OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No.193, 4 October 1995
TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA
SIBERIAN RIVER DIVERSION PROJECT DENIED.
A spokesman for the Russian
Committee for Water Resources rebuffed speculation that Russia is willing to
actively pursue a well-documented plan to supply water to Central Asia by
diverting the flow from several Siberian rivers. According to Interfax on 2
October, the unnamed official said that the committee's chairman, Nikolai
Mikheev, was simply misquoted. Mikheev, who was speaking at a recent conference
on the Aral Sea, had been quoted by Komsomolskaya pravda as saying that
Russia would be willing to re-evaluate the defunct project (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 28 September 1995). At most, the spokesman said, Russia could
supply some drinking water to Central Asia, "though no specific measures or
dates were discussed." -- Roger Kangas
NIYAZOV SIGNS NUKUS DECLARATION.
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov
signed the Nukus Declaration on 2 October, thereby joining his Central Asian
counterparts in a pledge to cooperate on various strategies aimed at saving the
Aral Sea. Niyazov did not attend the conference in Nukus last month, ostensibly
due to his talks with then visiting Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao;
Niyazov's reluctance may be traced as well to Ashgabat's ongoing, if submerged,
dispute with Uzbekistan over water-use issues. -- Lowell Bezanis
U.S., KAZAKHSTAN SIGN ACCORD TO SEAL KAZAKHSTANI NUCLEAR SITE.
is to offer up to $171 million aid to permanently seal the world's largest
underground nuclear testing-complex at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, Western and
Russian sources reported on 3 October. The agreement signed by U.S. Assistant
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Kazakhstani Foreign Minister
Kassymjomart Tokaev in Washington, D.C. on 3 October is part of a wider
Pentagon program called "cooperative threat reduction," which offers U.S.
defense funds to help Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to get rid of
their nuclear weapons and convert defense industries to commercial use. A U.S.
Defense Department spokesman told VOA on 3 October that geological and
radiological tests will begin at the former nuclear site later this month and
appropriate methods for sealing the tunnel will be recommended. The plan is to
seal about 60 tunnels a year in order to complete the project by 1999. The last
nuclear device stored at this site was destroyed in May this year. -- Bhavna
THE DANGERS OF BEING A TAJIK DEPUTY.
In the eight months since the Tajik
parliament began work, six deputies have been killed, according to the Tajik
parliament's Legislation and Law and Order Committee chairman, Safarli Kenjaev,
speaking at a recent session of the legislature, Radio Mayak reported on 3
October. -- Bruce Pannier
KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS MORE OIL AND GAS INVESTORS.
Kazakhstani Oil and Gas
Minister Nurlan Balgimbaev assured legal protection to foreign investors asking
them to take advantage of the "favorable climate," especially in the oil and
gas industry of the republic, Interfax reported on 2 October. Addressing the
Oil and Gas-95 international conference in Almaty, Balgimbaev offered tax
privileges and "broad rights" to investors and welcomed proposals from
potential partners. Kazakhstan's capacity for investments in its oil and gas
sector exceeds $40 billion, which is significantly less than the amount
invested by some 30 foreign petroleum companies, Balgimbaev said. He also
announced his plan to visit Iran at the end of the month to discuss the oil
issue. -- Vyacheslav Kozlov
AZERBAIJAN TO APPEAL TO NATO OVER KARABAKH?
Baku officials are "so
impressed by NATO's choice of methods in Bosnia" that given the inability of
the OSCE Minsk Group to make progress in resolving the Karabakh conflict they
may appeal to NATO to join the peace process, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister
Hasan Hasanov told Segodnya on 3 October. -- Liz Fuller
CIS FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN MOSCOW.
The foreign ministers of the 12
CIS states discussed joint peacekeeping operations, economic cooperation, and
joint border policing during a 3 October meeting in Moscow, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said after the
meeting, which was also attended by the defense ministers and border service
directors of the CIS states, that an "entire packet of documents" on the
formation of a CIS collective security system had been adopted, although he did
not give any details. He also said the meeting had agreed to recommend
extending the mandate of the CIS peacekeepers in Tajikistan. Elaborating on
President Yeltsin's recent decree calling for intensified integration of the
CIS, Kozyrev said Russia is prepared to go as far towards integration as other
CIS members are willing to accept. -- Scott Parrish
DAVYDOV CALLS FOR CIS INTEGRATION.
Foreign Economic Relations Minister
Oleg Davydov said on 3 October that he favors "deep integration" within the
CIS, even if other states had not completed economic reform programs, ITAR-TASS
reported. Davydov said Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia should form a
customs union, which would eventually become an economic free trade zone. While
Kazakhstan and Belarus have already signed agreements with Russia on forming a
customs union, implementation has been spotty and Ukraine has shown little
interest in joining the arrangement. Davydov also said that Russian trade with
the CIS, which had collapsed following the disintegration of the USSR, is now
recovering. Through August 1995, Davydov said, Russian trade with the CIS had
totaled $19.5 billion, accounting for 23% of all Russian foreign trade, and
representing a 9% increase over the corresponding figure for 1994. -- Scott
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No.193, 4 October 1995
U.S. REACTION TO BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT ON BALLOON DOWNING.
According to an RFE/RL correspondent, U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns described as "indefensible" Alyaksandr Lukashenka's comment that
the Belarusian military was not responsible for the death of two Americans
whose balloon was downed by Belarusian air defense forces. Burns charged that
Lukashenka was attempting to deflect responsibility for the killings and that
the statement "outraged" Americans. Lukashenka's statement was made during a TV
interview in which he appeared to be giving his personal viewpoint rather than
a prepared response. Burns rejected allegations that Belarus may have been
taking a tough line with the West to please Russia. Burns said it was unfair to
"tag Russia with this kind of outrageous behavior." -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS.
Russian Television and Interfax on 3
October reported that the parliamentary crisis in Belarus is continuing.
President Lukashenka the previous day appealed to deputies not to resume their
parliamentary session as this would only destabilize the situation in the
country. Parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb informed deputies on 3 October
that Lukashenka is refusing to sign any legislatuion passed by the parliament,
but he added that "laws that the president failed to sign or reject within ten
days will be considered passed." The Constitutional Court has been asked to
resolve the dispute over parliament's legitimacy and decide whether legal acts
by the parliament should be considered valid. -- Ustina Markus
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN RELATIONS.
UNIAN on 2 October reported that a Kuwaiti
delegation, led by the deputy speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, met
with Deputy Prime Minister for the Fuel and Energy Complex Vasyl Yevtukhov in
Kiev. They discussed, among other things, opening a Ukrainian embassy in
Kuwait, establishing direct air links, and cooperating to secure the release of
Ukrainian POWs still held in Afghanistan. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz
said transport facilities will be developed if Kuwait sells oil to Ukraine.
Reuters reported the same day that Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati
al-Obeidi met with President Leonid Kuchma and also discussed oil production
and transport. Roy Romanow, prime minister of Canada's Saskatchewan province,
who is of Ukrainian descent, was also in Ukraine to meet with Prime Minister
Yevhen Marchuk. Marchuk asked Romanow to use his influence to have Canada put
pressure on the G-7 to offer more funds for closing down Chornobyl. -- Ustina
BALTS REACT TO RUSSIA'S REPORTED INVASION PLAN.
Defense Minister Albinas Januska, responding to the outline in Komsomolskaya
Pravda of a draft new military doctrine prepared by the Russian General
Staff calling for the invasion of the Baltic States if they join NATO, said the
draft's purpose was to convince the West that Russia has greater interest in
the Baltic States than in other East European countries, Radio Lithuania
reported on 3 October. Estonian parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission
Chairman Eino Tamm said the alleged contingency plan was very dangerous and
regrettable, even though he did not believe the Russian political leadership
had approved it. -- Saulius Girnius
POLITICAL MANEUVERING IN POST-ELECTION LATVIA.
A National Bloc coalition
was formed on 3 October by the three right-wing groupings that won
parliamentary seats in the elections earlier this week--namely, the alliance of
the National Conservative Party and Green Party; the coalition of the Farmers'
Union, Christian Democrats, and Latgale Democratic Party; and For the
Fatherland and Freedom, BNS reported. The National Bloc has 29 deputies and
hopes to reach an agreement with the 17 deputies of Latvia's Way to form a
minority government. Ziedonis Cevers, chairman of the Democratic Party
Saimnieks, which won 18 seats, claimed his party is ready to unite all
"opposing forces" and set up a stable government with the support of 50
deputies. He did not say who his coalition partners would be but noted that
there have been no talks with the National Bloc or the Socialist Party. --
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN NEW YORK.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski on 2 October
met with members of the American Jewish Committee to discuss student and
teacher exchanges. In meetings with UN officials, Bartoszewski sought their
backing for Poland's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in
1996-1997. He assured them that Poland is ready to take on additional duties in
peacekeeping and international security. Addressing the UN General Assembly on
3 October, Bartoszewski said Poland wants to support the UN, Polish media
reported on 3-4 October. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz
ON DEPLOYMENT OF NATO TROOPS, NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN POLAND . . .
Szmajdzinski, head of the Sejm's Commission on Foreign Affairs and Defense,
said on 3 October that he backed Polish Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski's
recent statement in Brussels that Poland would not object to having NATO troops
and nuclear weapons stationed on its territory once it became a member of the
alliance. Deputy Minister of Defense Andrzej Karkoszka, however, noted that
this is still a hypothetical issue, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 4
October. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz
. . .AND IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 3
October said the Czech Republic should accept the deployment of nuclear weapons
on its territory if it becomes a member of NATO, Czech media reported. "It's
not possible to play the [passenger] who rides on a tram but does not pay the
fare," he told reporters, while visiting a 14-nation military exercise in
Moravia. Klaus also said there is no need for a referendum on NATO membership
as, unlike joining the EU, it does not involve giving up any state sovereignty.
Five NATO members and nine countries in the Partnership for Peace program are
taking part in the "Cooperative Challenge" exercise, the largest held in the
Czech Republic since the end of communist rule and designed to simulate a UN
peacekeeping operation. -- Steve Kettle
CZECH DOCTORS THREATENED WITH DISMISSAL IN EVENT OF STRIKE.
Minister Ludek Rubas on 3 October said that doctors who go on strike next month
could face instant dismissal, Czech media reported. An unlimited strike over
pay and working conditions has been called by mainly young hospital doctors for
1 November (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 September 1995). Rubas said he will meet
regional hospital directors this week and urge them to persuade doctors not to
strike but, if they do, to fire them. Several hospital directors said they
doubted the wisdom of firing doctors and the head of the main doctors'
organization, who has strongly condemned the proposed strike, told Czech
Television that "repression" would not solve problems in the health service. *
SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE.
Thirty-five deputies representing all
opposition groups on 3 October delivered a petition to parliamentary chairman
Ivan Gasparovic asking him to call an extraordinary parliamentary session.
According to the constitution, the parliament chairman is obliged to call the
session within seven days of receiving the request. The deputies suggested that
the session be held on 9 October, and they included a proposed program for the
session (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 October). Although Gasparovic said he
is prepared to call the session, he said he does not think such a meeting is
necessary, Pravda reported. He also noted that the parliament must vote
on every point of the program at the beginning of the session, which makes it
unlikely that the opposition's proposals will be discussed. -- Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY CHAIRMAN ON NATO.
Jan Slota, in an interview with
ITAR-TASS published in Narodna obroda on 4 October, said Slovakia should
not enter any military block and should remain neutral. "I am convinced that
Slovakia will remain a friend of Russia and the West," he stated. According to
Slota, the expansion of nuclear weapons into East European countries would be
"a step back, a step toward increased tension, and maybe also toward something
dangerous." He commented that "Slavic states must realize that if they are
forced to aim weapons against their friends, they will dig their own grave." --
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN HUNGARY.
Klaus Kinkel marked the fifth
anniversary of German unification by visiting Hungary on 3 October, Hungarian
media reported the next day. He thanked Hungarian officials for their role in
bringing down the Berlin Wall, saying Germany has "not forgotten and will never
forget that Hungary made a decisive contribution to German unification." Two
days earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn was awarded a Prisma prize by
the German city of Kassel for his role in the 1989 events. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN, ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET.
Gyorgy Keleti and his
visiting Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, have agreed to enhance military
cooperation and joint arms production, international media reported on 4
October. They plan to issue a joint declaration stressing the two countries'
efforts to forge closer military ties and showing their commitment to improving
mutual relations. Western governments have said the two countries need to
resolve bilateral disputes if they want to join NATO. Talks between Bucharest
and Budapest on a bilateral treaty broke off in July following disagreements
over the treatment of the more than 1.6 million ethnic Hungarians living in
Transylvania. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW DISCUSSED IN BUDAPEST.
A delegation from the
Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education presented the Hungarian parliament
with its conclusions on the new Romanian education law, Radio Bucharest
reported on 2 October. The delegation, which paid a fact-finding visit to
Romania to study the effects of the law, concluded that it gravely affected
Romania's Hungarian minority. The report said that the law hindered ethnic
Hungarians from receiving vocational education and created difficulties for
Hungarian students seeking admission to institutes of higher education in
Romania. It added that in the long run, the law may discourage the Hungarian
minority from opting for mother-tongue tuition at lower levels. -- Matyas
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No.193, 4 October 1995
CONTRADICTORY REPORTS ON MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT'S CONDITION.
One day after
the attempt to assassinate Kiro Gligorov (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3
October 1995), reports by international and Macedonian media about his
condition are still contradictory. Parliamentary chairman Stojan Andov said
Gligorov's life is not in danger "at this moment." A hospital statement says
that Gligorov is in a "serious but stable situation" after undergoing surgery,
that he risks losing his right eye, and that he has several pieces of shrapnel
lodged in his brain. Gligorov was operated on for several hours, and more
operations may take place in the next few days. Surgeons from France, Greece,
Germany, and the U.S. are in Skopje to offer assistance. The New York Times
on 4 October cites a Western diplomat as saying it is "touch and go" and
"not sure if he is going to make it." Latest reports suggest that about 20 kg
of explosives were used in the attempt on Gligorov's life. So far, no one has
claimed responsibility, and the identity of the arrested suspects still has not
been disclosed. -- Stefan Krause
REACTIONS TO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.
Representatives of all Macedonian
parties, regardless of political or ethnic orientation, have condemned the
attempt on Gligorov's life, MIC and international media reported on 3 October.
Ljupco Georgievski, chairman of the nationalist Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization--Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity,
called the attempt an "act of terrorism" and canceled a demonstration against
the government scheduled for 4 October. Meanwhile, politicians from abroad have
expressed their hope that Gligorov will recover soon and that the attempt on
his life will not have a negative influence on recent developments in the
southern Balkans. Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Bulgarian President
Zhelyu Zhelev, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke were
among those who wished Gligorov a speedy recovery. -- Stefan Krause
PRELIMINARY SETTLEMENT REACHED IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.
Croatian and rebel
Serb negotiators met with UN and U.S. mediators in Erdut in eastern Slavonia on
3 October. They reached a preliminary agreement that provides for a transition
period before the region returns to Croatian control. The area has first-rate
agricultural land and is rich in oil and gas, and there had been speculation
that Serbia, which borders eastern Slavonia, would not give it up. But U.S.
Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith told the BBC that the Serbian negotiators
have made the major concession of accepting Croatian sovereignty. That
broadcast said there were differences over the length of a transition period,
with the Croats accepting a maximum of one year and the Serbs wanting five
years. Reuters reported that both sides agreed on a two-year transition, but
not on the nature of the interim authority. Croatian negotiator Hrvoje Sarinic
said that Croatia would still consider a military option if no final settlement
were reached by 30 November. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE.
International media on 3 October
reported that Bosnian government forces began a major offensive around Mt.
Treskavica aimed at blocking the Serbian supply route along the Sarajevo-Trnovo
road. Four heavy mortars fired scores of shells at Serbian positions from what
the UN said was within the 20 km heavy weapons exclusion zone around the
Bosnian capital. A UN spokesman called the action "outrageous" and said there
would be a protest to the Bosnian authorities "at the highest level." He said
the Serbs have demanded to be allowed to return their big guns to the area but
were told "no way." He added that the UN intends to enforce the exclusion zone.
-- Patrick Moore
OTHER REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS.
The UN Security Council on 3 October
criticized Croatia for forcing Bosnian refugees to go home before those areas
could be considered safe, the BBC reported. Novi list on 4 October
quoted Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that his government will
ask Croatia to extradite renegade Muslim kingpin Fikret Abdic. Meanwhile in
Croatia, the opposition has invited international observers to monitor the 29
October parliamentary elections. The Rijeka daily also carries the full
declaration by the Croatian Helsinki Committee on the "massacre in the village
of Varivode" of 12 elderly Serbs by uniformed men on 28 September. -- Patrick
HUMAN RIGHTS IN KOSOVO.
The Kosova Daily Report on 3 October
announced that the Helsinki Committee on the Human Rights Situation in Kosova
has just completed a 27-page report on the region since 1994. According to the
report, overall conditions remain grim, with Serbian police continuing to
exercise authority through repression and torture. The report says that in 1994
alone, 17 Albanians were killed, six of whom were tortured to death. As of late
September, at least 11 ethnic Albanians have been killed so far this year, most
likely as a result of torture. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ENDS U.S. VISIT.
Ion Iliescu on 3 October ended an
eight-day working visit to the U.S., Romanian media reported. Addressing Rand
Corporation staff and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council the day before,
Iliescu said Romania's "strategic preferences" were to join the EU and NATO. At
a press conference held in Bucharest on 3 October, Oliviu Gherman, chairman of
the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, described Iliescu's visit as
"an unprecedented success" for Romanian diplomacy since December 1989. But
Gheorghe Funar, leader of the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity,
said in Cluj that he expected a public apology from Iliescu for having depicted
him as "a Romanian Zhirinovsky" in the U.S. media. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIA TO RESTART NUCLEAR REACTOR.
The Bulgarian government on 3
October approved restarting Reactor No. 1 of the Kozloduy nuclear plan, despite
appeals from Western countries to shut it down completely, RFE/RL and Reuters
reported. The Bulgarian Atomic Energy Committee gave permission for the reactor
to reopen after a last round of checks, according to an official statement.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian officials and officials of the International Atomic Energy
Agency continued their meetings in Sofia. The BBC quotes Hans Meyer of the IAEA
as saying that Bulgarian officials have agreed to postpone restarting the
reactor. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev will meet
with the EU's representative to Bulgaria on 4 October to discuss the issue,
RFE/RL's Bulgarian correspondent reported. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT INVALIDATES ANOTHER LAW.
Constitutional Court on 3 October invalidated the state budget law, which
provides for judges to be paid by the government, international agencies
reported the same day. The contested article said the Justice Ministry was
responsible for the funding of the Supreme Judicial Council, which appoints and
dismisses judges, prosecutors, and investigators. The Constitutional Court
acted at the request of Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev, who claimed the
article violated the independence of the judiciary. It is the sixth time since
the last elections that the Constitutional Court has invalidated a law. --
ALBANIA TO OPEN MINORITY SCHOOLS.
Montena-fax quoted a representative of
the Interior Ministry as saying that Tirana is prepared to open schools for the
country's Greek minority in three southern cities. The announcement comes in
the wake of a series of meetings between Greek and Albanian officials, most
recently between Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi and his Greek
counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, on 27 September. The status of the Greek
minority in Albania was high on the agenda of their New York meeting. -- Stan
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave