Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. - Mother Teresa
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 30, Part II, 10 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

POLISH COALITION DEAL LOOKS SHAKY . . . A revolt within the Polish
Peasant Party (PSL) has cast doubt on the durability of the coalition
agreement to replace Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak with Sejm Speaker
Jozef Oleksy of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Polish media report.
The PSL's main executive council voted on 9 February to accept Pawlak's
decision to step down, but the party's 170-strong parliament caucus
sharply criticized the move. PSL deputies and senators denounced
Pawlak's advisers and leading PSL cabinet members for agreeing to the
deal without consulting them, and some urged a probe into corruption
allegations against the prime minister. Others argued that the party
should demand continued control of prime minister's post or opt to join
the opposition. Pawlak's position within the PSL seems badly shaken.
Even if the party opts to accept a prime minister from the SLD, the
battle over the division of ministerial posts is certain to be fierce,
and defections by PSL deputies in any "constructive no-confidence vote"
to form a new government appear likely. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

. . . WHILE OLEKSY WAVERS. Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy, after meeting with
President Lech Walesa on 9 February, said he has not yet decided whether
to try to form a government, Rzeczpospolita reports. Oleksy insisted
that the press is responsible for creating the impression that he has
already opened talks on a new cabinet. Despite optimistic predictions on
8 February from SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski that the next Sejm
session could vote a new prime minister into office, Oleksy said this
was "practically impossible." He said his decision depended not only on
the stance of the Polish Peasant Party but also on the fate of the 1995
budget. Oleksy indicated he was unlikely to undertake the task of
forming a government if the budget were not signed first. The president
hinted, however, that he would agree to sign the budget only after
discussing it with a new prime minister. Walesa, cornered by journalists
at a meeting of military chaplains, said the prospect of Oleksy as prime
minister did not please him. But he added that "without the dissolution
of the parliament, nothing more can be done." -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI,
Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FORBIDS GOVERNMENT TO RAISE PRICES WITHOUT
INCREASING WAGES. The Ukrainian legislature has forbidden the government
to implement price hikes without wage increases, Interfax-Ukraine
reported on 9 February. Legislators said the population's purchasing
power has fallen drastically since President Leonid Kuchma ordered price
liberalization in November. They also noted that the government has
failed to request an increase in subsidies to state enterprises to cover
appropriate wage increases. The legislature earlier this week approved a
cash emission to finance, among other things, wage increases. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN NEWS. The Belarusian Constitutional Court has ruled that the
law liquidating local councils is unconstitutional and has recommended
that the parliament amend it, Belarusian Television reported on 8
February. Parliament deputy Aleh Trusau expressed his personal thanks to
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka for finally having given a speech in
Belarusian, albeit in the Lithuanian parliament. Lukashenka has been
criticized by the opposition for speaking in Russian. Meanwhile, the
pro-Russian "Belaya Rus" appealed to the president to go ahead with his
plan to hold a national referendum on granting the Russian language
official status (along with Belarusian) and increasing cooperation with
Russia. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA'S LAST PRIVATIZATION ROUND. The deadline for bids in Estonia's
last round of privatization expired at noon on 9 February, BNS reports.
Privatization Agency Director General Vaino Sarnet said preliminary
interest in the 43 enterprises offered for sale was great--an average of
about six bidders per enterprise. The firms include 21 construction and
building materials companies, five transportation firms, and three food
processing enterprises. The largest of those companies is the Marat
knitwear factory, with a total of 1,579 employees. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER IN LATVIA. Hans van den Broek met on 8-9
February in Riga with President Guntis Ulmanis, Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs, Finance Minister Andris Piebalgs, and some EU ambassadors in
Riga, BNS reports. He expressed optimism that the Baltic States would
sign association agreements with the EU before the end of June. When
asked for a time frame for the Baltic States' full EU membership, he
responded that "We are now really talking about the process and we
(should rather) talk about the conditions and what conditions have to be
met than try to be speculative about the calendar," Reuters reports. Van
den Broek left for Tallinn that evening. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

PRAGUE CASTLE APPEALS CATHEDRAL RESTITUTION. The office of President
Vaclav Havel on 9 February appealed a court decision to hand over St.
Vitus Cathedral, in Prague Castle, to the Catholic Church. Lubos
Dobrovsky, head of the presidential office, told journalists there were
doubts about aspects of the December court ruling to return the
cathedral and about the Church's legal entitlement to initiate court
proceedings, Czech media report. More than half of Czech parliament
deputies signed a petition asking the presidential office, which is
responsible for the cathedral and maintains it on behalf of the state,
to appeal. But Dobrovsky denied that the action was taken because of
public pressure. Members of the two Christian Democratic parties in the
parliament criticized their fellow deputies for signing the petition.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus warned that the issue should not be allowed
to blow up into an "unnecessary" political or public dispute. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY WILL NOT EXAMINE DEMOCRATIC UNION LISTS.
Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Ivan Simko, at a press
conference on 9 February, said his party will not participate in a
commission charged with examining the Democratic Union's election lists.
Dusan Macuska, a member of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia who
heads the parliament commission investigating the validity of the DU's
mandates, recently called for the creation of a new commission that
might include CDM and DU members. Simko argued that Macuska's current
commission, consisting only of governing party representatives, did not
invite opposition members to be present when its members unsealed the
lists three months ago. He suggested that the lists may have been
manipulated. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA DENIES SELLING ARMS TO ALGERIA. The Slovak Foreign Ministry
released a statement on 9 February saying recent international press
reports about Slovakia's alleged sales of light weapons to Algerian
Islamic fundamentalists are false. The ministry said it "denies any link
between Slovakia and supplies of arms to extremist, terrorist, and
illegal organizations throughout the world." It also noted that Slovakia
"adheres to the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of
other countries and condemns any manifestations of political or military
extremism, radicalism, and terrorism." Allegations about Slovak arms
sales to Algeria appeared in Le Monde on 4 February. The head of the
Slovak government licensing commission, Colonel Ignac Hianik, said he is
not aware of any exports of light weapons to Algeria. He added that the
allegations are "a provocation" that damages Slovakia's image abroad,
Pravda reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PREMIER REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO REFORM. Gyula Horn, during a
visit to the European Union and NATO headquarters in Brussels on 9
February, stressed his country's commitment to economic reform and said
that his government even plans to accelerate the pace of change, Western
news agencies report. Horn was responding to a warning by the European
Commission that Hungary's failure to stick to its reform program could
derail its chances of joining the EU before the end of the century.
Doubts about the Horn government's commitment to reform came in the wake
of the resignation of liberal Finance Minister Laszlo Bekesi and the
government's cancellation of a major privatization deal. Horn said he
believed there is a good chance Hungary will become a member of NATO
before it gains admission to the EU. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS VIOLATE BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE. The BBC's Serbian Service on 10
February reports major violations of the cease-fire the previous day by
Bosnian Serb forces in Sarajevo and Krajina Serb units in the Bihac
pocket. The UN, meanwhile, has complained again about Serbian
authorities barring UN monitors from access to radar at Belgrade airport
last week, when Serbian military helicopter flights to Bosnia were
taking place. International media report that U.S. President Bill
Clinton and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, meeting in Washington, called
for strengthening the Croatian-Muslim federation in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

TURKISH LEGISLATORS WANT UNPROFOR TO HELP ENFORCE PEACE. Hina reports on
10 February that visiting Turkish deputies told their Croatian
counterparts that UNPROFOR's mandate in both Croatia and Bosnia needs
redefining. The Turks stressed that UNPROFOR should not be trying to
keep a peace that does not really exist but rather to make peace.
Meanwhile in Krajina, the Serbs announced they will respect agreements
in force on reopening the Zagreb-Lipovac highway and the Adria pipeline
but will suspend those not yet put into practice. The latter include
projects to reopen the railway line through the zone known as Sector
West and to restart the water supply for Pakrac. The Serbian authorities
also refused some Croatian refugees permission to visit their homes in
occupied areas, although some Serbs have been allowed to return to their
houses in Novska and Nova Gradiska. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BALKAN DIPLOMATIC UPDATE. Nasa Borba reports from the Sandzak on 10
February that Rasim Ljajic, general secretary of the mainly Muslim Party
for Democratic Action, has called for Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia to
recognize one another in their internationally valid frontiers. Zagreb
and Sarajevo insist on such recognition as proof that Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic has abandoned his ambitions to create a Greater
Serbia, but Belgrade refuses to do so. The same newspaper also quotes
American media sources and an interview with the U.S. ambassador to
Croatia in a Zagreb weekly as indicating that Washington has warned
Croatia not to expect any U.S. support if it renews the war in Krajina.
Finally, rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic is reported
to be in Athens to discuss the possible opening of a "diplomatic office"
in Skopje and its potential effects on Greek-Serbian relations. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

JOURNALISTS STRIKE IN SERBIA? Nasa Borba on 10 February reports that the
editorial board of the journal Liberal has called for a journalists
strike to protest Belgrade's recent attacks on Serbia's independent
media. The board observes that the crackdown amounts to "the despotic
regime of Slobodan Milosevic extinguishing the last free light in
Serbia." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN-LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION TO BE OFFERED AT MACEDONIAN ACADEMY. The
Academic Council of the Skopje Pedagogical Academy has agreed to offer
Albanian-language instruction in education, psychology, and sociology,
Flaka reported on 9 February. A program is to be worked out for
Albanian-language instruction in all departments at the academy. Ethnic
Albanian students have been boycotting classes for more than two months,
arguing that education courses should be taught in Albanian because
their purpose is to train school teachers who will teach in that
language. Meanwhile, ethnic Albanian deputies in the Macedonian
parliament demanded that the proposed new identification cards should be
bilingual. They were overruled by the Macedonian majority. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION OF ROMANIA TO SEVER HUNGARIAN TIES? The Party of
Civic Alliance, a member of the opposition Democratic Convention of
Romania, has asked the DCR to sever ties with the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania if the HDFR does not give up its demands for
regional autonomy based on ethnic criteria. The HDFR is also a member of
the DCR, but its demands for autonomy have been denounced by virtually
all other members. PCA Deputy Chairman Nicolae Taran told a press
conference on 9 February that the DCR must state explicitly that Romania
is "a national, sovereign, independent, unitary, and indivisible state."
The HDFR objects to the term "national." Meanwhile, presidential
spokesman Traian Chebeleu said at a Bucharest press conference that
remarks made by HDFR President Bela Marko in an interview with the BBC
were "propaganda" aimed at distorting Romanian realities. Chebeleu
objected in particular to Marko's claim that Romania has been trying to
assimilate the Hungarian minority since 1918. He also took exception to
Marko's designation of the 1918 unification of Transylvania with Romania
as an "annexation." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

WORKERS STRIKE AGAIN IN RESITA . . . Employees at the Resita machinery
plant went on strike on 9 February to demand big pay increases and
protest broken promises. Radio Bucharest reported that negotiations
broke down after strikers burst into the hall and forced the plant's
director to resign. Leaders of the trade unions representing the
strikers said negotiations will not be resumed until the State Property
Fund confirms his resignation has been accepted. In late December 1994,
some 15,000 workers in Resita staged strikes for eight days. Prime
Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu was forced to go there and accept most of the
workers' demands. Western agencies quote the strikers as saying the
government has failed to keep its promises. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

. . . AND MINERS THREATEN UNREST. Coal miners union leader Miron Cozma,
who led several rampages through the capital in 1990 and 1991, has
threatened that miners will take action to demand bigger state
subsidies, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported on 9 February. Cozma,
who expects at least 300 union leaders to take part in protest marches
and rallies in Bucharest next week, accused the government of seeking to
close pits by limiting subsidies. He said if a single pit is closed,
miners will press for the government's resignation and block roads
across the country. In 1991, Cozma and the miners were instrumental in
forcing the resignation of Petre Roman's government. Mine union leaders
are demanding that subsidies projected in the 1995 state budget be
increased by 25%. The parliament is currently debating the -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVA LEADERS ON ALMATY SUMMIT. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur,
before departing for the Almaty summit, said Moldovan priorities at the
meeting are mainly economic. Snegur was quoted by Moldpres as saying the
decisions about to be taken in Almaty will provide opportunities for
Moldovan exports that will prove "vital" for economic reform. Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli told Radio Chisinau he expected the summit to
be "more complicated and difficult" than its predecessors, because of
problems left unresolved after earlier meetings. He said Moldova's
position was that each member country should have its own currency but
that it could envisage agreement on a common currency. Sangheli also
said Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus will not support the setting up of a
Eurasian Union. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS COMMISSIONS. The Bulgarian parliament on 9
February elected the members of its 20 commissions, 24 chasa reported
the following day. No fewer than 18 are headed by deputies of the ruling
Bulgarian Socialist Party and the remaining two by Bulgarian Business
Bloc deputies. The Union of Democratic Forces declined to head any
commission, insisting instead that one of the deputy chairmanships of
each commission be filled by a UDF member. The Socialists complied with
that demand. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE BLOCKS EU CUSTOMS UNION WITH TURKEY. The Greek government on 9
February rejected a compromise formula on a customs union between the
European Union and Turkey, saying it will maintain its veto until its
demands are met, AFP reported the same day. Athens is pressing for
Cyprus's admission into the EU. EU foreign ministers agreed on 6
February to open membership talks with Cyprus six months after the
union's scheduled institutional overhaul in 1997, while Greece promised
to lift its veto on the trade accord with Turkey. Greek government
spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said that while the Greek position is
negative, "the government detects the possibility to continue talks"
because there is "room for clearing up and improving the (EU)
positions." Turkish officials said their country had met its obligations
toward the EU and expects the union to do likewise. Noting that they
were negotiating with the EU and not with Greece, they accused that
country of continuing to block efforts to achieve a customs union. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE WELCOMES RELEASE OF ETHNIC GREEKS IN ALBANIA. Greek government
spokesman Evangelos Venizelos on 9 February said the Albanian Supreme
Court's decision to free four ethnic Greeks sentenced for espionage and
illegal possession of firearms lays the foundations for resumed
political talks between Greece and Albania, Reuters reported the same
day. Following their conviction last fall, Athens broke off all contacts
with Albania's leadership, saying no dialogue was possible until they
were freed. A fifth defendant was released last December by presidential
decree. -- Stefan Krause, 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
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