|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 110, Part II, 7 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 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 CANCELS TRIP TO ROMANIA BECAUSE OF DOMESTIC CRISIS. Leonid Kuchma has canceled a scheduled trip to Bucharest for a summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization at the end of June, Reuters and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 6 June. Foreign Minister Henadii Udovenko told reporters that the domestic political crisis forced Kuchma to make the decision. He stressed the move was in no way connected to a territorial dispute between Kiev and Bucharest over land annexed by the former Soviet Union under the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Diplomatic sources said the meeting had been expected to serve as a forum for the Ukrainian and Romanian leaders to sign long-awaited friendship and border treaties. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL SEEKS PARLIAMENT' S CONSENT TO INDICT DEPUTY SPEAKER. The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General' s office is seeking the legislature' s consent to prosecute its first deputy chairman, Oleksander Tkachenko, on charges of embezzling government funds, Interfax-Ukraine and Radio Ukraine reported on 6 June. The parliament must strip Tkachenko of his immunity from prosecution to allow law enforcement officials to indict him on charges of misappropriating state funds while chairman of the Zemlya i Lyudy agricultural association. Lawmakers on 6 June voted to temporarily suspend both Prosecutor-General Vladyslav Datsiuk and Tkachenko from their duties and set up a special inquiry committee to look into the matter. Tkachenko and other legislators have accused Datsiuk of heading a "politically-motivated" conspiracy to remove the conservative deputy speaker from his post. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT INITIALLY APPROVES NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENT BILL. The Ukrainian legislature on 6 June gave its initial approval to a new bill on foreign investments in Ukraine, the third such draft since 1991, Interfax-Ukraine and Radio Ukraine reported the same day. The bill outlines the legal guarantees and privileges available to foreign investors. According to government sources, foreign investments have declined since 1991, accounting for only 2.3% of GDP last year, down from 4% in 1993 and 3.8% in 1992. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. EURASIAN SOCIALIST CONGRESS FOUNDED IN KIEV. CIS socialist parties, meeting in Kiev, have founded a Eurasian Socialist Congress, Interfax- Ukraine reported 6 June. Oleksander Moroz, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament and leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, was elected chairman. The congress espouses "integration processes and humanitarian cooperation, development, and propaganda of a modern socialist alternative." Socialist parties from Spain, Serbia, France, and Romania sent observers to the new body' s founding congress. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE RESUMES MERGER OF AIR, AIR DEFENSE FORCES. Interfax on 6 June reported that Ukraine has begun to merge its Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defense Force to form the Ukrainian Air Defense Force. It quoted the commander of the new service, Lt. Gen. Volodymyr Tkachev, as saying the purpose of the merger was to abolish redundant structures and increase effectiveness. A similar merger was announced in early 1993, only to be suspended in December of that year. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS UNDER CLOUD. Col. Gen. Anatol Kastenka has resigned following an investigation that revealed illegal financial and commercial dealings in his department, Radio Minsk announced on 6 June. The report criticized Kostenko for his "lack of control" over the military. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka accepted his resignation and appointed Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Leonid Maltsev as acting defense minister. Kastenka' s predecessor also resigned over a financial scandal. -- Doug Clarke BALTIC NAVIES TAKE PART IN NATO EXERCISE. Warships from the three Baltic States are taking part in the NATO naval exercise Baltops ' 95, which began in the Baltic Sea on 6 June, Interfax reported. A Lithuanian frigate and mine-sweepers from Estonia and Latvia are participating--as are naval forces from Poland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the U.S. During the Cold War, the Baltops maneuvers were annual NATO-only naval exercises in the Baltic demonstrating a NATO naval presence in that area. Participants in the Partnership for Peace program and others have recently been invited to take part. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIA NOT TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR RESIDENCE PERMITS. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi told the press on 6 June that the government has decided not to extend the 12 July deadline for aliens residing in Estonia to apply for residence permits, Interfax reported. He emphasized that residents who do not apply will not be regarded as "illegal immigrants, subject to automatic dismissal from their jobs and deportation from the country." They will retain their property and labor rights but will not be able to participate in local elections. The Estonian Citizenship and Migration Department said that only 200,000 of the country' s 400,000 aliens have applied for residence permits. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. UZBEK PRESIDENT IN LATVIA. Islam Karimov and Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis signed a bilateral friendship and cooperation agreement in Riga on 6 June, BNS reported. Foreign Ministers Abdulaziz Kamilov and Valdis Birkavs signed agreements on air communications, transport, tourism, and scientific cooperation as well as a protocol on consultations between their foreign ministries. The Uzbek delegation travels to Vilnius on 7 June for a two-day visit. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH GOVERNMENT APPROVES ANTI-INFLATIONARY POLICIES. Polish Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko on 6 June won support from the cabinet for anti-inflationary measures allowing the liberalization of food imports, more government intervention in the food market, tighter wage and price controls, and stricter budgetary discipline. Kolodko urged the Polish National Bank to slow down the monthly devaluation of the zloty against a basket of hard currencies, Polish and international media reported. Also on 6 June, the government approved tougher anti-drug legislation that introduces prison terms for drug possession and makes no distinction between hard and soft drugs. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CHINESE DELEGATION IN POLAND. A Chinese parliamentary delegation on 6 June met with members of the Sejm Foreign Affairs Commission. Answering questions about the June 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre, General Shu Shin said intervention had been necessary and only criminals were arrested there. The Chinese delegation demanded that the press be ordered not to cover the meeting, but commission president Bronislaw Geremek assured them that the press would be objective, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. BANK GOVERNOR SAYS FOREIGN CAPITAL IS FLOODING CZECH ECONOMY. Foreign capital in the Czech economy exceeded $3 billion at the end of May and is producing strong inflationary pressures, Czech National Bank Governor Josef Tosovsky said on 6 June. He told an international conference the economy cannot absorb the huge inflow of foreign capital, adding that the bank' s hard currency reserves have risen from $6.2 billion to $9.5 billion, Hospodarske noviny reported. Tosovsky said much of the foreign capital is short-term speculative money. The government is expected to approve a new hard currency law next week. Since the parliament will not discuss the new legislation until September, the earliest date the koruna can become convertible is October. Tosovsky also said that expected GDP growth of 3.5% this year is "fragile." -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK PREMIER ON NEW PRIVATIZATION CONCEPT. Vladimir Meciar and Deputy Prime Minister Sergej Kozlik on 6 June told journalists that under the new voucher privatization concept in Slovakia, the National Property Fund will distribute bonds worth 35 billion koruny, with each citizen receiving bonds worth 10,000 koruny. Citizens will be able to use bonds not only to buy shares in companies that are to be privatized but also in a variety of other ways--for example, as down payment on an apartment. The Slovak government also decided not to abolish the import surcharge, which the Czech government recently cited as one of the reasons for proposing that the payments clearing system used in bilateral trade be abolished. Pravda on 7 June reported that Meciar, has sent a letter to Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus reacting to Czech efforts to abolish the clearing system. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN PREMIER MEETS CLINTON. Gyula Horn, on an eight-day visit to the U.S., met with U.S. President Bill Clinton in the White House on 6 June , international media reported. After the meeting, Horn told reporters he expected Hungary to join NATO in 1997 and that Clinton had assured him the U.S. supports Hungary' s membership in NATO. However, a White House official told reporters that "timetables did not come up in the Oval Office." A White House statement said that Clinton affirmed to Horn "that NATO will take in new members on a country-by-country basis, in a steady, gradual, and transparent fashion." Horn also met with representatives of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector affiliate of the World Bank, and representatives of the U.S. Overseas Investment Corporation. The two organizations will provide Hungary with a $105 million loan to develop a nationwide digital cellular telephone network. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. EAST EUROPEAN MINISTERS MEET EU COUNTERPARTS IN BRUSSELS. Ministers from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and the three Baltic States met with EU counterparts in Brussels on 6 June to discuss how to prepare for membership, Reuters reported the same day. Czech Trade and Industry Minister Vladimir Dlouhy was reported as saying that the East' s integration into the EU should be "a two-way street." Polish Undersecretary of State Janek Saryus-Wolski complained that Eastern applicants were being asked to do more to apply EU rules than current members, who have so far enacted only 92% of EU laws. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SERBS FREE 108 HOSTAGES. International media reported on 7 June that Bosnian Serbs the previous night sent 108 of their captives to Novi Sad via Mali Zvornik, on the Serbian-Bosnian border. The men will be flown out from Belgrade and include 17 British, 32 French, and 58 Ukrainian soldiers, plus one Spanish military observer. The Serbs still hold about 150 peacekeepers, whom they indicated would also be released soon. Mlada fronta dnes said the three Czech hostages continue to be held. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic' s security chief had held long talks with the Bosnian Serb leadership, as had the Greek foreign and defense ministers, who then also met with Milosevic. Nasa Borba reported that the Greeks are claiming credit for the releases, but the BBC noted that Milosevic will be anxious to take credit for himself to pry more concessions from the UN on the lifting of sanctions against Serbia- Montenegro. -- Patrick Moore SERBS TAKE WEAPONS FROM UN COLLECTION SITES. Bosnian Serb troops took one tank and a 100 mm gun from UN storage depots near Sarajevo, AFP said on 7 June. The M-36 tank was driven from Bare, where two French peacekeepers still refuse to let the Serbs take them hostage. Vjesnik reported from Orasje that the Serbian assault on the Croatian-held pocket in northern Bosnian has now gone on for over a month. The BBC noted that the food situation in many of the besieged, mainly Muslim areas of Bosnia is becoming acute, with supplies being given only to the weak and sick in some places. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. "PANIC IN KNIN." This is how Vjesnik on 7 June described the situation in Krajina following the advance by Croatian forces to within shelling range of the Grahovo road connecting Knin with Banja Luka. Western news agencies speculated on growing rifts within the Krajina leadership under President Milan Martic, who recently sacked the prime minister, considered Milosevic' s man in Knin. Nasa Borba added that the first refugees have already begun leaving Krajina for Bosnian Serb territory. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman' s top aide, Hrvoje Sarinic, said Zagreb is willing to talk with Knin. Krajina is impoverished, and speculation is rife that Milosevic has written it off in a secret deal with Tudjman that would let Serbia hold the rich area of eastern Slavonia in return for giving less desirable real estate back to Croatia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. BELGRADE TALKS HIT IMPASSE. Negotiations between US envoy Robert Frasure and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic aimed at securing the rump Yugoslavia' s recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina in exchange for the lifting of sanctions broke down on 6 June, Reuters reported that same day. The talks hit an impasse when Milosevic objected to the idea of introducing a mechanism whereby a body other than the UN Security Council may reintroduce sanctions. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER RELEASED ON BAIL IN MACEDONIA. Nevzat Halili, leader of the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity-Party for the People' s Union (PPD-PUPM), has been released on DM 70,000 bail, Flaka reported on 6 June. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on 19 May for preventing the police from carrying out their duties in connection with a police raid on the self-proclaimed Albanian-language university of Tetovo. The 17 February raid led to clashes between ethnic Albanians and police in which one Albanian was killed. Halili has been criticized by nationalist ethnic Albanians for his moderate stance in the parliament. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. JAPAN CONTINUES TO ASSIST MACEDONIA. Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono on 6 June said Japan will continue extending financial and technological aid, totaling $5.9 million, to Macedonia to help promote stability in the Balkans, Reuters reported the same day. Kono made the pledge at a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Stevo Crvenkovski, who currently is visiting Japan. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OFFERS UNIONS SOCIAL PACT. The Romanian government, in an effort to stem recent labor protests, has offered a "social pact" to the three main labor unions. The pact, presented at a press conference organized by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, includes a 10% pay increase by the end of 1995 if the unions call off the strikes and stay out of politics. Leaders of the National Confederation of Romania' s Free Trade Unions-The Brotherhood, the National Labor Bloc, and Alfa Cartel responded by announcing that the protests would resume on 14 June. The government' s move follows a week of strikes and protests in the power and rail sectors. A strike by electricity workers ended on 6 June after they were granted a 5% wage increase effective from 1 June and an additional 12% by the end of the year. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADER. Ion Iliescu on 6 June met with Bela Marko, chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), Radio Bucharest reported. The two men discussed the resolutions adopted at the UDMR' s recent congress in Cluj. Marko complained about Romanian nationalist parties' attacks on those resolutions, which urge greater self-determination for the country' s large Magyar community. Both Iliescu and Marko stressed the need for closer contacts between the Presidency and the UDMR. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. JUSTICE MINISTERS CONFERENCE IN BUCHAREST. An unofficial conference of European justice ministers began in Bucharest on 6 June, Radio Bucharest reported. The meeting, organized by the Council of Europe and the Romanian Justice Ministry, focuses on the role of justice ministers in coordinating the legislative process and international cooperation in Europe. The inaugural session was opened by Romanian President Ion Iliescu and Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Peter Leuprecht. -- Dan Ionescu MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS RUSSIA HAS SPECIAL ROLE IN DNIESTER REGION. Mircea Snegur has said Russia plays a special role in efforts to settle the conflict in the Dniester region, Interfax reported on 6 June. Snegur made the comment after accepting the credentials of the new Russian ambassador in Chisinau, Alexander Papkin. He proposed that Papkin brief President Boris Yeltsin on a draft document outlining a special status for the Dniester region based on recommendations by the OSCE mission in Moldova. Snegur is expected to discuss the draft at his meeting with Tiraspol leaders on 7 June. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. KULIKOV IN BULGARIA. Marshal Viktor Kulikov, commander of the Warsaw Pact forces from 1977 until that organization' s demise in 1991, criticized aspects of Soviet foreign policy during a recent visit to Bulgaria, AFP reported on 5 June. Referring to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kulikov said "With the benefit of hindsight and as a soldier, I condemn this action." He did, however, defend current Russian policy in Chechnya, insisting that Moscow' s military action was in response to violations of the constitution. Kulikov also met with former Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. -- Stan Markotich, 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 OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (c) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.
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