OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
PRISONER EXCHANGE DELAYED IN GROZNY.
A scheduled exchange of Russian and
Chechen prisoners on 5 August was delayed, Russian and Western agencies
reported. In accordance with the 30 July military agreement, Chechen military
officials had promised to exchange several Russian prisoners for 30 Chechens
but did not do so. The prisoner exchange issue threatens to block further
progress in negotiations to end the Chechen conflict. General Anatolii Romanov,
commander of federal forces in Chechnya, said on 5 August that negotiations
could continue only after the Chechen side had submitted a full list of its
Russian prisoners. However, Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen military chief of
staff, told journalists that compiling such a list would be difficult because
the Chechen forces are fragmented. A joint Russian-Chechen team left Grozny on
4 August to search remote Chechen positions for Russian prisoners. Despite the
slowdown in prisoner exchange, Russian military sources reported a decrease in
fighting in the republic over the weekend. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
RUSSIA CONDEMNS CROATIAN OFFENSIVE.
A statement issued by the Russian
Foreign Ministry on 5 August harshly condemned the recent Croatian military
offensive against Serb-held areas of Croatia, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement
complained that "Zagreb's preparations did not receive the proper assessment,"
and that Russian warnings about Croatian intentions had gone "unheard." It
added that Russia would insist that the UN Security Council adopt a "strict and
unbiased response." Vladimir Zhirinovskii, leader of the Russian Liberal
Democratic Party, criticized the government response as insufficient, telling
journalists on 5 August that "if Russia had another president, the Russian army
would already be in there and no one would be able to touch the Serbs." Duma
deputy Vladimir Averchev, of the Yabloko faction, said Russia had no moral
standing to criticize Croatia because Russian actions in Chechnya are similar
to the Croatian offensive against ethnic Serb separatists. -- Scott Parrish,
NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT TO SEEK DUMA SEATS.
The National Salvation
Front (FNS) announced that it will participate in the parliamentary elections
under new leadership, Russian TV reported on 5 August. Valerii Smirnov is now
the acting chairman of the Political Council in place of the former leader Ilya
Konstantinov. The FNS's three main program points are restoring the Soviet
Union, ending the privatization program, and removing the institution of the
presidency, NTV reported. Yeltsin banned the front from participating in the
1993 elections after its members clashed with pro-Yeltsin troops in the
fighting around the Russian White House in October 1993. The Front believes
that the Duma does not have the power to change government policy but that the
campaign will be useful for uniting opposition groups. Like the previous
leadership, Smirnov does not exclude the use of force in the battle for power.
-- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
TATARSTAN STOPS PAYMENTS TO FEDERAL BUDGET.
Tatarstan Prime Minister
Farid Mukhamedshin announced that his republic has stopped payments to the
federal budget, Russian Public TV reported on 6 August. Since 5 August,
Tatarstan has redirected the money it would normally reserve for the federal
budget to local defense workers who are owed past wages. Once the debts are
paid off within a month, Tatarstan will resume its payments to the federal
government. There has been no official reaction from Moscow. -- Robert Orttung,
RUNOFF REQUIRED IN SVERDLOVSK GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS.
Early returns in
the gubernatorial elections in Sverdlovsk Oblast indicate that no candidate
will receive more than 50% of the vote and a runoff will consequently be
required, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 August. Approximately 40% of voters
participated in the elections, well above the required 25% turnout for the
elections to be valid. Incomplete vote counts suggest that Eduard Rossel, the
chairman of the Sverdlovsk Duma who lobbied for permission to hold direct
gubernatorial elections in the region, leads the field. Regional administrative
head Aleksei Strakhov, a leader of the Sverdlovsk regional branch of Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc, Our Home Is Russia, is in second place,
despite having nearly three times as much money to spend on the campaign as
Rossel (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 August 1995). A date for the runoff has
not been set. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
DEMOCRATIC UNION PROTESTS SENTENCING OF OREKHOV.
The radical Democratic
Union picketed the headquarters of the Procurator General's Office to protest
the sentencing of former KGB officer Viktor Orekhov to three years in prison,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 4 August. Orekhov was convicted of illegal possession
of a firearm, but many human rights activists believe the case against him was
fabricated and are demanding that it be reconsidered, Ekspress-khronika
reported the same day. As a KGB officer during the 1970s, Orekhov routinely
warned dissidents of imminent searches and arrests. A statement issued by the
Democratic Union charged that the KGB's desire for "revenge" lay behind the
arrest and sentencing of Orekhov. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
PROMINENT BANKER KILLED.
Ivan Kiveldi, president of Rosbiznesbank and
head of the politically influential entrepreneurs' group Russian Business
Roundtable, died on 4 August after being poisoned by salts probably containing
cadmium, Russian and Western media reported. His secretary died the previous
day after being hospitalized with similar symptoms. The cause of the banker's
death has yet to be officially determined, but it is being widely regarded as a
contract killing. Members of the Roundtable, which includes leading
industrialist Arkadii Volsky, Russian United Industrialists Party head Vladimir
Shcherbakov, and Most group chairman Vladimir Gusinskii, said they believed the
slaying was political and unconnected to Kiveldi's commercial activities.
Shortly before his death, Kiveldi had expressed opposition to plans by leading
banks to finance the budget deficit. He was also a fierce critic of corruption
and incompetence in the police force. Over the past three and a half years, 83
bankers have been the victims of assassination attempts, of whom 46 have died,
according to ITAR-TASS on 5 August. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN REJECTS LAW ON SUBSISTENCE MINIMUM.
President Yeltsin has
rejected the draft law on the subsistence minimum on the grounds that it
conflicts with existing legislation, Radio Rossii reported on 3 August. The
draft entitles people whose income falls below the minimum to monetary
benefits. The minimum subsistence level, to be determined by the Labor Ministry
on a quarterly basis, would also be used as the basis for defining the minimum
wage, pensions, and other allowances. Goskomstat put the subsistence minimum in
June at 277,400 rubles a month, Radio Rossii reported on 5 August. The same day
Russian TV, citing a poll by VCIOM, reported that 48% of Russian families
consider themselves to be living in poverty. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
NEW AIDS DATA.
According to Health Ministry official Aleksandr Golyusov,
967 people including 277 children, are now registered as HIV-positive in
Russia. He added that 176 people have full-blown AIDS and that 154 people have
died of the disease, Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 3 August. AIDS
activists argue that the official figures should be multiplied by at least a
factor of 10 to obtain a true picture of HIV in the country. Implementation of
a new law mandating HIV tests for all foreigners coming to Russia for longer
than three months, which was scheduled to take effect on 1 August, has been
delayed for procedural reasons. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
ANTINUCLEAR PROTEST BROKEN UP.
Police on 6 August broke up an
anti-nuclear demonstration on Red Square organized by Greenpeace on the grounds
that it had not obtained a permit, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. The protesters,
who had set up 50 crosses marked with radioactive warning signs, were marking
the 50th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
INGUSH RETURN TO NORTH OSSETIYA.
According to the North Ossetiyan
minister of internal affairs, the majority of the inhabitants of the
Prigorodnii Raion look favorably upon the return of those Ingush refugees who
"took no part in the conflicts in the fall of 1992," ITAR-TASS reported on 6
August. Russian TV reported on 5 August that 400 out of the 600 families that
left have now returned and the North Ossetiyan government has pledged to do all
it can to make their return permanent. However, contrary to the account of a
smooth transition given by the minister, Russian TV emphasized the difficulty
of the resettlement. According to the station, police accompanied columns of
Ingush refugees to their former homes in order to forestall any provocation
that might complicate the peace initiative between the Ossetiyan and Ingush
leadership. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LEAVES MOSCOW.
Following three days of
"constructive" talks with Russian officials, including Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Indian Foreign Minister
Pranab Mukherjee left Moscow on 5 August, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Economic ties, including conventional arms sales, were one focus of
the talks. Russian-Indian trade, which drastically declined following the
collapse of the Soviet Union, has increased 44% in the past year, and is
expected to reach $1.6 billion in 1995, an Indian spokesman said. Mukherjee
also told journalists that a decision would be made "soon" on an Indian
proposal to build a light-water nuclear power reactor with Russian assistance.
Mukherjee denied that India wants nuclear weapons, although he said that India
needs a large conventional army to defend itself against Pakistan. Kozyrev,
apparently anticipating criticism of the proposed nuclear deal, said Russia
does not need advice from "third countries" on its relations with India. --
Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSO-TURKISH RELATIONS AND THE KURDS.
Following a late July visit to
Ankara, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev has, once again,
clarified his government's stance with regard to Turkey and the Kurdish
Workers' Party (PKK) by saying that Russia "regards the Kurdish problem as
Ankara's internal affair," Segodnya reported on 4 August. In a reference
to the PKK, he also said "foreign parties and organizations" will not be
allowed to "build nests" on Russian territory. Those remarks will clearly
please officials in Ankara but may not go far enough; Turkey wants Moscow to
close down the "Kurdish House" in Moscow and take other steps to break ties
between Kurdish nationalists in the CIS and Middle East. Chernyshev and other
Russian officials have repeatedly denied Russian involvement in supporting or
encouraging PKK-connected organizations and activities in Russia, but Turkey
continues to suspect that Moscow gives them tacit support so as to extract
concessions from Ankara on other issues. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
SECURITY EXPERT: U.S. PROGRAM THREATENS NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL.
Surikov, an adviser at the Institute for Defense Studies, told ITAR-TASS on 4
August that U.S. plans to develop a new anti-ballistic missile system could
prompt Russia to reconsider its obligations to cut its nuclear arsenal. Surikov
was commenting on the recent U.S. Senate decision to increase funding for ABM
programs. He warned that moves like this could prompt Russia to "refrain from
ratifying the START-2 treaty and reconsider some provision under START-1." --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GAZPROM TO RECEIVE $1 BILLION TO FINANCE PIPELINE.
monopoly, Gazprom, announced it has signed a deal with Western creditors for $1
billion to finance its part in the construction of two gas pipelines in
Germany, Russian and Western agencies reported on 4 August. The former state
gas company said it received DM 1.3 billion ($932 million) from a consortium of
27 Western banks to build the pipelines. Gazprom said it is the largest Russian
investment abroad and the largest financing project with a Russian participant
that is not guaranteed by the Russian state. The credit deal will provide
backing for Gazprom's 35% stake in the construction of pipelines that will link
northwestern and central Germany to the French border. Gazprom's German partner
in the project is the chemicals group BASK-Wintershall. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
CHINESE TRADE TALKS BEGIN.
A Chinese trade delegation left for Russia on
5 August to follow up on economic cooperation accords signed during Premier Li
Peng's visit to the country in June, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported the same day.
China is seeking to resume and develop its economic links. Sino-Russian trade,
which dipped 30% last year, was up 3% to reach $2.3 billion in the first half
of 1995. The delegation will also travel to Belarus and Ukraine. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
No report today.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
EAST EUROPEAN TROOPS ARRIVE IN U.S. FOR PFP EXERCISE.
Soldiers from 14
former communist states have arrived in the U.S. to participate in a three-week
exercise within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) program,
international media reported on 7 August. Some 4,000 troops will take part in
"Cooperative Nugget 95," which includes one week of training and orientation
and a two-week peacekeeping exercise. Soldiers from Albania, Bulgaria, the
Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will train with troops
from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. "Cooperative Nugget 95" is the first
PfP exercise on U.S. soil. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
NEW UKRAINIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER.
President Leonid Kuchma has
appointed Pavlo Haidutsky as Ukraine's new agriculture minister, Radio Ukraine
reported on 6 August. Haidutsky, who previously chaired the State Committee on
Land Resources, is considered the chief architect of the country's land reform
program. In other news, the Central Election Committee has scheduled
by-elections for 10 December to fill 45 vacant seats in the 450-seat
parliament, Radio Ukraine reported on 5 August. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,
TENSION IN UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY.
Ukrainian Radio on 5 August
reported that tension within the Defense Ministry has intensified because some
circles are attempting to remove Chief of Staff Anatolii Lopata, who has
increasingly been left out of important decisions. An elite air-mobile unit
based in Kremenchuk was recently transferred to the jurisdiction of the border
guards. Lopata learned of the decision only after Defense Minister Valerii
Shmarov signed the order. The unit was transferred at the request of the
commander of the ground forces, Colonel General Vasyl Sobkov, who reportedly
wishes to take over Lopata's position. Opposition to the civilian defense
minister is reportedly growing in the army as well. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
BELARUSIAN DISARMAMENT UPDATE.
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs on 5 August issued a statement responding to recent reports that Minsk
has stopped sending its nuclear missiles to Russia for destruction, as called
for by the START-1 agreement, which Belarus ratified in February 1993, Radio
Mayak reported. The country's leadership has never said it will stop the
transfer of the remaining 18 SS-25 missiles on its territory to Russia, the
statement said. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka meant only that the pace of
disarmament will slow down. The reason for the slowdown was Russia's reluctance
to deal with the ecological damage left behind after troops and missiles have
been removed. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
MOSCOW MAYOR IN MINSK.
Yurii Luzhkov, during his recent visit to Minsk,
signed agreements on trade, technical, and cultural cooperation and on general
cooperation between the Russian and Belarusian capitals, Radio Rossiya reported
on 6 August. A deal was also signed for Belarus to supply Moscow with 12,000
tons of potatoes and 10,000 tons of cabbage by the end of year. Luzhkov
proposed leasing several shops in Moscow to Belarusian collective farms since
it is expected that supplies of Belarusian food products to the Russian capital
will increase dramatically. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he
was pleased that traditional ties with Moscow were being restored. Luzhkov
noted that he and Lukashenka have the same ideas on privatization. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
ANTI-MAFIA COURTS IN ESTONIA.
An Interior Ministry spokesman on 4 August
said the government is considering following Italy's example by establishing
special anti-mafia courts to try alleged mobsters, Western agencies reported.
The Italian courts operate under special rules to protect witnesses and judges
from gangland reprisals. Estonia has the highest crime rate and lowest arrest
rate among the Baltic States and one of the highest per capita murder rates in
the world. The number of murders in Estonia increased from 137 in 1990 to 365
in 1994, partly owing to battles for territory among Estonian gangs. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIA DEBATES SENDING UNIT TO CROATIA.
The Saeima on 3 August began
debating sending a Latvian armed forces unit as part of the Danish UN
peacekeeping mission in Croatia, BNS reported the following day. Prime Minister
Maris Gailis noted that Lithuania and Estonia already have such units in
Croatia. Latvia's refusal to do the same could endanger military cooperation
between the Baltic States and possibly end Western support for establishing a
Baltic peacekeeping battalion. Christian Democratic Union deputy Anita
Stankevica opposed sending the unit, arguing that Latvia would be sending
half-trained men to where no one wanted to go. The Saeima will make a decision
on sending the unit on 9 August. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
FIRST U.S.-LITHUANIAN MILITARY EXERCISES.
The first-ever U.S.-Lithuanian
peacekeeping exercises began on 4 August at the Rukla training center in
central Lithuania, BNS reported. The three-week exercise, called "Amber Hope
`95," is being financed by the U.S. government and will involve 140 Lithuanian
soldiers commanded by 10 American instructors. The exercises will take place in
two stages. The first will focus on using communication equipment, setting up
observation posts, reconnoitering areas, and defusing mines. The second begins
on 20 August with a ceremony to be attended by top Lithuanian government
officials, army leaders, and foreign diplomats. The soldiers will practice
freeing captured civilians, shooting, mining, escorting convoys, and other
activities. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
WALESA DECLARES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY.
President Lech Walesa on 5
August announced he will run in the upcoming presidential elections, Polish and
international media reported. He added that he has already collected the
100,000 signatures required by the electoral law. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy
expressed his fears that the campaign conducted by the head of state may be
detrimental to the normal work of the government. The other candidates so far
are Aleksander Kwasniewski of the Democratic Left Alliance, who is leading in
opinion polls; former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron, backed by the Freedom Union;
Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski, supported by the Labor Union; and Supreme Court
President Adam Strzembosz and former Premier Jan Olszewski, both of whom are
backed by the right-of-center parties. Polish National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz has not yet officially declared her candidacy. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH POLITICIANS ON WAR IN CROATIA.
President Vaclav Havel on 6 August
expressed support for Croatia's military offensive in Krajina, Czech media
reported. He argued that Zagreb has waited long enough for the international
community to settle the conflict between Croatia and the rebel Krajina Serbs.
When the international community proved unable to enforce or negotiate such a
settlement, "Croatia decided for military action aimed at renewing the
integrity of its territory," Havel said. Responding to the killings of two
Czech soldiers during the offensive on 5 August, Havel said he was in favor of
withdrawing the Czech battalion from Croatia. Czech Foreign Minister Josef
Zieleniec, however, said on 6 August that Zagreb's military action was
premature because the possibilities for a negotiated settlement had not yet
been exhausted. "At the same time, we realize that [the offensive] is "an
action within the boundaries of a sovereign state," Zieleniec commented. --
Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN U.S.
Michal Kovac, on a seven-day official visit to
the United States, received an award from the American Bar Association in
Chicago on 5 August for "his role in implementing political reform in Slovakia
after it became independent following the collapse of Czechoslovakia in 1992,"
Slovak and international media reported. Kovac told journalists the previous
day that he considers the prize to have been awarded to "all democratic forces
in Slovakia that have striven for democratization and the rule of law."
According to the president, the road toward building a democratic society, the
rule of law, and a market economy in Slovakia "is irreversible." -- Jiri
Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
SERBS SIGN SURRENDER AGREEMENT.
Croatian Serb forces on 7 August agreed
to what the BBC called a surrender. They will hand over their heavy weapons to
the UN at four control points--in Topusko, Glina, Zirovac, and Dvor --and then
cross into Bosnia. They will be permitted to keep their hand weapons, but the
Croats soon charged that the UN was letting them take a number of big guns,
too. Croatian spokesmen said earlier that the "Republic of Serbian Krajina" has
ceased to exist. All roads in Sector South are open to traffic. In eastern
Slavonia, Serbs declared a war alert and exchanged artillery salvoes with the
Croats. Also in the night of 6-7 August, two Bosnian Serb aircraft from Banja
Luka attacked a petrochemical plant at Kutina, in central Croatia, Reuters
reported. A rocket assault on Karlovac wounded five, and an air raid took place
against Nova Gradiska on 7 August. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
TUDJMAN VISITS KNIN.
Hina on 6 August reported that Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman, paying a triumphal visit to the former capital of Krajina, said
that the Croats' victory means "more than just conquering Croatian land, this
means the creation of conditions for the stability of the Croatian state for
centuries to come." The town fell on the morning of the previous day when
Serbian units broke and fled before advancing Croatian troops. There was
widespread destruction following a Croatian artillery barrage that began on 4
August, in the wake of which the Krajina civilian and military leadership
escaped to Bosnian Serb territory. Reports of the death or injury of Krajina
"President" Milan Martic have not been confirmed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
"OPERATION STORM" WAS NO MISNOMER.
Croatian spokesmen on 6 August said
they have completed 80% of their objectives and will wrap things up by the end
of 7 August. The BBC quoted UN officials as agreeing with the Croats. The myth
of Serbian military prowess evaporated in the southern part of Krajina, which
the Croats easily overran. The northern area proved to be tougher; but by the
end of 6 August, Petrinja, Slunj, Plitvice and its national park, and the
Udbina airfield were in Croatian hands, according to Hina. There were reports
of Serbian artillery attacks against Osijek, Vinkovci, and other Croatian areas
in eastern Slavonia, but Bosnian Serb centers such as Drvar and Trebinje were
also reportedly in a state of alert. Spanish Radio on 5 August said that the
Serbs shelled Mostar, not far from where Spanish peacekeepers are stationed. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"BIHAC IS SAVED."
This is how Croatian spokesmen on 6 August described
the importance of Operation Storm for the embattled northwest Bosnian enclave.
International media noted that the Bosnian Fifth Army Corps under General Atif
Dudakovic broke through at Trzacke Rastele to join up with Croatian forces.
This movement and the advances of the Croats left Krajina cut into several
pieces. The Croatian role in saving Bihac was a main factor in Washington's
reluctance to criticize Croatia for launching the operation. Secretary of State
Warren Christopher even spoke of "beneficial results." Serbia's traditional
allies--Russia, France, and Great Britain--led the field in condemning Zagreb,
but the Security Council and EU mediator Carl Bildt also added their criticism.
A Croatian UN spokesman replied that "Croatia is not the problem; Croatia is
the solution," the BBC reported on 5 August. Hina added that Foreign Minister
Mate Granic slammed Bildt in a letter that accused the mediator of "a complete
lack of political wisdom" both in recent days and throughout the course of his
work in the former Yugoslavia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
Maj.-Gen. Ivan Tolj, the Croatian Defense Ministry's
spokesman, told Croatian media on 6 August that eastern Slavonia will be
reintegrated peacefully now that the Serbs have seen what the Croatian army can
do. The BBC noted, however, that there were several incidents and fatalities as
UN peacekeepers were caught in crossfire and at least one Dane and two Czechs
were killed. Mlada fronta dnes on 7 August reported that the Czechs died
after the Serbs hijacked the rescue vehicle sent for them. What exactly
happened in some other incidents remains unclear. The biggest problem for the
UN , however, appears to be the flight of most of the Krajina Serbs. Croatian
Radio appealed to them to stay, and Hina said on 6 August that some did. But
Serbian media urged the Serbs to leave, and the UN expects that the largest
single migration of the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession will be the result. One
estimate said the total could go as high as 200,000, the BBC noted. Bosnian
government sources said they feared the Serbs were deliberately bringing
Krajina's panicked population to Bosnia to offset their manpower shortages
there. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
STANDOFF BETWEEN KARADZIC, MLADIC.
The BBC on 5 August reported that
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic tried to sideline military commander
General Ratko Mladic by appointing him to coordinate operations with Krajina.
Mladic the following day responded that such a job does not exist and that he
will stay in his post as long as the soldiers and civilians back him. Some 18
generals signed a letter supporting Mladic. The two internationally wanted war
criminals have a history of differences over power and tactics, but rarely has
their feud become so public. It was dragged into the open at a session of the
Bosnian Serb "parliament," which backed Karadzic, saying that the military must
yield to civilian control. Karadzic appealed to Serbia to help the Bosnian and
Krajina Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MILOSEVIC CONDEMNS CROATIA.
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
following meetings in Belgrade with UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg, issued a
statement saying "it has become apparent that Croatia represents the biggest
threat to peace in the Balkans . . . ; [the rump Yugoslavia] justly expects
that the international community takes action in keeping with its proclaimed
principles and commitment to peace," the International Herald Tribune
reported on 5-6 August. Meanwhile, federal rump Yugoslav authorities on 6
August urged the UN Security Council to undertake "urgent action" against
Croatia, AFP reported. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
BELGRADE ON WAR FOOTING?
AFP on 6 August reported that the rump
Yugoslavia was fortifying its defenses along the border with Croatia.
Eye-witnesses the previous day reported having observed "a column of armored
troop transport vehicles and other military vehicles . . . [leaving] the
barracks of Banjica in Belgrade, headed for the Croatian border." Meanwhile,
Belgrade has reportedly ordered the partial mobilization of specialized and
elite units. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
SESELJ DEMANDS BOMBING OF ZAGREB.
Vojislav Seselj, alleged war criminal
and leader of the Serbian Radical Party, has urged bomb attacks on Zagreb and
Osijek. Speaking one day after being released from prison, Seselj claimed that
"the Serbian traitor (President) Slobodan Milosevic" is refraining from a
military response because he has reached a deal with Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman whereby the Croats capture Knin in exchange for their giving up claims
on eastern Slavonia, BETA reported on 4 August. Seselj added that Milosevic is
seeking the "destruction of the political and military leadership of the
Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Republic of Srpska." Seselj was arrested
after clashes with police at an anti-Milosevic demonstration in Gnjilan on 2
June. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OFFERS TAX BREAKS TO FOREIGN FIRMS.
agencies, citing Rompres, reported on 4 August that the Romanian government has
announced that foreign companies investing more than $50 million in the
country's industrial sector will be exempt from some taxes and duties. Such
firms will enjoy a seven-year holiday for customs duties and a five-year one
for taxes on profit. The new regulations are designed to attract big investors.
So far, Romania has attracted mostly small investors, including many from
Turkey and the Middle East. Big investors often cite bureaucratic hurdles and
hesitant economic reforms as reasons for staying out of the Romanian market. --
Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
HEAD OF GAGAUZ PARAMILITARY TROOPS ARRESTED.
Police in Comrat, the
capital of Moldova's Gagauz autonomous region, have arrested Ivan Burgudji,
head of the Gagauz paramilitary troops, BASA-press reported on 4 August. A
leader of the former self-proclaimed Gagauz republic, Burgudji is the de facto
commander of the "Budjak" battalion, which was disbanded after Chisinau granted
the region broad territorial and cultural autonomy. He was arrested after
posting an announcement of guns sale on the door of a local firm. Burgudji, who
resisted the police and threatened them with a grenade, later said he had
posted the announcement to draw public attention to the fate of the "Budjak"
combatants, who, he claimed, have not been paid wages since the unit's
dissolution. A local official rejected the claim, saying Burgudji was seeking
to destabilize the situation in the region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL JUDGES WANT TO TAKE GOVERNMENT TO COURT.
Bulgarian Constitutional Court on 4 August unanimously decided to appeal to the
Supreme Court after the government announced it will move the court out of its
offices in the government building (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 August
1995), Demokratsiya reported the following day. The judges argued that
the cabinet has no right to change the offices and thereby paralyze the
activities of the Constitutional Court, the Presidency, or the parliament.
Constitutional Court Chairman Asen Manov said President Zhelyu Zhelev has
promised his assistance in the matter. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave