RUSSIA FINALLY ACCEPTS PARTNERSHIP.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev formally agreed that Russia will participate in NATO's
Partnership for Peace at the North Atlantic Council meeting in the
Netherlands on 31 May, AFP reported the same day. Doubts about Russian
participation remained until the last minute in light of Russia's
surprising refusal to do so last December and confusing statements by
the Russian presidential aide on international affairs, Dmitry Ryurikov.
On 30 May, Ryurikov said Russia's position would depend on the wording
of the NATO Council communique. He added that Russia would continue to
resist NATO enlargement because it "conforms neither to Russia's
interest nor to those of Europe." The final communique of the NATO
Council issued on 30 May reads, "Enlargement will be part of a broad
European security architecture based on genuine partnership and
cooperation in the whole of Europe." NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes
added that European security should be founded on cooperation with
Russia. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
LEBED REPORTED TO RESIGN.
Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed, commander of the
14th Army in the breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova, has
submitted his resignation, sources in the Defense Ministry told a Radio
Liberty correspondent and Interfax on 30 May. Lebed did not announce his
resignation publicly. For several weeks, he has made contradictory
statements concerning his intention to quit as a protest against the
planned reorganization of the 14th Army. Lebed is a prominent figure in
the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), and he has not ruled out
running for public office if he leaves the military. -- Laura Belin,
YELTSIN DECLARES DAY OF MOURNING FOR QUAKE VICTIMS.
Yeltsin has declared 31 May a day of national mourning for the victims
of the earthquake that hit Sakhalin on 27 May, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Flags are to be lowered and media encouraged to drop
light entertainment shows from their programming. Yeltsin also pledged
aid of up to 50 million rubles (about $10,000) for the families of
victims of the disaster. As of the evening of 30 May, emergency services
had freed 372 people and removed 377 bodies from the rubble of the oil
town of Neftegorsk. At least 2,000 are feared to have died in the quake.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
GROMOV FORMS NEW VETERANS' GROUP.
Col. Gen. Boris Gromov, former
commander of the 40th Army in Afghanistan, created the Union of Russia's
Veteran-Internationalists' Organizations, Interfax reported on 30 May.
Nine major veterans' groups, with a total of 60,000 members, joined the
union. Gromov called for military reform and the immediate withdrawal of
all troops from Chechnya. He said his union would not participate in the
upcoming parliamentary campaign, since "none of the political parties is
worth joining," but he did not rule out running independently for
parliament or president in the future. Gromov ran for Russian
vice-president in June 1991 on a ticket with Nikolai Ryzhkov and
finished second to Boris Yeltsin and Alexander Rutskoi. In February
1995, following his criticism of the military campaign in Chechnya,
Gromov was transferred to the post of chief military expert in the
Foreign Ministry. In March, he and his staff were evicted from their
Defense Ministry offices. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RYBKIN'S PLANE FROM U.S. WAS CARRYING INTELLIGENCE EQUIPMENT.
Dmitry Biryukov, Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin's press secretary, told a Segodnya
reporter the plane Rybkin used on his return from the U.S. was carrying
intelligence equipment for the Foreign Intelligence Service, the paper
reported on 30 May. Earlier reports said Rybkin had rejected a load of
humanitarian aid for orphans because he was carrying furniture for his
dacha. Yury Kobaladze, chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service press
bureau, did not deny the information and said the equipment was for the
Federal Government Communications and Information Agency (FAPSI).
Another source said planes carrying official Russian delegations are
frequently used to transport intelligence and other secret equipment. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
LANDOWNERS' UNION WILL NOT JOIN AGRARIAN PARTY'S ELECTORAL
The Landowners' Union will not join the Agrarian Party's electoral bloc
because the agrarians do not support the development of small business
and the private ownership of land, Vladimir Bashmachnikov, chairman of
the union's coordinating council, said on 30 May, Interfax reported. The
union is currently considering alliances with Yegor Gaidar's Russia's
Democratic Choice, Konstantin Borovoi's Party of Economic Freedom,
Democratic Russia, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's electoral
bloc. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
KULIKOV AGAIN IN COMMAND IN CHECHNYA.
General Anatoly Kulikov,
commander of the Russian Interior Troops, has resumed command of the federal
forces in Chechnya, Interfax reported on 30 May. Kulikov had been placed
in charge on 1 February but was replaced by Col. Gen. Mikhail Yegorov in
mid-April. Kulikov told Interfax that Yegorov had only been
"substituting" for him. He said the current operation to oust the
militants from the foothills in the southern part of the republic would
continue. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
SUSPECTED MURDERER OF DUMA DEPUTY SKOROCHKIN ARRESTED.
Moscow police official announced on 30 May that a suspect had been arrested in the
case of murdered Duma deputy Sergei Skorochkin, NTV reported. He added
that money not politics was behind the crime. Skorochkin, a member of
Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, was found shot dead in
a wooded area near Moscow on 2 February. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
MOSCOW CREDITS ITSELF FOR SHAPING CONTACT GROUP STANCE ON
Moscow claimed to have succeeded in pressuring its Contact
Group partners into pursuing a political settlement of the Bosnian
crisis, Interfax reported on 30 May. According to one unnamed official
with allegedly close ties to the Russian Foreign Ministry, it was at the
Contact Group meeting in The Hague that Russia "beat off" demands for
NATO reinforcement of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and succeeded in
having the operation carried out solely by UN forces. Moscow has
suggested that a "political settlement" of the Bosnian crisis be arrived
at through a "suspension of sanctions against Belgrade in exchange for
its recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA REGRETS EU DECISION NOT TO GO AHEAD WITH TRADE ACCORD.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Afanasiefsky expressed regret that the
EU foreign ministers decided on 29 May not to proceed with an interim
trade accord between the EU and Russia, Interfax reported on 30 May.
Afanasiefsky said the failure to go ahead with the trade accord is
economically damaging for both sides. The EU foreign ministers want to
keep pressure on Moscow to bring the fighting in Chechnya to an end,
Reuters reported on 30 May. In a joint statement, the ministers
indicated the accord could be implemented in the near future if positive
developments, such as a ceasefire, were to occur. The statement added
that they will revisit the issue at their 12 June meeting. -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA, CHINA DISCUSS CROSS-BORDER CRIME.
Russian and Chinese officials
met in Beijing on 30 May to discuss cross-border crime, international
agencies reported. The crime rate has risen on both sides of the border
since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the introduction of economic
reforms in China. Officials say they are particularly worried by gangs
who prey on Chinese and Russian traders using the Trans-Siberian
railway, Reuters reported. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
RUBLE REACHES SEVEN-WEEK HIGH.
The Russian ruble rose to a seven-week
high on 30 May, breaking through the 5,000 ruble to $1 mark as demand
for the Russian currency soared to close at 4,995 rubles to $1 in MICEX
trading, Russian and Western agencies reported. Dealers said that signs
of industrial output growth in some sectors of the economy along with
falling inflation are creating conditions for ruble stability. The ruble
has risen steadily from its all-time low of 5,130 rubles to $1 at the
end of April as banks continue to dump their dollars. The main reason
for the ruble's current strength is that yields on ruble sectors of the
money market are higher than those on dollar operations. Bankers expect
the ruble to hold its ground for at least several weeks. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
AZERBAIJAN WINS STAMP OF APPROVAL.
Azerbaijan's economic reform program,
which involved price and trade liberalization measures in recent months,
received approval from Western donor institutions, including the IMF and
World Bank, Reuters reported on 29 May. At a meeting of donors and Azerb
aijani government officials in Paris, donors pledged to provide an aid
package of $430 million for this year. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN TO RECEIVE FOREIGN AID.
International donors have
promised to give Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan substantial amounts of aid,
Reuters reported. On 30 May, the World Bank announced Kyrgyzstan would
receive $680 million in aid this year and next year. This comes on the
heels of the 26 May announcement that Kazakhstan would receive more than
one billion dollars in aid from various sources. The decision to deliver
those sums of money is a reflection of satisfaction with the economic
reforms underway in both countries. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIK TALKS YIELD RESULTS.
As the fourth round of inter-Tajik talks in
Almaty, Kazakhstan came to a close there appeared to be some agreement
between the two sides. Tajik government and opposition representatives
are focusing on an exchange of prisoners of war, the repatriation of T
ajik refugees in Afghanistan, and an extension of the ceasefire. On 30
May, the two sides agreed to exchange lists of PoWs and political
prisoners by 25 June. A spokesman for opposition representative Ali
Akbar Turadzhonzoda told Interfax that efforts had been stepped up to
bring the refugees in Afghanistan back to Tajikistan. The opposition
also declared its readiness to extend the ceasefire until the end of
November, provided the government withdraws its troops from the
Gorno-Badakhshan region. Meanwhile, Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani
has proposed Kabul as the venue for the next round of talks, according
to Interfax. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
SHEVARDNADZE ON CONSTITUTION.
Speaking at an enlarged session of the
constitutional commission he heads, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze elaborated on the principles embodied in the draft
constitution, Interfax reported on 30 May. He said it is necessary to
adopt a constitution as soon as possible. The key elements of the draft
include a bicameral parliament and what he called an "asymmetric
federation." A 100-member lower house would be elected for a four-year
term on a mixed proportional and majority system; the upper house would
be composed of representatives of federation members. Shevardnadze said
he hoped any future constitution would rely on the "strong
parliament-strong president" principle. He said the powers of the center
and regions have yet to be formulated. Shevardnadze noted that "Abkhaz
will be declared an official language alongside Georgian" and that
"Abkhazia, and Adzharia would have their own constitutions, state
symbols, legislatures, and systems of executive, judicial, and other
power." Referring to South Ossetia, he said the Tskhinvali region would
have its own charter. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
DEPUTY SPEAKER OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FACES CHARGES.
Tkachenko, first deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, has been
charged with interfering in a criminal investigation into his alleged
misuse of state hard-currency funds, UNIAR and Interfax-Ukraine reported
on 30 May. He is accused of pressuring Deputy Prosecutor-General Olha
Kolinko to drop the inquiry and threatening her dismissal on several
occasions. Tkachenko allegedly prohibited employees of the Zemlya i
Lyudy agricultural association, which he previously headed and which is
now under investigation, from answering subpoenas. The conservative
member of the Agrarian caucus has spearheaded a leftist campaign in the
parliament to remove Prosecutor-General Vladislav Datsiuk and his
deputies for what they have described as "politically-motivated"
activities. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS AT IMPASSE OVER ENACTMENT OF POLITICAL REFORM LAW.
The Ukrainian parliament on 30 May was unable to reach a settlement to
a resolution that would suspend 68 articles of the Ukrainian
Constitution and enable the recently approved law on the separation of
powers to take effect, Interfax-Ukraine and UNIAR reported the same day.
Despite a proposal by the Socialist caucus to shelve the articles
contradicting the new political reform law until 1 January 1996, the
Communists blocked the two-thirds majority needed to amend the
constitution. Eight out of the ten caucuses in the legislature support
the enactment of the legislation, which gives Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma greater executive powers to preside over political and economic
reforms. The lawmakers announced their readiness to sign a controversial
accord with the president allowing him to implement the law without
constitutional changes. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSES WEST OVER SLAVIC INTEGRATION.
Lukashenka told Interfax on 30 may that the West was blocking
integration among the Slavic republics. The president was referring to
Ukraine's failure to move closer to Slavic union during the CIS summit
in Minsk on 26 May. He argued that if Ukraine made such a move, it would
risk losing IMF credits, just as Belarus had lost credits from the fund.
He also said he feared that the newly elected communist and agrarian
deputies, who "have close ties with commercial structures and drink
heavily," would reorient trends in the parliament. With regard to
integration with Russia, Lukashenka defended the leasing of two
Belarusian military bases to that country for 25 years, saying this
created conditions for Russia to set uniform prices for energy for the
two states. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
ISRAELI MILITARY DELEGATION IN ESTONIA.
Israeli State Secretary for
Defense Maj. Gen. David Ivry, accompanied by two other brigadier
generals and Israeli ambassador Tova Herzl, arrived in Tallinn on 29 May
for talks with Estonian officials. The Israeli delegation met with Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi, Interior Minister Edgar Savisaar, commander-in-chief
of Estonian armed forces Aleksander Einseln, Defense Minister Andrus
Oovel, and other officials from his ministry, BNS reported. The
delegation offered to sell radars to Estonia and train Estonians in
using and taking care of previously purchased Israeli weapons. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ON SEA BORDER WITH LATVIA.
Algirdas Brazauskas on
30 May told the Seimas that the memorandum on the sea border, signed by
Latvia and Lithuania on 20 May, was not a legal document but only a
recommendation, RFE/RL reported. He said Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys
and his deputy, Rimantas Sidlauskas, held talks in Riga on 29 May to
ensure that Latvia interprets the memorandum the same way. Brazauskas
refused to reveal the memorandum's text but noted that it was short. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
NEW CONTROVERSY OVER POLISH TV.
Witold Grabos, a senator from the ruling
Democratic Left Alliance and a member of the National Radio and TV
Council, has asked Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko to recall Polish
TV's Board of Directors. Kolodko represents the Treasury, which, as the
legal owner of state TV, has been reviewing the council's yearly reports
on Polish TV's finances and programming for 1994. Council President
Marek Jurek called Grabos's motion part of "the political campaign
against Polish TV" and pointed out that Grabos does not represent the
council's view. Zycie Warszawy on 30 May interpreted Grabos's motion as
the latest in the series of the Left's attacks on the independence of
Polish TV. According to Rzeczpospolita on 31 May, Kolodko accepted the
council's financial report for 1994 but rejected two others on Polish
TV's programming and management. -- Jakub Karpinski and Ben Slay, OMRI,
KOHL WANTS COMPROMISE TO IMPROVE CZECH-GERMAN RELATIONS.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl on 30 May said he wants to resolve problems in
Czech-German relations but expects Prague to match any gesture or
concrete step that Bonn takes, Czech media reported. Kohl, who is due to
address the Bundestag on 1 June about Germany's relations with countries
it occupied during World War II, told a news conference in Bonn that he
and his government are committed to drawing a line under the past. But
he declined to answer directly whether Germany is planning to compensate
Czech victims of Nazism if Prague reciprocates by meeting some of the
demands of the Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after the
war. "The experiences with France and Poland show that reconciliation is
possible only when we mutually make things clear to each other, and we
are making it clear that a compromise always means that both sides must
modify their position," Kohl said. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
TWO CZECH LEFTIST PARTIES FORM ELECTORAL ALLIANCE.
The Left Bloc and the
Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) on 30 May formed an alliance for next
year's parliamentary elections, Mlada fronta dnes reported the following
day. The parties will have equal weight and put up an equal number of
candidates, SDL chairman Josef Mecl said. The two parties ran jointly
with the Communist Party in the 1992 elections under the banner of the
Left Bloc, gaining 35 parliamentary seats. The Communists later pulled
out of the coalition, and the Left Bloc now has 24 deputies. Opinion
polls show that neither the Left Bloc nor the SDL, individually or in
alliance, is likely to win representation in the next parliament, due to
be elected in June 1996. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK GOVERNMENT APPROVES ECONOMIC POLICY MEMORANDUM.
cabinet on 30 May approved a new version of its memorandum on economic
policy for the IMF, Sme reported. The document confirms that property
valued at 40 billion koruny will be privatized through the coupon
program and that at least 60 billion koruny worth of property will be
privatized through standard methods by September and another 20 billion
by the end of the year. Because of positive developments in foreign
currency reserves and the stabilization of the balance of payments, the
cabinet decided that Slovakia will not draw another installment of its
IMF stand-by loan. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAKIA'S MINORITIES ON FUNDING FOR CULTURE.
Chairman Arpad Duka-Zolyomi, at a press conference on 30 May, said
Slovakia lacks a concept for minority policy and that decisions are made
on an "ad hoc" basis. He stressed that a constitutional law on the
position of minorities should be approved. Duka-Zolyomi criticized in
particular a minority issues publication that first appeared on 30 May
as a bi-weekly supplement to the pro-government daily Slovenska
Republika. He called it "absurd" that of the 58 million koruny in state
subsidies to support periodical and non-periodical press for minorities,
the Ministry of Culture has committed 27.7 million koruny to finance the
supplement. The Hungarian Civic Party (MOS) also expressed concern about
the move, calling it "a violation of the state budget law." According to
the MOS, the decision was made without consulting minorities. -- Sharon
Fisher , OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN TV EMPLOYEES TO STRIKE.
Employees of Hungarian Television on
30 May announced plans for a one-day strike to protest the government's
intention to privatize one of the two national channels, Hungarian media
reported. A date for the strike has not yet been set. TV employees argue
that selling the second channel would trigger extensive layoffs and
compromise the public service character of state TV. Hungarian Radio and
TV are still controlled by the government in accordance with a 1974
decree. The country's six parliamentary parties have been unable to
agree on a post-communist media law paving the way for new nationwide
channels. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
SITUATION AROUND SARAJEVO "OMINOUSLY QUIET."
This is how a UN spokesman
described the area surrounding the Bosnian capital on 30 May, the BBC
reported the following day. Bosnian Serb forces have taken armored
personnel carriers and other vehicles from their UNPROFOR hostages and
have removed heavy weapons from UN-monitored storage depots. Serbian
troops are also infiltrating into the demilitarized zones around
Sarajevo. The Bosnian Serbs let some French hostages return to their
bases but captured additional Ukrainians, bringing the total number of
hostages of that nationality to 55, Ukrainian Television said. Nasa
Borba added that the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague will
take up the case of the Serbian artillery attack on Tuzla on 27 May, in
which at least 71 died. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BOSNIAN SERBS SAY STRENGTHENED UNPROFOR MANDATE MEANS WAR.
continues to press for a new mandate for UN peacekeepers that would
allow them to react quickly and on their own initiative, but Bosnian
Serb Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha is quoted by Nasa Borba on 31 May as
saying that a changed mandate would mean war. He added that the hostages
would be released when NATO promises publicly not to launch any new air
strikes. The BBC quoted a UN spokesman as saying that such a declaration
is unlikely to appear. President of the Bosnian Serb legislature Momcilo
Krajisnik told Nasa Borba that he was pleased that the Contact Group on
29 May opted for a peaceful solution to the crisis. The VOA on 31 May
noted that the U.S. will provide additional support for UNPROFOR, such
as airlifts, but that Washington sees no need at present for its own
ground troops to be sent in. A NATO communique issued on 30 May said
that the Bosnian Serb leaders are personally responsible for the safety
of the hostages. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WHAT ARE THE NEW BRITISH FORCES DOING IN BOSNIA?
The first of the new
British force of 6,000 highly-trained personnel arrived in Split on 30
May, international media reported. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
said, however, that they could advance only as far as Gornji Vakuf, in
central Bosnia, and not proceed to the British base at Vares north of
Sarajevo. Izetbegovic added he feared that the men had not come to deal
with the Serbs but rather to cover an evacuation of UNPROFOR, which the
Bosnian government opposes. The men arrived wearing UN blue berets.
British Premier John Major said that Britain has no intention of leaving
Bosnia, but the BBC's Serbian and Croatian Services on 31 May report
that doubts are being raised in Britain regarding the veracity of that
statement. Vjesnik quotes NATO sources as saying that 40,000 soldiers
would be needed to protect a total evacuation of peacekeepers. --
Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.
JOVANOVIC SAYS RECOGNITION OF BOSNIA POSSIBLE.
Rump Yugoslav Foreign
Minister Vladislav Jovanovic told BBC Television on 31 May that a deal
between Belgrade and members of the Contact Group may be in the offing.
Such a deal, he said, might foresee Belgrade's recognition of Bosnia in
exchange for an easing of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia.
Jovanovic described negotiations between Belgrade and Contact Group
officials as "serious and productive." Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 31 May
reported that U.S. envoy Robert Frasure is in Belgrade for meetings with
ranking rump Yugoslav officials to discuss possible deals, including the
possible easing of the fuel embargo against the rump Yugoslavia. Reuters
reports that Frasure is slated to "try to enlist [Serbian President
Slobodan] Milosevic's help to win the release of almost 400 UN
peacekeepers" held hostage by Bosnian Serb forces. Nasa Borba also
reported that Milosevic allegedly referred to Bosnian Serb military
leader Ratko Mladic as a possible bulwark for the peace process in
Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS.
The Serbs of Bosnia and Krajina have
received the blessings of the Serbian Orthodox Church in their moves to
set up a still ill-defined common state. Belgrade dailies add on 31 May
that the Krajina legislature has approved the introduction of the
traditional Nemanjic coat of arms for the new polity as well the old
nationalist song "Boze pravde" as its anthem. The Zagreb papers note
that the Bosnian Serbs have once again barred UN human rights monitor
Tadeusz Mazowiecki from entering their territory. He told a press
conference that the differences between Croats and Muslims in Mostar was
not that great but that the political will to bridge them was lacking.
He added that the most pressing issue there was to set up a joint police
force. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
FADIL SULEJMANI RELEASED ON BAIL IN MACEDONIA.
Fadil Sulejmani, dean of
the self-proclaimed Albanian-language university in Tetovo, has been
released on DM100,000 bail, Flaka reported on 31 May. Sulejmani was
sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for "inciting resistance";
his case is to be reviewed by an appeals court. He was arrested in
connection with a riot that broke out after the police crackdown on his
university on 17 February. Flaka also reported that a proposal for new
parliamentary procedures omits a sentence contained in the old ones
stating that deputies have "the right...to speak in the language of his
nationality." -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
CONTINUED ATTACKS ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY IN ROMANIA.
The Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR), in a press release carried by Radio
Bucharest on 30 May, called for outlawing the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR). PUNR leader Gheorghe Funar also said the
parliament should discuss UDMR activities since December 1989 and lift
the immunity of the party's parliamentarians. The PUNR has repeatedly
urged that the UDMR be banned, but the latest attack comes in the wake
of the party's recent congress (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 and 30 May
1995). The PUNR also says Romania's position on the bilateral treaty
with Hungary should be reviewed in light of the UDMR's congress and
Hungary's possible affiliation with NATO "ahead of Romania." Deputies
from both the ruling and opposition parties on 30 May criticized the
UDMR in the Chamber of Deputies, with several speakers demanding that
the party be outlawed. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES DUMA.
Interfax on 30 May
reported that Moldovan parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi said at a
news conference in Chisinau that the position taken by the Russian State
Duma at the 23 May hearings on the withdrawal of the 14th Army was
"crazy." But he added that another debate is likely to be held in which
Russian President Boris Yeltsin may support Moldova's position on the
pullout. Asked by journalists if the possible (in the meantime,
confirmed) resignation of Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed from the command of
the 14th Army will "result in chaos in the region." Lucinschi replied
that the consequences will be "negative, but not fatal." -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
HEAD OF BULGARIAN ENERGY COMMITTEE SACKED.
Nikita Shervashidze on 30 May
was dismissed as chairman of the government's Energy Committee,
according to Bulgarian newspapers the following day. The official reason
was reported to be incompetence, but some papers claim the real reason
was that Shervashidze let the private Multigrup conglomerate buy up
debts owed to Bulgargaz, the state-run gas company. While such a move is
legal under Bulgarian law, Shervashidze apparently failed to organize a
debt-buying auction, as is legally required. If the government does not
intervene, Multigrup will obtain a stake in Himko and Kremikovtsi, two
of Bulgaria's largest industrial exporters. According to Demokratsiya,
another reason for Shervashidze's dismissal is that he allowed water to
be re-routed to a power plant when it was needed in Sofia, which faces a
severe water crisis. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIA CLAMPS DOWN ON SMUGGLING INTO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
Interior Ministry on 30 May said that stricter police controls in border
areas have stopped fuel smuggling into the former Yugoslavia, Reuters
reported the same day. The authorities said that police have made
several arrests and confiscated hundreds of tons of fuel. Shipping
traffic on the River Buna has reportedly been prohibited, and only
fishing and tourist ships are now allowed on Lake Shkoder. Police have
also closed ten filling stations. According to Reuters, since mid-May
police have seized four tanker trucks, 18 barrels of fuel, 15 floating
tankers (four containing 100 tons of fuel each) and some motor-boats.
They have also arrested five Montenegrins. Gazeta Shqiptare reported
that seven trucks were seized on 26 May, including 35,000 liters of
fuel, and ten people arrested. -- Fabian Schmidt , OMRI, Inc.
TURKISH SPY NABBED IN DAGESTAN? Dagestani counterintelligence detained
Isak Kasap, a Turkish national, on charges of spying, Interfax reported
on 29 May. Kasap was detained while attempting to leave Chechnya where
he was allegedly collecting intelligence. The suspect was carrying photo
and video materials, filled notebooks, a large sum of money, and papers
issued under the name Isak Kondir. Posing as a journalist, Kasap and his
compatriot, identified as Kamil Ozturk, confessed to spying for Turkey's
national intelligence service, Interfax reported. -- Lowell Bezanis,