OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 134, 12 July 1995
YELTSIN CARRIES OUT HIS DUTIES.
In spite of his hospitalization,
President Boris Yeltsin continues to carry out his duties and is making plans
to visit Norway and Murmansk on 19 July after a short period of rest, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 11 July. The ruble fell and then recovered against the
dollar and Western financial markets took little notice of the incident, with
many traders saying that Yeltsin was no longer crucial to Russian stability,
Reuters reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's success in negotiating
the Budennovsk hostages' release and his recent showdown with the Duma have
made him a plausible replacement for Yeltsin. Viktor Ilyukhin, a member of the
Duma from the Communist faction, said that Yeltsin is "already dead
politically" due to his low popularity ratings, AFP reported. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
QUESTIONING BEGINS IN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CASE ON CHECHNYA.
second day of Constitutional Court hearings concerning secret decrees on
Chechnya, the legal team representing the president and government answered
questions, Russian Public Television reported on 11 July. Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai testified that the military campaign authorized by the November
and December 1994 secret decrees was the government's only option after
peaceful attempts to remove the "illegitimate" and "anti-constitutional" regime
of Dzhokhar Dudaev had failed. Judge Valerii Zorkin called the court's
attention to the fact that Shakhrai "evaded a direct question" about whether
the Chechnya decrees, formed in the Security Council, were ever presented to
the cabinet. Shakhrai later testified that as soon as "illegal armed
formations" in Chechnya were liquidated, the government would introduce a state
of emergency in Chechnya. The parliamentary court appeal argues that the
constitution prohibits the deployment of troops on the territory of the Russian
Federation without a publicly declared state of emergency. -- Laura Belin,
GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS STALL.
Despite reportedly reaching agreement on an
approach to the question of Chechnya's future constitutional status, Russian
and Chechen negotiators adjourned their talks on 11 June without a concrete
deal, Russian and international agencies reported. Russian negotiator Arkadii
Volskii told journalists that the Russian delegation had worked through the
night on a new set of proposals on the region's status, and would resume
discussions this morning. Commenting on the lack of progress, Izvestiya
reported on 12 July that optimistic statements by Russian negotiators
predicting an imminent agreement are beginning to sound like "disinformation."
Meanwhile, ceasefire violations continue. Russian military spokesmen said on 12
July that five Russian servicemen had died in sporadic fighting over the past
24 hours. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YAVLINSKII SEES NO PROBLEM IN DEMOCRATIC DISUNITY.
leader of the Yabloko bloc, declared that there is no tragedy in the current
split within democratic ranks in a 12 July Izvestiya article. He accused
the other democratic politicians of seeking to concentrate power in Yeltsin's
hands and supporting an economic policy that only benefits a minority. He
asserted that Russian voters have more choices than just pursuing the status
quo or returning to Communism and that only by separating himself from leaders
like Yeltsin, Yegor Gaidar, and Chernomyrdin could he preserve a democratic
alternative in Russia. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DRAFT LAW REVISES ELECTORAL DISTRICT BOUNDARIES.
The Central Electoral
Commission's proposed law determining the boundaries of the Duma's 225
single-member electoral districts has changed almost all of the lines without
public explanation, Izvestiya reported on 11 July. The districts in
Moscow and St. Petersburg have been completely altered, mainly complicating the
electoral prospects of democratic politicians who have criticized Yeltsin's
Chechnya policies. If the draft is adopted, the incumbents representing those
cities will have to compete in new districts. In the provinces, the plan
attempts to dilute reform-oriented urban voters with their more conservative
counterparts. Nizhnii Novgorod, for example, is divided into four parts that
are each paired with rural voters. Some of the districts' peculiar shapes
provide clear evidence of gerrymandering. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN ELECTORATE DECLINED BY TWO MILLION VOTERS SINCE 1993.
104,977,895 eligible voters, according to the Central Electoral Commission,
approximately 2 million fewer than were registered for the December 1993
parliamentary elections, Izvestiya reported on 11 July. The figure is
important because it will be used to determine whether a sufficient number of
people voted for the elections to be valid. At least 25% of eligible voters
must participate. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA DEPUTY CRITICIZES PLAN TO PRIVATIZE BOOK PUBLISHERS.
In a 10 July
interview on Moscow Television, Duma deputy Igor Yakovenko, a member of the
Yabloko group and the Duma Press Committee, criticized the State Press
Committee's alleged plan to combine large state-owned book publishers into one
enterprise and subsequently sell half its shares to a German corporation.
Yakovenko warned that implementing the plan would be a "national tragedy" that
would allow foreigners to "dictate to the Russian government." Yakovenko said
that in principle, he is not against privatizing parts of the publishing
industry or even to foreign investment in publishers. However, he said such
privatization should be carried out on a "competitive basis," without allowing
"monopolies" to develop. According to Yakovenko, the Duma will soon request
that the State Press Committee give a full report to the government on its
policy regarding book publishers. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON PRESS FREEDOM AND JOURNALISTS' RESPONSIBILITIES.
president's Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes and the Union of
Journalists published a joint statement on freedom of the press and the
responsibilities of journalists in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 11 July. The
statement criticized journalists for excessive reliance on anonymous sources
and frequently publishing information without verifying its accuracy. The
authors added that the media too often absolved itself of responsibility for
running inaccurate or unlawful advertisements. They recommended both "legal
measures" and "self-limitations" by publishers to protect the "moral health" of
children against pornography and publications calling for violence or
advocating racial supremacy. The statement also criticized the presidential and
government apparatus, which it described as more closed to journalists than
party committees of the Soviet period. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA AND BURYATIA SIGN AGREEMENTS.
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and
Buryat President Leonid Potapov signed a number of agreements in a Moscow
ceremony, Russian Radio reported on 11 June. Among the documents signed were
agreements on natural resource utilization, environmental protection, economic
development of the Lake Baikal region, and the division of powers between the
federal and republican authorities on foreign trade. The agreements are the
sixth in a series of such packages signed by Moscow with Russian Federation
subjects. Chernomyrdin told journalists after the signing that such agreements
fell "within the framework of the constitution," and that similar accords would
be signed with other federation subjects soon. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
ILLEGAL TRADE IN GROWTH HORMONES.
Finnish customs officials said on 11
July that at least 75,000 ampoules of growth hormones worth millions of dollars
have been smuggled from Russia to Finland, AFP reported the same day. The
illegal trafficking came to light in May, when a Finnish businessman was
arrested on the border between the two countries with 2,000 ampoules of
Moscow-made Somatropine and Gonadotropine in his car. The man, who is to stand
trial on 18 July, said he had made more than 25 trips. Growth hormones are
taken by bodybuilders, but their uncontrolled use can cause cardiovascular
problems, diabetes, and aggressive behavior. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA CONDEMNS TURKISH INCURSION INTO IRAQ.
Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesman Grigorii Karasin condemned a recently completed one-week Turkish
military offensive aimed at rooting out Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels
in northern Iraq, international and Russian agencies reported on 11 July.
Karasin characterized the Turkish action as "unacceptable," because it violates
the "territory of an independent state." Moscow's reaction to the latest
Turkish operation involving an estimated 3,000 troops is markedly different
from the tacit approval it gave to Ankara's decision to send in some 35,000
troops for a six-week operation in March. At the time, Karasin termed the
"one-off" operation an "internal affair" of the states concerned. The change
may be attributed to the fact that Moscow is now less exposed to criticism over
Chechnya, as well as its efforts to court Iraq. -- Scott Parrish and Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA TO SIGN MILITARY ACCORD WITH SOUTH AFRICA.
A South African
military spokesman told Reuters on 11 July that South African Defense Minister
Joe Modise, currently visiting Russia, would sign a defense cooperation
agreement with his Russian counterpart on 14 July. The two countries have
already been cooperating to upgrade South Africa's aging French-built Mirage
fighters by installing more powerful Russian engines. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
RUSSIANS TO MODERNIZE INDIA'S MIG-21s.
Russia and India are expected to
sign a deal this month for the modernization of over 100 Indian MiG-21 jet
fighters, the Chinese new agency Xinhua reported on 10 July. Quoting Indian Air
Force sources, the agency said that the deal would be worth between $200 and
$350 million, and would involve the complete replacement of the fighters'
avionics and weapons system. The same sources said a Russian delegation would
visit New Delhi soon to sign the agreement since the two sides had resolved
their differences over pricing. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
FOOD GROUP LAUNCHES FIRST PUBLIC TAKEOVER BID ON RUSSIAN MARKET.
Russian food group, Koloss, launched the first public takeover bid in the
country's rapidly developing financial market, offering to buy 51% of the
shares in the major Moscow chocolate company Red October, AFP reported on 11
July. Koloss offered $7.50 for each share in Red October before 25 July,
payable in rubles. The entire bid, being handled by a branch of Menatep Bank,
is worth some $25 million. In Moscow stock trading on 10 July, market shares in
Red October were quoted at 26,710 rubles ($5.90) each--the highest level since
the company was privatized. Koloss representatives said there are no management
changes planned for Red October if the bid is successful. -- Thomas Sigel,
GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTS PLAN TO IMPROVE TAX COLLECTION.
government began implementing a plan to make tax collection more efficient,
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 12 July. The goal is to channel all
taxes, customs duties, and other mandatory payments to the State Treasury.
Beginning on 1 August, the State Tax Service will require enterprises and
organizations submitting federal taxes to specify their registration number.
Those numbers will be used to create a corporate taxpayer database. The
government also plans to impose stricter administrative measures and criminal
prosecution to crack down on tax evasion. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
MANUFACTURERS' ENERGY PRICES INCREASE.
The prices manufacturers pay for
energy (crude oil, petrochemicals, and coal) increased by an average of 130%
during the first half of 1995, Rabochaya tribuna reported on 11 July,
citing Goskomstat statistics. The combined output of the country's fuel and
energy sector during the first six months of 1995 dropped 3.6% compared to the
same period last year, while electrical power production declined 3% and oil
and gas production fell 2%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 134, 12 July 1995
RESPUBLIKA TRIAL ENDS.
A Kyrgyz court handed two journalists from the
Bishkek daily Respublika one-year suspended sentences for "libelous
publications insulting the honor and dignity" of the president, Radio Liberty's
Kyrgyz service reported on 11 July. The two reporters, Zamira Sydykova and
Tamara Slashova, will be banned from working as journalists and traveling
abroad for 18 months, according to Radio Liberty sources. If they repeat the
offense, they can be sent to prison. President Askar Akayev brought the charges
against them after they wrote an editorial for the newspaper saying he has a
villa in Switzerland and a house in Turkey. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
CANADIANS IN THE CASPIAN.
The Canadian firm International Petroleum
Corporation will invest $38 million to develop two key offshore Turkmen oil
fields, AFP reported on 11 July. The fields in question presently produce some
8,200 barrels per day (bpd); after development this figure is expected to rise
to 80,000 bpd. As the legal status of the Caspian Sea resources has not been
finalized the agreement is of interest; to date Turkmenistan has joined with
Russia and Iran in demanding a negotiated solution to this problem. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIKISTAN'S TROUBLED MONETARY REFORM.
Only 10% of the new Tajik rubles
(totaling 18 billion rubles), which were introduced on 15 May, have returned to
the bank, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 11 July. Without adequate
reserves, the republic's national bank will have to print more currency than it
had anticipated in order to pay state employees' wages, but this increase in
the money supply could trigger an inflationary spiral. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 134, 12 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS LAWS ON EDUCATION, CORRUPTION.
lawmakers approved a new law on education that continues to guarantee free
state secondary education but no longer provides free universal higher
education, UNIAR and Ukrainian TV reported on 11 July. Socialist deputies
refused to take part in the vote. Legislators also amended a law on public
officials and passed a corruption law that allows not only the recipients of
bribes but their so-called intermediaries to be prosecuted. Those who give
bribes to officials but report the offense to the authorities may be freed from
prosecution. The parliament also ordered wage increases of 20-50% for Interior
Ministry employees who specialize in investigating corruption. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS ELECT NEW DEPUTY SPEAKERS.
The Crimean legislature
elected three new deputy speakers on 11 July, Ukrainian TV reported the same
day. The choice of Yurii Podkopayev of the Russia caucus, Anushevan Danelian of
the Reforms caucus and Refat Chubarov of the Crimean Tatar Kurultai caucus
reflects a significant loss of separatist forces' influence in the 98-member
assembly. Only Podkopayev represents a pro-Russian caucus, while the others are
considered loyal to Kiev. Lawmakers recently replaced the separatist leader
Serhii Tsekov as speaker with Yevhen Supruniuk, who supports improved ties with
the Kiev government. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN OIL DEAL WITH TATARSTAN.
Pravda on 12 July reported
that Ukraine and Tatarstan have signed an agreement on establishing the
Ukrtatneft financial industrial corporation, which will rely on the Keremechuk
oil refinery in Poltava, Ukraine, to refine Tatarstan's oil. The corporation's
issued share capital has been divided equally between Ukraine and Tatarstan;
its assets are estimated at $1 billion. Tatarstan has said it plans to invest
its share of future profits in modernizing the Keremenchuk refinery and in
prospecting in Tatarstan. Valerii Pustovoitenko, minister of Ukraine's Cabinet
of Ministers, announced that Ukrainian farmers will be harvesting with gasoline
from Tatarstan this fall. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
ESTONIA, RUSSIA FAIL TO RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE.
Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Sergei Krylov on 11 July met with Estonian officials, international
and Russian agencies reported. Krylov told journalists after the meetings that
no headway was made on the Estonian-Russian border dispute. Estonia insists
that the border correspond with that defined in the 1920 Tartu Treaty, which
would require the transfer to Estonia of territory currently in Russia's
Leningrad and Pskov Oblasts. Krylov reiterated Russia's stance that the treaty
not be used as a basis for resolving the dispute, saying "it has no legal power
whatsoever." He also complimented Estonia for recent "positive changes" in
policy toward the Russian minority there. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
OPTIMISM OVER ESTONIAN, LITHUANIAN ECONOMIES.
Reuters and BNS on 11 July
reported that the Estonian and Lithuanian economies are expected to grow this
year but that Latvia is suffering from a banking crisis. Estonia's GDP is
expected to register a 5% increase for 1994 and grow 6% this year. Much of the
success is attributed to its export sector. The IMF estimates that Lithuania's
GDP grew between 1-5% in 1994 and will increase by 5-7% this year. In other
news, BNS reported that Estonia has so far been granted $477 million in
credits, of which $247 million have been paid out. But it decided not to accept
100 million kroons from a 588 million kroon loan provided by the EBRD to update
the country's energy sector. The official reason was that it was difficult to
meet EBRD conditions and that repayment of the principal would begin next year.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
MORE TROUBLE AMONG LATVIAN BANKS.
BNS on 11 July reported that the Bank
of Latvia has revoked the license of the commercial Kredo Banka and will take
it to the Economic Court to have it declared insolvent. The Bank of Latvia the
same day issued a statement calling for the public to ignore the Latvian
Shipping Company's threats against the collapsed Baltija Bank. The shipping
company, which was the bank's largest creditor, has claimed that Blatija Bank
pledged all its assets to the company in the event that it failed to return the
company's $44 million deposit on time. The company has argued that it should
receive all incoming payments to the bank. The Bank of Latvia said the shipping
company's statement violates Latvian civil code. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
SWEDISH EUROPEAN AFFAIRS MINISTER IN POLAND.
Mats Hellstroem, visiting
Poland on 10 July, met with Polish Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz, Polish
and international media reported. Hellstroem said that "Sweden is a strong
supporter of Poland's accession to the European Union" and would back Poland's
requests to the EU for an easing of anti-dumping procedures against Polish
goods, such as textiles, food stuffs, cement, and steel. He noted that Poland,
in turn, should liberalize its customs policy and other trade barriers.
Hellstroem also said that Poland was Sweden's most important economic partner
in Eastern Europe, with total trade turnover exceeding $1 billion in 1994. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH REPUBLIC TO END WAGE REGULATION.
Czech ministers on 11 July
announced it will stop wage regulation immediately, Czech media reported. Labor
and Social Affairs Minister Jindrich Vodicka was instructed to prepare the
necessary documents for a plenary cabinet meeting the next day. Although the
government decided in May that wages would remain regulated until the end of
this year, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the time has come to free them.
Wages have been controlled since July 1993 for firms with more than 25
employees, and rises have been pegged to inflation and company performance.
According to Finance Ministry figures, firms breaching the regulations have
paid almost 200 million koruny in fines. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
Parliament Chairman Ivan Gasparovic on 11 July announced
that President Michal Kovac has vetoed the recently passed amendment to the law
on the Slovak army, which will be discussed again on 13 July. The Slovak
cabinet the same day approved draft laws on labor and prices and also discussed
a protest by the Slovak Confederation of Trade Unions against increased public
transportation rates and cuts in social benefits. In other news, according to a
Financial Times report on 11 July, the EBRD has taken a 10.5% stake in
the petrochemical giant Slovnaft, after a global share offering failed to
attract Western investors because of political uncertainty in Slovakia and the
high price of the shares. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAKIA TO MEET CFE CUTS.
The remaining 14 Slovak T-55 tanks to be
destroyed in order to meet the country's Conventional Forces in Europe ceilings
left their base for the scrap yard on 11 July, CTK reported. A total of 822
tanks, 386 infantry fighting vehicles, and 424 artillery systems have had to be
destroyed. Besides the 14 tanks, all that remains are 38 howitzers, which are
due to scrapped later this month. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 134, 12 July 1995
SERBS OVERRUN SREBRENICA, THREATEN TO SHELL REFUGEES.
forces took the UN-designated "safe area" of Srebrenica on 11 July. Belated
NATO air strikes halted a Serbian tank column, but Serbian infantry and
artillery carried the day. Dutch peacekeepers fled to their base to the north,
where some 30,000 refugees have also sought protection. The French group
Doctors without Borders told Croatian Radio that the town of 42,000 is
"completely empty" and that those who have not fled to the Dutch have gone to
the hills. Reuters on 12 July quoted Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko
Mladic as threatening to shell the refugees if further air strikes are launched
against his forces, which have stepped up their attacks against the "safe
areas" of Zepa, Gorazde, and Sarajevo. Bosnian Croat army sources told Croatian
Radio that more Serbian militiamen are moving into Bosnia from Serbia via the
northern Posavina corridor. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE."
This is how a number of people, including the
Bosnian prime minister and foreign minister, described the NATO air strikes on
11 July. Croatian Radio quoted Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying the UN
forces have cooperated with the Serbs, while the VOA noted his remarks that the
UN has deliberately delayed employing air strikes as long as possible. Bosnian
Ambassador to Croatia Kasim Trnka told AFP that Srebrenica was the "price to be
paid" for the secret deal in which the UN got back the hostages from the Serbs
last month. The BBC quoted Mladic as saying that his aim is to "demilitarize"
Srebrenica, and that the civilians have nothing to fear if they stay. A BBC
analyst suggested that the Serbs are anxious to "mop up" the eastern Bosnian
Muslim enclaves to free their troops for use around Sarajevo. -- Patrick Moore,
TURNING POINT FOR THE UN IN BOSNIA.
International media on 12 July
generally agreed that a new stage has been reached in the conflict. Not only
has a major humanitarian crisis emerged, but for the first time a "safe area"
has fallen to a Serbian assault and the UN has undeniably failed to carry out
its mandate. This "calls into question the vitality" of the UN mission in
Bosnia, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, the VOA said. The
BBC reported that the safety of Gorazde, Zepa, and Sarajevo now appears
precarious, but UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and U.S. Secretary
of State Warren Christopher warned that for the UN to withdraw or change its
approach would be to invite a blood bath. U.S. Senate Majority leader Robert
Dole, however, said that it is now clear that the only way out of the imbroglio
is for the UN to pull out and for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against the
Bosnian government. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WILL THE UN GET TOUGH AFTER ALL?
The International Herald Tribune
on 12 July quoted French President Jacques Chirac as saying "France is
ready to use its means at the request of the Security Council. I do not see
what will stop the Serbs in the other enclaves or in Sarajevo" if the world
body accepts the fall of Srebrenica without a fight. The Security Council on 11
July began work on a resolution drafted by France, Britain, and Germany that
would allow use of "all available means" to oust the Serbs from Srebrenica if
they refuse to go peacefully. But the VOA on 12 July noted that "nothing is
clear in this resolution." The UN might decide to try diplomacy, which has
largely proven useless in the past. In any event, the final word on use of
force would rest with the cautious Boutros Ghali. Reuters says Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic has no intention of pulling back his forces: "What
withdrawal? From our country? Srebrenica is our country." -- Patrick Moore,
SERBIAN RENEWAL MOVEMENT FEARS DELAY OF SANCTIONS' LIFTING.
from Belgrade to the latest Bosnian developments are so far limited to a
statement by the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, published in Nasa
Borba on 12 July. Party spokesman Ivan Kovacevic is quoted as saying "the
war activities of Pale will delay the lifting of the sanctions" against the
rump Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an
amendment saying the embargo against rump Yugoslavia may not ended until
excessive Serbian control over Kosovo ceases, international agencies reported
on 11 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
NEW EU POLICY ON FUTURE OF EASTERN SLAVONIA?
on 11 July quoted Portugal's ambassador to the EU, Jose Manuel de Costa
Arsenio, as saying he could well imagine eastern Slavonia, western Srijem, and
Baranja soon becoming part of Serbia. Those territories at present constitute
the UN-designated Sector East of Serbian-occupied Croatia, which the Portuguese
diplomat was visiting. The area is already well integrated with Serbia,
although it lies within Croatia's internationally recognized boundaries.
Vjesnik on 12 July wondered whether the diplomat's remarks are perhaps a
straw in the wind suggesting a change in EU policy. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
ROMANIA REJECTS HUNGARIAN CRITICISM.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry on 10
July rejected Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs's criticism of Romania's
new education law (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 July 1995), Radio Bucharest
reported. The ministry said Kovacs's statement was an attempt to put pressure"
on Bucharest. It noted that the law meets European standards and even "goes
beyond what is required." Above all, the ministry argued, the law is far more
responsive to the needs of national minorities than is the case in Hungary,
where "the Romanian and other national minorities . . . continue to face the
danger of assimilation." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA'S WESTERN CONTACTS.
Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, on
an official visit to Romania, held talks with his counterpart, Teodor
Melescanu, and Senate chairman Oliviu Gherman on 11 July. Papoulias was
received the same day by President Ion Iliescu, Radio Bucharest and Romanian
Television reported. Talks concentrated on bilateral relations, regional
affairs, and what was termed as "concrete tripartite projects" with Bulgaria on
transport and telecommunications infrastructure. Papoulias expressed support
for Romania's integration into NATO and the EU. He also said Athens would ease
visa procedures for Romanian citizens. Romanian Television reported that
Iliescu the same day received Gebhardt von Moltke, NATO assistant
secretary-general for political affairs. Von Moltke said NATO wished Europe to
be built on collaboration among states and thus the admission of new members to
NATO must ensure European security rather than create "new cleavage-lines on
the continent." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
NO BREAKTHROUGH IN TALKS BETWEEN ROMANIA, WORLD BANK.
Washington between the World Bank and a Romanian delegation, headed by Finance
minister Florin Georgescu and National Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu, have
failed to produce concrete results. The bank on 11 July said the talks focused
on Romania's progress in implementing economic reforms. The press release said
that although some important reform measures have already been implemented, a
number of steps still have to be taken before negotiations on a proposed
"financial and enterprise sector adjustment loan" can take place. Following the
"constructive exchange of views," the press release said, the prospects that
negotiations can begin in September 1995 are good. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
CHISINAU, TIRASPOL ON SNEGUR-SMIRNOV MEETING.
Soviet chairman Grigori Markutsa, commenting on the 5 July meeting between
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and leader of the Transdniester region Igor
Smirnov, said Tiraspol would not agree to an arrangement whereby the special
status of the region would be determined by Moldovan law. BASA-press reported
on 10 July that Markutsa said Tiraspol insisted on an agreement "between two
equals," with the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine guaranteeing its fulfillment.
Snegur, speaking on Moldovan Television on 10 July, said Chisinau proposes "an
autonomy status for the region within the framework of the Republic of
Moldova," Infotag reported on 11 July. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
SNEGUR ON REFERENDUM ON OFFICIAL LANGUAGE, POLITICAL OPPONENTS.
President Snegur also said on Moldovan Television on 10 July that the proposal
for a referendum on his initiative to designate Romanian as the country's
official language was "an aberration," BASA-press reported on 11 July. He said
the true motive for the proposal, made by 65 parliamentary deputies, was to
demonstrate that the legislature has more power than the president to make
"fundamental decisions." He accused his opponents of trying to discredit him,
saying that a political party that "would consolidate the presidential team"
should be set up. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. APPROVES MOST-FAVORED-NATION STATUS FOR BULGARIA.
The U.S. House of
Representatives on 11 July passed a bill to extend permanent
most-favored-nation status to Bulgaria, Reuters reported the same day.
Bulgarian exports to the U.S. can thus enter the country at the lowest possible
tariffs. The decision was considered non-controversial and no objections were
raised. Bulgaria was granted most-favored-nation status in 1991 but had to
renew it each year. The bill has now been sent to the Senate. -- Stefan Krause,
BULGARIAN OPPOSITION WITHOUT JOINT CANDIDATE FOR SOFIA MAYORAL ELECTIONS.
The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) on 11 July named Stefan Sofiyanski as
its candidate for the post of mayor of Sofia, 24 chasa reports the
following day. The decision came one day after former Prime Minister Reneta
Indzhova was nominated mayoral candidate by the People's Union (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 11 July 1995). A meeting between the leadership of the two
groups aimed at finding a common candidate is scheduled for this week.
Meanwhile, SDS leader Ivan Kostov confirmed that his party had initially
considered backing Indzhova's candidacy. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
U.S.-ALBANIAN MILITARY EXERCISES KICK OFF.
U.S. and Albanian troops on
11 July began joint exercises within the framework of the Partnership for Peace
program, AFP reported. The exercises continue until 8 September, during which
period Albania's only military hospital will be modernized. The cost of
reconstructing the hospital, built by the Italians during World War II, is
estimated at $ 1.5 million and will be met by the U.S. Defense Minister Safet
Zhulali said the maneuvers are the "most important military exercises between
the American army and a Central or Eastern European country." Meanwhile, the
U.S. has started deploying unmanned Predator spy planes in northern Albania to
gather intelligence over Bosnia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave