OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 129, 5 July 1995
FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS.
Council rejected three proposed constitutional amendments that would have
expanded parliamentary control over the executive branch, Ekho Moskvy reported
on 4 July. The amendments, passed by the required two-thirds majority of the
Duma on 21 June, needed the support of three-fourths of the Council (134
senators) in order to be sent to regional legislatures for ratification, but
fewer than 134 senators were present at the session. Furthermore,
constitutional changes granting more power to legislatures were denounced by
many Council senators, who also serve as the heads of regional executive
branches. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
FAILED NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE MAY NOT END POLITICAL CRISIS.
the Duma and the government is likely to continue despite the failure of the 1
July no-confidence vote, according to Moskovskaya pravda on 4 July.
Although Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the failed no-confidence vote
reflects the willingness of both sides to compromise and accept political
responsibility, deputies from the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic
Party, and the Democratic Party of Russia have all vowed to continue fighting
the government. In addition, Communist deputy Oleg Mironov told Moskovskaya
pravda that a special Duma commission is being formed in order to raise the
question of impeaching the president again. A Communist-sponsored motion to put
impeachment proceedings on the Duma's agenda failed to pass on 23 June. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
POLTORANIN ON "STRANGE MANEUVERS" AT ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA.
In the 4
July edition of Rossiiskaya gazeta, Duma Press and Information Committee
Chairman Mikhail Poltoranin denounced alleged "strange maneuvers" behind the
possible dismissal of Rossiiskaya gazeta editor-in-chief Natalya
Polezhaeva. Poltoranin helped recruit Polezhaeva in fall 1993, when the
government took over the publication of Rossiiskaya gazeta, which had
been the parliament's newspaper. Referring to the controversial transfer of
Channel 1 broadcasting from Ostankino TV to Russian Public Television (ORT) on
1 April, Poltoranin said the campaign against Polezhaeva reflected a government
policy of "ORT-ization" of the mass media. Poltoranin also said some government
officials are plotting to replace Oleg Poptsov as chairman of state-owned
Russian Television (Channel 2). Meanwhile, Kommersant-Daily reported on
4 July that Rossiiskaya gazeta staff members are circulating an open
letter in support of Polezhaeva among Duma deputies. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS REMAIN DEADLOCKED . . .
Russian-Chechen talks in
Grozny adjourned on 4 July without making substantial progress, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The Russian delegation returned to Moscow that
evening for consultations with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and President
Yeltsin. On 3 July, deputy head of the Russian delegation, Arkadii Volskii,
held a meeting with Chechen separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev at an
undisclosed location. The two men discussed the so-called "zero option," a
Russian proposal for ending the Chechen conflict. On his return, Volskii told
journalists that Dudaev had agreed to resign, as called for in the Russian
proposal, but only if Moscow grants Chechnya independence. Volskii added that
while Moscow is prepared to grant Chechnya sovereignty within the framework of
the Russian Constitution, Dudaev's insistence on independence is unacceptable.
Volskii said the talks, which are scheduled to resume on 6 July, are "not at a
standstill." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
. . . WHILE MILITARY CRITICIZES NEGOTIATION STRATEGY.
On 4 July, Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev implicitly criticized the efforts of Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin to negotiate an end to the Chechen conflict, Russian and
international agencies reported. "A political settlement would have been easier
if the question of [Chechen military leader Shamil] Basaev and his gang had
been resolved at Budennovsk," said Grachev. He added that the current ceasefire
in Chechnya is enabling Chechen fighters to "regroup," "bring in ammunition,"
and "restart the hostilities," which he predicted would soon resume. On 5 July,
an article in Krasnaya zvezda contended that the Russian delegation at
the Grozny talks has "illusions" about the "good faith" of their Chechen
counterparts. The Russian side has made too many concessions, commented the
paper, and should adopt a harsher stance in order to pressure the Chechens into
accepting a settlement. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN CALLS FOR PERMANENT TROOPS IN CHECHNYA.
President Boris Yeltsin
on 4 July signed a decree permitting the permanent deployment of Russian
military units in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. That same day the agency quoted
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev as saying a motorized rifle division with
"several auxiliary units" as well as "sub-units of Interior Troops" would be
permanently stationed in the republic. It would also have a Border Troops
office, and military registration and conscription offices. In prior years, a
Russian training division had been located in Chechnya. ITAR-TASS reported that
a combined Army Group built around the 58th Army is now temporarily stationed
in the republic. It also included the 106th Combined Marine Regiment and the
166th Guards Independent Motorized Brigade. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
POLICE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF BUDENNOVSK ROADBLOCK ARRESTED.
in Stavropol Krai arrested a police officer in charge of a roadblock en route
to Budennovsk following allegations that the Chechen separatists who seized
some 1,500 hostages in the city last month had bribed police, AFP reported on 4
July citing Interfax. Seven other police officers employed along the route were
also dismissed. Members of Chechen commander Shamil Basaev's convoy said they
were able to cross all the military posts in the border area after bribing
police. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
BANKS COMPETE FOR SHARE IN REBUILDING CHECHNYA.
As the military conflict
in Chechnya winds down, a new `bank war' is gearing up, Segodnya
reported on 4 July. The leading Russian commercial banks are competing for a
share in the reconstruction program announced by the government in April, which
plans to spend 5 trillion rubles ($1.04 billion) in Chechnya this year. The
Grozny branch of the Interregional Transport Bank (Rostov) has taken over the
functions of the National Bank of Chechnya, and banks such as Kredo Bank are
offering credits to governmental agencies for the reconstruction of Chechnya's
transport and communications system. Receipts from oil sales, which will be
exempt from taxes and duties, will reportedly be lodged in an account at
Imperial Bank, and will be used to pay back the credits. -- Peter Rutland,
KOZYREV CAUTIONS WEST ON BOSNIA.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
expressed doubt about plans to dispatch additional troops to reinforce UN
peacekeepers in Bosnia, international and Russian agencies reported on 4 July.
Kozyrev said such plans "encourage belligerency rather than realism in the
Bosnian parties." He also voiced special concern with the recent decision of
the German Bundestag that approved the use of German troops to provide support
for the new Anglo-Dutch-French "rapid reaction force." He said Germany should
take historical factors into consideration and reconsider its decision. Kozyrev
also called on Bosnian Croatian and Muslim forces to cease "offensive
operations." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
IAEA OFFICIAL DOWNPLAYS RUSSIAN NUCLEAR SMUGGLING.
director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on 4 July that
the threat of nuclear smuggling from Russia had been exaggerated, Russian and
international agencies reported. Blix said most of the reported cases of
nuclear smuggling involved only low-grade materials unsuitable for the
manufacture of nuclear weapons. He said that although some cases are serious,
many are "smoke without fire." Blix added that his agency has "no complaints"
about the sale of two Russian light-water nuclear reactors to Iran. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
EBRD PRESIDENT CAUTIOUS ABOUT RUSSIAN ECONOMY.
At the end of a five-day
trip to Russia, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD), Jacques de Larosiere, cautioned that Russia had a long way
to go to complete its transition to a market economy, international agencies
reported. The EBRD chief said on 4 July that Russia is at a crossroads, and
"arbitrary" and "corrupt" elements in its economy must be eliminated. He warned
that under certain circumstances, "Russia could become a distorted market
economy centered on a limited group of powerful lobbies." He urged the
government to take anti-corruption and austerity measures, and added that "the
decisions taken by the government will directly influence the kind of market
economy Russia becomes." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
NEW ACTING HEADS OF FSB AND MVD.
Following the departures of Interior
Minister Viktor Yerin and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Sergei
Stepashin, their responsibilities have been assumed by their first deputies,
Segodnya reported on 4 July. Yevgenii Abramov is now in charge of
internal affairs and Anatolii Safonov of the FSB. The 56-year-old Abramov has
the rank of MVD colonel general and is a graduate of the Law Department of
Moscow State University. He has been Russian first deputy interior minister
since 1992. Safonov was born in 1945 in Krasnoyarsk Krai and began work with
the KGB there in 1969. From 1990 to 1993 he was a member of the Russian
Congress of People's Deputies, and he became first deputy director of the
Federal Counterintelligence Service (the forerunner of the FSB) in 1994. He is
a colonel general. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 129, 5 July 1995
GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SETS PROVISIONAL ELECTION DATE.
In an emergency
session on 4 July, the Georgian parliament voted to hold parliamentary and
presidential elections on 5 November, Western agencies reported. Before the
elections can be held, parliament must approve by 26 July either a new
constitution or a law that defines the respective powers of the president,
parliament, and cabinet and by 4 August, it must pass laws on parliamentary and
presidential elections, AFP reported. Georgian parliament chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze has argued consistently in favor of restoring the post of
president, abolished in 1992 after the violent ouster of the first incumbent,
Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Elections for a new Chechen parliament are also tentatively
scheduled for 5 November. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SUES NEWSPAPER.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev filed a
libel suit on 3 July against the newspaper Respublika, which had
published an open letter from citizens objecting to the planned destruction of
their garages and other buildings in order to make space for a new presidential
house in Bishkek, according to Western agencies. Akayev changed the location,
but city officials tore down the buildings anyway. The newspaper then published
an article which claimed Akayev had a villa in Switzerland and a house in
Turkey. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
On his third visit to Iran this year, Turkmen
President Saparmurad Niyazov arrived in Tehran on 4 July for discussions with
his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Western news agencies
reported. During the one-day visit, talks focused on kick-starting a stalled
plan, agreed to last August, to construct a gas pipeline that will run through
Iran and Turkey and link Turkmenistan with Western Europe. Financing for the
project, which it is estimated will cost $7 billion, is being held up due to
Western views of Iran. The U.S. in particular has pressured Turkmenistan not to
use Iran for its gas exports; IRNA said Niyazov denied that Turkmenistan had
come under "foreign pressure" and noted that Niyazov was "firmly" determined to
realize the project. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey have supported the deal. In
the first phase, the projected pipeline would permit Turkmenistan to export 15
billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually; at present, an export quota
limits it to 11 billion cubic meters annually. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 129, 5 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT RESHUFFLES GOVERNMENT . . .
Leonid Kuchma on 3 July
appointed a new government, dropping his top reformer from the roster,
international and Ukrainian agencies reported the same day. Kuchma told Radio
Ukraine that his decision to dismiss First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor
Pynzenyk did not mean a change in the course of economic reform but represented
a shift away from strict monetarism toward deep restructuring of industry.
Kuchma replaced Pynzenyk with another market reformer, Roman Shpek. Shpek's
deputy, Vasyl Hureyev, replaces him as minister of economics. As part of an
anti-crime and corruption campaign, Kuchma named Vasyl Durdynets as the new
deputy premier for state security and as head of a presidential committee on
corruption and organized crime. He also moved former Interior Minister
Volodymyr Radchenko to head the Ukrainian Security Service and appointed his
deputy the new interior minister. Kuchma reduced the number of deputy prime
ministers from nine to five. The ministers for foreign affairs, finances,
defense, education, environment and nuclear safety, foreign economic relations
and trade, the Cabinet of ministers, statistics, forestry, as well as the
chairman of the State Property Fund have retained their posts. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND ENDS VISIT TO GERMANY.
Kuchma ended his three-day visit to
Germany on 4 July, Radio Ukraine reported. He met with Chancellor Helmut Kohl,
President Roman Herzog, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and a number of
industrialists and businessmen in an attempt to attract German investment.
Germany is Ukraine's second-largest Western trading partner after the U.S.,
with investments totaling $64 million. A number of agreements were signed,
including ones on preventing double taxation and on cooperation in
environmental matters. The issue of Ukrainians of German descent who have
returned to Ukraine from Kazakhstan and are living in extreme poverty, despite
financial aid from Bonn, was also raised. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
PROGRESS ON LATVIAN-ESTONIAN SEA BORDER DISPUTE.
Latvian Prime Minister
Maris Gailis on 3 July announced that the Gulf of Riga will be divided between
Latvia and Estonia, LETA reported the following day. Gailis said Latvia has
stopped claiming that the gulf waters are inland waters, while Estonia has
renounced its unilaterally declared sea borders. Gailis said he hoped the
matter would be fully resolved by the fall. He also said that at the meeting of
Nordic and Baltic prime ministers last week an agreement was reached between
Latvia and Lithuania on seeking international arbitration in their sea border
dispute. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA APPROVES LAW ON REFUGEES.
BNS on 4 July reported that the
Lithuanian parliament passed a law on the status of refugees in Lithuania to
take effect once it is signed by the president. The law states that foreigners
who need protection or face the risk of persecution in their own countries may
be granted refugee status. Asylum will be denied to people convicted of crimes
against humanity and peace as well as serious non-political offenses. It will
also be denied to those who threaten Lithuania's security, are infected with
dangerous diseases, or refuse to submit to a medical examination. The law
commits Lithuania to readmitting refugees who leave the country and are
deported from Western countries. -- Ustina Markus , OMRI, Inc.
CONTINUED QUARREL OVER POLAND'S CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT.
Walesa's representatives on the parliament's Constitutional Commission resigned
on 4 July after the president's 21 June statement criticizing his lawyers for
preparing a "socialist draft." The presidential spokesman said Walesa had
recalled his representatives. Representatives of the Freedom Union had demanded
the previous day that the commission's work be postponed until the presidential
campaign is over, while representatives of the ruling Democratic Left Alliance
had demanded that its work be accelerated. Aleksander Kwasniewski, head of the
commission and a presidential candidate, said "some election or other is always
under way, and the time is ripe for Poland to have a constitution," the Polish
press reported on 5 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
GDANSK PRIEST APOLOGIZES FOR SERMON.
Father Henryk Jankowski, who in an
11 June sermon referred to "people who did not say whether they come from
Moscow or Israel" and commented that "the star of David is inscribed in the
symbols of the swastika and hammer and sickle," has sent a letter to Gdansk
Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski saying he was rightly criticized by his superiors
for those remarks. He added that referring to the Jewish nation's most holy
symbols within the context of this century's criminal ideologies was "a wrong
done to Jews and a great abuse for which I wholeheartedly apologize," Polish
media reported on 5 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH PREMIER IN PORTUGAL.
Vaclav Klaus, on a two-day visit to Lisbon
from 3-4 July, met with Portuguese Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva and other
officials, Czech media reported. Their talks centered on expansion of the
European Union. Klaus told a press conference that the Czech Republic is ready
to begin serious discussions about possible entry into the EU after the 1996 EU
intergovernmental conference. An aide to Klaus told Radio Alfa that a formal
application to join the EU could be made by the end of this year. Ministers
have so far declined to specify a date for applying. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI,
POPE ENDS VISIT TO SLOVAKIA.
More than 500,000 people on 3 July attended
an open-air mass in Levoca celebrated by Pope John Paul II at the end of his
four-day visit to Slovakia, international and Slovak media reported. Attending
the mass were Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and President Michal Kovac,
with whom the Pope had met the previous day in Bratislava. Kovac and the
pontiff discussed the political situation in Slovakia and again expressed the
hope that the latter's visit will help calm the political atmosphere in
Slovakia. Meciar informed John Paul II that the Russian Patriarch has accepted
his offer to visit Slovakia. Meciar and the Pope focused mainly on Church-state
relations. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK DELEGATION IN ISRAEL.
A delegation headed by Slovak Parliamentary
Chairman Ivan Gasparovic on 3 July met with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin
and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Slovak media reported. Rabin noted that
Slovakia has not only distanced itself from "negative deeds" of the past but
also apologized to the Jewish nation for the suffering Jews experienced in
Slovakia during World War II. He praised Slovakia for restituting Jewish
property. Peres told the Slovak delegation that he appreciates what the Slovak
parliament and government have done for the Jewish community in Slovakia since
1989. The Israeli and Slovak sides also discussed bilateral cooperation. --
Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN ARMS FOR HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARDS.
The Hungarian Border Guards
will receive Russian armored personnel carriers, anti-tank missiles, and other
military equipment worth $58 million, ITAR-TASS reported from Budapest on 4
July. The deal will cover part of Russia's $900 million debt to Hungary and
include small arms, night-vision devices, and bullet-proof vests. The agency
said it was told that the Russian supplies would be the largest re-equipment of
the border service this century. Nevertheless, the service would like another
$22 million deal with Russia. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 129, 5 July 1995
BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN TO TAKE MORE HOSTAGES.
International media on 5
July reported that U.S. military personnel to support UN operations in Bosnia
have begun arriving in Split. The International Herald Tribune wrote on
1 July, however, that the proposed Rapid Reaction Force may be little more than
a cover for the withdrawal of all UN forces. One UN official said that "if we
don't have the Serbs' strategic consent, we don't try" to open land corridors.
The article notes that UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi is reluctant to do
anything that "might anger the Bosnian Serbs," but AFP on 3 July suggests that
the Serbs are not reciprocating. Their vice president told a Greek daily that
"we have shown much patience [toward peacekeepers] whom we consider the
aggressors. We will bother them again if necessary without hesitating." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBS FIRE ON PEACEKEEPERS FOR THIRD DAY.
Bosnian Serb forces on 4 July
again shelled French peacekeepers using the precarious Mt. Igman supply route
into Sarajevo. The BBC added that the French returned the fire. RFE/RL noted
that the food situation in the besieged capital is critical, and Vjesnik
writes that "Sarajevo is without food." Meanwhile, Bosnian Croat
authorities confirmed that they will not allow British and French contingents
slated for the new UN force to pass until its mission is clarified. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MILOSEVIC RUNS SERBIAN WAR MACHINE.
The International Herald
Tribune on 4 July argued that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is not
only no peacemaker but has actually tightened his grip on Serbian forces
throughout Croatia and Bosnia. His claim to have cut off supplies to Bosnian
Serbs is "a sham" since the goods are delivered via Krajina. Milosevic has
shipped draft-age refugees back from Serbia to Bosnia and Krajina and denied
draft-age young men from those areas access to Serbia. Pay records found by the
Croats in western Slavonia two months ago show that Belgrade paid the salaries
of at least 300 officers there, and the new Krajina commander appointed later
in May was sent from Belgrade on Milosevic's orders. Moreover, the method the
Serbs used in downing a U.S. F-16 on 2 June showed that all Serbian air defense
systems are increasingly integrated. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CROATIA CLAIMS IT WILL NOT LAUNCH NEW ATTACKS.
Prime Minister Nikica
Valentic said Operation Blitz on 1-2 May was a limited action and that the
Croatian army will launch no fresh strikes against the Serbs, although it could
easily do so. He tried to reassure the economically vital tourist industry that
visitors need not fear being caught in a war zone, adding that he and his
family will spend their vacation in Dubrovnik, Novi list reported on 1
July. Some opposition parties earlier demanded that the minister for tourism be
sacked for saying that this year's picture is rosy. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
SERBIAN COURT REDUCES GENERAL'S SENTENCE.
Nasa Borba on 4 July
reported that the rump Yugoslavia's highest military court has reduced Maj.
Gen. Vlado Trifunovic's jail term. Trifunovic was first sentenced in 1992 for
allegedly undermining national security by surrendering weapons and refusing to
fight Croatian forces during the war between Croatia and the Belgrade-backed
Croatian Serbs. Trifunovic's original 11-year sentence was cut to seven years.
Two of four fellow officers who appeared with Trifunovic in court also had
their sentences reduced. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
KOSOVAR ACTIVIST DIES AFTER POLICE TORTURE.
Shefki Latifi, a human
rights activist from Kosovo, has died after being tortured by police, AFP
reported on 4 July. According to the Kosovar Helsinki Committee for Human
Rights, Latifi was arrested in Podujevo on 4 July and "brutally beaten" at a
police station. He died a few hours later at his home. Latifi is reported to be
the 10th victim of Serbian police violence since the beginning of this year.
Police harassment of ethnic Albanians in Podujevo has increased since the
ethnic Albanian police officer Bejtush Beka was killed there in June. The
circumstances of Beka's killing remain unclear. Freelance journalist Ramadan
Mucolli claims he was arrested and tortured by police because of his report for
Albanian Television about the Beka's death. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION INVESTIGATES TRAILING OF JOURNALISTS.
The parliamentary commission supervising the Romanian Intelligence Service
is investigating the case of journalists who reported President Ion Iliescu's
alleged past links with the KGB and were subsequently shadowed by RIS agents
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 and 27 June 1995). Romanian Television
reported on 3 July that the commission has questioned RIS director Virgil
Magureanu, who argued again that the two journalists were never "intentionally
trailed." In a related development, Evenimentul zilei reported on 5 July
that Tana Ardeleanu, the journalist who first alleged the KGB links and who was
shadowed by the RIS, was prevented by border guards from leaving the country
because of a penal case in which she is involved. The daily commented that it
was strange she would attempt to leave Romania right now, since her deposition
to the parliamentary commission is of utmost importance in clarifying the
shadowing case. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON "LETTER OF THE 300."
Minister Gheorghe Tinca told a press conference carried by Radio Bucharest on 3
July that the letter from 300 active and reserve military addressed to Iliescu
and published by the extreme nationalist weekly Romania mare (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 21 and 26 June 1995) was "totally unjustified" and
"offensive." He said the letter did not reflect "the true spirit" of the
Romanian army, where the ongoing reform of the armed forces was "properly
understood." According to Evenimentul zilei on 4 July, Tinca revealed
that the army's counter-espionage department has established that no active
duty officer signed the letter, contrary to a claim by those who published it.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
PDSR REJECTS "BLACKMAIL" BY EXTREMIST ALLIES.
Adrian Nastase, executive
chairman of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR, the main coalition
party), has said his party will not "give in to blackmail" by the Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the Greater Romania Party (PRM), Radio
Bucharest reported on 4 July. Nastase said that if necessary, the PDSR could
rule as a minority government. Reuters reported that Nastase said early
elections were also a possibility. The statement comes in the wake of criticism
by the PUNR and the PRM of the education law passed by the parliament, the
parleys with Hungary on the pending bilateral treaty, the PUNR's demand that it
be given the foreign affairs portfolio (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 July
1995), and the "letter of the 300." According to Reuters, Nastase said that the
PDSR will not allow coalition partners to interfere in foreign affairs, adding
that the Foreign Ministry is above party politics and serves only national
interests. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN RULING PARTY REJECTS SNEGUR ACCUSATIONS.
Committee of the Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM) has rejected
accusations made by President Mircea Snegur after his resignation from the
party (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 June 1995). In a statement carried by
Infotag on 3 July, the PDAM said Snegur had presented a distorted image of the
party, accusing it of anti-national policies. It argued that the party is the
main advocate of reform in the country and has never claimed, as Snegur
implied, that the future of Moldova is tied solely to that of the CIS
countries. With regard to Snegur's initiative to re-designate the country's
official language as Romanian, the party noted that in the past, he has said
that the "designation of our language originates in the name of our country."
Meanwhile, Infotag on 3 July quoted Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli as saying he
supports the idea of conducting a referendum on the official designation of the
country's main language. He said that amending the constitution to reflect this
change--as suggested by Snegur's initiative--would "ruin Moldova as an
independent state." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
TURKISH PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.
Suleyman Demirel arrived in Bulgaria on 4
July for an official three-day state visit, accompanied by a large contingent
of business leaders and state officials, international media reported. He
stressed that relations between Turkey and Bulgaria, strained severely after
Sofia's efforts in the 1980s to forcibly Bulgarize its estimated 800,000-strong
Turkish minority, were now cordial and improving. Demirel discussed, among
other things, regional security issues and bilateral relations with Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev. "Turkey will back Bulgaria's candidacy for
[membership] in NATO," Demirel was quoted as saying by BTA. The Turkish leader
is also slated to meet with Bulgarian Premier Zhan Videnov and to address the
Bulgarian parliament. -- Stan Markotich and Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS ILIR HOXHA'S SENTENCE.
Appeals Court on 3 July upheld a one-year prison sentence handed down to Ilir
Hoxha, Reuters reported. Hoxha, son of communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was
sentenced on 8 June after being found guilty of "inciting national hatred by
endangering public peace" and calling for vengeance and hatred against parts of
the population" in an interview with Modeste in April (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 9 June 1995). -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER IN ALBANIA.
Gerassimos Arsenis, visiting Tirana
from 3-4 July, met with his counterpart, Safet Zhulali, President Sali Berisha,
and Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, AFP reported. They discussed further
military and political cooperation and signed a cooperation program on closer
military contacts, including joint military exercises and support for Albania's
military health service and arms industry. Arsenis said the talks had put an
end to a difficult, tense year over the status of ethnic Greeks in Albania and
Albanian immigrants working in Greece. He added that Greece was willing to help
Albania seek integration into EU structures. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave