OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 143, 25 July 1995
YELTSIN LEAVES HOSPITAL.
President Boris Yeltsin checked out of the
hospital on 24 July and went to the Barvikha sanitarium in the Moscow suburbs,
Presidential Press Secretary Sergei Medvedev announced to the Russian media.
Staying at the health complex will prevent Yeltsin from returning to his normal
routine, since he usually works in the Kremlin or at his home outside Moscow.
Yeltsin entered the hospital on 11 July, complaining of chest pains. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
BARSUKOV TO HEAD FSB AFTER ALL.
After his press secretary denied earlier
rumors about the appointment, Yeltsin named Col. Gen. Mikhail Barsukov to the
post of Federal Security Service (FSB) director on 24 July, Russian and Western
media reported. Until now, Barsukov has been in charge of Kremlin security and
is a close friend of the head of the presidential security service, Aleksandr
Korzhakov. Izvestiya viewed the appointment negatively, reporting that
Barsukov's main qualifications are his participation in Yeltsin's fishing and
hunting trips. Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin, a Communist
deputy, said Barsukov was appointed more for his loyalty to Yeltsin than for
his professional ability and that the appointment would lead to more political
surveillance, AFP reported. Barsukov is widely viewed as an FSB outsider.
Yeltsin also named Viktor Zorin, the former head of the FSB's
counter-intelligence department who has more than 30 years experience in the
security services, as first deputy director of the FSB. -- Robert Orttung,
PRIMORSK LEADERS DENOUNCE ARREST OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN VLADIVOSTOK.
The Primorsk Krai Duma and administration, including Governor Yevgenii
Nazdratenko, denounced the 20 July arrest of Primorsk tax police chief
Aleksandr Bondarenko, whom they called an "honest and professional officer,"
Radio Rossii and ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. Bondarenko was the fifth person
arrested in connection with the March 1994 ouster of Viktor Cherepkov, the
first democratically elected mayor in Vladivostok. Cherepkov was removed from
office on corruption charges, but the charges were dropped after the Procurator
General's Office determined that the case against Cherepkov had been falsified.
Cherepkov has not been reinstated as mayor. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
WOMEN END WAGE-PAYMENT PROTEST IN BURYATIYA.
A group of women who were
blocking railways in Buryatiya since 17 July to demand that their husbands be
paid millions of rubles in unpaid wages have ended their protest, ITAR-TASS
reported on 24 July. The men worked for the joint-stock company "Cheltailes."
The company director, Yurii Moshkin, said the women agreed with the state
procurator that their protest was unlawful. He added that the enterprise would
begin paying out the 150 million rubles ($33,000) it owes to employees on 25
July. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
FAR EASTERN MILITARY SHIPYARD WORKERS GET SOME BACK PAY.
workers in Vladivostok defense plants received their March 1995 pay several
weeks after their families demonstrated, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. The
protest took place on 13 July, and the agency reported that after a "brief
pause" the Defense Ministry transferred 9 billion rubles to pay the workers'
salaries. It quoted local trade union officials as saying that was not enough.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GROZNY NEGOTIATIONS STALL.
Talks between Russian and Chechen negotiators
adjourned again on the evening of 24 July without agreement, Western and
Russian agencies reported. Members of both delegations confirmed that the issue
of Chechnya's status continues to hinder the signing of a political agreement.
The military protocol signed on 23 June cannot be fully implemented until the
political agreement has been concluded. Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav
Mikhailov, Russia's lead negotiator, said the Russian position remains
unchanged: Chechnya must remain in the Russian Federation although the
"details" of its status can be discussed. He admitted, however, that the
Chechen delegation continues to reject this formulation. Chechen head delegate
Usman Imaev said the talks were "difficult," but he reiterated that both
delegations "remain firmly committed to successfully concluding the talks." He
added that he "would not attempt to guess when they will be finished."
Negotiations are scheduled to resume on 25 July. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
UNUSUALLY HIGH OFFICER CASUALTY RATES IN CHECHNYA.
Officers serving in
Chechnya suffered an unprecedented casualty rate, NTV reported on 23 July.
Quoting General Staff sources, the station reported that 20% of those killed
were officers, while an Airborne Troops officer said that 128 of the 300
paratroopers lost in the fighting were officers. The report said that the ratio
of officers killed to those wounded was 1:2; the historical ratio is 1:3. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
TELEPHONE BOMB THREAT TARGETS VNUKOVO.
A bomb threat at Vnukovo
International Airport caused the temporary evacuation of employees and
passengers on 24 July, ITAR-TASS reported on the same day. An unidentified
person had dialed the emergency line "02" and claimed a bomb was in the
airport, but nothing was found. Located south of Moscow, the airport is used
mostly for flights within the former Soviet Union, including to Chechnya.
Police fear that Chechen terrorists were behind the threat, according to
Western agencies. It was the fourth such threat at Vnukovo in the past month.
-- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
REFUGEE STATUS REVIEWED IN COURT.
In an unprecedented case, the St.
Petersburg court is examining complaints filed by foreign citizens who have
been denied refugee status, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. There are about 30
analogous legal complaints in the city, most filed by Afghans. Almost 140
Afghans are seeking refugee status in Russia, NTV reported on 17 July. The
Migration Service of St. Petersburg told ITAR-TASS that it has refused refugee
status to 90 people since the beginning of the year. Most are unable to find
work because they lack the proper documents and face a language barrier; they
are believed to be earning their livelihood through informal trade or low-paid
construction work. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN SCRAPS OBSOLETE MILITARY DECREES.
President Yeltsin signed a
decree that invalidates a number of Soviet-era decrees on the military,
ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. Those included a February 1991 presidential
decree on military councils in the armed forces, a June 1991 presidential
decree on appointing and dismissing military leaders, and a November 1991
decree establishing a "strategic containment force" with the Soviet armed
forces. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
KOKOSHIN CALLS FOR LARGER MILITARY BUDGET.
First Deputy Defense Minister
Andrei Kokoshin called for greater military spending in 1996, telling a defense
industry management group on 24 July that the defense budget should be "at
least proportional to the growth of the GDP," ITAR-TASS reported. Kokoshin, the
highest ranking civilian in the Defense Ministry, said extra funds should be
spent on higher quality training and updating equipment. He also said that it
is vitally important to provide the military with the money allocated to it in
this year's budget. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GRACHEV WELCOME IN BAVARIA THIS TIME.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev has been invited to participate in a seminar on the role of the armed
forces in a democracy, a spokesman for the German Defense Ministry told
ITAR-TASS on 24 July. The seminar will take place in Ebenhausen, just outside
Munich, and the German delegation will be headed by Defense Minister Volker
Ruehe. In January of this year, Ruehe had made it clear that Grachev would not
be welcome at a February conference on European defense held in Munich after
the Russian general called Human Rights Commissioner Sergei Kovalev a traitor
and branded Duma Defense Committee Chairman Sergei Yushenkov a "vile toad." --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSO-FINNISH TRADE TALKS IN MOSCOW.
Finnish Prime Minister Paavo
Lipponen discussed bilateral trade and debt issues with his Russian
counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Foreign Trade Oleg Davydov on 24 July, Western and Russian agencies reported.
Among the issues addressed were Russia's $1 billion debt to Finland, the impact
of recent increases in Russian tariffs and transport fees on bilateral trade,
and joint investment projects. Davydov said the most important joint project
touched upon in the talks was a proposed $1 billion oil pipeline, which would
connect the Finnish port of Pori with the oil fields of the Timan-Pechora Basin
in northern Russia. The proposed project would provide the first direct link
between Russian oil fields and European markets. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
WORST GRAIN HARVEST IN TWO DECADES EXPECTED THIS YEAR.
are expecting the country's worst grain harvest in 20 years following a severe
drought that has plagued farmlands in southern Russia, according to Agriculture
Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. The minister said
the harvest is likely to be 75-78 million metric tons, or about 4%-8% less than
last year's harvest of 81.3 million metric tons. Russia will produce enough
grain for its own use, but it will no longer be able to provide former Soviet
republics with cheap grain. Despite the expected poor harvest, the state does
not plan to import foreign grain. Zaveryukha said he did not expect the low
grain yield to result in higher bread prices because the government can be
expected to subsidize bread if the price of grain starts to soar. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
AEROFLOT STAYS AFLOAT DESPITE COMPETITION.
competition on the international market with other air passenger and cargo
companies, Aeroflot, Russia's international airline company, reported success
in the first half of 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 July. Flying to 143
destinations in 102 countries around the world, Aeroflot has transported around
500,000 passengers and more than 28,000 tons of cargo since the beginning of
the year. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUBLE DROPS FIVE POINTS AGAINST DOLLAR.
The Russian ruble fell five
points against the U.S. dollar from its rate in 21 July MICEX trading to close
at 4,490 rubles to $1 on 24 July, Business-Tass reported the same day. Initial
demand was $16.36 million with 24 banks participating. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 143, 25 July 1995
KYRGYZSTAN TO GET MORE LOANS.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will
extend loans of between $60-70 million to Kyrgyzstan this year, AFP reported.
In a welcoming speech to Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, who is on a tour of
Southeast Asia, the bank's president, Mitsuo Sato, said the Manila-based
financial institution remains committed to helping the Kyrgyz government meet
its objectives. Kyrgyzstan is the newest addition to the bank's roster of 55
member states. The bulk of the loan will help pay for agricultural programs and
the renovation of a power plant. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIKISTAN REMAINS OFFICIALLY IN ECONOMIC CRISIS.
officials concluded at a cabinet meeting that the republic's economy is still
in an economic crisis, Russian Public TV reported on 24 July. Most of
Tajikistan's industries have ceased to work and the rest are functioning at 50%
capacity. The communications and transport systems were described as "sad."
Although some pointed out that the introduction of the national currency, the
Tajik ruble, is reanimating the economy, it was also mentioned that salaries
are rarely paid in full. The shelves in state-run stores are empty and the
prices at markets are rising. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
CIVIL UNREST IN SOUTHERN TAJIKISTAN.
Residents of the city of Khorog
attacked a unit of the Russian Border Forces on 23 July, Russian Public TV
reported the next day. The group began by hurling insults at the Russian
soldiers and then started throwing rocks and sticks at them. A representative
of the Border Forces Service said the soldiers fired warning shots in the air
to no effect. Order was finally restored when the soldiers shot "one of the
most aggressive assailants in the arm." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
SOVIET-BUILT REACTORS "SAFE."
A senior Russian nuclear official claimed
that 10 Soviet-built reactors that were recently criticized in a U.S. federal
intelligence report received a clean bill of health from the International
Atomic Energy Agency, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 July. According to the U.S.
report, 10 reactors in Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Lithuania are
at "high-risk" of failure because of their poor and outdated design, inadequate
regulatory regime, and economic pressures to keep them running. Anatolii
Zemskov, a spokesman for the Rosenergoatom concern, said Russian reactors are
subjected to regular modernization and inspections to improve their safety, but
he conceded that some of the East European reactors need to be upgraded. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 143, 25 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
POLISH ECONOMIC GROWTH QUICKENS . . .
The Polish economy grew faster in
the first half of this year than in the past three years, thanks to booming
exports and investment spending, according to the Main Statistical Office
(GUS). First-half industrial production rose by 13%, and 55.8% of firms are now
making profits, up from less than half one year ago. Exports were up by 18.4%
and imports by 19.3% in constant prices. GUS set the first-half trade deficit
at $1.2 billion, but IMF officials told Rzeczpospolita on 24 July that
unrecorded cross-border purchases (estimated at $3 billion so far this year)
mean that Poland has a sizable trade surplus. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
. . . WHILE POLISH FAMILIES IN TROUBLE.
One in five Polish families
lives below the poverty line, according to a report by the government's
plenipotentiary for women summarized in Rzeczpospolita on 25 July. Only
55% of Polish families are able to cover their expenses from wages alone, down
from 68% in 1989. The proportion of single-parent families rose from 21% in
1989 to 38% last year, largely because of alarmingly high mortality rates among
middle-aged men. Ten percent of Polish children do not get enough to eat, and
nearly half have health problems. The report apparently did not take into
account the substantial benefits accruing to some families from the extensive
semi-legal "gray economy." -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINE TO CONDUCT CENSUS IN 1999.
Ukrainian Radio reported on 24 July
that the Ukrainian government has ordered a national census to be conducted in
1999, the first since independence. The last census was conducted in 1989 as
part of an all-union census in the USSR. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,
FOREIGN VISITORS IN UKRAINE.
A military delegation from Moldova headed
by Defense Minister Pavel Creanga arrived in Kiev on 24 July, Ukrainian
Television reported. Creanga discussed military cooperation in a number of
areas with his Ukrainian counterpart, Valerii Shmarov. He is also scheduled to
meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk. In other news, a delegation
from the permanent Committee for the All-Chinese Assembly of National
Representatives ended a five-day visit. The delegation met with Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma to discuss increasing cooperation. -- Ustina Markus,
MOSCOW PATRIARCH IN BELARUS.
Aleksii II, patriarch of Moscow and all
Russia, arrived in Minsk on 22 July for a two-day visit, Belarusian and Russian
Public Television reported. During the visit, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka said that Orthodoxy united the Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian
peoples. He added that divisions and separatism within the Orthodox Church such
as witnessed recently in Ukraine should not be allowed. The Belarusian
Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk said there is no conflict between members of
the Orthodox Church and Catholics in Belarus, unlike in Ukraine. Lukashenka
presented the patriarch with the medal of Francis Skarinyn. -- Ustina Markus,
PRIVATIZATION PLANS IN BELARUS.
Belarusian Television on 23 July
reported that more than 1,000 collective enterprises will be privatized this
year in Belarus. Most will be agrarian complexes, shops, services, and
enterprises dealing with foodstuffs. Some 35,000 people are employed at the
enterprises, which are valued at some 5 trillion Belarusian rubles ($430
million). -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
CRIME IN BALTIC STATES.
In the first half of 1995, Estonia registered
126 crimes per 10,000 population, considerably higher than Lithuania (82) and
Latvia (72), BNS reported on 21 July. Crime in Lithuania was up 16.7% on the
same period in 1994, primarily owing to a 22.8% increase in theft. In Latvia,
the number of registered crimes decreased by 11.6%, with murders declining by
16.9% and robberies by 27.6%. But the number of fraud cases in Latvia grew by
33.8% and pickpocketing by 54.9%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIA TO BEGIN ISSUING STATELESS PERSONS' CERTIFICATES.
Citizenship and Immigration Department head Ints Citars on 24 July said that
his office will probably begin issuing stateless persons' certificates this
week, BNS reported. The certificates will serve as an identity and travel
document for permanent residents of Latvia who were former Soviet citizens but
have not acquired another citizenship. The failure of the Latvian foreign and
interior ministries to coordinate instructions on filling out and distributing
the certificates delayed their issuance from the original 20 July target date.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
MEETING OF LITHUANIAN, RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT HEADS.
Ceslovas Jursenas, accompanied by a 10-member delegation, traveled to Moscow on
24 July for a three-day official visit, BNS reported. He discussed with Russian
Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko the Russian-Chechen peace talks,
Russian transit through Lithuania, and a possible Russian-Lithuanian-Polish
meeting in October on cooperation in border regions. Jursenas is to meet with
State Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov, and other officials. Topics of discussion will include the
upcoming Russian parliament elections, Moscow's position on NATO expansion, and
economic questions such as the implementation of the most-favored-nation trade
agreement between the two countries. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH MINISTER DENIES DECISION TAKEN TO MODERNIZE JETS.
Vilem Holan on 24 July denied reports that his ministry has decided to
modernize 24 MiG-21 jets (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 July 1995), Rude
pravo reported the next day. The daily said Holan told journalists that the
only decision taken so far is for two jets to be upgraded by next year, one as
a fighter and the other for training. Further steps will be taken only after
this project has been evaluated. Members of the parliament's Defense and
Security Committee told Mlada fronta dnes that the option of buying
American F-16 fighters, though expensive, has not been ruled out. One committee
member said that if the modernization of the 24 MiGs goes ahead despite their
opposition, the parliament could reduce the Defense Ministry's budget next
year. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH-ROMANIAN MILITARY ACCORD.
Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca
signed an agreement on military cooperation with his Czech counterpart, Vilem
Holan, in Prague on 24 July. CTK reported that Tinca told a press conference
the agreement covered virtually all spheres of cooperation, including
technology, military training, and the exchange of observers during exercises.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK EDUCATION MINISTER IN HUNGARY.
Eva Slavkovska, who has drawn
sharp criticism for personnel changes and plans to implement "alternative"
(bilingual) education in schools for the Hungarian minority, visited Budapest
on 24 July to meet with her Hungarian counterpart, Gabor Fodor. Discussions
focused on minority education in both countries as well as general educational
concerns, TASR and Pravda reported. Following the meeting, Slavkovska
said a 1994 poll conducted to determine interest in the alternative education
program revealed that 21% of parents agreed with it. She criticized the
politicization of the issue, noting that the percentage agreeing with the
program will certainly decrease this year. Even so, Slavkovska said, the
program will not be canceled, as it is anchored in the cabinet's program.
Stressing that the program will be implemented on a voluntary basis, she said
that if a sufficient number of students want to enroll in an alternative
school, the ministry will allot the necessary funding. According to Slavkovska,
approximately 30 alternative kindergartens will be established this year. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK SKINHEADS ATTACK ROMA.
Some 30 skinheads attacked several young
Romani men in the central Slovak town of Ziar nad Hronom on 21 July, the
Internal Ministry told TASR three days later. One youth who was set afire
sustained second- and third-degree burns and was hospitalized in serious
condition. Eight of the skinheads were arrested, and four charged with causing
grievous bodily harm. Reuters on 24 July quoted a human rights activist as
saying this was one of the most serious attacks on Roma in years: "We've heard
of attacks with weapons but never immolation." -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN, SPANISH PREMIERS DISCUSS EU.
Spanish Prime Minister Felipe
Gonzales, following a meeting in Madrid on 24 July with Hungarian Premier Gyula
Horn, told journalists that Spain will support the European Union's eastward
expansion. International media report Gonzales as saying he will suggest to
fellow EU prime ministers that East European leaders be invited to the next EU
summit in Madrid in December. According to Gonzales, Spain "will never be an
obstacle" to Hungary's entry into the EU. Spain assumed the EU's six-month
rotating presidency on 1 July. Horn told the same press conference that EU
membership is "vital for Hungary." Gonzales's meeting with Horn was the second
in a series of talks scheduled with leaders of former communist countries. --
Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 143, 25 July 1995
HAS ZEPA FALLEN?
International media on 25 July said that the Bosnian
government in Sarajevo has denied UN accounts that Zepa has in effect
surrendered. Bosnian authorities in the embattled "safe area" reportedly made
an agreement with the Serbs on the evacuation of women, children, the sick, and
the elderly. It is unclear what this would mean for military-aged men, who
appeared to prefer to die fighting rather than face a massacre like the one
that followed the Serbian conquest of Srebrenica. UN special envoy Tadeusz
Mazowiecki said on 24 July that the Serbs had committed "barbaric acts" against
the Muslims in that eastern Bosnian town. "What happened cannot be described as
[moderate] violations of human rights but as extremely serious violations on an
enormous scale," he concluded. UN spokesman Chris Gunness added that the Serbs'
"actions are an affront to the values of all civilized people." -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBS CLOSE IN ON BIHAC.
The four-way assault by Krajina Serb, Bosnian
Serb, and rebel Muslim forces on the Bihac pocket continues. AFP on 25 July
reported that Krajina units have reached the fringes of the "safe area" itself,
and Reuters wrote the previous day that the Serbs appear to be trying to split
the pocket in two and then mop up the separate halves. A UN spokesman said that
"this coordinated, deliberate attack on all fronts represents arguably the most
considerable military action in Bosnia for many months." The VOA added that the
UN Security Council has warned the Serbs not to press their attack on Bihac. A
French Foreign Ministry spokesman urged "all parties to show restraint" and
said that the goal was to prevent another Srebrenica. He warned there could be
a "substantial and decisive response" if attacks persist. -- Patrick Moore,
WHO BOMBED PALE?
Meanwhile near Sarajevo, British and French units of
the new Rapid Reaction Force continued to arrive on Mt. Igman on 24 July. It
remains uncertain, however, what accounted for the reported bombings of the
Bosnian Serb "capital" on the 23-24 July. Both France and NATO denied they were
responsible, although Liberation on 24 July ran a detailed account of
what it called a mission ordered personally by President Jacques Chirac. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
NATO FAILS TO REACH A DECISION ON AIR STRIKES.
Ambassadors of the
Atlantic alliance meeting in Brussels on 24 July failed to agree on a program
for implementing the resolution approved in London on 21 July. Another session
is scheduled for the afternoon of 25 July. The International Herald
Tribune quoted an American official as saying that "there's no snag. It's
just complicated and time-consuming." But the VOA said there are differences as
to what would trigger air strikes, what would be the targets, and who would
order the missions. UN Secretary-General Boutrous Boutrous Ghali insists that
he have the final say, but this is unacceptable to Washington, which wants the
operations exclusively in NATO hands. The International Herald Tribune
on 24 July quoted a French official as saying that "the object is to
diminish the firepower of the Serbs to a level where the Bosnians can hold
their own, not to raise the firepower of the Bosnians." U.S. Senate Majority
Leader Bob Dole has other ideas, however. The VOA reported that he will soon
call a vote on a unilateral lifting of the arms embargo against the Bosnian
government. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MILOSEVIC MEETS WITH KOZYREV.
BETA on 24 July reported that Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, allegedly acting on instructions from Russian
President Boris Yeltsin, arrived in Belgrade the same day for talks with
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Accompanying Kozyrev were Russian
Ambassador to Brussels and former special envoy to the former Yugoslavia
Vitalii Churkin and Contact Group representative Aleksandr Zotov. The apparent
reason for the visit, which followed the London Conference's threat to use
military action against the Bosnian Serbs if they attacked the Bosnian Muslim
enclave of Gorazde, was to secure Milosevic's help in reining in the Bosnian
Serb side. Kozyrev reiterated Moscow's oft-repeated commitment to a peaceful
resolution to the Bosnian conflict. According to AFP, Milosevic used the
opportunity to condemn international "threats . . . [and] military action"
aimed at the Bosnian Serbs. "The international community must engage in
creating political conditions that are effective and capable of leading to a
stable peace," said Milosevic. AFP reported on 25 July that Kozyrev left
Belgrade saying he was "satisfied" with his visit. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
GREEK SENIOR DIPLOMAT DENOUNCES INTERRUPTION OF MACEDONIAN TALKS.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Tzounis said the Greek government has
made a "mistake" by interrupting the Greek-Macedonian talks and perpetuating
the economic embargo against Macedonia. In an interview with the Greek
newspaper To Vima he noted that "the battle over the name of Greece's
northern neighbor is the core of the problem, [which is endangering] security
and peace in the region." To resolve the conflict, he proposed bilateral
treaties on the inviolability of existing borders between Macedonia, rump
Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria and Albania, BETA reported on 24 July. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT PROMULGATES EDUCATION LAW.
Ion Iliescu on 24 July
promulgated the controversial education law, Romanian media reported. The law,
which has sparked widespread criticism from ethnic minorities and especially
from the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), was recently
denounced as detrimental to minority rights in a resolution passed by the
European Parliament. Iliescu defended the new law at a press conference, saying
he had "no reservations whatsoever" about signing the bill. "The objections
formulated by the UDMR are groundless," he stressed. Asked about the campaign
of civic disobedience planned by the UDMR, Iliescu said the party was assuming
"great political responsibility." He expressed the hope that "the Hungarian
population will carefully weigh such actions." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT, EMPLOYERS, UNIONS SIGN SOCIAL ACCORD.
Finance Minister Florin Georgescu, Chairman of the National Confederation of
Romanian Employers George Paunescu, and Pavel Todoran, chairman of the National
Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions--The Brotherhood, signed a social
accord at the government's headquarters on 24 July, Radio Bucharest reported.
The accord states that the unions must refrain from staging or encouraging
strikes as a means of meeting union members' claims. The government, in turn,
pledged that the average net wage would reach 75,000 lei ($38) by 1 September,
which means a pay rise of 20.7% as against current salaries. The National
Confederation, the country's largest labor organization is the only union
confederation to have approved the accord. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
RUMP YUGOSLAV HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER IN BULGARIA.
Margit Savovic met with
Bulgarian deputies on 24 July, Bulgarian media reported. Saying that all rump
Yugoslav citizens enjoy equal rights, Savovic dismissed a report by UN special
envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki on human rights violations in her country as "not
objective." On the situation of the Bulgarian minority in eastern Serbia,
Savovic said Bulgarian is regarded as a mother tongue by the authorities, but
many Bulgarians do not have the desire to learn it properly. She said the term
"Western regions," used in Bulgaria to describe the territories ceded to
Yugoslavia in 1919, is "unacceptable" and constituted interference in Yugoslav
internal affairs. Former Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov from the opposition
Union of Democratic Forces boycotted the meeting, saying he "will not meet with
the minister for human rights of a state that brutally violates them." --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN TV CHIEF CANCELS ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS.
Ivan Granitski, director
of Bulgarian National Television, announced on 23 July he is canceling two
weekly entertainment programs, international media reported the same day. The
two programs are a beauty contest and a game show. Granitski, who was appointed
by the Socialist majority in June, said he will ban programs "propagating,
violence, homosexuality, prostitution, gambling, and drug addiction" as part of
his "struggle for higher professional and artistic levels of programs and
against those [who] oppose national interests." Prosecutor-General Ivan
Tatarchev said he fully supports Granitski's move because "national interests"
require it. A commentator for the independent weekly 168 chasa called
the move "sheer nonsense." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN TIRANA.
Zoran Thaler visited Albania on 21
July, Gazeta Shqiptare reported the following day. At meetings with
Albanian President Sali Berisha and Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, both sides
agreed to improve economic and military cooperation. They also discussed the
Bosnian crisis and the Kosovo conflict, reportedly agreeing that "the aggressor
must be punished." In other news, a high-ranking U.S. diplomatic delegation
arrived in Tirana for a two-day visit on 24 July to discuss bilateral relations
and the situation in the region, Montena-fax reported the same day. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR MEETING OF BOSNIAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS.
Karolos Papoulias on 24 July said Greece will try to arrange a dialogue between
Bosnia's religious leaders, AFP reported the same day. Papoulias, who was on
two-day visit to Jordan, called such a meeting "essential to finding a
solution." He also said Greece will send humanitarian aid to "all those
suffering" in Bosnia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave