OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 140, 20 July 1995
RUMORS ABOUT NEW FSB CHIEF DENIED.
Presidential press secretary Sergei
Medvedev denied rumors that Col. Gen. Mikhail Barsukov, currently head of
Kremlin security, had been appointed as the director of the Federal Security
Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 July.
Barsukov himself said he was "surprised" by the reports. The position, formerly
held by Sergei Stepashin, is the last of the federal-level jobs to remain
vacant after the Budennovsk events. Barsukov's name remains prominent among the
contenders for the post, although a 9 June Komsomolskaya pravda article
claimed that Barsukov has better access to the president in his current
position and would not want the FSB post. The article also pointed out that he
has close ties to the director of Yeltsin's security service Aleksandr
Korzhakov and that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his aides treat him
very cautiously. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
CHERNOMYRDIN DESCRIBES ECONOMY IN DUMA SPEECH.
Russia's GDP stood at 606
trillion rubles ($134.6 billion) in the first half of 1995 representing a fall
of 6% from the figure for the same period last year, while industrial output,
at 420 trillion rubles ($93.3 billion), dropped 3% over the same periods, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told the State Duma in a government address on 19
July, Russian and Western agencies reported. However, Chernomyrdin said the
decline in GDP and industrial output was slower than in 1994. He noted that
from September 1994 to March 1995, per capita national income had fallen by
25%, but the situation improved in April. He said there are signs of overall
economic stabilization and recovery, including stabilization of the ruble and
reduction of inflation. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA REACTION TO CHERNOMYRDIN SPEECH COOL.
Various factions in the Duma
were critical of Chernomyrdin's speech. Sergei Glazev, leader of the Democratic
Party of Russia, continued to express a lack of confidence in the entire
government, Russian TV reported on 19 July. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov
said the current government course is "doomed" and unless Chernomyrdin finds
new economic advisers, Russia cannot expect any improvement. Vladimir
Zhirinovsky said the government should be tried and punished. Russia's Choice
leader Yegor Gaidar said, "I cannot criticize him for anything he said, but
unfortunately, everything that is said is not carried out well," Ekho Moskvy
reported. Deputies from Stability and New Regional Policy supported the prime
minister. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DEPUTIES CHARGE PROCEDURAL BIAS IN CHECHNYA CASE.
Court judges met in closed session to rule on the legality of secret decrees on
Chechnya, Federation Council deputies Issa Kostoev and Yelena Mizulina, who
represented the upper house of parliament in the case, complained about how the
hearings were conducted, Russian Public TV reported on 19 July. The deputies
noted that the hearings were cut short and the court rejected nearly all the
petitions from the parliament's legal team, particularly those concerning the
testimony of expert witnesses. On the same day, court Chairman Vladimir Tumanov
defended the judges' decision not to call more legal experts to testify in the
case, arguing that all 19 judges on the Constitutional Court are experts on the
law. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
COSSACK GROUPS AT ODDS OVER CHECHNYA TALKS.
The Union of Cossack
Officers and the Foundation for the Restoration and Development of Chechnya
agreed to cooperate on rebuilding the economy in Chechnya and the Caucasus
region as a whole, Ekho Moskvy reported on 19 July. The groups expressed the
hope that negotiations between the Russian government and Chechen separatists
would focus not on how many people died or who did what during the war, but on
how to repair the damage. A spokesman added that border questions should be
considered secondary issues in the talks. But on the same day, the council of
Stavropol Cossack Atamans denounced the negotiations in Chechnya as a deal
struck "behind the backs of the Russian people," Radio Rossii reported. The
Stavropol Cossacks demanded that the talks be suspended and that the Naursk and
Shelkovsk regions of Chechnya be returned to the Stavropol region. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
MORDOVIYA CONSIDERS REINTRODUCING PRESIDENCY.
The draft constitution of
the Republic of Mordoviya, issued on 19 July, proposes the establishment of a
presidency for the republic, Radio Rossii reported. The president would serve a
five-year term and have the power to appoint the head of the government as well
as disband the republic's legislature with the agreement of the Russian
Constitutional Court. The former constitution also had a presidency, but the
republican Supreme Soviet disbanded it in the spring of 1993 during a period of
intense conflict between the two branches of government. -- Robert Orttung,
GOVERNMENT CRISIS IN CHUVASHIYA CONTINUES.
The central electoral
commission of Chuvashiya announced that 14 out of the 47 deputies in the
republic's State Soviet must resign following a 10 July Constitutional Court
ruling that struck down the law under which they were elected in November 1994,
ITAR-TASS reported on 19 July. The 14 deputies represent about 700,000 voters,
more than half the population of the republic. Several deputies who have long
opposed Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov over economic reforms charged that
Fedorov used the court to remove "inconvenient" figures in the legislative
branch. They pointed out that 19 Russian regions have adopted similar electoral
laws, but only Fedorov appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court, and he
only did so seven months after the elections in question were held. Meanwhile,
the deputies whose authority was not called into question by the ruling will
convene a special session of the soviet on 21 July to try to restore the jobs
of their colleagues. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
OIL SPILLS INTO THE KAMA RIVER.
At least 25 tons of black oil spilled
into the Kama River on 19 July, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The Kama runs
through Perm, an industrial city on the western edge of the Urals, in an area
known also for its numerous prisons, labor camps, and closed military
industrial factories. Apparently one of the larger factory complexes,
Motovilikhinskie zavody, had not been able to afford gas power and was using
its own oil reserves, which flowed into the river from a broken pipe. Perm is
already considered to be heavily polluted, and local specialists told ITAR-TASS
that this was probably not the first such incident. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI,
ACDA CONCERNED WITH RUSSIAN BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS.
In a U.S. Congress
report made public on 18 July, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
(ACDA) criticized Russia for its apparent lack of progress in implementing the
1992 Bacteriological Weapons Convention (BWC), international agencies reported.
The ACDA report suggested that some Russian research facilities "may be
maintaining the capability to produce biological warfare agents" and complained
that Russia had submitted incomplete and inaccurate information on its
compliance with the treaty. The report comes in the wake of a June vote in the
U.S. House of Representatives to freeze American aid for Russian nuclear
disarmament under the Nunn-Lugar Act, unless President Clinton certifies
Russian compliance with the BWC. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
DISPUTE OVER INTERPRETATION OF ABM TREATY CONTINUES.
Russia has rejected
the latest American proposal to clarify the terms of the 1972 ABM Treaty,
Western agencies reported on 19 July, quoting from a classified diplomatic
note. The treaty specifically prohibits the development of mobile "strategic"
defensive systems to shoot down incoming long-range missiles. Washington wants
to develop mobile systems to defend against short-range "tactical" missiles,
such as the Scuds used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and has proposed to Russia
that the treaty be interpreted so as to permit the development of such systems.
A key point in the recent American proposal was a provision which would allow
each country to determine independently whether new high-speed "tactical"
defensive missiles were consistent with the treaty. Russia reportedly rejected
that approach, saying it would lead "to the possibility of actual circumvention
of the treaty." Russia also views American plans to test such a "tactical"
defensive system as a violation of the treaty. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA ADOPTS LAWS TO RAISE MINIMUM WAGE AND PENSION.
Hours after Russian
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin addressed the State Duma, the lower house of
parliament adopted laws to raise both the minimum wage and minimum pension to
55,000 rubles ($12) a month beginning on 1 August, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 19 July. President Boris Yeltsin had urged parliament to quickly
adopt the law on the minimum monthly wage, which currently stands at 43,000
rubles ($10). Chernomyrdin, outlining the government's plans for social policy
in his address, had proposed an increase of the minimum wage and pension to
105,000 rubles ($23) beginning on 1 August. Minimum wage does not reflect
actual salary levels in Russia, where the average monthly pay is 495,000 rubles
($109), but it is used as the basis to calculate other wages and social
benefits. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
PARAMONOVA REJECTED AGAIN BY STATE DUMA.
For the second time in eight
months, the Duma did not confirm the appointment of Tatyana Paramonova as
Central Bank chairwoman on 19 July, Russian and Western agencies reported. Only
167 deputies voted for the appointment, short of the necessary 226 votes she
needs out of the house's 450 deputies. One hundred members voted against and 13
abstained. The vote does not necessarily mean that Paramonova, who has been
acting central bank chairwoman since Viktor Gerashchenko was dismissed after
last October's ruble crisis, will herself be dismissed. Paramonova's tight
monetary policies have reduced monthly inflation from 17.8% in January to 6.7%
in June and have strengthened the ruble. But her policies have alienated Duma
groups such as the powerful banking lobby who must contribute to compulsory
reserves and the agrarian lobby who insist on continuing centralized credits.
Under Russian law, President Boris Yeltsin can nominate Paramonova to the post
one more time. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA ON TARGET FOR IMF CREDITS.
Negotiations between the Russian
Finance Ministry and the IMF mission are nearing completion, Ekho Moskvy
reported on 19 July. IMF experts, who have been in Moscow since 11 July, are
checking if the Russian government is carrying out the conditions specified in
the agreement for receiving a $6.8 billion reserve credit. In their preliminary
report, the IMF representatives said Russia's major economic indicators are
within the parameters specified by the IMF, and the next $500 million drawdown
is likely to be granted. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 140, 20 July 1995
TAJIKS TALK IN TEHRAN . . .
The Tajik government and opposition went
ahead with talks in Tehran on 19 July, according to international media
reports. During an interview with Radio Liberty's Uzbek service immediately
after the negotiations, the vice chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Movement
(IRM), Akbar Turadzhonzoda, said Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov finally
agreed to meet not only with Said Abdullo Nuri, head of the IRM, but other
opposition leaders. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati opened more
than five hours of talks between Rakhmonov, Nuri, Turadzhonzoda, and prominent
opposition representatives Atakhon Latifi and Khudaberdi Khalik Nazarov. At the
end of the session, a joint communique was issued, to which Iranian President
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani added his signature. The fact that the talks actually
took place--involving representatives of different opposition groups--is a
breakthrough in itself; in hosting them, the Iranians strengthened their
credibility as peace brokers. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND OUTCOME.
According to Turdzhonzoda, Rakhmonov continues to
reject fundamental opposition demands for the establishment of an interim
government and a peace council. The sides did agree to hold a congress of the
peoples of Tajikistan in the future. Each side is to nominate two
representatives who will determine by 10 August where and when the congress
will be held. Turadzhonzoda said government and opposition representatives are
to participate in the congress on an equal basis; delegates to the congress are
to come from each of Tajikistan's provinces, cities, and towns. He also
indicated that the Tajik opposition remains committed to the fifth round of
inter-Tajik talks under UN auspices. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
KYRGYZ SIGN DOCUMENT WITH RUSSIANS ON MIGRATION.
Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed a document on 18 July on the migration process and
the rights of migrants, according to ITAR-TASS. Kyrgyz Labor and Social
Protection Minister Zafar Khakimov and the head of the Russian Federal
Migration Service, Tatyana Regent, signed an agreement to protect the rights of
migrants and prevent any forced migrations. ITAR-TASS reported that the
agreement is especially significant for Kyrgyzstan, which has lost 300,000
people since 1991, a third of whom have moved to Russia. The major causes of
emigration from Kyrgyzstan appear to be a law that adopted Kyrgyz as the
official language and the continuing decline of the Kyrgyz economy. However, in
the first quarter of this year, only 8,911 people are reported to have left the
republic. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 140, 20 July 1995
REACTION TO VIOLENCE AT UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH'S FUNERAL.
Metropolitan Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Kiev Patriarchate,
and nationalist lawmakers denounced Ukraine's leadership the day after riot
police used tear gas and beat mourners and clergy with truncheons as they tried
to bury Patriarch Volodymyr in the grounds of St. Sophia's Cathedral,
international agencies reported 19 July. Filaret, widely seen as Volodymyr's
successor, accused the government of trying to crush Ukraine's largest
independent Orthodox Church by brutally attacking the funeral procession.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Roman Shpek said an investigation was under
way. Interior Minister Yurii Kravchenko said the Church was at fault for
allowing uniformed members of the extremist nationalist group UNA-UNSO to play
a prominent role. Eight members of the group were detained. A leader of the
Russian Orthodox Church told Russian TV that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's
decision in 1992 to split from the Moscow Patriarchate was to blame. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
SOROS NO LONGER TO ISSUE GRANTS IN BELARUS.
The Soros Foundation has
announced it will no longer give grants in Belarus because President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has refused to exempt the foundation from taxes and import duties,
Reuters reported on 19 July. According to Soros spokeswoman Veronika Begun, an
agreement was reached between philanthropist George Soros and Lukashenka on
granting the fund charity status, but the fund was omitted from the official
list of charities, making it liable to a 40% tax. Belarusian presidential
spokesman Uladzimir Zamyatalin dismissed the foundation's complaint as an
"artificial conflict." He said some of its activities were tax exempt but its
call for importing equipment duty-free was unjustified. The Soros Foundation
has distributed grants worth $4 million over the past two years in Belarus and
was intending to issue $5 million this year. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIAN GOVERNMENT PASSES BANKING BILLS.
The Latvian government on 18
July passed three bills regulating the banking sector on their first reading ,
BNS reported. The draft laws cover commercial banks, supervision over banks in
general, and compensation for people who lose deposits through banks'
bankruptcy. The Saeima's Budget and Finance Committee the previous day rejected
the government's intention of passing the bills, and proposed submitting them
to the parliament for consideration. Under the Latvian Constitution, the
cabinet has the right to pass regulations with the force of law in urgent cases
when the Saeima is not in session. BNS also reported that Eizens Cepurnieks,
the prime minister's adviser on economics, said that IMF credits will not be
used to provide compensation for personal deposits in insolvent Latvian banks.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIA'S DEFENSE BUDGET.
The Latvian Ministry of Defense has announced
it will have a balanced budget as of 1996, BNS reported on 18 July. Einars
Vaivods, director of the Defense Ministry's finance department, said that 36
million lats would be spent on 15 priority programs in the National Armed
Forces. These include 2.5 million lats ($12.5 million) for Latvia's
participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Money will also be spent
on equipment and weapons for the armed forces, which have received insufficient
funding in recent years. Latvia's participation in peacekeeping operations in
former Yugoslavia is considered part of a government program, and Vaivods said
the government should fund those operations from the state budget. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
UNCLEAR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES IN POLAND.
The Polish press has published
the results of presidential primaries organized on 1 July by St. Catherine's
Convent, a committee uniting 14 right-of-center political groups and the
Solidarity trade union. According to Father Maj, the convent's trustee, former
Prime Minster Jan Olszewski won the primaries, with Polish National Bank
President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz a close second and Confederation of
Independent Poland leader Leszek Moczulski coming in third. But according to
Teresa Skupien, the convent's spokesperson, Gronkiewicz-Waltz came first and
Olszewski a close second. Gronkiewicz-Waltz said her candidacy, as yet
undeclared, is very probable, Polish dailies reported. She has received more
than 10% of the vote in recent opinion polls. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
MORE ARRESTS IN HUNGARIAN DEATH TRUCK CASE.
Bulgarian police on 19 July
arrested Plamen Trifonov, a businessman who hired the truck in which 18 Sri
Lankans were found dead in Hungary (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July
1995). International agencies reported that Trifonov was put under 24-hour
preliminary arrest in Kardhzali and was transferred to Sofia where he will be
questioned. He was arrested in 1992 for trying to smuggle 24 Asians to Italy,
but investigations were halted. The owner of the truck was arrested on 16 July,
and according to Trud on 20 July, three more people were arrested by
Bulgarian police on 19 July. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARY REACHES AGREEMENT ON JEWISH PROPERTY ISSUE.
government on 19 July reached an agreement with the World Jewish Restitution
Organization and Hungarian Jewish groups on establishing how to restitute
property seized from Jews during World War II, Reuters reported. Two
sub-committees are to be set up in Hungary: one to settle the legal and
technical aspects of compensating former owners, the other to examine
restitution claims. The committees will present reports by the end of
September. Israel Singer, co-chairman of the WJRO and secretary-general of the
New-York based World Jewish Congress, said the accord is a major breakthrough.
"Hungary will be the first country in CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE to look at
this issue in a very overall and comprehensive way," he added. Like Hungary,
Slovakia last year reached an agreement in principle on restituting former
Jewish property. Negotiations with the Polish government are still under way.
-- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 140, 20 July 1995
HAS ZEPA FALLEN?
Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic said the
civilian authorities in the besieged UN-designated "safe area" surrendered
during the evening of 19 July. He added that wounded Muslims will be evacuated
to Sarajevo and that other civilians "who want it" will start to be transported
to government-controlled Kladanj on the afternoon of 20 July. International
media reported, however, that Mladic's statement, which was carried by SRNA,
has not been confirmed. Reuters said that the picture from Sarajevo is
confused, while AFP quoted Ukrainian peacekeepers in Zepa as saying that the
town has not fallen. The Serbs have previously claimed that towns have
surrendered when this was not the case. BETA quoted the mayor of Zepa as saying
that panic has broken out. Meanwhile, Krajina Serb forces continue to pound
Bihac with the help of troops loyal to local Muslim renegade Fikret Abdic. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"GENOCIDE" IN SREBRENICA.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on
20 July reported on a controversy in Holland over blunt remarks by Minister for
Economic Development Pronk following his return from Tuzla. Pronk told the
media that "we should not allow ourselves to be treated as fools by people who
say that nothing [about atrocities by Serbs in Srebrenica] has been
confirmed.... There were real massacres. We knew that this could happen. The
Serbs have done this many times. That which is going on is genocide." Other
politicians have criticized Pronk for violating the "policy of restraint" lest
the Serbs take revenge on Dutch peacekeepers. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi
said that he knows nothing about genocide in Srebrenica. Nasa Borba
reported that the new Serbian authorities there are restoring utilities and
have invited Serbian families who fled in 1992 to return. -- Patrick Moore,
FRANCE WANTS U.S. TO FACE UP TO ITS RESPONSIBILITIES.
Clinton on 19 July had telephone conversations with other Western leaders, but
they have yet to agree on a joint approach to keep the Serbs out of Gorazde and
Sarajevo. All agree that something must be done, but the Americans favor
massive air strikes against a variety of targets while the French want U.S.
helicopters to ferry 1,000 of their troops into Gorazde. The White House is
afraid of Americans being killed or captured by the Serbs, who would certainly
target the helicopters. Washington also faces problems, however, if nothing is
done and UNPROFOR withdraws, since it is committed to providing ground troops
to help the evacuation. French officials say that the U.S. must stop dodging
its international responsibilities and bear a fair share of the burden in
Bosnia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
KARADZIC SAYS HE'S NOT AFRAID OF ARMS FOR BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT.
The VOA on
20 July reported that Senator Bob Dole will postpone a vote on his measure to
lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian government until after Western
security officials meet on 21 July. BETA quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic as saying that he is not worried about "the Muslims" getting more
arms, since they already have good weapons but are still poor fighters. The
independent Belgrade news agency also reported that Bosnian Croat leader
Kresimir Zubak denied French charges that he is "sabotaging" deployment of the
new Rapid Reaction Force. Zubak, who is also president of the Croatian-Muslim
federation, accused the troops of haughtiness and said that "we are neither
bandits nor a colony." He added that the RRF must have and respect a clearly
defined mandate. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
FOUR YEARS OF ANTI-WAR ACTION IN SERBIA.
The Center for Anti-War Action,
located in Belgrade, is marking its fourth anniversary, Nasa Borba
reported on 20 July. Since its founding, the center has been involved in
creating a network of activists opposed to Belgrade's regional war policies. It
has evolved into a pressure group linking journalists, human rights activists,
social workers, and refugee aid workers. Also, it has helped establish the
Internet e-mail network "Zamir." -- Fabian Schmidt and Stan Markotich, OMRI,
MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT SNUBS PALE.
Montena-fax on 19 July reported that
the Montenegrin government recently refused demands by Serbian authorities in
the self proclaimed Republic of Srpska in Bosnia to forcibly mobilize ethnic
Serb refugees from outside the rump Yugoslavia who have fled to Montenegro.
Montena-fax also notes, however, that uneasy feelings run rife through the
refugee community in Montenegro. Members of Pale's police force have been
spotted on Podgorica streets, causing refugees to "live in fear" of being
kidnapped for military service. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RETURNS RESTITUTION LAW TO PARLIAMENT.
Constitutional Court on 19 July unanimously voted to return to the parliament a
law on the restitution of property passed by the legislature last month. The
court said two articles in the law violate the constitutional rights of freedom
of travel and owning property, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. The law
would limit restitution to Romanian residents, excluding citizens who live
abroad. It also does not distinguish between property legally seized by the
state and property taken by the Communists without title. The court argued that
property illegally seized would have to be returned. Under the law, only people
residing in properties they once owned would be entitled to get them back.
Restitution would extend only to one property per owner. Non-resident owners
would be entitled to cash payouts well below the value of their properties. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BUCHAREST.
Laszlo Kovacs on 19 July began
talks in Bucharest with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melscanu. Romanian
media and Reuters reported that the two men discussed bilateral relations and
points of disagreement over the basic treaty. Melescanu said Romania made
several proposals on the inclusion of Recommendation 1201 in the treaty and
that Kovacs commented on those proposals. "We have narrowed down the points of
disagreement," he said. Kovacs said that the two sides must now find "new
formulas with the help of experts." In an interview with Duna television cited
by Radio Bucharest on 20 July, Kovacs said four points have to be clarified
before the basic treaty can be signed: the right of ethnic Hungarians to
conduct official business in their mother tongue; their right to set up ethnic
parties; the inclusion in the basic treaty of internationally accepted
documents, particularly Recommendation 1201; and what was termed as the
"problem of the censorship mechanism." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
OPINION POLL SHOWS INTERETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN ROMANIA.
According to an
opinion poll conducted by the Bucharest-based Institute for Marketing and
Social Research (IMAS) and published in Adevarul on 18 July, 56.9% of
Romania's ethnic majority have a "bad opinion" of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR); 53.5% of ethnic Hungarians have a "good opinion"
of that formation. The UDMR was perceived as a party that "defends the
interests of the Magyars" by 80% of Romanians, while only 40% of Hungarian
ethnics were of this opinion. Only 8% of Hungarians believe that the positions
of the UDMR are "anti-Romanian," but 80% of Romanians shared this view. Nearly
two in three Romanian ethnics (65%) believe the UDMR is serving the interests
of neighboring Hungary, a view shared by 20% of Hungarian ethnics. Two
Hungarian ethnics in five (40%) think that the UDMR puts its own party
interests above those of its electorate, and 70% of Romanian respondents are of
the same opinion. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINE TO STUDY PARTICIPATION IN TRANSDNIESTRIAN CONFLICT SETTLEMENT.
Yevhen Levitsky, Ukraine's charge d'affairs in Moldova, told Infotag on 17
July that an official Ukrainian delegation will soon arrive in Moldova to study
the possibility of Kiev's participation in the settlement of the
Transdniestrian conflict. He said President Leonid Kuchma reacted positively to
the joint Moldovan-Transdniestrian invitation to take part in the negotiation
process. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION IN BULGARIA.
A Moldovan parliament
delegation headed by parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi ended a three-day
official visit to Bulgaria on 19 July, Bulgarian media reported the same day.
The visitors met with President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov,
parliament chairman Blagovest Sendov, and Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski.
They also held talks with the leaderships of all parties represented in the
Bulgarian parliament, discussing, among other things, the situation of the
Bulgarian minority in Moldova. Lucinschi commented that there are no "dark
pages" in relations between the two countries. It was the first official visit
of a Moldovan parliament delegation to Bulgaria since the country gained
independence in 1991. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
SENIOR OFFICIALS AT BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION AGENCY SACKED.
Blagoev, executive director of the Privatization Agency, on 19 July dismissed
five of the agency's senior officials, the Bulgarian press reported. Two deputy
directors, the secretary-general, and two department directors were sacked "in
the interest of [the agency's] work." Blagoev blamed them for the slow
privatization process in the first half of 1995. According to Standart,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev was not
consulted about the personnel changes. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT HEAD BRINGS CHARGES AGAINST FINANCE MINISTER.
Brozi, head of the Albanian Supreme Court, has brought charges against Finance
Minister Dylber Vrioni for failing to fulfill his ministerial duties, BETA
reported on 19 July. Brozi claims that for seven months, Vrioni blocked the
release of the court's budget in an attempt to diminish the independence of the
country's courts (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995). -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
VAN DER STOEL IN ALBANIA, MACEDONIA.
Max van der Stoel, OSCE high
commissioner on national minorities, visited Albania and Macedonia on 19 July,
Flaka and BETA reported. In Tirana, he was received by Albanian
President Sali Berisha, who called on the OSCE to "actively protect the human
and national rights of the Albanians in Kosovo." Berisha praised Van der Stoel
for his efforts to help solve the conflict in Macedonia over higher education
in Albanian. In Macedonia, Van der Stoel met with Abdurrahman Aliti, leader of
the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity, and discussed ways of
interpreting Article 48 of the Macedonian Constitution so as not to ban higher
education in Albanian. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
KOSOVAR CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT MEETS WITH ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS.
the Albanian Socialist Party met in Tirana on 19 July with Mark Krasniqi,
leader of the Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo. The Socialists stressed
that "it is necessary to unite all Albanians and political parties in Albania
and Kosovo around the national question." Krasniqi earlier met with Albanian
President Sali Berisha and Pjeter Arbnori, speaker of the Albanian parliament,
BETA reported. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
TURKEY ARRESTS BULGARIAN CITIZENS.
Turkish police have arrested between
1,200 and 1,500 ethnic Turkish Bulgarian citizens who were living illegally in
Istanbul and detained them in a former army camp, the Bulgarian press reported
on 20 July. Under Turkish law, they have to be expelled within 24 hours, but
Turkey seems to fear the consequences of a mass expulsion to Bulgaria.
Standart quotes Bulgarian Consul-General Kiril Momchilov as saying he
has no information about the case. An agreement between the two countries
states that the Bulgarian mission is to be informed about police action against
illegal immigrants from Bulgaria. Relations between Turkey and Bulgaria were
described as good by both sides during Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's
visit to Bulgaria in early July. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave