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Newsline - August 11, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

VOL. 1, NO. 156, 11 AUGUST 1995
YELTSIN PROPOSES NEW BALKAN PEACE INITIATIVE.
After meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on 10 August, President Boris Yeltsin proposed that an international conference be convened on the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a statement read to journalists, Yeltsin said recent Croatian actions in Krajina had brought the region to "the brink of a major war" and expressed regret that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, under "pressure" from other states, had declined to come to Moscow for talks. In contrast, Yeltsin praised Milosevic's commitment to a negotiated settlement of the conflict and said that UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia had become a major obstacle to its achievement. He added that Russia would press for the lifting of the sanctions, adding that any delay in addressing the issue might lead Russia to take "unilateral steps." Yeltsin also renewed his bid to mediate an overall settlement to the conflict, inviting Milosevic, Tudjman, and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic to Moscow for a meeting to lay the groundwork for a later international conference. * Scott Parrish

RYBKIN MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC.
During his 10 August visit to Moscow, Serbian President Milosevic also met with Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin, Russian and Western agencies reported. Rybkin echoed President Yeltsin's comments that UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia should be lifted and told Interfax that if an appropriate international decision is not taken soon, the Duma is prepared to pass a law calling on Russia to unilaterally ignore the sanctions. Rybkin added that all factions and parties in the Duma supported his earlier statements condemning Croatian actions in Krajina and said he expected Russian policy toward the Yugoslav conflict to be discussed at the special session of the Duma scheduled for 12 August. * Scott Parrish

GROZNY TALKS STALEMATED.
Negotiations in Grozny again made no tangible progress on 10 August, Russian and Western agencies reported. Chechen negotiators briefly walked out of the political talks in the morning after claiming that they had been denied entry into the city by Russian troops at a checkpoint. After the Russian delegation issued an apology, discussions continued. The long-delayed prisoner exchange, which should have been carried out on 7 August under the terms of the Russian-Chechen military agreement, was postponed again on 9 August, as disagreement persisted over the number of prisoners each side is holding. That evening, however, in a move perhaps designed to accelerate the implementation of the military accord, NTV reported that the commander of federal forces in Chechnya, Anatolii Romanov, had ordered federal troops to unilaterally withdraw from towns and villages in Chechnya. The overall situation remained tense though, with other Russian military officers complaining that pro-Dudaev fighters were descending from the Chechen mountains and reasserting "control" over towns on the plains, ITAR-TASS reported. In sporadic fighting overnight, 10 federal servicemen were wounded. * Scott Parrish

KULIKOV RESHUFFLES MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS.
Two top generals in the Ministry of Internal Affairs have tendered their resignations, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 10 August. Col. Gen. Mikhail Yegorov, the first deputy minister who headed the fight against organized crime, and Col. Gen. Yevgenii Abramov, the first deputy minister who was responsible for the ministry's internal structure, are reportedly leaving. Reports also said that Deputy Minister Vladimir Strashko, who supervises the ministry's logistics and financial affairs, has been asked to resign as well. The ministry's press center, however, pointed out that the resignations must be accepted by President Yeltsin and that it has not received word from his office yet, Radio Mayak reported on 10 August. After Internal Affairs Minister Anatolii Kulikov appointed a new head of the local interior ministry in Stavropol from among the internal troops, observers complained that the appointee would not be prepared for the difficulties of battling the mafia. * Robert Orttung

RADICAL COMMUNISTS FORM ELECTORAL BLOC.
The extreme Russian Communist Workers' Party (RKRP) and the Russian Party of Communists (RPK) have signed an agreement to form an electoral bloc without the largest of Russia's Communist parties, Gennadii Zyuganov's Communist Party of the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported 10 August. Anatolii Kryuchkov, leader of the RPK, complained that Zyuganov had set the requirements for alliance with his party too high, but said he is hoping for future negotiations. Zyuganov's Communists are unlikely to seek stronger ties with the radicals since they would gain few votes while alienating some of their more moderate supporters. * Robert Orttung

TRETYAKOV MAY QUIT NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA.
Vitalii Tretyakov, editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya gazeta since its creation in 1990, may quit if he cannot lead the newspaper out of its financial crisis soon, Interfax reported on 10 August. On 30 July, Tretyakov announced that the paper would soon resume publication, which was suspended on 24 May. However, Tretyakov told Interfax that closing the paper may be the solution to the crisis. Meanwhile, the newspaper Novaya yezhednevnaya gazeta, which closed due to financial problems in February, resumed publication as a weekly on 10 August, Obshchaya gazeta reported. * Laura Belin

CONFLICT BETWEEN PRIMORSK GOVERNOR AND RUSSIA'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE.
Representatives of Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice in Primorskii Krai announced plans to sue regional Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko for accusing the party of instigating the July arrest of Primorsk tax police chief Aleksandr Bondarenko, Segodnya reported on 10 August. Bondarenko is accused of helping fabricate corruption charges against former Vladivostok Mayor Viktor Cherepkov in March 1994 (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 July 1995). Nazdratenko recently claimed that Russia's Democratic Choice arranged the arrest out of revenge, after Bondarenko exposed alleged tax evasion by a prominent local supporter of the party. * Laura Belin

DETAINED U.S. OFFICER TO LEAVE RUSSIA.
U.S. Army Cpt. Jason Lynch, an instructor at the Military Academy at West Point who was briefly detained by Russian security agents while working near the nuclear center of Krasnoyarsk-26, will be leaving Russia voluntarily on 11 August, a U.S. Embassy spokesman told ITAR-TASS on 10 August. The agency had previously reported that Lynch would be expelled for conducting "unauthorized geodesic work" near the sensitive Siberian facility. He had been invited to Russia by the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences to work on a joint Russo-American environmental project. The embassy spokesman said he is leaving after having finished his part in the joint expedition. * Doug Clarke

RUSSIA DENIES SENDING ARMS TO AFGHANISTAN.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin denied that Russia is exporting arms to the Afghan government, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 August. Earlier reports said a Russian-made Il-76, loaded with ammunition for the Kabul government had been forced to land in the Afghan city of Kandahar on 3 August by anti-government rebels, who were holding its Russian crew hostage. Demurin confirmed that the plane was owned by a Russian firm based in the Tatar capital of Kazan but said that the ammunition had been legally purchased in Albania and that the Russian government had no connection to the shipment. Russia is pressing for the crew's release, noted Demurin, adding that Russia does not "interfere in the civil war" in Afghanistan and supports a negotiated settlement to the conflict. * Scott Parrish

THREE-MONTH INTER-BANK CREDIT RATES STABLE FOR TWO WEEKS.
Interest rates on three-month inter-bank credits (IBCs) have remained unchanged for the past two weeks in 52 of Russia's 60 regions, the Financial Information Agency reported on 10 August. Creditor banks now offer three-month IBCs to commercial banks at an annual interest rate of 100-200%, and to the Sberbank (Savings Bank) regional offices at 65-100%. Rates are lower at savings banks because they are considered to be a more reliable holder of people's savings. The relative stability of interest rates on IBCs is due to the summer lull in business activity, the report noted. Experts do not expect rates to fall because inflation expectations remain rather strong. The high profitability of short-term government bonds (STBs) is another factor that affects IBCs. The annual yields of STBs are now above 150% which increases the price of credits on the inter-bank markets. * Thomas Sigel

WESTERN-STYLE FINANCIAL CENTER OPENS IN MOSCOW.
The Soyuznik insurance company and the Stolichnii Savings Bank, one of Russia's major banks, opened a financial center in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 August. The first of its kind in Russia, the center will offer clients banking, insurance, and travel services. The Stolichnii Savings Bank has been involved in joint projects with Soyuznik for more than a year. Several thousand insurance certificates have been sold through Stolichnii's affiliate banks, mainly for holders of international and Russian plastic cards issued by Stolichnii. In the new financial center, Soyuznik will offer insurance services that include life, health, medical, accident, travel, and property. The Stolichnii Savings Bank and the U.S. American Fidelity International Holdings are among Soyuznik's shareholders. * Thomas Sigel

PROTOCOL SIGNED WITH WORLD BANK.
The World Bank and the Russian State Standards Committee signed a protocol on 10 August that sets the stage for bringing Russian standards in line with international trade requirements, the Financial Information Agency reported the same day. The head adviser at the World Bank's Moscow office, Hasso Molineus, told the agency that the project provided for extending to Russia a credit of $24 million under which the State Standard Committee would receive the necessary equipment for "increasing the committee's [ability] to certify Russian products meant for export and products imported by Russia." The World Bank will grant Russia the credit for 17 years with a five-year deferment. The initial interest rate was set at 7.02% but will be adjusted every six months depending on the current exchange rate. * Thomas Sigel

INKOMBANK LEAVES CONSORTIUM THAT IS TO PROVIDE CABINET WITH CREDITS.
Moscow's Inkombank, one of Russia's five top banks, announced on 10 August that it is leaving the consortium of 10 banks that is to grant credits to the Russian cabinet under guarantees in the form of state-owned blocks of shares in privatized enterprises, the Financial Information Agency reported the same day. According to the report, Inkombank withdrew from the group because of a lack of clarity on the distribution of shares among the consortium's members and the deteriorating situation on the credit-financial market, which limits credit reserves. * Thomas Sigel



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

VOL. 1, NO. 156, 11 AUGUST 1995
KAZAKHSTAN DENIES SALE OF URANIUM TO LIBYA.
Kazakhstan was quick to refute an 8 August report from the Libyan news agency "Jana" that it planned to sell enriched uranium to Libya. The head of Kazakhstan's Atomic Energy Agency, Ergali Bayadilov, told Reuters "Kazakhstan has not been approached by Libya, and we are not prepared to sell nuclear fuel to Libya"; he said Kazakhstan would abide by its obligations as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. * Bruce Pannier

OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT: TAJIK OPPOSITION IN TASHKENT.
The Tajik opposition delegation has held talks in Tashkent with Uzbek Foreign Ministry officials. According to an 8 August report on the Voice of Free Tajikistan monitored by the BBC, the Tajik opposition delegation was headed by the deputy chairman of the Islamic Rebirth Party, Akbar Turadzhonzoda and took place on 5-6 August. Otakhon Latifi, chairman of the Moscow-based Coordinating Center of Democratic Forces of Tajikistan, said the visit was completed "successfully," according to the radio. Additional information on the talks has not been made available. * Lowell Bezanis

CENTRAL ASIAN UNITS IN LOUISIANA.
Central Asian military units are participating in military exercises in the state of Louisiana under NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Russian Public TV reported on 9 August. The exercises, which opened on 8 August, involve units from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan and their counterparts from 11 European countries, the U.S., UK, and Canada. * Lowell Bezanis

CIS


PAPER: UKRAINE WAGING "FINANCIAL WAR" AGAINST BLACK SEA FLEET.
A representative of the Black Sea Fleet's financial service said Ukraine is waging "a financial war against the fleet," Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 9 August. While the fleet is nominally under the command of both the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, only Russia is providing money to maintain it, the paper reported. Russia allotted more than 137 billion karbovantsi (approximately $900,000) to pay military and civilian wages through July. However, Ukraine required two of the fleet's air bases to pay 23 billion karbovantsi (approximately $150,000) in taxes, meaning that fleet personnel were only paid for June. * Doug Clarke



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

VOL. 1, NO. 156, 11 AUGUST 1995
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN, DEFENSE MINISTERS VISIT DISPUTED ISLAND.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko and Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov visited Serpent Island in the Black Sea on 10 August, Reuters reported. Ownership of the 1.5 sq. km island, which was handed over by Romania to the Soviet Union in 1947 and used as a military base, has been disputed by Romania. Romanian officials have said the island is just a small cluster of rocks and cannot be considered a full-fledged part of either country. But large deposits of oil and gas have reportedly been found just off the island, and Romania wants to renegotiate "an accord on borders and on mapping out Black Sea areas." This could mean that 2,800 sq. miles of sea area will be disputed. Ukraine maintains that current borders are inviolable. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Natalya Zarudna said neither the island nor the ministers' visit should concern Romania since the island is part of Ukraine. * Ustina Markus

BELARUS TO MEET IMF TARGET BY MID-AUGUST.
The Belarusian government has committed itself to meeting the IMF target on renewing investment funds' licenses by 15 August, Belarusian TV reported on 9 August. This should help persuade the IMF to release credits worth $250-300 million to the republic. The investment funds' licenses were rescinded after the first round of Belarusian privatization in March. Deputy Minister for State Property and Privatization Vasil Nekrashyevich defended the move, saying that many investment funds were exploiting their clients by buying privatization checks below their face value and then reselling them at higher prices. Nekrashyevich said that such activities have now ceased and that only three investment funds are still under investigation. * Ustina Markus

BELARUS INCREASES FUEL PRICES.
Belarusian Radio on 10 August reported that the price of oil and oil products in Belarus will increase to match those of Russia. To date, Belarus has maintained some of the lowest prices for fuel among CIS countries. Its decision to raise those prices was prompted by its customs union with Russia, which foresees uniform fuel prices in both countries. Ironically, integration with Russia was promoted in Belarus with the argument that closer ties would keep energy prices down. * Ustina Markus

NORWEGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BALTIC STATES.
Jorgen Kosmo began a tour of the Baltic States on 8 August by signing a bilateral military cooperation agreement with his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevicius, in Vilnius. Kosmo then traveled to Latvia where he signed a similar agreement with Prime Minister Maris Gailis and visited the training base of the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion at Adazi. He toured the Tallinn port on 10 August, discussing Norwegian aid for the Estonian navy, the recently opened defense forces training center in Paldiski, and the Amari airfield, BNS reported. The next day, he signed a military cooperation agreement with Estonian Defense Minister Andrus Oovel. * Saulius Girnius

EIGHT PERSONS REMOVED FROM LATVIAN SAEIMA ELECTION LISTS.
The Latvian Central Electoral Committee on 10 August crossed off eight names from the lists of candidates in the fall parliamentary elections, BNS reported. Six candidates of the Socialist Party were removed because they were active members of the Communist Party after 13 January 1991. A Russian Citizens' Party candidate was removed for having a forged state-language test certificate and a National Democratic Party candidate for having been an employee of the Soviet security services. The Riga Center District Court the previous day ruled that the stipulation that former communists cannot run in the parliamentary elections did not contradict the Latvian Constitution. It also rejected the Socialist Party's demand that former Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds Rubiks be reinstated as a parliamentary candidate. * Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA'S HARD-CURRENCY RESERVES "MORE THAN SUFFICIENT."
Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius told a press conference on 10 August that because of "more than sufficient" reserves of gold and hard currencies, the value of the litas will remain stable, BNS reported. He said the reserves are worth almost $700 million, exceeding the amount necessary to cover all the litai in circulation by $130 million. Slezevicius also noted that the per capita reserves of Lithuania were larger than those of Poland. * Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON ATTEMPT TO POSTPONE POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
Polish TV on 10 August quoted three independent but unidentified sources as saying that Polish Ambassador to Russia Stanislaw Ciosek, in his letter to the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander Kwasniewski suggesting that presidential elections be postponed (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 August 1995), proposed that President Lech Walesa's term of office be extended for another two years, after which he would not seek re-election. His successor would be elected by the National Assembly and Kwasniewski would be assured of being elected. Gazeta Wyborcza on 11 August quotes an SLD politician Danuta Waniek as saying that Walesa was pressing in June for the "new round table," as Ciosek's proposal is known, "otherwise 100,000 people will be [protesting] on the streets." * Jakub Karpinski

CZECH FOREIGN RELATIONS.
Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra on 10 August told reporters that he has met with German Foreign Ministry State Secretary Peter Hartmann several times to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations, Rude pravo reported. Major disagreements are over views on the Nazi occupation of the Czech Lands during World War II and the Czechoslovak government's forced expulsion of Sudetan Germans after the war. Meanwhile, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus and Agriculture Minister Josef Lux met with Polish Agriculture Minister Roman Jagelinski in Prague on 10 August to discuss bilateral relations, the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and membership in the EU. Preparations were also made for a meeting between Klaus and Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy scheduled for 17 August. Lux and Jagelinski signed an agricultural cooperation agreement that, according to Lux, should increase Czech exports of fruit, vegetables, and consumer goods to Poland, CTK reported. * Sharon Fisher

CZECH ANNUAL INFLATION RATE BELOW 10%.
The Czech Statistical Office has announced that annual inflation reached only 9.7% in July, Hospodarske noviny reported on 11 August. Although housing prices increased, grocery prices fell, particularly those of seasonal vegetables. In other news, the Czech unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in July. The highest level was in the district of Karvina (6.8%) and the lowest was in Prague (0.2%). * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION TAKES ACTION.
Democratic Union Deputy Chairman Roman Kovac confirmed that 43 opposition deputies from the DU, Christian Democratic Movement, Common Choice, and the Hungarian coalition have filed charges with the Constitutional Court against a parliamentary commission established in November 1994, Narodna obroda reported on 11 August. The commission, which consists only of coalition members, is investigating the "constitutional crisis" of March 1994 and has called in for questioning a number of deputies who left the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and Slovak National Party in 1993 and 1994. The apparent aim of the commission is to collect evidence against the DU and the Slovak president. Kovac said the commission has been given executive powers, thereby violating the constitutional division of powers. Another DU Deputy Chairman, Milan Knazko, criticized the government's current campaign against the president. * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT COUNCIL HOLDS EXTRAORDINARY SESSION ON ROMA.
The Slovak government Council for Nationalities on 10 August held an extraordinary session at which it adopted proposals on issues of racism and violence against Roma, Sme reported. The session was attended by 12 Romani groupings (comprising 6 Romani political parties and a total of 30 organizations) as well as representatives of districts with large Romani populations. The council adopted 10 recommendations aimed at preventing the spread of violence and, specifically, at monitoring the activities of skinheads. Council chairman and Deputy Premier Jozef Kalman said details of the measures to be taken would be worked out soon. The council also condemned the events of 21 July in Ziar Nad Hronom as a criminal act. One Romani youth died after being set on fire by skinheads. * Alaina Lemon

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN MILITARY EXERCISES.
Hungary and Romania on 10 August began military exercises provided for by a cooperation agreement signed by the two countries' Defense Ministries last year, Radio Bucharest reported. The exercises are taking place in central Hungary and will last for 10 days. Romania has sent a platoon of some 35 men, who will participate in shooting practice with their Hungarian counterparts. Reuters quoted Lieutenant Colonel Laszlo Tikos as saying that a Hungarian platoon will visit Romania on 28 August. He added that tank exercises and maneuvers between the countries' Danube River fleets are also planned for later this year. Both fleets are involved in enforcing the trade embargo against the rump Yugoslavia. * Jan Cleave



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

VOL. 1, NO. 156, 11 AUGUST 1995
U.S. PRESENTS EVIDENCE OF SREBRENICA MASSACRE.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright told the Security Council on 10 August that there is "compelling evidence" that Bosnian Serb forces killed up to 2,700 Muslims in Srebrenica and buried them in a mass grave. She produced photos and an eyewitness, who said he escaped by pretending to be dead and then fleeing to Bosnian government territory. The Security Council has demanded that the Serbs allow human rights monitors into the area. The international media also stated on 11 August that Amnesty International has released a report saying that up to 4,000 Muslims remain unaccounted for. The Guardian, however, wrote that there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that a massacre has taken place. * Patrick Moore

REPORTS ON MLADIC'S GRISLY ROLE IN SREBRENICA.
Newsday reporter Roy Gutman on 8 August wrote that Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic took an active interest in the fate of the captured Srebrenica Muslims and "personally attended much of the butchery that followed." He would reassure his victims that he would protect them and then promise his troops a massacre in what one observer called the typical "fascist pattern we've seen throughout" the conflict. Referring to the men and boys, Mladic announced to his soldiers that there would be "a feast . . . with blood up to your knees." Of the women, eyewitnesses said the internationally wanted war criminal told his troops: "Beautiful. Keep the good ones over there. Enjoy them." * Patrick Moore

REFUGEE UPDATE.
International media on 11 August reported that the Security Council has called on Croatia to protect the thousands of Serbs fleeing to Bosnian Serb territory and to Serbia. Particularly ugly incidents were reported from Sisak, where Croatian crowds not only pelted the Serbs with stones and bricks but also hauled them out of their vehicles and beat them as police looked on. The International Herald Tribune said that some Serbs swore vengeance, but that one man blamed the collapse of Krajina on the Serbs' own "crime, smuggling." Novi list wrote that Serbs in Benkovac forced 70 Croats to flee with them and killed three of the elderly. The BBC noted that some Bosnian Serbs have begun joining the Krajina exodus, fearing that the Bosnian or Croatian armies will move into their areas next. The VOA reported that Krajina Serb refugees in the Banja Luka area have started forcing the few remaining Muslims and Croats to flee and that those Muslims and Croats have begun arriving in Croatia. The broadcast also noted the "qualitative difference" between the flight of the Krajina Serbs in a well-coordinated movement of vehicles loaded with goods and the expulsion of the Croats and Muslims on foot and with little more than the clothes they were wearing. * Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER WITHDRAWS RESIGNATION.
In a move little noticed while media attention was on Croatia, Haris Silajdzic offered to resign on 3 August. International media reported on 11 August that he agreed the previous day to stay on after receiving much support from Bosnia's allies abroad and a request to remain in office from President Alija Izetbegovic. Silajdzic told the Italian daily Il Messaggero on 10 August that Izetbegovic had acquired more and more power at his expense over the past year. Silajdzic demanded that the government be responsible only to the parliament and not to the president. He slammed the legislature as well, saying that it showed no interest in the fate of the people of Srebrenica and Gorazde. Finally, the prime minister said that the current in-fighting was simply about power and did not include an ideological debate on the role of political Islam. * Patrick Moore

BELGRADE COMPLAINS OF "CROATIAN AGGRESSION" . . .
Tanjug on 10 August reported that federal rump Yugoslav authorities plan to appeal to the UN Security Council to help restrain "Croatian aggression." According to Tanjug, Belgrade believes that Zagreb remains the key source of "danger . . . to [an] expansion of the conflict." Belgrade is also expected to call again for a lifting of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. * Stan Markotich

. . . AND CONTINUES TO MOBILIZE.
AFP on 10 August quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Belgrade is continuing to move troops and military hardware closer to the Croatian border in eastern Slavonia. The news agency, citing the Belgrade newspaper Telegraf, also observed that rump Yugoslav military authorities may mobilize up to 26,000 reservists who are likely to be added to the army near Novi Sad, bringing its total up to some 35, 000 troops. Since 5 August, convoys of at least 100 armored vehicles carrying anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have made their way to Sid, on the border with Croatia. * Stan Markotich

BELGRADE MEDIA SIGNAL SHIFT ON "GREATER SERBIA" POLICY?
State-run Serbian TV newscasts since 7 August have used a new format for weather reports. Previously forecasts were accompanied by maps of the rump Yugoslavia as well as maps denoting "Serbian lands" occupied by Serbian forces outside the rump Yugoslavia. Recent broadcasts have shown instead flower arrangements when commentary switched to accounts of weather outside the rump Yugoslavia. This development has added fuel to speculation that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has signaled he is moving away from the goal of incorporating Serb-held and -populated territory outside the rump Yugoslavia into a "Greater Serbia." * Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN DAILY RENEWS ATTACKS OVER EMBARGO.
Romania libera editor-in-chief Petre Mihai Bacanu, speaking at a press conference on 10 August, renewed allegations that Nicolae Vacaroiu's cabinet endorsed oil contraband to the rump Yugoslavia, Radio Bucharest reported. Bacanu first made the accusation in a 26 July article. He told journalists that the government was "lying to everybody, including the Security Council," over its adherence to the UN embargo, citing several instances of sanctions-breaking. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry the same day said his department was strictly applying the sanctions. He mentioned hundreds of cases in which police and border guards have confiscated fuel from smugglers. * Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PREMIER SENDS OPEN LETTER TO DNIESTER LEADER.
Andrei Sangheli, in an open letter to Dniester leader Igor Smirnov, has urged that Moldovan pupils in the breakaway region be allowed to learn their mother tongue in the Roman alphabet, Infotag and Interfax reported on 9 and 10 August. Sangheli deplored the confusion reigning at local schools following a ban on the teaching of "Moldovan" in the Latin script imposed by Tiraspol last year. The pro-Russian Dniester leadership insists on the use of the Cyrillic alphabet at schools there. The ban resulted in the closure last year of Moldovan schools for several months. The so-called Moldovan language is a Romanian dialect. * Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT INCREASES ELECTRICITY PRICES.
The cabinet on 10 August announced increases in electricity prices by 25% for private households, and 38% for industry, Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. The new prices will go into effect on 1 September. From 15 November, electricity prices will be adjusted to take into account inflation. Pensioners will receive a monthly compensation equivalent to the price of 500 kW. Trud reported that the government expects inflation to go up by 2% as a result of the hikes. * Stefan Krause

BULGARIA TO MAKE DEBT PAYMENT.
AFP on 10 August reported that Bulgaria will pay part of its debt to Paris Club creditors on 19 August. The agency cites a report in Standart based on statements by unidentified Finance Ministry officials. The next regular debt payment of around $10 million is slated for 30 September. Total repayment on the principal in 1995 amounts to $50 million, while another $5-6 million is due in interest payments. Standart also reported that the National Bank's reserves amounted to $1.5 billion on 1 August, up from $889 million in January. * Stefan Krause

RECORD HIGH FOR ALBANIAN TOURISM.
Albania in the first half of 1995 registered a record number of foreign visitors, BETA reported on 10 August. Some 36,000 tourists visited the country. Tourism is a key element in Albania's strategy for economic development. Most foreigners went to the southern part of the country, where Italian and German businesses are the largest investors. * Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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