OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 102, 26 May 1995
RUSSIAN REACTION TO NATO AIR STRIKES IN BOSNIA.
According to a statement
issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, and reported by ITAR-TASS on 25
May, Moscow does not stand behind NATO's 25 air attacks against Bosnian
Serb targets. The strikes were launched when the Bosnian Serb side
failed to comply with a UN ultimatum to return four heavy guns stolen
near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. "The course of events in Bosnia
over the past months and weeks requires urgent efforts toward political
settlement, with maximum restraint in the use of force," the statement
said, stressing that singling out the Bosnian Serbs is no path to
resolving regional conflict. Nevertheless, Moscow's support for the
Bosnian Serb side also appears less than wholehearted. On 26 May Reuters
quoted President Boris Yeltsin as saying the Bosnian Serbs "got it"
because they did not halt their military activities. -- Stan Markotich,
CONFLICTING REPORTS ON LUZHKOV'S FUTURE.
Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov may
soon be fired or forced to resign due to conflicts with the federal
government over the city's financial problems according to Moskovsky
Komsomolets on 25 May. However, the official newspaper Rossiiskie vesti
reported on 26 May that in recent weeks, Luzhkov has patched up
relations with the federal government and can easily "find a common
language" with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Rossiiskie vesti
argued that "whatever one may think of Luzhkov," the mayor helps
maintain stability in the capital and is therefore too important a
political figure to "simply leave the scene." President Both Yeltsin and
Luzhkov recently have denied rumors of Luzhkov's imminent dismissal. In
a televised interview on 24 May, Yeltsin said, "I do not know a better
mayor in Russia," Interfax reported the next day. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
COMMISSION REJECTS YELTSIN'S MAIN AMENDMENTS TO DUMA ELECTORAL LAW.
conciliatory commission, bringing together representatives of the
president, State Duma, and Federation Council, agreed to maintain the
Duma version of the electoral law preserving the current division of 225
seats to be determined by party list and 225 by single-member district,
although it recommended an increase in regional influence on the party
lists, Russian and Western agencies reported on 25 May. Vladimir Isakov,
co-chairman of the Duma delegation, said most commission members support
the Duma proposal to peg the necessary voter turnout for the elections
to be considered valid at 25%, rather than the Yeltsin proposal of 50%.
The commission supported a presidential proposal to allow civil servants
to continue their jobs while campaigning but said it will propose an
amendment to prevent them from using government-issue cars and official
access to the media for campaigning purposes. The commission is
scheduled to reconvene on 5 June. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
MORE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION.
An article in the
21-28 May edition of Moskovskie novosti accused the Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) of dragging its feet on requests to disclose full
returns from the December 1993 elections and referendum on the
constitution. Duma deputies from Russia's Choice, the Communist Party,
and Yabloko have asked the commission to release the relevant figures.
With new parliamentary elections looming, the author wrote, the deputies
are particularly anxious to learn whether fraud took place in 1993, and
if so, how to prevent the use of similar techniques this year. Although
ballots were destroyed long ago, vote rigging could be discerned by
comparing the aggregate local returns (still stored in the commission's
archives) with final regional figures published by the commission.
Moskovskie novosti suggested that the commission's reluctance to comply
with Duma requests indicates "something is rotten there." -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT SUFFERING CRISIS.
environmental movement will be unable to participate in the
parliamentary elections as an independent party according to
participants in a conference entitled "Ecological Policy and Peace-
Making Processes in the Former Soviet Union," Interfax reported.
Instead, Russia's green movement plans to provide voters with
information about the ecological programs of the various political
parties in order to inform them who genuinely cares about the
environment and who is engaging in campaign rhetoric, Grigory Khozin of
the Diplomatic Academy's Global Problems Center said on 25 May. He said
the greens will be ready to participate directly in the parliamentary
elections four years from now. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
MOSCOW MUFTI CRITICIZED.
The director general of the Russian Islamic
Cultural Fund, Abdel Vakhed Niyazov, publicly criticized Ravil
Gainutdin, identified by Interfax as the Mufti of the Moscow Mosque, for
abuse of power and violating shariah norms, Interfax reported on 25 May.
On behalf of several Islamic and national cultural organizations in
Moscow, Niyazov read out a statement at a press conference the same day,
condemning the Mufti for "illegally dismissing" two imams, "transforming
the house of Islam into a private office," and dividing visiting Muslims
into "ours" and "foreign ones." Nafigulla Ashirov, chairman of the
supreme coordinating center of the Muslim Spiritual Board, said the
conflict began because of Gainutdin's openly pro-government position,
the aspirations of other muftis for greater independence, and the
Chechen war. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OSCE CHECHNYA TALKS COLLAPSE.
The OSCE-mediated talks in Grozny between
representatives of the federal authorities, Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev, and the Chechen government of national salvation broke up after
three hours, when the Russian delegation, headed by Nikolai Semyonov,
walked out, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The talks may resume "after
preliminary consultations," according to Chechen chief of staff Movladi
Udugov, who said the Russians had been "unprepared" for negotiations,
the agencies reported. Udugov further stated that the Chechen
presidential delegation had demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian
troops from Chechnya and the creation of internationally-controlled safe
zones. Semyonov said the talks had merely been "suspended" to allow for
consultation with military commanders, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO HEAR CASE ON CHECHNYA.
Chairman Vladimir Tumanov announced that despite legal flaws in the
documents submitted to it, the court will consider the Federation
Council's request concerning the constitutionality of secret
presidential and government decrees on Chechnya, Interfax reported on 25
May. Tumanov expressed surprise that the Council ignored the court's
instructions to attach copies of the decrees in question to its appeal.
However, he said the court would overlook the Council's error so as not
to be accused of "procrastination" on the controversial Chechnya case.
-- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
MILITARY PROCUREMENT BUDGET APPROVED.
The Russian government approved
"about 10 trillion rubles" for the 1995 defense order at a 25 May
meeting, Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov told ITAR-TASS. The money
will be earmarked for paying off last year's debts, purchasing new
equipment, and as advance payments for 1996 weapons deliveries. Panskov
said it would be up to the Defense Ministry to decide "whether to buy
military hardware or uniforms." In 1994, the defense order amounted to 8
trillion rubles (about $2 billion). The agency said it had learned from
"well-informed sources" that no fighter aircraft will be purchased in
1995. Aircraft manufacturers will have to depend on foreign orders. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
DISSIDENT OFFICER SEEKS REINSTATEMENT.
Lt. Col. Stanislav Terekhov,
leader of the right-wing Officers' Union, told Interfax on 25 May that
the legal proceedings in his battle to be reinstated in the armed forces
had resumed. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev discharged Terekhov
following his participation in the 1993 attack on the headquarters of
the CIS joint armed forces. A military court of the Moscow Military
District has twice ruled that Terekhov's discharge was illegal, but the
case has been appealed to the Military Board of the Supreme Court by the
chief military prosecutor. Terekhov told the agency that he was "calling
on mass media, officers, and the patriotic public for support." -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
CHERNOMYRDIN TURNS DOWN INVESTMENT PROGRAM.
At a 25 May cabinet meeting
to discuss economic and financial stabilization, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin refused to approve a program to encourage domestic and
foreign investment in 1995-97, Interfax reported. Chernomyrdin sharply
criticized the authors of the program--including First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatoly Chubais (castigated yesterday in the official
Rossiiskaya gazeta on a different topic) and Economics Minister Yevgeny
Yasin--on the grounds that it was too general. They were given a month
to submit a radically revised plan. According to Labor Minister Gennady
Melikyan, investment in industry in the first four months of this year
is down 35% on the same period of 1994. Overall investment in 1994 was
down 26% compared to 1993. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
BUDGET HIT BY OFFICIAL CORRUPTION.
The 1995 budget has been undermined
by misspending, Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov said on 25 May.
"Expenditure has exceeded limits during the first few months of the
year...administrations often waste credits from the government," he
said, according to AFP. He added that last year, the ministry uncovered
cases involving the improper use of state funds, embezzlement, and tax
evasion that resulted in losses of hundreds of billions of rubles,
Interfax reported. He named the Federal Employment Service and the
Nationalities Ministry as the worst offenders. Panskov also said large
sums earmarked for supplies for the Far North had been diverted into
private accounts and that funding for regional programs might be stopped
if such abuses continued. Meanwhile, in another development that
strained the budget, the Duma extended foreign trade preferences for the
Sports Fund until 1 July. Duma Budget Committee Chairman Mikhail
Zadornov said that would cost about $285 million, Segodnya reported. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
CENTRAL BANK TO INTRODUCE 100,000-RUBLE NOTE.
On 30 May, the Central
Bank will introduce a 100,000-ruble note, worth about $20, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 25 May. At present, the brown 50,000-ruble
note, introduced in 1993, is the largest in circulation. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
MIDDLE EAST PRIORITY FOR RUSSIAN ARMS SALES.
Stanislav Filin, Deputy
Director of Rosvooruzheniye, the scandal-ridden state company
responsible for Russia's arms sales, confirmed that the Middle East
market, particularly Persian Gulf countries, is a priority region for
Russia, Interfax reported on 25 May. He noted that Russia had recently
been able to expand the Russian presence in that market and downplayed
the importance of declining arms sales to Eastern Europe. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 102, 26 May 1995
TROUBLE IN TAJIK TALKS.
Negotiations aimed at stopping the violence in
Tajikistan hit a snag on 25 May, Interfax and Western agencies reported.
The opposition power-sharing proposal envisioned an administration in
which the current government would take 40% of the positions, 40% would
go to the opposition, and 20% to ethnic minorities in Tajikistan.
Representatives from the Dushanbe government called the proposal
unacceptable but made no counter proposal. Opposition leader Ali Akbar
Turadzhonzoda said the opposition's proposal was timed to coincide with
a meeting of the CIS heads of state in Minsk. Turadzhonzoda was in
Bishkek where he handed Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev a letter to be
read at the meeting, Interfax reported. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
NIYAZOV IN EGYPT, ISRAEL.
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov and his
Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, signed four bilateral cooperation
accords and agreed to open embassies in each other's countries, during
talks on 23 May, AFP reported on 24 May. The next day, Niyazov traveled
to Israel where he met with his Israeli counterpart, Ezer Weizman, as
well as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
for talks focusing on bilateral economic relations. Israel and
Turkmenistan have had diplomatic relations since 1993; last year
Turkmenistan's deputy prime minister visited Jerusalem and Shimon Peres
visited Ashkhabad. Numerous cooperation accords have been signed to
date. Israel is involved in a $100 million irrigation project in
Turkmenistan and a scheme to build a gas pipeline from that country to
Turkey. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 102, 26 May 1995
KUCHMA SAID TO HAVE SUGGESTED CHANGES IN FLEET AGREEMENTS.
In a recent
message to President Yeltsin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
suggested changes to the principles that Russian and Ukrainian leaders
have already agreed on regarding the division of the former Soviet Black
Sea Fleet, according to "trustworthy sources" quoted by ITAR-TASS on 25
May. Yeltsin has instructed his aides to study them. The two are
expected to discuss the impasse over the fleet at the Minsk CIS summit.
The sources said one of Kuchma's suggestions was that the [Russian]
Black Sea Fleet would not have "bases" in Ukraine, but rather a "series
of separate installations, including one in Sevastopol." -- Doug Clarke,
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ISSUES ULTIMATUM OVER CRIMEAN REFERENDUM.
Ukrainian legislature has said it may dissolve the Crimean parliament if
that body refuses to cancel a 25 June regionwide referendum on the
banned Crimean Constitution and does not submit the draft of a new one
by 1 June, international and Ukrainian agencies reported on 25 May.
Crimean deputies missed a 15 May deadline set by Kiev for drafting a new
document. Ukraine requires the new draft to be in line with a 1992
Ukrainian law delineating authority between Kiev and Simferopol. Its
most recent move amounts to a rejection of a recent offer by Crimean
parliament leaders to cancel the poll if Kiev overturns its annulment of
the disputed Crimean Constitution. Crimean deputies said that in such a
case, they would be willing to abolish those articles that contravene
Ukrainian law. -- Chrystyna Lapychak , OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN SOCIALISTS PROPOSE COMPROMISE ON SEPARATION OF POWERS LAW.
socialist caucus in the Ukrainian parliament has submitted a compromise
version of a resolution and constitutional amendment allowing the formal
implementation of the law on the separation of powers, Ukrainian Radio
and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 25 May. Sixty-eight articles of
Ukraine's current Soviet-era constitution need to be suspended by a two-
thirds majority in order for the landmark legislation, giving Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma greater powers to carry out reforms, to take
effect. Leftist forces who oppose reforms have threatened to block the
passage of the amendment because it would significantly dilute the
legislature's authority. But the socialist faction on 25 May said it
might agree to a temporary arrangement whereby the articles would be
suspended until 1 January 1996, when parliament would review
implementation of the law. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS.
The Central Electoral
Commission on 24 May announced the official results of the 14 May
parliamentary elections and referendum, Belarusian Radio reported. A
total of 2,348 candidates competed for 260 parliamentary seats, and 18
succeeded in being elected. The Agrarian Party won five seats and the
communists three. Turnout was 64.7%. A second round of elections will be
held in 216 electoral districts on 28 May. As for the referendum, 83.3%
voted to give the Russian language state status, alongside Belarusian;
75.1% voted to change the country's national symbols to Soviet-type
ones; 83.3% were in favor of integration with Russia; and 77.7% voted to
give the president the right to dissolve the parliament. The last
question is not legally binding, like the others. -- Ustina Markus,
NEW LATVIAN FINANCE MINISTER.
The Saeima on 25 May confirmed the
nomination of Indra Samite as finance minister, BNS and Interfax
reported. Samite replaces Andris Piebalgs, who resigned because of the
continuing banking crisis. Born in Philadelphia in 1959, Samite
emigrated to Latvia in 1991 where she worked as a consultant to a Saeima
commission. In September 1994, she was appointed state minister for
credit distribution. Also on 25 May, Bank of Latvia President Einars
Repse appointed his adviser Uldis Klauss as the new president of Baltija
Bank. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES ELECTION LAW.
The Saeima on 25 May approved
the law on its election, BNS reported. Under the new legislation, the
Saeima is to be elected by direct, proportional, and secret voting, with
only political parties and alliances having the right to field
candidates. Parties have to surpass a 5% barrier to gain parliament
seats. Those who cannot run for office include former officials from
foreign security services as well as those who held office after 13
January 1991 in the communist party, the Latvian SSR International
Workers' Front, the United Council of Workers, the War and Labor
Veterans Organization, and the Committee for Saving Latvia's Society.
Candidates must be able to demonstrate a high proficiency in Latvian. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIAN, POLISH AGREEMENT ON EXTRADITION PROCEDURES.
days of talks in the Polish town of Suwalki, a Lithuanian delegation,
headed by Prosecutor-General Vladas Nikitinas, reached an agreement with
Polish officials on procedures for extraditing criminals and handing
over material evidence in such cases, BNS reported on 25 May. The two
countries already have signed a legal assistance treaty and an agreement
on cooperation between prosecutor's offices, but the absence of an
extradition order has created problems for border authorities. Kestutis
Vagneris, chief Lithuanian prosecutor for information and international
relations, said that the two sides also exchanged information on
organized crime, smuggling, and illegal migration. -- Saulius Girnius,
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ATTACKED BY FORMER PREMIER.
The Sejm on 25 May
debated Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski's presentation the
previous day of Poland's foreign policy priorities. Polish and
international media quote former Premier Waldemar Pawlak of the United
Peasant Party as asking: "Did the minister appear as Poland's foreign
minister or as an EU and NATO expert?" He commented that "our
contemporary pro-Europeanism is turning into an ideology of servility
towards the wealthy capitalist world." Deputies from other parties
defended Bartoszewski. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH COLONEL'S SPYING SENTENCE QUASHED BY SUPREME COURT.
Court on 25 May revoked the sentence handed down to Ryszard Kuklinski,
an army colonel accused of spying, Polish and international agencies
report. Kuklinski fled Poland in November 1981 after allegedly passing
over to the U.S. plans for the introduction of martial law the following
month. He was sentenced in absentia to death for high treason in 1984.
The Supreme Court ruled that the 1984 military tribunal did not have
sufficient evidence to convict Kuklinski. Its acting president,
Stanislaw Rudnicki, was quoted by Reuters as saying that Kuklinski was
perhaps trying to counter "the direct threat of invasion by informing
rulers of countries who had influence over the world's fate." -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION FAVORS OPPOSITION.
Constitutional Court on 24 May ruled that a law passed by the parliament
in November canceling 54 direct sale privatization projects approved by
the previous government is unconstitutional. Stefan Gavornik, president
of the National Property Fund's Presidium, said the parliament's
decision was taken "in the interest of society," but he stressed that it
is necessary to respect the decision of the court. Slovak National Party
Chairman Jan Slota said that he is "very sorry" about the court's
decision and that it could cause "large-scale damage" to Slovakia. Peter
Weiss, chairman of the opposition Party of the Democratic Left, said
that "If the government coalition was not so arrogant . . . , our
republic could have spared the needless damage to its reputation,"
Pravda reports on 26 May. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan
Carnogursky said the court's decision confirms that, despite many
difficulties, "democracy still functions" in Slovakia. -- Sharon Fisher,
SLOVAK RULING COALITION REMAINS FUNCTIONAL.
A 25 May meeting of the
representatives of the four ruling parties has confirmed that the
coalition remains united. Premier Vladimir Meciar, who is also chairman
of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, said the talks "confirmed
that the coalition is functional and the interest of every partner is to
maintain it . . . Basic political differences among the coalition
parties do not exist." Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota said the
coalition is "100% solid," while Association of Workers of Slovakia
Deputy Chairman Stefan Gavornik commented that the coalition functions
better at higher levels than at the district level, Sme reports. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
WALESA IN HUNGARY.
Polish President Lech Walesa, on a three-day official
visit to Hungary, met with Hungarian President Arpad Goencz, Prime
Minister Gyula Horn, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, and other
politicians on 25 May. Goencz and Walesa agreed to cooperate in their
efforts to join NATO and the European Union. "We see the world very
similarly," Goencz told reporters after his talks with Walesa. The
Polish president confirmed that the two countries had agreed to
coordinate their views and "support each other." In what appeared to be
indirect criticism of the Czech Republic's unwillingness to coordinate
its efforts to join NATO and the EU with Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia,
Walesa said that East European states are not cooperating enough in
their bids to join Western institutions. Walesa travels on 26 May to
Keszthely, on Lake Balaton, to participate in a meeting of eight Central
European presidents focusing on regional cooperation. -- Jiri Pehe,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 102, 26 May 1995
NATO AIR STRIKES IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
Six NATO planes on 25 May struck
a Bosnian Serb ammunition depot near the Bosnian Serb stronghold of
Pale, outside Sarajevo, Nasa Borba and international agencies reported
the following day. The NATO attack came after Bosnian Serb forces failed
to comply with an ultimatum that they return four heavy guns stolen near
Sarajevo. The Bosnian Serbs responded swiftly by launching attacks
against five of six of the country's designated safe areas: namely,
Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Tuzla, Gorazde, and Bihac. In Tuzla, a shell
exploded in a downtown area lined with cafes. The town's mayor has said
that at least 50 people were killed in the incident, while as yet
unconfirmed reports say the toll may be at least 70 dead and some 150
wounded. Meanwhile, UN spokesman Major Guy Vinet has told Reuters that
"all nine weapons collections points have been blocked by Bosnian Serb
soldiers." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
REACTIONS TO NATO AIR ATTACKS.
Bosnia's Muslim-led government welcomed
NATO's actions against the Bosnian Serbs. Vice President Ejup Ganic told
reporters at a press conference following the Bosnian Serb response that
further NATO action was needed. "NATO must carry out a massive
bombardment of the Serb artillery . . . What happened in Tuzla tonight
and in Sarajevo and Gorazde must not go unpunished," he said. Meanwhile,
NATO officials have indicated that their organization is prepared to
launch other strikes against the Bosnian Serbs if they do not withdraw
heavy weapons from the exclusion zone around Sarajevo by 10:00 GMT on 26
May. The Belgian news agency Belga quoted NATO Secretary-General Willy
Claes as saying that NATO has targets of "importance." He gave no
further information. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
FORMER KOSOVO POLICEMEN ON TRIAL.
Some 44 ethnic Albanian former
policemen went on trial in Prizren on 25 May, international agencies
reported the same day. They are accused of forming a shadow Kosovar
police force and face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. The
defendants have denied the charges, saying the only reason they formed
an independent police union was to protect their rights. The state
prosecutor has claimed the union served "as a shield for forming an
illegal police force." An ethnic Serbian defense lawyer said that the
trial is purely political and that the defendants were tortured by the
police during interrogation. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN CABINET DISCUSSES COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONVENTIONS.
government convened a special meeting on 25 May to discuss ways to bring
Romania's human rights legislation into line with Council of Europe
standards, Radio Bucharest reported. A government spokesman said the
ministers approved the signing of the council's charters on local
autonomy and on minority and regional languages. The government also
decided to start ratification procedures for other conventions,
including those on extradition and combating terrorism. The spokesman
added that the legislation package on Romania's relations with the CE
will soon be sent to the parliament for emergency debate. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA.
Josef Zieleniec on 25 May began a
three-day official visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. Zieleniec
and his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, discussed ways to speed
up NATO's expansion as well as their countries' integration into
European structures. Both ministers praised the development of Czech-
Romanian trade relations. Melescanu stressed that Romania regards the
Czech Republic as a model for political and economic transformation.
Zieleniec, who was also received by President Ion Iliescu and Premier
Nicolae Vacaroiu, pledged his government's help for Romania's ethnic
Czech minority. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
IMF WITHHOLDS LOAN INSTALLMENT FOR ROMANIA.
An International Monetary
Fund mission concluded an eight-day visit to Romania on 25 May, Radio
Bucharest reported. The delegation, headed by IMF's chief negotiator
with Romania Maxwell Watson, was received by President Ion Iliescu,
Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, and other senior government officials. Watson
said at a press conference on 25 May that Romania was making progress on
reforming its economy but that the process was hampered by serious
problems, including hesitant mass privatization and enormous inter-
company debts. He suggested that the IMF continue examining Romania's
economic situation before a second installment of a $250 million loan is
released. Another IMF inspection team is expected to visit Romania in
June. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES DUMA.
Mihai Popov, in an interview
with Interfax on 25 May, expressed concern over what he described as the
Russian State Duma's attempt to "torpedo" an October 1994 bilateral
agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army from eastern Moldova. Popov
said that a law recently adopted by the Duma on preserving the 14th
Army's arsenals amounted to a moratorium on the withdrawal, since it
linked it with a settlement to the crisis in the Dniester region. In a
related development, a Moldovan delegation led by parliament deputy
chairman Nicolae Andronic left for Budapest on 25 May to attend the
North Atlantic Assembly session there. Andronic said Moldova will seek
international support for the implementation of the Moldovan-Russian
agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
NEW BULGARIAN POLITICAL ALLIANCE IN THE MAKING?
Duma on 26 May reports
that President Zhelyu Zhelev sees a realistic chance for forming a new
political alliance. Dimitar Ludzhev, chairman of the Center New Policy
party, was quoted as saying that the United Democratic Forces would not
be a presidential grouping but an alliance for the people. Ludzhev,
together with Asparuh Panov and Stefan Gaytandzhiev of the Radical
Democratic Party (RDP), met with Zhelev on 25 May. Ludzhev's party has
already held talks on the formation of a new alliance with the People's
Union, and talks with the RDP are scheduled. The RDP, in turn, has
invited the Union of Democratic Forces to attend talks but so far has
not received a reply, Gaytandzhiev said. -- Stefan Krause , OMRI, Inc.
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT URGES GREECE TO START TALKS.
Kiro Gligorov, on a
state visit to Italy, has urged Greece to lift its embargo against
Macedonia and start direct talks with his country, Reuters reported on
25 May. Gligorov was quoted as saying that Macedonia will not be "an
equal partner in direct talks" if the embargo is not lifted. He also
urged Greece to take a bigger role in the Balkan peace process, saying
it has "a responsibility as the only Balkan country in the European
Union and NATO to bring stability to the region." Gligorov praised the
UN peacekeepers stationed in Macedonia and said their presence is a sign
that "the war cannot expand south." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK-ALBANIAN TALKS START IN "GOOD ATMOSPHERE."
Greece and Albania have
started wide-ranging talks to try to improve bilateral relations, AFP
reported on 25 May. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Konstantinos Bikas
said the first sessions in Athens and Tirana, held on 23 and 24 May
respectively, took place in a "good atmosphere." The talks focused on
immigration and legal and consular problems. Further meetings will take
place in Tirana on 26 May-6 June to discuss public order, cultural
links, and military cooperation and in Athens on 5 June to debate
economic relations. AFP cited an unnamed Greek source as saying Athens
is considering granting 100,000 seasonal work permits to Albanian
citizens. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.