Genius is an African who dreams up snow. Vladimir Nabokov - Vladimir Nabokov
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 18, Part II, 25 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

UKRAINIAN OFFICIAL PROPOSES COORDINATING COUNCIL TO IMPROVE EXECUTIVE-
LEGISLATIVE RELATIONS. Ukrainian Parliament Deputy Chairman Oleh Dyomin
has proposed setting up a state coordinating council to help settle
differences between the president and the parliament, Interfax-Ukraine
reported on 24 January. Dyomin said the council would include the
president, two or three high-ranking administration members, the prime
minister, the parliament speaker and his deputies, and possibly the
ministers of defense, finance, and economics. He added that the council
would play a consultative role and coordinate the actions of the
president, prime minister, and legislature. All three have been locked
in a struggle to delineate their authority within the framework of the
heavily amended, Soviet-era constitution. In an effort to break the
stalemate, President Leonid Kuchma has submitted a controversial
constitutional law on the separation of powers that would give him more
authority. The legislature has preliminarily approved the bill, which is
currently under review by a special commission composed of deputies and
administration officials. Dyomin told Interfax-Ukraine that his idea of
a coordinating council is supported by both the administration and
parliament speaker Oleksander Moroz. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE FULFILLING START-1 OBLIGATIONS. UNIAR reported on 24 January
that Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has said it has fulfilled all
conditions stipulated by the START-1 treaty on removing ICBMs from
Ukrainian territory. It was also reported that U.S. observers who have
been at the Pavlodar Mechanical Plant since 12 January have confirmed
that ICBMs are no longer manufactured there. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

U.S. MILITARY DELEGATION IN BELARUS. Belarusian Radio reports that a
U.S. military delegation arrived in Minsk on 23 January to work out the
Nunn-Lugar program for helping Belarus dismantle its nuclear weapons,
convert its defense industries, and eliminate ecological damage caused
by its military enterprises. The delegation will meet with
representatives from the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and
External Economic Relations. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Lena Hjelm-Wallem, in Vilnius for
a two-day visit, met with President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius, Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, and members of the
parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on 24 January, BNS reported. The
talks focused on the eastward expansion of the European Union, Sweden's
possible role in assisting Lithuania become an associate member, and
dropping visa requirements between the two countries. The two foreign
ministers signed an agreement on mutual assistance in customs
activities. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS PRIME MINISTER VISITS LATVIA. Mikhail Chyhir held talks in Riga
on 23 January with his Latvian counterpart, Maris Gailis, President
Guntis Ulmanis, Saeima Deputy Chairman Aivars Berkis, and Foreign
Minister Valdis Birkavs, BNS reported on 24 January. The meetings
focused on expanding economic cooperation. Belarus wants to use Latvian
ports for imports and exports and is ready to lower customs tariffs to
increase Latvia's transit cargo through Belarus. The two prime ministers
signed a joint communique that envisages agreements on mutual protection
of investments; avoidance of double taxation; cooperation in education,
culture, and science;  pensions; and national minority rights. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER IN LATVIA. Vilem Holan, on a visit to Latvia,
toured the National Defense Academy in Riga and held talks with its
director, Valdis Matiss, BNS reported on 23 January. He also brought
weapons--mainly anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns --worth about 2 million
Czech koruny. Latvian Defense Minister Jan Trapans noted that Czech
specialists will assist in setting up the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion
and improving Latvia's military draft legislation. Holan also held talks
with Prime Minister Maris Gailis and parliament Defense and Interior
Affairs Committee Chairman Andris Ligotnis. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

CEFTA AGREES TO SLASH TARIFFS ON AGRICULTURAL GOODS. The agricultural
ministers of the four signatory countries to the Central European Free
Trade Agreement plus Slovenia agreed in Warsaw on 24 January to cut
tariffs on agricultural products by 50% beginning 1 January 1996.
Accords on quality control are expected to be signed in July 1995. All
tariffs should be removed by January 1998, Hospodarske noviny and TASR
report. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. RABBI PROTESTS POLISH PLANS FOR AUSCHWITZ COMMEMORATION. New York
Rabbi Avi Weiss on 24 January organized a protest outside the palace of
Polish President Lech Walesa, Reuters reports. The demonstrators
criticized the president for failing to guarantee that the ceremonies
commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-
Birkenau concentration camp focus mainly on the Jews exterminated there.
The ceremonies, scheduled for 26 and 27 January, are to give equal
attention to Christian and Jewish victims, despite the fact that 90% of
those killed there were Jewish. Weiss and his followers also protested
the presence of a Catholic church and cross next to the Birkenau and
Auschwitz camps. Meanwhile, in statements released on 24 January, Polish
and German Catholic bishops recognized the guilt of those Christians who
did not oppose the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS NATO MEMBERSHIP SHOULD NOT BE PUT TO
REFERENDUM. Josef Zieleniec told a 24 January news conference that "a
referendum is an exceptional element in our constitutional system. From
this point of view, I do not think that admission to NATO should be a
question of this sort," Rude pravo reports. Both President Vaclav Havel
and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus have said eventual membership in the EU
could be decided in a referendum. Zieleniec said Czech foreign policy in
1995 will concentrate on forging closer ties with both NATO and the EU,
developing relations with Germany, Russia, and Slovakia, and promoting
the Czech Republic abroad as an integral part of the Western world. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT APPROVES LAW ON FOREIGNERS. The Slovak cabinet on 24
January approved a draft law stipulating that requests for long-term
residence in Slovakia be granted only by Slovakia's representatives or
consular offices abroad, Pravda and TASR report. Foreigners entering
Slovakia would have to prove they can finance their stay in the country
and have a return ticket home. Anyone who illegally employs a foreigner
would be required to cover the costs of his deportation. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK HUNGARIAN DEPUTIES, MECIAR IN BUDAPEST. Hungarian deputies
representing the three Hungarian parties in the Slovak parliament--
Coexistence, the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement, and the
Hungarian Civic Party--concluded the official part of their visit to
Hungary on 24 January as Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar arrived
in Budapest, MTI and Magyar Hirlap report on 25 January. The three
leaders, in meetings with Prime Minister Gyula Horn and President Arpad
Goncz, expressed doubts that Meciar's visit would lead to a breakthrough
in Hungarian-Slovak relations. They said the Meciar government's program
was opposed to the interests of the Hungarian minority. -- Edith Oltay,
OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

TUDJMAN CONFIDENT OF NO WAR WITH SERBIA . . . Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman, in an unusually blunt and informal interview with Der Spiegel
on 23 January, says he feels that Serbia is unable or unwilling to risk
a new war with his country. Tudjman, who recently decided not to renew
UNPROFOR's mandate, says the West will back his efforts to "liberate"
Croatian territory, especially in view of the fact that "the Western
world is willing to tolerate Yeltsin's settling accounts with the
Chechens." Tudjman has no regrets about UNPROFOR's departure because its
role has been "counterproductive." Turning to one of his favorite
themes--namely, the age-old demarcation lines between civilizations in
the Balkans--the president argues that it is in Europe's interest to
prevent the establishment of a purely Muslim state in the region. He
also notes that the Croatian-Muslim federation ensures Bosnia will not
become a bastion of fundamentalism. Referring to the frontier between
Roman Catholicism and eastern Orthodoxy, Tudjman stresses that old
divisions need not stand in the way of new peace and prosperity, as
Germany and France proved after World War II. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

. . . BUT MILOSEVIC SUGGESTS OTHERWISE. The BBC on 25 January, however,
quotes a statement by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic warning that
the departure of UNPROFOR from Croatia could have "unforeseeable
consequences." The Serbian media and politicians from Krajina and Pale
have expressed similar fears since the Croats announced their decision.
Some Serbian sources have even suggested that Croatia is itching for a
fight. But Zagreb has stressed it wants a peaceful solution to what it
calls "the reintegration of the occupied territories." It even argues
that UNPROFOR's departure will "give a fresh and strong impetus to the
negotiating process," Hina quotes Foreign Minister Mate Granic as saying
on 24 January. Granic is slated to go to Belgrade in mid-February for
talks on normalizing relations between Croatia and rump Yugoslavia, The
Washington Post noted on 24 January. Meanwhile, Hina reports that
Croatia's Defense and National Security Council backed the decision to
end UNPROFOR's mandate, although it adds that "Croatia is willing to
consider the participation of the international community in monitoring
the process of peaceful reintegration." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CONTACT GROUP WOOS PALE. The Los Angeles Times on 25 January reports
that diplomats from the five-country negotiating team "rushed to rebel
[Serb] headquarters" but "there were no immediate reports of success in
their attempts to persuade the Serbs to accept a peace plan for divvying
up Bosnian territory." Negotiations continued the same day on the terms
for reopening the "blue routes" to Sarajevo. One Bosnian official
doubted that the Serbs would observe their pledges to open the roads,
adding "we already have 10,000 signatures and not a single agreement has
been obeyed. Does the world have amnesia?" Reuters, meanwhile, quoted
Vice President Ejup Ganic as stressing that the Serbs must accept the
current peace plan before talks can begin. But the report noted that the
Serbs "are shy of the word 'acceptance.'" -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

TUDJMAN AND IZETBEGOVIC MEET IN ZAGREB. Vjesnik on 25 January reports
that the Croatia and Bosnian presidents met the previous day to discuss
developments in their respective republics and problems regarding the
setting up of the Croatian-Muslim federation in Bosnia. Vecernji on 25
January reported on the concrete issues facing the federation in Mostar,
which just marked six months under EU administration. Interviews with
the respective mayors of the Croatian and Muslim halves of the city
illustrate the differences in positions: the Croatian mayor calls for
political issues to be settled at the top level before progress can be
made in the city, but his Muslim counterpart feels that Mostar should be
a "pilot project for the federation." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON MACEDONIAN EMBARGO. Karolos Papoulias on 24
January denied that his government plans to lift the economic embargo
against Macedonia, Vecher reported the following day. The blockade was
imposed in February 1994. A representative of the Greek Chamber of
Commerce in Thessaloniki suggested previously that the embargo might be
lifted by 1 February. Papoulias said the forthcoming European Court
hearing on the legitimacy of the Greek move would not pressure Greece
into lifting the embargo as long as the Macedonian government does not
make any concessions to Greece. Athens wants Macedonia to change its
name, flag, and constitution in order to avoid what Greece says are
territorial claims. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

NEW MINISTERS IN SLOVENIA. Reuters on 23 January quotes Slovenian Prime
Minister Janez Drnovsek as saying that Zoran Thaler, a member of
Drnovsek's Liberal Democratic Party and president of the parliament
Board for international relations, has been nominated by the Liberal
Democrats and the Christian Democrats to fill the post of foreign
minister, left vacant since the departure of Lojze Peterle in October
1994. Drnovsek also announced that Janko Dezelak, a Christian Democrat,
has been nominated to the post of minister of economic relations and
development. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS EXPECTED TO COOL OFF. Radio Bucharest
reported on 24 January that talks between top Hungarian officials and
Viorel Hrebenciuc, head of Romania's Council of National Minorities,
were tense. Hrebenciuc denied his government intended to outlaw the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, saying Minister of Justice
Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian's drive to ban the HDFR did not reflect the
official government view. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs,
after meeting with Hrebenciuc, said that anti-Hungarian statements by
Romanian politicians threatened the very existence of the Hungarian
minority in Romania and were damaging relations between the two
countries, MTI reports. Meanwhile, Adrian Nastase, executive president
of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, told a press conference in
the Moldavian town of Focsani on 24 January that the PSDR's coalition
partner, the Party of Romanian National Unity, had not consulted the
PSDR before calling for the HDFR to be banned. Nastase said his party
might demand the dismissal of Chiuzbaian for having claimed outlawing
the HDFR was legally warranted and would be examined by the government.
The HDFR noted in a 24 January press release that the government's
attacks on it were attempts to deflect attention from the ruling party's
recently formalized alliance with extremists. Radio Bucharest's
correspondent in Budapest said it was expected that Romanian-Hungarian
relations would cool off considerably. -- Michael Shafir and Edith
Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRIVATIZATION AGENCY DISSATISFIED WITH OWN WORK. The director
of the Romanian agency charged with privatizing state-owned companies
says his agency has not been able to do its job. Theodor Strauss of the
State Ownership Fund told a news conference in Bucharest on 24 January
that the agency privatized only 598 companies in 1994, although it was
supposed to privatize more than 2,300, Radio Bucharest reports. Strauss
said only eight of the companies privatized last year had more than
2,000 employees, adding that a major obstacle to privatization was the
lack of investors. Former Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan, who now works
for the World Bank and attended a recent conference in Sibiu on
privatization in the former communist states, said economic reform in
Romania is trailing that of even "troubled" countries such as
neighboring Moldova. He urged that privatization in Romania be speeded
up. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN NEWSPAPERS RUN OUT OF PAPER. Most Bulgarian newspapers may
stop publishing on 27 January, BTA reports. A joint statement by
newspaper editors and the Rodina publishing company, which prints most
of Sofia's dailies, says newsprint is running out. Trud reports that
supplies have dropped to 210 tons owing to drastic increases in the
price of Russian newsprint and infrequent deliveries from Russia, 24
chasa reports. The only newspapers unaffected are Standart and Pari,
which have their own newsprint supplies. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN DICTATOR'S WIDOW APPEALS TO HIGH COURT. The widow of Albanian
communist dictator Enver Hoxha has requested that Supreme Court
President Zef Brozi review her 11-year jail term, Reuters reported on 24
January. A court spokesman says Brozi may pass the request onto the
court's 11-judge panel. Nexhmije Hoxha was sentenced for embezzlement
but claims the charge is unjustified. If the court were to decide that
her real crime was violating citizens' rights, her sentence could be
cut. Other senior communist officials have been sentenced to up to six
years on that charge. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that
the immunity of Brozi can be lifted by the parliament. Chief Prosecutor
Alush Dragoshi has charged Brozi with illegally ordering the release of
a Greek citizen involved in a narcotics case. The parliament also has to
decide about lifting the immunity of two former government ministers.
Prosecutors are currently investigating former Transport Minister Fatos
Bitincka and prime ministerial counselor Albert Gajo on charges of abuse
of office and forgery. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN AIRLINES FINDS NEW PARTNER. The Amsterdam-based Aviation World
MAK b.v. has bought Albania's bankrupt air company for $1 million,
Reuters reported on 21 January. The company, which is owned by Kuwait's
MA Kharafi group, promised to bring in a new fleet of Fokker and Boeing
jets and employ the entire former staff of 60. Albanian Airlines--a $2
million joint venture between Albanian state company Albtransport and
Austria's Tyrolean Airlines AG--went bankrupt in July 1994. Meanwhile,
the World Bank has approved an $18 million loan to repair Albania's main
north-south road. Work is already under way between Tirana and Milot,
Reuters reported on 23 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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