YELTSIN HEALTH IN DOUBT ON EVE OF VOTING.
President Boris Yeltsin has
not been seen in public since 26 June, Reuters reported as the last day of
campaigning began in Russia on 1 July. In an interview published on 1 July in
Rossiiskaya gazeta, Yeltsin said that he had lost his voice. The Kremlin
canceled a 1 July meeting between Yeltsin and the presidents of Moldova and
Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported on the same day. The Russian media has provided no
detailed information about the president's health, sparking speculation from
his rival, Gennadii Zyuganov, and others that his illness is serious. Finally,
on the afternoon of 1 July Russian Television broadcast a short address by
Yeltsin, which they said was recorded at 10:00 a.m. GMT on 1 July. Yeltsin's
voice was hoarse but otherwise his appearance was normal. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN LAYS OUT MAIN PROGRAM POINTS IN LAST CAMPAIGN INTERVIEW.
president confirmed his rejection of the idea of a coalition government,
stressing that his government would be made up of professionals whose main
priorities were "order and care," reflecting an emphasis on cracking down on
crime and bolstering social policy, Rossiskaya gazeta reported on 1
July. Yeltsin described the "whole world" as the sphere of Russian national
interests, but stressed developing cooperation within the CIS, strengthening
Russia's position with the West, and "seriously stepping up" policy toward the
East. He said that Russia would strengthen its military base in Kaliningrad.
Yeltsin described Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii as his ally, but rejected
Yavlinskii's proposal to amend the Constitution to weaken the presidency as
"extremely dangerous." -- Robert Orttung
LEBED SEEKS VICE PRESIDENCY.
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed
on 29 June called for the recreation of the vice presidency and proposed
himself for the job, ITAR-TASS reported the following day. He called on his
supporters to back Yeltsin in the runoff, saying that his alliance with the
president was not a betrayal of his ideals, but the union of two politicians
who believe that "a non-communist future is possible for Russia." In contrast
to Yeltsin, Lebed foresees a coalition government, possibly including Gennadii
Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, NTV reported on 30 June. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN AGAIN DECLINES DEBATE WITH ZYUGANOV.
President Yeltsin turned
down yet another challenge from Gennadii Zyuganov to a live television debate,
Russian media reported on 28 June. According to NTV, the president explained:
"I have nothing to discuss with him ... I know all these former and current
party functionaries well. They are all failures from the ranks of the
nomenklatura, who haven't learned anything during these long years." Meanwhile,
Zyuganov and his team are making a campaign issue out of the president's
refusal to debate. During a 26 June free air time appearance on ORT, Zyuganov
criticized Yeltsin for refusing to adhere to a practice he said was normal in
all "civilized countries." -- Laura Belin in Moscow
ZHIRINOVSKY TELLS SUPPORTERS NOT TO VOTE FOR ZYUGANOV.
Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky on 28 June dealt
a blow to Gennadii Zyuganov's prospects by advising LDPR supporters not to vote
for a Communist, Russian media reported. While he stopped short of endorsing
President Yeltsin openly, Zhirinovsky lashed out at pro-Communist hecklers,
shouting angrily: "You degraded us for 40 years...You decided where I would go
for vacation. You decided where I would study, where I would live...." However,
Zhirinovsky said the LDPR will not accept any cabinet posts and will
"constantly criticize" both the president and government after the election,
NTV reported on 28 June. -- Laura Belin in Moscow
FILATOV ALLEGES MASS FRAUD IN FIRST ROUND.
Yeltsin's campaign head
Sergei Filatov suggested on 29 June that there may have been mass fraud during
the first round of the presidential election, Ekho Moskvy and Reuters reported.
Filatov said the number of people claiming to be ill and casting votes at
mobile polling stations was abnormally high--3.5 million--and that most voting
in such fashion had cast their ballots against Yeltsin. "This all makes you
think that falsifications by Boris Yeltsin's opponents occurred during the
voting," he added. According to Filatov, in some areas up to 25% of voters had
claimed to be unable to go to polling stations. Yeltsin's camp earlier said no
major violations were recorded during the voting. -- Penny Morvant
CHERNOMYRDIN ATTENDS G7 SUMMIT...
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on
28 June flew to Lyon, France to attend the G7 summit, international media
reported. Yeltsin announced the previous week he would not be attending the
summit. Russia was not invited to talk part in the G7 economic talks, and
French President Jacques Chirac said there was no question of admitting Russia
as a full member of G7, Reuters reported. Russia's NTV erroneously reported on
29 June that Russia had been promised membership in "G8." Chernomyrdin does not
seem to have achieved anything concrete at the summit, although IMF Managing
Director Michel Camdessus said that Russia's economic performance was "a good
one," and promised to open talks on possible Russian membership in the Paris
Club of official creditors. -- Peter Rutland
... AND TAKES PART IN POLITICAL TALKS.
Chernomyrdin took part in the
political talks at the G7 summit, where he discussed Bosnia, terrorism, nuclear
proliferation, and the Middle East peace process. Commenting on the
pre-election mood in the Russian government, he said: "We are not in the grip
of euphoria at all. There is a general feeling of concern." In a meeting with
Chernomyrdin on 29 June, U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed his concern over
remarks about Mormons made by Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed (see
OMRI Daily Digest 28 June 1996). Five U.S. senators formally protested
Lebed's remarks the previous day. -- Peter Rutland
CHECHEN TALKS GOING NOWHERE.
Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov and Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov met on 28 June in the
village of Novie Atagi to discuss the failure to implement the peace agreements
signed on 10 June, Russian and Western media reported. The following day,
acting Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev accused the Russians of
deliberately undermining the agreement, and called for the dissolution of the
pro-Moscow Chechen government and the annulment of the 16 June elections to a
new Chechen parliament, the first session of which opened on 29 June, according
to Radio Rossii. Mikhailov responded on 30 June by accusing the Chechen side of
"crude blackmail" and of "dragging out the talks indefinitely," AFP reported.
Also on 30 June, President Yeltsin stated that 4,000 Russian troops will
withdraw from Chechnya over the next two weeks, according to AFP quoting
Interfax. Reuters on 1 July quoted Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev as
arguing that hostilities in Chechnya will continue: in his opinion, the
Russians do not want peace and are simply using the Russian presidential
election "to buy time." -- Liz Fuller
RUSSIA CONCERNED OVER ESTONIA'S PLAN TO INVALIDATE SOVIET PASSPORTS.
Russian Foreign Ministry has circulated a memorandum to the UN, the Council of
Europe, and the members of the OSCE "expressing deep concern that from 12 July,
hundreds of thousands of Russian residents of Estonia will remain without basic
identification papers or legal residence permits," BNS reported on 28 June.
Russia claims that only about 1,500 aliens' passports have been issued while
applications number about 335,000. Estonian officials say that more than 50,000
aliens' passports have been issued. Estonia's Interior Minister Mart Rask
explained on 21 June that while the former Soviet passports will not be valid
for crossing the border and visas or residence permit stickers cannot be
attached to them, they will continue to serve as identification documents. --
COUNCIL OF EUROPE DENOUNCES THE CONTINUATION OF EXECUTIONS.
of Europe on 28 June condemned Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia for continuing to
carry out executions of criminals, RFE/RL reported. The council's Parliamentary
Assembly issued a resolution warning the three countries that they could risk
expulsion if they did not meet commitments to place a moratorium on executions
and abolish the death penalty. The council also called on Lithuania to
institute a moratorium on executions without delay. Moldova was praised for
abolishing capital punishment shortly after it joined the council last year.
The resolution was the second warning to Russia and Ukraine over capital
punishment in under a month (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 June 1996).
According to a report discussed at the assembly in Strasbourg, President
Yeltsin has rejected 46 appeals for pardons from prisoners on death row this
year. -- Penny Morvant
NALCHIK EXPLOSION KILLS FIVE.
Five people were killed and another 20
injured when a bomb exploded on 28 June on a bus in Nalchik, the capital of
Kabardino-Balkariya, Russian media reported. The bus was en route from
Mineralnye vody to Vladikavkaz in North Ossetiya. Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov said after the blast that his forces had been put on a heightened state
of alert throughout the North Caucasus. Sergei Filatov, President Yeltsin's
election campaign head, argued that the explosion could be linked to the
presidential election, noting that Kabardino-Balkariya was the only Muslim
republic where Yeltsin won a plurality of the vote in the first round of the
presidential election. -- Penny Morvant
LENINGRAD NUCLEAR POWER WORKERS SUSPEND PROTEST.
Workers protesting wage
arrears at the Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant have suspended their strike
until after the second round of the presidential election, Radio Rossii
reported on 30 June. The workers, who have been protesting since 24 June (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 25 June 1996), suspended their action to avoid
"politically coloring" the action and fanning social tension on the eve of the
election, according to a local union representative. If steps are not taken to
meet their demands, which include the resignation of the plant director,
protests will resume on 4 July. -- Penny Morvant
YELTSIN DECREES RIGHT TO FREE FUNERAL.
President Yeltsin issued a decree
on 29 June on funeral services, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
decree called for full compliance with the law on funeral services, which
guarantees free issuance of death certificates, provision and transportation of
coffins, and burial or cremation. There have been press reports of families
abandoning corpses because they are unable to pay funeral bills. In another
last-minute hand-out before the second round of the presidential election,
Yeltsin ordered all-expenses paid holidays in Spain for 250 Russian soldiers
wounded in Chechnya. And a local branch of Yeltsin's campaign fund in Tver
Oblast used a $24,000 contribution from a local company to buy clothes for the
poor. -- Penny Morvant
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT WARNS OF IMPENDING ECONOMIC CRISIS.
Askar Akayev told
an emergency meeting of the cabinet that "negative tendencies in the economy"
could lead to "a budget, energy, and social crisis by this autumn," the BBC
reported on 27 June. Akayev questioned the 2.4 % budget deficit indicated by
the state statistics committee, saying the real figure "may be 10-15 % of GNP."
Akayev said there was "complete corruption of the tax police from top to
bottom." He also noted that agricultural production was down to one-fifth of
1995 figures, "making Kyrgyzstan the only country in the CIS where exports have
decreased by four times in the past years, while imports have doubled." --
KAZAKHSTANIS FAVOR CIS INTEGRATION.
Results of a public opinion poll
conducted by the Almaty-based Giller Institute, reported by ITAR-TASS on 28
June, reveal that about 65% of the 1,000 respondents would prefer to live in a
single integrated state within the framework of the CIS. Although over
two-thirds of respondents said that the highest stage of CIS integration is
unlikely at the moment, 27% favor closer cooperation with Russia, Belarus, and
Kyrgyzstan in the framework of the recently concluded quadripartite agreement
on deepening integration. About 17% said they would like the integration
process to involve all the CIS states, while 14% favored the formation of a
political union similar to the one between Russia and Belarus. Over 87%
emphasized the need for integration between Kazakhstan and Russia, whereas only
3.7% prefer an alliance with Uzbekistan, 1.7% favor integration with
Kyrgyzstan, and 1.6% favor closer ties with remaining CIS states. -- Bhavna
NEW SUPREME COURT HEAD IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Maksut Narikbayev, Kazakhstan's
Prosecutor-General, has been appointed the new Supreme Court chairman in place
of Mikhail Malakhov, who was dismissed in early June on bribery charges,
according to BBC monitoring of Kazakhstani TV on 28 June. Kazakhstan's Senate
approved Narikbayev's appointment after he was nominated by President Nursultan
Nazarbayev. Anatolii Konstantinov, Narikbayev's deputy, is to replace him in an
acting capacity. -- Bhavna Dave
RESHUFFLE AT TURKMENISTAN'S DEFENSE MINISTRY.
Senior posts in
Turkmenistan's Ministry of Defense have been reallocated, according to a 29
June Turkmen Press report monitored by the BBC. Under a presidential decree,
Maj.-Gen. Agageldy Mamedgeldyyev, formerly commander of ground forces, was
appointed head of the Main Directorate for Supplies and the Rear. Lt.-Gen.
Rinat Meretdurdyyev was named as the new commander of ground forces. Lt.-Gen.
Serdar Charyyarov, formerly commander of air forces and air defense forces, has
been appointed head of the Directorate for Training Specialists for the Armed
Forces, the agency said. -- Lowell Bezanis
NEW WAVE OF TAJIK REFUGEES CROWD BORDER CITIES.
An estimated 3,000
refugees have made their way to the Tajik-Afghan border cities of Kalai-Khumb
and Khorog, adding to displaced masses already there, ITAR-TASS reported on 29
June. Fighting in the Tavil-Dara region has already forced some 15,000 people
from their homes since the beginning of 1996 and accounts of those arriving
claim another 25,000 may soon be on the march. Kalai-Khumb and Khorog are
garrisoned by soldiers from the CIS border guards and so offer relative safety
from the battles in central Tajikistan. -- Bruce Pannier
UPDATE ON UKRAINE'S NEW CONSTITUTION.
Crimean parliamentary speaker
Yevhen Suprynyuk said the new Ukrainian constitution, which passed last week,
was not ideal but rather a compromise between all sides, Ukrainian Radio
reported on 29 June. He added that he was pleased that it defines Crimea's
status as that of an autonomous republic, which, he noted, allows the peninsula
to work out its own constitution in accordance with the new Ukrainian basic
law. Some 20 articles in Crimea's draft constitution have to be reworked to
harmonize with the new national constitution. Meanwhile, Black Sea Fleet
personnel have expressed pleasure at the clause allowing for a transitional
period during which Russian fleet bases can be stationed in Crimea, Ukrainian
TV reported on 30 June. They described the clause as an expression of good-will
on Ukraine's part aimed at establishing good-neighborly relations with Russia.
Fleet personnel added that it will facilitate a settlement of the ongoing
dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the fleet. -- Ustina Markus
UKRAINIAN ECONOMY SHOWS FEW SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT.
Prime Minister Pavlo
Lazarenko on 29 June announced that there has been almost no improvement in
Ukraine's economic situation over the past month, UNIAN reported. He said a key
problem was increasing wage arrears, which on 1 June amounted to 81 trillion
karbovantsy ($444 million) in the state sector. By 28 June, this figure had
risen to 86 trillion ($472 million). Lazarenko said the government was using
80% of external and internal revenues to clear the wage debt. -- Ustina
BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT CONFIRMS SOVIET-STYLE NATIONAL SYMBOLS.
Belarusian parliament has ruled that the national flag and emblem adopted in
1991 are no longer valid state symbols, Radio Rossii reported on 28 June. This
decision is in accordance with the May 1995 referendum, in which 75% of voters
were in favor of changing the state symbols to Soviet-style ones. The new
official Belarusian national flag is red and green with an embroidered border
but without the hammer and sickle. The national emblem is also a replica of the
Soviet emblem but replaces the hammer and sickle with an outline of Belarus. --
BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC NEWS.
Belarusian Radio on 28 June reported that
Belarus has the highest per capita agricultural output of all CIS states,
producing 722 kilograms of grain, 398 kilograms of potatoes, and 571 kilograms
of milk per head. At the beginning of the year, around half a million people
were involved in private business. But 27 banks were found not to have
sufficient capital and only 26 financial establishments had the minimal charter
capital of 2 million ECU. Only 20% of young families have their own homes, and
it is estimated that by the end of the year, some 15% of Minsk's work-eligible
population will be unemployed. More than 90% of property remains in state
hands. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIA, LATVIA INITIAL SEA BORDER AGREEMENT.
Estonian Foreign Ministry
Vice Chancellor Raul Malk and Latvian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Maris
Riekstins initialed an agreement on sea borders at their meeting in Stockholm
on 28 June, ETA reported. The accord still has to be signed by the respective
governments and approved by a majority of Latvia's Saeima and two-thirds of
Estonia's deputies. Sweden hosted seven secret meetings of Latvian and Estonian
officials during which the details of the agreement were worked out. -- Saulius
LATVIA PLANS TO HAVE BALANCED BUDGET IN 1997.
Finance Minister Aivars
Kreituss told BNS on 29 June that next year, Latvia will draft a balanced
budget for the first time. The draft will be based on the assumption that
inflation will be 15.9% in 1996 and 13% in 1997 and that GDP will increase by
0.3% and 1.2%, respectively. Kreituss also noted that while the 1996 budget
foresees a deficit totaling 59.4 million lati ($107 million), the government
will seek to reduce it to 38.9 million lati in accordance with an IMF
recommendation. He added that on 26 June, the budget deficit stood at 27.3
million lati. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA, AUSTRIA SIGN AGREEMENTS.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas
Gylys and Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel,
meeting in Vienna on 28 June, signed a bilateral treaty on investment promotion
and protection as well as an aviation accord initialed in 1992. They also put
their signature to an agreement on the abolition of visas for people with
diplomatic passports, BNS reported. During his two-day visit, Gylys met with
National Council President Heinz Fischer to discuss prospects for cooperation
in EU integration. -- Saulius Girnius
SOLIDARITY HOLDS NATIONAL CONGRESS.
Solidarity's Eighth National
Congress, which ended on 28 June, decided that the union will run in next
year's parliamentary elections, Polish media reported. Last month, Solidarity
and several rightist parties formed a coalition called Solidarity Electoral
Action. The union asked all organizations that agree with its program to join
the coalition. This invitation is targeted in particular at the Movement for
Poland's Reconstruction, led by former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, which has
placed second--after the co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance--in recent opinion
polls. Solidarity also proposed a "non-aggression pact" with other parties,
singling out the Polish Peasant Alliance, a junior coalition partner in the
ruling coalition, and the opposition Freedom Union. Former Solidarity leader
and Polish President Lech Walesa was present at the congress but was not
invited to speak. -- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS DISCUSS NEW PROGRAM.
Izabella Sierakowska, vice
president of the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland, told the SdRP
Supreme Council on 29 June that the party must have more "social sensitivity,"
Polish media reported. The SdRP has been a ruling coalition party since the
1993 parliamentary elections. The party stressed that it is in favor of a
parliamentary democracy, Church-state separation, a market economy "oriented
toward the fulfillment of social needs," privatization, and joining NATO and
the EU. A program based on these principles could be adopted at the SdRP
congress scheduled next year, according to the media. -- Jakub Karpinski
CZECH PRESIDENT IN IRELAND, ENGLAND.
Vaclav Havel, arriving in Ireland
on 28 June for an official visit, met with President Mary Robinson and other
Irish officials to discuss, among other things, European integration, Czech
media reported. He also discussed the role of the UN with Robinson, who has
been proposed to head the organization. On the way back to Prague, Havel
stopped off in London to watch the finals of the European Soccer Championship,
in which the Czech team lost to Germany by 2:1. He met briefly with Queen
Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister John Major, and German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl, all of whom also attended the match. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK COALITION CRISIS RESOLVED.
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
announced that at talks on 28 June, the leaders of the three ruling parties
agreed that the composition of the boards overseeing the National Property Fund
(FNM) will not be changed at the parliamentary session scheduled to continue on
1 July, Slovak media reported. Meciar said the governing coalition will now
remain in place. It is uncertain whether the FNM, the secret service, and the
TV and radio boards will ever be expanded to include opposition
representatives. The opposition said an opportunity had been lost, blaming the
Party of the Democratic Left (SDL), which broke an opposition agreement on the
expansion of the boards overseeing the FNM and the secret service and offered
to back a minority government led by Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia under certain conditions. Meanwhile, the SDL took credit for averting
the fall of Meciar's government and ensuring that the premier takes
responsibility for his policies. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS WANT TO POSTPONE FINAL VOTE ON NEW CONSTITUTION.
The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has suggested that the final vote on
the new constitution be postponed until September, Hungarian dailies reported
on 1 July. While the coalition Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and the
opposition both supported the much-discussed draft constitution in the ballot
on 27 June (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 June 1996) several MSZP deputies
voted against it, despite having signed an all-party agreement in favor of the
draft basic law. The vote, which SZDSZ leader Ivan Peto described as a
"scandalous fiasco," came as a surprise, since the governing parties seemed to
agree on basic principles. Opponents of the draft constitution, among whom are
several ministers, want references to a "social state" to be included, as well
as a provision stipulating that the president be elected directly. They also
want to ensure "interest coordination" among the governing parties. -- Zsofia
HUNGARIAN INCOME TAX RATES TO BE LOWERED NEXT YEAR.
The government has
proposed to lower the top rate of personal income tax from the record-high of
48% to 44%, Hungarian media reported on 1 July. It also intends to implement
further reform measures in the tax system in 1997, including increasing capital
gains payments and introducing a new tax on tobacco, alcohol, and oil products.
The proposal is scheduled to be debated by the parliament in August. -- Zsofia
KARADZIC'S SLEIGHT OF HAND...
Bosnian Serb civilian leader and indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic on 30 June announced he will delegate all his
powers as president of the Republika Srpska (RS) to his hard-line vice
president, Biljana Plavsic. He will continue to retain the title of president,
the chair of his governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), and the option of
running in the 14 September Bosnia-wide elections, the BBC reported. The move
comes in connection with the SDS's election convention and following threats by
representatives of the international community and Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic that Karadzic must go or the republic will face renewed sanctions
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 June 1996). The Dayton agreement states that
there is no place in public life for war criminals. Karadzic had earlier
delegated some of his duties to Plavsic, and recently made any resignation
conditional on political and territorial concessions to the Republika Srpska.
-- Patrick Moore
...AND THE WEST'S RESPONSE.
The major Western allies found Karadzic's
conditions unacceptable last week, and it appears that his latest move has not
impressed them, either. White House spokesman David Johnson said on 30 June
that "Our policy on him remains what we have said in the past: that he needs to
be not only out of power but he needs to be out of influence, out of town and
in the dock." Reuters also reported that Germany, France, and the U.K. agreed
with the U.S. but that Johnson admitted that there has been "some confusion"
regarding the Western reaction in general. This stemmed from the initial
position taken by some international representatives dealing with Bosnia, such
as High Representative Carl Bildt, who seemed to be content with Karadzic's
move as "a step in the right direction." The BBC added that the Bosnian
government denounced Karadzic's announcement as a sham but that entire affair
has served to boost Karadzic's popularity with the Bosnian Serbs. -- Patrick
EU SAYS MOSTAR ELECTIONS WERE SUCCESSFUL.
EU Administrator Ricardo Perez
Casado said the Mostar municipal elections on 30 June were well organized and a
significant step toward the re-establishment of structures that will enable
"political and social coexistence" in the city, international media reported.
No significant disruptions were noted during the ballot. While Bosnian Prime
Minister Hasan Muratovic complained that 20% of Muslim names did not appear on
the polling stations' registers, an EU spokesman claimed that only some 400
people's names were omitted, even though they were registered centrally.
Muratovic called for new elections in some districts. Voter turnout was put at
more than 50%, with over 3,000 international troops and hundreds of Bosnian
Muslim and Croatian and international police ensuring freedom of movement in
the city. Thousands of refugees from Mostar voted in Stockholm, Bonn, Bern, and
Oslo. The EU organized bus transfers to these polling stations from other
European cities. Final results are expected on 3 June. -- Fabian Schmidt
MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT RENEWS CALL FOR KARADZIC'S REMOVAL.
Bulatovic, in an interview with RFE/RL on 28 June, has once again called for
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to step down from the presidency of the
Republika Srpska. He noted that Karadzic has "refused to meet [conditions] he
has already agreed to." But when asked whether rump Yugoslavia would send to
The Hague the three Yugoslav army officers accused of involvement in the
massacre of at least 260 Croatian civilians near Vukovar in 1991, he said that
question was "too sensitive to answer with just a `yes' or a `no.'" Bulatovic
also said he believed that the Yugoslav United Left's (JUL) electoral prospects
were bleak and that the group "has no chance in Montenegro." -- Stan
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT ENDS VISIT TO TURKEY.
Kiro Gligorov on 30 June
concluded a four-day official visit to Turkey, Macedonian and international
media reported. Gligorov held talks with his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman
Demirel, on strengthening bilateral ties. Other discussions focused on
improving bilateral economic and trade relations as well as Turkish investment
in Macedonia. Bilateral trade reached $126 million in 1995, a 60% increase over
1994. In an address at Istanbul University on 29 June, Gligorov called for open
borders in the Balkans and respect for individual, minority, and religious
freedoms, noting that the improvement of norms for democracy and social justice
must be a common objective. Meanwhile, the Macedonian Komercijalna Banka and
the Turkish Ziraat Bank signed a protocol on the creation of a
Turkish-Macedonian bank. -- Stefan Krause
CHINESE PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA.
Jiang Zemin on 29 June began a four-day
state visit to Romania aimed at boosting bilateral relations, local and Western
media reported. Jiang, currently on a one-month tour of Europe and Central
Asia, is accompanied by more than 90 officials and experts, including Foreign
Minster Qian Qichen. He met with his Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu, Prime
Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, and the chairmen of the parliament's two chambers,
Oliviu Gherman and Adrian Nastase. The two countries are expected to sign
agreements on economic, technical, and scientific cooperation. They concluded a
treaty of friendship in 1994. Before the collapse of the communist regime in
Romania in 1989, annual bilateral trade amounted to an average of $1 billion;
by 1995, that figure had sunk to $300 million. -- Dan Ionescu
BREAKTHROUGH IN MOLDOVAN-DNIESTER NEGOTIATIONS.
Moldovan and Dniester
officials, meeting in Chisinau on 28 June, initialed the final version of a
memorandum "On the Basic Principles for Normalizing Moldovan-Dniester
Relations," BASA-press and Infotag reported. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Boris Pastukhov attended the talks, which were brokered by envoys of the
Russian and Ukrainian presidents as well as OSCE representatives. He was quoted
as saying that the document was "a constructive step toward a final,
full-fledged settlement of the Dniester conflict." According to ITAR-TASS,
Boris Yeltsin has invited Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, president of the
self-styled "Dniester republic" Igor Smirnov, and Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma to attend the signing ceremony at the Kremlin on 1 July. -- Dan
Dimitar Moskov, head of the Bulgarian economic police
force, has revealed that the state lost 17.9 billion leva ($115 million) in the
first five months of 1996 because of white-collar crime, according to
Standart. Moskov said 4,344 cases of white-collar crime were registered
during that period, up 300% on the same period last year. Moskov said nobody
knows just how widespread corruption is within the state apparatus, but he
admitted that it takes place at all levels. In other news, prices for fuel,
cigarettes, alcohol, public transport, and other goods and services went up on
1 July, Trud reported. A number of taxes, including VAT, also increased.
Bulgarian economists predict that inflation will go up in July, possibly
reaching 20%. -- Stefan Krause
ALBANIA'S SOCIALIST PARTY BOYCOTTS ROUND-TABLE.
Albanian Socialists on
29 June boycotted a round table that President Sali Berisha had invited them to
attend, Reuters reported. Only parties represented in the new parliament were
invited to the talks. The Socialists said they would only take part if all
parties were represented. They also explained that Berisha had wanted to
discuss only the formation of a new government, whereas they had demanded that
new election regulations be included on the agenda. The Council of Europe has
called for new regulations to be drawn up following an outcry over massive
ballot irregularities. Meanwhile, the new parliament is due to convene on 1
July to elect a new government. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and Jan Cleave