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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 101, 01-05-29

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. 101, 29 May 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA, BELARUS PLEDGE TO EXPAND TIES
  • [02] MEETING BETWEEN ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS POSTPONED
  • [03] RUSSIAN PATRIARCH VISITS AZERBAIJAN
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW RECALLED FROM DIPLOMATIC POSTING
  • [05] GEORGIAN MUTINEERS RETURN TO BARRACKS AFTER MEETING WITH PRESIDENT
  • [06] POLICE FORCIBLY DISPERSE GEORGIAN OPPOSITION DEMO
  • [07] GEORGIAN OFFICIALS DENY TALKS HELD WITH BASAEV
  • [08] GEORGIAN SOCCER STAR'S BROTHER KIDNAPPED
  • [09] CIS COLLECTIVE FORCE GETS GREEN LIGHT
  • [10] KAZAKH, KYRGYZ PRESIDENTS PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR ARMED FORCES
  • [11] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTY SAYS OFFICIALS LIED OVER CHINESE BORDER CONTROVERSY
  • [12] LOCAL OFFICIAL MURDERED IN TAJIKISTAN
  • [13] UZBEK BORDER OFFICIAL DISCUSSES SECURITY WITH TALIBAN COMMANDER

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] POWELL SAYS U.S. HAS ROLE IN BALKANS
  • [15] SOLANA MISSION TO MACEDONIA FAILS
  • [16] WHAT ARE THE TALKING POINTS IN MACEDONIA?
  • [17] WHICH WAY FORWARD IN MACEDONIA?
  • [18] MACEDONIAN FORCES 'CLEAN' ALBANIAN VILLAGE...
  • [19] ...AS GUERRILLAS THREATEN TO USE 'ALL METHODS'
  • [20] HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE MOUNTING IN MACEDONIA AMID TORTURE CLAIMS
  • [21] YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES FAIL TO AGREE ON HAGUE COOPERATION LAW
  • [22] MONTENEGRIN POLITICAL AGREEMENT SIGNED
  • [23] YUGOSLAV SUCCESSOR STATES REACH AGREEMENT ON ASSETS
  • [24] ROMANIAN PARTIES' MERGER IN THE OFFING
  • [25] DISSENTERS CRITICIZE LEADERSHIP OF ROMANIA'S HUNGARIAN PARTY
  • [26] ROMANIAN PENAL CODE TO RETURN PROVISIONS ON PENALIZING JOURNALISTS...
  • [27] ...AS ROMANIAN MAGISTRATE IS PENALIZED IN APPARENT POLITICAL MOVE
  • [28] ROMANIA TO INVESTIGATE SALE OF PRO-NAZI, ANTI-SEMITIC BOOKS AT FAIR
  • [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS DRAFT ON FORBIDDING EXTREMIST PARTIES
  • [30] MOLDOVAN EXTRAPARLIAMENTARY FORMATIONS DISAGREE ON WHAT THEY AGREED ON
  • [31] TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER RECEIVES MOSCOW PRIZE...
  • [32] BULGARIAN FORMER KING 'MIGHT' RUN FOR PRESIDENT
  • [33] BULGARIA APPOINTS NEW RADIO CHIEF

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [34] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA, BELARUS PLEDGE TO EXPAND TIES

    Armenian President Robert Kocharian and his visiting Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed a friendship and cooperation agreement in Yerevan on 26 May, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Lukashenka characterized relations between the two countries as "amicable," and expressed the hope that bilateral economic cooperation can be expanded. Bilateral trade turnover last year amounted to only $2 million. Agreements on cooperation between the two countries' ministries of justice and education, and an agreement resolving mutual debts dating from 1992-194 were also signed. LF

    [02] MEETING BETWEEN ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS POSTPONED

    Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Dziunik Aghadjanian said in Yerevan on 26 May that the meeting between President Kocharian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Heidar Aliev to continue the search for a Karabakh peace accord, which had been tentatively scheduled to take place in Geneva next month, has been postponed sine die, Reuters and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. She said that "society is not yet ready to compromise, and it is hard to say" when the next meeting between the two presidents will take place. But she denied that the peace talks have come to a halt. Speaking in Baku the same day, President Aliev again rejected calls by the Azerbaijani opposition for a military solution to the conflict. On 28 May, Aliev blamed Armenia's "intransigence" for the failure to reach agreement during the April talks in Key West, Interfax reported. Also on 28 May, Arkadii Ghukaisan, President of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, expressed regret at the postponement of the Geneva meeting, Interfax reported. Ghukasian said that the leadership of the unrecognized enclave will continue to seek formal international recognition of its de facto independence. LF

    [03] RUSSIAN PATRIARCH VISITS AZERBAIJAN

    On a four-day official visit to Baku, Patriarch Aleksii II of Moscow and All-Russia met on 27 May with Azerbaijan's senior clergymen, Sheikh-ul- Islam Allakhshukur Pashazade, and the following day with President Aliev. The two clerics issued a joint declaration calling on all peoples mired in conflict to renounce mutual enmity, and advocating interethnic cooperation, neighborliness, and the preservation of territorial integrity. They also called for a further meeting of religious leaders from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. President Aliev for his part asked Patriarch Aleksii to intensify his efforts to mediate a solution of the Karabakh conflict, noting that "the influence of authoritative spiritual leaders on the people is sometimes stronger than that of state leaders," ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW RECALLED FROM DIPLOMATIC POSTING

    President Aliev's son-in-law, Mahmud Mamedguliev, has returned to Baku on completion of his posting as ambassador to Great Britain, Turan reported on 25 May, quoting a presidential decree that named Mamedguliev's deputy to replace him as ambassador. Azerbaijani ambassadors are not appointed for a specific time period. Several Azerbaijani newspapers on 26 May predicted that Mamedguliev will be named either prime minister or parliament speaker. LF

    [05] GEORGIAN MUTINEERS RETURN TO BARRACKS AFTER MEETING WITH PRESIDENT

    The Georgian National Guard contingent that occupied an Interior Ministry base on 25 May to focus attention on their discontent at wage arrears and adverse conditions returned to their barracks early on 26 May after a meeting with President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze assured the men they will not be punished or prosecuted for their action, for which he said the state shared responsibility. "In normal conditions this would not have happened," Shevardnadze said. On 28 May, Colonel Koba Otanadze, who led the protest, said Shevardnadze tentatively agreed to the National Guards' request to be subordinated directly to the president rather than to the Defense Ministry, Caucasus Press reported. But Shevardnadze said the same day that the suggestion is "problematic." LF

    [06] POLICE FORCIBLY DISPERSE GEORGIAN OPPOSITION DEMO

    Some 25 police officers were injured on 26 May during clashes with some 600 supporters of deceased President Zviad Gamsakhurdia who tried to stage an unsanctioned demonstration in Tbilisi to mark the 10th anniversary of his election as president. Three organizers of the demonstration were arrested, Caucasus Press reported. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN OFFICIALS DENY TALKS HELD WITH BASAEV

    Georgian Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze told journalists in Tbilisi on 25 May that Russian media reports that Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev arrived in Georgia two days earlier and held secret talks near Borzhomi with Georgian security officials are untrue, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. He denied that Basaev is anywhere in Georgia. Georgian Intelligence Department Deputy Chairman Levan Kiknadze likewise denied the report, which he said is aimed at discrediting Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. On 27 May, ITAR-TASS quoted the commander of the North Caucasus border guard contingent, Colonel General Yevgenii Bolkhovitin, as saying that there are a minimum of 500 Chechen fighters currently encamped in Georgia's Pankisi gorge. LF

    [08] GEORGIAN SOCCER STAR'S BROTHER KIDNAPPED

    Two men in police uniforms snatched Levan Kaladze in Tbilisi on 23 May and have sent a written ransom demand for $600,000 to his family, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported on 25 May. Kaladze's brother Kakha plays for the AC Milan soccer club and the Georgian national team. The Italian national soccer team has expressed concern about the security risks its players would face during a World Cup qualifying match against Georgia in Tbilisi scheduled for 2 June, AP reported. But the Georgian national team said on 28 May it might refuse to play that match in protest against Kaladze's abduction. President Shevardnadze pledged on 28 May that Georgian intelligence will locate and free Levan Kaladze. LF

    [09] CIS COLLECTIVE FORCE GETS GREEN LIGHT

    In what Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev described as a "breakthrough," the presidents of the six states that signed the 1992 CIS Collective Security Treaty agreed in Yerevan on 25 May to proceed with the creation of a joint 3,000-man rapid reaction force, Noyan Tapan reported. They also signed a joint statement affirming their readiness to repel any further incursion into Central Asia by Islamic militants, and condemning terrorism, extremism, organized crime, and drug-trafficking as crimes that impede the development of democracy and infringe on basic human rights, according to Interfax. Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan will each provide one battalion for the force, which will have its headquarters in Bishkek. CIS Executive Secretary Yurii Yarov noted, however, that the force would be more effective if Uzbekistan again acceded to the CIS Collective Security Treaty, in which it declined two years ago to renew its participation, Interfax reported. Speaking in Tbilisi on 28 May, Georgian President Shevardnadze said that Georgia's decision not to renew its participation in the CIS Collective Security Treaty was correct. LF

    [10] KAZAKH, KYRGYZ PRESIDENTS PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR ARMED FORCES

    Visiting Kazakhstan's southern military district on his return from the Yerevan summit, President Nazarbaev pledged that the army will receive everything it needs to combat drug-trafficking and Islamic militants, Reuters reported. Speaking in Bishkek on 28 May at a ceremony to mark the ninth anniversary of the Kyrgyz armed forces, President Askar Akaev said the prestige of the army has grown over the past two to three years, Interfax reported. LF

    [11] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTY SAYS OFFICIALS LIED OVER CHINESE BORDER CONTROVERSY

    Alisher Abdimomunov, the chairman of the Kyrgyz parliament committee on international affairs, told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 25 May that statements made to the parliament the previous day by Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev and government official Salamat Alamanov were incorrect. Imanaliev had said that the August 1996 agreement signed with China delimiting the Kyrgyz-Chinese border was in Kyrgyzstan's best interests (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 2001). Abdimomunov said that when China first recognized Kyrgyzstan's independence in 1991, Beijing also recognized the existing border between the two countries and made no claims on any Kyrgyz territory. Alamanov told RFE/RL the same day that in the 1960s the Soviet and Chinese governments recognized the existence of five disputed areas on what is now the Kyrgyz-Chinese border. One of those areas, Uzengi- Kuush, was the subject of a separate agreement signed in August 1999. LF

    [12] LOCAL OFFICIAL MURDERED IN TAJIKISTAN

    Sobir Begidzhonov, the administrator of Dzhabborasulov district in northern Tajikistan, was shot dead by unidentified assailants late on 24 May near the entrance to his apartment building, Interfax and Asia Plus-Blitz reported. LF

    [13] UZBEK BORDER OFFICIAL DISCUSSES SECURITY WITH TALIBAN COMMANDER

    The top Taliban border security official in northern Afghanistan met in the frontier town of Termez on 25 May with his Uzbek counterpart to discuss unspecified security issues, dpa reported from Islamabad. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] POWELL SAYS U.S. HAS ROLE IN BALKANS

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Budapest on 28 May that there is no "big split" in the Bush administration over U.S. Balkan policy and that "we are not going to bail out of our commitments" in Bosnia and Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 May 2001). He stressed that "it's going to be years" before the U.S. can bring its troops home from there, AP reported. "You can continue to reduce the troop level...but it could be some time before those countries are freestanding on their own and able to handle their own business and their own affairs." He added, however, that some of the troops could be replaced by police. The U.S. has about 3,350 troops in Bosnia, out of a total SFOR peacekeeping force of 18,000. It also has 6,200 troops in Kosova out of KFOR's total of 37,500. Most of the casualties in Kosova have been British or French. U.S. allies in the region stress that an American military presence on the ground is crucial for political as well as military stability there. PM

    [15] SOLANA MISSION TO MACEDONIA FAILS

    Javier Solana, the EU's chief foreign and security policy envoy, has failed in an effort to relaunch the political dialogue in Macedonia, VOA reported on 29 May. He said in Skopje the previous day: "I have to tell you very honestly that everybody I found [in Macedonia was] very committed to bridge the differences. I found good will on everybody['s part], understanding and a constructive attitude. But I have to tell you also that still some differences remain," RFE/RL reported. Dpa quoted Solana as saying that there are "great differences" between Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Slavic majority on the one hand, and political leaders of the ethnic Albanians -- who make up about one-fourth of the population-- on the other. PM

    [16] WHAT ARE THE TALKING POINTS IN MACEDONIA?

    Before beginning his talks with political leaders in Skopje on 28 May, Solana told reporters that he has "an idea" about how to relaunch the political process. He did not elaborate. Following his meeting with Solana, Arben Xhaferi of the Democratic Party of the Albanians refused to say whether Solana had asked ethnic Albanian politicians to repudiate their recent agreement on a common political platform with the fighters of the National Liberation Army (UCK), dpa reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 29 May 2001). Xhaferi added, however, that "the dialogue will continue. I have stated that wisdom is sometimes above principles, and that we have wanted to establish peace in Macedonia once and for all." He called the agreement with the UCK "a declaration for peace, not war." He noted that the Macedonian authorities still seek a military solution. The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on 29 May that Xhaferi and Imer Imeri of the Party of Democratic Prosperity maintain that Trajkovski had "encouraged" them to meet with UCK leaders. The government argues that it rules out any contact with the guerrillas, whom it calls "terrorists." PM

    [17] WHICH WAY FORWARD IN MACEDONIA?

    The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" wrote on 28 May that the Macedonian government's insistence on pursuing a military solution is making matters increasingly worse. The daily noted that the political process has collapsed and that polarization of politicians and ordinary citizens alike is on the rise. The paper added that recent "hysterical" statements by Georgievski have served to torpedo attempts by veteran OSCE envoy Robert Frowick to negotiate an end to the fighting on the basis of the model successfully applied in southern Serbia. In an interview with Vienna's "Die Presse" on 29 May, Wolfgang Petritsch, the international community's high representative in Bosnia, said that at the core of the difficulties in Macedonia is the belief that deep-rooted problems can be solved with military means. He added that such attitudes are the result of a lack of experience with the democratic process of compromise. PM

    [18] MACEDONIAN FORCES 'CLEAN' ALBANIAN VILLAGE...

    Macedonian Defense Ministry spokesman Blagoja Markovski told dpa on 28 May that Macedonian troops are continuing to "clean" Matejce of remaining UCK fighters. He added that "fierce fighting" and "terrorist attacks" are continuing in Slupcane, Orizare, and Otlja. Helicopters attacked the UCK in the Lipkovo region. Markovski said the next day that the military is determined to drive the UCK out of several villages near the border with Kosova. An unnamed government official told AP on 29 May that "we are entering a delicate, key phase in our action. The next 48 hours will be decisive." The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" noted the previous day that the government continues to report "victories" over the UCK, which nonetheless operates in several areas. "The Guardian" reported on 29 May that an unnamed special police commander was sacked recently for ordering his men to retreat from a village after three of his men were injured. PM

    [19] ...AS GUERRILLAS THREATEN TO USE 'ALL METHODS'

    A UCK commander known as "Sokoli" told dpa in Prishtina on 29 May that the guerrillas will use "all methods" if the security forces continue to seek a military solution. "Our fight will continue on a bigger scale... We are ready to strike airports in Kumanovo and Skopje and we control the water supply for the town of Kumanovo." Commander Sokoli stressed that "there can be no solution [of Macedonia's political problems] without the UCK." PM

    [20] HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE MOUNTING IN MACEDONIA AMID TORTURE CLAIMS

    Officials of the Macedonian Red Cross said in Skopje on 28 May that the fighting has resulted in nearly 11,000 persons becoming internally displaced people. Most fled their homes in May, dpa reported. An UNHCR spokesman noted that more than 20,000 people have gone to Kosova, and an additional 200 to 300 fled to relatives in southern Serbia. The "Daily Telegraph" reported on 28 May that "dozens of refugees were beaten and tortured by Macedonian forces trying to put down an ethnic Albanian uprising at the weekend. The government had promised villagers...safe passage [as well as] food and lodging. Instead, [members of] army units beat men, women, and children. At the police station in Kumanovo, suspected rebel sympathizers were tortured by masked men wielding batons... The methods of the armed forces have degenerated, with increasing abuse of civilians" in recent weeks. PM

    [21] YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES FAIL TO AGREE ON HAGUE COOPERATION LAW

    Leaders of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) and Montenegro's Socialist People's Party (SNP) were unable to reach an agreement in Belgrade on 28 May on proposed legislation regarding cooperation with The Hague-based war crimes tribunal, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The SNP and some elements of the DOS oppose legislation that would effectively enable the extradition of indicted war criminals to the UN- sponsored tribunal. Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic warned on 26 May that Serbia "faces a dark future" without the legislation, which Washington wants passed before it will agree to supporting the upcoming donors conference, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 15 May 2001). On 25 May, Serbian authorities charged that former President Slobodan Milosevic had ordered subordinates in 1999 to cover up evidence of his involvement in war crimes, AP reported. PM

    [22] MONTENEGRIN POLITICAL AGREEMENT SIGNED

    After weeks of uncertainty and political posturing, officials of the small Liberal Alliance signed a "cooperation agreement" with President Milo Djukanovic's governing coalition. The pact ensures Djukanovic's minority government of Liberal support in the parliament, AP reported. PM

    [23] YUGOSLAV SUCCESSOR STATES REACH AGREEMENT ON ASSETS

    Negotiators representing Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia agreed in Vienna on 25 May to divide the properties and other assets of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Petritsch told "Die Presse" of 29 May that the agreement is the first international treaty signed by the five successor states. Milosevic blocked an agreement for years by insisting that his rump Yugoslav state was the sole legal successor and heir to the former federation. PM

    [24] ROMANIAN PARTIES' MERGER IN THE OFFING

    The Steering Board of the extraparliamentary National Alliance on 26 May approved the merger of the formation with the Democratic Party. The decision must yet be approved by the two parties' respective national councils on 15 June. National Alliance Chairman Magureanu said the formation will be called Democratic Party but the nationalist component of his party's doctrine will be "assimilated by" the Democrats and will be reflected in the new statutes. He also said he "does not rule out" that he will be offered a leading position in the merged formation, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Democratic Party Chairman Traian Basescu, however, on 27 May said that for the merger to materialize, the National Alliance must "unconditionally subscribe to the current statutes" of the party and that the Democrats "guarantee no other right to newcomers than that of electing and to be elected." MS

    [25] DISSENTERS CRITICIZE LEADERSHIP OF ROMANIA'S HUNGARIAN PARTY

    The fourth congress of the Reform Bloc -- one of several parties and organizations making up the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), on 27 May re-elected Tibor Toro as chairman, Mediafax reported. Toro criticized the current UDMR leadership, saying it allows no room for the expression of views different from its own. He called on the UDMR to do away with "single-colored structures" and to "restore pluralism." Toro, who is a supporter of Reformed Bishop Laszlo Toekes, also criticized the leadership for its collaboration with the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. UDMR Executive Chairman Csaba Takacs said in reaction that the Reform Bloc's positions reflect "an inadmissible attempt from abroad" to interfere in the internal affairs of the UDMR. He said the Reform Bloc's positions are those of "the ruling party in Hungary." MS

    [26] ROMANIAN PENAL CODE TO RETURN PROVISIONS ON PENALIZING JOURNALISTS...

    Several opposition parties on 28 May criticized the intention of Justice Minster Rodica Stanoiu to have provisions criminalizing "offense of authority," "insult," and "calumny" by journalists returned to, and stiffened in, the Penal Code. Last year the Chamber of Deputies amended the code, reducing those penalties or doing away with the provisions altogether. The Senate is about to begin debates on the amendments. President Ion Iliescu last week said journalists should not face prison sentences for what they write but that "insult" and "calumny" should be sanctioned by professional organizations representing journalists. Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said the government has "not yet" discussed the draft proposed by Stanoiu. MS

    [27] ...AS ROMANIAN MAGISTRATE IS PENALIZED IN APPARENT POLITICAL MOVE

    Meanwhile, prosecutor Ovidiu Budusan, who was dismissed for having passed to French authorities information relating to the Adrian Costea money- laundering affair with which several officials close to Iliescu are linked, was dismissed on 26 May from the magistracy. Budusan said he will appeal the decision. MS

    [28] ROMANIA TO INVESTIGATE SALE OF PRO-NAZI, ANTI-SEMITIC BOOKS AT FAIR

    The Supreme Court on 28 May asked the Prosecutor-General's Office to launch an investigation into the sale of pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic propaganda at the Bucharest International Book Fair that recently closed in the Romanian capital, Romanian Radio reported. Earlier, several Romanian publishers and the director of the fair protested against the sale at the fair of such books as Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the famous anti-Semitic hoax "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Both books have been on sale in Romania for years alongside similar literature, despite provisions in the Penal Code against the distribution of such publications. MS

    [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS DRAFT ON FORBIDDING EXTREMIST PARTIES

    The parliament on 25 May rejected a draft bill proposed by the Popular Party Christian Democratic (PPCD) to outlaw the setting up and the activity of political parties "with a fascist, Nazi, or communist orientation," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The draft was rejected despite the PPCD's having agreed to the recommendation of the Judicial Commission to strike out the reference to the communists from the draft. Party of Moldovan Communists (PCM) parliamentary group chairman Victor Stepaniuk said the PCM will propose another version of the bill. MS

    [30] MOLDOVAN EXTRAPARLIAMENTARY FORMATIONS DISAGREE ON WHAT THEY AGREED ON

    Leaders of parties that recently set up the Democratic Forum of Moldova (FDM) on 25 May expressed opposite views on the objectives of the FDM. Both Democratic Party leader Dumitru Diacov and Party of Revival and Conciliation Deputy Chairman Victor Josu said the FDM should not be viewed as signifying the merger of the seven formations that set it up. National Peasant Party Christian Democratic leader Valeriu Muravschi, on the other hand, said one of the main objectives of the FDM was the "creation of conditions for the eventual merger of at least four or five parties," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

    [31] TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER RECEIVES MOSCOW PRIZE...

    IN SUITABLE COMPANY. Separatist leader Igor Smirnov received the "Mikhail Sholokhov" literary prize for 2001 in Moscow, Flux reported on 25 May. The distinction was awarded to Smirnov for the "courage displayed in the defense of the Transdniester people's interests" and for his memoirs published under the title "For the Right to Live on Transdniester's Soil." Among earlier recipients of the prize are Radovan Karadzic, Fidel Castro, and Alyaksandr Lukashenka. MS

    [32] BULGARIAN FORMER KING 'MIGHT' RUN FOR PRESIDENT

    Former King Simeon II, in an interview with the Spanish daily "El Pais" on 27 May, said he "does not rule out" running for president in the fall presidential elections, but that incumbent President Petar Stoyanov "has done a good job" and "if he is still popular [by then], that will be taken into account," AFP reported. Simeon said running for the highest office is "not a priority" and in response to a question he said the restoration of a parliamentary monarchy is "neither feasible, nor a priority in the short or mid term." He said he "does not want people to think I am cooking something up." In February, the Constitutional Court ruled that Simeon cannot run for president because he does not meet the legal stipulation requiring a five- year Bulgarian residency prior to the elections. MS

    [33] BULGARIA APPOINTS NEW RADIO CHIEF

    Polya Stancheva, a radio journalist, was designated on 28 May by the National Radio and Television Council to be the new head of state radio in a move aimed at terminating the months-long crisis at Bulgarian radio, AP and Reuters reported. Last month, a court of justice invalidated the nomination of Ivan Borislavov to that position. Borislavov's appointment triggered protests from radio journalists, who said he lacked the professional qualifications for the job. Stancheva said she will ask the protesters to return to their jobs. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [34] There is no End Note today.

    29-05-01

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


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