Mission of the International Monetary Fund commenced its work in Minsk today. By fall this year the Fund would be able to provide Belarus with a stabilization credit, worth a few hundred million $, but the chief condition for the loan`s allocation is the introduction of market leverages into the economy and curbing inflation. During their working visit in Minsk the mission will investigate whether the country with its unique market socialism policies deserves any loan at all.
"May 18 Minsk will host second All-Belarusian national assembly. How would you assess the upcoming forum?" - inquired BelaPAN`s "Zerkalo" researchers from the capital`s inhabitants in early May this year. 37% called the activity void and a waste of money.
The Parliament of Lithuania, frequently referred to as Sojm, is considering the draft resolution on the outcomes of the parliamentary ballot in Belarus, reports "Radio Ratsya". The document reads that the parliamentarians grant full support to the statements by the world community on the undemocratic character of elections. Lithuania aligns herself to the European Union`s declaration on the disparity of official Minsk`s actions with the OSCE, EU and CoE recommendations on the formation of the atmosphere of political confidence in Belarus. "As a result of the resolution`s passage, the Lithuanian Sojm joins the positions of the European organizations," - said the author of the draft law Rasa Yuknyavichine.
Trial proceedings on the extradition to Latvia of a former NAZI officer Konrad Kalejs got started today in Australian Melbourne. The man is charged with war crimes and 2nd World War genocide and atrocities. Judging by the results of a research, the suspect engaged in punitive operations on the territory of Latvia, Belarus and Russia. At the moment the man is 87. Before apprehension he lived in an old people`s home in Melbourne. Late last year he was arrested following the concomitant order, issued by the Latvian procuracy general.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, member of the US Senate from Colorado, chair of the Helsinki Commission, addressed on May 10 his colleagues in the Congress with a speech on the recent situation development in Belarus. Following you may read its full transcript:
An international conference "Belarus on the crossroads of East and West: year 2001 - the year of presidential elections and confident victory of democracy" ended in Oslo on May 11. The European community`s interest to the public political situation in Belarus is first of all explained by the approaching presidential elections. One of the conditions for international recognition of their outcomes is the transparency and democracy, the fact that had been numerously outlined by the conference delegates. "The conference was of crucial importance for Belarus. One thing that occurred there, I mean the presence of Scandinavian representatives, can`t be overestimated. Belarus belongs to the Baltic region and consequently the situation in our country can`t but interest and alarm our neighbors not only in the Baltic region, but Scandinavia likewise," - pinpointed one of the conference participants, Charter`97 international coordinator Andrei Sannikov.
Belarusian embassy in Poland will get picketed later in the day by the Belarusian association "Vmeste" (Together). The event will commemorate the anniversary of the 1995 referendum, which ousted the national Belarusian symbols from official use, replacing them by pseudo-national Soviet-type ones. "By this our effort we protest the annihilation of the historic heritage of Belarus by the anti-national regime of Lukashenko," - declared members of the Belarusian diaspora ahead of the picketing.
Belarus plans to gradually increase the influx of budget means, earmarked for defense purposes, ITAR-TASS quoted the Security Council secretary Ural Latypov as saying. Additional sources would be donated to modernize troops and purchase new high-tech weaponry. The list of measures on the fulfillment of the new concept would be presented to Lukashenko within next three months. Ural Latypov stressed that the draft project is being elaborated by "all state bodies, for, according to the concept, the threats are to be deflected in many spheres - economic, environmental, humanitarian, informational and international."
"Belarus and Iran reached a high level of cooperation in political and economic affairs, but it will get even higher in future," - stated chair of the lower chamber of the Belarusian "parliament" Vadim Popov, welcoming in May 11 Iranian charge-d`affaires for Belarus Makhmud Sadri Tabai. According to Vadim Popov, the Belarusian side will strive hard to meet Lukashenko`s demands - reach a $100mln. trade turnover withy Iran in 2001. By the way, last year this number constituted only $21mln.
100 companies of Belarus are currently cooperating with Russian defense organizations. BELTA reported from the National exhibition center "Belexpo", accommodating on May 15-18 an international exhibition "Minsk saloon of defense industry - 2001", that Belarus is working side by side with Russians in manufacturing spare parts for air defense, air force, marine and ground troops weaponry. The basic task they are faced with now is the modernization of military force.
Putin`s Administration pledged to close the Moscow representation of the "Radio Svaboda". The Sunday Times reports that the company can get expelled from Russia, given they dare start broadcasting in Chechen language.
By the beginning of hay-mowing campaign the state husbandries must fix every third combine harvester and every second one - by the start of the harvesting. BELTA says the regional committees were ordered to find means to repair the machinery at the special enterprises. The total number of vehicles in bad need of repair is estimated as being four thousand. Apart from that, the state has to render financial assistance to the farms, so that they could purchase from plants the necessary machinery. Two thirds of devices and mechanisms are to be prepared by the farmers on their own. Right now they assign to every combine a technician, who`d be in charge of its maintenance.