History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 126, 06 July 1993



RUSSIA



DEMOCRATS THINK OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Reformers in the entourage
of President Boris Yeltsin are preparing themselves for future
presidential elections and have started to set up individual
party structures, Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta on 2 July reported.
Former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis is creating a party
for intellectuals, former Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar hopes
to organize his electoral campaign with the help of an analytical
center, managed by former chief of the government apparatus,
Aleksei Golovkov, and the co-founder of the Democratic Russia
Movement, Arkadii Murashov. Another political party is being
created by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai who, according
to the newspaper, is distancing himself from other democrats
in Yeltsin's camp. Shakhrai is said to be planning a coalition
with economist Grigorii Yavlinsky. Alexander Rahr

YELTSIN, KHASBULATOV TAKE EACH OTHER TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
On 5 July ITAR-TASS cited the press center of the Constitutional
Court as saying that both the president and speaker of the parliament
have appealed to the Court with complaints against each other.
Yeltsin objects to the law on parliamentary guards, adopted by
the parliament on 28 April and published in Rossiiskaya gazeta
on 30 June, bearing Yeltsin's own signature. The speaker, Ruslan
Khasbulatov, claims that the president violated the rights of
Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, when the latter was deprived
of his office, bodyguards, personal physician and all his official
duties. Julia Wishnevsky

YAKOVLEV CLEARED AS "CIA AGENT OF INFLUENCE." The office of the
Russian Prosecutor-General has found no evidence to confirm the
allegations of the former KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov concerning
former Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev, Russian TV newscasts
reported on 5 July. Writing in Sovetskaya Rossiya on 12 February,
Kryuchkov claimed that Yakovlev was recruited by the American
intelligence services as an "agent of influence" as early as
the late 1950s, when he was an exchange student at Columbia University.
Acting on behalf of the CIA, Kryuchkov wrote, Yakovlev engineered
the collapse of the Warsaw pact, as well as of the Soviet Union
and the CPSU. Kryuchkov is currently on trial as a leader of
the August 1991 attempted coup d'etat, and his story about Yakovlev
appeared to have been prepared as part of his defense at the
trial, which is expected to resume on 7 July. Julia Wishnevsky


BACK TO THE GOSPLAN? WRITING IN IZVESTIYA OF 29 JUNE, MIKHAIL
BERGER SEES THE DRAFT RUSSIAN FEDERATION LAW "ON THE FUNDAMENTALS
OF INDICATIVE PLANNING AND THE FORECASTING OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT" AS A "CONFIDENT" MOVE BY THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMICS
IN THE DIRECTION OF THE RESTORATION OF STATE PLANNING. The draft
envisages a system of economic regulators consisting of a "package
of physical, value, and normative factors." On the basis of the
reported intentions of private firms, the Ministry intends to
make forecasts covering one year, 3-5 years, and 10-15 years,
and to issue "indicative plan targets." A new newspaper, Ekonomika
i Upravleniye, will carry out explanatory work about the "restoration
of the manageability of the economy as a unified national economic
complex under market conditions." It was not immediately clear
how the draft law relates to the government resolution on forecasting
socio-economic development and integrated measures for the state
regulation of the Russian economy in 1994 that was announced
by Russia's Radio on 18 June. Keith Bush

NEW PRICES FOR "ZHIGULIS." With effect from 1 July, the wholesale
and retail prices of VAZ automobiles were to be raised for the
tenth time since January 1991, Economic News Agency reported
on 22 June. The new retail prices ranged from 2,530,000 rubles
for the VAZ-1111 (roughly $2,400 at the current rate of exchange)
to 8,470,000 rubles for the VAZ-21099 (about $8,000). No mention
was made of whether the new vehicles are available at the list
price. Keith Bush

SVERDLOVSK LEADER SAYS YELTSIN NOT CONSULTED ON REGION'S STATUS.
The chairman of the Sverdlovsk regional council Anatolii Grebenkin
told Ekho Moskvy radio on 5 July that President Yeltsin had not
been consulted before the council proclaimed the region to be
the "Ural republic." Grebenkin said the decision reflected "the
will of the population" and the social needs of the region. The
Sverdlovsk authorities put an additional question about the upgrading
of the region's status on the 25 April referendum and the majority
of participants voted in favor. Grebenkin's statement came in
response to charges made by Vice President Rutskoi during his
trip to Novosibirsk on 5 July that the Sverdlovsk authorities
had secured Yeltsin's permission prior to announcing the region's
new status. Vera Tolz

KALMYKIA CLAIMS PART OF ASTRAKHAN OBLAST. Kalmykia is claiming
390,000 square kilometers of the territory of neighboring Astrakhan
oblast, Trud reported on 2 July. Kalmykia bases its claim on
the 9 January 1957 decree recreating the Kalmyk republic, which
had been abolished when the Kalmyks were deported by Stalin in
1943. The frontier stipulated in the decree was never legalized,
however, as the Astrakhan oblast soviet refused to sign the relevant
document, Trud added. At an extraordinary session of the Astrakhan
oblast soviet on 30 June the Kalmyk claim, which had first been
made in 1992, was rejected on the basis of a USSR Council of
Ministers decree of 28 May 1954 under which the disputed lands
were awarded to the kolkhozes of Astrakhan oblast. According
to Trud, a number of local observers do not exclude a serious
exacerbation of the situation since Kalmykia has said it regards
the disputed territory as part of Kalmykia with effect from 1
July. Ann Sheehy

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



SHELL NARROWLY MISSES SHEVARDNADZE; HEAVY FIGHTING CONTINUES.
Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze narrowly missed
being hit by shrapnel from an Abkhaz shell, as he traveled by
car late on 4 July to the town of Shroma to talk with Georgian
soldiers there, Reuters reported. Heavy fighting continued on
5 July as Georgian forces launched a counter-offensive and captured
the village of Argubedia, three miles west of Tkvarcheli, Western
press agencies reported. Early on 5 July, Abkhaz forces attempted
a second time to land by sea near the town of Ochamchira, eighty
kilometers south of Sukhumi. The Georgian Defense Ministry reported
that Georgian forces repelled the attack. ITAR-TASS reported
that Abkhazian forces claim they now control a thirteen kilometer
corridor of the road from Sukhumi south to Ochamchira, the Georgian-held
capital's only land connection with the rest of Georgia. Georgia,
however, claims to control the entire stretch. Officials from
both sides stated that hundreds of casualties have occurred in
the last two days of fighting. Catherine Dale

REFUGEES FLEE AGDAM AS ARMENIANS ADVANCE. Western journalists
reported on 5 July that Azerbaijani refugees, including many
young soldiers, were fleeing the town of Agdam east of Nagorno-Karabakh
to escape Armenian shelling; an RFE/RL correspondent reported
that Prime Minister Surat Huseinov had arrived in the region
with troops to coordinate the Azerbaijani defense. The head of
the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Committee (the acting government)
stated on 5 July that Karabakh forces had no intention of occupying
Agdam, but aimed merely to counter an Azerbaijani offensive and
destroy Azerbaijani artillery posts, Snark News Agency reported.
Liz Fuller

CSCE MEDIATOR CANCELS VISIT. A planned visit to Azerbaijan and
Armenia by Mario Raffaelli, the CSCE chief negotiator for the
Karabakh conflict, that was due to begin on 5 July has been postponed
indefinitely, ITAR-TASS reported. Azerbaijan Supreme Soviet chairman
Geidar Aliev expressed disappointment at this decision, which
he suspected had been made on the basis of erroneous media reports
on 4 July that Agdam had fallen to the Armenian advance. Aliev
accused the CSCE of distancing itself from the conflict and leaving
Azerbaijan at the mercy of Armenia. He also expressed dissatisfaction
with the tripartite US-Russian-Turkish peace initiative, according
to AzerTadzh. Liz Fuller

ARMENIAN COMMUNIST PARTY CALLS FOR RECOGNITION OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH
REPUBLIC. The Armenian Communist Party Central Committee Buro
has called on the Armenian government to extend official diplomatic
recognition to the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
(NKR), and for the simultaneous signing of a bilateral treaty
on friendship, cooperation and mutual security between the NKR
and Armenia, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 July. The NKR unilaterally
declared its independence from Azerbaijan on the basis of a referendum
in December 1991; the Armenian government has consistently stated
that it will grant the NKR official recognition only after another
state has done so. Liz Fuller

DISPUTE OVER JOINT VENTURE IN KYRGYZSTAN. A commission of Kyrgyzstan's
Supreme Soviet has appealed to the country's population for backing
in its demand that a major joint venture be canceled, ITAR-TASS
reported on 5 July. The commission, responsible for overseeing
Kyrgyzstan's gold reserves, claims that the venture, in which
Kyrgyzstan's government and the Canadian firm Cameco plan to
develop gold deposits at Kumtor, will involve very little investment
in Kyrgyzstan's economy and will result in the plundering of
Kyrgyzstan's natural wealth. According to the report, the commission
found little support from the government for its complaints and
therefore turned to the general population. The commission's
complaints are typical of those of many Central Asians who fear
that foreign investors will take advantage of their inexperience.
In the case of Kyrgyzstan, the legislature tends to be more conservative
in its attitude to economic reform than is the government. Bess
Brown

KAZAKHSTAN'S VICE-PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SHOCK THERAPY. Kazakhstan's
Vice-President Erik Asanbaev rejected the applicability to Kazakhstan
of the Swedish development model and called for "shock therapy"
such as used in Poland, Radio Mayak reported on 4 July. Asanbaev,
addressing a seminar on privatization that was being held in
Kustanai, said that the country's most urgent economic task is
to control inflation through strict financial and credit policies,
freezing wages and freeing prices. Some basic foodstuffs, including
bread, are still heavily subsidized by the state. In his remarks
at the seminar Asanbaev also charged that Russia is pushing the
other CIS countries out of the ruble zone, a complaint made recently
by other top leaders of Kazakhstan. Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



WILL CROATIA SWAP LAND WITH THE SERBS? THE BBC'S CROATIAN SERVICE
REPORTED ON 5 JULY THAT PRESIDENT FRANJO TUDJMAN'S WEEKLY PRESS
CONFERENCE WAS DOMINATED BY A DISCUSSION OF REPORTS THAT HE HAD
AGREED TO AN EXCHANGE OF TERRITORY WITH RADOVAN KARADZIC'S BOSNIAN
"SERBIAN REPUBLIC." Apparently the Serbs want access to the Adriatic
and, in return, would give the Croats the strategic high ground
above Dubrovnik. It is not clear whether this would be a one-off
arrangement or, as many suspect, a prelude to a wholesale redrawing
of borders. The latter concept is backed by the Herzegovinian
Croats and, reportedly, by Tudjman himself, but is considerably
less popular in the Republic of Croatia, within the professional
military, and among Bosnian Croats. Tudjman said he had agreed
to talks proposed by the Serbian side but nothing had been decided.
Reporters reminded him that any such formal exchange would have
to be approved by parliament, but it is easy to see that it could
be carried out on the ground by Tudjman and Karadzic giving orders
to local commanders to execute a fait accompli. Many believe
that such quiet exchanges of territory have already taken place,
as when Croatian forces evacuated Bosanski Brod to Serbian units.
Patrick Moore

UNION POWER IN CROATIA. A high rate of inflation, cuts in subsidies
by a government sorely strapped for cash, and questions about
the ethics involved in the government's privatization program
have all helped fuel a wave a strikes in Croatia over recent
months. Amid growing popular concerns about a falling standard
of living, support seems to be rising for the unions and their
leaderships. On 4 July Vecernji list ran a poll showing that
over 70% of respondents were either satisfied or completely satisfied
with the unions' performance, and over 60% had confidence in
union leaderships. Only 3% blamed the unions for the current
bad relations between the unions and the government, while 42%
placed responsibility with the authorities and 45% said that
both sides were guilty. Another 45% said the current wave of
strikes was justified, against 40% who said it was not. Croatian
unions have generally been less assertive than those in some
other former communist countries, but that trend may become history.
Patrick Moore

DRASKOVIC UPDATE. Belgrade media report that Vuk Draskovic, leader
of the main opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), was visited
by former federal President Dobrica Cosic on 4 July. Sources
say that during the 30 minute meeting, Cosic urged the SPO leader
to end his hunger strike. In an open letter to the public on
2 July, Draskovic said he is "prepared to die." B92 reported
on 4 July that Draskovic and his wife Danica were briefly reunited
for the first time since their arrest on 2 June. Both were badly
beaten by police and last week were officially charged for inciting
a riot and assaulting a policeman. Relatives told reporters the
couple hardly talked, crying for most of time. Meanwhile, Serbia's
Supreme Court is expected to rule on 6 July whether police can
continue to hold the Draskovices after a Belgrade district court
ruled on 1 July that they should remain confined for another
month. Defense attorneys filed a complaint with the high court
saying there are no legal grounds for the confinement. International
media reported that on 5 July Danielle Mitterand, wife of the
French President, and the French Justice Minister arrived in
Belgrade, planning to work for the Draskovices' release. Milan
Andrejevich

"RADIO BROD" READY TO RESUME BROADCAST. B92 and French media
report on 4 July that the International Telecommunications Union
(ITU) has given a green light for the EC-funded "Radio Brod"
to resume broadcasting to the Yugoslav area. On 1 July, the ITU
ruled in favor of Serbian complaints that the radio ship violated
international laws governing radio frequencies and revoked the
ship's registration. Belgrade and Podgorica complained in May
that "Radio Brod" repeatedly interfered with Radio Montenegro's
signal. An ITU spokesman stated that the ship can resume broadcasting
only if it transmits from territorial waters of a foreign country,
such as Italy. The ship is currently docked in Italy for refueling
and restocking of supplies for the ten-member staff of journalists
from the former Yugoslavia. Milan Andrejevich.

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT RETURNS FROM RUSSIA. Hungarian President
Arpad Goncz returned on 5 July from a two-week tour of the Russian
Federation, MTI reports. Goncz told Radio Budapest following
a meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin that Hungarian-Russian
relations were good, and that Hungary intended to further develop
relations with Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and the regions where
the Finno-Ugric peoples live. Goncz stressed that Russia must
play a key role in the peaceful resolution of the Balkan crisis,
and asked for Yeltsin's help in accelerating the return of Hungarian
art treasures taken to the Soviet Union during the 1940s. Yeltsin
told Goncz that Russia would like to pay off its remaining debt
to Hungary through deliveries of arms and spare parts, according
to the daily Magyar Nemzet of July 5. The Hungarian government
has recently authorized an $800-million deal under which Russia
would deliver aircraft to Hungary in return for a partial cancellation
of former Soviet debts. Edith Oltay

PROTEST AGAINST DRAFT LAW ON RELIGION. The Openness Club, a media
organization set up in the late 1980s to defend freedom of speech,
has collected over 60,000 signatures on a statement protesting
against a draft law on religion that would impose stricter requirements
on religious communities wishing to register as Churches, MTI
reports. The draft law stipulates that would-be Churches provide
the courts that register them with a summary of their religious
teachings, and that those teachings may not offend "generally
accepted moral values." The draft raises the number of members
required to register as a Church from 100 to 10,000 but exempts
from this requirement Churches which have been in Hungary for
over 100 years. The draft was submitted to parliament by four
coalition deputies in response to the great increase in the number
of sects that have registered as Churches since a liberal law
on religion took effect in 1990. Representatives of the major
opposition parties condemn the draft as an attempt to restrict
the freedom of religion, and to discriminate against small religious
communities. Edith Oltay

HUNGARIAN SLOVAKS PUSH FOR RETROACTIVE NAME REGISTRATION. Arpad
Duka Zolyomi, vice chairman of the Hungarian Coexistence Political
Movement in Slovakia, announced on Slovak Hungarian-language
radio on 5 July that ethnic Hungarian deputies in the Slovak
parliament will try to include a provision for the retroactive
registration of non-Slovak names in the 6 July session. The original
government proposal, which was submitted last month but delayed
until 6 July after requests from Hungarian representatives, allowed
only new-born children to register non-Slovak names. As a condition
for membership into the Council of Europe last week, Slovak representatives
vowed to implement laws protecting minority rights. Sharon Fisher


ROMANIAN OPPOSITION OFFERS TALKS TO RULING PARTY. Leaders of
the National Peasant Party--Christian Democratic told journalists
on 5 July that their party was now open to coalition talks with
all non-extremist parties, including the ruling Democratic National
Salvation Front. NPPCD president Corneliu Coposu, who is also
a leading figure in the centrist Democratic Convention of Romania,
was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying that the fall of the
current cabinet headed by Nicolae Vacaroiu was only a question
of time. Coposu and two other NPPCD leaders suggested that their
organization was interested in joining a future coalition government
on condition of being offered real decision-making powers. They
also excluded any cooperation with the extremist parties on whose
support the DNSF currently depends in parliament. In a first
reaction to those statements, a DNSF spokesman welcomed the change
in the opposition's attitude but added that any talks must wait
at least until after the front's oncoming congress, scheduled
to begin on 9 July. A recent poll showed that 62% of the respondents
were dissatisfied with Vacaroiu's cabinet. Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT EVALUATES VAT MOVE. On 5 July Prime Minister
Nicolae Vacaroiu and Finance Minister Florin Georgescu met with
experts in charge with coordinating the new value-added tax system.
Vacaroiu called for more technical support to the trade agents,
as well as for better public information about the impact of
VAT on prices. Romania introduced an 18% VAT on most goods on
1 July. The tax, which replaced the turnover tax of the communist
era, was described by cabinet officials as a modern taxation
system which helped prevent fiscal fraud. The 1 July move had
been preceded by a month-long publicity campaign, hailing VAT
as "a certificate for Europe." Dan Ionescu

VAT IN FORCE IN POLAND. Poland's new value-added tax (VAT) took
effect on 5 July. The VAT, which supersedes the anachronistic
turnover tax, is designed to reduce tax evasion and bring Poland's
taxation system into conformity with EC standards. The standard
VAT rate is 22%, but a lower, preferential rate of 7% is in force
on foods and other basic goods. Exports are totally exempted.
Finance ministry officials expressed satisfaction that a feared
avalanche of price hikes had not materialized, but cautioned
that a final balance could only be drawn in a few weeks' time.
The government anticipates an added inflationary kick of only
1.5% from the introduction of the VAT, Rzeczpospolita reported.
Last-minute shopping expeditions caused traffic jams on the German-Polish
border over the weekend, but these were reported cleared up by
5 July. Excise taxes on gasoline, automobiles, tobacco, and alcohol
also took effect on 5 July, Western agencies report. Louisa Vinton


SOLIDARITY DEPUTIES JOIN BBWR. A group of twelve former deputies
and senators from the Solidarity trade union announced on 5 July
that they will run for parliament as members of President Lech
Walesa's Nonparty Bloc to Support Reform (BBWR). Members of the
group had voted in the old Sejm in favor of the government and
against the orders of the union's national leadership on several
issues, including the 1993 budget and mass privatization. They
were censured for disloyalty at Solidarity's recent national
congress. The group's leader, Bogdan Borusewicz, explained the
decision to join the BBWR as meant to shape the president's bloc
into a proreform force. He said the Solidarity group would represent
labor interests, but without limiting itself simply to making
demands. Borusewicz, a longtime Walesa friend, was one of Solidarity's
founders in 1980. Polish TV reported that the Convention of Polish
Entrepreneurs, an organization representing private business,
also voted on 5 July to endorse the BBWR. Louisa Vinton

CZECH-SLOVAK BORDER CONTRASTED WITH SCHENGEN AGREEMENT. Czech
Interior Minister Jan Ruml was asked by CTK on 2 July why the
Czechs were calling for a highly policed Czech-Slovak border,
in contrast to the nine countries of the West European Schengen
Group which will be dismantling all border controls on 1 December.
Ruml replied that the Czech Republic is a Central European state
which is not economically, financially and legislatively prepared
to handle illegal immigration and therefore has to implement
strong controls on the entry of citizens of third countries.
Ruml underscored that "the states of the Schengen Group are removing
controls among each other, but the state farthest to the East
in the group, Germany, is intensively strengthening its eastern
borders." Milada Vachudova

UKRAINIAN-SLOVAK BORDER BLOCKED. Truck drivers blocked traffic
on both sides of the main Ukrainian-Slovak border crossing on
5 July, Slovak media sources report. The dispute stems from last
week's imposition of an insurance fee for Slovak and Czech drivers
crossing into Ukraine, which is $250 for cars and $430 to $450
for trucks. The Ukrainian tax was introduced after a similar
charge was implemented in Slovakia last month. Previously the
rate was approximately $50. Local authorities from the two countries
are presently discussing a resolution. Sharon Fisher

CZECH COMMUNIST PARTY MAY SPLINTER EVEN FURTHER. At a press conference
on 3 July, the new chairman of the Czech Communist party, Miroslav
Grebenicek, declared that "no division of the party is taking
place" and that dialogue will be conducted with all currents
within the party, especially the Left Bloc. About 20 parliamentary
deputies are considering forming the Left Bloc Party, led by
Jaroslav Ortman. According to their spokesman Vlastislav Kuchar,
Left Bloc members do not consider the division of the Communist
Party to be inevitable and are willing to hold talks on reforming
the party, CTK reported. Another group split from the Communist
Party at its congress on 26-27 June. Dissatisfied with the neo-Stalinist
tilt of the party, about seventy delegates decided to form the
Party of the Democratic Left. Milada Vachudova

AUSTRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS CZECH REPUBLIC. During his visit
to the Czech Republic on 2 July, Austrian Foreign Minister Alois
Mock met with Czech President Vaclav Havel to discuss political
developments in Central Europe, especially the issue of minorities.
Mock later met with Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and Foreign
Minister Josef Zieleniec; the talks focused on economic relations
between the two countries and concerns about the Czech nuclear
power plant Temelin near the Austrian border. Zieleniec and Mock
advocated the creation of an early warning system for hazardous
radioactivity levels in Central Europe, CTK reports. Mock was
very receptive to a Czech proposal for Austrian cooperation with
the Visegrad group. Milada Vachudova

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON US POLITICAL, SECURITY ROLE. In an address
on American Independence Day (4 July), carried by Moldovapres,
Mircea Snegur said the US political and economic system represents
"a model for the countries that recently broke free from totalitarianism
and committed themselves to democratic principles, but face stubborn
resistance from revanchist forces." He also said, "an active
US role in helping to settle local conflicts, redefine NATO's
scope and tasks, and construct a new security system in Europe
is one of the main guarantees of our country's independence."
Vladimir Socor

EEC VOICES CONCERN OVER MOLDOVANS ON TRIAL. In a communique issued
in Brussels and reported by Moldovan media on 5 July, the European
Community's Directors for European Political Cooperation expressed
concern over the fate of six Moldovans facing the death penalty
on charges of terrorism by an unlawful "Dniester republic" court.
The communique urged that the six accused (who have been imprisoned
for over a year in Tiraspol) be remanded to the lawful Moldovan
judicial authorities. Failure to do so will adversely affect
the negotiations on the political status of Moldova's Transdniester
area, the communique said. The Council of Europe, Helsinki Watch,
and Amnesty International have issued similar appeals. Vladimir
Socor

LATVIA PAYS GAS DEBT TO RUSSIA. On 5 July, using a foreign credit,
Latvia sent $4 million to the St. Petersburg concern, Lentransgaz,
to complete the payment of its debt for gas, ITAR-TASS reported.
Several days earlier Latvia had transferred $500,000 to the concern.
Latvian Gas director general Adrians Davis was to hold talks
that day with Lentransgaz director Petr Rodionov on settling
claims of $12 million penalties for late payment. Saulius Girnius


ESTONIAN PRESIDENT TO DECIDE ON LAW ON ALIENS TODAY. President
Lennart Meri told RFE/RL's Estonian Service on 5 July that he
would announce his decision on signing the controversial law
on aliens that the parliament had passed on 21 June shortly before
midnight (21:00 GMT) on 6 July. Meri said this was within the
14-day constitutional limit for he had received the law only
on 22 June. If Meri does not sign the law, it will automatically
be sent back to parliament for reconsideration. Meri had delayed
any action on the law awaiting official comments on it from the
CSCE and the Council of Europe. CSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities Max van der Stoel advised Meri not to sign the law,
but to send it back to parliament with suggested amendments that
would make it more acceptable to the Russian-speaking residents
who are not Estonian citizens. Saulius Girnius

BULGARIA SEEKS COMPENSATION OVER EMBARGO. Bulgaria is renewing
demands for compensation against the impact of its implementing
sanctions on rump Yugoslavia, insisting that those measures are
proving ruinous for the Bulgarian economy. On 29 June Bulgaria's
government recommended to parliament that it postpone making
interest payments on the country's debt until September, indicating
that the effects of the sanctions have made it impossible for
Sofia to meet payment deadlines. Demands for a transport corridor
through Serbian territory have also been renewed, Reuters said.
On 5 July Western banks carrying the Bulgarian debt responded
to Sofia's decision to withhold interest payments by asking for
an explanation of what prompted the action, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. Stan Markotich

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by John Lepingwell and Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

RFE/RL Daily Report

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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