The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 135, 19 July 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN SUBMITS DRAFT CONSTITUTION TO PARLIAMENT. President Boris
Yeltsin has forwarded to parliament a draft constitution drawn
up by the Constitutional Assembly, Russian and Western news agencies
reported on 16 July. In an accompanying message the president
called on parliament not to turn the debates over the draft into
a political struggle. The executive secretary of parliament's
Constitutional Commission, Oleg Rumyantsev, proposed on the same
day that a joint working group of deputies and assembly's delegates
be set up to work out a final draft to be submitted to the Congress
of People's Deputies for adoption. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan
Khasbulatov said the Congress might debate the constitution in
November, but not earlier. Meanwhile, the Russian media continue
to discuss alternative ways of getting the new constitution adopted
without having to submit it to Congress for approval. -Vera Tolz


PARLIAMENT DEFIES GOVERNMENT ON DEFENSE BUDGET. The parliament
on 17 July rejected a government proposal to allocate just over
6.3 trillion rubles for defense in 1993, and voted instead for
a defense budget of over 8 trillion rubles, ITAR-TASS reported.
Aleksandr Pochinok, chairman of the parliament's Plans, Taxes,
Budgets and Prices Commission, argued that the government proposal
would have precluded meeting funding requirements for the recently
passed Russian Law on the Status of Servicemen and other legislative
acts on the armed forces. Venyamin Sokolov, chairman of the Council
of the Republic, said that a failure to increase defense expenditures
would doom the Russian defense industrial sector. Both statements
reflect arguments that have been used in the budget debate by
Defense Ministry officials, who have strongly criticized the
plan drawn up by the Finance Ministry. -Stephen Foye

PRICE OF PRIVATIZATION VOUCHER SOARS. On 15 July, the price of
privatization vouchers rose from around 10,500 rubles to about
13,000 rubles, Reuters reported. This was the first week when
the quoted price has risen above the face value of 10,000 rubles
since October 1992, when distribution and trading began. During
the past nine months, the price had dropped as low as 4,000 rubles.
The breaching of the psychologically important 10,000-ruble level
came in the wake of optimistic pronouncements by government spokesmen
and Western institutions on signs of stabilization in the economy.
-Keith Bush

US-RUSSIAN DEAL ON ROCKET SALE TO INDIA. US and Russian negotiators,
working late into the evening on 15 July, reached an agreement
that will allow Russia to sell some rocket engines to India,
but will limit the transfer of related technology, Reuters reported.
The agreement came on the eve of the imposition of sanctions
by the US against the Russian space firm Glavkosmos and the Indian
Space Research Organization. The two agencies had originally
signed the contract, estimated at $350 million, in January of
1991. Indian officials expressed their regret over the decision
and, according to AFP on 19 July, the leader of India's main
opposition party urged the government to build nuclear weapons
in response. Meanwhile, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 July that the
general director of Glavkosmos, Yurii Koptev, had signed an agreement
the day before with NASA officials aimed at increasing US-Russian
cooperation in manned space flights. -Stephen Foye

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



TAJIKISTAN: RUSSIANS COME . . . . A high-level Russian military
delegation, led by Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, was in Tajikistan
on 16 and 17 July to coordinate a response to intensified attacks
by Afghan-backed Tajik rebels, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Grachev toured the border area where 24-Russian-led soldiers
were killed on 13 July. Calling the cross-border attacks "an
undeclared war against Russia," he promised to punish those who
led the 13-July attack, and to strengthen Russian forces in Tajikistan.
The first additional troops arrived on 17 July. Tajikistani and
Russian military officials criticized other CIS leaders, especially
in Central Asia, for not contributing to the response. Meanwhile,
Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet chairman, Imomali Rakhmonov, appealed
to the UN to force Afghanistan to stop the rebels and their Afghan
backers. -Keith Martin

. . . AND AFGHANS COMPLAIN. Terming the beefing up of Russian
forces on the Tajik-Afghan border "a kind of intervention," the
Afghan cabinet has sent letters to the UN and to Russia's Supreme
Soviet, demanding that the deployment be stopped. In the letter
to Moscow, the cabinet writes, "We have not forgotten the past
14-years," referring to the Soviet invasion and occupation. Reuters
on 18 July quoted Afghanistan's presidential spokesman as saying
that about 360 Afghans were killed or wounded, and 6,000 lost
their homes, when their villages near the Tajik border came under
Russian artillery attacks on 15-16 July. Russian and Tajikistani
officials deny any attack took place. The Iranian press, meanwhile,
has warned Russia that it faces a new "Afghanistan scenario"
if it stays in Tajikistan, AFP reports. -Keith Martin

TURKISH REACTION TO SHOKHIN. On 17 July Turkey's Foreign Ministry
issued a reaction to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Shokhin's assertion that the Central Asian states will have to
choose between the new association that includes Russia, Ukraine
and Belarus, and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO),
ITAR-TASS reported. The Turkish Foreign Ministry asserted that
the ECO, of which Turkey, Iran and Pakistan are founding members
and which was joined by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and the Central
Asian states in 1992, is neither a customs union nor a common
market. The three founding members have signed a protocol on
a reduction of customs duties on some items, but Azerbaijan and
the Central Asian states have not indicated a desire to do likewise.
-Bess Brown

ELCHIBEY BLAMED FOR INSTIGATING GYANDZHA REVOLT. On 15 July the
Azerbaijan National Assembly heard an interim report on the findings
of its commission to investigate the circumstances of the attack
by government troops on the headquarters of Surat Huseinov's
private army in Gyandzha on 4 June, ITAR-TASS reported. Former
Defense Minister Dadash Rzaev was quoted as stating that he received
direct orders to disarm Huseinov's men in a telephone call from
President Elchibey personally; Rzaev added that he had not told
the entire truth to the investigating commission as members of
his family had received anonymous threats. Ex-Prime Minister
Panakh Guseinov and former Procurator-General Ikhtiar Shirinov
were likewise implicated in the attack. -Liz Fuller

CRACKDOWN ON AZERBAIJAN OPPOSITION INTENSIFIES. On 16 July Azerbaijan
National Assembly chairman Geidar Aliev claimed that he had learned
of plans by the Azerbaijan Popular Front to assassinate him,
Reuters reported; a Front spokesman denied this. During the evening
of 16 July, Musavat Party chairman and former National Assembly
speaker Isa Gambarov and two former security ministers were arrested
for their alleged role in the attack on Surat Huseinov's private
army in Gyanzdha in early June; the Musavat Party convened a
press briefing on 17 July and denounced Gambarov's arrest, according
to an RFE/RL correspondent in Baku. Also on 17 July, police broke
into the headquarters of the Azerbaijan Popular Front, beat and
detained a number of Front officials, and ripped out telephones
and fax machines, according to Reuters quoting the Turan News
Agency. The building was then sealed and is being guarded by
police. A demonstration that evening by Front supporters was
violently dispersed by police; 45 demonstrators were detained
and released on 18 July. According to a statement released by
the Azerbaijani mission in Moscow on 18 July and quoted by ITAR-TASS,
Azerbaijan Popular Front "guerrillas" fired grenades at the 28th
police station in Baku on 17 July, injuring six policemen. -Liz
Fuller

GEORGIANS LAUNCH INCONCLUSIVE ATTACK. The press center of the
Georgian Armed Forces in Abkhazia announced on 16 July that Georgian
troops had launched a full-scale attack against Abhaz formations
in the villages of Shroma and Akhalsheni near Sukhumi, in response
to the Abkhaz refusal to comply with the Georgian ultimatum to
withdraw from the Sukhumi area, ITAR-TASS reported. According
to Reuters on 18-July, the Abkhaz Defense Ministry stated that
the Georgian assaults had proved inconclusive, and that Abkhaz
forces still held critical strategic positions in the hills above
the city. Meanwhile, after rejecting on 16 July a proposal for
resolving the conflict worked out by Russian Special Envoy Boris
Pastukhov with the Abkhaz side, Georgian Parliament Chairman
Eduard Shevardnadze flew to Sukhumi on 18 July to give Pastukhov
Georgia's latest proposal. -Catherine Dale

CIS

ON CIS REINTEGRATION. The well-known political scientist Igor
Klyamkin told Ostankino TV on 18 July that the issue of reintegration
of former Soviet republics will soon be put on the top of the
political agenda. He named the Civic Union as the major initiator
of this move. He recalled that the Civic Union had suggested
holding a referendum in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus on the creation
of an economic union. He stated that the prime ministers of these
countries later agreed to such a union, thus making the referendum
redundant. He also mentioned the proposal of Civic Union coleader
Arkadii Volsky to hold a congress of all industrial and entrepreneurs'
unions of the former USSR in Tashkent. According to Klyamkin,
the CIS agreement signed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on December
1991 may soon be altered. -Alexander Rahr

UKRAINE REJECTS RUSSIAN CRITICISM OF NUCLEAR STANCE. The Ukrainian
government has rejected criticisms, issued on 16 July by the
Russian Foreign Ministry, of Ukraine's claim to ownership of
nuclear weapons. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman had claimed
that Ukraine was unable to maintain the weapons, was breaching
international agreements, and that Russia did not threaten Ukraine.
According to a Reuters report of 17 July, Prime Minister Leonid
Kuchma noted that after Ukraine had returned tactical nuclear
weapons to Russia in early 1992, Russia had in turn concluded
a deal to sell the uranium from the warheads to the US. Reuters
also reported that Ukrainian government sources have confirmed
an Izvestiya article which stated that warheads are being removed
from 10 SS-19 ICBMs, although the warheads are apparently to
remain in Ukraine. -John Lepingwell

SEVASTOPOL UPDATE. Ostankino TV's Novosti newscast on 16 July
referred to the situation in Sevastopol as "explosive" and claimed
that the Ukrainian 32nd Army Corps, located in Simferopol and
the "Berkut" spetsnaz troops had been placed in a state of combat
readiness. Similar reports have been issued in the past, indicating
rising tensions and fears of violence in the region. However,
only about 6,000-8,000 demonstrators turned out on 16 July to
support Russia's claim to Sevastopol, a smaller turnout than
had been expected. They called for the local council to be disbanded,
new elections to be called, and the withdrawal of Ukrainian military
units from the area. On 18 July, ITAR-TASS reported that Rukh
had called for the Moscow agreement on splitting the Black Sea
Fleet not to be ratified since it would set a dangerous precedent
by allowing Russian troops to be stationed in Ukraine. -John
Lepingwell

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



REFERENDUM RESULTS IN ESTONIA. On 16 and 17-July over 90% of
referendum participants in Narva and Sillamae expressed support
for declaring their towns autonomous territories within Estonia.
According to Baltic and Russian media of 18 July, voter participation
in the municipally organized referendums was about 54% in Narva
and 61% in Sillamae. The organizers had said the referendums
would be binding if more than 50% of electorate voted. Since
many irregularities were noted in the voting and ballot-counting
processes, the actual turnout figures are likely to be lower.
The Estonian government claims that less than half of the eligible
voters participated. On 18 July Estonian Prime Minister Mart
Laar thanked the predominantly Russian residents of the two towns
for maintaining calm and promised that the government would strive
to improve the economic situation, particularly since both towns
have been heavily hit by unemployment. The impact of the referendums
is still not clear, since the municipal governments have not
stated specifically what they intend to do afterward and the
Estonian authorities consider the referendums illegal. -Dzintra
Bungs

YELTSIN ADVISER WARNS ESTONIA. In an interview with a Russian
daily quoted by PAP on 18 July, Sergei Stankevich, a political
adviser to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, warned that if Estonia
does not accept the validity of the referendums,"Russians in
Estonia could take on Russian citizenship. And Russia has the
right to defend its citizens, without making use of the services
of international defenders of human rights." Stankevich blamed
the Council of Europe and other international organizations for
the rise in ethnic tension in northeastern Estonia. -Louisa Vinton


CENTRAL EUROPEAN SUMMIT IN BUDAPEST. The two-day meeting of the
nine-member Central European Initiative (CEI) ended in Budapest
on 17 July, agencies report. The leaders of Italy, Austria, Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and
Bosnia-Herzegovina endorsed Bosnia's territorial integrity and
called for a new session of the London con-ference, after an
immediate cease-fire, to halt the bloodshed there. They also
admitted Macedonia as a new member. The nine leaders decided
to call a conference on minority rights, but rejected more far-reaching
proposals from Hungary. CEI members also agreed that one of the
aims of the organization is to support democracy in states striving
for economic transformation and integration with Europe. The
construction of a "Baltic-Adriatic highway" was also discussed.
The CEI agreed to cooperate with four states interested in membership:
Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine. There were clear differences
of opinion among the nine leaders over the CEI's value. Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the CEI is of little use if
it limits itself to issues such as highway construction, while,
in remarks to Polish TV, Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka
disagreed, affirming the organization's step-by-step approach
to regional problems. -Karoly Okolicsanyi and Louisa Vinton

CONFLICT CONTINUES OVER ANTALL LETTER. While the CEI summit was
in progress, a Hungarian government spokesman on 16 July rejected
the Czech prime minister's interpretation of the letter sent
to him by Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall concerning minority
rights in Slovakia. Klaus claimed on 15 July that Antall had
asked for Prague's assistance in pressuring Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar to improve the situation of the 600,000 strong
Hungarian minority there. Also on 16 July, the Slovak prime minister
said that the purpose of Antall's letter was "to create an anti-Slovak
atmosphere prior to the CEI summit." On 18 July, Meciar told
Slovak Radio that "owing to Czech support," the Slovak delegation
at the CEI summit succeeded in defeating attempts to make the
CEI adopt legal rules for treating minorities." -Karoly Okolicsanyi
and Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKS, HUNGARIANS DISAGREE AT CEI MEETING. During the CEI meeting
in Budapest, Slovak and Hungarian prime ministers Vladimir Meciar
and Jozsef Antall met to discuss "all disputable issues" between
the two countries, TASR reports. The two disagreed on national
minorities and the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam. Meciar said Slovakia
is "open to wide cooperation with Hungary" based on "economic,
social, and foreign policy" and not on minority interests. Antall's
recent letter to Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus requesting support
for Hungary in condemning Slovak minority policy was not a topic
of discussion; however, Meciar said before leaving for the meeting
that it is "not proper to invite a foreign official into one's
country and deliberately make things unpleasant." Slovak Foreign
Affairs Minister Jozef Moravcik called Antall's letter "unfair."
Meciar also said that if Hungary continues its arms build-up,
Slovakia "would have to take retaliatory measures." According
to Reuters, Meciar is considering accepting arms worth $180 million
as a portion of Russia's debt payment. Hungary recently reached
a similar deal with Russia, accepting 28 MiGs as repayment for
$800 million of debt. -Sharon Fisher

CZECHS, SLOVAKS STRIKE BORDER AGREEMENT. Czech Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus and his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar agreed
to introduce controls along the 250-kilometer border of the two
successor states to Czechoslovakia, Czech TV reported on 17-July.
According to the report, the agreement was struck at a late-night
meeting between the two prime ministers in Budapest (where they
attended the CEI summit). Klaus told journalists on 18 July that
while citizens of third countries will be checked at the border,
"we will not change anything for citizens of either the Czech
Republic or Slovakia." Klaus added that the agreement represents
a "practical solution," as it can be implemented immediately
without a new ratification process for the bilateral treaties
between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Czech leaders have repeatedly
asked their Slovak counterparts to introduce border controls
to stem the flow of migrants trying to enter Germany. A new German
asylum law enables Bonn to return asylum seekers to countries
through whose territory they entered Germany. -Jan Obrman

TUDJMAN REOPENS MASLENICA BRIDGE. International media reported
on 18 July that the Croatian president led a ceremony marking
the inauguration of a pontoon structure to replace a vital north-south
road link destroyed in the 1991 war. He earlier reopened Zadar's
airport at Zemunik, which had been closed to civilian aircraft
for two years. Serb shelling had forced a brief postponement
of the Maslenica ceremony, but the UN brokered a compromise whereby
the bridge and airport will remain safe and open but under UN
control. Additional terms stipulate that the Croat military must
withdraw by 31 July. Vejsnik of 17-July quotes Tudjman as calling
the bridge "our necessity," and the 19 July issue reports him
as saying at the ceremony that its reopening marks the restoration
of Croatian sovereignty "step by step." -Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN UPDATE. Reuters of 19 July reports that Bosnian Croat
forces will try to deport about 10,000 Muslim male detainees
and have asked the UN to run a giant transit camp. The UN refused,
stressing that it will not take part in ethnic cleansing. The
Croats evicted the civilian detainees from their homes in Mostar
over the past three weeks and interned them. A source said: "almost
every night has been a kind of Kristallnacht in downtown Mostar
since early May," and armed Croats blew up mosques there. Meanwhile,
Serbian troops broke through Bosnian defenses southwest of Sarajevo.
The New York Times reports that President Alia Izetbegovic said
that his government may have to accept "the inevitable" and agree
to the partition of the country into three "ethnic states." In
a joint statement on 18 July, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
and his Croatian counterpart Franjo Tudman argued that: "the
only way to achieve permanent peace" lies in establishing "three
republics within the scope of a confederation... All speculation
about a partition...between Croatia and Serbia is entirely unfounded."
The International Herald Tribune carries the story from Geneva
on 19-July. -Fabian Schmidt

KOSOVO ALBANIANS WARN POLICE ACTIONS COULD IGNITE CONFLICT. In
statements on 16 July, Kosovo Albanian leaders warned that further
violence against political and labor activists in the Serbian
province could result in clashes between Serbian security forces
and the population, which is 90% Albanian. The Kosova Independent
Trade Union charged that since 6 July, Serb police had arrested
and "physically and mentally harassed" 198 union members in five
Kosovo towns. Bujar Bukoshi, the self-styled prime minister of
the "Republic of Kosova," issued a communique with a similar
warning. He added that Serbia's refusal to renew the CSCE mandate
in Serbia-Montenegro has "given a free hand to the forces of
the Serbian Army to intensify their pressure" on Albanians. He
again called for the US and UN to send peacekeepers to the region.
Ibrahim Rugova, president of the "Republic of Kosova," also renewed
his appeal for international protection of the province, to prevent
Serb police repression from igniting a war. He added that Kosovo
"is not Serb and cannot be Serb." Radios Serbia and Croatia carried
the reports. -Milan Andrejevich

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO MITSOTAKIS. Greek Prime Minister
Constantine Mitsotakis, who last week proposed six conditions
for the normalization of relations with Albania, received an
angry reply from Albanian President Sali Berisha. According to
Rilindja Demokratike on 17 July, Berisha reiterated his charge
that Greece is trying to destabilize the region. In response
to concerns about the status of the Greek minority in Albania,
Berisha again stressed that Albania continues to "guarantee all
rights and basic freedoms" to that minority. More importantly,
Berisha accused Greece of interfering in Albania's internal and
external affairs and reminded Greece that "Albania is free and
will choose its own friendships and alliances." According to
a 16 July AFP report, Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi
was especially angry with Mitsotakis's comparison between Albanians
in Kosovo and Greeks in southern Albania, calling this parallel
"proof of an alliance between Greece and Serbia." -Robert Austin


BULGARIA FAILS TO MEET CONDITIONS FOR NEW IMF DEAL. At a press
conference on 16 July, Finance Minister Stoyan Aleksandrov acknowledged
that Bulgaria has failed to fulfill the conditions for a renewed
standby agreement, as outlined by the International Monetary
Fund. Aleksandrov said that the country has to be "internally
prepared" for credits provided by international financial institutions;
otherwise, they would probably have little positive effect. According
to BTA, he singled out the introduction of a value-added tax,
a law on bankruptcy, and faster privatization as necessary requirements
for an IMF agreement. Russel Kincaid, head of the IMF Mission
to Bulgaria, said he was also concerned about insufficient budget
revenues and the growing trade deficit. Kincaid nevertheless
commended recent efforts to speed up large-scale privatization
and measures aimed at coming to terms with bad loans to state
companies. -Kjell Engelbrekt

SOFIA CONCERNED ABOUT DELAY IN RATIFYING EC ACCORD. Bulgarian
Foreign Minister Stanislav Daskalov on 16 July expressed "serious
concern" that the European Community has not yet ratified a temporary
trade agreement with Bulgaria, signed earlier in 1993. In a statement
quoted by BTA, Daskalov noted that Bulgaria is the only East
European country whose trade accord-an interim arrangement to
be in force until the association agreement with the EC has been
ratified-is not yet operating. He said this is causing substantial
losses to the export industry. The EC Ambassador to Sofia, Thomas
O'Sullivan, told Reuters that the delay is in no way politically
motivated. -Kjell Engelbrekt

CZECH UNEMPLOYMENT UP, ZERO GROWTH. The unemployment rate in
the Czech Republic rose from 2.58% in May to 2.63% in June, CTK
reported on 13 July. Of a total work force of 5,267,000, some
139,000 are currently unemployed. Less than 50% of the registered
unemployed (63,000), however, have requested unemployment benefits.
The highest unemployment rates are in northern Moravia (up to
5%) and northern Bohemia (slightly over 3%); the lowest rates
are in Prague (0.24%) and southern Bohemia (1.9%). In an interview
in Handelsblatt on 14 July, Prime Minister Klaus said the current
unemployment rate-which he described as "probably the lowest
in the world"-will rise another 1% by the end of the year. Klaus
also predicted zero economic growth in the Czech Republic during
1993, an improvement over negative growth from 1990 to 1992.
Finally, Klaus emphasized that the exchange rate of the koruna
will remain stable, serving as an anchor to the economy, and
that wages will remain low in comparison to neighboring countries.
-Jan Obrman and Milada Vachudova

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT SENDS LETTER TO YELTSIN. On 16 July in an
interview with Lithuanian TV, Algirdas Brazauskas said that he
had sent a letter the previous day to Russian President Boris
Yeltsin suggesting that there was no need to sign a comprehensive
treaty on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania. The
withdrawal was proceeding smoothly on the basis of the agreement
signed by the defense ministers on 8-September 1992, and should
be completed by 31 August 1993. Lithuania was still demanding
compensation for its arms seized by the USSR in 1940 and subsequent
damage. It fully understood Russia's requests on social guarantees
for retired servicemen as well as the need for better coordination
of the transit of former Soviet troops being withdrawn from Germany
through Lithuanian territory. Brazauskas's letter was probably
prompted by discussions on Lithuanian-Russian relations during
two closed sessions of the Lithuanian parliament earlier in the
week. -Saulius Girnius

RUSSIA DENIES REPORT ON COMPENSATION AGREEMENT WITH ESTONIA.
On 16 July Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the head of the Russian Foreign
Ministry's Information and Press Department, refuted a statement
by the head of Estonia's negotiating team, Juri Luik, that Russia
had agreed to pay $200 million in compensation for Estonian arms
seized by the USSR in 1940, Baltic media report. While the matter
was discussed at the 13-14 July talks, Yastrzhembsky noted that
no agreement was reached on a method to assess the cost of the
arms or even their number. The amount of compensation was not
even discussed, he said. -Saulius Girnius

SECOND LATVIAN PROTEST OVER RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISES IN DOBELE.
Radio Riga reported that the Latvian Foreign Ministry issued
another protest note on 15 July over the military exercises involving
Russian military officers stationed in Estonia and Latvia. The
ministry charged that the exercises were not related to the withdrawal
of Russian troops from Latvia, despite Russian claims to the
contrary. -Dzintra Bungs

NORTH ATLANTIC ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT TO BUCHAREST. On 15-17 July,
Loic Bouvard, President of the North Atlantic Assembly, paid
an official visit to Romania. He discussed Romania's democratization
process and relations with West European institutions, including
the NATO, with Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu and Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu, as well as the
chairmen of the parliament's two houses, Oliviu Gherman and Adrian
Nastase. According to Bouvard, the talks focused on Romania's
prospects to join the European security system and eventually
NATO. On 17 July, Bouvard was received by President Ion Iliescu.
In a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest after the meeting,
he stressed Romania's strategic position in a region plagued
by conflicts like those in Yugoslavia and Moldova. The North
Atlantic Assembly is an inter-parliamentary assembly of the NATO
countries. -Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA FAILS TO RENEGOTIATE SHIPPING DEAL. Radio Bucharest reported
on 15 July that talks in Constanta between the Romanian firm
Petromin and the Greek company Forum Maritime failed to produce
the revision of a controversial shipping deal concluded on 18
May. The original agreement included a clause giving the Forum
a 51% controlling stake in Petromin, which operates Romania's
strategic fleet of tankers and bulk carriers. Forum's owner,
Stelios Katounis, reportedly refused to accept a revised Romanian
offer of 49% of the shares. The revision was recommended by a
government commission set up to probe the deal after some media
had denounced it as a cheap sell-off to foreign interests. -Dan
Ionescu



[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sheila Marnie and Louisa Vinton





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