ZHizn' dolga, esli ona polna... Budem izmeryat' ee postupkami, a ne vremenem. - Seneka
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 78, Part II, 20 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

MORE BALTIC COMMENTS ON KOZYREV STATEMENT. Officials in Estonia and
Latvia on 19 April reacted strongly to the remarks by Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev the previous day that Moscow reserves the right
to use military force to protect Russian living abroad, Western agencies
reported. Estonian President Lennart Meri considered the timing of
Kozyrev's remarks very inappropriate, coming shortly before the
celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in
Europe. The Estonian Foreign Ministry asked Moscow for an explanation of
Kozyrev's remarks but has not yet received a reply. It issued a
statement noting with anxiety that Russia used similar slogans about
defending the rights of Russian-speakers before invading Chechnya and
killing tens of thousands of civilians. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIA PREPARES AGREEMENT ON REFUGEES. Atis Sjanits, deputy state
secretary for juridical and consular issues at the Latvian Foreign
Ministry, said his ministry has prepared a draft agreement on taking
back refugees who have no right to stay in the territory of a
neighboring state, BNS reported on 19 April. Delegations from the Baltic
foreign ministries and immigration officials will meet in Riga on 27
April to discuss this agreement and a similar one prepared by Estonia.
Sjanits noted that although Latvia has sent notes to Russia and Belarus
proposing talks on illegal migration issues, neither state has as yet
responded. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. BANK SUGGESTS FINANCING HALF OF LITHUANIAN OIL TERMINAL PROJECT.
Representatives of the U.S. company Fluor Daniel brought to Lithuania on
18 April a letter of intent signed by the vice president of the U.S.-
based EXIM bank promising to meet 50-60% of the construction costs of
the planned floating oil terminal at Butinge, BNS reported the next day.
The offer is conditional on Lithuania's paying the remainder. Fluor
Daniel designed the terminal project and began to help Lithuania to find
financing for it when the Russian oil giant Lukoil refused to
participate in the project, scaring away interested Western companies.
The terminal is expected to cost around $200 million. All the equipment
and technologies would be purchased in the U.S. if Lithuania and EXIM
reach an agreement. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

WORK ON UNDERWATER CABLE BETWEEN ESTONIA AND SWEDEN HALTED. The Estonian
National Maritime Inspectorate has ordered the Estonian Telephone Co. to
stop installing an underwater cable between Estonia and Sweden because
it runs through the spawning grounds of fish and a registered deposit of
therapeutic mud, BNS reported on 18 April. The company may have to pay
for damage inflicted on the country's fish reserves and for spoiling the
mud deposit. These costs would undoubtedly result in higher telephone
charges. The Environment Ministry is evaluating the damage and
establishing a commission that will draw up a list of principles and
regulations. The company will also have to pay fines to its Swedish and
Danish partners. It is unclear when and how the work will continue. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN DEPUTIES DENOUNCE PETITION TO KIEV. The Crimean parliament has
denounced deputy Refat Chubarov's initiative to collect Crimean deputies
signatures to a document urging Kiev to dissolve the Crimean
legislature, Ukrainian Radio reported on 19 April. The Crimean
parliament said in a statement that the claim that 50 deputies have
signed such a petition is a "gross falsification aimed at abolishing
Crimean autonomy." The statement added that only a minority of deputies
signed the petition and that they had been elected on minority quotas.
The statement also appealed to Kiev not to worsen the situation in
Crimea by exploiting Chubarov's petition. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

HEAD OF BELARUSIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION APPEALS TO PRESIDENT. Alyaksandr
Abramovich, head of the Belarusian Central Electoral Commission, met
with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 18 April to discuss funding for
the 14 May parliament elections, Belarusian radio reported the next day.
Abramovich claims that the electoral commission has received less than
half of the 68 billion Belarusian rubles ($6.5 million) allocated for
the elections. He says the commission has received only 20 billion
rubles for the elections and nothing for the referendum, scheduled to
take place at the same time, or the 11 June local elections . He
appealed to the president to release further funds. Each of the 2,502
registered candidates is entitled to 600,000 rubles ($52) for their
campaign. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, ROMANIAN PRESIDENTS IN POLAND. European Parliament
President Klaus Haensch arrived in Poland on 19 April for his first
foreign visit since being elected in July 1994. He met with Polish
Premier Jozef Oleksy and the leaders of all parliament factions. Haensch
said that most European Parliament deputies supported Polish EU
membership, but he stressed that Poland would neither be subject to
special requirement nor receive any favors. Haensch is scheduled to
visit his birthplace, Szprotawa, on 20 April. Meanwhile, Ion Iliescu
also arrived in Poland on 19 April for the first visit by a Romanian
president since 1989, the Polish press reported. Iliescu met with Polish
President Lech Walesa, Premier Jozef Oleksy as well as with the Sejm and
Senate presidents. Walesa was quoted as saying after the meeting that
"we are nearly unanimous on the most important issues." -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION REACTS TO NEW SIS CHIEF. Democratic Left Chairman
Peter Weiss, reacting to the appointment of Ivan Lexa, a deputy from the
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and a close ally of Premier Vladimir
Meciar, as director of the Slovak Information Service, said on 19 April
that the SIS is no longer designed to protect the interests of Slovakia
but rather those of the current governing parties. Complaining that no
opposition deputies are represented on the SIS's supervisory body, Weiss
expressed fears about the political abuse of the service. Democratic
Union deputy Milan Knazko called the move "another arrogant provocation
vis-a-vis the president," saying it shows that Meciar favors "ideology
and obedience" over "professionalism." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE SUBSIDIES TO POLITICAL PARTIES. The
Hungarian government on 18 April revealed plans to cut state subsidies
to political parties by 15% as part of its austerity measures designed
to reduce the budget deficit, Magyar Hirlap reported the next day. While
the government cited economic reasons for the cuts, the opposition
parties charged that the move was politically motivated and expressed
fears that it would endanger multi-party democracy in Hungary. Many
parties are experiencing financial difficulties because of loans they
took out to cover the campaign costs for national and local elections.
Several were forced to sell or rent party property and to reduce
personnel. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY, MOLDOVA SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Hungarian President Arpad Goncz
and his Moldovan counterpart, Mircea Snegur, signed a bilateral
friendship treaty in Budapest on 19 April, international agencies
reported the next day. Leading officials from various Hungarian and
Moldovan ministries signed agreements on the avoidance of double
taxation, investment protection, cultural cooperation, and civil
aviation. Snegur and Goncz discussed at length the question of minority
rights and stressed that their countries were in full agreement on the
treatment of minorities. In the past, Hungary has expressed strong
support for Moldovan policies on minorities in general and for granting
territorial autonomy to the Gagauz minority in particular. -- Edith
Oltay and Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS SHELL SARAJEVO IN BOSNIA . . . News agencies reported on 19 April
that Bosnian Serb forces shelled Sarajevo with heavy weapons placed in
UN monitoring sites. The Serbs ignored shots fired by Ukrainian
peacekeepers and verbal threats by French soldiers, but an overflight by
NATO aircraft apparently prompted them to cease shelling. Meanwhile in
New York, the UN Security Council unanimously passed French-backed
Resolution 987, which condemns recent attacks on UNPROFOR and calls on
the secretary-general to prepare recommendations on new measures to
promote the peacekeepers' safety. Hina added that the text also urges an
extension of the current Bosnian cease-fire after it expires on 30
April. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

.. . . AND DUBROVNIK IN CROATIA. Hina reported on 19 April that Serb
forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina fired a mortar shell at the runway of the
new Dubrovnik-Cilipi airport, which replaced the airport destroyed in
the 1991 Serbian-Croatian conflict. Prime Minister Nikica Valentic, who
had just arrived to dedicate the new terminal, called the attack
"another proof of how unscrupulous our enemy is." He added that "this
attack is aimed at provoking a conflict. Croatia will not tolerate such
provocations anymore . . . If needed, we are ready to respond faster and
stronger than [the Serbs] would expect." Croatia's ambassador to the UN,
Mario Nobilo, sent a letter to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali
condemning "such terrorist acts." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CAN THE CROATS SHELL KNIN? UN sources have said that Croatian and
Bosnian Croat forces are now ensconced on Mt. Dinara to the east of the
Krajina capital and that from that position they can hit Knin itself,
Reuters reported on 18 April. The report points out that Croatian forces
have been encroaching on the rebel Serbs' territory since UNPROFOR's
mandate ran out at the end of March. The 19 April Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung adds that UN negotiators are far from hammering out a new
mandate acceptable both to Zagreb and to Knin and are unlikely to meet
their 21 April deadline. A central Croatian demand, which the Serbs
reject, is that UN monitors be stationed on Croatia's frontiers with
Serbia and Bosnia to monitor about two dozen major crossing points and
scores of minor ones. Nasa Borba says that the UN already has 200
vehicles in place along the Croatian-Serbian border. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

MILOSEVIC OFF THE HOOK? Reuters reported on 19 April that the head of
the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has said that
documents brought to public attention in a 13 April New York Times
article do not in fact link Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to war
crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Chief Prosecutor Richard Goldstone said:
"The documents referred to in the article were found by my office to be
[of] no evidentiary or other value." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON KOSOVO TRIALS. The local court of Pec on 19 April sentenced
nine former ethnic Albanian policemen to between one and five years in
prison, international agencies reported the same day. The policemen were
charged with creating a shadow Kosovar Interior Ministry of the Republic
of Kosovo. According to the Serbian authorities, the ministry was set up
in 1992 to "create the conditions for the secession of Kosovo from
Yugoslavia." Also on 19 April, the trial of another seven ethnic
Albanian policemen began, Politika reported the next day. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

NEW SLOVENIAN-ITALIAN ROW? Italy's Foreign Ministry on 19 April summoned
Slovenia's senior diplomat for discussions about remarks allegedly
recently made by Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler, Reuters
reported. The Ljubljana daily Delo quoted Thaler as saying that
Slovenia's borders were "unjust," prompting Rome to respond by
suggesting that the minister's statements amounted to claims against
Italian territory. But Thaler, at a press conference on 19 April, said
he had been misquoted by the daily and that his comments dealt only and
specifically with Slovenia's borders with Croatia. Recently, Ljubljana's
relations with Rome have been warming, following Italy's decision in
early March to halt efforts at blocking Slovenia's negotiating associate
member status in the EU. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

MAJOR ROMANIAN POLITICAL FORMATIONS HOLD SURPRISE MEETING. The
leaderships of the Party for Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), the
dominant government formation, and the Hungarian Democratic Federation
of Romania (UDMR) held a surprise meeting on 19 April. Radio Bucharest
and Romanian Television quoted the chairmen of the two formations as
saying that the meeting should not be interpreted as indicating a
"partnership" or "alliance" between the two groups. PDSR executive
chairman Adrian Nastase said the participants discussed the possibility
of organizing a "colloquium" of parliament parties to debate and clarify
such disputed concepts as "autonomy." UDMR executive chairman Csaba
Takacs said the PDSR must overcome its mistrust and collaborate with his
formation "on those points where there is common ground." He stressed
that both the UDMR and the PDSR support Romania's integration in
"European structures." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION TO STRENGTHEN COLLABORATION. Emil Constantinescu,
chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), and Petre Roman,
leader of the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front (PD-FSN), agreed
at a meeting on 19 April to launch a "minimum program" aimed at
coordinating the democratic opposition's policies. Radio Bucharest
reported that the program includes collaboration in the parliament, at
local government level, and "in the electoral realm." General elections
are scheduled for the fall of 1996. The two leaders agreed to work
together on an emergency program for overcoming the country's present
crisis and to draw up a timetable for meetings at various levels of CDR
and PD-FSN officials. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

NASTASE ON RADIO-TELEVISION CONFLICT. PDSR executive chairman Adrian
Nastase, speaking in his capacity as president of the Chamber of
Deputies, told Rompres on 19 April that the trade unions should play no
role whatever in the elections for employees' representatives on the
Radio and Television Administrative Council. He said he was convinced
that the permanent bureaus of the parliament's two chambers will
"invalidate" the vote if the provisions of the law on the elections to
the council were to be interpreted otherwise. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DELEGATION IN MOLDOVA. Elisabeth Schrodter, head of
the European Parliament delegation for relations with Moldova, Ukraine,
and Belarus, said in Chisinau on 19 April that the withdrawal of the
14th Russian army should be internationally monitored, BASA-press
reported. She said the delegation, which began a three-day visit to
Moldova on 17 April, had seen "that Moldovan leaders are interested in
settling the Transdniestrian conflict peacefully." Commenting on a
meeting with General Aleksandr Lebed, Schrodter said she had the
impression the general was not interested in a rapid withdrawal of the
14th army. Transdniestrian leaders told Schrodter at a meeting on 19
April that they insist on preserving the region as an independent state
but that they would agree to a confederation with Moldova. Schrodter
also praised Moldova's economic reforms and respect for minority rights.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ANTI-SEMITES DEFACE BULGARIAN SYNAGOGUE. Anti-Semitic slogans and
swastikas have been sprayed on the walls of the Sofia synagogue and a
Jewish primary school, Reuters reported on 19 April. Eddie Schwartz,
chairman of the Jewish Organization in Bulgaria, said the incident,
which took place on the night of 18-19 April, showed that neo-nazi
groups exist in Bulgaria. Reuters quoted Schwartz as saying that while
the attack is "the work of a marginal group in society . . . , it does
not mean that we should ignore what has happened." Mihail Ivanov,
presidential adviser on ethnic issues, told a news conference that
President Zhelyu Zhelev condemned such "anti-Semitic and racist
actions." The incident coincided with the 106th anniversary of Hitler's
birthday on 20 April and with the visit of an Israeli delegation to
Sofia. A similar act of vandalism took place on 16 April in the northern
town of Ruse. A neo-nazi organization calling itself "Brannik" (Warrior)
after a World War II fascist group claimed responsibility for the
desecration of a Russian military cemetery there. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

NEW ELECTRICITY PRICE HIKES IN BULGARIA IMMINENT. Demokratsiya on 20
April reported that electricity prices will increase by 65%, from 1.95
cents to 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. John Wilton, representative of the
World Bank in Bulgaria, was quoted as saying that the government, while
acknowledging that the increases are necessary, is trying to postpone
their implementation because of a lack of protection for the socially
weak. Wilton said that a group of World Bank experts has presented a
mechanism to protect the poor from the price hikes. Electricity prices
went up by 47% for private households and by 28.4% for industry on 1
March. The World Bank has repeatedly criticized the Bulgarian government
for keeping electricity prices below the cost of production. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

FIRST ARRESTS IN ALBANIAN PRINTING MACHINE SCANDAL. Perparim Xhixha,
former chief editor of the Socialist Party newspaper Zeri i Popullit,
has been put under house arrest in connection with the disappearance in
1991 of $400,000 from a communist solidarity fund, Gazeta Shqiptare
reported on 20 April. The money was allegedly used to buy a printing
machine in Canada for Zeri i Popullit, but the machine never
materialized. Xhixha's arrest has diverted suspicion away from Socialist
Party deputy leader Namik Dokle, who was chief editor of Zeri i Popullit
before Xhixha. -- 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
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Natasha Bulashova,Greg Koul
Updated: 1998-11-

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