We do not live an equal life, but one of contrast and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 56, Part II, 20 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

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES TO ENFORCE LAW ON SEPARATION OF POWERS.
Leonid Kuchma said in Kiev on 29 May that he will implement the law on
separation of powers even if the Ukrainian parliament fails to approve
amendments suspending 68 articles of the constitution that contradict
the new legislation, Interfax-Ukraine and Ukrainian Television reported
the same day. Kuchma told reporters he has not abandoned the idea of
calling a national plebiscite on confidence in the parliament and the
president. He said parliament speaker Oleksander Moroz failed to hand
over the legislation for the president's signature within the 10 days
required, thereby holding up his appointment of a new government. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

EU APPROVES TRADE CONCESSIONS TO UKRAINE. International agencies
reported on 29 May that the EU has approved a package of trade
concessions to Ukraine. The agreement is seen as an interim accord that
may lead to increased political ties between Ukraine and the EU. The EU
will also grant Ukraine a $110 million loan to help balance its budget.
That loan was contingent on Ukraine's shutting down the Chornobyl
nuclear power station by 2000. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

REFERENDUM ON CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION CALLED OFF. Four factions that have a
majority in the Crimean legislature decided on 29 May to call off a
referendum on the banned Crimean Constitution, scheduled for 25 June,
Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. The Crimean parliament's press
service told Interfax that the Russia, Russia-Unity, Republic, and
Agrarian-Communists groups will start drafting a new constitution based
on the 1992 Ukrainian law on power-sharing between Ukraine and Crimea.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS. According to further results reported by
international agencies on 29 May, 102 deputies were elected during the
second round of parliament elections the previous day. This brings the
total up to 120, well short of the 174 necessary for the new parliament
to begin work. The Agrarian Party has the most seats, with 31, and the
communists 27. Most other elected deputies are independents. Among the
successful candidates are Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mechyslau Hryb,
Lukashenka's former rival for the Presidency and former Prime Minister
Vyacheslau Kebich, and the head of the KGB Uladzimir Yahorau. Opposition
leader Zyanon Paznyak and former Chairman of the Supreme Soviet
Stanislau Shushkevich failed to get elected. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

TWO ESTONIAN PARTIES TO MERGE. Mart Laar, chairman of the Pro Patria
Party, and Tunne Kelam, leader of the National Independence Party,
signed on 28 May an agreement to unite the parties before the fall local
elections, BNS reported the next day. The two parties formed the core of
the ruling coalition elected in September 1992 but performed poorly in
the March 1995 elections when they ran together. Kelam said that other
parties, such as the Forest Party and the Estonian Farmer's Party,
neither of which passed the 5% threshold to gain parliament seats, could
join the new party. He also commented that the new grouping will work
closely with the Reform Party of former Bank of Estonia President Siim
Kallas. -- Saulius Girnius , OMRI, Inc.

PARLIAMENT CONVENTION ON TIBET IN VILNIUS. Eighty parliamentarians from
21 countries attended a convention in Vilnius on 26-28 May to discuss
the status of Tibet from the point of view of international law,
demographic policy in Tibet, and its relations with China, BNS reported
the next day. The convention agreed to send an international delegation
to Tibet and Beijing to investigate the situation there and to press for
talks on a peaceful settlement of the conflict between China and Tibet.
Lawmakers from 13 countries--the three Baltic States, Russia, Poland,
Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Iceland, Canada, New Zealand, India, and
Japan--also decided to set up an international group that will seek
solutions to the Chechnya conflict. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN CAR BOMB VICTIM DIES. Rimantas Grainys, one of the largest
shareholders in the Vilnius-based commercial bank Ekspres, died on 29
May from injuries sustained from a car bomb attack in Vilnius three days
earlier, BNS reported. Grainys was alleged to have been involved in
laundering money belonging to the so-called "Chechen mafia". It is
unclear whether the car bomb was planted by a rival gang known as the
"Vilnius brigade" or the Chechens. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH NATIONAL BANK REVERSES COURSE, LOWERS RATES. The Polish National
Bank on 29 May lowered basic lending rates by four points (to 31% for
the refinancing credit rate) after raising interest rates in February
for the first time in five years. National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz argued that the rate cut was justified by weakening
inflationary pressures and the zloty's recent strengthening following
the introduction of a semi-floating exchange rate regime. This move is
the latest in a series of tussles between the NBP and the government.
According to a report in Gazeta Wyborcza, the rate cut is widely seen as
a "capitulation" by Gronkiewicz-Waltz to Deputy Prime Minister Gregorz
Kolodko, who sharply criticized the NBP's decision to raise interest
rates in February. Also, Gronkiewicz-Waltz said on 27 May that she does
not exclude running in the upcoming presidential elections. -- Jakub
Karpinski and Ben Slay, OMRI, Inc.

CZECHS AND POLES DISAGREE AGAIN OVER VISEGRAD GROUP. Czech Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus on 29 May again rejected Polish desires for closer
ties among the four Visegrad countries of Central Europe, Mlada fronta
dnes reported the following day. Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw
Bartoszewski, at a meeting with Klaus, called for greater cooperation
among Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. But Klaus
repeated his long-held view that the Visegrad group should not become
institutionalized. The two however agreed on their countries' strategies
for joining NATO and European institutions and on relations with
Germany. On the first day of his two-day official visit to Prague,
Bartoszewski also had talks with his Czech counterpart Josef Zieleniec.
-- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA TO CAMPAIGN FOR FULL EU MEMBERSHIP. Slovak Foreign Minister
Juraj Schenk told journalists in Brussels on 29 May that Slovakia may
seek to gain full EU membership at the 26-27 June union summit in
Cannes, TASR reports. He noted that the invitation from French President
Jacques Chirac for Slovakia to participate in the June summit marked
another concrete step toward closer ties with the EU. French Foreign
Minister Herve de Charette announced on 29 May in Brussels that the
French president is extending an invitation to attend the EU summit to
the prime ministers and presidents of all countries that have already
signed association agreements with the EU or are in the process of
signing such agreements. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S SCUD MISSILES DETONATED. A U.S. demolition expert detonated on
29 May Hungary's remaining Soviet-made Scud missiles, international and
Hungarian media reported. U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Donald Blinken told
journalists that the action was a joint effort by the U.S. and Hungary
to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons. He said the destruction of
the missiles demonstrated Hungary's determination to join Western
security structures. Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti said
Hungary's remaining seven Scud missiles were never targeted and were put
in storage in 1989. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

NORTH ATLANTIC ASSEMBLY MEETING IN BUDAPEST. The North Atlantic Assembly
ended a four-day meeting in Budapest on 29 May, Western agencies
reported the same day. It was the first time the assembly had convened
in a former communist country. NAA President Karl Voigt and Hungarian
military expert Tamas Wachsler submitted a report calling for new
members of NATO to be "fully integrated into the NATO structure" and
stating that in peace time, no foreign troops and nuclear weapons need
be deployed in these countries. Russian delegates argued that any
expansion of NATO would threaten the division of Europe. The assembly
passed a resolution condemning the "barbaric" actions of the Bosnian
Serbs in taking UN peacekeepers as hostages and called for the UN
mandate in Bosnia to be strengthened. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS REMAIN DEFIANT. International media on 30 May report that
the Bosnian Serb supreme command has issued a statement saying that the
UN is siding with the Bosnian government and that the Serbs now regard
"all Security Council resolutions, all NATO ultimatums, and all accords
with the UN that have been abused...[as] null and void." General Ratko
Mladic said that UN soldiers will still be used as human shields by
keeping them at sites where NATO aircraft might strike but that they
will no longer be chained to fences and poles. The Serbs denied they had
any hostages, preferring to call their captives "prisoners of war." Pale
nonetheless did not call for a pullout of UN forces because, in the
opinion of the BBC, that would pave the way for Washington to arm the
Bosnian government. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS HOLD NEARLY 400 HOSTAGES. Nasa Borba reports on 30 May that the
number of UNPROFOR soldiers held captive by Bosnian Serb forces is
rapidly approaching 400. The French lead the list with 174, followed by
55 Canadians, 41 Ukrainians, 37 Russians, and 34 British. The 26
remaining hostages come from various countries, including three from the
Czech Republic. The BBC notes that the Serbs have developed a taste for
their involuntary guests' belongings and now wear French uniforms and
drive British vehicles. They nonetheless appear to have lost ground in
the Mt. Ozren area, north of Sarajevo, to attacks by Bosnian government
forces. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CONTACT GROUP IS "BACK IN ACTION." This is how British Foreign Secretary
Douglas Hurd described the 29 May session in The Hague of the foreign
ministers of Germany, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. They
condemned the Bosnian Serbs' "outrageous acts" and threatened
"consequences if [the hostages] are not correctly treated and returned
unharmed." But they neither specified what those consequences would be
nor gave a deadline for freeing the captives. The five called for
"strengthening" UNPROFOR but also urged renewed diplomatic efforts,
especially toward securing Belgrade's recognition of Sarajevo.
International media noted that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
stressed the need for negotiations, while U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher would not rule out further air strikes. Meanwhile, EU
foreign ministers said on 29 May that Pale would be held responsible for
the fate of the hostages. -- Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.

MILOSEVIC'S MAN IN KRAJINA SACKED. Borislav Mikelic was ousted as prime
minister by the Krajina Serb legislature in Knin on 29 May, Nasa Borba
reported the next day. He was regarded as Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic's main ally in the Krajina leadership, which otherwise favors
closer links--including an ill-defined "union"--with the Bosnian Serbs.
Mikelic's popularity has nose-dived recently, because he is suspected of
being willing to accept Krajina's reintegration into Croatia. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON UNIFICATION, BOSNIAN CRISIS. Foreign
Minister Vladislav Jovanovic on 29 May said the unification of Serbia
with Serb-held territories in Bosnia and rebel Serb-occupied areas of
Croatia was an eventuality that would spell only "catastrophe" and
amount to defiance of the international community. Jovanovic, in what
seems to be a break with the Bosnian Serb leadership over the escalation
of the conflict in Bosnia, said the taking of UN hostages and their use
as human shields against possible future NATO air raids was
"unacceptable." Politika on 30 May reported that Jovanovic has described
the sacking of the Krajina premier as "an internal question" for the
Republic of Serbian Krajina. This statement may be seen as an attempt by
Belgrade to distance itself from its former rebel Serb clients in
Croatia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PARTY CONGRESS IN MACEDONIA. Iljaz Halimi, leader of the ethnic
Albanian Democratic People's Party, was reelected at a party congress in
Tetovo on 28 May, Flaka reported the following day. The congress adopted
two documents--one dealing with economic and social questions and the
other demanding improved Albanian-language education and the closer
integration of ethnic Albanians in the fields of culture and science. A
proposal to change the party's name to Democratic Party of Albanians was
rejected. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN SENATORS DENOUNCE HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY. Several senators on
29 May, responding to the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania's
(UDMR) program adopted at its recent congress (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29
May 1995), attacked the party's demand for territorial autonomy.
Socialist Labor Party First Deputy Chairman Adrian Paunescu and Greater
Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor (both former Ceausescu "court
poets") called on the prosecutor-general to take legal action against
the UDMR for violating the constitution. The UDMR was also denounced by
Vasile Dumitru, a member of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in
Romania, and by Senator Vasile Vetisianu, a member of the opposition
National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic, Radio Bucharest and
Romanian Television reported. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

NEW JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADER IN ROMANIA. Rabbi Mark Yeheskel was elected
first rabbi of Bucharest on 28 May, Radio Bucharest announced, citing a
press release by the Federation of Jewish Communities. Federation
president Nicolae Cajal told RFE/RL that Rabbi Yeheskel was born in
Romania and has taught in the U.S. The press release said he will have
jurisdiction over all Jewish communities in Romania. Nonetheless, he was
not appointed chief rabbi of Romania, the position occupied by Rabbi
Moses Rosen, who died last year. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

GAGAUZ ELECTION UPDATE. BASA-press, citing sources from the Central
Electoral Commission, reported on 29 May that only 28 of the 35
parliament seats in the autonomous Gagauz region have been filled. Run-
offs for the vacant seats will be held on 11 June. The second round of
elections for the region's leader will also be held that day. The
electorate will choose between George Tabunshchik, who gained 45% of the
vote in the first round, and Mikhail Kendigelean, who received 28% .
Turnout at the 28 May election was approximately 70%. The Moldovan
Communist Party has expressed its support for Tabunshchik, BASA-press
reported. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT URGES NATO MEMBERSHIP . . . Zhelyu Zhelev on 29 May
said that full membership in NATO is "the political ticket to enter the
European Union." He argued in an interview with state-run Radio Horizont
that no former East bloc country will be admitted to the EU without
being a member of NATO. Zhelev commented that there are no obstacles to
prevent Bulgaria from becoming a full member of NATO by the end of the
year "if NATO is willing to accept us." With regard to the EU, Zhelev
said reforms are Bulgaria's "visiting card." He added that consensus
must be reached on a free market economy and democracy. Also on 29 May,
Zhelev met with Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Avdeev. Duma on 30 May
quoted Avdeev as saying that Russia's position on NATO expansion remains
unchanged. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

. . .BUT POLITICIANS FAIL TO AGREE. The Consultative Council on National
Security has failed to bridge different views on Bulgaria's possible
membership in NATO, Demokratsiya reported on 30 May. The council, headed
by the president, is composed of members of the government, the main
political parties, and the president's staff. President Zhelyu Zhelev
asked the council to convene to discuss applying to join NATO, but the
meeting ended with a vague statement that the parties "agreed to
continue discussing [Bulgaria's] concrete position." Three opposition
parties supported Zhelev's stance that Bulgaria must clearly state its
desire to join NATO. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, government members,
and representatives of the Bulgarian Socialist Party argued that "there
is no social consensus as yet on Bulgaria's membership in NATO." --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS THREATEN STRIKE. The Albanian Association of
Professional Journalists has threatened to suspend publication of all
independent newspapers in response to an order that all papers be sold
only at state-owned book shops and kiosks in Tirana. The order, issued
by Mayor of Tirana Sali Kelmendi, would place severe restrictions on the
number of copies of each newspaper, international media reported. The
association also said it will begin legal proceedings to reclaim lost
earnings for street sellers who were prevented by the police from
selling newspapers on 26 May. Meanwhile, Adrian Krasta, a journalist for
Albanian TV, was beaten by unidentified individuals, Gazeta Shqiptare
reported on 30 May. The paper said the attack was probably in connection
with Krasta's professional work as a journalist. -- Fabian Schmidt ,
OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN RIGHT-WING PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. One of the founders of the
extreme right-wing Democratic Party of the Right (PDD), Abdi Baleta,was
sacked from  the  party's leadership  at the PDD congress on 27 May,
Aleanca Nacionale reported the next day.  The congress was attended by
representatives from all over Albania, except from Baleta's stronghold,
Pogradec. Baleta's defeat comes after his de facto break from the party
on 27 April, when he publicly denounced elements within the PDD. --
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
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
"SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation
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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ

Copyright (c) Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.


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