|Tuesday, 1 December 2020|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 152, 97-11-04
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 1, No. 152, 4 November 1997
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION IN TEHRANChief of government staff Shahen Karamanukian met with Iranian President Mohammad Khattami in Tehran on 2 November to discuss bilateral cooperation, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Karamanukian handed over a letter from Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and reached an agreement with Khattami on unspecified "concrete steps." Together with Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Manasarian, Karamanukian also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and the construction, oil, and finance ministers, according to Noyan Tapan. Arkadii Ghukasyan, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, proposed in October that Iran, along with Russia, France, the U.S. and Armenia, should guarantee Karabakh's security under any formal peace agreement. lf
 WORLD BANK ON ARMENIAN ECONOMYJohannes Linn, the World Bank's deputy director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, has approved Armenia's economic policies, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Linn said the World Bank will grant Armenia credits worth some $200 million in 1997-1998. To date, Armenia has received a total of $360 million in interest-free loans under 16 programs from the World Bank's International Development Agency (IDA). Those credits have been used largely to finance the budget deficit and rebuild the infrastructure. First Deputy Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has predicted that in 1998, Armenia and Russia will become the first CIS countries to be admitted to the World Trade Organization, according to Noyan Tapan on 3 November. lf
 SOVIET-ERA ARMENIAN DISSIDENT DIESAshot Navarsardian, an Armenian parliamentary deputy and head of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), died of a heart attack on 2 November, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Navarsardian, who was 47, served three jail sentences totaling 12 years for dissident activities during the Soviet era. In 1989, he founded the paramilitary Independence Army, which fought in Nagorno-Karabakh. The following year, he set up the HHK, a member of the majority Hanrapetutyun bloc. lf
 ABKHAZ PARLIAMENT CHARGES GEORGIA WITH GENOCIDEThe parliament of self-proclaimed Abkhaz Republic has said that Georgian reprisals against ethnic Abkhaz and other ethnic groups during the 1992- 1993 war constituted "genocide." It recommended that President Vladislav Ardzinba institute legal proceedings against the central Georgian government for the internment of Turks, Greeks, and Laz, CAUCASUS PRESS reported on 4 November. The Abkhaz parliament also tasked the government with developing a demographic program and with restoring Abkhaz place names that were replaced with Georgian ones. Before the exodus of the some 250, 000 ethnic Georgians in 1992-1993, the Abkhaz constituted a minority within their republic, accounting for only 18 percent of the 500,000-strong population. lf
 "NO PROBLEMS" IN GEORGIAN-ADJAR RELATIONSSpeaking at a press conference in Batumi following his 30 October meeting with Adjar Supreme Soviet Chairman Aslan Abashidze, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze denied there are any problems in relations between the central Georgian government and the autonomous Republic of Adjaria, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 4 November. Abashidze, however, said he has documentary evidence that unnamed politicians in Georgia want to deprive Adjaria of its autonomous status. Tamaz Kharazi, the former mayor of Batumi, recently claimed that Georgian parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania tried to enlist his help in ousting Abashidze (see "RFE/RL Newsline, " 21 and 22 October 1997). Abashidze's All-Georgian Union for Revival is the third largest party in the Georgian parliament. lf
 TAJIK PRESIDENT, UN MISSION HEAD ASSESS PEACE PROCESSFollowing a meeting in Dushanbe on 4 November with Imomali Rakhmonov, UN mission chief Gerd Dietrich Merrem told journalists that he and the Tajik president agreed that the National Reconciliation Commission's plan on implementing the summer's peace accords is ambitious but realistic, Interfax reported. The commission is composed of representatives from both the government and from the main Islamist-led opposition. Merrem said that the cease-fire,. which ended years of civil war, has been fully observed for 11 months. He also praised implementation of agreements on the registration of opposition fighters and on an amnesty for former combatants. In an interview published in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" on 4 November, Merrem praised Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's contribution to the Tajik peace process. lf
 KYRGYZ PREMIER NOT IN DANGER OF DISMISSALPresidential press secretary Kanybek Imanaliev told journalists on 3 November that President Askar Akayev has no intention of dismissing Prime Minister Apas Djamagulov, Interfax reported. Imanaliev said Akayev is concerned about criticism of the premier and believes it is time to "abandon the illusion" that the appointment of a new prime minister would lead to "revolutionary advances" in the economy. What Kyrgyzstan needs is a "stable government to implement stable reforms," according to the president. lf
 HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT TOURS CENTRAL ASIAArpad Goncz has recently visited Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, where he met with top officials to discuss boosting modest trade levels and expanding economic cooperation, Russian media and RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported. lf
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 MILOSEVIC STANDS FIRM ON KOSOVO...Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, meeting within the framework of the Balkan summit on Crete on 3 November, agreed to improve bilateral relations. Milosevic said ties between the two countries were "frozen for 50 years." He added that he and Nano did not agree on questions regarding Kosovo, which, Milosevic maintained, is Serbia's internal affair. Milosevic called on Albania to grant its Serbian and Montenegrin minorities the same rights as Yugoslavia's Albanians enjoy. Nano, for his part, urged Yugoslavia to give its Albanians rights in keeping with European norms. It was the first meeting of the top leaders of the two countries since 1948. pm
 ...SAYS ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAYTONYugoslav President Milosevic also said on Crete on 3 November that he recognizes his responsibilities to help implement the Dayton peace agreement. He stressed, however, that it is the duty of all Balkan countries to promote regional stability. He added that, in particular, the three former warring sides in Bosnia have a special responsibility for implementing Dayton. Heads of state or government of Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Albania are attending the two- day summit. Bosnia has sent a lower-level delegation. Slovenia and Croatia refused to attend on the grounds that they are Central European and not Balkan countries (see also item below on Croatia). pm
 MACEDONIA, BULGARIA REMAIN DEADLOCKEDMacedonian President Kiro Gligorov and Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov failed during talks on Crete on 2 November to break the impasse preventing Bulgaria's ratification of 20 bilateral agreements, BETA news agency reported the next day. Bulgaria does not recognize Macedonian as a language distinct from Bulgarian and refuses to ratify agreements drafted in Macedonian as well as Bulgarian. Sofia's long-standing policy is to recognize Macedonian statehood and independence but not to acknowledge that Macedonians are a people distinct from Bulgarians. pm
 KOSOVAR STUDENT SAYS HE WAS TORTUREDNait Hasani, a student from Kosovo whom the authorities claim is a leader of the clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), told a court in Pristina on 3 November that Serbian police tortured him to obtain a confession. He and 19 other Kosovars are on trial for what the authorities call separatism and terrorism. It is the third mass trial of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo this year on political charges, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Pristina. Observers noted that the Swiss-based UCK has become increasingly attractive to young Kosovars, many of whom may feel that the moderate Kosovar leadership's policy of non-violence has failed to produce results. pm
 TRAVNIK MURDER SUSPECTS FREEDA spokesman for the UN police said in Sarajevo on 3 November that police in the Muslim-controlled Travnik area freed three men who had been held in connection with the murder of one Croat and the wounding of two other Croats in a nearby village in late August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 September 1997). The spokesman added that Muslim and Croatian police are continuing to investigate the incident. Bosnian Croat officials and the government in Zagreb have repeatedly warned they regard the investigation as a test-case for Croatian-Muslim cooperation. pm
 BOSNIA ROUNDS UP ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTSBosnian police wounded one man in a roundup of 47 illegal immigrants in Sarajevo, a UN police spokesman said on 3 November. Most of those arrested are Egyptians. The Bosnian authorities are cracking down on people from developing countries using Bosnia to gain illegal entry into other European states. pm
 SLOVENIA JOINS BOSNIAN FORCESFOR spokesmen in Sarajevo said on 4 November that Slovenia has officially become the 37th participant in the international peacekeeping force. Meanwhile in Ljubljana, the National Statistics Office announced on 3 October that the foreign trade deficit stands at $790 million. The total volume of foreign trade for 1997 is down about 1 percent on the same nine- month period last year. pm
 TUDJMAN WANTS CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGESCroatian President Franjo Tudjman said in Zagreb on 3 November that he has recommended to the parliament that the constitution ban Croatia's membership in a revived Yugoslavia or any other Balkan union. He added that he wants Croatia explicitly defined as belonging to Central Europe, not to the Balkans. Tudjman also wants the constitution changed to grant equal rights to all persons and not just to Croatian citizens. He said that the basic law should specify that "Croatia is established as the national state of the Croatian people and a state of members of national minorities and those who are its citizens." The current document names eight specific minority nationalities. pm
 ROMANIAN PREMIER AT BALKAN SUMMITVictor Ciorbea on 3 November told Federal Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that Belgrade must grant minority rights to the Vlach (Aromanian) community in Serbia, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Earlier, Ciorbea expressed reservations over a Greek proposal to set up a secretariat in charge of Balkan economic cooperation. While welcoming the proposal, he commented that increased cooperation is possible through existing structures such as CEFTA and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. In other news, visiting Croatian First Deputy Defense Minister General Kresimir Cosic and his Romanian counterpart, General Constantin Degeratu, signed a military cooperation agreement in Bucharest on 3 November. ms
 ROMANIAN COALITION PARTY REJECTS OFFERIon Diaconescu, the chairman of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD), on 3 November rejected Democratic Party (PD) Chairman Petre Roman's offer to leave the coalition and back a minority PNTCD government. Diaconescu said the survival of such a cabinet would be questionable, as it would depend on the good will of those who did not share government responsibilities, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. In other news, President Emil Constantinescu on 3 November urged PD deputy Corneliu Ruse to make available all evidence in support of his recent allegations that the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) has penetrated and controls most of the country's political parties. Constantinescu said the allegations are likely to "negatively impact the credibility and public image of the SRI." ms
 IMF DELAYS LOAN TRANCHE TO MOLDOVAMark Horton, the IMF's permanent representative in Chisinau, said on 3 November that the fund has postponed the last $15.5 million installment of a loan to Moldova. Horton said that if the government fulfills the obligations it undertook when agreeing to the loan's terms, the installment could be released in February or March 1998. He noted that Moldova's budget deficit is approaching 7 percent of GDP, while Chisinau and the IMF had agreed on 4.5 percent. He also said the fund wants the parliament to review its decisions to write off state enterprises arrears to the budget and to oppose the government's proposals to introduce value-added tax and raise energy prices energy prices, Mediafax reported, citing Reuters. ms
 MOLDOVA'S BOTNARU ON ORGANIZED CRIME, TRANSDNIESTERMoldovan Security Minister Tudor Botnaru told journalists on 3 November that many former KGB officers have joined "criminal structures" and their "high professionalism" makes the struggle against organized crime "very difficult," Infotag reported. The minister added he is opposed to making public the files of former KGB agents, saying this would amount to "setting ourselves on fire." Botnaru also commented that the outbreak of the Transdniestrian conflict in 1990 was due to Moldova's "blunder in domestic policies" at that time. He said his officers would have "no problem whatever" in arresting the Transdniestrian leaders but that he "categorically opposes" such methods because the conflict "must be solved exclusively by political means." ms
[C] END NOTE
 AS ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS FOR KAZAKH ELITEby Merhat Sharipzhan
In the six years since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has had three constitutions, three prime ministers, and three parliaments.
Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbaev, recently appointed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has put together his new cabinet. Some Kazakh observers doubt that Balgimbaev and his team will last long, given Nazarbayev's tendency to replace political appointees and officials. But losing a post in the Kazakh government does not necessarily mean the end of the line in career terms. Many Kazakh officials have found that as one door closes, another opens-- often to a business career that is more lucrative than politics.
For example, since leaving high office, former Premier Sergey Tereshchenko, ousted Deputy Premier Asyghat Jabaghin, and former Economy Minister Mars Urkimbayev have become owners of major international business concerns.
Moreover, involvement in an scandal does not necessarily mean disbarment from high-ranking posts. Asyghat Jabaghin, onetime governor of Pavlodar Oblast, northern Kazakhstan, and later deputy premier, was dismissed consecutively from all his posts amid allegations of involvement in dubious activities related to the privatization process. But he has now returned to the political scene as the minister of trade, industry, and economy in Balgimbaev's cabinet.
Former Education Minister Talghat Mamashev lost his position owing to his involvement in a scandal over the presidential students' exchange program, known as Bolashak-Future. Under that scheme, many Kazakh officials-- including Mamashev himself-- sent their children to study at U.S. universities. Nonetheless, Mamashev is now chairman of the official Foundation for Education Support.
Amangeldy Bektemisov, who was sacked as governor of Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast for financial mismanagement, is now chief of the state agricultural company Ken Dala. This is a key company through which the U.S. concern John Deer--the world's biggest agricultural machinery manufacturer--sells tractors and combines to Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan has attracted thousands of millions of dollars in foreign investment in the last four years. Particularly under the government of Sergey Tereshchenko, much money was directed toward private companies owned by Kazakh officials or their relatives. Some of those companies have since been dissolved, and no information about the whereabouts of the foreign credits has been given. There have been two other governments since Tereshchenko's tenure, and by now it is practically impossible to determine what happened to the money directed to private companies.
During the privatization process, many industrial objects were sold to Western companies for excessively low prices, leading to rumors of bribery. Some members of the parliament's lower house, the Majilis, pushed for discussion of the issue. Former Prime Minister Akejan Kejegeldin told journalists just before he was ousted in early October that privatization in Kazakhstan could be defined as the division of national resources among an "oligarchy."
Some parliamentary deputies have started discussing the possibility of new legislation on conflict of interest laws in a bid to crack down on such practices. It has been proposed that an official who is sacked--especially from the spheres of finance, oil and gas production, investments, or privatization--be barred from doing business in those spheres for one or two years. Many Kazakh observers, however, are skeptical that deputies will be able to achieve much, given the tightly woven network of those benefiting most from Kazakhstan's political and economic life.
The author is an editor for RFE/RL's Kazakh service.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty