OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 209, 26 October 1995
RUSSIA DISPUTES LEGALITY OF "DEAL OF THE CENTURY."
Less than one month
after the Azerbaijani State Oil Company and the Azerbaijani International
Operating Company announced their decision to export "early oil" from the
Caspian Sea via both Russia and Georgia, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev has again affirmed that the original agreement on joint exploitation of
three Azerbaijani oil fields is not legally valid, AFP reported on 25 October,
quoting ministry spokesman Aleksandr Kodakov. -- Liz Fuller
TAJIK JOURNALIST RELEASED IN MOSCOW.
A journalist from the Tajik
dissident newspaper Charogi Ruz, Mirzo Salimov, has been released by
Moscow police, according to a Radio Voice of Free Tajikistan report cited by
the BBC. The journalist was apprehended on 13 October by Russian police and the
Tajik prosecutor-general wanted to extradite him to face charges in his
homeland. The radio broadcast credits Salimov's release to the efforts of the
Tajik opposition and international journalists' organizations. -- Bruce
BARCLAYS' CREDIT TO TURKMENISTAN.
Barclays Bank is to open a $31 million
credit line to Turkmenistan for the purchase of British-manufactured equipment
to be used in the construction of a second landing strip at Ashgabat airport,
Interfax reported on 25 October. A new landing strip may be in order as the
recently constructed air control tower was built without a view of the existing
runway. -- Lowell Bezanis
Commenting on Azerbaijan's recent
overtures to improve relations with Iran, Ali Majedi, a senior Iranian Foreign
Ministry official, said Tehran and Baku will have good ties as long as
Azerbaijan's behavior remains "rational," IRNA reported on 25 October. He
welcomed Azerbaijan's "return to the fold" and noted that Azerbaijani Foreign
Minister Hasan Hasanov will visit Iran in the near future. He also said
Azerbaijan should not be "oversensitive" about his country's ties to Armenia.
Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan deteriorated sharply in April when
Iranian participation in the international consortium exploiting three Caspian
Sea oil fields was rejected by Baku under U.S. pressure. When a two-track
decision to export the oil was announced in Baku on 9 October, Azerbaijan
quickly offered Iran a chance to join in the exploitation of the Shah Deniz
field in the Caspian. -- Lowell Bezanis
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 209, 26 October 1995
NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED.
The Estonian parliament on 26 October
approved the government proposed by Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, Reuters reported.
President Lennart Meri is required to approve the decision by 2 November. The
Reform Party replaces the Center Party as the coalition partner of the
Coalition Party and Rural Union alliance. Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas
replaces Riivo Sinijarv as foreign minister and has also been named deputy
prime minister. The party also received the five ministries formerly held by
the Center Party: education, interior, social affairs, economics, and
transportation and communications. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT APPOINTS PRIVATIZATION COMMISSION.
The Seimas on
25 October approved the formation of a 13-member commission on the
privatization of state and municipal property, BNS reported. The commission
will be headed by Director of the Vilnius-based Institute of Economics Eduardas
Vilkas and includes nine deputy ministers. Its primary function will be to
supervise the activities of the State Privatization Agency, which was
established in September and charged with implementing the second wave of
privatization (in which properties will be sold for cash only). -- Saulius
UKRAINE CRITICIZES RUSSIA OVER TRADE, BORDERS.
Deputy Foreign Minister
Kostyantyn Hryshchenko on 25 October said Ukraine has handed Russia a note
asking that the demarcation of the border between the two countries begin and
that the status of the Azov Sea be decided, Ukrainian TV reported. Hryshchenko
discounted Russian statements that demarcating the border would impede free
trade. He added that Ukraine was ready to unilaterally demarcate the border.
Interfax the previous day reported Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk as saying
Russia has withdrawn about 200 categories of goods covered by the free trade
agreement, causing losses of $1.5 billion for Ukraine. Marchuk threatened to
take retaliatory measures, even though these would contravene agreements signed
by Ukraine and the IMF. -- Ustina Markus
MILITARY INSTALLATIONS TO CLOSE IN CRIMEA.
Russian Public Television on
25 October reported that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is formulating a
protocol to hand over military installations in Crimea to local civil
authorities. Crimea is the most heavily militarized region in Ukraine, and some
of the installations on the peninsula are of no use to the country. Crimean
authorities are to recieve 16,000 hectares of former military land. The only
installations that have not been agreed on are military sanatoriums. The
Defense Ministry would like to hand these over to the privatization fund and
build housing for military personnel using the money the sanatoriums bring in.
Military space installations will be abolished, since these were built to
handle up to 200 satellites and Ukraine owns only one. -- Ustina Markus
UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
With the presidential elections
looming, political parties are considering the possibility that incumbent
President Lech Walesa, who is second only to Democratic Left Alliance leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski in recent polls, will be re-elected. Rzeczpospolita
on 26 October quotes the Freedom Union's (UW) presidential candidate, Jacek
Kuron, as suggesting that it is impossible to decide who would be
worse--Kwasniewski or Walesa. UW leader Donald Tusk resigned from the party's
presidium in protest against Kuron's statement. Tusk is the former head of the
Liberal Democratic Congress, which supported Walesa in the 1990 presidential
elections. Some candidates are trying to convince others to resign in the hope
that the chances of candidates other than Kwasniewski and Walesa would be
improved. -- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH PREMIER ON U.S. VISIT.
Jozef Oleksy, on his arrival from New York
on 25 October, said U.S. administration officials were worried about changes in
Poland's foreign policy after the presidential elections in November. Oleksy
said he assured them that Poland's foreign policy, market reforms, and
democratic development would not change. He was optimistic that Poland would be
granted non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for 1996-1997. --
CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER CONTRADICTS HAVEL OVER TAIWAN.
in an official reaction to remarks made by President Vaclav Havel, said on 25
October that the Czech Republic recognizes only one China, the People's
Republic, Mlada fronta dnes reported. Havel told reporters in New York
after attending the UN General Assembly that it was "regrettable" that Taiwan,
a prosperous and democratic state, was not a member of the UN (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 25 October 1995). Traditionally, China has been one country
but now there are two states, Havel added. Zieleniec, however, stressed that in
line with other countries, "we regard Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory."
In June, China strongly protested a private visit to the Czech Republic made by
Taiwan's Prime Minister Lien Chan. -- Steve Kettle
ROMA DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE CZECH GOVERNMENT BUILDING.
Around 40 leaders of
Romani groups demonstrated outside the Czech government building on 25 October
during a cabinet meeting to protest the treatment of Roma in the Czech
Republic, Czech media reported. Carrying candles and placards with the names of
Roma killed in racist attacks, the demonstrators stood in largely silent
protest for more than one hour. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told reporters he
had not been aware that the protest was being held and that he would have met
the Roma had he known they were outside his office. "It was an error of
coordination," Klaus said. -- Steve Kettle
EU, U.S. WORRIED ABOUT SLOVAKIA.
Four European diplomats in Slovakia on
25 October delivered a note to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar voicing concern
that steps taken against President Michal Kovac could endanger democracy. The
diplomats--representing the EU, Spain, France, and Italy--emphasized the
importance of allowing the expression of differing political opinions,
Narodna obroda reported. The U.S. Embassy in Bratislava the same day
issued a statement correcting Slovak parliamentary chairman spokesman Lubos
Jurik's remark the previous day that U.S. President Bill Clinton evaluated
events in Slovakia "very positively." According to the embassy, Clinton is
interested in Slovakia but "at the same time is anxious" about the situation
there, Pravda reported. -- Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY ACCUSES PRESIDENT OF TREASON.
The Slovak National
Party (SNS) on 25 October decided to bring charges of treason against President
Michal Kovac, Narodna obroda reported. SNS Chairman Jan Slota first
discussed the charges on 20 October following statements made by Kovac during
his recent visit to Germany (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 October). The SNS
called for a parliamentary commission to be created to investigate the
situation. Meanwhile, the Democratic Union and the Party of the Democratic Left
(SDL) on 25 October rejected claims by the ruling Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia (HZDS) that it will find the votes needed to dismiss the president
among the opposition. All deputies from the DU and SDL have signed statements
rejecting the attacks on Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT DELAYS RATIFICATION OF TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
Slobodnik, chairman of the parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, on 25
October announced that the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty will be
delayed until December, Narodna obroda reported. The treaty was signed
by the Slovak and Hungarian prime ministers in March, and the Hungarian
parliament ratified it in June. When asked why the ratification was being
delayed, Slobodnik responded "because of a shortage of time." Discussions of
the treaty in parliamentary committees will start in November. -- Sharon
HUNGARY NARROWS SCOPE OF SCREENING LAW.
A senior Interior Ministry
official on 25 October said the ministry has drawn up a bill amending the
screening law to cover only those who have had to take an oath of office before
the president and the parliament, Magyar Hirlap reported the next day.
Under the law, anyone who collaborated with or was a member of the security
service or the fascist Arrow Cross party cannot hold a government post. The
paper noted that since only 500-600 people are affected, screening could be
completed by next summer. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARY SAYS "YES" TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
Foreign Ministry administrative
state secretary Ferenc Somogyi, during a visit to the U.S., said on 25 October
that Hungary fully accepts NATO requirements, including the readiness to deploy
nuclear weapons on its territory if necessary, The Washington Times and
Hungarian newspapers reported. Somogyi met with U.S. officials and delivered a
speech to a UN General Assembly committee. Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister
Vefa Tanir--in Budapest on 25 October for a meeting with his Hungarian
counterpart, Gyorgy Keleti--said that Turkey fully backs Hungary's intention to
join NATO, since this move would contribute to strengthening security in
Central Europe. The two ministers signed a framework agreement on military
training and military-industrial cooperation. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 209, 26 October 1995
BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS ON HOLD FOR A DAY.
International media on 26 October
reported that peace talks between Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman, and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, slated for
October 31 in the U.S., will be delayed by one day to allow the three leaders
to meet first with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow. Meanwhile,
Reuters on 25 October reported that President Tudjman will attend only the
first few days of the talks, which, according to some U.S. officials, may
continue for up to four weeks. Should Tudjman return to Zagreb, Croatia is
expected to be represented by Foreign Minister Mate Granic. -- Stan
NATO SENDS SURVEY TEAMS TO BOSNIA.
NATO has begun to send soldiers into
Bosnia to gather information on infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and
communication, international agencies reported on 25 October. According to U.S.
Defense Secretary William Perry, the units will help NATO plan for the
deployment of a 60,000-strong peacekeeping force after a peace agreement is
reached. German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe is quoted as saying that the main
force could be deployed three to four days after an agreement is signed, but he
estimated that this would take place in mid-November. U.S. President Bill
Clinton, meanwhile, warned of "grave" consequences if the U.S. fails to send
ground troops to Bosnia, arguing that the Yugoslav war may otherwise develop
into a larger European war. -- Fabian Schmidt
THOUSANDS OF MUSLIMS MISSING AFTER FORCED EXPULSIONS.
According to the
UNHCR, thousands of Muslim men from the Banja Luka, Prijedor, and Sanski Most
regions are missing after being captured by Bosnian Serb forces, Reuters
reported on 25 October. More than 6,000 people were forcefully expelled from
the region in early October by units fighting alongside accused war criminal
Zeljko Raznatovic, alias "Arkan." Most of those expelled have been pushed over
the border into government controlled territory. The UNHCR, however, said that
the refugee influx stopped about ten days ago and that an estimated 2,000-3,000
people are missing. -- Fabian Schmidt
TRILATERAL MEETING PAVES WAY FOR RETURN OF BOSNIAN REFUGEES.
presidents of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Turkey, meeting in New York on
23 October, signed an agreement aimed at creating the conditions for the safe
and voluntary return of refugees from Velika Kladusa and Cazin who were among
rebel Muslim forces in northwestern Bosnia and are currently in Croatia, HINA
reported on 24 October. The foreign ministers of the three countries agreed on
the size of the contingents each country will send to take part in the joint
police forces to be deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Meanwhile, the
Bosnian Ministry of Justice has demanded that Croatia extradite rebel Bosnian
Muslim leader Fikret Abdic, HINA reported on 23 October. -- Daria Sito Sucic
CROATIAN NEGOTIATORS MEET AGAIN WITH REBEL SERBS.
Dalmacija reported on 26 October that Croatian negotiators resumed talks
the previous day with representatives of the rebel Serbs who continue to occupy
a portion of eastern Slavonia. Reuters on 26 October reported that a deal to
avert a conflict between Croatia and rebel Serbs over the occupied land is
almost at hand. It quotes one diplomatic source as saying that "on the
substance of the agreement, we're 98.5% there." Meanwhile, Nasa Borba
cited Ivan Pasalic, leader of the Croatian team, as suggesting that there were
no breakthroughs in the latest round of talks in the Serb-held town of Erdut.
-- Stan Markotich
CROATIAN POLICE ARREST ALLEGED SPIES.
Croatian authorities on 24 October
arrested 15 people who are accused of spying for Serbia and the Yugoslav Army,
including Radovan Jovic, a human rights activist and a participant in the
Fourth Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Tuzla, Nasa Borba reported on 26
October. The Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs alleges that the 15 people
(13 Serbs and two Croats) are suspected of gathering intelligence for the
so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK), the BBC reported on 26 October.
All suspects are Croatian citizens, except one person whose citizenship "has
not been determined"--an indirect reference to Jovic, who is from Belgrade and
worked as a lawyer in Glina in the RSK. -- Daria Sito Sucic
ROMANIAN EXTREMIST SENATOR TO LOSE IMMUNITY?
Manea Dragulin, in a letter to the justice minister, has asked that the Senate
start procedures for lifting the parliamentary immunity of Senator Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, the leader of the chauvinistic Greater Romania Party (PRM), Radio
Bucharest reported on 25 October. The move comes in the wake of Tudor's attacks
against Romanian President Ion Iliescu and Virgil Magureanu, head of the
Romanian Intelligence Service. Also on 25 October, the National Bloc, an
alliance of small political groups dominated by the PRM, issued a communique
saying Dragulin wanted to prevent Tudor from running in the next presidential
elections against Iliescu. -- Dan Ionescu
ROMANIAN STUDENTS SUSPEND STREET DEMONSTRATIONS...
students on 25 October rallied in downtown Bucharest, despite bad weather,
Romanian media reported. Cristian Urse, leader of the Bucharest University
Students' League, later announced that the protests will continue but street
demonstrations will be suspended until 30 October because of the religious
holiday of Saint Demetrius (26 October) and because Orthodox Church leaders
from abroad are in Romania to attend the Romanian Patriarchate's 70th
anniversary celebrations. Urse also said that student organizations were
discussing possible changes in the education law with leaders of the
parliamentary parties. -- Dan Ionescu
...WHILE MOLDOVAN STUDENTS PREPARE FUTURE PROTESTS.
have temporarily suspended demonstrations in order to mobilize for a nationwide
protest action, Infotag reported on 25 October. Student League Chairman Oleg
Cernei said students will continue their passive protest by not returning to
the classroom. Strike committee chairman Anatol Petrencu said the active strike
will be resumed on 31 October. The students are hoping that the entire
population will support their demand for the government's resignation, he
added. -- Matyas Szabo
SOFIA ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE ENDS, KOZLODUY STAYS ON LINE.
Environment for Europe conference ended on 25 October with a pledge by Europe's
environmental ministers to phase out unsafe nuclear facilities as soon as
possible, Reuters reported the same day. A closing communique signed by more
than 40 ministers said unsafe reactors should be shut down through
international cooperation and urged all countries with nuclear reactors to join
the International Convention on Nuclear Safety as soon as possible. The final
statement mentioned neither the controversial Bulgarian reactor Kozloduy nor
French nuclear tests. Meanwhile, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
for Economic Development Rumen Gechev said Bulgaria will not immediately shut
down Kozloduy, but he did not rule out talks with the EU. He said there is no
document from experts proving the reactor is unsafe and added that Bulgaria
"will take no decision...under political pressure without concrete proof from
the experts." -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE.
The Central Electoral Commission on 25
October set the date for the second round of the upcoming local elections for
12 November, Pari reported. A second round will be conducted wherever no
mayoral candidate received a majority in the first round. The three candidates
with the most votes will participate in the second round. The first round, in
which municipal councils and mayors will be elected, will take place on 29
October. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN DAILY STANDART IN TROUBLE.
editor-in-chief of the influential Sofia daily Standart, and his three
deputies resigned on 25 October, Kontinent reported the following day.
Zapryanov gave no reason for his resignation, while the other three said they
resigned in support of him. Valeri Kostadinov, director-general of the Standart
News Publishing House, said no one was fired and that he had not accepted
anyone's resignation. Krasimir Stoychev, whose media conglomerate Tron owns
Standart, told Pari that he wanted to move Zapryanov to the post
of editor-in-chief of the Standart News Publishing House after a three-month
vacation. Stoychev said that the daily needs "new ideas" and that changes were
necessary. Standart appeared on 26 October, but its future remains
uncertain. -- Stefan Krause
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave