|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 66, Part II, 3 April 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. Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TAKES DIRECT CONTROL OF CRIMEAN GOVERNMENT. Leonid Kuchma issued a decree on 1 April temporarily placing the Crimean government under his direct control and reinstating the recently deposed Crimean prime minister, Anatolii Franchuk, in his post, Reuters and Radio Ukraine reported. Crimean legislators ousted Franchuk and a deputy prime minister on 22 March in retaliation for Kiev's recent decision to annul what it saw as the separatist Crimean Constitution and to abolish the Crimean Presidency. Under the 1 April decree, the appointment of the Crimean premier and cabinet must be approved by Kuchma until the Crimean parliament has drawn up a new constitution by mid-May. That document has to be approved by Kiev, as ordered recently by the Ukrainian parliament. Kuchma last week warned Crimean deputies that he would dissolve their 94-member assembly if they failed to renounce separatism and continued to violate Ukrainian law. Serhii Tsekov, speaker of the Crimean legislature, said the decree reduced Crimea to the status of a colony. He also voiced frustration with the Russian leadership's unwillingness to come out in support of Crimea. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN UKRAINE. William Perry, during a visit to Ukraine on 31 March and 1 April, met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov, Foreign Minister Henadii Udovenko, and parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz, international agencies reported. Perry was positive about Ukraine's disarmament efforts, noting that the country had removed all warheads from its 46 SS-24 strategic missiles (which carry 10 bombs each) and almost half its 130 six-warhead SS-19 missiles ahead of schedule. He visited the Pervomaisk missile base, where he watched an SS-19 missile cut into scrap metal. Perry said the U.S. intends to give Kiev aid for involvement in the Partnership for Peace program and will cover part of the expenses connected with U.S.- Ukrainian military exercises in the Transcarpathian Military District in May. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. ODESSA SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH TURKISH REGION. Ukrainian Radio on 31 March reported that the head of Odessa Oblast Council, Mykola Bohoyavlensky, signed an agreement with a Turkish delegation from Kastamonou on economic and cultural cooperation. The two regions will open naval, trade, and cultural representations on each other's territory and will also start an air link between Odessa and Inebol. Odessa has called for economic autonomy from Kiev and demanded that it be made an economic free zone. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIA'S KMU AND CENTER PARTY SIGN GOVERNMENT COALITION. Tiit Vahi, head of the Coalition Party and Rural Union (KMU) alliance, and Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar signed an agreement on 31 March forming a government coalition, BNS reported. The two leaders, whose parties control 57 of the 101 parliament seats, said the coalition could be expanded if other groups were willing to accept the government program, which Vahi will have to present to the parliament by 6 April. The coalition agreement does not envision any major changes in government policies. Greater integration into the European Union and NATO remain important goals. No changes are foreseen in the laws on citizenship and aliens, and the kroon will remain pegged to the German mark. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LATVIA DETERMINED TO DEPORT ASIAN REFUGEES. Latvian Interior Minister Janis Adamsons told Reuters on 2 April, after returning from a working visit to Germany, that he will do everything possible to deport the more than 100 Iraqi, Afghan, and Palestinian refugees stranded in two railroad cars in the border town on Karsava. UNHCR officials assert that the refugees are asylum seekers who "should at least be given temporary refuge," while Adamsons said they were economic refugees who had paid Russian criminals to smuggle them to the West. An Interior Ministry official said the refugees will probably be taken to a reception center at Olaine, a small town 25 kilometer south of Riga, until they can be deported. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. EU ASSISTS LITHUANIA TO SOLVE BORDER CROSSING PROBLEMS. Deputy Minister of Transportation Algirdas Sakalys told a news conference on 31 March that the European Union granted Lithuania 5.2 million ECU ($6.9 million) to implement a three-year program aimed at resolving border crossing problems, BNS reported on 1 April. The money will be used primarily to develop the infrastructure at customs posts with Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast. Sakalys made the announcement at the end of an international conference in Vilnius on transportation and customs problems, attended by representatives from the Baltic States, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Bulgaria. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLAND'S FREEDOM UNION CHOOSES BALCEROWICZ, KURON AS LEADERS. Economic reform architect Leszek Balcerowicz ousted former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki as chairman of Poland's largest opposition party, the Freedom Union (UW), at the party's second congress on 1-2 April, Radio Warsaw reported. Mazowiecki had led the UW since its formation after his defeat in the 1990 presidential elections. Party delegates voted 313 to 174 for Balcerowicz, reflecting the desire within the UW for a more dynamic leadership. They also chose former Labor Minister and veteran opposition activist Jacek Kuron as the UW's presidential candidate. Kuron defeated former Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz by 242 to 231 in the second round of voting. Former Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka was eliminated in the first round. The vote for Onyszkiewicz showed strong support within the UW for a centrist candidate perceived as above the conflicts that have threatened to divide the party. Kuron has long topped all Polish opinion polls on public trust in politicians, but his left-wing past effectively rules out any election alliance with right-of-center post- Solidarity parties. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. GERMANY INVITES BARTOSZEWSKI TO PARLIAMENT SESSION. Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski has been invited to address the Bundestag and Bundesrat session on 28 April marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. He will be the sole foreign guest to address the joint session of the German parliament, Rzeczpospolita reported. The invitation was designed to smooth ruffled feathers resulting from the failure to invite President Lech Walesa to attend ceremonies in Berlin on 8 May to which leaders from France, Britain, the U.S., and Russia were invited. Bartoszewski told reporters on 31 March that Walesa did not have time to attend the Berlin event and had not in any case expected an invitation, but both the foreign minister and presidential officials had previously protested that the failure to invite Walesa disregarded Poland's contribution to the Allied victory. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. CZECH GOVERNING PARTY TO STAY IN COALITION. The Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) has denied speculation that it is considering leaving the government, Czech media reported. ODA leaders, meeting on 1-2 April, said a police investigation into corruption charges against the head of the party's Secretariat is politically motivated, but ODA chairman Jan Kalvoda, changing his earlier position, said the affair did not implicate the party as a whole. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Josef Lux, head of the Christian Democratic Union-People's Party, offered a merger to the smallest group in the four-party governing coalition, the Christian Democratic Party (KDS), in advance of next year's parliament elections. The KDS is already discussing the possibility of joining forces with other parties. A poll published on 3 April showed that the government has lost six points in its popularity rating in the last month, dropping to 52%. Support for the opposition has grown five points, to 45%. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK WORKERS HOLD PARTY CONGRESS. The Association of Slovak Workers held a party congress on 1-2 April in Banska Bystrica, Slovak media reported. Representatives of the party's three coalition partners were present, as well as the four government members who were nominated by the ASW. Reporters from the dailies Sme, Novy Cas, and Smer dnes were not given accreditation to attend the congress. An internal party conflict prompted three of the party's parliament deputies--Miroslav Kocnar, Marian Polak ,and Klement Kolnik--to leave the congress early. Kocnar said he left "in order to avoid being jointly responsible for the ASW's future policies. This party will have big problems in the next half a year because its current methods of work cannot survive." Jan Luptak was reelected party chairman on 2 April, receiving 163 of 174 valid votes, and five new deputy chairmen were elected. According to Luptak, the departure of three deputies from the congress will not damage the party's stability. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA FIGHTING INTENSIFIES. International media on 3 April reported that fighting in several parts of Bosnia continues to intensify, including in the northwest pocket of Bihac. Bosnian government radio on 2 April said that waves of Serbian and rebel Muslim infantry and tanks pounded the area, notably around the town of Velika Kladusa. According to at least one local amateur radio report, "everything [was] burning from shelling." Reuters the same day quoted UN spokesman Herve Gourmelon as saying that only 185 explosions could be accounted for in the area around Velika Kladusa, a number that the UN representative dubbed "not exceptional." In other news, the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia on 2 April announced that his departure from Sarajevo would take place on 19 April. Ambassador Victor Jackovich, in a statement made available to the press, said several members of staff will also be leaving over the next few months. He added that "My departure--and that of my colleagues--should be viewed as regular rotation for a posting in an environment as difficult and risky as Bosnia." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ZAGREB HAILS UNCRO . . . Croatian media have continued their coverage of Zagreb's official reaction to the UN Security Council's passage on 31 March of Resolution 981, which permits a scaled-down UN mandate for Croatia under the banner of UNCRO in Croatia (a derivative of UN Confidence Restoration Operation). Vjesnik reports that Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic welcomed the resolution, acknowledging that it contains the much sought-after reference to Croatia in its title and saying it "reaffirms the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia." The newspaper on 1 April published the text of the resolution, which affirms that the new UN mandate is expected to see the shifting of some forces to positions along Croatia's international borders and away from monitoring positions held by Croatia's own rebel Krajina Serbs. Nasa Borba reported on 3 April that the Krajina Serb leadership has predictably emerged as the most vocal opponent of the new mandate, insisting that any change to the previous UN mandate is wholly unacceptable. Reuters on 1 April quoted Milan Martic, president of the self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina, as saying the latest Security Council Resolution "ignored the real situation . . . [which] will bring into question our consent to the stay of peacekeepers in [Krajina]." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. .. . . WHILE BOSNIA AND MACEDONIA RECEIVE NEW MANDATES. The UN Security Council has also passed Resolution 982, permitting the UN mandate in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be extended until 30 November. Hina on 2 April reported that Resolution 983 has also received the Security Council's approval. The document stipulates that UNPROFOR in Macedonia "shall be known as the UN Preventative Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) . . . and that the mandate of UNPREDEP shall continue for a period terminating on 30 November 1995." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN AIRLINER CRASHES NEAR BUCHAREST. A TAROM plane carrying 50 passengers and a crew of 10 crashed at Balotesti, in the vicinity of Bucharest, on 31 March shortly after taking off from Otopeni international airport, Romanian and international media reported. The plane, an Airbus A-310, was on a regular flight to Brussels. There were no survivors. Most of the passengers were Belgian. Romanian media on 1 April speculated whether the cause was sabotage. The daily Evenimentul zilei on 3 March reported that the French ambassador to Bucharest received an anonymous phone call saying a bomb had been planted on the plane. The caller said he did not belong to any organization. The Romanian Intelligence Service dismissed the report as "irrelevant." Nicolae Brutaru, the general manager of TAROM, ruled out pilot error but said the airline was considering every other possible cause. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ILIESCU ON TELEVISION CONFLICT. President Ion Iliescu on 30 March described the hunger strike by TV trade union leader Dumitru Iuga as an "abuse," Radio Bucharest reported. He said the parliament had been wrong to make "too many concessions" on appointments to the Radio and Television Managerial Council and that the trade unions had "no say" in the matter. He added that the management of Romanian TV should not have let the trade unions elect the representatives of TV employees, arguing that this contravened "the spirit of the law." An additional mistake, he said, was to allow "non-professional staff" to participate in the elections. Meanwhile, Radio Bucharest on 31 March reported that Eugen Preda, former director-general of Romanian Radio, said in an open letter to the parliament that the elections to the Managerial Council (now said to have been unlawful by the majority party and its allies) were conducted after the parliament's two commissions on mass media and culture failed to clarify who was entitled to participate in the vote, though they were repeatedly asked to do so. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON STUDENT STRIKE. Radio Bucharest quoted Mircea Snegur as saying he would continue to "search for a compromise" with the strikers, "despite demands to end the strike by radical methods." Snegur did not say who was making such demands. He also commented that the negotiations were "encountering difficulties." The president of the strikers' committee, Anatol Petrenco, said the strike would end only if Article 1 of the constitution is changed to stipulate that Romanian, rather than "Moldovan," is the country's official language. He added that the provision saying that the state ensures the right to use Russian and other languages spoken in Moldova should be replaced by a new formulation. The strikers said that the parliament has not included a debate on Article 1 on its agenda, despite promises by Snegur. They also noted that parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi canceled a scheduled meeting with strike leaders. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. UZBEK PRESIDENT IN CHISINAU. At the end of his two-day visit to Chisinau, Islam Karimov signed with his Moldovan counterpart, Mircea Snegur, a document outlining a friendship and cooperation treaty, Interfax reported on 31 March. Seventeen other agreements on, among other things, trade and scientific and cultural cooperation were also signed. Karimov pledged firm support for Moldovan independence and said Uzbekistan believed all disputes should be solved peacefully and without external interference. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIA, GREECE CALL FOR LIFTING OF YUGOSLAVIA SANCTIONS. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and his Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, meeting in Sofia on 1-2 April, called for an end to the international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, AFP reported. They proposed a conference of the region's main countries to press for the sanctions to be lifted. Pirinski asked neighboring countries hit by trade losses resulting from the embargo to appeal jointly to the United Nations and other international organizations for compensation. Papoulias proposed that Bulgaria, Belarus, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and possibly Russia hold a conference in Athens later this month to discuss a common strategy. Pirinski suggested that Albania, Austria, Italy, Macedonia, and Slovenia also attend. He added that Bulgaria is ready to accept $3 million from the International Monetary Fund in compensation for trade losses due to the sanctions. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN JUDGES RESIGN IN SIGN OF PROTEST. The chief judge of Tirana's district court and his deputies resigned on 31 March in protest at government interference in their work, international news agencies reported the same day. They accused Justice Minister Hektor Frasheri and his deputy of interfering in the court's work and trying to bring it under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry and government. Frasheri, they said, tried to stop certain cases from being heard and to influence the hiring and firing of even low-level employees. Gazeta Shqiptare cited chief judge Agim Bendo as saying "our resignation is a protest against the decisions of the justice minister." A Justice Ministry spokesman called the resignations "hasty and unmotivated," insisting that the Justice Ministry's actions "have been based in law." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. [As of 12:00 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 "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. The publication can also be obtained for a fee in printed form by fax and postal mail. Please direct inquiries to: Editor, Daily Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (42 2) 6114 2114 Fax: (42 2) 426 396
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