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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1 No. 4, 97-04-04

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. 4, 4 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMS SUPPLIES TO ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN.
  • [02] DE CHARETTE ON KARABAKH TALKS.
  • [03] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES.
  • [04] GEORGIA ADOPTS NEW SECURITY CONCEPT.
  • [05] NEW PLANS FOR KAZAK OIL.
  • [06] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON ECO.
  • [07] TURKMEN CHIEF PROSECUTOR FIRED.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] ALBANIAN INTERVENTION FORCE TAKES SHAPE.
  • [09] MAYHEM REIGNS IN ALBANIA.
  • [10] MILOSEVIC'S PARTY TO BOYCOTT CONFERENCE ON KOSOVO.
  • [11] UN TROOPS ON ALERT FOR CROATIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [12] CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADER THREATENS TO SUE TUDJMAN.
  • [13] MACEDONIAN PYRAMID SCHEME HAS $80 MILLION DEBT.
  • [14] NEW SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER OUTLINES PLANS.
  • [15] VAN DER STOEL ON ROMA MINORITY IN ROMANIA.
  • [16] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY REORGANIZED.
  • [17] MORE MOLDOVAN REACTIONS TO RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNION.
  • [18] SMIRNOV ON RUSSIAN MILITARY ASSETS IN TRANSDNIESTER.
  • [19] BULGARIA' S SOCIALISTS OPPOSE JOINING NATO.
  • [20] DRASTIC CUTS IN PUBLIC JOBS IN BULGARIA.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMS SUPPLIES TO ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN.

    Vechernyaya Moskva yesterday cited a November 1993 letter allegedly sent by then Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan to his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, requesting assistance in acquiring spare parts for hardware supplied by Russia and guaranteeing payment. This follows Lev Rokhlin's revelations at a 2 April closed session of the State Duma on the extent of clandestine Russian arms shipments to Armenia. Moskovskii komsomolets quoted Rokhlin as saying shipments continued after Grachev's dismissal last summer but without the knowledge of his successor, Igor Rodionov. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev has called on Yeltsin to launch a new investigation into Rokhlin's disclosures, ITAR- TASS reports. Nezavisimaya gazeta's Armenian correspondent claimed yesterday that in 1994, Turkey purchased arms from Russia worth over $3 billion and passed them on to Azerbaijan.

    [02] DE CHARETTE ON KARABAKH TALKS.

    French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette told Armenian President Levon Ter- Petrossyan in Yerevan earlier this week that he favors direct talks between Baku and Yerevan and possibly between Baku and Stepanakert in order to expedite a solution to the Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL reported. De Charette also disclosed that Iran, which is not an OSCE member and is therefore excluded from the mediation process, is pleased France has become one of the three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group. Gasparyan praised Russia's role as "an honest and impartial" co-mediator, but he complained that Azerbaijan is trying to undermine Russia's role in the mediation process.

    [03] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES.

    Levon Ter-Petrossyan says his talks earlier this week with representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation--Dashnaktsyutyun were "very positive and constructive," Armenpress reported. Ter- Petrossyan suspended the activities of the opposition ARFD in 1994 on the grounds that the party was implicated in terrorist activities. Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan also met with ARFD members earlier this week. He affirmed his readiness to cooperate with all Armenian political parties, according to Asbarez on Line.

    [04] GEORGIA ADOPTS NEW SECURITY CONCEPT.

    The Georgian parliament has adopted new foreign-policy guidelines aimed at expediting the country's integration into European structures, Russian new agencies reported yesterday. Parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania said the new concept reflects the current state of Georgia's relations with Russia, which he termed the main threat to Georgian security. Zhvania said that if Russia fails to assist Georgia in restoring control over the breakaway republic of Abkhazia, Georgia will revise its present policy of military cooperation with Russia.

    [05] NEW PLANS FOR KAZAK OIL.

    Kazakoil, the new national oil company, says it plans to export more than 1 million tons of oil to Iran this year, AFP and Interfax reported. This is in keeping with a 1996 deal providing for 2-6 million tons to be shipped to Iran annually over a 10-year period. Kazakstan has already sent 70,000 tons of oil to Iran so far this year. Kazakstan also intends to start sending oil to China beginning in the second half of 1997. Shipments will initially go by rail but eventually through planned pipelines.

    [06] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON ECO.

    Askar Akayev says Kyrgyzstan considers relations with the 10-country Economic Cooperation Organization extremely important. Akayev was speaking after his meeting with the organization's Secretary-General Ondar Ozal earlier this week. He noted that 45% of Kyrgyzstan' s foreign trade is with ECO member states but that the potential for trade "was far from being exhausted." The construction of the Karakorum highway is one of Kyrgyzstan's top priorities because it would create a trade route stretching from China to the Indian Ocean, Akayev said. Besides Kyrgyzstan, the ECO member states are the other four former Soviet Central Asian republics, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

    [07] TURKMEN CHIEF PROSECUTOR FIRED.

    President Saparmurat Niyazov has sacked the country' s chief prosecutor, Bayrammurat Ashyrliyev, RFE/RL reported. Niyazov criticized the country's prosecutors in general, saying they too often failed to sentence real criminals and instead prosecuted " innocent people." He said failures among law enforcement officials were to be blamed for the level of crime and corruption in Turkmenistan. Prosecutors were all too susceptible to bribery, Niyazov commented.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] ALBANIAN INTERVENTION FORCE TAKES SHAPE.

    Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's special envoy for the Albanian crisis, said in Athens yesterday that 12 April is the target date for the multinational force to be operational. In Austria, Defense Minister Werner Fasslabend said the mission will take place in three stages. The first starts now and will secure Tirana airport as well as the ports of Durres and Vlora; the second begins in May to protect aid deliveries in the rest of the country; and the third runs through June and July to ensure the safety of the elections. A series of high-level multilateral meetings is taking place in Rome this week to spell out the strategy and mandate for the mission.

    [09] MAYHEM REIGNS IN ALBANIA.

    Prime Minister Bashkim Fino says he will step up contacts to southern insurgents. His job is made difficult by the fact that armed criminal gangs have intensified attacks throughout the south in the past two days. Meanwhile in Tirana, unidentified persons fired at the U.S. ambassador's home yesterday. Marine guards helped Albanian police find the source of the shots but did not return fire. The police arrested 10 people in nearby buildings and confiscated dozens of automatic weapons. In Gjirokaster, near the Greek border, people attacked the Greek consulate and demanded visas.

    [10] MILOSEVIC'S PARTY TO BOYCOTT CONFERENCE ON KOSOVO.

    The ruling Socialist Party of Serbia says it will not take part in an American-sponsored roundtable of Serbs and Albanians slated for 7-9 April in New York, RFE/RL reported yesterday. The party argues that any Serbs who go are "selling out vital state interests" and playing into the hands of those who want to cut Serbia down to the size of the tiny Ottoman "Pashaluk of Belgrade." Nasa Borba adds that Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic, who is on a visit to Washington, will also stay away from the talks.

    [11] UN TROOPS ON ALERT FOR CROATIAN ELECTIONS.

    UN forces stationed in eastern Slavonia will be on full alert for the 13 April balloting, RFE/RL reported yesterday. This is the first time since the breakup of Yugoslavia that the region's 120,000 Serbs will vote in Croatian elections. The Croatian Electoral Commission said in Zagreb that the Independent Serbian Democratic Party (SSDS) is fielding candidates for local and county assemblies but not for the upper house in Zagreb. The SSDS is a broad coalition aimed at concentrating the Serbian vote. SSDS leader Vojislav Stanimirovic launched the party's campaign yesterday by saying it will fight for Serbian interests by political means only. Vjesnik writes that 53% of the 125,000 registered voters in eastern Slavonia are Croats and 30% Serbs.

    [12] CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADER THREATENS TO SUE TUDJMAN.

    Croatian Peasant Party leader Zlatko Tomcic says he may sue President Franjo Tudjman for claiming in an interview that Tomcic met with Serbian and Bosnian Muslim political figures to discuss setting up a new Yugoslavia, Novi list reports. Speaking in Rijeka yesterday, Tudjman slammed his local opponents as neo-Communists working for a new Yugoslavia. Croatia's northwest is home to a strong autonomist movement, but Tudjman routinely calls such groups "anti-Croatian." Also in Rijeka, a roundtable on press freedom blasted Tudjman's party for manipulating election coverage in the state-run media. Participants also criticized the opposition for letting Tudjman set the rules.

    [13] MACEDONIAN PYRAMID SCHEME HAS $80 MILLION DEBT.

    The head of the Macedonian National Bank has given all the bank's documents on the TAT pyramid collapse to the state prosecutor, Nasa Borba reported today. TAT's obligations total $80 million, but the bank director says sales of the personal property of TAT's bosses should cover much of the debt.

    [14] NEW SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER OUTLINES PLANS.

    Tit Turnsek says that the Slovenian military will become smaller, more cost-effective, and completely geared toward acting in cooperation with other armies, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 2 April. This means Slovenia will not expand its tiny air force or navy but will concentrate on transforming its army for specialized tasks of international peacemaking and peacekeeping. The military will not train to "defend us from our neighbors but rather to work together with those neighbors" on international projects. He stressed that both the public and the parliament are strongly in favor of NATO membership, and that Slovenia sets no conditions on stationing NATO troops on its territory.

    [15] VAN DER STOEL ON ROMA MINORITY IN ROMANIA.

    Max van der Stoel, the OSCE high commissioner for national minorities, says ethnic tensions still prevail in relations between the Romanian majority and the Roma minority. At the end of his two-day visit to Romania, he proposed that a department be set up to deal with the integration of the Roma community. Senate Chairman Petre Roman told Van der Stoel that Romania is concerned about the fate of Romanian minorities in other countries. He singled out Ukraine where, he said, ethnic Romanians have been subjected to " 50 years of harsh Russification." Van der Stoel told presidential counselor Zoe Petre that it is " desirable" for the pending treaty with Ukraine to be concluded as soon as possible. He added that no NATO member has so far opposed Romania' s inclusion in the first wave of new members, RFE/RL reported.

    [16] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY REORGANIZED.

    The government is to restructure the Ministry of Defense to bring it into line with NATO standards, RFE/RL reported on 3 April. In a significant departure from past practice, the ministry' s structure will no longer be considered a state secret. It will include a Directorate for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, subordinated to its Political and Defense Department. The Directorates for Human Resources, Information and Public Relations, and Medical Corps will be directly subordinated to the Minister of Defense. Other ministerial structures dealing with the military as a whole will also come directly under the minister's jurisdiction.

    [17] MORE MOLDOVAN REACTIONS TO RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNION.

    Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popov says the Russian-Belarusian union will help improve Moldovan trade with the Baltic States and North European countries because of the lifting of customs and other trade barriers, Radio Bucharest reported. Vladimir Atamaniuc, deputy chairman of the Transdniester Supreme Soviet, told Infotag that " common sense" was now " winning over political ambitions." He said that the " Transdniestrian republic" is extremely interested in such integration because "80% of our economy is closely inter- related with that of the Russian Federation." Alexander Caraman, vice president of the breakaway region, says the union will serve the interests of state-formations within the CIS that have not yet been recognized and are more favorable to the integration process.

    [18] SMIRNOV ON RUSSIAN MILITARY ASSETS IN TRANSDNIESTER.

    Igor Smirnov, leader of Moldova's Transdniester breakaway region, says he has demanded that Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov " follow the orders" of Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin and set up a commission to determine the future of the assets of the " former 14th Army." As " head of state," Smirnov said, " I must think how to defend my people" when the Russian military contingent in the region is being reduced. Smirnov wants the commission to determine how the assets of the departing Russian forces will be shared with his own forces, BASA-press reported.

    [19] BULGARIA' S SOCIALISTS OPPOSE JOINING NATO.

    Former Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski of the Socialist Party has opposed the interim government' s decision to apply for NATO membership, RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia reported. Pirinski was taking part yesterday in a televised debate on national security. But all the participants supported efforts to join the EU. Meanwhile, the interim government has approved " in principle" Bulgaria' s participation in the international mission for Albania. The Defense and Interior Ministries have yet to work out detailed plans. After the general elections scheduled for later this month, the parliament will have to approve the plans.

    [20] DRASTIC CUTS IN PUBLIC JOBS IN BULGARIA.

    Caretaker Labor Minister Ivan Neikov says 160,000 state sectors jobs will be eliminated by the end of the year in a bid to reduce budget spending on loss-making firms, RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia reported yesterday. He said 100,000 industrial, and 60,000 administrative jobs will have to go. Those who lose their jobs will have the choice of a one-time payment totaling $250 or regular unemployment benefits over three months equivalent to their wages. It was also announced yesterday that 24 state-owned firms will be privatized, most of which are export-oriented.

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


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