Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -
OMRI DAILY DIGEST Part II

Vol. 1, No. 14, Part II, 19 January 1995

We welcome you to the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest Part
II--a compilation of news concerning East-Central and Southeastern
Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, and the
CIS, is distributed simultaneously as a second document.

The Daily Digest picks up where the RFE/RL Daily Report, which recently
ceased publication, left off. Contributors include OMRI's 30-member
staff of analysts, plus selected freelance specialists. OMRI is a unique
public-private venture between the Open Society Institute and the U.S.
Board for International Broadcasting.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA'S CHIEF OF STAFF BLASTS OPPONENTS OF BILL ON DIVISION OF POWERS.
President Leonid Kuchma's chief of staff, Dmytro Tabachnyk, attacked a
16 January meeting of regional and local council chairmen for what he
called a deliberate effort to turn public opinion against a draft
constitutional law on the separation of powers proposed by the
president, Radio Ukraine reported on 18 January. The bill, which
received preliminary approval from the parliament in December, would
centralize many powers in the president's hands and limit those of
national and local legislatures. Tabachnyk said the chairmen of the
local soviets, as well as many deputies from the national parliament who
participated in the meeting, were undermining public support for the
bill. He said the participants, who issued a resolution voicing
opposition to the bill, were driven by nostalgia and fear of the
dissolution of the Soviet system of government. The parliament is
scheduled to debate and vote on the bill within the next month. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AVOIDS CONDEMNING RUSSIA ON CHECHNYA. Reuters on 18
January reported that some deputies in Ukraine's legislature proposed
that a tough statement be issued condemning Russia's actions in Chechnya
as a violation of human rights. The statement asked that Russia cease
all military action immediately and begin talks with Chechen
separatists. Other deputies were concerned that such a statement would
be interpreted as interference in Russia's internal affairs and would
prompt hard-liners in Russia to become involved with separatists in
Crimea. Parliamentary speaker Oleksander Moroz removed the issue from
the agenda, saying that it could be considered interference in Russia's
internal affairs. In the Crimean parliament in Simferopol, deputy
Oleksander Kruglov proposed issuing a statement lauding Russia's actions
in Chechnya as "the first decisive step by Russia to strengthen its
statehood and territorial integrity." The Crimean Tatars objected to the
statement, and more moderate deputies suggested toning it down. The
debate adjourned without a final decision. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE MAY SELL STRATEGIC BOMBERS TO RUSSIA. At a meeting in Kiev on 18
January, a Russian military delegation and officials from the Ukrainian
Defense Ministry discussed the possibility of Ukraine selling to Russia
some of the TU-160 and STU-95 strategic bombers it inherited from the
USSR, Ukrainian Television reports. Russian experts, together with
Ukrainian officials, are expected to assess the condition and value of
the aircraft. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE. The Estonian Labor Department has
announced that on 1 January 1995, 12,670 people or 1.51% of the
country's working age population were officially registered as
unemployed, BNS reported on 18 January. This is a 4.36% increase over
the previous month. The number of people looking for work, including
those not registered as unemployed, is almost three times as high, at
34,270. The highest urban unemployment rates are in Narva (3.98%) and
Sillamae (3.61%), while the capital, Tallinn, has a very low rate
(0.26%). -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

DECLINE IN LATVIAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IN 1994. Latvia last year
produced industrial goods worth 903 million lati ($1.64 billion) in
actual 1994 prices, BNS reported on 18 January citing the State
Statistics Committee. Production was down 9.3% on 1993 levels, with the
volume of 78 of the 120 most important production categories being
reduced. But there were increases in timber processing (30%), the
extraction industry (12%), and the production of transportation
equipment (9%). The value of unsold goods was 66.2 million lati or 74.6%
of the total production in December. The largest stockpiles were to be
found in the food processing (10.8 million lati) and textile (7.5
million lati) industries. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA AND RUSSIA AGREE ON MILITARY TRANSIT. The Lithuanian Foreign
Ministry on 18 January presented a note to its Russian counterpart
extending until the end of 1995 military transit regulations,
established in an 18 November 1993 agreement, for Russian troops
withdrawing from Germany, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports. The
Russians responded by stating that the trade agreement granting
reciprocal most-favored-nation trade status has finally gone into
effect. Both sides made concessions to achieve the agreement, signed in
November 1993. Lithuania gave up its demand that all countries abide by
its regulations on dangerous and military cargoes due to go into effect
on 1 January 1995. Russia, in turn, settled for an agreement and not a
treaty on military transit to and from Kaliningrad. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENT OFFERED OLIVE BRANCH OR BARBED WIRE? Adopting a more
conciliatory stance toward President Lech Walesa, Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak on 18 January offered to hold negotiations without any
preconditions and officially withdrew the candidacy of Longin Pastusiak
for defense minister. He also requested that the president formally
approve the dismissal of Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski and
announced that the coalition would present the president with three
nominees to head the Foreign Ministry. Pawlak stressed that all three
are specialists with no party affiliation. Their names will be made
public only after Walesa has been consulted, Radio Warsaw reports.
Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski described the
coalition's moves as an "olive branch" but restressed his party's
rejection of the president's candidate for defense minister, Zbigniew
Wojciech Okonski. Queried at a press conference about the coalition's
moves, Walesa quipped that Kwasniewski was more likely to approach him
with "barbed wire" than an olive branch and that even "a rose has
thorns." The president nonetheless accepted the offer of talks. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

HAVEL AND KLAUS DIFFER OVER TIMING OF CZECH EU APPLICATION. President
Vaclav Havel believes the Czech Republic will apply for membership in
the European Union this year but Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus still
thinks the country will not be ready to apply until 1996, Czech media
report on 19 January. Mlada Fronta Dnes quoted Havel as saying after
talks with Polish President Lech Walesa on 18 January that an official
application will probably be made this year, although the Czech Republic
may be admitted first to NATO and then to the EU because conditions for
the former are not so strict. Klaus did not exclude the possibility of
applying to the EU this year but is in favor of sticking to the
government's original plan of asking for membership before the 1996 EU
summit. A government committee is due to begin work next month on the
arduous task of ensuring that Czech laws meet EU standards. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK-AUSTRIAN CONFLICT OVER MOCHOVCE HEATS UP. Controversy surrounding
the construction of Slovakia's nuclear plant at Mochovce has recently
soured otherwise good relations between Slovakia and neighboring
Austria, Slovak press and Reuters report. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar, in an 18 January letter to Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky,
criticized the Austrian side for "unilaterally" selecting the "place,
time, and form" of discussion on the subject. He said the management of
Mochovce considers the meeting organized by the Austrians on 23-24
January in Vienna as "inappropriate for achieving the intended goal."
Slovak and French construction firms working on the Mochovce project
have refused an invitation to attend the meeting, complaining it would
likely be turned into an antinuclear demonstration. Austrian Environment
Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat said it is "an unbelievable insult to
Austria when someone says that in our country we cannot hold a peaceful
and matter-of-fact discussion," Sme reports. She also noted the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development would have to extend the public
hearing period if the Slovak side refused to attend. One of the
conditions for an EBRD loan needed to complete the project is that
studies on Mochovce be made available for public review. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF GHETTO LIBERATION IN HUNGARY. Survivors and
dignitaries braved freezing temperatures to commemorate the Red Army
liberation 50 years ago of Budapest's ghetto, Western news agencies
report. Hundreds filled the Garden of Heroes behind the main synagogue,
from where many Budapest Jews were transported to death camps. The
ghetto was set up in late 1944 following the German occupation of
Hungary in March of that year. More than 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished
in Nazi camps, while some 50,000 survived in the ghetto. -- Edith Oltay,
OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PROBLEMS CONTINUE FOR UN IN BOSNIA. International media report on 19
January that a host of problems continue to dog the UN's attempts to
reinforce the shaky cease-fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Government
forces fired on Serbian forces near Donji Vakuf; a Serbian sniper
seriously wounded a Sarajevo teenager; and government forces were again
spotted in the Mt. Igman demilitarized zone. Supply roads remain closed
and Sarajevo's gas supply is precarious. In violation of the UN's no-fly
zone over the embattled republic, Krajina Serb helicopters on 18 January
flew at least 20 supply missions to Serbian forces around Bihac, the Los
Angeles Times reported the next day. Bosnian Serb gunners also
reinforced their positions around the "safe area" of Srebrenica. All
these developments suggest that the current cease-fire is regarded by
both sides as little more than a breathing space before resuming serious
fighting in the spring. The New York Times concludes that the
international community has given up on military deterrents and that
other options have not worked. "Peace-making efforts . . . now lack
direction, ideas, or any momentum," the newspaper says. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

OTHER BOSNIAN NEWS. The independent Borba on 19 January quotes US
ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright as outlining eight points that
rump Yugoslavia must clarify regarding its relations with the Bosnian
Serbs. The move is connected to the extension of the partial lifting of
sanctions against Belgrade for a second period of 100 days. One of the
points is "ending all logistical and other support for the Bosnian Serb
army." Vjesnik, meanwhile, describes continuing problems between the
Muslim and Croatian partners in the Federation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The Zagreb press has been reporting for some days on
various tensions and frictions stemming from the Croatian fear that the
Muslims view themselves as the dominant--if not ruling--element and
refuse to treat the Croats as equals. In the latest exchange, the
Constituent Assembly was unable to meet on 18 January because the two
sides' leaderships could not reach agreement in advance on the rotation
of the current president and vice president. The Muslims say that the
term of the federation's Croatian president, Kresimir Zubak, has
expired, while the Croats maintain that the length of his mandate must
be linked to the implementation of all provisions of the Washington
agreements that set up the federation. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA TO RECONSIDER EXPELLING UNPROFOR? News agencies report on 18
January that Zagreb may let UNPROFOR stay on after its current mandate
runs out on 31 March if Belgrade recognizes Croatia in its Tito-era
boundaries and if Croatian refugees from Serb-held territories can go
home. This would fulfill two key demands that Zagreb has long made
regarding UNPROFOR's mandate. Meanwhile, Hina notes that the Croatian
government will build a center near Osijek to house 40,000 refugees with
Norwegian and other West European money. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA'S JOBLESS LAWYERS. Hina reports on 18 January that Croatia had
247,55 registered unemployed in December 1994, up 1.8% over the previous
year. The list is topped by lawyers and other "skilled and highly
skilled professionals." Elsewhere, Finance Minister Bozo Prka on 17
January told Reuters that his government has "stabilized the economy and
eliminated inflation," adding that "if we settle the political problems,
Croatia will be a model for small countries in economic transition."
Hina reported the same day that the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development has made a DM 70 million loan to Croatia to improve its road
network, including completing a major highway between Zagreb and the
Adriatic coast. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BORBA SAYS IT'S GAINING SUPPORT. Borba on 19 January notes that the list
of national and international voices offering their material and moral
support to the independent newspaper has grown to include the
Independent Syndicate of Metalworkers of Serbia. Leaders of the ethnic
Hungarian community in Vojvodina have also registered their backing,
recognizing Borba as "a symbol of objective, independent, and free"
reporting. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's regime on 26 December
attempted to silence Borba by backing the launching of a state-
sanctioned version of the newspaper under the directorship of
Milosevic's ally Dragutin Brcin. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER VISITS MACEDONIA. Flaka reports on 19 January
that Max van der Stoel met with Fadil Sulejmani, the director of the
self-declared and not legally recognized Albanian-language university in
Tetovo, and with members of the ethnic Albanian Democratic People's
Party. The Albanian representatives stressed that the educational
situation of Albanians in Macedonia has deteriorated since Serbian
authorities closed the University of Pristina in Kosovo. Van der Stoel
noted that in accordance with international conventions signed by
Macedonia in 1990, the Albanians have a right to higher education in
their mother tongue. But he added that this issue must be solved in
keeping with the law and that a new measure dealing with higher
education, which could bring a solution to the conflict, might be passed
by the parliament soon. Van der Stoel also met with Arben Xhaferi, the
leader of the Tetovo-based wing of the ethnic Albanian Party of
Democratic Prosperity, and his deputy Menduh Thaci. The splinter
grouping is not legally recognized under the party's name but is vocal
in its demands that Albanians and Macedonians be recognized as legal co-
equals in the Macedonian state. This demand has been criticized by both
other minorities and Macedonians who argue that the current constitution
guarantees the equality of all citizens. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PREMIER VISITS HUNEDOARA COUNTY. Nicolae Vacaroiu on 18 January
visited several industrial facilities in Hunedoara county, including
steel plants at Hunedoara and Calan and a mining equipment maintenance
plant at Hunedoara. He was accompanied by a delegation that included the
industry and transports ministers, as well as Adrian Nastase, executive
chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. The high-
ranking officials, who were briefed on the precarious state of the
ailing communist-era industries in the region, stressed in separate
statements the need for restructuring Romania's metal industry. Some
referred specifically to Resita, where an agreement has been reached on
more government support for that purpose. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA HOLDS TUGBOAT SUSPECTED OF VIOLATING UN SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP
YUGOSLAVIA. Reuters reported on 17 January that Romania was holding a
tugboat suspected of violating UN sanctions against Serbia and
Montenegro. The tugboat, which was towing six barges laden with cement
for Austria, was detained on 15 January. A senior Romanian police
official said 11 tons of fuel oil were found aboard the vessel. Rump
Yugoslavia has experienced an acute fuel shortage over the past two
years because of the UN embargo. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

GAS SHORTAGE IN BULGARIA. Almost all heating plants in Bulgaria are
currently working to a special schedule because of a shortage of gas
supplies from Russia, Kontinent reports on 19 January. Lyulin Radulov,
chairman of the government Committee for Energy, told 24 chasa that
Bulgaria has received 1.5 million cubic meters less than it should. He
added that Bulgaria has no alternative to supplies from Russia. On the
same subject, Trud reported on 18 January that the metallurgical plant
of Kremikovtsi near Sofia was forced to stop production for the first
time due to a lack of gas supplies. The monthly losses caused by the gas
shortage are estimated at 2.5-3 billion leva ($37-44 million) a month,
Pari reported the same day. The newspaper notes that the honoring of
contracts for exports worth $320 million is also at stake. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN WATER CRISIS. Petar Stankov, chairman of the Sofia
City Council, said that the present water regulations for Sofia may be
in force for the whole year, BTA reported on 18 January. Most districts
in the capital currently have water only one day in four. If there is
not enough rain, measures will be even stricter in the summer, Stankov
added. 24 chasa reported on 17 January that the Union of Democratic
Forces is trying to blame the former government led by Lyuben Berov for
the water crisis, while Berov says "it is not the only one responsible."
The former prime minister referred to a statement by UDF leader Ivan
Kostov, who noted that the Berov government failed to secure a $98
million credit from the World Bank for water projects. Standart reported
on 17 January that the mayor of Sofia, Aleksandar Yanulchev, has
presented a program to the city council to secure water supplies by the
year 2000. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The Daily Digest is
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
"SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation
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Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail
to: omripub@omri.cz

Telephone: (42 2) 6114 2114 Fax: (42 2) 426 396


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