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No. 223, 22 November 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. CIS US, RUSSIA, REACT TO UKRAINIAN START DECISION. Both the US and Russian governments reacted negatively to the Ukrainian parliament's conditional ratification of the START-1 treaty. On 19 November, State Department deputy spokesperson Christine Shelly told reporters that the US is "seriously concerned" about the decision and noted that it could "seriously delay or prevent entry into force of START-1." She observed that "there are commitments on this and we expect the commitments to be implemented." The Russian reaction was even harsher. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on 20 November told ITAR-TASS that the resolution left an "alarming impression" and that Ukraine was leaving open the possibility of not eliminating its weapons. He warned that Ukraine's actions had created a situation that could disturb the entire system of international relations. Both the US and Russia left open a door for further negotiations, however, by emphasizing that the parliament's actions did not necessarily reflect the position of the Ukrainian government, and particularly the Ukrainian president. -John Lepingwell KRAVCHUK: RE-RATIFY IN MARCH? UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT LEONID KRAVCHUK'S REACTION WAS ALSO NEGATIVE, ACCORDING TO A UKRINFORM-TASS REPORT OF 20 NOVEMBER. Kravchuk noted that he still supported complete nuclear disarmament and that he had also submitted the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) for ratification even though the parliament had not acted upon it. He claimed, however, that the resolution had its "positive aspects." According to Reuters on 20 November, Kravchuk told reporters that he might resubmit the START and NPT treaties to the new parliament that will be formed after the March elections. The New York Times reported on 22 November, though, that Western diplomats are skeptical of Kravchuk's commitments and noted that he did not campaign effectively to push the agreements through parliament. Indeed, many of the conditions in the parliamentary resolution have been previously enunciated by Kravchuk and other government officials. -John Lepingwell COST OF START-1 DETAILED. According to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov, the "exact fulfillment" of the START-1 treaty (in Ukraine's interpretation, elimination of 36% of launchers) would cost some $1.6-1.7 billion dollars. However complete elimination of nuclear weapons would cost some $3.8-billion. The former figure is lower than previous estimates, while the higher figure (if correctly reported) is $1-billion higher. Shmarov noted that these estimates are based on world costs and prices-presumably costs in the rapidly depreciating Ukrainian karbovanets would be much lower. Shmarov made his comments during a news conference broadcast by Ukrainian TV on 19-November. -John Lepingwell RUSSIA REGISTRATION OF PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES COMPLETED. Registration of candidates for election to Russia's new Federal Assembly has been completed, Central Electoral Commission officials informed ITAR-TASS and Western agencies on 20 November. Candidates had to submit signatures in support of their candidacies by midnight on 19-November. Officials said a total of 1,880 candidates had been registered. Of these, 483 will run for 176 seats in the Federation Council while 1,397 will run for 224 seats in the State Duma, which are to be contested by individuals rather than parties. Elections to the Federation Council in Tatarstan and Chelyabinsk Oblast will be postponed until March, since fewer than the requisite three candidates registered in these two constituencies; moreover, only three candidates were registered in 19 other constituencies and the ballot may be canceled there if one candidate withdraws. The Central Electoral Commission confirmed that no elections to the Federal Assembly will be in Chechnya; the number of seats to be contested has therefore fallen from the original 178-Federation Council and 225 State Duma seats. -Wendy Slater ELECTIONS POSTPONED IN TATARSTAN. Elections to the Federation Council are having to be postponed in Tatarstan because only two candidates were nominated for the two seats instead of the requisite minimum of three, the Russian media reported on 20-November. The election of a deputy to the State Duma from the Naberezhnye Chelni constituency in Tatarstan also has to be postponed because only one candidate was nominated. The elections will be rescheduled for twelve weeks after 12 December. Tatar nationalist organizations, which have strong support in Naberezhnye Chelni, are boycotting the elections, and the top republican leadership is not standing for election, as it is in many other republics. -Ann Sheehy SOCIAL COMPOSITION OF CANDIDATES. A preliminary list of 1,000 parliamentary candidates was published by the Electoral Commission on 19 November, AFP reported that day. Of these, a total of 60-persons had been members of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies, which was dissolved by President Yeltsin on 21 September. 23% of the preliminary registered candidates were heads of local administrations or their deputies, or special envoys of the President. 22% were businessmen or directors of privatized industrial companies, while 8% were managers of state-owned factories. 3.1% were journalists and 1.2% were blue-collar workers. Unlike previous elections, officials of the "power" ministries (defense, internal affairs and security) are not highly represented among candidates. -Alexander Rahr RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AFFIRMS REFORM COURSE. Russian news agencies on 19-November carried the Russian government's targets for economic policy for the remainder of 1993 and 1994. Among the objectives are: limiting the budget deficit to 5.5 trillion rubles in the fourth quarter of 1993 and to 5% of GDP next year; reduced credit growth, maintaining positive interest rates, and initiating the auction of central bank credits; allowing central bank intervention in the currency market only to smooth out fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate, not to artificially sustain a fixed rate; liberalizing tariff and non-tariff barriers; reducing restrictions on land ownership and implementing bankruptcy; and facilitating the transition of nations exiting the ruble zone, while working towards CIS Economic Union in the longer term. -Erik Whitlock MORE ON GOVERNMENT'S FISCAL AND MONETARY OBJECTIVES. Based on earlier official statements, it seems that the government is projecting a year-end budget deficit of 17-trillion rubles, amounting to 10% of GDP. As part of the program of monetary austerity, the Russian Central Bank is to hold its credit creation to 6 trillion rubles in the last quarter of this year. The policy document is intended to free up the $1.5 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund which Finance Minister Boris Fedorov has said might be approved as early at January 1994. However, it is still not clear how realistic the government's fiscal and monetary targets are politically or in terms of prior financial commitments. Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais now apparently shares the opinion of more conservative critics that government had "gone a little too far" in its austerity program, Interfax reported on 19 November. Chubais said a solution would have to be found for the interenterprise debt problem and that reducing interest rates should be considered. -Erik Whitlock CEREAL HARVEST PREDICTION DROPS. The Russian agricultural ministry is predicting that this year's cereal harvest will total 100 million tons, AFP reported on 18 November. Two months ago, the ministry was predicting a record harvest of 125 million tons; the ministry blamed the decrease on "financial difficulties in the agricultural sector" and poor weather conditions. -Elizabeth Teague TRANCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA SHEVARDNADZE INAUGURATES OWN POLITICAL MOVEMENT. In an attempt to gain a clear parliamentary majority, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has launched an umbrella movement of smaller political parties, "Citizens' Union." The founding conference took place in Tbilisi on 21 November, Western agencies reported. Shevardnadze, who was elected the movement's chairman, listed as its goals the reassertion of Georgian control over Abkhazia and implementation of radical economic reforms. The movement will hold its first congress after expiry of the ongoing state of emergency, which on 20 November was extended for a further two months. Citing the results of an opinion poll published in Svobodnaya Gruziya, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 November that 54.3% of Georgians questioned favored the dissolving the present parliament and holding new elections. -Liz Fuller ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN TRADE ACCUSATIONS. Armenia and Azerbaijan have blamed each other for an incident on 20 November during which the convoy of Yeltsin's special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh, Vladimir Kazimirov, came under fire from Armenian territory at a border crossing between the two countries, Western agencies reported. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev condemned the shooting as a barbaric act that required an official explanation. Kazimirov was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying the episode "must not halt progress" towards a settlement of the Karabakh conflict. -Liz Fuller UZBEK AMBASSADOR SAID SEEKING ASYLUM IN US. Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement that its ambassador to the United States, Muhammad Babur Malikov, has asked for political asylum in the US, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 20-November. US authorities did not comment on the report, but a minister-counselor at the Uzbek embassy in Washington told RFE/RL that the embassy was looking into possible violations of travel regulations by Malikov. The Foreign Ministry statement said Malikov had been summoned to Tashkent on 8 November to respond to charges of misuse of state funds but that he returned to the US without government permission on 15 November. -Bess Brown CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE NO PEACE IN BOSNIA DESPITE TRUCE. On 21-November Tanjug and Western news agencies reported fighting across Bosnia. In addition reports confirm that aid convoys are having serious difficulty reaching their destinations, largely because regional military authorities have refused to stop blocking convoy routes. This situation exists despite the fact that on 18 November the Croatian, Muslim, and Serbian leaders in Bosnia met in Geneva and agreed that aid deliveries should be allowed through. Harsh winter conditions are also playing a role in hampering aid deliveries, and shipments could not arrive in Sarajevo on 20-November because of snow. The potential for escalating violence has presented itself yet again as Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, according to a 22 November Borba report, has hinted that some 20,000 Serbs living in the town of Tuzla may have to be "liberated" because they are being maltreated by the Muslim population. According to the Bosnian-Serb news agency SRNA, Karadzic said that "it would be better for them [the Muslims] to let the Serbs go than to force the Serb army to liberate them." -Stan Markotich BUT EC TO WORK FOR BOSNIAN PEACE. Meanwhile, on 22 November European Community foreign ministers are to meet in Luxemburg to discuss a new EC-backed peace proposal for Bosnia and the rest of ex-Yugoslavia. The plan involves such elements as requiring the Bosnian Serbian side to give up some land to the Muslims in exchange for a promise to have sanctions eased against rump Yugoslavia. The proposal is intended to solve outstanding differences throughout ex-Yugoslavia, including the tensions between the Croatian government and Croatia's rebel Krajina Serb population. So far at least one prominent Western figure has openly expressed his pessimism about peace prospects for Bosnia. According to Western media on 19 November, peace mediator David Owen said that in Bosnia "military aims come out first" and he suggested that Croatia was becoming involved in Bosnian affairs, to the detriment of the peace process. -Stan Markotich REPORTED FIGHTING IN CROATIA. According to Western news agencies, ethnic Serb troops in Croatia's breakaway and self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina alleged on 19-November that Croatian forces attacked targets in Krajina. On 21 November Western agencies and Tanjug reported that Croatian forces and rebel Serbs in western Slavonia, a part of the self-proclaimed Krajina republic, negotiated a cease fire deal that will be in effect for ten days. It is hoped that during those ten days a permanent ceasefire deal can be negotiated. -Stan Markotich ALBANIAN EXILED KING RETURNS . . . AND THEN LEAVES. According to Gazeta Shqiptare on 21 November, Albania's exiled monarch, King Leka I, returned briefly to his homeland on Friday and then left on Saturday. According to Western media sources, the monarch was asked to leave the country by authorities. The visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of the legality movement, the political arm of the monarchist movement founded during the second world war. Leka is the only son of the self-proclaimed King Zog who fled Albania in 1939 after the Italians invaded the country. Leka continues to press for a referendum on the question of the restoration of the monarchy. Reliable sources suggest that the king enjoys very little support in the country. -Robert Austin CONTROVERSY ABOUT BORDER INCIDENT BETWEEN SERBIA AND MACEDONIA. Rump Yugoslav authorities responded to Macedonian allegations that the two policemen and one soldier allegedly abducted in Macedonia by Serbs from the former Yugoslavia on 17-November, actually made an incursion into Serbian territory and were there detained. The three claim they had been beaten and that the Serbs attempted to force them to sign documents claiming responsibility for the incident. Vecer reports that this incident should come as no surprise given that the government has permitted the building of many gas stations near the Serbian frontier. -Duncan Perry AIR CRASH IN MACEDONIA KILLS 115. A Soviet-made YAK 42 airplane with 116 crew and passengers on broad crashed near the Ohrid airport at around 23:00 on 20 November. En route from Geneva to Skopje, the Avioimpex aircraft was diverted to Ohrid because of foul weather. Described as a nightmare, the disaster scene was inaccessible, much of the wreckage in flames when rescue workers arrived. Of the 116-on board, according to MIC, only one man survived, with serious injuries. The plane was leased from Ukraine and had a Ukrainian flight crew and Macedonian service crew. This is the second airplane crash in Macedonia this year. -Duncan Perry PRICES RISE IN POLAND. Announcing another round of price increases for gas, electricity and central heating as of 1 December, the last of staggered rises provided in the 1993 budget by the previous government, Poland's Finance Minister Marek Borowski said that he was trying to limit their impact for domestic consumers. The schedule for increases of government-controlled prices was disrupted by the government changeover but any further delays in implementation would result in "loss of liquidity and excessive burdens for the budget," according to a communique published on 19 November. Borowski told World Bank representatives in Warsaw that Poland would continue increasing energy prices to world levels, but at a slower rate than originally agreed, PAP reported on 19 November. Other increases include: spirits by 15% on 22 November, and cigarettes by about 500-zloty a pack on 29 November. Gasoline and diesel fuel prices, which rose at the beginning of November, will remain stable until the end of the year. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka SPECULATION SURROUNDS RESIGNATION OF SECURITY CHIEF. Speculation continues about the circumstances of the still unconfirmed resignation of the head of the State Security Office (UOP), Jerzy Konieczny. Gazeta Wyborcza wrote on 20 November that Konieczny was moved to resign in connection with the case of the former head of the Gdansk UOP office, Adam Hodysz. Hodysz, famous as the only secret policeman known to have cooperated with Solidarity under communist rule, was dismissed in August at the urging of the president's office, which claimed he was a potential weak link in security. Konieczny reportedly stood up for Hodysz, thus earning disfavor in the eyes of President Lech Walesa's minister of state Mieczyslaw Wachowski. Interior Minister Andrzej Milczanowski, who was away from Poland last week, has apparently not accepted Konieczny's resignation yet. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka MILEWSKI WANTS DEFENSE COMMITTEE. Head of the National Security Bureau and now also first deputy defense minister, Jerzy Milewski, told a meeting of retired army officers on 19 November that the government was considering establishing a Committee for Defense Matters within the Council of Ministers Office, alongside the already existing committees for economic and social matters. The committee would be chaired by the prime minister, with the chief of the National Defense Committee (also Milewski) as secretary. Its aim would be "to integrate defense and security tasks," and serve as the formal "extension" of the NDC in the government, because there is no such link at present, Milewski said, as quoted by PAP. The defense ministry is one of the three so-called "presidential ministries" over which President Walesa has claimed control in order to be able to exercise his constitutional powers in this sphere. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka MECIAR CRITICIZES COALITION PARTY. On 20-November, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar criticized the Slovak National Party, a new coalition partner of his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, for failing to adhere to coalition agreements. In an interview with Slovak Radio, Meciar said that some SNP deputies voted with the opposition to oust Health Minister Viliam Sobona on 17 November. The premier argued that the vote of no confidence against Sobona, his close associate, "was not an act of political reason but hatred." According to Meciar, this incident shows that the coalition agreement between his party and the SNP "does not guarantee the government a majority support." Meciar also criticized statements made by several SNP leaders who on 18 November rejected the coalition with the MDS. Their criticism suggests that the party is deeply divided and could split; some of its leaders have suggested they may leave the party over the coalition agreement with the MDS. -Jiri Pehe SLOVAK TV HEAD RECALLED. Slovak media report that on 19 November the Slovak parliament, acting at the recommendation of the Board for Slovak Television, recalled Slovak Television Director Peter Malec from his post. Malec offered his resignation at the beginning of November after the parliament replaced seven members of the board with members of Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Slovak National Party. Although Malec did not give official reasons for his resignation, Slovak media have speculated that he did so in protest against the board's interfering with his work. -Jiri Pehe CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER AGAINST NEW VISEGRAD STRUCTURES. Speaking at a press conference in Washington on 19 November, Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys said that efforts "to create a political, economic, or military bloc between the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia" do not make sense and "there is not a single reason for it." According to Baudys, this does not mean that "the Czech Republic cannot have good bilateral relations with these countries." The minister admitted that all four countries have common problems inherited from the time when they had been Soviet satellites but argued that today their economic and political developments differ. -Jiri Pehe CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE MEETS IN HUNGARY. The foreign ministers of Hungary, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, and the Czech first deputy foreign minister met in Debrecen on 20 November, MTI reports. Parliamentary delegations from CEI countries conferred in Szeged on 19 and 20-November. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky said that the CEI should make clear to Western countries that Central Europe is not an place of conflict but a region where countries cooperate on their way toward Europe. In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers called on the Bosnian Serb army to end the siege of Sarajevo and urged the Bosnian Serb army and the Croatian Defense Council to end the fighting in central Bosnia. The communique declared that minorities should be granted the right to "self-government" in areas where they form a majority, and cultural autonomy in regions where they are in a minority. Jeszenszky reported that Moldavia and Ukraine have applied for CEI membership while Belarus, Bulgaria, and Romania expressed interest in cooperating with CEI work groups. The CEI parliamentary delegations urged a more intensive dialogue between the CEI foreign ministers and the parliamentary groups. -Edith Oltay KOLESNIKOV: BULGARIA FACES ISLAMIC THREAT. Informing parliament on his talks with the chief of Russia's General Staff and Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Mihail Kolesnikov, Bulgarian Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov said the visitor had warned Bulgaria that Islamic fundamentalism is becoming more aggressive and that Bulgaria, along with ex-Yugoslavia and Albania, lies "within the scope of Turkey's ambitions," BTA reported on 19-November. Aleksandrov, who in May surprised Bulgaria's military and security establishments by suggesting that Turkey could qualify as Bulgaria's "strategic rear," told the National Assembly he disagreed with Kolesnikov but that the latter had insisted he has evidence that the "restructuring" of the Balkan region will continue. On the same day 24-Chasa quoted the Russian visitor as saying that Moscow would raise no objections in case Bulgaria decided to join NATO. -Kjell Engelbrekt BULGARIA TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OF WESTERN BORDER. Government officials said on 19 November that Bulgaria is preparing measures designed to put an end to violations of the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia. The Bulgarian government, which earlier in November received praise from Western monitors for its commitment to upholding the sanctions, has so far done little to halt the flow of petty smugglers regularly crossing the Bulgarian-Serbian border. As the embargo has gradually tightened elsewhere, reports say the remaining checkpoints have become jammed by sanction-busting peddlers, most of whom are smuggling fuel. A foreign ministry official told Reuters that the government is drawing up new instructions for customs officials who will be authorized to stop known offenders from entering Bulgarian territory. Similarly, gas stations located near the border will be asked not to fill canisters or bottles with fuel. Three days earlier, however, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov indicated that both Bulgaria and Romania may back a Greek initiative aimed at easing the effects of the embargo. Berov complained that Balkan countries thus far have only received moral support for their support of the sanctions, despite that they are all taking a heavy economic toll. Berov said Bulgaria, which according to official estimates has lost $3-billion due to the embargo, needs "something more concrete." -Kjell Engelbrekt POLITICAL PARTY MEETINGS IN ESTONIA. On 20-November a general meeting of Estonia's ruling coalition, the National Assembly "Pro Patria," reelected Prime Minister Mart Laar as its chairman, BNS reports. Nominated by the Christian Democrats, Laar defeated Conservative division candidate Enn Tarto 103 to 72 with 9 invalid ballots. The meeting elected an eight-member council and court of honor. The same day a new political party, Estonian National Progressive Party, held its founding meeting that elected Ants Erm as its chairman. Erm had been a leading figure of the National Independence Party. -Saulius Girnius PARLIAMENT ELECTION IN LITHUANIA FAILS AGAIN. On 21 November parliamentary elections in the Kaisiadorys district for the seat President Algirdas Brazauskas gave up on being elected president were unsuccessful, Radio Lithuania reports. Only about 36.5% of eligible voters participated and just as in an earlier attempt on 20 June when 30% of the voters had participated, the necessary 40% participation limit was not reached. -Saulius Girnius LATVIA PRIME MINISTER ON RUSSIAN RADAR. On his return from the UN General Assembly session Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs rejected Russia's offer to withdraw its army by September 1994 if allowed to retain its radar station at Skrunda for six more years, BNS reported on 20 November. He said that under certain conditions Latvia may allow the radar to operate for two more years. -Saulius Girnius BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO PASS ECONOMIC MEASURES. After a two-week debate on the economy, three proposals on resolving Belarus' economic crisis failed to muster a majority of votes in 250-member chamber, Reuters reported on 19 November. Two motions, submitted by both conservatives and nationalists, called for the resignation of one or both of the two top leaders, Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich and the chairman of parliament, Stanislau Shushkevich. The third proposal, prepared by parliamentary commissions, proposed limits of six percent of GNP for the budget deficit and 10 percent for monthly inflation. It received 100 votes, the most of the three. Official statistics show that the Belarusian economy is contracting, with production at about 85-percent of last year's levels and monthly inflation at 30 percent. -Ustina Markus UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT PASSES DEBT RESOLUTION. On 20 November Ukrinform reported that the Ukrainian government passed a resolution in order to deal with the country's debt to Russia for natural gas and oil. The resolution frees a series of Ukrainian enterprises from the added cost of export customs duties imposed in 1993 on goods going to the Russian state gas and oil ventures Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as other Russian energy enterprises. According to a report by Interfax on 19 November, Ukraine's debt to Russia, as of November 15, was 714.6 billion rubles. This included 490.7 billion for gas, 206.3 billion for oil, and 17.6 billion for petroleum products. Ukraine's gas debt to Turkmenistan amounted to 85.8-billion rubles. -Ustina Markus [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Elizabeth Teague and Jan B. de Weydenthal THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU), on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian Reed, RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC-20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907; Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783; Internet: RIDC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute, Oettingenstrasse 67, 80538 Munich, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.RFE/RL Daily Report
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