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Newsline - November 21, 1995

OMRI Daily Digest 21 November 1995
Vol. 1, No. 227, 21 November 1995

Copyright (c) 1995, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.


Constitutional Court refused to consider an appeal by more than 100 State Duma
deputies and the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the
electoral law, Russian Public Television reported 20 November. The petitioners
argued that the law's 5% barrier violates the constitution as it will deny
political representation to a significant part of the population. The Chairman
of the court, Vladimir Tumanov, told journalists that he was not yet ready to
explain the reasons for the court's decision. By declining the case, the court
has continued its policy of avoiding political conflict. -- Robert Orttung

REACTION TO THE COURT'S DECISION. Presidential Press Secretary Sergei
Medvedev said that the Constitutional Court's decision not to review the
electoral law "does not remove the high level of tension created by doubts
about the quality of the Duma electoral law." He suggested that the court was
leaving it up to the Duma to change the law, ITAR-TASS reported. The leaders of
Russia's Democratic Choice, the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic
Party supported the court's decision. The status quo helps the larger parties
because they are more likely to clear the barrier. Russian Television commented
that any attempts to change the law a month before the elections would only
serve the interests of those who want to postpone them. Declaring the 5%
barrier unconstitutional would undermine the legitimacy of the current Duma,
since it was elected with this provision. -- Robert Orttung

Staff Sergei Filatov announced 20 November that all employees of the
presidential administration who are running for the Duma have taken leave as of
15 November, Russian Television reported. According to Rossiiskie vesti
on 18 November, they are competing on a variety of lists including Russia's
Democratic Choice, the Inter-ethnic Union, the Federal Democratic Movement, and
For the Motherland!, which includes Black Sea Fleet Commander Eduard Baltin and
former Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Polevanov. The presidential
representatives to Russia's regions are also on a variety slates including Our
Home is Russia, Bloc 89, Social-Democrats, Bloc of Independents, and Sergei
Shakhrai's Party of Russian Unity and Concord, which split from Our Home is
Russia on 30 August. -- Robert Orttung

deputy leader of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), said he would
probably run for president in 1996, ITAR-TASS and Radio Mayak reported on 20
November. Lebed said that his decision would depend on the KRO's results in the
December parliamentary elections. He also said that there is no split in the
KRO leadership over the candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections.
The day before, NTV reported that KRO's number one on the party list, Yurii
Skokov, was planning to contest the presidential elections himself, and
suggested that the leaders' ambitions might cause tensions within the bloc (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 20 November 1995). On 15 November, Radio Mayak
reported that Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii confirmed that he would also
run, though he described the elections as "virtually tantamount to electing a
tsar." -- Anna Paretskaya

the Communist Party, hailed the victory of Aleksandr Kwasniewski, the
presidential candidate of the post-communist Polish left, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 20 November. "Across Europe there is a movement to the
left, and this is taking place here [in Russia] as well," Zyuganov added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Krylov expressed hope that Kwasniewski's
election would trigger improvement in Russian-Polish relations. Defeated
incumbent Lech Walesa distrusted Russia, and some in Moscow hope that
Kwasnieski will be more flexible on issues of importance to Russia, like NATO
expansion. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN PRESS ON POLISH ELECTIONS. The results of Poland's presidential
election also attracted attention in the Russian press on 21 November, as
analysts looked for parallels with the ongoing Russian parliamentary campaign.
The Communist daily Pravda tried to generalize from the Polish outcome,
attributing Walesa's defeat to his "failed attempt to play the worn-out
anti-communist card." Liberal and centrist papers, however, said Kwasniewski
had beaten Walesa because of factors specific to the Polish election,
suggesting that its results would not be duplicated in Russia. Nezavisimaya
gazeta said he had skillfully capitalized on accusations of tax evasion
against Walesa, while Izvestiya and Segodnya noted that
Kwasniewski's party was significantly different in orientation that Genadii
Zyuganov's Russian Communist Party, adding that Kwasniewski's victory "would
not stop "the construction of capitalism in Poland." -- Laurie Belin and Scott

announced on 20 November that Russia has fulfilled its overall obligations
under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE), ITAR-TASS reported.
During the 40-month reduction period provided by the 19 November 1990 treaty,
Russia decommissioned 3,188 tanks, 5,419 APC's, 660 artillery pieces, 1,029
military planes, and 99 combat helicopters. Almost 70 inspection groups are to
visit Russia to verify the final arms levels. Although Russia has complied with
the overall limits in the treaty, it is in violation of its "flank limits," on
which talks are continuing. On the same day, a Turkish spokesman urged Russia
to comply with all aspects of the CFE treaty as Turkey had. -- Constantine
Dmitriev and Doug Clarke

council approved a framework for future ties with Russia on 20 November,
Western and Russian agencies reported. The document says that "good relations"
between Russia and the EU are essential to "stability in Europe," and says
Russia should be included in discussions of a future European security order.
It also pledged that the EU will develop a "genuine partnership" with Russia;
push for Russia's rapid admission to the Council of Europe; support the Russian
application to the World Trade Organization; and implement the interim
EU-Russia trade agreement signed on 17 July. However, Russian-EU textile talks
broke off without agreement on 15 November, amid Russian charges of EU
protectionism. -- Scott Parrish

Yeltsin has called on State Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin to adopt a federal law on
a civilian service alternative to military service, Interfax reported on 20
November. The law was approved on its first reading last December but has yet
to be passed. The Ministry of Defense supports alternative service only on
religious grounds and demands that conscientious objectors serve in auxiliary
military units and spend two or three times longer than military conscripts. --
Doug Clarke

governor of Primorsk Krai, Yevgenii Nazdratenko, threw two Japanese reporters
out of his office and confiscated their camera when they took a photograph of
him, Izvestiya reported on 21 November. He complained that the
questions, which the journalists from Hokkaido Shimbun had submitted in
advance, were "insulting." Nazdrantenko, who was appointed governor in May
1993, is running for election to that post on 17 December. -- Peter Rutland

ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES STOLEN. Members of the Interior Ministry's Organized
Crime Department seized two Russian Stinger-type rocket launchers and 135
anti-aircraft missiles from two "unemployed persons of no fixed abode" in the
capital last weekend, Interfax reported on 20 November. Illegal arms dealing in
Russia is rampant because of regional conflicts, lax security, and corruption
within the military. -- Penny Morvant

MINERS, TEACHERS STRIKE. Miners at the Yuzhnaya pit in Vorkuta, which is
scheduled for closure in 1996, are striking to protest delays in the payment of
their wages, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 November. Miners at the pit have not been
paid since July, although the average delay in wage payments in the Vorkutaugol
company has fallen to less than a month owing to the more rapid payment of
state subsidies. Meanwhile, about 3,000 education workers in Amursk in
Khabarovsk Krai went on strike on 20 November to protest wage arrears and
inadequate funding for education. According to Pravda of 21 November,
the Trade Union of Science and Education Workers has called a national strike
for 14-15 December to press for increased government expenditure on education.
-- Penny Morvant

ALTAI WORKERS PAID IN MATCHES. Workers at the Barnaul Match Factory in
Altai Krai each received 5,000 boxes of matches in place of their salary before
being sent on administrative leave for two weeks, ITAR-TASS reported on 21
November. The factory is facing a shortage of cardboard for matchboxes and is
in financial difficulties. In recent years, many firms have been forced to pay
their staff in kind, because of interenterprise debt and delays in payments
from the state. -- Penny Morvant

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS RESULTS. In the first half of 1995 Russia paid off $1.7
billion of her external debts, whose overall total nevertheless rose by $2
billion because of non-payment of interest, Ekonomika i zhizn reported
in issue no. 46. New credits amounted to $2.8 billion, of which $1.7 billion
came through the IMF stand-by facility. Segodnya reported on 16 November
that in the first nine months of the year official foreign currency reserves
rose to $10.9 billion and gold reserves to $2.5 billion. Thus there is still no
sign of the receipts from Russia's healthy trade surplus being used to repay
her external debts. -- Peter Rutland

FATE OF BUDGET STILL UNCLEAR. In addition to approving the budget on first
reading on 17 November, the Duma passed a number of measures which call into
question the revenue expectations of the draft budget, Kommersant Daily
noted on 18 November. Tax privileges for small businesses and joint-stock
company reserves were restored, and VAT was reduced on construction work and on
certain types of foodstuffs (from 20 to 10%). These steps will cut revenues by
10.2 trillion rubles ($2.25 billion). In addition, the 4.5 trillion rubles of
additional spending which was the price the Duma extracted for its positive
vote will need to be covered by additional revenues. -- Peter Rutland and
Natasha Gurushina

SOLZHENITSYN ESSAYS PUBLISHED. For the first time a collection of Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn's non-fiction essays is being published in Russia, ITAR-TASS
reported on 18 November. The book includes 200 pieces, such as his speeches at
Harvard University and when accepting the Nobel Prize. Further volumes are to
follow. The editor, the author's wife Natalya Solzhenitsyna, described it as
more comprehensive than the English-language collections already available. It
is being published by the Upper Volga Publishing House, with a print run of
only 10,000 copies. -- Peter Rutland

OMRI Daily Digest 21 November 1995
Vol. 1, No. 227, 21 November 1995

Copyright (c) 1995, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.


UPDATE ON AZERBAIJAN ELECTIONS. The Azerbaijan Central Electoral Commission
has endorsed 72 of the 100 deputies to the new parliament elected in
single-candidate constituencies, Interfax reported. The successful candidates
include the son, son-in-law and a brother of President Heidar Aliev; forty are
members of Aliev's Yeni Azerbaycan party. According to Turan, the list is
virtually identical to one circulated before the elections by former
presidential advisor Nemat Panakhov containing names of persons he claimed had
been selected in advance to be parliament deputies. The CEC also stated that
91.9 percent of participating voters had voted in favor of the new
constitution. -- Liz Fuller

KAZAKHSTANI PREMIER IN BRITAIN Kazakhstani Prime Minister Akezhan
Kazhegeldin addressed an EBRD-sponsored conference on Kazakhstan at the
beginning of his four day official visit to Britain, ITAR-TASS reported on 20
November. Kazhegeldin highlighted Kazakhstan's achievements in bringing down
inflation from 3,000% in 1993 to 1,250% in 1994. In a bid to woo British
investment, he highlighted Kazakhstan's 15-month economic program adopted in
mid-1994, which entails a restructuring of economic enterprises, formation of
new market institutions, and "undertaking harsh anti-inflationary measures as
well as unpopular price liberalization." -- Bhavna Dave

CRIME IN UZBEKISTAN. Uzbek Prosecutor-General Buritosh Mustafayev claimed
that Uzbekistan has the lowest crime rate in the CIS, reports the BBC on 19
November. Mustafayev stated that "law enforcement organs fully control the
situation in Uzbekistan," thanks to a 30% increase in governmental support this
past year. At the same time, Uzbek forces are teaming up with investigators
from Kazakhstan to solve a crime that took place on their shared border.
Sixteen bodies were discovered in the Keles River on 16 November.
Kazakhstanskaya pravda, as cited by the BBC, notes that no motives or
suspects have been identified. -- Roger Kangas

OMRI Daily Digest 21 November 1995
Vol. 1, No. 227, 21 November 1995

Copyright (c) 1995, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.


official results of the 19 November run-off election, Democratic Left Alliance
leader Aleksander Kwasniewski won 51.72% of the vote, while incumbent president
Lech Walesa received 48.28%. Turnout was put at 68.23%. Kwasniewski won in 34
provinces, mostly in northern and western Poland, while Walesa was successful
in 15, mostly in the southeast of the country. Speaking immediately after the
official results were released, Kwasniewski said there are more things uniting
Poles than separating them. Acknowledging Walesa's "indisputable place in
history," he promised to pursue the path of reform and reiterated the goal that
Poland join NATO and the EU, Polish and international media reported (See
related stories in Russian section). -- Jakub Karpinski

Yevhen Marchuk told a government meeting on 20 November that he has asked
Minister of Coal Industry Viktor Poltavets and State Committee on the Use of
Nuclear Energy Chairman Myhkailo Umanets to resign, Ukrainian TV and Reuters
reported the same day. Marchuk said both officials' lack of initiative to begin
restructuring the coal and nuclear energy industries has exacerbated the crisis
in the energy sector. By firing Poltavets, Marchuk also met another demand made
by coal miners, whose strike last week forced the government to pay 5 trillion
of the 20 trillion karbovantsi it owes them in wage arrears. The premier
promised that no new money will be printed and no new taxes introduced to
settle the debt, but he gave no details on the source of the funds. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

carried a speech by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in which he denied that his media
policies amounted to heavy-handed censorship. The president said he was willing
to support "media that worked constructively" and gave as an example the TV
company Myr, which, he said, is "working toward the consolidation of [the CIS]
countries and peoples." Referring to the newspapers he had closed down for
"twisting facts," Lukashenka challenged them to take him to court and prove
they had not been "unconstructive." -- Ustina Markus

beginning of a three-day tour of the Baltic States, met with Estonian President
Lennart Meriin in Tallinn on 19 November. The next day he discussed with Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi military cooperation and NATO membership. He noted that NATO
expansion was a long process and that new member states would have to fulfill
five criteria: democratization, a free market economy, civilian control of the
army, military training according to NATO standards, and good relations with
neighbors, BNS reported. Perry then flew to Vilnius for talks with President
Algirdas Brazauskas and Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius. On 21 November ,
Perry travels to Riga for meetings with Latvia's leaders. -- Saulius Girnius

Christian Democratic Party convened for its annual conference in Vilnius on
18-19 November, BNS reported the next day. Former Foreign Minister Algirdas
Saudargas was elected party chairman, replacing Povilas Katilius, who was
elected chairman of the party's board. The conference adopted a party manifesto
proposing that democracy in Lithuania be based on Christian values, advocating
a social market economy rather than socialism or liberal "laissez faire"
capitalism. The manifesto rejects "any plans to have our country play the role
of middleman between East and West" and supports Lithuanian membership in the
EU and NATO. -- Saulius Girnius

Court has failed to decide who owns St. Vitus Cathedral and other buildings in
Prague Castle claimed by the Catholic Church, Mlada fronta dnes reported
on 21 November. The court decided to return the case to the lower court that 11
months ago ruled that the cathedral was illegally nationalized by the communist
regime in the 1950s and should be returned to the Church. After a public
outcry, based on the medieval cathedral's being a national monument that should
remain in public hands, President Vaclav Havel's office appealed the decision.
The district court judged that there were several procedural errors in the
lower court's ruling. "It is no joy that the question of ownership is being
dragged out," said Miloslav Fiala, spokesman of the Czech Bishops Conference.
"But we will respect the decision," he added. -- Steve Kettle

CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK TV BROADCAST. Jan Havlat, the lawyer who represents
both Michal Kovac Jr. and Martin Syc-Mily in the Technopol fraud case, on 20
November sent a letter of complaint to Slovak Television (STV), Sme
reported. Havlat complained about STV's prime time broadcast on 18 November of
a 20-minute statement by Peter Krylov, who was jailed in Munich in connection
with the Technopol case. Krylov accused Kovac Jr., Syc-Mily, and others of
organizing the fraud; he also gave their full names and explained details of
the case. Havlat criticized STV for violating the principle of "presumption of
innocence" (neither Kovac Jr. nor Syc-Mily has been formally charged in
Slovakia), and he demanded that his clients be allowed to air their views
during the same time slot. Dusan Kerny, editor-in-chief of STV's main news
program, promised to broadcast the responses of Havlat's clients. -- Sharon

SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The parliament on 20 November approved
Prosecutor-General Michal Valo's request that the ban on divulging information
about the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) be lifted, Narodna obroda
reported. The request was made to the chairman and members of the parliamentary
Separate Control Organ (OKO)--which was set up in November 1994 to oversee the
SIS--in connection with a report OKO presented to the parliament on 5 May. On
the basis of the report, the parliament passed a vote of no confidence in
President Michal Kovac. Also on 20 November, the parliament failed to approve
the first version of a bill on anti-communist resistance, which was submitted
by the opposition Christian Democratic Movement. A second version, put forward
by the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, will be discussed at the next
session. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RESPONDS TO SLOVAK ACCUSATIONS. Laszlo Kovacs on 18 November dismissed the Slovak claim that Hungary has interfered in Slovakia's internal affairs (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 November 1995). He told MTI that the Hungarian government's stance on Slovakia's new language law cannot be described as interference, since international agreements specify that the issue of minority rights is not simply a domestic affair. In a heated parliamentary debate on foreign policy, Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn on 20 November said that the Slovak language law and the Romanian education law are not conducive to achieving advanced democracies. As regards the Slovak language law, the Hungarian government will make its views known at international forums, he said. Horn added that the government will appeal to those heads of state who welcomed the Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty before the Paris conference on stability last spring. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

results of the Hungarian minority elections on 19 November, 138 minority local
governments were elected across the country, Hungarian media reported. The
Central Registration and Election Office reported that only 40,000 of the 2.5
million eligible voters--or 1.73%--cast their ballots. Sixty-one Roma councils
were elected, 38 German, and 13 Slovak. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN TV CHIEF RESIGNS. Adam Horvath resigned as president of Hungarian
Television (MTV) on 20 November, saying he could not stay in his current
position if the media bill is passed by parliament, Magyar Hirlap
reported. MTV Vice President Ferenc Szekely will run MTV until a new president
is elected. MTV officials attributed Horvath's resignation to several
discriminatory provisions in the media bill, primarily the restrictions placed
on the president's powers during the transitional period. The media bill was
submitted to the parliament on 17 November and is expected to be passed this
year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

OMRI Daily Digest 21 November 1995
Vol. 1, No. 227, 21 November 1995

Copyright (c) 1995, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.


DAYTON DEADLINES COME AND GO. Two "last-chance" deadlines declared by the
U.S. State Department came and went on November 20-21, and still no peace
agreement was announced. The BBC said that the three groups of "Yugoslavs
called the Americans' bluff." Regional and international media stressed that
the problem remains territorial issues, specifically the Posavina corridor in
the north and the status of Sarajevo. The Bosnian and Serbian delegations at
different points each had their respective aircraft's engines started, and
German media said that only a telephone call from President Bill Clinton
dissuaded his Croatian counterpart, Franjo Tudjman, from leaving as well. The
final deadline passed after a late night marathon session. -- Patrick Moore

HAVE THE TALKS DIED? State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said that
"these talks have not failed. The negotiators continue to negotiate." Bosnian
Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey, however, said the talks had indeed
collapsed. Off the record, unnamed U.S. officials also told news agencies they
were pessimistic. The BBC quoted Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as telling
Bosnian Radio on 21 November that the talks were in a crisis but had not
failed. Speculation now centers on the possibility of continuing discussions in
Dayton for an unspecified length of time or holding them at some future date
elsewhere, such as Paris. The Dayton round has dragged on for three weeks amid
Spartan living conditions and a virtual news blackout. Tudjman has twice left
on business and returned. The problem remains that core issues are unsettled
and that no side has been totally defeated on the battlefield and hence forced
to negotiate a settlement. -- Patrick Moore

Novi list reported on 21 November that an unidentified Bosnian Muslim
was arrested in the Netherlands on 15 November at the request of the
Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The man
is suspected of having killed a large number of Bosnian Serb civilians while
serving with the Bosnian Croat army, and he is expected to be formally charged
within a month. Of the 52 men indicted for war crimes to date, 45 are Serbs,
including Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic. The
remaining seven are Croats; but to date, apart from the unidentified Bosnian
Muslim, only one of the 52 has been arrested, namely the Serbian prison guard
Dusko Tadic. Croatia wants some Muslims charged with war crimes for atrocities
committed against Croatian civilians in 1991 when the Muslims in question were
serving with the rump Yugoslav army. -- Patrick Moore

and Serbian foreign ministers have signed an accord in Dayton on the immediate
release of all detainees as a part of a general agreement on prisoners and
missing persons, Reuters reported on 20 November. According to unofficial
estimates, more than 10,000 Croats have been missing since 1991. An
investigation is to be launched into the fate of those still unaccounted for.
In another development, Minister for Refugees Adalbert Rebic announced his
resignation owing to "numerous obligations elsewhere," Slobodna
Dalmacija reported the next day. -- Daria Sito Sucic

news agency SRNA on 19 November reported that Borisav Jovic, the chairman of
the rump Yugoslav legislature's Foreign Policy Committee, said Belgrade is not
prepared to turn over accused war criminals to the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Jovic said that sending accused criminals
to the Hague to face charges would violate the rump Yugoslav constitution,
which purportedly stipulates that rump Yugoslav nationals may not be handed to
a "foreign" tribunal. Jovic did, however, reiterate Belgrade's official line on
war crimes, observing that "we oppose them, and we will prosecute criminals if
there are any." * Stan Markotich

at the National Convention of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) in
Bucharest on 17 November, PUNR chairman Gheorghe Funar proposed that the
chauvinist Greater Romania Party (PRM) join the National Unity Bloc (BUN),
which includes the PUNR, the Democratic Agrarian Party, and the Romanian
Ecologist Movement. Addressing the gathering, PRM chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor
said there has never been any conflict between the two parties. Curierul
national on 18 November wrote that Funar told the PUNR gathering that his
party has no intention of leaving the alliance with the PDSR. Also on 18
November, Funar was re-elected chairman of the PUNR. He accused President Ion
Iliescu of attempting to stage his ouster. Presidential spokesman Traian
Chebeleu on 20 November rejected the accusation. -- Michael Shafir

STOCK EXCHANGE OPENS IN BUCHAREST. Romania's first stock exchange since
World War II opened on 20 November in Bucharest, Radio Bucharest and
international agencies reported. A total of seven companies were quoted at the
opening session, with five more due to appear in the near future, exchange
officials said. Of the seven listed companies, only one is completely in
private hands; the Romanian state still holds a 70% stake in the other six. The
opening of a stock exchange was one of the conditions set by IMF for the
granting of new credits to Romania. Initially, it will operate only once a
week. -- Matyas Szabo

SNEGUR SAYS SUMMIT MEETING "QUESTIONABLE." At a meeting with head of the
OSCE Permanent Mission to Moldova Michael Wygant, President Mircea Snegur
welcomed the decision to prolong the mission and the "firm position of most
OSCE members at a recent meeting in Vienna in support of Moldova's efforts to
remove Russian troops from its territory." Snegur said his next meeting with
Igor Smirnov, scheduled for 29 November, was now "questionable" because the
Tiraspol leadership is seeking help from the Russian State Duma and requesting
the recognition of "their illegitimate, self-proclaimed republic." He added
that the "Tiraspol leaders are taking their time, are waiting for the results
of the parliamentary elections in Russia and, in fact, are grossly violating
our earlier agreements." The Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on all
UN and OSCE members to express disapproval of the Duma's resolution on the
Transdniestrian problem, Infotag reported on 20 November. -- Michael

Karolos Papoulias, and Hennadii Udovenko met in Sofia on 20 November to discuss
possible cooperation between their countries, Reuters reported the same day.
They agreed to boost cooperation in regional transportation,
telecommunications, and natural gas and oil pipeline projects "through
coordinated initiatives." In separate talks with Papoulias and Udovenko,
Pirinski discussed joint participation in rebuilding the war-battered former
Yugoslav republics. Udovenko and Pirinski also signed a trade and economic
cooperation agreement. Also on 20 November, Greek President Kostis
Stephanopoulos arrived for a three-day state visit and met with Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev to discuss the situation in the former Yugoslavia and
bilateral relations. -- Stefan Krause

Resources and Energy Minister Abdyl Xhaja, more than 440 million tons of
oil-deposits have been discovered in the regions of Durres, Patos, and Tirana,
AFP reported on 21 November. Contracts for exploitation have reportedly been
signed with Shell, OMV, BHP, OXY, and Agip, which had invested more than $100
million dollars over the past two years in on- and off-shore prospecting. The
firms are expecting to spend another $60 million in 1996. Current on-shore
production of an estimated 1,200 barrels a day could shortly rise to 20,000
barrels. More than 200 foreign firms have been asked to study production
possibilities. -- Fabian Schmidt

STOCK MARKET TO OPEN IN ALBANIA. Albanian Finance Minister Dylber Vrioni
said a stock market will open in March 1996, Reuters reported on 20 November.
It will trade shares in Albania's recently privatized companies. The government
is preparing to set up a register of shares. So far, 20 holding companies have
been privatized through the sale of vouchers; and there are now 4,068
shareholders in Albania, of whom 2,700 are employees of the privatized
companies. According to Vrioni, another 25 enterprises will be privatized soon.
Rothschild Bank, Greek Alfa Financing, Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and a
Bulgarian group have already requested information on Albanian investment
funds. A minimum of $20,000 is required to set up an investment fund, and
foreigners may own no more than 50%. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave

Copyright (c) 1995, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1211-1570