OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 122, 23 June 1995
GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR SECOND DUMA NO CONFIDENCE VOTE.
government has asked the Duma to take a second vote of no confidence, Russian
agencies reported. In a statement published in Rossiiskaya gazeta, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the government's status is uncertain due to
the Duma's 21 June no-confidence vote. If the Duma passes another vote of no
confidence in the government within three months, the president must disband
the Duma or sack the government. Chernomyrdin said prolonging the uncertainty
for three months would delay the adoption of the 1996 budget, disrupt
cooperation between the legislative and executive branches, and endanger the
international activities of the Russian government. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin
said Duma regulations require a vote within 10 days of the government request.
President Boris Yeltsin made it clear that he would disband the Duma rather
than sack his government in a speech broadcast on Russian Public Television on
22 June and published in Rossiiskaya gazeta the next day. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA PREPARES FOR SECOND VOTE.
Grigory Yavlinsky said his Yabloko
faction would again vote against the government. He said the president and
government are not willing to accept that "their activities [in Chechnya],
resulting in the death of tens of thousands, are not to somebody's liking." He
said there would not be a repeat of October 1993's violent clash between the
parliament and president, because the constitution now allows the president to
dissolve the Duma. Yavlinsky's support of the no-confidence vote was largely
responsible for its success this time, Segodnya reported on 22 June.
Last year's no-confidence vote, after the October currency crisis, had failed
to garner enough support. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
IMPEACHMENT MOTION COULD PROTECT DUMA FROM DISSOLUTION.
While a motion
to impeach President Yeltsin is very unlikely to lead to his removal, the rush
to initiate impeachment proceedings reflects the desire of many Duma deputies
to protect themselves against potential dissolution, Segodnya reported
on 22 June. Communist deputies, supported by factions including Democratic
Russia and the Agrarian Party, already have collected more than 100 of the 150
signatures required to place an impeachment motion on the Duma's agenda.
Passing the motion would allow the Duma to pass a vote of no confidence in the
government a second time without risking dissolution. According to Article 109
of the constitution, the president cannot disband parliament once a motion to
impeach him has been passed by a two-thirds majority in the Duma (300 votes).
-- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN TO ALLOW GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN NIZHNY NOVGOROD.
signed a decree allowing gubernatorial elections to be held this year in Nizhny
Novgorod, Segodnya reported on 22 June. The regional legislature will
set a date for elections soon. Governor Boris Nemtsov will run for re-election
and favors holding the vote in December on the same day as the parliamentary
elections. Gubernatorial elections in the Sverdlovsk region are scheduled to be
held in August. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN CRITICIZES MINISTERS.
The tragedy in Budennovsk became possible
because of errors in the work of the government and presidency, Yeltsin told
the government. Although he strongly backed the government overall, the
president blamed the Federal Security Service, the Internal Affairs Ministry,
the intelligence services of the military and border guards, the Defense
Ministry, and the General Prosecutor's office for failing to carry out
presidential orders. Yeltsin predicted changes at the ministerial level and
below at the Security Council meeting scheduled for 29 June. -- Robert Orttung,
YELTSIN BACKS POLITICAL SOLUTION IN CHECHNYA.
President Yeltsin called
for a political solution to the Chechen conflict on 22 June, Western and
Russian agencies reported. Yeltsin said "the process of a political solution to
the Chechen crisis has been too slow," and added "we have lacked flexibility
and political will." In Grozny, Russian and Chechen negotiators claimed that
negotiations were making headway, and issued a joint statement which affirmed
that "neither Russians nor Chechens want war." However, the talks closed on 22
June without an agreement on crucial political issues. The two sides continue
to disagree about the status of Chechnya within the Russian Federation and the
political future of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Interfax reported. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
HIGH ABORTION RATE IN RUSSIA.
Russia still leads the world in the number
of abortions with more than twice as many terminations as births, Interfax
reported on 22 June. It quoted demographic experts as saying that 3.5 million
abortions were performed each year, or 98 for every 1,000 women of childbearing
age. Under the former Soviet Union, contraceptives were difficult to obtain,
thus forcing many women to undergo abortions, often in unsanitary and unsafe
medical conditions. The latest statistics show that in Russia for every 100
births there are 225 abortions, compared to 67 in Sweden, 62 in France, and 25
in the Netherlands, according to the report. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
RUSSIA CONCERNED WITH UN STANCE IN BOSNIA.
In a statement
released on 22 June, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret that the UN
Security Council had not taken action in response to the alleged blockade of UN
peacekeeping forces by Bosnian government troops, Interfax reported. With
fighting in Bosnia intensifying, the spokesmen told journalists Russia had
twice this week asked for an emergency session of the Security Council to
discuss the continued obstruction of peacekeeping operations by Bosnian
government forces but had been rebuffed. Continuing silence on this issue may
call into question the "impartiality" of the UN, added the spokesman. Also on
22 June, a senior Russian industrial official told Interfax that Russia is
prepared to resume scientific and technological cooperation with rump
Yugoslavia as soon as international sanctions are lifted. -- Scott Parrish,
RUSSIAN ENVOY CONSULTS WITH MIDDLE EASTERN LEADERS.
Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk met with Iraqi and Jordanian officials on 21 and 22
June, Western agencies reported. At a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister
Tariq Aziz on 21 June, Posuvalyuk discussed coordination of the two states'
actions to lift the UN oil embargo against Iraq, "on the basis of Iraq's
implementation of relevant UN resolutions." In Jordan, Posuvalyuk and Jordanian
Foreign Minister Abdul-Karim Kabariti issued a joint statement calling for the
lifting of economic sanctions against Iraq. Posuvalyuk's visit coincides with
the 18 June release of a report by the UN special commission on Iraqi
disarmament, which contends that Iraq has largely complied with UN resolutions
on disarmament, but is still concealing information on its biological weapons
program. The UN Security Council will decide in July whether Iraq has complied
sufficiently to warrant the lifting of sanctions. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
YELTSIN ANNOUNCES 1996 BUDGET PLANS.
The Russian budget deficit in 1996
will be less than 4% of GDP and inflation will be contained at 2% per month,
President Yeltsin announced in a televised meeting of the government on 22
June, Russian and Western agencies reported. He said the budget deficit will be
financed using non-inflationary methods but also acknowledged that there would
be problems in raising planned revenues. Yeltsin said the taxation policy will
be considerably changed. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUBLE FALLS ON MICEX TRADING.
The ruble rate stabilized at 4,567 rubles
to $1 on 23 June MICEX trading after falling 28 points the day before, the
Financial Information Agency reported. Currency operators said the State Duma's
21 June no-confidence vote in the government initially caused the ruble to
weaken. Meanwhile, dealers said several large banks sold currency on the
off-exchange market and the Central Bank also intervened to soften the dollar's
sharp fluctuations. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
CAPITAL FLIGHT FROM RUSSIA WAS $80 BILLION IN 1994.
Capital flight from
Russia amounted to some $80 billion by the end of 1994, according to the head
of the Russian bureau of Interpol, Yu. Melnikov. He said capital continued to
leave the country at $1.5 billion per month in 1995. Speaking in an interview
with the BBC World Service, Melnikov accused American banks of playing a
leading role in channeling the funds abroad, Megalopolis Express
reported in issue no. 24. -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 122, 23 June 1995
POLICE CLASH WITH DEMONSTRATORS IN EREVAN.
Up to ten people were injured
on 21 June when police attacked representatives of ten opposition parties
demonstrating in Erevan to protest the Armenian authorities' refusal to permit
several political parties, including the Dashnaktsyutyun, to field candidates
for the 5 July parliamentary elections, Western agencies reported on 22 June.
Dozens of demonstrators were arrested. AFP quoted presidential spokesman Levon
Zurabyan as arguing that the demonstration was not officially sanctioned, and
that participants were "trying to pressure" the Armenian leadership. Central
Election Commission officials have claimed that four political parties failed
to submit the necessary documentation to register, and four others failed to
collect the minimum number of supporters' signatures. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI,
UN RESOLUTION ON TAJIKISTAN APPLAUDED BY RUSSIANS.
Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev expressed approval of the "very important"
decision of the UN Security Council on extending the mandate of the observer
force until the end of the year, Interfax reported. Chernyshev said the
Russians had worked hard to ensure that the CIS peacekeeping force in
Tajikistan achieved the status of a full-scale UN operation. Chernyshev
recognized the resolution was not a promise to fund the operation in Tajikistan
but said, "Nevertheless, this is a clear step forward." He said the Security
Council's approval of the close ties between the UN observers and the CIS
peacekeeping troops is "comforting." At the moment, the UN secretary-general's
special envoy, Ramiro Piriz Ballon, is looking into possible sites for the next
round of talks between the Tajik government and the opposition. Chernyshev said
he expects the talks to take place possibly in July but "no later" than 26
August, the date the existing ceasefire ends. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
KARIMOV AND KUCHMA.
The two-day visit of Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma to Uzbekistan ended on 21 June with the signing of a cooperation and
economic agreement and several other minor documents, according to ITAR-TASS on
21 June. Ukraine considers Uzbekistan a "reliable strategic partner" according
to Kuchma. According to Interfax on 22-23 June, Uzbek President Islam Karimov
praised the CIS collective security treaty but was critical of current plans
for the joint protection of CIS borders and Russia's demand for dual
citizenship for ethnic Russians living in the "near abroad." He said Kiev and
Taskhent's views on these matters coincide. They also plan to press Russia to
help finance the resettlement in Crimea of some 250,000 Crimean Tatars living
in Uzbekistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIANS DELAY LAUNCH OF UKRAINIAN SATELLITE.
A spokesman for Russia's
Military Space Forces said on 22 June that Russia had postponed the launch of
Ukraine's first satellite until August at the earliest. Reuters quoted Sergei
Gorbunov as saying that the troops must first get Russian government permission
to launch the satellite--known as SICH-1--from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The
launch had been scheduled for this month. Ironically, the satellite was to be
boosted into orbit by a "Zenit" booster built in Ukraine. Gorbunov said Ukraine
would have to pay for the satellite launch. He said that such launches usually
would cost tens of billions of rubles "for foreign states." -- Doug Clarke,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 122, 23 June 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
LUKASHENKA ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN INTEGRATION . . .
reported on 22 June that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that once
economic integration with Russia is achieved, living standards will greatly
improve in Belarus. He went on to say that under his presidency, Belarus has
not fallen further into debt, arguing that the $400 million debt the country
owes Russia was inherited from the previous leadership. Interfax reported the
same day that Lukashenka said he was ready to abolish customs offices on the
Belarusian-Ukrainian border and hoped that when Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma visited Minsk in July the relevant documents could be signed. Lukashenka
again emphasized his support for integration with Russia and other former
Soviet republics. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND ON CHINESE PREMIER'S VISIT TO BELARUS.
on the Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng's visit to Belarus, said he was
"pleasantly surprised" at Li's willingness to trade in hard currency instead of
bartering as the two countries have done in the past. During the visit, China
signed a treaty on extradition of criminals with Belarus and a protocol on
cultural cooperation. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUS OFFICIAL ON TRADE WITH POLAND.
Belarusian First Deputy Foreign
Minister Valeryi Tsapkala said that if Poland does not lower its customs duties
on Belarusian goods, Belarus will retaliate by raising duties on Polish exports
to Belarus, Belarusian Radio reported on 22 June. Tsapkala said it would be
better to sell Belarusian goods to European Union countries where the tariffs
were only 15%, rather than Poland, where they are 30%. He also pointed out that
Belarus does not charge more than 15% duties on imports. -- Ustina Markus,
GERMANY TO COMPENSATE ESTONIAN NAZI VICTIMS.
The German Foreign Ministry
on 22 June agreed to pay Estonia DM 2 million ($1.4 million) compensation to
finance social programs for Estonians who suffered at the hands of the Nazis,
Reuters reported. The agreements ended negotiations that began in 1993. Estonia
agreed not to raise any additional claims against Germany as part of the
agreement. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
MORE SEA PASSENGERS AND FREIGHT IN ESTONIA.
The Estonian Statistics
Department announced that 301,000 people arrived in Estonia by ship in the
first quarter of 1995, an increase of 41.8% over the same period in 1994, while
the number departing via sea grew by 43.6%, BNS reported on 22 June. A total of
3.4 million tons of goods were loaded or unloaded in Estonian ports in the
first quarter of 1995, an increase of 12% over the same period in 1994. Ships
also brought 643,200 tons of goods, of which 383,200 tons were for Estonia and
260,000 tons for other countries. Transit exports amounted to 1.8 million tons,
with Estonian exports at 941,000 tons. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES WEU ASSEMBLY.
Algirdas Brazauskas told
the parliamentary assembly of the Western European Union in Paris on 22 June
that separating the Baltic States from other CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEan
states in the context of their relations with the EU, WEU, and NATO would be a
misfortune for both the Baltic States and the West, BNS reported. He noted that
Lithuania has clearly expressed its wish to join these organizations, realizing
that it "cannot ensure its security by itself." Brazauskas also met with Jose
Cutileiro, secretary-general of the WEU Permanent Board, and Dudley Smith,
president of the parliamentary assembly. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
NEW PRESIDENT OF POLISH SUPREME AUDIT CHAMBER.
The Sejm has elected
Judge Janusz Wojciechowski to head the Supreme Audit Chamber, Polish TV
reported on 22 June. The body is empowered to watch over government activities
and especially its financial policies. Wojciechowski is a deputy from the
Polish Peasant Party, the junior partner in the ruling left-wing coalition.
According to the opposition parties and the Polish media, appointing
Wojciechowski is tantamount to allowing the government to monitor itself. The
Sejm recalled Wojciechowski's predecessor, Lech Kaczynski, on 26 May. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PRESIDENT DEFENDS TV PRESIDENT.
Lech Walesa, meeting on 22 June
with the Polish TV Governing Board, said he will defend Polish TV President
Wieslaw Walendziak, who has been criticized by the ruling left-wing coalition.
The Polish TV Board of Directors has close links to the coalition.
Rzeczpospolita suggested that the Democratic Left Alliance may join
forces with the Freedom Union to bring about Walendziak's removal. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
KOVALEV RECEIVES AWARD IN PRAGUE.
Sergei Kovalev, chairman of Russia's
Presidential Commission on Human Rights, on 22 June received an award in Prague
marking his work in Chechnya. On receiving the prize, given by a Czech
foundation, Kovalev said the Chechen conflict was senseless and has damaged
Russia's image, Lidove noviny reported. Kovalev was one of the
volunteers who accompanied Chechen gunmen out of Budennovsk as a guarantee of
safe passage. Apparently suggesting that the situation has become hopeless,
Kovalev said the events of the last few days showed there was little point in
talking about human rights in Russia any more, Rude pravo reported. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SUDETEN GERMAN WINS RESTITUTION CASE IN CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
Czech Constitutional Court on 22 June overturned decisions by local and
district courts refusing a Sudeten German the right to reclaim his family's
house, which was confiscated after World War II, Czech media reported. Rudolf
Dreithaler failed earlier this year in an attempt to bring about the annulment
of one of the so-called Benes decrees, under which 3 million Sudeten Germans
were expelled from Czechoslovakia and their property confiscated. But the
Constitutional Court ruled that the circumstances of the seizure of the
Dreithaler house in Liberec were unclear and sent the case back to the original
local court. Dreithaler argued that the house was confiscated in 1949 and
therefore should come under Czech restitution laws; his lawyer also said the
house was registered in the name of Dreithaler's mother, a Czech, and therefore
was illegally confiscated. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH CENTRAL BANK ACTS TO CURB INFLATIONARY PRESSURES.
Bank governor Josef Tosovsky on 22 June announced radical steps to curb
inflationary tendencies and maintain the stability of the koruna, Czech media
reported. The CNB's Lombard and discount rates will rise by 1% from 26 June to
12.5% and 9.5% respectively. From August, banks operating in the Czech Republic
will have to increase the percentage of their reserves deposited with the CNB
to an across-the-board 8.5%, a move that Tosovsky said will remove 13 billion
koruny from circulation. Restrictions will also be put on banks holding
short-term deposits from abroad. This is intended to reduce by an estimated 10
billion koruny the recent huge inflow of speculative foreign capital into the
Czech Republic. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
The Slovak parliament on 22 June approved an amendment
on child allowances as well as legislation raising minimum living standards.
Former Privatization Minister Milan Janicina said that although the opposition
will not be able to stop the passage of the draft law on changes to the
privatization program, it will be "ripe" for the Constitutional Court
immediately after it has been approved. He also revealed that only about 60,000
signatures have been collected for his petition to hold a referendum on the
second wave of coupon privatization, which was organized before the
government's new plans were announced, Janicina called the Slovak population
"apathetic" and "intimidated," Narodna obroda reported on 23 June.
Meanwhile, following the signature of a statement protesting government plans
to implement "alternative" (bilingual) education in Hungarian schools, the
directors of four secondary schools in southern Slovakia received letters that
they will be removed from their posts as of 30 June, Sme reported on 23
June. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN INDUSTRY AND TRADE MINISTER SACKED.
Hungarian Prime Minister
Gyula Horn fired Industry and Trade Minister Laszlo Pal on 22 June, Reuters
reported. According to government spokesman Elemer Kiss, Pal has agreed to
leave office on 15 July. Imre Dunai, the ministry's administrative state
secretary, has been named as his replacement. Pal, who served as a senior
official in the ministry during the last communist government, was associated
with the left wing of Horn's Socialist Party, which opposes the government's
economic austerity program and its plans for quick privatization of loss-making
public utilites. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 122, 23 June 1995
FRENCH MADE A DEAL FOR HOSTAGES' RELEASE.
Western and Belgrade dailies
on 23 June report that French military authorities bargained for the UNPROFOR
hostages' freedom, even when Paris was saying publicly that the prisoners'
release must be unconditional. The UN commander in the former Yugoslavia,
General Bernard Janvier, held secret meetings with Bosnian Serb commander
General Ratko Mladic in Zvornik and Pale, and General Bertrand de Lapresle came
directly from Paris to cut a deal. As the Bosnian Serb foreign minister said at
the time, the Serbs received assurances that there will be no more NATO air
strikes against them in return for releasing the hostages. The New York
Times reported that the UN commander in Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Rupert Smith, is
at odds with Janvier and opposed the talks. Nasa Borba quoted Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that taking the hostages was a mistake.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
ALBRIGHT CRITICIZES AKASHI LETTER TO SERBS.
The VOA on 23 June reported
that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright released a statement the
previous day opposing UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi's recent letter to
Karadzic. Akashi had assured the Serbs that the new Rapid Reaction Force would
have no more teeth than UNPROFOR. Albright wrote that "the method, timing, and
substance of this letter are highly inappropriate." The BBC, however, said the
statement was prompted primarily by domestic political considerations and by
President Bill Clinton's desire to overcome Republican opposition to financing
the RRF. Meanwhile, Akashi clarified his refusal to approve NATO air strikes
against the Banja Luka airport in response to Bosnian Serb violations of the
"no-fly zone." Akashi claimed that UN resolutions permit retaliation only
against aircraft, not against airports. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
UN REPORT SLAMS SERBIAN ATROCITIES.
An RFE/RL correspondent quoted Le
Monde on 20 June as saying that for one year, the UN has known of a report
of its own showing that the Serbs alone have systematically carried out war
crimes as a conscious political policy. A recent CIA study also blamed the
Serbs for virtually all the atrocities, especially those connected with
deliberate "ethnic cleansing." The Paris daily adds that the UN report clearly
shows there "is no moral equivalence among the warring sides" and throws into
question attempts by former EU mediator David Owen to treat all sides as
equally responsible. Meanwhile, Owen's successor, Carl Bildt, was in rump
Yugoslavia for talks with President Slobodan Milosevic. The BBC on 22 June said
that Bildt nonetheless has not yet chosen to reopen diplomatic contacts with
the Bosnian Serbs. International media added that the Serbs shelled a line of
people waiting for water in Sarajevo, killing several. -- Patrick Moore,
SERBIAN OPPOSITION RESPONDS TO PRESS-GANGING.
Nasa Borba on 23
June reported that a member of the Democratic Party has sent a letter to
Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic and other officials criticizing the
press-ganging of ethnic Serbs, principally refugees, for military service in
Serb-occupied Croatia and Bosnia. The letter calls attention to the fact that
forcibly recruiting persons amounts to a "violation of human rights." In a 22
June statement, the Serbian Renewal Movement indicted recent events as "a
savage hunt for people who are kidnapped from student dorms...from apartments,
and on the streets." The latest campaign began on 11 June with a wave of
kidnappings and police night raids. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN PLANES VIOLATE ALBANIAN AIRSPACE.
Two Serbian military aircraft
flew over northern Albania on 21 June, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 23
June. According to Kosova Daily Report on 22 June, Serbian military
aircraft have repeatedly flown low over various residential areas in Kosovo
recently. Elsewhere, Secretary of State Warren Christopher told Kosovar shadow
state President Ibrahim Rugova during his visit to Washington that the U.S.
will not allow the war in Bosnia to spread to Kosovo and reiterated a warning
issued to Serbia by U.S. President Clinton earlier. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
ROMANIA FORMALLY APPLIES FOR EU MEMBERSHIP.
Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu on 22 June in Paris submitted Romania's formal application for full
membership in the European Union. The application was accompanied by a detailed
"national strategy" for joining the union and the so-called "Snagov
Declaration," signed on 21 June by all parliamentary parties in favor of
Romania's rapid integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Melescanu, in an
interview with Radio Bucharest on 22 June, spoke of a "historic moment" for
Romania, which, he said, has "irreversibly" opted for "a zone of prosperity and
stability." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
HIGH-RANKING MOLDOVAN DELEGATION IN ROMANIA.
A Moldovan delegation,
headed by Deputy Premier Ion Gutu, visited Romania on 21 and 22 June for a
fifth round of interdepartmental talks, Radio Bucharest and Infotag reported.
The delegation included nine ministers and five first deputy ministers. The two
sides focused on ways to boost bilateral cooperation, especially in the
industrial sector, as well as prospects for working out a common strategy for
joining European structures. Gutu was received by Romanian President Ion
Iliescu, Premier Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, and Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN DUMA ADOPTS BILL ON 14TH ARMY.
The lower chamber of the Russian
parliament on 22 June adopted a bill opposing the withdrawal of the 14th Army
from eastern Moldova, Interfax reported. The draft law calls for the
reorganization of the army to be suspended until a political solution to the
conflict in the Dniester region can be found. It also prohibits ammunition and
weapons belonging to the 14th Army from being moved or destroyed. The bill
still has to be approved by the upper chamber and signed by Russian President
Boris Yeltsin. In a separate development, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur
expressed hopes that the new 14th Army commander, Maj. Gen. Valery Yevnevich,
would prevent any illegal transfer of military technology into terrorist hands.
He said that the issue will figure on the agenda of his meeting with Yeltsin in
Moscow on 28 June. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES LOCAL ELECTION LAW.
The National Assembly
on 22 June adopted the draft law on local elections on its first reading,
Demokratsiya reported the following day. Krasimir Premyanov, leader of
the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) caucus, said the law lays the foundations
for effective policy on local government and will help the reform process, but
opposition deputies strongly criticized it on several points. The main
objections was to the provision that three, rather than two, mayoral candidates
take part in the second round of voting, which, the opposition claims, favors
the BSP. It also objects to the provision that the number of candidates on
party lists for municipal councils equals the number of seats in the council,
since this will handicap small parties. Finally, the opposition claims that the
law imposes restrictions on the media in reporting about the election campaign.
-- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN, TURKISH INTERIOR MINISTRIES TO COOPERATE.
Sofia and Ankara
will take joint actions against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and coordinate
the fight against drug trafficking, 24 chasa reported on 23 June. The
two countries' Interior Ministries also agreed to simplify the extradition
procedures for Bulgarian criminals living in Turkey. A Bulgarian police
delegation is expected to go to Istanbul soon to discuss further details. The
Bulgarian Interior Ministry claims that Kurds living in Bulgaria are not
involved in terrorist activities and are not trained in the country. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.
Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis on 21
June accused Turkey of "violating the elementary rules of international law and
order," Greek media reported the following day. He was responding to Turkish
Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's statement the previous day that an extension of
Greece's territorial waters from six to 12 miles would be a cause for war.
Arsenis said that merchant ships and warships will have "the right of safe
passage [through the Aegean] in peacetime." Both Ciller and Arsenis were
addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union in Paris.
Meanwhile in Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias said "Greece's
foreign policy is a matter for our country and we are not interested in what
Ciller has to say." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
LAW ON PRIVATE EDUCATION ADOPTED IN ALBANIA.
The Albanian parliament
passed a law on private education on 21 June, international agencies reported.
The law allows the establishment of religious and foreign-language high
schools, but only with government approval. So far, such schools have needed
special permits. In foreign-language schools, instruction in Albanian will
remain compulsory. Only Petrit Kalakula, the leader of the Democratic Party of
the Right, voted against the draft. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave