|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 2, 05 January 1993
RUSSIA YELTSIN AND CLINTON DISCUSS START-2. Russian President Boris Yeltsin called U.S. President-elect Bill Clinton on 4 January, and the START-2 treaty signed the previous day apparently was the main subject of their 20 minute discussion. Interfax reported that Clinton spoke highly of the treaty, describing it as an historic event of the 20th century. UPI quoted Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos as saying that Clinton pledged to work for the early ratification of the new treaty and agreed with Yeltsin that their representatives should soon begin discussions on ways to further the cause of nuclear arms reduction. -Doug Clarke KOZYREV COMPARES START-2 TALKS TO CHESS MATCH. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said that Russian and American experts negotiating the START-2 treaty required "psychological restructuring" to get rid of some old stereotypes. As quoted by Interfax, he likened them to chess players. "For the experts, the knight suddenly began to move as the bishop does," he said. He pointed to the "unprecedented" American agreement to allow Russia to keep some of their SS-18 missiles silos. He explained that "for the Americans everything connected with the SS-18 missiles symbolized the Soviet military threat. That was fear bordering on schizophrenia." -Doug Clarke DOUBTS IN RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT ABOUT START-2. Yevgenii Kozhokin, chairman of the subcommittee on international security and intelligence in the Russian parliament, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 4 January that START-2 had been signed without considering all the financial, economic, ecological and technical complications that could result from the treaty's implementation. Kozhokin predicted that parliamentary ratification would be difficult. -Hal Kosiba RUSSIAN-UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SECURITY AGREEMENT SIGNED. After signing a security agreement with high-level United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev cut short his visit to the UAE on 4 January because of the death of his father, but the Russian military delegation he headed is continuing its mission. According to ITAR-TASS on 4 January, before he left, Grachev said that Russia intended to contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the region by supporting good neighborly and friendly relations with all the countries there. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 4-January, Russia will deliver air-defense systems, warplanes, and other military equipment to the UAE as part of the agreement signed by Grachev during his visit. The agreement also welcomes the presence of the Russian Navy in the Persian Gulf, and it envisions regular consultations between UAE and Russian officials on regional security issues. Grachev told reporters that the Persian Gulf region was vital to Russian interests, and that Russia would play a role "suitable to a great power" there, according to ITAR- TASS on 4 January. The delegation, now headed by Col. General Viktor Prudnikov, the Commander-in-Chief of Russian Air Defense Forces, flies to Kuwait on 5-January. Doug Clarke & Hal Kosiba KHASBULATOV TOURS MIDDLE EAST. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov is leading a high-level official delegation on a trip to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt to promote Moscow's role in the Middle East. ITAR-TASS on 3 January quoted Khasbulatov's press secretary Konstantin Zlobin as saying that Russia should not let itself be overshadowed in the Mideast peace talks by the United States. Khasbulatov stated that his aim is to improve Russian-Arab parliamentary ties. In Israel, he praised the signing of START II, calling it a "breakthrough" which will not harm Russian interests. Alexander Rahr RUSSIAN MINI-CENSUS IN 1994. On 22 December, the Russian parliament noted the deterioration of the demographic situation in the country, ITAR-TASS reported. In this connection, the parliament adopted a decision "On urgent measures for the study of the population and demographic prospects of the Russian Federation." To obtain an objective assessment of the demographic situation, a micro-census will be held at the beginning of 1994; preparations for this will begin in 1993. The next full all-Russian census will be held in 1999. Keith Bush TRANSCAUCASIA & CENTRAL ASIA IRAN, AZERBAIJAN TO EXPAND TRADE TIES, COOPERATION. Azerbaijan is set to become Iran's most important trading partners among the successor states to the USSR, Azerbaijan Secretary of State Panakh Guseinov told a news conference in Baku on 4 January following his visit in late December to Teheran, where he signed a series of bilateral trade, economic, scientific and cultural protocols. Interfax quoted Guseinov as stating that Azerbaijani and Iranian specialists will meet next week to discuss plans for the construction of a railway through Iranian territory linking Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan in order to circumvent the Armenian blockade. Iran began supplying food and electricity to Nakhichevan last October. Liz Fuller CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS DISCUSS REGIONAL COOPERATION. The presidents, prime ministers and economic and cultural ministers of the five Central Asian states met in Tashkent on 3 and 4 January to discuss coordination of regional economic and financial policy, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The participants agreed to create a mechanism for ensuring that agreements between the states are carried out, a goal that was proclaimed at similar summits in 1992 but was never put into practice. At a press conference after the summit, Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov spoke in favor of the CIS and the ruble zone, but said that this did not exclude the creation of a "Central Asian Common Market" with unified customs, pricing and export policies. Bess Brown PRACTICAL RESULTS OF TASHKENT SUMMIT. Among practical measures to be taken as a result of decisions at the Tashkent Summit of Central Asian leaders is the exchange of ambassadors by the Central Asian states, Interfax reported on 4 January. As a step toward establishing a common information region, the Tashkent TV and Radio Center will be used as a base for transmissions to all of Central Asia. Publication of a regional newspaper will be started as well, also apparently in Tashkent. The Interfax report did not indicate in what language the common information media would function, nor was there any indication of how the great variation in information policies in the Central Asian countries would be handled: Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan exercise tight state control, while Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan permit a wide range of opinions to be aired. Bess Brown KAZAKHSTAN IS ALSO PART OF CENTRAL ASIA. At the press conference at the end of the Tashkent Summit on 4 January, the leaders of the five Central Asian states asked that the term "Central Asia" should be understood to apply to all five countries, Interfax reported. They asked that the clumsy designation "republics of Central Asia and Kazakhstan," a relic of the Soviet era, be dropped. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev proposed that the five states adopt as a common symbol a plane tree-an important image in the folklore of the Central Asian peoples-with a single root and five branches. -Bess Brown SHEVARDNADZE CALLS FOR UN PEACEKEEPERS FOR ABKHAZIA. In an appeal to UN Secretary- General Boutros Boutros-Ghali made public on 4 January and summarized by ITAR-TASS, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze calls for the immediate dispatch of UN peacekeeping forces to Abkhazia. In an earlier appeal in mid-November, Shevardnadze accused the UN Security Council of having failed to take any concrete steps to end the fighting in Abkhazia following the return of its fact-finding mission from the region in October. Liz Fuller CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA PEACE PROCESS IN RECESS. Radios Serbia and Croatia and international media reported on 4 January that the UN-EC mediated negotiations among the political and military leaders of Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Croats and with the participation of the rump Yugoslav and Croatian presidents recessed for Orthodox Christmas. They are expected to resume next week. Conference cochairmen Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen said that the three-day Geneva negotiations were not in vain but that much more remains to be done. The talks were suspended one day early after Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic refused to sign UN-EC proposals calling for an unconditional cease-fire, a new constitution, and a map for the reorganization of the republic. Karadzic said he needs time to consult with the parliament of the self-proclaimed "Serb Republic in Bosnia" on details of the plan. Mediators said that the major obstacle to a Bosnian peace agreement is the Serbs' insistence on a separate Serb state within Bosnia- Herzegovina, an idea the Muslim-dominated Bosnian government opposes. Izetbegovic objects to some of the province boundaries on the map and said his side is not ready to agree to a cease-fire until changes are made. Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban signed the entire package of proposals. -Milan Andrejevich SERBIAN GENERAL SAYS MILITARY INTERVENTION WOULD ESCALATE WAR. On 30 December Col. Gen. Zivota Panic, commander of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Armed Forces, told reporters that if foreign military intervention in the Balkans does take place, war would very likely spread. He said the West ignores the fact that Serbs and Montenegrins are prepared to defend "their fatherland" and that they will not allow the Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia to become victims "of genocide and extermination." Panic noted there is no reason to use the federal army either in Serbia's predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo or in the Muslim-populated region of the Sandzak. He expressed his belief that armed conflicts would not take place in these regions because "our people are deeply aware of the possible consequences of armed interethnic conflicts." Politika carried the report. -Milan Andrejevich POLITICAL CRISIS IN SLOVENIA. One month after Slovenia's first general elections since gaining independence in 1991, the main political parties remain sharply divided on how to form a coalition government. New elections as early as March might be called if no agreement is reached within a week. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek, head of the Liberal Democrats, and former Prime Minister Lojze Peterle, the Christian Democrat leader, are accusing each other of power-grabbing and political back-stabbing. At issue are 15 cabinet posts in Drnovsek's new government. No party enjoys a simple majority, and the three largest groups-the Liberal Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Unity List (a coalition of left-wing parties headed by the former communists)-are the most likely coalition partners. President Milan Kucan has asked that negotiations resume 7-January. -Milan Andrejevich GREECE RESIGNED TO RECOGNITION OF MACEDONIA? HAVING FAILED TO GAIN DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND THE US, THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA HAS TURNED TO THE UN SEEKING ADMISSION. According to an article published in the Greek newspaper, Kiriakatiki Elevtherotipia, on 3 January, at least some Greek diplomats seem to expect Macedonia's admission to that international body. They fear the US will at best abstain when the issue comes to a vote in the Security Council. -Duncan Perry GREECE OPPOSES MILITARY INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA. AFP reports that Greek Foreign Minister Virginia Tsouderou met with the Albanian, Bulgarian, and Romanian ambassadors in Athens on 31 December. The object was to create a consensus against outside military intervention in the former Yugoslavia, including intervention by Balkan countries. The move came as the US, France, and Great Britain contemplate intervention in Bosnia to halt the war there. -Duncan Perry MECIAR "MISTRUSTS" HUNGARY. At a meeting with officials of the new Slovak Ministry of Defense on 4-January, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar outlined the "three major problems that have caused concern in Slovakia." He said that the continuous discussion in political circles in Hungary about the Trianon treaties, the controversy over the hydroelectric plant at Gabcikovo, and Hungary's acquisition of $800-million worth of military parts from Russia are significant challenges to Slovakia. "No army needs such quantities," Meciar pointed out, but at the same time he said that he has been assured by officials that Hungary will "under no circumstances use military force against Slovakia." The prime minister also said that Slovakia will soon have to decide whether it wants to become neutral, join NATO, or become member of a potential new Central European security structure. Meciar added that neutrality could create more problems than it might solve. -Jan Obrman CZECH, SLOVAK REPUBLICS APPLY FOR UN MEMBERSHIP. The two successor states to Czechoslovakia formally applied for UN membership on 4 January, agencies report. A senior UN official confirmed that the applications were sent to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He also said that both republics are likely to be admitted by acclamation by mid-January. The admission of the Czech Republic and Slovakia will bring the number of UN members to 180. -Jan Obrman POLISH MINERS RETURN TO WORK. All but one of Poland's 65 coal mines had returned to work by the morning of 5 January, PAP reports. Striking miners heeded the Solidarity strike committee's recommendation to suspend the strikes but maintain "strike readiness." The miners' return to work signifies acceptance of the agreement reached between the strike committee and the government on 31 December. The agreement allows for limited wage hikes as soon as the government's restructuring program takes effect, but the size of any raises was made dependent on the financial condition of individual mines. The government refused to fund wages from the state budget, but pledged over two trillion zloty ($144 million) for mining investments. An official ban on the export of coal imposed during the strike was set to be lifted as soon as the strike ended. Welcoming the strike's conclusion, a government spokesman on 4 January called the agreement a "joint success": the miners had gained recognition for some demands while the government had secured acceptance for its plan to restructure Polish mining. -Louisa Vinton INVESTIGATION OF HUNGARIAN TV PRESIDENT COMPLETED. MTI reports that Justice Minister Istvan Balsai, the government-appointed commissioner investigating charges brought against suspended TV President Elemer Hankiss, completed his work on 31 December. Balsai issued a report on 4 January stating that the government's grounds for suspending Hankiss were justified because the state-owned television used state funds to finance independent business ventures. Hankiss, as head of the institution, had ultimate responsibility for resource allocation. The report was sent to a government-appointed council handling the matter. The council has eight days to decide what action to take based on the undisclosed recommendation of the Balsai report. -Judith Pataki HUNGARIAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DROPS AGAIN. MTI reported on 30 December that industrial production between January and October last year dropped to 88.3% of the level for the same period of the previous year. The worst month was January, when production reached only 75.6% of the previous January's level. Sectors worst hit were metallurgy and engineering, where output dropped 30%. Least affected was the food industry. Exports in 1992 reached a relatively satisfactory 97.2% of the previous year's level, primarily because of a large increase in exports in such areas as the building industry, where a 43.3% increase was registered. -Judith Pataki ACUTE WATER SHORTAGE IN BUCHAREST. The Romanian capital has reportedly been short of water since 24-December because of thick ice on the Arges River, its main source. Ice has blocked the city's water-pumping system. In interviews with Radio Bucharest and Western agencies on 4 January, Mayor Crin Halaicu described the situation as "dramatic." He said freezing in the pipe network has already caused considerable damage and added that modernization of pumping stations and pipes has had to be put off because of financial constraints. According to the Romanian TV, only 20% of Bucharest's normal water consumption needs was covered on 4 January. Only two hours' worth of water reserves are on hand. -Dan Ionescu GERMANS IN ROMANIA GET NEW NEWSPAPER. Ethnic Germans in Romania will have a new daily newspaper beginning on 5 January. The Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung fŸr RumŠnien (General German Newspaper for Romania) replaces Neuer Weg (New Path), published in Bucharest since 1947 and under communist control until three years ago. The editorial staff of Neuer Weg has moved to the new daily, where the publication will make use of modern equipment supplied by the German Foreign Ministry. About 110,000 ethnic Germans are believed to be living in Romania, down from nearly 360,000 in 1977. -Dan Ionescu BULGARIA'S NEW ECONOMIC POLICY UNCLEAR. Extensive interviews with the new ministers of finance and trade in Otechestven vestnik of 4 January have left Bulgarian business leaders uncertain about what kind of economic policy the newly approved government is likely to pursue. Since many think the previous government fell because of its austere economic policies, observers were surprised to hear Stoyan Aleksandrov-the new finance minister- say that in the main he approves of the work of his predecessor, Ivan Kostov. Aleksandrov confirmed that the "monetarist" reform approach will be maintained and warned of stronger measures to fight inflation. At the same time he said he may have to permit a larger budget deficit than international financial organizations might wish. Meanwhile, contrary to the policy declaration by Prime Minister Lyuben Berov, Trade Minister Valentin Karabashev said he opposes protectionist measures in order to safeguard Bulgarian industry. -Kjell Engelbrekt KOZLODUY REACTOR CLOSED FOLLOWING LEAK. A leaking generator forced the management of the Bulgarian nuclear power plant at Kozloduy to shut down reactor No. 2 on 4 January , AFP reports. The 440-megawatt unit recently underwent a year-long overhaul costing $34-million; it was put back on line in mid-December. BTA quotes plant spokeswoman Yordanka Stoyanova as saying that radiation leakage remains within acceptable norms and that reactor No. 2 is likely to be restarted on 11 January. -Kjell Engelbrekt LOZORAITIS DECLARES CANDIDACY. On 4 January Stasys Lozoraitis, Lithuanian ambassador to the US, submitted the necessary documents and a security deposit of 41,450 coupons (Lithuania's provisional money) to become a candidate for president, Radio Lithuania reports. The nine right-of-center political parties that form the Homeland Concord expressed support for Lozoraitis, whose candidacy was proposed by center parties. Republican Party Chairman Kazimieras Petraitis also registered as a candidate, raising the number to four (the two others are Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party Chairman Algirdas Brazauskas and former Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Chairman Kazimieras Antanavicius). -Saulius Girnius ESTONIA-RUSSIA TALKS DELAYED. Preparations for summit talks and a meeting of the prime ministers of the two countries are being delayed for "objective reasons," Estonian foreign ministry official Ago Tiiman told Baltfax on 4 January. The delay follows the recent changeover in the Moscow government. Estonian and Russian border guard experts will, however, begin talks in Pskov on 6 January. Estonia is expected to propose a temporary control line at the border and the granting of permanent passes to property owners in frontier areas to ease border-crossing formalities. The agenda will also include the return of Kurds who entered Estonia illegally from Russia. -Saulius Girnius JAPAN OPENS EMBASSY IN TALLINN. BNS reports that the Estonian Foreign Ministry press service has announced that Japan will formally open its embassy in Tallinn on 1 January. Embassies in Riga and Vilnius are planned later. Ambassador Kurokochi presented his credentials to Arnold Ruutel, the chairman of Estonian Supreme Council on 14 June 1992, while still residing in Helsinki. -Saulius Girnius POLITICAL CONFLICT IN LATVIA. Speaking on Latvian TV on 2 January Valdis Krisbergs, deputy chairman of the Latvian Union of Entrepreneurs and president of the Auseklis company, charged the government of Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis of corruption, BNS reported on the 4th. At a meeting of the Supreme Council Presidium Godmanis announced that he intends to bring libel charges against Krisbergs, who later retorted, "If I am wrong I will apologize, but if I am right I will furnish all available evidence." Parliament deputy Ivars Silars called for an investigation by the parliament commission for combating corruption established last year. The Krisbergs issue was expected to dominate a closed cabinet meeting on the 4th. -Saulius Girnius UKRAINIAN POLITICAL LEADERS REJECT PROPOSED CIS CHARTER. President Leonid Kravchuk held a consultative meeting in Kiev on 4 January with Ukrainian political leaders to discuss policy toward the CIS in general and the proposed new CIS Charter in particular. At the meeting, which was given broad coverage on Ukrainian TV, Kravchuk stressed his opposition to the proposed charter, describing it as instrument designed to transform the CIS into the old union. He declared that he would "continue to fight not only against the old empire, but also against any attempts" to restore it." He argued that just as Russia is pursuing its own national interests in seeking to remain "a superpower" and be the leading force in the CIS," Ukraine also has its own national interests to protect, of which the safeguarding of its independence and sovereignty are paramount. All but two of the 26 representatives of various Ukrainian political parties and movements who spoke at the meeting were reported to have supported this position. -Bohdan Nahaylo. NEW UKRAINIAN APPOINTMENTS IN ENERGY SPHERE. President Leonid Kravchuk has set up a presidential commission on nuclear energy policy, Ukrainian Radio reported on 4 January. It is to be headed by Viktor Baryakhtar. A new minister for energy and electrification has also been appointed-Anatolii Hrytsenko. -Bohdan Nahaylo BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ON START-2. Parliament Chairman Stanislau Shuskevich has welcomed the US-Russian START-2 treaty but said that all countries with nuclear weapons should have been represented at the talks, Belinform and Western agencies reported on 4 January. Shushkevich also reiterated his country's commitment to getting rid of the nuclear weapons on its territory. -Bohdan Nahaylo NEW BELARUSIAN ARMY TAKES OATH. On 31 December more than 100, 000 servicemen of the new Belarusian army took an oath of loyalty to the Republic of Belarus, local and Western media report. -Bohdan Nahaylo "DNIESTER" PRESIDENT ACKNOWLEDGES RUSSIAN MILITARY CONSCRIPTION. Igor Smirnov told Rossiiskaya gazeta on 25 December 1992, "Dniester residents are being conscripted into, and serving with, the 14th Army" and that he regards that Russian Army as a "compatriot army" and that its presence there has been "legalized." Allegations of 14th Army conscription on Moldovan territory have appeared for some months in the local media, but Smirnov's statement is the first open acknowledgment by local leaders and marks another step toward redefining the 14th Army as a "home" force in order to avoid its withdrawal from Moldova. -Vladimir Socor LEBED ACCUSES UKRAINE. Addressing a session of the "Dniester Republic" Supreme Soviet, Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, charged that "on orders from the Kiev leadership, Ukrainian special services have made repeated attempts to discredit the 14th Army," Basapress reported from Tiraspol on 30 December. Lebed has previously called on Ukraine to rejoin Russia in a single state, but this marks the first time that Lebed publicly lashed out at Kiev. Ukraine has indicated that it regards the 14th Army's presence on its border as a serious security problem. -Vladimir Socor MEN OF THE YEAR IN KIEV AND MINSK. The residents of Ukraine's capital have chosen the country's new tough prime minister, Leonid Kuchma, as their "Man of 1992," Ukrainian Radio reports. Meanwhile, across the border in Belarus, the residents of Minsk chose President George Bush as their man of the year, Belarusian Radio announced on 3 January. -Bohdan Nahaylo [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba and Charles Trumbull
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