EASTER CELEBRATED AT CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOR.
Yeltsin on 14 April headed a 1,500-strong congregation at an Easter mass at the
newly rebuilt Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The mass was celebrated by Patriarch Aleksii II, who called
the restoration of the cathedral "a symbol of the resurrection of Russia." Both
Yeltsin and his main rival for the presidency, Communist contender Gennadii
Zyuganov, have taken pains to express support for the Orthodox Church, and the
Easter mass, which was televised nationwide, provided Yeltsin with useful
pre-election media coverage. -- Penny Morvant
SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS ORDER TO TsIK.
The Supreme Court on 13 April
suspended for further study its order to the Central Electoral Commission
(TsIK) to register Duma member Vladimir Bryntsalov as a presidential candidate,
NTV reported. The TsIK had protested a 10 April court order to register
Bryntsalov to Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov, who told the Duma on 12 April
that the court could overrule the TsIK's decision not to register Bryntsalov
but could not force the TsIK to register him, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported.
Meanwhile, the TsIK registered former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev as the
fourth candidate and denied registration to Martin Shakum, president of the
International Foundation for Economic and Social Reform, on the grounds that he
did not submit enough valid nomination signatures. -- Robert Orttung
GRACHEV PREVENTS COMMUNISTS FROM CAMPAIGNING AMONG TROOPS.
Minister Pavel Grachev has turned down a request from Communist Party campaign
organizer Valentin Kuptsov to allow Zyuganov to meet with servicemen during the
presidential campaign, ITAR-TASS reported 12 April. Zyuganov had planned a
series of meetings with military units in the coming months. The Defense
Ministry's top leadership has strenuously denied that there are political
divisions among the ranks, and has signaled its support for Yeltsin. -- Robert
POLL SHOWS WEAK SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY, MARKET ECONOMY.
A recent VTsIOM
poll found that 41% of respondents believed that the Soviet political system
existing before the 1990s was the best option for Russia, 27% supported
Western-style democracy, and 9% favored the current system, Radio Rossii
reported 14 April. Also, 42% said that they favored an economic system based on
state planning, while approximately one-third favored a market economy and 25%
chose "difficult to say" as a response. -- Robert Orttung
NOVODVORSKAYA CHARGED FOR BELITTLING RUSSIAN NATION.
Novodvorskaya, the head of Russia's Democratic Union, is facing criminal
charges for "repeatedly expressing opinions and spreading ideas suggesting the
inferiority of the Russian nation," ITAR-TASS reported on 11 April. She is
being charged under Article 74 of the Russian Criminal Code for "deliberate
instigation of interethnic enmity." The writ cites articles by Novodvorskaya in
Novyi vzglyad on 29 August 1993 and 15 January 1994 and an interview
with Estonian television. It said she used "tendentiously selected facts and
false statements about the Russian way of life" to generate "negative attitudes
toward people of Russian nationality." Novodvorskaya was a prominent dissident
in Soviet times and was imprisoned during perestroika for publicly calling
President Mikhail Gorbachev a fascist. -- Penny Morvant
BARSUKOV EMPLOYS EX-KGB OFFICERS AS ADVISERS . . .
Service (FSB) Director Mikhail Barsukov has decided to restore the institution
of veteran-advisers, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 13 April.
Barsukov has reportedly appointed Col. Gen. Nikolai Golushko (Rt.), former
security minister (1993-94), as a special adviser to the FSB director. Golushko
served in the KGB for 34 years and was the last head of the Ukrainian KGB. --
Constantine Dmitriev in Moscow
. . . WHILE COMMUNISTS FEAR SECURITY SERVICE PROVOCATIONS.
deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, the head of the Duma Committee on Security, told Ekho
Moskvy on 12 April that the Russian security services are preparing three
scenarios to discredit the Communist Party presidential candidate and his
campaign. Ilyukhin said that the security services may accuse the Communist
Party of creating paramilitary units to take power by force; of financial
machinations during the 1995 parliamentary campaign; and of conducting separate
negotiations with the Chechen separatist leaders. -- Anna Paretskaya in
ST. PETERSBURG DVR BACKS YELTSIN, NATIONAL LEADERSHIP DIVIDED.
Petersburg branch of Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR) voted 49-25 to back
President Yeltsin in the presidential campaign on 13 April, Express
Khronika reported. The day before, the party's national Political Council
failed to come to a decision. Party leader Yegor Gaidar told Segodnya
that "Sergei Kovalev supports Yavlinskii, Anatolii Chubais is for Yeltsin." The
18 May party congress will resolve the issue. -- Robert Orttung
SPLIT IN DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
Twelve Democratic Party of Russia (DPR)
regional branches have declared that they disagree with the party's decision at
the 9th DPR Congress to support Duma deputy Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed for
the presidential bid, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 13 April. Twelve
DPR regional branches, which include the Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Kaluga, and
Primorie organizations, have created an association supporting President
Yeltsin for re-election. -- Anna Paretskaya
NEW CHECHEN PRIME MINISTER NAMED.
The Supreme Soviet on 13 April voted
to appoint the former deputy head of the Russian railway troops, General
Nikolai Koshman, as Chechen prime minister, NTV reported. Sporadic fighting in
the west Chechen villages of Bamut, Goiskoe, and Stary Achkhoi between Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev's forces and Russian federal troops continued on
13-14 April, but the commander of the Russian federal troops, Lt. Gen.
Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, announced on 13 April that the first contingent of
Russian troops would begin withdrawing from Chechnya on 15 April. In an
interview with NTV cited by AFP on 14 April, Dudaev's chief of staff, Aslan
Maskhadov, said he is ready for peace talks, and blamed Russian forces for not
observing the ceasefire proclaimed by President Yeltsin on 31 March. Meanwhile,
Nadezhda Chaikova, 33, a reporter for the Moscow weekly Obschaya Gazeta
became the 16th journalist killed in Chechnya since the conflict began in
December 1994, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller
CIS PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN MOSCOW.
The prime ministers of the 12 CIS
member-states signed an integration plan for 1996-97, a crime-fighting
agreement, and several other economic accords at a 12 April meeting in Moscow,
Russian and Western agencies reported. The anti-crime agreement calls for the
coordination of criminal codes and the creation of a united CIS criminal data
base. NTV reported that the session, which dealt with 30 agenda items in less
than three hours, had been much more productive than anticipated. Also
concluded at the session were agreements bolstering the CIS unified air defense
system and coordinating oil transit policy. -- Scott Parrish
PRIMORSK GOVERNOR CLAIMS MISUNDERSTANDING.
Primorsk Krai Governor
Yevgenii Nazdratenko announced on 12 April that he has "no disagreement with
the president over the Russo-Chinese border," Russian and Western agencies
reported. Nazdratenko said journalists had misinterpreted him, and denied that
he had announced that Yeltsin was suspending the ongoing demarcation of
disputed segments of the Russo-Chinese border along the Tuman River. Yeltsin
later angrily refuted Nazdratenko's remarks. (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11
and 12 April 1996). On the same day, Ussuri Cossack Ataman Vitalii Poluyanov
announced that his troops would picket the disputed segments, which they claim
are traditional Cossack territory, in order to prevent the demarcation. --
NORILSK NICKEL DIRECTOR FIRED.
Anatolii Filatov, the head of the Norilsk
Nickel plant, has been fired by a decision of the Russian government, Russian
Public TV (ORT) reported on 13 April. The giant combine has been mired in
controversy since ONEKSIMbank acquired 38% of its shares in return for a $170
million loan last November. Filatov was preventing the bank from calling a
shareholders meeting in order to appoint new members to its board. On 27
February, ONEKSIMbank won a court case the firm had brought to try to have the
bank's purchase of shares declared illegal. The first deputy chairman of the
State Metallurgy Committee, Vsevolod Generalov, will now take over as Norilsk
director. -- Peter Rutland
TAX REVENUE PROBLEMS.
The Federation Council was told that budget
revenues reached only 56% of the planned level in the first two months of this
year, Russian TV reported on 13 April. The volume of uncollected taxes had
risen to 40 trillion rubles ($8 billion) by the end of that period. Nizhnii
Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov complained that his province had received only
16 billion rubles in transfers from the federal government, instead of the
allotted 100 billion. Leningrad Governor Aleksandr Belyakov said that inflation
had been needed to keep revenues rising: now that it has slowed, the government
is in a quandary. -- Peter Rutland
GOVERNMENT TO WRITE OFF FARM DEBTS.
Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Zaveryukha said that the government will write off 18 trillion rubles ($11
billion in 1993-94 prices) borrowed by the agro-industrial complex from banks
in 1993-1994, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 April. He also said the government will
write down the 5 trillion rubles "commodity credits" given to farms in the form
of tractors, machines and equipment during the same period. Zaveryukha said
that unfavorable shifts in prices were largely responsible for the fact that
farms lost a total of 46 trillion rubles ($10.1 billion) in 1995. -- Natalia
AZERBAIJAN'S EX-PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN MOSCOW.
President Ayaz Mutalibov and former Defense Minister Rahim Gaziev were arrested
in Moscow on 11 and 14 April respectively, Turan and Western agencies reported.
Mutalibov, who was ousted by the Azerbaijani Popular Front in May 1992, and has
been living in Moscow ever since, was briefly detained by Russian police in May
last year. The Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly demanded his
extradition, claiming that he was implicated in the alleged coup attempts
against current President Heidar Aliyev in October 1994 and March 1995. Gaziev,
a former leading member of the Azerbaijani Popular Front, was arrested for
allegedly surrendering the towns of Shusha and Lachin to Armenian forces in the
spring of 1993. He escaped from prison in September 1994 and fled to Moscow but
was tried and sentenced to death in absentia in February 1996. -- Liz Fuller
ARMENIAN ENVOY IN ANKARA.
Gerard Libaridian, chief adviser to Armenian
President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, arrived in Ankara on 12 April in a visit aimed
at urging Turkey to balance its Caucasus policy by undertaking an unconditional
dialogue with Armenia, Turkish and Western media reported the same day.
Libaridian will meet with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel for talks on the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. His arrival immediately preceded the departure of
Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz for Baku. -- Lowell Bezanis
UZBEKISTAN STOPS TAJIKS GOING TO MECCA.
Some 2,000 Tajik pilgrims en
route to Mecca were detained on Tajikistan's southern border with Uzbekistan
because their travel documents were allegedly incomplete, according to an
opposition Voice of Free Tajikistan report monitored by the BBC on 11 April. --
CADRE CHANGES IN KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN.
Kazakhstani Supreme Court
Chairman Mikhail Malakov was suspended on 11 April pending investigation into
charges that he accepted bribes from a convicted criminal, ITAR-TASS reported
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 February 1996). The day before, Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbayev sacked the head of East Kazakhstan, Leonid
Desyantik, for "serious mistakes and neglecting his duties." He was replaced by
Kazkhymurat Nigmanov, formerly head of Zhezkazgan, which will now be headed by
Yerlan Smailov, according to a Kazakh Radio report monitored by the BBC. In
Kyrgyzstan, police Colonel Omurbek Kutuyev was appointed to the post of
interior minister on 11 April, according to a Kyrgyz TV report monitored by the
BBC. Former Interior Minister Modalbek Moldashev was obliged to resign on 2
April (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 April 1996). -- Lowell Bezanis
PRESS FREEDOM IN THE CIS.
Press freedom is in a sorry state in the
countries of the CIS, according to the latest report from the Glasnost Defense
Fund, Russian TV reported on 12 April. Aleksei Simonov said that journalists
throughout the region find it difficult to get hold of information. The report
divided the CIS into five groups. In Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan,
freedom of speech is completely absent. Things are a little better in
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, where on occasion journalists are jailed. In
Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, independent journalists are harassed, and Armenia,
Georgia, and Moldova are not far behind. There are also "black holes" in press
freedom in Russia--most notably, Chechnya. -- Peter Rutland
UKRAINE PLEAS FOR MORE CASH FOR CHORNOBYL.
Ukrainian Finance Minister
Petro Hermanchuk on 14 April appealed to the EBRD board meeting in Sofia to
lend more money to Ukraine for the expansion of its energy sector, RFE/RL
reported. Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors produce 40% of the nation's
electricity, and the country is currently completing an additional five
reactors. The EBRD is considering granting $1 billion to Ukraine to enable the
completion of the Khmelnitski and Rivne reactors. -- Peter Rutland
BLACK SEA FLEET MANEUVERS.
For the first time in two years, ships from
the Russian Black Sea Fleet put to sea to conduct a large-scale exercise, NTV
reported on 13 April. Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Kravchenko told a press
conference that the exercise will involve 46 ships in mine clearing and live
firing drills. It is to culminate on 19 April with a marine landing. Ukrainian
observers were present, but vessels from the Ukrainian fleet were not involved.
The maneuvers coincide with the arrival in Kyiv on 15 April of NATO
Secretary-General Javier de Solana at the beginning of his 12-nation tour of
Eastern Europe. -- Peter Rutland
BELARUS DEFENDS FINANCIAL POLICY.
Valyantsin Vasilevich, deputy head of
the Belarus National Bank, said on 13 April that Belarus may introduce a fixed
exchange rate within several months, RFE/RL reported. Valentin was speaking at
a meeting of the EBRD board in Sofia. The IMF has suspended lending to Belarus,
partly because it accuses the National Bank of preventing the Belarusian ruble
from depreciating. Meanwhile, the head of the Belarus parliament, Syamyon
Sharetsky, told a press conference that preparations are under way for the
creation of an interparliamentary assembly between Belarus and Russia, Russian
Television reported on 14 April. A document should be ready for ratification by
the two parliaments by the end of the month. -- Peter Rutland
LITHUANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER WANTS TO QUIT RULING PARTY.
Linkevicius is planning to quit the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDPP),
Lithuanian Radio and Reuters reported. No reason has been given for his
decision, which comes only two days before NATO Secretary-General Javier de
Solana's visit to Lithuania. If he leaves the party, Linkevicius will also have
to vacate his ministerial post, a government source told Reuters. The LDPP, the
successor to the Lithuanian Communist Party, recently survived a government
crisis that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius. It is
expected to suffer a defeat in the October general elections. -- Jiri Pehe
CZECH PRESIDENT VISITS BALTIC STATES.
Vaclav Havel departed for a visit
to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia on the weekend. The heads of those three
states all visited Prague in late 1994 to meet with Havel. Before his
departure, Havel told journalists that "all states should have the right to
decide where their place is [internationally]. This should no longer be decided
by the army headquarters of big powers." In an interview with the Latvian daily
Diena on 13 April, Havel said the aim of his visit is "to express our
solidarity with the three Baltic States and to contribute to a further
deepening of bilateral relations." Havel arrived in Riga on 14 April where he
was met by Prime Minister Andris Skele. -- Jiri Pehe
PRESIDENT OF POLISH PUBLIC TV APPOINTED.
The Supervisory Council of
Polish Public TV on 12 April appointed Ryszard Miazek as TVP president, Polish
dailies reported. Miazek is supported by the coalition Polish Peasant Party.
Since two other board members are supported by the ruling Democratic Left
Alliance, the coalition now has a majority on the 5-member board. TVP
management recently experienced a crisis when TVP1 director Maciej Pawlicki was
dismissed and former TVP President Wieslaw Walendziak resigned. Both men were
accused by the ruling coalition of opposition sympathies. The opposition saw
them as guaranteeing the independence of TVP. -- Jakub Karpinski
SOLIDARITY GAINS SUPPORT.
In an opinion poll conducted in March by the
Sopot Social Research Bureau, the trade union Solidarity received 17% of the
vote, up one percentage point on the previous month. The Movement for Poland's
Reconstruction, the Christian-National Alliance, the Non-Party Bloc of Support
for Reforms (created to back former President Lech Walesa), the Freedom Union,
and even the Labor Union -- which is opposed to Solidarity's anti-communist
stance -- have declared their wish to establish an alliance with Solidarity for
the 1997 parliamentary elections. But the leaders of those parties have
stressed they would have difficulties forging an alliance with the other
right-wing parties, Rzeczpospolita reported on 15 April. -- Jakub
CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND TO JOINTLY MODERNIZE AIR FORCES.
The Czech and
Polish defense and foreign ministers, meeting in the Czech town of Vyskov on 13
April, agreed to create a Czech-Polish commission tasked with recommending how
to jointly modernize the two countries' air forces, Czech media reported. Czech
Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec said after the meeting that the commission
will focus on the possible joint purchases of airplanes and weapons as well as
cooperation in the aircraft industry and air traffic control. International
media last week reported that the Czech Republic and Poland are considering
buying jointly Western-made fighter jets. -- Jiri Pehe
DELEGATION FROM EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION IN SLOVAKIA.
delegation from the European Journalists Association (EJA), led by Chairman
Athanase Papandropoulos and Secretary-General Miguel Angel Aguilar, concluded a
three-day visit to Slovakia on 14 April, TASR reported. The press office of the
Slovak cabinet invited the EJA to come on a fact-finding mission after the
association passed a resolution critical of Slovakia at its congress in Malta
last fall. The delegation was received by Deputy Prime Minister Katharina
Tothova, other government officials, and the heads of various media
organizations. Slovak journalist and EJA representative in Slovakia Juraj
Alner, however, was excluded from meetings with Slovak officials. The EJA
delegation refused to attend a gathering, headed by Culture Minister Ivan
Hudec, to which Alner had not been invited. It later issued an open letter
saying, "We came to learn about relations between authorities and the media.
The first impression was not very good." -- Jiri Pehe
ROMANI-SLOVAK DICTIONARY LAUNCHED.
Slovak Culture Minister Ivan Hudec
and Archbishop of Bratislava Jan Sokol attended a reception introducing what
has been called a "unique" Romani-Slovak dictionary, TASR reported on 11 April.
Also present were other state and Church officials as well as Romani
representatives. The dictionary contains the 15,000 words most frequently used
by Roma in Slovakia, detailing from which of the several Slovensko-Romani and
Vlax-Romani dialects they originate. -- Alaina Lemon
HUNGARY, POLAND SAY RUSSIA CANNOT VETO THEIR NATO PLANS.
Minister Gyula Horn and his visiting Polish counterpart, Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, have said they will not let Russia interfere with their plans to
join NATO, Hungarian and international media reported. "We have to take into
account Russia's position, but we agreed that Russia cannot veto our NATO
membership," Horn said. He added that expansion of the military alliance will
strengthen rather than weaken security in Eastern Europe. Cimoszewicz, who was
on his first official visit to Budapest, noted that Moscow's problem is "not
NATO's expansion but NATO itself." The two premiers nonetheless stressed the
importance of further dialogue with Russia. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
BUDAPEST STOCK EXCHANGE ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT.
Zsigmond Jarai, head of
the Hungarian Credit Bank, was elected president of the Exchange Council of the
Budapest Stock Exchange (BSE) on 12 April, Hungarian media reported. Jarai
plans to reorganize the BSE, have Hungarian shares listed on international
exchanges, and introduce foreign securities on the Budapest market. Jarai
defeated former Finance Minister Lajos Bokros by a small margin. -- Zsofia
BOSNIAN AID CONFERENCE CLOSES.
Representatives of 55 countries and 26
international organizations ended a two-day session in Brussels on 13 April,
having secured the necessary $1.2 billion in additional reconstruction aid
pledges, Onasa reported. Bosnian Serb representatives were not present because
they refused to join a Bosnian delegation that included federal officials. The
international community's High Representative Carl Bildt said the Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic should be arrested because it is "not acceptable" that
indicted war criminals continue to move about freely, Western news agencies
noted. The Bosnian Serbs will receive a share of the aid, but it will be linked
to their support for the Dayton agreement, Nasa Borba reported on 15
April. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN MUSLIM ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEGINS.
President Alija Izetbegovic on
13 April kicked off his election campaign and made his first major public
appearance since his hospitalization earlier this year, Oslobodjenje
reported on 15 April. Speaking at a stadium at Zenica, he lashed out at former
Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, who on 13 April formally launched his
non-nationalist Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina. A recent poll suggested that
Silajdzic would defeat the president in an election among urban Muslims, and
Izetbegovic has warned that the new party could split the Muslim vote in the
elections due by this fall. At Zenica, Izetbegovic said his critics refuse to
give him and his party credit for what are really massive achievements. Bosnian
Croat leader and federal President Kresimir Zubak said the same day that
Izetbegovic must be brought into talks aimed at shoring up the shaky
Croat-Muslim federation, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on 15 April. --
BRCKO REFUGEES WANT TO GO HOME.
Up to 15,000 mainly Muslim refugees from
the strategic northern Bosnian town of Brcko held a protest on federal
territory to the south on 15 April, Western news agencies reported. Brcko
controls the narrow corridor linking Serbia with Bosnian Serb territories
around Banja Luka. Its fate will be decided later by international arbitration.
Pale has settled many Serbs from Sarajevo there this year in the hope of
influencing the mediators' decision. Mayor Munib Jusufovic said arbitration
will be feasible only when the people of Brcko have been allowed to go home, a
message echoed by Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic. Meanwhile in Tuzla, the
first phase of on-site inquiries into atrocities was concluded on 14 April,
Onasa reported. The UN experts returned to The Hague but declined to comment on
their findings. -- Patrick Moore
INTERNATIONAL HELSINKI FEDERATION ACCUSES SERBIA OF VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) on 12 April
urged the EU and the OSCE to "consider the current state of human rights for
Kosovo Albanians who continue to live under repression that is utterly at
variance with European and OSCE standards." The EU has stated that its
requirements for recognition of rump Yugoslavia include "full respect for human
[and] minority rights [and] the granting of a large degree of autonomy for
...Kosovo." The IHF pointed out that these requirements have not been met,
saying there were 2,666 reported cases of "severe mistreatment and torture in
Serbian police custody" in 1995. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow state Prime Minister
Bujar Bukoshi urged the U.S. to "continue not to recognize rump Yugoslavia."
Bukoshi arrived in the U.S. on 15 April, AFP reported. -- Fabian Schmidt
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN CROATIA.
Kiro Gligorov met with his Croatian
counterpart, Franjo Tudjman, in Zagreb on 12 April, Reuters reported. Both
presidents ruled out a new union of former Yugoslav republics but stressed the
need for political and economic ties. "We oppose pre-set formulas of a union,
federation or confederation of former Yugoslav republics," Gligorov said. He
pointed out that the Balkans have had "bitter experience with such political
formations." Gligorov said all partners should be equal and should build
political, economic, and cultural relations among themselves on a voluntary
basis. Gligorov was making his first trip abroad since he was injured in a car
bomb attack last fall. Unlike Macedonia, Croatia has not recognized rump
Yugoslavia owing to the continued dispute over the division of Yugoslav-era
assets and debts among the successor states as well as other issues. -- Fabian
CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER IN MACEDONIA.
Qian Qichen and Macedonian
President Kiro Gligorov on 14 April agreed to promote economic exchanges
between their two countries, AFP reported. Qian also met with Prime Minister
Branko Crvenkovski. The two sides agreed to establish a joint committee to
develop exchanges. They also plan to sign soon accords on protecting
investments and avoiding double taxation. In October 1993, China was one of the
first countries to recognize Macedonia under the name of Republic of Macedonia,
despite Greek objections. -- Fabian Schmidt
GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER CONCLUDES VISIT TO ROMANIA.
Volker Ruehe on 12
April said it is only "natural" that the 12 states that have applied for NATO
membership cannot be accepted at the same time, Romanian media reported. Asked
what Romania should do to advance its chances, Ruehe replied "more of the
same." During his visit, he met with President Ion Iliescu, Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu, and his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca. In Sibiu, he
expressed satisfaction at the situation of Romania's German minority. --
ROMANIA, HUNGARY MAKE PROGRESS ON BASIC TREATY?
Hungarian Ambassador to
Bucharest Ferenc Szocs on 12 April said he is optimistic that the basic treaty
between Romania and Hungary will soon be concluded, Adevarul reported.
Szocs said Romania has now agreed to the inclusion of Recommendation 1201 in
the treaty but that agreement still has to be reached on how to include it.
Szocs also said that other unresolved issues are the Magyar minority's right to
use its own language in official contexts and setting up a joint commission to
supervise the implementation of the treaty. -- Michael Shafir
MOLDOVAN DELEGATION AT CIS SUMMIT.
The Moldovan delegation to the CIS
summit meeting in Moscow on 12 April took part in discussions on cooperation in
1996, particularly on setting up a customs and payments union, Infotag
reported. The group, however, was not present at talks on military and border
defense issues. Premier Andrei Sangheli headed the delegation. -- Michael
BULGARIAN SUPREME COURT REVOKES SENTENCES OF PRE-COMMUNIST LEGISLATORS.
The Bulgarian Supreme Court has rehabilitated legislators who were
sentenced by the communist-era People's Court for high treason and cooperation
with foreign powers during the war. Of the 124 legislators sentenced, 67 were
given the death penalty, Demokratsija reported on 13 April. Bulgaria was
an ally of Nazi Germany from 1941-1944 before the Communists took power. In
1994, the Supreme Court rehabilitated nine journalists, publishers, and lawyers
sentenced by the People's Court. -- Fabian Schmidt
EBRD MEETING IN SOFIA.
At a meeting of the board of governors of the
EBRD beginning in Sofia on 15 April, the 57 shareholding governments are
expected to double the ERBD's annual capital from $12.7 million to $25.4
million. Hans-Peter Lankes, a EBRD chief economist, said prior to the meeting
that Bulgaria "is one of the riskiest foreign investment sites" in Eastern
Europe, RFE/RL reported. EBRD Bulgarian director Oliver Descamps said the
country has the legal framework to attract foreign investment, but he pointed
out that the government has "obviously not been able to reach any form of
mutual agreement" with major potential foreign investors. Nonetheless, he
praised Sofia's policy of learning from the experience of the Czech Republic in
drawing up regulations for its mass privatization program based on coupons. --
POLISH PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.
Aleksander Kwasniewski and his Bulgarian
counterpart, Zhelyu Zhelev, meeting in Sofia on 13 April, said they both oppose
a "new edition of the Soviet Union, whatever its form," AFP reported. They
called for NATO enlargement, despite Russian objections. Bulgaria has been
highly critical of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's invitation to join a union
of former Soviet states that includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan. Kwasniewski pointed out that "no other state, great or small, can
impose conditions for joining NATO." While Zhelev supports Bulgaria's speedy
membership in NATO, the socialist government has not yet applied. Bulgaria is a
member of the Partnership for Peace program. -- Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIAN ELECTION COMMISSION BANS ANOTHER 35 CANDIDATES.
commission vetting candidates for the parliamentary elections has banned 35
Socialists--including deputy leader Servet Pellumbi and Secretary-General
Gramoz Ruci--from taking part. The commission last week prohibited the
participation of six members of the Democratic Alliance. The ruling Democratic
Party daily Rilindja Demokratike on 13 April published the names of the
banned candidates under the title "The Red Front, the Front of Spies." Seven of
the Socialist candidates have been banned because they were ministers in
communist-era governments, while 27 are allegedly former secret police members
or informers. The writer Dritero Agolli has been banned from participating
because he is a former member of the Central Committee of the Albanian Labor
Party. Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka charged that President Sali
Berisha is using the commission to weaken his opponents in the elections. --
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave