OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 198, 11 October 1995
HELICOPTER CRASH IN KAZAKHSTAN.
A helicopter carrying 15 passengers,
including seven foreigners, has crashed in the mountains close to Almaty,
killing one of the pilots, Interfax reported on 10 October. The helicopter was
rented for an excursion by foreign participants attending the international oil
and gas exhibition in Almaty. Another Russian-made Mi-8T helicopter crashed on
account of bad weather and lightning in the mountains in Kyrgyzstan last week,
killing all 15 aboard. -- Bhavna Dave
KAZAKHSTANI-CANADIAN JOINT VENTURE ON GOLD FIELD.
The Princess Resources
company of Canada is to sign a contract with two Kazakhstani companies to set
up a joint venture for developing Vasilkovskoye, Kazakhstan's largest gold
field, located in its northern region, Marat Bitimbaev, the deputy minister of
geology of Kazakhstan, told Interfax on 9 October. The venture's charter
capital will be equally distributed between Canadian and Kazakhstani companies.
Canadian Placer Dome Inc., which was to become the joint venture's main Western
partner, refused to participate directly in the project a month ago. Placer
Dome sold 27.5% of its shares to Princess Resources and has received a 38%
stake in it. Some 382 tons of gold is to be mined in this $275 million project.
-- Bhavna Dave
CHEVRON, CASPIAN PIPELINE CONSORTIUM CLASH OVER PIPELINE.
company Chevron and the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, set up by Kazakhstan,
Oman, and Russia in 1992 to implement the project for transporting Kazakhstan's
oil to the Russian Black Sea coast, are holding "difficult talks" on the
construction of the second phase of the Caspian pipeline, according to a source
from Petroleum Information Agency (PIA), Interfax reported on 9 October.
Chevron is demanding a proportional share to the size of its investment in the
project for building the second phase of the pipeline. The PIA source said that
the Russia-Oman dominated Consortium, in which Kazakhstan acts only as observer
"under Russia's pressure," had offered Chevron a block of nonvoting shares, and
no guarantees of receiving an equivalent profit. The second phase of the $1.2
billion project envisages the construction of a 1,500 km pipeline from the
Tenghiz oil field (developed jointly with Chevron) to Tikhoretsk in southern
Russia. -- Bhavna Dave
SIX KILLED, THREE TAKEN HOSTAGE IN TAJIKISTAN.
Three Tajik police
officers were captured on 9 October by an unidentified armed group, ITAR-TASS
and Western sources reported. The officers were abducted in the Garm area, east
of Dushanbe, and are believed to be held in an opposition force camp in the
mountains. On 10 October, six Russian soldiers were killed and four wounded
when a supply convoy was ambushed near Khorog, the capital of the
Gorno-Badakhshan region in Tajikistan's southeast. Both Garm and
Gorno-Badakhshan have served as bases for guerrillas who continue to fight
President Imomali Rakhmonov's government since it took power in late 1992. --
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 198, 11 October 1995
UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL TENDERS RESIGNATION.
Ukrainian prosecutor-general, has submitted his resignation to President Leonid
Kuchma, saying persistent interference by the parliament in his office's
activities made it impossible for him to continue, Interfax-Ukraine and
Ukrainian TV reported on 10 October. Kuchma must accept his resignation in
order for it to take effect. Lawmakers and the president have locked horns over
Datsiuk, with the legislature twice voting to fire him. Kuchma supported
Datsiuk in his battle with the parliament by issuing a decree confirming him in
his post. Datsiuk has led several high profile investigations into alleged
criminal activities by top lawmakers who have claimed his actions are
politically motivated. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINE OPPOSES DEPLOYING NUKES NEAR ITS BORDERS.
Minister Hennadii Udovenko criticized statements by politicians in Eastern
Europe welcoming the deployment of NATO nuclear weapons on their territory,
ITAR-TASS reported on 10 October. Udovenko categorically opposed the deployment
of such weapons anywhere close to Ukraine's borders, saying he hoped NATO would
not implement the idea since it would complicate the situation in Eastern
Europe and threaten improving relations with Russia. Moscow is opposed to any
deployment of nuclear weapons close to its borders, while Ukraine worries about
becoming a buffer zone between Russia and Europe. -- Ustina Markus
UKRAINIAN STUDENTS AGAINST CLOSING SCHOOL MILITARY UNITS.
Reuters on 10
October reported that 1,000 Ukrainian university students demonstrated against
closing army sections in their schools. The closure of the school military
sections are part of the plan to reduce Ukraine's armed forces from 470,000 to
350,000 by the end of the decade. Students are opposed to the closure because
it would mean they could no longer avoid serving an 18-month tour in the army
after they finish their studies. Students who were officers at their school's
military section do not have to serve in the armed forces after completing
their studies. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN PREMIER EXPECTS INTERIOR MINISTER TO RESIGN.
Tiit Vahi, during
an official visit to Denmark on 10 October, said he expected Edgar Savisaar to
resign because of charges that he was involved in the electronic bugging of top
political leaders, Reuters reported. The leaders of the three main opposition
parties issued a joint statement calling for the resignations of both Vahi and
Savisaar for not fulfilling their duties as leaders of the state after Savisaar
failed to attend a cabinet meeting he was supposed to chair. The assertion by
Vilja Laanaru, a Savisaar advisor, that she had made the recordings without
Savisaar's knowledge is not generally believed. -- Saulius Girnius
UPDATE ON LATVIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.
The Latvian Central Electoral
Commission on 10 October finally released an unofficial list of deputies who
were elected to the sixth Saeima, BNS reported. No explanation for the long
delay in announcing the results of the voting on 30 September-1 October was
given and the results might even change slightly after the inclusion of votes
from abroad in the Riga district. Only 40 of the 100 new deputies were members
of the fifth Saeima. The number of deputies with dual citizenship has fallen
from 18 to three, while the number of women deputies has declined from 14 to
eight. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH GOVERNMENT ON CONCORDAT.
The Polish government on 10 October
debated the draft of a joint declaration with the Episcopate on the Concordat,
which has been awaiting ratification since July 1993 when it was signed by
Hanna Suchocka's government. The current government considers that the
Concordat was signed too hastily at the time. The main points of contention are
the requirement to inform Birth, Marriages, and Death Registration Offices
about Church marriages; the burial of non-believers in Church- administered
cemeteries, religious instruction in kindergartens, and government financing of
the Papal Theological Academy in Krakow, Polish press reported on 11 October.
-- Jakub Karpinski
CZECH INFLATION IN SEPTEMBER.
Following two months of zero inflation,
consumer prices in the Czech Republic rose 0.9% in September, the Statistics
Office announced on 10 October. Increases in meat prices and heating accounted
for much of the rise. Compared with September 1994, inflation is 8.6%. In the
first three quarters of 1995, prices have risen 5.9%, but Czech National Bank
officials said they expected inflation to increase in the final quarter to give
a figure of 9%-10% for the whole of 1995. -- Steve Kettle
ROMANI COUPLE ATTACKED IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
Some 10 skinheads armed with
baseball bats and heavy sticks attacked a Romani couple who were waiting for a
bus in Breclav on 7 October, Nova TV reported two days later. Both sustained
serious head injuries, and the man had an eye removed in a Brno hospital. Nova
TV said Breclav Roma were angry that the police were not offering them better
protection. Four of the attackers, aged 16-21, have been charged with violence
and assault, CTK reported on 10 October. -- Alaina Lemon
SLOVAK EXTRAORDINARY PARLIAMENT SESSION LASTS SEVEN MINUTES.
extraordinary parliament session on 10 October was cut short when deputies
failed to approve the opposition's proposed agenda, Slovak media reported. The
session was called by the opposition to address the conflict between the police
and the Slovak Information Service over the abduction of the president's son.
Of the 141 deputies present, 62 voted in favor and 69 against, while nine
coalition deputies abstained. Following the vote, parliament chairman Ivan
Gasparovic terminated the session, and opposition parties called a meeting.
Three opposition groups--the Democratic Union, Christian Democratic Movement,
and Hungarian coalition--issued a joint statement demanding that Interior
Minister Ludovit Hudek support the police force, which came under attack from
SIS director Ivan Lexa after police investigators connected SIS agents with the
case. -- Sharon Fisher
PRESIDENT SUES SLOVENSKA REPUBLIKA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF.
Michal Kovac's office on 10 October filed a complaint with the
prosecutor-general charging Slovenska Republika editor-in-chief Jan
Smolec with slander in connection with the paper's publication of two bank
statements allegedly for an account held by the president. Gerhard Karasek,
spokesman of the Raiffeisen Zentralbank AG, told TASR on 10 October that both
bank statements were forged. Smolec responded to Karasek's statement by saying
he understands every bank "protects its client," especially one with deposits
over 23 million schillings. A Narodna obroda report on 11 October showed
that the statements were clearly typed on two different typewriters and that
the word "account number" was used in two different forms. -- Sharon Fisher
CABINET RESHUFFLE IMMINENT IN HUNGARY?
Labor Minister Magda
Kosa-Kovacs's resignation has triggered widespread speculation that a major
reshuffle of Hungary's coalition cabinet is imminent, Reuters reported on 10
October. The Socialist minister resigned over cabinet moves to push through the
Socialist-majority parliament a sick leave plan ruled unconstitutional by the
Constitutional Court (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 October 1995). She told
Hungarian journalists that she does not doubt the professional integrity of any
minister but that she believes the Finance Ministry's "excessive powers" are
causing severe operational difficulties. Justice Minister Pal Vastagh, who is
also a member of the Socialist Party, threatened to quit if the cabinet
continued to push through the controversial sick leave plan. Socialist
ministers have been increasingly critical of the cabinet since the severe
austerity package was launched in March. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 198, 11 October 1995
ALLIES CLOSE IN ON BANJA LUKA.
Reuters on 11 October reported that the
allied forces of the Bosnian government, the Bosnian Croats, and Croatia have
taken two key western Bosnian towns. With the fall of Mrkonjic Grad and Sanski
Most, the way again appears open for a thrust toward the Bosnian Serb
stronghold of Banja Luka. Novi list quoted the chief of the Bosnian
general staff, General Ferid Buljubasic, as praising the effectiveness of the
cooperation between the three allies. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, water and power
have been or are being restored, as demanded by the government. The Bosnian
Serbs on 10 October said they were ready to implement the ceasefire at one
minute after midnight on that day or the next but had no authorization to
accept the government's offer of implementation on 12 October. Clarification is
expected soon. -- Patrick Moore
CROATS FIND MASS GRAVE IN KRAJINA.
The BBC on 10 October quoted UN
officials as saying they fear that the Serbs in western Bosnia will now panic
and flee as they did in Krajina in early August, setting off another mass
exodus. Novi list on 11 October cited remarks by UN spokesman Chris
Jankowski about his concern that many Muslim and Croatian men in northern
Bosnia have been killed by Serbian units under the command of internationally
wanted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan." Reuters the previous day said
that Croatian officials have unearthed the mass grave of up to 50 elderly
Croats, killed by the Serbs in 1991. Two eye-witnesses of the massacre were
present at the exhumation in Petrinja. -- Patrick Moore
YASUSHI AKASHI RESIGNS.
The latest UN special negotiator for the former
Yugoslavia has taken his hat, telling the BBC that he and the UN have been made
scapegoats for the intractable nature of the conflict. Akashi will be replaced
by another prominent UN official who has dealt with the region, Ghana's Kofi
Annan. The Bosnian government welcomed Akashi's departure, telling Reuters on
10 October: "Akashi's replacement can only bring a change for the better, and
it could be the beginning of a new phase of better relations between the
Bosnian government and the UN. Given Akashi's past record, especially his
persistence in equating the victim and aggressor, one can understand why the
Bosnian government welcomes this decision." -- Patrick Moore
CROATIAN OPPOSITION BLASTS GOVERNMENT TV.
The election coalition of five
opposition parties held a press conference on 8 October to protest the decision
by Croatian Television (HRTV) to treat them as a coalition, rather than five
separate parties. They are now entitled to only one bloc of free air-time.
Election Commission President Krunislav Olujic said that since they have not
been legally registered as a coalition, the opposition parties have the right
to present themselves individually in the electronic media, Slobodna
Dalmacija reported on 11 October. The leading opposition Croatian Social
Liberal Party (HSLS) also protested HRTV's ban on its video clips, which TV
officials called "meaningless," HINA reported on 11 October. The HSLS's clips
have also been banned by the company that owns most movie theaters. -- Daria
Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler
said on Slovenian TV that the contents of a Slovenian-Italian compromise
proposal could lead to improved bilateral relations, BETA reported on 10
October. For his part, Thaler remarked that Slovenia was prepared to "return to
Italy" some 40 housing units that had belonged to ethnic Italians forced to
leave Slovenia in the wake of World War II. He added that a full resolution of
all outstanding questions was bound to the issue of the status of Italy's
ethnic Slovenian minority. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN NATIONALIST GENERAL DISMISSED FROM ARMY.
Paul Cheler, commander
of the Fourth Transylvanian Army, has been dismissed and placed on reserve,
Romanian media reported on 10-11October. Cheler is well known for his extreme
nationalist, particularly anti-Hungarian, views. At a press conference in Cluj
on 9 October (which in itself is a breach of the military code), Cheler
protested his dismissal and attacked the reforms under way in the Romanian
army. His remarks were reminiscent of a letter published last summer by 300
military in the weekly of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party. The
letter, which some media speculate was inspired by Cheler, was considered to be
an instigation to revolt against President Ion Iliescu, whom the signatories
accused of undermining the Romanian army. Cheler threatened to sue those
responsible for his dismissal for allegedly failing to observe army regulations
that generals placed on reserve must be announced six month ahead of their
retirement. -- Michael Shafir
UPDATE ON ILIESCU CONFLICT WITH EXTREME NATIONALISTS.
zilei on 11 October reported that the Prosecutor-General's office has
opened an investigation into articles published in Romania mare and
Politica by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the Greater Romania
Party (PRM). The office is to decide whether to recommend to lift Tudor's
parliamentary immunity, making possible his prosecution for having offended
President Ion Iliescu. Curierul national reports that Oliviu Gherman,
chairman of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, and Ion Solcanu, a vice
chairman of the party, are in favor of ending the alliance with the PRM. --
SZUROS ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY IN ROMANIA.
Matyas Szuros, Hungary's first
post-communist president and currently leader of the Hungarian parliamentary
delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Bucharest, said the 2
million ethnic Hungarians are fighting for their survival in Romania, Radio
Bucharest reported on 10 October. He noted that Romania's new education law
discriminated against ethnic Hungarians and was a step backward in comparison
with previous laws. He went on to say that the "historic reconciliation"
between Hungary and Romania "is inconceivable as long as there is no
reconciliation between the Romanian majority and ethnic Hungarians."
Interviewed by Reuters, Szuros spoke of ethnic Hungarians' collective rights
and recommended the creation of "enclaves" in eastern Transylvania, where
Hungarians form a compact majority. -- Matyas Szabo
MOLDOVAN STUDENTS TO RESUME STRIKE.
Moldovan students and teachers are
to resume their strike on 18 October to demand the government's dismissal,
strike chairman Anatol Petrencu told Infotag on 10 October. The student strike
began last spring, with the initial demand to rename the official language from
"Moldovan" to Romanian; later, economic and social claims were made. After
President Mircea Snegur submitted to the parliament his initiative on renaming
the official language, the students suspended their strike. The moratorium on
protest actions introduced in the spring cannot continue because the government
is ignoring the strikers' economic demands, Petrencu said. -- Matyas
HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.
Arpad Goncz arrived in Sofia on 9
October for an official three-day visit, Bulgarian and Hungarian media reported
the following day. "Both Bulgaria and Hungary wish to participate in the
post-war reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia," Goncz and his Bulgarian
counterpart, Zhelyu Zhelev, said following the first day of talks aimed at
strengthening bilateral ties. During discussions on EU membership, Goncz said
Hungary would share with Bulgaria its experience in negotiating with European
organizations and could assist in Bulgaria's admission to CEFTA and other
European organizations. Zhelev said that, instead of competing, the two
countries must help each other to achieve integration into European structures.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi and Stefan Krause
EU GIVES ALBANIA $22 MILLION GRANT.
The European Union has approved 17.5
million ecu ($22 million) grant to Albania as part of the PHARE regional
development program. It will be used, among other things, to improve economic
and social conditions. Meanwhile, President Sali Berisha said his government
has to step up the pace of economic reform to ensure success for the Democratic
Party in the spring 1996 parliamentary elections. Reuters the previous day
quoted him as praising "great economic changes in Albania, especially the
resolution of foreign debt, rises in average salaries, privatization and
production." -- Fabian Schmidt
GREECE TO LIFT EMBARGO ON MACEDONIA ON WEEKEND.
spokesman Tylemachos Hytiris has announced that Athens will lift its blockade
on Macedonia on 15 October, Reuters reported on 10 October. Talks in Skopje
between Greek and Macedonian officials on measures regarding trade and the
movement of citizens "are being completed," he said. Greece has sent police
officers to Macedonia to help investigate the assassination attempt on
Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. Gligorov's condition, according to Nova
Makedonija on 11 October, continues to improve and an operation on his
right eye went "according to plan." He remains in intensive care, however.
Meanwhile, the country's Security Council issued a statement saying the country
is stable and its politics remain on course--under tightened security. --
TURKISH PREMIER-DESIGNATE PRESENTS GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.
Tansu Ciller on
10 October presented her minority government's program to the parliament,
Turkish and international media reported the same day. The five principle aims
are a new election law, democratization, the revision of Article 8 of the
constitution (which bans separatist propaganda), privatization, and
anti-corruption measures. Ciller also wants to conclude Turkey's customs union
deal with the EU. She said her government was committed to a comprehensive
dialogue with Greece to resolve outstanding problems. Meanwhile, the
Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-Is) rejected Ciller's latest pay
raise offer and called a rally to coincide with the vote of confidence in the
premier-designate on October 15. -- Lowell Bezanis
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave