OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 147, 31 July 1995
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING: SECRET DECREES ON CHECHNYA LEGAL.
Representatives of the Russian Constitutional Court announced on 31 July that
the court ruled that two secret decrees issued by the president and government
authorizing the military campaign in Chechnya were fully in accordance with the
constitution, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported the same day. The
court also decided that it was beyond its competence to rule on two other
decrees relating to Chechnya whose legitimacy had been challenged by
parliamentary representatives. At press time, more details about the ruling
were not available. Deputies from both the State Duma and the Federation
Council had challenged the decrees on several grounds; their main argument was
that troops cannot be deployed on the territory of the Russian Federation
unless a presidential decree establishing a state of emergency has been
published. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
MILITARY ACCORD SIGNED IN GROZNY . . .
Russian and Chechen negotiators
initialed a military agreement on 30 July but again postponed the resolution of
troublesome political issues, Western and Russian agencies reported. The
long-anticipated agreement provides for the cessation of military activities, a
prisoner exchange, the disarmament of Chechen fighters, and the withdrawal of
most federal troops from the republic. A mixed commission will monitor its
implementation. After a three-day break, talks on the political status of
Chechnya are scheduled to resume on 3 August. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
. . . BUT DUDAEV REJECTS IT.
Chechen President Dudaev reportedly
rejected the agreement, telling an RFE/RL correspondent on 31 July that it "had
no legal force" because the Russian delegation had resorted to "blackmail,
threats, and physical pressure" to coerce the Chechen delegation into signing
it. He added that he had not seen the accord, and it is "not valid" without his
"confirmation." Dudaev also rejected a provision of the accord that calls for
the surrender of Shamil Basaev, leader of the raid on Budennovsk, saying, "a
deal on that matter is inappropriate." Russian commentators have likewise
expressed doubts that the military accord will lead to lasting peace in
Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN AND CLINTON DISCUSS BOSNIA.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin
discussed the situation in Bosnia by telephone with U.S. President Bill Clinton
on 28 July, Western agencies reported. Yeltsin reiterated Russia's commitment
to finding a "political solution" and expressed concern that lifting the UN
arms embargo on Bosnia could lead to an escalation of the fighting. Speaking in
Brunei, on 30 July, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said Yeltsin had
sent the UN Security Council a proposal to dispatch Russian troops as
reinforcements for peacekeepers in the UN "safe area" of Gorazde. In Moscow,
presidential adviser Yurii Baturin warned in a 29 July interview with NTV that
if the U.S. unilaterally lifts the arms embargo against the Bosnian government,
as recently called for by the U.S. Senate, it would strengthen "hawks" in the
Duma, like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who want Russia to unilaterally ignore the UN
embargo against Serbia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN PLANS TO VETO FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW.
President Yeltsin told
Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko that he will veto the law on the
formation of the Federation Council in a telephone conversation on 28 July,
ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin will also appeal to the Constitutional Court to
define exactly what the constitution states about forming the upper house. If
no compromise can be found by the December elections, Yeltsin will issue a
presidential decree to define the membership of the Federation Council. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN PROMOTES KORZHAKOV, REARRANGES SECURITY SERVICES.
promoted the head of the Presidential Security Service (SB), Aleksandr
Korzhakov, from major general to lieutenant general, NTV reported on 29 July.
In a separate decree, Yeltsin made the SB part of his administration, but
explicitly stated that Chief-of-Staff Sergei Filatov would not have
jurisdiction over it. Additionally, Yeltsin subordinated the formerly
independent Main Protection Administration (GUO) to Korzhakov's Security
Service. The previous head of the GUO, Mikhail Barsukov, was recently named to
head the Federal Security Service. The new head of the GUO will be Yurii
Krapivin, Barsukov's former first deputy, who was also promoted to the rank of
lieutenant general. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
REACTION TO SECURITY RESTRUCTURING.
NTV speculated on 30 July that the
restructuring could presage an attempt by Yeltsin to bring the power ministries
under Korzhakov's control. The decision on the GUO "seriously strengthened
Korzhakov's political position" and gave him access to more information, NTV
concluded. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin apparently knew nothing about the
decree before it was adopted. Aides to presidential adviser for national
security Yurii Baturin and legal affairs adviser Mikhail Krasnov said they had
nothing to do with Yeltsin's decrees, NTV reported on 29 July. Filatov refused
to comment in detail but did not deny that the decree had not been checked with
him beforehand. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
TRETYAKOV: NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA TO RESUME PUBLICATION SOON.
Nezavisimaya gazeta has received credit from an unnamed Russian
commercial bank and will resume publication soon at its previous circulation of
56,000 copies, the newspaper's editor-in-chief Vitalii Tretyakov told Ekho
Moskvy on 30 July. Tretyakov said work on transforming the newspaper into a
joint-stock company continues. Financial problems forced Nezavisimaya
gazeta to suspend publication on 24 May. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION TRIES TO LIMIT CANDIDATES' USE OF MASS MEDIA
In a document approved and released on 28 July, the
Central Electoral Commission asked all politicians running for parliament to
refrain from using media appearances for campaign purposes until they are
officially registered as candidates, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. In
addition, the commission asked editors not to give air time or space in print
to any political figures, "regardless of their official position and political
views, for campaign agitation" before the campaign officially begins on 17
September, three months before scheduled Duma elections. The commission did not
specify how remarks by government officials or Duma deputies in the mass media
concerning policy matters could be distinguished from campaigning. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
JOURNALIST: PROCURATOR GENERAL'S OFFICE AGAINST NTV.
Kiselev, the moderator of the NTV weekly program "Itogi," suggested on 30 July
that the Procurator General's Office is pursuing a "coordinated" campaign
against NTV. On 13 July, procurators began investigating NTV journalist Yelena
Masyuk for her 26 June interview of Chechen fighter Shamil Basaev, who led the
raid on Budennovsk. If Masyuk is prosecuted and convicted for not revealing
Basaev's whereabouts to the authorities, she could receive up to five years in
prison. On 14 July, procurators opened a criminal case against the NTV puppet
show "Kukly" for allegedly insulting the president and other high government
officials. Kiselev charged that the procurators' decision to initiate both
investigations almost simultaneously could not be a coincidence. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
BORDER GUARD GOES ON RAMPAGE.
A border guard stationed at the Popova
Island outpost in far-eastern Russia fired on his comrades-in-arms while on
guard duty early in the morning of 30 July, ITAR-TASS reported the same day.
Russian TV reported that his fellow border guards had accused him of being an
informer and had threatened him. The son of the guards' commander, two
sergeants, and two privates were killed and six other people were wounded,
including an officer's wife. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
EXPLOSION IN CAR PARK CALLED TERRORISM.
Five cars and a minibus were
destroyed in an explosion in Vladivostok, Interfax reported on 31 July. The
explosion occurred in the parking lot of the joint-stock company
Dalzavodservis, and Interfax referred to it as an act of terrorism. The
three-year-old Dalzavodservis company buys cars in Japan and sells them in
Russia's eastern territories. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
BURYAT FUNDS GO TO BAIKAL.
The government of Buryatiya has allocated
almost 10 million rubles ($2,300) to the preservation of Baikal, ITAR-TASS
reported on 31 July. The money will pay for the construction and reconstruction
of heating sources for settlements in the reservoir zone of Baikal and for
equipping the republic's buses with exhaust filters. The presidential press
service and the government stated that the measures are part of a complex
federal program for preserving Baikal. ITAR-TASS did not mention whether any
funds had been allocated to maintaining the ecological balance of the lake
itself, which is affected in several areas by industrial waste. -- Alaina
Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSO-CHINESE BORDER GROUP ENDS MEETING.
The head of Russian delegation
to the sixth round of the Russian-Chinese Border Demarcation Commission
expressed satisfaction with the results of the latest talks. The Foreign
Ministry's special envoy, Genrich Kireev, told ITAR-TASS on 28 July that the
commission had "settled many issues" and signed several protocols at its
meetings in Chita. A seventh round is to be held at a future date in China. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION APPROVES MUTUAL FUND RULES.
attract billions of dollars hoarded by ordinary Russians, Russia's Securities
Exchange Commission approved rules to create a network of mutual funds, Russian
and Western media reported on 28 July. The funds, in contrast to the so-called
investment funds that mushroomed after the country launched its privatization
campaign, will be required to provide detailed information about their
investment activities and full financial details to shareholders, according to
Dmitrii Vasilev, the Securities Exchange Commission director. Last year,
thousands of investors lost money by investing in pyramid schemes. Investors
are also distrustful of depositing money in banks, for fear that opening
accounts will lead to financial scrutiny from the tax authorities or even the
mafia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
CENTRAL BANK TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OVER HARD CURRENCY.
Bank and the State Customs Committee announced a new measure effective on 1
November that tightens control on cash flowing abroad, Segodnya reported
on 29 July. The rules have been designed to curtail the main channel of capital
flight, namely money transfers under fake import deals, according to acting
Central Bank Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova. Under the new rules, an importer
must give the bank a customs declaration certifying that goods have been
delivered or an authorized notification that they had been dispatched before
making a money transfer at a bank. Paramonova said a bank would need
"convincing guarantees" that goods would be delivered in case of advance
payment. The banker said the breach of import rules costs Russia $300-400
million a month. Central bank officials estimate overall capital flight from
Russia at $30 billion since the start of 1990. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 147, 31 July 1995
NEW ARMENIAN MINISTER OF INFORMATION.
Armenian Prime Minister Hrant
Bagratyan's nomination of the 43-year-old philologist and poet Hrachya
Tamrazyan to head a new Ministry of Information that will coordinate media
policy nationwide appears to be a badly-needed public relations exercise
following international criticism of the 5 July parliamentary elections. A
former head of the state publishing house, Tamrazyan is a supporter of Armenian
President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, with whom he worked at the Matenadaran in the
early 1980s. He is not, however, a member of the ruling Armenian National
Movement; his political affiliation is characterized by RFE/RL's Armenian
service as "liberal." The nomination has not yet been approved by the new
parliament. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.
Inmates at Tajikistan's prisons and camps are
starving, 80% have no footwear, and all are in need of medical attention,
according to an interview with Djumboi Niyezov, the recently elected chairman
of the banned Democratic Party of Tajikistan, published in Obshchaya
gazeta on 27 July. Niyezov, who was himself imprisoned in the overcrowded
Yavansky camp until 1994 when he was released in a prisoner-exchange deal, said
10-12% of the inmates in his camp were political prisoners. Most had been
arrested on charges of "illegally storing weapons" or drug possession. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
REFERENDUM DATE SET IN KAZAKHSTAN.
A constitutional referendum will be
held in Kazakhstan on 30 August, according to a recently published presidential
decree, cited by Reuters on 31 July. A draft of the constitution will be
published on 1 August. Public debate on the merits of the constitution that
hands sweeping powers to President Nursultan Nazarbaev is to continue until the
referendum is held. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
MINISTER SAYS GEORGIA WANTS RUSSIAN BASES TO STAY.
Lt. Gen. Vardiko
Nadibaidze, the Georgian defense minister, told a visiting NATO commander that
Russian military bases must remain in Georgia because Russia is its "major
partner," ITAR-TASS reported on 28 July. Nadibaidze met with British Lt.-Gen.
Sir Jeremy McKenzie, and was said to have briefed him on the Georgian armed
forces. The NATO delegation also discussed Georgia's individual Partnership for
Peace program. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 147, 31 July 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
NEW APPOINTMENTS TO UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT.
Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma has made several new appointments to the recently named government,
Ukrainian TV reported on 27 July. He appointed Vasyl Yevtukhov, a leader of the
Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine, as deputy prime minister
for the energy complex. Former Deputy Premier Ihor Mitiukov is special
representative of the government to the European Union in charge of
coordinating international financial assistance to Ukraine. Kuchma also
re-appointed Mykhailo Kaskevych as labor minister and named Mykhailo Kovalko to
head a new State Committee on Energy Conservation. Finally, he liquidated two
state committees, on rare metals and on the light and textile industries, by
merging them with various ministries. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,
UKRAINE SWITCHES CHANNELS FOR RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV BROADCASTS.
Kulyk, director of Ukrainian State TV and Radio, has announced that as of 1
August, Russian Public TV will no longer broadcast on Channel 1, the national
channel with the strongest signal, UNIAR and Reuters reported on 27 July. The
Russian broadcasts will be switched to Ukrainian TV's Channel 2, cutting back
its potential audience from 92% of viewers to 70% nationally. He explained the
move was prompted by Russian Public TV's failure to pay in full its annual
fees, around $8.8 million. Russian Public TV is the most popular channel in
Ukraine because its programs tend to be of a higher quality than those of
Ukrainian TV. Many nationalists from western Ukraine, as well as Kulyk himself,
have frequently complained that Russian coverage of Ukrainian affairs is biased
toward Russian interests. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
PRIVATIZATION FALTERING IN BELARUS.
Belarusian Radio on 28 July reported
that Belarus has not been able to privatize state agricultural enterprises
because of a unspecified problems. Earlier this year, the Cabinet of Ministers
approved a program calling for the privatization of such entities by the
beginning of July. In all, 75 state and 606 communal enterprises in agriculture
and food production are slated to be privatized this year. -- Ustina Markus,
FIRST CITIZENS TAKE ALLEGIANCE OATH UNDER NEW LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW.
Forty-three people on 28 July became the first individuals to obtain Latvian
citizenship under the citizenship law passed in 1994, BNS reported.
Naturalization Board Chairwoman Eizenija Aldermane told reporters that the
government will probably grant citizenship to about 200 people during the next
week and to about 5,000 by the end of the year. The candidates must pass tests
in the Latvian language, history, and constitution and must also swear an oath
of allegiance. Former employees of the KGB cannot claim Latvian citizenship. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA'S BUDGET REVENUES ON TARGET.
Finance Minister Reinoldijus
Sarkinas on 28 July announced that Lithuania's budget revenues in the first
half of the year totaled 1.763 billion litai ($441 million) or 99.7% of the
planned amount, BNS reported. The collection of an additional 149 million litai
in the second quarter of the year erased almost all the large deficit of the
first quarter. The collection of all types of taxes improved significantly. The
planned six-month revenues for individual income taxes were fulfilled 94.1%,
for corporation profit taxes 93.5%, for value-added tax 96.3%, and 170.6% for
excise taxes. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH LAW FACES CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE.
President Lech Walesa
announced in Gdansk on 30 July that he will challenge the new
"commercialization" law before the Constitutional Tribunal, Gazeta
Wyborcza reported. The Sejm overrode the president's veto on 21 July. The
president is expected to question provisions in the law that require the Sejm's
approval for privatization in selected sectors, on the grounds that this
violates the division of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial
branches. "We cannot destroy what we have achieved through five years of
economic reform to serve the interests of a single social group," Walesa said,
referring to the ruling coalition. The Sejm can vote to overturn Constitutional
Tribunal decisions. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
ARE BOSNIAN SERBS USING CZECH "STEALTH-SPOTTER?"
NATO officials have
"serious suspicions" that a Czech electronic system that can detect the latest
"stealth" aircraft is being used by Bosnian Serb forces, Mlada fronta dnes
reported on 31 July, quoting unnamed sources close to NATO headquarters.
The daily said suspicions that the "Tamara" detection system was in use grew
from the shooting down of an American F-16 fighter over Bosnia-Herzegovina in
early June. The Czech Foreign Ministry said no Tamara system has been exported
to the former Yugoslavia since the Czech Republic came into existence. The
government on 26 July authorized the makers of Tamara, which detects the
electronic emissions from a target aircraft's avionics, to export one of the
devices. Mlada fronta dnes reported on 29 July that the recipient will
be Kyrgyzstan. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES MORE LEGISLATION.
Michal Kovac on 28 July
returned two more laws to the parliament for further discussion: one on
investment firms and funds and another on securing state holdings in strategic
companies. The previous day, he vetoed a privatization amendment canceling the
coupon privatization program and replacing it with a bond scheme. The
President's Office said the legislation would limit the rights of owners and
change Slovak regulations retroactively, without consideration for the
shareholders' wishes, Pravda and TASR reported. With regard to the
privatization amendment, Kovac's office said it was marked by a "basic change
of concept," which endangers the stability of the legal system guaranteed by
the constitution. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK OFFICIALS ATTACK U.S. MEDIA.
Roman Hofbauer, a parliamentary
deputy of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, is currently leading
an attack on the U.S. media. Hofbauer sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to
Slovakia Theodore Russell complaining that the U.S. press uses sources
originating outside Slovakia and reports on Slovakia's political scene in an
"non-objective and disparaging way," TASR reported on 26 July. The U.S. Embassy
responded by issuing a statement saying that Hofbauer "demonstrated regrettable
ignorance about how the independent press functions in a democratic society."
In an interview with TASR on 28 July, Hofbauer said his complaints were based
on articles sent to him by Slovak Americans who feel "deeply provoked and
offended." The Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute on 28 July called on
the Slovak Foreign Ministry to distance itself from Hofbauer's statements,
noting that they put the country's foreign policy orientation into doubt.
Meanwhile, Slovak officials have also launched attacks against RFE/RL's Slovak
Service, whose license is up for renewal this year. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 147, 31 July 1995
TUDJMAN STANDS FIRM ON KRAJINA.
International media on 31 July reported
that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman called a six-point agreement between the
Krajina Serb rebels and UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi "unacceptable." The
Serbs pledged to stop shelling Bihac and to pull their troops out of Bosnia,
although they have previously denied involvement there and although the plan
has no timetable. The Serbs would have received some benefits, including a
share of aid shipments and a promise that UNCRO would deploy on Mt. Dinara,
from which the Croats can shell Knin. Tudjman said instead that UNCRO must be
stationed on all of Croatia's frontiers and that "this is particularly urgent
because in recent days there have been new shipments of troops and equipment
from the [rump] Yugoslav army across the Danube." He added that the Serbs must
join serious talks about the reintegration of Krajina into Croatia. This
includes reopening pipeline, railway, and highway links as well as guaranteeing
the Serbs some autonomy in the Glina and Knin areas and a package of rights as
an ethnic minority. Tudjman on 29 July warned the Serbs to negotiate or be
reincorporated into Croatia by force. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MLADIC SAYS CROATS "WILL PAY DEARLY."
Bosnian Croat and Croatian units
on 28 July took Glamoc and the key town of Grahovo, which controls land
communications between Knin and Bosnian Serb territory. Serbian refugees have
been fleeing to Knin ever since, but UN officials on 31 July did not provide an
estimate of how many people have been involved. Figures of about 5,000 refugees
were given on 28 July. Krajina and Bosnian Serb leaders subsequently declared
heightened states of emergency in their respective areas. Bosnian Serb
commander General Ratko Mladic told Tanjug on 30 July that the Croats "will pay
dearly" for their conquests. Some commentators noted that his men still control
the high ground around the two towns and that the Serbs elsewhere might be
tempted to fire rockets at Zagreb or shell the Dalmatian tourist centers.
Fighting around Bihac appears to have subsided amid reports that the Croats are
consolidating their gains while some Krajina Serb units are leaving to defend
Knin. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
DID THE DUTCH AID MASSACRE OF MUSLIMS?
The daily De Volkskrant on
28 July wrote that the Dutch UNPROFOR commander had made a deal with Mladic
whereby the Dutch could leave Srebrenica but Muslim men between 17 and 60 would
be taken and "debriefed." It now seems certain that many or most of the men
from Srebrenica were massacred and that a similar fate met the men from Zepa
who did not flee into the woods. The French group Doctors of the World on 30
July said that military-aged men from both "safe areas" had "completely
disappeared." The BBC on 29 July reported that Zepa had been looted and burned,
while its Muslim civilian negotiator had been "detained" and his military
counterpart had "disappeared." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MAZOWIECKI FEARS FOR THE MISSING.
The BBC on 29 July quoted former UN
human rights envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki as saying that witnesses told him of
having seen decapitated and limbless corpses, while others spoke of Serbian
soldiers carrying the heads and limbs of their victims. He said he feared that
at least half of those still missing have met grisly deaths. Mazowiecki was
speaking in Poland after having resigned his post in protest over the failure
of the international community to act against genocide in Srebrenica in Zepa.
He pointed out that "cutting off noses is not a civilized action, nor is silent
consent." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BELGRADE CAUTIOUS ON KRAJINA . . .
Official Belgrade reaction to
developments in and around Krajina was muted, international media reported. As
Croatian and Bosnian Croat troops moved toward Knin, the Krajina capital
currently held by rebel Croat Serbs, Belgrade refrained from offering them
direct support, calling instead for a diplomatic resolution to the situation.
AFP reported federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic as saying that the
rump Yugoslavia "demands that all warring parties meet immediately around the
negotiating table, without pre-conditions." BETA added that Lilic also renewed
calls for lifting international sanctions against Belgrade, which, he said,
would serve to promote regional peace and frustrate the ambitions of "extremist
elements" advocating war. AFP reported that Belgrade failed to back calls by
the Krajina Serb mission in Belgrade for a rally to protest what the mission
dubbed "Croatian aggression." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
. . . BUT CONDEMNS CROATIA.
Meanwhile, Belgrade has condemned Croatia
for what was described as Zagreb's "aggressive behavior" in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
AFP reported. Reuters on 30 July reported that retreating Bosnian Serb forces
in the area called for Belgrade's direct intervention on their behalf but
received no direct commitment from the Serbian capital. Belgrade, however,
appealed for "energetic international political action" to halt Croatian
"aggression." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
FOURTEEN MACEDONIAN OFFICIALS SACKED FOR CORRUPTION.
government has sacked 14 senior officials in an anti-corruption campaign over
two weeks, Reuters reported on 28 July. According to government spokesman
Ismail Gjuner, no ministers were being held responsible. Those dismissed
include Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Dimitar Belcev, Urban Development
Ministry Under-Secretary Bogdan Karanfilovski, and a high-ranking official from
the Interior Ministry, Blagoja Toskovski. The dismissals are part of a major
purge ahead of elections next year. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ON EMBARGO AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
government has again rejected accusations in the independent media that it
broke the UN embargo against the rump Yugoslavia. A spokesman for the
government was quoted by Radio Bucharest on 28 July as saying that limited oil
shipments to the rump Yugoslavia were approved by the UN Security Council to
help maintain a joint Romanian-Yugoslav power station on the Danube. The
government-backed Vocea Romaniei wrote the next day that Petre Mihai
Bacanu, head of the daily Romania libera, will probably be asked to pay
30 billion lei (some $15 million) in damages for having alleged in an 26 July
article that the cabinet endorsed oil contraband with Serbia. Meanwhile, The
New York Times on 30 July reported numerous cases of Romanian oil smuggling
into Serbia, including the overtanking of Yugoslav passenger jets during
stopovers in Timisoara. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
14TH ARMY RESUMES AMMUNITION DESTRUCTION.
Russian troops in the
Transdniester region of Moldova have resumed the destruction of old ammunition,
their commander told ITAR-TASS on 27 July, one day after the operation was
halted by local authorities. Maj. Gen. Valerii Yevnevich said that a new site
has been chosen for the destruction some 25 km from the town of Rybnitsa and
3.5 km from the nearest residential area. Yevnevich estimated that all the old
ammunition would be destroyed by 15 September. He said that the troops were
currently disposing of mines made in 1936. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS HOLD PARTY CONFERENCE.
The Bulgarian Socialist
Party on 28-29 July held a national party conference in Sofia, Bulgarian
newspapers reported on 31 July. The delegates approved the Socialist-led
government's policies during its sixth months in office, which, they said, were
in keeping with the party's election platform. They also approved the program
for the rest of the BSP's term but called for stepped-up efforts in
privatization, the energy sector, and fighting crime. Winning the local
elections in October was described as the BSP's most important task in the near
future. Demokratsiya reported that former party leader Aleksandar Lilov
urged that a reshuffle take place in order to improve the cabinet's
effectiveness. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN PREMIER ATTACKS PRESIDENT, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
speaking at the BSP conference, strongly criticized President Zhelyu Zhelev and
the Constitutional Court, Reuters reported on 28 July. Videnov said both were
obstructing the policies of his government. Zhelev, he commented, "blocks the
rule of the Democratic Left [and] behaves more like a candidate [for]
opposition leader than . . . a head of state," whereas the Constitutional Court
"behaves like an alternative parliament." The Constitutional Court in June
backed Zhelev in his row with the BSP over an amendment to the land law,
arguing it violated the constitution. Videnov also said that the "confrontation
between the institutions of the legislative, judicial, and executive powers
[is] typical for countries in transition." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN TV DIRECTOR SACKED.
The Albanian parliament on 28 July
dismissed Skender Bucpapa, director of Albanian TV and Radio, as well as other
high-ranking officials, BETA reported the same day. The opposition had
criticized Bucpapa frequently for bias toward the ruling Democratic Party and
for declining to address major political and social problems in Albania.
Members of the Democratic Party recently alleged abuse of office by Bucpapa. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
SECRET MEETING BETWEEN ALBANIAN, SERBIAN SOCIALISTS.
The Albanian and
Serbian socialist party leaderships on 29 July held a secret meeting in Sofia,
BETA reported the next day. No details have been released on either the topics
discussed or the outcome of the talks. Representatives of the Albanian
Socialists had participated in the Conference of the Balkan Left in Belgrade on
21-22 July, which called for lifting sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREECE DEMANDS SOLE RIGHT TO STAR OF VERGINA.
Greece took an
unprecedented step in its row with Macedonia over the Star of Vergina, the
Athens daily Kyriakiatiki Elevtherotypia reported on 30 July. The Greek
government in early July demanded that the UN World Intellectual Property
Organization grant Greece the exclusive rights to the symbol, which dates back
to the times of ancient Macedonia. Greece regards it is a purely Greek symbol,
and strictly opposes its use on the Macedonian flag. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
TURKISH ISLAMISTS PROTEST BOSNIAN ARMS EMBARGO.
More than 50,000 Turks
in Konya protested the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina on 29 July.
Shouting "God Is Great," the demonstrators burned U.S. and UN flags and
demanded an immediate end to the embargo, Reuters reported the same day. Turkey
was one of eight Organization of Islamic Conference states that on 26 July
declared the UN embargo "invalid" and gave the West a "last chance" to take
concrete action before they defied the arms embargo. Meanwhile, Anatolia, the
semi-official news agency, on 25 July reported that Turkey plans to sign a
military cooperation accord with Bosnia in early August. -- Lowell Bezanis,
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave