The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 98, Part II, 22 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

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

ACTING UKRAINIAN PREMIER ASKED TO FORM NEW GOVERNMENT. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma has asked acting Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk
to form a new government, AFP reported on 19 May. Marchuk told Interfax
that he wanted to form a cabinet of highly qualified professionals but
did not mention any names. The final makeup of the cabinet is to be
decided by Kuchma. Meanwhile, some 300 U.S. troops arrived in Ukraine to
hold the first joint peacekeeping exercises with Ukrainian troops, AFP
reported. About 400 Ukrainian servicemen will participate in the
maneuvers, which are part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The
exercises will be observed by Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov
and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

BELARUSIAN BANK SAYS IT WILL NOT ISSUE NEW BANK NOTES IN 1995. The
National Bank of Belarus has no plans to issue bank notes with new
symbols this year, Belarusian radio reported on 19 May. The electorate
voted in a legally binding referendum of 14 May in favor of bringing
back Soviet-era state symbols to replace current ones. According to bank
officials, replacing the bank notes will cost at least $7 million,
which, they say, the bank does not have. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ENERGY NEWS FROM BELARUS. Belarusian Radio on 19 May reported that the
Russian Energy Ministry is ready to supply Belarus with energy at
"negotiated" rates rather than world prices. Russian Energy Minister
Yury Shafranik was quoted as saying that energy prices should not be
"fixed" but subject to negotiation. The statement comes in the wake of
the Belarusian referendum, in which the electorate voted in favor of
closer economic integration with Russia. Belarus is already receiving
energy from Russia at reduced rates. In other news, the Belarusian
government has agreed to include 12 Belarusian gas and oil enterprises
in the joint Russian-Belarusian energy concern Slavneft. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

COUNCIL OF BALTIC SEA COUNTRIES MEETS. Foreign ministers from the
Council of Baltic Sea Countries discussed regional economic cooperation
at their annual meeting in Gdansk on 18-19 May, international agencies
reported. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev complained about the
group's lack of action and the continued infringement of the civil
rights of Russian-speakers in Latvia and Estonia. He stressed that
Moscow supported the council because "regional cooperation is an element
of the new model for European security." Polish Foreign Minister
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski said the regional group could play an important
role in the EU's strategy to accept new members. -- Michael Mihalka,
OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS. Andris Piebalgs, at an extraordinary
session of the Saeima on 19 May, announced he was submitting his
resignation as finance minister and would give up his mandate in the
legislature, which was suspended when he became minister, BNS reported.
Piebalgs also said he would withdraw his candidacy for the fall
parliament elections. He noted that the state budget deficit of 70
million lati ($134 million) had been caused by the crisis in the banking
system. Prime Minister Maris Gailis refused to accept the resignation,
saying he would try to persuade Piebalgs to stay on. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNIST DIPLOMAS VALID AGAIN IN LITHUANIA. The Seimas on 18 May voted
by 47 to 42 to restore the validity of diplomas issued by higher
communist party schools, BNS reported the next day. The vote revoked the
1990 decision by the Lithuanian Supreme Council not to recognize such
diplomas. All parliament groups, except for the Lithuanian Democratic
Labor Party, strongly opposed the measure, seeing it as an attempt to
help place former Communists in positions that require diplomas from
higher schools. Rolandas Pavilionis, the chairman of the Lithuanian
Rectors' Conference, criticized the vote and said that universities, in
accordance with their constitutional right to autonomy, have the right
not to recognize the diplomas of higher party schools. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENT ON RADIO "FREE CAUCASUS." Lech Walesa on 19 May sought
to ease Russian concerns about Radio "Free Caucasus," which plans to
broadcast from Poland, by saying that Poland "is not interested in a
conflict with Russia," Polish media reported. Russia Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev said Walesa told him that Polish law does not issue
licenses to stations such as "Free Caucasus." Polish and international
agencies stress, however, that Walesa does not have direct authority
over the matter. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POPE IN CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND. John Paul II, during his visit to the
Czech Republic from 20 to 22 May, held talks with President Vaclav
Havel, met Church leaders, and held a service at a Prague stadium.
According to Rude pravo, the stadium, which can hold more than 100,000
people, was half-empty. Some 250,000 people attended the canonization
ceremony in Olomouc on 21 May of Jan Sarkander and Zdislava of Lemberk.
The next day, the pope traveled to Skoczow to attend an ecumenical
service in a Lutheran church. Some 80,000 Lutherans live in Poland, half
of them in the Skoczow region. -- Steve Kettle and Jakub Karpinski,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY SETS UP SHADOW CABINET. The Republican Council
of the Party of the Democratic Left on 20 May voted to set up a 15-
member shadow cabinet that will include chairman Juraj Hrasko and deputy
chairpersons Brigita Schmoegnerova (socio-economic issues), Lubomir
Fogas (legislation), and Pavol Kanis (non-industrial sector). The party
issued a statement saying that the government coalition, rather than
solving the country's economic and social problems, is intent on
"strengthening its economic and political power, causing conflicts and
politically motivated purges, dividing the trade unions, and attacking
the president," Pravda reported. In other political news, a congress of
the extraparliamentary Christian Social Union on 20 May elected Viliam
Oberhauser as party chairman. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY SIGNS INTELLIGENCE SHARING PACT WITH U.S . . . Hungary has
become the first former East bloc country to sign an agreement on
sharing military secrets with the U.S., Western media reported on 20
May. Agreements on general defense cooperation and defense industrial
research and development were also signed. Hungarian Defense Minister
Gyorgy Keleti said that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Holbrooke had assured him that despite Russia objections, the U.S.
remained undeterred in its drive for NATO expansion. Keleti also said
that Hungarian units will participate in Partnership for Peace exercises
in Louisiana in August and that Hungary intends to send units to
Western-dominated UN peacekeeping operations in the Sinai and Cyprus. --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND SAYS IT WILL DESTROY "SCUD" MISSILES. Hungarian Defense
Minister Gyorgy Keleti on 20 May announced that Hungary is to begin
destroying its "Scud" surface-to-surface missiles in advance of a NATO
meeting in Budapest, Radio Kossuth reported. Keleti, who had just
returned from a five-day visit to the U.S., indicated that the U.S.
would help in the destruction of the missiles. The Scud is a short-range
guided missile with a range of up to 300 kilometers capable of carrying
conventional, nuclear, or chemical weapons warheads. It was introduced
into all Warsaw Pact armies in the mid-1960s. Hungary had one brigade
with nine launchers and 24 missiles. In November 1990, then Defense
Minister Lajos Fur announced that all the missiles and launchers would
be scrapped "without delay." However, later reports suggested that while
the launchers were dismantled, the missiles were put into storage. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC THREATENS TO OVERRUN "SAFE AREAS." Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic has said he will take UN troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina hostage
if air strikes are ordered against his forces. He also threatened to
capture the mainly Muslim UN-declared "safe areas" in eastern Bosnia--
Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde--which the UN is considering abandoning
under a new plan to scale down its presence. Nasa Borba on 22 May also
quotes Karadzic as promising that Bosnian Serb forces will not give up.
He added that his government alone among Serbs can recognize the Bosnian
government and that it has no intention of doing so. This last remark is
in apparent response to media reports that U.S. and British diplomats
think they can extract the recognition of the Sarajevo government from
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Karadzic is taking part in a
session of the Bosnian Serb parliament in Banja Luka, during which his
differences with the military are expected to hold center stage. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KRAJINA SERBS REJECT UNCRO. The Krajina Serb legislature, meeting in the
Slavonian town of Borovo Selo over the weekend, passed resolutions in
favor of unity with the Bosnian Serbs and rejecting the new UN mandate
for peacekeepers in Croatia. The peacekeeping force's new name contains
the word "Croatia," which the Krajina Serbs feel is an automatic
negation of their claim to independence. Vreme on 22 May reported on
rifts within the leadership, namely between those reluctant to attract
the ire of Milosevic and those who fear he has already sold out their
interests to the Croats. Nasa Borba on 19 May noted how these tensions
have extended to the local media and that journalists staged a brief
strike the previous day. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN BOSNIA AND CROATIA. International media reported
that there was intense fighting around Brcko in the Posavina corridor on
19-20 May but that the battle fronts in Bosnia were fairly quiet on 21
May. In Banja Luka, the local Roman Catholic bishop continues a hunger
strike he began on 18 May to protest Bosnian Serb "terror" against
Croats and the destruction of churches. Vecernji list on 22 May says he
has received wide support from Bosnian Catholics. Finally, the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes UN sources as claiming that some
1,400 Croatian troops failed to leave buffer zones in the Dalmatian
hinterland as of the 20 May. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN PATRIARCH DEFENDED BY STATE PRESS. Serbia's state-run Borba on
22 May defended Patriarch Pavle against what it called a gross affront
by the Ljubljana government against the religious Orthodox leader and
Slovenia's 22,000-strong Serbian community. Ljubljana authorities on 18
May denied Pavle an entry visa, saying that while it was not their
intention to interfere with religious freedoms, they feared that the
Patriarch's arrival could trigger ethnic tensions within Slovenia.
Borba, however, insisted that Ljubljana's decision was the product of
"cynicism" and "two-facedness." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SESELJ IN KOSOVO. Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Radical Serbian Party
and alleged war criminal, called for Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic's resignation on 20 May, accusing him of abandoning the
Bosnian Serb republic and the Republic of Serbian Krajina "to satisfy
the demands of major powers." Seselj was taking part in a rally outside
the medieval orthodox monastery of Gracanica, which was attended by only
some 200 people from the 200,000-strong Serbian community in Kosovo. He
also criticized Milosevic for not taking "urgent measures to protect
Serbs" against the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo. The gathering
adopted a declaration and formed a National Council for Kosovo, which
includes Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Krajina Serb leader
Milan Martic, international agencies reported. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
Inc.

ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER SENTENCED IN MACEDONIA. Nevzat Halili, leader of
the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity--Party for the
Peoples' Unity, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, international
agencies reported on 19 May. Halili was convicted for preventing police
from carrying out their duties in connection with a police raid on the
self-proclaimed Albanian-language university in Tetovo. The 17 February
raid led to clashes between ethnic Albanians and police in which one
Albanian was killed. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN CABINET DISCUSSES MINORITIES BILL. The Romanian government on
19 May discussed a draft law on national minorities, Radio Bucharest
reported. Cabinet spokesman Ioan Rosca said that a series of amendments
were proposed following the draft's first reading. He commented that the
law will seek to define the concept of national minorities and offer
guarantees that their members enjoy all fundamental human rights and
freedoms. Rosca added that the draft will be discussed again and
possibly approved on 24 May, when the government is scheduled to review
progress to date in bringing Romanian legislation on minorities into
line with Council of Europe documents. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST LEADER SEEKS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST HUNGARIAN PARTY.
Gheorghe Funar, controversial leader of the extreme nationalist Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR), has urged that legal action be taken
against the country's main ethnic Hungarian organization, Radio
Bucharest reported on 19 May. Funar, in an open letter to Romanian
Prosecutor-General Vasile Manea Dragulin, accused the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) of seeking to divide Romania by
advocating territorial autonomy based on ethnic criteria and the
annexation of some territories to Hungary. He claimed that the UDMR was
jeopardizing democratic institutions and the rule of law in Romania. --
Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA DELEGATION IN MOLDOVA. A Russian State Duma delegation led by
Konstantin Zatulin arrived in Chisinau on 20 May, Interfax reported.
Zatulin said the visit was aimed at assessing the chances for a
settlement to the conflict in the Dniester region and clarifying the
situation of the 14th Russian Army, headquartered in Tiraspol. The
delegation was received by Moldovan parliament deputy chairman Nicolae
Andronic and also held talks in Tiraspol with Igor Smirnov, the
president of the self-proclaimed Dniester republic. Smirnov told the
delegation that he was categorically opposed to the withdrawal of the
14th Army because that would "disrupt the balance of forces in the
region and destabilize the situation." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN BULGARIA. Reuters quoted foreign diplomats as
saying that Viktor Chernomyrdin's visit to Bulgaria on 18-19 May gave a
boost to bilateral relations. Talks between Chernomyrdin and his
Bulgarian counterpart, Zhan Videnov, focused on liberalization of
bilateral trade, rebuilding industrial cooperation, and energy projects.
A declaration and 15 economic, cultural, and scientific accords were
signed, including one on building a pipeline to transport Russian gas
from Bulgaria to other Balkan countries. Chernomyrdin warned that rapid
expansion of NATO may lead to a new Cold War and a division of Europe.
He added that the question of Bulgaria's possible membership in NATO was
not discussed in any depth during his visit. Joining NATO is a
controversial subject in Bulgaria. President Zhelyu Zhelev advocates
membership, while Videnov says NATO has to be reformed first. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MEETING OF BULGARIAN TRADE UNION LEADERS. For the first time in three
years, leaders of the two biggest trade unions in Bulgaria met to
discuss their position on government policy, Standart reported on 20
May. Konstantin Trenchev of Podkrepa and Krastyo Petkov of the
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria signed a
declaration to jointly oppose the government's "monetarist and anti-
union policy." They also agreed on further talks to coordinate their
positions on social and trade-union issues. Trenchev refused to say
whether Podkrepa will change its official decision not to hold talks
with the confederation, which it considers to be procommunist. In other
domestic news, former Bulgarian party leader and head of state Todor
Zhivkov was allowed to leave Sofia on 21 May, Reuters reported the same
day. Zhivkov went to his home town, Pravets, where he was received by
hundreds of people chanting "Long live Zhivkov." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

GREECE'S WEU MEMBERSHIP IN DOUBT. Greece's membership in the Western
European Union has been put in doubt after the country unilaterally
added a special clause to the document ratifying its entry to the
defense alliance, AFP reported on 19 May. The clause says Greece will
not accept the International Court of Jurisdiction's competence in
matters related to national defense. Greece was admitted to the WEU in
March on the basis of a document, signed by other members in 1992, in
which the court's competence is accepted without any reservation.
Alfonso Cuco, a Spanish senator, said the Greek clause can be valid only
with the formal agreement of other WEU members. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE REJECTS DRAFT ON JUDICIARY. Chief Supreme
Court Judge Zef Brozi has accused the Justice Ministry and the ruling
Democratic Party of trying to undermine the independence of the
judiciary, Reuters reported on 19 May. According to Brozi, a new draft
law placing the judiciary under the financial and administrative
authority of the Ministry of Justice is an attempt to muzzle the courts.
He also claimed that the government earlier this year tried to undermine
the independence of the judiciary by asking the parliament to lift his
immunity. The majority of legislators, however, rejected the move. --
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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