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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 114, Part II, 13 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

EU AGREES ON MORE AID FOR EASTERN EUROPE. The EU foreign ministers,
meeting in Luxembourg on 12 June, agreed to more financial aid for
Eastern Europe in a compromise that highlights divisions within the EU
over its future orientation, international agencies reported the same
day. Northern EU states, led by Germany, have been pressing for
increased aid to the East and wider opening of markets, while southern
EU states have requested more for Mediterranean countries and have
resisted greater trade liberalization for textiles and agricultural
products. Eastern Europe will receive $1.62 billion next year, an
increase of 7% over current levels, and the Mediterranean countries $
917 million, an increase of 27%. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN G-7 SUMMIT. According to Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko, the G-7 has rejected Ukraine's
request to participate in the 15 June summit in Halifax, Canada, UNIAN
reported on 12 June. Udovenko said that President Leonid Kuchma wanted
to speak at the summit, which will address the issue of financing the
closure of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Kiev has said the closure
will cost $4 billion, but Ukraine's environment minister has admitted
that this sum is negotiable and depends on what kind of power station is
built to replace Chornobyl. The G-7 has offered $200 million in
assistance toward the closure. Reuters reported that a German government
source said Kiev should not expect more from the G-7. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

ECONOMIC FORECAST FOR UKRAINE. Government forecasters predict that
Ukraine's economy will improve by the end of the year, Radio Ukraine
reported on 12 June. The monthly decline in production is expected to
fall to only 1% in December, compared with a monthly rate of 27.7% in
December 1994. The officials also believe monthly inflation will drop to
2% by December. Anders Aslund, the Swedish economist and adviser to the
Ukrainian government, is less optimistic, however, Radio Ukraine
reported. He predicts a very difficult time ahead for Ukraine, pointing
to its huge debt to Russian Gazprom and likely pressure for new
subsidies for the harvest season from the conservative agrarian lobby.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Belarusian Radio on 12 June
reported that in the local elections the previous day, 36,808 candidates
competed for 28,000 local deputy seats in 6,698 electoral districts. A
total of 47.6% of the electorate voted, and elections were invalid in a
number of districts because turnout was below 50%. The lowest voter
turnout was in Minsk (19.1%). Smaller cities and rural areas had higher
turnouts. In other news, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Ivan
Bambiza met with deputies to discuss the May 1995 parliamentary
elections. They decided that at the 14 June parliamentary session, they
would debate the issues of making the newly elected parliament a legal
entity, holding new elections, and amending the electoral law. Not
enough deputies were elected in May to form a new parliament, and it is
unlikely that a two-thirds quorum will be achieved under the current
electoral law. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC STATES SIGN EU ACCORDS. Prime ministers Tiit Vahi (Estonia),
Maris Gailis (Latvia), and Adolfas Slezevicius (Lithuania) on 12 June in
Luxembourg signed the so-called Europe agreements, Reuters reported.
They joined Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and
Bulgaria as associate members of the European Union. The three Baltic
ministers were invited to attend the EU summit in Cannes, France, on 26-
27 June. The target date for the Baltic States' completing the
transition phase for membership was set at the end of 1999, compared
with 2003 and 2004 for the other six. Vahi said after signing that "our
integration into Western Europe is not directed against Russia, on the
contrary it should facilitate relations with Russia." Russia has opposed
any expansion of NATO eastward but has not expressed concern about the
broadening of the EU. --  Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA WANTS DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENTS. Estonian Defense Minister
Andrus Oovel on 12 June said that during the recent meeting in Brussels
of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, he discussed with the defense
ministers of Norway, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Canada the
signing of bilateral defense cooperation agreements, BNS reported.
Jorgen Kosmo (Norway), who will visit Tallinn on 14-15 August to sign
the agreement, pledged continued aid to help create the Estonian navy.
An agreement was made with Vilem Holan (Czech Republic) to start
drafting a cooperation agreement that would probably be signed in
December or January, when Oovel visits Prague. Jelko Kacin (Slovenia)
agreed that delegations of defense experts would visit the countries to
learn more about defense structures. David Collenette (Canada) pledged
support for the Baltic peacekeeping battalion and received requests for
used transport helicopters and financial aid to set up a new air space
monitoring system. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S BANKA BALTIJA. Four members of the Banka Baltija's juridical
board staged a one-day strike on 12 June demanding the reinstatement of
the board's director, Vizmands Eberlins, BNS reported. President Uldis
Klauss dismissed Eberlins on 8 June for ignoring the order to hand over
several of the bank's branches to Unibank and the Bank of Latvia. In an
effort to reduce expenses, the bank has recently dismissed 403 workers,
including guards and cashiers. Prime Minister Maris Gailis in an
interview in Lauku Avize on 9 June said the bank owes depositors 120
million lati ($235 million). He noted that as the average deposit in the
bank was 400 lati, the bank would probably fully restore the savings of
82% of the depositors by paying out up to 500 lati. He also said
deposits of more than 500 lati would be paid out later. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS. The Polish Defense Ministry on
12 June said Deputy Defense Minister Jerzy Milewski's resignation has
been accepted. Milewski, a former close associate of President Lech
Walesa, supported former Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk in his
recent conflict with Walesa. He also publicly criticized current Defense
Minister Zbigniew Okonski (OMRI Daily Digest, 9 June 1995). Former
Defense Deputy Minister Bronislaw Komorowski of the opposition Freedom
Union party said Milewski's departure signals the end of civilian
control over the army, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 13 June. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH INFLATION STEADIES IN MAY. Consumer prices in the Czech Republic
rose by 0.4% in May, resulting in an inflation rate over the previous
year of 10.2%, according to figures published by the Czech Statistical
Office on 12 June. Prices rose 3.9% in the first five months of this
year, compared with 3.4% in the same period of 1994. A rise of 1.0% in
April, mainly caused by sharp increases in various services, was not
repeated in May. Hospodarske noviny quoted a senior Finance Ministry
official as saying the May result was in line with the government's aim
of keeping inflation under 10% this year. Price hikes for gas and
electricity are expected to affect June inflation figures. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. The opposition Christian Democratic
Movement (KDH) has refused an offer to begin political discussions with
the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). KDH official
Martin Srank said the parties' policies are "diametrically" opposed and
that they cannot even agree on the meaning of democracy, Narodna obroda
reported on 13 June. Meanwhile, the opposition has made numerous
complaints about Slovak TV's biased reporting following personnel
changes by the ruling coalition. Pravda's monitoring of the news program
from 3-10 June showed that the ratio of coverage for coalition versus
opposition members was 47 to 3. Pravda also reported on 13 June that a
legal conflict between the poet Lubomir Feldek and HZDS deputy and
former Minister of Culture Dusan Slobodnik has ended after nearly three
years. The conflict arose in 1992 after Feldek accused Slobodnik of
having a "fascist past." On 25 May, Slovakia's highest court found
Feldek guilty on 5 out of 6 charges. Feldek said he will bring the case
to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN COURT DISSOLVES NEO-NAZI ORGANIZATION. The Hajdu County Court
on 10 June dissolved a local neo-Nazi organization, the Eastern Front
Comrades' Federation (KABSZ), MTI reported. The court ruled that the
organization's activities violated the law. "Although the right to
assemble is a basic constitutional principle, social organizations must
not pursue activities breaking the law," the court said. KABSZ leader
Andras Kiss, together with another member of the organization, is
currently awaiting trial for setting fire to the Debrecen synagogue on 6
January, destroying 17 Torah scrolls that belonged to Jews deported from
Debrecen during the Holocaust. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC FREES 130 HOSTAGES. The BBC on 13 June reported that Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told a press conference in Pale at 11:00
local time that 130 hostages were being freed at that moment. Many could
leave directly from the Sarajevo area to rejoin their units, while
others would be freed via Serbia. He claimed that "technical reasons"
prevented the release of an additional 14 men, which presumably meant
that they are being held at widely scattered locations. It also could
mean that Pale wants to hold onto some captives as insurance against any
retaliatory moves. AFP quoted Karadzic's parliamentary speaker, Momcilo
Krajisnik, as saying of the hostages: "We have always wanted to free
them as soon as possible. These young boys have all of our sympathy."
Karadzic added: "We consider this crisis closed and we hope it will
never happen again." -- Patrick Moore

WHAT ROLE DID SERBIA PLAY IN THE HOSTAGE RELEASE? At the same time as
Karadzic held his press conference, Tanjug ran a communique from Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic announcing the release of the 130 men. As
before, Milosevic's security chief, Jovica Stanisic, was in Pale and was
directly involved in the hostage release. Questions remain as to exactly
what Belgrade's role has been all along in taking and freeing the
peacekeepers. Articles in The New York Times on 11 June and Newsday the
following day pointed to the integral links between the Belgrade and
Pale military structures. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

FRENCH PRESIDENT CALLS SERBS "TERRORISTS." Milosevic had recently
assured Jacques Chirac in a telephone conversation that he was doing all
he could to help free the hostages, most of whom are French. But Reuters
on 12 June quoted Chirac as telling those assembled at a dinner with
Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on 9 June how disgusted he felt
when talking to Milosevic. Papandreou had been making a speech in which
he asked for understanding for the Serbs, who were fighting for their
religion. Chirac interrupted him, saying: "Don't talk to me about wars
of religion. These people have no faith and know no law. They are
terrorists." Meanwhile, international media reported on 13 June that the
first contingent of 200 French soldiers for the new Rapid Reaction Force
has begun arriving in Split. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KRAJINA SERBS GET NEW PRIME MINISTER. Knin's foreign minister and
longtime political figure, Milan Babic, became prime minister on 12
June, Tanjug reported. He replaced Borislav Mikelic, who was sacked in
May because he was regarded as too pliant toward both Belgrade and
Zagreb. Babic is now the ally of his old rival, President Milan Martic,
in calling for some sort of union with the Bosnian Serbs, despite
objections from eastern Slavonian Serbs and from Belgrade. Meanwhile at
the United Nations, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali said in a
report that it will not be possible to redeploy UNCRO peacekeepers by 30
June as expected. Zagreb had demanded that the men be stationed on
Croatia's external borders as part of the deal to renew the UN's
mandate. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. Nasa Borba on 13 June reported that over the past
several days, the rump Yugoslav currency, the so-called "super dinar,"
has experienced a free fall against the German mark. The currency was
introduced in January 1994 and pegged to the value of the mark at a rate
of 1:1. It came under similar inflationary pressures in late March 1995,
trading unofficially in Belgrade at up to 5 to DM 1 (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 28 March 1995). -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

EU OPENS TALKS WITH CROATIA, ITALY BLOCKS SLOVENIAN ACCORD. The EU
foreign ministers on 12 June agreed to open talks with Croatia on a
trade and cooperation accord, international agencies reported the same
day. The ministers tentatively agreed to such a move in April, after
Croatia extended the mandate for UN peacekeepers, but they backed off in
May when Croatia took territory in western Slavonia. The EU ministers
linked success in the negotiations to Croatia's continued cooperation in
the UN peace process and its respect for democracy and human rights.
Meanwhile, Italy continued to block the signing of the EU association
accord with Slovenia in a long-running dispute over property rights for
Italians who fled the country after World War II. -- Michael Mihalka

KOSOVO UPDATE. The Albanian shadow-state University of Pristina has
announced a competition for 6,077 new students to enroll this year,
Kosova Daily Report said on 12 June. The university went underground in
1991 when the Serbian regime declared the Albanian-language departments
of the University of Pristina illegal and sacked almost 1,000 teachers
and over 20,000 students. Meanwhile, the trial of 72 ethnic Albanian
former policemen resumed in Pristina the same day. The policemen are
accused of involvement in establishing a shadow-state police force.
Defendants have said that the trial is "aimed at incriminating the
Albanian democratic movement." Detainees have reportedly been subjected
to torture during pre-trial detention. Elsewhere, former policemen are
reported to have been evicted from their apartments by Serbian
authorities. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS AGAINST MEMBERSHIP IN COUNCIL OF EUROPE. A letter
from the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD) to the
Council of Europe saying that Macedonia does not meet the criteria to be
accepted into the council has sparked an outcry in the Macedonian media.
Vecer on 13 June called the letter an "anti-Macedonian pamphlet." The
PPD argues that accession should follow only "after the true
democratization of Macedonia begins," MIC reported on 12 June. It claims
that the Albanian minority has been deprived of the constitutional
status it has enjoyed since 1974. The PPD further criticized the
electoral law and the ban on Albanian-language higher education. It also
expressed doubts about the independence of the judiciary. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DEFENDS CRACKDOWN ON JUNE 1990 RALLY. Ion Iliescu, in
an interview with Romanian TV on 12 June, defended the brutal repression
of a pro-democracy marathon rally in downtown Bucharest in April-June
1990. He said that after the National Salvation Front's victory in the
20 May 1990 elections, most demonstrators ceased protesting, except for
a group of "fundamentalists." According to Iliescu, those "rebels" and
"aggressors" were responsible for the acts of violence on 13 June that
prompted the Jiu Valley miners to come to Bucharest the following day to
defend the government. The president rejected accusations that the 13
June violence was staged by agents provocateurs and that the miners were
called in by the authorities. He expressed the hope that rallies planned
by the democratic opposition and the unions on 14 June will not turn
violent. Iliescu also dismissed as "fabrication" press reports on his
alleged collaboration with the KGB. Rather, the KGB and Securitate had
focused attention on him because of his political ideas, he said. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

FORMER COMMUNIST ELECTED HEAD OF GAGAUZ REGION. Gheorghi Tabunshik, a
former local communist leader, was elected bashkan (head) of the
autonomous Gagauz region, in southern Moldova, Infotag reported. He won
64% of the votes in the second round of elections on 11 June. The 55-
year-old Tabunshik pledged to support market-oriented reforms and
concentrate on the region's economic problems. He is credited with
enjoying the favor of the authorities in Chisinau, which granted
Gagauzia broad autonomy last year. The Gagauz population is made up of
Turkish Orthodox Christians. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

SMIRNOV SAYS DNIESTER REGION A SEPARATE STATE. In an interview with
Nezavisimaya Moldova on 10 June, Igor Smirnov, leader of the self-styled
Dniester republic, reiterated the idea that the breakaway region is a
separate state. He accused Chisinau of "conducting a quiet economic
blockade" against Tiraspol, while dragging its feet over drafting a new
status for the region that would recognize its separate statehood.
Smirnov also said that Chisinau's insistence that the 14th Russian Army
leaves the region means that Moldovan leaders were "still cherishing
hopes to install their own order" in the Dniester area. -- Dan Ionescu,
OMRI, Inc.

CHIEF OF BULGARIAN PRIVATE SECURITY FIRM KILLED. Georgi Nikolov, a
former riot policeman and chief of First Private Militia, was killed in
the Black Sea town of Burgas on 10 June, Demokratsiya reported. The
assailant shot Nikolov three times in the head and fled before police
could block nearby roads. Nikolov's security firm, the largest in
Burgas, was banned by the police in May on suspicion of involvement in
an extortion racket. But guards from the company continued to provide
security to hotels, restaurants and bars in the area. Well-informed
sources allege that Nikolov was killed because he wanted to abandon
providing security services in favor of "clean business." -- Stefan
Krause, 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
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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) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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