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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 205, 01-10-29

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

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 5, No. 205, 29 October 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] OPPOSITION DEMO PARTICIPANTS DEMAND ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION
  • [02] ARMENIA MARKS SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF PARLIAMENT KILLINGS
  • [03] ARMENIA WILL NOT SEEK NATO MEMBERSHIP
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN UNVEILS DETAILS OF YET ANOTHER THWARTED COUP ATTEMPT
  • [05] COUNCIL OF EUROPE LISTS AZERBAIJAN'S POLITICAL PRISONERS
  • [06] AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT RATIFIES GAS PIPELINE AGREEMENT
  • [07] RUSSIA SAYS IT HAS WITHDRAWN MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM ABKHAZ BASE
  • [08] GEORGIA PROTESTS NEW AIRSTRIKES
  • [09] SITUATION IN ABKHAZIA REMAINS TENSE
  • [10] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT WILL NOT CALL FOR CIS PEACEKEEPERS' IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL FROM ABKHAZIA
  • [11] UN REPRESENTATIVE HOLDS TALKS WITH ABKHAZ LEADERSHIP
  • [12] KAZAKHSTAN POSTPONES PLANNED ASIAN SECURITY SUMMIT
  • [13] KAZAKH SUES BANK OVER REFUSAL TO USE NATIONAL LANGUAGE
  • [14] KYRGYZSTAN TRANSFERS CONTROL OF PRISONS TO JUSTICE MINISTRY
  • [15] TAJIK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION
  • [16] TAJIKISTAN, UN TO ESTABLISH JOINT CENTER TO COORDINATE AID TO AFGHANISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [17] TENSE TIMES CONTINUE IN MACEDONIA
  • [18] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT MEETS PUTIN IN MOSCOW
  • [19] INFORMATION CHIEF SLAMS MACEDONIAN-LANGUAGE MEDIA
  • [20] MACEDONIAN PARTY PRESSES FOR REGISTRATION IN BULGARIA
  • [21] ARMY RESERVISTS TO SUE MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT
  • [22] MORE CHARGES AGAINST SERBIA'S EX-STRONGMAN
  • [23] SERBIAN COURT SENTENCING IN ARKAN SLAYING
  • [24] SERBIAN GENERAL SLAMS 'IDIOTIC RANTING'
  • [25] MONTENEGRIN, SERBIAN TALKS END IN STALEMATE
  • [26] NEW CHIEF FOR MONTENEGRIN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS
  • [27] CROATIAN NEWS AGENCY BECOMES PUBLIC
  • [28] CROATIAN EX-GENERAL SAYS MILOSEVIC, TUDJMAN PLANNED BOSNIAN WAR
  • [29] NEW NON-NATIONALIST BOSNIAN TV STATION ON THE AIR
  • [30] BALKAN STATES PLEDGE COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM
  • [31] ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER VOWS TO FIGHT TRANSYLVANIA'S 'ENCLAVIZATION'
  • [32] ROMANIAN WORKERS SUMMON PREMIER TO BRASOV
  • [33] ROMANIAN REFINERY PRIVATIZED
  • [34] SUSPECTED HIZBALLAH LEADER TO BE EXPELLED FROM MOLDOVA...
  • [35] ...DENIES LINKS WITH ORGANIZATION
  • [36] SEPARATISTS BLOCK MOLDOVAN RAILWAY
  • [37] BULGARIA CLOSES ANOTHER CHAPTER IN EU NEGOTIATIONS; ROMANIA STAGNATES

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [38] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] OPPOSITION DEMO PARTICIPANTS DEMAND ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION

    Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Yerevan on 26 October convened by the three largest Armenian opposition parties, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The organizers estimated turnout at 20, 000, while police said fewer than 7,000 people participated. Addressing participants, former Yerevan Mayor Albert Bazeyan, one of the leaders of the Hanrapetutiun party, blamed President Robert Kocharian for what he termed the "unprecedented crisis" in Armenia and again affirmed the intention of Hanrapetutiun, together with the People's Party of Armenia and the National Unity Party, to collect enough signatures among parliament deputies to convene a debate on Kocharian's impeachment. Bazeyan further accused the authorities of trying to goad the opposition into taking anticonstitutional actions, but vowed that the opposition parties will not rise to that bait. LF

    [02] ARMENIA MARKS SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF PARLIAMENT KILLINGS

    In separate ceremonies on 27 October, President Kocharian and other members of the Armenian leadership on the one hand, and opposition representatives and relatives of the victims on the other, laid wreaths at the graves of the eight senior officials gunned down in the Armenian parliament two years earlier, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The two ceremonies were timed not to coincide. Opposition parties and some of the relatives of the victims remain convinced that the five gunmen, whose trial began in February, were acting at Kocharian's behest. LF

    [03] ARMENIA WILL NOT SEEK NATO MEMBERSHIP

    Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian told journalists in Tbilisi on 26 October that while his country will continue to cooperate closely with NATO within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program, it does not intend to join the Atlantic alliance, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN UNVEILS DETAILS OF YET ANOTHER THWARTED COUP ATTEMPT

    Ten people have been arrested in Azerbaijan and arrest warrants have been issued for six more who plotted to assassinate President Aliev in 1999 with the aim of seizing power, according to a 27 October statement by Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry reported by Turan and Interfax. The ministry identified as the masterminds behind that scheme former Baku City Prosecutor Mamed Guliev, an associate of former President Ayaz Mutalibov; and Mahir Djavadov, whose brother Rovshan was gunned down while trying to surrender after mounting what the Azerbaijani authorities claim was a coup attempt against Aliev in March 1995. Mahir Djavadov was granted political asylum in Austria but in late 1998 moved to Iran and has since repeatedly criticized Aliev (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No. 12, 23 March 1999). Guliev, who has reportedly acquired Russian citizenship, is said to be in Moscow, where Mutalibov has lived in exile since his ouster in 1992. LF

    [05] COUNCIL OF EUROPE LISTS AZERBAIJAN'S POLITICAL PRISONERS

    The Council of Europe unveiled on 25 October a list of 23 persons jailed in Azerbaijan whom it considers political prisoners, Turan reported the following day. Those 23, selected from a list of over 700, include former Interior Minister Iskander Hamidov; former Defense Minister Rahim Gaziev; former Premier Suret Huseinov; the leader of the self-proclaimed Talysh- Mughan Republic, Alikram Gumbatov; and former Gyandja city police chief Natig Efendiev, who was extradited from Turkey last year (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 4, 28 January 2000). LF

    [06] AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT RATIFIES GAS PIPELINE AGREEMENT

    The Azerbaijani parliament ratified on 26 October the agreement signed one month earlier by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Georgia on the export of natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field via a pipeline from Baku via Tbilisi to Erzerum (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2001), Turan and Interfax reported. LF

    [07] RUSSIA SAYS IT HAS WITHDRAWN MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM ABKHAZ BASE

    Russian media and Abkhaz officials reported on 26 October that the last remaining materiel from the Gudauta military base in Abkhazia, including ammunition and a Buk antiaircraft gun complex, were loaded onto trains for transportation to Russia, Reuters, Caucasus Press, and Russian agencies reported. Under an agreement signed at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999, Moscow had undertaken to withdraw all troops and materiel and close that base by 1 July 2001, but failed to meet that deadline. Some 600 Russian troops are to remain at the base to guard its airfield and other facilities. Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba protested the withdrawal, saying the base is a stabilizing factor, Interfax reported. In Tbilisi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kahka Sikharulidze and parliament Defense and Security Committee Chairman Giorgi Baramidze both called for international monitoring of the Russian withdrawal, suggesting that the trains were loaded not with weaponry but with scrap metal, Caucasus Press reported. LF

    [08] GEORGIA PROTESTS NEW AIRSTRIKES

    The Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 29 October protesting the bombing the previous day of villages in the Georgian-controlled sector of the Kodori gorge by fighter aircraft that entered Georgian airspace from Russia, Caucasus Press reported. There were no casualties in that attack. Russian aircraft overflew Georgian territory on four separate occasions later on 28 October. Several houses in the villages of Tishi and Adzagvar were set on fire in two bombing raids early on 29 October, but it is not clear whether there are casualties, according to the Georgian Defense Ministry, as quoted by Caucasus Press. LF

    [09] SITUATION IN ABKHAZIA REMAINS TENSE

    Abkhaz Deputy Defense Minister Givi Agrba told journalists in Sukhum on 26 October that a new group of armed men is gathering in the Georgian sector of the Kodori gorge, Caucasus Press reported. He said that most of the band are Georgians, as some of the Chechens who participated in the raid earlier this month have already escaped to Karachaevo-Cherkessia, while other are in Tbilisi with their leader Ruslan Gelaev. The Georgian presidential representative in Kodori, Emzar Kvitsiani, rejected Agrba's statement the same day as unfounded. Agrba also said that an Abkhaz army post in the unrecognized republic's southernmost Gali Raion came under fire on 26 October during a raid by guerrillas who penetrated Gali from Georgia. One Abkhaz serviceman was wounded in that attack. LF

    [10] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT WILL NOT CALL FOR CIS PEACEKEEPERS' IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL FROM ABKHAZIA

    On 29 October, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told journalists in Tbilisi he has still not signed the resolution passed by the Georgian parliament on 11 October calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis along the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. Shevardnadze said he will not raise the issue of the peacekeepers' withdrawal at the CIS summit next month, but will wait until the UN makes a commitment to provide a replacement force after the Russian contingent leaves. LF

    [11] UN REPRESENTATIVE HOLDS TALKS WITH ABKHAZ LEADERSHIP

    Dieter Boden, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General's Office, held talks with Abkhaz leaders in Sukhum on 25-26 October. Caucasus Press and the website strana.ru as quoted by Glasnost-North Caucasus said those talks focused on a possible resumption of talks between Georgian and Abkhaz representatives, but Interfax on 26 October quoted Abkhaz Foreign Minister Shamba as saying the only issue discussed was the situation in the Kodori gorge. LF

    [12] KAZAKHSTAN POSTPONES PLANNED ASIAN SECURITY SUMMIT

    The first summit of the 16-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Asia, which was scheduled to take place on 8-20 November, has been postponed until the first half of next year, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 October, quoting a statement by Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September 1999 and 5 February 2001). The statement said that convening the summit at a time when member states are confronted with the shared problem of fighting terrorism could narrow down the range of issues included on the agenda. LF

    [13] KAZAKH SUES BANK OVER REFUSAL TO USE NATIONAL LANGUAGE

    Qayirbek Tokhtarov, a resident of the city of Aqtobe in northwest Kazakhstan, has begun legal proceedings against the city branch of the Turan-Alem bank for failure to respect the state language of Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Kazakhstan's Constitution requires that all organizations should provide information in both Kazakh -- the official language -- and Russian. Bank employees had refused to provide Tokhtarov with information in Kazakh. LF

    [14] KYRGYZSTAN TRANSFERS CONTROL OF PRISONS TO JUSTICE MINISTRY

    Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev signed a decree on 24 October transferring responsibility for administering the country's 36 penitentiaries from the Interior Ministry to the Justice Ministry, Interfax and RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported on 26 October. At a press conference in Bishkek on 26 October, First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev estimated the number of persons imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan at 18,000. He said 60 percent of those found guilty by courts, or some 2,000-2,500 people, are sentenced to prison terms each year, and called for reducing the number of prison sentences and the increased imposition of fines against offenders. LF

    [15] TAJIK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION

    Meeting on 26 October with a visiting delegation of deputies from the Russian State Duma headed by Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko), President Imomali Rakhmonov again affirmed that relations with Russia constitute one of the main priorities of Tajikistan's foreign policy and "a fundamental condition for the development of the sovereignty and independence of Tajikistan," ITAR-TASS reported. The two sides discussed regional security and the situation in Afghanistan and agreed on the need for permanent close cooperation in the fight against international terrorism and organized crime. Also on 26 October, Duma Defense Committee Deputy Chairman Eduard Vorobev said that although Russia will not take part in the ongoing military operation in Afghanistan, it would render assistance to Tajikistan under the terms of the CIS Collective Security Treaty in the event of an attack on Tajikistan by a third country. LF

    [16] TAJIKISTAN, UN TO ESTABLISH JOINT CENTER TO COORDINATE AID TO AFGHANISTAN

    UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima told journalists in Dushanbe on 26 October that he has reached agreement with the Tajik leadership on setting up a joint center for coordinating relief aid to Afghanistan, AP reported. Oshima said 75 percent of that aid will be shipped to northern regions of Afghanistan. Oshima discussed with Tajik Emergency Situations Minister Mirzo Zieev the possibility of transporting relief aid via Tajikistan's Nizhnii Pyandj region. At a second press conference the following day, Oshima estimated the number of Afghan displaced persons in the regions of the country bordering on Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan at 500,000, ITAR-TASS reported. He said at present some 3 million Afghans are in need of humanitarian aid, but that figure could reach 7.5 million by the end of the year. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [17] TENSE TIMES CONTINUE IN MACEDONIA

    EU security policy chief Javier Solana succeeded in persuading Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders to accept a compromise formula for the preamble to the constitution, Reuters reported from Skopje on 28 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 2001). The new formula refers to Macedonia as a country of "all citizens,...the Macedonian people, as well as citizens living within its borders who are part of the Albanian people," and others, AP reported. Reuters noted that unnamed Western diplomats fear that recent claims by hard-line parliament speaker Stojan Andov and others over the alleged massacre of 12 Macedonians by Albanians in July are a maneuver to reduce Western pressure over constitutional reforms and a long- promised amnesty to all guerrillas, except for those indicted by The Hague. On 29 October, Interior Ministry spokesman Vasko Sutarov said the authorities have prepared 784 indictments against 224 ethnic Albanians, dpa reported. Sutarov also referred to continued incidents of gunfire by the Albanians. Reuters quoted unnamed international monitors as saying that the gunfire was connected with weddings or other celebrations, or with criminal activity. PM

    [18] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT MEETS PUTIN IN MOSCOW

    Boris Trajkovski arrived in the Russian capital on 29 October for talks with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and other officials, AP and ITAR-TASS reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 31 July and 28 September 2001). After his meeting with Putin, Trajkovski said: "The antiterror coalition should not just be concentrated on Afghanistan but also on Chechnya and Macedonia," dpa reported. He added, "We would like to feel the results of this coalition also in our own region," Reuters reported. Putin replied that "Russia backs your efforts, and the efforts of the international community, to harmonize the situation in the Balkans as a whole and Macedonia in particular... At our [August] meeting in Kiev, you talked to me about the situation in Macedonia and in the Balkans, and you gave me some convincing information about terrorist activities in the region. Unfortunately today, much of what you told me has been tragically confirmed." PM

    [19] INFORMATION CHIEF SLAMS MACEDONIAN-LANGUAGE MEDIA

    At a press conference -- which the Skopje daily "Utrinski vesnik" of 27 October described as "scandalous" -- the ethnic Albanian director of the Macedonian state Agency for Information, Bebi Bexheti, accused ethnic Macedonian journalists of partisan and unjust reporting during the conflict. Bexheti said that most information spread by Macedonian-language media was provided by sources from the Interior Ministry or by party leaderships. Bexheti added that Macedonian-language media did little or nothing to inform the public about the hardships of Albanian refugees, while the fate of Macedonian displaced persons was widely covered. "Instead of building bridges to the Albanians, the Macedonian media present the Albanians as being the reason for all the trouble that happens in this country. Macedonian journalists do not know anything about Albanian culture and life," the daily "Vest" cited Bexheti as saying. UB

    [20] MACEDONIAN PARTY PRESSES FOR REGISTRATION IN BULGARIA

    The nationalist United Macedonian Organization Ilinden (OMO-Ilinden), which claims to represent the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, will press for legal registration in Bulgaria, the Skopje weekly "Puls" reported on 26 October. At a press conference held in Skopje, Jordan Kostadinov Ivanov, the organization's leader, said a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg obliges the Bulgarian government to recognize the existence of the Macedonian minority there. Successive Bulgarian governments so far have denied the existence of a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, and most Bulgarians believe that Macedonians are really Bulgarians. OMO-Ilinden has been banned in Bulgaria, and members of the organization have been subject to discrimination. UB

    [21] ARMY RESERVISTS TO SUE MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT

    Some 80 army reservists from the central Macedonian town of Prilep plan to sue the Macedonian government for damages, the Skopje daily "Vest" reported on 25 October. As the lawyer of the reservists declared, the reservists will not ask who is responsible for the material and psychological damages they suffered when a convoy came under fire from ethnic Albanian rebels near Karpalak on 8 August. Instead, the lawyer said the reservists will claim sums of between $45,000 and $113,000, depending on whether the soldier in question was wounded or not. In the ambush near Karpalak on the Skopje-Tetovo highway, 10 Macedonian soldiers were killed and four wounded (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 9 August 2001). Later, the shadowy Albanian National Army (ANA) took responsibility for the ambush. UB

    [22] MORE CHARGES AGAINST SERBIA'S EX-STRONGMAN

    On 29 October, former President Slobodan Milosevic made his third appearance in court in The Hague since the Serbian authorities extradited him in June, Reuters reported. Prosecutors read out an indictment that he led a "joint criminal enterprise" against Croats and other non-Serbs in Croatia during the 1991-1995 conflict. He has previously been indicted for war crimes in Kosova. Hague chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is preparing to raise charges against Milosevic for war crimes in Bosnia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 2001). Milosevic refuses to recognize the authority of the tribunal and dubs himself a "political prisoner of NATO." He told the tribunal on 29 October: "I have been accused because...I had the honor to defend my nation from the criminal aggression that was carried out against it, and to defend my people from terrorism... I have no intention, still, to familiarize myself with the contents of something that is totally fabricated and is far from the truth." PM

    [23] SERBIAN COURT SENTENCING IN ARKAN SLAYING

    On 26 October, a Belgrade court sentenced Dobrosav Gavric to 20 years in prison in conjunction with the killing of paramilitary leader and underworld figure Zeljko Raznatovic -- otherwise known as Arkan -- in early 2000, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The court sentenced two of Gavric's associates to 15 years imprisonment each. Many questions still remain about the slaying, including the possible role of Milosevic and his top associates in the death of Arkan, whom one Serbian tabloid called "the man who knew too much." PM

    [24] SERBIAN GENERAL SLAMS 'IDIOTIC RANTING'

    General Nebojsa Pavkovic, who heads the Yugoslav military's General Staff and commanded Milosevic's forces in Kosova in 1999, told the official Tanjug news agency that recent charges by Human Rights Watch of systematic Serbian war crimes during that conflict are "statements by individuals who suffer from an inferiority complex," AP reported from Belgrade on 28 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 2001). Pavkovic called the report "idiotic ranting,...unfounded gossip, and [calculated remarks]." He added that the Yugoslav military courts have charged 182 soldiers or officers in conjunction with "violating the law or international conventions on war." PM

    [25] MONTENEGRIN, SERBIAN TALKS END IN STALEMATE

    Talks in Belgrade on 26 October between Montenegrin leaders on one hand and Serbian and Yugoslav officials on the other ended without any agreement, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 2001). Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said that the two sides' positions are too far apart for agreement and that the Serbs do not accept his demand for a "union of two independent states." Djukanovic added that he plans to go ahead with plans for a referendum on independence in the spring of 2002. For his part, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica cited "historic, economic, and security reasons" for preserving a single state, AP reported. PM

    [26] NEW CHIEF FOR MONTENEGRIN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

    Delegates to the congress of Montenegro's Social Democratic Party (SDP) elected Vice President Ranko Krivokapic as the party's new president, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from Podgorica on 27 October. The new vice presidents are Miodrag Ilickovic, Rifat Rastoder, and Ivan Brajkovic. Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic, who is also vice president of Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), told the SDP congress that plans for the referendum on independence are going ahead. After the congress, Krivokapic said he does not plan major personnel changes, "Vijesti" reported on 29 October. Krivokapic and the SDP support independence from Serbia and criticized Milosevic's war in Kosova. PM

    [27] CROATIAN NEWS AGENCY BECOMES PUBLIC

    The parliament has passed legislation to transform the state-run news agency Hina into a public institution subject to the same standards and transparency as are public broadcasting stations in EU countries, Deutsche Welle's "Monitor" reported on 26 October. Hina was long regarded as the mouthpiece of the government of the late President Franjo Tudjman. Without state financial support, a Croatian news agency would have little hope of surviving. The new legislation gives Hina the chance to stay afloat free of political meddling. PM

    [28] CROATIAN EX-GENERAL SAYS MILOSEVIC, TUDJMAN PLANNED BOSNIAN WAR

    Former General Milan Spegelj told the Novi Sad daily "Dnevnik" that Milosevic and Tudjman agreed on a war and a "humane transfer of populations" in Bosnia at their meeting in Karadjordjevo in 1991, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 28 October. This and other supposedly secret meetings of the two leaders have been the subject of much speculation in the former Yugoslavia and abroad over the past decade. PM

    [29] NEW NON-NATIONALIST BOSNIAN TV STATION ON THE AIR

    Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina began broadcasting on two channels on 26 October, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. It replaces the former Television Bosnia and Herzegovina (see "RFE/RL Newsline, " 26 October 2001). PM

    [30] BALKAN STATES PLEDGE COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM

    On the second day of their gathering in Bucharest, the nine Balkan Stability Pact members on 26 October issued a joint declaration condemning "all acts of terrorism, by whomever they are committed and whatever their motivation," Mediafax reported. Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia agreed to cooperate against "the scourge of terrorism"; to regularly exchange data on terrorist organizations; to set up special antiterror police units; and to harmonize antiterrorist legislation. One day earlier, the Romanian government issued an emergency ordinance providing for stiff prison sentences to those engaging in terrorist activities and for those causing alarm in the population through either threats or hoaxes. Terrorist acts are now punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and acts of spreading false alarm can draw sentences of three months to three years in prison. Those found guilty of disseminating toxic or biological material that can cause illness to people or animals face prison sentences of between three and 15 years. MS

    [31] ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER VOWS TO FIGHT TRANSYLVANIA'S 'ENCLAVIZATION'

    While addressing a forum of his ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) in Cluj on 27 October, Ioan Rus harshly attacked Hungary and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), saying they are cooperating to bring about the "enclavization" of Harghita and Covasna counties, whose population is primarily Magyar, Mediafax reported the next day. Rus presented a document worked out by the PSD local branch on the party's policies in Transylvania that says Hungary and the UDMR have replaced their former policy of contesting the "national character" of Romania with a policy of gradual encroachment on Romanian rights in Transylvania, and one that encourages "separatist tendencies" by playing up differences between Transylvania and the rest of the country. He said Romania will not "stand by" and watch the withering away of its sovereignty, and pledged that the PSD will act to transform Transylvania into the country's "economic motor." Rus also called for stemming the increase of Hungarian involvement in the region's economic affairs. UDMR Cluj leader Konya Hamar Sandor, who was scheduled to address the forum, refused to do so and left in protest. MS

    [32] ROMANIAN WORKERS SUMMON PREMIER TO BRASOV

    The trade unions at the Brasov-based Roman SA truckmaker demanded on 28 October that Premier Adrian Nastase urgently come to Brasov to "explain to workers why the Romanian market is dominated by imports, rather than by local production," Mediafax reported. The "invitation" followed a statement made by Nastase on 26 October, in which he said the truckmaker is not competitive on European markets and must be "thoroughly restructured." The unions said: "The road to Europe cannot pass over the sufferance, hunger, and desperation" of Brasov workers, and that if Nastase ignores the invitation they will consider his posture to be one of "defying" the 8,600 employees of the plant. Nastase is leaving on 29 October for an 11-day tour of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. MS

    [33] ROMANIAN REFINERY PRIVATIZED

    The large RAFO Onesti refinery, whose privatization has stumbled several times in 1997, has been purchased by a Portuguese-Romanian consortium that paid $7.5 million for a 60 percent stake, Romanian television announced on 26 October. The consortium will assume responsibility for the company's $300 million debt. MS

    [34] SUSPECTED HIZBALLAH LEADER TO BE EXPELLED FROM MOLDOVA...

    The recent modification of Moldova's citizenship law was prompted by the necessity to make possible the expulsion from Moldova of Mahmud Ahmad Hammud, a ringleader of the Hizballah organization who recently married the daughter of former parliamentary speaker Dumitru Diacov, Flux reported on 27 October, citing sources from the Intelligence and Security Service. The parliament changed the law, granting the country's president the right to withdraw citizenship from those who illegally acquired it. The agency said that between 1992 and 1997 Hammud was involved in criminal activities in Romania, particularly in the trafficking of narcotics and women. Between September 1997 and 31 January 2001, he was Lebanon's honorary consul in Moldova. On 19 October, President Vladimir Voronin withdrew Hammud's Moldovan citizenship. The suspected terrorist married Diacov's daughter the next day. MS

    [35] ...DENIES LINKS WITH ORGANIZATION

    Hammud told Mediafax in Chisinau on 28 October he never had any links with Hizballah and that all the allegations against him are untrue. The same day, the Romanian Intelligence Service said Hammud was under constant surveillance while he was in Romania, and that the service "prevented him from establishing a personal relationship with Romanian political officials, " whom he had tried to contact to involve them in "possible illegal financing." MS

    [36] SEPARATISTS BLOCK MOLDOVAN RAILWAY

    President Voronin on 28 October held urgent telephone discussions with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts after the separatist authorities in Bendery-Tighina, near the Ukrainian border, blocked the passage of 350 wagons of fuel and lubricants destined for Chisinau, ITAR-TASS reported. Voronin told Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma that Moldova will act "strictly in compliance with current international norms." The blocked transport also includes ethyl alcohol, chlorine, and other toxic materials that can pose a threat to the population there. Flux reported that the oil had been dispatched to Moldova by Russia's LUKoil. MS

    [37] BULGARIA CLOSES ANOTHER CHAPTER IN EU NEGOTIATIONS; ROMANIA STAGNATES

    Bulgaria on 26 October closed the telecommunications chapter in negotiations with the EU, bringing its tally to 12 completed chapters out of the 31 of the acquis communautaire, an RFE/RL correspondent in Brussels reported. Romania did not close any chapters, remaining at eight (the fewest among all EU candidates), but opened discussions on two more chapters. The same day, Bulgaria opened negotiations on the sensitive free movement of labor chapter. Chief Bulgarian negotiator Meglena Kuneva said Sofia is likely to agree to the same compromise already accepted by Hungary, Latvia, and Slovakia, which allows current EU members to close their borders to labor from candidate countries for up to seven years following enlargement. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [38] There is no End Note today.

    29-10-01

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


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