Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 227, 29 November 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN "WILL NOT ALLOW" CRITICISM. On 26-November Yeltsin met
the leaders of the 13 parties running for seats in the new parliament.
According to the noon edition of Ostankino TV's "Novosti," the
meeting was prompted by the criticism of Yeltsin and the draft
constitution contained in some television programs screened earlier
in the week, particularly that of Stanislav Govorukhin on 24
November. Various sources quoted Yeltsin as having told the meeting
that he would "not allow" candidates to criticize the draft constitution,
himself, or other contenders. The broadcasts of those who disobeyed
the order, Yeltsin was quoted as adding, would be cut, and offenders
ran the risk of being deprived of access to radio and TV airwaves
in future. Yeltsin's point of view, an RFE/RL correspondent said,
was supported by his legal aide Anatolii Sliva, as well as by
the Court of Arbitration set up by Yeltsin to ensure fairness
in the campaign. The "Novosti" anchor, in turn, quoted the British
daily The Guardian as saying that, by Western standards, the
criticism in the Russian campaign has so far been mild. -Julia
Wishnevsky

ELECTORAL BLOCS AND PARTIES DEFEND RIGHT TO CRITICIZE CONSTITUTION.
Political groups fielding candidates in the 12 December elections
defended their right to criticize the new Russian draft constitution,
after President Yeltsin had urged them not to do so, Western
agencies reported. A spokesman for the Russian Communist Party
was quoted on 27 November by AFP as saying that in criticizing
the draft constitution, "we are only elaborating on our platform,
which is completely within electoral rules." Other groups, critical
of Yeltsin, also said they would continue to criticize the draft
constitution as part of their election campaigns. Among the groups
were the Civic Union, the Democratic Party of Russia and the
Agrarian Union. Even among the pro-reform movements, only the
Russia's Choice bloc unconditionally supports the draft. -Vera
Tolz

SHAKHRAI CAMPAIGNING. Sergei Shakhrai, leader of the Party of
Russian Unity and Concord, said during his electoral campaign
in Irkutsk that he believes the Russian krais and regions would
support the new constitution while the constituent republics
may reject it, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 November. He stated that
if the constitution is rejected by the majority of voters, Russia
would face the fate of the former USSR. In his opinion, the future
parliament will be polarized between "reds and whites". He advocated
new parliamentary and presidential elections in 1996. He maintained
that his party is being supported by 11 percent of the electorate.
His current electoral campign tour leads him from Irkutsk to
the Altai Krai, Ekaterinburg, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and Russia's
southern regions. -Alexander Rahr

MINERS' STRIKE UNRESOLVED. First deputy premier Yegor Gaidar
visited Vorkuta and the Kuzbass on 26-and 27 November in an effort
to prevent a strike by coalminers. Complaining they have not
been paid for months, miners in both regions are threatening
to strike on 1-December and to boycott the elections on 12-December.
Gaidar told them a strike was "the last thing Russia needs at
the moment" and that the goverment would find the necessary money
by selling diamonds, but he was quoted by Interfax on 27 November
as admitting the money may come too late to avert the strike.
The situation is complicated because the miners are represented
both by the Independent Union of Mine Workers and by the semi-official
Russian Coalminers' Union; the former has fewer members but is
more militant. The Russian government appears to have been caught
unawares by the unusually early and severe onset of winter; in
addition, Gaidar is loath to lose the votes of the miners, traditionally
Yeltsin's loyal supporters. -Elizabeth Teague

BORIS FEDOROV TO OVERSEE EXTERNAL DEBT. Finance Minister Boris
Fedorov reiterated on 27 November that he had taken over responsibility
for Russia's convertible currency debt, although a spokesman
for Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin again denied this
shift in portfolios, Interfax reported on 28 November. In recent
months, Shokhin has repeatedly called for a writing-off of that
part of the debt accruing to the former Soviet Union, while Fedorov
has asserted the necessity to repay the entire sum. albeit after
appreciable rescheduling. On 18 November, Shokhin had told Segodnya
that the foreign debt totalled $81.5 billion at mid-1993: it
was not specified whether this total included commercial arrears.
-Keith Bush

DUDAEV DENIES CALL FOR ISLAMIC CONFRONTATION WITH WEST. In a
sharply-worded statement given to ITAR-TASS on 26 November, Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev denied an AFP report that he had called
on the Islamic countries to start a campaign against the West.
Dudaev acknowledged that, after seeing the catastrophic conditions
in which the population of Iraq is living, he had proposed that
all states, including Islamic, do their utmost to get the blockade
against Iraq lifted. Dudaev also said in his statement he thought
the Islamic world should be more active in defending its interests
but there could be no question of confrontation with the West.
-Ann Sheehy

KOMI SPEAKER WANTS CONSTITUTION ADOPTED BY FEDERAL ASSEMBLY.
The chairman of the Komi parliament Yurii Spiridonov considers
that the new constitution should be adopted not by referendum
but by the Federal Assembly, Interfax reported on 28-November.
Spiridonov said that only 5 percent of voters would read the
draft, and only 3-percent would understand it. Spiridonov said
that on the whole he supported the draft, but he believed that
it was a step backward for the subjects of the federation compared
with the Federal Treaty. He was opposed to equal status for all
the subjects of the federation. -Ann Sheehy

CIS CSCE CONSIDERS RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING OFFERS. The CSCE started talks
in Rome on 27 November to prepare for a three-day meeting of the foreign
ministers of the 52 CSCE states scheduled to start on 30-November.
At this forum, Russia's desire to be given responsibility for
UN peacekeeping operations in the former Soviet Union is being
debated. According to diplomats present at the meeting, the Baltic
states and Ukraine are strictly opposed to the idea; Western
governments also have considerable reservations. At the same
time, Western diplomats admit that neither NATO nor the European
Community (now European Union) is willing to take on this role
in the region, RFE/RL's correspondent in Rome reported. -Suzanne
Crow

RUSSIA CUTS OFF MAINTENANCE OF UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The
Russian government issued a formal statement on 26 November to
the effect that the Ukrainian START-1 ratification was not valid
under international law. As a consequence, the statement claimed,
it would illegal for Russia to maintain the nuclear weapons under
the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). As reported
by Radio Mayak, the statement also suggested that Ukraine's move
might "require measures [to be] taken by the international community
. . . for preventing the undermining of the process of nuclear
disarmament." Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on the maintenance
of nuclear weapons and warheads at the Massandra summit in September,
however it is unclear whether either side had taken steps to
implement it. -John Lepingwell

NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS WARN OF UNSAFE WARHEADS. In an announcement
apparently timed to coincide with the maintenance cutoff, scientists
from Russia's nuclear weapons labs warned of unsafe conditions
in nuclear storage sites in Ukraine. As reported by ITAR-TASS
on 26 November, the scientists warned of "possible catastrophe"
and claimed that necessary maintenance was not being performed
and safety rules violated. Similar arguments have been made in
the past in attempts to increase international pressure on Ukraine.
-John Lepingwell

NAZARBAEV ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan
Nazarbaev told an international conference in Maastricht that
Kazakhstan would never engage in policies that would worsen relations
with Russia, but that he himself is disturbed by some of the
rhetoric being employed in the Russian election campaign, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26-November. Nazarbaev has been particularly concerned
over demands by some Russian politicians that Russia should "protect"
Russian-speakers in new states outside the Russian Federation.
A few days earlier Nazarbaev caused a protest from the Russian
Foreign Ministry for comparing such statements by Russian political
figures to Hitler's rhetoric about "protecting" the Sudeten Germans
in Czechoslovakia. -Bess Brown

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



TAJIKISTAN UPDATE. Interfax reported on 28 November that traffic
has been restored on the rail line between Termez in Uzbekistan
and Kurgan-Tyube after members of the Tajik opposition blew up
bridges and segments of track along a stretch of 84 kilometers,
thereby cutting off supplies to a large part of southern Tajikistan.
On 27 November ITAR-TASS reported that Tajikistan's Supreme Court
had found two persons-Rakhimbek Nurullobekov and Makhmud Davlat-guilty
of killing Tajikistan's State Prosecutor in August 1992 and had
sentenced them to death. -Bess Brown

GEORGIA TO INTRODUCE BREAD RATIONING. As of 1 December, the sale
of bread in Tbilisi is to be limited to 400 grams per person
per day, Interfax reported on 26 November. In an interview with
Georgian TV on 28-November, Defense Minister Giorgi Karkarashvili
said that troops would guard bakeries beginning 30-November.
Attacks on bakeries and bread factories in the city have been
reported in recent days. -Liz Fuller

BOMB ATTACK ON MKHEDRIONI LEADER. On 27-November a bomb exploded
near the motorcade of Mkhedrioni leader Dzhaba Ioseliani, who
was travelling to Tbilisi airport to depart for Geneva where
he will head the Georgian delegation to the UN-sponsored negotiations
on a political settlement of the Abkhaz conflict, GIA-TASS reported.
Noone was injured. Georgian National Security Minister Igor Georgadze
charged on 28 November that supporters of ousted Georgian President
Zviad Gamsakhurdia were responsible for the incident. -Liz Fuller


AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATES INTRODUCING CENSORSHIP.
On 26-November the Azerbaijan National Assembly twice failed
for lack of a quorum to adopt measures proposed by its chairman
Rasul Kuliev, to introduce media censorship. Opposition parties
protested that the measures, which Kuliev argued were necessitated
by the war with Armenia and the appearance in opposition newspapers
of articles slandering the country's leadership, constituted
"a strike against the democratic press", according to a correspondent
for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani BD. -Liz Fuller

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS. International media report
that a new round of Geneva meetings is slated to begin on 29
November. Taking part will be all 12 EC foreign ministers; the
presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia; and the
faction leaders of the Bosnian Croats and Serbs. Central to the
discussions will be the recent Franco-German proposal with its
offer of a gradual lifting of sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro
in return for territorial concessions by Bosnian Serbs to the
Muslims. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has ruled out such
a deal, however, charging Germany in particular with being in
the "forefront of genocide against the Serbs." AFP on 27-November
also quotes him as saying that Serbs should "demand" that the
sanctions be lifted and "go on the political offensive." Vecernji
list of 29 November, meanwhile, repeats Croatian skepticism over
the talks and draws attention instead to President Franjo Tudjman's
1 November peace initiative that concentrates on Serb-held areas
of Croatia as well as on the Bosnian conflict. -Patrick Moore


GERMANY, ENGLAND SEEK FULL RECOGNITION FOR MACEDONIA. With Greece
set to assume the EC presidency on 1 January 1994, Germany and
Great Britain have been attempting to persuade other EC countries
to open embassies in Skopje. Only France and Greece among EC
states have so far not recognized Macedonia under the name "former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Italy now supports recognizing
the newest Balkan country under its constitutional name of "Republic
of Macedonia." On 25 November, Theodoros Pangalos, deputy foreign
minister of Greece, lashed out at Germany using strong invective
for being responsible for a "conspiracy" among EC countries to
establish full diplomatic ties with Macedonia, something deemed
"inadmissible" by Greece, which was not consulted on the matter,
according to AFP and Reuters. Greek Foreign Minister Karolos
Papoulias, stated that such a move "violates and dissolves the
framework of community solidarity," Western agencies report.
-Duncan Perry

CROATIAN FOREIGN POLICY POLL YIELDS MIXED RESULTS. This past
year has witnessed an increasing trend among Croatian officials
and the media they control toward the view that Croatia is somehow
the victim of an international conspiracy to resurrect Yugoslavia
and must stand alone and friendless in the world. Analysts have
noted the similarity between this mind-set and that of official
Serbia, which likewise blames everyone but itself for its problems.
Vecernji list on 27-November ran a poll that shows that just
over half of the respondents feel that the government is doing
much for Croatia's image in the world but could do more; that
the country's foreign policy is generally satisfactory; and that
its image abroad is average. Respondents overwhelmingly said
that Germany is Croatia's best supporter abroad, with the USA
coming in a very distant second. France, Russia, and Britain
topped the list of the country's enemies. -Patrick Moore

DEPORTATIONS OF KOSOVAR ALBANIANS FROM GERMANY. The International
Society for Human Rights says that about 1,000 ethnic Albanians
from Kosovo have been deported from Germany since September,
the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 25-November. The
deportees include young men trying to avoid the Serbian army.
Meanwhile in Bonn, the president of the self-proclaimed Republic
of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, met with representatives of the German
parliament to discuss the internationalization of the Kosovo
crisis, possible humanitarian aid, and the problems of Kosovar
migrants to Germany. -Fabian Schmidt

SEJM'S LEGISLATIVE AGENDA. During its session from 24 to 26 November,
the Sejm gave a first reading to several items of legislation
qualified as "urgent." Five of the six items making up the "Pact
on Enterprises" package negotiated with the unions by the previous
government are now in commission. The remaining law on the privatization
of state enterprises was withdrawn from the package by the government
of Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, which intends shortly to present
a slightly revised version of its own. The Democratic Union failed
in the attempt, led by former labor minister Jacek Kuron, to
reinstate the original draft. Despite strong criticism within
its own ranks, the governing coalition sent to commission draft
amendments increasing pensions to 93% of the average wage in
industry as of December 1994, and not earlier, as the coalition
had suggested in the election campaign. Draft amendments proposed
by President Lech Walesa, giving the Constitutional Tribunal
a final say on the compatibility of Polish laws with the Constitution
and with international conventions, were also sent to commission.
-Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

SUCHOCKA'S GOVERNMENT UNDER SCRUTINY. PAP reports that the Sejm
also voted, by 181 votes to 8, with 48 abstentions, to set up
an extraordinary commission to investigate whether the activities
of Hanna Suchocka's government in the period from 30 May to 14-October
were within the law. The proposal was moved by a group of deputies
from Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's Polish Peasant Party (PSL),
who claimed that the previous government had taken advantage
of the fact that the Sejm was dissolved and could no longer control
the government, to dispense with proper legal procedure. Suchocka's
government has also come under fire in some of the parliamentary
commissions which have voted to reject its annual report. -Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka

NEW SECURITY COUNCIL FOR POLAND? AT A MEETING ON 26 NOVEMBER
THE NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE (KOK) CHAIRED BY PRESIDENT LECH
WALESA DECIDED THAT A NEW NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SHOULD BE
ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO REPLACE BOTH THE KOK
AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, A PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY BODY
THAT WAS NEVER FULLY CONSTITUTED. The new council would take
over KOK's function as "the state's supreme agency for defense
and security;" it would have executive powers and its decisions
would be binding on the government. PAP reports that Walesa proposed
that the present members of KOK, including the prime minister,
the ministers of defense, finance, and internal and foreign affairs,
and the Sejm and Senate speakers, should also belong to the new
council. The defense minister will draft the necessary legislative
amendments and the government will submit them to the Sejm. -Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka

KLAUS RE-ELECTED CDP CHAIRMAN. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
was re-elected party chairman at the annual congress of the ruling
Civic Democratic Party that was held on 27-28 November in Koprivnice,
Czech TV reports on 28 November. Klaus, who was the only candidate,
received 220 out of 268 votes. The delegates also re-elected
the party's four deputy chairmen and elected a new 18-member
Executive Council. According to most observers, the congress
produced no surprises. Klaus and other members of the CDP leadership
praised the party's work and pledged to keep its program unchanged
as it "proved successful." According to various opinion polls,
the CDP remains the strongest political force in the Czech Republic
with more than 30% support in the population. -Jan Obrman

MARTINEZ IN PRAGUE. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe, Miguel Angel Martinez, paid a four-day
visit to the Czech Republic, Czech dailies report on 27 November.
Martinez, who held talks with President Vaclav Havel, Parliament
Chairman Milan Uhde, and other top officials, praised the successes
of Prague's political and economic reforms. In an interview with
CTK before his departure on 28 November, Martinez pointed out
that the "Czech Republic is a normal, consolidated member of
the Council of Europe," and urged Czech officials to play a more
active role in the Parliamentary Assembly. Martinez also stressed
that the Czech Republic is not seen in the West as part of the
unstable "post-communist region" any more, but rather as a regular
European state, "similar to Belgium, for instance." -Jan Obrman


SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. On 26 November the Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia held a meeting of cabinet members and parliamentary
deputies in Velky Krtis. Tibor Cabaj replaced Ivan Laluha as
chairman of the parliamentary caucus; Laluha and the caucus's
four deputy chairmen resigned from their posts on 24 November.
On 27 November a meeting of the Slovak National Party was held
to evaluate the party's coalition with the MDS, which has been
criticized by several SNP members. Chairman Ludovit Cernak, who
advocated remaining in the coalition, was successful in maintaining
party unity, although Deputy Chairman Anton Hrnko said the MDS
will have to take into consideration the SNP's political program.
Cernak said his party's main interests include repairing the
economy and working on minority policy. The opposition Alliance
of Democrats held its first assembly on 28-November; Milan Knazko
was reelected as party chairman, while Rudolf Filkus and Jan
Budaj were elected deputy chairmen. President Michal Kovac attended
the assembly, TASR reports. -Sharon Fisher

MEDICAL UPDATE ON THE HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER'S CONDITION. The
Prime Minister's office said on 27 November that Jozsef Antall's
"so far successful, but intense, treatment continues." The 61-year-old
Antall was hospitalized on 23 November with a fever. In early
November, he returned from Germany, where he was treated for
a month for a non-Hodgkins lymphoma gland cancer. -Karoly Okolicsanyi


ROMANIAN CONTROVERSY OVER NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION CONTINUES.
President Ion Iliescu addressed an appeal to political parties
represented in parliament over the controversy stirred by the
celebrations of the national day on 1 December and the intended
participation of former King Michael in the ceremony at Alba
Iulia. In the appeal, broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 26 November,
Iliescu said the announced boycotting of the ceremonies by some
parties could "hardly be comprehended" and called on them to
revise their decision. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu
said on the same day the parties opposed to the king's participation
in the ceremonies wished to "protect state institutions from
attempts to restore monarchy." -Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT RAISES SALARIES, LABOR UNREST IN OFFING.
The government announced on 26 November that minimum salaries
will raise beginning 1-December to 45,000 lei (about $42 at the
official rate of exchange). The previous minimum salary, established
in October, was of 40,200 lei. Average salaries will rise by
6.5%. The decision was taken against the background of growing
labor unrest. Radio Bucharest said on 26 November that two of
the largest trade union confederations, the National Trade Union
Block and Alfa, decided at a joint meeting that "any attempt
to continue the dialogue with the government was futile" and
that they intended to go ahead with planned protests. A first
protest meeting is taking place in Bucharest on 29 November,
alongside similar meetings in 13 other towns. The Fratia trade
union confederation expressed solidarity with plans of the Block
and Alfa. -Michael Shafir

DOGAN REAFFIRMED AS MRF LEADER. During the second national conference
of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, held in Sofia on 27
and 28 November, Ahmed Dogan was reelected chairman. In his keynote
address to the conference, Dogan pointed out that the predominantly
Turkish MRF over the past years has won wide recognition outside
Bulgaria as an effective defender of human rights. Dogan's leadership
was strongly criticized by MRF deputy Mehmed Hodzha from Kardzhali,
an MRF stronghold, who said the decision to back the current
government and thereby join an informal alliance with the Bulgarian
Socialist Party had been a major tactical error. After alleging
that several top MRF members are former State Security collaborators,
Hodzha and other Kardzhali delegates staged a walkout. In its
new platform the MRF continues to stress the struggle against
ethnic and religious discrimination while advocating a well-balanced
foreign and security policy. -Kjell Engelbrekt

BULGARIA TO UTILIZE KOZLODUY'S FULL CAPACITY. Bulgaria is preparing
to put all six reactors of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant back
on line, energy officials told Reuters on 27-November. Kozma
Kuzmanov, who is head of the plant, told visiting deputies that
both the four older 440-megawatt and the two more modern 1,000-megawatt
units could all be operating by January next year. If the plans
are realized, Kozloduy would provide some 40% of the country's
total power needs, or 3,760 megawatts. The decision to restart
all units was taken after Ukraine, which has an agreement to
supply Bulgaria with 400 megawatts, canceled the deal, in its
turn owing to a suspension of Russian energy deliveries. Ukraine
later offered to resume deliveries for the few days it takes
for Bulgaria to start up one of Kozloduy's 1,000-megawatt units.
-Kjell Engelbrekt

UKRAINE STOPS ELECTRICITY EXPORTS TO EASTERN EUROPE. Reuters
reported on 26-November that Ukraine had cut exports of electricity
and the transit of Russian supplies of electricity to Eastern
Europe due to its domestic energy crisis. A Ukrainian government
official said Russia had cut links with the Ukrainian electricity
grid last week. According to a Hungarian official, the Ukrainian
shortfall (about 7-8 % of Hungary's peak demand), was being made
up by domestic and Polish supplies. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

SAEIMA TACKLES LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW. On 25 November 1993 the
Latvian parliament considered the five proposed draft laws on
citizenship and naturalization that were formulated by the six
parliamentary factions. After sharp and lengthy debating that
lasted past midnight, the deputies decided to use as basis for
further discussion the draft proposed by the coalition Latvia's
Way and the Farmers Union; 53 of the 85 deputies present voted
for, 28 against, and 6 abstained. That draft is considered to
be moderate, in comparison with those proposed by some of the
other factions. Earlier that day, the parliament also took the
preparatory steps to hold a referendum in connection with the
citizenship law, an RFE/RL correspondent in Riga reported. -Dzintra
Bungs

ESTONIAN MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS RESIGNS. On 28 November
Estonian president Lennart Meri accepted the resignation of Minister
of Internal Affairs Lagle Parek. Prime Minister Mart Laar will
take charge of the ministry until a replacement is appointed.
Parek resigned amid widespread criticism of her ministry's apparent
inability to check crime in Estonia, and the controversial handling-allegedly
involving violence both against and by the police-of members
of the Laanemaa volunteer infantry unit and its former leader
Asso Kommer, who was transferred from the unit after its mutiny
last July. -Dzintra Bungs

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS THREE NEW DRAFT LAWS. The Belarusian
parliament passed three new draft laws following their first
reading, Belarusian television reported on 25 November. The bills
established the basis for social insurance, the protection of
natural resources, and the country's banking principles. Deputies
laid particular emphasis on the banking bill which, they said,
should help bring the Belarusian system in line with international
banking codes. -Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION WILL ONLY SIT ON ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL
SESSIONS. The Belarusian Popular Front announced that from now
on it would only participate in parliamentary sessions concerned
with political and economic issues, Radiofakt reported on 26
November. According to the opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak,
Belarus is faced with a number of critical issues which need
to be dealt with, among the most important being the energy crisis
and the switch to a national currency. During the same press
conference, opposition deputy Valyantsin Holubeu said that the
Supreme Soviet must enact election laws and establish a new structure
for the parliament which should be more "professional." -Ustina
Markus

DEVELOPMENTS IN ALBANIA. On 24 November AFP reported that Albania's
parliament officially changed the country's national day from
29 to 28 November. Under the former communist regime 29 November
was the recognized national holiday and marked the anniversary
of Albania's liberation from Italian and German occupation in
1944. In another development, Western agencies report that Israeli
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres arrived in Tirana on 28 November
for talks with President Berisha, as well as with other high-ranking
Albanian officials. Peres and Albanian representatives reportedly
signed several accords aimed at facilitating diplomatic and cultural
contacts between Albania and Israel. Peres's arrival marks the
first time an Israeli minister has paid an official visit to
Albania. Tirana opened diplomatic relations with Israel in August
1991. Stan Markotich and Robert Austin

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Roman Solchanyk and Dan Ionescu









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(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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