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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 28, 01-02-09

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. 5, No. 28, 9 February 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN COURT EXTENDS BUSINESSMAN'S PRE-TRIAL DETENTION
  • [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES CALL FOR FAIR VERDICT IN KARABAKH TRIAL
  • [03] ARMENIAN JUSTICE MINISTER REFUSES TO REREGISTER OFFICIAL
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN'S WAR INVALIDS COMPLAIN AT LACK OF SUPPORT FROM RELIGIOUS LEADER
  • [05] DISPLACED PERSONS STAGE PROTEST IN AZERBAIJANI CAPITAL
  • [06] GUUAM SUMMIT POSTPONED
  • [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT FAVORS PROPOSED NEW PROSECUTOR-GENERAL
  • [08] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IMPLICATED IN1998 ABKHAZ FIGHTING
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT APPROVES STATE LANGUAGE PROGRAM
  • [10] KAZAKH OFFICIAL PROPOSES SELLING STAKE IN STRATEGIC COMPANIES...
  • [11] ...AS PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES QUESTION FATE OF PHOSPHOROUS PLANTS
  • [12] KYRGYZ ENERGY SHORTAGE PERSISTS
  • [13] KYRGYZSTAN DRAFTS NEW PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM
  • [14] TURKEY OFFERS TO HELP UZBEKISTAN COMBAT TERRORISM

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] IN BELGRADE, SOLANA VOWS TO HELP YUGOSLAVIA...
  • [16] ...URGES BELGRADE TO SEND MILOSEVIC TO THE HAGUE...
  • [17] ...CALLS ON ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN PRESEVO TO LAY DOWN ARMS
  • [18] FIGHTING BREAKS OUT IN PRESEVO VALLEY
  • [19] RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS POLITICAL SETTLEMENT ONLY SOLUTION
  • [20] BELGRADE ADOPTS LAW RETURNING PROPERTY, CITIZENSHIP TO ROYAL
  • [21] WTO TO NEGOTIATE WITH BELGRADE ON MEMBERSHIP
  • [22] EXPLOSION RIPS THROUGH CHURCH IN KOSOVA
  • [23] SLOVENIA WANTS TO JOIN NATO, EU BY 2003
  • [24] CROATIAN GENERAL SUSPECTED OF WAR CRIMES IS 'ON THE RUN'...
  • [25] ...GOVERNMENT DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF SUSPECT'S WHEREABOUTS...
  • [26] ...AS PARLIAMENT, VETERANS LAUNCH PROTESTS
  • [27] MACEDONIA AND GREECE TRYING TO SETTLE NAME PROBLEM
  • [28] OSCE CONCERNED BY ALBANIA'S POOR PREPARATION FOR ELECTIONS
  • [29] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN PARIS
  • [30] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ON PROPERTY RESTITUTION
  • [31] ROMANIAN LOCAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION BILL TO UNDERGO CHANGES
  • [32] LASZLO TOKES CLEARED OF SUSPICION OF COLLABORATION WITH
  • [33] ...AND FORMER SECURITATE OFFICIAL APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF SENSITIVE
  • [34] SIXTEEN CANDIDATES FOR EACH MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY SEAT
  • [35] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO BE LARGELY RESHUFFLED
  • [36] BULGARIAN RADIO JOURNALISTS SHUT OUT CHIEF
  • [37] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BARS FORMER KING FROM PRESIDENTIAL
  • [38] BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN GREECE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [39] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN COURT EXTENDS BUSINESSMAN'S PRE-TRIAL DETENTION

    A Yerevan court on 8 February extended for a further month the

    pre-trial detention of businessman Arkadii Vartanian, RFE/RL's

    Yerevan bureau reported. Vartanian was taken into custody on 30

    October following a march by his supporters to the presidential

    palace in Yerevan, and subsequently charged with calling for the

    overthrow of the Armenian leadership. He was hospitalized last

    month with heart problems. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES CALL FOR FAIR VERDICT IN KARABAKH TRIAL

    To date, 68 Armenian parliament deputies have signed an appeal

    to Arkadii Ghukasian, president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, to ensure that the trial and verdict

    on 15 people charged with attempting to assassinate him last

    March is fair, according to Snark on 6 February as cited by

    Groong. The appeal notes that evidence has emerged during the

    trial that casts serious doubts on prosecutors' claims that the

    assassination bid was masterminded by former Karabakh Defense

    Minister Samvel Babayan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 December 2000 and 31 January 2001). The appeal was initiated by Kim Balayan (Armenian Revolutionary Federation -- Dashnaktsutiun).

    LF

    [03] ARMENIAN JUSTICE MINISTER REFUSES TO REREGISTER OFFICIAL

    NEWSPAPER

    The future of the daily newspaper "Hayastani

    Hanrapetutiun," (Republic of Armenia), whose founders are the

    Armenian parliament and the paper's editorial staff, is in doubt

    following a 1 February government decree on its closure, Noyan

    Tapan reported. The initial reason cited for the paper's closure

    was its failure to comply with a provision of the Civil Code

    requiring all media outlets to reregister with the Ministry of

    Justice by 31 December 2000. But on 7 February Justice Minister

    David Harutiunian told parliament that the documents submitted

    during the reregistration process had implied that the paper is a

    commercial enterprise, and the constitution forbids the

    parliament to undertake commercial activity. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN'S WAR INVALIDS COMPLAIN AT LACK OF SUPPORT FROM RELIGIOUS LEADER

    Representatives of Azerbaijan's Karabakh war invalids met on 8 February with the country's senior Muslim clergy, Turan reported. The invalids expressed displeasure that, unlike many opposition politicians and members of the Azerbaijani intelligentsia, the North Caucasus Religious Board failed to express its support for their protest action. The leader of Azerbaijan's Muslims, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allakhshukur Pashazade, pointed out that Islamic law bans suicide. But he also condemned as "a great sin" Azerbaijan state television's biassed coverage of the hunger-strike. More hunger-strikers abandoned their fast on 8 February, leaving only some 60 continuing their protest in Baku. LF

    [05] DISPLACED PERSONS STAGE PROTEST IN AZERBAIJANI CAPITAL

    Some 50-60 displaced persons from the Kelbadjar district of western Azerbaijan blocked traffic in one of Baku's main thoroughfares on 8 February to protest the cutoff of electricity four days earlier to the building where they are currently housed, Turan and ANS reported. The protesters clashed with police who tried to persuade them to disperse. LF

    [06] GUUAM SUMMIT POSTPONED

    The summit of GUUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) scheduled

    to take place in Kyiv on 6-7 March has been postponed sine die at

    the request of Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, Interfax

    reported on 8 February. That decision was reached during

    telephone conversations between Lucinschi, Ukrainian President

    Leonid Kuchma and Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, the agency

    added. Turan, however, had reported the previous day that it was

    Aliev who asked Kuchma for the meeting to be rescheduled. The

    Azerbaijani agency also reported, citing unidentified "diplomatic

    sources," that a visit to Baku by Ukrainian parliament speaker

    Ivan Plyushch scheduled for 21-23 February has likewise been

    postponed. Meanwhile the GUUAM member states will hold a

    conference on small and medium business in Brussels on 27

    February in an attempt to encourage foreign investment, Caucasus

    Press reported on 9 February. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT FAVORS PROPOSED NEW PROSECUTOR-GENERAL

    Both

    majority and opposition parliament deputies on 8 February

    expressed their approval of the candidacy of their fellow deputy

    Gia Meparishvili for the post of prosecutor-general, Caucasus

    Press reported. Georgian President Eduard Shevarnadze had

    proposed Meparishvili earlier that day to succeed Djamlet

    Babilashvili, who submitted his resignation (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 8 February 2001). Shevardnadze described Meparishvili

    as "extremely erudite," while parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania

    termed him " a decent candidate and a true reformer." Irakli

    Batiashvili of the opposition "Industrialists" faction predicted

    that Meparishvili will succeed in completing the ongoing reform

    of the legal system. LF

    [08] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IMPLICATED IN1998 ABKHAZ FIGHTING

    Opposition parliament deputy Irakli Batiashvili, a former

    national security chief, on 7 February accused Interior Minister

    Kakha Targamadze and unnamed members of the Abkhaz parliament and

    government in exile of instigating the fighting in Abkhazia's

    Gali raion in May 1998, Caucasus Press reported. Batiashvili said

    that the hostilities were the work of Russian intelligence,

    working in cooperation with officials in Tbilisi. He offered to

    conduct an investigation into the fighting, or to give evidence

    if the prosecutor-general's office launches such a probe.

    Targamadze responded by questioning Batiashvili's sanity,

    according to "Akhali taoba" on 8 February, while Abkhaz

    parliament in exile chairman Tamaz Nadareishvili dismissed the

    accusations as "unfair," arguing that Targamadze acted during the

    fighting as "a hero" and saved the lives of numerous civilians.

    LF

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT APPROVES STATE LANGUAGE PROGRAM

    Nursultan

    Nazarbaev signed a new ten-year state program on language policy

    on 8 February, Interfax reported. The program defines strategic

    priorities and objectives and how they should be implemented.

    Although Kazakhs account for just 53.4 percent of the country's

    population, the current language law defines Kazakh as the state

    language, while Russian is accorded the status of an official

    language. The law requires official bodies to complete the

    majority of their documentation in Kazakh, and stipulates that at

    least 50 percent of all TV and radio broadcasting should be in

    Kazakh (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 January 1999). LF

    [10] KAZAKH OFFICIAL PROPOSES SELLING STAKE IN STRATEGIC COMPANIES...

    National Securities Commission chairman Azamat Dzholdasbekov has

    proposed selling up to one third of the shares in two key state-

    owned companies, KazTransOil, which operates the country's 6,000

    kilometer pipeline network, and the uranium-mining and trading

    concern KazatomProm, Interfax reported on 8 February. But he

    added that those shares should be sold only in small packages and

    to the largest possible number of investors. Last August,

    President Nazarbaev had listed among state-owned properties that

    cannot be privatized oil pipelines and mineral resources (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 2000). LF

    [11] ...AS PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES QUESTION FATE OF PHOSPHOROUS PLANTS

    Parliament deputies representing southern Kazakhstan's Zhambyl

    Oblast have written to Prime Minister Qasymshomart Toqaev asking

    him to clarify the situation of the region's phosphorous and

    chemical plants, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported. Since being

    initially privatized seven years ago, several of those

    enterprises have changed hands several times without the

    conditions of those sales being made public. Some of those plants

    are bankrupt, and thousands of workers are owed back wages. LF

    [12] KYRGYZ ENERGY SHORTAGE PERSISTS

    Power outages are continuing in

    Kyrgyzstan as consumers are forced to rely on electric power as a

    substitute for gas, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The

    anticipated resumption of gas supplies from Uzbekistan (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February 2001) has apparently been delayed

    both by technical problems in Uzbekistan and new disputes over

    debts. Kyrgyz parliament committee chairman Taiyrbek Sarpashev

    told RFE/RL that Kyrgyzstan owes Tashkent $500,000 in cash and

    goods to the value of $3.8 million for earlier gas supplies,

    while Kyrgyzenergo Director-general Bakirdin Sartkaziev said that

    Uzbekistan owes his company some $18 million. LF

    [13] KYRGYZSTAN DRAFTS NEW PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM

    The Kyrgyz

    government has drafted a new three-year privatization program

    that provides for the sale of several industrial giants,

    including Kyrgyzenergo, Kyrgyztelecom, Kyrgyzgaz and the Kyrgyz

    national airline, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. It is hoped

    the sell-offs will raise some $200 million. LF

    [14] TURKEY OFFERS TO HELP UZBEKISTAN COMBAT TERRORISM

    Turkey's new

    ambassador to Uzbekistan, Resit Uman, told journalists in

    Tashkent on 8 February that Ankara

    wants to develop "an active political dialogue" with Tashkent and

    is prepared to share its expertise in fighting terrorism,

    Interfax reported. "We have common interests in fighting

    religious extermism and terrorism. Any terrorist activities

    against Uzbekistan are activities against Turkey," the Russian

    agency quoted Uman as saying. During a visit by Turkish President

    Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Tashkent last fall, he and his Uzbek

    counterpart Islam Karimov signed an agreement on cooperation in

    the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 October 2000). LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] IN BELGRADE, SOLANA VOWS TO HELP YUGOSLAVIA...

    EU foreign policy

    chief Javier Solana -- who served as NATO secretary-general

    during the alliance's bombing campaign of Yugoslavia -- met with

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and other government

    officials in Belgrade on 8 February, Reuters reported. Solana

    said "it is very moving for me to be here," and that "I am

    committed, from the very bottom of my heart, to helping this

    country join Europe." Some 200 people rallied in Belgrade to

    protest Solana's visit. The Socialist Party of former President

    Slobodan Milosevic said Solana's presence is "proof of Europe's

    ultimate cynicism," with Solana stepping "on the soil he bombed."

    PB

    [16] ...URGES BELGRADE TO SEND MILOSEVIC TO THE HAGUE...

    Solana was

    accompanied on the trip by Chris Patten, the EU's commissioner

    for external relations, and Anna Lindh, the foreign minister of

    Sweden, the current EU president. Patten said the EU officials

    reiterated the importance of Yugoslavia cooperating with the UN

    war crimes tribunal at The Hague, AP reported. Kostunica has

    expressed strong opposition to sending Milosevic to The Hague,

    though some government officials have expressed support for doing

    so. Lindh said "we don't believe it will happen tomorrow, but it

    is important to have quick results." Patten added that between

    November 2000 and the end of this year the EU will have provided

    Belgrade with $420 million in aid. PB

    [17] ...CALLS ON ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN PRESEVO TO LAY DOWN ARMS

    Flying

    to Tirana after his visit in Belgrade, EU foreign policy chief

    Solana urged ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Presevo valley to stop

    fighting Serbian forces there because "the time of violence is

    over," Reuters reported. Solana's comments came one day after the

    rebel group Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac

    rejected a demilitarization plan from Belgrade aimed at ending

    the conflict in the area on the border with the Serbian province

    of Kosova. That group said it will only rest when the Presevo

    valley becomes a part of Kosova. Solana said "we have started a

    new page of our collective history in Europe and the time for

    violence is over." Solana met with Albanian President Rexhep

    Meidani, Prime Minister Ilir Meta, and Foreign Minister Paskal

    Milo during his brief visit to Tirana. PB

    [18] FIGHTING BREAKS OUT IN PRESEVO VALLEY

    Ethnic Albanian rebels and

    Serbian police exchanged gunfire for nearly two hours in the

    Presevo valley near Lucane, AP reported on 8 February. A second

    attack occured near the mountain peak of Sveti Ilija. No

    casualties were reported in either incident. PB

    [19] RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS POLITICAL SETTLEMENT ONLY SOLUTION

    FOR KOSOVA

    Igor Sergeev said in Kosova on 8 February that there

    is no possibility for a military solution to any of the problems

    in the Serbian province, ITAR-TASS reported. Sergeev, on a visit

    to the Balkans that included a stop in Belgrade, said he was

    satisfied with the meeting he had with Lieutenant General Carlo

    Cabigiosu, the head of KFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping force in

    Kosova. Sergeev said KFOR troops need to bring the situation in

    the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica under control. Russia has

    more than 3,000 troops in KFOR. PB

    [20] BELGRADE ADOPTS LAW RETURNING PROPERTY, CITIZENSHIP TO ROYAL

    FAMILY

    The Yugoslav government approved a bill on 8 February

    that would allow the country's exiled royal family, the

    Karadjordjevics, to reclaim its property and citizenship, AP

    reported. Yugoslav Premier Zoran Zizic said the bill shows that

    the country's new leadership is determined to follow a "path of

    truth, justice, and freedom." The legislation must be passed by

    the Yugoslav parliament before taking effect. The royal family

    were stripped of their citizenship and their property taken when

    the communists took power after World War II. PB

    [21] WTO TO NEGOTIATE WITH BELGRADE ON MEMBERSHIP

    The General Council

    of the World Trade Organization agreed on 8 February to set up a

    committee to negotiate the terms of entry for Yugoslavia, Reuters

    reported. Mike Moore, the WTO director-general, said he urges the

    committee to "move as quickly as possible to complete its work

    and bring Yugoslavia into the WTO family." PB

    [22] EXPLOSION RIPS THROUGH CHURCH IN KOSOVA

    A KFOR spokesman said in

    Prishtina that an explosion severely damaged a Serbian Orthodox

    Church in eastern Kosova on 8 February, AP reported. The church

    was located in the village of Gornji Livoc, about 60 kilometers

    east of Prishtina. The building was not among the 150 historic

    sites being guarded by international peacekeepers. No one was

    injured in blast and an investigation is under way. PB

    [23] SLOVENIA WANTS TO JOIN NATO, EU BY 2003

    Slovenia hopes to join

    the NATO and the EU in the next three years, Slovenian Foreign

    Minister Dimitrij Rupel said on 7 February on a visit to Paris,

    AFP reported. Rupel said "Slovenia believes it will be ready to

    join NATO in 2002" and the EU a year later, after discussing

    Union membership with French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and

    European Affairs Minister Pierre Moscovici. He said he also felt

    his country's chances of joining the EU would probably be boosted

    if it is admitted to NATO. "Poland, Hungary and the Czech

    Republic all became NATO members and their chances of joining the

    EU improved," he said. DW

    [24] CROATIAN GENERAL SUSPECTED OF WAR CRIMES IS 'ON THE RUN'...

    Croatian police have begun a nationwide search for retired

    General Mirko Norac, 34, the first general to be accused of war

    crimes in Croatia's 1991 war of independence, HINA news agency

    reported on 8 February. "He is on the run," said the judge

    investigating the case of the alleged massacre in the southern

    city of Gospic. Norac's close wartime aide, Milan Canic, was

    arrested on 7 February in Gospic, but Norac failed to turn

    himself in and was not at his home in Zagreb. He was one of 12

    generals retired by President Stipe Mesic in September 2000 for

    criticizing his attempts to investigate war crimes committed by

    Croats. DW

    [25] ...GOVERNMENT DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF SUSPECT'S WHEREABOUTS...

    Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan dismissed speculation that

    the government has information on the whereabouts of General

    Norac or has already turned him in to the UN war crimes tribunal

    in The Hague, HINA reported. "I do not believe Norac went to The

    Hague of his own accord," Racan said. A spokesman for the Hague

    tribunal told Reuters that the tribunal has not publicly indicted

    Norac. "He is not in custody here," he said. The Hague tribunal

    is reportedly investigating the incidents involving Norac, but is

    prepared to let the Croatian courts handle it so that it can

    focus on other, higher-ranking suspects. DW

    [26] ...AS PARLIAMENT, VETERANS LAUNCH PROTESTS

    Opposition parties,

    including the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and veterans'

    groups have reacted with indignation and protests against the war

    crimes accusations against Norac. "For us this is a political

    case and it is high time we do something radical," said Velimir

    Kvesic, head of one of the veterans' groups, dpa reported 8

    February. HDZ has led calls for the matter to be discussed in

    parliament and for Prime Minister Racan to explain the decision

    to charge Norac with war crimes. According to the HINA news

    agency, Rakic urged all parties "to act in a responsible manner.

    This is a test for democratic and law-abiding Croatia and it is

    up to us to pass it successfully." DW

    [27] MACEDONIA AND GREECE TRYING TO SETTLE NAME PROBLEM

    The UN

    ambassadors from Greece and Macedonia met on 8 February to seek a

    resolution to Greek objections to the name Macedonia, AP

    reported. A statement released by Greek ambassador Elias Gounaris

    and his Macedonian counterpart Ivan Tosevsky reported no progress

    but an "exchange of views." Greece only recognizes Macedonia as

    the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," and will only have

    dealings with Skopje when it uses that name. Athens says use of

    only the name "Macedonia" masks expansionist aims on the part of

    that country towards the Greek province of Macedonia. The

    ambassadors said they are determined to find a solution through

    UN mediation. PB

    [28] OSCE CONCERNED BY ALBANIA'S POOR PREPARATION FOR ELECTIONS

    Gerard Stoudman, the director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic

    Institutions and Human Rights, said on 8 February that he is

    concerned by Albania's lack of progress in preparing for

    parliamentary elections in June, dpa reported. He said the

    Central Election Commission (CEC), which is paralyzed after the

    resignation of three of its members, needs to resume work

    immediately. Albanian political parties have been arguing

    bitterly over the composition of the CEC, voter lists, and

    election legislation. The opposition Democratic Party has

    threatened to boycott the elections. PB

    [29] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN PARIS

    Meeting with his French

    counterpart Hubert Vedrine in Paris on 8 February, Romanian

    Foreign Minister and OSCE chairman-in-office Mircea Geoana

    discussed priorities in 2001 and bilateral relations, Mediafax

    reported. Vedrine said France continues to support Romania's

    quest to gain EU and NATO membership. Geoana said Romania "is

    proud" to have "privileged relations" with France, which is also

    the largest foreign investor in his country. MS

    [30] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ON PROPERTY RESTITUTION

    One day

    after the Constitutional Court rejected the Greater Romania

    Party's appeal against the law, President Ion Iliescu on 8

    February promulgated the bill on the restitution of some

    properties confiscated by the communist regime, RFE/RL's

    Bucharest bureau reported. As approved by the parliament in

    January, the bill stipulates the restitution of houses and other

    real estate to former owners, but exempts from restitution

    buildings currently used as public institutions and property sold

    to tenants after 1990. In these cases, former owners are to

    receive financial compensation from the state. The size of that

    compensation must be determined within two years. Tenants are

    given a five year grace period before they can be evicted.

    Associations representing former owners, as well as those

    representing tenants, said they oppose the bill as passed by the

    parliament. MS

    [31] ROMANIAN LOCAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION BILL TO UNDERGO CHANGES

    The

    government on 8 February decided to amend the bill recently

    passed on local public administration, deleting from it the

    provision allowing prefects to dismiss mayors if a judicial case

    is underway against them (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February

    2001). The bill is to be amended when the commission mediating

    differences between its Senate and Chamber of Deputies' versions

    meets. Also in connection with that bill, Greater Romania Party

    (PRM) chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor, in an interview with

    Romanian Radio on 8 February, said President Iliescu and Prime

    Minister Adrian Nastase "betrayed" Romania when they agreed to

    introduce into the bill the stipulation allowing the use of

    minority languages in localities where they make up 20 percent or

    more of the population. Tudor announced that PRM will move in the

    parliament a motion to debate that article in the law once more.

    MS

    [32] LASZLO TOKES CLEARED OF SUSPICION OF COLLABORATION WITH

    SECURITATE...

    Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania Honorary

    Chairman Bishop Laszlo Toekes has been cleared of the suspicion

    of having been an informer of the communist secret police, AP

    reported on 9 February. The agency cites Gheorghe Onisoru,

    chairman of the National Commission for the Study of the

    Securitate Archive, as saying "Any statements taken from him by

    the Securitate were [given] under pressure." The Bucharest-based

    Hungarian language daily "Kronika" as cited by Mediafax wrote

    that the commission has verified 15 interrogation records of

    Toekes, who in the past admitted that he had been forced to sign

    a pledge to collaborate. Commission member Horia Roman

    Patapievici told "Kronika" Toekes "always acted as a

    believer...which cannot be said by the then Reformed Bishop,

    Laszlo Papp." Toekes is suing AP journalist Alison Mutler for

    reporting in 1998 he had admitted to having collaborated. MS

    [33] ...AND FORMER SECURITATE OFFICIAL APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF SENSITIVE

    PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION

    Party of Social Democracy in Romania

    deputy Hristea Priboi, who was elected on 7 February as chairman

    of the parliamentary commission overseeing the activity of the

    Foreign Intelligence Service, is a former high official of the

    Securitate, the daily "Ziua" writes on 9 February. The daily says

    that Priboi was deputy director of the secret police's Foreign

    Intelligence Directorate and was in charge of launching

    intimidation attempts and ordering physical attacks on

    journalists working for the then Munich-based Radio Free Europe.

    According to "Ziua", Priboi is "blacklisted" by all Western

    intelligence service and his election as the commission's

    chairman "sends a catastrophic message to NATO and the EU." MS

    [34] SIXTEEN CANDIDATES FOR EACH MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY SEAT

    No less

    than 1,672 candidates are competing for the 101-seat Moldovan

    parliament in the elections due to be held on 25 February. Ten of

    these are running as independent candidates and the rest on party

    lists. Seventy-three candidates are deputies in the outgoing

    legislature, of whom 32 are running on the lists of the party of

    Moldovan Communists. There are 294 women candidates, and 131

    candidates are under 30 years old, Infotag reported on 8

    February. MS

    [35] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO BE LARGELY RESHUFFLED

    The

    mandates of four out of the six judges on the Moldovan

    Constitutional Court end on 23 February, and one of them is the

    court's chairman, Pavel Barbalat, Infotag reported on 8 February.

    In line with procedure, the court has submitted to the Supreme

    Council of the Magistracy a list of candidates, including the

    present deputy chairman of the court, George Susarenko, and one

    of the sitting judges, Ion Vasilati. Barbalat, as well as judge

    Nicolae Kiseyev, are not on that list, since they are reaching

    retirement age (65). Two out of the four new judges are to be

    appointed by the council and two by the parliament. MS

    [36] BULGARIAN RADIO JOURNALISTS SHUT OUT CHIEF

    Several dozen

    journalists working for the Bulgarian state radio prevented new

    director Ivan Borislavov from entering the building on 8 February

    , Reuters reported. Also on 8 February, the Promyana trade union,

    which is the country's largest, said the decision by the National

    Radio and Television Council to appoint Borislavov was "obviously

    based on pre-electoral considerations rather than professional

    competence." It is expected that the radio will play an important

    role in the parliamentary and presidential elections due later

    this year. MS

    [37] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BARS FORMER KING FROM PRESIDENTIAL

    CONTEST

    The Constitutional Court on 8 February ruled that former

    King Simeon II cannot run in the presidential elections, whose

    date is yet to be established. The ruling was delivered at the

    request of 75 lawmakers from different political parties. The

    court said the constitutional requirement that candidates be

    residents in Bulgaria for at least five years before running is

    not met by the former monarch, who lives most of the time in

    Spain and has only temporary Bulgarian residence, Reuters

    reported. According to media speculation, King Simeon intended to

    run in the contest and rally around his candidacy a number of

    smaller political formations. MS

    [38] BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN GREECE

    "Greece will always be at

    Bulgaria's side on its course for integration with the EU and

    NATO," Foreign Minister George Papandreou told journalists after

    talks in Athens with his Bulgarian counterpart, Nadezhda

    Mihailova. Mihailova said relations with Greece are of "strategic

    importance" to her country, dpa reported. The two ministers also

    discussed bilateral economic and political relations and the

    current situation in Yugoslavia. Mihailova is also scheduled to

    meet parliamentary chairman Apostolos Kaklamanis and the leader

    of the main opposition New Democracy party, Kostas Karamanlis. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [39] There is no End Note today.

    09-02-01

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


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