|Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -|
No. 78, 25 April 1994
RUSSIA RUSSIA CALLS UNSC SESSION ON BOSNIA. The United Nations Security Council went into session on 23 April at Russia's request to discuss the situation around Gorazde. All fifteen members supported NATO's ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs to withdraw from two miles around Gorazde or face airstrikes. Russia's ambassador to the UN, Yulii Vorontsov, said that Russia's support for military action was limited to the 23 April UNSC discussion and did not extend to bombing threats to protect declared safe areas in general. While condemning the "absolutely unspeakable slaughter of civilians in Gorazde," Vorontsov qualified his remarks as saying that Russia was dissatisfied with the behavior of the "military command" of the Bosnian Serb army. Vorontsov also stressed that Russia had not yet expressed support for bombing of war-making infrastructure, Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN MEETS POLITICAL LEADERS. On 22 April Yeltsin met leaders of political organizations, parliamentary factions and constituent regions of the Russian Federation and discussed the prospects of signing the Civic Accord. In their comments on the event, Russian TV newscasts said that the document will be signed at 2 p.m. in Moscow on 28 April. Up to 250 political groups are expected to join the treaty. Most factions of the State Duma, except the Yabloka reformist bloc and the communist party, have reportedly agreed to sign the document. In order to persuade the opposition to sign the Civic Accord, Yeltsin reportedly made some concessions. Among them, Yeltsin agreed to abolish the "black list" of 151 former Russian legislators who were denied compensation and discriminated against in housing and employment opportunities because they had resisted Yeltsin's decree disbanding the parliament in September 1993. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YABLOKO WILL NOT SIGN CIVIC ACCORD. One of the few factions of the State Duma that flatly refused to sign the Civic Accord on 28 April was the reformist bloc Yabloko, Russian television reported. Its representative at the 22 April meeting with Yeltsin was quoted as saying that the faction will do everything to achieve unity and accord in Russia but won't sign the paper. In an interview with Ostankino TV "Novosti plyus" on 23 April, the leader of the bloc, Grigorii Yavlinsky, explained that the accord in the country should be achieved via the constitution and that other documents on the matter would only confuse the citizenry. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI PREPARED TO FIGHT YELTSIN. Former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi told Independent NTV channel on 24 April that he will not sign the Civic Accord proposed by President Boris Yeltsin. Rutskoi added that those parties and organizations which sign the accord would be "muzzled politically." He said that he seeks to unite "those who are left" in a strong political mass opposition movement to Yeltsin and his policies. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. COMMUNISTS MARK LENIN'S BIRTHDAY. Pro-communist rallies were held on 22 April near Red Square in Moscow to mark the 124th anniversary of Lenin's birth. Reports gave varying estimates of the number of participants, ranging from several hundred to 3,000 people. Interfax reported that demonstrators rejected President Yeltsin's proposal for a Civic Accord. Sergei Belashev of the hard-line Working Moscow Movement told the agency that if Yeltsin really wanted peace in society, he would step down as president. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIANS DISSATISFIED WITH REFORMS? "Vesti" cited on 22 April the results of an opinion poll held in 110 Russian cities and 66 villages. According to the poll, only 9% of the respondents had said that they are satisfied with changes in the political system in Russia since the advent of Gorbachev's "restructuring policy"; 42% said they are "dissatisfied"; 26% are "extremely dissatisfied", while the remaining 23% said they had not expected any good from the development since the very beginning. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN PUBLISHED MEMOIRS. President Boris Yeltsin has revealed in his recent memoirs, excerpts of which were published by the Sunday Times on 23 April, that he suffered from a deep depression after feeling that he had broken the law when he ordered troops to seize the parliamentary building last October. He stated that the army and even his presidential guard had refused to obey his order to storm the parliament during the armed rebellion. Yeltsin wrote that the elite troops went into action only after a sniper killed one of their officers. Yeltsin's account raises the question of whether the military would defend him in future. In other statements, Yeltsin claimed that Russia may reconsider cooperating with the IMF and proceed along "its own way"; and he called Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin "a man who has never betrayed his [Yeltsin's] expectations." He also said that the strong showing of nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky in last December's parliamentary elections indicates that "Russia is ripe for a mad leader." Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN'S PROTECTIONISM SAID TO COST RUSSIA TRILLIONS. Two democratic newspapers have published a series of articles accusing President Yeltsin of grave financial violations. On 30 March Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta (NEG) published a photocopy of Yeltsin's decree endowing a sports center owned by the president's tennis teacher, Shamil Tarpishchev, with a number of financial privileges such as a tax exemption for the export of oil and other natural resources. On 8 April the same newspaper went so far as to accuse Yeltsin of connections with a "sport Mafia" formerly led by the controversial late athlete Otari Kvantrishvili. On 9 April this accusation was echoed by the usually pro-Yeltsin Komsomolskaya pravda. A report prepared by the Finance Ministry, claims that Yeltsin's decrees giving privileges to various commercial enterprises have caused the loss of over seven trillion rubles in tax revenues. In violation of the constitution, NEG noted, none of these decrees have been approved by either the parliament or government. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. G-7 AND IMF ON RUSSIAN ECONOMY. The meeting in Washington of finance ministers and central bankers of the G-7 group of major industrial nations on 24 April heard cautiously optimistic appraisals of the state of the Russian economy from Russian officials and from representatives of international financial organizations. According to an RFE/RL correspondent and Western agencies, prospects are good for the accelerated disbursement of up to $1 billion in funds from the World Bank that are already in the pipeline and up to $4 billion in standby credits from the IMF later this year. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin called for a more generous debt rescheduling deal from the Paris Club for 1994. According to The Financial Times of 25 April, Russia will need $34 billion in external finance in 1994, in addition to the $1.5 billion recently approved by the IMF. On 24 April, an IMF official told a news conference that although Russia had failed to meet three successive goals for economic stabilization, the Fund was now confident that the Russian economy has reached a point of no return in its transition to the market. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. STATE ALCOHOL MONOPOLY REINSTATED. On 24 April, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed an order that reinstated the government's monopoly on the production and storage of, and wholesale and retail trade in, alcoholic beverages including ethyl alcohol, liquors, and materials for making wine, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The order set deadlines for the issue of regulations and quotas, and for the drawing up of penalties for any infringements. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA CUTS OFF ELECTRICITY IN CHECHNYA. Moscow has cut off electricity to the breakaway republic of Chechnya because of a reported non-payment of energy bills, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 April. The republic, which announced independence from Moscow in 1991, but continues to receive considerable subsidies from Russia, is being punished for non-payment of a 12.5 billion ruble electricity bill and an 8 billion ruble debt for gas deliveries. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS END WITHOUT AGREEMENT. After what appeared to be a breakthrough in negotiations over the division of the Black Sea Fleet, no agreement was reached when Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev refused to sign any protocols without resolving the issue of basing first, various agencies reported. During talks between Grachev and Ukrainian defense minister Vitalii Radetsky on 21-22 April, it was reported that the Russians and Ukrainians agreed on a split of the fleet which would have given Ukraine 164 operational vessels of the fleet's 833 ships (some 20% of the fleet), and allowed Ukraine to sell the rest of its 50% entitlement to Russia. The Black Sea Fleet had previously been reported as having 440 ships, but the agreement was to include many noncombat and small vessels. The negotiations foundered over the issue of basing. The Russian side insisted that Sevastopol be the main base of the Black Sea Fleet exclusively, and that there should be no Ukrainian naval presence in Crimea; the Ukrainians proposed that the fleet and Ukrainian navy jointly share the Sevastopol base. Both sides blamed each other for the failure to conclude any agreement. On 23 April it was reported that the Ukrainian president, Leonid Kravchuk, called for the presidents and prime ministers of the two countries to meet and continue the negotiations, rather than their defense ministers. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL ASIA AND TRANSCAUCASIA ABKHAZ TALKS FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT. Four days of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva on the future status of Abkhazia ended without agreement on 22 April, Interfax and western news agencies reported, but the Georgian and Abkhaz delegations agreed to meet again in Moscow on 10 May to consider a UN proposal on a federal agreement that will maintain Georgia's territorial integrity. Meanwhile one of the Abkhaz negotiators told Interfax that the Abkhaz parliament will shortly adopt a new constitution specifying that Abkhazia is a sovereign state. A conference of Georgian refugees from Abkhazia failed to take place as planned in Tbilisi on 23 April after its convener was temporarily abducted and beaten, allegedly by adherents of the paramilitary organization Mkhedrioni whose leader heads the Georgian delegation to the Abkhaz peace talks. A Mkhedrioni spokesman has denied involvement in the abduction. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO SECURE ITS BORDER WITH AZERBAIJAN. In an interview with Interfax on 23 April a spokesman for the Russian Border Troops explained the decision to impose tighter control on the border between Daghestan and Azerbaijan in terms of preventing the unauthorized export from Russia of consumer goods and raw materials and the illegal transit of third country nationals from Azerbaijan into the Russian Federation. He claimed that 60 such infiltrators were detained in 1992-3, and 57 so far in 1994, mostly from Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Pakistan. Contraband to the value of 4 billion rubles was confiscated. On 22 April Reuters reported that three persons, including an Azerbaijani and a North Caucasian, had been arrested at Istanbul airport attempting to smuggle uranium. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS PULL BACK FROM GORAZDE. International media report on 25 April that Bosnian Serb forces have largely met UN and NATO demands that they pull back three kilometers from the besieged east Bosnian Muslim enclave. They were late in meeting the deadline of 2 am on 24 April local time, and UN officials have warned them to be punctual in meeting the next deadline of 2 am on 27 April, when they are supposed to have their heavy guns pulled back to 20 kilometers away from the town. Meanwhile, 600 Ukrainian, British, and French peacekeepers have arrived in Gorazde, as has a Norwegian medical unit and helicopters to evacuate wounded to Sarajevo. The Washington Post reports that the Serbs are nonetheless conducting a grudging "scorched-earth withdrawal," leaving "a trail of flame and destruction in their wake." On 22 April the Security Council passed a resolution calling on the Serbs to cease fire and pull back, which was followed later that day by a NATO ultimatum setting the 24 April deadline and threatening air strikes if it were not met. On 23 April NATO wanted to bomb the Serbs in view of their continued shelling of the town, but the UN rejected the request. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVENIA AND CROATIA FEAR ITALIAN NEO-FASCISTS. Reuters reported on 22 April that Ljubljana and Zagreb expressed concern at a statement by Italian neo-fascist legislator Mirko Tremaglia calling for Istria, Rijeka, and Dalmatia to be returned to Italy. The Guardian on 25 April notes that it is feared that Tremaglia might be "testing the waters" for a change in Italian policy that would "tear up" the 1975 Italo-Yugoslav Osimo treaty that confirmed the present frontiers. Former Italian Christian Democratic and Communist officials warned against such a move, while the Croatian and Slovenian media have long been concerned about the ultimate aims of the neo-fascists. Some 150,000 Italians left or were expelled after World War II from territories that had belonged to Italy since World War I, having been first Venetian and then Austrian before that. Many of them seek compensation for the property they lost after 1945. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN INTELLECTUALS MEET. On 22 April both Borba and Politika reported extensively on a two-day meeting of Serbian intellectuals from all parts of former Yugoslavia, which involved an estimated 1, 400 participants. The so-called Second Congress of Serbian Intellectuals met ostensibly to discuss "the Serbian question today" and to do so in as apolitical a manner as possible. Neither the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia nor the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences officially sponsored the affair; however, prominent nationalist intellectuals such as Mihailo Markovic and Milorad Ekmecic, instrumental in providing an intellectual justification for Serbian expansionism, played a leading role at the conference and questions of Serbian "national unity" dominated much of the discussion. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BELGRADE CONDEMNS ULTIMATUM. In other news, on 23 February AFP reported that the rump Yugoslav government officially condemned the most recent NATO ultimatum to Serb forces then besieging the Bosnian town of Gorazde. Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic, while on an official visit to Romania, declared that any NATO airstrikes at Serb forces would only serve to "aggravate" the situation in Gorazde. Meanwhile, on 22 April Reuters reported that both Britain and the United States resolved to evacuate embassy staff from Belgrade. On 23 April Reuters reported that Paris, in a similar action, decided to evacuate diplomats' families from France's Belgrade embassy. The decisions to evacuate followed in the wake of the NATO ultimatum to Bosnian Serbs. On 25 April the Serbian press continues its coverage of the situation in Bosnia. Politika, for instance, runs a commentary titled "the Inflation of Ultimatums" which purports to analyze the issuing of the most recent ultimatum to Bosnian Serbs while the government organ Vecernje novosti reports that it is really Bosnian Serbs who are victimized under the headline "Crimes Under UN Protection." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ENDS IN BUCHAREST. A four-day conference on the emerging free markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, sponsored by the Swiss-based Crans Montana Forum foundation, ended in Bucharest on 24 April, Romanian and Western media report. Romania's President Ion Iliescu said in a closing speech that the event marked "the rebirth of Romanian diplomacy" and helped place Bucharest "on the circuit of great international meeting centers." Iliescu emphasized the importance of the talks held during the conference by Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. On 21 April Iliescu, Arafat, Peres and Forum's President Jean-Paul Carteron co-chaired a plenary session on the peace process and prospects of cooperation in the Middle East, which has been described in the media as the conference's climax. About 2,000 delegates and journalists took part in discussions of economic, social and political problems in many regions of the world, including the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN LIBERAL PARTIES HOLD ELECTION RALLIES. Speaking at a meeting of the Liberal Circles on 23 April, the chairmen of the Alliance of Free Democrats and Alliance of Young Democrats, Ivan Peto and Viktor Orban, predicted that the current coalition government will lose the upcoming elections, and said the main issue of the elections will be whether the Hungarian Socialist Party, the former reform communists, or the liberal parties form the next government. While Orban reaffirmed that his party was not ready to cooperate with the HSP, Peto did not exclude a coalition with the HSP. At a separate rally the same day Orban declared that cooperation between the AFD and the HSP would jeopardize relations between the two liberal parties. He reiterated his view that the HSP has become a "client party" of the trade unions, and has not carried out the necessary personnel changes to transform it into a democratic party. Orban warned if the HSP came to power old communists would return to power at the local level and would seek revenge against their political opponents. This was reported by MTI. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ON ELECTIONS. Peter Boross told a rally on 24 April in Sopron that he would like to stay prime minister for the next four years because he feels that he is the only candidate who has the know-how, style, and devotion to the country needed to complete the country's democratic transformation, MTI reports. Addressing the Hungarian Democratic Forum's performance in the past four years, Boross stressed that the largest governing party had learned from its mistakes. He reiterated that the HDF could not accept the AFD as a coalition party because in his view the AFD was dominated by a left-wing "hard-line group." In separate development, Hungary's second largest Church, the Reformed (Calvinist) Church, issued a statement urging believers to vote in the upcoming elections. It appealed to Reformed Christians to vote for parties which promote the country's moral regeneration, and asked the faithful to examine the attitude of parties in the past four years toward Church schools and facultative religious instruction in schools. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. SEJM REINSTATES EXCESS WAGES TAX. The new excess wages tax law, modified to take account of President Lech Walesa's objections, was passed on 23 April by 199 votes to 69, with 18 abstentions. The law provides a penalty levy of 1.5 zloty for every zloty paid in excess of the wage increase ceiling. It replaces the despised tax that was introduced in December 1990 to force state enterprises to keep wage increases within their own profit margins, and abolished on 31 March 1994. Although the parties of the ruling coalition used their opposition to the tax as an election slogan, their leaders accepted the need for some form of wage control. After Walesa vetoed the law because it extended penalty levies to private and foreign companies, and earmarked half of the revenue for an industrial agency, Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak--trying to curry favor with the unions--claimed that his government could do without it, but a group of deputies from his own party resubmitted the law minus the offending provisions. If it is endorsed by the Senate and the president it will take effect on the first of the following month, which could mean wage freedom for several more weeks. Pawlak said the same day that a 14% increase in wages in March alone was "no grounds for concern." He also took credit for the fact that inflation in the first quarter of 1994 was under 5%--the lowest figure in 7 years, PAP reports. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH COAL STRIKE ESCALATES. Solidarity-sponsored strikers in Poland's brown-coal mines have rejected Industry Minister Marek Pol's offer to suspend the government's restructuring plans for the energy sector pending the outcome of negotiations with the unions, and have decided to continue the strike indefinitely until the restructuring plans are completely abandoned. PAP reported on 24 April that brown-coal power and heating plants, which provide about one-third of the national demand, could be forced to limit supplies to industrial users as of 25 April. The government has taken a conciliatory stance, offering immediate talks, but the strike is a trial of strength for the Solidarity union, which is contemplating the possibility of broader protest actions. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. LIBERAL-DEMOCRATIC MERGER IN POLAND. The Democratic Union and the Liberal-Democratic Congress held their unification congress on 23 and 24 April in Warsaw. The new party, to be called the Freedom Union, is headed by former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, with the liberals' Donald Tusk as deputy chairman. The party sees itself as a "strong party of the center," committed to market-oriented reforms and a democratic social order, but not insensitive to social justice. The new party plans to set up permanent secretariats to deal with the specialized areas of public administration; their task will be to prepare strategic goals for "the second step" of Polish reforms. The heads of the secretariats will form a shadow cabinet. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIA PROTESTS POLISH INTERPRETATION OF COMMON HISTORY. Lithuanian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Polish Foreign Ministry protesting the interpretation of Lithuanian-Polish history earlier in this century in the publication, "An Outline of the History of the Polish State" that is being circulated to the Council of Europe; that publication contains a map, dating from 1938, showing Vilnius and its region as Polish territory. On 19 October 1993 the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry protested over another publication officially circulated by the Polish Foreign Ministry: "Poland: History in Brief". So far no reply has come from the Polish side to both notes, BNS reported on 21 April. Meanwhile, the Lithuania-Poland Society, founded in 1989, has resumed its activities in Vilnius in the context of preparations for the visit of Poland's president Walesa later this week and the anticipated signing on 26 April of a Polish-Lithuanian cooperation accord, BNS reported on 22 April. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO SLOVAK CENTER PARTIES MERGE. The founding session of the Democratic Union of Slovakia (DEUS), which represents a merger of the Alliance of Democrats and the Democratic Union (formerly the Alternative of Political Realism), was held in Bratislava on 23 April. In a secret ballot, Premier Jozef Moravcik became the new party's chairman, former Foreign Minister and AD Chairman Milan Knazko was elected first deputy chairman, National Property Fund Chairman Viliam Vaskovic was elected deputy chairman for economic affairs, and Deputy Premier Roman Kovac was chosen deputy chairman for social affairs and culture. Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy Milan Hudina joined the group on 21 April, bringing the party's parliamentary representation up to 18 deputies, TASR reports. Following his election as chairman, Moravcik said the DEUS "will contribute to the stable political structure in Slovakia." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. US ENVOY EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR SLOVAK CABINET. Ending a 3-day visit to Slovakia on 22 April, US presidential envoy to Central Europe Richard Schifter expressed support for the new Slovak cabinet during a meeting with Premier Jozef Moravcik, TASR reports. Schifter and Moravcik also discussed possibilities for US investment in Slovakia's infrastructure and aid to boost the country's stagnating economy. Talks with Slovak Defense Minister Pavol Kanis focused on Slovakia's affiliation with NATO. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR STILL TOPS SLOVAK OPINION POLLS. According to a poll released by the Slovak Statistical Office on 22 April, former Premier Vladimir Meciar is still the most trusted politician in Slovakia, with the support of 26% of respondents, up 1% from March. Moravcik and President Michal Kovac were tied for second with 25%, representing a 20% jump for the new premier since March. Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss fell to fourth with 13%, while all other politicians were at 10% or below. The percentage of respondents who did not trust any politician fell to 25% in April, a 6% decline since March. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. PARTIAL POLITICAL ACCORD IN CRIMEA. Thirteen Crimean political parties signed an "Accord for Rebirth" at a roundtable, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 April. Representatives of the Communist Party of Crimea did not attend the session, and the local organizations of the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Civic Congress of Crimea refused to sign the document, noting the week-long anti-Ukrainian demonstrations in front of the local parliament building organized by the Russian Society. The Crimean Tatar Mejlis also did not sign, saying the agreement made no reference to the political rights of the Crimean Tatars. Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc. GREEK AND ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET IN ZURICH. Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi is expected to meet with his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias on 3 May in Zurich, Aleanca reported on 25 April. The Ministers are expected to reach an agreement on the number of diplomatic personnel in the two countries. After a terrorist attack by the hitherto unknown Greek "Liberation Front North Epirus" on a military barrack in Southern Albania on 10 April, Albania demanded that Greek diplomatic personnel be reduced to six. Greece, in reply, expelled two Albanian diplomats, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 25 April. An Albanian-Greek commission tasked with investigating the incident met on 20 April in Ioannina but according to Koha Jone of 25 April but could not reach an agreement. The Albanian side said it had proved that the terrorists came from Greece and that the ammunition used was made in Greece. Reuters on 24 April reports that Albania has detained eleven people for illegal possession of weapons, and that the authorities found Greek separatist propaganda in their raids. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. TRIAL AGAINST FORMER ALBANIAN PRESIDENT. The public prosecutors have filed charges against the last Albanian Communist president, Ramiz Alia, and nine other former Communist officials, international media reported on 24 April. Alia, who was president from 1982 to 1992, and the others are charged with misappropriation of state funds, abuse of office and violation of citizens' rights. Specific incidents underlying the charges include the execution of 22 people without trial in 1951 and a subsequent falsifying of court records. Alia has been in prison since August 1993 and was previously under house arrest. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN DIPLOMATIC DEVELOPMENTS. On 25 April Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov arrived on his third visit to Bulgaria. Gligorov is to spend two days in Sofia, and will among other things address the National Assembly and meet with his counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev. Only four days earlier the country's first ambassador to Bulgaria, the TV journalist Georgi Spasov, was accredited in Sofia. In another development, on 23 April the chairman of the recently founded Civic Alliance for the Republic and a former Deputy Prime Minister and BSP member, Aleksandar Tomov, spoke to BTA about his impressions during a seemingly successful trip to Turkey. Tomov, who was received by Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin as well as by President Suleiman Demirel, said he had tried to persuade the government in Ankara not to upset the delicate internal political balance in Bulgaria by asking Sofia to allow the transit of Turkish UN soldiers despite the fact that this might seem the most practical alternative. Over the past week Bulgaria has been visited by Swedish Foreign Minister Margaretha af Ugglas, Dutch Premier Ruud Lubbers, Slovene Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Relations and Development Davorin Kracun, and Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ustina Markus & Edith Oltay The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, 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, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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