OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995
HARD-LINER APPOINTED AS NEW INTERIOR MINISTER.
Yeltsin has named Anatolii Kulikov, the hawkish commander of Russia's forces in
Chechnya, to replace Viktor Yerin as Interior Minister, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 6 July. Kulikov had been a deputy interior minister since
1992 and before the collapse of the Soviet Union, was the Interior Ministry's
commander in the North Caucasus. His new appointment is the second stage of a
cabinet reshuffle after Yeltsin sacked Yerin, Nationalities Minister Nikolai
Yegorov, and Federal Security Service Director Sergei Stepashin in a concession
to the parliament in the wake of the bungled attempts to resolve the Budennovsk
hostage crisis. However, deputies and observers regard Yeltsin's new
appointments (see OMRI Daily Digest on 6 July) as no more than a
reshuffle of insiders loyal to the president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
DUMA APPROVES PRESIDENTIAL VERSION OF CIVIL SERVICE BILL.
passed the Law on the Basics of the Civil Service in the Russian Federation on
5 July, Segodnya reported on 6 July. An earlier draft was rejected by
the president, and the new version incorporates virtually all his amendments.
It will now be considered by the Federation Council. The law, which divides
public offices into three categories and has been compared to Peter the Great's
Table of Ranks, has been under discussion for years. It was inherited by the
Duma from the Supreme Soviet, then went through a year of repeated rejections
and fine-tuning before finally being approved on 10 February. It was then
rejected by the Federation Council and again reworked before being vetoed by
the president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT.
Federation Council sent a draft law on local self-government back to the Duma
for amendments, Russian media reported on 6 July. In particular, Council
deputies noted that the financial obligations of local government and
principles for the division of state-owned regional property were
insufficiently defined in the draft law. Also on 6 July, the Council rejected a
law that would have allowed regional legislatures, instead of administrative
heads, to appoint local prosecutors. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
CONGRESS OF RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD OPENS IN MOSCOW.
representatives from former Soviet republics convened in Moscow to discuss
problems of ethnic Russians living in the near abroad, Russian media reported
on 6 July. Konstantin Zatulin, chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs,
told the delegates that the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), led by Yurii
Skokov, would defend their interests in the upcoming parliamentary elections,
Russian TV reported. Zatulin said the KRO, of which Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed is
a leading member, is conducting negotiations with other prominent opposition
politicians, including Sergei Glazev of the Democratic Party of Russia and
Viktor Ilyukhin of the Communist Party. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT CREATES FUND TO HELP RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD.
commission has created a fund to support ethnic Russians and Russian-language
publications in the near abroad, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai told
Radio Mayak on 6 July. Shakhrai said the draft 1996 budget proposed allocating
about 120 billion rubles ($27 million) to the fund, which will provide
financial aid to at least 30 organizations in former Soviet republics. Shakhrai
said businessmen and non-governmental organizations would also be encouraged to
contribute to the fund. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
APPARENT DISCORD IN MOSCOW OVER CHECHEN TALKS.
returned to Grozny on 6 July and resumed talks with representatives of Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Russian and international agencies reported. As the
delegation departed, mixed signals from Moscow suggested the existence of
heated disagreements within the Yeltsin administration over the talks.
Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev said in an interview that Russian
negotiator Arkadii Volskii "was incorrect," when he told journalists that
President Yeltsin had agreed to modify his 4 July decree on the permanent
basing of federal troops in Chechnya. The decree has been signed, and is fully
consistent with the constitution, said Medvedev, adding that a withdrawal of
federal troops from Chechnya could "destabilize" the situation. Volskii had
earlier threatened to resign if the decree was not modified, and Chechen
delegation head Usman Imaev has denounced it as a violation of the military
protocol signed by Russian and Chechen negotiators in June. -- Scott Parrish,
SOLDIERS' MOTHERS PROTEST TREATMENT OF SOLDIERS REFUSING TO FIGHT IN
The Soldiers' Mothers Committee said the rights of soldiers
refusing to participate in the military campaign in Chechnya are routinely
violated, Russian TV reported on 6 July. Citing statistics from the Prosecutor
General's Office, the committee said approximately 2,000 enlisted men and 500
officers have refused to fight in Chechnya. They complained that in many cases,
Russian servicemen whose mothers had secured their release from military duty
were subsequently arrested and charged with "betraying the motherland."
According to the soldiers' mothers, such arrests are unconstitutional, since
the military campaign in Chechnya is not an officially declared war. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
GRACHEV COMPLAINS ABOUT LACK OF MONEY.
Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev told a group of air defense officers in the Moscow Oblast that the
armed forces had in June received only 40% of the money allotted to it,
ITAR-TASS reported on 5 July. He said the ministry could not even pay the
salaries of most of the people in the military. He also predicted that
financial problems would increase with every passing day, adding that revenues
from the sale of military equipment had been exhausted. "Our only hope is the
commander-in-chief, President Boris Yeltsin. I am forced to turn to him for
help." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
STRIKE FIGURES RELEASED.
In the first five months of this year, 859
strikes were registered in Russia, a 120% increase over the same period last
year and more than the total for all of 1994, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July
citing a Labor Ministry report. The ministry said that about 183,000 people
took part in strikes, which is up from 155,000 in all of 1994 but still a
remarkably low figure given the magnitude of the problem of unpaid wages.
Education was the worst affected sector, accounting for 70% of the work
stoppages. Low wages and labor law violations were the main grievances. A fifth
of the total number of strikes occurred in the energy industry, mostly over
delays in wage payments. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT APPROVES PLAN FOR DESTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
government approved a draft law for the destruction of Russia's stock of
chemical weapons at a 6 July meeting. The law, which is to be submitted to the
Duma for ratification, is a key step in the implementation of the 1993 Paris
Convention on chemical weapons. The draft legislation establishes special
facilities for the destruction of the weapons, which are currently stored in
seven depots in Russia. The location of the disposal facilities has been
controversial, and the legislation provides for special "social and
environmental guarantees" for the areas surrounding the disposal plants. A
government spokesman estimated that it would cost $5.5 billion to destroy the
estimated 40,000 tons of chemical weapons in Russia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
IMF ENDORSES RUSSIAN PLAN TO CONTROL RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE.
hailed the Russian plan to create a fixed exchange rate band
ruble, international agencies reported on 6 July. Stanley Fischer, first deputy
managing director of the IMF, said that if "the exchange rate policy is backed
up . . . Russia's prospects for achieving sustainable economic growth with low
inflation are bright." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. TO ADVANCE $100 MILLION TO RUSSIA FOR URANIUM.
president of the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, said on 6 July that his company
will advance Russia $100 million for the purchase of uranium from dismantled
Soviet nuclear weapons, international agencies reported. The advance is
designed to help salvage a troubled U.S.-Russian uranium purchase agreement.
Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced in
Moscow last week that problems with the agreement had been resolved. The
Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy had complained about American plans to delay
payment for the uranium to be purchased under the agreement. However, a dispute
over the pricing of future shipments of uranium remains unresolved. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN MINISTRY BRIDLES AT U.S. LEGISLATION.
The Russian Foreign
Ministry sent a statement to ITAR-TASS on 4 July complaining that recent
American draft legislation interferes in Russian internal affairs. The ministry
was particularly upset by a draft resolution submitted on 28 March 1995 by Rep.
Christopher Cox, a Democrat from California, which called for Kaliningrad
Oblast to be made into a demilitarized zone and its administration transferred
to an international body. The statement said that "the Kaliningrad region is a
component, inalienable part of the Russian Federation." It suggested that
American congressmen would hardly like a foreign proposal for the
demilitarization of Alaska. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
PANSKOV ON 1996 BUDGET.
At a 6 July press conference, Finance
Minister Vladimir Panskov announced that the draft 1996 budget would be
submitted to the government on 10 July and to the Duma after 20 July,
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 7 July. The draft envisages revenues of
355 trillion rubles ($79 billion), expenditures of 440 trillion ($98 billion),
a budget deficit equal to 4% of GDP, and inflation of no more than 2% a month.
In order to give the budget a greater "social orientation," spending on health,
education, and other social spheres has been increased. More money is also to
be allocated to conversion of the military-industrial complex and
high-technology projects. The deficit is to be covered from non-inflationary
sources, but unlike this year the emphasis will be on domestic rather than
foreign borrowing. Panskov also said that in recent months the government had
reduced its wage debt to 100-200 billion rubles and had sent 306 billion rubles
to the regions to ease social tensions. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA TAKES STOCK OF PROPERTY ABROAD.
State Property Committee
Deputy Chairman Valerii Fateev said on 2 July that Russia claims to own real
estate and shares worth $9 billion in 106 countries, Segodnya and Reuters
reported. However, he added that proving ownership is difficult and so far, the
country has won only a few of thge disputed cases. According to Fateev, the
property in question comprises 1,900 plots of land and buildings and shares in
500 companies. Those include property of the last tsar's family and that of
Russian nobles, as well as property that used to belong to the former USSR,
which Russia inherited along with the Soviet Union's foreign debts under the
terms of a treaty signed with its fellow republics in 1991. The real estate is
valued at $3.3 billion, but Fateev said its market value is probably 10 times
as high. Several parliamentary factions have accused the Russian government of
squandering Russian property abroad. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
CADBURY TO BUILD CHOCOLATE FACTORY IN RUSSIA.
A Finnish building
firm is to build a $115 million chocolate factory for Cadbury-Schweppes in
Novgorod Oblast, AFP reported on 6 July citing Kommersant-daily. The new
plant, with an output capacity of 50,000 tons annually, will be the largest
Cadbury factory in the world. It is due to begin operation in mid-1996. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995
TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA
FATE OF TAJIK OFFICIAL UNCLEAR.
Authorities have been unable to
ascertain the whereabouts of Akabir Odinayev, a Tajik senior official from the
Khatlon region in the south who disappeared on 26 June and is believe to have
been abducted by a Defense Ministry unit, Reuters reported. The Defense
Ministry has two units in the area, the first and eleventh brigades, which were
formed from groups owing allegiance to local warlords who supported the present
regime during the Tajik civil war three years ago. Though nominally part of the
Tajik military, the two groups are competing for control of supplies in the
Kurgan Tyube area. A commander from the first brigade said the eleventh brigade
is holding Odinayev. An officer in the eleventh brigade, Islam Radzhabov,
denied his group is responsible and accused the first brigade of killing his
group's commander, Izat Kuganov, early last month. The government has sent
reinforcements to the area. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT WANTS TWO OFFICIALS TO RESIGN.
Askar Akayev called on Transport Minister Sadykbek Ablesov and government Chief
of Staff Orozmat Abdykalykov to resign on 6 July, Reuters reported. Akayev said
Ablesov committed numerous unspecified offenses and that Abdykalykov had been
leaking state secrets to the media. The Kyrgyz president called for the
resignations at a meeting of law enforcement officials dealing with the rising
crime rate and corruption in the government. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI,
ANOTHER ROUND OF BORDER TALKS WITH CHINA ENDS.
The 16th round of
talks between China and its CIS neighbors on reducing the level of military
forces along their borders ended in Beijing on 6 July, Xinhua reported.
Originally, the talks were held between China and the Soviet Union, which has
now been replaced by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The agency
said the sides had exchanged views in a "friendly and truth-seeking"
atmosphere, and progress was made. No other details were released. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW SPEAKER.
International agencies on 6
July reported that the Crimean parliament has elected a new speaker who is
supportive of the authorities in Kiev. Deputies voted 58 to 31 to appoint
centrist Yevhen Suprunyuk as a replacement for Serhii Tsekov, who was dismissed
the previous day. Suprunyuk's election is seen as a move toward reconciliation
with Kiev and a blow to Crimea's pro-Russian forces. Tsekov was removed because
of his authoritarianism and his failure to compromise with Kiev. Suprunyuk has
said he will work on an equal basis with both Russia and Ukraine. The new
speaker is a member of the Agrarian bloc. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUS STOPS ARMS REDUCTIONS.
Izvestiya on 6 July reported
that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has announced that Belarus will
suspend the withdrawal of nuclear missiles from Belarus to Russia. Lukashenka
said the decision to withdraw the weapons was a political mistake made by the
previous leadership. He also commented that it was unnecessary since Belarus
and Russia may soon reunite. RFE/RL reported Stanislau Shushkevich, former
chairman of the Supreme Soviet, as saying the decision was a disgrace to
Belarus's international image. Shushkevich was head of state when Belarus
agreed to give up its inherited nuclear arsenal of 81 single-warhead mobile
SS-25 Topol missiles. So far, 63 missiles have been withdrawn and the remaining
18 were to have been removed to Russia this month. Izvestiya commented
that the decision to stop nuclear reductions was also prompted by financial
considerations. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
ESTONIAN PRIVATIZATION CHIEF UNDER FIRE.
BNS on 6 July reported that
the Estonian Center Party sent a letter in June to the board of the Coalition
Party asking for the dismissal of Vaino Sarnet, director-general of the
Privatization Agency. It also requested a thorough examination of personnel at
government institutions and proposed that a bill be drawn up banning the
Central Bank from holding shares in commercial banks. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
LATVIAN PRESIDENT IN LITHUANIA.
Guntis Ulmanis has met with his
Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Brazauskas, in Vilnius, Russian Public
Television reported on 6 July. Ulmanis said that the three Baltic states needed
a joint strategy to join the EU. He stressed the need for the three countries
to coordinate their policies toward other states and cooperate in controlling
their borders and illegal immigration. He also proposed setting up a joint
budget to be used toward financing cultural and ecological projects. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA PARDONS FORMER SOVIET GENERAL.
The Lithuanian Mercy
Mission on 5 July pardoned former Soviet General Ginutis Taurinskas for his
participation in anti-state activities, BNS reported. Taurinskas headed the
Lithuanian branch of the Soviet paramilitary organization DOSAAF and
participated in activities of pro-Soviet forces in Lithuania when the Soviet
Union was falling apart. When Lithuania gained independence, he was sentenced
to two-and-a-half years in prison. Pranas Kuris, head of the Supreme Court,
justified the pardon saying that Taurinskas has already served two-thirds of
the term and, since he suffers from ill health, it was a normal and humane act
to pardon him. Opposition leader Vytautas Landsbergis criticized the pardon. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
GERMAN CHANCELLOR IN POLAND.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, visiting
Poland for the first time since 1989, addressed a joint session of the Polish
parliament on 6 July. He said the European Union will do "everything in its
power to put Poland on the right track . . . [but] there will be no shortcuts."
"Admitting Poland to the European Union is interdependent with its joining NATO
but will not necessarily come at the same time," he added. Kohl also stressed
that "no country can forbid another country to take part in any alliance . . .
[but] it is necessary above all to cooperate with Russia in constructing
European security." Polish and international media reported that Germany has
offered its active cooperation in building east-west highways and railroad
lines in Poland and in investing in economic zones along these routes. Kohl is
scheduled to pay a visit to Auschwitz during his three-day visit. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CENTRAL PLANNING OFFICE ON POLISH ECONOMY.
The Polish Central
Planning Office on 6 July issued a report comparing Poland's economy in 1994
with those of other East European countries. Polish and Slovenian growth rates
were the biggest in the region, reaching 5%. Poland is expected to occupy first
place with Estonia in 1995, with 6%. Polish exports rose 22% in 1994; but
Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania registered bigger growths. Inflation in Poland
in 1994 was 32.2%, compared with 10.2% in the Czech Republic and 320% in
Russia. With regard to unemployment, Poland placed seventh in Europe as a whole
(with Macedonia, the rump Yugoslavia, and Spain topping the list). Poland was
the only country in the region whose foreign debt decreased, but it has the
region's second largest such debt in relation to GNP (42%), after Hungary
(72%). Poland's budget deficit amounted to 2.7% of GNP in 1994, compared with
10.4% in Hungary and 9.3% in Russia, Polish media reported on 7 July. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH PRIMATE JOINS HISTORIC JAN HUS COMMEMORATION.
For the first
time ever, the head of the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic has taken part
in a service marking the death of Protestant reformer Jan Hus. On 6 July--the
580th anniversary of Hus being burnt at the stake as a heretic by the
Church--Cardinal Miloslav Vlk joined evangelical Church leaders for a service
at the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague where Hus preached. At a ceremony in Hus's
hometown Husinec, President Vaclav Havel said the Catholic Church could help
heal religious divides in the country by rehabilitating Hus. -- Steve Kettle,
SLOVAKIA'S RULING PARTY THREATENS TO BAR SOROS.
Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 6 July demanded
an apology from U.S. billionaire and philanthropist George Soros for statements
he made earlier this week at an economic forum in Crans Montana, Switzerland.
Soros, who was awarded the forum's top prize, said the historic opportunity
presented by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe has been missed. He
noted that in many post-communist countries, nationalist ideologies were
combining with business interests in a classic recipe for fascism. Soros cited
Serbia as an example and said Croatia also showed similar tendencies. He then
mentioned the Slovak premier as an example of a strongly entrenched leader who
has not always supported privatization and liberalization. International media
reported Meciar's party as saying that unless Soros apologizes, HZDS deputies
will support a motion in the parliament to bar him from the country as
persona non grata. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
CAR EXPLOSION IN BRATISLAVA.
A car exploded several hundred meters
from the Slovak government offices in Bratislava on 6 July, Slovak media
reported. Police said the two occupants of the car were killed in the
explosion, but they have refused to comment on the reasons or motives for the
incident until an investigation has been completed. Some media have speculated
that rival Bratislava gangs were seeking to settle accounts. Unofficial sources
were quoted as saying that the explosion might be connected to the recent
arrest of Italian mafia boss Domenico Branco. Italian police arrested Branco in
cooperation with the Slovak police, which were reportedly tipped off by
informants in the Bratislava underworld. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995
HEAVY FIGHTING AROUND SREBRENICA.
International media on 7 July
reported that tank, mortar, and artillery fire erupted the previous day between
Serbian attackers and Muslim defenders of the eastern Bosnian enclave of
Srebrenica. Government spokesmen said it was the heaviest Serbian attack since
the UN declared the place a "safe area" in 1993. The BBC reported that a UN
relief convoy was shot at near Tuzla, apparently from Bosnian Serb lines.,
while the International Herald Tribune noted a similar attack on relief
vehicles heading into Sarajevo across Mt. Igman. Vjesnik quoted UN
sources as reporting successes by the Bosnian army around Bosanska Krupa near
Bihac, while Novi list reported that Krajina Serb forces are grouping
around Knin. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
ZUBAK GIVES THE RAPID REACTION FORCE A DEADLINE.
leader and president of the Croatian-Muslim federation Kresimir Zubak has told
the Rapid Reaction Force that it must leave Herzegovina by the end of the month
if his questions regarding its mission have not been satisfactorily answered by
then, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 7 July. Reuters
the previous day noted that the UN has stated that the British and French
commanders will have tactical control over any RRF missions but that each
action must be approved by the cautious UN civilian bureaucracy. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT SINGLES OUT SERBS.
The VOA on 7 July
said that Amnesty International has issued a report on human rights violations
in the former Yugoslavia. The study argues that the Serbs are responsible for
most, if not all, of the atrocities in Bosnia but that all sides hold prisoners
of conscience or have sent prisoners to work under dangerous conditions. The
Serbs press-gang young men in Serbia on behalf of the Krajina and Bosnian Serb
armies. They have also tortured or otherwise ill-treated ethnic Albanian former
policemen in Kosovo. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CROATIAN JOURNALISTS DEFEND FERAL TRIBUNE.
on 7 July carried a statement by the Croatian Journalistic Society criticizing
the recent attacks by thugs on the independent satirical weekly Feral
Tribune. The declaration argues that one may think whatever one wants of
that particular paper but that nobody has the right to use violence against
freedom of expression. In other developments, AFP on 5 July reports on growing
social unrest in Croatia. Some 140,000 out of 760,000 workers have not been
paid in months, and the situation of the 800,000 pensioners and 385,000
refugees is also precarious. Protests by unpaid workers have taken on political
overtones, as the demonstrators argue that the elite of the ruling party are
enriching themselves while ordinary people face hard times. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BILDT IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
Nasa Borba on 7 July reported on
European Union mediator Carl Bildt's arrival in Sarajevo the previous day.
Bildt's visit is intended to revive the peace process, but he has already
expressed doubts over prospects for lasting peace. AFP quoted him as saying
there will be "more war in Bosnia rather than peace. . . . There might be a
solution, but it is not immediately at hand." Bildt also noted that
negotiations with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic are key to facilitating
the peace process. Milosevic on 6 July met with Alvaro de Soto, UN deputy
secretary for political affairs, but De Soto gave few details about the
discussions. The VOA said that journalists asked Bildt if he planned to visit
Bosnian Serb headquarters at Pale but that he replied he is "not a tourist" and
has no need to go there. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
MONTENEGRIN HOTEL CHAIN REWARDS ANTI-GREEK VACATIONERS.
on 6 July reported that the rump Yugoslavia's Maestralturs hotel chain is
involved in the continuing controversy over the rump Yugoslavia's 2 July
European basketball championship win in Athens. When the rump Yugoslav national
anthem was played, Greek fans, who had seen their team lose to the rump
Yugoslav team in an earlier game, booed. Now as a reward to vacationers who can
prove they have canceled vacations to Greece in protest at the fans' behavior,
Maestralturs is offering a 20% discount. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
RUGOVA MEETS WITH GLIGOROV.
Ibrahim Rugova, president of the Kosovar
shadow state, met with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov in Skopje after
visiting the U.S., Spain, and Albania, according to the Kosovar Daily
Report and MIC on 6 July. The two leaders discussed the situation in Kosovo
and Macedonia, as well as bilateral relations. There was no official statement
on the disputed Albanian-language university in Tetovo, but both sides
confirmed that "peace and stability in the Balkans can be guaranteed only by
settling [outstanding] issues through talks and political means and by
strengthening the European option [for] the Balkan states." Elsewhere, Fehmi
Agani, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic League of Kosovo, said after
meeting with representatives of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party in Belgrade
that "the atmosphere was surprisingly cordial," Politika reported on 7
July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET?
Radio Bucharest on 6
July, citing Radio Budapest, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs has
proposed meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, to discuss
the bilateral basic treaty. The possibility of talks between the two ministers
was also discussed by President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Gyula Horn at
their meeting in Cannes. But Kovacs said he had doubts about how successful
such an encounter would be. In a related development, Adevarul on 7 July
reported that the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) has decided
to begin "civic disobedience" actions if its demands for changing the
recently-passed education law are not met by President Ion Iliescu. UDMR
leaders and Iliescu are scheduled to meet on 8 July. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
ROMANIA, CHINA AGREE ON "DIPLOMATIC FORMULA."
The Romanian Foreign
Ministry, in a press release from Beijing carried by Radio Bucharest on 6 July,
says Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu has "expressed satisfaction" with the
results of his visit to China. The ministry said "representatives of the
Chinese People's Republic appreciated the fact that Romania recognizes a single
China and [has confirmed] its intention to establish no diplomatic relations
and to exchange no official visits with Taiwan." The official news agency
Rompres says that formula "leaves the door open to economic and trade relations
between Romania and Taiwan." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN CURRENCY IS NOW CONVERTIBLE.
Leonid Talmaci, president of
the Moldovan National Bank, announced on 6 July that the Moldovan leu has
become a convertible currency, Infotag reported the same day. Talmaci said
foreign investors are now likely to invest more willingly in Moldova, where the
currency is stable and inflation low. He also said inflation fell from 2,000 %
when the leu was introduced in November 1993 to 110% in 1994 and will not
exceed 10% in 1995. Meanwhile, Privatization Minister Ceslav Ciobanu on 6 July
said that approximately 400 more enterprises are to be privatized by September
1995, Infotag and BASA-press reported. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVA REMEMBERS VICTIMS OF SOVIET REGIME.
Radio Bucharest and
BASA-press on 6 July reported that a memorial granite stone dedicated to the
victims of the Soviet regime was unveiled in Chisinau's Valea Morilor park the
same day. The memorial stone stands where the NKVD headquarters were situated
in 1940. On 6 July 1949, nearly 41,000 people where deported to Siberia under
the pretext of the struggle "against kulaks." Of these, some 80% perished. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
DEMIREL ENDS VISIT TO BULGARIA.
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
on 6 July concluded an official three-day visit to Bulgaria, international
media reported. On the last day of his visit, he spoke to the predominantly
ethnic Turkish population of a town some 400 kilometers northeast of Sofia. He
described his audience as "good citizens of Bulgaria," remarking that in recent
years, the Bulgarian government has demonstrated a sound record of protecting
the Turkish minority's rights. He also described Bulgaria's Turkish community
as a "bridge" between Bulgaria and Turkey. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. PREPARES DEPLOYMENT OF SPY PLANES FROM ALBANIA.
The U.S. army's
first shipments of equipment for deploying unmanned Predator spy planes arrived
in Gjader on 6 June. The unmanned planes will be operated by remote control
over Bosnia-Herzegovina by about 100 U.S. military and civilian staff, Reuters
reported on 6 June. Information gathered by the system will be passed onto NATO
and the UN command for Bosnia. The first military operation to use the Predator
system is also the first time the U.S. has conducted a key military operation
in Albania. The operation is scheduled to last for 60 days but may be extended.
-- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT, JUSTICE MINISTRY DISCUSS COURTS' BUDGET.
Albanian Supreme Court Judge Zef Brozi and Minister of Justice Hektor Frasheri
have begun discussing the budget of the country's courts, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 7 July. Brozi had earlier criticized Frasheri's plans
to subordinate the courts' budget to the ministry's authority. He claimed that
a bill proposed by the ruling Democratic Party in June was designed to
undermine the independence of the courts, which had a separate budget in 1994.
The democrats withdrew the bill after Brozi strongly protested it. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave