Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 70, Part II, 7 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

EAST EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HEADS AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. East European
parliaments began a regular dialog with the European Parliament on 5
April, international agencies reported. Parliament leaders from
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia
attended a session on pre-membership strategy for Eastern Europe. Ivan
Gasparvic from Slovakia said they would discuss the implementation of
the Schengen accord at their next session. Romania's Radu Berceanu said
he hoped the meetings would speed the entry of the East into the EU.
Hans van den Broek, EU commissioner for foreign affairs, said he is
seeking cooperation in political as well as economic matters. He added
that entry into the EU for the six countries is only a matter of time.
-- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

GAZPROM DENIES CUTTING GAS TO UKRAINE. Interfax on 6 April quoted
parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz as warning that Russia has threatened
to cut gas supplies to Ukraine due to its outstanding debt. But Deputy
Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk denied that Russia has made such threats.
Segonya reported that Gazprom has reduced supplies but said this was due
to planned maintenance work on pipelines and was not a punitive measure.
Meanwhile, Gazprom denied that it had anything to do with supply cuts to
4,000 Ukrainian enterprises. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN ELECTION UPDATE. Alyaksandr Abramovich, head of the
Belarusian Central Election Commission, has said candidates in the May
parliament elections will receive 600,000 Belarusian rubles ($50) for
their campaign, Interfax reported on 6 April. Each registered candidate
will also be entitled to one radio slot and the free publication of his
or her campaign platform. Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mechyslau Hryb
said he believes many districts will need runoff elections because no
single candidate will receive the half of the votes necessary to win. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER IN ESTONIA, LITHUANIA. Ingvar Carlsson, during a
six-hour visit to Tallinn on 4 April, met with President Lennart Meri,
outgoing Prime Minister Andres Tarand, Foreign Minister Juri Luik, and
Premier-designate Tiit Vahi. BNS reported. Carlsson discussed with
Tarand the introduction of visa-free travel between the two countries
and Estonian relations with Russia. He said Estonia could count on
Sweden's support to join the European Union and asserted that Sweden
would not remain indifferent if Estonia were attacked by an aggressor.
Carlsson gave similar pledges to Lithuanian President Algirdas
Brazauskas and Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius in Vilnius on 6 April.
He also discussed the problems of refugees trying to reach Sweden
through the Baltic States and the safety of the atomic power plant at
Ignalina. Carlsson postponed a visit to Latvia scheduled for 5 April to
attend an important Swedish parliament session. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

LATVIA TAKES REFUGEES OFF TRAIN. Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 6 April
bowed to international pressure by agreeing to move the 100 or so Asian
refugees from two train wagons at the Karsava railroad station to a
planned internment center at Olaine, 25 km south of Riga, Reuters
reported. Foreign Ministry official Martins Virsis held talks in Moscow
with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov on the refugees and
succeeded in obtaining assurances that Moscow would accept those
refugees who could prove they had come from Russia. Virsis said the
Latvian immigration police had acted too hastily in trying to deport the
refugees without the involvement of the Foreign Ministry. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PREMIER GETS NO DATES IN BRUSSELS. NATO and EU officials highly
praised Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy's decision to continue Polish
foreign policy pursued since 1989 but gave no firm commitments on a
timetable for possible Polish membership. Oleksy told reporters in
Brussels on 6 April that he expects Poland to join NATO within three
years and the EU by 2000. But European Commission chairman Jacques
Santer said he opposes "fetishizing dates," according to Rzeczpospolita.
Meanwhile, Gazeta Wyborcza quoted unnamed NATO sources in Brussels as
expressing concern over Poland's delay in establishing structures for
democratic control over the military In other news, the first line of
Poland's only underground, planned since 1925 and under construction
sporadically since 1951, was scheduled to start running in Warsaw on 7
April, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

STAR OF DAVID FINALLY ERECTED AT CZECH CONCENTRATION CAMP. A five-meter
Star of David on 6 April was erected at the former Terezin concentration
camp, north of Prague, from where more than 100,000 Jews and other
inmates were dispatched to extermination camps during World War II. The
steel and iron star was placed close to a cross with a crown of barbed
wire in the cemetery at the entrance to Terezin's "Small Fortress." A
group of American Jewish activists who last year visited Terezin
complained that there was no monument to the Jews who died in the town's
ghetto. The cemetery itself is a memorial to Terezin inmates who died in
a typhus epidemic in the last months of the war and after the camp's
liberation. Under communism, Terezin was portrayed simply as a site
where anti-fascists were housed and then transported to death camps,
without mentioning that the vast majority were Jews. A museum of the
Jewish ghetto was opened at Terezin in 1991. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SAYS MECIAR BUILT PARALLEL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. Michal
Kovac, in a statement read to the parliament on 6 April, responded to an
address by Premier Vladimir Meciar the previous day on the Slovak
Information Service. Meciar told parliament deputies that since its
creation, the SIS has opposed his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia,
and he accused SIS officials of shadowing him (see OMRI Daily Digest, 6
April 1995). Kovac called Meciar's address "a pitiful example of how
presumptions and disinformation can be confused with incontestable
reality or facts." He accused Meciar of creating "an illegal parallel
structure of intelligence activity" opposed to the president and other
individuals. The parliament the same day reapproved a law allowing state
secretaries to vote in cabinet sessions in place of ministers and
transferring the Office of Industrial Property to Banska Bystrica on 1
May. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK MINISTRY REMOVES INVESTMENT FIRM'S LICENSE. The Slovak Finance
Ministry on 31 March removed the license of Prva Slovenska Investicna
Spolocnost (PSIS), Narodna obroda and Praca reported on 7 April. Harvard
Investment, which is run by the father of MDS deputy Ivan Lexa, and
Agroinvest were given temporary control over the PSIS portfolio. PSIS
representatives say they will take every legal step to have the decision
overturned. The PSIS is a shareholder in the firm that publishes the
opposition daily Sme. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

OPINION POLL ON SLOVAK PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS. An opinion poll conducted by
the FOCUS agency in March shows that the Presidency is the most trusted
institution in Slovakia and television the least. Confidence in the
president has fallen only 1% since November to 66%, while trust in
Slovak Television has plummeted from 51% to 40%. Confidence in the
Constitutional Court has dropped from 61% to 55%, in Slovak Radio from
60% to 54%, in the parliament from 57% to 51%, and in the government
from 52% to 44%. The government, which took office in mid-December, has
advocated changes bringing Slovak Television and Radio under its
control. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN FIRES SMOKE SHELLS AT SERBS. The 7 April Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung reported that UNPROFOR troops the previous day fired smoke
shells at Serbs near Sarajevo. The Serbs had ignored an ultimatum from
the peacekeepers to stop firing on the capital's only supply road, which
crosses Mt. Igman. Serbs also shelled the government-held suburb of
Hrasnica, killing at least two. News agencies reported US Undersecretary
of State Richard Holbrooke as warning that the cease-fire is beginning
to come apart. Outside Sarajevo, government forces pressed Serbian
troops in the Doboj area and claimed to have surrounded the key Serbian
television relay tower at Stolice, near Tuzla. Nasa Borba on 6 April
reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has asked the UN to
allow in shipments of oil "for agricultural purposes." NIN on 7 April,
moreover, quotes his deputy, Nikola Koljevic, as warning Serbia that
there will be "a civil war" among Serbs if Belgrade ever recognizes
Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA WANTS "INTENSIVE TALKS." Hina on 6 April quotes Foreign Minister
Mate Granic as saying UN Security Council Resolution 981, which
transforms UNPROFOR into UNCRO under a changed mandate, is the strongest
document in Croatia's favor that the body has ever approved. He now
wants negotiations, first with the international community and then with
the Serb rebels, on extending Zagreb's sovereignty throughout its
internationally recognized territory. He also noted that of the prewar
population of 650,000 in Serb-held areas, only about 200,000 remain.
Even about 120,000 Serbs have left, Granic said. UN officials added that
there are no signs of demilitarization in Sector East around Erdut and
Vukovar, which Serbia reportedly intends to keep because of its oil and
agricultural wealth. The 7 April Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted
that Croatia and Hungary have signed an agreement aimed at protecting
the rights of the roughly 30,000 ethnic Croats in Hungary and the 25,000
ethnic Hungarians in Croatia, many of whom have become the victims of
Serbian "ethnic cleansing" in Sector East. The treaty is based on
Council of Europe norms. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KRAJINA SERBS REJECT "PEACE AT ANY PRICE." Nasa Borba on 7 April quotes
Krajina Serb leader Milan Martic as saying that Resolution 981 is
unacceptable to his people. He blamed the new measures on the alleged
domination of the Security Council by the U.S. and Germany. He accused
the international community of trying to drive the Krajina Serbs "into a
ghetto." Martic warned against attempts to station peacekeepers on
Croatia's borders with Bosnia and Serbia, saying "there are no borders
between Serbian territories." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

INDEPENDENT MONTENEGRIN RADIO IN TROUBLE. Nasa Borba on 7 April reports
that Radio Elmag, the first independent radio station in the rump
Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, is in dire straits. Government demands
for fees and taxes is threatening to drive the station out of existence.
Radio Elmag may become the latest victim in rump Yugoslavia's efforts to
crackdown on the independent media. This campaign culminated in late
1994, when Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic attempted to eliminate
the independent daily Borba, now reincorporated as Nasa Borba. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN TV UNION LEADER ENDS HUNGER STRIKE. Dumitru Iuga, leader of the
Radio and Television Free Trade Union, has ended his hunger strike after
36 days, Romanian Television reported on 6 April. Iuga told journalists
in Bucharest that he reached the conclusion that his protest, "in its
present form, is no longer useful." Several other union members who
fasted in solidarity with Iuga also ended their action. Iuga said he
intended to use "totally different forms of protest in the future." He
added that the authorities' handling of the conflict proved they had a
plan to eliminate "by any means" candidates for the Radio and Television
Administrative Council who were considered "troublesome." Since the
parliament will hold new elections for the remaining eight seats on the
council, continuing the strike would mean to "abandon the struggle,"
Iuga argued. In other news, subway workers ended their strike on 5
April, after the government agreed to a wage increase of 67,000 lei
($36). -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN OFFICIALS ON NATO AND RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Defense Minister
Gheorghe Tinca, in an interview with Radio Bucharest on 6 April, said
that following talks with his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, he
hoped Russia better understands Romania's motives for pursuing
integration with NATO. He said Romania sees no conflict between its
efforts to become a NATO member and having good relations with Russia.
Also on 6 April, Tinca met with Russian Federation Council Chairman
Vladimir Sumeiko, who repeated his support for the withdrawal of
Russia's 14th Army from the separatist Dniester region. Presidential
spokesman Traian Chebeleu said the same day that relations with NATO are
a matter to be decided between individual countries and the
organization. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN MOLDOVAN STRIKES. Presidential spokesman
Traian Chebeleu on 6 April told a press conference in Bucharest that
Romania has played no role in the strikes in Chisinau and elsewhere in
Moldova. He noted that "there are forces in Chisinau that try to blame
Romania every time something goes wrong there." Also on 6 April, Radio
Bucharest reported that Alexandru Scerbanschi, head of the commission
set up by President Mircea Snegur to deal with the strikers' demands,
has canceled a meeting with the strikers' committee "for health
reasons." International agencies reported that thousands of strikers
continued their protest on 6 April, halting traffic in the city and
chanting anti-government slogans. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SCANDAL IN BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT OVER NEW LAND LAW. The government's
latest proposed amendment to the land law caused a scandal in the
parliament on 6 April, Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day.
The Socialist majority has proposed to restitute land on the basis of
declarations submitted by owners when they joined farm cooperatives
under communist rule. Vladislav Kostov of the Union of Democratic Forces
said these declarations, submitted under pressure, were invalid, since
many depicted the plots of land as smaller than in reality. Vasil
Gotsev, deputy chairman of the UDF's National Coordinating Council, said
the proposed amendment violates the right of ownership. One UDF deputy
was expelled from the parliament for improper conduct. A vote was not
taken on the amendment due to continuing disorder. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN NATIONAL BANK LOWERS PRIME INTEREST RATE. The Bulgarian
National Bank on 6 April lowered the prime interest rate to 65% from
72%, Demokratsiya reported the following day. A BNB official said the
rate was lowered because of low inflation in the first months of 1995,
not because the government had insisted. As a result, production and
investment are expected to be stimulated, but there may be disturbances
on the currency market. BNB Governor Todor Valchev, however, said the
bank is capable of keeping the lev's exchange rate under control. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

EUROPEAN COURT ADVOCATE SAYS GREEK EMBARGO IS LEGAL. European Court of
Justice Advocate General Francis Jacobs on 6 April said the court should
dismiss a complaint over Greece's trade blockade against Macedonia, AFP
reported the same day. He said the complaint, filed by the European
Commission in April 1994, fell outside the jurisdiction of the court, as
questions of national security are up to each country to decide.
According to Reuters, Jacobs said that given historical tensions in the
Balkans, it is not completely unreasonable for Greece to fear war. The
court, which is not obliged to follow Jacobs' opinion, is unlikely to
rule on the case before the fall. Greek government spokesman Evangelos
Venizelos said his country "can only be entirely satisfied." The
Macedonian Foreign Ministry considered Jacobs' position to be the
"inauguration of a new form of economic violence." It expressed its
"deep shock at such a stand encouraging economic blockades in the
settlement of bilateral problems." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES EMBARGO-BUSTING REPORTS. The Albanian Foreign
Ministry has denied recent media reports that petrol and oil continue to
be smuggled from Albania into Montenegro, Reuters reported on 6 April.
It said "the Albanian government has taken the necessary measures to
eliminate the smuggling of fuel in violation of UN sanctions." Reuters
also quotes a senior police official as saying that smuggling from
Albania to Montenegro has decreased since Romania and Bulgaria began to
offer cheaper oil products. Albanian sanctions coordinator Arben Petrela
said Albania's fuel imports dropped from 172,000 tons in the last three
months of 1994 to 54,000 tons in this year's first quarter. But Gazeta
Shqiptare carried a story on 6 April about large-scale oil smuggling on
Lake Shkoder, which borders Montenegro. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY ON RETURN OF GOLD. The Albanian
parliament has ratified a treaty on the return of 1,574 kilograms of
gold, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 April. The U.S. and Albania signed
the treaty on 10 March. Worth some $13 million, the gold was stolen by
Germany during the occupation in World War II and later handed over to a
commission, made up of the U.S., Britain, and France, for safekeeping.
The Albanian parliament agreed that the U.S. can keep gold worth some $2
million for reparations to American citizens whose property in Albania
was confiscated by the communists. Britain sanctioned the agreement in
1992. France has declared its willingness to return the gold without
preconditions, but an accord has not yet been signed. -- Fabian Schmidt,
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
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