OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 137, 17 July 1995
YELTSIN IN HOSPITAL FOR ANOTHER WEEK.
President Boris Yeltsin will
remain in the hospital for an additional week and has canceled all appointments
through 23 July, including a planned trip to Norway that was still scheduled to
go ahead after Yeltsin checked into the hospital last week, agencies report.
Earlier reports said Yeltsin planned to leave the hospital on 17 July. The
Kremlin has refused to allow television cameras into his room to dampen
speculation about the true state of his health. ITAR-TASS released a photograph
of the president on 14 July, but it provided few details of Yeltsin's
condition. The official Kremlin photographer is still waiting for a chance to
take a picture, AFP reported. Russian television stations continue to report
that the president is working from his bed. Yeltsin's wife, in a rare public
appearance, said her husband is fine and accused the media of "verbal sadism,"
in its coverage of his illness, Reuters reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS SET FOR 17 DECEMBER.
President Yeltsin signed a
decree officially setting 17 December as election day, removing lingering doubt
over whether the elections will be held, Ekho Moskvy reported on 14 July.
Although the December date is not a surprise, Yeltsin's announcement came
earlier than expected since the law allowed him until 17 August to set a date,
Segodnya reported on 15 July. Political parties and blocs now have the
right to hold meetings to nominate candidates and collect the 200,000
signatures necessary to gain registration; they must have those signatures
ready 50 days before the elections. On 14 July, the Duma adopted the law
defining the boundaries of the single-mandate districts. Candidates for those
seats cannot begin collecting signatures until the law is signed by the
president, a step the electoral law requires by 18 August, Russian Public TV
reported. The parliament and the president have yet to determine whether
elections will be held to the Federation Council. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
LEBED TO RUN FOR DUMA IN TULA.
Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, former
commander of the 14th Army in Moldova and a leading figure in the Congress of
Russian Communities (KRO), announced that he will run for the State Duma in a
single-member constituency in Tula, AFP reported on 15 July. Lebed will discuss
his campaign plans with regional KRO leaders in Tula later this week. He
refused to comment on speculation that he will run for president in 1996. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
BUSINESS SECTOR PLANS POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
Business leaders will
participate in the parliamentary elections mainly by providing financial
support to candidates, according to a roundtable discussion sponsored by the
Trade and Industry Chamber and the Russian Association of Political
Technologies, Segodnya reported on 14 July. Participants in the talks
estimated that winning one seat would cost at least $200,000-$250,000. Business
circles will mostly concentrate their attention on single-member districts.
Covering the same conference, Kommersant-Daily reported that most
business people have so far paid little attention to the campaign.
Nevertheless, the speakers at the conference, mainly political scientists,
believe that business will play a leading role in it. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
GROZNY TALKS POSTPONED AGAIN.
The Russian-Chechen negotiations in Grozny
have again adjourned after intensive talks on 15 July failed to produce
agreement on a political accord, Russian and international agencies reported.
Both delegations will carry out consultations during a planned three-day break.
The Russian delegation head, Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov,
said on his return to Moscow that while some disagreement persists over the
issue of Chechnya's future status, he expects a final political agreement to be
signed soon after the scheduled resumption of talks on 19 July. An additional
reason for the delay in the talks is the sudden illness of Chechen lead
negotiator Usman Imaev, who has a serious viral infection. Mikhailov said it
would not be expedient to continue talks without Imaev. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
ZHIRINOVSKY DENOUNCES GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS.
In a 15 July press release,
Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky demanded that the
negotiations in Grozny be terminated, Radio Mayak reported. The statement
described the Chechen negotiators as "bandits," and also called for the
expulsion from Russia of the OSCE mission in Chechnya, which Zhirinovsky
accused of acting as a "middleman" for Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
EVERY SIXTH FAMILY AFFECTED BY NARCOTICS PROBLEMS.
Experts from the
Institute for Social and Political Research of the Academy of Sciences estimate
that every sixth family in Russia is affected by addiction to illegal drugs,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 16 July. The experts said the highest concentrations of
addicts are found in port cities and regions where illegal drugs are grown. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
PROCURATOR OPENS CASE AGAINST SATIRICAL TV SHOW.
General's Office opened a criminal case against the popular NTV satirical show
"Kukly" (Puppets) for allegedly insulting the honor and dignity of the
president (Article 131 of the Criminal Code), Kommersant-Daily reported
on 15 July. At issue is a sketch portraying a puppet of President Yeltsin
begging on a train and carrying a baby resembling Yeltsin's top bodyguard
Aleksandr Korzhakov. Another controversial sketch featured Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin selling parts of a gas boiler. Kommersant commented
that the "extreme stupidity" of the comedy sketches had provoked "equivalent
stupidity" from the authorities. On the same day, Viktor Shenderovich, the
author of the sketches, suggested that prosecutors hire "qualified jurists" to
explain the difference between a person and a puppet to them, Ekho Moskvy
reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
STEPPE REGION EVICTS CAUCASIANS.
The administration of Perelyubskom
Region in Saratovskii Oblast has forbidden Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and other
Caucasians and non-Russians from obtaining temporary residence papers. It has
also instructed the head of the regional police to resettle all "southerners"
who have no permanent residence papers. On 15 July, a reporter for
Izvestiya wrote that nearly 100 people had already left the area, that
all points of trade belonging to them were closed, and that only "blacks" were
being asked to show their documents. Local Russians demanded the new policy
saying they had suffered a poor harvest and that few peasants have received
wages, while a few Caucasian traders own stores. The head of the administration
and the local procurator acknowledged that the moves were not legal but said
ignoring mass opinion could lead to pogroms. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
LUKIN ON NATO EXPANSION.
In an interview with Segodnya published
on 15 July, Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the Duma Committee on International
Affairs, criticized both Russian and Western approaches to the issue of NATO
expansion. Lukin contended that there is no "vacuum of power" in Central and
Eastern Europe, because neither Germany nor Russia presents a real threat to
the countries of the region. Hence the question of NATO expansion is not
urgent, he argued, and there is sufficient time to carefully consider
alternative security structures for Europe. Lukin criticized Western leaders
for publicly declaring that Russia has no veto over NATO expansion, a view
which he termed "legally correct" but "politically senseless." He also
lambasted the Yeltsin administration, saying Russian proposals to expand the
OSCE as an alternative to NATO expansion are "unrealistic" -- Scott Parrish,
PRAVDA CRITICIZES START-2 TREATY.
In an article published on 14
July, Pravda criticized the provisions of the START-2 Treaty. The paper
argued that because of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the impending expansion
of NATO, and continuing economic difficulties in Russia, the country has no
alternative but to rely on strong nuclear forces to ensure its national
security. In those circumstances, the paper questioned the sharp reduction in
nuclear forces called for by the treaty, especially cuts in land-based
ballistic missiles, which are the heart of the Russian nuclear force. Hearings
on the ratification of the START-2 treaty are currently underway in the Duma.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CLOSER MILITARY TIES WITH SOUTH AFRICA.
South African Defense Minister
Joe Modise and his Russian counterpart Pavel Grachev signed an agreement on
closer military cooperation in Moscow on 14 July, Russian and Western agencies
reported. The ties will include exchanges of military delegations, joint
exercises, and training. The two countries will also launch a joint project to
develop Russian jet engines for South Africa's French-built Mirage fighters.
Modise, the former commander of the African National Congress' Spear of the
Nation, underwent military training in the Soviet Union in 1964. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN SPACE BOOSTERS ARRIVE IN U.S.
Two Russian NK-33 rocket engines
arrived at the Aerojet plant in Sacramento on 14 July to undergo a series of
tests, a company press release reported. Built in Samara by the Samara State
Scientific and Production Enterprise, the NK-33 was designed some 25 years ago
as part of the Soviet Union's efforts to put a man on the moon. If the tests
are successful, Aerojet intends to modify the engines for use in the American
space program. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT PROPOSES WAGE RAISE WITHOUT PRINTING EXTRA MONEY.
government has approved and sent to the Duma a draft law raising the minimum
monthly wage from 48,700 rubles ($10.70) to 55,000 rubles ($12.10), Labor
Minister Gennadii Melikyan told reporters on 15 July. The increase would take
effect on 1 August. According to Segodnya, Deputy Finance Minister Anron
Siluanov said the raise was funded by channeling additional budget revenues
accrued from inflation. Siluanov said the raise would not affect financial
stabilization because it will not be funded by printing additional money, as
previous raises have been. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA PASSES LAND CODE.
After failing once in March and twice in June
because of opposition from conservative Agrarian and Communist party deputies,
the Duma passed the Russian Federation Land Code on its first reading on 14
June, Segodnya reported. Prepared by the Duma Agrarian Committee, where
the Russian Agrarian Party members constitute the majority, the draft Land Code
provides for extremely severe restrictions on private land ownership which
could threaten the entire process of reforms in Russia. A whole range of bills
in connection with the code will have to be passed before effective
implementation can take place. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OVER 2,500 BANKS OPERATE IN RUSSIA.
According to the Russia's Central
Bank department on banking supervision, 2,568 banks were registered in the
country as of 1 July which includes 1,556 share-based banks and 1,012
incorporated banks, Kommersant-Daily reported on 14 July. Since January,
775 banks have been granted hard currency licenses. Due to banking legislation
violations, 71 banks have had their licenses withdrawn since the beginning of
the year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUBLE RALLIES BY 15 POINTS TO DOLLAR.
The ruble rallied by 15 points to
4,550 to $1 in MICEX trading on 14 July, Russian and Western agencies reported.
The volume of trading amounted to $65.62 million on initial demand of $58.76
million and supply of $105.62 million. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 137, 17 July 1995
ASHGABAT PROTESTORS BRANDED DRUG ADDICTS.
Turkmen authorities have
attempted to discredit a 12 July protest march in Ashgabat, international media
reported. An unidentified spokesman for the Turkmen Foreign Ministry told
Reuters on 14 July that the protesters did not have political demands and "were
drunk people high on drugs, petty hooligans." Turkmen Interior Minister
Kurganmukhamed Kasymov and State Security Service Chief Saparmurad Seidov said
on Turkmen national television that the protesters "were trying to avoid their
criminal responsibility for engaging in the drug trade," Reuters reported
citing Interfax. According to Turkmen security sources, 100 people took part in
the march, while Interfax estimated that there were between 300 and 500
participants. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
RAKHMONOV IN TEHRAN.
In the first such visit of its kind, Tajik
President Imomali Rakhmonov arrived in Tehran on 16 July for three days of
talks with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, AFP reported.
The talks are aimed at strengthening bilateral economic ties. Rakhmonov called
his visit "historical," while Rafsanjani described Tajikistan as an "important"
country that has a great religious and cultural affinity to Iran. He also said
Iran is determined to revive the earlier cooperation that began after the
collapse of the Soviet Union but later stalled because of Tajikistan's internal
situation. Tehran had supported the Tajik opposition against Rakhmonov
following a 1992 coup in which he swept aside a coalition of democratic and
Islamic groups. Since the spring of 1994, Iran and Russia have tried to bring
an end to the intra-Tajik conflict. Rakhmonov's visit is a likely cause for
concern among the Tehran-supported Tajik Islamic opposition as it may signal
that Iran is drifting towards support for the neo-communist Tajik government.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 137, 17 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS 1995 BUDGET.
Ukrainian lawmakers have
amended the austere IMF-approved 1995 state budget, UNIAR reported on 13 July.
Legislators voted to increase value-added tax, now at 20%, as well as
individual income taxes. The extra income will be used to increase spending on
social programs, including raising pensions and assisting people affected by
the nuclear accident at Chornobyl. Deputies also voted to increase capital
investment to modernize Ukraine's transport system and to restructure the
ailing coal industry They also lifted value-added and excise taxes on
domestically-produced automobiles to encourage people to buy local models
instead of increasingly popular foreign imports, Reuters reported on 14 July.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH DIES.
Patriarch Volodymyr, the 69-year-old
head of the breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox Church, died on 14 July after a heart
attack, international news agencies reported the following day. Volodymyr spent
a total of 19 years in Soviet labor camps, first for his participation in an
insurgent army that fought both the Nazis and Soviets during World War II, and
then for campaigning for religious and human rights in the early 1970s. The
Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared independence from the Moscow Patriarchate in
June 1992 and Volodymyr became patriarch in October 1993. But a third Orthodox
branch, the tiny Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, split away from the
Kiev Patriarchate in a row over Volodymyr's deputy, Metropolitan Filaret, whom
they accused of cooperating with the Communist Party and KGB during the Soviet
era. Filaret is widely regarded as Volodymyr's likely successor. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIAN TRADE UP.
The Latvian State Statistical Committee has reported a
32.6% increase in exports over the first five months of 1995 compared to the
same period last year, and a 34.2% increase in imports, BNS reported on 13
July. Exports totaled 269 million lats for the first five months of this year,
and imports stood at 347 million lats. In the first five months of 1994,
imports exceeded exports by 27.5%. In the same period this year, the difference
was 29%. Trade with the EU increased, while trade with CIS countries fell. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA WILL NOT TAKE ALL OF IMF LOAN.
BNS reported on 13 July that
Lithuania intends to take only half of the $32 million credits which the IMF
was about to approve. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius said that $16 million
would be accepted for further economic reforms, but the other half of the loan,
which is meant for a currency stabilization fund, is not necessary. The IMF was
scheduled to make a decision on approving the loan on 14 July. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUS TO SELL ARMS TO IRAN.
Belarus and Iran signed a military
cooperation agreement on 14 July in Minsk, Reuters reported. Iranian First Vice
President Hassan Habibi was quoted as saying Iran would buy some conventional
weapons from Belarus and the two sides would hold consultation on "some
technological processes." Habibi gave no details about the arms Iran would buy
other than to say they would be "strictly for defense and will not produce any
imbalance in the world." Belarusian officials were quoted as saying Iran was
interested in missile transporters and optical equipment for its Soviet-built
aircraft. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON ABORTION.
In a public opinion poll conducted in
Poland in June by the Center of Public Opinion Research (OBOP), 83% of
respondents supported keeping abortion legal if the pregnancy results from a
criminal act like rape or incest, 86% if the pregnancy endangers the woman's
health, and 83% if the fetus is gravely malformed. Polish law allows abortion
only in these three situations. A majority of respondents (53%) were for
legalizing abortion if the woman was in difficult conditions. Thirty-three
percent supported abortion on demand while 55% were against it. Generally,
women do not differ in their opinions from men; the oldest and the youngest are
the least inclined to support abortion, Rzeczpospolita reported on 17
July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
WORK OF THE POLISH PARLIAMENT.
The Polish parliament, elected in
September 1993, passed more than 160 laws by the end of June 1995, but another
130 bills are still waiting for parliamentary debate. In July, which was to be
a recess period, the Sejm has already met for two days. The parliament's
Constitutional Commission has already approved two thirds of the draft
constitution and intends to end its work quickly, Rzeczpospolita
reported on 17 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
UPDATE ON THE POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
Polish media reported on 14
July that the election committee of former Premier Jan Olszewski has been
established. Former Interior Minister Antoni Macierewicz and writers Jacek
Trznadel and Jaroslaw Marek Rymkiewicz are among committee members. Local
committees apparently have already collected 70,000 of the 100,000 signatures
needed to register Olszewski's candidacy. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
"SUDETEN LEAFLETS" CAUSE CONSTERNATION IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
purporting to be a declaration by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Finance
Minister Theo Waigel to Sudeten German leaders have been distributed in recent
days to thousands of households in Czech towns including Prague, Plzen, and
Brno, Czech media reported. The leaflets claim that the current Czech governing
coalition, if it wins next year's elections, would restore Czech citizenship to
Sudeten Germans expelled after World War II and restitute their property. The
Interior Ministry spokesman called the leaflets a "very dangerous political
provocation" and said police were looking for the authors and distributors.
Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec said the leaflets were an attempt to sow fear
among Czechs and showed desperation on the part of people trying to prevent the
Czech Republic's integration into Europe. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS.
The Slovak parliament session ended on 14
July with opposition deputies posing questions to ministers. According to
Slovak Radio, those most under fire were Culture Minister Ivan Hudec and
Education Minister Eva Slavkovska, both of whom have been criticized for
policies related to minorities. In other news, the Slovak National Party filed
a complaint with the Attorney General demanding that the activities of the Open
Society Fund be prohibited in Slovakia, Sme reported on 15 July. The
fund is sponsored by U.S. financier George Soros, who was recently attacked for
making statements critical of Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. On 16
July, a number of Slovak politicians participated in a ceremonial assembly at
Kralova Hola in central Slovakia to commemorate the third anniversary of the
declaration of Slovak sovereignty. Representatives of the three government
coalition parties attended, along with chairman of the opposition Party of the
Democratic Left, Peter Weiss, and chairman of the extraparliamentary Christian
Social Union, Viliam Oberhauser, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
IMMIGRANTS FOUND DEAD IN HUNGARY.
Eighteen Sri Lankans, apparently
illegal immigrants on their way to Austria, were found dead on 15 July in a
truck parked near Gyor, Hungary; 19 others in the truck survived, international
media report. Local police told journalists that the truck, carrying Bulgarian
license plates, was locked from the outside when they were alerted to it by
residents in the area, who complained of an unbearable stench. Survivors told
the police that each of them had paid $800 to a man who disappeared shortly
after the police opened the truck. Reuters reported from Sofia that Bulgarian
police arrested a man believed to be the truck driver on 16 July. -- Jiri Pehe,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 137, 17 July 1995
EVIDENCE OF "WAR CRIMES" AFTER SERBS TAKE SREBRENICA.
The BBC and VOA
reported on 16 and 17 July on a growing body of evidence indicating that
Bosnian Serb forces committed extensive and grisly atrocities against Muslim
civilian refugees following the fall of the UN-designated "safe area" of
Srebrenica on 11 July. Persons of both sexes and all ages appear to have been
victims in what the VOA on 14 July already called "massive massacres" and
"horrendous crimes." Independent Belgrade media are also investigating. The
Bosnian Serbs have told the UN that no relief convoys will be allowed through
their territory in eastern Bosnia for some days and have yet to let Red Cross
monitors visit Muslim male prisoners in Bratunac. Mlada fronta dnes
reported on 17 July, however, that the Serbs have released all the Dutch
peacekeepers they had been holding hostage. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
DID SERBS FROM SERBIA LEAD THE ASSAULT?
Bosnian military authorities say
that the assault on the "safe area" was led by General Momcilo Perisic, the
chief of the rump Yugoslav General Staff. He was assisted by his own army's
artillery and by the irregulars of internationally-wanted war criminal Zeljko
Raznjatovic "Arkan," Vjesnik reported on 17 July. Meanwhile, on the
Croatian General Staff, General Janko Bobetko, 75, resigned as chief and was
replaced by General Zvonimir Cervenko, 64. Bobetko was the architect of the
strategy of retaking Serb-held territories through small steps, and both men
served in the former Yugoslav army. Bobetko's retirement has long been
expected, and Hina carried the story on 15 July. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"ZEPA ABOUT TO FALL."
This is the headline of Nasa Borba on 17
July, while the VOA talks of "a relentless Serb tank and artillery assault" the
previous day. AFP quoted Muslim defenders on the morning of 17 July as saying
that they have repulsed the Serb attacks and that the night was quiet. On 16
July NATO jets flew over the "safe area" in response to a call by Ukrainian
peacekeepers for an "air presence," but the planes did not attack Serb
positions. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi told AFP that the UN "is in a very
difficult position," while EU negotiator Carl Bildt warned that tough measures
against the Serbs would only lead to a broader "Balkan war." -- Patrick Moore,
CHIRAC COMPARES SERB CRIMES TO THOSE OF NAZIS.
French President Jacques
Chirac on 16 July became the first holder of that office to discuss publicly
French complicity in the deportations of Jews during World War II. He used the
occasion to compare the atrocities of the Bosnian Serbs to those of the Nazis,
Nasa Borba and international media reported. He warned of the
implications for democratic values of tolerating such behavior and cautioned
against forgetting the lessons of history. Radio France International said that
Paris wants an international force consisting of France, Britain, Germany, and
the U.S. to keep the Serbs out of Gorazde and Sarajevo. The French, British,
and American chiefs of the respective general staffs met in London on 16 July
to discuss Bosnia, and their defense ministers will gather later in the week.
It is unclear what, if anything, has been decided. AFP on 17 July reported that
the U.S. is reluctant to help a British and French effort to shore up Gorazde.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WILL THE U.S. MOVE TO LIFT THE ARMS EMBARGO?
A vote is likely soon in
the Senate to oppose continuation of the UN mission in Bosnia and to lift the
arms embargo against the Bosnian government. The VOA and BBC said that
sentiments are growing in the face of Serb aggression and UN helplessness that
"enough is enough." One senator said that if the Serbs in any way harm U.S.
personnel assisting in the evacuation of UNPROFOR, then Washington's response
should be "the most massive air strikes imaginable," including attacks on
Belgrade. The Clinton administration opposes such measures, but Secretary of
State Warren Christopher said that it was probably a mistake to put the
international effort in Bosnia under UN supervision. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
MONTENEGRIN ECONOMIC MIRACLE?
According to Montenegro's official Bureau
of Statistics, June industrial production in that rump Yugoslav republic
provides grounds for optimism, Montena-fax reported on 14 July. According to
the bureau, overall June production was up some 22% from the previous month.
Leading the growth rates were sharp rises in coal and metal production. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS ROMANIA.
The European Parliament on 14 July
passed a resolution condemning Romania for the new education law, which, the
resolution states, infringes the rights of national minorities. It called on
Bucharest to respect its international obligations, especially with regard to
human rights. The resolution also says the rights of the Roma minority in
Romania are abused, and detainees are subject to torture and other mishandling.
The parliament says it is worried about the way police and other security
bodies perceive their task when it comes to respect of human rights. The
resolution, whose text was published in the daily Cronica romana on 17
July, says Romania cannot become a member of the European Union unless it
respects human and minority rights; "invites" the Romanian government to "give
up policies of tolerating nationalist violence;" and says the parliament's
bodies should give special attention to this problem. Bela Marko, the chairman
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, welcomed the resolution in
an interview with Radio Budapest, Radio Bucharest reported on 15 July. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
POLITICAL UPHEAVAL IN MOLDOVA.
President Mircea Snegur announced he was
setting up a new political party called The Party of Rebirth and Conciliation,
Radio Bucharest reported on 16 July, citing Snegur's speech carried by Radio
Moldova. Snegur said the new party will strive to be a mass party of the
center, unifying "all the healthy political forces in the country." Among the
founding members of the new party are former members of the Democratic Agrarian
Party of Moldova (PDAM), who, like Snegur, resigned from that formation. On 15
July, 11 deputies representing the PDAR in parliament announced they had
resigned, BASA-press and Radio Bucharest reported. They are among the 318
persons who gathered on 15 July to form the new party. An "initiative
committee" was set up, and a congress of the new political formation was
scheduled for 26 August, Romanian television reported on 16 July. The PDAR has
now lost its majority in the legislature, where it is now represented by 43 out
of 104 parliamentarians. Two other deputies resigned from the PDAR earlier. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIA LOWERS PRIME INTEREST RATE.
The Bulgarian National Bank on 14
July cut its prime interest rate by five points to 39%, AFP reported the same
day. The new rate becomes effective on 17 July. BNB Governor Todor Valchev said
the rate has fallen from 72% at the beginning of 1995, and might fall to 27-30%
by the end of the year. The rate was reduced because inflation is relatively
low; in June, it was 0.5%, the lowest since the beginning of economic reforms
in 1991. Inflation for the first half of 1995 totaled 15.2% as opposed to 59.4%
in the first half of 1994. Economists say inflation has dropped because the
buying power of the population has fallen sharply, and because the government
has taken restrictive measures. But they warn that it may rise sharply at the
end of the year. The National Statistical Institute expects inflation to fall
to about 40% in 1995, down from 121.9% the previous year. -- Stefan Krause,
BULGARIAN OPPOSITION LEADS POLLS IN SOFIA.
Former Prime Minister Reneta
Indzhova is the most popular mayoral candidate in the Bulgarian capital,
according to an opinion poll published in Trud on 15 June. Indzhova,
whose candidacy for the fall elections was proposed by the People's Union,
would get 28% of the vote if the elections were held now. Stefan Sofiyanski of
the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) would get 20%, and the as yet unnamed
Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate 19%. Of the SDS followers, 54% said they
will vote for Sofiyanski, and 34% will support Indzhova. -- Stefan Krause,
MACEDONIAN-TURKISH FRIENDSHIP TREATY SIGNED.
Turkish President Suleyman
Demirel and his Macedonian counterpart Kiro Gligorov signed a friendship and
cooperation agreement between their countries in Skopje on 14 July, MIC and
Reuters reported the same day. Foreign ministers Erdal Inonu and Stevo
Crvenkovski, meanwhile, signed a treaty on protection of investments. Demirel
defended the Macedonian position in the conflict with Greece about its name
saying that "Macedonia is a reality and the name which it will bear belongs to
it alone." Talking about the Bosnian conflict, Demirel called for lifting the
arms embargo against the Bosnian government, arguing that "if you can't stop
the war, at least you give the attacked side a chance to defend itself." --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT TO CHARGE FINANCE MINISTER?
The head of the
Albanian Supreme Court, Zef Brozi, has warned Finance Minister Dylber Vrioni he
could be charged with failing to comply with his ministerial duties, Koha
Jone reported on 16 July. Brozi has accused Vrioni of holding back the
budget of the courts, which was approved in April, and said he would ask the
prosecutor on 17 July to start investigations unless payments are made. Brozi
claims that withholding the budget is an attempt to diminish the independence
of the courts. He had earlier criticized plans by the ruling Democrats to
subordinate the courts' budget to the authority of the Ministry of Justice. The
Democrats withdrew the disputed bill before the admission of Albania to the
Council of Europe. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle