Epilogh OMRI Daily Digest, No. 35, Part II, 17 Feb 95
Epilogh OMRI Daily Digest, No. 35, Part II, 17 Feb 95 [**]
Ta nea ths hmeras, opws ta eide to OMRI:
. "SERBIA HAS EARNED NO REWARD."
. WAR TENSIONS MOUNT ON CROATIA'S BORDERS.
* MACEDONIAN POLICE CRACK DOWN ON ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY.
** GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER IN ROMANIA.
** GREECE REFUSES TO DISCUSS MACEDONIAN TRADE EMBARGO.
* BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS U.S. VISIT WAS SUCCESSFUL.
. FORMER BULGARIAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL CHARGED.
. HIGHER ELECTRICITY AND HEATING PRICES IN BULGARIA.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 35, Part II, 17 February 1995
"SERBIA HAS EARNED NO REWARD." This is the title of a 16 February
editorial in The New York Times that is sharply critical of the Clinton
administration's latest Bosnian policy. The administration's approach
hinges on offering Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic the reward of
lifting the sanctions against his rump Yugoslavia if he recognizes Croatia
and Bosnia in their Tito-era frontiers, tightens his shaky embargo against
the Bosnian Serbs, and helps isolate the group around Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic in Pale. The newspaper adds that "the latest offer to
Belgrade comes as evidence mounts that Serbia has not lived up to the last
deal it made" with the international Contact Group. Nasa Borba on 17
February notes that American reaction to the latest flip-flop in
Washington's Bosnian policy has generally been negative. Britain's The
Independent the previous day summed things up with the comment: "Powers run
out of steam over Bosnia plan." The BBC's Croatian Service on 17 February
describes The Guardian as painting a bleak picture of the region, with the
daily arguing that the "chances for a broader war have never been greater."
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
WAR TENSIONS MOUNT ON CROATIA'S BORDERS. In the wake of President Franjo
Tudjman's decision not to extend UNPROFOR's mandate beyond 31 March,
preparations for a renewed Croatian-Serbian conflict have been taking place
on both sides. Nasa Borba writes on 17 February that Karadzic met with his
Krajina counterpart, Milan Martic, two nights earlier to discuss joint
military plans. The two rebel Serbian states have a military cooperation
agreement dating back to 1993 and are currently waging a joint campaign
against Bosnian government forces around Bihac. AFP on 16 February reports
on military activity on both sides of the border--between Dubrovnik and the
Prevlaka region on the Croatian side and between Serb-held Bosnian
territory and Montenegro on the other. The Serbs have built up their
artillery batteries with which they ravaged the medieval town already in
1991. The rump Yugoslav navy has staged maneuvers in the Bay of Kotor
nearby, while the Croats have been building bunkers in Glavica, close to
the Montenegrin border. Tudjman has periodically hinted that he may be
willing to exchange Prevlaka for some of the strategic high ground above
Dubrovnik, but he met with fierce domestic political opposition to giving
up Croatian territory. The latest military preparations suggest that
neither side regards the question of borders in that narrow region as
closed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MACEDONIAN POLICE CRACK DOWN ON ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY. Macedonian police on
16 February stopped lectures at the Albanian-language university in Tetovo
only hours after it was opened, Reuters reported the same day. No violence
was reported, although Fadil Sulejmani, the rector of the university, had
warned that a police raid could lead to armed riots. A police spokesman
quoted Sulejmani as saying that "the university will continue to work, no
matter what the price." Macedonian government spokesman Djuner Ismail said
the opening of the university was a "flagrant violation of the state's
constitution," adding that it was a political act and had little to do with
education. The Albanians are demanding higher education in the Albanian
language. The universities in Skopje and Bitola hold classes only in
Macedonian. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Gerasimos Arsenis began a three-day
official visit to Romania on 16 February, Radio Bucharest reported. He met
the same day with his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, President Ion
Iliescu, and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. The two defense ministers
signed an agreement on bilateral military cooperation, including joint
military exercises within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace
program. Arsenis said at a press conference that Greece will support
Romanian efforts to join NATO and the Western European Union (Greece is a
member of both). An RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest quoted Tinca as
saying that Romania will not get involved in actions hostile to Russia even
if it joins NATO. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
GREECE REFUSES TO DISCUSS MACEDONIAN TRADE EMBARGO. Greece marked the
first anniversary of the trade embargo against Macedonia on 16 February by
turning down offers from Skopje to hold talks under UN guidance, AFP
reported the same day. Greek government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos
called the blockade a success and noted that it had reduced trade at
Thessaloniki port by 60% and fuel transports to Macedonia by 90%. But he
stressed the embargo was "only a temporary measure" and that Greeks have
the "friendliest" feelings toward their northern neighbor. Meanwhile, Greek
Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias announced on 16 February that he will
visit Albania in early March, Reuters reported the same day. He thanked the
U.S. for helping secure the release of four ethnic Greeks, who were
convicted last year on charges of spying for Greece and illegal possession
of firearms. Until their release, on 8 February, Greece had frozen contacts
with Albania. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS U.S. VISIT WAS SUCCESSFUL. Zhelyu Zhelev,
returning from a three-day visit to the U.S. on 16 February, told a
reporter from Bulgarian Radio Horizont that the trip was a success. He said
all the requests made by the Bulgarian delegation were met with "at least a
promise." But he admitted that keeping those promises is a "completely
different matter." The president stressed the importance of the declaration
on cooperation, signed on 13 February, noting that it contains the basic
principles of cooperation in all areas. Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski
said the visit demonstrated that the president and the government "will
work in harmony and cooperate" in the field of foreign policy. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.
FORMER BULGARIAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL CHARGED. Col. Valentin Popinski, former
head of the Defense Ministry's trade department, was charged on 16 February
in connection with an alleged arms deal with Albania, international news
agencies reported the same day. Military prosecutor Col. Nikolay Kolev said
Popinski acted "to the detriment of his country," but he refused to say
more. Popinski was dismissed by former Defense Minister Valentin
Aleksandrov last year and is under arrest. If convicted, he faces between
five and 15 years in prison. The Bulgarian press claims that 100 mortars
were involved in the Albanian deal and speculated that they might have
ended up in the former Yugoslavia. Gen. Agim Baruti, Albania's deputy chief
of staff, was quoted by 24 chasa as saying no mortars were ordered by the
Albanian Defense Ministry. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
HIGHER ELECTRICITY AND HEATING PRICES IN BULGARIA. Prices for
electricity and heating will sharply rise as of 1 March, Demokratsiya
reported on 17 February. Government spokesman Nikola Baltov announced that
heating prices will go up by 80%, while electricity for industry will
increase by 28.4% and for private households by 47%. Almost all fuel used
in Bulgaria's state-owned power industry has to be imported. The World
Bank, which has lent Bulgaria $93 million for improvements in the country's
power sector, criticized the government for keeping down electricity
prices. The government has set aside 583 million leva ($8.8 million) to
help 350,000 of the poorest households cope with the hikes. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave