The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus
OMRI DAILY DIGEST Part II

Vol. 1, No. 15, Part II, 20 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

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS ODESSA OIL TERMINAL. The Ukrainian
legislature has appropriated land for the construction of an oil
terminal near the Black sea port of Odessa in an effort to ease
Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia, Reuters reported on 19 January.
Legislators voted 208 to 83 in favor of a site 40 km east of Odessa. The
project was halted in 1994 after local officials vetoed it on grounds
the terminal would damage the environment. Ukraine is still searching
for funding for the $3.4 billion terminal, which could receive up to 40
million tons of oil annually either by tanker from the Middle East or
through a pipeline across Turkey to the Black Sea. Most of Ukraine's oil
needs, estimated at 36 million tons, are now met by Russia, which
provides 8 million tons annually through state channels. Deputies say
the terminal could be operational in 16-18 months, with an initial
annual capacity of 12 million tons. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS STRIKES MULTIMILLION TRACTOR DEAL. Interfax on 19 January
reported that Belarus has signed a multimillion dollar tractor deal with
Pakistan. Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Harkun says the deal provides
for the export of 12,000 Belarusian tractors to Pakistan over six months
for less than $5,000 each. When the USSR broke up, Belarus was the
world's third-largest tractor manufacturer after the U.S. and Japan.
Minsk is currently trying to negotiate a deal for the same volume of
tractors with Iran. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS SENDS MORE RUSSIAN WEAPONS TO U.S. The Belgian newspaper Le Soir
reports that a sophisticated missile fire control system used by the
Russians has been seized near Antwerp because customs authorities
thought it might be bound for the Middle East. The paper discovered that
the equipment--called "Rangir"--originated in Minsk and has been sold to
"a well-heeled U.S. company." The "Rangir" is a mobile missile battery
command post designed by the Agat Institute in Minsk and is used by the
Russian armed forces to control SA-15 and SA-19 air defense missiles. Le
Soir revealed that a number of even more sophisticated missile control
systems, known as MP-22-E and also from Agat, recently passed through
Antwerp en route to the U.S. from Minsk. Russian officials and
commentators blasted Belarus for selling the modern S-300-PMU missile
defense system to a U.S. company that turned out to be an agent for the
U.S. government. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA PASSES NEW CITIZENSHIP LAW. The Estonian parliament on 19
January adopted a new citizenship law by a vote of 60 to 6, BNS reports.
Under the previous legislation, people could apply for citizenship after
two years residency in the country and could be naturalized one year
after submitting the application. The new law requires five years
residency to apply for citizenship. It also bans Estonian citizens from
having dual citizenship but allows such citizenship for ethnic Estonians
who are citizens of another country. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

STATUS OF FORMER SOVIET CITIZENS IN LATVIA. The law on the status of
former Soviet citizens who are citizens of neither Latvia nor another
state has been approved by the Saeima on its second reading, BNS and
Interfax report on 19 January. The law, which will go into effect when
approved on its third reading, gives former Soviet citizens rights such
as free movement within Latvia, free exit from and entry into the
country, and freedom of expression and religion. But it does not grant
them the right, enjoyed by Latvian citizens, to take part in elections,
buy land, or possess weapons for self-defense. Noncitizen passports will
be issued to people who were permanent residents of Latvia before 1 July
1992, unless they retired from service in the Soviet army after 4 May
1990. Saeima Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs said the approval of the law
on its second reading will greatly improve Latvia's chances of becoming
a member of the Council of Europe in February. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIAN DUMA ASKS LITHUANIA NOT TO DEPORT EX-SOVIET ACTIVISTS. The
Russian State Duma on 18 January issued an appeal to the Lithuanian
parliament not to deport four Russian citizens who were active in the
pro-Soviet organization Edinstvo. The four have been asked to leave
Lithuania by 22 January. Parliament chairman Ceslovas Jursenas told
RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service on 19 January that it was unlikely the
parliament would discuss a response to the appeal but that the
parliament's leadership would probably reply officially next week after
it determines whether the deportation order conforms with Lithuanian
law. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH SEJM DEBATES MILITARY COMMAND. President Lech Walesa on 19
January found himself isolated in a Sejm debate on the command structure
of the armed forces, which took place after nearly one year's delay .
Arguing that "military people should run the military," Walesa supported
draft legislation that would give greater power to the General Staff,
reduce the role of the Defense Ministry, and subordinate military
intelligence and counterintelligence to the General Staff. Walesa
opposed any reduction in the army's size, Rzeczpospolita reports. The
ruling coalition and most of the opposition called for a command
structure in which the General Staff would answer to the civilian
Defense Ministry. Only two minor parties endorsed Walesa's version, but
there was consensus that the armed forces should be shielded from
political influence and that NATO membership is Poland's chief security
goal. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

NO DECISION ON POLISH BUDGET. President Lech Walesa told a press
conference in the Sejm on 19 January that his decision on whether to
sign the 1995 budget depends on the coalition's willingness to come to
terms with him. Walesa has until 2 February to make up his mind. Asked
if he planned to dissolve the parliament, Walesa vowed not to violate
the legal system but added that "we have good laws and still better
lawyers, so the impossible often becomes possible," Gazeta Wyborcza
reports. The constitution offers no legal grounds for the president to
dissolve the parliament in the current situation. The coalition parties,
fearing new legal improvisation on Walesa's part that will block the
budget, are inclined to compromise. Walesa hinted that he had no
objections to one of the coalition's rumored candidates for the Foreign
Ministry but mentioned no names. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATES INTERNAL SPYING CHARGES. A Czech
government committee is investigating accusations that the state
counterintelligence agency BIS illegally collected information on
political parties, Czech media report. The committee is made up of one
minister from each of the four parties in the governing coalition. The
main charges of BIS spying were made by Deputy Prime Minister Jan
Kalvoda. He took part in a committee session on 19 January in place of
his designated party colleague Jiri Skalicky, who left with Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus on a visit to Egypt. Kalvoda said he provided the
committee with broader information than he submitted to a parliament
commission simultaneously investigating the issue. -- Steve Kettle,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES CABINET PROGRAM. Addressing the parliament
on 19 January, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said the cabinet's
most important strategic goal is European integration, Narodna obroda
reports. He noted that to achieve this goal, the rights of all
minorities must be respected and a policy of economic revitalization and
development introduced. Slovakia plans to submit its application to the
European Union by 30 June. Meciar said the country will strive to
achieve a standard of living comparable to that of industrial European
countries by the year 2010. The program has drawn criticism from the
opposition as being overly ambitious and not specific enough about how
to reach its goals. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

AUSTRIA CANCELS HEARING ON SLOVAK NUCLEAR PLANT. Austrian Environment
Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat on 19 January announced that Austria's
hearing on Mochovce, scheduled for 23-24 January in Vienna, will not
take place because of the refusal of the two firms building the nuclear
power plant to participate. She also said Austria would officially
inform the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of the
meeting's cancellation, Sme reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

POLL ON HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT'S PERFORMANCE. An opinion survey conducted
in December by Szonda Ipsos found that general satisfaction with the
government was rated 44.9 points on a scale of 0 to 100, a drop of 0.8
points compared with November and a 3-point drop compared with October,
Magyar Hirlap reports on 19 January. The government fared even worse
with regard to its performance on the economy, the easing of social
problems, and the maintenance of law and order (a combined total of 42.9
points). The population was most satisfied with the government's
performance in developing relations with Hungary's neighbors and in
guaranteeing media freedom, with the government's rating declining only
by 1-2 points. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ESCALATION OF FIGHTING AROUND VELIKA KLADUSA. International media on 19
January reported UN officials as saying that 700 shells exploded near
the UNPROFOR compound, close to Velika Kladusa. The town is the power
base of local Muslim rebel kingpin Fikret Abdic, whose forces retook it
last month with the help of Krajina and Bosnian Serbs after losing it to
government forces in the summer. The Krajina Serbs and Abdic's units
have not signed the current four-month cease-fire, although Abdic has
given his verbal approval. The UN called the shellings a "significant
increase in military activity" and reported that Krajina Serbs are
bringing up heavy guns, but it is unclear who was responsible for how
many of the latest exchanges. AFP also noted that the Bosnian Serbs have
recently advanced about 1.5 kilometers into the UN-declared "safe area"
of Srebrenica. Meanwhile, government delegates in Sarajevo walked out of
a UN-sponsored meeting to discuss procedures on the separation of forces
specified in the cease-fire agreement. The government wanted to protest
the continued lack of progress in reopening Sarajevo supply routes.
Croatian delegates joined the walkout, leaving the UN to talk with the
Serbs. The Serbs, for their part, refused to join a planned helicopter
monitoring flight over Mt. Igman, saying the area under inspection
included territories outside the demilitarized zone. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES BY THE CONTACT GROUP AND GREECE. The Washington
Post reports on 20 January that a delegation from the Contact Group will
return to Sarajevo on 21 January. The paper suggests that the Clinton
administration is anxious to be seen as taking serious action to restore
the current cease-fire and thereby prevent a rumored return visit by
former President Jimmy Carter to the area. Bosnian Vice President Ejup
Ganic was unimpressed, telling reporters that "the Contact Group comes,
we give them coffee, they ask questions, and they leave." Meanwhile, the
government-controlled edition of Borba (see below) on 20 January reports
that a representative of the Greek Foreign Ministry is visiting the
Bosnian Serb headquarters in Pale. He is reportedly presenting a message
on ending the conflict, but the paper notes that the Greek press
provides no details. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

NASA BORBA LAUNCHED. Politika on 20 January reports that Belgrade's
independent newspaper Borba, currently the target of a government take-
over bid, has now officially reincorporated and registered itself as
Nasa Borba. Gordana Logar is to stay on as editor in chief. Publication
of Nasa Borba's first issue is expected to be delayed, due to a lack of
newsprint. Meanwhile, Tanjug reports that Belgrade has asked TV stations
throughout Serbia to reduce their hours of broadcasting to between 18:30
and 23:00 local time to help conserve electricity. Power shortages and
cuts have been common throughout rump Yugoslavia this winter, with the
opposition accusing Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's regime of
reducing electricity supplies in order to barter that energy for oil
with neighboring countries. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Foreign Minister Mate Granic has stressed that
President Franjo Tudjman's decision not to renew UNPROFOR's mandate at
the end of March is final, Reuters reported on 18 January. He said
Zagreb has "carefully considered" the concerns expressed by the UN but
also noted that "on this occasion, it is again necessary to reiterate
Croatia's decision." Much tougher language was used by Vladimir Seks,
the lower house deputy speaker and one of the leading hard-liners in the
governing party. Seks was quoted by Hina as saying the decision was
"irrevocable" and no bluff. Meanwhile, Hina and Reuters quoted IMF
officials as praising Croatia's efforts to end inflation and stabilize
the economy. One official said Croatia's inflation must be the lowest in
the world. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES CALLS TO BAN HUNGARIAN PARTY. Traian
Chebeleu, a spokesman for Romanian President Ion Iliescu, on 19 January
described calls to ban the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania--
the main political organization of Romania's Hungarian minority--as
"extravagant." Gheorghe Funar, the controversial leader of the ruling
Party of Romanian National Unity, recently proposed a referendum on
whether to outlaw the HDFR. But Chebeleu said a referendum can be held
only in accordance with the constitution, indicating that Funar has no
constitutional right to call such a vote. Recent demands by the HDFR for
more autonomy for Romania's ethnic Hungarians have prompted protests
from nearly all other Romanian parties. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA RELEASES NEW AIDS STATISTICS. The Romanian Health Ministry on 19
January announced that as of 31 December 1994, a total of 3,119 AIDS
cases had been registered in the country, of whom 2,885 were children,
Radio Bucharest reports. The statement said 1,154 people so far had died
of the disease. It also noted that the number of new cases had recently
dropped, mainly owing to such preventive measures as the use of one-time
needles and screening blood for transfusion. Meanwhile, the parents of a
child dying of AIDS continue their legal battle against a local hospital
and the Health Ministry for 200 million lei (some $113,000) in damages.
They say their daughter was infected when she was treated for influenza
in 1992 in the Santa Maria hospital in Iasi. The Health Ministry on 17
January rejected the allegations, saying that the exact time of the
child's infection could not be established. Social workers and lawyers
expect the case to set a precedent for other child AIDS victims. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

SHEVARDNADZE IN SOFIA. During a one-day visit to Sofia on 19 January,
Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze met with Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev and signed a bilateral treaty on friendship and
cooperation. The two leaders also called for a peaceful resolution to
the Chechen conflict, Western agencies report. Shevardnadze told a
meeting of foreign businessmen that Georgia has prepared the legislative
base for the transition to a market economy and is following IMF
recommendations. Characterizing the domestic political situation as
"more or less stable," Shevardnadze also proposed Georgia as the route
for a new oil and gas export pipeline from Azerbaijan and Central Asia
to the Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN NUCLEAR PLANT TEMPORARILY CLOSED. Block 3 of the Kozloduy
nuclear power plant had to be shut down for seven hours for technical
reasons on 18 January, AFP reported the same day. The director of the
plant assured the public there was no nuclear leakage and no security
risk. But he admitted that there was a technical problem in the block.
The Soviet-built plant has been modernized several times in the past
three years but still is considered unsafe by Western experts. Bulgaria
refuses to shut it down, saying that it is dependent on the energy
produced at Kozloduy, which provides some 40% of the country's supplies.
-- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT CAN LIFT JUDGE'S IMMUNITY. Albania's Constitutional
Court ruled on 18 January that the immunity of Chief Supreme Court Judge
Zef Brozi can be lifted by the parliament, Reuters reported the next
day. Brozi is charged with corruption by Chief Prosecutor Alush
Dragoshi, who claims that Brozi illegally ordered the release of a Greek
citizen involved in a narcotics case. A member of the ruling Democratic
Party, Brozi was nominated by President Sali Berisha to stamp out
corruption in the judiciary but later accused Berisha of abandoning him
in his fight. The parliament ruled on 29 December that it is not
entitled to lift a judge's immunity. Now it must decide whether to lift
the immunity of two former ministers. Prosecutors are already
investigating former Transport Minister Fatos Bitincka and Albert Gajo,
an adviser to the prime minister, on charges of abuse of power and
forgery. Meanwhile, the trial of Arben Lika, a former deputy of the
Democratic Party who is charged with smuggling cigarettes, was postponed
until 24 January because of a lack of witnesses, Koha Jone reported on
20 January. -- Fabian Schmidt, 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
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Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail
to: omripub@omri.cz

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