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Newsline - October 13, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 200, 13 October 1995
OPPOSITION: TAJIK PRESIDENT OBSTACLE TO PEACE.
Tajik opposition leader Saud Abdullo Nuri criticized President Imomali Rakhmonov for his inflexibility on the choice of a site for the next round of peace negotiations, Interfax reported on 12 October. The Tajik government wants the talks held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, a country Nuri says has nothing to do with inter-Tajik talks. Nuri claimed that the 1st brigade violated the 1994 Tehran agreement by moving to the Vakhsh valley. He said Rakhmonov is seeking to "strengthen his own position" and prevent returning refugees from taking part in political life. -- Bruce Pannier

AKAEV PROMISES CHANGES IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev vowed to reshuffle and change the structure of the government if he is re-elected in December, Interfax reported on 11 October. Akaev also said he has a plan to create as many as 150,000 jobs during 1996-97 and a program to stabilize economic growth that features six unspecified large projects worth $600 million. He also said wants to stem the emigration of the Russian-speaking population and resolve any conflicts between inhabitants of northern and southern Kyrgyzstan. Russian TV reported on 12 October that more than half the southern population are extremely dissatisfied with the fact that almost all key government positions are filled with northerners. The report claims many are ready to fight to keep Akaev out of office next year. -- Bruce Pannier

AKAEV PROMISES CHANGES IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev vowed to reshuffle and change the structure of the government if he is reelected in December, Interfax reported on 11 October. Akaev said he planned to revive the economy through six unspecified large projects worth $600 million. The Kyrgyz president wants to stem the emigration of the Russian-speaking population and resolve tension between the inhabitants of northern and southern Kyrgyzstan. Russian TV reported on 12 October that the people of southern Kyrgyzstan are dissatisfied with the fact that almost all key government positions are filled with northerners. -- Bruce Pannier

POLITICAL OPPOSITION ACTIVITY IN UZBEKISTAN.
The fragmented opposition movements in Uzbekistan are attempting to find common ground, Interfax reported on 10 October. A new Opposition Coordinating Center will open in Tashkent under the leadership of Shukhrulla Mirsaidov, former Uzbek vice president. Among the groups that will participate in the center are the Democratic Party Erk, Birlik, Tumariz, and Mirsaidov's own Khaq Yul-Adolat, which was formed this past year. Previous attempts to mount a united front against President Islam Karimov have failed, mainly due to personality conflicts among opposition figures and government pressure -- Roger Kangas

UZBEK-TAJIK NEGOTIATIONS ON GAS DELIVERIES.
Tajik First Deputy Prime Minister Mahmadsaid Ubaydullayev arrived in Tashkent to discuss the recent disagreement over Uzbek shipments of gas to Tajikistan. According to an Interfax report on 10 October, Uzbekistan stopped all gas deliveries on 6 October because Tajikistan owed $2 million for gas previously shipped. Uzbekistan charges $84 per 1,000 cubic meters; Tajik officials are hoping to work out a deal with Turkmenistan for cheaper gas ($43-50 per 1,000 cubic meters). -- Roger Kangas



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 200, 13 October 1995
TALKS ON NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT.
After Prime Minister Tiit Vahi submitted the resignation of his cabinet to the parliament on 12 October, President Lennart Meri began talks with the leaders of the main parties on finding a new prime minister, BNS reported. Meri has two weeks to nominate a premier who will then present his cabinet to the parliament for approval. The Coalition Party and Rural Union (KMU) alliance is reportedly hoping to form a ruling coalition with the Reform Party, as a replacement for the Center Party. Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas said his party was split on whether to enter such a coalition and would discuss the matter at a party conference on 14 October. Kallas and Vahi are considered to be the most likely prime minister nominees. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
Riivo Sinijarv and Andrei Kozyrev, meeting in Helsinki on 11 October, reached an agreement on signing three bilateral accords but made little progress on preparing a new border treaty, BNS reported the next day. The accords were on cooperation in the field of customs, border representatives, and cooperation between foreign ministries. Sinijarv was quoted as saying "These agreements may be signed at any moment now, it only has to be agreed who and when." The ministers also agreed that the next round of border negotiations will take place on 23-24 October in Russia. -- Saulius Girnius

HEAD OF LITHUANIAN STATE PRIVATIZATION AGENCY APPOINTED.
Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius on 11 October appointed Arvydas Darulis as director of the State Privatization Agency, BNS reported the next day. The 30-year-old Darulis was the head of the commercial privatization department of the Economics Ministry. Established in September, the SPA is to implement the second stage of privatization in which state and municipal enterprises will be sold on a cash basis. In the first stage, companies were sold for vouchers that the population received without cost; some of those firms later went bankrupt. Darulis said the SPA will estimate the value of the firms and set privatization conditions, but the final sale prices of the enterprises will be dictated by the market. -- Saulius Girnius

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ON ECONOMIC PROGRAM.
Yevhen Marchuk, in an interview with Ukrainian Radio on 12 October, assured Ukrainians that the country would not be sold out to international financial institutions but stressed that without foreign credits it will be "very difficult to get out of the deep crisis" in the country. Commenting on Chornobyl, Marchuk said he regretted that the figure of $4 billion has been stated as the price for the plant's closure, since the sum scares everyone away. He said G-7 representatives have asked instead that concrete projects and schedules be submitted and that only then will sums be discussed. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN UPDATE.
ITAR-TASS on 12 October reported that the Crimean parliament is facing a new crisis over appointments to its Presidium. The debate is being led by Volodymyr Klychnikov, whose Respublika faction has no representatives on the Presidium. The parliament has also asked the legislature in Kiev to allow Crimean deputies to carry guns. Crimea's parliament voted in 1994 to give its deputies the right to carry weapons in parliamentary sessions. In other Crimean news, Sevastopol's City Council has decided that the port must remain a closed city for another year. Ukrainians and Russians may be granted free access before 1997, but only if the Black Sea Fleet dispute is resolved before then. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIANS INDIFFERENT TO MULTIPARTY SYSTEM.
An opinion poll by the sociological service Hramdzkaya dumka found that most Belarusians are indifferent to the multiparty system, Belarusian Radio reported on 11 October. Of the 100 people surveyed, 37% said they were indifferent to the system; 33% viewed it as a positive thing; and 29% were opposed to it. When asked how they would like to see the multiparty system develop, the vast majority--73.2%--said they did not want a multitude of parties, while 26.8% said they would like a wide range of parties. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH ELECTION UPDATE.
Polish President Lech Walesa said in Tarnow on 12 October that if he wins the presidential elections, he will return to his idea of privatization by distributing large sums of money to the entire population, with the exception of wealthy capitalists. Former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Jan Olszewski on 12 October met with the speaker of the U.S Congress, Newt Gingrich, who, according to Olszewski's electoral staff, said he would seek to convince the U.S. government that Poland be given security guarantees. Aleksander Hall and Artur Balazs, leaders of the Conservative Party and Peasant-Christian Party, respectively, said that six to eight presidential candidates should withdraw from the race so that the right-wing candidate Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz could win, Polish dailies reported on 13 October. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH GOVERNMENT, MEDIA REACT TO ATTACKS ON ROMA.
Deputy Prime Minister Josef Lux, responding to a recent attack on Roma in Breclav (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 October 1995), announced that the government will prepare proposals on how to deal with rascist acts against the Romani community, CTK reported on 11 October. Meanwhile, Czech and Romani journalists signed a statement criticizing the government's line on race and warning of a backlash. The same day, the government announced its intention to fight racism on Czech streets but at the same time said it would refuse entry into the country to anyone who could not proof they had $20 for each day of their intended stay. Many observers believe this measure is designed to keep Roma and others "out." -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN GERMANY.
Michal Kovac on 12 October began a two-day visit to Germany at the invitation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. In an address to the foundation that day, the president focused on issues concerning Slovakia's integration into Europe. Kovac is also scheduled to meet with his German counterpart, Roman Herzog, as well as Bundestag Foreign Committee Chairman Karl-Heinz Hornhues. Kovac told Slovak Radio that the his son's kidnapping and subsequent arrest will not be discussed. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK RULING PARTY SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH BUSINESSMEN.
Premier Vladimir Meciar and Vladimir Randa, chairmen of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Party of Businessmen and Entrepreneurs (SPZ), respectively, on 11 October signed an agreement on political cooperation. The move came as a surprise because the SPZ ran in last fall's elections in a coalition with the liberal opposition Democratic Party, although the parties failed to make it to the parliament. In a press conference on 12 October, Jan Budaj of the opposition Democratic Union said he considers the agreement to be Randa's "personal interest." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA'S FIRST MCDONALD'S OPENS.
Slovakia on 12 October became the 85th country to have a McDonald's, TASR reported. The restaurant, which includes a drive-through, is located just off a highway leading south from the central Slovak town of Banska Bystrica. McDonald's will not open in Bratislava until 1996. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE.
All six political parties in Hungary are debating the future of the socialist-liberal cabinet, Hungarian newspapers reported on 13 October. While the coalition parties are recovering from the abruptly terminated coalition crisis, the four opposition parties are preparing themselves for a possible takeover. The Hungarian Democratic Forum says that, in a coalition with the Young Democrats and the Christian Democrats, it would be able to offer an economic policy that would end the current economic crisis. The Smallholder's Party, which has been labeled populist and unconstructive by coalition politicians, says it is prepared to lead on its own. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY TO CURB TAX FRAUD.
The Hungarian government has announced draft regulations designed to give tax authorities more power to clamp down on tax evasion, Reuters reported on 13 October. Tibor Draskovits, state secretary at the Finance Ministry, told a news conference that procedures need to be tightened and obvious loopholes closed. The new rules include allowing national tax authorities to conduct searches of a suspect's workplace or car and obliging job centers to inform the tax authorities if they discover that a person claiming unemployment benefit has undeclared sources of income. The measures are aimed at reducing Hungary's large gray economy, which is estimated to be equivalent to 30% of GDP. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 200, 13 October 1995
SHAKY BOSNIAN CEASEFIRE ENDS ITS FIRST DAY.
The guns fell silent throughout much of Bosnia on 12 October as the latest ceasefire came into effect. UN observers said implementation was reasonably good, considering that it involved disengaging large bodies of fighters who had been in combat for some years. The BBC quoted Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying the Serbs have finally realized that their attempts to set up a greater Serbia have failed. Most problems centered on the area around strategic Sanski Most in the northwest. Allied forces are trying to press the Serbs back toward Prijedor and Banja Luka, while the Serbs would like to retake Sanski Most itself. Meanwhile, the UN expressed concern for the safety of 40,000 Serbian civilian refugees, who are stranded in open country without water or medical supplies. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIANS FIND ANOTHER MASS GRAVE.
AFP reported on 12 October that Bosnian government forces have discovered a grave containing 15 bodies in the village of Kokic, near Jajce, which the allied armies recently captured. The apparent murders took place in 1992, when the Serbs took the area and then burned and destroyed all the nearby villages. Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council has condemned the latest Serbian wave of "ethnic cleansing" directed against the few remaining Muslims and Croats in northern Bosnia. It asked about the fate of most of the males, who are unaccounted for and presumed to have been killed. -- Patrick Moore

WESTERN OFFICIALS ON RELATIONS WITH RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel on 12 October suggested that ties between Germany and Serbia ought to improve once a peace settlement is reached in the Balkans, AFP reported the same day. "No people in the former Yugoslavia must be excluded from such ties, Kinkel reportedly observed in a foreign policy speech delivered in Berlin. Meanwhile, Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic and British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Nicholas Bonsor met in Podgorica on 11 October to discuss the regional peace process. Bonsor also used the opportunity to remark that relations between Belgrade and London might be "restored" once sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia were lifted, Tanjug reported. Finally, BETA on 12 October reported that EU mediator Carl Bildt has observed that sanctions against Belgrade can be suspended once a peace accord is signed. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA ADMITTED INTO OSCE.
Macedonia has been admitted as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, RFE/RL reported, citing a statement by the Macedonian Information Ministry on 12 October. Its membership, which becomes effective on 14 October, follows Macedonia's admission into the Council of Europe earlier this month. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST LEADER BLACKMAILS POLITICAL PARTNER.
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM), has threatened to reveal "illegalities" committed by the leadership of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), if the PDSR decides to put an end to its partnership with the PRM because of Tudor's attacks on President Ion Iliescu. Gheorghe Funar, leader of the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, called on all members of the so-called "red-quadrangle" coalition to put an end to disputes among them. Evenimentul zilei on 13 October reported that the PRM has invited the recently retired nationalist General Paul Cheler to join its ranks. Cheler has publicly protested the recent decision to place him on reserve. Meanwhile, Nicolae Manolescu, leader of the opposition Party of Civic Alliance, told the Senate that Tudor's parliamentary immunity should be lifted. -- Michael Shafir

RELIGIOUS ASSISTANCE REINTRODUCED INTO ROMANIAN ARMY.
Romanian Patriarch Teoctist and Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca have signed an agreement on reintroducing permanent religious assistance for soldiers and officers serving in the army, Radio Bucharest reported on 11 October. The agreement between the Orthodox Church and army states that soldiers of all confessions have a right to religious assistance from the church to which they belong. At the same time, it prohibits any form of proselytism. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN PYRAMID SCHEME BOSS TO STAY IN JAIL.
Prosecutors on 12 October appealed against a court ruling to cut the jail sentence of Ioan Stoica from six to two years, Reuters reported the same day. Stoica, who headed the Caritas pyramid scheme that collapsed in 1993, would have been released within days if the Cluj court's decision to reduce his sentence had not been appealed. He has spent more than a year in jail awaiting trial and would have been eligible for parole. Stoica was convicted in June of fraudulent bankruptcy and defrauding investors, although the conviction was based on only a tiny proportion of the equivalent of millions of US dollars invested in his "get-rich" scheme. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN-GERMAN DECLARATION.
A declaration signed in Bonn by visiting Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and Chancellor Helmut Kohl states that Moldova and Germany undertake to develop bilateral relations on the basis of the principles of international law, equality of rights, sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, and respect for human rights, including those of national minorities. Infotag on 12 October reported that the two sides also signed agreements on cultural cooperation, taking care of graves of German soldiers killed in action on Moldovan territory during World War II, and transportation. Snegur, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, expressed willingness to back Germany's efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to secure German as one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT SENDS PRIVATIZATION PLAN TO PARLIAMENT.
The socialist-led government on 12 October endorsed and submitted to the parliament its latest plan for mass privatization, RFE/RL and Bulgarian media reported. The plan, modeled on the Czech voucher privatization system, is expected to be approved by the parliament in the next few weeks. The cabinet draw up a list of 1,227 enterprises in which Bulgarians will be able to invest. According to the plan, the state will retain control over large enterprises, since only 25% of their shares will be privatized. Up to 65% of the shares in medium-size enterprises and up to 90% in small enterprises will be offered to investors. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN SOCCER PLAYERS SET UP PRIVATE BANK.
Bulgarian top soccer players announced on 12 October that they will set up a private bank, Reuters reported the same day. Lyuboslav Penev of Atletico Madrid, who is the chairman of the bank's founding committee, said "instead of investing our money in banks based abroad, we prefer to invest and work with our money in Bulgaria." The bank will be called National and is expected to have the 500 million leva ($7.35 million) needed for a domestic license within a few months. The license can than be issued six months after application documents are submitted to the Bulgarian National Bank. -- Stefan Krause

BERISHA IN BRUSSELS.
Albanian President Sali Berisha, during his visit to Brussels on 12 October, met with NATO ambassadors and Secretary-General Willy Claes, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 13 October. Berisha told the ambassadors that a solution to the Kosovo crisis must be found within the framework of any peace settlement in the former Yugoslavia and demanded it should be put on the Contact Group's agenda. Berisha also expressed his country's desire to become a full member state of NATO. Claes praised Albania for playing "an active and positive role by respecting the embargo" against the rump Yugoslavia. He also noted the fast-growing cooperation between the Albanian military and NATO. On 13 October, Berisha began a three-day visit to Italy. -- Fabian Schmidt

TURKISH-GREEK DISPUTE.
The foreign ministries of Greece and Turkey have exchanged strongly worded protests over the education of ethnic Turks dwelling in Greece's region of western Thrace, the Turkish Daily News reported on 12 October. Students in three towns in the region have not been attending lessons for the past week in protest at a Greek government decision to revise the educational system. Ethnic Turks and the authorities in Ankara suspect the Greeks will attempt to replace teachers sent over from Turkey or local ethnic Turks serving as teachers. The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Greece of violating the Lausanne Treaty, which governs the status of minorities in both countries. In other news, Athens and Ankara traded charges concerning their respective Aegean Sea policies at the UN General Assembly, the Turkish Daily News reported the next day. -- Lowell Bezanis

TURKISH POLICE TO BIHAC.
At the request of the Bosnian and Croatian government, Turkey will send 50 policemen to Bihac to help organize and oversee the return of displaced Bosnians, AFP reported on 11 October, citing Turkish police and foreign ministry sources. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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