KOZYREV: RUSSIA MAY INTERVENE FOR ETHNIC RUSSIANS ABROAD.
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asserted on 18 April that Moscow reserves the
right to intervene militarily to protect the rights of ethnic Russians living
in the "near abroad," Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on 19 April. Kozyrev
cited the emigration of over 240,000 Russians from the CIS in 1994 as evidence
of the abuse of their rights outside Russia. However, a Russian study released
last week said most of the migration was economically motivated. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
ELECTORAL LAW FOR FEDERATION COUNCIL UNDER DEBATE.
Both houses of
Russia's parliament are working together to develop an electoral law for the
Federation Council, Chairman of the State Duma's Committee for Legislation and
Judicial Reform Vladimir Isakov told Interfax on 18 April. The two houses have
very different approaches. Whereas the Duma wants voters to approve candidates
nominated by the regions' and republics' executive and legislative branches,
the president and the Council want the heads of local administrations and
legislatures to become automatic members. Isakov believes the country needs a
permanently functioning Council, in which members quit their other jobs and
devote their full attention to drafting legislation. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
DEMOCRATS CONSIDER KOVALEV FOR PRESIDENT.
Democratic Russia and Russia's
Democratic Choice may support human rights activist Sergei Kovalev as their
presidential candidate, according to Russian TV, citing an article in
Argumenty i fakty slated to be published on 20 April. Galina
Starovoitova, co-chairwoman of Democratic Russia and a former adviser to
President Boris Yeltsin, said "Yegor Gaidar and I have discussed the question
of nominating Kovalev as a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections."
She said he might become "a unifying figure as Andrei Sakharov was in his
time." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
YAVLINSKY DENIES RUMORS OF PACT WITH ZYUGANOV.
Grigory Yavlinsky, leader
of the Yabloko group, denied that he had agreed to cooperate with Communist
leader Gennady Zyuganov in the upcoming presidential elections, Interfax
reported on 18 April. Some Russian observers have speculated that Yavlinsky and
Zyuganov made a deal to support each other if one of them qualifies for the
second round of presidential elections, scheduled for June 1996. Yavlinsky
called the rumor "a political provocation" and absurd as well, since his
supporters are not "serfs" who can be told how to vote. He described Yabloko as
the "democratic opposition [in parliament]," unlike the Communists, whom he
accused of planning "to alter the political system, restore the soviets, and
abolish the presidency." Kommersant-Daily reported on 13 April that
Yabloko and the Communists displayed identical voting patterns in the Duma this
year on many important issues, such as the budget, the creation of Russian
Public Television, and the recently proposed no-confidence vote in the
government. The paper also suggested that Zyuganov and Yavlinsky have a common
enemy in the current government and have avoided attacking each other in
public. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN UNITED INDUSTRIAL PARTY CREATED.
The Russian United Industrial
Party, created on the basis of Arkady Volsky's Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs, has held its first congress in Moscow, Russian news agencies
reported on 18 April. Volsky told the congress that the new "centrist"
organization would not be merely a "party of directors," but would be open to
everyone, Russian Television reported. He called for "real economic reforms" to
enlarge the state's role in the economy, led by "realistically-minded people,
who do not call for settling old scores or returning to the past," Interfax
reported. Volsky said Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is not to blame for
the current economic crisis, since he was left with a "difficult inheritance"
after officials "attempted to change everything and everyone at once" in 1992,
NTV reported. In 1991, Volsky helped create the Movement for Democratic Reform.
Volsky then formed an industrial lobby, the Union of Renewal, which later
joined the centrist Civic Union bloc in 1992. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
DAVYDOV CRITICIZES WESTERN PROTECTIONISM.
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Davydov said restrictions on Russian trade to the West remain as they were
during the Cold War, despite political statements to the contrary, Business
World reported on 18 April. He said Russia had already removed all barriers and
that the EU is using Chechnya as pretext for not proceeding with an interim
trade accord, thus allowing EU-Russian trade to be regulated by an agreement
reached with the former Soviet Union. Russia is not recognized as a
transitional market economy and all anti-dumping and protectionist measures
remain intact. He cited Russian capabilities in aerospace industry and in the
production of fissionable materials, aluminum, and nickel, as areas in which
Russia is more than competitive with the West. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
AUM SHINRI KYO SECT BANNED.
A Moscow judge shut down the Russian
branches of the Japanese sect Aum Shinri Kyo on 18 April and ordered its
representatives in Russia to pay 20 billion rubles in damages to the group of
parents who sued the sect, Russian and Western agencies reported. The judge
also ordered Radio Mayak and Moscow Television to stop broadcasting Aum Shinri
Kyo programs. The sect's lawyers say they will appeal the ruling--the first
against a religious group in post-Soviet Russia--but the parents' group, the
Youth Salvation Committee, has vowed to fight to the end. Some human rights
groups fear that the ruling may signal a crackdown on religious freedoms. Aum
Shinri Kyo, which has been implicated in the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo
subway on 20 March, has six branches in Moscow and seven in other Russian
cities. Religious sects have boomed in Russia since the collapse of communism.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
MORE ON THE CASE AGAINST ROSVOORUZHENIE.
A representative of the
Rosvooruzhenie weapons company said on 18 April that the charges of tax evasion
and illegal financial transactions leveled the previous day by the Prosecutor's
Office should be addressed to the company's former management, NTV reported.
Rosvooruzhenie's current general director, Col. Alexander Kotelkin, took the
job in November 1994, succeeding Lt.-Gen. Viktor Samoilov. Rosvooruzhenie was
audited last year by the Control Department of the presidential administration,
the Finance Ministry's Auditing Department, and a number of other specialists,
including Air Marshall Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, the president's representative at
the company. The results were then submitted to the Prosecutor's Office. Both
the audit and the transfer of documents were ordered by President Boris Yeltsin
personally, Izvestiya reported on 19 April. The inspection revealed
numerous violations by arms traders while the export of military hardware
continued to fall and presidential and government decisions were ignored,
according to Segodnya on 18 April. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN MINISTRY BACKS GRACHEV ON ARMS TREATY.
Grachev's recent warning that Russia may not fulfill some of the provisions of
the CFE treaty reflected "the Russian side's real concern and requirements,"
according to Gregory Karasin, the Russian Foreign Ministry's chief press
spokesman. In the past, the Foreign Ministry has tended to be in favor of full
compliance. Karasin said Russia is counting on the U.S. "and our other partners
. . . to be understanding of our position and to take account of the Russian
Federation's interests," ITAR-TASS reported on 18 April. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
RUSSIA TO SELL MISSILE SYSTEM TO U.S.
The Russian Defense Ministry
intends to sell a unit of its most modern air defense missile system to the
United States, Izvestiya reported on 14 April. For a reported $60
million, the Americans are to receive an S-300V mobile missile system--known to
NATO as the SA-12 Giant--in a contract drawn up by the state arms export
company Rosvooruzheniye. Although badly in need of the money, top military
leaders are reportedly concerned at allowing the Americans to learn so much
about one of their best weapons. There was a public furor recently when Belarus
sold a similar, but less capable, system--an S-300PMU (SA-10 Grumble)--to a
private company acting on behalf of the U.S. Defense Department. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA TO LAUNCH GERMAN SATELLITE FROM SUBMARINE.
A Russian Delta III
class nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea is scheduled to fire a converted
SS-N-18 ballistic missile this June which will lift a recoverable German
satellite into space, Interfax reported on 15 April. The launch is part of a
joint project between the German Agency DARA and the Makeyev State Rocket
Center Design Bureau in Miass, in the Chelyabinsk region. This civilian version
of the SS-N-18--which was designed to carry as many as seven nuclear
warheads--has been named "Volna." The German satellite will not be placed in
orbit, but will be used to conduct a 20-minute experiment in fundamental
research in conditions of little or no gravity before splashing down off the
coast of Kamchatka. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
TURKISH SUPPORT FOR PETRO-CHEMICAL PLANT.
Moscow and Ankara are
discussing a $120 million loan to Russia in exchange for natural gas deliveries
to Turkey, Interfax reported on 18 April. The money would be used to complete
construction of the first unit of a polypropylene facility in Budyonnovsk,
Stavropol region, by the Turkish contractor Tekfen. The plant, estimated to
cost $280 million, is to yield 100,000 metric tons of polypropylene annually.
Last year, Russia provided Turkey with 5.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
No report today.
The latest round of Russian-Ukrainian
negotiations took place behind closed doors, Ukrainian radio reported on 18
April. After the talks, Ukrainian acting Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk told
journalists that President Yeltsin agreed with Ukraine's draft of the article
dealing with mutual borders for the future treaty on friendship and
cooperation. That version states: "Both sides respect each other's sovereignty
and confirm that they will not violate the existing borders between them."
Yeltsin also agreed with Marchuk that Crimea will never be a reason for any
kind of conflict between Russia and Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN, MARCHUK DIFFER ON BLACK SEA FLEET.
President Yeltsin and
Ukrainian acting Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk failed to reach agreement on the
division of the Black Sea Fleet during their 18 April meeting in the Kremlin,
and the two leaders offered two vastly different accounts of their discussion.
ITAR-TASS quoted a presidential press release in which Yeltsin blamed the
impasse on "the unyielding stand of the Ukrainian delegation headed by Marchuk"
and said there would be no Russian compromises or concessions from their
previous agreements. He added that "new tough variants" of the solution to the
Black Sea Fleet problem offered by the Ukrainian government did not improve the
chances of Yeltsin visiting Kiev. Marchuk, for his part, told Interfax that the
two leaders had a "sincere . . . and rather constructive" dialogue on the
fleet, although he admitted the issue had not been resolved. He said Ukraine is
working on the April 1994 Russian-Ukrainian agreement under which the fleet
would be divided in half, and then Ukraine would give two-thirds of its share
to Russia as payment for its fuel debt. However, Marchuk added that the
agreement contained too many "generic" provisions that need to be specified. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
DUDAEV'S FAMILY REPORTEDLY IN UKRAINE.
The family of Chechen President
Dzhokhar Dudaev is in Ukraine, according to parliament deputy Mykhailo
Ratushny, who was cited by Ukrainian Radio on 18 April. Ratushny had
accompanied members of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (KUN) party on a
humanitarian aid mission to Chechnya earlier this month. Russian forces
reportedly hindered the mission's attempts to distribute 41 tons of food,
medicine, and basic commodities. Ratushny claimed that intervention by the
International Red Cross cleared the cargo through customs, but most of the
shipment ended up going to the Russian army and disappearing through
"commercial agents." The Ukrainian cargo was reportedly the first aid shipment
to reach Chechnya. KUN members said Dudaev's family has been granted asylum in
Ukraine because they were subjected to a manhunt in Chechnya. -- Ustina Markus,
LITHUANIA WANTS EXPLANATION OF KOZYREV'S STATEMENT.
Foreign Ministry on 18 April called in the Russian ambassador in Vilnius,
Nikolai Obertyshev, to explain Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's
remarks that Russia might use military force to protect Russians living abroad,
BNS reported. Kozyrev also said that Estonia and Latvia were the only two
former Soviet republics in which there was talk about a deliberate policy of
banishing ethnic Russians. Obertyshev promised Lithuanian Foreign Ministry
Secretary Albinas Januska that he would offer an official explanation and said
he was certain that the statement did not apply to Lithuania. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA, BELARUS AGREE ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
Belarusian Environment Ministers Bronius Bradauskas and Mikhail Rusy signed in
Minsk on 14 April an agreement on cooperation in the field of environmental
protection. Gintautas Siulys, first secretary in the Lithuanian embassy in
Minsk, told BNS on 18 April that a joint working group has been set up to
monitor protection of water resources, vegetation, and animals as well as
industrial waste recycling and other environmental projects. Bradauskas also
urged Belarus to sign the Vienna convention on third countries' responsibility
in dealing with the consequences of nuclear accidents, He said that Belarus's
reluctance to join the convention is preventing Lithuania from receiving
international assistance to upgrade its nuclear power plant at Ignalina. He was
told that the Belarus Environment Ministry has advised the government to join
the convention but that the matter is still under consideration. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN PRODUCTION DOWN.
The Ministry of Statistics has announced
that in the first quarter of 1995, the country produced goods worth 28.7
trillion Belarusian rubles, Belarusian Television reported on 17 April. If
inflation is taken into account, this figure represents an 11% drop from the
same period in 1994. Consumer goods registered the biggest fall and were down
by some 2 trillion rubles. The shortfall has fueled inflation. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT SPLIT OVER ITS DISSOLUTION.
The pro-Russian Crimean
parliament has split over the issue of dissolving itself and founding a new
legislature. Reuters reported on 18 April that 42 deputies out of a total of 98
have asked Kiev to dissolve the assembly, while Ukrainian Radio reported that
50 deputies led by Tatar leader Refat Chubarov have requested that a new
parliament be formed. Also on 18 April, Ukrainian activists were prevented from
hoisting a Ukrainian flag in front of Simferopol's city hall. Within minutes,
the flag was torn down by an on-duty policeman. The activists had official
permission to raise the flag, but deputies from the "Russia" and "Russia-Unity"
factions were opposed to such a move. The militia also prevented the
pro-Russian groups from raising a Russian flag. But the flag of the Crimean
Republic was hoisted in front of the city hall. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINE WANTS TO INCREASE ARMS EXPORTS.
The Ukrainian government has
ordered the Ministry for Engineering and the military-industrial complex to
increase exports, according to a government press release carried by Interfax.
Enterprises under the ministry's supervision were reported to have established
contacts with partners in 60 countries and to have exported goods worth $1.5
billion in 1994. Some of these exports would not have been military equipment.
By comparison, Russia sold arms worth $1.5-1.7 billion last year. The report
said that the ministry has been told to raise the export share of its total
production to 20-25% in 1995 and to 25-30% next year. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
IS POLISH GOVERNMENT PREPARING CHANGES IN TV MANAGEMENT?
Control Office has issued a report on Polish Television's (TVP) finances,
according to Gazeta Wyborcza on 18 April. The report states that TVP is
not ensuring that free-lance producers keep to their submitted budgets, that it
rented space for its advertising office instead of constructing a new building,
and that it has no fewer than 20 people working in its legal department. These
policies have been defended by the TVP management, but the Polish daily claims
that the report can be used by the finance minister to recall TVP President
Wieslaw Walendziak, whose independent actions have not always found favor with
the government. The law on radio and TV states that only the TVP Supervisory
Board has the power to recall the TVP president. The commercial code, however,
states that the owner of a company can dismiss the president and board of
directors if blatant mismanagement can be proven. In the case of TVP, which is
state-owned, the minister of finance is empowered to act as the sole
representative of the owner. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PARTIAL CENSUS TO TAKE PLACE IN MAY.
Poland's first official
census since 1988 will be held from 18-31 May, the Central Statistical Office
announced on 18 April. Some 10,000 polling agents will visit 600,000 households
to collect data on incomes, unemployment, migration, housing conditions, and
other social issues. About 5% of Poland's population of 38 million will be
covered by the census. A full census is not planned until 2000. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH PRESIDENT'S POPULARITY AT RECORD HIGH.
Vaclav Havel's popularity
has risen to its highest level since he became Czech president 28 months ago,
according to an opinion poll published by the Czech press on 19 April. Havel
won an approval rating of 78%, up three points since the last poll, taken by
the Center for Empirical Research in February. The gap between Havel and Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus widened to 24 points. Klaus's popularity, which dropped
17 points in the year to February, remained stable at 54%. But Klaus's Civic
Democratic Party stayed well ahead of other parties, with 29%. It was followed
by the opposition Social Democrats (20.6%) and the Communist Party (9.7%). The
Civic Democratic Alliance's rating continued to fall, to 7.9%. But the poll
indicated that the four government parties would gain 119 of the 200 parliament
seats if a general election were to be held now. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
NEW HEAD OF SLOVAK INFORMATION SERVICE APPOINTED.
Tomas Hasala on 18 April announced that Ivan Lexa, a deputy of the Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia and a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, has
been named director of the Slovak Information Service. The move follows the
recent passage of a law transferring the power to appoint the SIS director from
the president to the government. Praca reports that Meciar, in naming
Lexa, referred to him as "the most competent [person] for the post." President
Michal Kovac rejected Lexa for the position in 1993. Vladimir Mitro submitted
his resignation as SIS director in February after a dispute with the
government. Also on 18 April, Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk submitted to the
cabinet a proposal on setting up a nongovernment agency aimed at improving
information about Slovakia abroad. Several other ministries will participate in
the project, and the final version of the law is expected to be ready by the
end of May. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
FRANCE WANTS UN SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION ON BOSNIA.
reported on 18 April that Paris has demanded a special meeting of the leading
UN body in order to grant peacekeepers permission to use force more easily in
response to attacks. France has also threatened to pull out its 4,500-member
UNPROFOR contingent unless the cease-fire is extended beyond 1 May and unless
peace talks resume. The demands come in the wake of the killing of two French
soldiers in Bosnia and of increased Serbian shelling of Sarajevo. But the key
factor behind the calls seems to be the hotly contested presidential election
on 23 April in a country where the Bosnian war and the safety of peacekeepers
attract voters' attention. AFP notes that Prime Minister Edouard Balladur has
stressed the possibility of withdrawal, while his rival Jacques Chirac wants
ultimatums to be issued and air strikes to follow. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS.
The 19 April edition of the Los Angeles
Times reported that Bosnian Serb forces the previous day refused to
guarantee the safety of an aircraft taking U.S. Ambassador Victor Jackovich
from Sarajevo to his new posting in Slovenia. He was forced to use the
hazardous land route instead. Secretary of State Warren Christopher noted that
Bosnia "is a very dangerous place for Americans to serve" and called the
Serbian move "unjustified and outrageous." But a BBC commentary on the latest
French demands and on Christopher's remarks suggested that the international
community's weakness in the face of aggression to date makes it unlikely that
the Serbs will take the latest threats seriously. Meanwhile in Serb-controlled
Bosnian territory, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic visited Banja Luka and
the front lines in central Bosnia where he promised a shakeup in the civilian
and military leaderships. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH MEDIATORS.
Nasa Borba on 19 April
reported that Slobodan Milosevic met the previous day with UN envoy Thorvald
Stoltenberg and EU mediator Lord Owen. According to Reuters, the international
mediators expected to discuss Belgrade's alleged violations of the rump
Yugoslavia's blockade of the Bosnian Serbs. But Tanjug reported only that the
talks centered on "further activities aimed at the intensification of the peace
process." Meanwhile, Politika reported that Serbian Orthodox Patriarch
Pavle gave an interview to the Slovenian daily Dnevnik in which he said
that before the war started, he "knew nothing" about Zeljko Raznatovic, alias
Arkan, who is the leader of the Serbian paramilitary "Tigers" and currently
wanted by Interpol for genocide. Pavle also noted that he first learned from
the Swedish embassy in Belgrade that Arkan "listens only to the orders of the
Serbian patriarch." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
CROATIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CLAIMS HARASSMENT.
Novi list on 14
April quoted the Croatian Independent Democrats as charging that the Interior
Ministry has formed a special unit to spy on the party and bug its telephones.
Other opposition parties have voiced similar complaints, and some have
experienced mysterious bombings of their offices or have found their leaders
evicted from their apartments. Nasa Borba on 18 April reported on other
evictions, namely of Serbs, and on other violations of human rights encountered
by Serbs living in areas under Croatian government control. The article was
based on materials compiled by the Croatian Helsinki Committee. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
ISTRIANS CALL FOR AUTONOMY.
The First World Congress of Istrians, which
closed in Pula on 15 April, endorsed a declaration calling for broad autonomy
for Istrians in Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy as well as for minority rights,
Belgrade and Zagreb dailies reported. The congress said that Istria should
become a Euroregion linking the three countries, according to the full text of
the meeting published in Slobodna Dalmacija on 19 April. A group loyal
to the Croatian government tried to introduce an alternative resolution that
did not endorse autonomy, which the Zagreb authorities regard as subversive.
Vjesnik charged that autonomy would "open a Pandora's box."
Politika, however, ran a headline saying "Istrians want no borders" and
called the alternative resolution "an unsuccessful provocation" by Croatia's
governing party. Some observers predict that Zagreb still intends to have the
last word. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
Three unidentified ethnic Albanian politicians have been
sentenced to two-year prison terms by the Pec local court, international
agencies reported on 18 April. The accused have been charged with planning
secession from Serbia. A lawyer is quoted as saying that it was "a staged
political trial." Meanwhile, the number of ethnic Albanian policemen from
Kosovo who have been charged with creating a shadow Kosovar Interior Ministry
has risen to 71. The former policemen, who deny the charges, are among the 172
ethnic Albanian police officers who were arrested between November and December
1994. According to official sources, 11 policemen continue to evade the
authorities. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN SUPREME COURT OVERRULES MAYOR'S DISMISSAL.
on 18 April reported that the Supreme Court of Justice has overruled a
government decision to dismiss Nicolae Vrabiescu, mayor of a Bucharest
municipal district and a member of the opposition National Peasant
Party-Christian Democratic. Vrabiescu was fired in March allegedly for abuse of
power, violation of the law, and neglecting the interests of the district's
residents. His name was added to the long list of opposition mayors dismissed
by the government. Vrabiescu appealed the decision to a Bucharest municipal
tribunal, but the hearing was repeatedly postponed. The Supreme Court, ruling
that the tribunal should hear the case, reinstated Vrabiescu as mayor until a
decision is reached by the lower court. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION LEADER SLAMS PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE.
interview with Interfax on 18 April, Valery Senik, chairman of the opposition
Socialist Party of Moldova, criticized President Mircea Snegur's initiative to
amend the country's constitution. Snegur, responding to the demands of striking
students and teachers, has proposed that Article 13, which stipulates that the
state language is "Moldovan," be amended (see ORMI Daily Digest, 18
April 1995). Senik said he doubted that the parliament would approve the
change, since neither Snegur's Democratic Agrarian Party nor the opposition
left-wing bloc were likely to support it. Together, these factions have a
majority of 84 out of 104 deputies. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN PRESIDENT AND PREMIER CLASH OVER NATO MEMBERSHIP.
Minister Zhan Videnov on 18 April said Bulgaria is in no hurry to apply for
NATO membership, Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. He said
Bulgaria's candidacy for full membership will be appropriate when NATO evolves
into a "system of collective and regional security." He also noted that the
government is not ready to meet the terms of full membership if these include
deployment of nuclear weapons and foreign troops in Bulgaria. President Zhelyu
Zhelev, in his annual speech on foreign policy, said on 17 April that his
country deserves to become a member of NATO because it is an oasis of calm in
the turbulent Balkan region, Reuters reported the same day. He said it is "very
important that Bulgaria declares clearly and categorically its urgent request
for NATO membership." Zhelev argued that Bulgaria's inclusion in the Western
military alliance would create "a NATO triangle on the Balkans pitched between
Ankara, Sofia, and Athens," since Bulgaria has good relations with both
neighbors. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
GREECE, ALBANIA NEGOTIATE OVER MINORITIES.
Greece and Albania on 18
April resumed talks on the status of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania and
of Albanian workers in Greece, AFP reported the same day. The talks, which were
broken off 11 months ago, are taking place in Athens at the level of state
secretary. Greece is expected to press for further rights of the Greek minority
in the education system, while Albania's main concern is the possible
legalization of Albanians who work and live illegally in Greece. Negotiations
between Athens and Tirana had been suspended after an attack on an Albanian
army barrack in April 1994 and the subsequent arrest and trial of five ethnic
Greeks in Albania led to serious tensions between the two countries. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.
COMMUNIST ALBANIA TRAINED FOREIGN TERRORISTS.
Blerim Cela, head of the
Albanian anti-corruption agency, has said that Albania trained and financed
foreign terrorist groups from 1964 to 1970, international agencies reported on
18 April. He said that an $11.6 million "solidarity fund" was created and that
small Marxist-Leninist groups--mainly from Sudan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan,
Indonesia, and Ecuador--attended training courses at Albanian military schools
and in the Albanian army. About $4 million from the fund were used to support
left-wing groups in Italy, Germany, and France and to promote Enver Hoxha's
publications in foreign languages. Another $400,000 were reportedly
appropriated by deputy party leader Namik Dokle to buy a printing machine for
the party newspaper Zeri I Popullit in Denmark or Canada. The machine
never materialized. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
HOXHA'S SON UNDER HOUSE ARREST.
The son of the late Albanian dictator
Enver Hoxha has been placed under house arrest on charges of calling for an
uprising in an interview about his father, international agencies reported on
18 April. Hoxha reportedly said that "it was not the people who toppled the
monument of my father, but the mob. The people were the ones who went out to
protect him." He added that "ordinary people in Albania are afraid. They no
longer have an Enver Hoxha to protect them." He is also quoted as threatening
that "one day, those people who scoffed at my father and my family will have to
pay for it." -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave