OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 226, 20 November 1995
DUMA PASSES FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW.
In a third attempt to reach
agreement with President Boris Yeltsin, the Duma voted on 17 November by 263 to
27 to approve a draft law on the formation of the parliament's upper house,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Under the bill, the chamber will include
the heads of the executives and legislatures of Russia's 89 regions, but the
governors must be elected by December 1996. The previous version had called for
gubernatorial elections before the June 1996 presidential elections (see
OMRI Daily Digest 12 October). The change is a concession to Yeltsin,
who signed a decree on 17 September calling elections in December 1996 for all
the governors he had appointed (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 September).
Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said that he had shown the new draft to Yeltsin in the
hospital and that the president's reaction was positive. -- Robert Orttung
IT'S FINAL: 43 PARTIES TO COMPETE FOR DUMA.
The Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) has approved the party-list ballot, which includes 43
parties, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 November. The ballot will be printed on a
sheet of paper the size of a newspaper. The Supreme Court denied the appeals of
the Union of Patriots, Our Future, the Russian Union of Muslims, and the
Assembly of the Land to overturn the TsIK's earlier decisions rejecting their
registration. -- Robert Orttung
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DECLARE THEMSELVES.
Stanislav Govorukhin, film
director and leader of his own electoral bloc, announced on 17 November that he
would run for president in 1996, Ekho Moskvy reported. Govorukhin said his
previous statements that he had no intention of running were made in jest,
according to Radio Mayak. Meanwhile, NTV reported on 19 November that Yurii
Skokov, number one
on the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) list,
had told close advisors that he intends to run for the presidency next summer.
The report could damage his alliance with Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed,
deputy leader of the KRO, who also has presidential ambitions. Lebed
unexpectedly cut short a campaign trip in southern Russia to return to Moscow
on 17 November. -- Anna Paretskaya
COURTS SAID TO LIMIT PRESS FREEDOM DESPITE GOOD MEDIA LAWS.
constitution and the Law on the Mass Media protect the press against censorship
in theory, in practice court decisions substantially limit journalists' freedom
to criticize public figures, according to participants at a 17 November
roundtable sponsored by the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in
Moscow. Maks Khazin, who represents Izvestiya in legal disputes, said
several libel suits brought and won by politicians have had a chilling effect
on press freedom. Several speakers, including Glasnost Defense Foundation
chairman Aleksei Simonov, noted that Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's recent
court victory over Moskovskii komsomolets journalist Vadim Poegli (see
OMRI Daily Digest,
30 October) also set a dangerous precedent. -- Laura
Belin in Moscow
ELECTION UPROAR CONTINUES IN CHECHNYA.
On 18 November the
self-proclaimed Chechen Supreme Soviet approved plans to hold elections on 17
December for the Chechen head of state, Russian and Western agencies reported.
The Supreme Soviet did not, however, endorse holding Duma elections on the same
day, saying that should be decided by federal authorities. Movladi Udugov, a
spokesman for separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev, warned on 17 November that
participation in the elections would be regarded as "treason" by pro-Dudaev
forces and punished according to "wartime realities." In a rare public
appearance near Urus-Martan, only 20 km from Grozny, Dudaev on 18 November
threatened that the planned elections could have "sweeping consequences" in
Russia. -- Scott Parrish
BOMB ATTACK MISSES ZAVGAEV.
An attempt was made to assassinate the head
of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, Doku Zavgaev, on 20 November, Russian
agencies reported. A large bomb was detonated on a sidewalk in central Grozny
as Zavgaev's motorcade passed by, and snipers then raked the vehicles with
automatic weapons fire from nearby roofs. The motorcade was able to escape the
ambush, and Zavgaev was unhurt, although five of his bodyguards were wounded,
according to ITAR-TASS. -- Scott Parrish
KOZYREV WELCOMES CFE PLEDGE.
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on 18
November welcomed a statement by the 30 signatories of the Conventional Forces
in Europe (CFE) treaty pledging to try harder to resolve Russia's objections to
the so-called "flanks" limits, ITAR-TASS reported. Russia has more military
equipment in the North Caucasus Military District than is allowed by the
treaty, whose terms formally became binding on 17 November. "This decision
corresponds to Russia's line on adhering to the CFE treaty," Kozyrev said,
"while taking into account the interests of our country under new conditions."
Russian ambassador to Georgia Vladimir Zemskii and Georgian First Deputy
Defense Minister Mikhail Ukleba have discussed the possibility of temporarily
deploying in Georgia some of the excess Russian military hardware from the
North Caucasus Military District, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 November." -- Doug
Clarke and Liz Fuller
PRIME MINISTER SAYS GOVERNMENT TO PAY DEBTS TO MILITARY.
Viktor Chernomyrdin on 17 November told Russia's top military commanders that
the government had decided to pay out all overdue budget allocations to the
Defense Ministry, Interfax reported. He said the step would cost about 2.6
trillion rubles ($575 million). Defense Minister Grachev welcomed
Chernomyrdin's statement and promised to urge service personnel to vote for the
prime minister's party in the upcoming elections. -- Doug Clarke
DUMA PASSES SECOND PART OF CIVIL CODE.
The second part of Russia's Civil
Code, which regulates the legal aspects of economic relations, was approved by
the Duma in its first reading on 17 November by 295 votes to 47, ITAR-TASS
reported. The first part of the new code came into force a year ago; the
Soviet-era code, adopted in 1964, also remains in force for the time being. --
TWO MORE CONTRACT KILLINGS IN MOSCOW.
A local government official and
the president of the Stinolneftegaz oil company were shot dead in separate
incidents in Moscow on 17 November, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Crime has risen by more than 10% this year in comparison with 1994. -- Penny
YELTSIN SIGNS DECREE PROTECTING INVESTORS.
President Yeltsin signed a
decree on 17 November instructing the government to come up with a plan to
compensate defrauded investors, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. A special fund
will be established, with funds raised through sales of bankrupt companies'
assets. The decree appears to be vague on specifics and does not satisfy the
demands of defrauded investors, who are estimated to number from 20 to 40
million. Mikhail Shevtsov, addressing the first congress of the All-Russian
Union of Investors in Moscow, claimed that 2,000 companies had cheated
investors, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 November. He said that 2 million investors
have formed 500 groups to reclaim their assets. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin
told Russian Public TV on 18 November that investor groups will be directly
involved in running local compensation funds. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter
FIRST EQUITY/LOAN AUCTIONS HELD.
On 17 November the first two auctions
were held under a government scheme to swap federally owned shareholdings in
return for loans. Euroresursy won 15% of the shares in the Nafta Moskva company
by offering a $35 million loan, while Oneksimbank gained 38% of the shares of
Norilsk Nickel with a $170 million loan, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November.
Kommersant-Daily had reported on 11 November that Oneksimbank itself was
in charge of running the auctions. The loan scheme was devised to get around
the parliament's refusal to approve a bill on the sale of federal shares. On 11
November Yeltsin vetoed a bill that gave parliament control over the
disposition of federal shares, and on 15 November Interfax reported that the
Federation Council overrode the veto. -- Peter Rutland
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 226, 20 November 1995
SECOND ROUND OF GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
The second round of
parliamentary elections in single-mandate constituencies took place in Georgia
on 19 November, Russian TV reported. The turnout was not as high as in the
first round on 5 November, and international observers and representatives of
the Central Electoral Commission registered no major violations. Of the 147
deputies who won seats on 5 November, 91 represent the Union of Citizens of
Georgia, led by Eduard Shevardnadze; 31 belong to the National Democratic
Party, led by Irina Sarishvili; and 25 to the All-Georgia Union for Revival,
led by the head of the autonomous republic of Adzharia, Aslan Abashidze. The
inauguration of Shevardnadze, elected president on 5 November, and the swearing
in of the new parliament will take place on 26 November. -- Irakli Tsereteli
UZBEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN SAUDI ARABIA.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz
Komilov arrived in Riyadh on 18 November for a series of meetings with Saudi
government officials, ITAR-TASS reported. Komilov and Saudi Prince Saud
al-Faisal signed a general agreement on cooperation, covering issues ranging
from trade and cultural exchanges to the official opening of a Saudi embassy in
Tashkent, scheduled for early 1996. In an interview with the Egyptian news
agency MENA, Komilov stressed that such agreements are between equal states,
declaring that Uzbekistan will not tolerate the policies of Islamic powers that
wish to "extend their influence" in Central Asia. The same, he noted, applies
to Russian policies as well. -- Roger Kangas
NEXT ROUND OF TAJIK TALKS SCHEDULED FOR 30 NOVEMBER.
government announced on 18 November that it is prepared to send a delegation to
Ashgabat to meet representatives of the opposition on 30 November, Russian and
Western agencies reported. The fifth round of talks was initially scheduled for
18 September but has been repeatedly postponed because of disagreements over
venue and agenda. Fighting in the Garm region, 240 km east of Dushanbe, has
seen 54 government soldiers captured and 50-60 killed since October, -- Bruce
KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO HAVE 13 CANDIDATES.
The Kyrgyz Central
Electoral Commission said on 18 November that 13 candidates have been nominated
for the presidential election scheduled for 24 December, according to an RFE/RL
correspondent. To complete the registration process candidates must hand in
lists of 50,000 signatures from voters by 3 December. The current president,
Askar Akayev, has already met this requirement, turning in 800,000 signatures.
-- Bruce Pannier
REGISTRATION COMPLETED FOR KAZAKHSTANI ELECTIONS.
Election Commission head Yurii Kim told Interfax on 17 November that the
registration of candidates for the country's parliamentary elections in early
December has been completed. Indirect elections to the 47-seat Senate (upper
house) will be held on 5 December, and the 67-seat Majlis (lower house) will be
elected by popular vote on 9 December. Among the pro-government parties, the
Party for National Unity has nominated 38 candidates, the Democratic Party 22,
the Cooperation Party 15, and the National Rebirth Party 5. From the
opposition, the communists have fielded 9 candidates and the People's Congress
Party 8. Other opposition groups are boycotting the elections. -- Bhavna Dave
DUMA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER RUSSIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN.
The Russian Duma has
issued a statement expressing "deep concern" over "violations of the rights of
ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November. It demanded
the release of the "illegally arrested" Semirechie Cossack leader Nikolai
Gunkin and called on President Yeltsin and the Russian government to protect
the rights of Russians in Kazakhstan. Radio Rossii on 19 November reported that
Cossack groups in Russia's Kurgan Oblast threatened to mount an economic
blockade of the border and called for the suspension of diplomatic relations
between the two countries. -- Bhavna Dave
TURKMENISTAN TO SUPPLY GAS TO UKRAINE.
The newly established
Russian-Turkmen natural gas company Turkmenrosgaz will supply 23 billion cubic
meters of gas to Ukraine in 1996, Interfax reported on 17 November. The
agreement was reached during a visit to Ashgabat by a Ukrainian delegation led
by Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenk. As part of an education cooperation
agreement, Turkmenistan will send 200 students to Ukrainian military academies
for training. -- Lowell Bezanis
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 226, 20 November 1995
KWASNIEWSKI'S VICTORY PREDICTED IN POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
According to preliminary results released by the Public Opinion Research
Center, Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski received 51.4%
of the vote and incumbent President Lech Walesa 48.6% in the second round of
the Polish presidential elections on 19 November. These results are based on a
sample of 1,150 election precincts. Turnout was put at 68%. Kwasniewski
appealed for collaboration between his and Walesa's supporters, while Walesa
thanked his constituency and refrained from reading a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski announced his resignation and said
that the ministers of internal and foreign affairs, Andrzej Milczanowski and
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, would also resign. The holders of these three
portfolios are appointed after consultations with the president. The official
results are expected to be announced later today. -- Jakub Karpinski in
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES TO SPEED UP ECONOMIC REFORMS.
told a Kiev news conference on 18 November that Ukraine will step up structural
reforms and bring down rising inflation, international agencies reported.
Progress toward free market reforms in Ukraine has been hampered by the slow
pace of privatization and a recent loosening of fiscal policy to support ailing
state enterprises. The Ukrainian leader said he would aim to lower monthly
inflation from 9.1% in October to an average of 1% in 1996 and revive plans for
monetary reform. He also blasted the National Bank of Ukraine for deviating
from his market reform program and hinted at a possible change in the bank's
management. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
WORLD BANK OFFERS CREDIT PACKAGE TO UKRAINE.
World Bank President James
Wolfensohn, in Ukraine from 16-19 November, met with President Leonid Kuchma,
Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, and Deputy Prime Minister Roman Shpek to discuss
an aid package for reform in the country's energy and agricultural sectors,
international agencies reported. At the end of his visit, Wolfensohn announced
that the World Bank was prepared to lend Ukraine up to $1 billion annually over
the next three years. He added that $250 million could go to the agricultural
sector if privatization and price liberalization were implemented. The World
Bank is also prepared to offer $100 million to the coal industry next year to
develop profitable pits and close down others. It has already loaned some $500
million to Ukraine, including a $114 million credit to improve hydropower
plants, and $32 million for agricultural projects. -- Ustina Markus
FIVE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS TO SEND OBSERVERS TO BELARUSIAN
Belarusian Radio on 16 November reported that five international
organizations will be send observers to the 29 November parliamentary
by-elections in Belarus. The EU and the CIS Parliamentary Assembly will send 10
observers each, the OSCE five, the European Parliament four; and the North
Atlantic Assembly three. One of the Council of Europe's conditions for
Belarus's admission to that organization are democratic by-elections. -- Ustina
ESTONIAN PREMIER, PRESIDENT SUPPORT EINSELN.
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi
told BNS on 17 November that he wanted Lt.-Gen. Aleksander Einseln to remain
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Vahi, however, did not criticize
Defense Minister Andrus Oovel, who has said that Einseln should have done much
more to build up the country's defense. Vahi said the press had presented a
one-sided view of Oovel's remarks, focusing only on the shortcomings and not
mentioning the accomplishments. On returning from a UNESCO meeting in Paris,
President Lennart Meri the next day said Einseln had "done an enormous job in
raising the defense forces to that level of thinking that is characteristic of
the defense forces of a democratic country." He said he knew of no better
candidate to lead Estonia's armed forces. -- Saulius Girnius
OFFICES OF LITHUANIA'S LARGEST NEWSPAPER BOMBED.
In the night from 16-17
November, a large bomb seriously damaged the newly built annex to the main
offices of the newspaper Lietuvos rytas, BNS reported the next day. The
damage was estimated at more than $100,000, but no one was injured. Lietuvos
rytas, Respublika, and Lietuvos aidas on 18 November
published a statement by the Free Word Fund alleging that the bombing was
"provoked by the Lithuanian political leadership and corrupt financial groups."
The government has offered a $25,000 reward for helping to determine who
organized and carried out the bombing. -- Saulius Girnius
CZECH COALITION PARTIES VOTE TO MERGE.
The Christian Democratic Party
(KDS), the smallest party in the Czech governing coalition, voted on 18
November to join forces with the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus, Czech media reported. At separate party congresses, the ODS voted
almost unanimously for the merger, with only one delegate out of 236 voting
against and two abstaining. The KDS voted by 101 to 69 for the move, with two
abstentions. The proposed merger has already split the KDS, with five of its 10
parliamentary deputies leaving. Under the merger, which is due to take effect
next March, KDS leader and Education Minister Ivan Pilip will become a deputy
chairman of the ODS. A third right-wing party, the extraparliamentary Club of
Committed Non-Party Members (KAN), narrowly voted not to follow the KDS's
example. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER REJECTS HUNGARIAN PROTEST OVER LANGUAGE LAW.
Juraj Schenk on 17 November called criticism of Slovakia's new language law by
his Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs, an "incorrect" interference in the
internal affairs of a sovereign country, Slovenska republika reported
the following day. The Hungarian government expressed "sorrow and
dissatisfaction" with the law passed by the Slovak parliament on 15 November
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 and 17 November 1995). In a statement, Schenk
said the language law was adopted by a clear majority of both coalition and
opposition deputies, demonstrating "a de facto consensus on the
political scene in the Slovak Republic." -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS RE-ELECT LEADER.
Former Prime Minister Jan
Carnogursky was re-elected chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH)
at the party's weekend congress in Nitra, Slovak dailies reported on 20
November. Delegates also adopted a declaration sharply critical of the
governing coalition. It said that Slovakia faces the danger of nationalism and
that false appeals to patriotism by the governing parties are violating the
principles of democracy. Meanwhile, former Czechoslovak Interior Minister Jan
Langos--who represents the KDH in the Slovak parliament--was elected chairman
of the non-parliamentary Democratic Party. He received 167 votes at the party's
congress in Zvolen and unseated Peter Osusky, who won 46 votes. -- Steve
HUNGARIAN NATO REFERENDUM TO BE CALLED SOON.
Hungarian newspapers on 17
November reported that the non- parliamentary Workers' Party has gathered more
than the required 100,000 valid signatures for a referendum on NATO membership.
After the drive to collect signatures got under way, the government said it was
too early to call a referendum and that it would make such a move only after
Hungary had been invited to join NATO and when there was more certainty about
the costs and criteria for membership. It is now obliged to call a referendum
by the end of February. A decision must still be taken over whether the
referendum will simply ask for opinions or decide whether Hungary is to apply
for membership. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN MINORITIES ELECT LOCAL LEADERS.
Hungary's ethnic minorities on
19 November voted in the second round of elections for representatives to 172
semi-autonomous minority authorities, Hungarian media reported. More than 2.5
million people (out of a total population of 10.4 million) were eligible to
vote in the election, which was carried out among 11 of the country's 13 ethnic
minorities. The Ukrainian and Serbian minorities did not vote since all their
representatives were elected in the first round of the minority elections last
December. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN HUNGARY.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, during his
official visit to Budapest on 17 November, met with Hungarian politicians to
discuss relations with Russia, regional cooperation, and integration into the
EU and NATO. Bartoszewski was received by Hungarian President Arpad Goncz,
Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, among others, Rzeczpospolita reported on
18 November. Bartoszewski and Kovacs stressed that they are strategic partners
both in regional cooperation and in Euroatlantic integration efforts. --
Dagmar Mroziewicz and Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 226, 20 November 1995
LAST DAY FOR DAYTON TALKS.
International media on 20 November reported
that a "public event" would take place at 15:00 GMT in Dayton, Ohio, the same
day. The BBC said there would be either a signing of a draft Bosnian peace
agreement or a press conference to announce why the talks had failed. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman returned to Dayton from Zagreb and told reporters
before leaving that he expected there would be something to sign. Croatian
Television on 19 November also said that a constitutional agreement had been
reached in Dayton to allow the Croats and Muslims ties with Croatia, while the
Bosnian Serbs could have "parallel links" to Serbia but could not secede from
the Bosnian state. The BBC quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as
saying that his people would demand either independence or incorporation into a
greater Serbian state, but AFP cited him as being more resigned to a less than
"full realization of our objectives." -- Patrick Moore
ZUBAK, SACIRBEY OFFER RESIGNATIONS.
But it appears to be territorial
rather than constitutional questions that have been blocking a
breakthrough--including the status of Sarajevo and the Muslim enclaves of
eastern Bosnia and especially the widening of the Posavina corridor linking
Serbia with its conquests in the Banja Luka area. Croats and Muslims
demonstrated in Sarajevo on 19 November to oppose any concessions, but
international media stated that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic is under
intense pressure from Washington and its allies to yield. Novi list on
20 November reported that Croat-Muslim federation President Kresimir Zubak has
offered his resignation in a bitter protest at what he and his fellow Bosnian
Croats consider a sellout by Zagreb and the Herzegovinian Croats. CNN stated on
18 November that Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey has submitted his
resignation to make room for a Croat in that post, but the BBC said he wanted
to protest what he considered to be too many concessions at Dayton on Bosnia's
unity and sovereignty. -- Patrick Moore
BELGRADE HELPS REBUILD BOSNIAN SERB MILITARY.
Belgrade appears to have
reneged on a promise not to help the Bosnian Serbs rebuild vital military
infrastructure destroyed by NATO air raids, according to The New York
Times on 18 November. Rump Yugoslav military personnel have reportedly
helped reconstruct communications links and rebuild air defense systems. AFP,
citing confidential reports dated 30 October, noted that UN military observers
have detected "regular flights of military transport aircraft and helicopters
into Banja Luka at night." Meanwhile, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has
reiterated at the Dayton talks that his intention was and is to end assistance
to the Bosnian Serbs in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions
against the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich
IS THERE A SOLUTION FOR KOSOVO IN THE OFFING?
Gazeta Shqiptare on
18 November quoted the Kosovar weekly Bujku as reporting that a plan is
circulating among European diplomats that foresees the demilitarization of
Kosovo, the withdrawal of Serbian police, and the organization of democratic
elections under international supervision. The first stage of the plan foresees
an international conference on Kosovo. Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim
Rugova has proposed a similar plan, but it is unclear if Belgrade would agree
to it. Meanwhile, Albanian President Sali Berisha said there can be no just and
stable peace in former Yugoslavia without a solution for Kosovo. International
agencies quoted him as saying on 17 November that "ignoring the issue of Kosovo
means that we shall face a permanent danger of explosion in the southern
Balkans." -- Fabian Schmidt
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT RETURNS TO WORK.
AFP on 17 November reported that
Kiro Gligorov held talks with Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and
parliamentary speaker Stojan Andov, who had been acting president since the
assassination attempt on 3 October. Gligorov, who sustained serious injuries in
the attack, is continuing his rehabilitation at home. But according to the
President's Office, he "is already carrying out part of his current duties." --
ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE WARNS OF ISLAMIC THREAT.
For the second
consecutive year, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) warned in its annual
report to the parliament that Islamic fundamentalist groups active in Romania
pose a growing threat. According to Reuters on 17 November, the SRI report
lists several Middle Eastern extremist groups, including the Palestinian Hamas,
the Iran-backed Hezbollah and the Popular and Democratic Front of Palestine.
The report, which is due to be presented to the parliament this week, says
these organizations are attempting to recruit members from among Romania's
large expatriate Muslim community. -- Michael Shafir
ROMANIA, UKRAINE MAKE LITTLE PROGRESS ON TREATY.
Romanian and Ukrainian
negotiators, meeting in Bucharest on 17-18 November, made little progress in
unblocking the path to a basic treaty, Romanian media and Reuters reported. The
treaty talks stalled in late October over long-standing territorial disputes
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 October 1995), including the issue of the
Black Sea Serpent Island, which Bucharest transferred to the Soviet Union in a
secret deal that is now questioned by the Romanians. Romanian First Deputy
Foreign Minister Marcel Dinu said Bucharest and Kiev have also to negotiate
articles on national minorities. No date has been set for resuming treaty
negotiations. -- Matyas Szabo
MOLDOVA PROTESTS RUSSIAN DUMA "INTERFERENCE" . . .
Moldova on 17
November protested the Russian State Duma's "interference" in Chisinau's
internal affairs, Moldovan and international agencies reported the same day.
The protest follows a resolution--proposed by a deputy from Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party and passed by the Russian parliament's
lower chamber--urging President Boris Yeltsin to declare the separatist
Transdniestrian region a "zone of strategic Russian interest." The resolution
also said Yeltsin should "consider the possibility of convening a tripartite
Russian-Moldovan-Transdniestrian summit to discuss the recognition of
Transdniester as an independent, sovereign state." Moldovan President Mircea
Snegur, in a letter to Yeltsin, said the resolution was an "unfriendly act" and
a "direct interference in Moldovan internal affairs." He expressed the hope
that Yeltsin will use all his powers to put an end to "efforts by conservative
forces" to upset the process of resolving the Transdniestrian conflict. --
. . . WHILE RUSSIA SAYS ITS POSITION REMAINS UNCHANGED.
A spokesman for
the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responding to the Duma resolution,
said his country's position toward the settlement of the Transdniestrian
conflict "has not changed," BASA-press reported on 18 November. He said talks
between Chisinau and Tiraspol would eventually lead to granting the breakaway
region a "special status" that preserves "Moldova's territorial integrity and
independence." A settlement of the conflict, he added would also lead to
"deeper cooperation between Moldova and other CIS states." -- Michael
BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO RUN FOR SECOND TERM.
Zhelyu Zhelev, in an
interview with Bulgarian TV on 18 November, said he will seek re-election in
early 1997, Bulgarian newspapers reported. Zhelev explained that he was
concerned about the "blocking of reforms, social and political tension, [and]
signs of isolation and distrust in the country." He said he will "rely on all
democratic forces" for his reelection. The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS),
which supported Zhelev in the last presidential elections, has not made its
position clear. SDS caucus leader Yordan Sokolov said SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov
would be the best candidate, while Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski said the
presidential candidate should be nominated by the SDS and the vice president by
the People's Union (NS). NS co-leaders Stefan Savov and Anastasiya
Dimitrova-Mozer said they will support Zhelev, and ethnic Turkish Movement for
Rights and Freedom Chairman Ahmet Dogan said his party "leans toward Zhelev."
-- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS WANT TO INVALIDATE MAYORAL ELECTION.
Socialist Party (BSP) on 17 November asked the Kardzhali City Court to
invalidate the election of Rasim Musa as mayor of Kardzhali, international
agencies reported the same day. Musa, who ran as a candidate of the ethnic
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, won the run-off on 12 November against
BSP-backed Georgi Georgiev. According to the BSP, 731 people from neighboring
constituencies voted illegally in Kardzhali. Musa won by a margin of 658 votes.
A MRF statement accused the BSP of trying to create ethnic tension in the
ethnically mixed region, adding that "any attempt to invalidate the election
results in Kardzhali in a Balkan manner will return like a boomerang on
Bulgaria and its people." -- Stefan Krause
TURKEY TO HAVE EARLY ELECTIONS.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has
rejected a petition blocking parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 December,
thereby paving the way for early elections on that date, Turkish and Western
media reported on 18 November. The petition was submitted by 93 opposition
deputies who challenged the legitimacy of the new election law and claimed
there was insufficient time to prepare for the ballot. The court also
invalidated provisions of the new election law on creating electoral districts
for 100 new members of parliament. The final decision on the election date is
to be to the taken by the electoral commission. -- Lowell Bezanis
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave