RUSSIAN TV PRODUCER MURDERED.
Oleg Slabynko, the producer of the Russian
TV interview program "Moment Istiny" (Moment of Truth), was murdered on the
evening of 25 January, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. Slabynko was shot in
his apartment by two unknown assailants, and police investigators said the
killers telephoned in advance to make sure Slabynko was at home. Last month,
journalist Andrei Karaulov, who hosts "Moment Istiny," complained that Russian
TV had censored the show by refusing to air an episode dealing with corruption,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 15 December. -- Laura Belin
SHUMEIKO OFFERS CONDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR YELTSIN RE-ELECTION.
Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko announced that his Reforms-New
Course movement will support President Boris Yeltsin's re-election, provided
the president meets certain conditions, Russian media reported on 25 January.
Shumeiko wants the State Duma to be given the right to confirm appointments of
key ministers and deputy prime ministers. He also called for changes in tax
policy and privatization, including abolishing the State Property Committee.
Shumeiko has long been loyal to Yeltsin as a member of the president's Security
Council, but he warned that if the president does not change his policies,
Reforms-New Course will be forced to support a different candidate in June.
Yeltsin is unlikely to accept these terms. -- Laura Belin
PRIMORSK KRAI GOVERNOR SAYS HE SUPPORTS YELTSIN.
Primorsk Krai Governor
Yevgenii Nazdratenko, who was popularly re-elected last month, said he will
support President Yeltsin if he decides to run for a second term, ITAR-TASS
reported on 25 January. Nazdratenko said there is no other "consolidating
figure" in Russian politics. The previous day, Nazdratenko met with Yeltsin,
after which the president said he would issue a decree on government support
for Primorsk Krai. -- Anna Paretskaya
KHABAROVSK WORKERS FORCED TO SUPPORT YELTSIN.
newspapers have published letters from employees of various budget-financed
organizations complaining that they were being forced to sign petitions which
will go towards the 1 million signatures President Yeltsin needs to run for the
June presidential elections, Segodnya reported on 25 January. The
writers, who signed their letters with initials for fear of losing their jobs,
said rail and army bosses have been particularly active. A high ranking
official reportedly said the country's railway minister, Gennadii Fadeev, had
ordered the collection and threatened to punish officials who were not vigorous
enough in obtaining the signatures. -- Anna Paretskaya
REPLACEMENT FOR CHUBAIS NAMED . . .
Industrialist Vladimir Kadannikov
has been appointed first deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy,
Russian media reported on 25 January. Kadannikov, 54, worked his way up from
the shopfloor to become director of AvtoVAZ in Togliatti, Russia's largest auto
plant. Kadannikov was elected to the USSR Supreme Soviet in 1989, and headed
the president's advisory council on industrial policy since 1990, but has never
held a governmental office. He was a candidate to replace Yegor Gaidar as prime
minister in December 1992. -- Peter Rutland
. . . GOVERNMENT MAY PURSUE A MORE INTERVENTIONIST INDUSTRIAL POLICY.
Speaking on Ekho Moskvy on 26 January, Gaidar said that Kadannikov had been
a supporter of reforms in 1992, but Gaidar does not know his current views.
Kadannikov joined Our Home Is Russia in May 1995. Auto producers have fared
slightly better than other Russian manufacturers since 1992, in part because
import tariffs have kept out foreign competitors. Kadannikov has lobbied hard
for government support for the auto industry's ambitious investment program. --
SEMINAR ON MEDIA'S ROLE IN ELECTIONS.
The idea that Russian journalists
should help shape reality rather than simply report information is alive and
well, judging from comments made at a seminar on the role of the media in the
Duma elections and the upcoming presidential elections hosted by the Central
Electoral Commission (TsIK) and the Union of Journalists. TsIK Chairman Nikolai
Ryabov said the media's primary task during campaigns should be "to help the
public make the correct choice," ITAR-TASS reported on 25 January. Anatolii
Vengerov, chairman of the President's Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes,
also called for "strengthening the influence of the press on public opinion."
Other topics discussed at the seminar included the poor quality of political
advertising and the fact that so far neither federal nor regional budgets have
reimbursed newspapers or radio and television stations that provided free space
and air time to politicians. -- Laura Belin
MAKASHOV WINS LAWSUIT.
Duma Deputy Col. Gen. (ret.) Albert Makashov, a
hard-line opponent of reforms, won his lawsuit against Samara Oblast's
presidential representative, Yurii Borodulin, Russian TV reported on 25
January. Makashov sued Borodulin after the latter publicly called him the
"fascist-like general." According to the court's sentence, Borodulin must
apologize publicly and 10 million rubles (about $2,100) in damages, which
Makashov said he would pass on to a kindergarten. -- Anna Paretskaya
COUNCIL OF EUROPE APPROVES RUSSIAN MEMBERSHIP.
Assembly of the Council of Europe approved Russia's membership application
164-35, with 15 abstentions on 25 January, Russian and Western agencies
reported. After formal endorsement by the council's Committee of Ministers,
Russia will become the council's 39th member at a February ceremony. Recent
events in Chechnya had clouded Russia's prospects of gaining admission. As a
condition of membership, Russia must ratify the European Human Rights
Convention and adhere to council agreements on minority rights. Before the
vote, Vladimir Zhirinovsky contended that Russian membership would reinvigorate
the council, which he described as "a slime pond for defunct politicians
entitled to free meals." Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalev expressed
ambivalence about the decision, saying "I fear the council does not realize the
responsibility it carries." -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIAN REACTION TO OLEKSY RESIGNATION.
Vladimir Karpov, a spokesman for
the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), described the accusations of
spying against former Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy as "an outright
political provocation," Russian agencies reported on 25 January. Karpov again
denied that Oleksy had ever been a Soviet or Russian agent and reiterated that
Oleksy and former KGB Colonel Vladimir Alganov, who is alleged to have
recruited him, had only a "personal" relationship. Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesman Grigorii Karasin responded calmly to Oleksy's resignation, calling it
an "internal matter" and adding that Russia would continue to pursue the
development of solid Russo-Polish relations. However, NTV reported speculation
that Oleksy may actually have been a Russian agent whom the SVR deliberately
"betrayed" in order to discredit Poland in the eyes of NATO. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS UP IN 1995.
A spokesman for the state-run arms
export company Rosvooruzhenie said that Russian arms sales in 1995 grew by 60%
over the previous year. The Voice of Russia on 25 January quoted him as saying
that Russian companies earned $2.7 billion from arms exports last year and
secured 13.6% of the world's arms market. The industry now has contracts worth
$6.5 billion. Negotiations are underway with the Philippines, Indonesia,
Thailand, and a number of Latin American countries, according to the report. --
NEW RUSSIAN PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN.
Russian military technicians have
returned to Afghanistan six years after the Soviet army withdrew from that
country, The Daily Telegraph reported on 25 January. Quoting diplomatic
and intelligence officials, paper reported that Russian and Indian technicians
are working to update Bagram airport. U.S. satellite pictures show that the
Russians are building another airport, at Taloqan, to be used as a strategic
base for military leader Ahmed Shah Masood should he be forced out of Kabul.
The paper said that four Il-76 transports have been delivering arms,
ammunition, and fuel from Tajikistan, Russia, and Ukraine to the Kabul
government every day. -- Doug Clarke
YELTSIN INCREASES PENSIONERS' COMPENSATION PAYMENTS . . .
Yeltsin issued a decree on 25 January raising compensation payments for
recipients of old-age, survivor, invalid, and social pensions from 50,000
rubles to 75,000 rubles a month as of 1 February, Russian Public TV (ORT)
reported. The compensation payment is paid on top of the minimum pension, which
currently stands at 63,250 rubles a month. The change means that there will be
a slight reduction in the difference between the minimum and maximum pensions.
The president's press service said the decision to raise the payment had been
made a long time ago. -- Penny Morvant
. . . AND
Yeltsin issued another decree on 25
January raising grants for students at higher and vocational educational
establishments by 20%, ITAR-TASS reported.
The raise will be implemented
in April and remain in effect until a new law on the minimum wage is adopted.
In a speech to students at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University the
same day, Yeltsin said the average current student grant is 85,000 rubles a
month, ORT reported. During his address, Yeltsin vehemently rejected reports
that the recent personnel changes in the government signified a retreat from
political and economic reform. -- Penny Morvant
1995 UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES.
On 1 January 1996, 2.3 million people, or
3.1% of the working population, were registered as unemployed with the Federal
Employment Service, an increase of 690,000 in comparison with the previous
year, Finansovye izvestiya reported on 26 January. The highest
unemployment rate was registered in Ingushetiya (23%), followed by Ivanovo
Oblast (more than 11%). The lowest unemployment rates are in Moscow, Smolensk
Oblast, and Yakutiya (Sakha). -- Penny Morvant
FOOD IMPORTS SOAR IN 1995.
In 1995, Russian imports increased by 15%,
while the proportion of food imports rose to 30% of the total (up from 22% in
1993), ITAR-TASS reported on 25 January, citing the Foreign Trade Ministry.
Meat and poultry imports rose 63%, for example. The rise in food imports has
been attributed to declining domestic production and to the introduction of the
ruble corridor in July 1995. At the same time, there was a 25% drop in grain
imports by the state. Grain purchases in countries outside the former Soviet
Union plunged by 52% to 1.01 million tons. -- Natalia Gurushina
POLICE DISPERSE BAKU DEMONSTRATORS.
Several people were injured when
police used force to disperse an unsanctioned demonstration in Baku on 26
January, ITAR-TASS reported. Several hundred demonstrators from several
political parties had gathered to protest the detention of former Foreign
Minister Tofik Gasymov and former military commander Arif Pashaev. -- Liz
UZBEKISTAN CUTS OFF GAS SUPPLIES TO KYRGYZSTAN.
Uzbekistan has stopped
delivering natural gas to Kyrgyzstan because of unpaid debts equaling about $11
million, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 25 January. Supplies of gas to the
Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, are already limited to enterprises, power stations,
and boiler houses. The Kyrgyz government recently decided to compensate Russia
for the debts it owes that country by handing over the rights to state
enterprises, Vecherny Bishkek reported on 19 January. The Russian
government has the right to select the plants it is interested in and then sell
their shares to Russian buyers. The new ownership will then be registered as a
joint venture. -- Bruce Pannier
KYRGYZSTAN'S 1995 INFLATION RATE LOWEST IN CENTRAL ASIA.
annual inflation rate of 31.9% for 1995 was the lowest in Central Asia, Russian
media reported. According to the Kyrgyz National Committee for Statistics, food
prices rose by 43.7%, consumer goods by 7.2%, and service rates by 28%. The
figures for Kazakhstan are an inflation rate of 60.3%, with a 58.7% rise in
food prices, 33.5% in consumer goods, and 158% in services. Uzbekistan had a
76.8% inflation rate in 1995, but no other details were given. Tajikistan and
Turkmenistan have not released their figures yet. Government experts attribute
Kyrgyzstan's lower rates to the stabilization of the national currency, the
som, which is backed by a $74 million IMF loan. -- Bruce Pannier
UZBEKISTAN'S COTTON AND GRAIN HARVEST RESULTS.
The Uzbek cabinet
announced on 23 January that the grain harvest fell about 600,000 metric tons
short of the government's target of 3.3 million tons, Russian media reported.
The cotton harvest was on target, at 4 million tons. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN EX-PARTY CHIEF DIES IN MOSCOW.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow
told Reuters on 25 January that former Ukrainian Communist Party chief Petro
Shelest died in the Russian capital this week at the age of 87. Shelest headed
the Communist Party of Ukraine from 1963 to 1972 and largely supported its
hardline anti-Western stance. But his policies promoting the use of the
Ukrainian language over Russian and defending Ukrainian culture allowed him to
preside over a brief cultural renaissance. In 1972, the Soviet leadership
ousted Shelest for encouraging Ukrainian nationalism and ordered a crackdown on
Ukrainian intellectuals. After his removal, Shelest served as deputy Soviet
prime minister for one year, but owing to poor relations with Soviet leader
Leonid Brezhnev, he was dismissed and appointed director of a military
enterprise outside Moscow, where he remained until his retirement. -- Chrystyna
OSCE OFFICIAL ON CRIMEA.
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
Max van der Stoel has said Ukraine is unable to solve the problem of resettling
Crimea's Tatars without financial support from abroad, ITAR-TASS reported on 25
January. Van der Stoel said he will ask OSCE countries to extend aid to Ukraine
for the resettlement of the Tatars at an upcoming UN meeting in Switzerland.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kuras said some 250,000 Tatars have
returned to Crimea. Around 300 trillion karbovantsy (over $1.5 billion) are
needed to resettle them, but Ukraine can afford to allocate only 4.5 trillion
karbovantsy ($25 million) for the effort this year. Kuras also said Turkey has
offered to construct 100,000 apartments for Tatars in Crimea. -- Ustina
BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC WOES.
Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir, in an interview
with Belarusian TV on 25 January, said enterprises owe workers over 320 billion
Belarusian rubles ($27.8 million) in back wages. Despite a December 1995
presidential decree on the regular payment of wages, the problem is likely to
persist. Chyhir added that the Belarusian gas concern Beltranshaz owes its
Russian supplier, Rosgazprom, $300 million. In other news, the Belarusian
Popular Front is protesting the agreement between the government and the
Russian-Belarusian joint-stock company Slavutych whereby 51% of the Mazyr oil
refinery and 74% of the Novopolotsk refinery will be sold to the Russian
companies Lukoil and Yukos. The BPF fears the sale of such strategic assets
will undermine the country's sovereignty and harm the national economy. --
LITHUANIAN PREMIER'S FUTURE UNCLEAR.
Adolfas Slezevicius on 25 January
said he has not yet decided whether to resign voluntarily or wait for the
president to submit the recommendation to the parliament, Radio Lithuania
reported. A meeting of the Council of the Democratic Labor Party on 27 January
is likely to influence his decision. He said he would not act on the
resignation letter of Interior Minister Romasis Vaitekunas until his own fate
is settled. An agreement with the IMF on the restructuring of four problem
banks was signed that day. They will be nationalized and a plan for
compensating their depositors is to be drawn up by 15 February. -- Saulius
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN IN LITHUANIA.
Oleksandr Moroz, meeting
with his Lithuanian counterpart, Ceslovas Jursenas, in Vilnius on 24 January,
signed a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries' parliaments, BNS
reported. Moroz expressed satisfaction with the development of economic
relations with Lithuania, stressing that Ukraine is involved only in the
economic and not the military structures of the CIS. He also met with Seimas
deputies from various caucuses and with Mayor of Vilnius Alis Vidunas. The next
day, Moroz held talks with President Algirdas Brazauskas and addressed the
Seimas. -- Saulius Girnius
POLAND LOOKS FOR NEW PRIME MINISTER.
President Aleksander Kwasniewski on
25 January met with outgoing Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and leaders of the two
coalition parties--the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant
Party (PSL). Polish dailies on 26 January reveal that the SLD supports
replacing Oleksy, who announced his resignation two days ago amid espionage
charges, with either chief of the Government Office Marek Borowski or Deputy
Sejm Speaker Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (both SLD members). The SLD would also
agree to Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych's (PSL) candidacy, while the PSL supports
Miroslaw Pietrewicz (PSL), the head of the Central Planning Office. Meanwhile,
members of the extraordinary Sejm commission investigating the spy allegations
against Oleksy said on 25 January that contrary to a claim by Oleksy in his
resignation speech, the secret service had not broken the law. -- Jakub
SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
Jan Havlat, the
attorney representing Michal Kovac Jr., has appealed to the Constitutional
Court, Sme and Narodna obroda reported on 26 January. Havlat says
the appeal points out that a citizen who is forcibly taken abroad can expect
that Slovak authorities will ask the country of his whereabouts to provide for
his return. Havlat hopes that Slovak authorities will be forced to apply to
Austria for his client's extradition; the Slovak government has so far refused
to do so. In other news, opposition Christian Democratic Movement chairman Jan
Carnogursky on 25 January filed charges against Miroslav Miklas, who heads the
district office in Prievidza, in central Slovakia. According to Carnogursky,
Miklas in December abused his public office by calling on other state officials
to demand resignation of President Michal Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher
PRIVATIZATION OF SLOVAK BANKS TO BE COMPLETED BY MID-FEBRUARY?
Minister Vladimir Meciar on 25 January announced that the entire Slovak banking
sector, with the exception of the National Bank of Slovakia, will be privatized
by mid-February at the latest. Meanwhile, NBS governor Vladimir Masar noted
that the central bank has not yet "received [the text of] a single project
connected with the privatization of the banking structures." Meciar also said
that Slovakia's 10% import surcharge, which has been in place since March 1994,
will be abolished this year, Praca reported. -- Sharon Fisher
SECOND IFOR BASE TO BE ESTABLISHED IN HUNGARY.
A second rear base for
IFOR troops in Bosnia is to be set up in Hungary, MTI news agency reported on
25 January. The base in Pecs will accommodate Danish, Norwegian, Polish, and
Swedish troops attached to NATO's Northern Brigade. Their task will be to
supply the rest of the brigade, which is to take part in building military
infrastructure in northern Bosnia. U.S. logistics bases were set up last
December in the southern town of Kaposvar and at the nearby Taszar air base to
facilitate the deployment of U.S. troops to Bosnia. An agreement between NATO
and the Hungarians has yet to be concluded. In another development, a U.S. army
spokesman told Hungarian TV the same day that supplies from Hungary to U.S.
NATO troops in Bosnia have been temporarily suspended due to heavy snow and bad
road conditions throughout Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
KARADZIC SAYS HE'LL TRY HIS OWN BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMINALS.
leader Radovan Karadzic told TV Pale on 24 January that he does not dispute
that there are war criminals among the Bosnian Serbs but that he insists his
Republika Srpska will try them itself. Nasa Borba and the Czech daily
Mlada fronta Dnes on 26 January added that Karadzic said his government
is also preparing a case against Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic for war
crimes. Karadzic apparently did not comment on the Hague-based international
tribunal's indictment of him and top Bosnian Serb military commander, General
Ratko Mladic. One of the international community's top representatives in
Sarajevo, Michael Steiner, told German TV that he is convinced that Karadzic
and the others will eventually be caught and brought to justice. -- Patrick
GOLDSTONE PLEDGES NEW INDICTMENTS.
The Hague tribunal's chief, Judge
Richard Goldstone, told U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 25
January that he is now "completely satisfied" with Washington's cooperation
with his agency. He added, however, that the court is swamped with information
but still plans to issue new indictments soon, German media reported. In
Bosnia, a British journalist told the BBC about a trip to the Srebrenica area,
where there is much evidence of mass graves. IFOR commander Admiral Leighton
Smith said that there are between 200 and 300 mass graves in the entire
republic and that his forces will secure them when they are under international
investigation. He stressed, however, that a larger police forces is needed to
deal with common crime, a problem that is expected to grow as refugees return
to their looted or destroyed properties. -- Patrick Moore
LIFTING OF SANCTIONS CONDITIONAL ON BOSNIAN SERBS' WITHDRAWAL.
Security Council on 25 January said the lifting of sanctions against the
Bosnian Serbs can be expected after 3 February and is conditional on the Serbs'
withdrawal to the borders of the Republika Srpska, Nasa Borba reported
on 26 January. The council will rely on NATO to determine whether the Bosnian
Serbs have fulfilled this condition by the deadline agreed in the Dayton
accord. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb leaders arrived in Belgrade on 25 January to
ask Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to lift the blockade of the
Serbian-Bosnian border, Reuters reported. Beta quoted Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic as saying that all disputes within the Bosnian Serb leadership
are a result of the "pointless sanctions on the Drina River." -- Daria Sito
EU, MUSLIMS, CROATS TO FORM POLICE FORCE IN MOSTAR.
EU administrator for
Mostar Hans Koschnick has announced that an EU-Muslim-Croatian police force
will be formed in that city, international and local media reported on 25
January. Koschnick has said he will accept Croatia's offer to provide some 100
police officers, noting that continuing tensions in Mostar would threaten the
Dayton peace accords. Ejup Ganic, vice president of the Muslim-Croatian
federation, said in a letter to Koschnick that "the activities of criminal
elements in west Mostar (the Croatian sector) have not been stopped, despite
the presence of European police and administration." -- Michael Mihalka
ICRC APPEALS FOR PRISONER RELEASE.
The International Committee of the
Red Cross on 25 January appealed for the three Bosnian factions to release the
645 prisoners remaining in their custody, international and local media
reported. The ICRC also said "several dozen" unregistered Serbian prisoners
were being held in the central prison in Tuzla. Amor Masovic, head of the
Bosnian government commission for the exchange of POWs, told Sarajevo TV the
same day that the ICRC statement was "misinformation" and that it was simply
"not true" that the ICRC plan for prisoner release was in accord with the
Dayton peace accords. Masovic stressed that the accords called for all
prisoners to be released, alluding to the several thousand prisoners whom the
Bosnian government claims the Bosnian Serbs are holding in the Potocari camp.
-- Michael Mihalka
AGREEMENT ON MEDIA ACCESS IN BOSNIA.
The Dayton accords specify that
there is to be freedom of movement and freedom of the press in the war-ravaged
republic, but this has not always been the case in practice. In particular,
journalists from each of the three sides have often had difficulty gaining
access to the other two. Reuters reported on 25 January, however, that the
Muslims, Croats, and Serbs agreed in Sarajevo to guarantee freedom of movement
and access, including the right of journalists to interview the other sides'
officials. A working group led by a Czech journalist will be set up to deal
with any problems. Steiner called the talks "very encouraging." -- Patrick
FORMER SERBIAN PREMIER AIMS TO HELP REBUILD RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
Beta on 25
January reports that Milan Panic, the former federal rump Yugoslav premier and
the head of the California-based multinational ICN Pharmaceuticals, recently
traveled to the rump Yugoslavia where he expressed a strong interest in
assisting the country's economic development. "If we [help] make better
economic conditions here, the political questions will be resolved relatively
easily," he said. Panic, who held office in the last half of 1992, welcomed
Belgrade's decision to back the Dayton peace agreement. Meanwhile, Nasa
Borba on 26 January reported that Panic has met in Belgrade with
high-profile opposition party leaders such as Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian
Renewal Movement and Dusan Mihajlovic of New Democracy. -- Stan Markotich
KOSOVO GOVERNOR SAYS ALBANIANS CAN FORGET INDEPENDENCE.
Serbian-appointed Kosovo governor Aleksa Jokic has told a U.S. State
Department delegation that Kosovar Albanians will not be granted independence,
Nasa Borba reported on 26 January. At a press conference, he said he was
not informed that the U.S. is going to open a USIA office in Pristina.
Christopher Hill, head of the U.S. delegation and an aide to Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, also met with Kosovar shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova, but it is not known if any concrete proposals were
made for a dialog between the Kosovar Albanians and Belgrade. -- Fabian
ZAGREB MAYOR ELECTED.
Jozo Rados, a member of the Croatian
Social-Liberal Party and the candidate of the seven opposition parties, was
elected mayor of Zagreb on 24 January by a vote of 33 to 15 with two
abstentions, Hina reported the same day. He was the second opposition candidate
for the Croatian President Franjo Tudjman refused to confirm the election of
the first one. Two opposition members voted against Rados, while some ruling
party (HDZ) members voted for him. Zagreb City Assembly President Zdravko
Tomac, member of the Social Democratic Party, responded to accusations that his
party had reached a compromise solution with the HDZ, by saying that the Social
Democrats are not in favor of radical moves. He added that Rados's election was
a way to settle Zagreb's political crisis, Novi list reported on 26
January. -- Daria Sito Sucic
MACEDONIA, RUMP YUGOSLAVIA CLOSE TO RECOGNITION?
Rump Yugoslav Foreign
Minister Milan Milutinovic, speaking to his Italian counterpart, Susanna
Agnelli, on the telephone, announced his country will recognize Macedonia "as
soon as some simply technical questions are resolved," Nasa Borba
reported on 26 /January. Milutinovic did not elaborate on the nature of those
questions. Nova Makedonija the previous day reported that rump
Yugoslav-Macedonian talks were held in Belgrade "in a constructive atmosphere"
and may lead to mutual recognition by early February. The daily said the main
problem is the question of continuity of the former Yugoslavia, but both sides
are seeking "a mutually acceptable solution." Meanwhile, Macedonian media
speculate that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic will visit Skopje soon. --
OSCE CHAIRMAN IN ROMANIA.
Flavio Cotti, chairman in office of the OSCE,
arrived in Romania on 25 January, Radio Bucharest reported. Cotti met with
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu to discuss, among other things, the
situation in Bosnia, the Republic of Moldova, and Chechnya. The Romanian side
asked the OSCE to step up its involvement in the Moldovan-Dniester conflict and
to intercede in favor of the release of Ilie Ilascu and his colleagues from a
Tiraspol jail. The so-called "Ilascu group" is being detained by Dniester
authorities for alleged terrorist acts. Cotti, who is also foreign minister of
Switzerland, praised diplomatic contacts between the two countries and noted
that bilateral economic relations were expanding. Cotti the same day also met
with President Ion Iliescu. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVA TO TAKE ACTIVE PART IN NATO'S PFP PROGRAM.
participate in 85-90% of projects within the Partnership for Peace program in
1996, a spokesman for the Moldovan armed forces told journalists in Brussels on
25 January . Infotag quoted him as saying that Moldova's participation in the
program is limited by financial possibilities and will be restricted to sending
groups of observers. He noted that NATO "understands and respects the
neutrality of Moldova, which, according to its constitution, cannot join any
military-political blocs." But he did not exclude future Moldovan participation
in NATO military exercises. Moldova plans to host this year a PfP international
seminar on military medicine. -- Matyas Szabo
NEW GOVERNOR OF BULGARIAN NATIONAL BANK.
Lyubomir Filipov's appointment
as governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has prompted personnel changes
in a number of parliamentary committees, Bulgarian media reported. The
parliamentary Socialist majority on 24 January confirmed Filipov in that post
as the successor of Todor Valchev, whose five-year term had expired. Nikolay
Koychev has replaced Filipov as head of the parliamentary Economic Committee,
while Yordan Shkolagerski replaces Koychev as chairman of the Committee on
Labor, Social, and Demographic Problems. Both Koychev and Shkolagerski are
members of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. -- Stefan Krause
UPDATE ON HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT GONCZ'S VISIT TO ALBANIA.
addressing the Albanian parliament, called for Albania's full membership in the
Central European Initiative, Magyar Hirlap reported on 26 January. Goncz
also urged expanded political and economic ties as well as deeper cultural and
scientific cooperation. Later he met with Prime Minister Alexander Meksi to
discuss gradually lifting visas requirements after concluding an agreement on
extradition. Meksi offered to ease restrictions on Hungarian business
activities in Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt and Zsofia Szilagyi
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave