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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 61, 01-03-28

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. 61, 28 March 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES U.S. FIRM HAS
  • [02] ARMENIA SAYS NATO BASE IN AZERBAIJAN WOULD
  • [03] RUSSIA'S CASPIAN ENVOY SAYS ACCORD WITH
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION SEEKS TO CREATE
  • [05] CHECHEN REFUGEES APPEAL TO AZERBAIJANI
  • [06] SUSPECT IN KILLING OF GEORGIAN BORDER GUARDS
  • [07] GEORGIA CALCULATES ECONOMIC DAMAGE FROM
  • [08] GEORGIAN SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS ACQUITTAL
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT FORECASTS DOUBLE-
  • [10] KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DEBATES ITS STATUTES
  • [11] KYRGYZ PREMIER SEEKS TO COMBAT POVERTY
  • [12] FLOOD VICTIMS IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN
  • [13] MARKET TRADERS IN KYRGYZ CAPITAL END STRIKE
  • [14] TAJIK, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS CONFER
  • [15] TURKMEN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES NATIONAL TV,
  • [16] UZBEK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH TURKISH

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [17] MACEDONIAN ARMY BEGINS OFFENSIVE NEAR
  • [18] ...AS FLEEING REBELS DETAINED IN KOSOVA,
  • [19] ...BUT MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER NOT
  • [20] MACEDONIA'S DISPLACED PERSONS STARTING TO
  • [21] CROATIAN PRESIDENT DECIDES AGAINST TRIP TO
  • [22] OSCE OFFICIALS DISCUSS MACEDONIAN CRISIS IN
  • [23] FIGHTING REPORTED IN PRESEVO VALLEY
  • [24] SERBIAN PREMIER SAYS MILOSEVIC ARREST
  • [25] SERBIA RELEASES MORE KOSOVAR ALBANIANS
  • [26] CROAT TROOPS LEAVE BOSNIAN ARMY...
  • [27] ...AS BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW
  • [28] 'HIGH TIME' FOR BOSNIAN SERBS TO DELIVER
  • [29] EU REPRESENTATIVE TELLS ROMANIANS TO
  • [30] PROSECUTOR-GENERAL AGAIN DISPLAYS POLITICAL
  • [31] ROMANIAN MINORITIES COMPLAIN ABOUT RACIAL
  • [32] EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE TO HEAR ILASCU
  • [33] BRAGHIS TO RUN AGAINST VORONIN FOR
  • [34] BRATISLAVA OSCE MEETING POSTPONED AGAIN
  • [35] FINLAND WILLING TO ASSIST IMPROVING

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [36] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES U.S. FIRM HAS

    QUIT ENERGY TENDER

    Armenian government sources denied

    on 27 March that the U.S. firm AES Silk Road has withdrawn from

    the tender for the privatization of four Armenian energy distribution

    networks, the winners of which are to be announced on 29 March,

    RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Democratic Party of Armenia

    (HDK) chairman Aram Sarkisian had claimed that AES pulled out

    of the tender because of the tough antimonopolist conditions set by

    the Armenian government. But Noyan Tapan on 27 March quoted

    the Armenian Energy Ministry as saying that AES has merely asked

    for the tender deadline to be extended for a further two weeks. The

    HDK is one of some 25 left-wing parties and movements that last

    week aligned in a bid to prevent the privatization of what they term a

    "strategic sector" of the country's economy (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 20 March 2001). LF

    [02] ARMENIA SAYS NATO BASE IN AZERBAIJAN WOULD

    THREATEN REGIONAL STABILITY

    The Russian military

    base in Armenia "creates a balance which ensures a fragile but stable

    peace" in the South Caucasus, Armenian Foreign Ministry

    spokeswoman Dziunik Aghadjanian told Reuters in Yerevan on 27

    March. She said Azerbaijan's eagerness to violate that balance by

    hosting a NATO military base could pose a threat to regional

    stability. Azerbaijani Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiev

    and Foreign Minister Vilayat Quliev have both recently argued that it

    is the Russian military base in Armenia which threatens stability, and

    that a NATO presence in the region is needed to counter that threat

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 March 2001). LF

    [03] RUSSIA'S CASPIAN ENVOY SAYS ACCORD WITH

    AZERBAIJAN REMAINS IN FORCE

    Visiting Russian Deputy

    Foreign Minister and special envoy for the Caspian Viktor

    Kalyuzhnyi told Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev in Baku on 27

    March that the declaration on the Caspian Sea signed in Moscow

    two weeks earlier by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his

    Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    13 March 2001) does not alter or supercede the Baku Declaration

    signed by Putin and Aliev in January, as some Azerbaijani officials

    had claimed, Turan reported. Kalyuzhnyi noted that Tehran's

    insistence that each of the five Caspian littoral states should have a

    20 percent share of the sea runs counter to the position shared by

    Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan that the sea should be divided

    on the basis of the median line. Kalyuzhnyi called for expediting a

    solution to the problem of deciding on the status of the Caspian and

    dividing it into national sectors. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION SEEKS TO CREATE

    PARLIAMENT FACTION

    Parliament deputies from the Civil

    Solidarity Party and the reformist wing of the Azerbaijan Popular

    Front Party (AHChP), together with two opposition independent

    deputies, met in Baku on 27 March to discuss creating an opposition

    parliament faction, Turan reported. Sabir Rustamkhanli (Civil

    Solidarity) said that even if refused registration as a faction, the

    deputies would function as one. A minimum of 25 deputies are

    required to form a parliament faction, but Asim Mollazade (AHChP

    Reformist wing) said that up to 20 lawmakers have signaled their

    interest in joining the group. The opposition Musavat Party and the

    conservative wing of the AHChP are boycotting the parliament,

    arguing that violations during the 5 November parliamentary

    elections deprive it of legitimacy. LF

    [05] CHECHEN REFUGEES APPEAL TO AZERBAIJANI

    PRESIDENT

    Representatives of Chechens who have fled to

    Azerbaijan have written to President Aliev protesting the extradition

    of many of their number to the Russian Federation and arbitrary

    reprisals by Azerbaijani police against those still in Azerbaijan,

    Turan reported on 27 March. The signatories, who include the late

    Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's widow Alla, appealed to

    Aliev as a fellow Muslim to ensure that they are treated with greater

    compassion. Glasnost-North Caucasus on 3 February estimated the

    number of Chechens in Azerbaijan at 8,000. LF

    [06] SUSPECT IN KILLING OF GEORGIAN BORDER GUARDS

    DETAINED

    One member of a "criminal gang" that shot the two

    Georgian border guards whose bodies were discovered on 25 March

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 March 2001) has been apprehended,

    and the identity of the other four is known, Caucasus Press reported

    on 28 March quoting an unnamed police official. The previous day,

    Caucasus Press quoted a member of the team investigating the

    killings as saying that the guards were probably shot in order to steal

    their machine guns. He added that such weapons are worth up to

    $300 on the black market. LF

    [07] GEORGIA CALCULATES ECONOMIC DAMAGE FROM

    ABDUCTIONS

    The abduction last November in eastern Georgia

    of two Spanish businessmen (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 December

    2000) has delayed the implementation of three investment projects

    worth $8 million, Caucasus Press on 27 March quoted Nugzar

    Sulashvili, president of the International Union of Foreigners' and

    Immigrants' Rights as saying. Sulashvili said he believes that

    Russian intelligence was responsible for kidnapping the two

    Spaniards. LF

    [08] GEORGIAN SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS ACQUITTAL

    OF NAVAL COMMANDER

    The Georgian Supreme Court on 27

    March rejected an appeal by the Military Prosecutor's Office to

    overturn the verdict handed down by a Tbilisi District Court last

    December on former naval commander Otar Chkhartishvili,

    Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 December

    2000). That court found Chkhartishvili not guilty of bribery and

    misappropriation of state property, and ruled that the Military

    Prosecutor's Office should pay him 300,000 laris ($160,000) in

    damages. LF

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT FORECASTS DOUBLE-

    DIGIT ECONOMIC GROWTH

    Meeting in Astana on 27 March

    with members of the population, President Nursultan Nazarbaev

    predicted that GDP will grow by 10 percent during the first quarter

    of 2001 and agricultural output by more than 5 percent compared

    with the same period last year, Interfax reported. GDP growth year-

    on-year in 2000 amounted to 9.6 percent. Nazarbaev also announced

    pay increases of between 33-40 percent for the police. LF

    [10] KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DEBATES ITS STATUTES

    A joint

    session on 27 March of both chambers of Kazakhstan's parliament

    engaged in a "very emotional" discussion of, but failed to vote on,

    proposed amendments to the law on the parliament's statutes,

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. The amendments address the

    rights and duties of parliament factions, but reportedly fail to specify

    who has the right to create factions. LF

    [11] KYRGYZ PREMIER SEEKS TO COMBAT POVERTY

    Finance Minister Temirbek Akmataliev told a cabinet session on 27

    March that 55.3 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population lives in poverty

    and a further 23.3 percent in "deep poverty," RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported. According to official statistics, the minimal monthly

    subsistence level is currently 1,205 soms (about $25), while the

    minimum salary is only 120 soms. Prime Minister Kurmanbek

    Bakiev characterized the situation as grave, noting that Kyrgyzstan is

    among the five poorest CIS states. He said a minimum of 5 percent

    GDP growth for the next five years is needed to improve the

    situation. GDP growth in 2000 was 5.1 percent. LF

    [12] FLOOD VICTIMS IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN

    DEMAND COMPENSATION

    Some 300 residents of

    Djalalabad's Suzak district staged a demonstration on 27 March to

    demand compensation for the loss of their homes in flooding two

    years ago, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Instead of paying

    compensation or making alternative housing available, the Kyrgyz

    government offered the flood victims 15-year loans at 4 percent

    interest, which the victims say they are unable to pay. LF

    [13] MARKET TRADERS IN KYRGYZ CAPITAL END STRIKE

    Traders at Bishkek's Osh market have ended the strike they began

    on 25 March to protest the city's imminent ban on street trading, but

    are now demanding that the market authorities provide stalls for all

    street traders, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 27 March 2001). LF

    [14] TAJIK, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS CONFER

    During a

    telephone conversation on 27 March, Tajik President Imomali

    Rakhmonov and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed

    bilateral relations, regional security, preparations for the June

    Shanghai Forum summit, and expanding economic cooperation,

    ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [15] TURKMEN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES NATIONAL TV,

    CULTURE MINISTRY

    Saparmurat Niyazov has criticized

    workers in the cultural sphere and the media for a variety of failings,

    Interfax reported on 27 March citing a source in the presidential

    administration. He blamed Minister of Culture Oraz Aidogdyev for

    organizational failings and Kakadzhan Ashirov, who is responsible

    for theaters and TV and radio broadcasting, for the scarcity of theater

    performances and for condoning low aesthetic standards and

    broadcasting programs that "fail to reflect the national features" of

    the Turkmen people. Niyazov further accused the heads of artistic

    trade unions for pursuing their own commercial interests rather than

    encouraging and supporting younger colleagues. LF

    [16] UZBEK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH TURKISH

    PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN

    Meeting in Tashkent with visiting

    Turkish parliament Chairman Umer Izgi, Islam Karimov gave a

    positive assessment of contacts between the two countries'

    parliaments and of the strong historic, political, economic, and

    cultural ties between the Uzbek and Turkish peoples, Interfax

    reported. Despite a slight recent decline in bilateral trade, which

    exceeded $100 million in 2000, Uzbek exports to Turkey have

    doubled over the past three years, Karimov noted. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [17] MACEDONIAN ARMY BEGINS OFFENSIVE NEAR

    KOSOVA BORDER...

    Macedonian troops launched a new

    offensive in hills along the border with Kosova on 28 March in an

    attempt to clear the area of ethnic Albanian insurgents, an RFE/RL

    correspondent reported. Mortar fire was reportedly also heard around

    the village of Gracani, where fighting took place the previous day.

    The village is just 10 kilometers north of Skopje. Macedonian

    Defense Ministry spokesman Djordje Trendafilov said on 27 March

    that no casualties were reported. Macedonia's second city of Tetovo

    was reported to be quiet, and tanks were being withdrawn from the

    city. The Interior Ministry said army troops found weapons caches

    that included antiaircraft guns, heavy machine guns, and antitank

    mines. PB

    [18] ...AS FLEEING REBELS DETAINED IN KOSOVA,

    MACEDONIA...

    The NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR said

    on 27 March that its forces had arrested 79 suspected ethnic

    Albanian rebels in Kosova, dpa reported. A KFOR spokesman said

    they were all captured in the previous 24 hours and all were detained

    in the southern sector of Kosova, which is patrolled by German

    troops. They are being questioned and some will be turned over to

    Kosova's police force. In Macedonia, KFOR spokesman Colonel

    Arne Pollei said German troops have detained some 30 suspected

    insurgents. He said they are being held, and will be transferred to the

    Kosovar city of Prizren. PB

    [19] ...BUT MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER NOT

    SATISFIED

    Srgjan Kerim said in Vienna on 28 March that

    Western countries were "unprepared" for the crisis in Macedonia

    and that they were "slow and hesitant" to help his country, dpa

    reported, citing the Austrian Press Agency. In an interview, Kerim

    demanded that KFOR "close the border from the Kosovo side."

    Military officials have said repeatedly that a complete closure is

    impossible because of the terrain. Kerim added that the ethnic

    Albanian insurgents do not have broad popular support among

    Macedonia's ethnic Albanian citizens. He said "they tried

    desperately for 34 days to pull the people with them, but they didn't

    succeed." He said the rebels are "remnants of the UCK [Kosova

    Liberation Army]," and that "the war will never be over" for them.

    Kerim agreed that ethnic Albanians must play a greater role in

    Macedonia's political and state structures. PB

    [20] MACEDONIA'S DISPLACED PERSONS STARTING TO

    RETURN

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

    said on 27 March in Geneva that some of the estimated 30,000

    Macedonians who fled as fighting raged around Tetovo are returning

    to their homes, Reuters reported. UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski

    said many fled to Skopje and that about two-thirds of the total were

    displaced within Macedonia. Several thousands of ethnic Albanian

    villagers are also reported to have fled the fighting, most of them

    going to villages where there was no fighting or into Kosova. PB

    [21] CROATIAN PRESIDENT DECIDES AGAINST TRIP TO

    'PEACEFUL' MACEDONIA

    Stipe Mesic decided on 27 March

    to postpone his trip to Macedonia "since there is peace," dpa

    reported. Mesic was going to leave for Skopje on 2 April (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 March 2001). He said he had spoken to his

    Macedonian counterpart, Boris Trajkovski, who told him "there's

    peace now in Macedonia." Mesic said his offer to make a goodwill

    mission to help resolve the crisis still stands. PB

    [22] OSCE OFFICIALS DISCUSS MACEDONIAN CRISIS IN

    BUCHAREST

    OSCE Chairman in Office Mircea Geoana, the

    organization's High Commissioner for National Minorities Max van

    der Stoel, and Carlo Ungaro, chief of the OSCE mission in Skopje,

    on 27 March held consultations in Bucharest over the ongoing crisis

    and decided to convoke a meeting of the organization's "troika" --

    made up by the foreign ministers of Austria, Portugal and Romania

    -- for 3 April in the Macedonian capital, Romanian media reported.

    Geoana said that the "military stage" of the conflict is gradually

    being replaced by a "political stage" and the organization must take

    advantage of the evolution. The meeting was also attended by Adrian

    Severin, chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The

    participants were received by Romanian President Ion Iliescu and by

    Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. MS

    [23] FIGHTING REPORTED IN PRESEVO VALLEY

    Clashes

    were reported on 27 March between ethnic Albanian rebels and

    Serbian forces in the southern Serbia's Presevo Valley, AP and

    Reuters reported. Both sides blamed the other for initiating the

    sporadic gun battles. Sejdullah Kadriu, a member of the political

    council that backs the insurgents, said that a rebel commander,

    Nijazi Azemi, was killed in the fighting on 26 March. He described

    the situation in the area as "very tense." Serbian officials reported no

    casualties. PB

    [24] SERBIAN PREMIER SAYS MILOSEVIC ARREST

    NEARING

    Zoran Djindjic said on 27 March that the arrest of

    former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was brought "an

    important step" closer after the detention of seven former Milosevic

    associates, Reuters reported. Djindjic said "our judiciary is

    collecting material evidence and I think it will be over pretty soon."

    Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic said the arrests (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 March 2001) were just the beginning of

    charges that will be filed against members of the Milosevic regime

    for corruption and other wrongdoing. PB

    [25] SERBIA RELEASES MORE KOSOVAR ALBANIANS

    FROM PRISON

    The International Committee of the Red Cross

    said that Serbian authorities released 25 ethnic Albanian prisoners

    on 27 March, dpa reported. The Red Cross office in Belgrade said

    that all of those released returned to Kosova. It said some 436

    Kosovar Albanians are still imprisoned in Serbia on charges related

    to terrorism. Nearly 1,600 have been released since Milosevic was

    ousted from power last October. PB

    [26] CROAT TROOPS LEAVE BOSNIAN ARMY...

    Responding to

    orders from the hard-line Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ),

    some ethnic Croatian soldiers have abandoned the Croat-Muslim

    federation army, AP and Reuters reported on 27 March. The

    federation defense force is made up of about 7,500 Croats and

    15,000 Muslim soldiers. The HDZ has called on Croat troops to

    leave the army as part of its attempts to set up self-rule in Croat-

    dominated areas. Reportedly, some 1,900 troops in the town of Vitez

    left their barracks to protest the removal of their commander by

    Defense Minister Mijo Anic, a Bosnian Croat loyal to the moderate

    ruling coalition. Anic has said that any soldiers leaving their posts

    will lose all pay and benefits. DW

    [27] ...AS BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW

    MEMBERS TO PRESIDENCY

    The lower house of parliament

    of Bosnia-Herzegovina approved the two candidates proposed by the

    multiethnic Alliance for Changes coalition to replace the Muslim and

    Croat members of the three-member state presidency, Bosnian radio

    reported. Muslim Beriz Belkic of the Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina

    and Croat Jozo Krizanovic of the Social Democrats were elected to

    replace Alija Izetbegovic and Ante Jelavic, respectively. Izetbegovic

    recently retired and Jelavic was fired by High Representative

    Wolfgang Petritsch on 8 March for attempting to instigate self-rule

    for ethnic Croat areas within the federation (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 8 March 2001). DW

    [28] 'HIGH TIME' FOR BOSNIAN SERBS TO DELIVER

    KARADZIC

    High Representative Petritsch said on 27 March that

    the popular Serb Democratic Party must honor agreements it signed

    in December to cooperate with The Hague tribunal and at least expel

    former leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic from the

    party, Reuters reported. He said the least the party could do was

    distance itself from the wartime leader, but that "it is high time they

    deliver Karadzic." He also said he is "expecting quick action on

    this...because it is simply unacceptable that there are up to 20 alleged

    war criminals at large in Republika Srpska." Petritsch further called

    on the Serbian entity to take its lead from Belgrade, as it often has in

    the past. "Belgrade has delivered and now I am expecting from

    Banja Luka the same." DW

    [29] EU REPRESENTATIVE TELLS ROMANIANS TO

    IMPROVE ECONOMY

    Fokion Fotiadis, EU permanent

    representative in Bucharest, on 27 March told members of the

    Romanian parliamentary EU Integration Commission that Romania

    "continues to meet" the political conditions for joining the

    organization, but cannot be viewed as having a "functioning

    marketing economy." Fotiadis said this second condition for joining

    is "the chief impediment" to Romanian membership. "At the end of

    the day," he said, "joining the EU will be less influenced by closing

    all chapters in the aquis communautaire and more by the evaluation

    of economic performance." Fotiadis recommended that Romania

    simplify legislation on foreign investments, continue efforts for

    achieving macroeconomic reform, introduce strict fiscal and

    budgetary discipline, and act to reduce the rate of inflation,

    RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [30] PROSECUTOR-GENERAL AGAIN DISPLAYS POLITICAL

    SUBORDINATION

    Prosecutor-General Joita Tanase is asking the

    French judicial authorities to return documents pertaining to the

    involvement of high state officials in the 1992 Adrian Cosea money-

    laundering scandal, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 27

    March. Among those who last year were forced to testify on the affair

    were President Iliescu and presidential counselor Gheorghe Pascu.

    At the request of the French authorities, prosecutors working for the

    Section for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (SCCO)

    passed the documents on to Paris, but Joita says they lack "legal

    validity" because the documents were not transmitted through the

    Justice Ministry. Joita is demanding the return of the documents.

    Citing "judicial sources," Mediafax said the recent changes in the

    managing structure of the SCCO are connected with this affair.

    Shortly after his appointment, Joita dropped charges against three of

    Iliescu's associates in connection with the Cosea affair. MS

    [31] ROMANIAN MINORITIES COMPLAIN ABOUT RACIAL

    INCITEMENT

    Deputies from the parliamentary group of national

    minorities told journalists on 27 March that media attacks and

    incitement against minorities have recently intensified, and said

    Romania must bring its legislation in line with that of the EU and

    stiffen legal provisions against such crimes. Also on 27 March, the

    Romany Party announced it will hold public protests and

    demonstrations in Constanta against Mayor Radu Mazare, whom the

    party accuses of xenophobia and racism. The party says the

    Constanta media, of which Mazare is a major shareholder in many

    outlets, promote "intolerance, xenophobia, and racism." The party

    also says 80 Roma families decided to stop sending their children to

    local schools after they were beaten by schoolmates shouting anti-

    Roma slogans commonly encountered in the media. Turkish

    minority deputy Metin Cerkez also accused Mazare of patronizing

    publications that display "hatred of the Turkish minority," Mediafax

    reported. MS

    [32] EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE TO HEAR ILASCU

    COMPLAINT

    The European Court for Human Rights will debate

    "under urgency procedure" the complaint launched by Ilie Ilascu

    against his imprisonment since 1992 by the Tiraspol authorities,

    Romanian media reported on 27 March. The court decided to hear

    the case in full plenum due to its "complexity" and to recognize

    Romania as a party to the complaint, as Ilascu obtained Romanian

    citizenship last year. Ilascu, a former Moldovan citizen and

    parliamentary deputy, was elected to the Romanian Senate last year.

    MS

    [33] BRAGHIS TO RUN AGAINST VORONIN FOR

    MOLDOVAN PRESIDENCY

    Outgoing Prime Minister Dumitru

    Braghis on 27 March told journalists that he has decided to run for

    president on 4 April, when the parliament will elect the country's

    next head of state, Infotag reported. Apart from the Party of

    Moldovan Communists (PCM), the Braghis Alliance, which has 19

    deputies, is the only parliamentary group that has enough deputies to

    meet the requirement that a candidacy must be backed by 15

    lawmakers. The PCM has already announced the candidacy of its

    leader, Vladimir Voronin. Braghis said his alliance "must use its right

    to nominate a candidate" and thereby demonstrate that "Moldova

    does have an alternative, and that we are able to continue economic

    and democratic reforms." The parliamentary group headed by

    Braghis discussed the nomination on 27 March, but postponed a

    decision until the next day. MS

    [34] BRATISLAVA OSCE MEETING POSTPONED AGAIN

    Vasile Sturza, leader of the Moldovan experts' team in the

    negotiations on a settlement of the Transdniester conflict, on 27

    March told Infotag that the Bratislava OSCE meeting has been

    postponed again, due to Tiraspol's refusal to attend. This is the third

    postponement of the meeting. The separatists insist that the gathering

    can take place only after the election of the next Moldovan president

    and a meeting of their leader, Igor Smirnov, with the new head of

    state. MS

    [35] FINLAND WILLING TO ASSIST IMPROVING

    KOZLODUY SAFETY

    Finnish Premier Paavo Lipponen, on the

    second day of his visit to Bulgaria, on 27 March said his country is

    willing to "extend expert assistance" to improve the safety of the

    Kozloduy nuclear power plant, the English-language daily

    "Monitor" reported. President Petar Stoyanov had earlier asked

    Lipponen to extend such assistance, in view of the fact that Finland

    has the same type of Soviet-made nuclear reactors as those at

    Kozloduy. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [36] There is no End Note today.

    28-03-01

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


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