OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 142, 24 July
RYBKIN FORMS LEFT-CENTER BLOC WITHOUT AGRARIANS.
State Duma Speaker Ivan
Rybkin announced the formation of his long-awaited left-center bloc on 21 July,
Segodnya reported. The coalition includes about 25 small parties, but
not the Agrarian Party of Russia, by far the most important potential member of
the coalition. Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin said his party would
campaign independently and he cast doubt on the idea that Rybkin could actually
form a bloc, NTV reported on 23 July. In addition to Rybkin, one of the leaders
of the new bloc will be Col. Gen. Boris Gromov, the last commander of Soviet
forces in Afghanistan and a critic of the Chechen war. The bloc will hold a
founding congress by 20 August. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
FEDERATION COUNCIL FAILS TO DISCUSS DUMA LAW ON ITS FUTURE FORMATION.
The Federation Council lacked a quorum on 21 July and could not discuss a
Duma-approved law calling for future members of the Council to be elected
rather than appointed by local executive and legislative branches, Russian
Public TV reported. Instead, parliamentary leaders decided to take the
unprecedented step of allowing each member to vote in writing even if he or she
is outside of Moscow. The results are expected on 27 July. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA FINISHES SPRING SESSION.
The Duma ended its spring session on 21
July and will not meet again until 4 October, Izvestiya reported. The
paper said that by adopting bills on the budget and elections, the parliament
had begun to establish the basis for a rule-of-law government in Russia.
Yabloko's Viktor Sheinis told ITAR-TASS that the spring session wasted too much
time on political questions that did not affect legislation. Communist leader
Gennadii Zyuganov, however, felt the session was more productive than previous
ones because of the Duma's vote of no-confidence in the government, and
attempts to impeach the president. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA COMMISSION BLAMES YELTSIN FOR CHECHNYA CRISIS.
The Duma Commission
on Chechnya released a report blaming President Yeltsin for the crisis in
Chechnya and recommending that a special commission be created to impeach him,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 21 July. The report held Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev partly responsible for the crisis
and also sharply criticized the actions of outspoken human rights defender and
war critic Sergei Kovalev. Commission Chairman Stanislav Govorukhin recommended
that a constitutional amendment be adopted to exclude Chechnya from the Russian
Federation. Four of the commission's 10 members refused to sign Govorukhin's
report, including Yabloko member Viktor Sheinis, who called the report's
conclusions "unreliable" and "shameful." -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
FORMER SECURITY MINISTER BARANNIKOV DIES.
Former Security Minister
Viktor Barannikov, 54, died of a heart attack on 21 July, ITAR-TASS reported
the next day. Barannikov headed the Security Ministry from January 1992 until
July 1993, when he was fired for violating "ethical norms" and "serious
deficiencies in work." He was involved in the hard-line parliamentary uprising
against Yeltsin in October 1993, after which he served five months in prison
before being released under the February 1994 amnesty passed by the Duma. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA ASKS PRESIDENT NOT TO CHANGE MEDIA LEADERS BEFORE ELECTION.
voting down a similar measure on 5 July, the Duma passed a resolution asking
the president and government not to replace leaders of the state-owned mass
media during the upcoming campaign for parliament and president, Russian TV
reported on 21 July. Duma Press and Information Committee Chairman Mikhail
Poltoranin said the request, which passed by a vote of 242 to one, applied to
the news agencies ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti, along with Russian TV (Channel 2)
and the government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta, whose editor Natalya
Polezhaeva was fired earlier this month. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
MOSCOW REFUGEES RESETTLED.
Moscow authorities have decided to move all
refugees who now live in various Moscow hotels and hostels to a special refugee
center in the Solntsevo municipal district, even though residents consider the
region to be ecologically dangerous because of nearby industry, Moskovskii
komsomolets reported on 22 July. On 21 July, Rossiiskaya gazeta
reported that there are currently 500,000 to 1 million immigrants in the
country with no clear legal status. The paper laid the blame for the situation
on liberal entrance regulations. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
NOT ENOUGH RATIONS FOR RUSSIAN SOLDIERS.
The Russian Defense Ministry
told Interfax on 21 July that it does not have enough money to feed the troops.
The minister has asked for extra funds (the equivalent of $555 to $666
million). In the meantime, soldiers in some areas are eating emergency rations
usually saved for war time or other crises. The current budget allocates only
1,721 billion rubles ($380 million) for food, which is only enough for 25% of
the soldiers' meals. Bread factories, among other food producers, have stopped
delivering to the army garrisons, which are unable to pay for the food,
Krasnaya zvezda reported on 21 July. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
SCIENTISTS STAGE ZOO SIT-IN.
Three scientists, who were formerly
employed at the Moscow Institute of Scientific Research, sat in cages at the
Moscow zoo on 23 July, Russian and Western agencies reported. The scientists
said they wanted to show moral support for their colleagues who work in
research institutes that are going to be closed down because of a lack of
subsidies. The scientists, Yevgenii Spirodonov, Vladislav Perlin, and Viktor
Pekin, said they were not protesting but rather trying to underline their
belief that Russian scholars should be less dependent on the state. -- Alaina
Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
MORE CASES OF CHOLERA.
Cholera bacteria were found in the Urup River in
Krasnodar Krai on 22 July and a virulent form of the bacteria was found the
next day in Omsk, ITAR-TASS reported. In both places, authorities have
forbidden swimming on local beaches. Besides those, four other cases have been
reported recently: two in Moscow, one in Chechnya, and one in Rostov-na-Donu.
-- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
TWO SOLDIERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HAZING REVENGE.
Two soldiers, who
killed six of their comrades at a Far Eastern base in March 1994, were
sentenced to death by a military court, Moskovskii komsomolets reported
on 22 July. Both men told investigators that the killings were an act of
revenge against the soldiers who had beaten and humiliated them during hazing.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA SIGNS TRADE ACCORD WITH LIBYA.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Foreign Trade Oleg Davydov signed trade and technical cooperation
agreements with Libya on 22 July, international agencies reported. The deals,
worth an estimated $1.5 billion, provide for Russian firms to construct
electric power facilities and help modernize Libyan oil and gas pipelines.
Davydov said earlier difficulties with Libya's $2.4 billion debt to Russia,
"had been resolved," clearing the way for the accords. He added that Russia
"fully supports" Libya's attempts to have UN sanctions imposed on the country
in 1992 lifted, adding that they have "no particularly firm foundations." --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA STEPS UP PRESSURE ON AZERBAIJAN.
A senior Russian diplomat told
Interfax on 22 July that Russia intends to increase political pressure on
Azerbaijan to route pipelines for oil exported from the Caspian Sea region
through Russia. The official said that Moscow planned "tough measures to
persuade Azerbaijan and other countries in the Caspian Sea region to adopt a
more realistic position" on the pipeline and other issues related to the
development of oil resources in the Caspian region. Turkey and Iran are also
pressing for oil from the Caspian region to be exported across their territory.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA REJECTS "MILITARY SOLUTION" TO BOSNIAN CONFLICT.
Minister Andrei Kozyrev said on 21 July that attempts to turn the London
meeting on Bosnia into a "conference for the declaration of an air war" on the
Bosnian Serbs had failed, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kozyrev
reiterated Russian opposition to any escalation in the use of force by UN
peacekeeping troops in Bosnia. Russia remains committed to finding a negotiated
settlement, Kozyrev noted, complaining that "our Western partners are
artificially restraining the political process." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CHINESE BORDER COMMISSION MEETING.
The Russo-Chinese commission on the
demarcation of the border is holding its sixth session in the Siberian regional
center Chita, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 July. Genrikh Kireyev, the foreign
ministry special envoy heading the Russian delegation contrasted the positive
attitude of the Transbaikal officials with the "extremely negative" actions of
certain leaders in the Primorsk Krai. The former, he said had concluded an
agreement with the Chinese over the joint economic use of an island in the
Argun River that will be handed over to China. On the other hand, the stand of
the Primorsk officials, who have denounced the border agreement with China,
"threatens to disrupt all demarcation work, harm Russo-Chinese relations, and
lead to a reanimation of territorial claims," he said. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
CENTRAL BANK TO ISSUE NEW BANK NOTES.
In an effort to curb
counterfeiting, Russia's Central Bank will gradually introduce new bank notes
ranging in value from 50,000 rubles ($10) to 1,000 rubles (20 cents) beginning
on 26 July, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 22 July. The bills will
be circulated parallel to the old currency. The new notes will have a
protective thread that can be detected with a special device. There will also
be certain water signs on the new bank notes. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
VALUE ADDED TAX TO INCREASE IN 1996.
Russia plans to raise its
value-added tax (VAT) rate from 20% to 21% beginning in January 1996, Finance
Minister Vladimir Panskov told Russian agencies on 21 July. No details were
given on why the tax, which is added to goods or services at all stages of
production and is borne by the final purchaser, was being increased or how much
revenue Russia intended to raise with the measure. Russia's 1995 budget states
that VAT, which is easier to collect and harder to evade than other taxes
because it is based on consumption, will bring in almost 50 trillion rubles out
of a total anticipated tax revenue of 128 trillion rubles, although the figures
are not reliable. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES FOREIGN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY DRAFT LAW.
Federation Council approved the bill "On State Regulation of Foreign Economic
Activity" on 21 July, Kommersant-Daily reported the next day. Previously
vetoed by President Boris Yeltsin, the new version stipulates that the control
of military exports is established under presidential edicts. In the previous
version, the parliamentarians had claimed the right to control military
exports. The bill awaits the president's signature. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
NEW TYUMEN OIL CONGLOMERATE ESTABLISHED.
A new Russian oil giant, the
Tyumen Oil Company, was established by grouping together the controlling shares
of 12 major oil enterprises, Russian and Western agencies reported on 22 July.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a directive to establish the company
on 21 July. It will include Nizhnevartovskneftegaz, which produced 10.4 million
tons of oil in 1994, Tyumenneftgaz (0.77 million tons), the Ryazan oil
refinery, and Tyumenneftgazstroi. The Tyumen Oblast of western Siberia is one
of Russia's largest oil and gas producing areas. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 142, 24 July
UZBEK REVERSAL ON IRAN.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov, on a
visit to Tehran to attend the formal opening of Uzbekistan's embassy on 23
July, rejected the claims of "some western media" that his government backed
the U.S. trade embargo against Iran, IRNA reported. Claiming illness, Komilov
had earlier canceled a 12 May visit to Tehran after Uzbek President Islam
Karimov expressed support for the embargo against Iran. -- Lowell Bezanis,
GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY KILLED.
A Georgian parliament deputy for the
Agrarian Party, Soso Makhaldiani, was killed in his home village of Chardzho on
22 July, AFP reported. According to police, the motive appeared to be robbery
rather than his political views. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan signed a
decree reappointing Grant Bagratyan as prime minister, Reuters reported on 23
July, citing ITAR-TASS. The composition of the new government is expected to be
announced on 27 July when parliament is to meet for its first session. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIK BUSINESSMAN KILLED IN DUSHANBE.
The Tajik Interior Ministry
reported that the body of the vice-chairman of the Tajik-Austrian-U.S. joint
venture AAA was found in the Tajik capital on 21 July, according to AFP. The
ministry report said 32-year-old Zainiddin Echonkulov had been shot several
times. An investigation has been launched. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIK OPPOSITION PARTY REGISTERED AGAIN.
The Democratic Party of
Tajikistan has been allowed to register officially again, Radio Rossii reported
on 21 July. The party was banned in 1993 along with other "radical" parties in
Tajikistan. According to the report, the party was allowed to register itself
again because its new platform does not contradict the current constitution. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
KAZAKHSTAN LIMITS IMMIGRATION.
Kazakhstan has placed a limit on the
number of immigrants it will accept this year, Radio Rossii reported on 20
July. The government announced it will take 5,000 families this year because of
problems in resettling those Kazakhs currently living abroad who would like to
move to the country. The cabinet has set aside 250 million tenge (about $4
million) for the repatriation process. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 142, 24 July
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
POLISH COALITION WINS SEJM VOTE.
The Sejm on 21 July voted 293 to 142 to
override President Lech Walesa's veto of contested "commercialization"
legislation. First proposed by the Suchocka government in 1992 as part of the
"pact on state firms," the legislation was initially designed to induce state
firms to choose a form of privatization within six months. In its current form,
however, the law contains provisions likely to delay privatization
substantially. Turnout was high on both sides of the political barricades, with
the government parties mustering just three votes more than the two-thirds
majority required to win. Voting was strictly along party lines; even members
of the ruling coalition who had earlier opposed the bill (including former
Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak) supported it. The Solidarity union is planning
to stage a general strike or demonstration in September to oppose the law. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
EBRD CREDITS TO UKRAINE.
Ukrainian Radio on 23 July reported that next
month, the EBRD will open a credit line to Ukraine worth $45 million. The funds
are to be used for several projects in the country's aircraft industry located
in Zaporizhzhya. In other news, an IMF delegation is in Ukraine for two weeks
to assess the progress of economic reform and to evaluate whether credits
granted by the IMF have been used efficiently. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIANS ON LUKASHENKA.
The Independent Institute of Social,
Economic, and Political Research conducted a poll in early July asking
Belarusians to evaluate their president, Belarusian Radio reported on 21 July.
According to the poll, 36% of Belarusians believe President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's performance is good. Also in early July, Interfax carried out a
poll asking Belarusians to evaluate their country's leaders on a five-point
scale. The president scored the highest with an average rating of 3.3. The
Cabinet of Ministers followed with 2.38 and local authorities with 2.2. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC UPDATE.
The National Bank of Belarus is considering
setting a minimal charter capital for banks at 5 million ECU ($6.25 million),
Belarusian Radio reported on 20 July. Its aim is to control the movement of
commercial banks' assets. Meanwhile, following an investigation by the
president's control service, the commercial Belarusbank may have its license
revoked because of irregularities in its hard currency dealings. In other news,
representatives of small and medium-sized businesses have appealed to the Union
of Enterprises to take measures to save small businesses. They argue that the
country's laws and decrees are anti-market. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN DUMA RATIFIES JULY 1994 TREATIES WITH ESTONIA.
The State Duma on
21 July ratified agreements on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia
and social guarantees for retired Russian military signed by Presidents Boris
Yeltsin and Lennart Meri in July 1994, BNS reported. Estonian Foreign Ministry
Deputy Chancellor Raul Malk noted that several questions remain unresolved,
such as the departure of Russian military who retired from service after the
signing of the agreements and compensation for environmental damage at the
former Soviet bases. The Duma's International Affairs Committee Chairman
Vladimir Lukin expressed the hope that Estonia will also ratify the agreements
soon. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIA'S BUDGET DEFICIT.
Finance Ministry press secretary Valdis
Freidenfelds said on 21 July that in the first half of 1995, Latvia received
174.8 million lati ($340 million) in revenues but spent 218 million lati, BNS
reported. Only 36.7% of the planned 1995 revenues were collected, while 42.7%
were spent. The 43.2 million lati deficit was primarily covered by credits from
the Bank of Latvia (31.4 million lati) and commercial banks (8 million lati).
The State Treasury received on average 1.7 million lati a day in June and spent
a similar amount. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH ARMY TO MODERNIZE MIG-21 JETS.
The Czech Ministry of Defense has
decided to modernize 24 MiG-21 jets, despite a recommendation by the
parliamentary Security Committee not to do so, Mlada Fronta Dnes
reported on 24 July. Defense Minister Vilem Holan last week said that only two
MiG-21 jets would be modernized initially in order to establish whether to go
ahead with all 24. According to ministry sources quoted by the daily, the
ministry has asked four Czech firms to submit proposals on modernizing the
planes. The upgrading is estimated to cost $135 million, while the purchase of
new jet fighters from the West would reportedly cost $750-870 million. The
proponents of the project have argued that the upgrading will increase the
effectiveness of the MiG-21 jets to about 80% of the U.S. F-16 jets. Critics
have argued that the modernization project is costly and ineffective in the
long run. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTY LEADER APOLOGIZES TO U.S., SLOVAK CABINET.
Duray, chairman of the ethnic Hungarian Coexistence movement, apologized on 21
July to both the U.S. and the Slovak cabinet for statements made by him and his
coalition partners when they returned from a recent U.S. visit (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 19 July 1995). Duray said some statements made by Hungarian
Civic Party Chairman Laszlo Nagy and Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement
Chairman Bela Bugar may have caused misunderstandings and thus needed further
explanation. Duray also said he could not confirm that U.S. representatives
expressed themselves in the way his coalition partners had claimed, stressing
that nothing was said that could be taken as an expression of U.S. interference
in Slovakia's internal affairs. Bugar and Nagy, expressing surprise at Duray's
apology, said it signaled a misunderstanding within the Hungarian coalition.
They emphasized that because Duray had not consulted them, his apology could
not be considered to represent the standpoint of the coalition as a whole,
Sme and Pravda reported on 22 July. Duray's apology followed a
statement by the U.S. embassy in Bratislava on 19 July denying some of the
ethnic Hungarians' allegations. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
U.S.-HUNGARIAN EXERCISE ENDS.
The first U.S.-Hungarian search-and-rescue
exercise ended in western Hungary on 21 July, MTI reported. The final event was
the simulated recovery of wounded troops after a jet fighter crashed into a
military unit. Hungarian and American servicemen flew aboard each other's
helicopters and performed parachute jumps from both Hungarian Mi-8 helicopters
and American Cp130 transports. A Hungarian officer reported that the Americans
had reconstructed a building at Szentkiralyszabadja airfield and "provided
technical equipment for the Hungarian Air Force." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 142, 24 July
WESTERN ALLIES PUT SERBS ON NOTICE.
International media on 24 July
reported that British, French, and U.S. representatives the previous day warned
Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic that "massive and unprecedented"
air strikes awaited the Bosnian Serbs should they attack Gorazde or other "safe
areas" in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It appears that this warning, as well as the
vaguer formulations issued in London by the Contact Group on 22 July, apply to
Sarajevo, Tuzla, and Bihac, but not to embattled Zepa. The allies told the
Serbs that there can be "no military solution" in Bosnia and that further
attacks against the UN-designated zones "cannot be tolerated." -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
DID THE FRENCH BOMB PALE?
Fighting continued over the weekend around
Zepa, where the Bosnian government defenders refuse to surrender and be killed
wholesale by the Serbs, which seems to have been the fate of the Muslim troops
in Srebrenica. International media on 24 July also said that Serbs killed two
French peacekeepers on 22 July and that an unidentified bomb appeared to have
hit Pale the next day. Liberation reported that the device came from a
French Mirage aircraft, which President Jacques Chirac allegedly ordered
personally to attack the home of someone close to Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic. AFP reported that Chirac's office denied the story, but the French
news agency later reported that a general alert has been declared in Pale after
three unidentified aircraft dropped several bombs on the morning of 24 July.
Meanwhile, hundreds of British and French troops from the new Rapid Reaction
Force arrived on Mt. Igman near Sarajevo to defend UNPROFOR against more
Serbian attacks. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CROATIA PLEDGES HELP FOR BIHAC.
The VOA on 23 July said that "the most
serious fighting" over the weekend was in the Bihac pocket, where the Serbs
have taken 75 sq km of territory since 19 July. The "safe area" is being hit by
renegade Muslims from the north, Krajina Serbs from the west, and Bosnian Serbs
from the east and south. Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic told the BBC on
23 July that the fall of Bihac would affect his country's "vital interests"
since it would consolidate land links between Krajina and the Bosnian Serbs.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and his Bosnian counterpart, Alija
Izetbegovic, met in Split on 22 July. They were accompanied by large
delegations and, "in an unofficial capacity," by the highly influential U.S.
Ambassador Peter Galbraith, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on 24 July.
Vecernji list carried the text of the final declaration, which stressed
that the meeting was aimed at consolidating the Muslim-Croatian federation. It
also noted that Sarajevo asked Zagreb for "urgent military and other
assistance," which the Croats then promised. It is not clear what form the
Croatian support will take. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY "ALWAYS PRODUCES HALF MEASURES."
This is how
Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic reacted to the vague decisions of the
London meeting of the Contact Group, the International Herald Tribune
said on 22 July. U.S. Senator Robert Dole announced he would go ahead with
plans for a Senate vote on lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnian
government. The eight-member ad hoc committee of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference met on 21 July and declared the embargo "invalid and
immoral." IRNA reported on 24 July that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar
Velyati will organize a meeting of Islamic defense ministers and military
chiefs to discuss ways of helping the embattled republic. Bosnian Foreign
Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said that he already has promises of help but that
the details have to be worked out. (See related item in Russian section.) --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN WITNESS CONFIRM SREBRENICA ATROCITIES.
British and Serbian
journalists have interviewed Serbs on either side of the Drina River who
confirmed charges that Bosnian Serb forces are systematically massacring Muslim
men in Bratunac. The Independent wrote on 21 July that one woman said
her relatives in Bratunac "are quite open about what is going on. They are
killing Muslim soldiers. They said they killed 1,600 [on 17 July] alone and
estimated that in all they had killed about 4,000 men." The horror stories from
Srebrenica appear to have led to a big change in how much of the world views
the war. President Bill Clinton over the weekend spoke of "Serbian aggression"
rather than of "warring factions." Pope John Paul II in a series of statements
has called for "defensive and proportionate" intervention in Bosnia in "a just
war" to defend the civilian population. He said that if Europe did not react to
"acts of barbarity and crimes against humanity," it risked falling into the
"depths of ignominy." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BELGRADE CAUTIONS BOSNIAN SERBS, MLADIC CALLS FOR WAR.
BETA on 24 July
reported that the federal parliament of the rump Yugoslavia appealed on 21 July
to the Bosnian Serbs not to attack the Bosnian Muslim enclave of Gorazde.
Legislators argued that an attack against Gorazde would result in civilian
casualties and endanger the regional peace process. Meanwhile, BETA also
reported that General Ratko Mladic, military leader of the Bosnian Serbs,
continues to accuse the Bosnian Muslims of aggression and has threatened to
overrun Bosnian government forces and territory. "By autumn we will occupy
Zepa, Gorazde, Bihac, and, if need be, even Sarajevo and end this war," Mladic
said. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK, BOSNIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS BOSNIAN WAR.
Papoulias, Muhamed Sacirbey, and Ali Akbar Velayati met in Athens on 21 July to
discuss a possible solution to the war in Bosnia, international agencies
reported the same day. Sacirbey urged rump Yugoslavia to recognize his country
and effectively close its borders to territory held by the Bosnian Serbs. He
proposed that sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro be lifted as a reward or
stiffened as a punishment. Sacirbey claimed the Bosnian Serbs raped and
murdered Moslems after taking the "safe area" of Srebrenica, and he put the
death toll as high as 5,000 to 10,000. "In one instance, 1,600 young boys and
older men were executed in a soccer stadium after being taken prisoners," he
was quoted as saying. Greek Foreign Minister Papoulias is expected to brief
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on the talks. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
COUNTERFEIT OPERATION INVOLVING ROMANIAN CURRENCY DISCOVERED.
International agencies on 21 July reported the arrest in Budapest of an Italian
citizen who planned to distribute more than $12 million worth of fake Romanian
lei. A police official in Cluj said the counterfeiting operation had the
potential to disrupt Romania's economy. He added that joint efforts by the
Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian police resulted in the arrest of Antonio Scale
in the Hungarian capital on 8 July. Romania's Prosecutor General's Office is
seeking his extradition. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
MOLDOVAN RULING PARTY REACTS TO DEFECTIONS.
Reuters on 21 July reported
that Moldova's ruling Agrarian Democratic Party (PDAM) has dismissed three
senior former members who defected from the party. Nicolae Andronic lost his
post as deputy parliamentary chairman, while two other deputies were fired as
heads of parliamentary committees. The three were among the 11 deputies who
quit the PDAM last week (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995). Their
departure has deprived the PDAM of its majority in the legislature. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
LEADERS OF BULGARIAN ETHNIC TURKISH PARTY MEET.
The leadership of the
Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) on 22 July met to discuss holding an
extraordinary party conference, Bulgarian media reported. Some leaders want DPS
Deputy Chairmen Osman Oktay and Yunal Lyutfi to resign and are demanding
structural changes within the party. Sixteen of the 22 regional council
chairmen are urging that a conference take place in order to discuss those
issues, but DPS chairman Ahmed Dogan has declined. Instead, he submitted the
resignation of all his deputies, saying they were elected en bloc and therefore
can resign only collectively. Their resignation was not accepted, however,
since some leaders argued that the DPS would have to re-register and would be
unable to take part in the forthcoming local elections if registration were
delayed for some reason. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIA WILL NOT EXTRADITE SUSPECTS IN HUNGARIAN DEATH TRUCK CASE.
Sofia City Prosecutor Nestor Nestorov on 21 July said Bulgarian citizens
arrested for alleged involvement in the death of 18 illegal Sri Lankan
immigrants in Hungary (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995) will not be
extradited, Reuters reported the same day. He said Bulgarian law prevents the
extradition of Bulgarian citizens on criminal charges, adding that so far
Hungarian authorities have made no such request. The suspects will stand trial
in Bulgaria instead. Legal proceedings against them on charges on manslaughter
and forgery of travel documents have already been initiated. Nestorov confirmed
that the owner and driver of the truck have been arrested, but he declined to
say how many more people were being held. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN COURT TURNS DOWN PROSECUTOR'S REQUEST TO RELEASE NANO.
Tirana Appeals Court has turned down the surprising request by
Prosecutor-General Skender Denmeri to release Fatos Nano, leader of the
Socialist Party , international agencies reported on 21 July. Nano has two
years left to serve from a prison sentence for falsifying documents and
misappropriating Italian aid funds. Denmeri argued that Nano should be released
since his prison term has been reduced by various amnesties and a new penal
code introduced on 1 June. Appeals Court judge Fatos Caku, however, argued that
Nano should have received a higher sentence under the new penal code and
therefore should remain in jail. Nano is expected to be released by Albania's
Supreme Court on 26 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. SPY-PLANE MISSION IN ALBANIA EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER.
Predator spy planes employed in Albania since 14 July to gather intelligence on
Bosnia will continue their mission until October, Montena-fax reported on 22
July. The undertaking has been extended because of the recent worsening of the
Bosnian crisis. Elsewhere, U.S. troops ended the Sarex-2 program, which
included military exercises for humanitarian rescue operations. The exercises
were the two countries' third joint maneuvers, Lajmi i Dites reported on
22 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave