OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 201, 16 October 1995
ISLAMIC THEOLOGIAN STILL MISSING IN UZBEKISTAN.
organizations are circulating an appeal to find the whereabouts of Abduvali
Mirzaev, an Uzbek cleric, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 October. Mirzaev was
apparently on his way to Moscow to attend a theological conference on 29 August
when he was detained by security officials at the Tashkent airport. Since then,
repeated efforts by relatives and others to find him have met with no success.
-- Roger Kangas
UZBEKISTAN SIGNS MILITARY AND SECURITY MEMORANDUM WITH U.S.
Defense Minister Rustam Akhmedov and U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry
signed an agreement in Washington, DC that formalizes bilateral ties as
outlined by NATO's Partnership for Peace program, VOA reported on 13 October.
In addition, Akhmedov suggested that a battalion of Uzbek troops be used in
future UN peacekeeping missions. -- Roger Kangas
RUSSIA READY TO POLICE SINO-KAZAKHSTANI BORDER.
Russia is ready to set
up a common defense unit to police the porous border between China and
Kazakhstan, AFP reported on October 13. General Vladislav Prokhoda, the head of
the Russo-Kazakhstani cooperation unit in Almaty set up under the bilateral
agreement on mutual defense outside the CIS, said that the 1,000 km
Sino-Kazakhstani border is patrolled by about 15,000 Russian and Kazakh
soldiers. -- Bhavna Dave
KAZAKHSTAN'S GRAIN OUTPUT RECORD LOW.
Kazakhstan's grain output of 10
million tons this year--its lowest for the last 30 years--rules out grain
export, according to Kazakhstani Agriculture Minister Zhanibek Karibzhanov,
Interfax reported on 12 October. Kazakhstan's sharply lowered output may
aggravate the grain crisis in CIS as Russia's grain output of 65 million tons
is also its lowest in 30 years. Kazakhstan supplied over 1 million tons of
grain to Russia in 1994. -- Bhavna Dave
FORMER GEORGIAN SECURITY CHIEF ACCUSES RUSSIA OF WOODRUFF MURDER.
Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on 13 October, former Georgian
Security Service head Irakli Batiashvili claimed that the murder of CIA
operative Fred Woodruff near Tbilisi in August 1993 had been instigated by the
Russian intelligence service, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. A teenage
Georgian serviceman arrested and charged with the killing stated at his trial
in early 1994 that he had only confessed under torture to shooting at random at
the car in which Woodruff was traveling; he was sentenced to 15 years'
imprisonment. -- Liz Fuller
BALTIN ON BLACK SEA FLEET MORATORIUM.
Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral
Eduard Baltin welcomed a 6 October moratorium on the unilateral division of
fleet forces, assets, and infrastructure passed by the Russian State Duma,
Radio Mayak reported on 14 October. He noted the role that Konstantin Zatulin,
chairman of the Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, played in producing the
moratorium. Zatulin has distinguished himself as a hardliner in his dealings
with CIS states and was vocal in criticizing Kiev when it abolished the Crimean
presidency and suspended its constitution in March. Decisions by the Russian
Duma do not have legal force in Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 201, 16 October 1995
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO RAISE POVERTY LINE.
lawmakers have ordered the government to find some 230 trillion karbovantsi
($1.3 billion) to raise the country's poverty line, Interfax-Ukraine reported
on 14 October. Deputies on 12 October voted to increase the minimum poverty
level to 4.8 million karbovansti ($27) a month after monthly inflation rose to
14.2% in September. The government issued a statement claiming the move "will
provoke a disastrous economic aftermath" and said there is no money in the
current budget to fund it. President Leonid Kuchma said the decision was a
politically motivated effort by opposition deputies to discredit the executive
branch and economic reforms. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINE ON RUSSIAN RELATIONS.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii
Udovenko, following a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kozyrev, in
Moscow on 13 October, said 36 issues, including the Balkan crisis, had been
discussed in a friendly atmosphere, Interfax reported the following day.
Udovenko said the cost of peacekeeping operations made Ukraine's continued
participation questionable, but he added that Ukraine wanted to continue to
take part. With regard to the Black Sea Fleet, Udovenko said he wished to hold
talks with Kozyrev on proposed draft agreements on Russian deployment and
funding before the prime ministers of the two countries meet to discuss the
issue. As for NATO expansion, Udovenko said both sides expressed concern over
the issue. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma the previous day criticized the
idea of a referendum on the unification of CIS Slavic states, saying it was
unreasonable to create a military bloc of CIS countries. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT OPPOSES CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION.
12 October reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka still
refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the old parliament. The Constitutional
Court the previous day ruled that, in the absence of a newly elected
parliament, the old legislature remains legitimate. Lukashenka maintained that
the real reason for his problems with the parliament was his decree stripping
deputies of many privileges. If he allowed them to have their "undeserved
privileges," there would be fewer conflicts between legislature and president,
he maintained. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN REFORM PARTY REELECTS KALLAS.
A general meeting of the Estonian
Reform Party on 14 October unanimously re-elected Siim Kallas as party
chairman, BNS reported. Kallas said his party was opposed to extraordinary
elections if a new government cannot be formed following Tiit Vahi's
resignation last week, even though the Reform Party would probably be more
successful in them. He suggested the party define the principles to which it
would adhere if it entered a ruling coalition, and he proposed these include
adoption of a new law on pensions, paying more attention to education and the
family, and better social protection for the population. The farming sector
should be supported through investment, and not through subsidies and price
regulation, he added. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIA FORMALLY APPLIES FOR EU MEMBERSHIP.
Latvian President Guntis
Ulmanis and Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 13 October, having gained the
unanimous approval of the cabinet, signed a formal application document to join
the European Union, Reuters reported. The next day, the chairmen of all
parliamentary parties met with Ulmanis and signed a declaration asserting that
admission into the EU was the most essential goal of Latvia's foreign policy.
Even Socialist Party Chairman Filip Stoganov, whose party was considered to be
opposed to EU membership, now supports it. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIAN PRESIDENT NOT TO NOMINATE PREMIER CANDIDATE BEFORE 7 NOVEMBER.
Guntis Ulmanis said in a radio interview on 13 October that he would not
nominate a candidate for prime minister before the first session of the sixth
Saeima on 7 November, BNS reported. Democratic Party Saimnieks Chairman
Ziedonis Cevers, however, hinted that he had found a party that was willing to
join the coalition of the DPS, Latvian Unity Party, National Harmony Party, and
Popular Movement for Latvia and that supported his candidacy for prime
minister. BNS suggested the party was the Christian Democratic Union (KDS),
which won four seats in an election coalition with the Farmers' Union. KDS
secretary-general Maris Vitols, however, said the party would not break its
links with the right-of-center National Bloc. -- Saulius Girnius
NEW TAX THRESHOLDS IN POLAND.
The Sejm on 13 October approved new tax
scales which, according to Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, mean lower tax rates
for low income earners. The opposition criticized the new taxation system,
arguing that "85% of tax payers will pay slightly lower taxes and 15% will pay
considerably higher taxes." The Sejm accepted the Freedom Union's proposal to
reduce taxes for citizens who do not use the state medical care system. It also
agreed to lower rates for taxpayers who have children and/or mortgages.
President Lech Walesa said he did not know whether he would sign the bill,
Polish dailies reported on 14 October. Meanwhile, a recent public opinion poll
shows that support for Walesa has grown over the past month. Democratic Left
Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski led the poll with 27%, followed by
Walesa with 17% and Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (12%). --
Dagmar Mroziewicz and Jakub Karpinski
SECURITY TIGHTENED AFTER LETTER BOMB SENT TO CZECH PREMIER.
around Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was especially tight on 15 October
when he appeared at television studios in Ostrava for a live debate, Czech
Television reported. Government officials on 13 October revealed that an
anonymous letter containing explosive powder and addressed to Klaus had arrived
at the government office two days earlier. It was detected by X-ray screening
and made safe, but the officials said the explosive was not primed. They added
that it was the first such device to be sent to Klaus and that the writer made
threats and demands for money, which they did not specify. Lidove noviny
on 16 October quoted the head of Klaus's bodyguards as saying that extra
security measures were in force according to directions laid down by Interior
Minister Jan Ruml. -- Steve Kettle
CONFUSION WITHIN SLOVAK LEFTIST PARTY.
Three representatives of the
post-communist Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) held simultaneous meetings in
Bratislava on 13 October, offering three standpoints, Pravda reported.
Chairman Peter Weiss threatened that the coalition could be leading Slovakia
toward an authoritarian regime, while SDL deputy Robert Fico said he was glad
that his party had disappointed the opposition Christian Democratic Movement by
not participating in the joint meeting on 10 October (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 12 October 1995). Deputy Lubomir Fogas launched an attack on the
opposition Democratic Union. The SDL Republican Council met on 14 October to
discuss the party's dwindling popularity in opinion polls. The council issued a
statement saying the SDL "does not want to and cannot be in a homogenous
opposition camp." But it was highly critical of the cabinet and expressed
dissatisfaction with the "current political, economic, and social state of
society," Sme reported. -- Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK FOREIGN RELATIONS.
Slovak President Michal Kovac concluded his
visit to Germany on 13 October, meeting with his German counterpart, Roman
Herzog. Bilateral relations, European security issues, and European integration
topped the agenda. Herzog praised Kovac's contribution to building democratic
institutions in Slovakia and expressed satisfaction with the favorable
development of bilateral economic relations, TASR reported. Germany is
Slovakia's biggest foreign investor and Slovakia's second biggest trade
partner. In other news, U.S. President Bill Clinton on 13 October announced his
intention to nominate Ralph Johnson, a career diplomat, as U.S. ambassador to
Slovakia. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN PREMIER, FINANCE MINISTER ON IMF.
Hungarian Prime Minister
Gyula Horn on 14 October said that he agreed with the IMF's terms of a credit
agreement but that his government will have to show greater sensitivity toward
social considerations in order not to endanger political stability, Reuters
reported the same day. Horn was responding to Finance Minister Lajos Bokros's
statement that he had reached a verbal agreement with the IMF. Bokros returned
earlier that day from the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank with a
letter listing the conditions Hungary has to satisfy in order to clinch an
18-month standby credit agreement early next year. Bokros said none of those
points was in conflict with government policy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
PFP EXERCISES BEGIN IN HUNGARY.
NATO and Partnership for Peace countries
on 14 October began six-day exercises in Hungary that were jointly planned by
Germany, Britain, and Hungary, international media reported the same day. The
exercises, involving 350 foreign and 200 Hungarian officers, are to focus on
increasing cooperation between decision-makers and staff to solve tasks that
may arise during peacekeeping missions. Nine countries have sent observers to
the exercise, codenamed "Cooperative Light `95." But one notable absentee is
Russia. "They were invited but are not attending. They did not say why," a NATO
spokesman said. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 201, 16 October 1995
KARADZIC DEMANDS SCAPEGOATS . . .
The Bosnian Serb parliament met in
Banja Luka on 15 October following a gathering of the ruling Serbian Democratic
Party. Civilian leader Radovan Karadzic continued his apparent power-play with
military commander General Ratko Mladic, demanding that the army leadership
"bear the consequences . . . for a considerable loss of territory and military
defeats. Army commanders must look each other in the eyes and see which of them
was taking brigades out [of battle] without an order or approval. Those unable
to respond to enemy attacks must be either replaced or they must change their
attitude." The International Herald Tribune and Nasa Borba ran
the story on 16 October. -- Patrick Moore
. . . BUT ONLY A MINOR LEADER GOES.
Independent legislator Milorad Dodig
and seven colleagues have demanded a purge of both the civilian and military
leaderships, AFP noted. Other deputies have urged the sacking of General Milan
Gvero and three other commanders. Mladic, who can usually count on the backing
of his generals and of Belgrade, simply called for a "decisive battle," the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung added. But in the end, the legislature
left both internationally wanted war criminals, Karadzic and Mladic, in power.
The only "resignation" was that of Prime Minister Dusan Kozic, a relatively
minor figure. Meanwhile, as Serbian refugees continue to flee in northwest
Bosnia, the legislature took steps to shore up the Serbian position there.
Although it rejected a motion to move the capital from Pale to Banja Luka, it
did agree to place the supreme military command there and to call for a
reorganization of regional defenses. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN BATTLEFIELD UPDATE.
International media on 16 October reported
that the military situation is stabilizing. Serbian military sources the
previous day said the Banja Luka front is firming up 50 km west and 35 km south
of the town. The Serbs charged on 13 October that allied forces shelled
Prijedor, where Karadzic was visiting. He called on the U.S. to use its
influence with the allies to make them stop. A UN spokesman said that 40,000
Serbs fled Prijedor on one day alone, Reuters noted. Croatian Radio on 15
October quoted Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey as urging Serbian
civilians not to abandon their homes. Elsewhere, AFP quoted Bosnian General
Atif Dudakovic as saying that peace will be made only on the battlefield, and
that "the Serbs must be stopped with the only language they know." -- Patrick
BOSNIAN SERBS REOPEN CONCENTRATION CAMPS.
Bosnian Croats and Muslims
expelled from the Banja Luka area claim that the Bosnian Serbs have reopened
two concentration camps near the northwestern city, AFP reported on 16 October.
The Manjaca camp held between 4,500 and 6,000 people, mostly Muslims, at the
beginning of war in 1992; it was later shut down under international pressure.
Meanwhile, Moslem authorities in Sanski Most, recently recaptured from the
Serbs, have found the corpses of 85 people killed during the Serbs' retreat.
They fear that 160 may still be found. Some 1,000 Moslem men are missing in
Sanski Most, and the authorities suspect they are being held by Serbs at the
Manjaca camp. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SHALIKASHVILI'S BALKAN TOUR.
U.S. army General Chief of Staff John
Shalikashvili began a tour of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
Croatia on 12 October, international media reported. He attended the closing
ceremony of a joint U.S.-Albanian military exercise and promised U.S.
assistance in building a military training center in Albania, which has
provided NATO with port and air facilities. Shalikashvili met with
parliamentary chairman and acting President Stojan Andov in Skopje on 13
October, saying he supports Macedonia's ambitions to join the Partnership for
Peace program. Shalikashvili the next day met with government and military
leaders in Sarajevo to review NATO plans to send 60,000 troops, including
25,000 Americans, to supervise the implementation of a Bosnian peace
settlement. -- Fabian Schmidt
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON YUGOSLAV-RELATED LOSSES.
Ion Iliescu, speaking to
journalists on 15 October in La Valletta, said the UN economic embargo against
the rump Yugoslavia has cost his country some $8 billion. He also said that
international loans granted Romania are no compensation for those losses.
Iliescu arrived in Malta on 14 October to attend a Crans Montana conference of
countries from Europe and the Mediterranean on possible ways to ease the
sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro, Radio Bucharest reported. The next
day, he began a two-day official visit to Tunisia at the invitation of his
Tunisian counterpart, Zine al-Abidine ben Ali. -- Dan Ionescu
ROMANIAN COURT ON THRONE SUCCESSION.
A court in Alexandria on 13 October
issued a statement supporting the claims of self-styled Prince Paul of Romania
to the succession of the Romanian throne, Radio Bucharest reported. The
statement proclaimed the validity on Romanian territory of a decision taken by
a Lisbon court in 1955 in favor of Paul's father, Carol Mircea, the son of late
Romanian King Carol II from a morganatic marriage. Romanian independent media
consider the court's decision a direct attack against Romania's last king,
Mihai I, who was forced into exile by the communists in December 1947 and now
lives in Swiss exile. The 13 October decision coincided with a visit to Romania
by Mihai's wife, Ana de Bourbon-Parma. -- Dan Ionescu
ROMANIA, EU DISCUSS INTEGRATION.
Romanian and European Union officials
met in Bucharest on 12-13 October to discuss Romania's integration into
European structures, Romanian and international media reported. The
participants analyzed Romania's strategy for EU integration as well as the
implementation of the European Integration Agreement. Romanian Prime Minister
Nicolae Vacaroiu said economic and legislative reforms were the main condition
for EU integration. It is hoped that in the future, Romania and other associate
members will participate in EU programs as full members. Meanwhile, the 94th
Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union ended in Bucharest on 13 October,
Radio Bucharest reported. The conference adopted resolutions on the global
political and economic situation, on the role of parliaments in fighting
corruption, and on banning nuclear tests. -- Matyas Szabo
MOLDOVAN TRADE UNIONS STAGE PROTESTS.
Several trade unions held protests
throughout Moldova to demand an improvement in living standards and
crime-fighting measures, BASA-press reported on 14 October. About 3,000 people
attended the protest meeting in Chisinau, where speakers said that the
government owed 194.4 million lei ($43 million) to employees in unpaid wages
and that every sixth employee at state enterprises was on forced leave. Crime
in Moldova went up 19% in the first half of 1995, with every fourth offense
committed by a jobless person. -- Matyas Szabo
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ITALY.
Sali Berisha and Albanian Defense
Minister Safet Zhulali, during a three-day visit to Italy that began on 13
October, signed a friendship treaty as well as military and economic agreements
with Italian Defense Minister Domenico Corcione and Finance Minister Augusto
Fantozzi, Reuters reported the same day. Berisha promised to stop illegal
immigration from Albania to Puglia. Italian officials said the first steps
toward an agreement on the issue of visas for Albanians performing seasonal
work were taken in an exchange of letters. Some 100,000 Albanians are estimated
to have migrated to Italy since 1991, of whom 35,000 have done so legally.
Berisha also met with President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Prime Minister Lamberto
Dini, and the pope, Gazeta Shqiptare reported the next day. -- Fabian
GREECE LIFTS BLOCKADE ON MACEDONIA.
Greece on 14 October officially
opened its border with Macedonia, international agencies reported. While Greek
sources say the border was indeed opened that day, Macedonian reports say that
only a Macedonian TV crew was allowed to cross following the intervention of
Greek colleagues. The next day, individuals on foot and passenger cars were
reported crossing the border, but no trucks. Macedonian tourists will be given
a Greek visa stamped on white sheets of paper. Greece imposed the embargo in
February 1994 in order to force Macedonia to change its name, flag, and
constitution. Under an accord signed on 13 September 1995, Greece agreed to
lift the embargo within 30 days. -- Stefan Krause
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave