CHECHENS DOWN RUSSIAN FIGHTER PLANE.
On 3 February, Russian troops
succeeded in breaking through Chechen lines at Goiti, southeast of Grozny, and
secured control of one of the last remaining roads out of the city, Reuters
reported. Air attacks on Grozny and on Argun, to the east, continued on 3 and 4
February. On 4 February Chechen militants shot down a Russian SU-25 fighter
plane, killing the pilot. Heavy artillery bombardment of Grozny resumed in the
afternoon of 5 February, after a lull, and Russian forces moved to strengthen
control over districts south of Grozny. Russian forces were also reported to be
advancing on Grozny from the west. On 4 February, the Chechen opposition
Provisional Council issued a statement condemning "barbaric, senseless, and
cruel" bombardments of civilian areas, Reuters reported. The next day, the
Russian government press service alleged that Dudaev's supporters were
preparing for a massacre of Russians in Grozny on 20-23 February to mark the
anniversary of the Chechen population's mass deportation in 1944. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
G7 SAYS CHECHNYA THREATENS RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS.
The Group of Seven
major industrialized countries believes the Chechen operation's cost threatens
Russian economic stabilization, Reuters reported on 4 February. Although
deploring the excessive use of force, G7 foreign ministers said they would
still invite President Boris Yeltsin to the group's Halifax summit in June.
German Finance Minister Theo Waigel said, "The financial impact of the war in
Chechnya threatens to burst the Russian budget [and] because of that, the
outlook for a stabilization of Russia's economy will be further endangered."
Russian officials are expected to attend the next meeting of G7 finance
ministers in Washington this April to discuss the economic situation. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA ACCEPTS OSCE CALL FOR IMMEDIATE CEASE-FIRE IN CHECHNYA.
Russian delegation agreed on 3 February to an Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Chechnya
and condemning the "disproportionate use of force by the Russian Armed Forces."
An OSCE official told OMRI the Russian action is "quite remarkable," and
stressed it showed Russia is taking the organization seriously. The Russian
delegation initially did not accept the document on 2 February, as it waited
for instructions from Moscow, AFP reported. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
SON OF DUMA COMMISSIONER ON CHECHNYA WOUNDED.
Independent TV station
director Sergei Govorukhin was hospitalized after being wounded in Grozny on 3
February. The next day, Nezavisimaya gazeta noted that Govorukhin was
shot while filming a documentary on the Chechen war in the Western part of the
city, which is under Russian control. Russian TV's "Vesti" claimed the Russian
military had deliberately fired at the journalist. Sergei's father, prominent
film director Stanislav Govorukhin, is the chairman of a commission set up last
month by the State Duma to find out which officials are responsible for the
Chechen conflict and why the Russian army performed so poorly. During his visit
to Lipetsk earlier last week, Yeltsin called Govorukhin's commission
"unconstitutional." -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.
FEDERATION COUNCIL FAILS TO RATIFY STATE OF EMERGENCY.
Council could not ratify a state of emergency decree for part of Northern
Ossetia and Ingushetia on 3 February because it lacked a quorum, Interfax
reported. Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko said a state of emergency decree
which is not approved in three days "loses its force and the population of the
territory under question is informed of that through the mass media." Yeltsin
had issued the decree on 31 January. Following the council vote, Yeltsin
reissued the decree 5 February and said it would be resubmitted to the upper
chamber, AFP reported. A "well-informed source" in the Defense Ministry told
Interfax the same day that the situation in Ingushetia is deteriorating and the
region could become a source of tension in the near future. Ingush President
Ruslan Aushev, quoted by Interfax, dismissed the failure as meaningless given
that none of the previous decrees had been enforced. The state of emergency was
first issued in 1992, when inter-ethnic fighting forced 35,000 Ingush to flee
their homes, and has been consistently renewed, usually for two-month periods.
-- Robert Orttung and Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
SEGODNYA: FINANCIAL SCANDAL PUTS GRACHEV IN HOSPITAL.
Minister Pavel Grachev checked into a hospital for medical tests shortly after
he was shown a document revealing the existence of a questionable ministry
account in a German bank, Segodnya reported on 3 February. The document
allegedly showed that the military opened an account in a German bank near
Berlin in late 1992 with a deposit of $20.6 million. The money was said to have
come from the sale of Soviet war reserve supplies in Eastern European
countries. The document was allegedly shown to Grachev at the end of a 25
January Security Council meeting. The reporter, quoting unnamed sources on
Yeltsin's staff, said Grachev claimed to know nothing about the affair and
instead, implicated Col.-Gen. Vasilii Vorobev, head of the General Staff's
budget and financing directorate. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
SHUMEIKO SUPPORTS SECOND TERM FOR YELTSIN.
Rumors that the Federation
Council chairman will run for president in 1996 are untrue, the council's press
service chief Yurii Algunov told Interfax 3 February. The rumors, which
appeared in the Russian media on 2 February, allegedly quoted a statement
Shumeiko had made on a trip to Kaliningrad that day. Shumeiko
instead has stressed that a second term for Yeltsin would be the best solution
for the country and its reforms. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
BURBULIS ADVISES DEMOCRATS TO MAINTAIN TIES WITH YELTSIN.
It is too
early for Russia's democratic politicians to announce their opposition to
Yeltsin because such a step would "incapacitate them in influencing the new
generation of Russian politicians," former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis
told Interfax 3 February. Burbulis was attending a conference in Moscow to mark
the fifth anniversary of the formation of the Democratic Platform within the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Burbulis said that after Chechnya, Yeltsin
will seek alliances with "a new wave of pragmatically minded professionals." He
noted that Yeltsin is capable of working with those who supported the decision
to intervene in the secessionist republic, as well as those who opposed the
decision, and advised the democrats "to accept these maneuvers rather than
repulse the president." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
SUPREME COURT REJECTS PROTEST AGAINST COUP PLOTTER'S ACQUITTAL.
Russian Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by acting Prosecutor-General
Aleksei Ilyushenko to reverse the acquittal of former deputy Valentin
Varennikov--a defendant in the case of the failed coup plot against former
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Interfax reported on 3 February. Varennikov
is the only suspect to have stood trial in the case, and in February 1994, the
State Duma declared an amnesty for all those involved in the plot. By rejecting
Ilyushenko's protest, the Supreme Court endorsed the verdict of its Military
Colegium which had found Varennikov not guilty of high treason. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.
JANUARY INFLATION AT RECORD HIGH.
The growth of consumer prices in
Russia stood at 17.8% against 16.4% in December, the highest index over the
past 12 months, the State Statistics Committee reported to Interfax on 3
February. The report said January food prices rose by 21.1%, consumer goods by
12%, and paid services to the population by 22.8%. Consumer goods and services
became most expensive during the last week in January in the Volgo-Vyatka area
and Kaliningrad Oblast, with an increase of almost 4% over December. The North
Caucasus had the lowest price increases, at 2.1%. Overall, meat, milk, and egg
prices grew by 27% to 36%, the report indicated. Prices for gasoline rose 26.3%
and coal rose 21.6%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
LAW AGAINST CRIMINAL EARNINGS.
The final draft of a bill on criminal
earnings will soon be sent to President Yeltsin, one of its authors, MVD
official Vladimir Ovchinsky, told Interfax on 4 February. He said "dirty" money
is corrupting official bodies and giving criminal organizations a greater hold
on the country's economy. The Russian Banks Association estimates that at least
16 billion "dirty" dollars are circulating in Russia and that 40% of the money
in the economy was obtained through criminal operations both in and outside the
country. The draft law calls for controls on capital investment and requires
people to declare the source of income used in real-estate deals, business
ventures, and the import and export of currency. Critics argue that the
proposed legislation violates banking laws and the basic rights of Russian
citizens, since it authorizes law enforcement agencies to obtain information
about bank deposits and financial transactions if a person is suspected of
money-laundering or helping to launder illegally obtained money. -- Penny
Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
MINERS' STRIKE TO GO AHEAD.
The Russian Trade Union of Coal Workers
intends to press ahead with a national one-day strike on 8 February, union
chairman Vitalii Budko told Interfax on 4 February. After a meeting on
coal-industry problems, chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais, Budko said the government had proposed halving the 2.5 trillion rubles
the state owes miners. Budko said this was totally unacceptable and he wants
full payment and a government injection of 10 trillion rubles into the ailing
industry. Miners at Vorkuta, meanwhile, intended to hold a one-day strike on 6
February. They too are demanding payment of wage arears as are miners at
Rostov, who downed tools on 1 February. Some mines belonging to the Chelyabinsk
coal association have introduced coupons of various ruble denominations that
workers can use in enterprise shops and canteens. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI,
ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Some 72.3% of the electorate participated in
elections on 5 February to a new bicameral parliament in Kyrgyzstan, Russian
and Western agencies reported. A total of over 1,000 candidates from 12
political parties were competing for seats in the 35 member legislative
assembly, which will sit full-time, and the 70-member people's assembly, which
will convene twice a year. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev told journalists in
Bishkek on 5 February that the new parliament will be transitional as the
country is only taking its first steps toward democracy. He expressed the hope
that the legislature would nonetheless reflect the whole social spectrum,
Interfax reported. The IMF delegation in Bishkek was waiting for the election
results, before going ahead with loans to the Central Bank. -- Liz Fuller and
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINE AND BELARUS SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Belarus have signed an agreement on military cooperation for 1995, Vo slavu
rodiny reported on 21 January. The accord covers high level exchanges
between military staffs, cooperation in exchanging medicine and medical
technology, consultation on military transport, and meetings of military
delegations on maintaining weaponry and technology at Ukrainian repair plants.
The agreement also calls for exchanging information on national security and
joint research between the two countries' air forces. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
UKRAINE ACCUSES BLACK SEA FLEET.
A temporary parliamentary commission on
the political-legal situation in Crimea has accused the Black Sea Fleet of
selling its assets without taking the upcoming division of the fleet into
account, Interfax reported on 2 February. According to Dmytro Stepanyuk, a
member of the commission, 14 sites belonging to the fleet are being considered
for sale, and 29 sites in Sevastopol and other cities have been rented out. The
money from these deals has allegedly gone into the accounts of several
individuals in the Black Sea Fleet command. However, the command has rejected
the allegations. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PARLIAMENT WARNS WALESA.
The Sejm on 4 February adopted a
resolution saying there are no legal grounds for dissolving the parliament and
warning President Lech Walesa that any dissolution attempt would entail
"constitutional responsibility" (a threat of impeachment). The vote was 376 to
16 with 16 abstentions, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Opposition parties
supported the resolution but also criticized the government for contributing to
the political crisis through inaction and corruption. Presidential legal
adviser Lech Falandysz called the resolution a demonstration of "arrogance,"
while Walesa commented that he "didn't know whether to laugh or cry." The
parliament also completed work on a constitutional amendment that would enable
it to remain in session until new elections in the event of a dissolution
order. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PREMIER UNDER FIRE.
Meanwhile, Waldemar Pawlak's return from the
U.S. on 3 February failed to defuse the crisis. Pawlak was unable to meet with
the president, since Walesa's plane to Gdansk took off two minutes before the
prime minister landed in Warsaw. Pawlak told journalists the same day that he
saw no reason to yield to "actions promoting unrest." Under attack from his
coalition partners in the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), he insisted he had
not proposed Romuald Szeremietiew for the vacant post of defense minister. But
Walesa claimed to have tapes of the conversation proving the opposite. The
premier further alienated the SLD by submitting to the president the names of
two candidates each for the Defense and Foreign Ministries rather than the
single candidates agreed upon with the coalition. Walesa accepted the
nomination of Janusz Ziolkowski (chief of the President's Office) for the
foreign affairs portfolio but rejected both candidates for defense. Pawlak
retaliated by refusing to countersign Ziolkowski's appointment (effectively
blocking it). Many SLD members called for Pawlak's resignation. -- Louisa
Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH COALITION TO REBUILD GOVERNMENT?
Walesa's brinkmanship appears
aimed at securing Pawlak's removal. The president told reporters on 5 February
that he would not oppose the formation of a new government headed by SLD leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski, but he refused to rule out dissolving the parliament.
Kwasniewski said earlier that he was prepared to take over "if such a need
arose." Pawlak reportedly offered Kwasniewski the posts of deputy prime
minister and foreign minister on 4 February, but the SLD dismissed that offer
as insufficient. The Polish Peasant Party (PSL) initially rallied round Pawlak,
but by 5 February there were signs that party support was weakening. Deputy
Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych (PSL) conceded that ministers charged with corruption
would have to leave the cabinet, but he insisted that the PSL still had the
right to name the premier. Gazeta Wyborcza quoted "well-informed
sources" on 6 February as reporting that Walesa was planning to appoint General
Staff chief Gen. Tadeusz Wilecki to head a transitional government until new
elections could be held. Most politicians dismissed this report as "absurd" and
a deliberate leak meant to keep the Sejm intimidated. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI,
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS PARLIAMENT DEBATE OVER NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IS
Leonid Kuchma called the parliament's recent decision to
debate a vote of no confidence in the government as ill-timed "from a political
and economic point of view," Interfax-Ukraine reported on 4 February. At a news
conference in Donetske the previous day, Kuchma said he did not understand the
decision, given that "it is necessary [for parliament] to review the upcoming
bill on the separation of powers, which stipulates that the president appoint
the country's Cabinet of Ministers." Kuchma said if the legislature refuses to
approve his proposed constitutional draft law on the division of powers--which
would significantly expand his executive powers to enable him to implement
badly needed economic reforms--then he would turn to the people by organizing a
poll on constitutional provisions. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN ENTERPRISES INFLATED 1994 PRICES.
Ukraine's Economics Ministry
says more than half the country's businesses and organizations audited by the
state deliberately inflated prices last year, Interfax-Ukraine reports. The
mostly state-owned enterprises exaggerated costs, used the market exchange rate
for the karbovanets instead of the official one, and employed "creative"
accounting and book-keeping methods. Airline companies and enterprises involved
in the sale of oil products, iron and steel production, and chemical
manufacturing earned an additional 536 billion karbovantsi after padding their
prices. The ministry has ordered the firms to pay a total of 1.15 trillion
karbovantsi (about $1 million at the official exchange rate) in penalties. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS PARLIAMENT RESCIND LAW ON PRESIDENCY . . .
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he will take legal action if parliament
refuses to reassess the law, passed on 1 February, laying down the conditions
whereby parliament may remove the president, Reuters reported on 2 February.
Conservative deputy Henadz Kazlau said Lukashenka will probably appeal to the
Constitutional Court to have the law declared illegal. When deputies ignored
his proposals to change the law, Lukashenka walked out of the session. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
. . AND THREATENS TO BLOCK DRAFT LAW ON PARLIAMENT.
quoted Lukashenka on 3 February as saying he would not sign the bill on
parliament, which, he said, would "tip the balance of power in the republic" in
parliament's favor. He will take the issue to the Constitutional Court. The
bill provides for special health care benefits for deputies and gives them
pensions for life worth 50% of their current salary. Lukashenka said the bill
provided "life-time welfare for people's deputies," and he accused them of
being more concerned about their own well-being than implementing the country's
economic reform program. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
ESTONIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS TO CONTINUE IN OFFICE.
Prime Minister Andres
Tarand on 3 February requested that Defense Minister Enn Tupp and ministry
chancellor Tarmo Molder continue in office until the 5 March parliament
elections, BNS reported the next day. Tupp offered his resignation on 31
January after the security police began an investigation, requested by Molder,
into his role in purchases of armored vehicles from Russia in 1991. Tarand said
that if the two officials were unable to settle their conflict peacefully, he
would fire both of them on 28 February. He said his decision was necessary to
avoid major disruptions in the ministry's work. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
DEPORTATION OF REFUGEES FROM LATVIA.
Latvian Interior Minister Janis
Adamsons admitted on 2 February that some of the 149 Kurdish and Afghan
refugees held at an army barracks in Riga have been deported, BNS reported the
next day. The refugees were detained in December in Estonia following an
attempt to reach Sweden on a Latvian boat. Adamsons declined to say how many
refugees were deported but noted he would invite the media to witness the next
deportation. Latvia has discussed moving the remaining refugees to an army
training center outside Riga. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
ISRAELI DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA.
Efraim Zuroff, research coordinator at
Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center, retired judge Aryeh Segalson, and lawyer
Joseph Melamed have completed a week-long examination of Lithuanian archives,
BNS reported on 4 February. They were searching for the names of people who
collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews during World War II
but who, along with thousands of other persons convicted by Soviet courts, have
been unjustly rehabilitated since 1990. President Algirdas Brazauskas, who
plans an official visit to Israel from 28 February-2 March, told the delegation
that information on unjust rehabilitations must be verified and "everything
thoroughly cleared up in order not to leave any white or black spots in our
history." -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH KORUNA TO BECOME CONVERTIBLE SOON?
Czech economics ministers and
the Czech National Bank proposed on 3 February to ease restrictions on the
koruna in a bid to make the currency fully convertible in line with IMF
regulations. Czech firms will be able to buy goods, take out foreign loans, or
issue bonds abroad without limits on changing koruny into hard currency or
needing the CNB's approval, Czech media report. Czech residents will also be
able to invest abroad, but the current limit on buying hard currency will
remain in place for the time being. Until the end of 1994, Czechs could
purchase hard currency worth up to 12,000 koruny a year. This figure was raised
to 100,000 koruny in January, but Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the limit
will eventually be abolished. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH MINISTER ON 1994 ARMS TRADE.
Industry and Trade Minister Vladimir
Dlouhy said on 3 February that the Czech Republic sold arms worth $194.2
million to foreign customers in 1994. Reuters quoted him as saying this was a
16% increase over the previous year. Aircraft accounted for nearly 80% of the
sales, with 23 L-59 jets sold to Egypt and 28 L-39ZA planes to Thailand. Both
are variants of "Albatros" trainer/ground attack jet. Dlouhy said the Czech
Republic imported $43.6 million worth of arms in 1994, virtually the same
amount as the previous year. Aviation-related items accounted for the bulk of
the imports. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
COUPON PRIVATIZATION IN SLOVAKIA TO CONTINUE IN JULY?
ministers and representatives of the National Property Fund and the Supreme
Supervisory Office met in Trencianske Teplice on 4 February to discuss how to
speed up the privatization process. The delegates decided that Slovakia's
second wave of coupon privatization will probably start on 1 July,
Pravda reports on 6 February. The second wave, planned by the previous
government, was scheduled to begin on 15 December. Despite the tremendous
popularity of the program (more than 90% of those eligible registered), it was
delayed by the current government, which claimed the program was ill-prepared.
-- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN HELICOPTERS FLY OVER BOSNIA.
The BBC on 5 February and Nasa
Borba the following day report yet another story suggesting that Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic's break with the Bosnian Serbs is not as complete
as he would have people believe. The accounts quote Dutch UNPROFOR sources as
saying that as many as 20 helicopters flew from Serbia to Bosnian Serb lines
around the besieged Muslim enclave and "safe area" of Srebrenica on 3 February.
Elsewhere, the BBC reported on 6 February that the Bosnian Serbs agreed to a
limited reopening of the Sarajevo airport route. The new rules for use of the
road benefit the Serbs and exclude the commercial traffic that the Bosnian
government had wanted. Relief agencies will benefit most from the new system.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CROATS AND MUSLIMS AGREE TO BINDING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Nasa Borba on 6 February
report that U.S. mediators have succeeded in convincing top-level Croatian,
Bosnian Croat, and Muslim delegations to accept binding arbitration of
disputes. The two sides will have two months to list the problems that have
hamstrung setting up the Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
nine-point plan for arbitration was adopted in conjunction with a major
international gathering of security experts in Munich and a meeting of the
Contact Group. The Croats and Muslims agreed to a federation in Washington
almost a year ago, but it has proven difficult to put this arrangement into
practice. EU-appointed chief administrator of Mostar Hans Koschnik sounded the
alarm last month by making it clear that the Herzegovinian Croats, in
particular, will have to become more cooperative or he will be forced to give
up his mandate. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BOSNIA AND RUSSIA AGREE TO CLOSER TIES.
Nasa Borba reports on 6
February that Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic and Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev held a joint press conference the previous day in
Moscow. The two countries agreed to exchange diplomatic representatives and to
take further steps toward establishing full relations. Kozyrev said that
Russia, which is a member of the Contact Group, supports the territorial
integrity of all former Yugoslav republics and urges the Bosnian Serbs to
accept the Contact Group's peace plan. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CONTINUED LOGJAM IN CROATIAN-SERBIAN RELATIONS?
Croatian and Serbian
dailies on 4 February discussed extensively relations between the two peoples.
Attention centered on the international Z-4 group's plan for the Serb-occupied
territories of Croatia. The project would make the Knin and Glina areas part of
Croatia in name but largely self-governing in practice. Western Slavonia would
revert to Croatian government control, but occupied Srem would be placed under
temporary international administration. The plan sounds too much like the
partition or federalization of Croatia to be acceptable to Zagreb, while for
most Serbs it does not go far enough toward ensuring their independence. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
EMBARGO ON RUMP YUGOSLAVIA VIOLATED BY BULGARIAN "PHANTOM" COMPANIES.
The UN embargo on rump Yugoslavia is being violated by Bulgarian companies with
falsified registration documents, Demokratsiya reported on 4 February.
The "phantom" companies are engaged mainly in large-scale fuel smuggling. The
Bulgarian authorities began investigating the matter last year, but so far no
company has been taken to court, owing to a lack of evidence. Deputy Director
of the National Investigation Service Vladimir Stoykov said in an interview
with Demokratsiya on 6 February that 37 cases involving 12 companies are
being examined. Meanwhile, 168 chasa reported on 6 February that two
Bulgarians who were arrested for trying to smuggle 5,000 tons of gasoline into
Serbia are now living in Belgrade. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIAN GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO HARASS NASA BORBA.
independent daily Nasa Borba on 6 February reports that its employees
are in effect being "thrown out of their offices." The staff has been deprived
of such vital materials as fax services, telephone connections, and direct
links to AFP and Reuters. Nasa Borba reincorporated itself in January
after the government appropriated the name and masthead of Borba. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS DISCUSS JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES.
Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti and his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe
Tinca, met on 4-5 February in Debrecen to discuss, among other things, plans
for joint military exercises drawn up in 1994. The meeting was described as
"unofficial." The two ministers decided to continue talks in Bucharest within
two weeks at "expert level" to clarify "technical aspects" of their armed
forces' presence on each other's territory. It was also agreed to host an
international seminar on the implementation of the "Open Skies" agreement
within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. Tinca told Radio
Bucharest he was pleased to see that the Hungarians were as willing to
collaborate and establish "good relations between the two armies and countries"
as were the Romanians. Keleti said the signing of a basic bilateral treaty was
closer now than ever and that the two countries' exemplary military relations
helped prepare the ground for it, MTI reports. -- Michael Shafir and Edith
Oltay, OMRI, Inc.
DNIESTER REPUBLIC REJECTS MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT.
quoting Radio Moldova, reported on 4 February that the authorities of the
self-styled Dniester Republic have prohibited the withdrawal of the Russian
14th Army's assets, claiming they are the Dniester Republic's property. Both
Radio Moldova and ITAR-TASS reported that Tiraspol is trying to prevent the
implementation of the protocols signed in Chisinau on 2 February detailing the
withdrawal of the 14th Army (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 February 1995).
Those protocols complete the framework of the bilateral agreement concluded on
21 October 1994. ITAR-TASS quoted Vladimir Kitayev, head of the Russian
delegation to the talks, as saying in Chisinau on 3 February that the 14th Army
would take some assets when it withdraws, while the remaining weapons and
ammunition would be sold or destroyed on the spot. Dniester leader Igor Smirnov
issued an order the same day "categorically prohibiting the removal from the
republic's territory of any assets belonging to the 14th Army." Those assets
were declared "property of the Dniester Republic." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER CHARGED WITH ARMS SMUGGLING.
Deputies from the
opposition party Aleanca Demokratike have charged Zafet Zhulali with
involvement in arms smuggling to the former Yugoslavia, Koha Jone
reported on 4 February. Deputy Perikli Teta and Aleanca Demokratike
secretary-general Arben Imami have claimed that in at least one case,
weapons were sent to Montenegro, suggesting they were destined for Bosnian
Serbs. In another case, weapons allegedly were brought to Croatia on board the
Vela Luka, which was loaded in Durres but arrived empty in Slovenia.
Documents submitted to the press by Teta and Imami show that from April 1992 to
February 1993, eight cargoes were sent to Slovenia but do not appear in
Slovenian customs records. Another document, reportedly signed by Zhulali,
authorized the Albanian company Mjekes to export mortars to Croatia. Zhulali,
in an interview with Rilindja Demokratike on 4 February, described the
charges as irresponsible. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan