CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMITTEE PUBLISHES FINAL RESULTS.
The final results
of the 16 June voting were published on 20 June, Reuters reported.
Registered voters 108,494,533
Total valid ballots 74,514,804
Total invalid ballots 1,072,119
% of votes / # of votes
Boris Yeltsin 35.28 26,664,890
Gennadii Zyuganov 32.04 24,211,790
Aleksandr Lebed 14.52 10,974,597
Grigorii Yavlinskii 7.34 5,550,710
Vladimir Zhirinovsky 5.70 4,311,469
Svyatoslav Fedorov 0.92 699,166
Mikhail Gorbachev 0.51 386,069
Martin Shakkum 0.37 277,058
Yurii Vlasov 0.20 151,281
Vladimir Bryntsalov 0.16 123,065
Against all candidates 2.96 1,163,682
-- Robert Orttung
COMMUNIST REACTION TO YELTSIN FIRINGS.
Communist leader Gennadii
Zyuganov on 20 June charged that the arrest of President Yeltsin's two campaign
aides was an attempt to stop the second round of the election
taking place, NTV reported. Zyuganov also complained that the firings of Oleg
Soskovets, Mikhail Barsukov, and Aleksandr Korzhakov represented "the
decapitation of the power structures." Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said that
Korzhakov and Barsukov were fired because they "encroached on the holy of
holies--the secret financing of the Yeltsin campaign," ITAR-TASS reported on 20
June. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin argued that the firings
were the result of a battle between "mutually exclusive" factions within the
president's inner circle. The Communist faction of the Duma also announced that
it will demand a detailed report on the events during the night 19-20 June and
the reasons for the removal of the three figures. -- Robert Orttung
CHUBAIS EXPLAINS RECENT EVENTS.
Yeltsin campaign adviser Anatolii
Chubais said that Korzhakov, Barsukov, and Soskovets decided to arrest Yeltsin
campaign aides Sergei Lisovskii and Arkadii Yevstafev because they believed
that they were about to lose their own jobs, NTV reported on 20 June. The
arrests of the two aides was merely the first step in a plan to discredit
Yeltsin's entire campaign headquarters, Chubais claimed. Chubais described the
events as the conclusion of a power struggle in the Yeltsin camp between a
group that wanted to take power by force and a group that wanted to win the
election legitimately, ITAR-TASS reported. He praised the efforts of Lebed in
blocking the actions of the hardliners. -- Robert Orttung
YEVSTAFEV, LISOVSKII DESCRIBE ARREST.
"I was arrested at 5 p.m. at the
White House by men claiming to represent the president's Security Service,"
Yevstafev told NTV on 20 June. The men held him until 3 a.m. without
explanation and asked numerous questions about the election. Lisovskii said
that the box of money allegedly found in his possession was planted, Reuters
reported on 20 June. He said that he and Yevstafev had been collecting
documents and surveys to prepare for the second round. Lisovskii noted that his
interrogators were particularly interested in getting information about the
role of Anatolii Chubais. -- Robert Orttung
KORZHAKOV PLEDGES LOYALTY TO YELTSIN.
The former head of Presidential
Security Service (SBP), Aleksandr Korzhakov, said on 20 June that he will
remain in President Yeltsin's team and "will make every effort to ensure
Yeltsin's victory," Russian and Western media reported. Korzhakov blasted
Chubais for his critical comments on 20 June, describing him as a "nightmare
for Russia." Yeltsin had recently made Korzhakov a minister and "first
adviser," and granted broad new powers to the SBP (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 23 May 1996). Like Korzhakov, ex-FSB Director Mikhail Barsukov
began his career in the 9th KGB Directorate and allegedly was Yeltsin's trusted
adviser and drinking buddy. According to Izvestiya, Barsukov's son is
married to Korzhakov's daughter, and Korzhakov reportedly helped his in-law
obtain the position of counterintelligence chief. -- Constantine Dmitriev
LEBED PRESENTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL.
Shortly before firing Korzhakov,
Barsukov, and Soskovets, on 20 June President Yeltsin introduced
newly-appointed Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed at a Kremlin meeting
of the council, Russian media reported. The council, including former Federal
Security Service chief Mikhail Barsukov, unanimously endorsed Lebed's
appointment. ITAR-TASS reported that Yeltsin charged Lebed "personally" with
strengthening the security of society and the individual, as well as insuring
political stability. During the meeting, Yeltsin criticized the government for
failing to prevent energy companies from cutting off supplies to essential
military installations, and blasted the security ministries for "criminal
mismanagement" of budget funds, saying that the Defense Ministry had squandered
more than 300 billion rubles ($60 million). After the meeting, Lebed said
Yeltsin had given him "carte-blanche" to reform the council. -- Scott Parrish
LEBED SAYS YELTSIN FIRED COUP PLOTTERS.
Lebed was greeted "like a
national hero" by a crowd that gathered to hear him at a press conference
following the Security Council meeting, NTV reported. Lebed declared that
Yeltsin had personally decided to fire Barsukov, Korzhakov, and Soskovets after
the session. While Yeltsin did not publicly link the sackings with the 19-20
June incident involving the arrest of two Yeltsin campaign staffers, Lebed did.
He said an "attempt to pressure the president had been organized," and
suggested that the plotters had tried but failed to attract the support of the
armed forces. "A certain number of stupid people involved in it will be
dismissed," he added. Some observers have suggested that Yeltsin's campaign
staff are deliberately exaggerating the danger presented by the recent incident
in order to convince voters that Yeltsin and Lebed saved the country from a
major crisis. -- Scott Parrish
NEW RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LOBOV.
Oleg Lobov will take over the industrial
policy portfolio previously held by sacked First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Soskovets, Russian and Western agencies reported on 20 June. Soskovets was in
charge of the Energy, Transport, Construction, Health, and Nuclear Power
ministries, among others. He also supervised various state committees,
including those on the defense industry and metallurgy, and chaired the
powerful Committee on Operational Questions. Lobov was given the post of first
deputy prime minister on 18 June after losing the post of Security Council
secretary to make way for Lebed. He is still Yeltsin's special representative
in Chechnya but said he will soon relinquish that job. Lobov briefly held the
posts of first deputy prime minister and economics minister in 1993; at the
time, he called for increased state regulation of the economy and a slowdown in
privatization. -- Penny Morvant
ACTING SECURITY CHIEF NAMED.
Following the abrupt dismissal of Barsukov,
President Yeltsin on 20 June named a deputy director of the Federal Security
Service (FSB), Nikolai Kovalev, as its new acting chief, ITAR-TASS reported.
Born in 1949, Kovalev has worked in state security since 1974. He served for
two years in Afghanistan and worked in the Moscow and Moscow Oblast branches of
the FSB before being made deputy director with responsibility for economic
counterintelligence. He was promoted to the rank of colonel general this May.
Barsukov served as FSB head for less than a year, taking over from Sergei
Stepashin last July in the wake of the Budennovsk hostage crisis. -- Penny
NEW BODYGUARD CHIEF FOR YELTSIN.
To replace Aleksandr Korzhakov,
President Yeltsin signed a decree on 20 June appointing head of the Federal
Protection Service (FSO) Lt. Gen. Yurii Krapivin acting chief of the
Presidential Security Service (SBP), ITAR-TASS reported. It was the second new
title for Krapivin in two days: on 19 June, Yeltsin issued a decree renaming
the Main Protection Administration, which Krapivin had headed since 1995, the
FSO. That change was mandated by the recently approved law on state protection,
which regulates the provision of bodyguards to senior state officials.
According to the law, the FSO and the SBP are under the command of the
president. Their powers include the right, in relation to their duties, to
conduct searches, check identity papers, make arrests, give orders to other
state organs, enter premises without the owners' consent, ban access to public
places, and recruit and use secret informants. -- Penny Morvant
IS THE CHECHEN PEACE AGREEMENT UNRAVELLING?
Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan
Maskhadov on 20 June ordered his forces to refrain from further hostilities
until after the second round of the Russian presidential election, reiterating
a similar statement of 17 June, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported. Russian
Public TV (ORT) quoted the head of the OSCE mission in Grozny, Tim Guldimann,
as implying that the implementation of the 10 June peace agreement has been
stalled. A meeting between Chechen and Russian military representatives planned
for 21 June has been postponed because agreement could not be reached on a
venue for it. Each side continues to accuse the other of violating the
ceasefire agreement. A Russian armored column is reported to have opened fire
on the village of Alkhan-Yurt on 19 June, and 15 Russian troops were killed in
the ensuing fighting, according to Ekho Moskvy. On 20 June, a Russian transport
helicopter was shot down over the village of Tsentoroi in southeastern
Chechnya, killing one person and injuring seven others, AFP reported. -- Liz
CENTRAL BANK MAY REVOKE NEW RESERVE REQUIREMENTS.
The Central Bank may
reverse its 10 June decision to increase mandatory reserves for commercial
banks by some 2 trillion rubles ($395 million) (see OMRI Daily Digest,
11 June 1996), ITAR-TASS reported on 20 June. The bank took the step to
neutralize the inflationary effect of transferring $1 billion of the bank's
profits to the federal budget. However, the increase in reserves has worsened
the commercial banks' liquidity problems, already exacerbated by pre-election
deposit withdrawals by their customers. The Association of Russian Banks and
the Central Bank have agreed to set up a working group to resolve the problem.
-- Natalia Gurushina
FINANCIAL-INDUSTRIAL GROUPS ON INCREASE.
The government's Commission on
Operational Questions held a meeting on 19 June to discuss the role of
financial-industrial groups (FPGs) in the economy, Kommersant-Daily
reported. The commission was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Soskovets, who was dismissed the next day. FPGs are voluntary conglomerates of
legally independent firms: conservative figures in the government see them as a
way of fighting off foreign competition and replacing the coordinating role
formerly played by the central ministries. There are currently 34 FPGs, uniting
1,457 firms and 49 banks. They account for 10% of GDP, up from 2% a year ago.
Despite a presidential decree and a law regulating FPGs, their status remains
unclear with respect to tax and investment privileges. Their future is still
more uncertain given the removal of Soskovets, their chief sponsor. -- Peter
DEMONSTRATION IN BAKU.
More than 100 people on 20 June staged a
demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Baku and submitted a petition to
the embassy urging the U.S. Senate not to approve an amendment passed by the
House of Representatives that would provide humanitarian aid to the mainly
ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, RFE/RL reported. Under the
terms of Amendment 907 to the Freedom Support Act, the U.S. does not provide
aid to Azerbaijan in retaliation for the ongoing blockade of Armenia.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador in
Baku over the amendment on 13 June. -- Liz Fuller
GEORGIA ISSUES WARRANT FOR BASAEV'S ARREST.
The Tbilisi-based Abkhaz
government in exile has issued a warrant for the arrest of Chechen military
commander Shamil Basaev for his participation in the war in Abkhazia in
1992-1993, and has requested the assistance of the Russian Procurator-General's
Office in apprehending him, Radio Rossii reported on 20 June. Earlier this
month, the Abkhaz authorities in Sukhumi denied Georgian media reports that
Basaev was vacationing in Abkhazia -- Liz Fuller
DECLINE IN EMIGRATION FROM KAZAKHSTAN.
Kazakhstani First Deputy Labor
Minister Alikhan Baymenov claims that the country's "increasing political and
economic stability" led to a sharp decline in the number of people emigrating
from Kazakhstan in the first quarter of this year, RFE/RL reported on 21 June.
About 309,000 people left Kazakhstan in 1995, compared with 480,000 the
previous year. Anatolii Puzhai, the head of the UN High Commission for Refugees
in Kazakhstan, told ITAR-TASS on 20 June that the number of people arriving in
Kazakhstan has steadily increased since 1991. About a third of the 122,000 who
came to Kazakhstan between 1991-94 are ethnic Kazakhs and the remaining
Russians and Ukrainians, Puzhai added. -- Bhavna Dave
IRANIAN RADIO BROADCASTS IN CENTRAL ASIA.
Iran's state radio began
broadcasts in the Kazakh language on 19 June, according to Tehran Radio and
IRNA reports on 20 June monitored by AFP. IRNA described the 30-minute program
as "a message of peace and friendship," and said it would be broadcast daily in
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well. The Iranian radio station broadcasts
programs in some 20 languages. -- Bhavna Dave
KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH TURKEY.
In the wake of a six-day
visit to Turkey, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Apas Jumagulov said Bishkek's relations
with Ankara are set to improve, according to a 19 June Interfax report
monitored by the BBC. He pointed out that "many agreements" on economic
cooperation have been signed but are not working; for example only $39 million
of a $75 million loan extended in 1992 had been used to date. In the wake of
Jumagulov's visit, it appears the remainder of the promised funds will be
disbursed for the development of Kyrgyzstan's hydroelectric sector. -- Lowell
MORE FIGHTING IN TAJIKISTAN.
Tajik government forces on 19 June launched
an attack on rebel troops near Tajikabad, killing 16 opposition fighters and
wounding eight, according to government sources. Also on 19 June, eight
government soldiers were killed at a checkpoint near the town of Kijak, 35 km
east of Dushanbe, when unidentified gunmen in a KAMAZ truck opened fire on the
checkpoint. Despite this latest violence, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov on
20 June offered to meet with Tajik opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri as soon
as possible, suggesting Moscow as a venue. -- Bruce Pannier
NEW ARTICLES IN DRAFT UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION. Mykhail
o Syrota, chairman
of a special parliamentary arbitration commission, on 19 June presented
amendments to and new articles of the draft Ukrainian constitution that have
been drawn up by his commission, Ukrainian TV and UNIAN reported. The draft
includes a clause stating that the right to change the constitution and
constitutional system in Ukraine "is the exclusive privilege of the people."
Although the draft still does not name Russian as a second state language, it
has been amended to include guarantees for "ethnic minorities...to use their
ethnic minority language alongside the state language [Ukrainian] within areas
of their community residence." Other new articles guarantee gender equality and
make it obligatory for parents to support their children until adulthood and
for adult children to care for their elderly parents. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
CRIMEAN PARTIES DEMAND CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF AUTONOMY.
Crimean political parties and civic organizations have issued a joint statement
demanding Kyiv provide firm guarantees of their region's autonomy within the
draft Ukrainian constitution, UNIAN reported on 19 June, as cited by the BBC.
The parties want guarantees that Crimea will have its own constitution and
parliament. They also seek control over mineral resources, safeguards for the
peninsula's territorial integrity, including Sevastopol, and the use of Russian
as a second state language. The appeal states that the parties will resort to
acts of civil disobedience if their demands are not met. -- Chrystyna
EU WARNS BELARUS AGAINST NATIONALIZING BANKS.
The EU has recommended
that the Belarusian government stop nationalizing the country's commercial
banks, Belarusian Radio reported on 20 June. The EU warned that increasing the
role of the state in the banking system would lead to the "ineffective
allocation of resources" because the state would give priority to its own
needs. It also noted that as state banks tend to be tied to specific
industries, they would continue to issue credits to those industries,
regardless of whether they were profitable. -- Ustina Markus
The parliament on 19 July adopted a decree giving the
president, parliamentary speaker, and prime minister unlimited air time on
national radio and television, according to Belarusian Radio. The following
day, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that as of 1 July, Belarusian
citizens will not be allowed to travel abroad without registering with the
appropriate authorities, Radio Rossii reported. He also told a meeting of
regional leaders that he wanted to hold a nationwide referendum on the question
of NATO expansion and the right to private property. He lashed out at the
parliament for not passing a single law implementing the results of last year's
referendum. Voters then approved, among other things, closer economic ties with
Russia. In a non-binding consultative question, they also granted the president
the right to dissolve the parliament. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN COURT POSTPONES TRIAL OF FORMER SOVIET SECURITY HEAD.
on the western island of Saaremaa on 20 June postponed the trial of 85-year-old
Vasilli Riis because of the defendant's poor health, BNS reported. Riis, who
was head of the NKVD Soviet security police in Saaremaa in summer 1941, is
accused of signing arrest warrants for 340 Estonians who were later executed.
The same day, the Lithuanian Prosecutor's Office in Vilnius postponed until
July the questioning of 89-year-old Aleksandras Lileikis after doctors insisted
that he be hospitalized. Lileikis, who was recently stripped of his U.S.
citizenship, is accused of signing orders handing Jews over to Nazi
executioners while heading a secret police force in Vilnius during the Nazi
occupation. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES EU ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT.
The Seimas on
20 June ratified the EU association agreement, which was signed one year ago,
Radio Lithuania reported. The legislature had delayed ratification so that
Article 47 of the Constitution, which prohibited the sale of land to foreigners
and thus violated EU regulations, could be amended. Earlier the same day,
deputies voted to amend the article to allow the sale of non-agricultural land
to citizens of OSCE and G-24 states as well as countries with an association
agreement with the EU. The amendment had been passed on 19 March but had to be
approved again, since the constitution requires that approval be reconfirmed by
a two-thirds majority after three months. -- Saulius Girnius
NATO CONFERENCE IN WARSAW.
Senior officials from more than 30 countries
belonging to NATO and the Partnership for Peace met in Warsaw on 20 June for a
four-day conference, the 13th NATO Workshop. NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana, European NATO forces military chief General George Joulwan, and the
presidents of some Central and East European countries, including Poland's
Aleksander Kwasniewski, are attending the conference. In his opening speech,
Kwasniewski said that "Central European states have regained the capacity to
determine their own affairs and acquired a significant standing in the overall
framework of European politics." He added that Poland is ready to join NATO "at
the earliest possible date." -- Jakub Karpinski
CZECH POLITICAL UPDATE.
The leaders of the three parties trying to form
a minority government met on 20 June for the sixth time since the parliamentary
elections but remained divided over the makeup of the proposed cabinet, Czech
media reported. The Civic Democratic Party of Prime Minister-designate Vaclav
Klaus, which won more than twice the number of votes than the other prospective
coalition parties combined, insists on having a majority of ministerial posts.
The Christian-Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party and the Civic
Democratic Alliance maintain that, together, they should have parity with the
ODS. A further meeting is scheduled for 21 June. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER PUSHES JUNIOR COALITION PARTNERS ASIDE...
Meciar on 20 June announced that although his government is "still
functioning," his coalition is not, Slovak media reported. While the Slovak
National Party (SNS) and Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) have not
withdrawn from the coalition agreement, they have stopped adhering to it,
Meciar alleged. He added that the national pride of the SNS and the workers'
honor of the ZRS "stopped at" the insurance firm Slovenska poistovna, which has
been the main subject of coalition conflict (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11
June 1996). SNS and ZRS chairmen Jan Slota and Jan Luptak denied that they
violated the coalition agreement because of their interest in controlling
financial institutions. -- Sharon Fisher
...AND PREPARES TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT.
At the initiative of the
opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL), Meciar met on 20 June with
representatives of all parliamentary parties, except the ZRS, to garner
support. Opposition leaders said they do not want early elections and would
prefer that Meciar serve his four-year term and take responsibility for his
policies. Meciar said he assumes the majority of SNS and ZRS deputies will
continue to work with the HZDS, while "most opposition parties are also
prepared to support a minority government." He singled out the SDL, which said
it might support a minority government if its demands are met. Meciar said none
of the ministers representing the two coalition partners were expected to leave
the cabinet since they disagree with their parties' leaderships. -- Sharon
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON FOUNDATIONS.
The Slovak parliament on
20 June reapproved a law on foundations first passed in May but later vetoed by
President Michal Kovac, Slovak media reported. In doing so, it ignored
objections from Kovac, domestic non-profit organizations, and international
critics. Before the vote, Kovac appeared in the parliament to warn that the law
is not in harmony with Slovakia's obligations as an associated country of the
EU. The law takes effect on 1 September. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARY PREPARES SECOND PLAN TO PRIVATIZE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT.
passage last week of a nuclear energy law has paved the way for a new
privatization tender to be announced in October for the Paks nuclear power
plant, Magyar Hirlap reported on 21 June, citing top officials. The
Soviet-built nuclear plant supplies half of the country's electricity, and
experts believe it is a safer Soviet model than Chornobyl. When the plant went
on line in 1982, its life span was estimated at 30 years. But management says
that in its present condition, the plant could be used for longer. It plans to
extend the facilities' life span by 10 to 15 years. During the privatization
last year of the country's energy sector, Paks was put up for sale in a package
with the core electricity company MVM but failed to find a buyer. -- Zsofia
KARADZIC NOMINATED FOR BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENCY.
The Pale regional group
of the governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) on 20 June nominated the
current president of the Republika Srpska (RS), Radovan Karadzic, to run in the
direct elections for the presidency expected to take place by mid-September. He
is, however, also an indicted war criminal, and the Dayton agreement specifies
that such people cannot hold political office and must be sent to The Hague to
face charges. There have recently been orchestrated demonstrations on behalf of
Karadzic and fellow indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic across the
republic. The latest move by the SDS comes amid reports that Belgrade and its
loyalists in Pale are trying to oust Karadzic before sanctions are reimposed,
news agencies reported. The nomination is yet another direct challenge to the
international community, which has repeatedly failed to enforce the principles
it itself enshrined in the Dayton agreement. The U.S. and the Bosnian
government have slammed the SDS's decision. -- Patrick Moore
DEMILITARIZATION OF EASTERN SLAVONIA COMPLETED.
The UN completed the
demilitarization of eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-held part of Croatia, by
the noon deadline on 20 June, AFP reported. The UN spokesman said that UN
monitors would continue to check the area for any further violations during the
region's gradual return to Croatian government control. Meanwhile, the eastern
Slavonia Serbs' self-declared parliament called for the mandate of the Forces
of the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia to be extended for a
second year. The Serbs have dropped demands for outright autonomy, saying they
will ask instead for a "special status" once the area reverts to Zagreb's
control, Nasa Borba reported on 21 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WARN CROATS NOT TO TRY TO PRESERVE HERCEG-BOSNA.
The EU has warned the Bosnian Croats that efforts to preserve their
self-proclaimed state of Herceg-Bosna are a clear violation of the Dayton peace
accord and run contrary to the goal of consolidating the Muslim-Croatian
federation, AFP reported on 20 June. The Italian EU Presidency urged the
Croatian government to pressure the Bosnian Croat leadership to cooperate in
the peace process. Meanwhile, UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko, warning of growing
"separatist tendencies" in Bosnia, said on 19 June that Bosnian Croats, in
particular, are not cooperating with peace implementation officials because of
their desire to maintain their para-state, Oslobodjenje reported. Ivanko
also called on Zagreb to force Herceg-Bosna leaders to comply with the peace
agreement. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SERBIAN LEADERS ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
Vuk Draskovic, leader of the
opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, has said his party will not take part in
the upcoming elections in the Republika Srpska. Nasa Borba on 19 June
quoted him as saying that "the preconditions for an open and democratic" vote
are lacking. Meanwhile, in an interview with OMRI, Democratic Party leader
Zoran Djindjic said his party will participate in the vote. He said that he
believed that the elections would be "relatively fair" or would at least
reflect the strength of the various parties involved. -- Stan Markotich in
MACEDONIA, EU AGREE TO COOPERATION ACCORD.
Macedonia and the EU on 20
June have reached agreement on a cooperation accord, which will go into effect
on 1 January 1997, Nova Makedonija reported. Two days earlier,
Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Jane Miljovski had refused to sign the
agreement because it referred to Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia. Since no compromise between Macedonia, Greece, and the European
Commission on the name issue was reached, only letters of intent confirming
agreement had been reached were exchanged. The agreement itself was not
initialed. Under the agreement, Macedonia will have easier access to EU markets
and to European Investment Bank credits. -- Ismije Beshiri and Stefan Krause
ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS STAGE PROTESTS.
Thousands of workers and public
sector employees on 20 June marched through downtown Bucharest to press for
wage increases and protest the cabinet's economic and social policies, Radio
Bucharest reported. The rally was staged by the National Labor Bloc (BNS), one
of the country's largest trade union associations. At the government's
headquarters, BNS leaders handed over a list of claims, including a 60% rise to
keep pace with massive price hikes. A government official promised that the
claims would be carefully examined, adding that a meeting with BNS
representatives is expected to take place in the near future. -- Dan Ionescu
IMF WITHHOLDS LOAN TO ROMANIA.
The IMF has announced it will withhold a
$70 million tranche of a stand-by credit to Romania until the country's foreign
exchange market has stabilized, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 20 June. An
IMF spokesman was quoted as saying that Bucharest will not be able to make
further use of a $480 million credit until it removes restrictions on the
foreign-currency holdings of Romanian banks. Romania's trade deficit in the
first four months of this year totaled $335 million, and the value of the leu
against foreign currencies has plunged over the past few days. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT RENEWS CALL FOR DEFENSE MINISTER'S DISMISSAL.
Snegur on 20 June renewed his earlier demand that Gen. Pavel Creanga be
dismissed as defense minister, BASA-press and Infotag reported. Addressing a
closed-door parliamentary session, Snegur warned that if his demand were
rejected, he would be forced to "assume direct control" over the national army.
Creanga was dismissed by presidential decree on 15 March but later reinstated
following a Constitutional Court ruling. -- Dan Ionescu
RECORD LOW WHEAT HARVEST EXPECTED IN BULGARIA.
Hristo Kurzhin of the
Agricultural Academy has predicted that the 1996 wheat harvest will not exceed
2.2 tons per hectare, down from 4.5 tons in 1991, Bulgarian and international
media reported on 20 June. This would be the lowest yield in 20 years and would
result in an even more acute grain shortage than in recent months. Kurzhin said
the government should consider importing wheat. The government allowed wheat
exports last year--when world market prices were high--although grain was
already in short supply. Later, it was forced to release emergency supplies and
import grain from Romania, Serbia, and India. Two agriculture ministers have
resigned this year over the grain crisis. -- Stefan Krause
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DEMANDS NEW ALBANIAN ELECTIONS...
Parliament on 20 June demanded that Albania annul the results of its disputed
elections, AFP reported. The EU legislators voted to suspend cooperation with
Albania until "a democracy worthy of the name" is instituted there. Meanwhile,
OSCE Chairman Flavio Cotti sent a personal envoy to Albania in the hope of
restoring "a minimum of confidence" in the political system there. Cotti
pointed out that the final OSCE report on the 26 May elections was "one of the
most critical we have read." -- Fabian Schmidt
...WHILE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MAY SUSPEND ALBANIA.
Koha Jone on 20
June claimed that a majority of members of the Council of Europe's
parliamentary assembly want Albania's membership suspended. Victor Ruffy, the
council's rapporteur on Albania, is quoted as writing to Socialist Party deputy
leader Namik Dokle that "Albania should be suspended from the Council of Europe
until the re-holding of new and free elections," Reuters reported. Danish
Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen told President Sali Berisha that Albania
"must realize if they want to be part of us, they must play by the rules, and
the rules are democratic elections." Meanwhile, the Albanian Central Election
Commission has accused some OSCE observers of collaborating with late dictator
Enver Hoxha. Similar earlier allegations in the daily Albania have been
dismissed by diplomats close to the OSCE as "completely unfounded." -- Fabian
SIX ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
Former communist chief ideologue Foto Cami, Defense Minister Prokop Murra,
and Politburo member Muho Asllani have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Former communist party First-Secretary Gaqo Nesho, Tirana police chief Dilaver
Bengasi, and secret police chief Zef Loka were jailed for 16, 18, and 20 years
respectively. The court found them guilty of crimes against humanity, including
deportations of up to 500 people, AFP reported on 20 June. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave