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No. 56, 22 March 1994
RUSSIA CHERNOMYRDIN VISITS YELTSIN IN SOCHI. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin flew early on 21 March to visit President Boris Yeltsin, who is vacationing in Sochi. An ITAR-TASS report said that the two would discuss economic and political matters. Presidential spokesman Anatolii Krasikov told Radio Moscow that the draft budget for 1994 was a topic under consideration and that the trip had been previously planned. However, in the absence of any previous notice and the fact that Chernomyrdin had to postpone meetings scheduled for that day--including one with visiting IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus--gave rise to further rumors about the president's political and physical health. Russian TV showed a brief clip of Yeltsin walking and talking with Chernomyrdin Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. PROSECUTOR-GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE COUP RUMORS. Acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko has started investigation of the alleged coup against President Yeltsin, Russian television newscasts reported on 21 March. The newscasts quoted Ilyushenko's press center as saying that the case was initiated after Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets had denied taking part in the conspiracy aimed at removing the president. On 18 March, the weekly Obshchaya gazeta reprinted an anonymous memorandum, marked "confidential," claiming that several members of Yeltsin's entourage--including Soskovets, Chief of Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov, and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov--planned to replace Yeltsin with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The newscasts also quoted Ilyushenko's representatives as saying that, should the coup rumors prove false, those who had distributed the memorandum in question would be prosecuted for libel. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. KAZANNIK HINTS YELTSIN COMMITTED CRIME. In an interview published in Komsomolskaya pravda on 18 March, former Russian Prosecutor-General Aleksandr Kazannik suggested that Yeltsin might have committed a crime when he ordered the storming of the Russian parliament last October. Kazannik, who resigned from his post rather than comply with requests from Yeltsin's aides to obstruct an amnesty for the leaders of the October revolt, said the president would have been justified in storming parliament only if talks on the surrender of those inside had broken down. Members of the Yeltsin team have claimed that parliamentary leaders ignored repeated efforts to persuade them to surrender. But Kazannik said his investigators found no evidence that any such attempts were made. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. DIRECT ELECTION OF PRESIDENT CALLED "DESTABILIZING." The chairman of the State Duma's committee on legislative reform, Vladimir Isakov, has proposed amending the law so that the Russian president would be elected not, as at present, by universal suffrage, but indirectly, by members of the Council of the Federation (the upper house of parliament, whose members are mainly provincial administrators) and other representatives of Russia's regions, Izvestiya reported on 15 March. Isakov, who is one of Yeltsin's sharpest parliamentary opponents, said the change was desirable because direct election of the president could be "destabilizing." Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. TALKS WITH IMF REPORTEDLY STALLED. Negotiations between the Russian government and the visiting IMF team over the granting of the second tranche of the systemic transformation facility were reported by Interfax to have stalled late on 20 March. After their examination of the latest draft of the federal budget for 1994, the IMF side apparently remained unconvinced that revenues would be forthcoming at the levels projected or that planned expenditure could be kept within the limits prescribed. Meanwhile, The Financial Times of 21 March reported that Russian debt traded on the international markets has fallen from 55 cents to the dollar in December to 28 cents. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. ELECTIONS DECLARED INVALID IN SEVERAL PLACES. Low turnout and voter apathy have caused local government elections held on 20 March to be declared invalid in several Russian cities and regions, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported on 21 March. In Orenburg Oblast, only 28 of the 47 constituencies achieved the 25 percent turnout necessary to validate the election while, in the city of Orenburg itself, only one of the 13 constituencies made the required turnout. Turnout was also low in Kamchatka Oblast, where lawmakers were successfully elected in only nine of the 21 constituencies, in Chita Oblast, and in the city of Murmansk. The majority of the successful candidates are local administrators or directors of enterprises and farms. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. LOCAL ELECTIONS POSTPONED IN FAR EAST REGION. Local elections have been put off until 23 October in Primorsky Krai, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 March. Announcing the news, the governor of the region, Evgenii Nazdratenko, said elections were being postponed because there was not enough money to pay for them and that the money would be better spent on poor people. But ITAR-TASS said there was little doubt that the decision was connected with the forcible ouster from office last week of the popularly elected mayor of the regional capital, Vladivostok, who was charged with corruption. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. CONTROVERSY OVER ELECTIONS IN ST. PETERSBURG. Officials of the St. Petersburg electoral commission said late on 21 March that more than 25 percent of the electorate took part in the elections to the city's assembly, the minimum needed to validate the elections, the Russian media reported. On 20 March, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak had extended the election by one day and went on television to urge voters to cast ballots. On 21 March, the city prosecutor filed a complaint against Sobchak accusing him of overstepping his authority. A spokesman for the Central Electoral Commission in Moscow also said that Sobchak's action "requires legal examination." Results of the St. Petersburg vote are not yet known. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REPRIMANDS FORMER CHAIRMAN. The Constitutional Court held a brief session on 21 March to warn its former chairman, Valerii Zorkin, to choose whether he prefers to continue political activities or to remain a member of the Court. Under the old Law on the Constitutional Court, judges were barred from partisan political activities. Both the Law and the court's activities, however, were suspended by a presidential decree, in the aftermath of Yeltsin's victory over the rebel parliament in October 1993. Today, the constitutional court remains largely inactive, waiting until the State Duma adopts the new law on the body. Last December, the court suspended Zorkin's membership because he had criticized Yeltsin's draft of the new Russian constitution, but a few months later the suspension was lifted. The 21 March session was prompted by Zorkin's role in organizing a movement called "Accord on Behalf of Russia," that attracted some pro-communists and nationalist politicians. In an interview with Interfax, also of 21 March, Zorkin agreed that his involvement with the movement was indeed a political action and vowed to make a choice between politics and the judiciary "very soon." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. START-2 UNDER ATTACK. With Ukraine's ratification of START-1 in hand, the fate of the START-2 treaty is being debated. In Moscow News no. 11 (13-20 March), three leading nuclear weapons designers, including Chief Designer Stanislav Voronin of Arzamas-16, argue that the treaty is destabilizing because it gives the US an advantage in submarine- and aircraft-based nuclear weapons. This, the authors argue, could imperil Russia's nuclear deterrent. As a solution, they propose a further reduction to just 500 single-warhead ICBMs, thereby eliminating the US advantage. Conversely, in the 19 March issue of Segodnya, Colonel Petr Belov criticizes the SS-25 single-warhead ICBM that would become the main weapon in Russia's arsenal as being unsafe, expensive, and vulnerable. He advocates renegotiating START-2 to allow retention of multiple-warhead missiles, or not ratifying the agreement. The Duma does not appear to have yet set a date for discussing the treaty, leaving plenty of time for an intense debate over its merits. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO JOIN NATO PARTNERSHIP IN APRIL? AFP and Interfax reported on 21 March that Moscow has postponed a visit by Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to Brussels planned for 28 March, and that Kozyrev will instead travel to NATO headquarters sometime after mid-April to formalize Russia's participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. The confusion surrounding the scheduling of Kozyrev's trip suggests that discussion continues in Moscow over whether, and under what conditions, Moscow will agree to join the program. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSO-JAPANESE TALKS ON KURIL ISLANDS. Japanese Foreign Minister Tsutomu Hata, in Moscow on an official visit, met on 21 March with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. In both meetings talks apparently centered on the settlement of the Kuril Islands territorial dispute, with Russian officials emphasizing that progress on the issue could only come gradually. Chernomyrdin was quoted as saying that Russia would be guided by the October 1993 Tokyo declaration, issued during a visit to Japan by Boris Yeltsin, which called for negotiations on the early conclusion of a Russo-Japanese peace treaty through resolution of the territorial dispute. That statement appeared to represent an easing in Chernomyrdin's own position; in the fall of 1993 he visited the Kuril Islands and stated that he saw no reason for negotiating their return to Japan. Japanese sources reported that Hata was satisfied with Russia's position on the territorial issue. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. ON G-7 STATUS, OTHER ISSUES. Chernomyrdin and Kozyrev also reportedly pressed Hata for support on Moscow's request to participate in political discussions at the Group of Seven (G-7) Summit scheduled for July in Italy and, ultimately, to gain full membership in an expanded Group. Although Kozyrev characterized Hata's response as positive, the Japanese Foreign Minister appeared to deflect that request when he said that Italy, as the summit host country, should take the lead on the issue. At the same time, Hata expressed confidence that Russia would continue along the path of reform, and announced a $10 million plan for the creation of a Japanese management training center in Moscow. According to AFP, he also said that the two sides had signed a bilateral accord on defense and security matters, although he provided no details. A Japanese spokesman said that Hata had invited Chernomyrdin to visit Tokyo later this year, while Chernomyrdin and Kozyrev had each extended invitations for a visit by Japan's Prime Minister to visit Moscow. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN TO VISIT GERMANY IN MAY. President Yeltsin will make a state visit to Germany on 11-13 May, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 March, quoting the German government press and information department. The dates are "scheduled but not yet official." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA RE-INTRODUCTION OF PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM IN GEORGIA?. Speaking on Radio Tbilisi on 21 March, Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze called for the reintroduction of a presidential system in Georgia, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that the country needs a strong leadership and constructive common action between the legislative and executive branches, and that strong presidential power could become a guarantee for the integrity and security of the state. Shevardnadze suggested that a referendum could be held on the matter. Georgia introduced a presidential system in 1991 after declaring independence, specifically to strengthen parliament chairman Gamsakhurdia's position; the presidency was abolished after his ouster in January 1992. Liz Carlson, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERB WEAPONS DISCOVERED. On 21 March international media reported that NATO troops had discovered a cache of heavy weapons, belonging to the Bosnian Serb side, within a 20-kilometer exclusion zone around Sarajevo. Initial reports stated that NATO had warned of possible air strikes if the weapons were either not withdrawn or not turned over to the UN. However, on 22 March Reuters reports that the incidents surrounding the weapons' discovery were seemingly grounded in a misunderstanding, with some resulting confusion stemming from the fact both sides have demarcated the exclusion zone borders slightly differently. UN officials and Bosnian Serb leaders agreed to meet on 22 March to delineate exact borders recognized by all parties. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. CROAT, SERB OFFICIALS TO MEET. On 22 March Vecernji list reports that Croatian officials are to meet with representatives of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina, consisting of about a third of Croatia's territory, on 22 March. Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin is slated to be present, and ITAR-TASS observes that talks will be held in the Russian embassy in Zagreb. Signs suggest, however, that any resolution of outstanding differences between the two sides may not lie in the foreseeable future. On 21 March, Slobodan Jarcevic, foreign minister of the self-styled RSK, adopted a seeming hard line and suggested on Belgrade Radio that any compromises harmful to the integrity of the RSK would be unacceptable, and that a withdrawal of Croatia's military presence would constitute a non-negotiable demand. For its part Zagreb regards Krajina as an integral part of Croatia. Yet according to Reuters on 21 March, Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic has expressed hope that additional steps towards peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina may be made in the near future as the Serb side may make compromises. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH-UKRAINIAN PARTNERSHIP. On 21 March Polish and Ukrainian foreign ministers signed in Warsaw a joint declaration on "close partnership" between their two countries. According to a report in Gazeta Wyborcza, the main point of the declaration was an assertion that both sides were determined to prevent "the creation of new divisions in Europe, the resurrection of hegemonistic tendencies, and the establishment of [new] spheres of influence." The paper said that this assertion was "clearly" related to current Russian foreign activities. Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PREMIER IN PRAGUE. Jozef Moravcik, the new Slovak prime minister, arrived in Prague on 21 March to take part in the opening ceremonies of the European Banking Forum and to hold talks with Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. CTK reports that the two politicians discussed Czech-Slovak relations, in particular problems related to the Czech-Slovak Customs Union and the division of former Czechoslovakia's federal property. Moravcik was accompanied by Finance Minister Rudolf Filkus who, referring to the recently ousted government of Vladimir Meciar, told journalists that in Slovakia "the process of privatization has become a means of concentrating political power" and that the new government will try to accelerate the privatization process and "make it more transparent." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH DEPUTY PREMIER BACK FROM LATIN AMERICA. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Kalvoda returned from a 12-day tour of South and Central America on 21 March. Kalvoda, who visited Chile, Costa Rica, Peru and Uruguay, told journalists in Prague that he discussed mainly economic cooperation with the leaders of the four countries. In Chile, he participated in the inauguration ceremonies for President Eduardo Frei. In Peru Kalvoda signed an agreement on the protection of investments, while in Costa Rica and Uruguay he prepared the way for signing trade agreements. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN AND SLOVAK DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. On 21 March Hungarian Defense Minister Lajos Fur and his Slovak counterpart Pavol Kanis met in Budapest to discuss questions relating to Central European security and bilateral military cooperation, MTI reports. At a joint press conference following the talks Kanis stressed that his visit was the first foreign visit by a member of the new Slovak cabinet which signified the importance Slovakia attached to developing good relations with Hungary. Fur praised as very encouraging the foreign policy steps undertaken by the new Slovak government. He pointed out that relations between the two defense ministries have been good, and expressed the hope that political relations will also improve. Hungarian-Slovak relations have been strained by disputes over the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydro-electric dam project and Slovakia's treatment of its ethnic Hungarian minority. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU MEETS MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES. On 21 March Romania's President Ion Iliescu met with directors and editors-in-chief of the country's main newspapers. The meeting was also attended by the general directors of the state radio and television societies and the national news agency Rompres. In a speech broadcast by Radio Bucharest, Iliescu said that he was interested in the quality of the political analysis provided by the media. He added that he would prefer journalists to criticize him directly instead of "cursing [him] in the nooks." Iliescu is known for his tense relationship with some independent media, including Romania's top selling Evenimentul zilei. Recently, the presidential office accused that daily of having illegally tapped telephone calls from well-wishers congratulating Iliescu on his birthday. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSYLVANIA PARTIES CONFIDENT IN THEIR VOTERS. Leaders of two major parties in Transylvania rejected a recent statement made in Cluj by the executive president of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, Adrian Nastase, on prospects to win over Transylvanian voters through a new approach to inter-ethnic issues. Bela Marko, president of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest that he doubted his party could be replaced as the internationally recognized representative of the Magyar minority in Romania. He also said that the PSDR should begin its inter-ethnic dialogue by ridding the governing coalition of nationalist parties. In a separate statement, Ioan Gavra, deputy chairman of the Party of Romanian National Unity, said that Transylvania has been his party's political stronghold for four years and that the PSDR will not be able to change that. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. EU EXTENDS $125 MILLION LOAN TO BULGARIA. On 21 March the finance and economic ministers of the European Union approved a $125 million (110 million Ecu) loan to Bulgaria, Western agencies report. Greek Economics Minister Yannos Papantoniou told journalists in Brussels that the EU will consider releasing another $57 million (50 million Ecu) later this year, but that, in the meantime, other members of the Group of 24 economically developed nations are expected to provide Bulgaria with $159 million (140 million Ecu) to help pay for the country's imports. The International Monetary Fund has asked Western states to offer a total of $342 million (300 million Ecu) to support Bulgaria's balance of payments account during 1994, and in Sofia Finance Minister Stoyan Aleksandrov and Bulgarian National Bank Governor Todor Valchev admitted that they had hoped the entire sum would be released at once. It is not yet clear whether the EU loan is enough to persuade the IMF to offer new standby loans and help finance Bulgaria's pending settlement on its $9.3 billion foreign debt. Referring both to the rapid devaluation of the Bulgarian currency in recent weeks and commitments to the country's creditors, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov told Financial Times of 21 March that without a swift decision on economic aid from the G-24 "everything will fall apart." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. KIEV CHALLENGED BY DONBAS LANGUAGE POLLS. A second oblast in Ukraine's Russified south-east has decided to a conduct a poll during the parliamentary elections on 27 March on whether the region's residents want Russian to be a state language alongside Ukrainian and Ukraine to integrate more closely in the CIS. The RFE/RL Research Institute has been informed that the Luhansk Oblast Council took the decision on 17 March. The Donetsk Oblast Council had decided on 22 February to hold a similar poll with an additional question on whether voters think Ukraine should become a federation. ITAR-TASS reported on 21 March that the Ukrainian Procurator General's office has protested to the Donbas Oblast Council about its plan to hold the regional referendum and suggested that the Luhansk Oblast Council knew about this when it made its decision. Kiev's authority is also being challenged on 27 March by the consultative referendum on Crimea's future status which Crimean President Yurii Meshkov appears determined to hold despite a ban announced by President Leonid Kravchuk. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE: MORE WARHEADS TRANSFERRED. During the visit of US Defense Secretary William Perry to Kiev on 21 March, Ukrainian officials confirmed that a second shipment of 60 nuclear warheads has been sent to Russia. Vice Premier Valerii Shmarov noted, however, that Ukraine has not yet received any nuclear reactor fuel in exchange for the warheads and warned that further shipments could be conditional on fuel deliveries, according to UKRINFORM/TASS and Interfax. Shmarov also reportedly complained that the US has not yet paid Russia $60 million for the fuel, as required under the trilateral agreement. According to the Washington Post, US officials attempted to downplay the issue, claiming that the Russians insist there are no problems implementing the agreement. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. US TO STOP TARGETING UKRAINE. UKRINFORM/TASS reported on 21 March that Ukraine and the US have also signed an agreement under which the US will no longer target its missiles on Ukraine. The agreement is analogous to those signed between the US and Russia and the UK and Russia. Presumably, however, Ukraine has not agreed to "detarget" its missiles, since control over the targeting of missiles in Ukraine still appears to rest with Moscow. Perry termed US-Ukrainian relations strategically important and signed agreements giving Ukraine an additional $100 million in disarmament aid. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA WARNS UKRAINE OVER GAS. Interfax reported on 22 March that the Russian Gazprom has warned Ukraine that it will stop supplying natural gas from 1 April if Kiev has not made the agreed upon debt payments by that date. So far Ukraine has paid Gazprom $59 million of its arrears. On 10 March Russia and Ukraine agreed that Gazprom would receive shares in the Ukrainian enterprise Ukrhazprom, and $100 million of Ukraine's $900 million debt would be paid by 1 April. Gazprom officials say Ukraine has still not made a list of enterprises where Gazprom would have an interest or determined the size of the Gazprom's shares in them. At the same time, allegations are continuing that Ukraine is still siphoning off some of the Russian gas pipelined to Western Europe. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PARTIES NOMINATE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. The race for the first presidential election in Belarus has begun. Under Belarus's new law a candidate for presidency may be officially registered if he collects at least 100,000 signatures of the republic's citizens within 15 days, or 70 signatures from parliament's deputies. According to Interfax from 22 March, the Belarusian Socialist Party and the Association of Democratic parties have decided to nominate the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich as their candidate. Shushkevich intends to tour the republic to collect signatures for his nomination. The Belarusian Communist Party has reportedly decided to nominate Vasil Navikou. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN'S ENVOY IN MOLDOVA REVEALS CARDS. Senior Russian diplomat Vladlen Vasev, Yeltsin's special mediator in the Moldova conflict, told Info-Tag in Chisinau on 21 March at the end of a first round of talks that "Russia has geostrategic interests in Moldova and also means to defend the Russian-speaking population." This is the first public claim of this kind by a senior Russian official and it seems to presage or accompany more direct demands for bases than has hitherto been the case. The reference to "Russian-speakers" ignores Moldova's rejection of that concept, which would extend Russian protection to 35% of Moldova's population ("Russian-speakers") instead of 13% (ethnic Russians) and would again deprive Ukrainians (Moldova's largest minority at 14%), Gagauz, and Bulgarians of their own identity. The claim to "defend" these groups ignores the positive international rating of Moldova's performance on human and ethnic rights. Vasev added that his proposals for settling the Dniester conflict will "in large measure correspond with those of the CSCE"--a retreat from his initial pledge to "take the CSCE plan as the basis" for his proposals. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN NEWSPAPER EDITOR DISMISSED. On 21 March the board of the Rahva Haal (People's Voice), the only Estonian language nationwide newspaper supported by the government, voted 4 to 1 with 2 abstentions to dismiss Toomas Leito as editor in chief and replace him with Olev Remsu as editor in charge of publishing from 23 March, BNS reports. More than half of the newspaper's 80 employees signed letters of resignation and took over the paper's publishing as the joint stock company, RH Lrd., one of three companies that had bid for its privatization in 1993 that had ended in a tangle of legal disputes. They denounced the government for "pursuing an unambiguously party-biased policy, disguised as protecting the interests of the state," asserting that it was aimed at confining the liberties of the free press. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN BALTIC SEA FLEET COMMANDER IN LITHUANIA. Admiral Vladimir Egorov traveled to Vilnius on 22 March to discuss matters relating to the arrest on 17 March of Vladas Laurinavicius, president of the Selma Association which is building apartments in Kaliningrad for Russian troops, Radio Lithuania reports. Egorov will meet with Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, Prosecutor General Arturas Petrauskas, Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius, and other officials. The charges against Laurinavicius involve financial violations in the purchase of weapons for the Lithuanian defense forces in 1992-1993. About 50 apartments, including that of former Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, were searched for evidence. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, who had planned to sign a new construction contract with Laurinavicius on 19 March in Kaliningrad, said on 18 March that the arrest had probably been made by lower rank officers to prevent their meeting. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN JOURNALIST HEADS TO JAIL. Koha Jone on 22 March says that its editor-in-chief, Aleksander Frangaj, was sentenced to five months in jail yesterday. The appeals court upheld an 18-month sentence against Koha Jone journalist Martin Leka. Frangaj had originally been freed by a lower court but he is currently outside Albania and it is not likely he will return. Both men were implicated in penal code and press law violations after Koha Jone published what were determined as state secrets. In other developments, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 20 March that Deputy Prime Minister Bashkim Kopliku met with his Macedonian counterpart Jovan Andonov. Talks focused on Albania's offer to allow Macedonia to use the Adriatic port of Durres as an alternative to the Greek port of Salonika. Robert Austin, RFE/RL, Inc. MUSLIMS MEET MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT. Members of the ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in Montenegro met with President Momir Bulatovic, Vecernje novosti reported on 11 March. The party representatives expressed anxiety because of the arrests of SDA members since January for alleged preparation of an armed uprising, whereas Bulatovic reassured them that those arrests concerned only "isolated groups of extremists in the ranks of the citizens of Muslim nationality." Interior Minister Nikola Pejakovic said that "peace guarantees the independence and security of all citizens independent of belief and nationality." Elsewhere, the president of the chief Sandzak Islamic Council, Muamer Efendi Zokorlic, stressed that Ramadan passed by without "any excesses from the side of the communities of Islamic faith in Sandzak," adding that the existence of a single Islamic Council for both the Montenegrin and Serbian halves of the Sandzak does not endanger Montenegro or its possible independence, Borba reported on 12 March. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Keith Bush and Stan Markotich The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG. Such requests will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL Daily Report. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In North America: Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907 Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783 Internet: RI-DC@RFERL.ORG Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 80538 Munich Germany Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624 Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648 Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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