History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 109, Part II, 6 June 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 OMRI 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 ISSUES ANOTHER DECREE ON REFERENDUM. Leonid Kuchma
has issued a decree reconfirming his intent to hold a legally non-
binding plebiscite on confidence in himself and the parliament on 28
June, Radio Ukraine reported on 5 June. The referendum is aimed at
ending a protracted dispute between the president and the legislature
over the law on the separation of powers, which would enable Kuchma to
implement economic reforms. Kuchma said the parliament' s 31 May veto of
his recent decree on the poll was direct and unconstitutional
interference in his authority. He added that the poll did not contravene
the constitution, as claimed by the divided legislature. Kuchma also
said the poll would be financed from the government' s reserve fund, not
from the state budget. But in a conciliatory gesture, the Ukrainian
leader also sent an appeal to the parliament to support a proposal that
lawmakers review a draft of the so-called "constitutional agreement"
allowing the political reform law to take effect. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN UKRAINE. Kuchma told farmers in Cherkasy over
the weekend that Ukraine' s new currency, the hryvna, will be introduced
this fall, perhaps as early as September, Reuters and Ukrainian
Television reported on 5 June. He noted that the precise date will be
determined once Ukraine establishes a $1.5 billion stabilization fund to
back the currency. He also said the fact that the karbovanets has
stabilized at around 150,000 karbovantsi to $1 may allow Ukraine to
proceed with monetary reform. Interfax-Ukraine reported on 5 June that
the monthly inflation rate dropped to 4.6% in May. Inflation has fallen
steadily this year since reaching a high of 21.2% in January. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR ABOLITION OF LOCAL COUNCILS. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has said both local government and the economy need to be
reformed, Interfax reported 5 June. He said that when a new parliament
is elected, he will ask it to amend legislation on local government to
abolish village, town, and district councils. Lukashenka added that if
the newly elected deputies are opposed to such a move, he will alter the
territorial division of the country by decree. He also said that not one
factory in Belarus has been privatized without his consent since he was
elected. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

ESTONIA, IRELAND DISCUSS VISA-FREE TRAVEL. Estonian Prime Minister Tiit
Vahi on 5 June discussed with Irish Ambassador to Estonia Daithi O'
Ceallaigh establishing visa-free travel between Estonia and Ireland, BNS
reported. O' Ceallaigh, who lives in Helsinki, is scheduled to meet
Foreign Minister Riiva Sinijarv and Minister for European Affairs Endel
Lippmaa during his five-day visit to Estonia. O' Ceallaigh displayed
interest in Estonia' s relations with Russia, particularly the border
issue, and in the implementation of market economy reforms. -- Saulius
Girnius, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.

SWEDEN LIKELY TO RETURN TAMIL REFUGEES TO LITHUANIA. Bjorn Weibo, head
of the Swedish immigration board, said on 4 June that 29 Tamil refugees
picked up the previous day on a 10-meter yacht adrift off the Swedish
coast were likely to be returned to Lithuania, Western agencies
reported. Swedish police arrested two Lithuanians on the yacht and
charged them with smuggling illegal immigrants. Sweden is reluctant to
return other refugees to Lithuania, fearing that they will be sent back
to their native countries, where they risk persecution. Sweden, however,
does not consider Tamils to be at risk in Sri Lanka and may try to
discourage other refugees by sending them back to Lithuania. -- Saulius
Girnius, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.

POSTCOMMUNISTS GAIN SUPPORT IN POLAND. The postcommunist Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) is gaining popularity. In an opinion poll conducted in
mid-May and published by Gazeta Wyborcza on 6 June, the SLD received 25%
of the vote. Other political parties have seen their popularity dwindle.
The Freedom Union won 9%, the Polish Peasant Party 8%, the Labor Union
7%, and Solidarity 6%. If elections had been held in mid-May and the
electoral law had remained unchanged, the SLD would have won a majority
of 240 seats in the 460-seat Sejm. -- Jakub Karpinski, Copyright(c)1995
Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

UPDATE ON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN POLAND. Aleksander Hall, leader of
the Conservative Party, which is supporting Supreme Court President Adam
Strzembosz' s candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections, has
called on other right-of-center candidates to withdraw from the race
because, he says, they are only dividing the post-Solidarity electorate,
Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 6 June. Strzembosz, like incumbent President
Lech Walesa, has received about 8% of the vote in recent opinion polls.
Some right-of-center parties regard Polish National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz as a possible candidate, but only if Walesa withdraws
from the race. -- Jakub Karpinski, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

INFLATION IN POLAND. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, president of the Polish
National Bank, said on 5 June that the government' s wage- and price-
curbing measures should keep the annual inflation rate this year to
about 20%, Western agencies reported. Gazeta Wyborcza commented,
however, that this prospect is becoming "more and more unreal." -- Jakub
Karpinski, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All
rights reserved.

CZECH POLICE RAID "ECSTASY" FACTORY. Police last week raided a secret
drugs laboratory on the outskirts of Prague and confiscated materials
that could have been used to produce "ecstasy" tablets worth 300 million
koruny, Czech media reported on 6 June. Five Czechs and three Dutch
citizens were arrested and some 700 kilos of raw materials, sufficient
to manufacture 35 million "ecstasy" tablets, were seized, The raid,
which followed 18 months of surveillance, was the largest drugs bust
since the Czech Republic gained independence, according to police
spokesmen. -- Steve Kettle, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ON COLLECTIVE MINORITY RIGHTS. Michal Kovac on 5 June
told OSCE High Commissioner for Ethnic Minorities Max van der Stoel that
Slovakia will not grant collective rights to ethnic minorities, Narodna
Obroda reported the next day. The president noted that Slovakia wants
instead to "stabilize and strengthen individual rights." Van der Stoel
is on a three-day visit to Slovakia to discuss the Slovak-Hungarian
treaty and minority issues. Kovac assured the high commissioner that he
would oppose any efforts to forcibly assimilate not only ethnic
Hungarians but also Slovaks who live in regions where ethnic Hungarians
constitute a majority. Both politicians agreed that the fears of
Hungarian minority representatives in Slovakia are occasionally
"exaggerated." Van der Stoel also met with Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar, to whom he expressed his satisfaction over the signing of the
Slovak-Hungarian treaty. -- Jiri Pehe, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media
Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC HAS "NO IMMEDIATE PLANS" TO FREE HOSTAGES. The foreign and
defense ministers of Greece met in Pale with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic on 5 June to persuade him to release the more than 250
remaining hostages. Greece is one of the Serbs'  few friends, and it
regards Serbia as an important market and an ally in the regional
balance of power. Also present was Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic'
s security chief, Jovica Stanisic, who said later that Karadzic
"responded positively" to the appeals, news agencies reported. The VOA
on 6 June, however, quoted the Bosnian Serb leader as saying he has "no
immediate plans" to free his captives. -- Patrick Moore,
Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.

BALKAN POKER GAME CONTINUES. The Greek ministers are holding talks with
Milosevic in Belgrade on 6 June, international media reported. The BBC
said the previous day that Western diplomats in the Serbian capital now
feel that Milosevic has no real interest in the hostage question, except
as a means of obtaining more concessions from the international
community over the lifting of sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro. The
VOA quoted Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as warning against
cutting deals with the Serbian strongman, saying the only way to deal
with the Serbs is with firmness. -- Patrick Moore, Copyright(c)1995 Open
Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

RAPID REACTION FORCE FACES HURDLES. The RRF proposed by Western defense
chiefs still needs to have its role and command structure clarified. It
must also overcome Russian objections to an "independent" NATO presence
in Bosnia, because Moscow can veto the project in the Security Council
and is determined to maintain a check on the Western presence in the
former Yugoslavia. Vjesnik on 6 June quoted Bosnian Vice President Ejup
Ganic as telling Sarajevans not to expect much from the new force
because "these troops are not coming to defend us." Meanwhile in
Washington, officials have no firm evidence that the pilot shot down by
the Serbs on 2 June is still alive. President Clinton defended his
Bosnian policy on CNN, saying that it is not as successful as he would
have liked but that it is responsible for the decrease in fatalities in
the embattled republic. The VOA quoted Vice President Al Gore as stating
that the sending of U.S. ground troops to Bosnia "is not going to
happen." International media added that 3,500 troops and 100 helicopters
are moving from U.S. bases in Germany to Italy for a possible rescue
operation for UN peacekeepers. -- Patrick Moore, Copyright(c)1995 Open
Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

CROATS CAN SHELL VITAL SERBIAN ROAD. Nasa Borba on 6 June reported that
Croatian artillery in the Dinara range can now hit the key supply road
linking Knin with Bosnian Serb territory via Grahovo. Krajina leaders
have threatened to shell Dalmatian cities in response. Vjesnik noted
that Bosnian Serbs hit Mostar the previous day with heavy artillery.
Reuters quoted a UN spokesman as saying the Croatian advance in recent
days has put the Serbs into "a panic mobilization." Zagreb has promised
the UN that it will not invade the area outright, but it appears clear
that Croatia is following up on last month' s victory in western
Slavonia and taking advantage of the current Bosnian crisis. Nasa Borba
reported that Milosevic has expressed concern over the latest
developments to UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi. -- Patrick Moore,
Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.

U.S. REPORT ON GREEK SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS. A State Department report
published on 5 June suggests that companies in Greece have promoted the
breaking of international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia, AFP and
Reuters reported. But it also states that officials in Athens have not
been linked to sanctions-breaking activities. "Although we cannot
confirm allegations of complicity by the Greek government in the evasion
of UN sanctions, there are areas of concern regarding Greek enforcement
of sanctions," a State Department official said. A report on Greece' s
enforcement of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia was requested by
the U.S. Congress prior to the release of U.S. military aid to Athens.
-- Stan Markotich, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved.

ROMANIAN STRIKE UPDATE. All electricity power plants in Romania
continued to operate on 5 June, despite the strike by some 37,000
utility workers, Radio Bucharest reported. Their functioning was secured
by the last pre-strike shift, which at some plants worked for more than
30 hours. Romanian law forbids a shift in a power plant to leave before
the next one takes over. Victor Romert, director of the state
electricity company Renel, told Radio Bucharest that the company was
seeking a solution whereby workers would receive a "reasonable" wage
increase, presumably meaning less than the 20% demanded by the strikers.
Pavel Todoran, leader of the National Confederation of Romania' s Free
Trade Unions-The Brotherhood, said the unions plan protest marches and a
big rally in Bucharest on 14 June. -- Dan Ionescu

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN IN BUCHAREST. A Slovak parliamentary
delegation headed by Ivan Gasparovic was received by Adrian Nastase,
chairman of Romania' s Chamber of Deputies, on 5 June. Radio Bucharest
reported that the talks focused on the bilateral treaty recently signed
by Slovakia and Hungary. That document includes an explicit reference to
Council of Europe Recommendation No. 1201 on ethnic minorities.
Gasparovic told his hosts that Slovakia clarified its stand on Hungary'
s interpretation of the recommendation in an annex to the treaty.
Nastase said Romania might accept a similar statement in its bilateral
treaty with Hungary if the articles providing for territorial autonomy
and collective rights for minorities were approved. In a related
development, Senator Adrian Paunescu of the Socialist Labor Party
threatened to quit parliamentary life if the government accepted
Recommendation No. 1201. -- Dan Ionescu, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media
Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES YELTSIN' S SPECIAL ENVOY. Mircea Snegur on 5
June received Vladlen Vasev, a special envoy of Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, Interfax reported. The two men discussed the situation in
Moldova' s breakaway Dniester region. Snegur is scheduled to meet with
the Dniester leadership on 7 June to discuss a draft law defining the
region' s special status within the Republic of Moldova. Vasev will
participate in those negotiations. Meanwhile, Interfax announced that
Snegur will meet with Yeltsin in Moscow in late June. The summit is
expected to focus on ways to implement a Moldovan-Russian agreement on
the 14th Russian Army' s withdrawal from eastern Moldova, initialed in
October 1994. -- Dan Ionescu, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

BULGARIA FAVORS NEW BALKAN OIL PIPELINE. The Bulgarian Construction
Ministry is in favor of a new pipeline to help transport oil from former
Soviet republics to Italy via the Balkans. A feasibility study for the
pipeline is being prepared, Reuters reported on 5 June. The crude would
be carried from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan by tanker to
Bulgaria' s Black Sea port of Burgas and then transported to Italy' s
Adriatic port of Brindisi via Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania. Russia,
Bulgaria, and Greece are also considering carrying oil by tanker from
Russia' s Black Sea port of Novorossiisk to Burgas and then pumping it
overland to Greece. -- Fabian Schmidt

SOUTH AFRICA AND BULGARIA SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENTS. South Africa and
Bulgaria on 5 June signed three cooperation pacts, including an
agreement to expand relations in art, sport, and science. Bulgarian
Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski is on a three-day visit to South Africa
at the invitation of South African Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo, Reuters
reported on 5 June. -- Fabian Schmidt, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media
Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

PROSECUTOR WANTS THREE-YEAR PRISON TERM FOR ALBANIAN DICTATOR' S SON. An
Albanian prosecutor on 5 June requested that Ilir Hoxha be sentenced to
three years in jail for calling the Albanian government "a pack of
vandals," AFP reported the same day. The youngest son of former
communist dictator Enver Hoxha is charged with inciting hatred against
various groups of people and calling for the use of violence against
them. The charges follow remarks Hoxha made in an interview with the
newspaper Modeste in April. AFP quotes the prosecutor as saying that
"Hoxha has rekindled old passions in a bid to cause political chaos and
call for vengeance." Hoxha reportedly has sought to justify his comments
by saying "It is my duty to defend my father." -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK, TURKISH NAVY MANEUVERS. The Greek navy began annual maneuvers on
5 June, AFP reported the same day. The five-day exercise in the Aegean
Sea involves ships and submarines backed up by air and ground units. The
Turkish navy will also hold maneuvers from 7-22 June in other parts of
the Aegean Sea. Relations between Greece and Turkey deteriorated
following the Greek parliament' s recent decision to ratify the UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows Greece to extend its
territorial waters. Meanwhile, for the first time since 1974, both
countries will be taking part together in a NATO exercise. Other
countries participating in the maneuvers, which will take place from 7-
13 June in the Black Sea, are Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands, and
Romania. -- Fabian Schmidt, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE IN GREECE. Greece recorded a "strong" off-shore
earthquake early on 5 June in the Ionian Sea, AFP reported the same day.
The quake reached 4.8 on the Richter scale and is the latest in a series
of tremors over the past few weeks. It took place near the island of
Lefkas and was also felt on the islands of Corfu, Zante, and Cephalonia.
There were no reports of casualties or damage. A big quake measuring 6.6
on the Richter scale caused widespread damage in northwestern Greece on
13 May. -- Fabian Schmidt, Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research
Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

[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
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