OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 164, 23 August 1995
TRAVKIN, LUZHKOV ENDORSE CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC.
Minister without portfolio
Nikolai Travkin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced that they would
support Our Home Is Russia in the upcoming parliamentary elections, ITAR-TASS
and Russian Public TV reported on 22 August. Travkin founded the Democratic
Party of Russia in 1990 and was its leader until December 1994. Luzhkov also
announced plans to seek re-election as mayor and denied speculation that he may
run for president in 1996. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
CHIEF INVESTIGATOR TAKEN OFF LISTEV CASE.
Investigator Boris Uvarov of
the Procurator General's Office has been dismissed as head of the investigation
into the 1 March murder of television journalist Vladislav Listev, Radio Mayak
reported on 22 August. Uvarov's removal had been rumored for some time. In
July, he claimed that acting Procurator General Aleksei Ilyushenko was sending
him on a forced vacation after Uvarov admitted to journalists that there were
no promising suspects in the case. Procurators continue to insist that the
Listev case will be solved--an optimism that was echoed by Interior Minister
Anatolii Kulikov on 22 August, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
KULIKOV APPOINTS NEW DEPUTIES IN INTERIOR MINISTRY.
Minister of Internal
Affairs Anatolii Kulikov announced that Lt. Gen. Vladimir Kolesnikov and Lt.
Gen. Pavel Golubets are replacing Col. Gen. Mikhail Yegorov and Col. Gen.
Yevgenii Abramov as first deputy ministers, Radio Rossii reported on 22 August.
They will be responsible respectively for the fight against organized crime and
the internal structure of the ministry. Kolesnikov was in charge of the Main
Administration for Criminal Investigation at the ministry and is famous for
capturing serial-killer Andrei Chikatilo. Izvestiya reported on 23
August that one of his assistants was charged with illegal possession of
weapons and taking bribes, but Kolesnikov stood by him. -- Robert Orttung,
DESPITE FIGHTING IN ARGUN, NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE.
recaptured the police headquarters in Argun and forced the group of Chechen
fighters led by field commander Alaudi Khanzatov to flee the town, Western and
Russian agencies reported on 22 August. Russian military sources said that one
Russian soldier was killed and 12 wounded during the fighting and added that at
least 60 Chechen fighters had been killed. In Grozny, Chechen military
commander Aslan Maskhadov said the Argun incident had been planned by the
Federal Security Service (FSB), which he accused of trying to undermine the
peace talks. He later added that "elements of both parties" were responsible
for the incident. Maskhadov claimed the use of force in Argun violated the
provisions of the 30 July military accord, declaring that if federal forces
repeated the tactics used in Argun, the Chechen side would have no choice but
to resume fighting. Nevertheless, on 22 August Chechen and Russian negotiators,
together with mediators from the OSCE, continued discussions on the
implementation of the military accord. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CHERNOMYRDIN: PEACE TALKS WILL CONTINUE.
Speaking to journalists in
Barnaul during a trip to the Altai Republic, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
said "provocations" like the recent incident in Argun, would not derail the
ongoing peace process in Chechnya, Russian and Western agencies reported.
According to ITAR-TASS, Chernomyrdin said "it is impossible to stop the
negotiation process." Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, arriving
in Grozny on 22 August to resume discussions on the political status of
Chechnya, also reiterated the commitment of the federal government to a
negotiated settlement but, added that the disarmament process, which he
characterized as only "symbolic" to date, must make much more progress before a
political agreement can be finalized. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
TATAR PRESIDENT APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF PILOTS.
Mintimer Shaimiev appealed to the leaders of the Afghan rebel group "Taliban"
for the release of the seven-member crew of a cargo plane being held in the
Afghan city of Kandahar, Western and Russian agencies reported on 22 August.
The IL-76 cargo plane, owned by Areostan, a company based in the Tatar capital,
Kazan, was carrying ammunition purchased by the Kabul government in Albania
when it was forced to land by the anti-government Taliban rebels on 3 August.
Russian diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the crew have so far been
unsuccessful. Shaimiev called on Taliban to release the crew on humanitarian
grounds and reminded them of the "common religious beliefs of the Tatar and
Afghan people." A senior Russian diplomat told Interfax that a delegation of
Tatar religious leaders would soon depart for Kandahar to try and negotiate the
release of the crew. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
YUGOSLAV SANCTIONS COST RUSSIA BILLIONS.
Following a Moscow meeting of
the Russian-Yugoslav commission on trade and technical cooperation, Russian
Deputy Minister of Economics Andrei Shapovalyants told ITAR-TASS on 22 August
that Russia loses billions of dollars each year as a result of UN sanctions
against rump Yugoslavia. Shapovalyants estimated that before the sanctions,
Russian-Yugoslav trade had been worth $7 billion annually. He added that the
commission is currently preparing several economic agreements for signature but
that only humanitarian aid could be sent to rump Yugoslavia until the sanctions
are lifted. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin said on 22
August that the meeting of the commission did not signal that Moscow is
planning to unilaterally exit from the UN sanctions regime but is simply
planning future joint projects which will enter into force "immediately after"
the embargo is lifted by "collective action" of the UN. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
MALE LIFE EXPECTANCY FALLS TO 57.3 YEARS.
The breakdown of Russia's
health care system has resulted in an unprecedented rise in mortality rates and
a fall in life expectancy, Labor Ministry department head Aleksandr Tkachenko
told ITAR-TASS on 22 August. Tkachenko said the average life expectancy for men
is now 57.3 years and for women, 71.1 years. He added that infant mortality is
twice as high as in the U.S. and maternal mortality five to 10 times as high as
in developed countries. Tkachenko attributed the rise in infectious diseases in
Russia to the collapse of the epidemiological system, an increase in the number
of refugees from other CIS countries and elsewhere, increased contamination of
the water supply, a shortage of medicine, and the fall in the standard of
living of much of the population. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
To gauge corruption among traffic police, Interior
Minister Anatolii Kulikov sent a truck loaded with vodka on a 700 km trip
across southern Russia, Reuters reported on 22 August. Police stopped the truck
24 times and asked for bribes on 22 of those occasions, Kulikov said, adding
that the state of the police reflected the poor morale of society in general.
Meanwhile, on 23 August, Izvestiya reported that in Saratov Oblast a
raion police chief had been arrested for heading a criminal gang. Among other
crimes, the police officer, a colonel, is suspected of extorting 25.5 million
rubles ($5,760) from a local farmer. The report catalogued various other
offenses committed by law enforcement officers as well as cases of police
incompetence and noted that eight cells in Saratov's jail are now occupied by
police officers, including several members of the regional organized crime
department. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
WAGE ARREARS SPARK HUNGER STRIKES IN AMUR, KUZBASS.
construction workers are on hunger strike at the Buriiskii hydroelectric power
station in Amur Oblast to protest a five-month delay in the payment of their
wages, Radio Mayak reported on 22 August. Another 200 workers have threatened
to join the hunger strikers if the issue of their wage arrears, which amount to
40 billion rubles ($9.1 million), is not resolved by 25 August. Meanwhile, in
the Kuzbass, five miners from the Krasnobrod open-cast mine are also on hunger
strike to protest wage arrears, Radio Rossii reported on 22 August. Work there
has come to a halt in the first strike by miners at an open-cast mine in the
coal basin. The financial crisis at Krasnobrod is due primarily to nonpayments
by coal consumers. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
FOREIGN OIL COMPANIES COMPETING FOR ASTRAKHAN OIL FIELDS.
firms are vying for the right to exploit Astrakhan oil fields, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 22 August. The candidate companies are Agip
(Italy), British Petroleum, Total (France), Royal Dutch Shell
(Britain/Netherlands), the U.S. companies Chevron, Mobil Oil, and Unocal, and
the Oman Oil Company. The companies chosen will be responsible for setting up
the oil fields in southern Russia and will receive, in return, a share of the
oil extracted under a contract proposed by Russia. The reserves include an
estimated 5-6 billion tons of oil and 400-500 billion cubic meters of gas. The
first phase of exploration is expected to cost $250 million and the total cost
is estimated at $2.5-3 billion. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 164, 23 August 1995
NAZARBAEV COUNTS ON NORTHERN REGIONS FOR SUPPORT AMIDST PROTESTS.
opposition activists continue to picket around the parliament building in
Almaty, President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been widening his support base in the
industrial regions of north Kazakhstan in the course of the last couple of
weeks, Russian TV reported on 22 August. Already, 100,000 workers at a dozen
major mining and metallurgical enterprises are reported to have expressed
wholehearted support for the new constitution. Just two days before Nazarbaev's
visit to the Kustanai Oblast in the north, the heads of the major enterprises
held a meeting in the city of Rudny to announce the formation of a political
lobby in support of the president. The push for such a move is said to have
come from foreign investors in the region as well. Meanwhile, the
anti-referendum demonstrators declared that other political parties and social
movements are expected to join the protests and a hunger strike on 24 August.
The opposition activists are urging the electorate of Kazakhstan to boycott the
referendum on the constitution scheduled for 30 August. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI,
KAZAKHSTAN ASSURES RUSSIA OVER CASPIAN PIPELINE.
Kazakh Prime Minister
Akezhan Kazhegeldin declared that the recent agreement between Kazakhstan and
Turkey to set up a Kazakh pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea via Turkey would
not affect the implementation of the Caspian pipeline consortium project backed
by Russia and Oman, Interfax reported on 21 August. "The second pipeline
through Turkey is still a matter subject to further negotiations, whereas the
Caspian pipeline consortium is a concrete reality," Kazhegeldin told Interfax.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev also confirmed that
increasing collaboration between Kazakhstan and Turkey will not have any
adverse effect on Kazakh-Russian cooperation in the Caspian region. -- Bhavna
Dave, OMRI, Inc.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO DETER AKAEV REFERENDUM?
meeting of the upper chamber of the Kyrgyz parliament has proposed an amendment
to the law on referendums that would ban a nationwide referendum on the
extending the terms in office of the president and parliament deputies, Radio
Mayak reported on 22 August. In an interview with Interfax, the director of the
Center of Comparative Analysis in the Kyrgyz parliament, said the amendment is
warranted because of a recent collection of signatures in support of holding a
referendum on whether President Askar Akaev's term should be extended until the
year 2001. (See OMRI Daily Digest, 22 August 1995). -- Bhavna Dave,
CIA: NUCLEAR SMUGGLING SMALL BUT REAL.
Nuclear smuggling involving
Russian nuclear arsenals poses a small but real danger in the CIS and Eastern
Europe, according to a CIA official who testified before the U.S. Congress on
22 August, international agencies reported. David Osias, the CIA national
intelligence officer for strategic programs, said most of the more than 100
reports about smuggling nuclear weapons or weapons grade nuclear material have
been either "unsubstantiated or unreliable." Weapons grade material smuggling
was reported in Germany and the Czech Republic in the last year, but all other
reports involved scams using low enriched uranium. Osias said Russian officials
maintain a "generally effective control" over the former Soviet arsenal, but
"the break-up of the Soviet Union, the opening of Russian society, and its
economic difficulties have subjected the security system to stresses and risks
it was not designed to withstand." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
KUCHMA ON BLACK SEA FLEET.
While visiting Sevastopol, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma said the signing of the Russian-Ukrainian treaty on
friendship and cooperation depends 99% on Russia, Reuters and Radio Mayak
reported on 22 August. He expressed doubts that the dispute over the Black Sea
Fleet, which is preventing the signing of the friendship agreement, will be
settled until after the Russian election campaign. Narodna armiya
reported on 10 August that the commander of the fleet, Eduard Baltin, is
already flying the Russian imperial St. Andrew's flag over its ships. The fleet
is still technically under both Russian and Ukrainian command and should
continue to fly the Soviet naval flag instead of the Russian one. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 164, 23 August 1995
UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ON CHORNOBYL CLOSURE.
Yevhen Marchuk told the
directors of major industrial enterprises in Kharkiv on 22 August that the
Chornobyl nuclear power plant will remain in operation until new jobs are
secured for its employees and the problem of nuclear waste disposal is
resolved, AFP and Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Marchuk said it would
cost $4 billion to shut down Chornobyl and replace it with a non-nuclear plant,
which could provide new jobs for laid-off workers. Ukraine has insisted that
the international community, including the G-7 nations, which have pressured it
to close down Chornobyl, provide the necessary funds to do so. Marchuk added
that Ukraine now faces a severe energy shortage because industry has failed to
pay for past deliveries of coal and fuel. As a result, he said, the government
is short of cash to replenish its dwindling fuel reserves. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
POSTAL RATE HIKE THREATENS UKRAINIAN PRESS.
The Ministry of
Communications is planning to raise postal rates for the delivery of
periodicals after the country's postal service lost some 5 trillion karbovantsi
(around $30 million) last year, Ukrainian Television reported on 22 August.
Mykhailo Onufriichuk, Ukraine's information minister, said the 600% to 800%
hikes would bankrupt most of the country's publications. He said his ministry
is urgently seeking ways to prevent the rises and find funds to cover the
postal losses. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN FINLAND.
Hennadii Udovenko ended a two-day
visit to Finland on 22 August, Interfax and AFP reported the following day.
During the visit, Udovenko met with President Martti Ahtisaari, Prime Minister
Paavo Lipponen and his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen. The problem of
pollution figured prominently in talks. Udovenko stated that Finland's
ratification of an agreement on partnership and cooperation with the EU opened
new opportunities for increasing trade between Ukraine and Finland. In 1994
Ukraine exported $65 million worth of goods to Finland and imported $19
million. Udovenko noted that Ukraine's total foreign trade grew by 14.9% in
1994 and said Ukraine was interested in cooperating with Finland in banking and
finance. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
IMF LARGEST CREDITOR TO LITHUANIA.
The Lithuanian government as of 1
July signed foreign loan agreements amounting to $915 million, of which $488
million have been used, BNS reported on 22 August. Loans from the International
Monetary Fund comprise 46% of the total, from the European Union 15%, the World
Bank 10%, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 7%. The
loans have been used for fuel and other energy resources (41%), stabilizing the
litas (22%), financing investment projects (19%), agricultural needs (13%), and
for small and middle-size businesses (5%). -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
ARRESTS FOLLOW BELARUSIAN STRIKE.
The Supreme Soviet of Belarus
announced on 22 August that the head of the Independent Trade Unions, Syarhei
Antonchyk, had been arrested by the police, Ekho Moskvy reported. This
is the first time an opposition leader has been arrested under President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka's regime, and it is uncertain whether the detention is
legal since Antonchyk enjoys parliamentary immunity as a deputy. Three other
union leaders were arrested after police moved to end a metro workers' strike
in Minsk on 21 August. Their lawyers have complained that there is no court or
prosecution order to hold them and they have said they are being held as
"political hostages." Some reports say that dozens of others have been rounded
up by the authorities for participating in the strike. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
POLISH ADMIRAL RESIGNS OVER CAMPAIGNING IN THE ARMY.
Vice Admiral Marek
Toczek resigned as commander-in-chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
military detachments on 22 August after a ministry commission established that
signatures supporting current President Lech Walesa's candidacy in the upcoming
presidential elections were collected among soldiers under pressure from
officers. In some cases, soldiers were threatened that they would not receive
their monthly pay if they did not sign. Gazeta Wyborcza on 23 August
writes that Mieczyslaw Wachowski, chief of the presidential chancellery,
organized the collection of signatures in the army and arms industry
enterprises. Polish electoral law forbids campaigning in military detachments.
-- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
FORMER COMMUNIST PARTY LEADERS DISCUSS RESPONSIBILITY FOR MARTIAL LAW.
The Sejm's commission on constitutional responsibility, which is conducting
hearings among politicians responsible for the introduction of martial law in
1981, summoned on 22 August two former first secretaries of the Polish United
Workers Party: General Wojciech Jaruzelski as a defendant and Stanislaw Kania,
Jaruzelski's predecessor, as a witness. Kania was answering Jaruzelski's
questions and said there had been other possibilities of solving Poland's
problems than introducing martial law, Polish media reported on 23 August. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS CLOSE GAP ON RULING PARTY FURTHER.
the latest opinion poll published by Czech media on 23 August, 25% of
respondents would vote for Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
if parliament elections were held now. The figure represents a drop of 1% since
July, and the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) rose by the same amount to 23%
in the Institute for Public Opinion Research poll. The gap between the two
parties has narrowed from 12% in March to only 2%. Elections are due to be held
in June 1996 and, according to the poll, only five parties stand a chance of
being represented in the next parliament. The Christian Democratic Union-Czech
People's Party was given 6% and another member of the governing coalition, the
Civic Democratic Alliance, 5%; the Communists would gain 7%. Meanwhile, the
CSSD leadership on 22 August urged one of its deputies, Jozef Wagner, to resign
his parliament seat and party membership after he punched the leader of the
CSSD parliament caucus in the face at a party meeting last weekend. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
ROMA SAID TO FORM SELF-DEFENSE UNITS.
Ladislav Body, the only Romani
deputy in the Czech parliament, told Slovenska Republika on 15
August that Roma in northern Bohemia, frightened after the death of a Romani
youth attacked on 21 July, have begun to form their own self-defense units. CTK
reported the following day that the north Bohemian chief of police claimed that
he has no information about these self-defense groups, and there have been no
deaths in the region from racially motivated attacks this year. Meanwhile, on
16 August Mlada fronta dnes reported that because Romani tenants
of mostly Romani housing projects in the town of Most in northern Bohemia do
not pay their rent regularly, the town council wants to relocate them all to
flats with minimal facilities for "rent defaulters and unadaptable people."
Romani unemployment in the Czech Republic is calculated to be as high as 60% to
70%, and in eastern Slovakia nearly 100% of all unemployed are thought to be
Roma. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
INFLATION IN SLOVAKIA.
The Slovak Statistics Office said that consumer
prices in Slovakia rose 1% in July and were 10.8% higher than in July 1994,
international media reported on 22 August. The inflation rate in June was 10.6%
compared with a year earlier. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANI FESTIVAL FORUM ALSO FOR POLITICS.
The Gypsy World Festival opened
in Hungary on 16 August, with performances continuing until 3 September. As
part of the events, a Romani radio program was broadcast from Sziget on 17
August, and a television program from Budapest the morning of 19 August. On
opening day, Imre Furmann, head of the Otherness Foundation's National and
Ethnic Minorities Legal Aid Office, told the press that while there have been
no extreme attacks on Roma this year, his office has acted on at least 50 cases
of everyday discrimination and abuse so far. Furmann explained that forms of
discrimination vary. For instance, some employment agencies place asterisks
next to the names of firms on their computer lists who will not accept Romani
employees, while real estate contracts are withdrawn when the buyer turns out
to be Romani. Furmann urged more explicit anti-discrimination laws, and said
that it was promising that recently more and more non-Roma file complaints with
his office on behalf of Roma. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 164, 23 August 1995
KARADZIC ACCUSES ENEMIES . . .
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
blamed his opponents, including those in Serbia, for trying to destabilize the
Bosnian Serb leadership by circulating rumors that General Ratko Mladic had
overthrown him in a coup or was chasing him around Bosnia. Reuters said on 22
August that Karadzic announced he had "withdrawn" his legal measures against
Mladic because of the current dangers to the Bosnian Serb "state." He added
that "everybody is doing their job. . . . We have a very strong and firm
structure of power." He accused enemies of wanting "to create fear and
uncertainty among the people and possibly force them to flee from certain
offensives." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND OFFERS CROATIA A DEAL.
The Bosnian Serb leader floated a
two-part "peace offer" to Croatia, AFP reported on 22 August. He said that the
Croats should evacuate the area around Trebinje in return for a "peace accord."
He also suggested that a 1993 text could be implemented, which gave Croatia a
tiny bit of the heights overlooking Dubrovnik and from which the Serbs have
shelled the medieval town, in exchange for granting the Serbs 30 kilometers of
the Prevlaka peninsula down to Popovici. Prevlaka is Croatian territory with a
UN presence, but it controls access to the strategic Bay of Kotor in
Montenegro. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has hinted in previous years that
he might agree to such a deal, but there was firm domestic opposition to any
yielding of Croatian territory. Karadzic has now warned the Croats, however,
that "if Croatia does not accept either proposal, fighting will continue until
we have liberated all Serb territory," i.e. Croatian territory recently retaken
by the Croatian army. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
Reuters reported from Lasinja on 23 August that the
Croatian inhabitants driven out by the Serbs in 1991 have begun returning. They
said that the Serbs burned or dynamited their homes and the Roman Catholic
church. Slobodna Dalmacija stated that the UN continues to accuse
Croatia of systematically torching Serbian houses and looting. Zagreb has
argued that any destruction was the result of military necessity or of isolated
incidents. The BBC noted that EU Commissioner for Refugees Emma Bonino claims
that some 10,000 Krajina refugees remain unaccounted for and that even the UN
has no idea where they are. She also complained that rump Yugoslav authorities
refused to see her when she visited Belgrade. Elsewhere, Croatian officials
told AFP that some 11,782 victims of Serb "ethnic cleansing" arrived from the
Banja Luka region between 14 and 24 August. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
THE RAPID REACTION FORCE STRIKES BACK.
International media on 23 August
said that the new UN force in Sarajevo fired at a Bosnian Serb gun position the
previous day after the Serbs deliberately targeted a UN observation post and
wounded six Egyptian soldiers and numerous civilians. It was not clear what
effect the Force's shells had. The world body also blamed both the Bosnian
government and the Serbs for the latest exchanges of artillery fire in the
Bosnian capital. Vjesnik reported that a new Croatian cultural center
has opened in Sarajevo at a ceremony attended by political, diplomatic,
cultural, and religious officials. Meanwhile in Tuzla, AFP said that the Serbs
shelled the airbase, which is currently housing 3,200 refugees from Zepa and
Srebrenica. The VOA stated that the U.S. has appealed "to the warring parties
[in Bosnia] to give diplomacy a chance," while AFP on 22 August noted that
Germany has told Croatia that negotiations are the only path to peace. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
KOSOVO REFUGEE UPDATE.
Yugoslav Refugee Minister Morina Bratislava has
rejected fears that Serb refugees would upset the demographic balance in
Kosovo, AFP reported on 22 August. She argued that only a "relatively small
number" of refugees would be moved to Kosovo. Out of a total of 160,000
refugees some 3,000 have so far been sent to Kosovo, where Belgrade wants to
settle about 16,000. Slavica Rakovic, an adviser to Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic, in an interview with the right-wing Greek daily Adesmevtos
Typos proposed changing the demographic balance in favor of the Serbs.
Rakovic was visiting Greece on an invitation of the Greco-Serb Association, to
coordinate Greek humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Macedonian government speaker
Ismail Gjuner denied that Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi and his
Macedonian counterpart Stevo Crvenkovski discussed strategies in case of an
outbreak of armed conflict in Kosovo, BETA reported. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER IN GREECE.
Yugoslav Foreign Minister and
former ambassador to Greece Milan Milutinovic paid a visit to Athens on 21
August, the BBC reported the following day. Milutinovic met the honorary
chairman of the Greek New Democracy Party, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, to discuss
developments in the former Yugoslavia and the Balkan region. Mitsotakis said
that the Yugoslav crisis was at a critical point and added that "there are
chances for a political solution but a clear risk is involved as well." He also
expressed the hope that a peaceful, political solution would be found. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE.
Tanjug on 22 August reported that
on the same day Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and rump Yugoslav Foreign
Minister Milan Milutinovic met in Belgrade with Romanian Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu. At the top of the agenda were the Bosnian crisis and
bilateral relations between Bucharest and Belgrade. For his part, Melescanu
praised the Serbian leadership for what he dubbed its sincere commitment to the
regional peace process. In turn, the rump Yugoslav hosts described bilateral
relations as sound, and grounded in "good-neighborly relations, mutual
understanding and trust." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
VACAROIU ON ROMANIAN ECONOMY.
Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu told a
press conference carried by Radio Bucharest on 22 August that the country was
making good economic progress, despite lingering difficulties. Industrial
production was up more than 9% and unemployment and inflation were lower than
forecast. Unemployment was at about 10% and inflation is likely to be below the
30% previously estimated. Purchasing power was at 66.7% of its 1989 level,
compared to 57.8% at the beginning of the year. Economic growth will be above
4% in 1995, compared with the previous forecast of 3%. Vacaroiu defended the
country's privatization program as a way to attract badly needed foreign
investment. He said only 911 out of the 3,907 companies put up for
privatization registered losses in 1994 and only about 2% of them were really
in deficit, the rest having faced difficulties of a temporary nature. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN NATIONAL BLOC ENLARGED.
The daily Cronica romana
reported on 22 August that three more parties have joined the National Bloc,
which is centered around the chauvinist Greater Romania Party (PRM). Except for
the PRM, all the members of the coalition are non-parliamentary formations and
observers consider them to have little following. The three new members are the
Democratic Progressive Party, the Anti-Monarchist and Pro-Republican Party and
the Party of the Revival of the Romanian Nation. Altogether, the National Bloc
is now formed by 10 political parties. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
CHOLERA IN ROMANIA, MOLDOVA.
Romanian Ministry of Health officials said
in a statement carried by Radio Bucharest on 22 August that the number of cases
of cholera in the country is now 12. Those affected live in various localities
on the river Danube, near the border with Ukraine. In neighboring Moldova,
according to a dispatch carried by Infotag on 22 August, 151 cases of cholera
were registered so far, mostly in Tiraspol and in the Slobozia area, both of
which are close to Ukrainian territory. Unlike in Romania, where no vibrio has
been detected in the water, it has been found in several Moldovan water
sources, including the Dniester. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
TRANSDNIESTER RADICALS INTENSIFY ANTI-MARKUTSA DRIVE.
The Bloc of
Radical Patriotic Forces in Tiraspol, headed by Professor Vasily Yakovlev, has
intensified its drive to oust Grigory Markutsa, chairman of the self-proclaimed
republic's Supreme Soviet, Infotag reported on 21 August. The agency said
Yakovlev's supporters were spreading leaflets in the city, demanding that
Markutsa resign and ruling out his nomination for the forthcoming parliament
elections. They accuse him of signing an agreement with Chisinau making the
circulation of the Moldovan currency legal, which is viewed as "the first step
toward the annihilation" of the breakaway region's independence. On 22 August
Infotag reported that the forces headed by Yakovlev launched an initiative for
holding an extraordinary congress of deputies at local and central government
level. The congress, scheduled for 10 September, is to take place in advance of
the next Chisinau-Tiraspol summit, which is due on 13 September and, according
to the organizers, it should prevent further concessions to Chisinau to prevent
"a final loss of Transdniestrian statehood." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
FIRE IN BULGARIAN NUCLEAR PLANT.
BTA reports on 23 August that a fire
broke out at the Kozlodui nuclear power plant the previous day. According to
the facility's deputy chief, the blaze was sparked when a breaker in the
control room short circuited. The fire was quickly detected and contained
before any major damage or injuries could result. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle