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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 222, 01-11-26

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. 222, 26 November 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT HINTS AT PARDON FOR JAILED KARABAKH GENERAL
  • [02] EU AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR PRELIMINARY KARABAKH AGREEMENT
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER CONDEMNS ARMENIAN 'INTRANSIGENCE'
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT RE-ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF RULING PARTY...
  • [05] ...WHILE DEMONSTRATORS CALL ON HIM TO RESIGN
  • [06] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES SIX MINISTERIAL CANDIDATES
  • [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER VOWS TO WORK FOR IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA, CIS
  • [08] ABKHAZ PREMIER WANTS GEORGIAN TROOPS WITHDRAWN FROM KODORI...
  • [09] ...WHILE GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS THEY MAY BE REINFORCED
  • [10] GEORGIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL ISSUES ORDERS FOR CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER'S ARREST
  • [11] SOUTH OSSETIAN PRESIDENT YIELDS TO RUSSIAN PRESSURE, ADMITS DEFEAT
  • [12] KAZAKH PRESIDENT SACKS MORE OFFICIALS...
  • [13] ...LAUDS AIMS OF NEW OPPOSITION PARTY
  • [14] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT UNABLE TO DEBATE BORDER CONCESSIONS TO CHINA
  • [15] KYRGYZSTAN UPGRADES STATUS OF RUSSIAN LANGUAGE
  • [16] FRENCH MINISTER VISITS TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN
  • [17] UN OFFICIAL WARNS TAJIKISTAN OVER CORRUPTION

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [18] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WANTS GUERRILLA ZONES UNDER CONTROL...
  • [19] ...SEES APRIL DATE FOR ELECTIONS
  • [20] WHAT FUTURE FOR MACEDONIA'S GOVERNMENT?
  • [21] MACEDONIAN MASS GRAVE MYSTERY CONTINUES
  • [22] KOSOVA LEGISLATURE SET TO MEET...
  • [23] ...AS PARTIES JOCKEY FOR POSITIONS
  • [24] KOSOVA POLICE ARREST ALBANIAN FOR ABDUCTION OF SERBS
  • [25] YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES TO KEEP TWO COMMITTEES FOR KOSOVA
  • [26] GENOCIDE INDICTMENT FOR SERBIAN EX-LEADER
  • [27] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT: NO MILITARY SECRETS TO THE HAGUE
  • [28] MILOSEVIC CRONY LOSES YUGOSLAV IMMUNITY
  • [29] NEW, OLD SYMBOLS FOR SERBIA
  • [30] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE ALLEGED PLOT...
  • [31] ...AS MINISTER AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR POLICE
  • [32] BOSNIAN SERB PARTIES MERGE
  • [33] ROMANIA CONFIRMS BANK TRANSACTIONS TO ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS
  • [34] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE REPORT HEATS UP DEBATE OVER TRANSYLVANIA...
  • [35] ...TRIGGERS REACTION FROM OPPOSITION
  • [36] ROMANIA READY TO EMULATE BULGARIA REGARDING NATO BASE
  • [37] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT TO SEEK VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
  • [38] PRM MOTION AGAINST ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT FAILS
  • [39] FORMER ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVESTIGATED OVER PRIVATIZATION DEALS
  • [40] PRM CONGRESS RE-ELECTS TUDOR AS CHAIRMAN
  • [41] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE GETS NEW DEPUTY DIRECTOR
  • [42] ROMANIAN PREMIER 'MASTERS MOLDOVAN LANGUAGE'
  • [43] MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER DEFENDS NEW YORK JOINT DECLARATION
  • [44] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES RAISING ELECTORAL HURDLE
  • [45] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT GRANTS CITIZENSHIP TO CONTROVERSIAL RUSSIAN BISHOP
  • [46] U.S. FORCES USING BULGARIAN AIR BASE
  • [47] OUTGOING BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO LEAVE POLITICS
  • [48] EC COMMISSIONER SAYS BULGARIA, ROMANIA NOT TO JOIN EU SOON

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [49] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT HINTS AT PARDON FOR JAILED KARABAKH GENERAL

    Robert Kocharian said in Yerevan on 22 November that he "is discussing" with the leadership of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic the possibility of pardoning former Karabakh Defense Army commander Samvel Babayan, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Babayan was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in February on charges, which he denies, of masterminding the failed assassination attempt in March 2000 on Karabakh President Arkadii Ghukasian (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 February 2001). Ghukasian told RFE/RL in July that Babayan cannot be pardoned because he has not admitted his guilt. Kocharian has not previously commented on a series of appeals by Armenian intellectuals for clemency for Babayan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 2001). Kocharian and Ghukasian met on 24 November, reportedly to discuss the economic situation in Karabakh and the prospects for resolving the conflict, according to Noyan Tapan. LF

    [02] EU AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR PRELIMINARY KARABAKH AGREEMENT

    Members of the EU-Armenia parliamentary committee on cooperation have adopted a joint statement affirming support for a formal settlement of the Karabakh conflict based on the so-called "Paris principles" agreed on during talks in March and April between President Kocharian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Heidar Aliev, Armenian delegation head Aghvan Vartanian told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau on 23 November. The Azerbaijani leadership denies that any such preliminary understanding was reached. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER CONDEMNS ARMENIAN 'INTRANSIGENCE'

    Vilayat Quliev predicted on 22 November that Yerevan will not succeed in legalizing the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Turan reported. (It is not clear whether he was referring to the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic or seven adjacent raions currently controlled by Armenian forces, or both.) Quliev claimed that the most recent visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5, 7 and 8 November 2001) demonstrated that Armenia is unwilling to resolve the conflict by means of mutual compromise. Quliev also denied that Baku is seeking to change either the format for the peace talks or to replace any one of the three co-chairs. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT RE-ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF RULING PARTY...

    Delegates to the second congress of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party unanimously re-elected President Aliev as party chairman on 21 November and nominated him as the party's candidate for the presidential elections due in October 2003, Turan reported. In his two-hour speech to the congress, Aliev praised the party's role in ensuring political and economic stability in Azerbaijan, but also told its members to take more decisive measures to counter the actions of the "aggressive" opposition. At the same time, he stressed that the opposition is a necessary component of democracy. LF

    [05] ...WHILE DEMONSTRATORS CALL ON HIM TO RESIGN

    The opposition Azerbaijan Democratic Party convened a rally in Baku on 24 November under the slogan "Bread, jobs, Karabakh," Turan reported. Participants accused Aliev of violating the constitution and citizens' basic rights, and called on him to resign. The demonstration was sanctioned by the city authorities, and passed without incident. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES SIX MINISTERIAL CANDIDATES

    Parliament deputies on 21-22 November confirmed six of the 18 ministerial candidates proposed on 15 November by President Eduard Shevardnadze, Caucasus Press reported. They are Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze, Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili, Education Minister Aleksandre Kartozia, and Justice Minister Roland Giligashvili, all of whom held those portfolios in the outgoing government; and Interior Minister Koba Narchemaishvii and Security Minister Vakhtang Khaburzania. Deputies agreed on 21 November not to vote on the candidates for ministers with economic responsibilities until the commission created to determine who bears responsibility for the recent budget sequester makes its findings public (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 4, No. 37, 7 November 2001). LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER VOWS TO WORK FOR IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA, CIS

    Speaking on 24 November in St. Petersburg, where she is attending a session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, Nino Burdjanadze again said she will do everything in her power to put Georgian-Russian relations on a normal footing based on cooperation and mutual respect, ITAR-TASS reported. She also pledged to try to restore Georgians' faith in the expediency of CIS membership, noting that hopes expressed when Georgia acceded to that body in 1993 that membership would expedite a solution to the Abkhaz conflict have proven unfounded. LF

    [08] ABKHAZ PREMIER WANTS GEORGIAN TROOPS WITHDRAWN FROM KODORI...

    Abkhazia will insist that the Georgian troops "illegally" deployed in the Abkhaz sector of the Kodori gorge be withdrawn, Russian agencies quoted Prime Minister Anri Djergenia as saying on 22 November. Djergenia said the troops' presence heightens tensions and precludes the resumption of talks between Tbilisi and Sukhum on a political settlement of the conflict. Djergenia said he has submitted proposals for the Georgian withdrawal to UN special envoy Dieter Boden and will do everything possible to ensure that a political decision on the withdrawal is taken and promptly implemented. On 22 November, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba again ruled out any further talks with Tbilisi before the Georgian troops leave Kodori, Interfax reported. LF

    [09] ...WHILE GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS THEY MAY BE REINFORCED

    Davit Tevzadze said on 23 November that the Georgian military presence in Kodori cannot be withdrawn at present and may be increased if necessary in order to protect the local Georgian population, which numbers approximately 5,000 people, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. Abkhaz Vice President Valerii Arshba warned that Abkhazia will take "appropriate measures" if more Georgian troops are sent to Kodori. Georgian media reported earlier this month that many Georgian residents left the gorge prior to the onset of winter as the Georgian government had failed to supply them with food and other basic necessities to last throughout the months when the region is cut off by snow. LF

    [10] GEORGIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL ISSUES ORDERS FOR CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER'S ARREST

    The Georgian Prosecutor-General's Office confirmed on 21 November receipt of a request from its Russian counterpart to extradite Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelaev, who is believed to be recuperating in Georgia's Pankisi gorge from wounds received during the ill-fated incursion into Abkhazia last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 November 2001). The office said it has instructed the relevant ministries to track down and arrest Gelaev, after which it will consider the extradition request. One week earlier, a senior Georgian intelligence official admitted to having helped Gelaev return to Chechnya (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 November 2001). LF

    [11] SOUTH OSSETIAN PRESIDENT YIELDS TO RUSSIAN PRESSURE, ADMITS DEFEAT

    On 21 November, Lyudvig Chibirov, who failed in his bid for re-election as president of the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November 2001), tried unsuccessfully to persuade parliament speaker Stanislav Kochiev to withdraw his candidacy to enable Chibirov, who was placed third, to contest the runoff poll on 2 December against businessman Eduard Kokoev, Caucasus Press reported. Also on 21 November, a special police detachment headed by Chibirov's son Aleksei surrounded the parliament building to protest alleged irregularities during the 18 November presidential ballot and demand that Kochiev and Kokoev both withdraw their candidacies. On 23 November, Caucasus Press reported that a group of Russian State Duma deputies addressed an open letter to Chibirov, Kochiev, and Kokoev appealing to them to "avoid...extreme methods" and "act strictly within the framework of the constitution." Chibirov announced the same day that he is ready to hand over power to Prime Minister Dmitrii Sanakoev pending the outcome of the runoff. He avoided questions about his son's 21 November raid on the parliament and denied that his relations with North Ossetian President Aleksandr Dzasokhov have deteriorated. LF

    [12] KAZAKH PRESIDENT SACKS MORE OFFICIALS...

    Nursultan Nazarbaev sacked Pavlodar Oblast Governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov on 21 November and named First Deputy Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov to succeed him, ITAR-TASS reported. Akhmetov served earlier as governor in Pavlodar from 1994-1997. Zhaqiyanov, one of several top officials who on 18 November announced the founding of the Democratic Choice party (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 November 2001), was repeatedly stopped by road police while driving from Astana to Pavlodar on 22 November, and prevented from boarding a flight from Pavlodar to Almaty the following day. On Akhmetov's orders, Zhaqiyanov's subordinates were prevented on 23 November from entering the Pavlodar Oblast administration building, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. On 22 November, Nazarbaev dismissed three more founding members of Democratic Choice: Labor and Social Protection Minister Alikhan Baimenov, First Deputy Finance Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, and State Agency for Natural Monopolies Chairman Berik Imashev. LF

    [13] ...LAUDS AIMS OF NEW OPPOSITION PARTY

    Nazarbaev met on 22 November in Astana with two further members of Democratic Choice, Kazkommerzbank President Nurzhan Subkhanberdin and Temirbank board Chairman Mukhtar Abliyazov (a former minister of economy, industry, and trade), to discuss the political situation and progress of democratic reforms in Kazakhstan, Interfax and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Nazarbaev hailed the creation of Democratic Choice and lauded its aims. Subkhanberdin and Abliyazov assured the president that the party's aims correspond with his own and that Democratic Choice does not seek "confrontation" with the authorities. LF

    [14] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT UNABLE TO DEBATE BORDER CONCESSIONS TO CHINA

    A planned closed session of the People's Assembly (the upper chamber of Kyrgyzstan's bicameral legislature) on 22 November to debate the 1999 amendments to the treaty signed three years earlier delineating the Kyrgyz- Chinese border was postponed because the government failed to provide deputies with the relevant documentation and maps, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. But Alisher Abdimomunov, who chairs the international and Interparliamentary Affairs Committee of the Legislative Assembly (the lower parliament chamber) told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service the same day that after five requests he finally received from the government earlier on 22 November a map showing the territories that Kyrgyzstan is to cede to China under those amendments. LF

    [15] KYRGYZSTAN UPGRADES STATUS OF RUSSIAN LANGUAGE

    Both chambers of the Kyrgyz parliament approved on 22 November on second reading amendments to the constitution that proclaim Russian an official language, Interfax reported. The parliament passed legislation last year bestowing that status on the Russian language (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 May 2000). LF

    [16] FRENCH MINISTER VISITS TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN

    French Minister for Cooperation Charles Josselin held talks in Tashkent on 22 November with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov on expediting the opening of a customs post in the border port of Termez to speed up the transport of humanitarian aid to northern Afghanistan, Reuters reported. Josselin also said that some 50 French soldiers are currently in Uzbekistan waiting for permission from the Afghan authorities to enter Afghanistan. On 23 November, Josselin met in Dushanbe with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and also bilateral trade and economic cooperation, Asia Plus-Blitz reported. On 24 November, ITAR- TASS reported that France has submitted an official request to Kyrgyzstan to station troops on Kyrgyz territory and to use Kyrgyz air bases for the duration of the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan. LF

    [17] UN OFFICIAL WARNS TAJIKISTAN OVER CORRUPTION

    Visiting UN Development Program administrator Kalman Mizhei warned Tajik leaders on 22 November that the country must take tougher measures to eliminate corruption and implement broad reforms or risk a reduction in the amount of international aid it receives, AP reported. Mizhei discussed with President Rakhmonov the situation in Afghanistan and the implementation of Tajikistan's Medium-Term Economic Strategy. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [18] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WANTS GUERRILLA ZONES UNDER CONTROL...

    Boris Trajkovski told Reuters in Skopje on 25 November that he wants police to return to all former guerrilla-held zones by mid-January 2002. He stressed that the move "will proceed in a transparent way, through discussions with both the international community and local [ethnic Albanian] authorities" in a coordinated fashion. Trajkovski added that the redeployment of police will proceed in three phases. Phase 1 is the part of the project involving the lowest risk and will include ethnic Albanian police entering villages in the Gostivar region. Phase 2 will see the return of police to the Tetovo region, which was the scene of much of the fighting in recent months. Phase 3 involved deployment of police in the area beyond Kumanovo, which is considered the power base of the more extreme guerrillas. The former guerrilla zones account for some 10 percent of Macedonia's territory. Reuters quoted unnamed diplomats as saying that Trajkovski has recently been able to reassert his authority over unnamed hard-liners, who have been "chastened" by the recent killing of three police by armed Albanians. PM

    [19] ...SEES APRIL DATE FOR ELECTIONS

    Trajkovski told Reuters in Skopje on 25 November that he expects that the parliament will soon decide to move the date of the early legislative elections from 27 January 2002, as stated in the 13 August peace agreement, to an unspecified date in April. Trajkovski added that the postponement of the elections will enable police to better consolidate their control over the former rebel zones. Observers note, however, that Trajkovski's party -- the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO-DPMNE) of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski -- is faring poorly in most public opinion polls and is anxious to put off the elections as long as possible. PM

    [20] WHAT FUTURE FOR MACEDONIA'S GOVERNMENT?

    Georgievski said in Skopje on 23 November that he hopes that the Social Democrats (SDSM) will reconsider their recent decision to leave the governing broad-based coalition, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 November 2001). He added that their move was motivated by a desire to win votes. In his 25 November interview with Reuters, Trajkovski said that he trusts Georgievski to appoint "sensible" people to the posts vacated by the SDSM, which are defense minister, foreign minister, and deputy prime minister. Interfax reported from Moscow on 22 November that outgoing Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva's upcoming visit to Russia has been "postponed indefinitely." PM

    [21] MACEDONIAN MASS GRAVE MYSTERY CONTINUES

    Judge Aleksandra Zafirovska said in Tetovo on 25 November that workers have found unspecified "human body parts" at an alleged mass gravesite nearby, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 November 2001). She added that "identifying the evidence" could take up to "four or five months, depending on the process used." She refused to provide any details of the find or say whether any evidence of violence -- such as empty cartridges -- were found. In a move aimed at depoliticizing the issue, experts from The Hague-based war crimes tribunal and the OSCE are present at the site, guarded by NATO troops. On her recent visit to Macedonia, chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte did not publicly mention the site, which Macedonian hard-liners claim holds the remains of 13 Macedonians purportedly killed by Albanian guerrillas in July. Meanwhile, in a move aimed at easing tensions, Trajkovski told Reuters that the special police unit known as the Lions will dismantle their roadblocks along main routes and will stay out of Albanian villages unless the regular police are attacked. The Lions have strong links to the VMRO-DPMNE. PM

    [22] KOSOVA LEGISLATURE SET TO MEET...

    Hans Haekkerup, who heads the UN's civilian administration in Kosova, said in Prishtina on 24 November that the newly elected legislature will hold its first session on 10 December, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November 2001). Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) will have 47 out of 120 seats but will need coalition partners in order to govern. Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosova won 26 seats, while the Serbian Povratak (Return) coalition finished third with 22 seats. Some 14 parties will be represented in the legislature. In Belgrade, Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic called on Del Ponte to oppose any cabinet posts for Thaci or Ramush Haradinaj of the Alliance for the Future of Kosova on the grounds that they were responsible for unspecified "terrorist acts" during the 1999 conflict, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Batic said such individuals are banned from public life under the 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Rambouillet agreement, which Serbia did not approve. PM

    [23] ...AS PARTIES JOCKEY FOR POSITIONS

    All major parties in Kosova have expressed at least some interest in entering a coalition government, Hina reported from Prishtina on 25 November. Povratak is willing to consider a coalition with Rugova, RFE/RL's Slavic Service reported, even though some of its members have refused to acknowledge him as the eventual president of Kosova, "Vesti" reported. Elsewhere, Thaci told the German weekly "Focus" that he is willing to enter a coalition with the LDK provided his party acquires real power and does not simply serve "as a decoration." Thaci added that Serbs as well as Albanians should feel safe in Kosova and return to their preconflict homes. PM

    [24] KOSOVA POLICE ARREST ALBANIAN FOR ABDUCTION OF SERBS

    International police have arrested an unidentified ethnic Albanian former guerrilla commander in conjunction with the kidnapping of five Serbs in 1999, Reuters reported from Prishtina on 25 November. Only one of the Serbs is known to still be alive. The arrested man is an officer in the civilian Kosova Protection Corps (TMK), which many Albanians see as the nucleus of a future Kosovar army. PM

    [25] YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES TO KEEP TWO COMMITTEES FOR KOSOVA

    The federal government has decided to keep both of its committees dealing with Kosovar affairs, the Federal Committee and the Coordinating Center, "Vesti" reported on 23 November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 November 2001). Election boycott leader Momcilo Trajkovic has nonetheless been ousted as president of the Federal Committee. PM

    [26] GENOCIDE INDICTMENT FOR SERBIAN EX-LEADER

    On 23 November, The Hague-based war crimes tribunal released its third indictment against former President Slobodan Milosevic, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. This time he is charged with genocide and other crimes in conjunction with the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. Genocide is the most serious charge in the tribunal's book. The document mentions several other individuals who were part of Milosevic's "criminal enterprise." They include "Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Biljana Plavsic, General Ratko Mladic..., [General] Veljko Kadijevic, [General] Blagoje Adzic, Milan Martic..., Vojislav Seselj, Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, and others," "Vesti" reported. In Sarajevo, a spokesman for the Bosnian Foreign Ministry hailed the indictment as a step toward justice, Reuters reported. PM

    [27] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT: NO MILITARY SECRETS TO THE HAGUE

    Vojislav Kostunica told the "Sunday Times" of 25 November that Belgrade will not provide the war crimes tribunal with any documents that contain "military secrets." He did not say what such secrets might be or who will determine what constitutes a secret. Kostunica stressed that his country's political situation remains unstable and that the legal basis for Belgrade's cooperation with The Hague must be thoroughly prepared. Critics have charged that Kostunica is dragging his heels on enacting legislation in order not to offend nationalist voters and because he himself considers the tribunal to be an "anti-Serbian instrument of U.S. foreign policy" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 20 November 2001). Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has argued that the tribunal is based on UN decisions that have priority over Serbian or Yugoslav law. PM

    [28] MILOSEVIC CRONY LOSES YUGOSLAV IMMUNITY

    The lower house of the federal parliament voted to strip Bratislava Buba Morina of her legislative immunity, "Vesti" reported on 23 November. She is a close political associate of Milosevic and his wife, Mira Markovic. Morina faces charges of embezzling refugee relief funds while she was refugee commissioner under the Milosevic regime. She denies the charges, arguing that she is the victim of political persecution. PM

    [29] NEW, OLD SYMBOLS FOR SERBIA

    A government working group has recommended the adoption of a set of state symbols, which the parliament will vote on in a 15 February 2002 session, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 23 November. The include the pre- communist national anthem "Boze pravde" and the 1882 coat of arms, which includes a crown. Historian and Christian Democratic party leader Milan Protic told "Vesti" that the crown is a symbol of state sovereignty and not necessarily of a monarchy. PM

    [30] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE ALLEGED PLOT...

    The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into the origins of a list of police -- including members of the elite Red Berets -- allegedly wanted by The Hague, "Vesti" reported on 24 November (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 20 November 2001). The Belgrade weekly "Reporter" recently published a list of 17 persons supposedly under investigation for war crimes, in addition to a list of 345 persons believed to be witnesses to atrocities. Serbian media and political figures have begun speculating about who or what might be behind the publication of the list, the authenticity of which appears dubious. Some suspect a plot to split the police, others a conspiracy to undermine links between the police and the government or simply to destabilize the government. Yet another theory is that the list is a classic journalistic canard aimed at boosting the weekly's circulation. "Reporter" says that its source was unspecified persons close to Kostunica. PM

    [31] ...AS MINISTER AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR POLICE

    Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said that he is familiar with the tribunal's indictments and that no Interior Ministry personnel are named in them, "Vesti" reported from Belgrade on 24 November. He added that no member of the police will be extradited to The Hague as long as he is in office. Elsewhere, human rights lawyer Rajko Danilovic said that the time has come to dissolve the Red Berets. He charged that the group is linked to some of Serbia's best-known political crime mysteries, including the killing of journalist Slavko Curuvija and the disappearance of former President Ivan Stambolic. PM

    [32] BOSNIAN SERB PARTIES MERGE

    The Party of Independent Social Democrats of former Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik and the Democratic Socialist Party of Nebojsa Radmanovic have agreed on a joint platform, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from Banja Luka on 25 November. The new grouping will be known as the League of Independent Social Democrats (SNS). Dodik repeated his long- standing views that The Hague-based tribunal is fair and that Milosevic is responsible for the Bosnian conflict. Dodik's Muslim critics charge that he did little during his years as prime minister to bring war criminals to justice. PM

    [33] ROMANIA CONFIRMS BANK TRANSACTIONS TO ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS

    Parliament Deputy Ion Stan, the chairman of the commission for overseeing the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), said on 21 November that the service has confirmed that between 1999 and 2001 some $323 million was illegally transferred from Romania to bank accounts abroad whose owners are businessmen known for their links to Islamic extremist groups, RFE/RL's Bucharest service reported. Stan said all such transactions were traced back to Arab nationals in Romania. But he also added that the SRI established that no persons associated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization were, or currently are, in Romania and that Osama bin Laden has no bank accounts in Romania. MS

    [34] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE REPORT HEATS UP DEBATE OVER TRANSYLVANIA...

    Stan also warned that, according to the SRI report for 2001, the central authorities in Bucharest are losing control over Harghita and Covasna counties, which are inhabited by ethnic Hungarian majorities. He said the two counties are "on their way to autonomy" and that an "autonomous educational system" is being established in Transylvania. Stan said a "Hungarian border" is about to be established "in the country's inner territory." He also said discrimination against ethnic Romanians is intensifying there and that the freedom of the Romanian Orthodox Church is being curtailed. Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) Chairman Bela Marko said the next day that such statements "torpedo interethnic coexistence" in Transylvania, as well as the collaboration pact between the UDMR and the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD). He said the government must "explain" to the UDMR the role that "prominent PSD members" played in issuing the report. On 25 November, Public Administration Minister Octav Cozmanca said the SRI report reflects a situation that "existed up to early 2001," but that the cabinet has since "taken measures to remedy it." MS

    [35] ...TRIGGERS REACTION FROM OPPOSITION

    Senator Radu F. Alexandru, the leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL) parliamentary group, said on 21 November that Prime Minister Adrian Nastase must "inform the parliament" regarding the loss of the government's control over Harghita and Covasna and "possibly over other regions as well," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Alexandru said that if Nastase fails to do so, the PNL will initiate a motion of censure against the cabinet. The Greater Romania Party (PRM), which held its third congress on 23-24 November (see below) approved an appeal to President Ion Iliescu, demanding that he urgently meet with parliamentary party leaders to discuss "the serious situation of ethnic Romanians in Harghita and Covasna." At its congress, the PRM approved a "Black Book of the UDMR" presented by its general secretary, Gheorghe Funar. MS

    [36] ROMANIA READY TO EMULATE BULGARIA REGARDING NATO BASE

    Returning from a three-day visit to Greece on 23 November, President Iliescu said Romania is prepared to follow Bulgaria's example and grant NATO the right to use a military base on its territory, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported (see Bulgarian item below). A similar statement was made on 24 November by Premier Nastase. Both leaders emphasized that Romania already granted NATO the right to use its airspace, territory, and maritime areas following the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States. MS

    [37] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT TO SEEK VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

    The government announced on 21 November that it plans to seek a vote of confidence from the parliament regarding its austerity and privatization plans, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. It will do so under a constitutional procedure called "assumption of governmental responsibility." Under this procedure, a vote of confidence is considered to have been granted unless a no-confidence motion is moved within three days after the presentation of the program in the legislature. MS

    [38] PRM MOTION AGAINST ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT FAILS

    On 22 November, the senate denied by a vote of 74 to 54 a motion by the PRM to debate the situation in the education system and the cabinet's failure to allocate sufficient funds for education. The PNL and the Democratic Party supported the PRM's motion. Those two parties announced the next day that they will motion for a debate on the situation in the health system and the alleged "deflection of funds" by the government from health care in an attempt to cover "black holes in the budget." PRM leader Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor claimed after the 22 November vote in the Senate that the rejection of his party's motion was due to votes being cast for senators who did not attend the debate, and that the PRM will contest the outcome of the vote in the Constitutional Court. MS

    [39] FORMER ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVESTIGATED OVER PRIVATIZATION DEALS

    Former State Privatization Fund Chief Radu Sarbu and former Agriculture Minister Ioan Avram Muresan were investigated on 22 and 23 November, respectively, over privatization deals concluded during their tenures. Sarbu was investigated by police, while Muresan was interrogated by a special presidential commission established for controlling privatization decisions taken by former members of the cabinet. Sarbu and Muresan, both members of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic, said the investigations are "politically motivated." MS

    [40] PRM CONGRESS RE-ELECTS TUDOR AS CHAIRMAN

    At its 23-24 November third party congress, the PRM re-elected Corneliu Vadim Tudor as its chairman by a vote of 1,030 to six, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Gheorghe Funar was re-elected PRM secretary-general. In other news, at its congress on 24 November the extraparliamentary Union of Democratic Forces (UFD) elected Adrian Iorgulescu as its chairman and Varujan Vosganian as the party's National Council chairman. Vosganian was formerly UFD co-chairman alongside Iorgulescu. He withdrew from the race for the chairmanship before the vote. MS

    [41] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE GETS NEW DEPUTY DIRECTOR

    General Gioni Popescu was appointed on 21 November as deputy director of SRI, replacing Mircea Ghiordunescu, who resigned earlier this month, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Romanian media reports alleged that Popescu was involved in the past in numerous dubious deals, among them the smuggling of oil to Yugoslavia when that country was under UN embargo. MS

    [42] ROMANIAN PREMIER 'MASTERS MOLDOVAN LANGUAGE'

    Addressing the Trieste Central European Initiative summit on 23 November, Romanian Premier Adrian Nastase ironically dismissed the inclusion of the "Moldovan language" among the meeting's official languages, saying he was "astonished" to realize that the "extraordinary atmosphere" of the gathering has made him capable of "learning one more foreign language in just a few minutes," Romanian television reported. He said he proved his claim by making his opening remarks "in Moldovan," after which he "switched" to Romanian (practically the same language) and asked the Moldovan participants to "listen to my speech using the headphone translation." MS

    [43] MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER DEFENDS NEW YORK JOINT DECLARATION

    Foreign Minister Nicolae Dudau on 23 November dismissed criticism of the declaration he recently signed in New York with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on ways to settle the Transdniester conflict as inaccurate, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The declaration calls for a continuation of negotiations within a forum that includes the Transdniester and the OSCE as well as the three signatory states. Dudau said this does not signify that Chisinau wants to resume high-level negotiations with the present leadership in Tiraspol, and that President Vladimir Voronin rules out this possibility. He said the five-structure forum refers to negotiations "at expert level." Observers quoted by RFE/RL pointed out that the New York declaration fails to mention for the first time Moldova's "sovereignty" alongside the mention of its "territorial integrity," which may open the path for guaranteeing Transdniester's special status by a foreign power. MS

    [44] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES RAISING ELECTORAL HURDLE

    The parliament on 22 November unanimously approved on first reading the draft bill submitted by the opposition Popular Party Christian Democratic to raise the electoral hurdle for parliamentary representation, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The bill stipulates that the hurdle shall be 6 instead of 4 percent for individual parties, 9 percent for lists including two formations, and 12 percent for alliances made up by three formations or more. MS

    [45] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT GRANTS CITIZENSHIP TO CONTROVERSIAL RUSSIAN BISHOP

    President Voronin on 22 November signed a decree granting citizenship to Tiraspol and Dubasari Bishop Iustinian, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The Russian-born (1961) Iustinian is a supporter of separatist leader Igor Smirnov and was ordained bishop by the Moldovan Orthodox Church (subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate) in 1995. Earlier this year Moldovan Metropolitan Vladimir appointed Iustinian as rector of the Noul- Neamt theological seminary, after which Iustinian dismissed members of the staff and came into conflict with Voronin. Deputy Vlad Cubreacov, a lawyer for the rival and officially unrecognized Bessarabian Metropolitan Church, told RFE/RL that Voronin's decision is "unacceptable" and that Iustinian has acted in the past "to undermine Moldovan statehood." Cubreacov also said that Iustinian has been under the surveillance of the Moldovan intelligence services due to those activities. MS

    [46] U.S. FORCES USING BULGARIAN AIR BASE

    The first six U.S. Air Force aircraft intended for support of humanitarian operations in Afghanistan landed on 23 November at the Burgas airport, in the vicinity of that Black Sea port, international agencies reported. The six KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft will remain in Bulgaria for the duration of Operation Enduring Freedom, setting up in Burgas what Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi called on 23 November "a temporary American military base." One day earlier, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Elena Poptodorova said the government approved a request by the U.S. to use the air base as part of the ongoing international antiterrorist campaign. A U.S. Embassy official cited by AFP said the same day that the planes will be serviced by some 200 ground personnel, who will be stationed at the nearby Sarafovo military base. Pasi said the actual refueling operations will be carried out over the Caspian Sea, outside Bulgaria's airspace, and the fuel will be purchased from the Neftochim company in Burgas. MS

    [47] OUTGOING BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO LEAVE POLITICS

    Outgoing President Petar Stoyanov, who lost the presidential runoff of 18 November to Georgi Parvanov, said on 22 November that he plans to withdraw from politics after the end of his term on 22 January 2002, international agencies reported. "I fully assume responsibility and guilt for the lost election," Stoyanov said. He added that, at least for one year "and maybe much longer," he will back no political party or attempt to form a party of his own. "A [political] party dress is too tight for me," Stoyanov said. MS

    [48] EC COMMISSIONER SAYS BULGARIA, ROMANIA NOT TO JOIN EU SOON

    Guenter Verheugen, the EC commissioner in charge of enlargement, said on 23 November in Frankfurt, Germany, that Bulgaria and Romania will "definitely" not be in the first wave of new members joining the organization, AFP reported. The statement was made in response to comments last week by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who said it may be a disadvantage for the union to leave the two countries out of the enlargement and that enlargement itself should be postponed until those countries can also be integrated. Verheugen said that "a lot of work still needs to be done" before Romania and Bulgaria will be able to join. The same day, Bulgarian Premier Simeon Saxecoburggotski proposed at the Trieste Central European Initiative summit that the EU accept the "political integration" of candidate countries before their "economic integration." The proposal was advanced just hours after Verheugen rejected Vedrine's suggestion. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [49] There is no End Note today.

    26-11-01

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


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