|Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy|
No. 16, 26 January 1993
RUSSIA YELTSIN: US TENDS TO DICTATE POLICY. Asked during a press conference on 25-January in Moscow about Russia's attitude toward the use of force in diplomacy, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said that "the United States has a certain tendency to dictate its own terms," ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin stressed that Russia had its own opinion about such issues as [the former] Yugoslavia. "We believe, in any case, that it is better to conduct a political dialogue with Iraq, and as I see it, President Clinton is now more inclined to follow that kind of policy." Meanwhile, CIS Commander-in-Chief Marshall Evgenii Shaposhnikov expressed disapproval on 25 January of US-led raids against Iraq, saying "in my view, not all means have been exhaused to restore peace in the Gulf region including actions that could have been initiated by the United Nations and its Security Council." Suzanne Crow RUSSIA CALLS FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST CROATIA. Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin said on 25-January that Moscow will bring up the issue of introducing sanctions against Croatia at the United Nations for consideration if Croatia "does not stop military activities against the Serbs." A Russian Foreign Ministry statement of the same day said that "The Croatian side already for a long time has ignored bans on flights and air space in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is supplying weapons to this republic." The statement also referred to Croatian attacks on areas protected by UN forces, and it expressed concern about the zones where Russian peacekeeping forces are stationed, Interfax reported on 25-January. Russia's ambassador to the UN, Yulii Vorontsov, said on 25 January following UN discussions of Croatian attacks in Serbian Krajina that "Zagreb not only is refusing to restore the status quo and to withdraw from the territories seized during its invasion but also is striving to expand the areas of combat actions," ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow SHAPOSHNIKOV AGAIN SAYS EX-SOVIET NUKES SHOULD BE RUSSIA'S. At a 25 January press conference reported by Interfax, CIS commander-in-Chief Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov reiterated his claim that Russia should be the sole owner of former Soviet strategic nuclear weapons-a position disputed by Ukraine. Shaposhnikov stated that Belarus has already transferred its nuclear forces to Russian jurisdiction and Kazakhstan has agreed in principle to do the same. Ukraine has agreed to allow the Russian Defense Ministry and the CIS Joint High Command to check on the technical condition of the weapons in Ukraine. Negotiations on the dismantling of nuclear warheads from Ukraine, possible compensation for their fissile materials, and the composition of strategic forces are to begin on 26 January. Shaposhnikov suggested that as compensation Russia might give Ukraine nuclear fuel equal to the value of the fissile materials in the warheads minus the costs of removing and dismantling them. -Doug Clarke and John Lepingwell NEW RUSSIAN BANKNOTES ISSUED. On 25 January, the presidium of the Russian parliament approved the introduction of new banknotes, ITAR-TASS reported. The issue commenced on 26 January. The new bills are in denominations of 200, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 rubles, and do not bear the portrait of Lenin. They will be circulated along with the existing ruble notes. The aim of the new issue is purportedly to reduce counterfeiting. Keith Bush HARD-CURRENCY SALES TO BE LIMITED. Effective 1 March, Russian-made goods may be sold only for rubles, Interfax reported on 25 January. The regulation by the Russian Central Bank stipulates that stores with an appropriate license will be allowed to sell imported goods for foreign currency but will be obliged to accept rubles on demand for these goods at an exchange rate to be determined by the seller. Hotels, bars, restaurants, and transportation undertakings will be allowed to charge hard currency from foreigners. Keith Bush HOW REFORMIST IS RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT? DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BORIS FEDOROV TOLD OSTANKINO TV ON 24 JANUARY THAT HE INTENDS TO PRESERVE THE COURSE OF FORMER ACTING PRIME MINISTER EGOR GAIDAR. Fedorov said that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko, and Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Khizha are all committed to implementing market reforms. A less radical reformer is Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Yarov. He accompanied parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov to Kemerovo, where the latter again called for the removal of the government. Radio Rossii on 24-January quoted Yarov as saying that the government will soon present a new anti-crisis program to the parliament; in some respects, this program will be far less radical than the one pursued previously by Gaidar. Alexander Rahr FILATOV SUPPORTS DEMOCRATS. The newly appointed head of the Administration of the President, Sergei Filatov, told Ostankino TV on 24 January that he wants to make the work of the consultative bodies of the President, such as the Political-Consultative Council, which includes leading academics as well as reformist politicians and the Council of Heads of Republics, more effective. He stated that his presidential administration will now better serve the needs of these bodies. He spoke also in favor of setting up a council of heads of administrations. Alexander Rahr LATEST RUSSIAN UNEMPLOYMENT FORECASTS. Officials from the Russian Federal Employment Service have again predicted that unemployment will rise steeply in 1993. On 22-January Fyodor Prokopov, head of the Employment Service, predicted that there will be between four to six million unemployed by the end of the year, according to a Reuters report on the same day. Other specialists from the employment service have forecast that unemployment will rise three fold in Moscow, four fold in Volgograd, and five fold in Karelia, according to ITAR-TASS on 25 January. There were 577,00 registered unemployed in December 1992, giving an unemployment rate of 0.8%. Russia is currently benefitting from international assistance in developing employment services. One example of this is the new German-funded employment bureau which opened in Moscow last week. Sheila Marnie MOSCOW'S MAYOR REPORTS ON PRIVATIZATION, BUDGET, CRIME. Moscow's Mayor, Yurii Liukov, has stated that 310,000 of the city's flats were privatized in 1992, and by February the number is expected to total 500,000, according to AFP on 25-January. By the end of 1992, 9600 shops and enterprises had been privatized. Liukov, however, called for the centre of Moscow to be given back to the Muscovites, since real estate deals over the past months have meant that the centre is being depopulated. In 1992 3.3 million people or about one third of Moscow's inhabitants were given social assistance, which cost the city 30 billion rubles. Last year Moscow spent 181 billion rubles, although its planned budget was 68 billion rubles. The planned budget for 1993 is 920 billion rubles. Sheila Marnie RUSSIA'S BIRTH RATE DROPS; INFANT MORTALITY RATE RISES. In 1992 the number of deaths exceeded births in Russia for the first time since the second World War, according to Reuters on 21 January. The Russia Deputy Health Minister Nikolai Vaganov reported that in 1992, 11 babies were born per 1000 people, while the death rate increased to 12 per 1000. Vaganov attributed the lower birth rate to the drop in living standards of most Russian families. Starting in 1993, Russia is adopting World Health Organization (WHO) standards for the estimation of its infant mortality rate, and this could raise the number of registered infant deaths by at least 20%. In 1992, 17 out of every 1000 newborns died. Sheila Marnie HARD LIFE FOR CHILDREN IN RUSSIA. Excerpts from a report of the UN Committee on Children's Rights, published in Komsomolskaya pravda on 21 January, paint a sorry picture of children's health in Russia. According to the report up to 20% of young children suffer from chronic illnesses, and only 10-14% of children start school in full health. 60% of young children show signs of rickets or hypertrophy, and 10% of anemia. Out of every 1000 children, 20 die within one year of birth. In 1992 there were 30% less births than in 1987, and there are more than three million children being brought up in single parent families. 30% of schools in the country are in need of repair; and 6% are in a state of collapse. The number of child drug addicts now totals 7,000. -Sheila Marnie. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA NIYAZOV AND SHAPOSHNIKOV ON AID TO TAJIKISTAN. At the 22 January CIS summit, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov refused to sign a common statement on sending CIS peacekeepers to Tajikistan. On 25 January, Niyazov explained that he had refused to sign because he believes the Tajiks should solve their own problems and put their own house in order, ITAR-TASS reported. Somewhat similar sentiments were expressed the same day by CIS Commander-in-Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov, who was quoted by Interfax as saying that Tajikistan needs humanitarian rather than military aid; a group of CIS officers is being sent to Tajikistan to help create a Tajik army. Bess Brown CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATE IN KAZAKHSTAN. After weeks of public discussion of a draft constitution for Kazakhstan, the country's legislature has begun an article-by-article debate of the draft, Interfax reported on 25 January. Fourteen opposition parties are circulating an appeal for the adoption of the constitution to be deferred until after the election of a new parliament because, in their view, the present Supreme Soviet, elected in 1990, does not reflect Kazakhstan's present political spectrum and the draft contains no reliable guarantees against usurpation of power because it provides for neither impeachment of the president nor dissolution of parliament. Bess Brown KYRGYZSTAN'S DEMOCRATIC PARTIES FORM BLOC. Eleven parties and movements in Kyrgyzstan have united with the objective of ensuring that there is no return to dictatorship, Topchubek Turgunaaly, head of Erkin Kyrgyzstan, one of the most influential self-designated democratic parties told Kyrgyzkabar-TASS on 25 January. Turgunaaly expressed concern about the effect of the institution of akim (local governor appointed by the president) on the process of democratization in Kyrgyzstan. When this post was created, local soviets were abolished giving the akims quasi-dictatorial powers. Bess Brown INTERREGIONAL DETAILS ON CIS BANK RELEASED. ITAR-TASS reported more details on the interstate bank of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on 25-January. Representatives of all the CIS states signed documents on 22 January creating the body which is to carry out multilateral clearing of international financial accounts for the region. The bank will be founded in Moscow with an initial founding capital totaling five billion rubles contributed by its members. It will have the right to restrict or close the accounts of those members who violate payment obligations. Any state can withdraw from participation in the bank with six months advanced notice of its intention to do so. The accounts will be denominated in rubles with some clearing between countries settled in hard currency. -Erik Whitlock CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CROATIA OFFERS SERBS TRUCE. Radio Croatia reports on 25 January that the Croatian government has offered a cease-fire to leaders of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina. Croatian forces regained control of several key sites held by ethnic Serbs since 1991. However, fighting continues, and Serb paramilitary leader "Captain Dragan" said his forces will launch a counter-offensive soon. Krajina Serb leaders vow to recapture the lost territory, and the federal Yugoslav army announced it has raised its combat readiness. The Croats, who began their offensive on 22 January, overran a year-old UN cease-fire line and swept into the Serb-held enclave of Krajina. Croatia has long chafed at UNPROFOR's inability to disarm Serb militias in the protected zones, restore the areas to Zagreb's control, and repatriate refugees from fighting in 1991 when Croats fought to secede from Yugoslavia. -Milan Andrejevich UN CONDEMNS CROATIAN ACTION. International media report that the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on 25 January demanding the withdrawal of the Croatian troops. The resolution, drafted by France, strongly condemned the attacks against UNPROFOR and demanded their immediate cessation. Two French UN soldiers were killed and three wounded as a result of fighting on 25 January. The resolution demands that heavy weapons seized by Serb forces from storage areas controlled by UNPROFOR be returned immediately and insists that all parties comply with UN-mediated cease-fire arrangements. Croatian UN representative Mario Nobilo said the "limited action of the Croatian police forces and Croatian army units" on Croatian territory, aimed at securing the area around the Maslenica bridge, has ended upon completion of its goals. -Milan Andrejevich NO PROGRESS AT BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS. Radios Croatia and Serbia report on 25-January that the Geneva peace talks at resolving the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina have failed to make any headway. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic told reporters that he will withdraw from the negotiations if no progress is achieved in the next few days. He reiterated his view that any discussion over territorial divisions and maps would legitimize Bosnian Serb territorial gains through ethnic cleansing. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic acknowledged that the maps are "a very sensitive affair" and said the Serbs should be given control over a corridor linking two Serb-held areas. Karadzic also warned that he is under pressure from other Bosnian Serb leaders to withdraw from the talks because of Croatia's offensive in the Krajina. -Milan Andrejevich SANCTION-BREAKERS PROGRESS UP DANUBE. Bulgarian Prime Minister Lyuben Berov has ruled out force as a means to halt a convoy of Serbian oil barges towed by the tugboat Bihac traveling westwards up the Danube, Kontinent reports on 26 January. On the previous day Bulgarian border officials assured a Western correspondent that the barges, transporting some 6,000 tons of oil in violation of UN sanctions, were to be stopped at the port of Lom or at Vidin, just before entering Serbian territory. Whereas border officials in Lom said they would do everything in their power not to let the convoy escape, the head of Vidin customs control told BTA he lacks the equipment to stop the convoy. Meanwhile, on 25 January Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana deplored the fact that three more Serbian tugboats and oil barges refused to stop at the order of Romanian authorities and continued upstream toward Serbian ports. As in the case of the Bihac, the captains of three ships threatened to blow up their cargoes if stopped. Radio Bucharest quoted Geoana as saying that Romania is awaiting instructions from the UN Security Council Committee on Sanctions. Nine other Yugoslav vessels are reportedly being detained in Galati and Braila. Belgrade has released six Romanian tugboats detained in Serbian ports, but still retains four barges. -Kjell Engelbrekt and Dan Ionescu NEW SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT. On 25 January the 90-seat parliament endorsed a new five-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek. His Liberal Democrat Party (LDS) receives six key ministries. The Christian Democrats (SKD) receive four and their leader, Lojze Peterle, is deputy prime minister and foreign minister. The remaining ministries were filled by the Unity List (UL), led by the former communists, with three cabinet posts; and the Greens and the Social Democrats each with one post. The key appointments are: Finance Minister Mitja Gaspari (UL), Interior Minister Ivan Bizjak (SKD), Justice Minister Miha Kozinc (LDS), and Defense Minister Janez Jansa (Social Democrat). Radio Slovenia carried the report. -Milan Andrejevich KNAZKO CRITICIZES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Slovak Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Milan Knazko, a deputy chairman of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, criticized his party's choice of a candidate for the presidential election. In an interview with Slovak Radio on 25 January, Knazko said that when he learned that Roman Kovac, a former communist, was the presidential candidate of the MDS, he wondered if this was not "too much." Knazko said that he is not categorically opposed to former communists but indicated his frustration over the fact that "our movement could not come up with at least one high-ranking official" who does not have a communist past. Knazko pointed out that he considers it a "grave mistake that Slovak political parties could not agree on the criteria for the selection of a Slovak president." He said that the president should be above all parties and be accepted on the basis of a broad social accord. Knazko's statements indicate a major disagreement between two factions within the MDS. Presidential elections will be held in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 26-January. Vaclav Havel and Roman Kovac are the expected winners. -Jan Obrman CZECHS, SLOVAKS AGREE ON CURRENCY SPLIT. Czech and Slovak finance officials agreed on 25 January to split the Czechoslovak koruna into separate Czech and Slovak currencies at some undetermined time after the end of January, Czech TV reports. The agreement was reached at a meeting of the so-called Joint Monetary Committee, a six-member body consisting of government and bank officials from both republics. Slovak Finance Minister Julius Toth, told journalists after the meeting that the decision is necessary because of the lack of trust in the Czechoslovak currency both at home and abroad. It is widely expected that the currency split will be carried out in the first week of February. -Jan Obrman TEMELIN SHOULD BE COMPLETED, KLAUS SAYS. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said on 25 January that the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant should be completed, agencies report. Klaus made it clear that the plant is crucial to the republic's future energy supply. He said that the inefficient brown coal-burning plants are a major source of environmental pollution and nuclear energy is the only alternative at the moment. Temelin is a Soviet-designed plant launched by the former communist government in 1986. There are, however, plans for major technical upgrades with the help of Western companies. Austria has repeatedly protested against the construction of the plant, which is located some 60 km north of the Austrian border. -Jan Obrman HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST LEADER YIELDS COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP. On 25 January Gyula Horn, chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party, resigned from his chairmanship of Parliament's foreign affairs committee, MTI reports. Horn was asked to resign in December 1992 by 13 coalition party committee members who argued that Horn's role as opposition party leader is a conflict of interest with the ruling coalition party's foreign policy. Horn said that he resigned because he does not want to subject himself to "petty and prolonged" attacks. According to a six-party agreement, the chairmanship of the foreign affairs committee will still belong to the Socialist Party. -Karoly Okolicsanyi SUCHOCKA REPRIMANDS JUSTICE MINISTER. Justice Minister Zbigniew Dyka was called on the carpet by Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka on 25 January. In a move suggesting that dismissal may be imminent, Suchocka reprimanded Dyka for his "reprehensible" decision to assign a prosecutor involved in the political trials of the 1980s to a criminal investigation of accusations made recently by former presidential chief of staff Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Kaczynski has charged that President Lech Walesa's closest aide, Mieczyslaw Wachowski, is a secret police agent. In a statement carried by PAP, Suchocka stated that she has "lost confidence in the leadership of the prosecutor's office." She gave Dyka 48-hours "to draw conclusions from the existing situation." In the meantime, three high-ranking presidential staff members-legal adviser Lech Falandysz, security adviser Jerzy Milewski, and economic adviser Andrzej Olechowski-dismissed allegations that they too were secret police informants. In a radio interview, Falandysz called his chief accuser, former defense minister Jan Parys, "a second-generation Tyminski" and threatened to take the case to court. -Louisa Vinton POLISH-GERMAN MILITARY AGREEMENT SIGNED. Polish Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz and his German counterpart, Volker Ruehe, signed a bilateral military agreement in Bonn on 25 January. The agreement calls for close cooperation in military and security policy, arms control, and training. Ruehe told reporters it is Germany's first such agreement with a former member of the Warsaw Pact. He proposed that German and Polish soldiers participate jointly in a UN peace-keeping force. Onyszkiewicz stressed that Poland is cultivating relations with NATO countries in the hope of becoming a full-fledged member of the alliance. Polish TV reported on 25 January that Poland has signed military cooperation agreements with the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, France, and Greece, and is preparing similar arrangements with Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Belgium. -Louisa Vinton ROMANIA, POLAND SIGN COOPERATION TREATY. On 25 January in Bucharest, Romania and Poland signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, replacing a 1960 accord between the two countries. Signed by Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski and his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, the treaty calls for a system of permanent ties between the two foreign ministries. Skubiszewski told reporters that the agreement will boost stability in the region. Romanian President Ion Iliescu, who attended the ceremonies, praised the traditionally good relations between the two countries. -Dan Ionescu MOLDOVAN CEASE-FIRE MONITORS ALERT YELTSIN. In a statement forwarded to Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 23 January, the Moldovan side of the joint commission to monitor the cease-fire listed growing violations of the Snegur-Yeltsin armistice convention by the "Dniester" insurgents, charging that they are being condoned by Russia's 14th Army and "peacemaking" forces. The insurgents have banned the remaining Moldovan authorities from entering Bendery, prevented the return of Moldovan refugees, introduced "border guards" and Russian Cossack units into the security zone, and are maintaining fortifications there. Noting that "the situation is becoming unstable precisely where Russian forces are deployed," the Moldovan side expressed concern that "the Tiraspol leaders and the pro-imperial conservative forces outside Moldova" may be preparing to resume the hostilities. -Vladimir Socor "DNIESTER," GAGAUZ SIGN PACT WITH ABKHAZIA. On 22 and 25 January in Tiraspol an Abkhazia Supreme Soviet delegation signed agreements of friendship and cooperation with the "Dniester republic," Basapress reports. "Dniester" representatives told Interfax that the parties agreed to consult in the event of an attack against them and, if possible, to grant each other military assistance "against aggressors," evidently meaning Moldova and Georgia. Delegates from the "Gagauz republic" attended the talks and cosigned the agreements. (They are likely to represent the intransigent, armed faction within the divided Gagauz leadership). These are the first agreements of their kind known to be concluded among insurgent movements supported by the Russian military in two different independent states of the former USSR. -Vladimir Socor FERMENT IN SEVASTOPOL. About two thousand people participated in a meeting in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, Radio Rossii reported on 24 January. Participants demanded that the city's status be changed and that the local officials be replaced. The meeting also supported the restoration and strengthening of economic and other ties with Russia. On 25-January representatives of Sevastopol's political parties and movements discussed the situation with the chairman of the city council, ITAR-TASS reports. The question of Sevastopol's status emerged at the last Congress of Russian People's Deputies and is being examined by a special committee of the Russian parliament. -Roman Solchanyk BELARUS ADOPTS CONSERVATIVE ECONOMIC PROGRAM. Parliament approved an economic reform program that preserves significant administrative controls on markets, Reuters reported on 25 January. Fifty-three percent of all retail prices will remain under state control, and more than half of all production will be purchased through state orders. It was not clear on what basis these shares of prices and production were calculated. Belarus has maintained a markedly more timid attitude towards economic reform than Russia or Ukraine. Government officials have often justified this attitude by pointing to lower inflation, smaller budget deficits, and more limited economic decline than in Russia or Ukraine. -Erik Whitlock LITHUANIA AND IMF. On 25 January Adalbert Knobl, the head of the IMF office for the Baltic States, met in Vilnius with Acting President Algirdas Brazauskas, Radio Lithuania reports. At a press conference, Knobl said that Lithuania has complied with all the criteria of its economic policy memorandum. Among the problems that persist, he noted the fall in the value of Lithuania's temporary currency, higher energy prices, and a drop in the volume of internal loans. He promised that the IMF will give another loan to help Lithuania pay its foreign debts and raised the possibility of agricultural subsidies. -Saulius Girnius LITHUANIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER CRITICIZES PRIVATIZATION. In an article in Tiesa Julius Veselka sharply criticized laws on the privatization of state property, BNS reported on 25 January. He called the investment vouchers a "new form of redistributing socialist property" that had allowed a "certain part of the population" (e.g., mafia racketeers, former nomenklatura) to become rich. He blamed rightist political forces of passing legislation whereby state lacks regulatory authority, meaning Lithuania's economy is less well regulated than those of highly developed Western countries. He called for amending the Initial Privatization Law and favors drafting a new law omitting the vouchers. -Saulius Girnius LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN ECONOMIC ACCORD. Diena and BNS reported on 25 January that during a visit to Riga, Lithuanian Premier Bronislavas Lubys initialed a bilateral cooperation pact that calls for the creation of a free trade zone and cooperation in distribution of energy resources. On the free trade zone, Latvian Premier Ivars Godmanis noted that Estonia should also be included. The two prime ministers also drafted a communique outlining the principles of further cooperation. -Dzintra Bungs MERI IN PARIS. Estonian President Lennart Meri is meeting with French government officials in Paris on 25-26 January, BNS reports. Meri is scheduled to sign a friendship and cooperation agreement with French President Fran¨ois Mitterrand on 26 January and later meet with Health and Humanitarian Aid Minister Bernard Kouchner. Meri also plans a visit to the school he attended as a child when his father, diplomat Georg Meri, was posted to Paris. -Riina Kionka [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba and Charles Trumbull
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