CHECHENS RELEASE HOSTAGES, LEAVE KIZLYAR.
After all-night negotiations
with prominent Dagestani officials, a group of Chechen militants occupying a
hospital in the town of Kizlyar withdrew their demands and released the
majority of their estimated 3,000 hostages on 10 January, ITAR-TASS and Western
agencies reported. The group of several hundred militants, under the command of
Salman Raduev, left for Chechnya with 160 people, including Dagestani
government officials who volunteered to take the place of the hostages.
Earlier, Raduev had extended his original demand, saying Russian forces should
withdraw from the entire North Caucasus, not just from Chechnya and Dagestan.
He also requested that Russian leaders hold a face-to-face meeting with Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev, who is related to him by marriage, according to
ITAR-TASS. The pro-Moscow Chechen government issued a statement on 9 January
condemning the hostage taking and expressing sympathy with the residents of
Kizlyar, Interfax reported. -- Liz Fuller
RUSSIAN POLITICIANS BLAME GOVERNMENT FOR KIZLYAR.
politicians attributed the hostage crisis in the Kizlyar to the failed policy
of the Russian government in Chechnya, NTV reported on 10 January. Duma deputy
and human rights activist Sergei Kovalev said that Kizlyar is the "logical
result of government policy in Chechnya," including the recent "farcical"
elections for Chechen leader. Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii urged
President Yeltsin to end the conflict by negotiating the full withdrawal of
Russian troops from the republic with Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. A
political commentary on Ekho Moskvy blamed the Kizlyar events on the
government's "ostrich-like tactics of neither war, nor peace" in Chechnya. --
PRIMAKOV APPOINTED FOREIGN MINISTER.
President Boris Yeltsin appointed
the current director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Yevgenii
Primakov, as Foreign Minister on 9 January, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Primakov, 66, is a Middle Eastern expert. He has served as director
of the Soviet and then Russian foreign intelligence services since September
1991, when Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev appointed him to the position.
Before 1991, Primakov served as a foreign policy adviser to Gorbachev, often
serving as an advance man in the preparation of summit meetings with Western
leaders. He is notorious for his role in Gorbachev's February 1991 efforts to
mediate the Persian Gulf crisis, in which Primakov tried to make use of his
long-standing acquaintance with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. From 1985-1989,
Primakov was director of the Institute for World Economy and International
Relations and one of the architects of Gorbachev's "new thinking." -- Scott
REACTION TO PRIMAKOV APPOINTMENT.
Primakov's appointment met with
approval in Moscow but evoked a guarded response from Western capitals, Russian
and Western agencies reported on 9 January. U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher said he expected to have a good relationship with Primakov, noting
there is no "reason for me to prejudge the situation." But anonymous officials
in Washington expressed surprise and concern at the appointment, Reuters
reported. Primakov is regarded as much less sympathetic to Western interests
than his predecessor because of his current position as head of foreign
intelligence and his close ties with Middle Eastern leaders, acquired during
his years as a journalist and academic studying the region. Vladimir Lukin,
chairman of the Duma International Affairs Committee, welcomed Primakov's
appointment, saying "he understands what Russia's real priorities are."
Independent foreign policy analyst Andrei Kortunov described Primakov as
"pragmatic" but said "he is not a liberal in the Kozyrev sense." -- Scott
YELTSIN APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER.
President Yeltsin appointed
a new deputy prime minister on 9 January, bringing the number of Viktor
Chernomyrdin's deputies back to eight following the resignation on 5 January of
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai. The new appointee, the little known
Vladimir Kinelev, is chairman of the State Committee for Higher Education.
According to ITAR-TASS, Kinelev was born in 1945 and is a graduate of the
prestigious Bauman Higher Technical School in Moscow. He obtained his first
senior state post in 1990, becoming first deputy chairman of the RSFSR State
Committee for Science and Higher Schools. From 1992 until the Science Ministry
was reorganized in April 1993, he served as first deputy minister of science
and technical policy. He then obtained the new post of Higher Education State
Committee chairman. -- Penny Morvant
CHERNOMYRDIN: CABINET CHANGES NOT CONNECTED TO ELECTION RESULTS.
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said recent cabinet changes are only designed "to
make the government work better" and "have no relation to the elections to the
State Duma," ITAR-TASS reported on 10 January. Since the elections, Deputy
Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev have
resigned their posts to serve in the Duma. Neither were members of the prime
minister's bloc, Our Home Is Russia (NDR), which won only about 10% of the vote
on party lists. No one has yet been appointed to succeed Sergei Belyaev as
State Property Committee chairman; Belyaev quit the government to lead the NDR
Duma faction. -- Laura Belin
GROUP PROPOSING ZYUGANOV FOR PRESIDENT FORMED.
An initiative group
nominating Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) leader Gennadii
Zyuganov for president was formed in Moscow, Russian media reported on 9
January. Valentin Chikin and Aleksandr Prokhanov, the head editors of
Sovetskaya Rossiya and Zavtra, joined the group; Chikin called
Zyuganov "an absolutely irreproachable person morally, a bold strategist and a
skillful tactician." Prokhanov has in the past called for all communist and
nationalist forces to unite their efforts against the current regime. Russian
TV reported that a plenum of the KPRF will soon nominate Zyuganov officially.
-- Laura Belin
ANPILOV NOT SURE YET ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL BID.
Contrary to earlier reports
that Viktor Anpilov, leader of the orthodox communist Workers' Russia, will
seek the Russian presidency in June 1996, a representative of the movement told
Interfax on 8 January that Anpilov is still negotiating with other left-wing
parties to nominate a single candidate. She said if other communists ignore his
appeals, Workers' Russia will formally nominate Anpilov for president at a
congress on 18-19 January. Anpilov's group campaigned for the Duma in the bloc
Communists-Workers' Russia-For the Soviet Union after Zyuganov rejected his bid
for an electoral alliance with the KPRF. -- Laura Belin
MAVRODI SEEKS PRESIDENCY.
Two more initiative groups nominating
candidates for the presidential election were registered on 9 January, Russian
media reported. The first will collect signatures for Sergei Mavrodi, the head
of the notorious MMM investment fund who was stripped of his immunity from
prosecution as a Duma deputy in October 1995 and failed to win reelection to
the parliament in the December elections. The second supports businessman
Leonid Kazakov, who was born in 1953 and is an economics adviser to a Saratov
fund. Most of the initiative groups registering with the Central Electoral
Commission are unlikely to obtain the million signatures necessary for their
candidates to run in the election. -- Penny Morvant
RYZHKOV TRYING TO FORM DUMA FACTION.
Former Soviet Prime Minister
Nikolai Ryzhkov has recruited 27 deputies to join a Duma faction under his
leadership, to be called Popular Power, Russian media reported on 9 January.
Ryzhkov's Power to the People bloc won nine Duma seats in single-member
districts; he needs 35 deputies in order to form a registered faction.
According to Power to the People co-leader Sergei Baburin, the group has been
joined by filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin, formerly of the now-defunct
Democratic Party of Russia, and Svyatoslav Fedorov, leader of the Party of
Workers' Self-Management. The five deputies elected from the Congress of
Russian Communities will also join, Radio Rossii reported. The group's leaders
said their main goal will be to change the government's economic policy. --
YELTSIN VETOES AMENDMENTS TO MILITARY LAW.
President Boris Yeltsin again
vetoed amendments to the law on military service passed by the outgoing Duma on
22 December, Ekho Moskvy reported on 9 January (see OMRI Daily Digest,
28 December 1995). Yeltsin said the amendments, which would have retained the
18-month service term for draftees called up before 1 May 1995, would damage
Russian national security. Sergei Yushenkov, chairman of the Defense Committee
in the old Duma, said the decision may damage Yeltsin's prospects in the June
1996 presidential election and said he hopes the incoming Duma will override
the veto. -- Constantine Dmitriev
RUSSIA SAYS FISHING DISPUTE IS RED HERRING.
A spokesman for the Russian
Ministry of Fisheries denied on 9 January Russian media reports that Norway had
placed strict limits on the amount of herring Russian trawlers can catch in
Norwegian territorial waters, ITAR-TASS reported. The spokesman praised the
current level of cooperation between Russia and Norway on fishing issues and
said that no "herring war" was in sight, noting that Russo-Norwegian talks on
fishing cooperation would open on 23 January in Moscow. Meanwhile, on the same
day, the ministry announced that in 1995, Russian fishermen had caught 4.2
million tons of fish, a 18.6% increase over the 1994 catch. -- Scott Parrish
MOONIES REPORTEDLY RECRUITING IN URALS SCHOOLS.
The Unification Church
of Reverend Sun Myung Moon is seeking new followers in the Urals area and
school teachers have been introducing pupils to the sect, according to a report
on NTV on 7 January. The program alleged that a textbook used in optional
courses at 80 schools in the city of Yekaterinburg was based on Moon's
teachings. The local authorities have now banned the courses. One local teacher
interviewed by NTV said that rich foreign sects had been offering computers and
free courses to the schools. A variety of religious sects have become
increasingly active in Russia in recent years. -- Penny Morvant
CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL CREATED BY DECREE IN KAZAKHSTAN.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree establishing a Constitutional
Council to replace the Constitutional Court, ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii
reported on 9 January. The council will carry on the court's function of
ensuring that country's laws are in harmony with the constitution. While the
council is an independent state body, the head of the state has the right to
appoint or dismiss its president and up to two of its seven members. In the
future, the council will include former heads of state. -- Bruce Pannier
WHAT AKAYEV WILL GAIN BY REFERENDUM.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev
released a draft law on 9 January detailing the additional powers he will
receive if citizens vote for the law in the 10 February referendum, Reuters
reported. The proposed law would give the president the power to appoint the
prime minister and the chairman of the central bank, as well as the right to
nominate the chairman of the Central Electoral Commission. Also, the president
will have greater power to veto legislation and will be more difficult to
impeach. The opposition in the Zhogorku Kengesh, the Kyrgyz parliament,
criticized the draft as an attempt to turn Kyrgyzstan into a "presidential
republic." -- Bruce Pannier
ANOTHER MINISTERIAL REPLACEMENT IN UZBEKISTAN.
President Islam Karimov
appointed Marks Jumaniazov to replace Rasulmat Khusanov as the new agriculture
minister, Interfax reported on 9 January. This is the latest shake-up in the
administration resulting from Karimov's concerns that agricultural reform is
not moving quickly enough. Until now, Jumaniazov was the hokim of the Khorezm
wilayat, a region that has been comparatively successful under the economic
reforms. A special commission headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Ismail
Jurabekov has been evaluating agricultural efficiency in the regions for the
past 18 months. -- Roger Kangas
KAZAKHSTAN FAILS TO HONOR CONTRACT WITH CHELYABINSK.
electro-metallurgical combine, which is responsible for providing much of the
income for the entire city, is at a virtual standstill due to "the absence of
ore," ITAR-TASS reported on 10 January. Kazakhstan has failed to deliver the
chrome used in the production of high-quality steel to the combine despite an
agreement signed at the end of 1995. Last year, even in a situation of
financial uncertainty, budgetary and extra-budgetary funding provided 20
billion rubles monthly to Kalinin Raion of the city. The cessation of
production at the combine means that for the first quarter of this year, the
monthly budget will likely amount to about 2 billion rubles, leaving doctors,
teachers, and thousands of other workers without pay. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN OIL NEGOTIATIONS.
Russian oil supplies to the Czech
Republic and Slovakia are still suspended pending negotiations between Russia
and Ukraine over transit fees through Ukraine, Interfax reported on 9 January.
Oil supplies were halted at the beginning of the year after Ukraine announced
it was increasing the price for pumping one ton of oil through 100 kilometers
of its territory by 10% to $5.20. Ukraine's State Committee for Oil and Gas
said that 39 Russian enterprises and joint ventures have concluded agreements
with Ukraine to pump 7 million tons of oil through the Druzhba pipeline at the
new rate. But under an agreement on fuel and energy signed in October 1994,
transit tariffs can be changed only by agreement reached at government level.
Ukraine's State Committee for Oil and Gas has sent a letter to its Russian
counterpart expressing its willing to negotiate the issue. -- Ustina Markus
CRIMEAN DELEGATION IN KIEV.
A Crimean parliamentary delegation headed by
its speaker, Yevhen Suprunyuk, is in Kiev for talks with Ukraine's legislature,
ITAR-TASS reported on 10 January. Suprunyuk met with Ukraine's parliamentary
speaker, Oleksandr Moroz, to discuss articles in the Crimean constitution that
Kiev says contravene the Ukrainian constitution. These include the issues of
citizenship, state symbols, and territorial signs. A Ukrainian parliamentary
commission has been examining the Crimean constitution since the end of last
year. Moroz told the Crimean delegation that if the problematic articles were
amended, Ukraine's parliament would confirm the constitution already approved
by the Crimean legislature. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIA'S POPULATION DECLINE IN 1995.
The State Statistics Department on
9 January released preliminary figures showing that the population of Estonia
declined by some 17,000 in 1995 to 1.475 million, ETA reported. The number of
births dropped from 14,178 in 1994 to 13,700 in 1995 and the number of deaths
from 22,150 to 21,100. The percentage of ethnic Estonians in the republic was
64.2%, with Russians accounting for 28.7%. -- Saulius Girnius
UPDATE ON LITHUANIAN BANK PROBLEMS.
Bank of Lithuania Chairman Kazys
Ratkevicius on 9 January told the Seimas that there was no general banking
crisis in Lithuania, but only difficulties in the Joint-Stock Innovative (LAIB)
and Litimpeks Banks, Radio Lithuania reported. He said recent investigations by
independent experts estimated Litimpeks' bad debts at 87-142 million litai
($21.75-35.5 million) and LAIB's at 207-420 million litai. President Algirdas
Brazauskas has so far declined to submit Ratkevicius's resignation to the
Seimas for confirmation. This suggests he agrees with the IMF that changes in
personnel should be made only after the current bank problems are resolved --
POLISH PRESIDENT VISITS GERMANY.
Aleksander Kwasniewski, accompanied by
Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati, arrived in Germany on 9 January for his first
visit abroad as president. He met with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn and
President Roman Herzog in Berlin. Kwasniewski, who flies to Paris on 10
January, stressed the importance of France and Germany in Poland's aspirations
for membership in NATO and the EU, Polish and international media reported. --
SEJM ON DEPUTIES' DECLARATIONS OF ASSETS
The Sejm's By-Laws and
Legislative Commissions have finished drafting the bill on the mandates of
deputies and senators. Declarations by deputies and senators of their personal
assets will remain a state secret, Rzeczpospolita reported on 10
January. Their spouses' assets are also to be mentioned in the declaration,
even if they are separate from their own. Deputies are to submit declarations
both at the beginning and at the end of their term in office. Penalties will be
enforced for false information. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz
FOREIGN MINISTERS TAKE OVER CZECH-GERMAN NEGOTIATIONS.
Minister Josef Zieleniec and his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, have decided
to take personal control of negotiations designed to remove blocks in their
countries' bilateral relations, Czech dailies reported on 10 January. The
negotiations, aimed at producing a joint declaration to be adopted by the Czech
and German parliaments, have been conducted for almost one year at the level of
deputy foreign minister and are progressing slowly, if at all. The major issue
is the consequences of the expulsion of 3 million Sudeten Germans from
Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II. During a visit to Helsinki on 9
January, Zieleniec said he hoped to meet Kinkel soon; he added that it was
important to finalize the proposed declaration or know the reasons why it could
not be concluded. Kinkel on 6 January said he hoped a "final reconciliation"
with the Czech Republic can be drawn up quickly. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAKS THINK OPPOSITION SHOULD HELP CONTROL SECRET SERVICE.
poll conducted by the FOCUS agency in December shows that 68.9% of Slovaks
believe the opposition should be represented in the parliamentary Separate
Control Organ (OKO), which oversees the Slovak Information Service. Only 10.7%
said the OKO's current composition is correct, while 22.4% were undecided,
Sme reported on 10 January. Even supporters of the three ruling parties
do not think the opposition should be excluded from OKO; the majority is either
opposed to its exclusion or undecided. The same FOCUS poll showed that only
14.7% of Slovaks trust the SIS, while 49.9% suspect that the agency took part
in the abduction of President Michal Kovac's son in August, Narodna
obroda reported on 8-9 January. Repeated attempts by the opposition to
expand OKO have been rejected by the parliamentary majority. -- Sharon
HUNGARIAN POLICE TO SERVE IN BOSNIA.
A senior Interior Ministry official
on 9 January said the government has accepted a UN Security Council request to
send a 50-member unarmed police contingent to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungarian
media reported. At present talks are under way to clarify details, primarily on
how the project will be financed. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabor Szentivanyi
told reporters that the Hungarian police team may leave for Bosnia in February
or March, primarily to act as advisers and provide security for escort teams.
He also confirmed that Russia has officially applied for and received
permission to use Hungarian air space to fly its IFOR contingent to Bosnia. --
PLAN TO COMBAT BLACK MARKET EMPLOYMENT IN HUNGARY.
Coordination Council, which is composed of government, trade union, and
employer representatives, have drawn up a plan to create a central registry on
labor data to combat black market employment, Magyar Hirlap reported on
10 January. Unions and employers agreed on the need for increased controls on
employees and proposed that related legislation be passed later this year.
Employers will soon have to keep a so-called employment diary on their
employees. Fines of up to 50,000 forints can be imposed on companies that fail
to provide the required documents. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
BAZOOKA ATTACK ON SARAJEVO TRAM.
International media on 10 January
reported that one person was killed and 19 civilians injured the previous day
when a 64 mm antitank rocket hit a tram on the main thoroughfare, known as
Snipers' Alley. Part of the projectile also hit a U.S. vehicle nearby. IFOR
returned fire on Serb-held Grbavica, and French troops stormed a building there
but the attackers had escaped. Tanks and five 90 mm cannons aimed at Grbavica
are now in place around the Holiday Inn, near the site of the incident. Tram
service has meanwhile resumed. The Serbian general staff in Banja Luka said
nobody was injured when IFOR fired on the Serb-held suburb. -- Patrick Moore
ARE SERBS TESTING IFOR?
The Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes,
reporting on the 9 January tram attack in Sarajevo, suggested that the
Serbs are testing the limits of IFOR's patience. The Bosnian Serb command
denied that their side was responsible, and Tanjug claimed that the Bosnian
government forces have shelled Serbian positions elsewhere in the republic.
Hina quoted Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic as warning IFOR that it stands to
find itself in the same hapless role as UNPROFOR if it does not make a quick
and strong response to Serbian provocations. He stressed that the indicted war
criminals Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic were personally responsible
for the attack and that they are trying to rekindle the fighting in order to
scuttle the Dayton peace agreement. Reuters reported that average Sarajevans
were scorning NATO and saying it is no better than UNPROFOR. -- Patrick Moore
SERBS KEEP UP CAMPAIGN OVER SARAJEVO.
Bosnian Serb leaders are
continuing their efforts to force a change in the Dayton agreement, which
specifies an early return of Serb-held parts of Sarajevo to government control.
Nasa Borba on 10 January reported that Karadzic held a meeting with
Sarajevo Serbian intellectuals who said that they wanted to remain in the town
but under Serbian authority. Pale's parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik
wrote to the international community's Carl Bildt to ask for a postponement of
the transfer until 15 September. He claimed that his government had so far
prevented Serbs from starting "a mass exodus or burning [their] houses." Rumors
have been rife for some time that the Serbs plan to torch their suburbs rather
than hand them over intact. Reuters reported that the Serbs are preparing to
transfer Odzak in northern Bosnia to the government but have stripped it bare
and are leaving "a ghost town." -- Patrick Moore
FIREFIGHTS IN MOSTAR.
The situation remains tense in Mostar as well as
in Sarajevo. Reuters reported on 10 January that the Croats the previous night
fired two rifle-propelled grenades into a Muslim army camp, ending a three-day
lull in the fighting. Mutual shelling followed that incident. The situation was
quiet but tense on 10 January, and EU officials were pleased that the Croats
called off a demonstration slated for that day. The U.S. is particularly
worried that the situation in Mostar could thwart its efforts to shore up the
Croatian-Muslim state. Slobodna Dalmacija and Vecernji list in
recent days have suggested that the Muslims are making life difficult for the
Croats in central Bosnia and preventing refugees from returning. Die
Welt reported that the military, crime, and smuggling are heavily
intertwined on both sides of the divide in Mostar. -- Patrick Moore
NATO TO AID UN IN CROATIA.
NATO will aid the UN force expected to be
deployed in eastern Slavonia, The New York Times reported on 10 January.
The relationship will resemble the much-criticized one between NATO and the UN
in Bosnia before IFOR took over the mandate there. The U.S. had long resisted
any role for NATO in Croatia. A former US diplomat, Jacques Klein, who is also
a major general in the U.S. Air Force reserve, will head the UN mission in
Croatia. The 5,000-strong force reflects a compromise between UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, who wanted 9,000 troops, and the U.S.,
which was in favor of a much smaller contingent. -- Michael Mihalka
UPDATE ON IFOR DEPLOYMENT.
Almost 60% of IFOR has arrived in the former
Yugoslavia, international agencies reported on 9 January. Of the expected total
of 60,000, about 31,000 troops are in place in Bosnia and another 4,000 are in
Croatia and Hungary providing logistic support. About 5,000 of the expected
20,000 U.S. troops have arrived. Abut 11,000 of the planned 13,000 British
troops and 7,500 of the 10,000 French troops are in position, although many of
the these were previously assigned to the UN force. IFOR is tasked to begin
patrolling the line separating the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-Croatian
federation by 19 January. -- Michael Mihalka
SERBIAN CHURCH LEADER WRITES TO U.S. PRESIDENT.
Nasa Borba on 10
January reported that Patriarch Pavle has written to Bill Clinton to express
dissatisfaction over the "redrawing" of the map of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to Pavle, a large number of monasteries and territories belonging to
the Serbs of Herzegovina are to fall under the jurisdiction of the
Muslim-Croatian Confederation. "It is entirely unacceptable that after Dayton,
in a secretive manner and to the detriment of the Serbs, the Dayton map is
changing so as to take away from the Serbian people a significant portion of
territory in Herzegovina," he commented. -- Stan Markotich
BBC LAUNCHES MACEDONIAN SERVICE.
The BBC World Service on 9 January
launched a news service in Macedonian under the direction of Southeast European
specialist Stephen Ashley, Reuters reported the same day. News bulletins,
features, and English lessons will be broadcast on state-run Macedonian Radio
and on local radio stations. BBC World Service Managing Director Sam Younger
said the service has around 2 million potential listeners in Macedonia and
neighboring districts in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. -- Stefan
HEAD OF ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE ADDRESSES PARLIAMENTARY PANEL.
parliamentary commission supervising the activity of the Romanian Intelligence
Service (SRI) on 9 January began hearings on the recent publication of the
Securitate file of SRI head Virgil Magureanu, Romanian media reported.
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist Greater Romania Party, reiterated
earlier accusations against the SRI chief and asked the parliament to dismiss,
or at least temporarily suspend, Magureanu for alleged serious failings. A
former SRI deputy director, Gen. Victor Marcu, told the commission that
Magureanu's publication of the file infringed legislation stipulating that
personal files of the former communist secret police are to remain classified
for 40 years. Magureanu described his action as a defensive step aimed at
preempting Tudor, who was planning to publish the same file in his weekly
Romania mare. -- Dan Ionescu
YELTSIN APPOINTS NEW SPECIAL ENVOY TO MOLDOVA.
Russian President Boris
Yeltsin has appointed Yurii Karlov as his new special envoy to the negotiations
on settling the Dniester conflict, BASA-press and Infotag reported on 9
January. The 59-year-old Karlov is a career diplomat who worked at the Soviet
embassy in Bucharest and in the Soviet Foreign Ministry. In a recent interview,
Karlov pleaded for "maintaining Moldova's territorial integrity while granting
the Dniester region as broad authority as possible." Together with the head of
the OSCE Mission in Moldova and an Ukrainian special envoy, Karlov will act as
a mediator in the talks between the authorities in Chisinau and Tiraspol. Those
talks are currently frozen following an unsuccessful Moldovan-Dniester summit
in September. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES NO CONFIDENCE MOTION.
National Assembly on 9 January discussed a no confidence motion in the
government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Bulgarian newspapers reported the
following day. The motion was submitted by the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS)
because of the ongoing grain crisis, for which it holds the cabinet as a whole
responsible. Opposition deputies said the government was "hostage to economic
groups" and accused it of irresponsible policies. They argue that the shortage
was caused by excessive grain exports. Some Socialist deputies argued that the
grain crisis can be solved but concrete measures have to be taken, including
possible personnel changes. Trud reported that 18 Socialist deputies
have demanded the government's resignation. The parliament is to vote on the
motion on 10 January. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN DEPUTY PREMIER DENIES RESIGNATION REPORTS.
Minister and Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev on 9 January denied reports that
he had handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Bulgarian
media reported. Government Parliamentary Secretary Plamen Valkanov said neither
the government nor the BSP caucus is in possession of any documents confirming
the rumors. -- Stefan Krause
ANOTHER FIVE ALBANIAN COMMUNIST OFFICIALS TO BE ARRESTED.
Municipal court has ordered the arrest of another five former communist
officials, bringing the number of those to be arrested for alleged crimes
against humanity to 21. The Forum of Albanian Intellectuals has accused a total
of 36 people of violating communist-era law. Among those whose arrests were
most recently ordered are former communist party Central Committee member
Sulejman Bushati and former Deputy Interior Minister Zylyftar Ramizi, ATSH
reported on 9 January. -- Fabian Schmidt
GREEK PARLIAMENT DEBATES NO CONFIDENCE MOTION.
The Greek parliament on 8
and 9 January debated a no confidence motion filed by the conservative New
Democracy (ND) party, Greek and Western media reported. ND Chairman Miltiadis
Evert called the motion an "initiative of institutional responsibility" with
the goal of giving "the nation once again...a government." Interior Minister
Akis Tsochatzopoulos accused Evert of seeking "petty party benefits" instead of
helping solve Greece's problems. The small nationalist Political Spring party
support the ND, while the Communists say they "refuse to be an accomplice" to
the motion. The parliament is expected to vote on the motion on 10 January. --
TURKISH ISLAMIST LEADER MANDATED TO FORM GOVERNMENT.
Demirel on 9 January mandated Islamist Welfare Party Chairman Necmettin Erbakan
to form a new government, Reuters reported the same day. Following the December
1995 elections, his party's caucus is the largest in the parliament, with 158
seats out of 550. Erbakan says there is a "100% chance" that his party be
included in a coalition, but the four secular parties represented in the
parliament have ruled out such a possibility. Erbakan is Turkey's first
Islamist prime minister-designate. -- Stefan Krause
As of 1200 CET
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave