OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 136, 14 July 1995
RUSSIA SKEPTICAL OF UN RESOLUTION ON SREBRENICA.
Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin criticized a French proposal to retake the
Muslim enclave of Srebrenica from Bosnian Serb forces, Western and Russian
agencies reported on 13 July. Karasin told journalists that "UN forces cannot
and should not undertake actions which would drag them into the conflict."
Karasin reiterated Moscow's stance that the only way to resolve the Bosnian
conflict is through negotiations, and he repeated Russian objections to the use
of NATO airpower. A high-ranking Russian diplomat later told Interfax that a UN
Security Council resolution calling for the restoration of the Srebrenica "safe
haven" would likely prove "ineffective," because it would require the use of
force to reopen a corridor to the town. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS STALL.
Talks between Russian and Chechen negotiators
were adjourned on 13 July, so that the Chechen delegation could consult with
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Russian Television reported. Although the
talks have reportedly made progress, the issue of Chechnya's status remains
unresolved. Chechen negotiators continue to insist on the recognition of
Chechnya's independence, while their Russian counterparts contend that the
issue should be resolved only after the election of a new Chechen government.
The deadlock threatens to scuttle the talks. Russian Interior Minister General
Anatolii Kulikov, a member of the Russian negotiating team, told journalists
that if the Chechen delegation returns from these consultations without a
positive response to the Russian proposals, then the operations to disarm the
"illegal armed formations" of Chechen fighters will resume. -- Scott Parrish,
KOVALEV TESTIFIES IN CHECHNYA CASE.
Outspoken human rights advocate and
Chechen war critic Sergei Kovalev testified before the Constitutional Court on
13 July, Russian media reported. Kovalev argued that the November and December
1994 decrees authorizing the military campaign in Chechnya led to thousands of
deaths and clear violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, which the
constitution does not permit even under a state of emergency. Deputy Prime
Minister Sergei Shakhrai, who is representing the president and government in
the case, noted a certain irony in Kovalev's court appearance in that members
of the parliament's legal team, including Communist deputy Anatolii Lukyanov,
called Kovalev as an expert witness despite voting to remove him from the post
of Duma human rights commissioner in March as a result of his controversial
statements on Chechnya, Ekho Moskvy reported. Testimony in the case will resume
on 17 July. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
OGONEK: POTENTIAL FOR VOTING FRAUD HIGH.
commissions charged with running the upcoming Duma elections will be controlled
by the local executive branches, according to Aleksandr Sobyanin, an expert at
the Russian "Politics" Foundation, in an interview with Ogonek no. 28
(July 1995). Sobyanin contends that the local executives record election
returns with a pencil and erase any undesirable figures when the precinct
reports are tabulated. No fixing is done at the polling stations since there
are usually observers present. He claims that the Central Electoral Commission
is also in effect controlled by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, even though
the Duma and Federation Council are represented on it. Sobyanin, a former
member of this commission, said that it only rubber stamps the results it
receives and does not actually check the precinct reports. -- Robert Orttung,
DUMA BEGINS HEARINGS ON START II TREATY.
The Duma has begun closed
hearings on the ratification of the START II treaty, Segodnya reported
on 13 July. According to Aleksandr Piskunov, deputy chairman of the Duma's
Defense Committee, the hearings have so far generated support for the treaty,
provided certain conditions are met, such as the unconditional implementation
of the 1972 ABM treaty. Piskunov also noted that economic considerations will
make it difficult to implement the reductions envisioned in the treaty within
the specified ten-year time frame, although he added that further reductions in
nuclear forces "are already necessary." He questioned President Yeltsin's
judgment in submitting the treaty for ratification only shortly before the
December parliamentary elections, expressing concern that the treaty could
become a "token" in the "political struggle." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA MAY DUMP MORE NUCLEAR WASTE AT SEA.
Yevgenii Stomatyuk, chairman
of the Primorsk Krai administration's natural resources committee, said on 13
July that Russia might be forced to renew dumping of nuclear waste into the Sea
of Japan unless storage facilities are soon built, Russian and Western agencies
reported. He said Russian tankers are full of waste and Russia lacks the means
to dispose of the liquid. He added that a dispute between the Nuclear Power
Ministry and the krai administration was holding up construction of the storage
tanks. Last year, Japan and other Asian countries protested after nuclear
submarines from the Pacific Fleet dumped over 200,000 gallons of radioactive
waste into the Sea of Japan. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA PASSES LAW ON SUPPORT FOR LOCAL PRESS.
The Duma passed a draft law
allocating 280 billion rubles ($62 million) from the federal budget to regional
and city newspapers, Russian TV and Russian Public Television reported on 13
July. The law was adopted on all three readings in one session, with 243
deputies voting in favor and none voting against. Duma Press and Information
Committee Chairman Mikhail Poltoranin said the law would benefit small
newspapers that currently are almost completely controlled by local
administrations. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
ZORIN LIKELY TO BE NEW DIRECTOR OF FSB.
The most likely candidate to
replace Sergei Stepashin as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) is
Viktor Zorin, the FSB's current head of counterintelligence, Ekho Moskvy
reported on 13 July. If he is appointed, there is likely to be little
reorganization of the service. The appointment is expected next week.
Stepashin's deputy, Anatolii Safonov, is currently the acting director. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT CRISIS GROWING IN CHUVASHIYA.
Conflict between Chuvash
President Nikolai Fedorov and the Chuvash State Soviet is growing following the
Constitutional Court's 10 July decision to strike down the region's electoral
law, Russian media reported on 13 July. The court ruled that the constitution
requires at least a 25% turnout for any elections in the Russian Federation. In
November 1994, under an amended electoral law, 14 deputies (out of 47 total)
were elected to the State Soviet despite turnout in their districts below 25%,
Russian TV reported. Fedorov, who has long been at odds with the anti-reformist
majority in the soviet, announced that the ruling gave him the right to
dissolve the soviet, Segodnya reported. However, the court's decision,
published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 13 July, states that the ruling does
not affect the legitimacy of the Chuvash State Soviet or the authority of 33
deputies who were elected with sufficient voter turnout. Segodnya noted
that Fedorov, who served as Russian justice minister from 1990 to 1993, surely
understood the ruling but was dissatisfied because the 33 deputies remaining in
the soviet will still be able to override his vetoes. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
DUMA ADOPTS NEW PROCEDURE FOR CONSIDERING BUDGET.
The parliament's lower
house has adopted a law on the procedure for considering the 1996 budget,
Rossiiskie vesti reported on 14 July. The new law calls for three
readings of the draft, instead of the previous four. The government's draft
must be submitted to the Duma by 1 August, along with a preliminary report on
the socioeconomic situation during the current year and a forecast for
developments in 1996. The Central Bank must submit a draft of monetary and
credit policy for 1996 by 15 September, and the draft budget must receive its
first reading by 10 October. Within one month after the Law on the 1996 Federal
Budget is adopted by the Duma, the government must submit to the parliament a
draft of anticipated quarterly income and expense distribution. The government
is also required to give monthly briefings and submit comprehensive quarterly
progress reports to the Duma. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA BOOSTS SOCIAL SPENDING.
The Duma passed a number of laws on 12 July
increasing social spending, Segodnya reported the following day. A new
version of the Law on the Subsistence Minimum was approved, which provides for
all families with a joint income below the poverty line to claim benefits. (An
earlier draft was rejected by the Federation Council.) The legislation will
cost an estimated 14.2 trillion rubles in spring 1995 prices. The deputies also
passed amendments to the Law on Employment in the second and third readings and
amendments to legislation on protection for citizens affected by radiation from
Chernobyl. The latter stipulates continued support for those involved in the
clean-up operation and those living in contaminated areas but annuls foreign
trade privileges for funds and organizations set up following the disaster. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT COMMISSION DEBATES WAGE ARREARS.
At a session of the
government commission on payments problems, the Labor Ministry said wage
arrears totaled 6 trillion rubles by 1 July, Segodnya reported on 13
July. The problem is mainly attributable to interenterprise debt, but the state
also owes 1 trillion in delayed wages to the defense industry, agro-industrial
sector, and mining industry, according to the paper. Finance Minister Vladimir
Panskov said the situation has been exacerbated by the fact that defense
enterprises are producing more goods than the government has ordered and that
the "power" ministries have given their personnel pay increases not envisaged
in the budget. Segodnya also noted that the Defense Ministry is
financing the Chechen war at the expense of defense procurement, capital
construction, and research and development. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN TRADE TURNOVER UP.
Russia's foreign trade turnover equaled $59.9
billion (exports--$35.6 billion; imports--$24.3 billion) during the first half
of 1995, which is a 19% increase compared with the same period last year,
Segodnya reported on 13 July. Of the $59.9 billion, $46.7 billion
involved trade with countries other than former Soviet republics and $13.2
billion trade with CIS states. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN FIRMS MUST REPORT INCOME.
A new Russian tax law requires foreign
corporations to indicate to the State Tax Service income sources, Segodnya
reported on 13 July. The corporations will also be required to open
accounts in Russian banks in order to pay the taxes. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
RETAIL PRICES RISE IN SECOND QUARTER.
Russian retail prices rose by an
average of 25% (8.5% in April; 7.9% in May; 6.7% in June) during the second
quarter of 1995, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 14 July, citing
Goskomstat. During the first half of 1995, retail prices increased by an
average of 78%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 136, 14 July 1995
DEMONSTRATIONS IN TURKMENISTAN.
An unprecedented protest march took
place on 12 July in Turkmenistan. An estimated 1,000 protesters, mainly ethnic
Turkmen, marched in Ashgabat calling for new presidential and parliamentary
elections, Izvestiya reported the next day. The demonstrators
distributed leaflets calling on local ethnic Russians to pay no heed to
possible rumors that the march was directed against the "Russian speaking part
of our country." Calling on them to "be on our side," the protesters appealed
to local Russians to stop being patient with the "lies and promises" of
Turkmenistan's president, Saparmurad Niyazov. On 13 July Reuters reported that
hundreds of police and security officers trailed the estimated one-hour-long
march. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Turkmen Service, police
arrested some protesters; how many is unclear, however. -- Lowell Bezanis,
SENTENCES HANDED DOWN IN INTEFER CASE.
The Tajik Supreme Court returned
death sentences for three men involved in the assassination of businessmen
Vladimir Nirman, Russian Television reported on 13 July. The case was widely
publicized in Tajikistan because Nirman was head of the Interfer Tajik-American
joint venture. Investigators determined that Nirman was killed for around
$3,000. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
SINKIANG DELEGATION IN BISHKEK.
On 13 July an official delegation from
Sinkiang arrived in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported the same day. It
reached an agreement with Kyrgyz authorities under which Kyrgyzstan will supply
the autonomous region with electricity in exchange for petroleum. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 136, 14 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
SEWAGE SPILL THREATENS WATER SUPPLY IN EASTERN UKRAINE.
agencies reported on 14 July that Ukrainian authorities are encouraging
residents of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, to leave the city until supplies of
fresh drinking water are restored. The breakdown of the city's sewage treatment
system ten days ago has caused a massive spill of raw sewage into the
Siverskodonetsk River, the main source of fresh water. Virtually all commerce
has stopped since fresh water supplies were limited to two hours a day. Only
bakeries, hospitals, and power stations have continued operating. Repairs to
the sewage plant are under way, but some 200,000 cubic meters of sewage have
continued to pour daily into the river. The pollution threatens the densely
populated industrial regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk, where some 10
million people live. Sewage has reached the Donetsk region and is expected to
reach Luhansk in the next few days. From there, it may cross into Russia,
potentially threatening the Don River, of which the Siverskodonetsk is a
tributary, AFP reported. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN LOCAL COUNCILS' TERM EXTENDED.
The Belarusian Constitutional
Court, at the request of parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb, has prolonged
the current local councils' term until the first session of the newly elected
Council of Deputies, Belarusian TV reported on 12 July. Hryb also requested
that the court confirm the new parliament as the legitimate legislature in the
country, but the court rejected this appeal. In elections earlier this year,
Belarusians failed to elect enough deputies to form a new parliament because of
low voter turnout. The old parliament's term has now expired, and there is no
new legislature to replace it. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
MAJORITY OF NON-CITIZENS APPLY FOR ESTONIAN RESIDENCY.
BNS on 13 July
reported that preliminary data shows some 324,000 non-citizens have applied for
residence and work permits in Estonia. The deadline for applications was 12
July. In all, there are around 380,000 non-citizens living in Estonia. The
preliminary figure means more than 80% have applied for legal status to remain.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
DIPHTHERIA IN LATVIA.
In the first six months of 1995, 213 cases of
diphtheria were reported in Latvia, resulting in 15 deaths, BNS reported on 13
July. The preceding year, 250 cases and 24 deaths were registered for the year
as whole. The 1995 figures mean there are 8.4 cases of the disease per 100,000;
thus, the country is considered to have an epidemic on its hands. A vaccination
campaign has started, since most of the population has not been immunized
against diphtheria. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH PREMIER, PRESIDENT DISCUSS PRIVATIZATION BILL.
Oleksy on 13 July failed to persuade Polish President Lech Walesa not to veto
the privatization and commercialization bill, Polish media reported on 14 July.
Commercialization entails turning state-owned enterprises into joint-stock
companies governed by commercial law but still retained by the State Treasury.
The 30 June bill provides for the privatization of the most important branches
of industry to take place under parliamentary control. The ruling coalition is
close to achieving the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN FRANCE.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, on an
official visit to France, met on 13 July with French European Affairs Minister
Michel Barnier. According to Bartoszewski, Barnier "stated very clearly that he
approves of the progress our country is making toward European Union
membership," Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
CZECH ATTITUDES TOWARD GERMANY.
According to a public opinion poll
published by Mlada fronta dnes on 14 July, 51% of Czechs trust Germany,
while 47% distrust the country. (In comparison, 75% of Czechs trust the U.S.)
Only 48% of respondents agreed with the statement "Germany is a fully
democratic country where a renewal of Nazism is out of the question," while 46%
disagreed. Even so, 83% of respondents consider Czech-German relations good.
With regard to the Sudeten Germans, who were expelled from Czech territory
after World War II, 80% of Czechs believe that they are mainly concerned about
the return of confiscated property. 37% said the Sudeten Germans want to divide
the Czech Republic and annex border territory. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REMOVES ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL POWER . . .
parliament on 13 July voted in favor of amending the law on the army to
transfer the power to appoint the chief of staff from the president to the
government, Pravda and Reuters reported. The parliament passed the
amendment in June, but President Michal Kovac sent it back to the parliament
for further discussion, where it required only a simple majority to be passed
again. Before the 13 July vote, the coalition refused to allow Kovac's chief of
staff, Jan Findra, to explain the president's reasons for vetoing the
amendment. Opposition Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss said
this refusal showed a "deep lack of political culture." Kovac has been
embroiled in a feud with Premier Vladimir Meciar. Earlier this year, the
parliament removed the president's power to appoint the Slovak Information
Service chief and passed a non-binding no-confidence vote in Kovac. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND PASSES MORE ECONOMIC LEGISLATION.
Also on 13 July, the
parliament approved a law on the protection of state privatization interests,
which includes a list of strategic firms to be excluded from privatization. The
parliament also passed two amendments to laws on securities and investment
firms and funds. In a press conferences on 13 July, the Democratic Union and
the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) expressed sharp criticism to the
amendment canceling the second wave of coupon privatization (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 13 July 1995). DU Deputy Chairman Roman Kovac warned that the
amendment will cause a deceleration of, if not a complete halt to, the economic
transformation process. KDH Deputy Chairman Mikulas Dzurinda called the
amendment "unconstitutional and needlessly confusing. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
SLOVAK TRADE UNIONS CALL FOR PUBLIC PROTEST.
In an open letter dated 13
July, Slovak Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ) President Alojz Englis called
on all trade unions to organize public discussions and support rallies during
July and August, Sme reports. According to Englis, the government failed
to accept requests from the KOZ not to increase public transportation fees on 1
July without adequate compensation for the socially disadvantaged. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
FAR LEFT HUNGARIAN PARTY WANTS REFERENDUM ON NATO MEMBERSHIP.
Thurmer, leader of Hungary's extraparliamentary Labor Party, said on 13 July
that his party will urge a referendum on whether Hungary should join NATO. He
maintained that the people rather than politicians should decide the issue and
that the decision should be made before Hungary and NATO reach an agreement on
admission. "Hungarians are concerned about this problem and the majority have
sufficient information about the advantages and disadvantages of NATO
membership to be able to decide," he noted. Thurmer also said he was aware that
the government wanted a referendum on joining NATO when talks on conditions for
admission had been completed, but Thurmer argued that was leaving it too late.
-- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 136, 14 July 1995
"BIGGEST `ETHNIC CLEANSING' YET IN THE BOSNIAN CONFLICT."
This is how
the VOA on 13 July described the expulsion of some 30,000 mainly Muslim
refugees from the Dutch base at Potocari, north of Srebrenica, to Bosnian
government lines and ultimately to makeshift camps in Tuzla. Only some 400
refugees remain at Potocari, from where the Serbs have taken 55 Dutch
peacekeepers hostage. It is unclear where the Serbs got the vehicles and the
fuel to mount such a huge and obviously well-planned operation. Familiar
patterns of systematic Serbian behavior have emerged once again: terrified
civilians dumped on the edge of a heavily-mined no-man's land that had to be
crossed in darkness; military-age men carted off in another direction for
"screening"; young women abducted and not heard from again; and robberies,
abuses, and rapes reported. One UN spokesman said "there is no justification in
the world" for the Serbs' actions. Another told Reuters that "the scale of the
operation has been flabbergasting." AFP quoted Bosnian Serb commander General
Ratko Mladic as saying that "all the civilians who expressed the desire to
leave the enclave were evacuated this afternoon." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
SILAJDZIC SAYS SERBS "POISED FOR THE KILL" AROUND ZEPA.
The BBC on 14
July said that Bosnia's prime minister believes that the UN-declared "safe
area" at Zepa is next on the Serbs' list as they seek to eliminate
government-held pockets and free up their scarce manpower for use elsewhere.
Berlin's Tageszeitung the previous day reported that the remote area
consists of the villages of Luka, Slap, and Zepa and is of no strategic value.
Some 15-20,000 mainly Muslim refugees are gathered in the valley by Mt. Zlovrh.
AFP quoted Bosnian Serb authorities as claiming that "representatives" from
Zepa and the "safe area" of Gorazde are ready to recognize Pale's authority.
Bosnian Serb officials said that "all the inhabitants of the two enclaves who
wish to will be transferred in total security to the limits of Serbian
control." Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic added that he hopes to conquer
Bihac, Tuzla, and Sarajevo as well. The International Herald Tribune
noted on 14 July that the Serbs have told Zepa's 79 Ukrainian peacekeepers to
leave. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
CONFUSION IN THE WHITE HOUSE . . .
Karadzic called for a new
international peace conference to "ratify" his forces' control of 70% of
Bosnia's territory, AFP reported on 13 July. The VOA and the French news agency
said that U.S. President Bill Clinton dubbed the fall of Srebrenica "a serious
challenge to the UN mission," adding that "unless we can restore the integrity
of the UN mission, obviously its days would be numbered." He agreed in
telephone conversations with his French counterpart Jacques Chirac and German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl that one should "reinforce the UN mission" and that the
allies should have a common policy, but he did not spell out what that policy
is. Clinton added that the arms embargo against the Bosnian government could be
lifted only in concert with the allies and if the UN mission collapsed.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali has dispatched mediator
Thorvald Stoltenberg to the region. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
. . . WHILE FRANCE DEMANDS ACTION.
But Paris seems intent on showing
that its calls for a tough response to the Serbs are more than just posturing.
AFP on 14 July reports that France wants an immediate reply from its Western
allies on its call for military intervention to defend the UN "safe areas" from
the Serbs. "The situation cannot wait," Defense Minister Charles Millon told
the radio station France Inter. "If in 48 hours we do not have a response on
the part of the Western powers, France will have to draw the conclusions."
Millon did not specify what measures he has in mind but said the French
contribution to the Rapid Reaction Force is ready to act. -- Patrick Moore,
AND THE LESSONS FROM IT ALL?
International media continued to discuss
the significance of the fall of Srebrenica, and virtually all agreed it was a
watershed. Some commentators wrote that UNPROFOR must remain because its key
task is to ensure the delivery of relief shipments. Some questioned whether
this point is valid, since the Serbs block most convoys and value the soldiers
chiefly as hostages. Other observers noted that UNPROFOR may have to stay,
since any withdrawal could be fraught with dangers. The VOA on 13 July quoted
one top U.S. diplomat as calling the fall of Srebrenica the greatest Western
collective failure since the 1930s. One commentator added that all diplomatic
efforts in Bosnia to date have lacked a serious threat of force and that force
"is the only language" the Serbian leaderships in Belgrade and Pale seem to
understand. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
KONTIC CALLS FOR "FAIR SOLUTION."
Rump Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje
Kontic has called for "the immediate cessation of all military operations and
direct talks between the warring parties (in Bosnia) on the basis of the
`Contact Group' peace plan," international agencies reported. Kontic did not
mention the capture of Srebrenica but added he opposed "military pressure or
war by anyone." He also said he was opposed to bringing in external military
factors or to a retreat of UNPROFOR or a modification of their mandate. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK VOLUNTEERS FOUGHT ALONGSIDE BOSNIAN SERBS.
AFP on 13 July reported
that a dozen Greek volunteers fought along Bosnian Serbs who captured
Srebrenica. According to a report in the Greek daily Ethnos, they raised
the Greek flag over the town's destroyed Orthodox church. Since the start of
the war, about 100 Greeks have fought in a "guard of volunteers" based in
Vlasenica, in central Bosnia. They were recruited in Belgrade, and liaison
offices have been set up in Athens and Thessaloniki. A student working in one
of the offices said he received may calls from "patriotic" candidates and
claimed to have fought himself in Bosnia for six months. He added the Greek
authorities "never caused any problems" and that the Greek intelligence service
was in touch with the volunteers. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY DEMANDS, RELATED ISSUES.
Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu on 12 July said President Ion Iliescu
"appreciates" the Romanian-ethnic parliamentary parties unanimous rejection of
the "unjustified and exaggerated demands" of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR), Radio Bucharest reported. With regard to the
appeal addressed to Iliescu by Gheorghe Funar, leader of the Party of Romanian
National Unity (PUNR) (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 July 1995), Chebeleu
said in the future, Iliescu will "ignore the personal opinions" of the PUNR
leader and take into consideration only the collective views of his party's
Standing Bureau. In a message to graduates of the National Defense College,
Iliescu said the same day that Europe was "still menaced" by the revival of
"ultranationalist, xenophobic, [and] separatist" views that "feed some
revisionist and irredentist-linked autonomous tendencies." -- Michael Shafir,
ROMANIA'S FIRST NUCLEAR REACTOR TO BEGIN OPERATING BY YEAR'S END.
official at the Cernavoda nuclear power station said Romania's first nuclear
facility will be in service by the end of the year, Reuters reported on 13
July. Carmen Stancu, spokeswoman for the station on the Danube, said the
nuclear reactor's primary circuit will be loaded with heavy water this week and
the generator will be connected to the national grid by year's end. The plant
was loaded with uranium last month. The Vienna-based International Atomic
Energy Agency monitored that operation. Cernavoda was begun more than 15 years
ago. Work was interrupted in 1990 when a survey revealed that almost 40% of the
welding was faulty. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN MILITARY HOT LINE?
Radio Bucharest on 13 July
reported that Romanian Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Dumitru Cioflina and Hungarian
Minister of Defense Gyorgy Keleti have agreed to set up a hot line between the
countries' defense ministries. The line should begin functioning this autumn
and will be installed with U.S. help. Romanian TV, however, reported only that
"the possibility" of installing such a link has been discussed. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LOCAL ELECTION LAW.
The National Assembly on
13 July passed the law on local elections on its second reading,
Demokratsiya reported the following day. Under the new legislation, the
three mayoral candidates who receive the most votes in the first round of
elections take part in the second. The opposition objected to this provision,
saying it favors the governing Bulgarian Socialist Party. Opposition deputies
demanded that either the two best-placed candidates or all candidates who gain
a certain percentage go on to the second round. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTS SECURITY CONCEPT.
RFE/RL on 13 July reported
that the Bulgarian government has adopted a national security concept that
provides for the eventual drafting of a national military and foreign relations
doctrine. Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov said the document called for civilian
control over the country's defense system. Bulgaria will strive to be a factor
of peace and stability in the region, he added. The security concept will be
submitted to the parliament, which will decide whether to adopt it as law or
consider it as offering guidelines. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK EXTREMISTS CHARGED WITH MURDER OF ALBANIAN SOLDIERS.
Greek army officer and a former Greek police officer on 13 July were charged
with the murder of two Albanian soldiers during a cross-border raid in April
1994, Reuters reported the same day. The extreme-right Northern Epirus
Liberation Front (MAVI) claimed responsibility for the attack on an Albanian
army camp in Peshkepi, where 15 Kalashnikov rifles were stolen. The weapons
were found in a crackdown on MAVI members last March, which led to the arrest
of eight men who were charged with illegal possession of firearms. New evidence
led Prosecutor Apostolos Papatheodorou to charge the two former officers with
murder. Under Greek law, the six other men cannot be charged in Greece with
murders committed on Albanian soil, since they are Albanian citizens. Instead,
they have been charged with endangering Greek relations with a neighboring
country and risking war. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK-ALBANIAN COMMISSION MEET IN TIRANA.
The joint Greek-Albanian
commission met in Tirana on 13 July, Lajmi i Dites reported the same
day. Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Arian Starova and Greek Secretary-General
in the Foreign Ministry Konstantinos Georgiou discussed juridical and
diplomatic questions as well as border and defense relations. The talks also
focused on work migration, education, and cultural and economic cooperation. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave