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Newsline - August 1, 1996

Despite ongoing hostilities in the Vedeno, Nozhai-Yurt, and Itum-Kale raions of Chechnya, pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev told representatives of the Chechen community in Moscow on 31 July that there had been no fighting in Chechnya for a week, AFP reported. Meanwhile, Russia began air and artillery attacks on the village of Shatoi south of Grozny, prompting Chechen Minister of Information Movladi Udugov to warn that the Chechens will not agree to any further talks with the Russian military until the bombardment is halted, according to AFP. Controversy continues over the identity of the man claiming to be field commander Salman Raduev. Zavgaev claims that Raduev is dead and the man is an imposter from Dagestan; ITAR-TASS cited a spokesman for the Chechen Ministry of Information who insists that the man in question is indeed Raduev. ITAR-TASS also quoted unnamed Chechen field commanders as stating that President Dzhokhar Dudaev is alive and will return to Chechnya on 2 August. -- Liz Fuller

Representatives of the Moscow Helsinki Committee and the International Human Rights Assembly accused President Boris Yeltsin of violating various laws and campaign promises by allowing violence to escalate in Chechnya immediately after his re-election. In a statement published by Ekspress-khronika on 1 August, they noted that those long considered to make up the Kremlin's "party of war," including former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Chief of Staff Nikolai Yegorov and Yeltsin's top bodyguard Aleksandr Korzhakov, have been sacked and are therefore not to blame for the continued fighting and human rights violations. A separate appeal signed by human rights activists who voted against Yeltsin, including Yelena Bonner, charged that the war in Chechnya and Yeltsin's recent decree on fighting crime in Moscow and Moscow Oblast (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 and 12 July 1996) violate at least seven articles of the Constitution. -- Laura Belin

President Boris Yeltsin will personally coordinate the administration's campaign for this fall's regional elections, Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais announced on 31 July. The campaign headquarters will include representatives of the presidential administration, the government, the Federation Council, the Security Council, and political parties with influence in the regions, NTV reported. Chubais noted that Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed has already agreed to participate in the campaign. However, Chubais stressed the need to avoid a situation in which "one Moscow boss supports one candidate, while another supports someone else." The chief of staff said that the team will use the experience gained in the presidential campaign as much as possible. -- Robert Orttung

Yeltsin "showed a high level of trust" in Chubais' proposals for restructuring the administration on 31 July, even though several of them were unexpected, Chubais said. During their nearly two-hour meeting, Chubais and Yeltsin discussed the candidates for the post of first deputy prime minister covering economic issues, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Yeltsin has tapped Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to lead the new government and he and Chubais are competing to influence its composition, a decision that ultimately rests in Yeltsin's hands. Chubais said that Yeltsin needs "a normal vacation," which he may take following his 9 August inauguration. -- Robert Orttung

Chernomyrdin listened to the views of Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov and 15 members of his Duma faction on 31 July, but they did not discuss who would be in the new government, ORT reported. Before the meeting, Zyuganov said that it would play an important role in the faction's decision whether to support Chernomyrdin's candidacy as the new prime minister, ITAR-TASS reported. Neither side released any details of the discussion. -- Robert Orttung

In an interview published in the 1 August edition of the Paris daily Le Figaro, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov reiterated that Moscow could accept the eastward enlargement of NATO if it does not entail the expansion of the alliance's military infrastructure in areas near Russia. "Can you guarantee me that the enlargement of NATO will not result in the installation of military infrastructure?" asked Primakov. "If you reply to me yes, then I too will respond in a positive way," he added, but complained that Western leaders had so far not responded to his repeated overtures for a compromise along these lines. NATO officials and East European leaders have rejected this sort of compromise, arguing that it would relegate new members to "second class status" in the alliance. -- Scott Parrish

In an interview in the 1 August edition of the pro-communist daily Sovetskaya Rossiya, Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin defended his charges that the CIA is plotting to overthrow Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 & 29 July 1996) and denounced Russian politicians and journalists who questioned his allegations as "fifth columnists." Ilyukhin asserted that the top levels of the Russian government have been penetrated by Western intelligence agencies, which are "imposing their views." Ilyukhin said that, despite his campaign rhetoric, President Yeltsin does not really favor integration between Russia and the other former Soviet republics, a position which mirrors American policy. On 31 July ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky supported Ilyukin's charges, and warned U.S. President Bill Clinton to "stay away from Belarusian affairs." -- Scott Parrish

For the first time the new SU 37 fighter, whose reversible thrust engine makes it highly maneuverable, was shown in public display on 1 August, ITAR-TASS reported. According to the engineers at the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the plane has no equivalent in other airforces and is "the first plane of the 21st century." However, financial constraints mean that the Ministry of Defense has given no date for the start of mass production of the SU 37. -- Peter Rutland

Petr Karpov, deputy head of the Federal Bankruptcy Administration (FUDN) with the rank of deputy prime minister, has been arrested, Russian and Western agencies reported on 31 July. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kadannikov said the Saratov Procurator's Office had begun criminal proceedings against Karpov but gave no details. NTV said Karpov was suspected of taking bribes. Over the past year Karpov headed a team that raised 10 trillion rubles ($2 billion) in overdue taxes from delinquent enterprises, mainly in the oil and gas sector. His activities reportedly made him many enemies among the industrial elite and in the Duma. Karpov's boss, Petr Mostovoi, is also under investigation for alleged involvement in violating privatization procedures. Segodnya argued that the arrests could signal a campaign against the FUDN, which it described as a leading reform agency. -- Penny Morvant

Despite the government's announcement that it has allocated 45 billion rubles ($8.7 million) to miners in Primorskii Krai, protests have now spread to all 15 of the region's mines, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 August. A miners' spokesman said the protest will continue until wage debts are cleared. He described the government statement as "political cunning," contending that the money had been intended to cover capital construction and other such expenses and had thus been "taken from the miners' pockets." The same day, Primorskugol said it will suspend deliveries to debtor enterprises, including the power company Dalenergo. The strikes are spreading to other regions of Russia. Some miners have also struck in Rostov Oblast, while workers at a Krasnoyarsk mine have stopped deliveries to the local power station. Numerous reports have highlighted the suffering endured by Primore mining families. In one of the most shocking incidents, nine children were taken to hospital suffering from food poisoning after eating a stray dog. Their miner parents, who had not been paid for six months, were unable to feed them so they had set out to find their own food. -- Penny Morvant

A State Tax Service spokesman claimed on 31 July that tax revenues in July were 20 trillion rubles ($3.8 billion), or 97% of the planned level. Seven regions pay the bulk of the taxes: Moscow city and oblast, Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug, Sverdlovsk, Omsk, and Samara oblasts, and St. Petersburg. However, overall tax receipts for the first half of the year are only 60% of the expected amount. A special operational group has been created under Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to cut spending, according to Vek no. 20. Steps already taken include freezing spending on reconstruction in Chechnya, on defense conversion in Tatarstan, and on some cultural programs. Central Bank Head Sergei Dubinin said measures to be adopted soon include excise stamps on alcohol, levying VAT on Ukrainian imports, and a ban on all tax privileges, Radio Rossii reported on 25 July. -- Peter Rutland

Effective from 1 August, the government has introduced higher duties on imported cars, ITAR-TASS reported. The duty on cars with engines over 1,599 cc will be 75% of the retail value. Any car up to three years old will now be deemed "new", instead of one-year old cars, as in the past. Russians who have lived abroad for over six months will be allowed to import one car and pay duty of 40 cents per cubic centimeter. No duties will be levied on foreigners importing their cars for less than a year. -- Natalia Gurushina

Leading figures from the 14 Georgian political parties not represented in the new parliament, who joined forces to create a Coordinating Council, met in Tbilisi on 31 July to discuss Georgia's future territorial-administrative system, the Abkhaz conflict, and the Russian military presence in Georgia, NTV reported. The opposition parties in question take a markedly harder line on all these issues than does the Georgian leadership. On 30 July, the deputy chairman of the Round Table/Free Georgia coalition (originally headed by now deceased ex-president Zviad Gamsakhurdia) told BGI that the Georgian authorities were trying to prevent the coalition from participating in the September parliamentary elections in Adzharia, in what he claims is an ongoing campaign of reprisals against Gamsakhurdia's supporters. -- Liz Fuller

Outgoing Russian co-chairman of the OSCE "Minsk Group" Vladimir Kazimirov arrived in Stepanakert on 31 July to introduce his successor, former Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Yurii Yukalov, to the leadership of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Noyan Tapan reported. Kazimirov, whose departure from the Karabakh negotiating process was announced after the last round of talks in Helsinki in early July, characterized the prospects for a settlement of the Karabakh conflict as "favorable," despite the fact that the Azerbaijani side displayed such intransigence at last month's round that no date has been set for a resumption of talks. Kazimirov and Yukalov travel to Yerevan on 1 August and are scheduled to meet with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev in Baku on 2 August, according to Noyan Tapan quoting the Azeri wire service ANS-Press. -- Liz Fuller

Azerbaijan's Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Mohammed Besharati, signed two cooperation agreements in Tehran on 30 July, the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran first network (monitored by the BBC) reported the same day. The first agreement covers the creation of a border commission and the relaxation of customs and border regulations, and would seem to undercut the second, which is on increasing cooperation to combat drug abuse. -- Liz Fuller

An Uzbek court sentenced five members of a criminal gang to death after they were found guilty of murdering 25 local farmers, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 July. Based in a village outside of Tashkent, the gang met with individual farmers on the pretext of buying their produce and then killed them, taking the food. The victims' bodies were dumped in the Keles River late last year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 November 1995). Other gang members were given prison terms. -- Roger Kangas

Despite several attempts at fixing the positions of combatants in the Tavil-Dara region, UN observer teams had not entered the area as of 30 July, according to the opposition's Radio Voice of Free Tajikistan as monitored by FBIS. The UN teams were to determine the locations of the warring factions at the time the ceasefire came into effect on 20 July. The opposition radio report claimed that two UN teams had been turned back at Garm and Khovaling. Another team was stopped by the Tajik army, which, according to the radio broadcast, "turned them back with the threats, violence and kind of treatment so characteristic of them." The report claimed this was the last attempt by UN teams to implement their part of the Ashgabat agreement which should have taken place on 23 July. -- Bruce Pannier

Mikhail Podhany, head of the political information department of the president's administration, has denied that Belarusian authorities are seeking opposition leaders Zyanon Paznyak or Syarhei Naumchyk, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 July. Paznyak and Naumchyk both applied for political asylum in the U.S. on 30 July, claiming they feared for their safety if they returned to Belarus because President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had issued a warrant for their arrest. Podhany said no death sentences have been passed on the two and that their request for asylum was motivated only by their desire to enjoy a comfortable life in the West as political refugees. Neither Paznyak nor Naumchyk has said an official death sentence was issued. Rather, they have maintained that the president would like to have them "neutralized." -- Ustina Markus

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has given his preliminary approval to exchanging seven members of the Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) currently detained in a Belarusian prison for 14 Russian border guards held prisoner by Chechens, Belarusian radio reported on 31 July. The UNA members were arrested for participating in the 26 April Chornobyl Day demonstrations in Belarus, which turned into an anti-Lukashenka rally. They have still been neither tried nor sentenced. Deputy head of UNA Dmytro Korchynsky was critical of Ukrainian officials for failing to secure the prisoners release, Ukrainian radio reported on 31 July. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry takes the official line that Ukrainians abroad must respect the laws of their host country. -- Ustina Markus

Leonid Kuchma met with Russian commander of cosmic and armed forces Vladimir Ivanov in Crimea on 31 July, Ukrainian radio reported. Kuchma is currently vacationing on the peninsula. The meeting took place at the Russian's request. The two men discussed cooperation on space projects, particularly creating an area in space for peaceful purposes, joint testing of space equipment, and joint training. The same day, Ukrainian ministers and the president's administration met to discuss space issues, including the financing of the country's space industry. With some 80% of the state budget spent on social programs, only limited funds are available for subsidizing scientific research and development projects. -- Ustina Markus

Ukraine has signed a deal to sell more than 300 Ukrainian-built T-80 tanks to Pakistan, Reuters reported on 31 July. The deal is worth $550 million, and the tanks are to be delivered to Pakistan over a three-year period. The U.S. had stopped all military supplies to Pakistan in 1990, but the deal was made possible under the Pressler Amendment, which allows Islambalad a one-time exemption for weapons purchases, excluding F-16 aircraft. Ukraine developed the tank at its plant in Kharkiv and first displayed it at an arms fair in Abu-Dhabi in March 1995. -- Ustina Markus

Andres Kollist, head of the Citizenship and Migration Department, said on 31 July that his department will ask about 100 people to leave Estonia, BNS reported. Their applications for residence permits have been turned down because they supplied false information about themselves or because they had a criminal record. He said he hoped that they would the country peacefully and in a civilized manner. But he added that they would be forcibly expelled if they did not do so. Kollist said that a far greater problem was posed by the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the country who have not applied for residence permits. -- Saulius Girnius

A proposal by Latvia's Way to discuss "as an urgent matter" the transfer of the border guards from the jurisdiction of the Defense Ministry to that of the Interior Ministry has been rejected, BNS reported on 31 July. The issue will be considered, as scheduled, at the Saeima's fall session, BNS reported. The main reason for rejecting the proposal was the two ministries' failure to draft a program for an efficient transfer of jurisdiction. Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins favored the rapid transfer, arguing that the government will face difficulties in drafting next year's budget if the issue of the transfer is not resolved. -- Saulius Girnius

Agriculture Minister Vytautas Einoris has said that Lithuania's national agricultural development program will have to be changed to reflect more accurately changes that have occurred, BNS reported on 31 July. The program was approved by the government in 1993 and was to apply until 2005. Over the past three years, the number of land owners has increased while the area of farm land in use declined. The original program called for the production of 3.64 million tons of grain in 1995, but only 1.95 million tons were harvested. The production of 208,000 tons of meat and 2.3 million tons of milk in 1995 was far below the planned 319,000 tons and 2.3 million tons, respectively, Einoris said the revised program would reflect the real situation and that emphasis will be placed on increasing the competitiveness of food products, expanding exports, and creating new jobs in the agricultural sector. -- Saulius Girnius

Leszek Miller, chief of the Polish Government's Office, signed an agreement on collaboration in fighting organized crime during his recent visit to the U.S., Polish dailies reported on 1 August. The agreement--which provides for the exchange of information between the countries' police forces, treasuries, customs, border guards, and judiciaries--aims at preventing the smuggling of drugs, arms, and people as well as money-laundering. Miller noted that Poland is particularly threatened by drug smuggling and drug trafficking since it is on the crossroads of major communication routes. The FBI is to open a bureau in Warsaw this fall--its second in the former East bloc, after Moscow. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency bureau is also to be opened in Warsaw. -- Jakub Karpinski

Polish dailies reported on 1 August that a march in Gdansk last month to protest government policy in the region (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 July 1996) was filmed by a mock TV crew. While the fakeTV reporters used a camera with TV Gdansk logo, the equipment was different from cameras used by the TV station, the press noted. The Gdansk daily Dziennik Baltycki suggested members of the Government Protection Office had imitated TV reporters, but a spokesman for the office denied that had been the case. The mock TV crew was filmed by real TV reporters whose superiors gave the order not to show the tape to anyone and not to talk with other media outlets. -- Jakub Karpinski

As of 1 August, Slovak citizens will have to pay more for electricity, water, and fuel. Electricity prices are increasing by 5% for businesses and 10% for households, the cost of household water is rising from 4 to 5 crowns per cubic meter, and maximum prices for gasoline and diesel fuel are growing by 1.30 crowns per liter. Revenues from the electricity price increase will be used for investment in firms producing and distributing energy. Slovak Confederation of Trade Unions President Alojz Englis stressed on 31 July that the price increases are a violation of the social partnership between the government, unions, and employers, Praca reported. Englis said the government succumbed to the pressure of industry, transferring firms' problems to the population, "which is least able to defend itself." -- Sharon Fisher

Party of the Democratic Left Deputy Chairman Peter Weiss told Narodna obroda on 1 August that his party is initiating talks with other opposition parties to coordinate foreign policy aimed at boosting Slovakia's NATO and the EU integration efforts. "If Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar does not want to go down in history as a man who damaged Slovakia's long-term interests, he has to take unavoidable democratic steps," Weiss stressed. In other news, police official Ondrej Laciak told TASR that it remains unclear whether the car explosion that killed former police officer Robert Remias was caused by someone or was a technical failure. The opposition called the death of Remias, who was connected to the kidnapping case of the president's son, the first political murder in Slovakia since 1989. -- Sharon Fisher

Speaking on Radio Twist on 31 July, Olga Salagova, state secretary at the Culture Ministry, distanced herself from Culture Minister Ivan Hudec's controversial steps to merge Slovak's theaters and make personnel changes. Although Salagova recognized the need for change, she stressed that "we certainly could have found an easier path than that chosen by Hudec. I do not agree with it, and I distance myself from such actions. It is necessary to speak with our artists." She noted that despite her high ministerial position, she is "not allowed" to deal with the issue. Hudec told Slovenska Republika that the actors at the Slovak National Theater--several of whom have announced their resignations as a result of recent personnel changes--are behaving like "privileged children of the revolution." -- Sharon Fisher

More than 40 Hungarian civic organizations have issued a statement expressing concern that the country's politicians have not dissociated themselves from a possible deployment of nuclear weapons on Hungarian soil, Hungarian radio reported on 30 July. The statement says that the deployment of nuclear weapons in Hungary would be tantamount to the country becoming a potential target for nuclear attack. Istvan Gyarmati, state secretary at the Ministry of Defense, responded by saying it is very important to hold a dialogue with civil organizations opposed to his government's plans. He added that Hungary is not interested in and cannot have partial NATO membership. "We want to be a member of NATO as soon as possible, for that would best guarantee the country's security. Stationing more and more nuclear weapons does not seem to be the current tendency in Europe, just the opposite. NATO's expansion is unlikely to change that," he commented. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

U.S. assistant Secretary of State for Canadian and European affairs John Kornblum on 31 July met with top Bosnian Serbs to remind them that indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic must stay out of politics, AFP reported. A U.S. official said the talks focused on the need for the Bosnian Serb leadership to respect an agreement with U.S. envoy for Bosnia Richard Holbrooke on Karadzic's withdrawal from all political activities. However, Karadzic's photographs still appear in the Republika Srpska media, and he is reported to have attended closed meetings of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party. Last week Holbrooke announced that Kornblum would attempt to force Karadzic to leave his base in Pale, but press reports did not specify whether the issue was raised at the 31 July meeting. -- Daria Sito Sucic

The World Bank has agreed to grant Bosnia-Herzegovina $75.6 million in credits to finance five reconstruction programs, AFP reported on 31 July. The projects involve de-mining, housing reconstruction, electricity production, employment, and the demobilization and reintegration of 425,000 Bosnian army soldiers. The loans are interest-free and will mature in 35 years. In other news, Biljana Plavsic, acting president of the Republika Srpska, on 30 July began her campaign for the September general elections by touring Serb-held towns in northwestern Bosnia, Onasa reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

Separatist Bosnian Croats have agreed to transform their mini-state, Herceg-Bosna, into a "political community," Croatian radio reported, citing a comminqué adopted by the Bosnian Croat leadership. But Croatian leaders in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia were unavailable to clear up ambiguities in the comminqué, AFP reported on 31 July. Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic, speaking in Zagreb on 31 July, remarked that Zagreb's position on Herceg-Bosna remains unclear, adding that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has "not promised to agree to the dissolution of Herceg-Bosna, but we will see [what happens] in the next five to six days." Meanwhile, Tudjman is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on 1 August for what local media describe as " a working visit" and meetings with President Bill Clinton. -- Stan Markotich

Mirko Marjanovic, addressing ethnic Serbian "business leaders and political officials" in the predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo on 30 July, described Kosovo as an "integral and inalienable" part of Serbia. Marjanovic said his government's priority was to advocate policies promoting "peace, the rule of law, economic prosperity and the fight against crime,...[and] equality for all citizens." The premier also said that the leadership of the Kosovar shadow state "has put [ethnic Albanians] in a very difficult situation by implementing polices of self-imposed isolation," Tanjug reported. -- Stan Markotich

Visiting British Defense Secretary Michael Portillo and Macedonian Defense Minister Blagoj Handziski on 31 July signed a defense cooperation agreement, AFP reported. Portillo said Britain will help Macedonia remain independent and sovereign. An official Macedonian statement said the agreement "aims at integration of Macedonia into Europe's collective defense and security system." -- Stefan Krause

A 29-meter military patrol boat, equipped with two 20-millimeter canons, arrived in the port of Koper on 31 July, STA reported that same day. The vessel--the independent Slovenian Navy's first-ever ship--
was purchased from an Israeli firm in 1993 but could not be delivered until recently owing to the internationally imposed arms embargo on all republics of the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu described his one-day official visit to France on 31 July as part of a lobbying drive for Romanian membership in European and Euro-Atlantic structures, Radio Bucharest reported. Melescanu was received by French Premier Alain Juppe, and his French counterpart, Herve de Charette, with whom he agreed to set up a working group on bilateral economic cooperation. Meanwhile, an accord on the use of Western European Union (WEU) documents enters into force on 1 August, Radio Bucharest reported. The new accord allows Romania to use confidential information from the WEU, the military arm of the EU. -- Dan Ionescu

Petru Lucinschi on 31 July met with the leadership of the Communist Party of Moldova (PCM), BASA-press reported. PCM Chairman Vladimir Voronin said after the meeting that Lucinschi was clearly seeking the Communists' support in the run-up to the presidential elections, though he did not say as much. Voronin added that Lucinschi, who was a Central Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in its final days, should first clarify his own "contribution to the collapse of the party and, implicitly, of the Soviet Union" before counting on the PCM's support. -- Dan Ionescu

The Bulgarian Socialist Party and its two tiny coalition partners--the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union "Aleksandar Stamboliyski" and the Political Club "Ekoglasnost"--have signed an agreement endorsing Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and Culture Minister Ivan Marazov as their joint presidential and vice presidential candidates, Duma reported on 1 August. In other news, Social Minister Mincho Koralski has announced that the minimum wage will rise from 4,000 leva ($21.40) to 5,500 leva on 1 October, 24 chasa reported. The minimum pension will be increase from 2160 to 2760 leva and the maximum pension from 6480 to 8250 leva. Subsidies for the socially needy will also be raised. Meanwhile, prices for electricity, fuel, and heating went up by 22-23% on 1 August (just one month after the last hike), while average bread prices increased by 51.8% over the past two weeks. -- Stefan Krause

U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 31 July expressed disappointment with developments in Albania, RFE/RL reported. Christopher told the U.S. House of Representatives' International Affairs Committee that Albania is not moving toward democracy as vigorously as it should. He added that he is "profoundly disturbed" by recent authoritarian tendencies there. Congressman Tom Lantos questioned whether the U.S. should continue to provide Albania with economic assistance, saying Albania should be pressed to establish an independent judiciary, a free press, and equal rights for the Greek minority. Meanwhile, the Albanian parliament has invited the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the OSCE to send observers to monitor the 20 October local elections, AFP reported. It also ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Convention on the Ban of Tortures. -- Stefan Krause