OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 168, 29 August 1995
CONCILIATORY COMMISSION CONSIDERS FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW.
A committee of
representatives from the parliament and the president met on 28 August to find
a compromise on the issue of the formation of the Federation Council, ITAR-TASS
reported. President Boris Yeltsin earlier vetoed a bill approved by both houses
of the parliament calling for elections to the upper house. The president wants
to appoint its members from the leadership of Russia's 89 republics and
regions. The Constitutional Court has not yet answered a Duma request to
determine the constitutionality of the president's proposal. Duma
representative to the commission Vladimir Isakov said that a number of
compromise solutions were possible, including delegating local governors to the
Federation Council after they are elected by popular vote. The majority of
governors currently serving were appointed by Yeltsin. The commission chose
five possible compromises which will now be developed by a group of experts for
discussion in the Duma when it reconvenes in October. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
POWER TO THE PEOPLE SETS PARTY LIST.
A congress of Power to the People
(Vlast--Narodu) has drawn up the bloc's list for the December
parliamentary elections, Interfax reported on 28 August. Former Soviet Prime
Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov will top the list of 270 candidates, followed by
Russian Public Union (ROS) chairman Sergei Baburin and Mothers for Social
Justice leader Yelena Shuvalova. Lt. Col. Stanislav Terekhov, head of the
Officers' Union, and renowned chess player Anatolii Karpov are also included.
Power to the People was created in July and calls itself a "patriotic
left-centrist" alliance. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
COMMUNISTS, ALLIES AGREE ON CAMPAIGN COOPERATION.
deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian
Federation (KPRF), said that the Communists have agreed not to compete against
candidates from the Agrarian Party or the bloc Power to the People in 65 of
Russia's 225 single-member constituencies, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August.
Party chairman Gennadii Zyuganov said his party hopes to form the next
government and expressed confidence that Communists and their left-wing allies
will win a majority of seats in the next Duma. The Communists have drawn up a
party list of 270 candidates and will nominate candidates in 160 single-member
constituencies. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
YAKOVLEV TO CAMPAIGN ON GAIDAR'S LIST.
Aleksandr Yakovlev, chairman of
the Board of
Russian Public TV, will run for the Duma on the party list
of Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice-United Democrats, ITAR-TASS
reported on 28 August. Yakovlev will be among the top ten names on the list.
The 71-year-old former Politburo member, who developed many of former Soviet
President Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, earlier declined a spot on age and
health grounds. The delegates to the bloc's 26 August congress voted to include
him because they felt he would bring additional votes. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
ROMANOV STEPS UP SECURITY IN CHECHNYA.
General Anatolii Romanov,
commander of federal forces in Chechnya, issued an order on 28 August
forbidding Chechen citizens to carry arms in the republic's towns and cities,
ITAR-TASS reported. The order is in response to recent incidents involving
Chechen fighters who returned to the cities and town of Chechnya after the
signing of the July 30 military accord but have not yet turned in their weapons
because of the stalled disarmament process. Romanov's order also called for
tightening passport controls at checkpoints within the cities. According to
Interfax, Chechen delegates submitted to their Russian counterparts on 28
August a schedule for the disarmament of Chechen units that will be used by the
federal command to formulate a schedule for the simultaneous withdrawal of
federal troops from the republic. However, the long-delayed prisoner exchange
was postponed once again on 28 August, and federal positions were attacked 11
times on the night of 28-29 August. One federal serviceman was killed and three
others wounded -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
MIKHAILOV DENIES PLANS TO SELL MILITARY REACTORS TO IRAN.
Minister Viktor Mikhailov denounced as "total rubbish" a 27 August article in
The Sunday Telegraph (London) claiming that Russia had concluded a
secret deal to provide Iran with two 400-megawatt reactors for its nuclear
research program, to be built at Neka, in northern Iran, international agencies
reported. The Telegraph report claimed that the reactors would be used
in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Mikhailov said that "there is no secret
accord" between Moscow and Tehran and emphasized that all contacts between
Iranian and Russian nuclear officials concern only the completion of the
nuclear power station at Bushehr, for which a contract was signed in January.
Russia and Iran have repeatedly claimed that the Bushehr project will have no
military implications. Mikhailov did add that, in the future, Russia might help
Iran construct as many as four power reactors at the Bushehr site. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
TATARSTAN TO MARK FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION OF SOVEREIGNTY.
President Yeltsin met with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev to
congratulate him on the fifth anniversary of Tatarstan's declaration of
sovereignty, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin will fly to Kazan to take part in ceremonies commemorating the
anniversary on 30 August. Shaimiev is a prominent figure in the prime
minister's bloc Our Home Is Russia. In February 1994, federal authorities and
Tatarstan signed the first power-sharing agreement in the Russian Federation.
Since then, five other autonomous republics have signed agreements to divide
power with Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
TYUMEN OBLAST REGISTERS MOVEMENT SEEKING TO PRESERVE THE OBLAST'S UNITY.
A new movement in Tyumen Oblast called Unity of the Oblast, just registered by
the local justice administration, has proposed an oblast-wide referendum on
preserving the oblast's unity, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. The oblast
contains two other constituent parts of the Russian Federation: the
Khanty-Mansii and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugs. Both okrugs have confirmed
their status within the oblast in their charters, but the Tyumen administration
does not agree with several articles that limit its management
responsibilities. In fact, the dispute is more about the division of power
between the oblast and the okrugs, than the unity of the oblast. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
NEMTSOV PREDICTS PROBLEMS WITH PENSIONERS.
Nizhnii Novgorod Governor
Boris Nemtsov believes that delays in the payment of old-age pensions will lead
to hunger or even mass unrest, Radio Rossii reported on 28 August. Nemtsov said
his oblast's Pension Fund, like those in many other regions, does not have
enough money to pay pensioners and is not receiving sufficient funds from
Moscow to make up the shortfall. As a result, he went on, every month pensions
are late or not paid in full. According to Yevgenii Gontmakher, deputy chairman
of the presidential Commission on Social Policy, the Pension Fund is in dire
financial straits because of the fall in real wages and diminishing importance
of wages in the income of the population. He noted also that some of the
Pension Fund's money is used to finance projects and benefits that should be
covered by the federal budget. According to First Deputy Prime Minister Yurii
Yarov, the fund is now owed more than 10 trillion rubles ($2.26 billion) and
since July pensions in many parts of the country have been delayed by 20 days,
ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
FIVE BANKS SIGN DEAL TO RESUSCITATE LOAN MARKET.
Five of Russia's
largest banks pledged to resume interbank trading in a bid to restore
confidence in the paralyzed short-term loan market, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
reported on 28 August. The two national banks, Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank, as
well as Inkombank, Imperial, and Most-Bank, signed an agreement to resume loan
operations among themselves with the aim of slowly opening up the market to
other operators. Russia's short-term loans market came to an abrupt halt on 25
August, when a liquidity crisis hit a number of banks, forcing them to halt
short-term credits and threatening several with collapse. Fears of insolvency
created a domino effect, prompting nearly all Russia's banks to suspend
operations on the short-terms loans market amid a general cash shortage. On 28
August, the majority of banks remained on their guard after last week's panic,
despite Central Bank intervention to boost liquidity and dispel fears of a
general crash. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA AND VIETNAM CREATE JOINT BANK.
Russia and Vietnam have joined
forces to establish a bank in Vietnam that will service Russian-Vietnamese
joint ventures, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. The bank will mainly service
the Russian-Vietnamese joint oil venture Vietsovpetro, which was created in
1985. It will also handle Vietnam's debt payments to Russia. The report said
that Vietcombank, Vietnam's largest bank, will own half the bank and that two
Russian banks, Imperial and National Credit, will own 20% each. A Russian
government oil firm, Zarubezhneft, will own 10%. The protocol of intent was
signed last week in Hanoi, and officials anticipate charter approval within six
months. The authorized start-up capital of the bank will be $10 million. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
DIAMOND INDUSTRY IN GOOD FINANCIAL SHAPE.
Russia's main diamond producer
reported sales of $628 million in the first half of the year and said it was in
good financial shape, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 August. AK Almazy Rossii-Sakha
Vice President Semen Zelberg told the news agency that sales were $28 million
over projections. Russia exports 95% of its uncut diamonds, most of which are
mined by the company in Siberia. Almazy-Rossii sold $1.14 billion worth of
diamonds in 1994, mostly through the South African De Beers-run cartel. The
company is currently renegotiating a new contract with De Beers, and Zelberg
complained that the cartel's new price list is "unacceptable" to the Russian
side. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 168, 29 August 1995
THIRD TURKIC SUMMIT . . .
Following a two hour meeting of the heads of
state of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan, a 21 article "Bishkek Declaration" was signed in Bishkek on 28
August, Western and Russian media reported the same day. Overall, this summit,
like its two predecessors, was longer on rhetoric than on substance. Kyrgyzstan
Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva termed the "Turkic alliance," part of the
Bishkek Declaration, the key document signed by all participants in the summit;
she said it was a cultural union based on "the community of cultures,
languages, and traditions," Interfax reported on 28 August. Initiatives
advanced by Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan for holding various
international conferences on security, cooperation, and confidence building in
Central Asia, or Asia in general, were adopted. Participants in the summit also
backed Turkmenistan's efforts to be recognized as a neutral state; expressed
concern over ongoing conflicts in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and former
Yugoslavia; and called upon the OSCE to take a more active role in resolving
these problems. Russia's reaction to the proceedings was unusually muted; this
may be connected with Moscow's decision to hold its own summit of
Turkic-speaking countries in Moscow in September. In his opening speech to the
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel sought to allay Russian
fears concerning the gathering of "siblings and related communities" but urged
the latter to avoid becoming dependent on other states by moving their natural
gas and oil through Turkey en route to world markets, international media
reported. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND DETRACTORS.
President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan expressed
his reservations about the effectiveness of economic cooperation among
Turkophone countries, Interfax reported on 28 August. He termed the suggestions
made to date "confused" and emphasized that Central Asian economic cooperation
should be stepped up. Specifically, he called for Turkmenistan and Tajikistan
to join in the Central Asian economic union, established in 1994 by Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Karimov also said Uzbekistan will not participate
in such gatherings in future if they are "strikingly political." The same day,
ITAR-TASS noted that Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov had told the other
participants in the summit not to rush into a Turkic-language alliance. He was
quoted as saying "a common language" cannot become a platform for a "political
bloc." He also said that close attention to ties with Russia, other CIS states,
and Iran would go hand in hand with efforts directed toward regional
integration with Turkey. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 168, 29 August 1995
WALESA REORGANIZES PRESIDENTIAL STAFF.
Polish President Lech Walesa told
reporters on 28 August that Mieczyslaw Wachowski, the top aide who was fired
three days earlier, "is and remains my friend," Gazeta Wyborcza
reported. There were two reasons for the dismissal, Walesa said. Wachowski
needed a rest from constant accusations of misconduct, and the president needed
to reorganize his office to prepare for a second term. Walesa on 28 August
promoted presidential staffers Andrzej Zakrzewski to minister of state (last
held by Wachowski) and Andrzej Ananicz to secretary of state. Zakrzewski met
with several former Walesa aides who had left the president's service because
of disagreements with Wachowski in an apparent attempt to regroup for the fall
elections. Walesa indicated to reporters that former Foreign Minister Andrzej
Olechowski is being courted to head the president's re-election campaign. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH BISHOPS OPPOSE POSTCOMMUNISTS.
In a pastoral letter read out in
all Catholic churches on 27 August, the Polish episcopate urged Catholics not
to vote for candidates in the upcoming elections who "participated in the
exercise of power at the highest party and government levels under totalitarian
rule," Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The Church hierarchy traditionally
declines to endorse specific candidates but instead issues general guidelines
for voter behavior. The statement supported candidates who defend "ethical and
evangelical values but also respect the views of other faiths and
non-believers." Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski argued
that the bishops' admonition did not refer to him. His role as minister for
youth and sport in the last two communist governments was nothing to be ashamed
of, he said. National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz commented that
Kwasniewski should have another look at his own resume. Kwasniewski joined the
communist party in 1977 and was one of the its rising stars in the late 1980s.
-- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN LIBERALS THREATEN TO QUIT RULING COALITION.
of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over a
proposal to name a deputy prime minister to oversee the economy, Radio Budapest
and international agencies reported. The liberals argue that such a post would
diminish the power of Finance Minister Lajos Bokros, whose controversial
austerity package aimed at dealing with the country's large budget deficit
enjoys strong support from the SZDSZ. Prime Minister Gyula Horn has stressed he
intends to establish the post, despite opposition from the coalition partner.
He has also said he is in favor of appointing trade union leader Sandor Nagy,
who is generally regarded as leader of the Socialist Party's left wing, which
is opposed to both the austerity package and market reforms that result in job
losses. The Socialists have a narrow majority in the parliament, but it is
unclear what the party's pro-market wing would do in the event of a split with
the SZDSZ. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN PARTY CALLS FOR BREAK WITH ROMANIA.
International agencies on
28 August reported that Hungary's Smallholders' Party has called on the
government to break off diplomatic relations with Romania. The call came at a
weekend meeting of opposition parties in Hungary. Prime Minister Gyula Horn,
who was present at the meeting, called for a continued dialogue and diplomatic
efforts to improve relations with Romania. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN PARTY OF GYPSIES DEMANDS PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION.
Horvath, leader of the Hungarian Party of Gypsies, hand-delivered a letter to
Premier Gyula Horn demanding that the government guarantee Gypsies
parliamentary representation, MTI reported on 28 August. He said he had to
resort to delivering the letter to the Socialist Party headquarters because he
had written so many already and not received an answer. Horvath cited
constitutional paragraphs promising minorities representation in the parliament
as well as equal political and cultural rights. He pointed out that the
unemployment rate for the minority stands at 80% and that many Gypsies earn
only 6,700 forint ($55). Without parliamentary representation, he said his
party was unable to try to make changes. Some Romani and Gypsy parties do not
use the name "Roma" in order to include those groups that do not speak Romani.
-- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK PREMIERS TO DISCUSS SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW.
and Vladimir Meciar plan to meet to discuss the draft of a controversial Slovak
language law during the Central European Free Trade Agreement meeting in the
Czech town of Brno on 11 September, Hungarian media reported on 28 August. The
draft language law would require all schools, including those predominantly or
exclusively attended by members of the Hungarian minority, to teach in the
Slovak language. An estimated 600,000 ethnic Hungarians live in southern
Slovakia. -- Jan Obrman, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS CRITICIZE LUPTAK.
The Slovak Christian
Democratic Movement has again attacked Jan Luptak, deputy parliamentary
chairman and a member of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, for
questioning the need for independent judges, TASR reported on 28 August.
Christian Democratic deputy Ivan Simko was quoted as saying that it is
"incredible that the chairman of a party that nominated the minister of justice
is attacking the very pillars of a free society, namely the independence of the
judiciary." Luptak said in an interview with Slovak TV on 17 August that "it is
a mistake for society to have independent judges [at a time] of economic
transformation." -- Jan Obrman, OMRI, Inc.
MOST BELARUSIAN SCHOOLCHILDREN TO STUDY IN RUSSIAN.
Following the May
referendum on giving the Russian language equal status with Belarusian, it
appears the majority of first graders will be taught in Russian, Belarusian
Radio reported on 28 August. Of the 25,000 first graders in Minsk, 11,000 will
be taught in Russian and 5,000 in Belarusian. The parents of the remaining
9,000 have not yet decided in which language they want their children to
receive instruction. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN UKRAINE.
Ukrainian Radio on 28 August reported
that foreign investment in Ukraine increased in the first six months of the
year to $560 million. The biggest investors are Germany and the U.S., which
respectively account for 20% and 19% of total foreign investment. They are
followed by Britain, Russia, Cyprus, Switzerland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Most investment has gone into the machine building industry, metals, domestic
trade, the food business, and light industry. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
FINNISH PRESIDENT VISITS LATVIA.
Martti Ahtisaari, at the start of a
two-day visit to Riga on 28 August, met with his Latvian counterpart, Guntis
Ulmanis, BNS reported. They discussed the financial situation in Latvia and how
Finland could assist Latvia to join the European Union. Finnish and Latvian
Foreign Ministers Tarja Halonen and Valdis Birkavs signed an accord on formally
handing back to Latvia its pre-war embassy building in Helsinki. The ministers
also discussed the possibilities of introducing visa-free travel between the
two countries, Finnish assistance to Latvian border guards, and cooperation in
combating organized crime. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN LITHUANIA.
Zbigniew Okonski and his
Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevicius, on 28 August signed protocols on
cultural cooperation and the transfer of military equipment to Lithuania,
RFE/RL reported. They also discussed the formation of a joint UN peacekeeping
battalion. Okonski met with President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius, and Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 168, 29 August 1995
BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT DEMANDS ACTION.
The attack on Sarajevo's Markale
market on 28 August left at least 37 dead and 87 wounded, international media
reported the following day. Soon after the shelling, Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic said that Bosnia's participation in the peace process should be
suspended until NATO clarified its role in protecting Sarajevo as a
UN-designated "safe area." Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey stressed that
"there must be some credibility restored by the international community in not
allowing terrorism to undermine their own peace process [or] their own
credibility." President Alija Izetbegovic promised revenge against the Serbs,
adding that "as far as the killers are concerned, my message to them is we
shall strike back . . . and very soon too." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBS DENY INVOLVEMENT IN SHELLING . . .
Nasa Borba on 29 August
said the entire Bosnian Serb leadership has denied any connection with the
Sarajevo attack. As was the case with the previous shelling of the market on 5
February 1994, the Serbs suggested that the government bombarded its own people
for devious ends. The Serbian civilian leader, Radovan Karadzic, told SRNA that
"the Muslim side, as usual, on the eve of important moments in the
negotiations, staged a massacre of its own population to sabotage the peace
process." His information minister called it "a classic act of Islamic
terrorism." The military commander, General Ratko Mladic, said his men were not
responsible. Bosnian Serb Radio claimed that soon after the Markale incident,
government forces shelled a Serbian Orthodox church near Sarajevo and killed a
member of a wedding party. There has generally been a pattern of the Serbs
denying war crimes and accusing the Muslims or Croats of similar things each
time the Serbs have done something particularly condemnable. -- Patrick Moore,
. . . BUT UN DOES NOT BELIEVE THEM.
Few people outside Serbian circles
seemed to believe Karadzic and his fellows, however. The UN on 29 August
announced that it had "concluded beyond all reasonable doubt" that Bosnian Serb
forces fired the 120mm mortar round into an area packed with innocent
civilians. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, would follow. Air
strikes or use of the Rapid Reaction Force nearby were the two most likely
options. The UN statement added that "all options are being reviewed, including
the use of air power." Even the usually mild-mannered special envoy, Yasushi
Akashi, said there would be "very strong action." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
BOSNIAN SERBS WELCOME U.S. PEACE PLAN.
The International Herald
Tribune on 29 August said U.S. mediator Richard Holbrooke was somewhat
cautious in his recommendations as to what should be done. Holbrooke, the
"architect" of the short-lived policy of direct talks with Pale last winter, is
now promoting Washington's latest effort to secure peace by effectively
partitioning Bosnia. The Sarajevo government rejects any attempt to destroy the
unity of the country. But the Bosnian Serb "legislature," meeting on Mt.
Jahorina in the early hours of 29 August, welcomed Holbrooke's efforts for "a
durable and just peace." Karadzic applauded the plan, saying earlier on Bosnian
Serb Radio that "the American initiative, as far as we know, takes into account
a maximum of Serb interests, and I hope our parliament will welcome this offer
favorably." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WHAT DID THE DUTCH KNOW IN SREBRENICA?
The Bosnian Serb legislators also
agreed that they and rump Yugoslavia would be represented at future
international conferences by a joint delegation. The measure had been suggested
by EU mediator Carl Bildt, SRNA said. Meanwhile, Bosnian and Serbian media
continued to speculate on persistent but unconfirmed reports that Mladic has
tried to arrest Karadzic. The two internationally wanted war criminals have
been publicly at odds over a variety of issues related to tactics and power. In
Gorazde, British forces completed their withdrawal ahead of schedule, leaving
behind only two military observers and a political analyst. The Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung on 28 August reported on the continued row in the
Netherlands over the behavior of Dutch peacekeepers following the fall of
Srebrenica in July. They have been charged with turning a blind eye to
massacres of Muslims and other war crimes in order to avoid clashing with the
Serbs. The latest reports suggested that the Dutch virtually had to stumble
over mounds of corpses as they were leaving the area. AFP said that the Serbs
still refuse to allow an independent investigation . -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
MORE REFUGEES EXPECTED IN VOJVODINA . . .
A peace conference in the
Hungarian town of Szeged, attended by nongovernmental representatives from 15
countries, has expressed fears that another 70,000 Krajina Serbs will be
settled in Vojvodina, which has large Hungarian, Croatian, and other Central
European minorities, Hungarian TV1 reported on 27 August. Meanwhile, Hina on 28
August said that 565 ethnic Croatian refugees arrived in Croatia from Vojvodina
on 28 August. The mass expulsion of Croats and Muslims from Banja Luka and
other areas in northwestern Bosnia continued on 28 August, Croatian Radio
reported. Some 300 people crossed the River Sava from Srbac to Davor, and more
refugees are expected to arrive. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
. . . BUT MINISTER FOR MINORITIES SEES NO DIFFICULTIES.
rump Yugoslav minister without portfolio in charge of civil liberties and
minority rights, has denied that Serbian refugees in Kosovo and Vojvodina will
disturb the ethnic balance there, Tanjug reported on 27 August. Savovic charged
"certain countries" with using the refugee crisis to "interfere in Yugoslavia's
internal affairs." Vjesnik on 29 August said that paramilitary troops
under internationally wanted war-criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic, alias "Arkan,"
have begun press-ganging refugees in Serbia for deployment in eastern Slavonia.
-- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
VAN DER STOEL IN ROMANIA.
Amid renewed tension in Romanian-Hungarian
interethnic relations in Transylvania, Max van der Stoel, the OSCE High
Commissioner for Ethnic minorities, began a four-day visit to Romania on 28
August, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. He met with leaders of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania and is also scheduled to meet with
Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Chamber of Deputies chairman Adrian Nastase,
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, government coordinator of the Council for
National Minorities Viorel Hrebenciuc, and deputy justice and education
ministers. Van der Stoel will also participate in a symposium on international
legislation for national minorities. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN MOLDOVA.
Yevhen Marchuk on 28 August began a
two-day visit to Moldova, Infotag reported the same day. He met with his
Moldovan counterpart, Andrei Sangheli, and parliamentary chairman Petru
Lucinschi. During the visit, thirteen agreements on economic cooperation are to
be signed as well as an accord on the protection of minority rights. Sangheli
said the Moldovan side intends to raise the issue of agreements that have been
signed but not implemented. The Ukrainian parliament has not yet ratified a
treaty on friendship and cooperation, signed in October 1992, and other
agreements have also not been observed. Radio Bucharest reported on 29 August
that Marchuk proposed setting up a customs-free trade zone between the two
countries and that his hosts responded to the proposal "with interest."
Chisinau is also planning to raise the issues of border demarcation and
Moldovan cargo transit through Ukrainian territory. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
MOLDOVA PROTESTS RUSSIAN ARMS TRANSFER TO TIRASPOL.
government on 28 August officially protested the intention of the Russian
military in Transdniester to transfer armaments to the authorities of the
breakaway republic, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. Valerii Yevnevich,
head of the Russian military in Transdniester, was quoted as saying the
equipment about to be transfered to Tiraspol cannot be used for military
purposes. He had previously said that a team of officers from the Materials
Resources Direction of the Russian Defense Ministry were in Tiraspol to deal
with the transfer of the army's assets in Slobozia, Parcani, and Bender.
BASA-press reported on 25 August that according to Yevnevich, both the staff
and equipment of the Russian battalions in Bender and Slobozia are to be
transferred to the garrison in Tiraspol. He said that to date, no equipment has
been transferred either to the Transdniestrian authorities or to Russia. He
also noted that more than 5,600 missiles and mines have been destroyed and
3,800 remain intact. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
CONFLICT OVER MOLDOVAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.
The Bessarabian Metropolitan
Seat, which is subordinated to the Bucharest Patriarchate, has sued the
Moldovan government for refusing to register the seat for three years,
BASA-press reported on 25 August. A court in Buiucani will start examining the
lawsuit later this week. The Moldovan Orthodox Church, to which most Orthodox
believers in the country belong, is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate.
Last week, Moldova's State Service for Religious Problems proposed that the
Moldovan Orthodox Church should be subordinated to the Patriarchate of
Constantinople as a compromise measure. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIA OPPOSES LIFTING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi, during the visit to Tirana of his Egyptian
counterpart, Amr Moussa, has stressed again that sanctions against the rump
Yugoslavia should not be lifted unless the Kosovo conflict is resolved. Moussa
and Serreqi said their countries have identical views on the crisis in the
former Yugoslavia. Moussa added that Egypt considers the settling of Serbian
refugees in Kosovo to be an "attempt to alter the demographic structure in
Kosovo, [which is] unacceptable," Reuters reported on 28 August. According to
BETA, Moussa also met with President Sali Berisha and Prime Minister Aleksander
Meksi to discuss Egyptian investments in Albania and other forms of
cooperation. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL IN ATHENS FOR BALKAN TALKS.
communication manager George Stephanopoulos arrived in Athens on 28 August,
Reuters reported the same day. Stephanopoulos will meet with Prime Minister
Andreas Papandreou, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, and the main
conservative opposition party leader, Miltiades Evert, on 29 August to discuss
the situation in the Balkans. The talks will focus on Greece's differences with
neighboring Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the war in
Bosnia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave