OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 178, 13 September 1995
GROMOV, SHATALIN DESERT RYBKIN BLOC.
The My Fatherland movement issued a
statement on 12 September announcing its withdrawal from State Duma speaker
Ivan Rybkin's bloc. Col. Gen. Boris Gromov and economist Stanislav Shatalin
were among the prominent members of the bloc who signed the document. They
decided to cut their ties with Rybkin because of his "political sluggishness
and indecision, his tendency to remain aloof from major events, and his
unwillingness to consider himself a member of the constructive opposition to
the executive," Russian TV reported. My Fatherland will now campaign as an
independent party. These defections are the latest in a series of setbacks for
Rybkin as he tries to establish the bloc at the president's bidding. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
BLOC "89" CEMENTS SPLIT WITHIN RUSSIA'S CHOICE MOVEMENT.
The creation of
the new electoral bloc "89," named for the number of regions in the Russian
Federation, cements the split within Russia's Choice, the leading pro-reform
movement in the 1993 parliamentary elections, Segodnya reported on 12
September. The schism has been brewing since Yegor Gaidar, leader of the
parliamentary delegation Russia's Choice, founded the party Russia's Democratic
Choice (DVR) in June 1994. The Russia's Choice movement formed "89" at a 9
September congress, to which Duma deputies from the Russia's Choice faction,
most of whom now support Gaidar's party, were not invited. Only two of the five
original co-chairmen of Russia's Choice--Pavel Medvedev and Viktor
Davydov--joined "89." Gaidar's party has already decided to compete in this
year's parliamentary elections as part of the United Democrats bloc. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
ILYUKHIN ACCUSES SHUMEIKO, SOSKOVETS OF CORRUPTION.
corruption "in the top echelons of power," Duma Security Committee Chairman
Viktor Ilyukhin accused Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets and Federation
Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko of conducting shady business deals, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 12 September. According to Ilyukhin, Valentina Soloveva, who
is being prosecuted for the activities of her now-defunct Vlastelina company,
implicated Shumeiko in profiteering operations and said Vlastelina issued a 200
billion ruble ($1.8 million) loan to Soskovets in 1993. The Federation Council
press service dismissed Ilyukhin's charges as campaign mudslinging, Russian TV
reported. Ilyukhin is a leading member of Gennadii Zyuganov's Communist Party
of the Russian Federation. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
PRIMORSK KRAI DUMA CALLS FOR GOVERNOR'S ELECTIONS.
The Primorsk Krai
Duma has asked President Boris Yeltsin to authorize elections on 17 December to
the governorship of the krai, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. The Primorsk
Duma told the president it had just adopted necessary legislation for the
elections, which would help "stabilize the socio-economic situation" in the
krai. Yeltsin appointed Yevgenii Nazdratenko Primorsk governor in May 1993, and
Nazdratenko was subsequently elected to the Federation Council. The Primorsk
governor tried to hold gubernatorial elections in October 1994, but these were
canceled by a decree issued by President Yeltsin. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIYA SELECTS NEW PRIME MINISTER.
head of the administration of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, named Anatolii Ozov the
republic's first prime minister, with the approval of the People's Assembly,
ITAR-TASS reported on 12 September. Khubiev had held both posts since January
1993. However, a law recently adopted in the republic stipulated that it was
unacceptable for one person to serve in both positions. The republic's first
professional parliament was elected on 10 June, after several years' wrangling
over the structure of the republic's legislature. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
RUSSIA ACCUSES NATO OF GENOCIDE.
In a rhetorical blast reminiscent of
the cold war, a Russian government statement said the "unilateral" NATO
airstrikes in Bosnia had caused significant civilian casualties and threatened
the Bosnian Serbs with "genocide," Russian and Western agencies reported on 12
September. NATO officials have repeatedly denied Bosnian Serb claims that
civilians have been bombed, and Bosnian Serb authorities have refused to allow
UN observers into areas where they claim civilians were killed. In a further
signal of Russian frustration, Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin
expressed "great regret and concern" that a memorandum, which Russia claims was
agreed between the UN and NATO last month, was not discussed with Moscow.
According to ITAR-TASS, the memo allowed NATO to launch sweeping air attacks
against the Bosnian Serbs. Meanwhile, at the UN, a Russian draft resolution
calling for a halt to the airstrikes failed in the Security Council, meeting
opposition from 10 of its 15 members. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
IZVESTIYA CRITICIZES RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES.
front-page article on 13 September, Izvestiya criticized the Russian
intelligence community for an amateurish attempt to convince the Russian public
that the mortar attack on a Sarajevo marketplace which precipitated the current
NATO airstrikes was a provocation. An earlier report by ITAR-TASS had cited an
"anonymous source" from a Russian intelligence agency who claimed the mortar
attack had not been launched by the Bosnian Serbs, as the UN had concluded, but
was the result of a
Western intelligence operation, code-named "Cyclone,"
designed to provide NATO with a pretext to launch a massive air offensive.
Izvestiya said its own investigation had failed to uncover any
information supporting this report and that when queried, even the main Russian
intelligence agencies now denied responsibility for the implausible story. The
paper concluded that someone in the government had floated the rumor in an
unsuccessful attempt to manipulate public opinion and justify Russia's
opposition to the NATO airstrikes. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA REITERATES OPPOSITION TO BALTIC STATES JOINING NATO.
the Fourth Parliamentary Conference of the Nordic Council on Cooperation in the
Baltic Region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov declared that the
eastward expansion of NATO "contradicted Russian national interests," Russian
and Western agencies reported. Mocking his Baltic counterparts, Krylov asked,
"Everybody in Europe says they have no enemies anymore, so why is it important
to expand NATO? Just who is the enemy?" Krylov added that if NATO expanded
eastward to the borders of Russia by admitting the Baltic states, Russia would
be forced to respond with economic, political, and even military measures,
although he ruled out direct military intervention in the Baltics as a possible
response. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
LAX OFFICIALS BLAMED FOR MINE BLAST.
Investigators looking into the 4
September explosion at the Pervomaiskii coal mine in the Kuzbass concluded that
it was caused by gross safety violations and sacked 5 of the mine's officials,
including its director. The explosion of methane and coal dust caused a cage
bringing workers down to the bottom of the pit to collapse, resulting in 15
deaths. According to Russian and Western agencies, the investigators said that
the unexpected release of methane was caused by poorly made equipment and that
miners should have been ordered to leave the danger area sooner. Meanwhile,
miners in Sakhalin have stopped coal deliveries to consumers in protest against
wage arrears, and their colleagues in Primorsk Krai are preparing to strike,
also on account of delayed wage payments. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
CENTRAL BANK TO RELEASE DATABASE INFORMATION ON BANKS.
Bank, in efforts to broaden the country's securities market, will release its
financial information database to the public, Russian TV reported on 12
September. Central Bank Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov said that the database,
which goes back two years, includes key financial and business data, including
balance sheets of about 1,000 banks. Kozlov said that any bank issuing
securities is required to file information with the Central Bank, which has set
up a national computer network to collate it. The banker noted that the Central
Bank does not verify all the data, so it cannot guarantee the soundness of the
information. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
TRADING AND FINANCIAL GIANTS MERGE.
One of Russia's largest trading
companies, AO Mikrodin, and FPG Interros, a top financial and industrial group,
have agreed to merge to form one of the country's largest industrial
conglomerates, Russian and Western agencies reported on 12 September. AO
Mikrodin has huge stakes in several industrial companies, including truck maker
AMO Zil. FPG Interros, an umbrella holding organization created by presidential
decree last year, has a stake in Oneximbank, Russia's fourth largest commercial
bank, and RAO Norilsk Nikel, the country's largest nickel smelter. Mikrodin
President Dmitrii Zelenin will serve as general director of the new venture,
with Oneximbank President Vladimir Potanin as chairman of the board. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 178, 13 September 1995
ABKHAZ DEPUTY PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN MURDERED.
The eminent historian and
deputy chairman of the Abkhaz parliament, Yurii Voronov, was stabbed and then
shot in Sukhumi on 11 September, Ekho Moskvy reported on 12 September. Abkhaz
President Vladislav Ardzinba said that the murder was "a political act by a
hired assassin," who has been apprehended and is under interrogation. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
NAZARBAEV REVIEWS ARMED FORCES, PROMISES PROTECTION.
In an interview
with TV Kazakhstan on 9 September, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev
promised to take steps to improve the situation in the armed forces. Reports of
discontent over pay and the diminishing morale in the armed forces have
surfaced in recent months (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 September).
Nazarbaev promised a special presidential decree within a month, which will
provide for a "wide-scale program of social protection." Nazarbaev said that
Kazakhstani officers with training in the "highest military academies" in the
Russian Federation will join the country's armed forces next year but promised
that Kazakhstan will set up its own military academy. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI,
NAZARBAEV CALLS FOR GREATER SINO-KAZAKHSTANI COOPERATION.
On the second
day of his visit to China, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev urged
Chinese business people to invest in Kazakhstan, saying the country's new
constitution offers greater security to foreign investors, Xinhua news agency
reported on 12 September. Nazarbaev assured China that Kazakhstan adheres to a
"one-China" policy and that it will not develop official relations of any sort
with Taiwan. Chinese President Jiang Zemin expressed appreciation for
Kazakhstan's support on that issue, as well as its support on the Tibet
question. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.
KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE REFERENDUM.
The Kyrgyz parliament is to
convene before the end of September to discuss holding a referendum on
extending the mandate of President Askar Akaev until 2001, Interfax reported on
11 September. A spokesman for the Kyrgyz Central Electoral Commission reported
that over a million signatures--amounting to 50% of the total electorate--have
been collected in support of a referendum. The standing chamber of the Kyrgyz
parliament, the Legislative Assembly, proposed an amendment to ban a referendum
on extending the presidential mandate, Interfax reported on 22 August.
Presidential elections are scheduled for autumn 1996. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI,
DISPUTE OVER VENUE FOR NEXT ROUND OF TAJIK TALKS.
According to an RFE/RL
correspondent's report, the governments of Tajikistan, Russia, and Turkmenistan
plan to hold the next set of negotiations between the Tajik government and the
opposition, scheduled to begin on 18 September, in the Turkmen capital,
Ashgabat. The opposition has been against holding talks in Ashgabat, preferring
Tehran instead. According to Interfax, one opposition representative, Ali Akbar
Turadzhonzoda, said that Turkmenistan's poor record on human rights makes it
inappropriate for peace talks. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
UZBEKISTAN JOINS THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK.
Uzbekistan has taken
another step toward integration into the Asian community. According to
ITAR-TASS on 12 September, Uzbekistan has officially become a member of the
Asian Development Bank (ADB). Representatives of the organization will visit
the country to determine the extent and type of aid needed for Uzbekistan's
economy. An ADB official stated that the main effort of the bank will be aimed
at assisting in the transition to a market economy. -- Roger Kangas, OMRI,
FEW CIS STATES WILL MEET CFE DEADLINE.
Economic, technological, and
political problems will prevent most CIS states from fulfilling the terms of
the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty when it comes into force on 17
November, representatives of various CIS countries said on 12 September. The
statements were made by officials from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan
while meeting to discuss disarmament at the CIS headquarters in Minsk, Interfax
reported. The Ukrainian representative cited problems in resolving the dispute
over the division of the Black Sea Fleet, although the CFE does not cover naval
weapons. The official from Belarus said President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
decision to halt the destruction of weapons in February prevented compliance,
but he added that Belarus would resume destruction soon. -- Michael Mihalka,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 178, 13 September 1995
UKRAINIAN PREMIER ON BANNED RADICAL NATIONALIST GROUP.
told journalists during a tour of the Cherkasy region that the Justice
Ministry's recent decision to revoke the legal registration of the Ukrainian
National Assembly does not outlaw its activities, UNIAN reported 9 on
September. He said that if the radical nationalist group, which has two
deputies in the parliament, changes its tactics, it can re-apply for formal
registration. The group has been accused of sending armed mercenaries and other
forms of support to aid anti-Russian separatists in such hotspots as Chechnya
and Transdniester. Meanwhile, Ukrainian TV reported on 11 September that
monthly inflation fell from 5.2% in July to 4.6% in August, despite last
month's devaluation of the karbovanets. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
RABIN, SOBCHAK IN UKRAINE.
Ukrainian Radio on 12 September reported that
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in Kiev on a official visit, met with
Premier Yevhen Marchuk and Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov. He also met with
Minister of the Military-Industrial-Complex Valerii Malyev to discuss
cooperation in the military and technical spheres. Agreements were signed on
liberalizing trade between the two countries, the abolition of visas for those
holding diplomatic passports, and cooperation in the medical field. Rabin is
scheduled to meet with President Leonid Kuchma, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr
Moroz, and representatives of the Jewish community. Also on 12 September,
Kuchma met with St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak in Kiev. Sobchak signed
an agreement on cooperation between St. Petersburg and Ukraine with Premier
Marchuk and invited President Leonid Kuchma to visit his city during the
festival "Ukrainian Days." -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO REVIEW PRESIDENTIAL DECREES.
ITAR-TASS and Belarusian TV on 12 September reported that parliamentary speaker
Mechyslau Hryb has asked the Constitutional Court to review the legality of
some of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decrees. The decrees considered
questionable are those on issuing diplomatic and service passports, regulating
state privileges to some categories of citizens, and on regulating wages and
pensions for senior citizens. The Court has agreed to review all three decrees.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH POLITICIANS ON FOREIGN POLICY.
Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw
Bartoszewski, referring to Russian President Boris Yeltsin recent statements on
NATO expansion, on 12 September said that Poland's position on the matter
remains unchanged. He said expansion should be a gradual process linked to
improving cooperation between NATO and those countries that will remain outside
the alliance, including Russia. Bartoszewski noted that "perceiving NATO--in a
Cold War perspective--as a military alliance directed against any one is not
only mistaken but must arouse concern," Polish Media reported on 13 September.
-- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
GORBACHEV DEFENDS JARUZELSKI'S MARTIAL LAW AS "LESSER EVIL."
leader Mikhail Gorbachev has declined an invitation to testify before the
Sejm's Commission for Constitutional Accountability, which is considering
bringing General Wojciech Jaruzelski and other authors of 1980 martial law in
Poland before the State Tribunal. Gorbachev said in a letter to the commission
that Jaruzelski had sought "to exclude any possibility of intervention of the
Warsaw Pact armies in Poland's internal problems." Freedom Union deputy Bogdan
Borusewicz commented that the letter was a piece of propaganda, Polish dailies
reported on 13 September. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH PRIVATIZATION CHIEF GOES ON TRIAL.
Jaroslav Lizner, former head of
the Center for Coupon Privatization, went on trial at a Prague court on 12
September on bribery charges. Lizner was arrested last October after a meeting
in a Prague restaurant with businessmen interested in buying shares in a dairy.
He was carrying in a case more than 8.3 million koruny ($320,000), which the
prosecution alleges was a bribe to facilitate the share deal. Lizner claims he
accepted the money as a deposit for buying the shares in his role as mediator
and that he intended to hand it over to the sellers later. Lizner is the
highest Czech state functionary to go on trial for corruption since the end of
communist rule. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH DEPUTIES CHANGE PARTIES.
Five breakaway deputies of the Christian
Democratic Party (KDS) on 12 September joined the parliamentary caucus of
another member of the governing coalition, the Christian Democratic Union-Czech
People's Party (KDU-CSL), Czech media reported. The five, who constituted half
of the KDS's parliamentary representation, split from the party leadership over
plans to merge the KDS with the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus. One of the group, Pavel Tollner, said the naming of KDS chief
Ivan Pilip and Environment Minister Frantisek Benda among the ODS's election
campaign leaders last weekend was the "last straw" prompting the move. The
change makes the KDU-CSL the third-strongest party in the parliament. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT PASSES CONTROVERSIAL AMENDMENT.
The parliament on 12
September approved an amendment to the law on civil service--the alternative to
required military service. Anyone doing civil service is now required to do
"physical labor in accordance with his physical ability and state of health"
for a period of two years, Sme reported. A number of youth organizations
have protested the amendment. But Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota told
Slovenska Republika on 13 September that "it is certainly very positive
for our society that this amendment was passed." He said that recently,
increasingly more young people have "rejected discipline," which is exactly
what they need. "Military service would not only teach them a bit of humility
and discipline but also respect for their elders, nation, and homeland," Slota
said. The parliament again rejected a proposal that the parliamentary organ
overseeing the Slovak Information Service be expanded to include opposition
deputies, Narodna obroda reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVES CONTINUE TO GROW.
reserves at the National Bank of Slovakia reached $2.6 billion by 30 June--more
than three times the level of estimated average monthly imports to Slovakia,
TASR reported on 12 September. The increase in reserves was partly influenced
by payments from the Czech Republic for exceeding the 130 million ecu limit in
the bilateral clearing account. In other news, the cabinet on 12 September
approved a report on the state budget as of 31 July. At that time, the budget
deficit stood at 1.45 billion koruny ($46.8 million), which is only a fraction
of the 21 billion koruny deficit planned for year-end in the state budget law.
-- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN PARTY LEADERS ON ECONOMIC POLICY.
Gyula Horn, Hungarian
premier and head of the Hungarian Socialist Party, and Ivan Peto, leader of its
coalition partner, the Alliance of Free Democrats, said in a recent Hungarian
TV interview that the reason for the current austerity measures is to improve
the country's economy rather than to take popular steps, Hungarian papers
reported. Horn hoped that 1996 will be the last year of austerity measures and
that by 1997, signs of economic improvement will be evident. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN ROMANI POLITICIAN BLACKMAILED.
Armed men trapped and
blackmailed the President of the Hungarian National Gypsy Minority
Self-Government, Florian Farkas, in a Szolnok hotel on 8 September, MTI
reported on 12 September. Police investigators say no political motive has been
revealed so far but cannot be ruled out. The armed men held Farkas hostage
until they made him give them 35,000 forint and promise to pay another 4
million later. Farkas is also on the editorial board of Lungo Drom, a
newspaper for Roma in Hungary. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 178, 13 September 1995
NATO PLANES HIT SERBS AGAIN.
Clear skies on 12 September enabled NATO
aircraft to resume their attacks on Bosnian Serb military targets. Nasa
Borba on 13 September said the munitions complex at Vogosca near Sarajevo
was especially hard hit. In Tito's Yugoslavia, much of the defense industry was
centered in Bosnia-Herzegovina and was subsequently taken by the Serbs. NATO
therefore has a wealth of targets, including the air defense system, which was
based in Banja Luka as a key component of Tito-era strategy. -- Patrick Moore,
HOW FAR WILL NATO GO?
NATO officials denied comments by the Bosnian
foreign minister to the effect that the alliance's aircraft are ready to hit
Bosnian Serb troops, Nasa Borba said on 13 September. The
International Herald Tribune quoted a UN officer as saying that "if we
hit individual fighting units, we become a warring faction." Meanwhile, Italy
has threatened not to allow U.S. Stealth bombers to be based on its soil until
Rome is given a full-fledged role in the peace process. It had only observer
status at the 8 September Geneva talks but wants a larger role as a regional
power. AFP on 12 September said that U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke told
Foreign Minister Susanna Agnelli that Italy should be content to stay quiet and
sit behind EU mediator Carl Bildt. Agnelli replied that "as long as I am
foreign minister no Italian will sit behind anyone." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
PESSIMISM ON BOSNIA, OPTIMISM ON SLAVONIA.
Holbrooke on 12 September
appeared to dampen expectations that the vague declaration signed in Geneva
could quickly lead to a concrete settlement. AFP quoted him as saying a
particular problem is "the way the parties avoid committing themselves to
individual parts of the agreement. They can all at any time renege on anything
they've agreed to." He also noted the presence of "almost completely
incompatible positions." Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher
said he was optimistic that a peaceful solution could be found in eastern
Slavonia, Serbia's richest and only remaining conquest in Croatia. Christopher
urged Croatia to show "flexibility and statesmanship," Reuters reported. AFP
quoted UN mediator Yasushi Akashi as saying that "very intensive, quiet
diplomacy is going on." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
DONJI VAKUF FALLS TO ALLIED FORCES.
Akashi also confirmed that Croatian,
Bosnian Croat, and Bosnian government troops took Donji Vakuf from the Serbs.
Croatian Television on 12 September said that Bosnian Croat troops pushing east
from Drvar took the strategic mountain pass of Mliniste and the key peaks of
Demirovac and Vitorog. Meanwhile, Bosnian government troops continue to advance
in the central Mt. Ozren area. AFP on 13 September reported that President
Alija Izetbegovic congratulated his men in the newly taken town of Vozuca,
telling them: "you have broken the backbone of the Chetnik [Serb] enemy. You
show the way . . . how we could continue with the aim of liberating our
country." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN RENEWAL MOVEMENT CRITICIZES BOSNIAN SERBS.
BETA on 13 September
reported that the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) has sharply
criticized the Bosnian Serb authorities. According to SPO spokesman Ivan
Kovacevic at a press conference in Belgrade, the Bosnian Serb leaders of the
Republic of Srpska are alone responsible for "carrying out the war against NATO
and against the whole world." Kovacevic singled out Bosnian Serbian military
leader Ratko Mladic for criticism because of Mladic's willful refusal to remove
heavy weapons from around Sarajevo. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS OPPOSITION MOTION.
The Chamber of Deputies
on 12 September rejected an opposition motion accusing Nicolae Vacaroiu's
government of mishandling the bumper 1995 wheat crop, Romanian and
international agencies reported. The debate was carried live by Radio
Bucharest. The motion, launched by the Democratic Convention of Romania and the
Democratic Party-National Salvation Front, was defeated by a vote of 155 to
116. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA AND NATO.
North Atlantic Assembly chairman Karsten Voigt, at an
improvised press conference in Bucharest, responded to a question about
Romania's chances of admission to NATO by saying "in the Warsaw Pact it was
easy to get in, but difficult to get out. It's the other way around with NATO."
He noted that the main purpose of his visit was to discuss with Romanian
officials about Romania's future in Euro-Atlantic structures for a report under
preparation. He said Romania's chances depended to a great extent on its
progress on reform. Asked whether Budapest and Bucharest could be admitted into
NATO at the same time, Voigt diplomatically said "If they develop in similar
manner and fulfill the same conditions, then this is possible." Meanwhile, AFP,
citing the daily Cronica romana, reported on 12 September that a
group of Romanian farmers who were apparently unaware that a NATO military
exercise was taking place near the Transylvanian town of Sibiu (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 11 September 1995) grabbed pitchforks and axes to rush to the
rescue of Romanian troops. Officers reasssured the farmers and the exercise was
able to continue. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ENDS MOLDOVA VISIT.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 12
September ended a two-day visit to Chisinau, signing agreements aimed at
improving ties between the two states, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. At a
joint press conference, Lukashenka and President Mircea Snegur pledged to lift
barriers to bilateral trade that resulted from Belarus's exclusive tariff
agreement with Russia. Snegur said Moldovan food exports to Belarus markets are
still facing problems because of that agreement. According to a protocol signed
during the visit, problems arising from the non-implementation of agreements
between Moldova and Belarus will be solved by 1 December, Infotag reported. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
COURT RULES AGAINST MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT IN CHURCH DISPUTE.
court on 12 September ruled that the Moldovan government must legally register
the Bessarabian Metropolitan Seat, which is subordinated to Bucharest. Radio
Bucharest said the government can appeal to the Supreme Court within 10 days.
The government has refused to register the seat for three years (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 29 August 1995). The Moldovan Orthodox Church, to which most
Orthodox believers in the country belong, is subordinated to the Moscow
Patriarchate. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES AGAINST GOVERNMENT.
Constitutional Court on 12 September ruled that the government "cannot dispose
of state-owned real estate where the president, the parliament, and the
judicial authorities are accommodated" without the consent of those
institutions, Bulgarian media reported the same day. The decision was in
response to the government's attempt to evict the Constitutional Court from the
government building where it is housed (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 August
1995). The Constitutional Court contested the case before the Supreme Court,
which has yet to make a ruling but is likely to support the Constitutional
Court on the issue. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN OPPOSITION WANTS PREMIER TO RESIGN.
The parliamentary faction
of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) on 12 September decided to ask for a
vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Zhan Videnov in connection with the
death of 14 soldiers on 11 August (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 September
1995), Demokratsiya reported the following day. SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov
said the vote forces all parliamentary deputies to make a "dramatic
moral-political choice." 24 chasa and Standart reported that the
vote will be requested when Videnov is in Moscow next week. -- Stefan Krause,
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH CLINTON.
Sali Berisha and U.S. President
Bill Clinton on 12 September discussed Albania's economic and political
development as well as the Balkan conflict, AFP reported the same day. Berisha
said the NATO air attacks on Bosnian Serbs are the "right way to contribute to
peace and stability." With regard to the Kosovo crisis, he told journalists
that Clinton assured him "that the United States will fully support the
restoration of human and national rights of Albanians in Kosovo." Clinton
praised Berisha for the country's economic and democratic reforms and urged him
to make more progress on Greek-minority rights. He also offered to help
establish a training program for judges, prosecutors, and police and to equip
and outfit the Albanian peacekeeping contingent under the NATO Partnership for
Peace program. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIA PROTESTS SERBS' USE OF KOSOVO MEMORIAL CENTER FOR REFUGEES.
Albanian government strongly protested the settling of Krajina Serb refugees
into the facilities of the 1878 Pristina League Memorial Center, Montena-fax
reported on 12 September. The Albanian statement called the Serbian
authorities' move a "heavy provocation by the Serbian occupying forces" and "an
open attack on a symbol of the Albanian people's resistance and their culture."
The memorial is under UNESCO protection. The International PEN center also
protested the move. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS FAIL TO GET OFF THE GROUND.
scheduled for 12 September between the foreign ministers of Greece and
Macedonia, Karolos Papoulias and Stevo Crvenkovski, were postponed several
times and finally did not take place, AFP reported the same day. An unnamed UN
diplomat said the two spent the day "niggling over the tiniest things" in
meetings with UN mediator Cyrus Vance. The main sticking point seems to be the
timing of the lifting of the Greek embargo. Macedonia wants the embargo lifted
as soon as the accord is signed and will then change its flag and constitution
within 30 days. Greece insists that those changes take place simultaneously
with the lifting of the embargo. Papoulias and Crvenkovski decided to put off a
face-to-face meeting until their differences are resolved. -- Stefan Krause,
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave