OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 158, 15 August 1995
RUSSIA TOUGHENS STANCE IN GROZNY TALKS . . .
At a 14 August Kremlin
meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Minister for Nationalities
Vyacheslav Mikhailov, and Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov, President Boris
Yeltsin expressed dissatisfaction with the deadlocked process of disarming
Chechen fighters but reiterated that the negotiation process must continue,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Chernomyrdin subsequently told reporters
that the Chechen side had until 6 p.m. local time to accept the most recent
Russian plan for implementing the disarmament provisions of the 30 July
military accord. He added that if the Chechen fighters did not "stop playing
games" with the disarmament process, they would face "severe measures." The
failure to move the disarmament process forward threatens to torpedo the entire
negotiated peace process in Chechnya and could trigger renewed fighting, NTV
commented. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
. . . BUT CHECHEN DELEGATION REBUFFS ULTIMATUM.
In Grozny that evening,
Chechen military commander Aslan Maskhadov refused to accept this ultimatum and
rejected the Russian disarmament plan, calling some of its provisions
unacceptable. However, he did promise to assist in carrying out the provisions
of the military accord. Late in the evening of 14 August, the Russian
government responded with an official statement accusing "the Dudaev regime" of
attempting to unilaterally change the terms of the military accord and again
threatening to take "all necessary measures" to implement the accord. With
fears of renewed fighting increasing, NTV reported that the situation in many
Chechen villages appears very unstable. Talks on implementing the military
accord between Maskhadov and General Anatolii Romanov, commander of federal
forces in Chechnya, are scheduled to resume on 15 August, ITAR-TASS reported.
-- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN VETOES LAW ON CHECHNYA CRISIS.
On 14 August, President Yeltsin
vetoed a bill that the Duma had passed on 12 July, specifying the process for
negotiating a political settlement in Chechnya. Yeltsin justified his veto in a
letter to Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin that said the proposed law would contradict
the Russian constitution and would violate the principle of separation of
powers. Yeltsin especially objected to a provision of the law that would have
charged a joint commission of officials from all branches of government with
negotiating a settlement to the Chechen conflict and another clause prohibiting
the stationing of Russian troops in Chechnya, except for those permanently
based there. Both provisions infringed on presidential powers, Yeltsin
contended. Since last year, both houses of the Federal Assembly have repeatedly
tried without success to establish legislative oversight of government policy
in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
FSB ON TURKISH INVOLVEMENT IN CHECHNYA.
Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB) spokesman Alexander Mikhailov claimed that Turks are responsible for
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's communications systems and Russian demands
for an explanation from Ankara have so far received only "very vague" answers,
Rabochaya tribuna reported on 11 August. Mikhailov pointed to the arrest
in the spring of Turkish national Isak Kasap as evidence of Turkey's
involvement in rendering aid to Dudaev. Mikhailov also said that FSB
representatives traveled to Turkey to discuss this matter and were told that
the country is not aiding Dudaev, but that Turkish officials "cannot stop" the
Chechen diaspora from helping their "native country" and that they cannot
control transfers of money from Turkey "via American banks." He also said armed
units from Afghanistan and Jordan are fighting on Dudaev's side. Turkish North
Caucasians of Circassian and Abkhaz descent are numerous and largely
assimilated; Turkey's Chechen community is tiny, numbering at most 40,000
people but probably closer to 3,000. (CORRECTION: Isak Kasap was arrested on 23
April 1995, not in late May as reported in OMRI Daily Digest, 14 August
1995.) -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN MINISTRY BACKTRACKS ON YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS.
high-ranking diplomat at the Russian Foreign Ministry backed away from earlier
comments by President Yeltsin and a bill passed by the Duma, suggesting that
Russia was not seriously considering unilaterally abandoning UN sanctions
against rump Yugoslavia, Interfax reported on 14 August. The diplomat said that
"we are not ruling out such measures, but we think we can do without them for
the time being." Interfax also quoted the diplomat as characterizing the Duma
bill as merely "rhetorical" and without "practical content." Foreign Ministry
spokesman Mikhail Demurin later disavowed this comment, telling Interfax that
the Foreign Ministry had not yet received a full text of the bill and would
"closely examine" it when it arrived. Against the backdrop of these
contradictory comments, several Moscow papers have harshly criticized the lack
of any coherent strategy in Russian policy towards the conflict in the former
Yugoslavia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
KALMYKIYA EXTENDS TERM OF ITS PRESIDENT.
The legislature of Kalmykiya, a
small republic in southwest Russia, has voted to extend the term of its
president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, until the year 2000, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The body turned down an alternative proposal to make him
president for life. Russian TV stereotyped that proposal as a product of the
"specific Eastern character" of the republic. The 33-year-old Ilyumzhinov, a
wealthy businessman before becoming president in April 1993, disbanded the
previous republican legislature and local councils on coming to power. NTV
stressed the president's draconian approach to crime prevention in Kalmykiya,
reporting his suggestion at the session that thieves' hands be severed. --
Robert Orttung and Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
ISAKOV: DUMA WILL NOT BACK DOWN ON FEDERATION COUNCIL LAW.
The Duma will
cooperate with the president and Federation Council to draft a new law on the
parliament's upper house following the president's veto, ITAR-TASS quoted
Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the Duma Committee on Legislation, as saying on 14
August. He said that a conciliatory commission is slated to meet on 28 August
and asked President Yeltsin and the upper house to designate delegates to it.
However, he warned that the Duma will not back down from its position that the
members of the Federation Council must be elected but added that the
possibility of compromise is "not hopeless." Nevertheless, an article he
published in Sovetskaya Rossiya on 15 August was harshly critical of
Yeltsin's position on this issue. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
FORWARD, RUSSIA! ADOPTS PARTY LIST.
Forward, Russia! named the top three
members of its party list at its congress on 14 August. Former Finance Minister
Boris Fedorov, the party's leader, tops the list, while Bella Denisenko,
chairwoman of the Duma Committee on Health Care, is second and Aleksandr
Vladislavlev, one of the leaders of the Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs, is third, Russian Public TV reported. Vladislavlev's appointment
was a surprise and apparently only happened at the last minute. He was one of
the leaders of the Civic Union political bloc. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC UNION REJECTS RYBKIN BLOC.
Vasilii Lipitskii's Social
Democratic Union will campaign independently, Lipitskii told Russian Public TV
on 14 August. Lipitskii was one of the original supporters of Duma Speaker Ivan
Rybkin's left-center bloc but now has decided that the bloc will not be
social-democratic enough for his taste. Rybkin's bloc is scheduled to hold its
founding congress at the end of August. Lipitskii's Social Democratic Union
grew out of the Russian Social Democratic People's Party which split when
former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, the party's leader, formed his
Derzhava movement. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
ARZAMAS-16 GETS OLD NAME BACK.
President Yeltsin signed a decree on 14
August giving the formerly secret nuclear research city known as Arzamas-16 its
old name of Sarov, ITAR-TASS reported. Sarov was a major religious center for
more than 200 years before the Soviet authorities turned it into a hub of
nuclear research in 1946. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
BELYAEV SAYS INCOME FROM PRIVATIZATION ON TARGET.
Russian State Property
Committee Chairman Sergei Belyaev announced that state privatization sales this
year are on target and will bring in 8.7 trillion rubles ($1.9 billion) to the
state coffers, Radio Rossii reported on 14 August. Belyaev told the press that
the state-owned share in the Russian Joint Energy System and Rostelecom are
currently being sold and those sales are expected to bring a "solid
contribution" to the state budget. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
MINISTRY SOURCE CLAIMS STOCKPILE OF FOREIGN GRAIN.
information from an Economic News Agency correspondent from a source in
Russia's Food and Agriculture Ministry, certain domestic commercial entities
have purchased 2 million tons of food-grade wheat from foreign countries,
Izvestiya reported on 15 August. According to the report, the grain has
been shipped to Russia and stored already. The commercial entities are now
waiting for wheat prices to climb this fall. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 158, 15 August 1995
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SACKS COMPANY MANAGERS.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev
has fired several top managers, including the directors of the Kant oil
products supply enterprise and the Sokuluk trade machinery plant, for tax
evasion, according to a Kyrgyz Radio broadcast monitored by the BBC. The Kyrgyz
prosecutor general has received orders to examine the "criminal liability" of
other managers and officials at a number of enterprises. -- Bruce Pannier,
BAIKONUR TALKS BOG DOWN.
Some issues relating to the Russian lease of
the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan remain unresolved, according to a Kazakh
Radio report monitored by the BBC on 10 August. Legal experts on both sides are
unable to compromise on two issues, namely cooperation between Kazakh and
Russian law-enforcement bodies in the zone of the rocket launch site and
settlements for lease payments. Negotiations on the mechanism for implementing
the 20-year lease with an annual rent of $115 million are to be wrapped up by
the beginning of September. In mid-April Kazakhstan's president ratified the
agreement by decree; Russia ratified it in early May. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
IRAN TO INVEST IN KAZAKH PORT.
Following talks between Kazakh Minister
of Transport and Communications Serik Aligozhanov and Iranian Foreign Minister
Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran has offered to help reconstruct the Kazakh Caspian sea
port of Aktau, Kazakh Radio reported on 10 August. According to the report
which was monitored by the BBC, an expert group will be formed "in a week" to
study the situation "on the spot." Iran has offered $49 million for the
project. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
KARIMOV AND DEMIREL MEET.
A closed-door meeting between Uzbek President
Islam Karimov and his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel, took place on 10
August in the Turkish resort of Kemer where Karimov is vacationing. According
to a Turkish Television (TRT) broadcast monitored by the BBC, Demirel said
after the meeting that "there are no problems in our bilateral relations." The
recent trip of Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller to Tashkent demonstrated an
improvement in bilateral relations that had been cool. Karimov's stay in Turkey
and meeting with Demirel reinforces this view. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
INDONESIA TO INVEST IN UZBEKISTAN.
Indonesia's ambassador in Tashkent,
Hasan Abduljali, told Interfax on 10 August that his country will invest $280
million in Uzbekistan in the next three years. The bulk of the funds will be
invested in Indonesian-Uzbek joint ventures; $100 million of which will go into
telecommunications, another $100 million into the textile industry, and the
remainder divided almost evenly between hotel businesses and the mining
industry. This is in keeping with an agreement reached during a recent visit of
Indonesian businessmen to Uzbekistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
PIPELINE PRESSURE RISING.
The Caspian Oil Pipeline Consortium (Russia,
Kazakhstan, and Oman) has announced its decision to lay a pipeline connecting
the Russian city of Kropotkin with a projected marine oil terminal north of
Novorossiisk. The 250 km-long pipeline is to export not only Russian but also
Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil, according to a 14 August Russian Public TV report.
-- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA'S CASPIAN PACKAGE AND TURKMENISTAN.
Russia has prepared a package
of documents on the legal status and "rational" use of the Caspian Sea,
Interfax reported on 12 August. The documents "take into account" the interests
of all the littoral states, according to a letter sent to Turkmen President
Saparmurad Niyazov by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The letter
was delivered by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov, who is in
Turkmenbasi (Krasnovodsk) to discuss the status of the Caspian Sea and boosting
bilateral economic relations. Niyazov's remarks concerning the Caspian hew
closely to the Russian line; after Turkmenistan provides its rubber stamp
support to the package, Iran can be expected to follow suit. Bolshakov and
Niyazov are also expected to discuss a project to link Russia, Turkmenistan,
and Iran in a "single transport corridor." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN FRIENDSHIP TREATY COMES INTO FORCE.
On 11 August, the
Russian-Belarusian treaty on friendship and cooperation, which had been signed
in Minsk by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Belarusian counterpart,
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, came into force, Belarusian TV reported on 13 August.
Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko exchanged documents with Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov confirming that both parliaments had
ratified the accord. Syanko said the agreement is necessary so that relations
with Russia can proceed smoothly. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 158, 15 August 1995
UKRAINIAN PROVISIONAL CURRENCY DECLINES SHARPLY.
The value of the
karbovanets has fallen from 152,000 to 167,700 to $1 on the National Bank's
Interbank Currency Exchange in the past week, Ukrainian TV and Interfax
reported on14 August. On the black market, it has plunged to a record low of
200,000 to $1. National Bank of Ukraine officials blame the devaluation on
panic-buying of dollars by enterprises and individuals following the
government's announcement that monetary reform and the introduction of a new
permanent tender, the hryvna, are imminent. Beginning 1 August, Ukraine banned
the use of foreign currency for cash retail and service transactions. Deputy
Interior Minister Yurii Vandin told UNIAR on 14 August that some $4 billion was
in circulation on the black market. Volodymyr Radchenko, chief of Ukraine's
security service, said the black market serves as the primary source of income
for some 2.5 million people, including up to 40% of youths in big cities. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
COAL MINERS' STRIKE AVERTED IN UKRAINE.
A pledge from Ukraine's coal
industry minister to settle miners' wage arrears averted a scheduled miner's
rally in the Ukrainian capital, UNIAN and a Radio Liberty correspondent in Kiev
reported on14 August. Organizers called off the strike after Viktor Poltavets,
the minister, ordered the managers of coal enterprises to pay wages owed for
May, June and July by 21 August. Poltavets also ordered the directors of the
still mainly state-owned coal mines to submit proposals to the ministry by 15
August on where to find money to raise coal miners' wages. Miners rank second
after teachers in the amount of back pay owed them, according to the statistics
ministry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
SEVASTOPOL PROTESTS RUSSIAN BROADCAST.
The deputy chairman of
Sevastopol's city executive, Borys Kucher, sent a message to the head of
Russian Public Television protesting a newscast from 11 August which claimed
that municipal leaders had applied to the International Court in The Hague to
confirm Russian status for the city, Ukrainian Radio reported on 14 August.
Several lines from Kucher's telegram were left out when it was broadcast by
Russian Public Television. The telegram stated: "The Sevastopol city
administration would have regarded the broadcast by Russian Public Television
as just an April fool's joke if it did not have such far-reaching consequences.
This concerns some hotheads who do not approve of the Russian and Ukrainian
presidents' position on the Black Sea Fleet." The telegram also said that aid
to Sevastopol in repairing railways after the recent accident came only from
the Ukrainian side. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
EBRD CREDIT TO UKRAINE.
The EBRD will open a $13 million credit line to
the First Ukrainian International Bank (FUIB) to develop Ukrainian agricultural
enterprises, Interfax reported on 14 April. Under the agreement signed in
London last week, the FUIB will offer medium-term credits for special projects
to agricultural enterprises. This is the first bank-to-bank credit line the
EBRD has opened to Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
MEETING OF LATVIAN, LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTERS.
Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, returning from Tallinn, stopped in Riga on 13
August for talks with his Latvian counterpart Maris Gailis, RFE/RL reported the
following day. By obtaining Latvia's agreement that Lithuania should control
the air space over the Baltic Sea closest to its borders, Lithuania gains
revenues of some $1 million a year in fees from airlines. The premiers agreed
that Foreign Ministers Povilas Gylys and Valdis Birkavs would meet in the near
future to discuss the demarcation of the sea border between the two countries.
The next meeting of the premiers will take place in September in Ventspils. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUS TO INTRODUCE NEW FORM OF MILITARY SERVICE.
The Defense Ministry
is proposing that a new type of "reserve service" be introduced, Belarusian
Radio reported on 14 August. Under the plan, a young man would learn a
specialty in a military unit without quitting his civilian job. He would serve
35 weekends or their equivalent with the unit and attend a three-month camp.
Other changes in the ministry's draft of a new law on universal military
service include allowing 17-year-olds to enlist voluntarily. It also provides
for contract service, and alternative service for citizens whose religious
beliefs do not allow them to bear arms. The report said that the draft law
would be submitted to the Security Council by 1 September. -- Doug Clarke,
BELARUS GETTING HELP IN MEETING ITS ARMS COMMITMENTS.
A source in the
Belarusian Foreign Ministry told Interfax on 14 August that the republic's
search for ways to cut costs while meeting its arms control commitments was
having some success. The source listed an agreement with the United States in
which the U.S. would pay hard currency compensation for some of the cost of
hosting arms inspection teams, and a pledge by Japan to provide $5.2 million to
curb nuclear proliferation. The source also said that Belarus had received the
right to export 298 T-80 tanks rather then be forced to destroy them to meet
the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) ceilings. It can also keep some 500
decommissioned military vehicles for domestic use. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
OPINION POLL SHOWS WHAT POLES CONDEMN.
According to a Public Opinion
Research Center (OBOP) survey carried out in July, almost all Polish adults
consider refusal to pay alimony as a social sin. Among respondents over 16, 95%
condemned this while 93% opposed possession of drugs and the same number
condemned desecration of religious symbols. Persecuting persons because they
are of a different nationality was disapproved by 80%, sex for money by 79%,
sexual relations with a person of the same sex by 74%, hiding income in a
statement for the treasury by 64%, and refusal of military service by 59%.
Other subjects widely disapproved in the poll included illegal demonstrations
against the authorities (58%), illegal strikes (57%), abortion (49%),
euthanasia (48%), not voting in elections (39%), divorce (39%), and premarital
sex (35%). Older people, those with less education, rural inhabitants, and
those who declare that they are believers practicing regularly, are less
tolerant than others, Polish dailies reported on 11 and 14 August. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH CURRENCY RESERVES CONTINUE TO RISE.
Hard currency reserves held by
the Czech National Bank amounted to $10.1 billion as of 1 August,
Hospodarske noviny reported on 15 August. It added that the total
reserves in the Czech banking system were $12.6 billion, representing a modest
rise in the past few weeks. Measures brought by the CNB to restrict a huge
inflow of short-term speculative capital into the Czech Republic came into
force on 3 August. Hospodarske noviny, however, quoted CNB spokesman
Martin Svehla as saying the measures were not expected to reduce the amount of
reserves overall but rather to change structurally the proportions of long-term
and short-term foreign capital in the Czech economy. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI,
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISE TO BE HELD IN SLOVAKIA.
international military exercise held in Slovakia since it gained independence
in January 1993 will take place from 6 to 14 September within the Partnership
for Peace program. Soldiers from the Austrian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian,
Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak armies will take part in the "Rozhodnost 95"
exercise, to be held in the military training area of Lest, Slovak media report
on 14 and 15 August. The main aim of the exercise is to improve understanding
among Slovakia's closest neighbors. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK COMMUNIST REFUSES BLAME FOR 1968 INVASION.
In a two-part
interview with Pravda on 12 and 14 August, former high-ranking Communist
Party official Vasil Bilak said he did not sign the "invitation letter" asking
the Warsaw Pact armies to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin presented the letter to then Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel
in summer 1992, and Bilak is the only alleged signatory who is still alive. His
name has been mentioned in connection with treason charges recently brought up
again in the Czech Republic, but he remains free in Slovakia. Bilak confirmed
that at a meeting of six Warsaw Pact member states on 3 August 1968, "a long
white envelope" was handed over to the Soviet delegation which contained a
resolution stating that "not only the building but also the protection of
socialism is a joint task for all socialist countries." Bilak said he did not
consider the resolution an invitation and stressed that Czechoslovakia would
have been invaded in any case. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 158, 15 August 1995
"SINISTER" DEVELOPMENT IN BANJA LUKA EXODUS.
This is how UN spokesman
Chris Jankowski described the Bosnian Serb announcement that Croat and Muslim
males of military age will not be allowed to leave, international media
reported on 15 August. Bosnian Serb officials had earlier ordered the expulsion
of all Croats and Muslims from the Banja Luka region. Estimates vary as to what
constitutes military age and how many Croats and Muslims still live there, but
there appear to be roughly 50,000 persons remaining out of a prewar population
of 500,000 non-Serbs. The Croats are being deported to Croatia and the Muslims
to territory controlled by the Bosnian government, ostensibly to make room for
refugees from Krajina. But there is plenty of other space available in Bosnian
Serb-held regions following more than three years of systematic "ethnic
cleansing." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBIA REOPENS BORDERS TO KRAJINA SERBS.
Another reason that the Bosnian
Serbs' excuse for the expulsions rings hollow is that most of the Krajina Serbs
want to get out of Bosnia and as far away from the fighting as possible. Many
plan new futures in North America or Australia, Monitor reported on 11
August, but the first stop would be Serbia. Belgrade, however, had closed the
crossings at Sremska Raca, Badovinci, and Trobrnica to military-aged males in
order to force them to return to Bosnian Serb territory and fight. Nasa
Borba reported on 15 August that those crossings have been reopened, and
AFP noted that 130,000 Krajina Serbs have entered Serbia to date. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MILAN MARTIC CALLS FOR GUERRILLA WAR.
Krajina's "president" has issued a
call for Croatian Serbs to return home to fight. AFP on 14 August quoted him as
speaking from "free territory" in Krajina. Martic said all government members
and other Serbs should "return and liberate" their homeland. Politika
reported on 15 August, however, that "Krajina" will henceforth be limited to
Sector East, or eastern Slavonia. The UN is drastically scaling down its
presence in Croatia following Operation Storm 10 days ago, which effectively
rendered much of the peacekeepers' mission superfluous. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
International media reported on 15 August that
Bosnian government forces continued to advance toward Donji Vakuf in central
Bosnia. In the mountains above Dubrovnik, Bosnian Serb guns on 14 August
pounded the region around the medieval city for the third straight day, while
Croatian forces sought to relieve the pressure by shelling the Serb stronghold
of Trebinje. Mlada fronta dnes on 15 August quoted the Croatian minister
for tourism as saying that vacationers could now safely return to the Dalmatian
coast and islands as far south as the Dubrovnik region thanks to Operation
Storm. Czech officials stressed, however, that in their opinion only Istria,
Kvarner, and the coast down to Rijeka could truly be considered safe for now.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
REFUGEE UPDATE IN MONTENEGRO.
Montena-fax reported on 14 August that,
according to Red Cross estimates, at least 450 refugees from Krajina have
arrived in the rump Yugoslav republic. Montenegrin authorities had appealed to
the international community to allow refugees to reach Montenegro via the port
of Bar, which had been closed to international traffic in accordance with the
international sanctions imposed against the rump Yugoslavia in May 1992 for its
role in fomenting the wars throughout the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
The leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), Vuk
Draskovic, met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on 14 August. BETA the
same day reported that the reason for the meeting was unclear, but noted that
assembled reporters were in part "awaiting the arrival" of diplomatic
representatives, who did not materialize. In other news, Nasa Borba on
15 August reports that the telecommunications firm Bel Paget appears to have
plans to eventually turn Belgrade "into one of the telecommunications centers
of CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE." A company representative and Serbia's Minister
of Private Enterprise Radoje Djukic reportedly discussed an initial investment
of some $20 million to build a mobile telephone infrastructure. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN RED CROSS TO HELP KRAJINA REFUGEES.
In a statement released on
14 August, the Romanian Red Cross announced that it was planning to send 20
tons of flour to help Serb refugees from Krajina. The communique, which was
read on Radio Bucharest, said that the Red Cross was still awaiting the
approval of the special UN Security Council committee watching over the
compliance with the sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. The Romanian Red
Cross launched an appeal for further donations in favor of the refugees. In a
separate development, Adrian Nastase, Executive Chairman of the ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania and a former Foreign Minister, said on 14 August
that the embargo against rump Yugoslavia has lost its justification. Nastase
recommended that a European summit should examine the conflicts in former
Yugoslavia. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
BREAD RATIONING IN THE DNIESTER REGION.
Moldova's breakaway Dniester
Region announced that bread rationing would be introduced in Tiraspol as of 24
August, Reuters reported on 14 August. The ration of cheap, subsidized bread is
500 grams per day per person. Bread can also be bought freely in private shops,
but it costs up to three times more than the rationed bread. The region's
economy is reportedly in bad shape but local authorities, dominated by former
Communists, continue to oppose market reforms. Rampant impoverishment makes
even staples a luxury for ordinary Dniester inhabitants. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI,
BULGARIAN OFFICIALS INVESTIGATED FOR VIOLATING UN SANCTIONS.
prosecutors are investigating several state railway officials for violating UN
sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, Reuters reported on 14 August. The same day,
Angel Ganev, head of the Prosecutor's Office Investigation Departments, said
that the indictment against three officials is ready, and that charges are also
being prepared against former State Railway Director-General Atanas Tonev, who
was dismissed last year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 July 1995). Ganev
said that "several additional legal cases [are] being prepared," but declined
to give a figure. Bulgarian media said as many as 40 officials are under
investigation for illegally exporting petroleum products, furniture, and cement
to rump Yugoslavia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT URGED TO STAY NEUTRAL IN YUGOSLAV CONFLICT.
President Zhelyu Zhelev's adviser for national security Rumen Danov on 14
August told RFE/RL that the country must stick to its position of "categoric
and demonstrative non-intervention" in the Yugoslav conflict, Bulgarian
newspapers reported the following day. He said that a possible Russian
unilateral withdrawal from UN sanctions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 August 1995)
may be dangerous for Bulgaria as it could prompt similar reactions from other
countries. He said the president's office was sure that the government "will
not be so stupid" as to follow the Russian Duma's example. Meanwhile, the
cabinet will not hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue,
Trud reports, since withdrawing from the sanctions requires a
parliamentary vote. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
MAVI MEMBERS NOT INVOLVED IN ATTACK ON ALBANIAN BARRACKS?
Supreme Court said it had no evidence that eight members of the Northern Epirus
Liberation Front (MAVI), arrested in late March, were involved in an attack on
an Albanian army barracks in Peshkepi in April 1994, Gazeta Shqiptare
reported on 15 August. One of the accused was released on bail but the
remaining seven still face charges of illegal possession and trafficking of
weapons. With the court's ruling, charges of "endangering and troubling
relations with a neighboring country [ . . . probably . . . ] leading to war"
were dropped. When arrested, the MAVI members had Kalashnikov rifles that were
allegedly taken from the Albanian barracks in last year's terrorist attack. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN VISA AGREEMENT.
The Albanian cabinet approved an
agreement with Macedonia about the lifting of visa requirements for diplomatic
and business passports and the unification of border tolls for other kinds of
visa. The agreement also regulates special rights for people living in both
countries' border regions, especially on paying lower border tolls. According
to BETA on 14 August, there is, however, no information yet available about
whether the tolls will be dropped or merely reduced. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle