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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1 No. 2, 97-04-02

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 2, 2 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARDZINBA'S MOSCOW VISIT POSTPONED.
  • [02] KAZAKHSTAN CREATES NATIONAL OIL, GAS COMPANY.
  • [03] AKAYEV ON STATUS OF RUSSIAN LANGUAGE.
  • [04] UZBEK-GREEK RELATIONS.
  • [05] NEW FINDINGS IN TAJIK CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS SOUTHERN REBELS...
  • [07] ...AND ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN SECRET POLICE.
  • [08] ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER FLIES TO ALBANIA.
  • [09] UN WARNS OF HUNGER IN ALBANIA.
  • [10] UPDATE ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
  • [11] VAN DER STOEL IN BUCHAREST.
  • [12] NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN ROMANIA.
  • [13] NEW MOLDOVAN PARTY BACKS PRESIDENT.
  • [14] MOLDOVA'S HOMELESS CHILDREN.
  • [15] BULGARIAN PROSECUTOR SAYS EX-COMMUNISTS SABOTAGED LUKANOV CASE.
  • [16] BULGARIAN INFLATION FALLS SHARPLY.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARDZINBA'S MOSCOW VISIT POSTPONED.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has abruptly postponed scheduled talks with Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba in order to rethink its position on Abkhazia, Interfax reported on 1 April. The move comes after the CIS summit's decision to extend the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping force in Abkhazia. Meanwhile, the Abkhaz parliament has passed a resolution rejecting the summit decision. Ethnic Georgians forced to flee Abkhazia during the 1993 hostilities plan a mass demonstration outside the parliament building in Tbilisi tomorrow, despite a plea from parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania not to do so, RFE/RL reported.

    [02] KAZAKHSTAN CREATES NATIONAL OIL, GAS COMPANY.

    Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin has signed a resolution creating a national oil and gas company, Interfax reported. State shares in joint ventures currently held by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources will be handed over to the new company, called Kazakhoil. Kazhegeldin gave the ministries 15 days to complete the transfer. Under the new resolution, Kazakhoil will become a registered shareholder in the potentially lucrative Caspian Pipeline Consortium. The Kazakh government will retain the right to manage these shares, however.

    [03] AKAYEV ON STATUS OF RUSSIAN LANGUAGE.

    Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev has told Yeltsin that Russian will be given the status of state language in Kyrgyzstan, alongside Kyrgyz, Russian TV reported. Yeltsin's aide Dmitrii Ryurikov said the Russian president is satisfied with the treatment of Russian-speakers in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is the only Central Asian state to receive full programming from all three major Russian TV channels. Russian currently has the status of "official" language but not "state" language, in which the affairs of government are conducted.

    [04] UZBEK-GREEK RELATIONS.

    Uzbek President Islam Karimov and his Greek counterpart, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, have signed a treaty on friendship and cooperation, RFE/RL reported. Karimov was on an official visit to Athens. The two leaders also signed agreements on avoidance of double taxation, protection of investments, and cooperation in economics, technology, education, science, culture, and tourism. Karimov said Greece and Uzbekistan are more united than divided. Stephanopoulos called Uzbekistan a key nation in Central Asia.

    [05] NEW FINDINGS IN TAJIK CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

    Law enforcement authorities in Dushanbe say four men they apprehended in late February in connection with "multiple crimes" do not belong to the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), as was previously believed. ITAR-TASS reported on 1 April that the four men are members of outlaw bands and are guilty of virtually all major crimes committed in Tajikistan since 1994, including the killings of Russian servicemen. The men, whose names are being withheld, were found in possession of pistols and materials necessary for making home-made bombs.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS SOUTHERN REBELS...

    Bashkim Fino went to Gjirokaster yesterday, his first trip to his troubled political home base since becoming head of the coalition government last month. He was greeted by cheering, heavily-armed rebel leaders from Gjirokaster and Tepelene. Fino met with elected officials as well as with the rebels and insurgent Committees of Public Salvation, Reuters reported. The Democratic Party of President Sali Berisha has threatened to pull out of the coalition government if officials from the Socialist Party--to which Fino belongs--maintain contacts with the rebels.

    [07] ...AND ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN SECRET POLICE.

    Fino used his trip to Gjirokaster to announce the abolition of SHIK, the secret police, which is widely seen as an arm of President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party. Fino said he and Berisha met with SHIK boss Bashkim Gazidede and his deputy, Bujar Rama, last weekend and formally accepted their resignations, Reuters reported on 1 April. Fino also blocked funds for the agency. "We are going to build a new intelligence service, with a new face," he said. Elsewhere in Gjirokaster, there was an attack on the home of the Greek consul. The incident is not expected to overshadow Fino's trip to Greece today, since both sides are determined to work together closely in the face of the current crisis.

    [08] ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER FLIES TO ALBANIA.

    Romano Prodi paid a half-hour surprise visit to Gjirokaster this morning to talk with Fino about plans for a multinational force to secure the delivery of relief supplies to Albania. Both governments are anxious to press ahead with the project, despite the imbroglio that arose following the fatal maritime collision last week. Italian Defense Minister Beniamino Andreatta said yesterday that the multinational intervention force should be ready within 10 days. His Albanian counterpart, Shaqir Vukaj, is in Italy to help prepare the way. Meanwhile, the rebel Committee of Public Salvation in Vlora says Italian troops are welcome there, AFP reported. An Albanian government spokesman told Radio Tirana yesterday that the maritime collision and the intervention force are unrelated issues. He blasted "left extremists and Mafiosi" for previously threatening the Italians.

    [09] UN WARNS OF HUNGER IN ALBANIA.

    A mission from the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs says 400,000 Albanians are threatened by hunger in the wake of the current strife and the collapse of the central state apparatus. A spokesman added that while famine is not imminent and that the quantities of food needed are modest compared with Bosnia and some African crisis spots, it is still necessary to "fill the gaps," Reuters reported on 1 April. The spokesman said that anarchy and banditry are the main problems, not the destruction and dislocation that plagued relief efforts in Bosnia. Elsewhere, the Albanian Interior Ministry reports that 10 people died the previous day in incidents stemming from the proliferation of weapons among civilians, AFP reported.

    [10] UPDATE ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.

    Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic insists on firing various ministers critical of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, RFE/RL reported. But Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic refuses to do so, arguing that only parliament can make the decision. In Sarajevo, Bosnia's Energoinvest company says it will no longer import any gas from Russia. The decision came after Russia's Gazeksport cut deliveries to Bosnia to a bare minimum because of unpaid bills. In Banja Luka, today's Nasa Borba writes that Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic's position is increasingly under threat after her Serbian Democratic Party overruled her objections to a new treaty on relations with Belgrade. Over the weekend, Muslim and international officials charged that the Pale-Belgrade agreement could lead to the economic division of Bosnia by setting up special ties between the Republika Srpska and federal Yugoslavia.

    [11] VAN DER STOEL IN BUCHAREST.

    Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Severin says his country still needs OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Max van der Stoel for the protection of national minority rights in Romania as well as for the protection of the Romanian national minorities' rights in neighboring countries. Van der Stoel met with Severin yesterday at the beginning of his three-day visit to Romania, RFE/RL reported. Severin told Van der Stoel that the problem of the Babes-Bolyai university in Cluj should be solved by setting up a Romanian and a Hungarian department within the university, rather than creating two ethnic universities. Van der Stoel will also meet with President Emil Constantinescu, Premier Victor Ciorbea, and leaders of the UDMR--the Hungarian ethnic alliance.

    [12] NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN ROMANIA.

    Tokyo is to grant Romania a $ 177 million credit for Transportation Ministry projects to build a container-terminal in Constanta and improve roads in the southwestern part of the country. In other news, Lockheed President Norman Augustine says the company is interested in investing in the Romanian arms industry. He adds that the company has already started lobbying in the U.S. Congress and the White House for Romania's admission to NATO, RFE/RL reported on 1 April.

    [13] NEW MOLDOVAN PARTY BACKS PRESIDENT.

    The United Social Democratic Party of Moldova (PSDUM) says it supports President Petru Lucinschi's political program but does not want to be considered a pro-presidential party, Infotag reported on 1 April. Anatol Taranu, co-chairman of the PSDUM, told a news conference in Chisinau that his party will back Lucinschi insofar as he implements his program. Eugen Sobor, another PSDUM co-chairman, said that while the party strives to attract "prestigious personalities" to its ranks, it does not wish to turn itself into a mass party. He added that it "will close its doors to renegades who have tried many parties in the last years."

    [14] MOLDOVA'S HOMELESS CHILDREN.

    At least a third of all homeless children in Chisinau are ill with syphilis, RFE/RL reports on 2 April. In addition, at least half of these children suffer from various infectious skin diseases, according to statistics released by police. The number of homeless children in Moldova is rising steadily. In 1996 alone, shelters in Chisinau received more than 1,500 children--an increase of 25% over the previous year. Most of them are from homes affected by alcoholism or extreme poverty.

    [15] BULGARIAN PROSECUTOR SAYS EX-COMMUNISTS SABOTAGED LUKANOV CASE.

    Bulgaria's chief prosecutor has accused the previous Socialist government of doing everything possible to help late Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov win his case against Bulgaria at the Council of Europe's Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, RFE/RL reported on 1 April. Ivan Tatarchev says an investigation is being launched to clarify the activities of former Premier Zhan Videnov and his justice minister, Mladen Chervenyakov. The court ruled last month that the human rights of Lukanov were violated when he was arrested in 1992 on charges of misappropriation. It ordered the state to pay his widow and two children more than $ 20,000 in legal costs and compensation. Lukanov was assassinated last October.

    [16] BULGARIAN INFLATION FALLS SHARPLY.

    Alberto Mussalem, representative of the World Bank in Sofia, says that since Stefan Sofiyanski's caretaker cabinet took office in February, inflation has fallen sharply, while treasury and hard-currency reserves have increased. RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia quotes Sofiyanski as saying Bulgaria is on the brink of "relative financial and economic stabilization." Sofiyanski said price liberalization will not lead to economic hardship for the country's citizens. He added that the World Bank has pledged $40 million for grain imports and that the U.S. will soon donate $25 million worth of forage grains for livestock.

    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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