Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 201, Part I, 14 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 201, Part I, 14 October 1999

A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the
staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part I, a compilation of news concerning Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Part II covers Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe and is distributed
simultaneously as a second document.  Back issues of
RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at
RFE/RL's Web site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part I

* FEDERATION COUNCIL SNUBS YELTSIN A THIRD TIME

* GOVERNORS PREPARING TO NIX BUDGET?

* GEORGIAN OFFICIALS TRY TO NEGOTIATE UN HOSTAGES' RELEASE

End Note: EU UNVEILS NEW APPROACH TO EASTWARD ENLARGEMENT
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

RUSSIA

FEDERATION COUNCIL SNUBS YELTSIN A THIRD TIME... The upper
legislative chamber voted by 98 to 52 to reject a third
request by President Boris Yeltsin to permanently dismiss
suspended Prosecutor-General Yurii Skuratov. Ninety votes
were needed for Skuratov's ouster. Federation Council
Chairman Yegor Stroev, who appeared to support the measure,
said the action was defeated only because senators want to
"wait for the Constitutional Court's ruling." Senators had
asked the court last June to decide whether Yeltsin's decree
suspending Skuratov pending the outcome of a criminal
investigation is constitutional (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10
June 1999). Addressing the Council before its vote, Skuratov
said that "the personal interests of president and his
family" were behind his dismissal. The presidential press
service released a statement later alleging that to cover up
his own incompetence, Skuratov "deliberately makes false
accusations." Such an "important post cannot be held by a
person letting himself be used in a dirty game," the
statement said. JAC

...AS NEW KREMLIN PERSONNEL SHAKE-UP TIPPED. Most newspapers
evaluated the Kremlin's decision to bring the Skuratov issue
to a vote as a serious blunder for which chief of the
presidential administration Aleksandr Voloshin will likely
take the blame. "Kommersant-Daily" noted on 14 October that
this latest attempt to oust Skuratov attracted even less
votes than last time (when 61 voted in favor), while "Vremya
MN" reported that members of the Fatherland-All Russia
alliances voted to support Skuratov. Both "Kommersant-Daily"
and "Segodnya," which are owned by rival "oligarchs," one of
whom is loyal to and the other opposes the Kremlin, concluded
that Voloshin will likely lose his job. "Segodnya" reported
the previous day rumors are circulating that Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin will be replaced because Putin is in danger of
becoming more popular than the president. JAC

GOVERNORS PREPARING TO NIX BUDGET? Federation Council Budget
Committee Chairman Konstantin Titov told Interfax on 13
October that "there is little hope" that the upper
legislative chamber will pass the revised 2000 draft budget.
He noted that the new draft does not allocate half of budget
revenues to the regions, as many governors have demanded.
Titov's remarks follow speeches by Prime Minister Putin to
regional leaders in support of the budget. Putin earlier told
members of the interregional association Black Earth to
resist approaching the budget with an attitude of
"territorial egoism," according to Interfax. JAC

CHECHEN FORCES RETREAT FROM STRATEGIC VILLAGE. Chechen forces
on 13 October abandoned the village of Goragorsky, west of
Grozny, after losing five men in fierce fighting with federal
forces over the past few days, Reuters reported, citing
sources close to Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. They also
said that Russian forces were shelling the village of
Tolstoi-Yurt, just south of the Terek River, and appeared to
be preparing a new assault on the village of Bamut, 45
kilometers southwest of Grozny. Also on 13 October, Colonel
General Viktor Kazantsev, who commands the Russian forces in
the North Caucasus, said his men will advance south of the
Terek River and expand the security zone, within which
schools and medical centers will be set up and pensions paid.
Moscow has already appointed military commandants in at least
two districts of northern Chechnya. LF

KORNUKOV SAYS AIR STRIKES WILL CONTINUE. In Moscow, Russian
Air Force commander Colonel General Anatolii Kornukov told
journalists that Russian air raids have destroyed almost all
bases and facilities belonging to Chechen militants. But he
added that strikes in support of the Russian ground forces
will be continued until the rebels are totally destroyed,
ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. LF

BASAEV VOWS TO FIGHT 'TO THE END.' A senior Russian officer
had said on 11 October that field commander Shamil Basaev was
among the Chechens surrounded in Goragorsky (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 12 and 13 October 1999). But on 13 October Basaev
met with journalists in Grozny, where he predicted that the
war will be a long one and vowed that the Chechens "will not
simply let the Russians withdraw. We will fight to the end,"
Reuters reported. Basaev denied persistent rumors of tensions
between himself and President Maskhadov. He also rejected
Russian arguments that the invasion of Chechnya was a
justified crackdown on international terrorism, attributing
it to Russia's "imperial ambitions." Also on 13 October, a
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told ITAR-TASS that Basaev
is creating a special group tasked with the assassination of
deputies to the 1996 pro-Russian Chechen puppet parliament
and the abduction of their relatives. LF

RUSSIA WILLING TO ACCEPT AID FOR DISPLACED PERSONS. Russian
Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Khetagurov
told journalists in Moscow on 13 October that although Moscow
has not made a formal request for humanitarian aid, it would
welcome "any help or interest" in alleviating the plight of
an estimated 160,000 people who have fled the fighting in
Chechnya, Reuters and Interfax reported. Khetagurov denied
that the influx of fugitives into Ingushetia constitutes a
humanitarian tragedy, saying that there are 3,000 vacant
places in the tent camps set up to accommodate displaced
persons. LF

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA LEGISLATURE APPROVES NEW PREMIER. The
People's Assembly of the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia
has endorsed the candidacy of Vasilii Neshchadinov as the
republic's new premier, Russian Radio reported on 13 October.
It had failed to do so on 11 October for lack of a quorum
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 1999). It also approved
two proposed deputy premiers, Karachai Akhmat Sochiev and
Fatima Khunizheva, who are ethnic Karachai and Abaza,
respectively. The remaining two deputy premier posts, which
are to go to a Cherkess and a Nogai, remain vacant. On 13
October, republican President Vladimir Semenov appointed a
respected Cossack Ataman, retired Major General Yurii
Antonov, to head the republic's newly created Security
Council. LF

GOVERNMENT TO BY-PASS IMF OVER DEFENSE SPENDING. Thomas
Dawson, head of the IMF's external affairs department, told
reporters on 13 October that it is still too early to say
whether the fund will release the second tranche of its loan
to Russia in November, according to Reuters. The same day,
Prime Minister Putin admitted that military operations in the
North Caucasus "are putting additional pressure on the
budget" but all expenses there have been covered by
additional budget revenues. "Vremya MN" explained on 14
October that the government is trying to reduce its debts to
the Defense Ministry from past years and in this way such
spending does not formally concern the IMF. According to the
newspaper, the government owes the Defense Ministry almost 50
billion rubles ($1.9 billion) because 23.6 percent of the
funds allocated for national defense under the 1998 budget
and 30.7 percent under the 1997 budget were never
transferred. JAC

MOSCOW EXPRESSES 'SERIOUS CONCERN' OVER U.S. SENATE TEST BAN
VOTE. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin
told journalists on 14 October that Moscow "expresses
dissatisfaction and serious concern" over the U.S. Senate's
"refusal" the previous day to ratify the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, ITAR-TASS reported. "This decision
deals a serious blow to the whole system of agreements in the
sphere of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,
especially to the prospects of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty," he added. Reuters quoted Rakhmanin as saying Russia
will need to analyze carefully the consequences of the Senate
vote. The news agency noted that he did not elaborate. Over
the last week, Russian officials have said that the final
touches are being put to documents needed to submit the test
ban treaty to the State Duma for ratification (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 and 11 October 1999). JC

OLD ZHIRINOVSKII PARTY EMERGES IN NEW FORM. The newly created
Zhirinovskii Bloc has announced its top three candidates for
upcoming State Duma elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 13
October. Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader
Vladimir Zhirinovskii will top the list, followed by Duma
Information Policy Committee Chairman Oleg Finko and Duma
deputy Yegor Solomatin, who heads the Russian Union of Free
Youth. That organization, the LDPR, and the Spiritual Revival
party comprise the Zhirinovskii Bloc, which was hastily
assembled after the Central Election Commission failed to
approve LDPR's party list (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October
1999). Both Finko and Solomatin are LDPR members. ITAR-TASS
reported that Finko was elected head of Spiritual Revival on
13 October. However, "Kommersant-Daily" reported the next day
that Zhirinovskii's half-sister, Lyubov Zhirinovskaya, is the
party's head. The new bloc will reportedly submit its
documents to the election commission on 14 October. JAC

FEDERAL TROOPS ASSIST IN HOSTILE TAKEOVER AT PAPER MILL. Some
30 Justice Ministry troops raided the Vyborgskii paper mill
in Leningrad Oblast early on 14 October to remove workers
seeking to prevent the company's foreign owners from assuming
control, Russian agencies and AP reported. One employee was
injured when the troops opened fire on workers who had
barricaded themselves into the building. Some 500 employees
reportedly rushed to their colleagues' rescue, surrounding
the building that the troops had entered. Meanwhile, police
officials have been sent to the site to help end the stand-
off. The raid was carried out to implement a local court
order in May 1998 that the British owners of the plant be
allowed to take control of their property. The mill's strike
committee, however, has refused to comply with that ruling,
and the plant was bought earlier this year by another British
company (see "RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 4 August
1999). JC

WAGE ARREARS REDUCED AS ELECTION NEARS. Labor Minister Sergei
Kalashnikov told Ekho Moskvy on 13 October that the backlog
of unpaid wages to state-sector workers has declined more
than 30 percent since the beginning of year to 56 billion
rubles ($2.2 billion). As of 1 May, arrears totaled 63.108
billion rubles. He added that the government plans to
increase pensions by 15 percent as of 1 November. On 14
October, Prime Minister Putin signed a decree raising the
average monthly minimum wage to 979 rubles beginning 1
November from the current level of 950 rubles, according to
ITAR-TASS. JAC

ANALYST: NEW MILITARY DOCTRINE HIGHLIGHTS GENERALS' 'OUTRIGHT
ANTI-WESTERNISM.' Writing in "The Moscow Times" on 14
October, independent defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer argued
that the draft of the new military doctrine, published in
"Krasnaya zvezda" on 9 October, is important as an "indicator
of widespread anti-western opinions inside Russia's military
elite" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 1999). Noting that
the draft was ready 12 months ago, Felgenhauer went on to say
that the "outright anti-westernism of the published draft is
also the most likely reason it has not been signed into law
for more than one year." And the fact that the draft was
published before receiving the president's approval--a
"highly unusual" development for Russian bureaucratic
procedure--is a "clear attempt by Russian military chiefs to
twist the Kremlin's [arm] into signing a document the West
will see as confrontational," he concludes. JC

OIL COMPANIES TO CREATE CONSORTIUM FOR IRAQI PROJECTS.
Rosneftegazstroi, Zarubezhneftegazstroi, and the East
Siberian Oil and Gas Company have agreed to set up a
consortium for oil and gas projects in Iraq, Interfax
reported on 13 October. Ivan Mazur, the chief executive
officer of Rosneftegazstroi, told the news agency that the
group will raise capital only for those projects "certain" to
receive UN approval. He added that the idea to form the
consortium arose during Russian Fuel and Energy Minister
Viktor Kalyuzhnyi's recent visit to Baghdad (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 October 1999). JC

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN STATE MOVES A MILLIMETER FORWARD. The
Federation Council on 13 October ratified a Russian-
Belarusian agreement on the joint use of military facilities,
according to ITAR-TASS. Russian and Belarusian defense
ministers signed the agreement in the fall of 1998. The upper
legislative chamber intends to establish a working group to
examine proposals from Russian regions on the Union of
Belarus and Russia. On 13 October, Viktor Stepanov, a top
official with the preparatory committee for the union, told
reporters that the treaty on the creation of a joint state
will likely be signed by the end of November. Stepanov added
that formation of a single army is not being discussed, but
leaders of the two countries are considering a "joint defense
order, regional troop groupings, and a common border guard
policy." JAC

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

FRONTRUNNER IN ARMENIAN CATHOLICOS VOTE DENIES GOVERNMENT
BACKING. Archbishop Garegin Nersisian, the most likely
candidate for the leadership of the Armenian Apostolic
Church, has rejected allegations by rival clerics that the
Armenian authorities are actively lobbying for his victory in
the upcoming ecclesiastical election, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau
reported on 13 October. Nersisian said those allegations
negatively affect preparations for the election. He also
noted that President Robert Kocharian recently assured
bishops that the state will not interfere in the election
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 11 October 1999). Nersisian
rejected criticism of the decision to include in the Ararat
diocese delegation to the election the Yerevan mayor and the
Ararat police chief, saying that "Our Church does not
differentiate between its faithful and does not separate them
by position and circumstances." LF

ARMENIA RECEIVES NEW IMF LOAN TRANCHE. The IMF has released
the final tranche, worth $29 million, of a three-year ESAF
loan, Interfax reported on 13 October. The fund and the
Armenian government reached agreement on the terms for
disbursement last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September
1999). The release of the tranche, originally expected in
June, was delayed until the Armenian government unveiled its
proposals for covering the budget deficit, which was higher
than anticipated. LF

AZERBAIJANI JOURNALISTS PROTEST TV STATION CLOSURE. Some 50
journalists staged an unsanctioned picket outside the
Ministry of Justice in Baku on 13 October to protest the
closure of the independent Sara TV station, Turan reported.
The stations was closed on 9 October after broadcasting an
appeal by opposition party leaders to participate in a
demonstration that day against the Azerbaijani leadership's
Karabakh policy (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 1999). The
Geirat, Vahdat, and Independent Azerbaijan Parties as well as
the Party of Democratic Entrepreneurs have followed the
example of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party and the
Azerbaijan National Independence Party and issued statements
condemning the closure. LF

GEORGIAN OFFICIALS TRY TO NEGOTIATE UN HOSTAGES' RELEASE.
Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze on 13 October cut
short his visit to Ukraine and returned to Tbilisi. The
following day, he traveled to the Kodori gorge in western
Georgia where unidentified gunmen seized seven hostages the
previous day, Caucasus Press reported. Five of the hostages
are members of the UN observer mission and are citizens of
Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, and the Czech Republic.
The others are an interpreter and a German doctor. Georgian
Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze told journalists in
Tbilisi on 13 October that the Georgian authorities are
negotiating with the kidnappers, who are demanding a $200,000
ransom for the hostages, Interfax reported. Both he and
Tevzadze said the Georgian army will launch an operation to
free the hostages if those negotiations fail. The Russian
Foreign Ministry offered the assistance of the Russian
peacekeeping force deployed in western Georgia in securing
the hostages' release, Interfax reported. LF

POLLSTERS PREDICT COMMUNIST WIN IN KAZAKH ELECTIONS...
Bakhytzhamal Bekturganova, who is president of the Almaty
Association of Sociologists and Political Scientists, told
journalists in the former capital on 13 October that a survey
conducted by the association suggests that the Communist
Party won the 10 October elections to the lower house of
parliament, Interfax reported. Bukturganova said exit polls
conducted in 16 cities and encompassing one -third of all
constituencies suggested that the Communist Party garnered
27.7 percent of the vote, the pro-presidential Otan party 16
percent, and the Civic Party 12.3 percent. She added that
under the association's methodology, the survey results are
likely to differ from official returns by no more than 15
percentage points and that a discrepancy of more than 10
percentage points would suggest vote falsification. LF

...AS CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION REJECTS COMPLAINTS.
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 14 October that
Kazakhstan's Central Electoral Commission has investigated
more than a dozen complaints of violations of voting
procedure on polling day. The commission rejected all of
them, saying the violations in question could not have
affected the outcome of the poll. LF

KAZAKH PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW DEFENSE MINISTER. Nursultan
Nazarbaev on 13 October named Lieutenant General Sat
Tokpakbaev as head of the Defense Ministry, replacing Mukhtar
Altynbaev, who was fired in August following revelations of
the unsanctioned sale of MiG-21 fighters to North Korea,
Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 August 1999).
Tokpakbaev, who is 60, previously headed the National
Security Council and the presidential bodyguards. Nazarbaev
also issued a decree on renaming or merging several
government ministries. The Agency for Economic Planning is
upgraded to the status of Ministry of the Economy, and the
financial and economic functions of the former Agency for
Strategic Planning and Reforms are transferred to it. The
remaining departments of that agency are subordinated
directly to the president. The Atomic Energy and Space
Ministries are removed from the Ministry of Energy, Trade,
and Industry and subordinated to a new Ministry for Education
and Science. LF

KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER OUTLINES GOALS. In an interview with
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 13 October, former Bishkek Mayor
Feliks Kulov said the primary objectives of his recently
formed Ar-Namys party are establishing constitutional order
in a democratic society and removing the five-year moratorium
imposed on the private ownership of land, which the
electorate approved in a referendum one year ago.
Characterizing the present political situation as "closer to
anarchy than democracy," Kulov advocated improving the
administrative system by initially combining the posts of
president and premier, on the grounds that the president is
not responsible for the economy and the prime minister does
not have the powers to influence economic processes. In the
second stage of reform, Kulov argued, the parliament should
be elected on a party list system and should then form a
government and elect a head of state. LF

INFLATION SOARS IN KYRGYZSTAN. Inflation in Kyrgyzstan during
the first nine months of 1999 reached 32.5 percent, compared
with 5.6 percent for the same period in 1998, Interfax
reported on 12 October. Food prices rose by 39.7 percent,
while consumer goods by 6.8 percent and gasoline by 2.1
percent. LF

RUSSIAN MILITARY TO LEAVE TURKMENISTAN. Russian First Deputy
Defense Minister Vasilii Mikhailov told Interfax that the 50
Russian officers who have been stationed in Turkmenistan
since 1994 will leave, as their help in creating a new
Turkmen army is no longer needed. He was speaking after talks
with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashgabat
on 13 October. He added that a new bilateral commission for
military-technical cooperation will be formed and that Moscow
has offered to help upgrade Turkmen military hardware,
especially aircraft, in order to prevent other countries from
carrying out that task. Turkmen Defense Minister Batyr
Sardjaev will visit Moscow early next year, Mikhailov said.
LF

TURKMENISTAN UNVEILS DRAFT OIL AND GAS PROGRAM.
Turkmenistan's Ministry for the Oil and Gas Industry on 13
October published a new program for the period 2000-2010,
which is to be endorsed at the next session of the People's
Council in December. The program envisages increasing oil
production to 28 million tons in 2005 and to 48 million tons
in 2010, with crude oil exports rising to 16 million tons and
33 million tons, respectively. The 10-year draft economic
program approved by President Niyazov in July projected that
oil output would reach 30 million tons in 2010 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 28 July 1999). Gas production is to increase by
220 percent over the next decade, to 85 billion cubic meters
in 2005 and 120 billion cubic meters in 2010. Investments in
the oil and gas sector are expected to increase by more than
250 percent. LF

END NOTE

EU UNVEILS NEW APPROACH TO EASTWARD ENLARGEMENT

By Breffni O'Rourke

	The EU on 13 October announced a radically new approach
to the process of enlargement into Central and Eastern
Europe.
	At the core of the new strategy is the decision to
recommend the start of negotiations next year with another
six countries: Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and
Bulgaria as well as Malta. These countries, regarded as the
group of less advanced candidates for membership, will
therefore join the six so-called first wave countries--
Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, and
Cyprus--which have already opened negotiations with Brussels.
In this way, the union will no longer distinguish between
first-wave and other candidate countries.
	Turkey is now also acknowledged as a formal candidate
but is not yet admitted to negotiations, on the grounds that
key criteria are not yet met.
	In the new negotiations, each country will progress
toward meeting membership requirements at its own individual
pace, a principle called "differentiation."
	The new accession strategy bears the stamp of the EU's
first commissioner for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen of
Germany. Verheugen says the strategy is aimed at balancing
two potentially conflicting objectives: namely speed of
accession and quality of preparation. He says speed is
essential because of the expectations of the candidates,
while quality is vital because the EU does not want "partial
members" but new members with full rights and
responsibilities.
	Verheugen also brought more clarity to the vexed
question of when new members will be admitted. The report
welcomes the fact that some applicants have already set their
own target dates and says that the EU Commission will
recommend that the EU summit in Helsinki in December commit
the EU to be ready to decide from 2002 about the accession of
candidates that fulfil the necessary criteria.
	Among the individual countries that were not included in
the first wave, the progress report names Slovakia as having
made good progress during the year, both in terms of
democratization and economic reform. However, it says that
Slovakia does not yet have a fully functioning market
mechanism and in addition needs to do more to implement
policy decisions and legislation on administration and the
judiciary.
	The head of the EU integration section of the Slovak
Foreign Ministry, Jan Kuderjavy, told RFE/RL that "this kind
of relatively positive evaluation was badly needed [in
Slovakia] and now I think everybody can see that the effort
that was employed throughout the whole year, since our
[reform] government was established last autumn, is bringing
already first fruits."
	Lithuania, like Slovakia, is not yet regarded as having
a full market economy, and in addition is seen as sluggish in
adapting its legislation to fit EU norms. Fellow Baltic State
Latvia needs to devote serious attention to general public
administration and judicial reform but has made good economic
progress in the last year. Estonia, which is also doing well
economically and is one of the first-wave countries, needs to
ensure that its language legislation is implemented in such a
way as to comply with international standards.
	Turning to Bulgaria and Romania, the report finds that
neither country met economic criteria. Bulgaria continues to
make significant progress and shows sustained effort but
started from a very low level. Romania has, at best,
stabilized as compared with last year, the report argues. In
the case of both those countries, the EU Commission has set
conditions before membership negotiations can begin.
	For Bulgaria, those conditions stipulate that it must
continue to make economic reform progress and must decide by
the end of this year on an acceptable closure date for the
risky nuclear reactors at Kozloduy. For Romania, the terms
are that it, too, must make continued economic progress, and
in view of the large number of orphans in the country it must
implement reform of child-care institutions.
	The deputy head of Romania's diplomatic mission in
Brussels, Viorel Ardeleanu, told RFE/RL that his country will
work hard to meet the conditions so that negotiations can
begin. He praised the EU's new approach, saying that "the
main thing is that all six countries are invited to start
negotiations in 2000.... This is an extraordinary signal for
the political class and in general for the whole society in
Romania."
	Turkey, with its long-strained relations with the EU, is
a special case. The report recommends that Turkey be made a
formal candidate, thereby giving it the prospect of eventual
EU membership. But at the same time, the EU declines to open
negotiations with Turkey and in this context points to
failings of democratization in that country.
	The commission urges Ankara to undertake specific steps.
These include enhancing domestic political dialogue, with
particular reference to improving human rights, revising the
way it handles EU financial assistance, and developing a
national program for adjusting its legislation to EU norms.
	As for the west Balkans, the EU report recommends that
EU leaders confirm the prospect of eventual membership for
the former Yugoslav states and Albania. But it says that in
addition to meeting the usual criteria, those countries will
have to recognize one another's borders, settle all issues
relating to national minorities, and pursue economic
integration in a regional framework.
	Looking further afield, the report notes that relations
with Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus states and the Maghreb
countries of North Africa are of strategic importance to the
EU. They should go beyond trade and assistance programs and
include issues such as the fight against organized crime,
drug trafficking, and migration and environmental policies.

The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague.
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