|Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski|
No. 14, 22 January 1993
INTERREGIONAL FULL TURNOUT FOR CIS SUMMIT. The heads of states of all ten CIS member-states are attending the CIS summit that opened in Minsk on 22 January, the CIS media reported. Azerbaijan has also sent observers. At a meeting of the CIS prime ministers prior to the meeting of the heads of states, the prime ministers approved the draft CIS charter, which is to be the main item on the summit's agenda, and also the principles of establishing an interstate bank, with one amendment that will give Russia 50% of the vote. The original draft provided for one vote per member-state. On arrival in Minsk several heads of state said they would sign the draft charter. Ann Sheehy KOZYREV ON CIS SUMMIT AND DOCTRINE. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said on 21 January that the Minks CIS summit will be a milestone in the history of the CIS. Kozyrev said Boris Yeltsin will make proposals for a sort of CIS "doctrine" which would "bring the different viewpoints to a common denominator once again," Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow RUSSIA RUSSIA'S CLAIM TO CONTROL ALL CIS NUCLEAR WEAPONS REJECTED. The 21-January meeting of the CIS Nuclear Policy Committee failed to solve the ongoing argument over ownership and control of the former Soviet strategic nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Russia insists that these weapons can only belong to one country-itself. Appearing on the "Vesti" newscast, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that he was convinced that all nuclear troops were completely subordinate to him. However, others indicated that only Belarus accepted the Russian position. Kazakh Defense Minister Sagadat Nurmagambetov would not agree that the weapons in Kazakhstan were under Russian control while Ukrainian First Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Bizhan told Interfax that "Ukraine must retain administrative control [of the nuclear weapons.] -Doug Clarke RUSSIAN DEPUTIES' FACTIONS, MOVEMENTS CALL FOR CIS INTEGRATION. The Political Council of the Civic Union and the Executive Committee of the International Movement for Democratic Reform have, in separate statements, called upon CIS leaders to avoid missing the last chance to strengthen the CIS at the Minsk summit, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 January. The International Movement for Democratic Reform recommended the formation of a new Eurasian Commonwealth on the territory of the former USSR. The conservative deputies' bloc "Russian Unity" also spoke out in favor of the reunification of all former Soviet republics. Its call was supported by the National Salvation Front. Alexander Rahr RUSSIA WILL KEEP CONTROL OF FORMER USSR SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told Interfax on 21 January that the question of military satellite communications had been removed from the agenda of the CIS Defense Minister Council at Russia's initiative. He said that Russia alone should control space communications and other members of the CIS wishing to use these facilities should conclude bilateral agreements with Russia. Grachev turned down the idea that space communications might be controlled by the CIS Joint Armed Forces. In an RIA interview he explained that "communications satellites are Russian, and controlled from Russia. Why should we pass this control to the [Joint Armed Forces]?" Doug Clarke RUSSIAN AND TATARSTAN PRESIDENTS MEET. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev met in Moscow on 21 January to discuss the draft treaty between Russia and Tatarstan on the mutual delegation of powers, ITAR-TASS reported. It was the first time the two had met to discuss the treaty. No agreement appears to have been reached on the substantive question of Tatarstan's status vis-a-vis the Russian Federation. It was decided instead to try and reach agreement first on economic, ecological and other subsidiary matters. -Ann Sheehy RUSSIAN-MONGOLIAN TREATY SIGNED IN MOSCOW. The official visit of Mongolian President Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat ended on 21 January. During Ochirbat's three days in Moscow, Russia and Mongolia signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation and several intergovernmental agreements on trade, economic cooperation, and customs. The two presidents also signed a joint communique which expressed deep regret over the victims of Stalin's repressions and called for measures to uncover the historical truth of those crimes, ITAR-TASS reported. According to a Reuters report of 20-January, the treaty says neither country would participate in any alliances aimed against the other or enter any similar pacts with third countries. -Suzanne Crow RUSSIAN DEPUTIES FORCE HUNGARIAN TREATY OFF AGENDA. Controversy erupted at the Russian parliament on 21 January over the question of an amendment to the Russo-Hungarian treaty of friendship. The amendment, which was contained in an exchange of letters by the Russian and Hungarian foreign ministers, referred to the two countries' "mutual desire to overcome the legacy of totalitarianism, especially that of the invasion of Hungary in 1956." According to an Interfax report, some deputies said they opposed the amendment on the grounds that Hungary was one of Germany's allies in World War Two. One deputy was quoted as saying that "Russia is constantly apologizing, bowing and scraping to the rest of the world." The same deputy added that Russia should not be held responsible for the mistakes and crimes of the Soviet government. Subsequently, the treaty, signed on 6 December 1992, was removed from the agenda. -Suzanne Crow RUSSIAN COSSACKS CHAFFING OVER DELAY. Vladimir Naumov, a field chieftain from the Cossack Union-the largest Cossack association in Russia-told Interfax on 21 January that the Union would hold a session in Moscow at the end of January. The main agenda item, he said, would be "state service of Cossacks." Naumov complained that a bill on Cossack military service in the Russian army and border guards had been ready for a long time but, "for reasons incomprehensible to Cossacks," President Yeltsin had not signed it. He refused to give specific information on the bill "out of state security considerations," but said that Cossack service would become "a stabilizing factor and one of the key links in averting the collapse of the Russian state." Doug Clarke RUSSIAN ENERGY EXPORTS IN 1993. Interfax on 20-January published what it claims to be the provisional planned exports of Russian oil and gas in 1993. Final figures for planned exports were said to be subject to the resolution of a dispute between the production ministries and the Economics Ministry. The provisional quantities for 1993 are, with 1992 outturns in parentheses: to former Soviet republics, 56 million tons of oil (87.6-million tons) and 97 billion cubic meters of gas (109 billion cubic meters); to other countries, 40-45 million tons of oil (66 million tons) and 109 billion cubic meters of gas (99 billion cubic meters). -Keith Bush CHANGES IN RUSSIAN TAXATION. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 13 January, the first deputy head of the State Taxation Service outlined the changes that have taken place in Russian taxation laws effective 1-January. Enterprises in all branches of the economy have been freed from taxes on the money they channel into investment or into expansion and renovation of production capacities. Value added tax rates have been reduced from a uniform 28% to 10% for foodstuffs and children's products, and 20% for the rest. The same rates will apply to imported goods. Income declarations are now mandatory for the estimated 10-million citizens whose total annual income exceeds 200,000 rubles. Keith Bush TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA RUSSIA TO WITHDRAW PEACEKEEPING TROOPS FROM SOUTH OSSETIA, ABKHAZIA? MOSCOW IS CONSIDERING WITHDRAWING THE RUSSIAN TROOPS WHICH CURRENTLY FORM THE LARGEST CONTINGENT WITHIN THE TRIPARTITE PEACEKEEPING FORCE DEPLOYED IN SOUTH OSSETIA, INTERFAX REPORTED ON 21 JANUARY, QUOTING A SENIOR RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL, WHO CONCEDED THAT THE LOCAL POPULATION WERE ALARMED AT A POSSIBLE RESUMPTION OF HOSTILITIES. A second Interfax report quoted Feliks Kovalyov, head of the Russian delegation to talks with Georgia, as stating that for financial reasons Russia might also withdraw its peacekeeping troops deployed in Abkhazia in accordance with the 3 September agreement. Kovalyov said Russia would not object to the presence of UN peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia but doubted whether this was realistic. Liz Fuller UZBEK OPPOSITION LEADER ON TRIAL IN TASHKENT. The trial of Abdumanap Pulatov, chairman of Uzbekistan's Human Rights Association and younger brother of Abdurakhim Pulatov, head of the major Uzbek opposition group Birlik, began in Tashkent on 20 January, Interfax reported on 21 January. The younger Pulatov is accused of having insulted Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Uzbekistan is one of the CIS states that has adopted a law protecting the dignity of the president. On 21 January, Birlik co-chairman Shukrat Ismatullaev told an RFE/RL correspondent that the deputy chairman of Uzbekistan's Peasants' Party, Olim Karimov, has been arrested. Birlik leaders interpret the authorities' actions as being part of a campaign to destroy the Uzbek opposition. Bess Brown AFGHAN MILITARY TRAINING FOR TAJIK OPPOSITION. Tajik Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullodzhonov told a press conference in Moscow on 21 January that there have been reports of ten training camps in Afghanistan for supporters of Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party, Interfax reported. Russian border troops in Tajikistan often reported during the fighting in the second half of 1992 that such camps existed in Afghanistan, funded by Afghan fundamentalist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Interfax quoted Russian border troop officials in Dushanbe as saying on 21 January that some 500-Tajiks have completed training in the Afghan camps and a "mass provocation" against border installations is expected. Bess Brown AZERBAIJANI PRIME MINISTER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 1993 ECONOMY, OIL. The Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Ragim Guseinov, told Interfax on 21 February that he expects the initial signs of stabilization in the economy that appeared at the end of 1992 to become stronger this year. Guseinov said that the country should experience positive overall economic growth in 1993. GNP and industrial output in Azerbaijan fell over 20% in 1992 according to official statistics. Guseinov cited the oil sector as particularly promising. After a 2% expansion this year, oil production should increase by 50% in five and over 100% in ten years over 1992 levels. Erik Whitlock KYRGYZSTAN TO OPEN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM. During his official visit to Israel, which ended on 21-January, Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev confirmed that his country's embassy will be located in Jerusalem rather than Tel-Aviv, because, he said, Jerusalem is Israel's capital. ITAR-TASS reported that Akaev had added that he hoped Muslim states would understand the Kyrgyz decision, and called for the Palestinian people to enjoy independence. Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Ednan Karabaev told Interfax on 21 January that his country's foreign policy priorities are relations with Russia, China and the West, although Kyrgyzstan considers itself "to a certain extent" part of the Muslim world and wants good relations with the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Bess Brown CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN FIGHTING INTENSE. Despite the latest internationally-mediated peace efforts and cease-fires, heavy fighting was reported on 21 January between Muslims, Serbs, and Croats in many areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Muslim-Croat clashes continued on around Gornji Vakuf, despite the cease-fire agreement signed on 20 January. Radio Bosnia said the fighting continued unabated and accused the Croat forces of shelling the town and reported that the Croatian side is regrouping its forces around the central Bosnian town of Vitez. Fighting escalated between Muslims and Croats in the region of Kladanj and Gradacac, according to Radio Croatia. Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban stressed that the Croatian side wants to end the conflict in "the speediest possible manner" but added that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic's refusal to meet with him complicates matters. Meanwhile, Muslim commanders warned that they will retaliate against any "new aggression" by HVO extremists who are accused for having disrupted the Croat-Muslim alliance against the Serbs. -Milan Andrejevich GENEVA TALKS TO RESUME. The peace talks resume on 23 January. According to Radio Serbia, Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic will accompany the Yugoslav delegation headed by federal President Dobrica Cosic. Fred Eckhard, spokesman for UN- EC mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen, told reporters that the Bosnian Serbs must cooperate in the talks without preconditions. The negotiations will focus on the actual boundaries of the 10-proposed provinces which the Serbs and Muslims are contesting. -Milan Andrejevich SESELJ SEEKS COSIC'S RESIGNATION. Vojislav Seselj, head of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) told Radio Serbia on 21 January that his party will demand the resignation of rump Yugoslav federal President Dobrica Cosic if he fails to submit his resignation by early next week. Seselj said he would like to help Cosic and respects him as one of the first dissidents in the former communist Yugoslavia and the first leader of the Serbian opposition. However, Seselj also argued that Cosic has made some disastrous political mistakes and has violated the federal constitutional on several occasions over the past two months. Seselj admitted that the SRS shares the blame for backing Cosic's election by the federal assembly in June. He said "resignation is the easiest way for Cosic to step down from his post while preserving a minimum of dignity and honor that nobody would later question." Seselj warned that Cosic will be facing an uphill battle in the federal assembly if he does not resign. -Milan Andrejevich COMPROMISE ON MACEDONIAN RECOGNITION? WESTERN AGENCIES REPORTED ON 21-JANUARY THAT THE GREEK GOVERNMENT MIGHT BE PREPARED TO COMPROMISE ON THE ISSUE OF RECOGNIZING THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA. Faced with mounting pressure from within the EC, Greece, as a first step, evidently may be willing to accept a "temporary solution," such as recognizing Macedonia as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," as the IMF is currently doing. Next, a compromise would be sought at UN-led discussions between the Greek government and Macedonian officials that would take place before the UN General Assembly's meeting in September, when that body is expected to vote on Macedonia's application for membership. -Duncan Perry ANTALL COULD RESIGN IF NOT REELECTED HDF CHAIRMAN. In a letter to the head of the nomination committee of the Hungarian Democratic Forum at the party's weekend congress and published in Pesti hirlap on 21 January, Prime Minister Jozsef Antall officially declared his candidacy for the post of HDF chairman. He stressed, however, that he received his mandate to lead the coalition government as HDF chairman and promised to "draw the necessary governmental consequences" should he fail to be reelected. Antall also warned that "as HDF chairman I will be able to work only with a presidium that pursues centrist policies and admits no demagoguery or political irresponsibility, which would mean a disaster for the country." HDF presidium member Istvan Csurka and followers, opponents of Antall at the congress, have been demanding the separation of the post of Hungarian prime minister from that of the party chairman. An editorial by a Csurka supporter in Pesti hirlap on 20 January hinted that while Csurka might not be of prime minister caliber, he does have the qualities to be party chairman. Csurka formally declared that he is not a candidate for chairman, but he and his followers are hoping for a majority in the 20-member presidium. -Edith Oltay HUNGARIAN MEDIA WAR CONTINUES. According to a statement issued by the prime minister's press office on 21 January, the directors of radio and TV and now officially freed from their duties and the deputy directors will assume their posts until new directors are appointed, MTI reports. The radio and TV directors, however dispute Antall's authority in this matter and maintain they have not resigned and therefore remain in office until President Arpad Goncz specifically relieves them of their duties. Antall's press office said they find any new legal wrangle "unfortunate" and declared that the resignations cannot be withdrawn unilaterally. -Edith Oltay CZECH, SLOVAK ECONOMIC EXPERTS MEET. A Czech delegation led by Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik and a Slovak delegation led by Finance Minister Julius Toth met in Cejkovice, southern Moravia, on 21 January. Following the meeting Kocarnik told CTK that the experts had solved most controversial points related to the division of federal property and that an agreement on that issue could be signed next week during a meeting between Czech and Slovak prime ministers, if the prime ministers manage to solve the remaining problems. One such problem is the fate of Slovakia's "golden treasure"-some seven tons of gold collected during the existence of the independent Slovak state between 1939 and 1945. Slovakia demands the return of all the gold, while the Czech government insists that it is federal property and should be divided between the two republics. Experts who discussed customs practices at the Czech-Slovak border agreed in Cejkovice that the current special regime at the border should be abandoned and replaced by controls based on established international practices. -Jiri Pehe WALESA PROPOSES BILL OF RIGHTS. Polish President Lech Walesa presented his proposed Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the Sejm on 21 January. Walesa said the charter is designed to anchor basic civil rights in the Constitution and protect the public from abuses of state power. "In the old legal system, law was designed by the authorities for the authorities," Walesa said. In contrast, the president said, the proposed charter would draw a line that the authorities could not cross. Neutral in ideology, it would guarantee basic rights considered unalienable and inviolable by the entire civilized world. It would forbid censorship, guarantee the right to privacy, ban the forced assimilation of ethnic minorities, and enable 500,000 citizens to call a referendum to overturn legislation. There was general support in the Sejm for Walesa's charter, although some Catholic deputies argued that censorship was a legitimate means to defend "religious feelings and honor." There was widespread criticism, on the other hand, of an "economic rights charter" proposed by the former communist deputies. -Louisa Vinton ALLEGATIONS CONTINUE TO DOG WALESA. There has been no let-up in the campaign by disgruntled former officials to suggest that President Walesa and his staff are tainted by collaboration with the communist secret police. At a press conference on 21 January, former presidential chief of staff Jaroslaw Kaczynski insinuated that Walesa was the "Agent Bolek," whose files were unearthed in its final days by the ousted government of Jan Olszewski. Attempting to preempt such charges, Walesa made available to the Sejm leadership tapes of recent conversations with communist Internal Affairs Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak, who conceded that the Bolek files were forgeries. Kaczynski responded by suggesting that Walesa's reliance on Kiszczak's testimony confirmed the president's guilt. Jan Parys, the defense minister ousted in 1992 for alleging that Walesa was plotting a coup, charged that three further close Walesa aides, including his confessor, had been secret police informants. Neither Parys nor Kaczynski presented any evidence. Walesa asked journalists "why they paid attention to such nonsense." -Louisa Vinton ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SAYS ITS OFFICES BUGGED. Opposition politicians said on 21-January that listening devices have been found in their offices by reporters from the independent daily Evenimentul zilei using detectors bought in the US. The politicians accused the government and its intelligence service of being behind the affair. Adrian Severin, deputy leader of the National Salvation Front, told reporters that microphones were found in offices belonging to his party and two other opposition groups. Emil Constantinescu, chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania and spokesman for the Liberal Party-Young Wing confirmed the findings. Constantinescu spoke of a "serious violation of the law." -Dan Ionescu IMF MISSION IN SOFIA. On 21 January Anoup Singh, the head of the IMF mission to Bulgaria, said that he is confident that cooperation between his organization and Bulgaria will continue, BTA reports. At a press conference in Sofia Singh told reporters he is now convinced that the new Bulgarian cabinet intends to speed up economic reforms. He nevertheless reiterated the IMF's view that both the budget deficit and annual inflation- 80% in 1992-will need to be reduced. Finance Minister Stoyan Aleksandrov, who recently criticized the IMF requirements as too rigid, said he has agreed to boost budget revenues by raising prices on oil products, alcohol, and tobacco as well as by making tax collection more effective. In an interview with Reuters Prime Minister Lyuben Berov pledged to cut inflation to 60-70% in 1993. The current stand-by agreement with the IMF is due for renewal by end of March. -Kjell Engelbrekt UKRAINE CRITICIZES RUSSIA OVER SEVASTOPOL. Parliament Chairman Ivan Plyushch has sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Ruslan Khasbulatov, accusing influential Russian politicians of attempting to reanimate "the old empire and the old imperial policies," Ukrainian TV reported on 21 January. Plyushch's letter was in reaction to the recent discussion of the status of the Crimean city of Sevastopol in the Russian parliament. -Roman Solchanyk UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SPLIT. The special meeting of Parliament on 20 January, which was convened under pressure from conservative deputies from Ukraine's eastern and southern oblasts, failed to gather a quorum and was qualified as a meeting of parliamentary commissions. Reformist deputies grouped in the People's Council fraction blocked Parliament's activities by not registering. The same tactic were used when the lawmakers met on 21 January, resulting in a walkout by delegations from Luhansk, Donetsk, and other reegions. At issue are differences over the CIS, economic reform, and accusations that former communists in the parliament are intent on reversing the ban on the Communist Party. -Roman Solchanyk BELARUS TO INTRODUCE NEW CURRENCY REGULATIONS. According to Novosti on 20-January, new regulations on the export and import of currency will come into force in Belarus starting 1 February. Belarusian citizens traveling to other nations of the ruble zone will be able to take an unlimited amount of "Soviet" rubles, but only a limited amount of Belarusian rubles out of the country. The maximum amount of exportable Belarusian rubles will be equivalent to three times the minimum wage. The quantity of "Soviet rubles" non-CIS citizens can bring into Belarus will also be restricted. -Erik Whitlock MOLDOVAN OFFICIAL MAKES CASE AGAINST UNIFICATION. Writing in Nezavisimaya Moldova of 19-January as cited by Basapress, Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Artur Gherman, son-in-law of President Mircea Snegur, listed historical, economic, and political concerns in advising against unification with Romania. These include that Moldova would find itself "at the discretion of a new 'center' with regard to investments, credit, and technical assistance, never getting a fair share"; Moldovans would again become "second-class citizens"; local administrative and law enforcement bodies would be replaced and run directly from Bucharest; the left bank of the Dniester would be lost, and the right bank itself may be turned into "another Transdniester" for Romania by an alienated "Russian-speaking population" and also by pro-independence Moldovans; and the situation would exacerbate tensions in Transylvania, turning a Greater Romania into "a source of tension in Europe." To avoid the fate of "a primitive country of chaos and lawlessness," Moldovans "must firmly consolidate [their] own statehood." -Vladimir Socor BRAZAUSKAS GIVES STATE OF NATION ADDRESS. As required by the Constitution, on 21-January Acting President Algirdas Brazauskas gave the annual state of the republic speech, which was broadcast live over Radio Lithuania. In 1992, he said, the domestic political, economic, and social situation has worsened, principally blaming politicians who often give priority to narrow political interests. He expressed concern about the way the IMF requirements were being addressed by the authorities. Brazauskas's speech was filled with statistics for 1992, notably a decrease of 39% in GNP from 1991 and an 11-fold growth in inflation. The country's greatest foreign policy achievement, Brazauskas said, was the Helsinki CSCE call for the withdrawal of the Soviet army. -Saulius Girnius OPPOSITION STEPS UP PRESSURE ON ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT. The main opposition faction in the Estonian State Assembly is charging the ruling coalition with stymieing parliamentary progress. In a statement carried by BNS on 21 January the opposition Center faction accuses the ruling Pro Patria-led coalition of blocking dialogue to the point of threatening democracy and independence. For their part Pro Patria leaders say the Center faction is intentionally stalling passage of the 1993 budget in order to force new elections this spring. According to the Constitution, the president must call for new elections if the parliament fails to pass a budget within the first two months of the fiscal year, which begins on 1 January. -Riina Kionka ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES SEA BORDER. After suspending discussion on the subject last December, the Estonian State Assembly on 21 January restarted talks on a new government proposal concerning the extent of Estonia's territorial waters, BNS reports. As a gesture of goodwill to Finland, which maintains a 4-mile limit in the Gulf of Finland, the new Estonian government proposal foresees a 4-mile limit there as well, but the standard 12-mile limit in other coastal areas. Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste told reporters that no one has pressured Estonia to establish a narrower sea border, rather the proposal was "unilateral and voluntary." Proposals in Tallinn to proclaim the full 12-miles- limit along the entire coast has caused considerable diplomatic consternation in Finland. -Riina Kionka CSCE COMMISSIONER ON MINORITY RIGHTS IN LATVIA. CSCE High Commissioner on Minorities Max van der Stoel told Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Foreign Minister Georgs Andrejevs that he had not observed any abuses of ethnic minority rights of non-Latvians who are citizens of the republic, but noted that the status of residents whose future was yet undecided is a matter of some concern, BNS reported on 21-January. The high commissioner recommended that the citizenship law be adopted immediately after the parliamentary elections and suggested publishing booklets explaining the key legislation in easily understandable language. -Dzintra Bungs [As of1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull
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