OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
YELTSIN DISCUSSES CABINET POSITION WITH RYBKIN.
During their vacations
in Sochi, President Boris Yeltsin discussed with Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin the
possibility of appointing him deputy prime minister for foreign policy or
foreign minister, according to a source close to Rybkin quoted by Interfax on
27 September. They also discussed the creation of a State Council that would be
above the president's administration and led by Rybkin. Rybkin reportedly
turned down both offers since he expects to be the speaker in the next Duma or
the next prime minister. Spokesmen for both Yeltsin and Rybkin denied the
report, according to NTV. -- Robert Orttung
LEADERS CALL FOR UNIFICATION OF SLAVIC PEOPLES.
The governor of Belgorod
Oblast, Yevgenii Savchenko, has initiated a drive to bring the presidents of
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to Belgorod to "activate the process of unifying
the Slavic peoples," ITAR-TASS reported. The same day, Yurii Petrov, one of the
leaders of Ivan Rybkin's bloc, proposed that Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan form a new confederation of independent states that could later be
joined by countries in the Transcaucasus region and Central Asia. He said the
new confederation would not infringe on the political sovereignty of the
countries, but that they "would have to sacrifice some rights for the sake of a
compromise." Petrov presumably thinks that such an appeal will attract popular
support for his party in the upcoming elections.
-- Robert Orttung
RUSSIANS VALUE LAW, STABILITY.
A recent poll asked 1,500 respondents
from different regions to name those ideas that they found most attractive in
the election slogans of political parties, Vechernyaya Moskva reported
on 27 September. The list was topped by the concepts law, human rights, and
justice, followed by peace, order, labor, family, conscience, and stability.
Democracy ranked 17th on the list ahead of internationalism, dictatorship, and
nationalism, which were the least popular values. -- Peter Rutland
JUDGE ORDERS DEFENSE MINISTER TO APPEAR IN COURT.
Moscow District Judge Olga Govorova ordered Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to
appear at the next court hearing of his suit against journalist Vadim Poegli of
Moskovskii komsomolets, who in October 1994 accused Grachev of being
involved in corruption in Russia's Western Army Group in Germany, Interfax
reported on 27 September. Grachev has refused to attend the 25 October court
hearing in which he is a plaintiff, saying he is too busy--an explanation
Govorova has rejected. It is unclear how the court's decision will be
implemented. -- Constantine Dmitriev
THE ELECTIONS TO MOSCOW CITY DUMA POSTPONED UNTIL 1997.
The Moscow City
Duma has decided to conduct its next municipal elections in December 1997
instead of 1995 as previously planned, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported on 27
September. The proposal to delay the elections was sent to the Duma by Moscow
Mayor Yurii Luzhkov after President Yeltsin's 17 September decree on elections
to local governments (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 September 1995). -- Anna
RUSSIAN COSSACKS SEEK UNITS IN REGULAR ARMED FORCES.
The Union of
Russian Cossacks Ataman Aleksandr Martynov told a press conference in Moscow
that the union plans to form 29 units as part of the Russian armed forces, and
31 units to support the Border Troops, Interfax reported on 27 September.
Martynov claims that the union has at least 3.5 million members. It is not
clear whether the Defense Ministry plans to incorporate the Cossack
para-military units into the Russian regular army. Martynov claimed that
Cossack regiments have been involved in combat operations in Chechnya, and were
decorated with the Cross for Faith, Freedom, and Fatherland. -- Constantine
CHERNOMYRDIN SIGNS DECLARATION IN SEOUL.
Russia and South Korea continue
to reinvigorate their bilateral ties. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and
his South Korean counterpart, Lee-Hong Koo signed a declaration on joint
ventures and economic cooperation in Seoul on 27 September, Western and Russian
agencies reported. The declaration included a proposal for a pipeline linking
South Korea with Siberian gas fields near Irkutsk via Mongolia and China.
Russian relations with South Korea have warmed and cooled several times since
diplomatic ties were reestablished in 1990. Mutual trade amounted to $2.2
billion in 1994 and is expected to reach $3 billion in 1995, although South
Korean investment in Russia has remained modest. -- Scott Parrish
YELTSIN, CLINTON DISCUSS YUGOSLAV CONFLICT.
Attempts continue to repair
the damage done to U.S.-Russian relations by recent rhetorical warfare over
NATO actions in the former Yugoslavia. Speaking by telephone on 27 September,
U.S. President Bill Clinton assured his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin that
Russia is welcome to participate in a proposed NATO-led peace implementation
force for Bosnia, Russian and Western agencies reported. Although Russian
officials have opposed participating in a force commanded by NATO, Yeltsin
expressed confidence that the two sides could "reach an agreeable approach."
The two presidents are scheduled to meet on 23 October in Hyde Park, New York,
following ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the UN. -- Scott
RUSSIANS FIRE ON, SEIZE JAPANESE FISHING BOATS.
The Russian Border
Troops seized two Japanese fishing boats on 27 September, after firing on them
and wounding one of the captains, ITAR-TASS reported. The incident took place
in La Perouse Strait, which separates the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido
from Sakhalin. The Russians claimed that the two boats were among 10 that were
poaching octopus two nautical miles inside Russian territorial waters. Rear
Admiral Sergei Skalinov, chief of staff of the Russian coast guard service,
told ITAR-TASS that the Japanese government is encouraging such confrontations
because of its demands that Russia return four islands in the Kuril chain to
Japan. -- Doug Clarke
MINERS STAGE UNDERGROUND PROTEST.
About 79 miners held an underground
protest in a mine in the Vorkuta Oblast in Russia's far north on 27 September
over government plans to close unprofitable pits, ITAR-TASS reported the same
day. Miners at the Promyshlennaya mine said they would remain underground until
a government commission visited them to hear their grievances. The action began
on 25 September when 42 miners refused to come to the surface. The miners are
seeking back wages dating to early July and assurances on compensation and
pensions when pits are closed. -- Thomas Sigel
FIRST SEMINAR ON SOCIALIZING AND SAFE SEX HELD IN MOSCOW.
A first of its
kind seminar, devoted to the issue of safe sex, is taking place in Moscow,
Izvestiya reported on 28 September. According to statistics provided by
the "ESOP" center, 60% of men and women under the age of 19 regularly have sex
and only 13% of them use modern methods of contraception. Of the female youths
under 18 who admitted having regular sex, 31% became pregnant but only 17% gave
birth, the remainder preferring abortion. During the last four years, the
syphilis rate has increased from five to 40 cases per 100,000 members of the
population and gonorrhea has increased 900%. -- Thomas Sigel
HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR IN MAGADAN.
A two-week seminar on human rights,
organized by the International Association of Human Rights, opened in Magadan
on 27 September, Radio Rossii reported. Boris Miller, vice president of the
Russian section of the association, said the focus of human rights work in
Russia had shifted in recent years. Previously, freedom of speech and other
political rights had been the main concern of activists. Now, the main problems
are the rights of prisoners, army conscripts, children, and the disabled.
Miller estimated that 30,000 people are being illegally held in Russian jails
while awaiting trial. The report noted that officials from the local
administration and police had not taken up an invitation to attend the seminar.
-- Peter Rutland
YOUTH ACCOUNT FOR MAJORITY OF DRUG ADDICTS.
Two-thirds of Russia's drug
addicts are young people, Megapolis-Express (No. 39) reports. Drugs are sold in
nightclubs, entryways, disco clubs and in student hostels, the report
indicated. Prices vary from 40,000-50,000 rubles ($8-$10) per box of marijuana,
to $200-$250 per gram of heroin or cocaine. The demand is increasing. In 1994,
82 tons of drugs were confiscated in Russia, although some experts say that
accounts for only 20% of the total amount of drugs smuggled into the country.
-- Thomas Sigel
GOVERNMENT PREDICTS TOUGH WINTER.
Acute fuel shortages throughout Russia
may lead to a difficult winter, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said
on 27 September, Radio Rossii and ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The minister
said the situation is most difficult in the Russian Far East, the Arkhangelsk
Oblast in northern Russia, and Altai Krai in Western Siberia. Those regions
have only about 30% of the fuel needed for power plants. Meanwhile, Interfax
reported that thermal power plants at Konakovo and Kostroma in central Russia
have little fuel oil in stock. Soskovets said coal stocks are down and
suppliers have cut natural gas deliveries by 30% compared with last year. The
main reason for the low supplies is a failure of the power plants to pay
suppliers for fuel. The plants complain that they cannot pay for fuel because
they are not being paid by consumers. -- Thomas Sigel
SBERBANK TO PAY INCOME ON STATE BONDS.
Russia's largest savings bank,
Sberbank, will act as the Finance Ministry's general agent in cashing coupons
of state savings loan bonds, Interfax reported on 27 September. The first
tranche of bonds has reached 48 authorized banks and financial companies for
distribution, according to Bella Zlatkis, head of the Finance Ministry's
Securities and Financial Market Department. The bonds, which went on the market
on 27 September, will have four coupons on which interest will be paid every
three months. It is expected that banks will start selling the bonds to the
general public within the next week. -- Thomas Sigel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
RIVER DIVERSION PROJECT RESURRECTED?
According to a 27 September report
in Komsomolskaya pravda, Russian Water and Resource Chairman Nikolai
Mikheev raised the possibility of resurrecting the Siberian River Diversion
project, abandoned in 1986. In his speech at the UN-sponsored conference on the
Aral Sea Crisis in Nukus (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 September 1995),
Mikheev stated that, "My government is ready to return to considering the
project of redirecting the flow of the great Siberian rivers . . . "
Afterwards, Uzbek President Islam Karimov praised the Russian minister, noting
that if the project is completed, a statue in his honor will be erected in
Nukus. -- Roger Kangas
KAZAKHSTAN ASKS RUSSIA TO RAISE OIL TRANSIT QUOTA.
Nursultan Nazarbaev asked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to double the
country's oil transit quota, up to 6 million tons for 1996, Interfax Petroleum
Information Agency reported on 27 September from Almaty. Kazakhstan also
intends to purchase the unused quotas of Russian oil companies, according to
Nazarbaev's letter. The increase of Kazakhstan's oil transit quota may mean a
postponement of the new pipeline to carry Kazakhstani oil to the Black Sea,
which is being planned by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, consisting of
Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Oman Oil Co. -- Vyacheslav Kozlov
STRONG REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT OF KYRGYZ ELECTION.
Sherimkulov, the former chairman of parliament, blasted President Askar Akaev
for citing his appointment in October 1990 as a rationale for holding elections
this year, in an article of Res Publica on 26 September. Sherimkulov
reminded the president that if his term began on 27 October 1990, elections
should be held on this date and the Central Electoral Committee should have
declared this publicly four months prior to the event. A letter from nine
deputies of the legislative assembly noted that a referendum in January 1994 on
confidence in the president referred to his term in office as beginning in
1991. -- Bruce Pannier
KAZAKHSTAN BEGINS SHOOTING OF MARATHON SOAP OPERA.
Kazakhstan begins the
shooting of Crossroads, a soap opera expected to exceed the popular
Santa Barbara in the number of its episodes, the coordinator of the project
Yelena Molchanova told ITAR-TASS on 26 September. The British governmental
Know-How foundation is financing the $2.25 million project as a ploy to offer
cultural assistance to the CIS countries. Local screen writers are working with
their British counterparts, including the creator of the popular Brookside
serial. Kazakhstan's first soap opera will tell about present-day life, "the
difficult way from socialism to capitalism," and love between a Kazakhs and
Russians. -- Bhavna Dave
RUSSIANS IN AZERBAIJAN WANT RUSSIAN AS SECOND STATE LANGUAGE.
dwindling Russian community in Azerbaijan has launched a campaign to demand
that a referendum be held on designating Russian a second state language in the
country's new constitution, Rabochaya tribuna reported on 26 September.
President Heidar Aliyev has frequently expressed concern over the emigration of
qualified Russian specialists that has reduced the Russian community from over
500,000 in 1989 to 200,000 last year. -- Liz Fuller
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
CZECH PARLIAMENT CREATES SENATE.
The lower chamber of the Czech
parliament on 27 September approved the establishment of the legislature's
upper chamber, Czech media reported. The creation of the Senate was provided
for in the Czech Constitution, which went into effect on 1 January 1993 when
the independent Czech Republic was established. Since then, the lower chamber
has rejected three draft laws that would have established the Senate. It
substituted for the upper chamber in its absence and could not be dissolved;
furthermore, new elections could not have been called in case of a political
crisis. Under the new electoral law, Senate elections will take place in 81
electoral districts in a two-round majority system. Candidates must be over 40
years old. They can be nominated by a political party or must gather at least
1,000 signatures. At the outset, one-third of the senators will be elected for
two years, one-third for four years, and one- third for six years. -- Jiri
CZECH LUSTRATION LAW EXTENDED.
The Czech parliament on 27 September
extended for another four years the screening law that bans former secret
police agents and collaborators as well as high communist officials from
holding government office, Czech media reported. The lustration law, which was
adopted in 1991 and was to expire at the end of 1996, affected some 140,000
people when it was adopted by the former Czechoslovak Federal Assembly.
Hundreds of people protested that they were registered as police collaborators
without reason and have sued the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Most won their
cases due to lack of evidence. -- Jiri Pehe
CZECH-RUSSIAN TREATY RATIFIED.
The Czech parliament on 27 September
approved a friendship treaty with Russia that replaces a Soviet-era treaty
signed in 1970, Czech media reported. The treaty, signed by Presidents Vaclav
Havel and Boris Yeltsin in 1993, denounces the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of
Czechoslovakia and calls for mutually advantageous economic relations and
respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Russian parliament
ratified the treaty in July 1994. Jiri Payne, chairman of the Czech
parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, told journalists on 27 September that
"Russia is not our enemy at the current time" and that the treaty should not
pose a threat to the Czech Republic's desire for early NATO membership. -- Jiri
UKRAINE CLARIFIES POSITION ON MEETING CFE TREATY DEADLINE.
Bolychevtsev, an adviser to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Administration for Arms
Control, has said that Ukraine will fulfill on time all its commitments
specified in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, Holos Ukrainy
reported on 26 September. His statement contradicts a recent Interfax report
stating that Ukraine, together with other CIS countries, will not meet the
deadline for meeting the requirements (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13
September 1995). Bolychevtsev said that the 1992 Tashkent Accord specified that
Ukraine had to cut additional equipment belonging to the Black Sea Fleet Shore
Defense Forces and Marines. Because the Black Sea Fleet dispute between Russia
and Ukraine remains unresolved, "Ukraine is unable to resolve the question of
additional cuts," he noted. -- Michael Mihalka
G-7 EXPERTS OFFER PLAN TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL.
Minister Yurii Kostenko told a news conference on 27 September that G-7 experts
have rejected a Ukrainian proposal to build a gas-fired power plant to replace
Chornobyl and offered instead their own plan for shutting the nuclear station
by 2000, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported the same day. Kostenko said that
the experts believed the construction of a single thermal power-generating
station was insufficient. According to him, they proposed a more cost efficient
and "comprehensive solution" to Ukraine's energy problems, including adding new
units to Ukraine's four other nuclear plants, renovating existing thermal
plants and increasing the productivity of hydroelectric stations for an
estimated total cost of $1.44 billion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
LATVIA'S BANKING CRISIS SUBSIDES.
Bank of Latvia Governor Einars Repse
told the international conference "Banks and Finances in the Baltic States" on
27 September that Latvia's banking system was showing signs of recovery, BNS
reported. He noted that although since January the number of operating banks
declined from 55 to 39 (with 10 being declared insolvent), the stability of the
lats was preserved by his bank's sale of 18.5% of its currency reserves. He
said the crisis was caused by the fact that the banking system had developed
more rapidly than other spheres of the economy. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER GIVES UP PARLIAMENT SEAT.
adviser on foreign affairs Justas Paleckis has decided to give up the Seimas
seat he gained earlier in the month when Social Democrat Audrius Rudys
resigned, BNS reported on 27 September. Paleckis said that a major reason for
his decision was that the Social Democratic Party had demanded that he specify
those presidential measures he considers incorrect and evaluate the foreign
policy of the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party as a precondition for
working in its faction. -- Saulius Girnius
BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT ON BORDER CONTROLS.
The Belarusian Cabinet
of Ministers has adopted a resolution to sign an agreement with Russia on
helping to fund measures to strengthen control of the borders between Belarus
and the republics of Lithuania and Latvia, Belarusian Radio reported on 26
September. The chief of the Main Directorate of Border Troops was authorized to
sign the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL TO HAVE FINAL SAY.
commission drafting the new Polish constitution on 27 September decided that if
the Constitutional Tribunal rules that a law violates the constitution, that
legislation will be rendered null and void. Under current "constitutional
provisions," the Sejm can overrule the tribunal's verdicts by a two-thirds
majority. Meanwhile, Stanislaw Ciosek, the Polish ambassador to Russia, has
been recalled, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 28 September. But
Rzeczpospolita stresses that information on his recall is "unofficial."
-- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH PREMIER IN SPAIN.
Jozef Oleksy, during a three-day visit to
Spain, was received on 27 September by Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said that Spain will be backing Poland's aspirations to join the
European Union by 2000 but that it fears the expansion of EU membership will
reduce subsides for the poorer Mediterranean member states. Oleksy encouraged
Gonzalez to increase Spanish investment in Poland, noting that he would like to
see the volume of trade between Poland and Spain amount to $1 billion in 1997
(at present it totals $700 million), Polish dailies reported on 28 September.
-- Dagmar Mroziewicz
SHALIKASHVILI VISITS SLOVAKIA.
Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on 27 September that he is "absolutely
satisfied" with the level of cooperation between the Slovak and U.S. armies and
with Slovakia's participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program,
Sme reported. At a joint press conference with his Slovak counterpart,
Jozef Tuchyna, Shalikashvili stressed that NATO is not yet in a position to say
which countries will join NATO and when. In contrast to U.S. Defense Minister
William Perry, who in a recent visit to Slovakia emphasized that Slovakia needs
to strengthen democracy before it can join NATO, Shalikashvili avoided
discussion of the country's political situation. During the visit, he held
talks with Slovakia's president, prime minister, and defense minister. --
HUNGARIAN COALITION REMAINS INTACT--FOR TIME BEING.
Hungary's two ruling
coalition partners still have not reached agreement over the issue of cabinet
reform, Magyar Hirlap reported on 28 September. The two parties,
fiercely criticized by the opposition for openly discussing their "internal"
disputes, previously agreed to settle any disagreement by 26 September.
Socialist leader and Premier Gyula Horn and Gabor Kuncze, Horn's deputy
coalition leader from the Alliance of Free Democrats, said at a press
conference on 27 September that the failure to reach an agreement does not mean
the dissolution of the coalition, since the original coalition agreement is
still in force. Socialist deputy Imre Szekeres recommended that if the
coalition stays together, its internal differences be patched over until next
year so that the government can focus on the 1996 budget proposal and draft tax
legislation still to be presented to the parliament. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
MIXED REACTIONS TO BOSNIAN AGREEMENT.
Nasa Borba on 28 September
cited U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as calling the accord of two
days earlier a "psychological step toward peace." Tanjug quoted Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and EU mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as dubbing it
"a major step toward establishing a final peace." The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that the pact
firmly establishes his Republika Srpska. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic,
however, stressed that the agreement keeps Bosnia as a single state. Hina
reported that Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak argued that "the signed
document is so vague that it has no clear provisions" for the future
constitutional order. The Frankfurt daily quoted the Bosnian foreign minister
as saying that free elections can take place only after Karadzic and Bosnian
Serb General Ratko Mladic are sent to The Hague to be tried for war crimes.
Bosnian army commander General Rasim Delic warned against "euphoria." Deutsche
Welle on 27 September noted that the agreement is imprecise, sounds too much
like earlier failed Yugoslav models, does not include a ceasefire, and involves
making deals with indicted war criminals. -- Patrick Moore
BELGRADE CALLS FOR A CEASEFIRE . . .
Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister
Milan Milutinovic has urged an end to fighting across Bosnia within a few days,
international media reported on 28 September. U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke
is continuing his shuttle diplomacy with that end in mind, but AFP on 27
September cited complaints from the French and Italian foreign ministers about
Holbrooke's alleged one-man show that ignores Washington's European allies.
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said earlier that a ceasefire must involve
the demilitarization of Banja Luka, an end to the "ethnic cleansing" there, the
effective lifting of the siege of Sarajevo, road access to Kiseljak and
Gorazde, and a large foreign troop presence to implement any peace agreement.
The International Herald Tribune on 28 September reported that Bosnian
Serbs fired rockets with cluster bombs at Zenica two days earlier and at
Travnik the previous day. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said that
"this is an indication that the Serb terrorists are looking for a way to stop
the negotiating process." Some other observers have suggested, however, that
the Serbs have the most to gain by an end to the fighting. -- Patrick Moore
. . . WHILE RUMP YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT DOES NOT RULE OUT MORE FIGHTING.
Tanjug reported that rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic on 26 September
received a high level delegation from the Russian Federation, headed by State
Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin. Lilic thanked Russia for its backing of Belgrade's
"peace efforts" and for sending humanitarian aid. But while stressing rump
Yugoslavia's alleged commitment to the peace process, he also observed that an
end to the Balkan crisis was not necessarily in the offing. "What we do not
want is to have our patience tested to the limit. . . . It is critical to
concentrate our efforts on trying to stop the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina .
. . [otherwise] it is certain that the war will spill over its existing
borders." -- Stan Markotich
DISCOVERY OF MASS GRAVE LEADS TO NEW CHARGES AGAINST WAR CRIMINAL.
Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has made
further charges against Dusko Tadic following the recent discovery of mass
graves in northwestern Bosnia, Nasa Borba reported on 27 September.
Tadic is a Bosnian Serb who is the only accused war criminal in the Bosnian
conflict to have been delivered to the Hague. One of the tribunal's
investigators went to the field near Kljuc to see a mass grave where the bodies
of 540 people were at first reported to have been found. But
Oslobodjenje on 27 September noted that about 2,000 bodies were
eventually located. The new accusations charge Tadic with "war crimes committed
between May and December 1992 in the concentration camps Omarska, Keraterm, and
Trnopolje" as well as crimes connected with the "expulsion of Muslims from the
Prijedor area." -- Daria Sito Sucic
CROATIA ARRESTS 395 FOR KRAJINA CRIMES.
Croatian authorities have
arrested 260 civilians, 70 police, and 65 soldiers in connection with the
looting and torching of abandoned Serbian property since the collapse of
Krajina in early August. UN spokesman Chris Gunness told news agencies on 27
September that he is still waiting for Zagreb to investigate the alleged murder
of Serbian civilians by Croatian troops and to control continuing looting and
torching. The Croatian authorities argue that their army is tied up in Bosnia
and cannot effectively patrol all of Krajina. Novi list on 28 September
reported that some abandoned Krajina Serbian homes are being given to Croatian
refugees and displaced persons from the Banja Luka area. In Jajce, however,
Croatian authorities have told Croats not to take homes belonging to local
Muslims. -- Patrick Moore
MORE ALBANIANS FROM MONTENEGRO TO STUDY IN ALBANIA.
Montena-fax on 27
September reported that an additional 20 ethnic Albanian students from
Montenegro will be enrolled this year at Albanian universities. To date, only
30 or so Albanians from Montenegro have been studying in Albania. -- Stan
COUNCIL OF EUROPE APPROVES MACEDONIAN MEMBERSHIP.
The Council of
Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on 27 September approved Macedonia's request
for membership, AFP reported the same day. CE officials said the Committee of
Ministers will formally approve the admission on 15 October; and Macedonia will
officially join, together with Ukraine, on 9 November under the name of the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia will have three seats in the
assembly. Macedonia's admission to the organization is the first concrete
result of the recently signed Greek-Macedonian accord, whereby Athens agreed
not to object to Macedonian membership in international organizations of which
it is a member. -- Stefan Krause
NEW POLITICAL ALLIANCE IN ROMANIA.
The opposition Democratic
Party-National Salvation Front and the Social Democratic Party of Romania on 27
September signed an accord on forming a political alliance, Romanian media
announced the same day. Called the Social Democratic Union, the new alliance
plans to run on joint lists in the 1996 parliamentary elections and in many
electoral districts in local elections due to be held in early 1996. -- Michael
STIFF JAIL TERMS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS IN ROMANIA.
The Chamber of
Deputies on 27 September voted to impose sentences of 25 years to life for drug
trafficking. The relevant provisions are to be included in the new Penal Code
under review by the chamber. Romanian media and international agencies reported
that the legislation also provides for jail terms of up to 15 years for the
production and use of narcotics. -- Michael Shafir
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES COUNCIL OF EUROPE.
addressing the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on 26
September, said that Moldova wants to settle the conflict in the Transdniester
region by peaceful political means, Infotag reported. He called on the Council
of Europe to organize an international conference on separatism in Chisinau. In
Snegur's opinion, finding a resolution to the conflict is being hampered by
"Tiraspol's reluctance to agree on a compromise and by external factors,
including backing by some interested forces in the Russian State Duma." Snegur
also noted the Moldovan Constitution "prohibits the country's participation in
any military blocs and deployment of foreign military bases on the national
territory." He stressed that Moldova may participate only in programs of
cooperation and training, such as NATO's Partnership for Peace program. --
MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE COMMITTEE DEMANDS GOVERNMENT'S DISMISSAL.
Petrencu, leader of the Moldovan student strike committee, told BASA-press on
27 September that the committee is demanding that the parliament and the
president dismiss the cabinet. If they fail to do so, Petrencu said, the
students' demonstrations will resume on 18 October. He added that the decision
was prompted by the present economic plight of the population and the
authorities' indifference toward it. Presidential adviser Tudor Colesnic, who
heads the commission for dealing with the strikers' economic grievances, said
that for the time being, "there are no grounds" to change the government. --
BULGARIA ANGERED BY INCLUSION ON EU BLACKLIST.
reacted angrily to the European Union's decision to include the country on a
list of nations deemed to pose a security or immigration threat, Reuters
reported on 27 September. Of the six former communist countries with associate
membership in the EU, only Bulgaria and Romania are included on the list of
countries for which tough visa requirements will be required. Foreign Ministry
spokesman Radko Vlaykov called the decision "groundless and totally
unacceptable" because it puts Bulgaria "in a discriminative position compared
to other East European countries." Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov said
Bulgaria's inclusion on the list contradicted its associate EU membership.
Foreign Ministry officials said they hope to get Bulgaria removed from the list
before it becomes effective in six months. -- Stefan Krause
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave