If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 17 part I, 24 January 1995

No. 17, Part II, 24 January 1995

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is 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

POLAND PLANS COMMEMORATION AT AUSCHWITZ. Ceremonies to commemorate the
50th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
concentration camp will take place on 26 and 27 January, with German
President Roman Herzog and Danish Queen Margrethe expected to attend,
PAP and international news agencies report. Although Arnold Mostowicz,
president of the Jewish War Veterans and Camp Survivors, said that most
Polish Jews are satisfied with the way the ceremonies have been
organized, Jews in Germany have complained that Poland is confusing
victims and murderers by giving equal attention to Christian and Jewish
victims, Reuters reports. Ninety percent of the people killed in the
camp were Jewish, but Polish presidential aide Andrzej Zakrzewski said
that the religions of all the Auschwitz victims should be equally
represented. In an opinion poll sponsored by the Polish government and
released on 23 January, only 8% of respondents said that mainly Jews
were exterminated at Auschwitz, while 47% said it was a place where
Poles were killed. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CEFTA MEETING OPENS IN WARSAW. Agriculture ministers from the four
member countries of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (Poland,
Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) as well as Slovenia began a
two-day meeting in Warsaw on 23 January to discuss speeding up the
removal of barriers to free trade. Czech Agricultural Minister Josef Lux
proposed an accelerated timetable for trade liberalization, saying that
one of the biggest obstacles thus far has been "the protectionist policy
of the European Union," Lidove noviny reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

UKRAINE'S ENERGY MINISTRY BANKRUPT. The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and
Electricity announced that it was bankrupt, Ukrainian radio reported on
23 January. The statement was made by the deputy minister for energy and
electricity, Oleksii Sheberstov. According to Sheberstov, the ministry
is owed over 20 trillion karbovantsy by consumers, while it owes around
32 trillion karbovantsy. The current exchange rate is 110,000
karbovantsy to the dollar. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO BLOCK AUSTERITY MEASURES IN DRAFT BUDGET,
SPEAKER SAYS. The socialist chairman of the Ukrainian legislature,
Oleksander Moroz, says that the parliament will reject the government's
proposed budget cuts for social welfare and culture, Interfax-Ukraine
reported on 23 January. Moroz told Interfax that this year's draft
budget, submitted by President Leonid Kuchma's team of economic
reformers, will have difficulties getting through parliament. Kuchma
announced recently that the 1995 draft budget will be the toughest ever
in the social welfare sphere in the government's effort to lower the
budget deficit to 4-5% and stabilize Ukraine's beleaguered economy.
Moroz, a leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, pointed to economics
ministry forecasts that prices will triple this year, while the proposed
budget would increase wages in Ukraine's still large state sector no
more than 2.6 times. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

ANTONCHYK TO READ ANOTHER REPORT. Belarusian deputy Syarhei Antonchyk,
has requested permission to read another report in parliament,
Belarusian radio reported on 23 January. In December Antonchyk read a
sensational report on corruption in President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
cabinet which prompted several cabinet members to submit their
resignations. The request for permission to read the new report in
February says the paper will deal with the legality of some of the
decisions by the cabinet of ministers and president's administration and
would take an hour and a half to read. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA'S RULING PARTY EXPELS PARLIAMENT DEPUTY. The Council of the
Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party on 21 January expelled parliament
deputy Kestutis Gaska for not complying with party rules, RFE/RL's
Lithuanian Service reported on 23 January. Gaska joined the LDLP in
August 1992. He defeated eight other candidates in the single mandate
Lazdijai electoral district several months later. In spring 1994 he
formally left the LDLP faction, protesting the party's failure to
fulfill its pre-election promises. As a member of the parliament's
National Security Committee, he frequently criticized the activities of
the Defense Ministry. --Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

1,373 CANDIDATES FOR ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT. A total of 1,373 candidates
have registered to run in the 5 March parliament elections, the National
Electoral Committee announced. Except for 13 candidates running as
individuals, the candidates were included in lists submitted by seven
coalitions and nine separate parties by the 19 January deadline. There
are 101 seats in the parliament. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH-SLOVAK CUSTOMS UNION COUNCIL MEETS. Czech and Slovak officials met
on 23 January in the Slovak town of Casta-Papiernicka to discuss the
customs union agreement which was been in effect since the split of
Czechoslovakia, Slovak and Czech press report. While both sides
recognized the importance of the customs union's continued existence,
the Czech side expressed several concerns with its current structure.
According to Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Vladimir Dlouhy, the
Slovak government has unilaterally accepted measures which are not in
the spirit of the customs union, leading to a drop in bilateral trade in
the past year which has been especially unfavorable for the Czech
Republic. In the first nine months of 1994, Czech exports to Slovakia
fell by 23.4%, while Slovak exports to the Czech Republic decreased by
only 1.5%. Problems related to the payment agreement should be solved by
a group of experts by 10 February, Czech Deputy Premier and Finance
Minister Ivan Kocarnik said, and a final agreement is expected to be
decided by the two country's prime ministers. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER VISITS BRUSSELS. In an effort to confirm Slovakia's
interest in European integration, Vladimir Meciar traveled to Brussels
on 23 January for a two-day visit, accompanied by Deputy Premier Jozef
Kalman and Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, Slovak dailies report. Meeting
with officials from NATO, the WEU and the European parliament, one of
the major topics of discussion concerned Slovak-Hungarian relations.
Meciar said he realizes that Western integration depends on resolving
the dispute over minorities with Hungary and assured officials that
"there are no obstacles on our part" to an improvement in bilateral
relations, Reuters reports. Meciar will travel to Hungary on 24-25
January at the invitation of his Hungarian counterpart Gyula Horn to
discuss the bilateral state-treaty and European integration. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GENERAL ROSE LEAVES UN'S BOSNIAN COMMAND. International media reported
on 23 January that General Sir Michael Rose left Sarajevo for Zagreb at
the end of his tour of duty and that he will be replaced by his British
compatriot Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith, who won fame in the Gulf
War. Rose chalked up one last achievement before leaving, persuading the
Serbs and Muslims to sign yet another extensive accord. This would
reopen supply routes to Sarajevo for all charities and civilians and
free 600 prisoners by 1 February. Although this involved getting the
Serbs to remake promises they have already broken repeatedly, Rose was
pleased with the agreement. Reuters quoted him as saying that "it is all
pointing to the fact that both sides see this opportunity as a very real
opportunity for peace... [so that they could] return their people to
proper normalized living as any European country should do." Die Welt
noted on 21 January, however, that Rose will not be missed by Bosnian
government officials and quoted Vice President Ejup Ganic as saying that
"when General Rose goes, nobody will shed a tear or even shake his hand
in farewell." Politika reports from London on 24 January that Smith can
be expected to continue Rose's policies, which are widely believed in
the Balkans to be those of a pro-Serb British Foreign Office. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

US CONTINUES TALKS WITH BOSNIAN SERBS. Reuters reported on 24 January
that special envoy Charles Thomas held a second round of talks the
previous day with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic at Pale before
going on to meet with Ganic and Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak. The
Washington Post on 24 January quotes Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke, who inaugurated the policy of direct talks with Pale
last month, as saying that Thomas talked with the Serbs without the
Contact Group allies present because none of them could come. He added
that the Bosnian government approved of the visit, although the Sarajevo
authorities have publicly complained about Washington's new policy
toward the Serbs. The newspaper points out that Germany opposed the
unilateral mission and suggests that American domestic politics may lie
behind the Clinton administration's friendly stance toward the Serbs. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS SHELL VELIKA KLADUSA AREA. AFP reported on 23 January that Krajina
Serbs fired more than 200 artillery or mortar shells around Velika
Kladusa in the Bihac pocket. Meanwhile in Tuzla, Reuters said that the
Bosnian army lifted its blockade of the UN facilities at the airport
after a Serb liaison officer was taken out by helicopter. The Bosnian
authorities argued that the man had no proper business there and that he
was suspected of having committed war crimes. Finally, the UN Security
Council voted to prolong economic and political sanctions imposed on the
Bosnian Serbs a year before, saying that the conditions that prompted
the move in the first place still obtain. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. "No to Beta" is how the state-sanctioned Borba of 24
January headlines its report on the decision by the state-controlled
daily Vecernje Novosti to stop using the services of the independent
news agency Beta. In other media-related developments, on 22 January
over 100 independent journalists, employees of the daily Borba prior to
its take-over by the regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
issued a statement dubbing the recent actions of the regime "despotic."
The journalists on 19 January were involved with registering and
launching a new independent daily, Nasa Borba. Sale of Nasa Borba has
been delayed, ostensibly due to a newsprint shortage. The independent
journalists, however, speculate the want of paper may be due more to the
government's continuing harassment of the free press, and Nasa Borba in
particular, than because of a genuine shortage. Finally, on 22 January
the BBC reported on mass protests in Belgrade the previous day over cuts
in electricity, a commodity which some analysts as well as opposition
party leaders in Serbia allege is being consciously rationed by the
Milosevic regime so as to export supplies to neighboring countries. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

EU ACCORD WITH CROATIA DEPENDS ON ITS PEACE STANCE. The decision to
start negotiations for an economic accord between the EU and Croatia
depends on Zagreb's stance on the peace process in the former
Yugoslavia, EU foreign ministers said at a meeting in Brussels on
January 23. AFP reports that the ministers asked the European Commission
to prepare proposals on the accord for a meeting next month. The
decision on whether to proceed will then be made in March. The EU
foreign ministers expressed concern about Croatia's decision not to
renew the UN mandate for peacekeepers on its territory and asked Zagreb
to reconsider its decision. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

INTERETHNIC TENSION IN ROMANIA . . . President Ion Iliescu called on 23
January on the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania to dismantle
its newly-established council on local administration. Presidential
spokesman Traian Chebeleu told reporters in Bucharest that the council,
which includes mayors and local councilors, interferes with the work of
local government and is illegal, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest
reports. Earlier, the government denounced the setting up of the council
in a special declaration (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 January 1995). HDFR
leaders rejected the appeals. They protested the government's stance by
refusing to join a government delegation led by Viorel Hrebenciuc, who
heads the Council for National Minorities. HDFR president Bela Marko
told Radio Bucharest that the "inexplicably vehement" declaration of the
government made the HDFR reconsider its initial acceptance to join the
delegation. The delegation left for Budapest on 23 January, where it
started talks focusing on bilateral ties and national minority issues
with Hungarian officials. Also on 23 January, the Senate's Defense,
Public Order and National Security Commission said the HDFR's autonomy
claims could have "serious consequences for political and social
stability and for Romania's national security," Reuters reported. The
commission called for a meeting of the Supreme Council of National
Defense, which deals with threats to national security and is chaired by
the President, to discuss the matter. -- Michael Shafir., OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND HUNGARY'S RESPONSE. Hungary's six parliamentary parties, in a
joint communique on 23 January, expressed their shock and concern about
recent Romanian statements concerning the policy and status of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, MTI reports. The communique
stressed that the HDFR's policy complied with the rule of law as well as
with the Romanian constitution and laws. The statement regretted that
the Romanian government joined the campaign of extremist Romanian
politicians against the Hungarian minority. Scheduled meetings between
Romanian Government Secretary-General Viorel Hrebenciuc, who is
currently visiting Hungary, and Prime Minister Gyula Horn and President
Arpad Goncz were canceled, MTI reported on 24 January. MTI commented
that the reason for the cancellation was probably the recent Romanian
government attacks against the HDFR. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DISMISSES MAYORS. The government on 23 January
dismissed the mayor of the Transylvanian town of Brasov and top local
administration officials in 27 other towns, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Bucharest reported on the same day. In a press statement, the government
claimed mayor Adrian Moruzzi had mismanaged the city's budget and
illegally sold sites within the city. Moruzzi was elected in 1992 on the
list of the Democratic Convention of Romania, the umbrella organization
of Romania's centrist opposition. The government also announced it had
dismissed the mayors of 10 smaller towns as well as town counselors in
17 towns. The Vacaroiu government has dismissed a large number of local
administration officials since its appointment in fall 1992. Most of
these were members of the opposition parties. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

BULGARIA'S FUTURE GOVERNMENT COUNTS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH. Bulgaria's
future government pledged to avoid inflationary spending, Reuters
reported on 23 January. Rumen Gechev, who will be one of four deputy
prime ministers and Minister for Economic Development in the Socialist-
led cabinet, said that economic growth will allow the new government to
fulfill promises made before the 18 December elections to make life
easier for those living in poverty. Gechev was speaking in an interview
with Bulgarian radio. He said that the BSP has no intention to raise the
budget deficit, as this "would ruin the whole financial and economic
system," adding that he would back Finance Ministry efforts to limit
spending. The state budget for 1995 will be passed by the new cabinet by
the end of March, 24 chasa reported on 24 January. BSP chairman and
future Prime Minister Zhan Videnov informed President Zhelyu Zhelev
about the new government on 23 January, Pari reported the following day.
The cabinet will be presented to parliament on 25 January. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN TURKS PROTEST AGAINST NEW MINISTER. Members of the ethnic Turk
Movement for Rights and Freedom protested against the nomination of
Ilcho Dimitrov as Minister of Education and Science, Standart reported
on 24 January. The local MRF leadership of Kazanlak issued a declaration
which was addressed to parliament and to President Zhelev. In this
declaration Dimitrov, a historian, is accused of having been one of the
initiators of the forceful Bulgarization of ethnic Turks' names in the
1980s and of having actively taken part in it. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

PARTIAL LIFTING OF GREEK EMBARGO ON MACEDONIA? Greece might partially
lift the trade embargo on Macedonia by 1 February, Vecher reported on 24
January. The newspaper cited a representative of the Greek Chamber of
Commerce in Thessaloniki as saying on Greek television that the proposal
is linked to the session of the European Court, which will deal with the
question of the embargo on 1 February. Greek government spokesman
Evangelos Venizelos said on 22 January, however, that the embargo will
remain in force and the Greek position will not change, no matter what
the European Court decides. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

KOSOVAR POLITICIAN CALLS FOR SUMMONING PARLIAMENT. The leader of the
Parliamentary Party of Kosovo, Bajram Kosumi, called in an interview
with the Albanian-language service of Deutsche Welle on 22 January for
an early meeting of parliament, which was elected in May 1992 but has
still to meet. The old communist-era parliament continued its work in
Macedonia until December 1993 when its mandate ended. Police prevented
the new parliament from meeting and then expelled the legislators to
Kosovo in December 1994. Kosumi said that there are no clear concepts on
how the current deadlock in Kosovo can be ended. He also mentioned
"misunderstandings" between the exile government in Stuttgart and the
Coordinating Council of Albanian Political Parties in former Yugoslavia,
a political structure which is functioning in the role of a parliament.
He added that a new government should be elected and said that the
current one is not able to organize functioning shadow-state structures
in Kosovo from exile. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle
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
marks and inserting your name where shown) to
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be
included. The publication can also be obtained for a fee in printed form
by fax and postal mail. Please direct inquiries to: Editor, Daily
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

 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole