He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. - J.R. Tolkien
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 40, Part II, 24 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 CABINET LINEUP SETTLED. Sejm speaker and prime minister candidate
Jozef Oleksy announced on 23 February that the new cabinet lineup is
complete and prepared for submission to the Sejm. The current education
minister, Aleksander Luczak, of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) will
serve as the sole deputy prime minister, but without portfolio. Grzegorz
Kolodko of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) will lose his post as
deputy prime minister but will stay on in the cabinet as finance
minister and head of the government's economic committee. According to
Gazeta Wyborcza, Kolodko will also be appointed to oversee the
consolidation of the government ministries. No other names are to be
disclosed until after Oleksy meets with President Lech Walesa on 27
February. But both major dailies quoted leaked lists indicating that
Oleksy has opted to exclude from the new cabinet the three most
controversial PSL ministers: Agriculture Minister Andrzej Smietanko,
Foreign Trade Minister Leslaw Podkanski, and Michal Strak, chief of the
public administration. The PSL proposed multiple candidates for each of
"its" ministries, apparently to burden Oleksy rather than the party
leadership with excluding the compromised ministers. SLD officials
indicated that Oleksy's candidates for defense and foreign affairs are
not those backed by Walesa. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS MINISTERS, NATIONAL BANK HEAD. On 23
February President Arpad Goncz appointed Lajos Bokros Finance Minister,
Tamas Suchman Minister without portfolio in charge of privatization, and
Gyorgy Suranyi head of the Hungarian National Bank, MTI reported. All
three named financial stabilization, cuts in expenditure, market
liberalization, the acceleration of privatization and fight against the
black market economy as their priorities during parliamentary hearings
on 22 February. The appointments were greeted both inside and outside
Hungary as a major step towards restoring international confidence in
the commitment to reform and foreign investment of the government of
Gyula Horn. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA AIDE WARNS OF DANGER OF POWER VACUUM IN CRIMEA. Volodymyr
Hrynyov, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's top advisor on regional
matters, has warned that the current political deadlock within the
Crimean Parliament, as well as between the Crimean legislature and the
president, could lead to a dangerous power vacuum that could allow
organized crime groups to yield more influence on the peninsula,
Interfax-Ukraine reported on 23 February. During his visit to
Simferopol, Hrynyov told Interfax that he feared that the power struggle
between Crimean President Yury Meshkov and parliament could lead to
either Meshkov's resignation or the legislature's dissolution, leaving
Crimea vulnerable to increasingly powerful and dangerous organized crime
activity. The aide said that closer political and economic cooperation
between Crimea and Ukraine could help improve the region's ailing
economy. With that in mind, the Ukrainian government has signed a
forward contract with the Crimean government for the purchase of this
year's grain harvest with a 50% advance payment to help finance the
spring sowing. Recently, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma issued a
decree granting Crimea budgetary autonomy, and allowing the Crimean
government to keep all the tax revenues collected for use in the region.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

"WHAT THE PRESIDENT MEANT TO SAY." A Belarus government spokesman in
Minsk said on 23 February that Belarus had no intention of abandoning
the CFE agreement on conventional arms reductions in Europe and that
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's 17 February announcement of a halt in
the destruction of weapons required by the treaty was prompted by a lack
of money and not by concern over NATO's expansion. The spokesman
explained that because of the large amounts of ex-Soviet equipment in
Belarus it had to spend more than the U.S., Britain, and France combined
to meet the treaty limits. While it had received a large amount of money
for this purpose last year from the U.S., the spokesman said this had
not been enough. However Lukashenka denied this interpretation the same
day. Interfax quoted him as making it clear his decision was motivated
by a "visible imbalance of forces in the world" rather than a lack of
funds. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

LUKASHENKA ON BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL LAW. The Belarusian parliament
continues to disagree with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's amendments
to the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers and President, Interfax and
Belarusian Radio reported on 22 February. Lukashenka is seeking to amend
the article in the law which allows a popular referendum to dismiss the
president. He says that the constitution already allows for the
dismissal of the president under a variety of circumstances and
therefore a referendum is unnecessary and unconstitutional. Lukashenka
also seeks to change the article which states that in the event of the
president's disability, power would be transferred to the chairman of
the Supreme Soviet and only revested with the president once parliament
has received a report on his recovery. According to Lukashenka, there is
nothing in the constitution addressing the temporary disability of the
head of state. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UNEMPLOYMENT GROWS IN SLOVAKIA. Slovakia's unemployment rate grew by
0.6% in January to reach 15.2%, Narodna obroda reported on 23 February.
A total of 387,086 people were registered as unemployed at the end of
the month. In 11 districts the unemployment rate was above 20%, in 14 it
was higher than 15%, and only 3 districts had a rate lower than 10%. The
highest rate (28.9%) was in the district of Rimavska Sobota, while the
lowest (5.1%) was in Bratislava. Of total unemployed, 48.9% were women.
-- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH-SLOVAK CLEARING AGREEMENT TO BE CANCELED BY END OF YEAR. In a
visit to Slovakia on 23 February, Czech Deputy Premier and Finance
Minister Ivan Kocarnik said the clearing agreement between the Czech
Republic and Slovakia will be stopped by the end of 1995 and the two
countries will trade in convertible currency, Sme reports. Kocarnik
nonetheless confirmed his interest in the continuation of the customs
union. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

LAST SESSION OF CURRENT ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT. The parliament, elected in
September 1992, held its last session on 23 February, Interfax and BNS
reported. Holding further sessions would have been a great hindrance for
many deputies who are seeking reelection on 5 March. Prime Minister
Andres Tarand noted that the parliament had been very productive,
adopting 426 laws and 100 decisions, declarations, and appeals in two
and a half years. He said that a recent poll had indicated a positive
attitude among Estonians toward the government and parliament and more
confidence in the future. By a 52-1 vote (with two abstentions) the
parliament approved a law on foreign loans and their state guarantees.
The law states that foreign loans in one year can not exceed 15% of the
year's budget and the sum total of foreign loans must not exceed 75% of
budget revenues for the fiscal year. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PREMIER PRESS CONFERENCE. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius
devoted his attention on 23 February to two main issues: his trip the
next day to Moscow and "deprivatization," an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. Agreements on mutual travel, border crossings, and customs
cooperation will be signed during his meeting with Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The talks will also deal with border
delimitation, return of Lithuanian embassy buildings in Paris and Rome,
long term agreements on purchasing oil and gas from Russia, and other
issues. Slezevicius also noted that he was opposed to the Seimas'
decision to include the Ignalina atomic power plant and Kedainiai
chemical plant in the list of enterprises not to be privatized until the
year 2000. Similarly, he opposes the no-confidence motion against
Industry and Trade Minister Kazimieras Klimasauskas that the Seimas
commission for investigating economic crimes is intending to initiate
for not taking a stand in the Kedainiai plant's earlier privatization.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MACEDONIAN STUDENTS PROTEST AGAINST ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY. Around 2,000
Macedonian students demonstrated in front of the parliament building in
Skopje on 23 February against higher education being taught in the
Albanian language, AFP reported the same day. The students argued that
teaching in Albanian serves as a pretext for the breakup of Macedonia.
Following the police crackdown on a self-proclaimed Albanian-language
university on 17 February, police arrested more Albanian activists on 22
February. The former leader of the Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD)
and a founder and current leader of the Party for the Peoples Union,
Nevzat Halili, and a professor at the Albanian-language university,
Musli Halimi, were arrested, the Macedonian-Albanian newspaper Flaka
reported on 23 February. Meanwhile, the current leader of the PPD,
Abdurrahman Aliti, met with British ambassador to Macedonia Tony Milson,
Flaka reported on 24 February. Milson stressed that a policy of dialogue
will bring results and praised the contribution of the PPD in averting
the conflict. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

WASHINGTON ANNOUNCES THE "FRIENDS OF THE FEDERATION." U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke said that a new international group
has been set up to support the joint Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Nasa Borba reported on 24 February. The "Friends of the
Federation" will have their work cut out for them, and Novi list cites
Bishop Pero Sudar as saying that Croats are being driven from their
apartments in Sarajevo by Muslims and not given new housing. The Muslims
are also having problems with the UN, which has now accused their
military of conducting "an orchestrated campaign of harassment" against
UNPROFOR, although government forces have not been as obstructive as the
Serbs. News agencies also report that government and Serb officials met
at Sarajevo airport on 23 February for a second day of apparently
inconclusive meetings about humanitarian and other practical questions,
as well as about the fighting in the Bihac pocket. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SLAMS GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTS TO CO-OPT IT. Novi
list on 24 February reprints a commentary from the latest issue of the
Roman Catholic Church's weekly Glas Koncila. The editorial takes to task
unnamed officials of the government or the ruling Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) for trying to use Catholicism as part of a "state
ideology." The author notes that Christianity cannot be a political
ideology and that democratic countries do not need official ideologies.
The commentary particularly takes issue with those who have said that
the church should not preach "love thine enemy" under the present
circumstances in Croatia. On the contrary, while Croatian Catholics
should defend their country out of patriotism, the article continues,
they must never hate their enemies but rather love them as brothers. The
commentary reflects views typical of Pope John Paul II and especially of
Croatia's Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, who has kept a healthy distance from
the government and openly criticized its war against the Muslims in
1993. The HDZ's attempts to use Catholicism for its own ends have struck
many observers as bizarre, since President Franjo Tudjman is not know to
be a particularly religious man and since his party contains agnostics,
atheists, Jews, Muslims and others who reject the idea of making the HDZ
a Christian democratic party. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

HELP FOR NASA BORBA. Nasa Borba reported on 23 February that on the
previous day the Executive Commission of the European Union allocated
some $120,000 in assistance to Nasa Borba, an independent daily, so that
it may acquire much-needed newsprint. The aid is slated to be directed
through the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), headquartered
in Brussels. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN BASIC TREATY NEGOTIATIONS. Radio Bucharest reported
on a Romanian Foreign Ministry press release on 23 February that said
"significant progress" had been made at the latest round of high-level
negotiations in Bucharest on the basic treaty with Hungary. The ministry
said the two sides had also come closer to an agreement on the article
concerning the rights of national minorities. This article had been one
of the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations. The Romanian side has
submitted new proposals which will be discussed at the next high-level
meeting, most likely next week in Budapest, according to the press
release. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

VAN DER STOEL IN BUCHAREST. The OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities, Max van der Stoel, met on 23 February with Prime Minister
Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, the chairmen of the
two houses of Romania's parliament, Adrian Nastase and Oliviu Gherman,
as well as Viorel Hrebenciuc, the secretary of the government in charge
of the Council on National Minorities. Radio Bucharest and Romanian
Television reported that Melescanu told his guest about the progress in
the negotiations with Hungary on the basic treaty. Max van der Stoel
said he was under the impression that the efforts "necessary for a
Romanian-Hungarian dialogue are being intensified" and expressed his
hope that these will also bear fruit. After the Vacaroiu-van der Stoel
meeting, the government spokesman said they had discussed, among other
things, the pending education law's provisions on teaching in the
languages of national minorities. The Hungarian minority says the law
(which has been passed by the Chamber of Deputies and is to be discussed
in the Senate) is discriminating. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MARTINEZ IN CHISINAU. The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe, Miguel Angel Martinez, arrived in Chisinau on 22
February for a one-day visit, Western and Romanian media reported. In an
address to the Moldovan parliament, Martinez said Moldova's candidacy
for the Council of Europe will be examined "in the first quarter of this
year," Reuters reported. Martinez also said the constitution adopted by
Moldova in July 1994 laid a solid framework for a democratic state,
giving priority to human rights. He said Moldova's approach to national
minorities could serve as a model for other former Soviet republics and
for the former Yugoslavia. Martinez also met Moldovan President Mircea
Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, the chairman of the parliament,
Petru Lucinschi, and Foreign Minister Mihai Popov. Martinez met also
with the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the self-styled Transdniester
republic, Grigore Marcuta. Reuters quoted Martinez as telling the
Moldovan parliament that Russia could join the Council of Europe only if
it proved it dealt with human rights in a "civilized way." he said the
crisis in Chechnya has "had a negative impact on the timetable of
Russia's accession" to the Council. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

UDOVENKO VISITS MOLDOVA. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko
began a two-day visit to Moldova on 23 February. Quoting Moldpres, Radio
Bucharest said on 23 February that Udovenko told his Moldovan hosts that
Ukraine will not obstruct the transit of the 14th army troops and
munition through its territory. However, he added that the transit is
linked to "complicated matters," such as ecological problems, but also
security problems posed by the arsenal and munition of the Russian army.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

HOLBROOKE VISITS SLOVAKIA, ROMANIA. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke visited Slovakia and Romania February 23 to discuss
NATO enlargement issues, Reuters reports. After meeting Slovak president
Michal Kovac in Bratislava, Holbrooke told reporters "I must stress that
the United States considers central Europe of great importance for
stability throughout Europe." In Bucharest, he praised Romania's role as
a an "active participant" in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He
also discussed the U.S. plan to have NATO offer Russia "a security
framework that we see parallel with NATO expansion." He stressed that
this plan "would not give Russia veto power over NATO." Holbrooke
further said that NATO would be sending a team to Eastern Europe to
discuss expansion. Radio Bucharest reported that Holbrooke was
"delighted" with the U.S. strategic relationship with Romania, thought
political relations were "quite good," but was disappointed with the
state of economic relations where American investments were lagging
behind those in Hungary and the Czech Republic. He blamed the slow
privatization process for this state of affairs. -- Michael Mihalka and
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES RESTITUTION LAW. The National Assembly on 23
February passed an amendment to the restitution law, which provides that
tenants can stay another three years in restituted property,
Demokratsiya reported the following day. Some 130 of the 240 deputies
voted for the bill. The amendment had already been passed on 9 February,
but President Zhelyu Zhelev had rejected it on 22 February (see 23
February OMRI Daily Digest). Demokratsiya wrote that the Socialist Party
"blocks restitution for three more years," while Trud assesses that "the
new prolongation of the restitution law does not solve the problem." --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK POLICE DETAIN ALBANIAN IMMIGRANTS. Greek border guards detained
and expelled 2,929 illegal Albanian immigrants between 17 and 21
February, Western agencies reported on 22 February. That is an average
of some 600 Albanians expelled every day. According to Greek officials
the expulsions are a reaction to an increased influx of illegal
Albanians via the snowbound mountainous area since milder weather
allowed people to cross the unmarked border. According to Greek
estimates about 300,000 Albanians work illegally in Greece. Greek
Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias is expected to discuss a possible
regulation of seasonal work for Albanians in Greece with his Albanian
counterpart, Alfred Serreqi, during his visit to Albania in March. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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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