OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
FOREIGN MINISTRY CALLS FOR COORDINATION OF PEACE EFFORTS.
Gorelik, head of the International Organizations Department of the Russian
Foreign Ministry, told Interfax on 16 August that Russia could reach consensus
with the U.S. on a single peace plan for former Yugoslavia. Gorelik said recent
Russian and U.S. initiatives have much in common, although he noted that Russia
opposed parts of the American proposal that reportedly call for the use of
military force against any of the warring parties that refuse to accept a peace
plan. Gorelik's comments represented a step back from President Yeltsin's
failed bid last week to mediate a resolution of the Yugoslav conflict
unilaterally. Also on 16 August, a convoy of 49 trucks loaded with 150 tons of
humanitarian aid left the Moscow suburb of Noginsk, Russian and Western
agencies reported. The convoy is the second of three planned shipments of
Russian aid for Croatian Serb refugees. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CHECHEN FIGHTERS BEGIN DISARMAMENT.
In the presence of Chechen military
commander Aslan Maskhadov, Russian General Yevgenii Skobelev, and OSCE
mediators, a group of Chechen fighters began the process of disarmament called
for in the 30 July Russian-Chechen military accord, surrendering assault
rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and mines in the village of Zandak,
located in the Nozhai-Yurt region of Chechnya. The weapons are to be turned
over to local "self-defense" units. Concerning another provision of the accord,
a military spokesman told RFE/RL by telephone that federal forces are already
beginning to withdraw 2-4 km away from their present positions, and NTV
reported on 16 August that a column of 100 federal armored vehicles was leaving
Grozny, while other federal units had withdrawn from their positions in the
Vedeno region. Deadlock over implementation of the accord's disarmament
provisions had prompted harsh threats from Moscow and threatened to scuttle the
negotiation process in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CHECHEN NEGOTIATIONS TO RESUME.
Meanwhile, Chechen head negotiator
Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov returned to Grozny after consulting with Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev and told journalists that the Chechen delegation is
prepared to resume talks with Russian delegates on the future political status
of the republic, Western and Russian agencies reported. NTV also reported that
on 16 August Dudaev had made an appearance on the "underground" Chechen TV
station, during which he called for the simultaneous disarmament of his
fighters and the forces of the current Moscow-backed Chechen authorities.
Dudaev also reiterated his view that Chechnya must become fully independent and
demanded that federal troops withdraw from the republic by 21 August. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
SUPPORT BASES FOR RUSSIAN PARTIES.
Parties like Russia's Democratic
Choice, Yabloko, and Our Home is Russia are much more likely to get support
from abroad than the Communists, according to a report published in
Izvestiya on 17 August. Domestically, banks will support the "rightist"
parties while agricultural interests will support the Communists and their
allies. The study questioned several commonly held beliefs. While it was
earlier assumed that the military-industrial complex would support Yurii
Skokov's Congress of Russian Communities, the study found that its interests
are divided and that it will actually support a number of parties. The gas
industry is also not united in its support for the Our Home is Russia bloc of
former Gazprom leader and current Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. -- Robert
Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
BANKERS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST CRIME WAVE.
Some of Russia's wealthiest and
most influential businessman gathered outside the former KGB headquarters on
Lubyanka Square on 16 August to protest the murders that have claimed the lives
of dozens of business people, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
demonstration was prompted by the death on 4 August of Ivan Kivelidi, the head
of Rosbiznesbank and the Russian Business Round Table. Kivelidi and his
secretary, who died the day before her boss, were apparently the victims of
poisoning. A representative of the Round Table read out a statement calling for
a government crackdown on organized crime, then the businessmen lit candles and
observed a moment of silence in memory of their murdered colleagues. About 500
people were the victims of contract killings last year. -- Penny Morvant,
ROSTOV MINERS END PROTEST.
Coal miners from the Rostovugol association
removed their pickets from the Shakhty city administration building and called
off their hunger strike after agreement was reached in Moscow by union, coal
industry, and government representatives on the payment of back wages, Russian
TV reported on 16 August. According to ITAR-TASS, the Rostov Oblast
administration head has also agreed to allocate 4 billion rubles ($910,000)
from the regional budget to help Rostovugol pay the wage arrears. However,
disputes may soon erupt again. ITAR-TASS said miners from many of the
association's pits are unhappy that under the agreement reached in Moscow, July
wages will not be paid until September. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
YELTSIN CHAIRS MEETING ON MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.
"colossal potential for a powerful technological breakthrough in the field of
conversion" of military technologies that can be used in the commercial sphere
as well, according to President Boris Yeltsin who was addressing a meeting of
the Council for Scientific and Technological Policy on 15 August, ITAR-TASS
reported. He added that the government's objective is "to qualitatively change
the make-up of the military-industrial complex and to switch to a more
effective use of the defense sector's unique production, research, and
development potential" in order to convert to the mass production of
high-quality, competitive civilian goods. The president announced that a new
presidential program on dual-purpose technologies had been drafted and that he
intended to raise the funding for research and development in the 1996 federal
budget from 3 trillion to 9.5 trillion rubles. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
EBRD ESTABLISHES $30 MILLION FUND FOR NORTHWEST REGION.
announced on 16 August the establishment of a $30 million equity fund to
finance new projects for modernizing Russian industry in the Northwest region
of Russia, AFP reported the same day. The deal was signed in London on 14
August by representatives of the EBRD and Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The
three countries have provided $20 million in a technical assistance fund. This
is the seventh fund to be launched by the EBRD in Russia as part of a
countrywide post-privatization initiative. The fund will concentrate on the
Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblasts and the Republic of Karelia. The other EBRD
regional venture funds for Russia cover Smolensk, the Urals, St. Petersburg,
the Far East and Eastern Siberia, the Lower Volga, and the regions of Southern
Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
GRAIN HARVEST LIKELY TO PLUMMET DRAMATICALLY.
The Russian grain harvest
could plummet this year to 45-50 million metric tons because of drought and
equipment shortages, according to Agriculture Ministry experts quoted on 16
August by ITAR-TASS. That compares with a harvest of 81.3 million tons last
year and with previous forecasts for this year of 80 million tons (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 9 August 1995). According to a 16 August report provided by
the Bloomberg Business News Service, Russia is not likely to turn to U.S.
suppliers to meet its grain shortfall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) curtailed credit lines to Russia in December 1992 when it defaulted on
payments due for past grain purchases; Russian grain buyers have not made any
requests for grain credits since then. The report said that a top USDA official
expressed skepticism over the size of Russia's predicted drop in production. On
11 August, the USDA estimated that Russia will harvest 70.1 million tons of
wheat, corn, and other coarse grains. At the same time, the USDA raised its
forecast for Russian wheat imports from 1 million tons to 4 million tons. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
EXPORT-IMPORT BALANCE UP 28%.
Russia's export-import balance equaled
$16.1 billion during the first half of 1995, which is a 28% increase compared
with the corresponding figure for last year, Finansovye izvestiya
reported on 17 August. During the first half of 1995, Russia exported goods
worth a total of $41.8 billion (a 23.3% increase compared to the corresponding
figure for last year), including goods worth $8.1 billion (up 9%) to the former
Soviet republics and goods worth $33.1 billion (up 28%) to other countries of
the world. Imports totaled $25.4 billion (up 20.5%), including $6.3 billion (up
14.6%) from the former Soviet republics and $19.1 billion (up 22.6%) from other
countries of the world. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
UZBEK STYLE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.
A decree signed by Uzbek
President Islam Karimov on 15 August provides for the establishment of six
joint-stock companies that will replace their state-owned predecessors in
buying and selling commodities and providing transport for import-export
operations, Interfax reported the same day. Nevertheless, the Foreign Economic
Relations Ministry will maintain a controlling interest of 51% in them and will
manage the enterprises on behalf of the state. The workers will get a 25% share
and the remaining 24% will be put up for sale on the stock market. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
SOUTH KOREAN INVESTMENT IN UZBEKISTAN.
The South Korean Ambassador in
Tashkent told Interfax on 15 August that his country's investments in
Uzbekistan have doubled in the last year. It appears that the $450 million
invested so far has mainly gone into the Daewoo Corporation's
automobile-building factory in Andizhan. The ambassador pointed out that South
Korea is particularly interested in the production of industrial equipment and
home appliances, the textile industry, and communications in Uzbekistan. --
Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
KAZAKH MEASURES TO END COAL MINE CRISIS.
The Kazakh government has
adopted a series of measures to aid the ailing coal mines in Karaganda, RIA
reported on 15 August. These measures include closing down five loss-making
mines in the region, exempting the others from paying most taxes until the end
of 1996, and allowing foreign companies to temporarily manage some of the
mines. The agency added that the Kazakh government had earlier lifted
restrictions on the sale prices of coal as well on its export. On 18 July,
about 500-600 miners in Karaganda organized a rally calling for more state
support for the coal industry and demanding that their wages be paid, Interfax
reported the same day. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.
LENINSK TO PROVIDE SOLDIERS.
A military registration and enlistment
office will be established in the 90th component of the Russian Federation, the
city of Leninsk in Kazakhstan, according to a directive issued by the Russian
Armed Forces General Headquarters, Krasnaya zvezda reported on 16
August. The office will be subordinated to the Volga military district and will
be responsible for managing the local draft and providing social welfare
services to Russian military pensioners. Leninsk residents mainly work at the
Baikonour cosmodrome; in mid-June, Kazakhstan agreed to lease the city and
adjoining lands for 20 years to Russia. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
On the second leg of her Central Asian tour,
Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller visited Kyrgyzstan to sign accords on the
protection of the environment, the establishment of a joint bank (Vakif and
Kyrgyz Banks), and the establishment of an economic cooperation council,
Yeni Yuzyil reported on 17 August. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
RUSSIA'S MILITARY AGREEMENTS WITH KYRGYZ, TAJIKS RATIFIED.
A package of
Russian-Kyrgyz and Russian-Tajik agreements and treaties on defense cooperation
have been ratified by the Russian Duma and affirmed by President Yeltsin,
Rossiiskie vesti reported on 16 August. Agreements with Kyrgyzstan
determine procedures and mechanisms for the use of Russian military
installations in the republic, the status of the Russian military contingent
there, and conditions for renting facilities used by the Russian Seismological
Service, which is attached to the Defense Ministry. The agreements with
Tajikistan include one determining the terms for Russian military advisers and
another specifying terms for the maintenance and use of the "Nurek" space
monitoring system. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
TAJIK OPPOSITION VIEWS NEW MINISTER AS CHANGE FOR THE BETTER.
opposition gave a mild endorsement of the new interior minister, Saidamir
Zukhurov, in a 15 August Voice of Free Tajikistan broadcast monitored by the
BBC. The broadcast blasted departing interior minister Yakub Salimov saying he
had been carrying out an independent policy in his ministry and had been a
stumbling block to the peace process. Zukhurov has been in favor of holding
talks with the opposition even "at times when [President Imomali] Rakhmonov and
Salimov were speaking about the opposition with disgust." The broadcast said
Zukhurov is more qualified for the job "because Zukhurov, unlike Salimov, did
not come to the position from the streets of crime but is a professional." --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
UKRAINE PAYS FOR REPATRIATION OF CRIMEAN TATARS.
During a visit to the
Black Sea peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets told Crimean
officials that Ukraine will allocate 2 trillion karbovantsi (over $10 million)
toward the repatriation of Crimean Tatars, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 15
August. Over 250,000 Tatars have returned to the region from other parts of the
former Soviet Union 50 years after they were deported by Stalin for alleged
collaboration with the Nazis. Durdynets said Kiev would also help local
authorities combat growing crime, especially organized crime, which has been a
central complaint of the returning Tatars. Recent violent clashes between
Crimean Tatar merchants and alleged Russian-speaking criminal gangs, which
caused the deaths of two Tatars, apparently prompted Kiev's decision. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CHURCH LEADERS IN UKRAINE CALL FOR TALKS ON ORTHODOX UNIFICATION.
hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate has
appealed to Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev not to submit his candidacy for the
vacant Patriarch's see "for the sake of harmony and unification of Orthodoxy in
Ukraine", Interfax Ukraine and Ukrainian TV reported on 16 August. A sobor
(assembly of senior clergy), held in Rohatyn in western Ukraine, proposed
continuing talks with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which broke
away in 1992 over Filaret's leading position in the church. Widely viewed as
the likely successor to the recently deceased Patriarch Volodymyr, Filaret has
attracted opposition for alleged collaboration with the KGB during the Soviet
era. The sobor also offered to begin a dialogue with the Ukrainian Orthodox
Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has the largest number of followers in
the country, as a step toward unification of the three orthodox churches. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CANDIDATES TO LATVIAN PARLIAMENT.
By crossing out Igor Satikov for
having presented an invalid language test certificate, the Latvian Central
Electoral Committee raised to 10 the number of persons it removed from the list
of candidates to the fall Saeima elections, BNS reported on 16 August. The same
day, the committee's decision to remove Larisa Lavina from the candidates' list
was upheld by the Riga District Court. The Latvian Center for the Consequences
of Totalitarianism informed the committee that it had found the names of 12
candidates from eight parties in lists of KGB informers. The election law
allows KGB collaborators to be candidates, but not if they were staff members.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LUKASHENKA WANTS SOVIET TEXT BOOKS BACK.
Belarusian Television reported
on 15 August that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ordered the Education
Ministry to stop using text books printed between 1992-95 in the coming school
year, and begin using Soviet-era text books instead. Lukashenka made the
decision based on the findings of a special commission which spent two months
studying text books published from 1992. The commission declared that the books
tended to be written with political overtones which were inappropriate to
educating youth. The ministry has one year to write new text books which would
be considered acceptable. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN TRANSIT TAX FAILS.
Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on
16 August that the transit tax introduced in Belarus a few months ago has
failed to raise any revenues and will probably be repealed. The tax was imposed
on foreign vehicles passing through Belarus and was expected to bring in
revenues of $500 million. Instead, drivers changed their routes to bypass the
republic; the number of drivers crossing Belarus this summer was two times less
than last summer. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH NATIONAL BANK PRESIDENT AHEAD IN PRESIDENTIAL RANKING.
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski consistently heads opinion polls for the first round of this fall's
Polish presidential elections, the second round will be decisive if no
candidate gets a majority in the first round. According to a Public Opinion
Research Center (CBOS) poll conducted 3-8 August and published by Gazeta
Wyborcza on 17 August, Polish National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz would win in the second round, irrespective of who would be
her opponent. She would win 38% to 36% over Kwasniewski and 37% to 34% over
former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron. Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Kwasniewski and Kuron
would each defeat Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski by 5-7%, and all four would win
over the current president, Lech Walesa. In other developments, Kwasniewski's
campaign chief Danuta Waniek said on 16 August that 200,000 signatures
supporting Kwasniewski's candidacy--twice the necessary number--have been
collected, Polish media reported on 17 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
WALESA VETOES DEFENSE BILL.
Polish President Lech Walesa on 16 August
vetoed the defense bill of 12 July, which was adopted initially by the Sejm on
29 June (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 June 1995). The bill makes the chief
of staff responsible to the civilian defense minister and not to the president.
Walesa wrote that the bill limits the president's constitutional prerogatives
in defense matters, Polish media reported on 17 August. A two-thirds Sejm
majority is needed to overrule the president's veto. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
CZECH GOVERNMENT RAISES WAGES IN FACE OF STRIKE THREATS.
government on 17 August allocated more than one 900 million koruny from the
state budget to increase wages for school, rail and health workers, Czech media
report. All three categories of workers had threatened to strike or take other
industrial action if their demands for higher wages were not met. The
government originally awarded public sector employees a 10% rise but in June
averted a rail strike at the last minute by agreeing to raise railworkers' pay
further. They will receive 108 million koruny, while teachers and other
schoolworkers were awarded 735 million koruny and health workers 50 million
koruny. A spokesman for the schoolworkers' union said it would recommend
calling off a one-day strike planned for the first day of the coming school
year. The extra wages will be financed from the state budget surplus, which
stood at 10.1 billion koruny at the end of July, Hospodarske noviny
reports. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PREMIER WALKS OUT OF MEETING WITH PRESIDENT . . .
on 16 August walked out of a meeting called by Michal Kovac to brief the
premier on a recent trip to the U.S., Reuters and TASR reported. Kovac returned
from his 12-day visit on 14 August and canceled a press conference initially
scheduled for the next day, saying he first wanted to consult with Meciar and
parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic. Kovac caused a commotion while he was away
by telling Slovak Radio that U.S. officials believe Slovakia is falling behind
its neighbors in reforms and the development of democracy. After reading a
seven-page written report on Kovac's trip, Meciar and Gasparovic left the
meeting without comment. According to presidential spokesman Vladimir Stefko,
the meeting lasted only 14 minutes. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
. . . WHILE U.S. RESPONDS TO SLOVAK NOTE.
The U.S. has replied to a note
sent by the Slovak Foreign Ministry asking whether the U.S. has changed its
attitude towards the Slovak government, Sme reported on 17 August. The
ministry sent the note on 9 August, following Kovac's statements on Slovak
Radio (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 August 1995). The content of the U.S.
response, which was delivered by the U.S. embassy in Bratislava on 15 August,
is unknown. Details of "a friendly working meeting" between U.S. Ambassador
Theodore Russell and Gasparovic on 16 August were also concealed. According to
Stefko, even Kovac has not been informed about the U.S. response to the note.
In an interview published in Pravda on 17 August, the president called
the Foreign Ministry's note a "faux pas." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARY REINFORCES ITS BORDER WITH EAST SLAVONIA.
A border guard
spokesman told journalists on 16 August that Hungary has reinforced its
frontier with East Slavonia, the region of Croatia still held by rebel Serbs,
Reuters reports. The spokesman revealed that two companies of border guards,
equipped with some 30 armed personnel carriers, have been moved to a 66-km
border section between the Danube and Drava rivers. The government stressed
that the move was of technical character and that the Hungarian armed forces
were not being mobilized. Also on the 16th, a Hungarian foreign ministry
official expressed concern that Serb refugees from Croatia are being settled in
Serbia's largely Hungarian Vojvodina province. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
CROATS PRESS TOWARD DRVAR.
Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) "stand before
Drvar," Vecernji list wrote on 17 August. The apparent aim of the drive
is to link up with the Bosnian government's Fifth Corps in Bihac and join up
with HVO and government pincer movements from the north and south, all of which
are moving in the general direction of Banja Luka. The International Herald
Tribune said that military-aged men in Banja Luka are wearing uniforms in
hopes of not being pressganged into the army, and that "fear and mistrust grip
every quarter of the city." As to Dvar, some Croatian reports that the town has
fallen have not been confirmed. AFP quoted Bosnian Serb sources to the effect
that "the Serb defense lines are holding," but also that the 4,000 civilians
there are being evacuated. News agencies cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic as saying that "the town must be defended at any cost." -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.
ARE THE CROATS ABOUT TO END THE THREAT TO DUBROVNIK?
troops (HV) are massing around Dubrovnik for what appears to be a thrust into
eastern Herzegovina and the Serb stronghold of Trebinje. The immediate purpose
is to remove the threat to the medieval city and its environs posed by Serbian
artillery in the surrounding heights. Over the weekend the Serbs gave the area
its worst bombardment since 1991, although Dubrovnik itself apparently was not
hit, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on 17 August. Forest and
brush fires are burning as a result of the shelling. UN special envoy Yasushi
Akashi said that "there seem to be movements of Croatian troops in that
direction so we may expect some intensification of fighting in the Dubrovnik
area." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
SERBS TREAT CROAT AND MUSLIM EXPELEES "WORSE THAN CATTLE."
Milano, the head of the Dutch branch of Medecins sans Frontieres, blasted the
Serb treatment of Croats and Muslims being deported from Banja Luka to Croatia.
"The transport of cattle is done better than this," Reuters quoted him as
saying on 16 August. "We urgently appeal to the local authorities that if they
are to indulge in `ethnic cleansing', which we strongly disagree with, at least
they do it with a little dignity." Elsewhere, the International Herald
Tribune said on 17 August that the UN is concerned about the fate of around
20,000 Muslim refugees loyal to Bihac-area kingpin Fikret Abdic. They have been
trapped in Croatia for about a week and the UN does not have access to them.
The UN fears that they will be sent back to Bihac, which is under Bosnian
government control, against their will. Nasa Borba wrote that similar
concern surrounds the fate of a column of 10,000 Krajina Serb refugees whose
situation remains unknown. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
International media on 17 August reported much confusion
over the secret peace plan being promoted by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed
Sacirbey denied earlier accounts that the Muslims would have to give up Gorazde
under the plan, but Bosnia's ambassador to Britain nonetheless called the
project "legalizing Serbian crimes." The VOA said that President Bill Clinton
wants a major diplomatic breakthrough lest the conflict spread elsewhere in the
Balkans, although it is not clear just where he thinks that would be and how
such a conflict would arise. Many remain suspicious of the diplomatic
initiatives, and Vecernji list ran the headline: "the spirit of Yalta
[hangs] over Bosnia." Meanwhile on the ground, the Rapid Reaction Force on Mt.
Igman does not inspire much confidence in the UN's own Belgian and Dutch
military drivers, who refuse to use the road under the present circumstances,
AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MAYOR OF SUBOTICA PROTESTS ETHNIC CLEANSING.
Nasa Borba on 16
August reported on an open letter by Mayor Jozsef Kassa to Serbian Prime
Minister Mirko Marjanovic to protest forced changes in the local demographic
structure since 1990. He noted that 2,000 new settlers had arrived before 1995
and a further 10,000 have come this year. Some 10,000 Hungarians and Croats
have left in the meantime and the entire ethnic map of northern Backa is being
changed. Another article in the same paper said that the new refugees are
"occupying the empty homes of Hungarians." Meanwhile in Montenegro, the head of
the People's Party, Novak Kilibarda, said that the Krajina refugees should be
sent to Kosovo or to Vojvodina. The latter area has a Serbian majority but
before the Serbian authorities launched ethnic cleansing it had strong
minorities of Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks, and other Central Europeans as a
result of Habsburg colonizing policies when the area was part of the Kingdom of
Hungary. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WHY THE CHANGE IN THE RUMP YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTRY?
BETA reported on
16 August on Belgrade-watchers' interpretations of Vladislav Jovanovic's sudden
removal as foreign minister the previous day. According to one line of thought,
Jovanovic had to be removed because of his "hardline" position on Krajina.
While Jovanovic is a staunch ally of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, the
argument goes, his political leanings may entice other malcontents within
Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia to manipulate Jovanovic into becoming the
foil for their opposition to Milosevic's handling of developments in Krajina.
According to another interpretation, Jovanovic's removal is mere coincidence,
and facilitated by circumstances. Jovanovic's replacement, Milan Milutinovic,
was allegedly considered for the job at least two years ago, but could not be
moved into the post, largely because of opposition by then federal President
Dobrica Cosic. BETA also comments that Milosevic and Milutinovic are long-time
friends. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
Montena-fax reported on 16 August that the number of
Krajina refugees in the republic has climbed to at least 700. The agency also
reports that ultranationalist, pro-Serbia politicians and groups in the
republic continue their public condemnations of rump Yugoslavia's federal and
republican governments for their refusal to defend alleged Serbian national
interests in Krajina. On 16 August the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) in
Montenegro reiterated its now familiar charge that Krajina would still be under
Serbian control were it not for "the cowardly behavior of the regimes in
Belgrade and Podgorica." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
REFUGEES CONTINUE TO ARRIVE IN KOSOVO.
About 2,000 refugees from Krajina
have so far arrived in Kosovo and another 1,300 are expected on 17 August,
including the majority of the 800 who refused for two days to go to the region
(see OMRI Daily Digest 16 August 1995). Serbian officials estimate that about
5,000 hectares are needed to accommodate altogether 10,000 refugees in Kosovo.
In one case, a Serbian refugee family reportedly occupied an Albanian house,
but no other incidents have been reported. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova repeated charges that Serbia plans to colonize Kosovo
with refugees against their will. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA CURBS YUGOSLAV FLIGHTS.
Romania has limited Yugoslav state
airlines (JAT) flights following accusations Belgrade was using the trips to
break UN sanctions against it, Reuters reported on 16 August. According to a
Timisoara airport official, Romania's Transport Ministry has decided that JAT
will operate only one flight a day from Belgrade to Bucharest, instead of two.
The move followed an official inquiry into media reports that Romania was
allowing Yugoslav passenger jets to overtank copiously during stopovers at
Timisoara airport. The rump Yugoslav federation is under a fuel embargo as part
of a UN economic sanctions package. Also on 16 August, a spokesman for the
Romanian Foreign Ministry said that his country would "actively support any
realistic proposal or action aimed at reactivating the peace process" in the
region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES IN BULGARIA.
Ilcho Dimitrov, director of the National
Employment Service and deputy social minister, on 16 August said that
unemployment increased in July for the first time in 1995, Bulgarian media
reported the same day. Some 415,438 people were registered with the service,
markedly less than the 499,176 registered at the beginning of the year. The
reports do not give figures for June. Dimitrov attributed the rise to the fact
that many young people finished their education recently, and have not yet
found a job. The number of people under 30 who are entitled to social benefits
was given as 22,112. In other news, the National Statistical Institute
announced that industrial production in July was 9% higher than the same month
last year. For the first seven months of 1995, the growth rate was 2% compared
to 1994. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
NEW ALBANIAN INDUSTRY MINISTER APPOINTED.
President Sali Berisha has
appointed Suzana Panariti as the new minister for industry, transport and
trade. Panariti replaces Albert Brojka, who was elected as the head of the
Tirana branch of the Democratic Party on 9 August. Panariti previously worked
as Brojka's deputy and is not a member of any political party. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle