RODIONOV WARNS OF "CATASTROPHE" IN MILITARY . . .
Addressing an annual
gathering of military commanders on 12 November, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov
warned that if "extreme measures" are not taken to reform the Russian military
or if any further reduction is made in the combat readiness of the Russian
armed forces, "the consequences could be tragic," Russian and Western agencies
reported. He also declared that the current international situation could
"broaden the zone of instability" and possibly provoke "conflicts that would
threaten Russian security," although he gave no details. In a break with
tradition, according to Krasnaya zvezda on 13 November, the
meeting was also addressed by diplomats, policy analysts, Economics Ministry
officials, and Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais, who described
Russia's overall strategic and economic situation to the officers. -- Scott
. . . WHILE CHERNOMYRDIN ENDORSES FORCE REDUCTION.
Addressing the same
meeting, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that the principle "not
numbers, but skill" should guide military reform, adding that "unpopular and
harsh" measures are necessary to "save the country's defense capability,"
ITAR-TASS reported on 12 November. Chernomyrdin said that cuts would affect not
only the Defense Ministry, but also other agencies with uniformed servicemen.
Despite the objections of some military officers, reportedly including
Rodionov, Chernomyrdin also endorsed the speedy development of a new military
doctrine to guide reform, arguing that it cannot be postponed until the current
financial crisis is resolved. Chernomyrdin supported another Rodionov proposal,
however, saying the General Staff should be given increased authority over
armed formations outside the Defense Ministry, like the Border Guards and the
Interior Troops. He also pledged again to liquidate military wage arrears by
mid-November. -- Scott Parrish
CHERNOMYRDIN POSTPONES VISIT TO UKRAINE . . .
Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mikhail Demurin said on 12 November that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin's planned
mid-November visit to Kyiv would be postponed until "the documents that must be
prepared for his visit are ready," ITAR-TASS reported. The announcement comes
after Russian and Ukrainian negotiators failed to resolve differences over the
terms under which the Russian portion of the Black Sea Fleet will lease
facilities in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol (see related story in Central
and Eastern Europe section). The postponement continues a well-established
pattern in which Ukrainian and Russian leaders publicly announce the resolution
of the fleet dispute, but disputed details block final agreement (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 25 October 1996). -- Scott Parrish
. . . AND MEETS NEW GOVERNORS.
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin met on 12
November with the 15 recently elected regional governors, saying later that he
is in favor of signing more power-sharing treaties with the regions but only in
places where the local authorities can cope with more power, Russian media
reported. The same day, Chernomyrdin asked Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov to
solicit proposals from the regions for possible changes to the 1997 federal
budget. President Yeltsin is satisfied with the results of regional races and
believes that it is incorrect to characterize them as a red revanche,
Segodnya reported on 13 November, citing presidential spokesman Sergei
Yastrzhembskii. Eight out of 15 regional executives have been re-elected. The
governors who ousted incumbents in Leningrad, Kaliningrad, and Magadan oblasts
are thought to be supporters of the president. Opposition members won in
Kaluga, Kursk, Pskov, and Kirov oblasts, while the opposition's narrow victory
in Amur is still being disputed. -- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow
JOINT COMMISSION CONVENES IN GROZNY.
The joint commission to coordinate
the reconstruction process in Chechnya, which comprises 39 Russian ministers
and deputies and 31 members of the interim Chechen coalition government,
convened in Grozny on 12 November to discuss socio-economic issues and the
restoration of communications between Grozny, Moscow, and Rostov-na-Donu,
Russian media reported. Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin said the
reconstruction should be jointly financed by both sides with the help of
private Russian investment and advocated inviting international observers to
monitor the January 1997 parliamentary and presidential elections in Chechnya,
according to Russian Public TV (ORT). Rybkin then traveled to Nazran where he
held talks with the leaders of the North Caucasian republics on a political
settlement of the Chechen conflict; the participants decided to prepare a
temporary agreement defining relations between Chechnya and the Russian
Federation before the Chechen elections take place, NTV reported. -- Liz
ABOUT ONE-QUARTER OF RUSSIANS SUPPORT CHECHEN INDEPENDENCE.
percent of Russians support granting Chechnya independence, according to a
survey in which individuals were asked to indicate which ideas they supported
from a list provided by VCIOM, Segodnya reported on 13 November.
Twenty-four percent back a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and 23% want
to close the Russian-Chechen border. On the other hand, 22% support the idea of
maintaining Chechnya within the Russian Federation. -- Robert Orttung
YAROV IMPLICATED IN CEMETERY BOMBING.
Orenburg Oblast Fund for Invalids
of the Afghan War Chairman Andrei Chepurnoi suggested that Deputy Presidential
Chief of Staff Yurii Yarov was involved in the 10 November Kotlyakovskoe
cemetery bomb blast that has claimed 14 victims, Trud reported on 13 November.
Chepurnoi claimed that the fund's problems began after he, Mikhail Likhodei,
and Sergei Trakhirov had met with then Deputy Prime Minister Yarov and asked
him what had happened to the large amounts of money earmarked for disabled
veterans. Both Likhodei and Trakhirov are now dead. Trud's reporters
could not contact Yarov, being told that he is in a meeting, but Radio Mayak
reported on 12 November that Yarov claimed to have met the fund's leaders only
once and denied that he was involved in its work. -- Robert Orttung
DEPUTIES WALK OUT DURING LUKASHENKA SPEECH.
About 70 deputies, including
the entire Yabloko faction, several independents, and members of the Our Home
Is Russia faction walked out of the Duma as Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka began to address the chamber on 12 November, ITAR-TASS reported.
Deputies from the Communist faction and the LDPR stood to applaud him. Before
Lukashenka's address, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii made an unsuccessful
last-minute attempt to postpone his appearance until after the 24 November
constitutional referendum in Belarus, arguing that Lukashenka would use his
Duma speech to "pressure Belarusian public opinion." Communist and LDPR
deputies insisted that Lukashenka be allowed to speak, saying he leads "a
brother republic, the only one which is really friendly toward Russia." --
RUSSIA DEMANDS RELEASE OF EX-INTELLIGENCE AGENT.
spokesman Mikhail Demurin demanded the immediate release "without any
conditions" of former Russian intelligence agent Vladimir Galkin, ITAR-TASS
reported on 12 November. He termed Galkin's 29 October arrest by the FBI (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 5 November 1996) a "deliberate provocation," and
warned Washington that "irresponsible actions may have negative consequences
for Russian-American relations." The same day, Galkin was arraigned in a
Massachusetts federal court on espionage charges. On 13 November, ITAR-TASS
reported that discussions with U.S. officials on Galkin's release were making
little progress, as Moscow has rejected a U.S. offer to release him on bail
pending his trial. -- Scott Parrish
ONLY 16% OF RUSSIAN COMPANIES PAY TAXES REGULARLY.
Speaking at a meeting
on tax and financial policy, Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev has
announced that only 16% of Russian companies honor their tax obligations,
ITAR-TASS and AFP reported on 12 November. Of 2.6 million firms, 436,000
companies pay taxes regularly and in full, whereas at least 882,000 firms
publish no accounts and make no tax payments at all. As of 1 October, tax
arrears in Russia reached 132 trillion rubles ($24.4 billion). The problem of
tax collection will be crucial in the ongoing negotiations with the IMF
monitoring mission on the disbursement of the next tranche of the $10.1 billion
extended facility fund. -- Natalia Gurushina
SITUATION IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY DETERIORATES.
At a meeting of the
Committee for Operational Questions, Defense Industry Minister Zinovii Pak said
that in 1995 the government was able to purchase only two war planes and five
helicopters, compared with some 400 in 1991, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 November.
Pak noted that although the aviation industry needed 3.5 trillion rubles of
state financing in 1996, the budget earmarked only 562 billion rubles for this
purpose, of which only 200 billion rubles was actually released. According to
ORT, Russian civil aviation companies sold only eight airplanes in 1996,
compared to more than 200 a year at the beginning of the 1990s. Pak said the
1997 budget should allocate 1.3 trillion rubles to the civil aviation
technology program and another 2.5 trillion rubles to finance aircraft leasing.
-- Natalia Gurushina
TURKMENISTAN, RUSSIA, IRAN SIGN AGREEMENT.
Russia, Turkmenistan, and
Iran signed a memorandum on 13 November on cooperation in developing the
Caspian Sea oil resources, Russian TV (RTR) and Reuters reported. Signed by
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov, his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar
Velayati, and Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov, the memorandum establishes
a joint company to further explore the Caspian's resources. The other two
Caspian states, Azerbaijan and Kazakstan, are invited to join, but according to
the RTR report, Azerbaijan is "unsatisfied" with this agreement. -- Bruce
ARDZINBA ON ELECTIONS, PEACE PROCESS.
In an interview published in
Nezavisimaya gazeta on 13 November, Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba
stated that there are no obstacles to the Georgian population of Abkhazia,
which he estimated at 90,000, participating in the 23 November elections to a
new Abkhaz parliament. Unlike its predecessor, the new parliament will not
comprise specific quotas from different ethnic groups. Ardzinba further accused
the Georgian leadership of preparing terrorist acts against members of the
Abkhaz leadership and of pressuring the Abkhaz side to make "unacceptable"
compromises regarding the region's future political status vis-a-vis Georgia.
On 12 November, Abkhaz-Press carried a statement by Ardzinba, summarized by
ITAR-TASS, in which he reiterated his readiness to continue negotiations under
the aegis of the UN and with Russian mediation. -- Liz Fuller
NAGORNO-KARABAKH ELECTION UPDATE.
The leader of the self-proclaimed
Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Robert Kocharyan, called on residents of the
region to take part in the 24 November presidential election, Noyan Tapan
reported on 12 November. During one of his campaign speeches, Kocharyan said
the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as an equal side to the conflict by the
OSCE and creation of a strong army are among the biggest achievements of his
government. According to Kocharyan, the development of small and medium-sized
enterprises and tax privileges for agriculture will remedy Karabakh's economic
hardships. -- Emil Danielyan
KAZAKSTANI AIRLINE CRASHES IN INDIA.
An IL-76 cargo plane from the
troubled Kazakstani airline company KazAir collided with a Saudi Arabian
passenger plane in mid-air on 12 November, killing everyone on both aircraft,
international press reported. The plane from Kazakstan was descending to land
at Delhi Airport in India when it struck the Saudi plane while the latter was
climbing. The KazAir plane had 38 people on board, including the crew, the
Saudi plane had 312 people. KazAir had been shut down after it incurred a debt
of $149 million by August 1996 and was alleged to be using substandard
aircraft. The crash is being called the worst mid-air collision in aviation
history. -- Bruce Pannier
CHOICE OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER "INVALID."
The Constitutional Court
of Kyrgyzstan on 12 November found that the selection of Mukar Cholponbayev as
parliamentary speaker was not valid, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported. When
Cholponbayev was chosen by the Legislative Assembly in March 1995 only 29 of
the 35 deputies were present (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 November 1996).
Cholponbayev received 17 votes, a majority of those present but not a majority
of the entire upper house. His re-election process can begin when the house
meets on 13 November. The decision has deeper implications as it opens the way
for opposition deputies to raise the question of the validity of the December
1995 presidential election. The Legislative Assembly voted to move that
election forward by one year at a session that also did not have a quorum. --
Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov
UZBEKISTAN GETS MORE BLACK MARKS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
According to an 11
November press release from Human Rights Watch (HRW), Hasan Mirsaidov, son of
Uzbek dissident Shukhrullo Mirsaidov, was abducted by three armed men on 9
November, beaten, blindfolded, handcuffed, and held for 12 hours before being
freed. According to Erika Dailey of HRW, this is only the latest event in a
campaign to apply pressure on the Mirsaidov family. The Uzbek government has
renewed attempts to legally deport the family from Uzbekistan although the
original case was filed some time ago and remained "dormant" for 18 months,
being brought up again shortly before the kidnapping. Although HRW is calling
for a complete investigation into the case, the organization acknowledges that
"there is little hope of an impartial investigation since the incident was
undoubtedly carried out at the behest of the Uzbek government." -- Bruce
UKRAINE SLAMS RUSSIA OVER BLACK SEA FLEET.
The Ukrainian Foreign
Ministry accused the Russian parliament of anti-Ukrainian behavior and warned
it would turn to the international community to solve the Black Sea Fleet
dispute, international media reported on 12 November. Foreign Minister Henadii
Udovenko said Kyiv would seek support from nuclear powers to guarantee
Ukraine's territorial integrity. The Ukrainian parliament scheduled for next
week a debate on Russia's withdrawal of its 600-vessel share of the fleet from
Crimea by 2000. Last month, the Russian State Duma voted to stop the fleet's
division, but the Russian government distanced itself from the Duma resolution.
-- Oleg Varfolomeyev
UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER AT NATO HEADQUARTERS.
Oleksander Kuzmuk and NATO Deputy Secretary-General Sergio Balanzino in
Brussels discussed the further development of relations between Ukraine and
NATO within the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, Ukrainian media reported
on 9 November. Kuzmuk on 11 November met with Dutch Defense Minister Joris
Voorhoeve to discuss cooperation between Ukraine and Netherlands within the PfP
program, ITAR-TASS reported. The ministers agreed to begin exchanging training
visits of Dutch and Ukrainian servicemen. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS TO REUNITE IN UKRAINE.
The country's two Christian
Democratic parties have announced plans to reunite at an upcoming extraordinary
congress in an effort to boost their chances in the 1998 parliamentary
elections, UNIAN reported on 11 November. A group led by Volodymyr Stretovych
last year split away from the Ukrainian Christian Democratic Party to form the
Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine. The parties claim that removal of the
controversial founder of the UCDP, Vitalii Zhuravsky, has paved the way for
their reunion. In other news, Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil said recent
accusations that presidential Chief of Staff Dmytro Tabachnyk illegally
obtained an apartment were part of a campaign to discredit President Leonid
Kuchma, UNIAN and Vseukrainskie vedomosti reported on 11-12 November. --
BELARUSIAN PEOPLE'S FRONT CALLS FOR PRESIDENT'S IMPEACHMENT.
Belarusian People's Front accused Alyaksandr Lukashenka of grossly violating
the constitution and sabotaging the elections to the Belarusian Supreme Soviet,
the BBC reported on 13 November. The party's governing body urged the Supreme
Soviet to initiate impeachment proceedings. -- Sergei Solodovnikov
LATVIAN PRESIDENT IN U.K.
Guntis Ulmanis, accompanied by the foreign,
defense, and communication ministers, began his first official visit to the
U.K. on 11 November. The main aim of the trip is to promote Latvian membership
in the EU and NATO and increase economic ties. Britain is Latvia's
third-largest export partner and the greatest source of foreign investments.
Ulmanis discussed Baltic security issues with British Defense Secretary Michael
Portilo and toured British air force, marine, and naval bases, BNS reported.
Ulmanis is scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister John Major,
and Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind before returning home on 15 November. --
LITHUANIAN, RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS.
Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister
Rimantas Sidlauskas called the first day of border talks in Moscow on 12
November satisfactory, Radio Lithuania reported. He said the new head of the
Russian delegation, Aleksei Obukhov, who had been recalled from his post as
ambassador to Denmark after the arrest of his son in May for alleged
collaboration with Western secret services, left the "impression of a very
businesslike person" and not of an especially ardent Russian nationalist. The
two sides have reached agreement on 90% of the border in three years of
negotiations. Difficulties, however, remain with the border in Lake Vistytis,
the mouth of the Nemunas River, and the Baltic Sea area called D-6, where there
are possible oil deposits. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH-LITHUANIAN TELEVISION AGREEMENT.
Polish Public Television (TVP)
President Ryszard Miazek and Lithuanian Radio and Television Chairman Juozas
Neverauskas signed a cooperation agreement, Polish media reported on 13
November. The deal envisages trading and exchanging programs and information
materials. Lithuanian television will broadcast some Polish programs
nationwide, while TVP will air Lithuanian-language programs on a regional
channel; neither side will charge for use of its programs. The approximately
260,000 Poles living in Lithuania make up 7% of its population. In Poland there
are 10,000-20,000 Lithuanians. -- Beata Pasek
CELLULAR PHONES COMPETE WITH ETHICS OF POLISH POLITICIANS.
phone company Plus GSM organized a promotion campaign, "Friends of Plus GSM,"
to provide cellular phones "for testing" to ministers, deputies, higher civil
servants, and public institutions. The company, which recently received its
license, sent several hundred offers to well-known politicians and
institutions. Freedom Union (UW) parliamentary leaders refused the offer. But
National Radio and TV Council (KRRiT) member Andrzej Zarebski said he did not
have ethical problems in taking the offer, because KRRiT has no common
interests with cellular-phone networks. Several ministers are "testing" the
cellular phones, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 13 November. -- Jakub
CZECH PRESIDENT CRITICIZES OPPOSITION LEADER.
Vaclav Havel on 12
November criticized Social Democratic Party leader and Parliament Chairman
Milos Zeman for alleging publicly that the Czech Intelligence Service (BIS) and
the Ministry of Internal Affairs were working hand in hand. Under Czech law,
the BIS is a separate organization not subordinated to the ministry. Havel
called Zeman's statements irresponsible. Zeman responded by making an
appointment with the president for next week, at which, he said, he will
present the necessary evidence to support his statements. BIS Chairman
Stanislav Devaty resigned on 11 November after Christian Democratic Union
leader Josef Lux accused the BIS of following him. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM.
Ivan Korcok on
12 November reacted to criticism that diplomatic protocol was violated when
neither Foreign Minister Pavol Hamzik nor State Secretary Jozef Sestak
accompanied President Michal Kovac on his current two-day official visit to
Holland, Slovak media reported. Former Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan told
Narodna obroda that the absence of Hamzik or Sestak was "a slap in the
face" to Holland, particularly since Holland expressed special interest in
Hamzik's participation. Although the ministry considers the visit "very
important," Korcok said, Hamzik had to attend the 12 November cabinet session
at which the 1997 budget was discussed, while Sestak had business in Brussels.
-- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT LOWERS TAXES.
The parliament on 12 November lowered
the average rate of the income tax, profit tax, and consumption tax for 1997,
Hungarian dailies reported. The highest personal-income tax rate will drop from
48% to 42%. Tax deductions pertaining to salary incomes will go up from 18% to
20%. Parliament also approved tax exemptions for employers' meal contributions
and granted taxpayers the right to determine how 1% of their taxes should be
spent. The bills were passed in the absence of all opposition deputies, who had
walked out earlier to protest a vote on Constitutional Court judges. The
Hungarian legislature has amended tax laws every year since 1990, which has
made economic planning and tax-return filing problematic for firms and
individuals. Due to tightened tax laws last year, tax evasion has become
widespread. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY DEMANDS ANOTHER MINISTER'S RESIGNATION.
Young Democrats on 12 November demanded the resignation of Ferenc Baja,
minister of environmental protection and regional development, for failing to
clean up pollutants around the waste dump of Gare in southwest Hungary,
Hungarian media reported. Although ministry officials ruled out any threat of
disaster, the party insisted that the 15,000 tons of hazardous waste, which
were shipped to Gare by the Budapest Chemical Works more than 15 years ago,
have been contaminating the area. Baja said the ministry has made repeated
attempts to break the deadlock over the matter and will order the Chemical
Works to stop the spread of contaminants within 15 days. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
WORST FIGHTING SINCE THE END OF THE BOSNIAN WAR.
The armed confrontation
between Republika Srpska police and Muslim refugees trying to return to their
homes has led to the most serious fighting since the Dayton agreement took
effect. Local and international media on 12 and 13 November agreed that at
least one Muslim has died and several persons of both nationalities have been
wounded in the separation zone between Muslim-held Celic and Serb-controlled
Koraj in northern Bosnia. Each side blamed the other and IFOR blamed them both,
adding that the Sarajevo authorities may have deliberately staged a
provocation. Russian IFOR troops were caught in the cross-fire and briefly
pulled back, but a U.S. IFOR representative stressed that at no time did either
side directly fire at the U.S. or Russian peacekeepers. NATO reported on 13
November that the area was calm and that IFOR intended to "contain the
situation," AFP noted. -- Patrick Moore
MLADIC LOYALISTS WARN OF "FRATRICIDAL WAR."
The cashiered Bosnian Serb
General Staff published a letter in the Belgrade paper Blic on 13
November warning of a "fratricidal war," AFP reported. They demanded that the
Republika Srpska police stop harassing those in the military who are loyal to
their sacked commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic. The police are believed to be trying
to cut off all communication links to Mladic's command center at Han Pijesak.
Mladic loyalists charge that the one responsible for the "putsch" against them
is Radovan Karadzic, the indicted war criminal who is widely believed to be
still the real power in Pale, BETA noted. Both the group of 80 cashiered
officers and their replacements announced by Republika Srpska President Biljana
Plavsic claim that the army is behind them, Nasa Borba and
Novosti noted. -- Patrick Moore
SERBIAN PRESIDENT INTERVENES IN CIVILIAN-MILITARY DISPUTE.
Milosevic has taken the unusual step of publicly entering the confrontation
between the Bosnian Serb civilian and military leaderships. On 12 November he
sent Federal Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic to Pale with the
message that Mladic must step down, AFP reported. U.S. envoy John Kornblum
visited the Serbian president and insisted that Mladic must go, Nasa
Borba reported the next day. Kornblum stressed the need for more democracy
in Serbia, particularly where the media and Kosovo are concerned, VOA added. It
is not clear why Milosevic has intervened against Mladic. Until now, Belgrade
has had stronger links to Han Pijesak than to Pale. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY AGAIN FAILS TO REACH AGREEMENT ON GOVERNMENT.
seventh session on 12 November, the three-man Bosnian presidency still did not
succeed in agreeing on a government for postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Oslobodjenje reported the next day. The Muslim member and chairman,
Alija Izetbegovic, and the Bosnian Croat member, Kresimir Zubak, advocate a
government made up of five ministers and a premier. Serb member Momcilo
Krajisnik, however, wants two ministers and a premier, in line with the Serb
policy of limiting the powers of any central body. The presidency did agree in
principle on a common platform for the Paris conference on Bosnia on 14
November. In other news, the U.S. State Department said a delay in delivering a
consignment of U.S. arms to the Muslim-Croat federation is costing nearly
$50,000 per day, Reuters reported on 12 November. Washington is delaying
delivery until Sarajevo fires Deputy Defense Minister Hasan Cengic, whom
Washington considers too close to Iran. -- Daria Sito Sucic
"SPRINGTIME" FOR SLOVENIA?
A possible alliance of three conservative
parties, the Slovenian People's Party (SLS), the Social Democratic Party of
Slovenia (SDSS), and the Christian Democratic Party (SKD) could emerge with a
total of 45 legislative seats and exclude the governing Liberal Democratic
Party (LDS) from power, Reuters reported on 12 November. The SKD, one-time
coalition partner of the LDS, hinted that it may stand firm with the alliance
of conservative and rightist parties grouped under the "Slovenian Spring"
banner. SLS leader Marjan Podobnik refused to rule out working with the LDS but
said it is conditional on several factors, including LDS leader Janez Drnovsek
relinquishing the premiership. Vote and seat tallying from the 10 November
elections will be made official on 15 November. -- Stan Markotich
SERBIA'S LIBYAN CONNECTION.
Belgrade appears to be covertly helping
Libya with its medium-range ballistic missile program, AFP reported on 12
November, citing The Washington Times. According to the report, the CIA
has learned that the Serbian company JPL reached a $30 million agreement with
the Libyan Al Fatah missile development program. It is unclear what specific
role Serbian advisers are playing, since Serbian technical knowledge is
reportedly "limited to production of long-range multiple-rocket launcher
systems." On 7 November, the New York Times had reported that Belgrade
was secretly transporting arms shipments to Libya -- further evidence of
Belgrade's violation of the weapons ban imposed by the UN after Tripoli refused
to allow extradition of suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over
Lockerbie, Scotland. -- Stan Markotich
ILIESCU PLAYS THE NATIONALIST CARD AHEAD OF ELECTION.
With the 17
November presidential run-off drawing close, incumbent President Ion Iliescu's
campaign has become radical, Romanian dailies reported on 13 November. At a
rally in the Transylvanian town of Alba Iulia on 9 November, Iliescu accused
the leaders of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania of plotting
Yugoslav-style secession from Romania. Evenimentul Zilei wrote that
Iliescu was becoming "Zhirinovsky-ized." Meanwhile, a growing number of
political parties, trade unions, and organizations announced their support for
Iliescu's opponent, Emil Constantinescu. -- Zsolt Mato
DNIESTER LEADER REJECTS ALL PARTICIPATION IN MOLDOVAN VOTE.
president of the self-declared Dniester republic, Igor Smirnov, reaffirmed his
opposition to any participation of Dniester residents in the 17 November
Moldovan presidential election, BASA-press reported on 12 November. His
statement was addressed to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma, and the chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council. Smirnov's
remarks came in response to a proposal by Moldovan Parliament Speaker Petru
Lucinschi that polling stations be opened at peacekeeping-force bases located
in the Dniester areas where ethnic Moldovans are in the majority. Smirnov said
the vote could destabilize the situation in the region. He pledged, however,
that the Dniester authorities would not prevent locals from traveling to
Moldova proper to cast their ballots if voters used their own means of
transport. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIAN PREMIER SURVIVES PARTY CONFIDENCE VOTE.
At the end of a
22-hour closed-door session, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Supreme
Council and the BSP parliamentary deputies on 12 November gave Zhan Videnov a
vote of confidence, RFE/RL and other media reported. Of the 158 delegates, 87
supported Videnov, 69 voted against him, and two abstained. The vote means that
Videnov can stay in office at least until an extraordinary BSP congress meets
on 21-22 December to discuss future policies and leadership questions. The
delegates also gave Videnov a mandate to begin consultations on the
introduction of a currency board, as proposed by the IMF. Deputy BSP Chairman
Yanaki Stoilov, Nikolay Kamov, and Filip Bokov resigned from the Executive
Bureau. All three had signed a recent letter by 19 top BSP politicians
demanding Videnov's resignation. Bokov also gave as a reason for his
resignation the failure of the BSP's presidential election campaign, which he
managed. -- Stefan Krause
WERE BULGARIAN OPPOSITION HEADQUARTERS BUGGED?
prosecutor and Interior Ministry opened an investigation after Union of
Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov complained of microphones in the
SDS headquarters, Kontinent and RFE/RL reported on 12 November. Kostov
said the bugs were hidden in his office and in the office of President-elect
Petar Stoyanov several months before the presidential election in
October-November, but the SDS decided not to report the incident before the
voting. Members of the security services might be involved, Kontinent
observed. -- Maria Koinova
GREECE, UKRAINE SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENTS.
Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma on 12 November wrapped up a two-day official visit to Greece, ITAR-TASS
reported. The previous day, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his
Ukrainian counterpart, Henadii Udovenko, signed three bilateral agreements: on
international passenger and freight transportation, on tourism, and on science
and culture. Udovenko said the accords complement the friendship and
cooperation treaty signed earlier that day. Pangalos said Greece supports "the
establishment of Ukraine's close relations with the European Union [and] its
developing contacts with NATO as well as active participation in Balkan
cooperation." -- Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN TRADE UNION CONFLICT CONTINUES.
Police on 12 November banned a
rally of Democratic Party legislator Azem Hajdari's breakaway faction from the
Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH), Zeri i Popullit reported. The
Socialist Party daily implied that Hajdari is the legitimate BSPSH president.
The government media, however, maintains that the congress in Durres that
elected Hajdari on 5 December had no mandate and that Valer Xheka is the
legitimate president. A Tirana court also ruled in Xheka's favor. Xheka has
asked parliament to lift Hajdari's immunity so that the prosecutor could start
investigations for slander. Hajdari had charged Xheka with corruption and
embezzlement of $17,000 from trade union seminars in 1992. Meanwhile, Hajdari
participated in BSPSH meetings in Lezha and Lushnja, where he rallied for
support. He also scheduled a nationwide congress for 23 November and claimed
that his office received support letters from BSPSH branches all over the
country. -- Fabian Schmidt