The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 19, Part II, 26 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

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES PRESIDENT. The Slovak parliament on 25
January issued a document criticizing President Michal Kovac over his
response to a letter from William Orme, the executive director of the
Committee to Protect Journalists. Orme in November expressed concern
about the state of the media following the first two sessions of the new
parliament. Kovac responded by saying he believed the situation in the
Slovak media after the 1994 elections was "only temporary" and that
Slovak journalists would soon "be able to work once again according to
the principles of democracy and plurality." Slovak National Party
Chairman Jan Slota announced on 13 January that a group of deputies from
the SNP and the Association of Slovak Workers had asked parliament
chairman Ivan Gasparovic to request the president explain himself before
the legislature. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky
and other opposition members said that calling Kovac before the
parliament would damage not only the president's prestige but also
Slovakia's. The parliament expressed regret that Kovac declined to
explain himself to parliament deputies and said Kovac's statements
"damage the good name and interests of Slovakia," Sme reports. - Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN AND SLOVAK PREMIERS READY TO SIGN BASIC TREATY. Gyula Horn and
his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, told a press conference in
Budapest on 25 January that they expected to sign the basic treaty
between their two countries by 21 March. They noted that the treaty
would include clauses on the inviolability of existing borders, the
renunciation of territorial claims, and a statement of general
principles on minority rights, MTI reports. The two leaders said they
would also sign the European Council's convention on the protection of
minorities in Strasbourg on 1 February. In addition, Meciar agreed to
increase the water flow into the Danube to counter ecological
destruction caused by the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric project. -
Edith Oltay

CZECH CABINET REJECTS MINISTER'S CHARGES OF ILLEGAL SPYING. The Czech
government on 25 January rejected Deputy Prime Minister Jan Kalvoda's
allegations that the counterintelligence service BIS illegally collected
information on political parties. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told a
press conference that the cabinet decided Kalvoda's charges were
unfounded and that only one minister voted against this decision. This
suggests that ministers from Kalvoda's Civic Democratic Alliance broke
ranks with their party leader and that he was also deserted by the
Christian Democratic Union. KDU leader Josef Lux previously joined
Kalvoda in accusing the BIS of spying. Stanislav Devaty, the head of the
BIS, on 25 January denied that his agency has been involved in illegal
activities. He said he will resign if Kalvoda's charges prove to be
correct, Mlada fronta dnes reports. - Steve Kettle

NEW STRIFE IN POLISH COALITION. Poland's two ruling parties are again
trading accusations of disloyalty in the wake of press reports on the
impending dismissal of national police commander Zenon Smolarek. The
major Polish dailies reported on 25 January that Smolarek has submitted
his resignation for the third time in a year in connection with
corruption allegations over the "sponsorship" of the Poznan police force
by private businesses. After Gazeta Wyborcza broke the story in March
1994, a drawn-out conflict between Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak and
President Lech Walesa over the choice of a successor ensued. The stand-
off led Pawlak to reject Smolarek's resignation in October, but a cloud
of corruption continued to hang over the police. The Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) on 25 January enthusiastically endorsed Internal Affairs
Minister Andrzej Milczanowski's proposal to remove Smolarek. Pawlak
commented that there were "more important issues" facing the coalition,
and the Polish Peasant Party expressed outrage at the SLD's stance. -
Louisa Vinton

EU TO GRANT UKRAINE AGRICULTURAL CREDIT. Ukraine's Ministry of
Agriculture told Interfax on 25 January that the European Union will
grant Ukraine a 5 million ecu credit to work out a development program
for the country's agricultural sector. The grant will be used to pay
foreign experts to reorganize the management system of Ukraine's
agricultural complex. Ukrainian experts will also participate in the
project. The EU in November 1994 granted Ukraine some $6.5 million to
draw up a food products program. Most of the grant went to a consortium
of Western firms made up of Agrer (Belgium), Eurosiris (France),
Secofisa (Spain), and Ogilvy Adams & Rienhart (Germany). The Ukrainian
press has repeatedly criticized the practice of using foreign credits to
pay Western consultants. - Ustina Markus

NATIONAL BANK OF UKRAINE PLANS FIRST CREDIT AUCTION. The National Bank
of Ukraine has scheduled this year's first closed auction of credits to
commercial banks for 31 January, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 25
January. The initial rate for banks operating for at least a year will
be 252% annually or 21% monthly. The minimum credit line available for
commercial banks has been set at 10 billion karbovantsi for 30 days.
Government statistics reveal that the monthly inflation rate in Ukraine
in December was 28.4%, compared with 72.3% in November and 22.6% in
October. An IMF report estimates Ukraine's annual inflation rate in 1994
at 842%. - Chrystyna Lapychak

WORLD BANK DELEGATION IN BELARUS. Interfax on 25 January reports that a
World Bank delegation arrived in Belarus for a three-day visit to
discuss improving oil production and the overall performance of the
Belarusian energy complex. The delegation will discuss projects to be
partly financed by the World Bank, including turning Belarusneft, the
republic's largest oil-producing complex, into a joint-stock company.
Also on the agenda is the liberalization of Belarusian oil prices and
improving the taxation system. - Ustina Markus

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS. Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs,
attending border talks with Russia in the east Latvian town of Balvi on
25 January, said Latvia was unlikely to regain the Abrene district,
which it lost to Russia after World War II, BNS reports. He noted that
even though Russia claims to have no border problems with Latvia, it was
advisable to continue talks to prevent Russia unilaterally drawing the
border and to try to get back former land and real estate of Latvians in
the district. - Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Konstantin Zatulin, chairman of the
Russian Duma's Committee for CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots,
said Lithuania's planned deportation of four ex-Soviet activists would
lead to a "considerable deterioration" of Russian-Lithuanian relations,
especially in the economic sphere, BNS reported on 25 January. The four
ignored a request to leave Lithuania by 22 January (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 20 January 1995). Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Albinas
Januska pointed out that the 18 November 1993 agreement granting mutual
most-favored-nation trade status made no provisions for its ratification
by the respective parliaments. He said Zatulin's suggestion that the
Duma would not ratify the agreement if Latvia went ahead with the
deportations should not have any bearing on the agreement. - Saulius
Girnius

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NEW BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ELECTED. By a vote of 138 to 91 with two
abstentions, Zhan Videnov, chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party,
was elected prime minister, BTA reported on 25 January. Videnov, in a
speech on his government's program, announced what he called an "anti-
crisis program" and pledged to cut unemployment and inflation. He said
the new government will also speed up privatization and agricultural
reform and continue to develop ties with international lending
organizations. With regard to foreign policy, Videnov said the new
government will promote Bulgaria's integration into Europe and continue
to take part in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He promised to
present a four-year legislative program within 100 days and said the
1995 budget would be approved by the end of March. Opposition deputies
claimed the new cabinet is a continuation of the former communist elite,
Reuters reports. The main target of their attacks was Education
Minister-designate Ilcho Dimitrov, whom the largely ethnic Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedom blames for the forceful Bulgarization
campaign in the 1980s. - Stefan Krause

CONTACT GROUP WON'T TAKE SERBS' 'NO' FOR AN ANSWER. Reuters reports on
26 January that the U.S., British, and French diplomats from the
international Contact Group have reversed plans to leave Bosnia and are
staying on for more talks. They originally wanted to leave after the
Serbs refused again to accept the current peace plan as the basis for a
settlement. The German and Russian representatives have left for
previous engagements, and it is unclear whether their governments agreed
to continue the talks. The Serbs appear willing to talk with an open
agenda but balk at the idea of first "accepting" the plan, although the
Contact Group has assured them that nothing is binding until a final
settlement is signed. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, however,
wants a deadline imposed on the Serbs to accept the project. He says the
Serbs should have two months to say "yes," plus an additional month for
final talks, the Los Angeles Times reports. That would mean a deadline
of around 1 May, when the current cease-fire is slated to expire. The
Frankfurter Rundschau nonetheless says the Contact Group's negotiations
have reached "a dead-end street." - Patrick Moore

OTHER BOSNIAN NEWS. The BBC reported on 25 January that Bosnian
government negotiators are boycotting a meeting slated for 26 January to
discuss implementing the cease-fire agreement. They are protesting a
lack of progress toward implementing the pact's provisions, but UN
spokesmen charged that the Muslims' action will hold up progress even
more. Meanwhile in Bihac, news agencies note further heavy shelling of
government positions by Krajina Serbs and forces loyal to local kingpin
Fikret Abdic. Hina on 24 January reported that Serbs are continuing to
expel Croats and Muslims from the Banja Luka area and have arrested 21
mainly elderly Croats near Livno and apparently taken them to the
Kamenica detention camp. Finally, dpa on 26 January reports on the
plight of seriously ill children in Sarajevo who cannot be evacuated for
treatment because of a lack of money. - Patrick Moore

CROATIA AND BOSNIA CALL FOR US MEDIATION. AFP reports on 26 January that
the Zagreb and Sarajevo governments have asked Washington to set up a
three-way meeting to discuss problems in implementing the Croatian-
Muslim federation. Elsewhere, Reuters and Croatian media announce that
the newly repaired Adria pipeline connecting the Croatian coast with
Central Europe is slated to start pumping oil again. Hungary and the
Czech Republic are expected to be the big beneficiaries of the
reopening, which is the result of last month's Croatian-Serbian economic
agreement. Croatia will profit mainly from transit fees. Hina reports
that Milorad Pupovac has announced that a new ethnic Serbian party in
Croatia, the Independent Serbian Party (SSS), will be founded on 29
January. Pupovac is a professor and a prominent figure among those Serbs
living in areas under Croatian government control. The SSS is the latest
in a series of his efforts to establish strong Serbian representation in
what most Serbs regard as a repressive atmosphere. - Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA'S ENERGY CRISIS. AFP on 26 January reports on protests
throughout rump Yugoslavia over the government's decision to implement
power cuts, which have left millions of residents without electricity or
heating for long periods. Among the hardest-hit centers is Belgrade,
where residents have taken to the streets to protest the measures.
Members of Serbia's government claim the measures are warranted by
overconsumption. Critics of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
regime, however, argue that the power cuts are part of Belgrade's policy
to export electricity to neighboring countries in exchange for oil. AFP
observes that part of Belgrade's defense strategy is to argue that the
country's energy supplies will improve in the near future, when the
"hypothetical go-ahead from the United Nations" results in the further
easing of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. Politika on 25 January
quoted rump Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje Kontic as saying that 1995
would witness "the gradual, albeit certain removal of [international]
sanctions against our country." - Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN ARMS AFFAIR REACHES COURT OF APPEAL. Lawyers representing 10
ethnic Albanians accused of plotting an armed uprising have demanded
that the charges be dropped and their clients released, Flaka reported
on 26 January. The accused, including two former deputy government
ministers, were sentenced to between five and eight years in prison by
the Skopje Communal Court in June 1994. They were arrested in western
Macedonia in December 1993, having been found in possession of weapons
and recruitment lists of ethnic Albanians. Abdurrahman Aliti, leader of
the ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity, called for the
release of the prisoners at a meeting with Gerd Arens, coordinator of
the working group on ethnic and national minorities at the Geneva
Conference on the Former Yugoslavia. The two men also discussed possible
solutions to the Albanians' demand for an Albanian-language university
in Macedonia. Arens stressed that these questions must be solved by
changing the law on higher education, which does not provide for
Albanian-language education. Albanian professors and students, supported
by ethnic Albanian parties, founded an illegal university in December
1994. - Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN POLITICIAN EXACERBATES CONFLICT WITH HUNGARIANS . . . In a
press release broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 25 January, Gheorghe
Funar, leader of the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National
Unity, reiterated his party's intention to outlaw the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania. He said the PRNU has asked the
government to seize "illegally obtained weapons" from members of the
Hungarian ethnic minority; to punish those Romanian citizens who display
Hungarian flags or sing the Hungarian national anthem on Romanian
territory; to test the knowledge of the Romanian language and
constitution among ethnic Hungarian state employees; and to sack or
retire all members of the HDFR who work in the armed forces, the
Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, and the Romanian Intelligence
Service. - Michael Shafir

. . . AND ANGERS COALITION PARTNER. The Party of Social Democracy in
Romania, the PRNU's coalition partner, said Funar's statement was
"mistaken and dressed in extremist nuances," Radio Bucharest reported on
26 January. President Ion Iliescu was quoted by the same radio station
as saying the PRNU's leader's statement contradicts government policy as
well as the recent collaboration agreement signed by the PRNU, the PSDU,
and two extreme nationalist parties. The agreement, he noted, excludes
any form of "exclusivism and chauvinism." Meanwhile, in an interview
with AFP on 25 January, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn called on
Bucharest to drop proposals to ban the HDFR. Horn said that Romanian
Justice Minister Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian's call for a ban "is contrary
to all that has been said during our meetings, and the wording of such
intentions does not help the improvement of ties." - Michael Shafir and
Edith Oltay

NEW SOCIALIST PARTY IN ROMANIA. The group that split from the Socialist
Labor Party earlier this month to set up a splinter party has announced
it will call itself the Socialist Party. Tudor Mohora, chairman of the
"initiative committee" for setting up the new party, said in an
interview with Radio Bucharest on 25 January that the Socialist Party
wished to make an "important contribution to backing and promoting the
interests of those who believe in the idea of social justice [and] in
the values of socialism." Mohora said the Socialist Party wished to
prevent "the two political parties that call themselves 'socialist'"
from becoming political adversaries. - Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN BANK EXPECTED TO RECEIVE EBRD LOAN. The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development is expected to grant a $20 million credit
to Moldova-Agroinbank in 1995, a representative of the bank told the
Financial Information Agency on 25 January. He said the EBRD is expected
to take a final decision on the loan by the end of January. The Moldovan
bank plans to use the loan to grant long-term credits (eight to 15
years) to the farming and instrument-making sectors and to private
businesses. The EBRD in 1994 granted the National Bank of Moldova a $30
million credit to develop the country's wine-making industry. - Michael
Shafir

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES PRIVATE RADIO AND TV STATIONS. Sali Berisha
on 25 January proposed setting up private radio and TV channels to offer
a broader and more impartial dissemination of information, Reuters
reported the same day. Berisha said the present state-run radio and TV
stations should be turned into public institutions partly subsidized by
the state but not responsible to it. He added that this measure "will
also influence the quality of the existing media." Albanian Television
has been broadcasting 16 hours a day via satellite since the beginning
of 1995. The opposition claims that Albanian radio and TV are controlled
by the ruling Democratic Party. Although current legislation does not
permit private radio stations, several pirate stations are already
broadcasting. - Fabian Schmidt


[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and 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
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