will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Victory Day in
Poland, having turned down invitations to attend ceremonies in London and
Moscow. "Years after the collapse of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall,
Europe remains divided, and there are still better and worse Europeans," Walesa
said in a statement quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI,
POLISH TRIBUNAL RULES AGAINST WALESA.
The Constitutional Tribunal on 5
April ruled that its interpretations of legislation are binding from the time
the law in question took force, rather than from the moment of the ruling
itself. The decision was prompted by a May 1994 ruling that President Lech
Walesa acted unlawfully in removing Marek Markiewicz as National Broadcasting
Council chairman in connection with the granting of the country's only private
TV license to the PolSat company. Walesa's lawyers argued at the time that
Markiewicz could not be reinstated because the tribunal's ruling did not have
retroactive effect--an argument rejected by the tribunal. Some council members
argued on 5 April that Markiewicz should be reinstated. The procedural issues
remain unclear, however, as the council now functions under the chairmanship of
Walesa loyalist Janusz Zaorski. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAWS VETOED BY PRESIDENT.
The parliament on 5
April approved again two laws vetoed by President Michal Kovac, Sme
reported. One of the laws transfers the power to appoint and remove the Slovak
Information Service director from the president to the government, while the
other deals with foreigners residing in Slovakia. Premier Vladimir Meciar told
the parliament that since its creation, the SIS has opposed his Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia. Of the 130 deputies present, 81 voted in favor of the SIS
law. Opposition calls to allow each parliament party to have representatives in
the body overseeing SIS activities were rejected. Deputies are also to consider
a proposal to vote on the dismissal of Miroslav Kocnar, a breakaway member of
the Association of Workers in Slovakia, from his post as chairman of the
parliament Mandate and Immunity Committee. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK MINISTER ON PRIVATIZATION.
Privatization Minister Peter Bisak, at
a press conference on 5 April, said property worth 258 billion koruny will be
sold in the second wave of privatization, Pravda reports. Of this
amount, 40 billion will be sold through the coupon method and 73 billion
through direct sales, while 90 billion koruny will remain state-owned.
Government officials said earlier that property worth 50-55 billion koruny
would be sold in the second wave of coupon privatization. The previous
government, which drew up the program, planned to sell property valued at some
70 billion koruny. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
POLITICAL MOVEMENT AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS.
AFP on 4 April reported that the
Bosnian Serb parliament will meet next week to discuss Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic's plans for a federation with Krajina. He has been pressing
for closer ties between the two rebel Serbian states, while the Krajina
leadership has been divided over how far to embrace him, given that he has
fallen out with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Meanwhile, news agencies
said on 5 April that a delegation of Bosnian Serbs loyal to the government in
Sarajevo returned pleased from their first official visit to Serbia. They met
with numerous politicians close to Milosevic and in the opposition, as well as
Orthodox Patriarch Pavle. The delegates, representing 200,000 Serbs living on
Bosnian government-controlled territory, expressed optimism that Serbia's
political climate is changing for the better. AFP on 4 April quoted a Bosnian
diplomat who met with Milosevic in late March as being similarly optimistic
about the prospects for Belgrade's recognizing Sarajevo, although his first
public remarks after the meetings were much more sober. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
MILITARY ACTIVITY IN EASTERN CROATIA.
AFP on 5 April reported that
Croatian troops are quietly moving into the UN-controlled Sector West, around
Daruvar in Slavonia. The UN's future mandate in the area remains unclear, and
it is widely believed that Zagreb wants UNPROFOR out of the sector. UN sources
speculated that Croatia is anxious to achieve the appearance of a military
success at little or no real cost. The big prize remains Sector East, beyond
Osijek, which is rich in oil and agricultural resources and which many think
Milosevic plans to annex as his price for supporting an eventual peace
settlement. Reuters reported that Krajina authorities have suspended permission
for UNPROFOR patrols in eastern Croatia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
HERZEGOVINIAN CROATS KIDNAP THEIR BISHOP.
Western and Croatian media
reported on 5 April that an angry mob of Croats in Mostar abducted Bishop Ratko
Peric and his secretary four days earlier. The two men were held in a car at a
Franciscan monastery for eight hours before being released. Peric previously
ordered that diocesan priests replace Franciscans in Mostar. Tensions between
the regular clergy and the friars date back to the Middle Ages. The hierarchy
in Zagreb and Rome regards the Franciscans as unruly and too nationalist, while
many ordinary Croats in Herzegovina consider them to be truly close to the
people. Vjesnik reported on 6 April that Croatian primate Cardinal
Franjo Kuharic condemned the kidnapping in his name and in that of the pope.
Nasa Borba added that Pope John Paul II marked the third anniversary of
the war in Bosnia by issuing yet another call for peace and reconciliation. In
Banja Luka, news agencies on 4 April reported that Bosnian Serb authorities
denied a Belgian cardinal permission to visit the town's dwindling Roman
Catholic community. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN FARMERS SCORN "SUPER DINAR."
Nasa Borba on 6 April
reported that farmers in Serbia's Sumadija district are the latest to express a
lack of confidence in the stability of rump Yugoslavia's currency, the dinar.
They are now asking the government for payments in sugar refined from locally
produced sugar beets, and not in cash. The "super dinar" was pegged to the
value of the German mark at an exchange rate of 1:1 in January 1994. But it
recently plunged in value, trading on Belgrade streets at a rate of 5:1. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
NINE ETHNIC ALBANIAN POLICEMEN ON TRIAL IN KOSOVO.
The trial of nine
ethnic Albanian former policemen and members of the Independent Trade Unions of
Kosovo began in the Kosovar town of Pec on 5 April, the Albanian-language
service of Deutsche Welle reported the same day. The Albanians, who were
arrested during a police crackdown in November 1994 in which more than 200
people were taken into custody, are charged with separatism and creating a
shadow-state police force. The accused deny the charges, saying their only
concern was trade union interests. Meanwhile, Serbian police arrested the
mother of Yussuf Gervalla, a Kosovar political activist who was killed in
German exile in 1982 by the Yugoslav secret police. Deutsche Welle, however,
said that the motives behind the arrest are unclear. -- Fabian Schmidt,
ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN MOSCOW.
Gheorghe Tinca on 5 April began a
three-day visit to Moscow, Rompres and ITAR-TASS reported. He met the same day
with his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, with whom he discussed, among
other things, increased military-technology cooperation. Preliminary agreements
were reached on joint military exercises, exchange programs for military
experts, Russian servicing of Romanian military equipment, and the use of
Russian communication satellites by Romania. Tinca and Grachev also discussed
the two countries' differing views on NATO's eastward expansion. Before
departing for Moscow, Tinca told ITAR-TASS that Russia was practically the only
state in Eastern Europe capable of ensuring its own defense without having to
join military alliances. Romania was the first state to enroll in NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. SAYS ROMANIA COMMITTED TO NPT.
The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest,
responding to reports that Romania tried to develop a nuclear weapon, said on 5
April that the U.S. was satisfied that Bucharest was committed to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and the "exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy,"
Reuters reported the same day. The embassy said that Romanian press reports
resurrecting a 1992 story about plutonium production in Romania were
"inaccurate and misleading." The reports cited the discovery in 1992 of 2
milligrams of plutonium that Romanian scientists had separated from a fuel rod
on a research reactor. Discovery of the plutonium extraction project in 1992
prompted Washington to ban Bucharest from importing nuclear products. President
Bill Clinton has waived the order, the embassy said. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON CHISINAU STRIKE.
Radio Bucharest, citing Radio
Moscow, reported on 5 April that Mircea Snegur hopes to soon make proposals
leading to an end to the strike in Chisinau within one month. He noted that he
intends to use his presidential prerogative to initiate legislation in the
parliament but added that this takes time. He appealed for an end to the
protest actions and urged striking students to resume attending classes. Radio
Bucharest and Romanian Television on 5 April reported that the students are
calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli and Minister of
Education Petru Gaugas. Members of the strikers' committee put up tents the
same day in front of the parliament building, saying they would stay there as
long as the strike continues. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
PERSONNEL CHANGES IN BULGARIAN SECURITY SERVICES.
The Supreme Judicial
Council on 5 April elected Boyko Rashkov as interim director of the National
Investigation Service, Otechestven Front reported the following day. He
will hold this post until the council elects a permanent successor to Ani
Kruleva. The council on 29 March voted to dismiss Kruleva as director on
grounds of incompetence. Rashkov is one of six deputy directors of the National
Investigation Service and head of the Sofia Investigation Service. Also on 5
April, Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev appointed Lieut.-Col. Pavel Nikolov as
deputy director of the National Security Service. He replaces Lieut.-Col.
Borislav Rangelov, who was dismissed on 4 April. According to Otechestven
Front, another three high-ranking officials in the National Security
Service are to be fired in the next few days. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS UNCERTAIN.
Radio Skopje on 4 April, citing
Matthew Nimetz, U.S. President Bill Clinton's special mediator in the dispute
between Greece and Macedonia, reports that the date for direct bilateral talks
is still not known. Greek officials said earlier that talks were scheduled to
begin in New York on 6 April under UN mediator Cyrus Vance. Macedonian Prime
Minister Branko Crvenkovski, in an interview with Le Monde on 4 April,
said that Macedonia is willing to negotiate but "it's difficult to negotiate
seriously while the [Greek embargo against Macedonia] remains in effect." The
interview prompted speculations in the Greek press that Macedonia might be
willing to start talks even with the embargo in place. Greece has said the
embargo will remain in force during the talks, while Macedonia has insisted it
will not negotiate unless the blockade is lifted. Greek diplomatic circles said
there is not enough time to start talks on 6 April, the Athens daily
Elevtherotypia reported on 4 April. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
ALBANIA SIGNS GAS DEAL WITH RUSSIA.
Albania has signed an agreement with
the Greek-Russian company Promitheas providing it with 1 billion cubic meters
of Russian natural gas per year, AFP reported on 5 April. The pipeline, which
runs from Russia via Bulgaria and Greece, is still under construction.
According to a Greek-Russian agreement, it is scheduled to carry 50 billion
cubic meters of gas for a period of 25 years beginning in December 1995. A
pipeline to Albania will also be built. Albania has a 300 km natural gas
network that has been out of use since Albanian gas reserves were exhausted. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN SOCIALIST LEADER'S CASE TO BE REVIEWED?
The case of Albanian
Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, who still has 4 years and 10 months of a
12-year prison term to serve, will probably be reviewed later this year,
international agencies reported on 4 April. Nano was found guilty of
embezzlement and falsification of documents. His sentence has been reduced in
several amnesties following international protests, but the opposition has
repeatedly called for his release. The Interparliamentary Union, which has
complained about human rights violations in Nano's arrest, detention, and
trial, requested that his case be reviewed. Government officials said the
review may take place when a new procedural law comes into effect later this
year. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave