|A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace|
quarantine in the North Caucasian republic of Dagestan, where the
number of cholera cases continues to rise, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 August. The measure still requires approval from several Russian ministries and the authorities in Dagestan. The agency quoted the Russian Health Ministry as saying that 59 more people in the republic had fallen ill with cholera over the preceding several days. The total number of cholera cases in Dagestan is now 440, and to date fourteen people have died from the disease, according to the official statistics. On 13 August city health authorities in Moscow said that fourteen cholera cases have been registered in the Russian capital since early July, including ten contracted in Rwanda and others in Dagestan. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIA AND JAPAN PROTEST LATEST KURIL ISLAND INCIDENT. Moscow and Tokyo exchanged protests on 16 August following an incident one day earlier in which a Russian Border Guards vessel opened fire on two Japanese boats fishing in waters off the disputed South Kuril Islands. One of the vessels was hit and detained; a Japanese crew member was wounded during the action. Reuters reported from Tokyo on 16 August that Japan's Foreign Minister had complained to a Russian Foreign Ministry official over the incident and had called it "extremely regrettable." In Moscow on the same day Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov reportedly summoned Japanese ambassador Koji Watanabe and told him that Russia wanted an end to illegal fishing activities in the waters off the disputed islands. Panov refused to accept a reciprocal protest from Watanabe. Russian Border Forces officers, meanwhile, continued to take a hard line on the issue, releasing a statement that, according to AFP, blamed the Japanese for escalating tensions in the region and charged that "Japanese fishermen violate Russia's sovereignty with impertinence under the eyes of Japanese Coast Guard crews." They defended the actions of the Russian vessel that had fired upon the Japanese boat. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIANS REQUEST JAPANESE AID FOR RETURN TO MAINLAND. As Moscow and Tokyo bickered over the fishing incident, a report surfaced that Russian residents of the disputed Kuril Islands have requested aid from the Japanese government to finance their return to the Russian mainland. According to AFP, quoting ITAR-TASS, seven hundred island residents signed the request, which was sent in an open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. Details were not available. An ITAR-TASS report earlier this month expressed concern over the large number of Russians migrating from the islands back to the mainland. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TURKMENISTAN TO CHECK CONTRACTS WITH FOREIGN FIRMS. In the wake of the dismissal of two government ministers for financial irregularities, Turkmenistan's Ministry of Finance is checking government contracts with foreign firms to ensure that they are in accord with the country's interests, Interfax reported on 15 August. According to unconfirmed reports, the two officials had embezzled foreign revenues obtained from the export of petroleum products and mineral fertilizers. The newly-created Ministry for Foreign Trade is supposed to deal with the findings of the investigators. Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc. CIS MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS RULE OUT RUSSIAN BASE. Senior Moldovan officials told the RFE/RL Research Institute that there can be no question of Russian military basing rights in Moldova, despite intimations by Krasnaya zvezda on 9 August (which anticipated "mutual consent"), Segodnya on the 10th, and no. 32 Moskovskie novosti, released on 11 August (which cited military sources as predicting the conferral of basing rights on Russia's 14th Army in Moldova after it is downsized to an operational group of the 59th motor-rifle division this fall). In Segodnya of 10 August, military commentator Pavel Felgengauer quoted Moldova's charge d'affaires in Moscow, Valeriu Pasat, as saying that he had called on Russia's Chief of the General Staff, Col. Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov, to say that "[Moldova's] leadership is very worried" by the situation in the 14th Army and would opt for a continuing presence of that army, with basing rights, to guarantee stability. Pasat also implied that he discussed ways to circumvent Moldova's recent constitutional ban on the stationing of foreign troops on its territory. Officials in Chisinau stressed that Pasat's initiative had been unauthorized. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. BLACK SEA FLEET NEGOTIATIONS. Another round of negotiations on dividing the Black Sea Fleet opened in Moscow on 16 August, ITAR-TASS reported. In April the division of the fleet's 833 vessels was agreed upon. Russia was to get 669 of the ships, while Ukraine was to keep 164 and be compensated by Russia for its smaller share. The stumbling bloc during those negotiations was the issue of basing. Ukraine insisted that Russia would be allowed to lease only one base in Crimea, the one at Donuzlav. ITAR-TASS reports that Ukraine has become more flexible on the basing issue, offering to share other Crimean bases between the Ukrainian navy and Black Sea Fleet. The results of the negotiations should be announced on 17 August. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. CLARIFICATION. The RFE/RL Daily Report of 16 August mis-stated the amount of plutonium seized in Munich a week earlier. The above item in today's Daily Report provides a clarification. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE STOLTENBERG WARMS TOWARD LIFTING ARMS EMBARGO. The Independent reports on 17 August that the UN mediator for the former Yugoslavia, Thorvald Stoltenberg, said the previous day that lifting the arms ban against the Bosnian government "could be helpful" in bringing the Serbs around to accepting the current partition plan. He said, however, that this must be a Security Council decision and not taken unilaterally by individual countries. The US has been moving in the direction of lifting the embargo, and Turkey and some other Islamic countries have long called for it. International mediators have openly opposed it. Meanwhile, The Times of London reports that Serb forces surrounding Sarajevo have cut the city's water supply down to a trickle, recalling conditions obtained during the worst of the blockade. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. GENERAL MLADIC BACKS KARADZIC AND HELPS WITH THE HARVEST. RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service and Reuters reported from Pale on 16 August that the Bosnian Serb commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, has reappeared after what he called a "vacation." Speculation about Mladic's whereabouts and motives had been rife in view of his silence during the almost three week-old public feud between Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Mladic joined his civilian counterpart in wielding a scythe to help with the harvest in a display of the siege mentality Karadzic has been encouraging among his people. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. BABIC BACKS KARADZIC. On 17 August Borba reports that the Serbian Democratic Party of Krajina (SDSK), led by one-time president and current foreign minister of the self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) Milan Babic, has lent its backing to the Bosnian Serb leadership's efforts to reject the international community's peace proposal for Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite Milosevic's seeming efforts to coerce the Bosnian Serbs to adopt the plan. According to an SDSK statement , the party fully backs Bosnian Serb efforts "to unify all Serb lands into one Serb land." Babic himself has been at odds with Milosevic, the likely actor behind the electoral chicanery that cost Babic his bid for the RSK presidency in January 1994, and Babic may be sensing deja vu in the current row between the Bosnian Serb leader and Milosevic. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. BOSNIAN COMMANDER SAYS LIBERATION WAR IS NOW ON THE AGENDA. International media on 16 August quoted the Bosnian government forces commander, Gen. Rasim Delic, as saying that the absence of a political solution means that the military option is now the only viable course. He added that the war is continuing and that his forces are growing stronger. Reuters quoted Bosnia's ambassador to the UN, Muhamed Sacirbey, as adding: "if we can't have a real peace, then we may as well have a real war." For some Muslims, however, any renewed offensive may come a bit late, since Reuters quotes UN officials as saying that the Serbs are again stepping up the "ethnic cleansing" of Bijeljina in the northeast. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. FORMER SPY TO HEAD POLISH INTELLIGENCE. Marian Zacharski, who spied in the US on behalf of the Polish People's Republic from 1977 until his capture by the FBI in 1981, was named to head Poland's civil intelligence service. Early reports carried by Zycie Warszawy and Gazeta Wyborcza on 16 August were confirmed the same day by the Interior Ministry's spokesman, PAP reports. Zacharski was sentenced to life imprisonment in the US but was exchanged in June 1985 for 25 Western agents caught in the Soviet bloc. In 1990 he was managing director of the Pewex import-export chain but was forced to resign by public charges of having been a KGB agent. Categorical denials by Zacharski and Poland's former communist leaders have failed to dispel doubts, however. His appointment was consulted neither with the president's National Security Office nor with the Sejm's internal affairs commission. Most of the opposition parties have criticized the appointment. Some observers fear the appointment will offend the US and jeopardize Poland's chances of joining NATO, PAP reports. US officials declined to comment. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc. STILL NO MAYOR FOR WARSAW. Two months after local elections the process of constituting local government authorities in Poland's municipalities is still incomplete. PAP reported on 15 August that political rivalry among the newly elected councilors has stymied the election of mayors in Warsaw and six other voivodship capitals. Results in the remaining voivodship capitals suggest a political patchwork: ten of the mayors belong to or were recommended by the Democratic Left Alliance, nine by the Freedom Union, four by the Center Alliance, one by the Nonparty Reform Bloc, and the remainder either by local coalitions or by various right-of-center coalitions. Premier Waldemar Pawlak's Polish Peasant Party, largely unrepresented in the municipalities, is the strongest political force not only in rural councils but also in the voivodship assemblies (sejmiki), which are constituted by delegated representatives of the local councils. Of the 49 voivodship assembly chairmen, the PSL claims 21 members and 3 supporters. It also claims some 40% of the entire composition of the National Local Government Assembly, according to a report in Rzeczpospolita on 16 August. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc. CZECH, POLISH, GERMAN SOLDIERS MARCH TOGETHER. On 16 August, soldiers from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland began a three-day joint friendship march along the borders between their countries. A Czech Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted by CTK as saying that the German military suggested the idea to strengthen contacts between the three armies. Twenty-two soldiers from each country are participating in the march, which takes them through the towns of Liberec in northern Bohemia, Zittau on the German-Czech border, and Zgorzelec on Poland's border with Germany. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc. CZECH OFFICIALS ON CARLOS. A spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Internal Affairs told journalists in Prague on 16 August that the ministry's archival documents show that the international terrorist known as Carlos visited former Czechoslovakia several times between 1976 and 1986. In most cases, Carlos traveled to Czechoslovakia on a South Yemeni passport. The documents generally provide no details on Carlos's contacts in Czechoslovakia. The spokesman said that from the beginning of the 1980s, the political leaders of former communist countries tried to distance themselves from Carlos; his movements were monitored by the security forces of those countries and measures were taken to prevent him from entering some communist countries. An official of the anti-terrorist department of the Czech Police told Czech Television on 16 August that, according to police sources, Carlos was apparently present at the Prague Ruzyne Airport during US President Bill Clinton's visit at the beginning of 1994; however, the Interior Ministry spokesman denied these reports. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc. AMERICAN BUSINESS CENTER OPENS IN BRATISLAVA. The US Embassy officially opened the American Business Center in Bratislava on 16 August, TASR reported. Opening ceremonies were attended by US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Russell, Slovak Deputy Premier Schmoegnerova and other government and business representatives. The ABC is designed to strengthen US-Slovak business ties by assisting small and medium-sized US firms which are interested in cooperating with Slovak firms. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER COUNTERS OPPOSITION CRITICISM. According to Laszlo Kovacs, Hungary's opposition politicians are attacking statements the government never made, such as its alleged promise to sign a treaty with Slovakia during Premier Gyula Horn's 5 August visit to Bratislava, MTI reported. The treaties with Hungary's neighbors are not a goal but a means to build good relations and mutual confidence, and the issue is whether or not Budapest has an interest in responding to Slovakia's and Romania's initiatives in that direction, Kovacs said. Hungary and Slovakia continue to disagree about the manner in which minority rights should be guaranteed in the treaty, with Slovakia rejecting the notion of collective or community rights and the participation of the minorities in the drafting of the treaty. In Kovacs' view, the treaties could be finalized and signed in a relatively short time, but in the absence of the necessary political will on both sides, this is unlikely to occur. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL Inc. TOP NATO MILITARY COMMANDER ARRIVES IN HUNGARY. General George Joulwan, Supreme Allied Forces Commander in Europe, arrived on 16 August in Budapest for a three-day official visit at the invitation of Col. General Janos Deak, Hungarian Army Commander. According to MTI, Joulwan will meet Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti, President Arpad Goncz, and Deputy Premier Gabor Kuncze and will view a Hungarian Army sub-unit combat exercise. In a 15 August statement, the Hungarian government expressed its shock at the death of NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner and praised him for his key role in promoting dialogue and cooperation between NATO and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL Inc. NATO SUPREME COMMANDER IN BULGARIA AND ROMANIA. Adm. Paul David Miller, the Supreme Commander of the NATO Allied Forces in the Atlantic and US Commander-in-chief in that region, visited Bulgaria from 15 to 16 August. At the concluding press conference, Adm. Miller called the visit "extraordinarily successful" and said talks with top Bulgarian officials had been useful for outlining further cooperation between the Bulgarian Army and NATO within the Partnership for Peace program. Gen. Lyuben Petrov, the host and Chief of the Bulgarian General Staff, said that he hoped the visit would help to enhance NATO's confidence both in the country and its armed forces. While in Sofia, Adm. Miller also met with Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov and chair of the parliamentary Committee on National Security, Nikolay Slatinski, to discuss broader defense and security matters. BTA carried the reports. From Bulgaria, Adm. Miller continued to Romania on 16 August, at the invitation of Romania's Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Dumitru Cioflina. Kjell Engelbrekt and Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc. ROMANIA'S LARGEST LABOR CONFEDERATION SPLITS. Victor Ciorbea, co-chairman of Romania's largest trade union organization, the National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions--The Brotherhood, announced on 16 August that he would set up a separate organization. Radio Bucharest broadcast a statement by Ciorbea saying that the current organization has increasingly become a slave to the authorities. Ciorbea criticized Miron Mitrea, the other co-chairman of the confederation, for politically supporting President Ion Iliescu and the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. He pledged that the future labor organization will follow the principles of the Democratic Convention of Romania, the country's main opposition alliance. It is not clear how many of NCRFTU's 2.5 million members will join the new confederation. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc. POLICE ARREST ALBANIAN HUNGER STRIKERS. Albanian police arrested 18 former political prisoners on 14 August for continuing a hunger strike past a court deadline. The public prosecutor has begun investigations because the strikers resisted efforts of the police to implement a court order to end the strike, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 16 August. Police have now broken up the hunger strike by some 2,500 former political prisoners all over Albania. The strikers are demanding money and privatization bonds in compensation to be paid before the government's term ends late 1995. The government rejected the demands and accused the strikers of trying to subvert democracy in Albania, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 12 August. However Kurt Kola, the strike leader arrested in Tirana, said: "I will continue the hunger strike wherever I am," Aleanca reported on 16 August. Azem Hajdari, a member of parliament and president of the state commission for public order, who joined the strike on 11 August, continues to fast in his home. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL Inc. DISSIDENTS IN TRANSDNIESTER ARRESTED. Moldova's Helsinki Committee made public via Basapress on 15 August an appeal it has addressed to the CSCE Mission in Moldova regarding the arrest two days earlier of Alexei Mocreac, a leader of the pro-Moldova "Integrity" movement, by "Dniester republic" security organs. In recent weeks, the Helsinki Committee made public information regarding the persecution and arrest of Nikolai Podryadov in Tiraspol and Yurii Kliuev in Bendery. All three (the first an ethnic Moldovan, the latter two ethnic Russians) are political opponents of the "Dniester" authorities. At a news conference in Tiraspol on 14 August, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, who has become a critic of the "Dniester" leaders, accused their security organs of preparing to "settle accounts with their local opponents." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PURGED. On 16 August ITAR-TASS reported that virtually the entire collegium of the Belarusian Defense Ministry has been replaced with new generals. Citing the Belarusian military newspaper, Vo slavu rodiny, ITAR-TASS said that Leanid Maltsev has been appointed chief of staff of the armed forces and first deputy defense minister. Viktor Sheiman, the recently appointed secretary of the state security council, was included in the defense ministry collegium. Defense minister, Col. Gen. Anatoliy Kastenka, held a meeting during which a number of decrees reorganizing the ministry were announced. Reuters reported that the former chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Alyaksandr Tushinsky, was dismissed as part of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's anti-corruption campaign. Lukashenka had charged that there was corruption in the armed forces under former Defense Minister Paval Kazlousky. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. LITHUANIA FORMS FIRST BANK WITH FOREIGN CAPITAL. On 16 August Lithuanian Finance Minister Eduardas Vilkelis and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) director of financial institutions, David Hexter, signed an agreement establishing the Lithuanian Development Bank, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. EBRD will supply 36% of the bank's initial stock capital of 5 million ecu, which will be aimed at assisting small and medium businesses. especially in food and timber processing industries. The Nordic Investment Bank will provide technical assistance and training for the new bank. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. LATVIAN GOVERNMENT DRAFTS PROGRAM ON HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION. According to Latvian Premier Valdis Birkavs, the government will release a program for the protection and promotion of human rights in Latvia within 60 days, which will be implemented by a government working group led by Justice Minister Egils Levits. Birkavs stressed that the program must include a mechanism to supervise the protection and implementation of human rights of all residents of Latvia, not just national minorities, and that this mechanism must not be a copy of what exists in other countries but must meet, first and foremost, the needs of Latvia, BNS reported on 12 August. Given that the Birkavs government has resigned and a new government may take over, possibly later this week, the results of the preparations to draft this program are uncertain. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc. CHINESE DIPLOMAT ON RELATIONS WITH LATVIA. After meeting with Latvian Foreign Ministry officials in Riga on 13 August, China's charge d'affaires in Latvia Wang Kaiwen told BNS that his country would make every effort to improve relations with Latvia. Diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and Latvia were established in September 1991. In January 1992 Latvia agreed with Taiwan on the establishment of consular relations--a move strongly protested by the PRC. Earlier in August a Latvian government delegation visited the PRC and signed a communique on the improvement of bilateral relations and apparently gave assurances that Latvia would downgrade relations with Taiwan. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Stephen Foye and Sharon Fisher The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, 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, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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