The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 129, 09 July 1993



RUSSIA



G-7 SUMMIT PROMISES AID FOR RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION. The final
summit communique, carried by Western agencies on 9 July, committed
the G-7 nations to creating a special privatization and restructuring
program for Russia. The program is expected to mobilize the sum
of $3 billion and is focused on an initial period to the end
of 1994. The amount is less than the US had hoped for, but more
than was expected prior to the summit, and its projected disbursement
is more rapid than earlier plans had assumed. The Wall Street
Journal of 9/10 July provides a breakdown of the fund: $500 million
in grants and technical assistance to newly privatized enterprises;
$1 billion in export credits; $1 billion in loans to enterprises
from the World Bank and EBRD; and $500 million in World Bank
loans to help local governments take over social services now
provided by enterprises. The US share is $375 million. -Keith
Bush

STANKEVICH ON RECREATION OF A NEW GREAT POWER. Presidential advisor
Sergei Stankevich believes that a new kind of union, with Russia
at its center, could be resurrected in the not too distant future.
He told Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta on 7 July that those leaders
of the former Soviet republics who struggled for independence
at all cost are currently stepping down. Stankevich also claimed
that all former republics, except the three Baltic States, may
rejoin in the future and that Russia's historical task is now
to stabilize itself in its present borders and than conduct a
gradual "economic and cultural expansion" into the "near abroad."
-Alexander Rahr

KHASBULATOV SEEKS SHAKHRAI'S DISMISSAL. Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai, one of Yeltsin's closest allies, came under
attack in the Russian parliament on 8 July for his allegations
that the parliament was trying to embarrass Yeltsin during his
visit to the G-7 summit in Tokyo. According to an RFE/RL correspondent
in Moscow, parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov proposed
a motion to dismiss Shakhrai from the government but this was
rejected by the deputies. The parliamentary press service also
attacked Shakhrai, saying that he represented political and economic
extremists. Shakhrai's had criticized the parliament on July
7 for debating a draft statement that would have made all international
loans to Russia subject to prior parliamentary approval and would
have forbade the use of Russian natural resources and land as
collateral for such loans. -Dominic Gualtieri

KHASBULATOV FEELS THREATENED. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
fears for his life, according to Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta on
8 July. Khasbulatov is planning to move out of his luxury apartment
on Shchusev street, once built for former Soviet leader Leonid
Brezhnev. He does not feel safe in the apartment because other
apartments in that building, which were formerly occupied by
party officials, have now been sold to Russian businessmen. The
head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Evgenii Primakov,
has also moved out of that building. Khasbulatov is regarded
by Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev as his personal enemy because
he is convinced that Khasbulatov is organizing a plot against
him. -Alexander Rahr

CIVIC UNION PROPOSES NEW ECONOMIC UNION. Civic Union has proposed
holding a referendum this autumn in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
and Kazakhstan simultaneously on the creation of an economic
union between these four republics, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 July.
Civic Union claims that the leaders of the centrist forces in
Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are supporting this initiative.
Civic Union also called for the formation of an All-Russian Economic
Assembly (analogous to the All-Russian Constitutional Assembly)
in order to find a mutual agreement on future economic reform.
In a statement, Civic Union criticized those radical democrats
who had attacked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for his participation
in the economic round-table organized jointly by the government
and the parliament. -Alexander Rahr

DISARRAY IN CIVIC UNION. At a conference of the Moscow organization
of Civic Union, Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi appealed for
consolidation of all centrist forces in view of future elections.
The leader of the Democratic Party, Nikolai Travkin, said that
certain politicians seek to use the Civic Union bloc for their
personal ambitions and that his party will therefore conduct
its electoral campaign outside the bloc. The leader of the Moscow
organization of Civic Union and head of the Moscow City Council,
Nikolai Gonchar, sided with Rutskoi and emphasized that the leadership
of Civic Union should take into account the opinion of the regional
organizations, the majority of which advocate a consolidation
of all centrist parties in the bloc. -Alexander Rahr

CIVIC UNION LEADS IN MOSCOW REGIONAL OPINION POLL. The Russian
Ministry of Social Protection has conducted an opinion poll on
political preferences among the population of the Moscow region,
Radio Rossii's "Panorama Podmoskovya" reported on 8 July. The
results of the poll showed that if elections were held today,
the centrist Civic Union would receive 26%, the democrats 12%
and the national-Bolsheviks 3% of the voters' support. During
a previous poll among the same population in January 1993, 18%
of those questioned favored the Civic Union and 9% the democrats.
Voters in the Moscow region are in many respects more conservatively
minded than the Moscow urban population. -Alexander Rahr

MALAYSIA HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ON MIGS? AFP REPORTED ON 8 JULY
THAT MALAYSIA'S DEFENSE MINISTER HAD DECIDED TO SEND AN AIR FORCE
TEAM TO MOSCOW TO EVALUATE IN GREATER DETAIL THE TECHNOLOGY FOUND
ON THE 18 MIG-29 FIGHTER JETS THAT MALAYSIA PLANS TO BUY FROM
RUSSIA. Although the sale was reported on 29 June to have been
finalized, the latest report suggests that the government in
Kuala Lumpur is still hesitating over concerns about the plane's
safety and performance. According to the Malaysian Defense Minister,
the sale would only be confirmed if Russia could adhere to a
set of conditions set by Malaysia that included warranties on
improved performance and guarantees of future maintenance and
technology transfers. The latest developments suggest that disorganization
in the Russian defense complex continues to undermine efforts
to market complex Russian weapons systems abroad. If finally
completed, the sale would represent a major breakthrough for
Russia into the lucrative South East Asian arms market. -Stephen
Foye

PACIFIC FLEET TO PROTECT MERCHANT VESSELS. The Russian Naval
Command announced on 8 July that vessels from the Pacific Fleet
would henceforth ensure the safety of Russian merchant vessels
in the East China Sea. The action followed the 7 July boarding
of a Russian ship by the crew of what was described by ITAR-TASS
as a Chinese border vessel. The attack was only the latest in
a series of incidents involving Chinese coast guard vessels and
Russian merchant ships. According to ITAR-TASS, Russian spokesmen
expressed concern that the Russian navy could not guarantee the
full safety of Russian merchant ships operating in the areas.
-Stephen Foye

BREAKTHROUGH NEAR ON RUSSIAN ROCKET SALE? US GOVERNMENT SPOKESMEN
IN TOKYO SAID ON 9 JULY THAT A RESOLUTION OF THE RUSSIAN-AMERICAN
DISPUTE OVER A PROPOSED SALE BY MOSCOW OF ROCKET TECHNOLOGY TO
INDIA MAY BE IN THE OFFING. According to Reuters, Russian officials
arriving with Boris Yeltsin in Tokyo for the G-7 Summit suggested
privately to the US delegation that Moscow was eager to make
a deal. While the US officials said that the development was
a good sign, they cautioned that differences over nettlesome
technical details could still scuttle an agreement. The report
said that the Russian and American presidents would discuss the
issue on 10 July. -Stephen Foye

ENOUGH MONEY IN CIRCULATION SAYS CENTRAL BANK. On 7 July ITAR-TASS
reported that the head of the department of fiscal regulation
at the Russian Central Bank insists that there will not be a
shortage of currency despite the decision to withdraw all Soviet-era
bills from circulation. The official, Anatoly Zinchenko, stated
that the issuing of new bills was proceeding rapidly enough to
satisfy the country's needs. Early in 1992 Russia faced a serious
shortage of paper money as rising prices outstripped the Central
Bank's capacity to print rubles. -Dominic Gualtieri

FIVE DEAD IN PRISON REVOLT. Five inmates were killed on 8 July
when troops of the Russian Interior Ministry ended a riot at
one of the country's last remaining labor camps. Ostankino television
reported that more than 1500 prisoners took part in the violence
sparked by harsh living conditions at the camp situated 100 km
from Moscow. The prison is inhabited by criminals convicted of
serious offenses such as murder and rape. -Dominic Gualtieri


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



ARMENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON THE WAY OUT? ON 6 JULY RADIO EREVAN
AND THE SNARK NEWS AGENCY REPORTED RUMORS THAT DEFENSE MINISTER
VAZGEN MANUKYAN IS "ON VACATION", AND HIS POWERS HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED
TO HIS FIRST DEPUTY, GENERAL NORAT TER-GRIGORYANTS, PENDING MANUKYAN'S
IMMINENT DISMISSAL. On 8 July ITAR-TASS quoted the Dashnak newspaper
Erkir as reporting that Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan
had asked Manukyan to resign and offered him an alternative ministerial
or ambassadorial post, but that Manukyan had replied that it
would be immoral to resign during the period of creating a national
army, when "he is sending men to the front line" -an implicit
admission of military involvement by the Republic of Armenia
in the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. One of the co-founders,
in 1988 with Ter-Petrossyan of the Karabakh Committee, Manukyan
has had serious policy disagreements with the Armenian President
in the past. -Liz Fuller

ABKHAZ UPDATE. Abkhaz forces continued their assault on the Georgian-held
city of Sukhumi on 8 July, taking control of its hydro-electric
plant and key strategic hills, ITAR-TASS reported. Abkhaz troops
have effectively encircled Sukhumi, where Georgian Parliament
Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze remains. The UN Security Council
is scheduled to meet on 9 July to consider a resolution which
would provide for the dispatch of fifty UN military observers
to Georgia as soon as a ceasefire holds. -Catherine Dale

AZERBAIJAN'S NEW POLITICAL OPPOSITION. In an interview with ITAR-TASS
on 8 July, the press secretary of the Party of National Independence
of Azerbaijan has revealed more details of the growing rift between
the party's chairman, Etibar Mamedov, and Supreme Soviet chairman
Geidar Aliev. A former Aliev ally, Mamedov had been tipped to
become Prime Minister, but that post was given to rebel leader
Surat Huseinov. Aliev subsequently rejected Mamedov's proposal
to form a coalition government of national reconciliation and
to hold new parliamentary elections, whereupon the National Independence
Party decided not to participate in the new government but to
remain in opposition. -Liz Fuller

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



END-GAME IN BOSNIA? INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ON 8 JULY REPORTED THAT
RADIO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA QUOTED STATEMENTS FROM PRESIDENT ALIJA
IZETBEGOVIC TO THE EFFECT THAT HE MAY NOW BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT
THE PARTITION OF HIS WAR-TORN REPUBLIC. He had previously refused
to consider the idea of transforming Bosnia into a confederation
based on ethnic units on the grounds that the population lives
so intermixed that such a division would only serve to sanction
new ethnic cleansing. He again called such a partition "an ugly
option," but added: "if the choice is either to accept such a
division or be dragged into a war without end...we will not go
in a direction that will lead us into a war without end. We are
not going to commit suicide." -Patrick Moore

CROATIAN UPDATE. The 2 July issue of Globus carries a poll on
Croatian attitudes toward renewing the war with the republic's
Serb rebels, who control about a quarter of its territory. Some
70 percent of respondents said they were "for liberating the
occupied territories by force," and 57 percent added that they
and family members would be willing to participate in the war
personally. Opinion was more divided over the nature of the war
itself, with 43 percent saying it would be over in six months
to a year, and 31 percent feeling that the conflict would be
long-term. Zagreb dailies on 7 and 8-July reported on power shortages
that hit that city and other parts of central Croatia and Slavonia
on 6 July. -Patrick Moore

DRASKOVIC NEAR DEATH. On 8 and 9 July Radio Serbia and international
media quoted doctors treating jailed opposition leader Vuk Draskovic
as saying that he is near death. According to a statement from
the Serbian Renewal Movement, their leader's condition deteriorated
to a point where he was unable to talk to his family and international
mediator Lord Owen. Serbia's opposition, church leaders, Crown
Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, international leaders, and
human rights groups have pleaded with Draskovic to end his hunger
strike. On 8 July, Radical leader Vojislav Seselj called for
Draskovic's pardon and Director of the Jewish Documentation Center
in Vienna, Simon Wiesenthal, joined a list of international figures
who have called on Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic to spare
Draskovic on humanitarian grounds. Milosevic has stated that
matter is in the hands of the Supreme Court. Milan Andrejevich


SERBIAN OPPOSITION SUPPORT BORBA. Serbian democratic opposition
parties are backing journalists and the chief editor of Borba
in its fight to survive as the only independent daily in rump
Yugoslavia. Parties of the coalition Democratic Movement of Serbia
(DEPOS), the Democratic Party and the Citizens' Alliance oppose
plans for nationalization of the daily and replacement of chief
editor Manojlo Vukotic. On 8 July Borba published an appeal signed
by 72 Borba journalists who called on the international community
to support their struggle against the regime. Meanwhile Borba
reports on 9 July that Vukotic has been replaced by Slavko Curuvija,
a Borba journalist and commentator, who will serve as acting
chief editor. -Milan Andrejevich

BULGARIA DISPUTES CHARGE OF SANCTIONS BUSTING. Reuters reported
on 8 July that the Bulgarian government's press center refuted
a BBC television report on 13 May alleging that goods were getting
into Serbia from Bulgaria in violation of the UN embargo. The
press center argued that supplies from Bulgaria were heading
into the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Macedonia, and
Slovenia and that since none of them were destined for Serbia,
Bulgaria had contravened no UN resolutions. -Stan Markotich.


ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ATTEMPTS TO DIFFUSE TENSIONS WITH GREECE.
After two weeks of strained relations between the two countries,
Albanian President Sali Berisha has reiterated an earlier call
for a settlement of disputes. Problems continue to revolve around
Albania's expulsion of an Orthodox cleric on 25-June and Greece's
subsequent decision to begin deporting illegal Albanian refugees
living in Greece. Berisha, who had previously suggested that
Greece sought to destabilize Albania, has called for a "fresh
climate of understanding," according to a 8 July Reuters report.
He also called Greek accusations that Tirana was issuing demands
for the normalization of relations a "misunderstanding." After
meetings with leaders of the Greek minority Berisha pledged that
"they will have all their rights respected and fulfilled," but
added that Greece should distance itself from nationalist groups
calling for the annexation of southern Albania. -Robert Austin


LATVIAN PRIME MINISTER APPROVED. On 8 July the Saeima approved
the recommendation of President Guntis Ulmanis to appoint former
Latvian Supreme Council Deputy Chairman Valdis Birkavs as Prime
Minister, RFE/RL's Latvian Service reports. Birkavs said that
his cabinet will have 12 ministers, five of whom, all members
of Latvia's Way, have already agreed to serve. Foreign Minister
Georgs Andrejevs will retain his post. The new ministers will
be Ojars Kehris (Economics), Maris Gailis (State Reform), Egils
Levits (Justice), and Uldis Osis (Finance). Although the Saeima
will hold its next session on 13 July, Birkavs is expected to
present his full cabinet for approval on 15 July. -Saulius Girnius


HUNGARY DEVALUES FORINT. At its July 8 session, the Hungarian
Central Bank Council decided to devalue the forint by 3% and
to raise the open-market interest rate used by banks borrowing
money from the National Bank by 3%, MTI reports. Hungarian National
Bank president Akos Peter Bod said that the devaluation, Hungary's
fourth this year, was necessary because of a considerable fall
in exports as a result of the recession on foreign trade markets,
several years of drought, and the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia.
The decline in exports could have the effect of increasing the
deficit of the six-month current balance of payments to $1,5
billion, Bod said. The National Bank's first deputy president
Imre Tarafas told Reuters that the devaluation was triggered
by recent dollar advances against European currencies. Hungary
pegs the forint to a currency basket evenly divided between the
dollar and European currency units. -Edith Oltay

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS LAW ON ALIENS. On 8 July a special
session of the Estonian parliament approved, by a vote of 69
to 1, with 2 abstentions, 20 amendments to the law on aliens
as recommended by the CSCE and Council of Europe, RFE/RL's Estonian
Service reports. Most of the changes involved legal terminology
and the main principles of the law were not changed. An article
was added retaining for non-citizens who had arrived before 1
July 1990 all the rights and responsibilities laid down in previous
laws. Residence permits will still be refused to former military
and security workers. President Lennart Meri will have 14 days
to sign the amended law. Efforts to hold another special session
to discuss "illegal actions" of local governments in places like
Narva and Sillamae, which called referendums on local autonomy,
failed because there was no quorum. -Saulius Girnius

WALESA'S BBWR ANNOUNCES ELECTION PROGRAM. The program council
of President Lech Walesa's Nonparty Bloc to Support Reforms (BBWR)
presented its 21-point election program to the public on 8 July.
Speaking for the council, Walesa's economic adviser and former
finance minister Andrzej Olechowski said that the BBWR's objective
is "prosperity and democracy." The preamble states that "the
economy must be a market economy, open and competitive, based
on honesty and respect for the law." In addition to the president's
pet project of long-term low-interest loans to enable "industrious"
citizens to purchase state assets, the 21 points include: the
further strengthening of the zloty, protecting private property,
providing incentives for investment, adapting agriculture to
the demands of the market, and making greater efforts to fight
the "personal and social tragedy" of unemployment. The main political
proposal is the introduction of a "presidential-parliamentary"
system of government. Disputing reporters' suggestions that the
BBWR program resembles left-wing slogans, Olechowski said that
all the two had in common was the Polish language. Indeed, though
worded very generally, the 21 points seem to boil down to an
endorsement of continuity in economic policy. A CBOS opinion
poll reported by PAP on 8 July showed that 36% of those surveyed
think the BBWR is a good idea, 27% think it is a bad idea, and
37% have no opinion. -Louisa Vinton

POLAND AND SLOVAKIA SIGN REPATRIATION AGREEMENT. Polish and Slovak
foreign ministers Krzysztof Skubiszewski and Jozef Moravcik signed
an agreement on the return of illegal immigrants during Skubiszewski's
one-day visit to Slovakia on 8 July, TASR reports. The agreement
allows Poland to return refugees expelled by Germany to Slovakia
if they entered Poland through Slovakia. Slovakia expects to
sign similar agreements with Hungary and Ukraine, Moravcik said.
The two ministers also discussed increasing economic cooperation
in the border region and improving transportation links between
the two nations. -Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PREMIER ENCOURAGES GERMAN INVESTMENT. Slovak Premier Vladimir
Meciar wrapped up a two-day visit to Germany on 8 July, meeting
with the Prime Minister of Nordrhein-Westphalia, Johannes Rau,
government officials of that state, and businessmen. Areas of
particular interest to German investors include energy, finance
and infrastructure. Meciar invited economic cooperation and discussed
investments with representatives of the German gas firm Ruhrgas.
Ruhrgas is expected to invest in Slovak gas transport, since
nearly 85% of gas flowing through Slovakia's pipeline from the
CIS is delivered to Germany, TASR reports. Further negotiations
are expected with the German Economy Minister in September. -Sharon
Fisher

CZECHS WILL NORMALIZE SLOVAK BORDER. Czech Interior Minister
Jan Ruml stated on 8 July that the Czechs will enforce controls
at the Slovak border after 20 July, regardless of whether Czech
and Slovak politicians reach an agreement on the issue. All financial,
technical and organizational provisions have been made, including
the assignment of 290 unarmed soldiers to assist the border police,
CTK reported. The Czechs see reinforcing the Czech-Slovak border
as crucial to controlling the inflow of economic refugees who
may be returned by Germany under its new asylum law. Czech and
Slovak presidents agreed on 1-July to hold talks on strengthening
the Czech-Slovak border by 20 July, but Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar has so far rejected negotiation. The Czech and
Slovak prime ministers will discuss the issue at the CEI meeting
in Budapest on 16 and 17 July. -Milada Vachudova

CEFTA AGREEMENT RATIFIED BY CZECH PARLIAMENT. The Central and
East European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) was ratified by the
Czech parliament on 8 July, CTK reported. The agreement, signed
by Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic on 21 December
in Krakow, calls for the gradual elimination of all trade barriers
by the year 2000; all four governments signed a protocol binding
them to shorten the transition period to five years. The Slovak
parliament has already ratified CEFTA and the Hungarian parliament
should do so this month; the Polish parliament has yet to consider
the accord. The goals of CEFTA are, according to Czech Trade
Minister Vladimir Dlouhy, to increase trade among the four countries,
which plummeted after 1989, and to join the European trend toward
integration. -Milada Vachudova

KLAUS CRITICAL OF CATHOLIC CHURCH. In an interview with Cesky
Denik, published on 8 July, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
said that "the Catholic church is beginning to play a role that
does not correspond to its standing" in the Czech Republic. Klaus
said that the several hour-long television broadcast of the Velehrad
ceremonies commemorating the two national saints Cyril and Methodius
"was the last straw." He also said that the broadcast from Velehrad
marked the end of the era when everyone considered the church
as one of the institutions most harmed by the communist regime:
"the period has begun where we must give our support to completely
different groups." Klaus later said that his statement was made
in the context of explaining why he chose to attend a Protestant
service commemorating Jan Hus instead of the Catholic ceremony.
Klaus had been criticized for not attending the Catholic celebration.
The Bishops of the Czech Lands and Moravia, along with representatives
of Klaus' Christian democratic coalition partner's protested
Klaus' statements.-Milada Vachudova

MOLDOVA APPEALS TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. Moldova is redoubling
efforts to internationalize the current bilateral negotiations
with Russia on the Dniester conflict and on the Russian army
in Moldova. Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi told a news conference
on 5 July that Moldova's leadership wants a political settlement
of the conflict with the participation of the UN and the CSCE,
ITAR-TASS reported. At a seminar in Prague of the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council, Moldova's delegation urged that the Russian-controlled
peacemaking operation on the Dniester be taken over by the CSCE,
Moldovapres reported on 7 July. At a session of CSCE's Parliamentary
Assembly in Helsinki Moldova submitted a resolution urging that
the problem of Russian troops in Moldova be resolved at the international
level, together with that of Russian troops in the Baltic states,
Moldovapres reported on 8 July. -Vladimir Socor

BULGARIAN HIGH COURT OVERTURNS CONVICTIONS. According to RFE/RL's
Bulgarian Service, on 7-July Bulgaria's Supreme Court overturned
the convictions of 33 people sentenced to life imprisonment in
1945 by a people's court set up by the communist government.
The 33, convicted of crimes ranging from assault to murder, were
found guilty because they were alleged to have committed their
crimes against "communist guerrillas and supporters" prior to
the communist take-over. The Supreme Court noted that the accused
had not been afforded legal rights. The verdict marks the first
time the high court has negated a decision rendered by the people's
courts. -Stan Markotich

ROMANIA SEEKS TO RETAIN CONTROL OVER FLEET. A spokeswoman for
the cabinet told reporters on 8 July that Romania has formally
asked the Greek shipping company Forum Maritime to reduce its
share in the Romanian Petronim company from 51%, as originally
negotiated, to a minority stake of 49%. Petronim controls most
of Romania's merchant fleet. A revised version of the controversial
deal concluded in June between the two companies was sent to
Forum Maritime, which is expected to reply by 12 July. The reversal
in Romania's stance places the deal in danger of cancellation.
Officially hailed as a harbinger of privatization and foreign
investment in Romania, the deal was attacked by the media as
a sell-off of Romanian strategic assets. In a related development,
the government announced on 7 July the establishment of a commission
to investigate the fate of the country's merchant fleet after
January 1990. -Dan Ionescu

FIRE AT ROMANIAN EXPERIMENTAL NUCLEAR REACTOR. On 8 July Radio
Bucharest reported that a fire broke out on 5 July in two cooling
towers of an experimental nuclear reactor at Pitesti, 100-km.
north-west of Bucharest. The fire, the communique said, was extinguished
after 25 minutes and no one was injured. The accident was said
to have had no adverse environmental effects and the reactor
continues to be "perfectly safe." On 6 July three people were
killed when a container filled with nitrogen exploded at a heavy
water plant near Turnu Severin. -Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA'S EXILED KING DENIES CHARGES FROM BUCHAREST. The press
office of Romania's exiled King Michael issued on 6 July in Versoix,
Switzerland, a statement rejecting charges by the Romanian government
that the king had taken 42 valuable paintings upon leaving Romania
in early January 1948. The statement, which was broadcast by
Radio Bucharest on 7 July, suggests that the Royal House might
take legal action against "any libelous allegations" referring
to King Michael. A state secretary at the Finance Ministry announced
on 6 July that Romania already filed a lawsuit in a Geneva court
to retrieve the missing paintings which had been part of a collection
belonging to King Carol I. Accusations against Michael for allegedly
having taken the paintings, including some by Rembrandt and El
Greco, were raised time and again by Romania's former Communist
regime. But a prominent Romanian historian, Andrei Pippidi, was
recently quoted by Reuters as saying that official documents
showed that Michael had taken no valuable possessions into exile.
-Dan Ionescu

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Anna Swidlicka and John Lepingwell





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