Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death. - Erick Erikson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 103, Part II, 29 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

BELARUSIAN VOTERS FAIL TO ELECT PARLIAMENT. Belarusians on 28 May went
to the polls for the second round of parliament elections but failed to
elect enough deputies to form a new legislature, international agencies
reported. According to preliminary results released by the Central
Electoral Commission, just over half of the eligible electorate voted
and some 86 of the 260 parliament seats were filled, well below the two-
thirds that must be filled for the new parliament to resume its work.
Elections were declared invalid in 26 districts with less than 50% voter
turnout. Not a single seat in the 42 electoral districts in Minsk was
filled, although well-known figures such as opposition leader Zyanon
Paznyak, former parliament speaker Stanislau Shushkevich, and head of
the National Bank Stanislau Bahdankevich were running there. Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka initially said he would not vote and
that he had spoiled his ballot in the first round of elections on 14 May
because all of the candidates "would deceive voters in the country." But
the president said he did cast his ballot in the second round because
the country could not "exist without a parliament." The old Soviet-era
legislature will continue to function while the president meets with it
to decide what to do next. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN PRESIDENTS MEET IN HUNGARY. The presidents of Austria,
the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, and
Slovenia met on 27 May in the Hungarian town of Keszthely to discuss
regional cooperation and East European countries' prospects for
integration into the EU, international media reported. A number of
bilateral meetings also took place. Slovak President Michal Kovac and
his Hungarian counterpart, Arpad Goencz, discussed bilateral relations,
including the sensitive question of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia,
TASR reported. Both presidents voiced their belief that the Slovak-
Hungarian treaty, which addresses the question of minorities, will be
ratified, despite opposition to it in both countries. Kovac stressed
that he is in favor of dialogue with representatives of minorities but
warned that territorial autonomy for ethnic Hungarians "is not supported
by any Slovaks or the president." The escalating conflict in Bosnia was
also high on the presidents' agenda. Czech President Vaclav Havel told
journalists that in his opinion "military force should have been used in
Bosnia a long time ago. Many human lives could have been saved that
way." -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

CONSORTIUM OF WESTERN FIRMS TO DESIGN PLAN FOR CHORNOBYL SHUTDOWN. The
Ukrainian government and a consortium of Western firms on 27 May signed
a memorandum to design a joint project for shutting down the Chornobyl
nuclear power station by 2000 and building a thermal plant to replace
it, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported the same day. The
group, led by the German-based Asea Brown Boveri, was hired to ensure
the safe closure of the two still-functioning reactors at Chornobyl. The
cost of decommissioning those reactors was estimated at $1.7 billion and
constructing the new plant at $2 billion. A representative of the
consortium said the group would draw on the experience of nuclear plants
decommissioned in the U.S. and converted to other forms of energy
generation. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN, ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTERS MEET. Maris Gailis and Tiit Vahi met
in the Estonian town of Parnu on 26 May to discuss ways to settle the
dispute over their sea border, BNS reported. The two leaders expressed
willingness to compromise, but it is expected that the issue will not be
resolved for several more months. They also discussed issues relating to
a free trade treaty between the two countries and plans to introduce
special border crossing regulations for local residents in the twin
border towns of Valga and Valka. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS SCUFFLE WITH POLICE IN WARSAW. Some 6,000-10,000
Solidarity activists demonstrated in Warsaw on 26 May, Western and
Polish media reported. The demonstration turned into an ugly battle with
the police when demonstrators began hurling stones, bolts, and bags of
dust and paint at government buildings. Police used water canons and
dogs against the demonstrators. Up to 20 protesters and two policemen
were injured. The protesters, most of whom arrived by bus from Silesia,
shouted anti-communist slogans directed at Jozef Oleksy's post-communist
coalition government. Increased economic assistance for Silesia was one
of the demonstrators' key demands. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej
Milczanowski said in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza on 29 May that
intervention was necessary but that he would never order the use of fire
arms against demonstrators. The demonstrations were the most unruly
Poland's capital has experienced since 1989. They also constitute the
most serious grass-roots challenge to the post-communist governing
coalition since it took power in October 1993. -- Jakub Karpinski and
Ben Slay, OMRI, Inc.

POLAND'S SUPREME AUDIT CHAMBER PRESIDENT REMOVED. The Sejm on 26 May
voted by 204 to 85 to remove Lech Kaczynski from his post. In an
interview with Gazeta Wyborcza on 29 May, Kaczynski said he had no
illusions concerning the ruling left-wing coalition and was convinced
that it would not tolerate the head of an important institution whom it
is unable to control. The Senate has 30 days to accept the Sejm's
decision. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH RAIL WORKERS THREAT-EN ALL-OUT STRIKE. The Czech rail workers'
union said on 27 May they are prepared to call a nationwide, all-out
strike if their wage demands are not met by the end of June, Czech media
reported on 29 May. The union claims wages should rise by up to 60% to
put rail workers on par with other comparable groups. It also says much
railroad equipment is antiquated and some in dangerous condition, and
The chairman of Czech Railways, Emanuel Sip, who attended a union
meeting in Ceska Trebova over the weekend, said wages could rise by 15%
over two years if up to 10,000 workers were let go this year. -- Steve
Kettle , OMRI, Inc.

DOMESTIC POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN SLOVAKIA. The Democratic Union, in a
statement released on 27 May, said it is protesting "the policy of
breaking laws..., which creates the conditions for establishing a new
totalitarian system" in Slovakia. The party was particularly concerned
about the Slovak police's decision to check signatures on the petition
lists that the DU submitted to run in the October 1994 elections.
Despite the Constitutional Court's ruling in the DU's favor, Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has
continued to allege that a number of signatures on the DU lists were
forged and that the DU should therefore have not been allowed to
participate in the elections. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS ROUND UP PEACEKEEPERS. Following the NATO air strikes
against Bosnian Serb positions on 25-26 May, Bosnian Serb forces shelled
Tuzla on 27 May and continued to take UN peacekeepers hostage throughout
the weekend. The Serbs clashed with French troops in Sarajevo the next
day and had taken between 320 and 350 UN soldiers captive by the morning
of 29 May, among them Czechs, Egyptians, and Ghanaians as well as
Serbia's traditional allies: British, French, and Russians. At least
three men have been chained to potential military targets, and at least
six more are being used as human shields to deter further NATO air
strikes. The Serbs say the men will be freed only when Pale has complete
assurance there will be no more air attacks, international media
reported. A UN spokesman said the Serbs were behaving like a "terrorist
organization." -- Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.

MOST GOVERNMENTS WAFFLE IN THE FACE OF SERB DEFIANCE. General reaction
from major capitals over the weekend was confusion and indecision, key
European dailies noted on 29 May. Many governments seem willing to defer
any hard decisions until after a series of meetings in the course of the
week, including those of the Contact Group, the EU foreign ministers,
and the UN Security Council. Washington called for "strengthening" the
position of the UN but still refuses to send any troops. The Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung quotes German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel as saying
that UNPROFOR should stay on in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but Bonn also has no
intention of sending in any ground forces. -- Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.

FRANCE IS INDIGNANT AT ITS ALLIES. The BBC on 29 May said that French
Prime Minister Alain Juppe the previous day called the air strikes ill-
prepared and demanded that the UN make UNPROFOR's mandate tougher. Paris
and London have long wanted the troops more concentrated as well, which
would probably mean abandoning at least the three Muslim enclaves in
eastern Bosnia. Juppe almost seemed more upset with his allies than with
the Serbs and once again hinted that France is considering withdrawing
its peacekeepers. It has the largest single contingent in UNPROFOR, but
President Jacques Chirac campaigned in the recent elections in favor of
more air strikes and against withdrawal. An aircraft carrier has
nonetheless been sent to the Adriatic. The BBC said the new government
is anxious to carry out its domestic agenda and is irked that the
Bosnian crisis is threatening to divert its attention. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

BRITAIN TO SEND 5,000 MORE TROOPS TO BOSNIA. British Prime Minister John
Major is not only against withdrawal but is dispatching 5,000 additional
forces to Bosnia. The BBC said on 29 May that the units are some of the
best and toughest in the British army and will bring along heavy
artillery. The move indicates that Bosnia has become an important matter
of British national interest following the Serbian capture of 33 British
UNPROFOR troops. The broadcast noted that the new force will be under
British--not UN --command and that "military action seems imminent." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN MODERATES CALL FOR OVERTHROW OF KARADZIC. Nasa Borba on 29 May
reports that the Sarajevo-based Serbian Citizens' Council has urged
Serbs living under Pale's control to "rise up against [Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan] Karadzic." The council represents at least 200,000
"forgotten Serbs" who want a multi-ethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina and oppose
nationalism. It still remains unclear why Karadzic and his military
chose their present defiant course and took even Russian, French, and
British hostages. Pale has friends in the Belgrade Serbian military, the
nationalist parties, and the Serbian Orthodox Church and may be trying
to exacerbate the crisis in hopes of forging closer Serbian unity. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE REACTS TO HOSTAGE-TAKING, NATO AIR STRIKES. International media
on 29 May reported that rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav
Jovanovic has condemned the Bosnian Serbs' decision to take UN
peacekeepers hostage. Jovanovic said the hostage-taking would aggravate
regional tensions. He also reiterated the position that only "peaceful"
dialogue could lead to a resolution of regional tension. Earlier, on 26
May, Belgrade signaled opposition to developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina
following NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets near the self-
styled Bosnian Serb capital of Pale. According to a government statement
reported on 26 May by Tanjug, Belgrade is "deeply concerned over yet
another escalation of armed clashes" in Bosnia, which, it believes, is
"playing into the hands of those who advocate violent solutions." --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER KILLED. International media reported on 28 May
that Irfan Ljubijankic died near Bihac when Krajina Serb forces shot
down his helicopter. They said it had violated their air space. He was
the highest official on any side in the conflict in the former
Yugoslavia to be killed in combat. Meanwhile in Zagreb, Novi list
reported on 29 May that the Bosnian and Croatian Prime Ministers, Haris
Silajdzic and Nikica Valentic, met Iranian Vice President Hasan Habibi
the previous day. Teheran is a strong supporter of the Croatian-Muslim
confederation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CONGRESS OF HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY IN ROMANIA. The Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) re-elected Bela Marko as its
chairman and Reformed Bishop Laszlo Tokes as its honorary chairman at
its congress in Cluj on 26-28 May, Radio Bucharest reported. It also
adopted its new program and statutes. In line with a proposal by the
"radical" faction, headed by Tokes, the designation of Romania's
Hungarians was changed from "Magyar minority" to "Magyar National
Community of Romania." The gathering approved by an overwhelming
majority Tokes's demand for territorial autonomy. Tokes criticized
President Ion Iliescu for his attempt to "interfere" in UDMR affairs by
supporting the "moderate" faction in a message read out on the first day
of the congress. Tokes also criticized the U.S. and the Hungarian
government for pressing the UDMR to moderate its positions. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN NATIONAL BLOC ENLARGED. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the
chauvinistic Greater Romania Party (GRP), told a press conference on 26
May that the National Bloc set up by the GRP and the Bratianu Liberal
Union in mid-March was enlarged on 24 May to six parties. Radio
Bucharest quoted Tudor as saying the Romanian Party for the New Society,
the People's Republican Party, the Republican Union Party and the Young
Democracy Party have joined the bloc. All are fringe formations with no
parliamentary representation. Political observers consider most of them
"Ceausescu-nostalgic." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

OSCE ENVOY BACKS RUSSIAN ARMY PULLOUT FROM MOLDOVA. Istvan Gyarmati,
special envoy of the OSCE secretary-general to Moldova, said at the end
of a visit to Chisinau that Russia should withdraw its army from the
breakaway Dniester region as soon as possible, Reuters and Interfax
reported on 26 May. Gyarmati added that "strict international control"
was needed over all pullout procedures, especially in order to ensure
the safety of the 14th Army's "huge ammunition depots." He noted that
Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed's proposal for defining the role of the 14th
Army as peace-making was "utterly unacceptable" because "peace-making
functions cannot be performed by the armed forces of [just] one
country." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

GAGAUZ ELECTIONS. Voters in the Moldovan autonomous Gagauz region went
to polls on 28 May to elect the region's leader and the 35-member
regional parliament and to decide whether the region's capital should be
Comrat or Ciadar Lunga. ITAR-TASS reported the next day that George
Tabunshik, former first secretary of the Comrat Communist Party district
branch, and Mikhail Kendigelean, chairman of the outgoing parliament,
received most votes for the region's leader and will face each other in
a second round. Thirty-one parliamentarians were elected; the remaining
four seats will be decided in run-offs. Voters opted in favor of Comrat
as the region's capital. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

THREE BULGARIAN INVESTMENT FUNDS FOLD. International news agencies
reported that three investment funds in the town of Varna folded on 25
May. BAMS, Spireli, and Tako Import-Export have stopped paying dividends
and closed their offices, leaving thousands of shareholders in panic.
Police said that some 25,000 investors lost a total of 10 billion leva
($151.5 million). The owners of the companies are reported to have fled
abroad. The companies are suspected to be pyramid schemes. They offered
a monthly yield of 14-18%, compared with 3-4% in most banks. -- Stefan
Krause , OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ADOPT COMMON POSITION ON NATO. The
National Assembly on 26 May failed to agree to a common position on
cooperation with NATO and possible Bulgarian membership, despite a
consensus reached the previous day by the parliament commissions on
foreign policy and national security, Pari reported. The Socialist
majority reportedly changed its position after Russia confirmed its
objections to an expansion of NATO. The opposition issued a joint
declaration saying Bulgaria has to adhere to its declared foreign-policy
priorities. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA, ITALY FORM WORKING GROUP ON MIGRATION. Italian Foreign
Ministers Susanna Agnelli and her Albanian counterpart, Alfred Serreqi,
have agreed to form a working group on migration, Reuters reported on 27
May. Agnelli told reporters that Albania has already taken measures at
its borders with Macedonia and Greece to prevent the entry of illegal
immigrants, mainly Kurds from Turkey and former Yugoslav citizens. The
two ministers also agreed Italy will open a second consulate in the
Albanian city of Vlora, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 28 May. Meanwhile,
Albania's parliament has passed an emigration law that creates a legal
framework for Albanians wishing to work abroad and for foreigners
wishing to live in Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIANS ARRESTED FOR FOUNDING COMMUNIST PARTY. Four men have been
arrested in Gjirokastra for trying to found a communist party,
international agencies reported. Communist parties, including Enver
Hoxha's Party of Labor of Albania, have been banned since 1992. --
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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