OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 196, 9 October 1995
RUSSIAN-AZERBAIJANI AGREEMENTS SIGNED.
A two-day visit to Baku by
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov culminated in the signing on 7
October of seven bilateral agreements on cooperation in the fields of science
and technology, medicine, energy, plus a joint declaration affirming both
sides' commitment to further negotiations on the joint use of the Caspian Sea,
Radio Rossii reported on the same day. ITAR-TASS also reported that a Russian
delegation will remain in Baku to discuss military cooperation, including the
renewed Russian use of the over-the-horizon radar station at Gebele and the
creation of a unified air defense system. -- Liz Fuller
CUTS TO RUSSIAN TELECASTS CRITICIZED.
The Karaganda regional assembly
criticized as "shortsighted and provocative" a decision by Ashirbek Kopishev,
the president of Kazakhstan's State Television and Radio, to cut Russian TV
telecasts to Kazakhstan from 14 hours to five hours, ITAR-TASS reported on 5
October. The manager of Kaztelekom, the Kazakhstani telecommunications
joint-stock company, told RIA on 3 October that the move was a reaction to the
high cost of Russian TV programs and added that if Russia is prepared to bear
some of the cost of broadcasting to Kazakhstan, the number of telecasts could
go up again from the beginning of 1996. -- Bhavna Dave
STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED IN OSH REGION.
Kyrgyzstan's Assembly of
People's Representatives has voted to lift the state of emergency in the Osh
region of southern Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz tuusu reported on 30 September. A
state of emergency has existed in the Osh region for nearly five years
following riots between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 1990 during which more than 200
people were killed and it took authorities more than a month to restore order.
On 28 September, the Kabar news agency reported that the state of emergency
must be lifted before presidential elections can be held in December. -- Bruce
UZBEKISTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH EGYPT.
In Cairo, Uzbek Foreign Minister
Abdulaziz Komilov and his Egyptian counterpart, Amr Mussa, signed a protocol
outlining the training of diplomats in each others countries. It is the latest
in a series of agreements between the two states that have marked improving
political and economic relations. -- Roger Kangas
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 196, 9 October 1995
NO OFFICIAL NATO DECISION ON POSTPONING ENLARGEMENT.
European and Russian media reports on 6 October that NATO defense ministers,
meeting in Williamsburg on 5-6 October, decided to postpone making a decision
on enlargement until January 1997, a NATO source on 9 October said such a
decision can be made only by NATO foreign ministers, international agencies
reported. While there has been no such official decision, most experts believe
that NATO will not decide on enlargement before the Russian and U.S.
presidential elections in 1996. A new U.S. president would not take office
before January 1997. -- Michael Mihalka and Dagmar Mroziewicz
CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE AGREES ON NEW MEMBERS.
The Central European
Initiative, convening in Warsaw on 7 October, agreed to accept Albania,
Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine as members at a foreign minister's
conference in early 1996. international agencies reported. The group urged the
international community to support post-war reconstruction of Bosnia and
Croatia. Some members, including Italy and Slovenia, initially opposed
enlargement because they felt it would divert the group from one of its initial
purposes--to facilitate membership to such West European institutions as the
EU. -- Michael Mihalka and Dagmar Mroziewicz
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TAKES CONTROL OF NATIONAL GUARD.
Leonid Kuchma, in a
decree issued on 7 October, has taken "operational control" of the National
Guard, Ukrainian TV reported. The decree said the move was to ensure the
efficient use of the guard in "protecting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial
integrity, the lives and personal dignity of [its] citizens, and their
constitutional rights and freedom from criminal infringements." ITAR-TASS
estimated the guard to number some 40,000 and added that in late January, some
units were subordinated to the Interior Ministry. It noted that while Ukrainian
law banned the use of the armed forces in dealing with internal conflicts, the
National Guard could be employed to this end. -- Doug Clarke
UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC ROUNDUP.
President Leonid Kuchma has issued a decree
setting up a special presidential consultative council on banking activities,
Ukrainian TV reported 6 October. The council, to be headed by National Bank of
Ukraine chairman Viktor Yushchenko, will coordinate the activities of the
government, the National Bank, and commercial banks. Interfax-Ukraine, citing a
Statistics Ministry official on 7 October, reported that monthly inflation in
Ukraine jumped to 14.2% in September. The highest increase occurred in the
service sector, where prices rose 24.6%. In other news, the Ukrainian
parliament on 6 October voted to approve a new law on privatization of
agriculture-related industry, which will provide farmers with a majority stake
in most enterprises, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. The legislation
stipulates that 51% of shares in food-processing plants and other agricultural
firms be transferred at no cost to farms that supply them with produce. The
rest can then be sold to farms or employees for privatization vouchers or
money. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
BELARUS TO RESUME CFE REDUCTIONS.
Russian Public Television and Interfax
on 7 October reported that Belarus will resume reducing conventional weapons in
accordance with the CFE treaty on 15 October. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
in February ordered that the dismantling of weapons be stopped because of
financial difficulties. Since then, Germany and the U.S. have promised $230
million in aid. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN, LITHUANIAN INFLATION RISES IN SEPTEMBER.
Statistics Department announced that the consumer price index increased by 2.1%
in September, compared with only 0.6% in August, BNS reported on 6 October. The
cost of services and goods rose 2.4% and 1.8% (1.9% for food and 1.6% for
manufactured goods). In Lithuania, inflation in September was 2%, compared with
only 0.4% in August. The cost of food increased by 2.4%, while clothing rose by
3.3%, medical services by 2.4%, and rent and fuel by 0.4%. In the first nine
months of the year, the consumer price index increased 20.8% in Estonia and
22.6% in Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius
DEPOSITORS OF BANKRUPT LATVIAN BANKS RECEIVE COMPENSATION.
Finance Ministry spokesman has said that some depositors of the bankrupt
Latvijas Tautas Banka and Banka Baltija have received partial compensation for
deposits lost in the banks, BNS reported on 7 October. The compensation was
limited to a maximum of 200 lati ($375); 526 depositors with LTB received a
total of 76,523 lati and 2,824 with Banka Baltija 494,249 lati. Former BB
president Talis Freimanis, charged with misappropriation of bank funds and
sabotage, was released from prison and placed under house arrest on 5 October,
primarily due to poor health. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH PRESIDENT SENDS BILL ON PENSIONS TO CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL.
Walesa has sent the bill on pensions to the Constitutional Tribunal, after the
Sejm on 29 September overruled his veto (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2
October 1995). Under the new bill, pension increases in 1996 would be pegged to
prices instead of wages. Pensions are expected to increase by 19.5% (2.5% over
the inflation rate, estimated at 17%). The president said it is unjust to keep
public sector wages at 5.5% above the inflation rate, while pensions exceed it
by only 2.5%, Polish dailies reported on 7 October. -- Jakub Karpinski and
CZECH PRESIDENT VETOES EXTENSION OF SCREENING LAW.
Vaclav Havel on 6
October returned to the Czech parliament the extension to the screening law it
passed nine days earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995).
Havel, in an article in Mlada fronta dnes on 7 October, argued that
extending the law to the year 2000 was premature, since the current law is not
due to expire until the end of 1996. The lustration law, which bans former
secret police agents and high communist officials from public office, was
adopted in 1991 as a protective measure during revolutionary times, Havel
wrote. Extending it could suggest that the Czech Republic has been unable to
create a normal system of rule of law since then. Leaders of governing parties
said they will submit the law to a re-vote. Overturning a presidential veto
requires 101 votes in the 200-member parliament. -- Steve Kettle
PRO-GOVERNMENT DAILY ON SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S BANK ACCOUNT.
Republika, owned by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), on 7 October published a copy of a bank statement
for Michal Kovac's alleged Austrian account showing assets of over 23 million
schillings ($2.3 million). In an accompanying commentary, Jan Smolec, the
paper's editor-in-chief and an HZDS deputy, said he had received the bank
statement by fax. But in a statement released to TASR that same day, Kovac
denied that he had ever opened such an account. He said if the money really
exists, he will withdraw it immediately and distribute it to Slovak orphanages.
Kovac also said he will file suit against the daily's publisher and Smolec. In
other news, according to a Sme report on 9 October, Vladimir Lamacka has been
removed from his post as director of the police investigation department.
Lamacka was recently criticized by Slovak Information Service director Ivan
Lexa for his handling of the investigation of the abduction of Kovac's son. --
HUNGARIAN PREMIER REJECTS LABOR MINISTER'S RESIGNATION.
Gyula Horn has
rejected the resignation of Labor Minister Magda Kosa-Kovacs, who explained her
decision by citing differences of opinion with other ministers over the
government's social welfare policy, Hungarian newspapers reported on 7 October.
Hungary's Finance Ministry wanted to extend the period for which employers must
pay employees sick leave to 25 days from the current 10 days, which the
Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional. Kosa-Kovacs's compromise
proposal of 15 days was rejected at a cabinet meeting, after which she
submitted her resignation. The Socialist Party asked Kosa-Kovacs to reconsider
her resignation and said it would review the controversial decree once again.
She is the fifth member of the socialist-liberal coalition to have stepped down
in the last 15 months. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN ANTI-ROMANI, ANTI-SEMITIC PAMPHLETEER PROSECUTED.
A youth who
published anti-Romani and anti-Semitic pamphlets and sold them to skinheads has
been brought to trial for inciting hatred against minorities in Hungary, MTI
reported on 8 October. The prosecutor said that the boy, aged 17, was a high
school student in Eger who produced the leaflets on a computer, cut and pasted
racist newspaper articles, sprinkled them with quotes from fascist leaders, and
added his own articles. He was aided by a young girl who copied the pamphlets
on a machine at her mother's office. Both are being tried at a juvenile court.
-- Alaina Lemon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 196, 9 October 1995
SERBS SHELL REFUGEE CAMP TWICE.
Bosnian Serb forces shelled the Zivinice
refugee camp just south of Tuzla on 8 and 9 October and the northern Bosnian
village of Tesnjaka on 8 October. The combined death toll is 17, with an
additional 100 wounded. The Serbs attacked at least seven places in northwest
Bosnia on 9 October in what Reuters described as an "armor and infantry
[offensive] across a broad front." Reacting to the shelling of Zivinice,
President Alija Izetbegovic called the Serbs "terrorists" and demanded that
NATO knock out the Serbian guns responsible. Planes of the Atlantic alliance
attempted a strike during the night but turned back because of bad weather.
NATO spokesmen said they would try again, and Izetbegovic said his government
might leave the "peace process" if they did not. -- Patrick Moore
SACIRBEY PRAISES COMMON MUSLIM, CROATIAN INTERESTS.
Minister Muhamed Sacirbey told Vecernji list on 9 October that the
Muslims and Croats are not engaged in a marriage of convenience but that they
have key mutual interests and will continue to have them once the war is over.
He noted that Croatia and Bosnia will "go into Europe" together and that Serbia
and Montenegro have degenerated into "new fascism." The vitality of the
alliance was shown again on the battlefield over the weekend, and AFP reported
that Bosnian and Croatian forces were fighting in a joint action at Bosanska
Krupa. Novi list on 7 October quoted Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
as confirming that regular Croatian troops are still in Bosnia. Vjesnik
on 9 October said that the Bosnian army has requested the help of Bosnian Croat
forces. The paper also quoted UN sources as denying Serbian reports that Kljuc
had fallen to Bosnian Serb troops. Serbian propaganda has been trying doggedly
to discredit the Croatian-Muslim alliance. -- Patrick Moore
BELGRADE WELCOMES LATEST CEASEFIRE DEAL.
Rump Yugoslav state-run and
pro-government media report that officials have welcomed the latest Bosnia
ceasefire accord, signed on 5 October and slated to go into effect on 10
October. Politika Ekspres on 6 October lauded Serbian President
Milosevic's "decisive" role in the process, observing that "Milosevic was the
first one to put his signature on this historic agreement." Tanjug the
following day quoted Socialist Party of Serbia spokesman Ivica Dacic as saying
the accord was regarded by his party as a step toward lasting peace in Bosnia.
Montenegrin Premier Milo Djukanovic, quoted by Serbian Radio on 6 October,
added his voice to the list of officials backing the accord, saying it was
"encouraging." -- Stan Markotich
MONTENEGRIN PREMIER CRITICAL OF BELGRADE.
Milo Djukanovic on 6 October
criticized federal rump Yugoslav authorities for their alleged failure to honor
commitments to deliver fuel supplies and for running up debts on the republic's
pension fund, AFP reported that same day. The report suggests this is yet
another move on the part of the Montenegrin premier to distance his republic
from Serbia and that the premier may in effect be announcing his intention "to
play a more active role in the foreign policy of the region." But Djukanovic's
ambitions may be counterbalanced by Montenegrin President
Bulatovic, who has given no sign of wanting or aiming to rupture ties with
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. -- Stan Markotich
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT'S CONDITION SAID TO BE IMPROVING.
9 October reported that Kiro Gligorov is conscious and received visits from his
family and state officials over the weekend. Macedonian Radio had reported two
days earlier that Gligorov's condition was improving, adding that his
respiratory system is functioning normally and the condition of his right eye
is "satisfactory." Medical sources said a team of French ophthalmologists
arrived in Skopje on 8 October to examine him further and prepare for a second
operation. Meanwhile, a second person--Hristo Hristomanov, a minister of
agriculture in socialist Macedonia--died on 7 October from injuries sustained
in the assassination attempt, Nova Makedonija reported on 9 October. No
one has yet claimed responsibility for 3 October car bomb. Experts from the
U.S., Great Britain, and Germany have arrived in Macedonia to help with the
investigation. -- Stefan Krause
ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN PREMIERS MEET IN WARSAW.
Nicolae Vacaroiu and Gyula
Horn, meeting on the weekend in Warsaw, where both attended a meeting of the
Central European Initiative, agreed to set up a joint commission to examine
educational reform, which has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between
Bucharest and Budapest. Radio Bucharest said the joint commission will review
the question of minority-language education in the two countries and reveal its
conclusions at Romanian-Hungarian summit meetings. In a related development,
Evenimentul zilei on 7 October quoted Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca as
saying Hungary and Romania will join NATO at the same time, because the
"security interests of the region" require such joint action. Tinca made the
declaration upon returning from Budapest. -- Michael Shafir
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT LEADS OPINION POLL.
A public opinion poll conducted
for the Soros Foundation by the Institute for Research on the Quality of Life
shows President Ion Iliescu and the Party of Social Democracy in Romania
(PDSR), with which he is closely associated, are well ahead of their political
rivals. Iliescu was backed by 38% of the respondents, followed by Emil
Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), with only 16%.
The PDSR was supported by 34% of the respondents and the CDR by 21%. The poll
was conducted from 15-22 September among a representative sample of 1,175 and
the results published in Adevarul on 7 October. Presidential and
parliamentary elections are scheduled for autumn 1996. -- Michael Shafir
IS DISPUTE BETWEEN ILIESCU, EXTREMISTS SUBSIDING?
zilei on 7 October reported that the two sides involved in the conflict
over remarks attributed to President Ion Iliescu about extreme nationalist
leaders Corneliu Vadim Tudor and Gheorghe Funar (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 and 6
October 1995) are seeking to play down the issue. Tudor, who is leader of the
Greater Romania Party (PRM), said at a press conference on 6 October that
despite some criticism, his party considered Iliescu's visit to the U.S a
success. But he accused several of Iliescu's close associates of misleading the
president. Funar, leader of the Party of Romanian National Unity, said he was
still expecting a clarification of the president's remark that he and Tudor
acted in "Zhirinovsky-like manner." Meanwhile, Oliviu Gherman, the chairman of
the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), denied that his party's
reaction to Tudor's attacks on Iliescu was "an ultimatum." In a related
development, the Democratic Convention of Romania said it was willing to
collaborate with the PDSR if it renounced its alliance with the extremists. --
BULGARIA RESTARTS NUCLEAR PLANT, DESPITE INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS.
Bulgaria on 6 October reconnected Reactor No. 1 of the Kozloduy nuclear power
plant to the country's electricity network, AFP reported the following day. The
EU environment ministers criticized the decision, saying they will express
formal disapproval at the Pan-European conference of environment ministers in
Sofia later this month. An EU official was quoted by Reuters as saying that the
decision to reconnect the reactor "will pose big problems for the Sofia
meeting." Standart on 9 October reported that the German and French
environment ministers, Angela Merkel and Corinne Lepage, have threatened to
boycott the meeting. -- Stefan Krause
STATE DEPARTMENT PROTESTS ALBANIAN JUDGE'S DISMISSAL.
The U.S. State
Department has sent a fax to Albanian President Sali Berisha protesting
dismissal of Supreme Court Judge Zef Brozi, DITA reported on 8 October. This is
the second time within one week that the State Department has denounced the
Albanian parliament's decision to remove Brozi. The fax reportedly states that
the parliament's decision is illegal and "evidence" offered by the Albanian
government to justify the move is unconvincing. -- Fabian Schmidt
NEW ALBANIAN MONARCHIST PARTY FOUNDED.
A breakaway faction of the
monarchist Legality Movement on 6 October--the 100th anniversary of King Ahmet
Zogu's birthday founded a new party--the National Party of Legality, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 7 October. Abdi Baleta, one of the former leaders and
founders of the Democratic Party of the Right (PDD), participated in the
founding meeting. Baleta lost his post in the PDD during a political struggle
with his former party co-founder Petrit Kalakulla at the party's congress in
May. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave