If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 29, Part II, 9 February 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.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

WALESA ACCEPTS OLEKSY AS PRIME MINISTER. Presidential spokesman Leszek
Spalinski told reporters on 8 February that Lech Walesa has "voiced no
objection" to the selection of Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy to replace
Polish Peasant Party leader Waldemar Pawlak as prime minister. The
president is to meet with Oleksy on 9 February. Spalinski stressed that
Walesa expects the coalition to respect his prerogatives when selecting
the new cabinet (the president has the constitutional right to supervise
defense and security policy). Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski has taken pains to avoid antagonizing Walesa on this issue.
While arguing that the defense, foreign affairs, and internal affairs
portfolios are "incorrectly" known as "presidential" ministries,
Kwasniewski has indicated that the coalition will seek to find
candidates acceptable to the president. (He has already indicated that
Andrzej Milczanowski will stay on as internal affairs minister.) Walesa
would like Andrzej Olechowski to return to his former post of foreign
affairs minister, Rzeczpospolita reports, citing unofficial sources. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

FATE OF POLISH BUDGET UNCLEAR. Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski told reporters that talks on the new cabinet
could be concluded in a matter of days. But conflicts have already
emerged and could delay a Sejm vote to approve the new cabinet. Leading
SLD members have argued that President Lech Walesa should withdraw his
constitutional challenge to the 1995 budget and sign it into law before
Waldemar Pawlak is removed from office. But the president's spokesman
has argued that the budget is an entirely unrelated issue, and he
recommended that the coalition open talks with Walesa on the budget.
Leading figures in the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), for their part, have
argued that a new coalition agreement should be completed before Jozef
Oleksy proposes a new cabinet to the parliament. They insist that the
new deal give their party control over the economic ministries run by
the SLD under the old agreement. Kwasniewski has argued that ministerial
posts should be divided up in proportion to the two parties' relative
strength in the Sejm (the SLD has 167 of the 460 seats and the PSL 131).
Meanwhile, Freedom Union leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki stressed that his
party will remain in opposition. Mere personnel changes, Mazowiecki
said, cannot solve the country's political crisis. Other opposition
forces likewise dismissed the coalition's moves as mere "cosmetic"
changes. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

NATO LOOKS SOUTH INSTEAD OF EAST, DESPITE CHECHEN WAR. NATO Secretary-
General, Willy Claes admits the Chechen war has put increased pressure
on its Eastern flank. Claes, who has recently been meeting with
representatives of East European and Central Asian countries, said "NATO
expansion was the most important item on the agenda--so no doubt there's
more pressure, and I've told the Russians this." He added, "The more
President Yeltsin makes strong speeches against enlargement, the more
the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are knocking at my door."
Poland's ambassador to Belgium, Andrzej Krzeczunowicz, said, "Chechnya
won't change the pace of expansion...but [it] has changed the climate.
People are more aware that the political environment is unstable and
that changes in Russia may not be irreversible," The New York Times
reported. But Claes cited the Caucasus situation as one reason to
redirect NATO's interest southward. "The situation in the Middle East
and in the southern parts of the former Soviet Union is so serious that
we have to increase our efforts to cooperate with the countries around
the Mediterranean Sea," Claes told the Belgian newspaper Tijd. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CASH EMISSION. The Ukrainian parliament
has authorized a cash emission worth 25 trillion unbacked Ukrainian
karbovantsi to meet outstanding payments for energy and fuel imports,
pay wages and pensions, and finance this year's spring sowing, UNIAR
News reported on 8 February. Viktor Pynzenyk, deputy premier in charge
of economic reform, said the government was forced to request the
emission after the parliament threatened a vote of no confidence if the
government did not pay off the debts of state enterprises. Legislators
have yet to review the 1995 draft budget submitted by the government,
which calls for tight fiscal measures and deep cuts in state subsidies
to businesses and in social expenditures. The emission is expected to
further devalue the karbovanets and double inflation to around 30% in
February. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN TRADE IN 1994. Russia was Ukraine's most important
trade partner in 1994, Interfax reported on 5 February. No less than 39%
of Ukraine's exports were to Russia and 30% of its imports came from
that country. Former Soviet republics accounted for two-thirds of
Ukraine's trade. Belarus accounted for 6% of its exports and 3% of its
imports; Moldova, 5% and 1%; Turkmenistan, 3% and 7%; and Kazakhstan, 1%
and 2%. Overall, Ukraine exported more than it imported. Among its non-
CIS trading partners, China was the largest, accounting for 6% of
Ukraine's total trade. The U.S. and Switzerland followed with 3% each;
and Hungary, Italy, and Germany, 2% each. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

PRESIDENTS OF BALTIC STATES MEET. Baltic Presidents Lennart Meri
(Estonia), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania)
officially inaugurated the activities of the Baltic Peacekeeping
Battalion (Baltbat) at the former Soviet army base at Adazi, Latvia,
Western agencies report. Ulmanis told a press conference that Baltbat
was important for Baltic security and a clear example of Baltic
cooperation. The presidents, after a meeting in Jurmala, issued a
statement urging Western nations not to put the Baltic States on the
slow track to NATO membership. "The criteria for admission to the North
Atlantic Alliance need to be equal for all prospective members," the
statement said. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIA SIGNS INDIVIDUAL PFP PROGRAM. Latvian Defense Minister Janis
Trapans, at a meeting with the NATO Council in Brussels on 8 February,
concluded an agreement making Latvia the 11th country to sign an
individual Partnership for Peace cooperation program, AFP reports.
Trapans told a press conference that the agreement has symbolic and
practical value, since it marked Latvia's return to the family of
European nations and would help develop the country's military
structures. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

MAJOR PRIVATE LITHUANIAN TV STATION CLOSES. The Lithuanian Radio and TV
Committee on 8 February discussed use of the TV channel on which the
bankrupt private company LitPoliinter TV had broadcast until the
previous day, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports. LitPoliinter TV owes
800,000 litai ($200,000) to the state and would need another 1 million
litai as security to regain the right to broadcast. The committee
decided to accept until 8 March offers from companies to use the
channel. The applicants have to present programming schedules and a
statement from a commercial bank guaranteeing their ability to pay
necessary expenses. The committee also decided that the successful
applicant will have to reach an agreement to continue rebroadcasting
programs from Russia's Ostankino Television. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

CZECH STATE FIRMS BANNED FROM POLITICAL SPONSORSHIP. The Czech
government on 8 February banned state-owned firms from giving donations
to political parties, Czech media reported the following day. According
to changes in legislation to be submitted to the parliament, companies
in which the state has a majority interest or which receive state
subsidies will be allowed to make donations only to charities and social
welfare organizations. The changes were prompted by a fund-raising
dinner organized by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
(ODS) in November. The ODS invited industrialists, including several
directors of state-owned companies, who paid up to 250,000 koruny (some
$9,000) to attend. A public outcry followed, and other parties in the
governing coalition charged that the ODS was effectively receiving
hidden state subsidies. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH DEPUTIES PROTEST CHURCH TRANSFER. More than half of Czech
parliament deputies signed a petition protesting a court decision to
hand over St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague to the Catholic Church, Czech
media report. The medieval cathedral, the principal place of worship in
the capital and a major tourist attraction, is part of Prague Castle and
was expropriated by the Communists in the 1950s. A Prague court ruled
recently that it should be returned to the Church. The petition,
delivered on 8 February to President Vaclav Havel's office in the
Castle, called on the Castle authorities to appeal the decision because
the cathedral has always been considered public property. Some 12,000
people signed the petition, among them 107 deputies and Transportation
Minister Jan Strasky. The deadline for lodging an appeal is 10 February.
-- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK ECONOMIC STATISTICS FOR 1994. The Slovak Statistical Office, at a
press conference on 8 February, revealed that real wages in 1994 grew by
3.3% in industry, 2.1% in construction, 1.1% in trade, and 6% in
transport, compared with 1993. Real industrial production rose 6.4%,
while the private sector's share in retail trade reached 88.5%, in
construction 73.6%, in transport 56.3%, and in industrial production
53.7%. Foreign investment increased by 53.8%, reaching 16.5 billion
koruny. Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the U.S., and France are
the largest foreign investors in Slovakia, Narodna obroda reports. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KRAJINA SERBS CALL MILITARY ALERT, BREAK CONTACTS WITH ZAGREB. The BBC
reports on 9 February that the Krajina Serb legislature has set up a
military alert and that observers in the area have already detected
signs of mobilization. A correspondent noted the "fear of a drift toward
war." The government-controlled Belgrade press already seems to have
started a campaign promoting war hysteria. One headline in the pro-
Milosevic Borba reads: "Germany prepares for war." The Krajina
legislature also suspended all political and economic contacts with
Zagreb either until Croatian President Franjo Tudjman takes back his
decision to cancel UNPROFOR's mandate or until the UN finds a way to
keep on UNPROFOR with or without Tudjman's approval. Economic contacts
between the two sides have been increasingly promising, but neither
party is happy with the current political agenda, which is topped by a
plan from international mediators. Both Zagreb and Knin will probably be
glad if it now dies a quiet death. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MORE ON SERBIAN MILITARY HELP FOR BOSNIAN SERBS. Newsday reports on 9
February that U.S. officials are continuing to show great concern over
UN accounts of some 62 military helicopter flights from Serbia to
Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica last week. The newspaper also notes
that Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic has charged that Serbia
recently sent some 90 tanks and 8,000 "volunteers" to help its
beleaguered allies. Newsday also reports on the French proposal for an
international conference on the Yugoslav crisis, which has drawn mixed
responses from around the globe. One French diplomat said in its
defense: "If not this, what else can we propose?" Meanwhile, Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is quoted in the Belgrade dailies as saying
that his side will not be bound by any decisions of the conference if he
is not invited. French officials deliberately left him off the guest
list in a move to increase his isolation because of his continued
refusal to accept the current peace plan. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SARAJEVO TO REOPEN RAILWAY LINKS. The BBC's Serbian Service reports on 9
February that railway transport has restarted in the Bosnian capital for
the first time in almost three years. A German locomotive pulled two
cars into the city the previous day, but plans are under way to reopen
soon the key route running south to Mostar and on to Ploce on the
Adriatic. Elsewhere, UN spokesmen reported alarm at what they said was
an increase of fighting in the Bihac area. Agencies quoted them as
calling troop movements of hundreds of Krajina Serbs "alarming." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON STUDIO B. Nasa Borba on 9 February
reports that the independent Belgrade-based Studio B, which has both
radio and television broadcast facilities, may become the latest victim
in the Serbian government's crackdown on the free media. The daily notes
that the same pattern is evident as in other recent cases, including
that of the independent daily Borba (reincorporated last month as Nasa
Borba). The authorities on 8 February challenged Studio B's legal status
or incorporation in what appears to be the first step in a takeover bid.
Studio B director Dragan Kojadinovic remarked that his company may exist
for no more than 20 days. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVENIAN, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Reuters on 8 February
reported that Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler met in Rome with
his Italian counterpart, Susanna Agnelli. The meeting was described as
one of "goodwill," with such divisive issues as a property dispute that
has prompted Italy to block Slovenian efforts at EU membership being
kept off the agenda. Thaler told reporters that discussions focused on
how to develop "[bilateral] relations that are closer and not based on
hate." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

CONTINUED DISAGREEMENT OVER HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY. Romanian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana said at a press conference on 8
February that the teams of experts that met in Budapest from 6-8
February still disagree over two points in the basic Hungarian-Romanian
treaty. These concern minority rights and collaboration to achieve
Romania's admission as a full member of the Central European Initiative
and the Central European Free Trade Association. Geoana was quoted by
Radio Bucharest as saying that Hungary has submitted new proposals,
which he described as representing "some steps forward but also some
backward." Responding to Hungary's proposal that the treaty be
accompanied by a separate document detailing minority rights, Geoana
said there should be no linkage between such a document and the basic
treaty. He added that the proposal was not in line with what had been
agreed by the two countries' foreign ministers a few days earlier in
Strasbourg and during Theodor Melescanu's visit to Budapest last
September. The Romanian side will make its own proposals at the next
round of negotiations at expert level, to be held in Bucharest later
this month. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

LEBED SAYS BAN ON REMOVING EQUIPMENT DOES NOT APPLY TO RUSSIAN ARMY.
Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of the Russian 14th Army,
told Interfax on 8 February that a decree issued by the president of the
self-styled Dniester Republic banning the removal of Russian military
assets from the republic's territory does not apply to Russian military
forces. He said the decree detailed "equipment, property, and other
material resources purchased from the Russian 14th Army," which he
interpreted as applying only to Dniester Republic residents who have
purchased property from the army. He said vehicles, including general
purpose trucks, have been sold after their term of service expired. He
noted that he had received no instructions about the removal of 14th
Army units from the region and suggested that discussion on the issue
was superfluous at this stage. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN POLICE BREAK UP PROTESTS AGAINST WATER PIPELINE. Bulgarian
police dispersed about 200 protesters who blocked work on a water
pipeline project in the town of Sapareva Banya, Reuters reported on 8
February. Some 21 demonstrators were arrested. Construction of the
pipeline, linking rivers in the Rila Mountains to the Iskar dam, has
been stopped since residents of the Sapareva Banya region formed a human
chain on 23 December and prevented workers from entering the
construction site. The government on 6 February ordered work on the
project to be continued. Meanwhile, international news agencies reported
on 7 February that the persisting water shortage in Sofia is severe
enough to justify evacuation of some of the capital's residents. A
government spokesman said "the introduction of a state of emergency in
Sofia and surrounding areas" cannot be excluded, since the shortage
"threatens the health of the 1.5 million Sofia residents." -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA TO REHABILITATE EX-COMMUNIST ACADEMICS. Bulgarian Minister of
Education and Science Ilcho Dimitrov announced on 8 February that the
government plans to revise a law barring former communists from higher
academic posts, Reuters reported the same day. Under the present law,
introduced in 1992, former senior communist functionaries are barred
from governing bodies of universities, research institutes, and the
Central Examination Board. Dimitrov called the law "absurd" and
fascist." He added that he is allowed to be minister and run the whole
educational system but cannot be a member of his university's faculty
council. The law has been criticized by international human rights
organizations. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT FREES ETHNIC GREEKS. Albanian Chief Supreme Court
Judge Zef Brozi has suspended the prison terms of four ethnic Greeks
sentenced to between six and eight years by a lower court last summer,
international agencies reported on 8 February. They were found guilty of
espionage and illegal possession of firearms, but their terms were later
reduced. A fifth was released in an amnesty last fall. The Prosecutor-
General's Office immediately protested the court ruling to release the
four prisoners. As a result, they were freed only some nine hours after
the ruling. -- 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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