Наш жизненный путь усеян обломками того, чем мы начинали быть и чем мы могли бы сделаться. - А. Бергсон

No. 91, Part II, 11 May 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


Kuchma, in Moscow on 9 May to attend VE Day celebrations, met with
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, and
State Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin. He proposed that a new round of
bilateral talks between the country's premiers and defense and foreign
ministers take place, Interfax-Ukraine and Radio Ukraine reported on 10
May. He said the talks would be aimed at resolving differences over such
thorny issues as the division of the Black Sea Fleet. Presidents Kuchma
and Yeltsin are expected to meet again during a CIS summit in Minsk in
late May. The Ukrainian leader also held talks with Canadian Prime
Minister Jean Chretien to discuss Kiev's possible participation in the
annual G-7 summit at Halifax this summer, which is scheduled to discuss
the closure of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE EXPECTS INCREASED U.S. AID. Ukraine and the U.S. are expected to
sign a number of bilateral agreements during President Bill Clinton's
visit on 11-12 May, Interfax-Ukraine and RFE/RL reported on 10 May.
Among them is an agreement with the U.S. Import-Export Bank opening two
credit lines for short- and medium-term financing of government
projects. One of the credit lines, worth $350 million, is aimed at
offering enterprises and organizations credits for six to 12 months. The
second, worth $500 million, will ensure medium-term loans for three to
five years and some credits for up to 30 years. Ukrainian leaders are
hoping Clinton's visit will encourage private investment in the
Ukrainian economy. Ukraine is already the fourth largest recipient of
U.S. government aid, having received $900 million in assistance so far.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

National-democratic groups in Ukraine have issued an appeal to citizens
of Belarus to vote against greater economic integration with Russia and
declaring Russian an official language in the 14 May referendum called
by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenka. The appeal said such moves
would encourage the creation of "a new empire under the name of the
CIS." The statement followed an appeal by leftist groups in Ukraine
calling on Belarusians to vote in favor of economic integration with
Moscow. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN ENERGY MINISTER RESIGNS. Algimantas Stasiukynas has tendered
his resignation to Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, RFE/RL reported
on 10 May. Stasiukynas said he resigned because of the opposition in the
Seimas to the planned increase in energy prices. Bronislovas Vainora
resigned as director-general of the Mazeikiai oil refinery the previous
day, partly owing to a recent government decision to change the system
of taxing the refinery's production. Vainora offered his resignation as
energy deputy minister on 2 May, but Slezevicius has not yet accepted
it, BNS reported on 10 May. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN POLICE FOIL SALE OF URANIUM. Police arrested two men in the
town of Haapsalu in western Estonia on 9 May when they tried to sell
five kilograms of non-enriched uranium-238 to an undercover policeman,
AFP reported the next day. The two unemployed men apparently had been
trying to sell the uranium for 500,000 kroons ($45,500) over the past
year. Uranium-238 does not pose an immediate danger, but the radiation
around the container exceeded natural background radiation levels by
about 50 times. The origins of the uranium are uncertain, but it is
believed to have come from Russia. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Aleksandr Udaltsov, deputy director of the Second European Department of
the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the Russian-language Estonian
newspaper Molodezh Estonii that the previous week, President Boris
Yeltsin annulled the mandates of the Russian delegations negotiating
with the Baltic States, BNS reported on 10 May. Udaltsov said there had
been no progress for the past six months in talks with Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania. He added that intergovernmental commissions will have to
be set up to solve economic, humanitarian, technical, and cultural
problems. Udaltsov also noted that Russia's relations with Estonia are
the most complicated and that a separate commission is needed for border
questions. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Jozef Oleksy, returning on 10 May from the Moscow V-E Day celebrations,
said his visit had been necessary and had "served Poland well," Polish
and international media reported. The same day, aides to President Lech
Walesa said a motion to take Oleksy to the State Tribunal is ready but
has not yet been signed. The document accuses the premier of violating
the constitution, which stipulates that the president is to supervise
foreign policy. Walesa strongly criticized Oleksy's decision last month
to attend the Moscow ceremonies and suggested that he account for his
actions before the State Tribunal (OMRI Daily Digest, 21 April 1995). --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

Walesa on 10 May nominated Marek Jurek, vice president of the Christian-
National Union, as head of the National Radio and TV Council--a
supervisory body that also grants broadcasting licenses. Under a new
draft law, the council, rather than the country's president, would have
the right to nominate its head. Polish media interpret Walesa's
nomination of Jurek as aimed at gaining the support of the Christian-
National Union in the upcoming presidential elections. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

Czech government on 10 May proposed ending the payments clearing system
with Slovakia by 1 September, Czech media reported. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus, in a letter to his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar,
said the system has served its purpose and must be abolished before the
Czech koruna becomes convertible later this year. The clearing system,
which has regulated bilateral trade payments since the breakup of
Czechoslovakia, is part of a customs union between the two countries and
has to be terminated by mutual agreement. Slovakia must give the go-
ahead by the end of May for the Czech parliament to abrogate the
relevant legislation. Klaus refused to say whether the Czechs will act
unilaterally if Slovak agreement is not forthcoming. -- Steve Kettle,
OMRI, Inc.

CZECH INFLATION TOPS 10 PERCENT IN APRIL. Consumer prices in the Czech
Republic rose 1.0% in April, giving an annual inflation rate of 10.2%
over the same month in 1994, according to figures published by the Czech
Statistics Office on 10 May. "It's rather more than we would have hoped
for," said Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. Increases in rail travel (66%),
postal charges (40%), and telecommunications charges (20%) that came
into effect in April have boosted the consumer price index. Finance
Ministry officials estimated a 0.8% rise in April but insisted that the
higher actual rate does not jeopardize the government's aim of keeping
inflation below 10% this year. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

parliament on 10 May approved an amendment to the criminal code allowing
those who offer bribes to be immune from punishment. The amendment drew
harsh criticism from the opposition. Ivan Simko of the Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH) told Sme that it sends "a bad moral signal to
the population" and conflicts with the cabinet's "clean hands" program.
Of the 133 deputies present, 74 voted in favor, 56 against, and 2
abstained, Slovenska Republika reported. Meanwhile, the parliament on 11
May will discuss two variants of the draft law on conflict of interests.
One was submitted by the governing Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
(HZDS) and the opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL); and the
other by the KDH. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HOLBROOKE IN SLOVAKIA. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Holbrooke arrived in Slovakia on 10 May for a one-day visit to discuss
ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty and Slovakia's integration
into NATO and the EU. He met with President Michal Kovac, Premier
Vladimir Meciar, and representatives of the opposition. At a press
conference after his meeting with Kovac, Holbrooke refused to comment on
recent political developments in Slovakia, saying he did not want to
interfere in the country's internal affairs. The parliament on 5 May
passed a vote of no confidence in Kovac. While Meciar is pressuring
Kovac to resign, the opposition has expressed support for the president.
Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement representatives on 10 May said
Kovac would be making "a big mistake" if he considered resigning.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia published a statement
in Narodna obroda on 11 May expressing "full support for and trust" in
the president. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY PASSES PRIVATIZATION BILL. The Hungarian parliament on 9 May
passed the long-awaited bill on privatization, Hungarian and Western
media reported. The new law merges the two existing privatization
agencies and outlines plans to sell most state-owned firms. Under the
law, the government will decide on the privatization of banks, financial
institutions, and large companies, while the privatization of medium-
sized and small companies will fall under the jurisdiction of the
privatization agency. A new 11-member board, composed of representatives
of parliament parties, the government, and employers and employees, will
supervise the privatization agency. Some opposition politicians and
economists have criticized the law for not making the privatization
process more transparent and for failing to give the parliament adequate
powers to oversee the process. They also expressed fears that the
government might use the supervisory board to interfere in the
privatization process. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.


SHELL EXPLODES IN SERBIA. Tanjug on 10 May reported that a shell
exploded in the Serbian border town of Mali Zvornik, killing one person
and wounding two. Rump Yugoslavia's UN ambassador Dra-gomir Djokic has
protested the incident to the Security Council, observing that Belgrade
will not tolerate attacks against its territory. Serbian officials have
alleged that the shell was lobbed, possibly by long-range artillery,
from behind Bosnian-Muslim lines. Reuters noted that the closest held
Bosnian government lines are proximately 20 km northwest of the Serbian
town, which is situated on the River Drina. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,

MORTAR ATTACK ON SARAJEVO. At least two mortar shells slammed into the
old-town of Sarajevo on 10 May, injuring at least four people. Fighting
in and around the city has intensified in the past few days,
international media reported. Incidents of sniping are also said to have
increased. Reuters on 10 May reported that fighting has intensified in a
number of areas throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, notably in the north,
where Croatian and Serbian forces engaged in an artillery duel the same
day. The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA alleges that Croatian shelling of
the corridor running between Brcko and Orasje has left 15 civilians
wounded. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb forces have said they shot down a
helicopter in the Muslim enclave of Zepa on 7 May, killing 12 and
wounding 11. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

TENSIONS IN CROATIA. Tensions appear to be on the rise in and near
Sector South of Croatia, where both the rebel Krajina Serbs and the
Croatian military are seeking to strengthen their positions, according
to Nasa Borba on 11 May. The situation in that part of the country
prompted the UN the previous day to warn that hostilities in
southwestern Croatia, near the self-styled Krajina Serb capital of Knin,
could erupt into open military action. Meanwhile, Krajina Serb President
Milan Martic on 10 May alleged that Croatian forces "slaughtered" 150
people during their advance on Serb-held territories in Western
Slavonia. Reuters observed that Slobodan Jarcevic, an adviser to Martic,
had previously alleged that some 400 people were killed, but he offered
no concrete evidence. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA TO CRACK DOWN ON CORRUPTION. Romanian Interior Minister Doru
Ioan Taracila, at a press conference on 10 May, vowed to crack down on
corruption and stem economic crime. Reuters quoted Taracila as saying
his ministry has launched "a big spring cleaning operation" that will
not spare corrupt policemen and customs officers. He singled out
contraband with oil and other goods to the rump Yugoslavia, which, he
said, would not have been possible "without help from representatives of
state authorities." Taracila revealed that more than 100 police officers
have been suspended in corruption probes and that 16 are facing trial.
He called for prosecutors and judges to back the police in their crime-
fighting efforts by severely punishing those found guilty of corruption.
-- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

10 May met with parliamentarians from the extreme nationalist Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR), which since August 1994 has been
participating in Vacaroiu's left-wing cabinet. Radio Bucharest reported
that the discussions focused on government strategy in the economic and
social sectors. The same day, PUNR leaders met with their counterparts
from the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), the major ruling
party, to discuss cooperation at the central and local level. Gheorghe
Funar and Oliviu Gherman, in a joint communique released after the
meeting, announced their parties' intention to boost cooperation between
the two groups' local branches. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

marched through downtown Bucharest calling for the Romanian monarchy to
be restored. Radio Bucharest reported that the main organizer of the
demonstration was the Bucharest Students' League. Hundreds of riot
police prevented the demonstrators from holding a religious ceremony at
University Square to commemorate the victims of communism. The
demonstrators, who chanted pro-monarchy and anti-presidential slogans,
jeered and whistled when police prevented them from entering the square.
Romania's last king, Michael, was forced to abdicate in 1947 and now
lives in Swiss exile. The authorities have several times denied him
permission to visit Romania. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

May reapproved an amendment to the land restitution law, despite
President Zhelyu Zhelev's objections, Western agencies reported the same
day. The amendment stipulates that landowners wishing to sell their land
must first offer it to their neighbors and then to the state, which has
two months to decide whether to buy it. The amendment was passed by the
Socialist-led parliament on 14 April but then vetoed two weeks later by
Zhelev, who argued that it contradicts the constitution. He also said
that he would take the matter to the Constitutional Court if the
parliament overruled his veto. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

on 10 May resumed talks on transporting nuclear waste from Bulgaria to
Russia via Moldova, Reuters reported the same day. Moldovan Deputy Prime
Minister Valentin Cunev said that the two countries agreed in principle
but that the matter has to be discussed very carefully for security
reasons. Nikita Shervashidze, chairman of Bulgaria's Energy Committee,
noted that the talks also included supplying Bulgaria with some Russian
gas and oil from Moldova's quota. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union,
Bulgaria has had to negotiate with Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova to
obtain nuclear fuel and dispose of waste from the Kozloduy nuclear
plant. Russia agreed in March to reprocess the spent fuel from the
facility's six reactors. Russia and Bulgaria are expected to sign an
agreement on nuclear matters during Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Cherno-myrdin's visit to Sofia on 18-19 May. Cunev was in Sofia to mark
the beginning of regular Air Moldova services between Chisinau and
Sofia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

participate in five-nation maneuvers in Greece from 22-26 May, AFP
reported on 10 May. Albanian Defense Minister Safet Zhulali said that 40
soldiers will be sent to Kalamata to take part in the "Spirit 95"
exercises, which are part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program.
Zhulali noted that this is the first time Albanian soldiers are
participating in maneuvers outside Albania. He also commented that the
exercises are "testimony to the reinforcement of relations between
Greece and Albania in the military domain." Taking part are troops from
Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and the U.S. Observers from Great
Britain, Germany, and Italy will also be present. Albania jointed the
Partnership for Peace program in February 1994 and signed a cooperation
agreement with NATO in January 1995. -- 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
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