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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 49, 01-03-12

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 5, No. 49, 12 March 2001

Participants at a conference of Chechen political organizations held in Moscow on 10 March called on the Russian government to start a dialogue, without preconditions, between the Putin and Maskhadov administrations on a "civilized political settlement" of the Chechen conflict, Interfax reported. They also called for a referendum among citizens of the Chechen Republic on the region's future status, and for the UN and OSCE to act as guarantors of a future peace agreement. But a further resolution calling for the deployment in Chechnya of armed peacekeeping forces from neutral countries passed by only four votes. Participants also disagreed on whether Aslan Maskhadov remains Chechen president: he was elected in January 1997, apparently for a four-year term (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 4, No. 5, 2 February 2001). Shamil Beno, the Moscow representative of pro-Moscow administration head Ahmed Kadyrov, said at the conference that representatives of that administration must be allowed to attend any talks between Maskhadov and the Russian leadership. LF

CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA, NATO DISCUSS COOPERATION
  • [02] FORMER ARMENIAN DISSIDENT CALLS FOR ANNULMENT OF TREATY OF KARS
  • [03] TWO CHECHENS CAPTURED IN AZERBAIJAN
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI KILLED IN GEORGIAN MARKET RAID
  • [05] GEORGIA, RUSSIA, OSCE SLAM ABKHAZ ELECTIONS
  • [06] GEORGIA CONDEMNS RUSSIAN STALLING ON ABKHAZ SETTLEMENT
  • [07] GEORGIA URGES SOLUTION TO KARABAKH CONFLICT...
  • [08] ...CONFIDENT GUUAM WILL SURVIVE
  • [09] KYRGYZ COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCE ON OPPOSITION LEADER
  • [10] TAJIK PRESIDENT AGAIN AFFIRMS PRO-RUSSIAN ORIENTATION
  • [11] IRANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS TAJIKISTAN
  • [12] FORMER TURKMEN FOREIGN MINISTER NAMED AMBASSADOR TO CHINA
  • [13] UIGHUR WRITER REPORTED MURDERED IN UZBEK JAIL

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN LEADER CALLS FOR PEACE MARCH
  • [15] ALBANIA CALLS FOR MACEDONIAN STABILITY
  • [16] NEW ALBANIAN PARTY FOUNDED IN MACEDONIA
  • [17] SITUATION REMAINS TENSE IN MACEDONIA
  • [18] MACEDONIAN MINISTER PROMISES CHANGES
  • [19] NATO DIPLOMAT STILL HOPEFUL ON PRESEVO CEASE-FIRE
  • [20] BELGRADE MUZZLES SERBIAN GENERALS
  • [21] SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER UNHAPPY WITH NATO OFFER...
  • [22] ...WARNS NATO IT WILL 'HAVE TO FIGHT' ALBANIANS...
  • [23] ...SAYS U.S. CONGRESSMEN 'PAID' BY ALBANIANS
  • [24] U.S. WARNING TO BELGRADE?
  • [25] BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT SURRENDERS
  • [26] TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL SETS UP SERBIAN CHAPTER
  • [27] SERBIAN REFORMIST LEADER DIES IN CAR CRASH
  • [28] HERZEGOVINIAN CROATS REMAIN ADAMANT
  • [29] FORMER ROMANIAN KING TURNS DOWN ILIESCU'S INVITATION
  • [30] YET ANOTHER PROMINENT PD LEADER LEAVES PARTY
  • [31] CONTROVERSY OVER ROMANIAN LAW ON STATE SECRETS CONTINUES
  • [32] MOLDOVA TO BECOME MEMBER OF THE STABILITY PACT?
  • [33] BULGARIA ARRESTS TWO FOR ESPIONAGE
  • [34] BULGARIAN LEGISLATURE URGES INTERNATIONAL HELP FOR MACEDONIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [35] There is no End Note today

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA, NATO DISCUSS COOPERATION

    Admiral Guido Venturoni, who is chairman of NATO's Military Committee, met in Yerevan on 8-9 March with Armenian leaders to discuss the domestic political situation and the prospects for greater bilateral cooperation. President Robert Kocharian characterized Venturoni's visit as a "new step" in Armenia's ties with NATO, according to Snark as cited by Groong. Both Kocharian and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian expressed the wish to expand Armenia's participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, stressing at the same time that the Russian military presence in Armenia constitutes a factor for stability in the South Caucasus rather than a threat to neighboring countries. Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian characterized cooperation with NATO as "an integral part" of Armenia's national security system, according to ITAR-TASS. LF

    [02] FORMER ARMENIAN DISSIDENT CALLS FOR ANNULMENT OF TREATY OF KARS

    Presidential Human Rights Commission Chairman and former Soviet-era dissident Paruyr Hairikian told a press conference in Yerevan on 9 March that his Self-Determination Union demands the return to Armenian jurisdiction of Azerbaijan's enclave of Nakichevan and the Turkish territories of Kars and Ardahan, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Those lands were placed under the control of Azerbaijan and Turkey respectively under the terms of the Treaty of Kars signed between Kemalist Turkey and Soviet Russia on 16 March 1921. Hairikian condemned the present Armenian leadership for neglecting the issues of those lost territories, and called on all Armenian political parties to join a campaign to demand that the treaty be annulled. Hairikian also condemned what he termed Russian Communists' complicity in the genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. LF

    [03] TWO CHECHENS CAPTURED IN AZERBAIJAN

    Russian Interior Ministry officers and officials from the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's office detained two prominent Chechen fighters in Baku on 7 March, Russian agencies reported. The two men, who were extradited to Russia four days later, were identified as Badrudi Murtazaev, said to be a close associate of field commander Shamil Basaev, and Ruslan Akhmadov, who together with field commander Arbi Baraev is suspected of involvement in up to 30 hostage-takings, including those of foreigners, and of the kidnapping and execution in 1998 of four British and New Zealand telephone engineers. Speaking to foreign journalists in Baku on 10 March, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev said the extradition was in compliance with bilateral agreements on legal assistance, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI KILLED IN GEORGIAN MARKET RAID

    An Azerbaijani woman was trampled to death on 11 March during an inspection by Georgian tax police of a market near Tbilisi, Caucasus Press reported. The tax police confiscated numerous vehicles loaded with contraband audio and video equipment, provoking protests and stone-throwing by traders. It is the second death of an Azerbaijani at the hands of Georgian officials within the past week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 March 2001). Also on 11 March, Georgian border officials prevented an attempt by a convoy of some 15 vehicles to break through the border post without undergoing controls. LF

    [05] GEORGIA, RUSSIA, OSCE SLAM ABKHAZ ELECTIONS

    Over 50 percent of the registered Abkhaz electorate cast their ballots on 10 March in elections to local councils, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 7 March 2001). A senior Abkhaz security official said that the voting proceeded "smoothly." But in Tbilisi, representatives of the Georgian displaced persons forced to flee Abkhazia during the 1992-1993 war staged a protest against the Abkhaz poll, and Georgian parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania said that "there can be no talk" of the legitimacy of any elections in Abkhazia until those displaced persons have been allowed to return home. The UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the Russian Foreign Ministry have all issued statements saying they do not recognize the ballot as valid. LF

    [06] GEORGIA CONDEMNS RUSSIAN STALLING ON ABKHAZ SETTLEMENT

    Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Avtandil Napetvaridze told journalists in Tbilisi on 9 March that for several months Russia has blocked discussion of a UN-drafted proposal to resolve the Abkhaz conflict, which would grant Abkhazia "a high degree of autonomy" within Georgia, Interfax reported. He said Moscow considers that those proposals "do not reflect the interests of the Abkhaz side," and accused the Russian leadership for saying it condemns separatism but doing nothing to eradicate it. Tbilisi has similarly refused recently to discuss two earlier draft accords aimed at paving the way to a formal solution of the Abkhaz conflict (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 4, No. 5, 2 February 2001). LF

    [07] GEORGIA URGES SOLUTION TO KARABAKH CONFLICT...

    Georgia has a "vital interest" in the swiftest possible solution of the Karabakh conflict, presidential administration official Shalva Pichkhadze told the Armenian news agency Mediamax on 9 March, according to Groong. Puchkhadze recalled that Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze had said he would be prepared to try to mediate a solution to the conflict if asked by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to do so. Pichkhadze added that "realistically speaking" only the three states that co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group are capable of "eradicating the reasons that provoked" that conflict. LF

    [08] ...CONFIDENT GUUAM WILL SURVIVE

    Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Napetvaridze told journalists in Tbilisi on 9 March that the GUUAM alignment will survive even if one of its five members (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) should quit the grouping, Interfax reported. He said Georgian officials prefer to refrain at present from predicting whether Moldova, following the Communist victory in the 25 February Moldovan parliamentary elections, might leave GUUAM. He said other countries have expressed an interest in joining that alignment but declined to name them. LF

    [09] KYRGYZ COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCE ON OPPOSITION LEADER

    The Bishkek Military Court on 9 March upheld the sentence handed down by the Bishkek City Court in January on former Vice President and opposition Ar-Namys Party leader Feliks Kulov, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Kulov was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on charges of abusing his official position while serving as National Security Ministry in 1997-1998. The Bishkek City Court had acquitted Kulov on those charges last summer, but in September the Military Court demanded that the acquittal be reviewed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 August and 12 September 2000 and 22 January 2001). LF

    [10] TAJIK PRESIDENT AGAIN AFFIRMS PRO-RUSSIAN ORIENTATION

    Speaking in Dushanbe on 9 March on the fifth anniversary of the signing by pro-government organizations of the Treaty on Public Accord, President Imomali Rakhmonov again affirmed that Russia is Tajikistan's "main strategic partner," and that that partnership is a guarantee of Tajikistan's security, ITAR-TASS reported. Rakhmonov said a decree is in preparation on the mandatory study of the Russian language, which he termed a precondition for implementing joint large-scale economic projects with Russia, including completion of the construction of the Ragun hydroelectric plant. As in two recent interviews with the Russian press, Rakhmonov again appealed to Russia to invest in the exploitation of Tajikistan's natural resources (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 February 2001). LF

    [11] IRANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS TAJIKISTAN

    Ali Shamhani held talks in Dushanbe on 9 March with his Tajik counterpart Colonel-General Sherali Khairulloev and with Tajik President Rakhmonov, Russian agencies reported. Those talks focussed on the prospects for bilateral military cooperation and the situation in Afghanistan. The two defense ministers agreed that there can be no military solution to the civil war in that country and called for peace talks between Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and the leaders of the Taliban. LF

    [12] FORMER TURKMEN FOREIGN MINISTER NAMED AMBASSADOR TO CHINA

    Boris Shikhmuradov, who was demoted last summer from Turkmen Foreign Minister to special presidential envoy for Caspian issues (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July 2000), has been relieved of that latter post and named ambassador to Beijing, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 March, quoting the Turkmen News Service. LF

    [13] UIGHUR WRITER REPORTED MURDERED IN UZBEK JAIL

    Uighur writer Eminzhan Osmanov was recently murdered in jail in Uzbekistan by Uzbek National Security Committee staffers, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported on 9 March, quoting Yusufbek Mukhlisi, the leader of the Almaty- based National Front for the Liberation of Eastern Turkistan. Osmanov's body, which bore traces of beatings and torture, was handed over to his relatives in Tashkent on 2 March with orders that he should be buried immediately. A former head of the Uighur section of the Writers' Union of Uzbekistan, Osmanov was arrested last year and charged with propagating Wahhabism. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN LEADER CALLS FOR PEACE MARCH

    Speaking in Skopje on 12 March, Arben Xhaferi, who heads the governing Democratic Party of the Albanians (PDSH), called on fellow Macedonian Albanians to take part in a peace march in the capital the following day. He stressed that "another war in the Balkans cannot be tolerated," AP reported. He argued that the recent "violence in Tanusevci jeopardized...the entire image of Albanians and threatens their natural alliance with the democratic nations of the West." Xhaferi stressed that the fighting is the work of "extremists." Out of the recent violence, Albanians have "emerged as villains, as the guilty party, and a destabilizing element for the region," he concluded. PM

    [15] ALBANIA CALLS FOR MACEDONIAN STABILITY

    Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta met in Tirana on 11 March with the leaders of Macedonia's two largest ethnic Albanian political parties. Meta told his guests that "the stability of Macedonia is vital for the stability of the whole region. The Albanian government supports the attempts of your parties to promote dialogue and participate in the country's institutional life," dpa reported. Xhaferi told reporters that "we agreed that the use of violence is unacceptable and that it will only damage the image of the Albanians." Ymer Ymeri of the opposition Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD) argued that "the attitude of the Macedonian government has been, and continues to be, against the Albanians, so the current situation is a result of this attitude. The number of armed people can increase if the Macedonian government continues to ignore the Albanians." The PPD was part of a governing coalition until the 1998 elections. PM

    [16] NEW ALBANIAN PARTY FOUNDED IN MACEDONIA

    Some 500 people attended a meeting in Skopje on 11 March to found the National Democratic Party (PDK). Co-President Kastriot Haxhirexha told the BBC that the PDK's goals are similar to those of the PDSH and PPD except that it calls for recasting Macedonia as a federation with separate Macedonian and Albanian components. He added that the PDK wants a referendum on "political and cultural autonomy" as well as the right to use "national symbols." Haxhirexha denied that the new party is a political arm of the National Liberation Army (UCK) guerrillas fighting along the border with Kosova. His fellow Co-President Fadil Bajrami told AP that the PDK wants greater local self-government at the expense of Skopje. He added that the party wants Macedonia redefined as a state of "Macedonians and Albanians" with the two languages on equal legal footing. PM

    [17] SITUATION REMAINS TENSE IN MACEDONIA

    Xhaferi told Prishtina's "Koha Ditore" on 11 March that the source of ethnic tensions in Macedonia is located within that republic itself and has nothing to do with Kosova. Elsewhere, Macedonian security forces fanned out in patrols along the border with Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The border crossings at Blace and Jaznice remain closed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 March 2001). Macedonian state-run media stopped rebroadcasting Albanian- and Macedonian-language programs of the BBC, but did not give a reason. PM

    [18] MACEDONIAN MINISTER PROMISES CHANGES

    After meeting with his Albanian colleague Paskal Milo in Peshkopi, Albania, Macedonian Foreign Minister Srdjan Kerim promised to implement unspecified social and economic reforms to improve the lot of the 23 percent ethnic Albanian minority, AP reported. He stressed that "Macedonia's government can distinguish extremist groups from the rest of the population." Milo agreed with the need for reforms, adding that "acts of violence by extremist groups should not be considered as actions by all Albanians." PM

    [19] NATO DIPLOMAT STILL HOPEFUL ON PRESEVO CEASE-FIRE

    Peter Feith told Reuters in Bujanovac on 12 March that negotiators from the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) are consulting with the guerrillas and that he hopes to meet with the envoys later in the day. Feith has been trying for several days to negotiate a cease-fire around the demilitarized security zone between the UCPMB and Serbian forces. The UCPMB objects to readmitting the feared Serbian paramilitary police into the village of Trnava near the Macedonian border as part of NATO's recent offer to the Serbian forces (see below). Leaders of the region's Albanian political parties said in Presevo on 11 March that opening the zone to Serbian forces will undermine stability there, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. On 9 March, UCPMB Chief-of-Staff Shefket Musliu said that his guerrillas will "fight to the last man" because they "have nowhere to go" and will not take "orders from NATO." PM

    [20] BELGRADE MUZZLES SERBIAN GENERALS

    Authorities have banned army and police commanders from making statements to the press about the situation in southern Serbia, dpa reported on 11 March, quoting Tanjug. Several top officers have recently made little secret of their desire to punish "Albanian extremists" and take the "first step" toward a return of Serbian forces to Kosova. PM

    [21] SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER UNHAPPY WITH NATO OFFER...

    Speaking to reporters in Belgrade on 11 March, Zoran Djindjic joined other Serbian critics of NATO's offer to readmit Serbian forces to a part of the border safety zone where Kosova, Serbia, and Macedonia come together (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 March 2001). "Our forces will be there in the crossfire. On the one side, we will have Albanians from Kosovo, and on the other side, we will have Albanians from Macedonia. Both are extremists, and we think this problem could be called a hot potato. This hot potato should be taken by KFOR and Macedonian security forces," RFE/RL reported. He added that "our interest is primarily in the part of the buffer zone around Bujanovac and Presevo," where government troops are anxious to force guerrillas out of their positions. Djindjic had just returned from a trip to Germany, where Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer assured him of Berlin's political and economic support in Serbia's transition to democracy, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on 10 March. PM

    [22] ...WARNS NATO IT WILL 'HAVE TO FIGHT' ALBANIANS...

    Prime Minister Djindjic told "Glas javnosti" of 11 March that "the international forces need to realize that they will either confront ethnic Albanian extremism or be defeated...and humiliated." He stressed that "KFOR is facing a situation in which the baby it once nursed is now beginning to bite," AP reported. He added that Belgrade is under "no illusions" about the prospects for a negotiated peace with the Albanian fighters in the Presevo Valley, adding that "they will keep resorting to pure terrorism." PM

    [23] ...SAYS U.S. CONGRESSMEN 'PAID' BY ALBANIANS

    Premier Djindjic also told "Glas javnosti" on 11 March that the Western powers should demand the arrest and trial in The Hague of Kosovar leader Hashim Thaci for "atrocities" he allegedly committed during the Serbs' 1999 ethnic-cleansing campaign in Kosova. Djindjic said support for the Kosovars has been waning recently in some EU countries. He added, however, that in the U.S. "the Albanian lobby cannot be ignored. There are U.S. congressmen who we know are being paid by the Albanian lobby. That is a fact, and we must live with it," AP reported. Djindjic offered no proof of his claims. Some Belgrade media and President Vojislav Kostunica's adviser, Predrag Simic, have frequently referred to the alleged power of an "Albanian lobby" in Washington. PM

    [24] U.S. WARNING TO BELGRADE?

    The "New York Times" reported on 10 March that "the United States has told the...government in Belgrade [in a three-page letter] that if it expects American aid to continue, it should arrest and imprison former President Slobodan Milosevic by the end of March, and at the same time should assist in transferring to The Hague at least one person indicted on war crimes charges, senior Western officials said today." The report added that "Washington is not insisting that Mr. Milosevic be transferred immediately to The Hague, where he is under indictment for war crimes for Serbian actions before and during the 1999 Kosovo war. But its official policy remains that Mr. Milosevic face charges in The Hague." The daily noted that "for American aid to continue, President [George W.] Bush must certify to Congress by 31 March that the Belgrade government is cooperating with the Dayton agreement, furthering human rights, and cooperating with The Hague tribunal. Otherwise, nonrelief American aid of $100 million this fiscal year will be cut off; about half of it is not yet disbursed." PM

    [25] BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT SURRENDERS

    Blagoje Simic, who was a senior Bosnian Serb civilian administrator, arrived in the Netherlands on 12 March on a plane from Belgrade. He is the first Yugoslav citizen to voluntarily go to The Hague in connection with war crimes charges relating to the 1992-1995 war. The trained physician was chief administrator of Bosanski Samac during the conflict. Of the town's prewar population of 17,000 Croats and Muslims, only 300 remained at the end of the war, AP reported. Before leaving for Belgrade, he said that he will prove his innocence of the charges. His lawyer stressed that Simic does not believe that all Serbs should be punished by the international community because of the misdeeds of a few. There has been speculation in some regional and foreign media in recent days that at least one indicted Yugoslav citizen would voluntarily go to The Hague in order to demonstrate to the U.S. authorities that Serbia is cooperating with the tribunal. PM

    [26] TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL SETS UP SERBIAN CHAPTER

    Transparency International, which is a German-based NGO specializing in combating corruption, said in a press release on 12 March that it has launched a Serbian branch. Miklos Marschall, who is the NGO's director, said that he hopes that the new office will help contribute to bringing Serbian practices into line with European norms. PM

    [27] SERBIAN REFORMIST LEADER DIES IN CAR CRASH

    Maja Tasic, who is a leader of the Civic Alliance and top aide to Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic, died in a car accident in a Belgrade suburb on 10 March. Foul play is not suspected, AP reported. PM

    [28] HERZEGOVINIAN CROATS REMAIN ADAMANT

    Hard-line Croat leader Ante Jelavic said that he will ignore High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch's dismissal of him and continue plans to set up a "self-administration," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 9 March (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 March 2001). PM

    [29] FORMER ROMANIAN KING TURNS DOWN ILIESCU'S INVITATION

    Former Romanian King Michael I on 11 March turned down a surprise invitation from President Ion Iliescu to visit Romania, Mediafax reported. The previous day, in an unprecedented move intended as "reconciliation," Iliescu invited the former king to participate at the reopening of the Modern Art Gallery at the Romanian Art Museum, which was hosted by the former royal palace. Michael I declined the invitation due to "undelayable obligations," but promised to visit "in the nearest future." During Iliescu's presidency between 1990 and 1996, Michael I, now a Swiss citizen, was denied entry to the country several times. ZsM

    [30] YET ANOTHER PROMINENT PD LEADER LEAVES PARTY

    Democratic Party (PD) Executive Secretary for International Affairs Victor Bostinaru on 9 March announced his resignation from the party, Romanian media announced. Bostinaru said he resigned due to recent weeks' events within PD, with internal conflicts heating up ahead of the party's Extraordinary National Convention scheduled for May, which will elect the new chairman. Democratic Party Chairman Petre Roman said he regretted Bostinaru's resignation, and called on party members to unite forces in stopping internal disputes and "yielding to narrow personal interests." Bostinaru's announcement came only days after Roman appealed to former prominent party figures to return to the fold of the PD (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 March 2001). ZsM

    [31] CONTROVERSY OVER ROMANIAN LAW ON STATE SECRETS CONTINUES

    The Romanian Press Club on 12 March released a declaration protesting the recently approved law on state secrets, labeling it "an attack on the liberty of the press," Romanian media reported. The law, approved by Parliament on 7 March, provides for severe sentences for anyone found guilty of publishing state secrets (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 March 2001). The declaration argues that the law, instead of protecting secrets, actually protects "abuses, frauds, and theft," and infringes on citizens' rights to information. In related news, President Iliescu on 9 March said authorities do not intend to limit the access to information. He added that he will analyze the text of the law and, if changes are needed, will send it back to Parliament. ZsM

    [32] MOLDOVA TO BECOME MEMBER OF THE STABILITY PACT?

    Victor Chirila, deputy director of the European Integration Department from the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 9 March announced that Moldova may be admitted as a member at the next regional meeting of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Chirila, who participated in the regional meeting of the pact in Ljublana, said Stability Pact members have reached a consensus over the admittance of Moldova to the pact. In an interview with RFE/RL, Deputy Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, who also serves as deputy to Stability Pact Coordinator Bodo Hombach, said the secretariat of the Stability Pact believes Moldova's "destiny is connected to the European destiny on the whole." He added, however, that due to its problems with the Transdniester breakaway region, Moldova needs "totally special attention" from European organizations. The No. 3 in the hierarchy of the Party of Moldovan Communists, Victor Stepaniuc, recently expressed doubts about the advisability of Moldova joining the pact, claiming that behind such organizations are "NATO's weapons." ZsM

    [33] BULGARIA ARRESTS TWO FOR ESPIONAGE

    A Bulgarian Defense Ministry official and a retired colonel were arrested by Bulgarian authorities for espionage, Reuters reported on 10 March. The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that Colonel Yani Yanev, a former deputy chief of a department in the Defense Ministry's Intelligence Directorate, was arrested on 6 March along with ministry employee Lilyana Gesheva "for actions against national security. Gesheva supplied Yanev with documents that were a state secret." The Bulgarian news agency BTA reported, citing Defense Ministry sources, that Yanev was arrested outside the entrance to the Russian Embassy in Sofia. The daily "24 Chasa" quoted Russia's ambassador to Sofia, Vladimir Titov, as denying Russian involvement in the affair. PB

    [34] BULGARIAN LEGISLATURE URGES INTERNATIONAL HELP FOR MACEDONIA

    The Bulgarian parliament on 9 March issued an appeal to several international organizations calling for increased engagement in Macedonia in order to end the insurgency by ethnic Albanians along Kosova's border with Macedonia, Reuters reported. In a statement, the parliamentarians appealed to "the UN, NATO, the OSCE, and the EU to keep up their vigorous efforts to prevent the destabilization of Macedonia, and, therefore, of the whole region." It added that it expects "KFOR [the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosova] to strengthen measures for control of the border between Kosovo and Macedonia, in order to curb provocations." Bulgaria has shown great concern over the border conflict and Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and President Petar Stoyanov have offered both military hardware and troops to Macedonia. PB

    [C] END NOTE

    [35] There is no End Note today

    12-03-01

    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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