|When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield|
No. 1145, Part II, 14 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 HUNGARY RATIFIES TREATY WITH SLOVAKIA. The Hungarian parliament on 13 June approved the Hungarian-Slovak treaty signed earlier this year by the two countries' prime ministers, international media reported. A total of 244 deputies voted in favor of the treaty, 49 against, and 53 abstained. The Slovak parliament has not yet voted on the document, which is opposed by some politicians and groups in both countries. The controversy centers on the Council of Europe's recommendations on minority rights, which the treaty incorporates. Under the treaty, Hungary recognizes existing borders and both countries guarantee minority rights. Some 600,000 ethnic Hungarian live in Slovakia. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN FIGHTER JETS GROUNDED. The Hungarian Defense Ministry on 13 June announced that the country's fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets has been grounded because of mechanical problems, Hungarian and international media reported. Hungary last month suspended flights by its other war planes, the SU-22s, after one of those planes crashed. Hungarian military officials noted that the problems with the MiG-29s are only minor and that both the MiGs and the SU 22s can be redeployed at short notice. Hungary received 22 MiG-29s last year in partial repayment of Russia's $900 million debt. Hungary and Russia are currently discussing more arms deliveries to settle another part of the Russian debt. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BEGINS GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. Leonid Kuchma has begun to form a new government by downsizing the acting cabinet, Ukrainian Television reported on 13 June. The current government lost a confidence vote in the legislature in April. Kuchma relieved Volodymyr Plitin from his duties as deputy prime minister in an apparent effort to reduce the number of deputy premiers from eight to three. Interfax-Ukraine reported on 13 June that Kuchma presented newly appointed Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk to cabinet members at a government session on 12 June. Marchuk's appointment was Kuchma's first move since securing greater executive powers in a 7 June political deal with the parliament. Kuchma told the acting ministers that the majority of them would continue working in the government. But he added that their work will be more closely monitored. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN MEETS WITH NEW DEPUTIES. Belarusian Radio on 13 June reported that Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mechyslau Hryb called a meeting with the newly elected parliament deputies the previous day. Only 45 out of the 119 deputies showed up, and most reportedly showed no interest in the proceedings. Opinion was divided over the status of the new and old parliament. Not enough deputies were elected in the May elections to form a new parliament, but the old one's term should have expired in March. Some deputies favored creating a commission to work out the legal status of the new and old legislatures; others were opposed to the continued existence of the old parliament, which they said had discredited itself by continuing to function. The new parliament is to convene for the first time on 14 June. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RUSSIA. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in an interview with Russian TV on 12 June commemorating the anniversary of Russia's declaration of independence, said Russia was not seeking to incorporate Belarus. He defended his policy of forging closer Belarusian-Russian ties, saying that during the 14 May referendum, almost 85% of the electorate voted in favor of further integration with Russia. He also pointed out that the customs union with Russia now allows Belarusian goods to flow freely between the two states. The president concluded that Russia and Belarus were bound to live together but that the question still to be answered was which politicians would be able to bring them closer. Lukashenka said that to this end, the Russian leadership's political will was necessary. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIAN, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTERS TO SIGN COOPERATION ACCORD. Edgar Savisaar and Jean-Louis Debre, at a meeting in Paris on 12 June, agreed to start work on the draft of a cooperation agreement between their ministries, BNS reported the next day. The two ministries will exchange information on suspected criminals and cooperate in police training. France is expected to assist Estonia in the training of bomb squads and provide special equipment for defusing bombs. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. PRIVATIZATION OF LATVIAN AIRLINES. The Latvian Privatization Agency on 12 June decided to draft new rules for privatizing the state-owned Latvian Airlines, BNS reported. Four companies have expressed an interest in purchasing the airline but did not accept the conditions that the buyer receive 46% of the airline's shares for one lat ($1.90) if it agrees to cover the airlines $12 million debt to Banka Baltija, pay out salaries to its employees, and settle more than $500,000 in fees to Riga's airport by 15 June. The airport is demanding fines for late payments and has even threatened to end servicing the airline's flights. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LITHUANIA APPROVES EXIMBANK LOAN. The Seimas has instructed the government to issue state guarantees and sign an agreement with Eximbank for a $80 million loan to construct a floating oil terminal at Butinge, Interfax reported on 13 June. It is expected that the loan will be granted for eight to nine years with annual interest rates of 8-9%. The first payments will be due only after the completion of the terminal in two years. The state guarantees will allow Eximbank to extend a $5 million credit, while the balance will be available only in September. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius said that Turkish, Belgian, Venezuelan, and other companies have also expressed an interest in financing the project, which is expected to cost more than $200 million. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. SALE OF POLISH ARMORED VEHICLES TO "AFRICAN COUNTRY." Polish media on 14 June reported on the sale of armored vehicles to "one of the African countries" (probably Angola) last fall. The transaction was apparently carried out by the private Warsaw company NAT, without the knowledge of former Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk. But according to Kolodziejczyk, chief of the State Protection Office Gromoslaw Czempinski and Chief of Staff General Tadeusz Wilecki cleared the way for the transaction, which deprived the Polish army of its most modern equipment for half of the market price. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN WARSAW. Klaus Kinkel, meeting on 13 June with Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, said Germany will continue to be Poland's main advocate for joining NATO and the European Union. Chancellor Helmut Kohl is scheduled to visit Poland on 6-8 July, Polish and international media reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. petroleum and energy concern Amoco Corporation announced that it will invest $150 million to develop a gas station network in Poland, its first outside the United States. Amoco plans to build more than 150 stations in Poland over the next 10 years, with the first 15 completed in 1996, Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. St. Catherine's Convent, a group of right-of-center political parties, disclosed on 13 June the names of seven presidential candidates who are to compete for the group's support. The candidates include former Premier Jan Olszewski, former Defense Minister Jan Parys, and Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Walz, Polish media reported on 14 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK CABINET SESSION. The Slovak cabinet on 13 June passed a proposal to create a Slovak Information Agency (probably by 1 July) aimed at offering information, mainly to foreign journalists, about the country. The agency will be funded by 100 million koruny from the state budget. The cabinet also named Stefan Luby as head of the Slovak Academy of Science, Slovak media reported. At the press conference that followed the session, a Sme reporter requested on behalf of four dailies that cabinet members rather than their spokesmen appear to answer journalists' questions. The reporter pointed to the importance of matters discussed during the last two government sessions (namely, changes to the coupon privatization program). A majority of journalists left the conference early after they were told that information will continue to be released through spokesmen. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERBS KEEP SOME HOSTAGES. At least 14 UN peacekeepers remain in the custody of Bosnian Serb forces, despite Radovan Karadzic's announcement on 13 June that all would be freed. He said that "technical reasons" prevented the immediate release of the 14, who were being held in scattered locations. It nonetheless appears that either local warlords are refusing to give up their captives or that Pale is deliberately holding onto the men as insurance against further NATO air strikes, international media reported. The Serbs continue to deny freedom of movement to UN troops, whom they have blockaded. The UN has given up all attempts to deliver humanitarian relief in the conflict areas following the Serbs' confiscation of an entire convoy last weekend. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. DID KARADZIC SUCCEED IN BLACKMAILING THE UN? The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 14 June quotes Bosnian Serb Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha as saying that "people we trust" in the international community have assured Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that there will be no more air strikes if the Serbs free their hostages. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi claimed, however, that nothing has been paid or promised to secure the men's release. U.S. President Bill Clinton has, in any event, ruled out further air strikes as long as the Serbs hold hostages, thereby giving Karadzic what he wanted in the first place. The Los Angeles Times said on 10 June that Clinton's decision specifically means there will be no moves to take out the Serb SAM-6 battery that shot down Capt. Scott O' Grady on 2 June. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MASSIVE TROOP MOVEMENTS NORTH OF SARAJEVO. Nasa Borba on 14 June reported that some 20,000-30,000 Bosnian government troops have begun massing in the Visoko-Breza area. A UN observer called it the biggest single such action since the conflict began, and Serbian forces have begun gathering in response. It appears that the government wants to break the siege of Sarajevo and force open the main road leading into the capital. This would not only have great political and strategic significance but could well be the only way to end the current shortage of food in Sarajevo. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. IS THE BOSNIAN ARMY MOVING CLOSER TO GORAZDE? AFP on 12 June said that Bosnian government forces appear to have taken the highest point on Mt. Treskavica, which puts them in a position to neutralize Serb forces in and around Trnovo below. The situation for the mainly Muslim enclaves in eastern Bosnia--Gorazde, Zepa, and Srebrenica--has become increasingly bleak recently, but the latest move puts government forces in a somewhat better position to help Gorazde. Meanwhile, Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, during his visit to Washington, rejected comments by White House spokesman Michael McCurry and apparently Vice President Al Gore as well to the effect that the Bosnians are warmongers because they want weapons to defend themselves. Silajdzic said that the Bosnians have no choice but to present their case directly to the American people. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Susanna Agnelli arrived in the rump Yugoslav capital on 13 June for meetings with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and her rump Yugoslav counterpart, Vladislav Jovanovic. Nasa Borba reported the next day that at the top of the agenda were discussions about the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic repeated his stance that the issue of regional peace is tied inextricably to the lifting of sanctions against Belgrade. Agnelli was invited to visit Serbia by Milosevic, who wanted to meet with the foreign minister before she attended the upcoming G-7 economic summit in Halifax, Canada. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS "NO SECRET TALKS WITH GREECE." Stevo Crvenkovski on 13 June denied that Macedonia is holding secret negotiations with Greece in order to solve the dispute between the two countries, Nova Makedonija reported the following day. He was reacting to a report by a private Macedonian TV station that Greek General Nikos Grilakis is in Macedonia on a "secret negotiating mission." Crvenkovski said that no date for another meeting with the international mediators has so far been set but that he did not rule out that a meeting with Cyrus Vance will take place soon. No date has been set for direct talks between Athens and Skopje, either. The reason for the delay is that the question of lifting the Greek embargo on Macedonia before negotiations begin remains unresolved. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ETHNIC ALBANIAN PARTY DENIES CHARGES OF BEING ANTI-MACEDONIAN. The ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD) has denied charges of being "anti-Macedonian," Flaka reported on 14 June. The party was criticized recently for a letter it sent to the Council of Europe claiming that Macedonia does not meet the criteria to be accepted as a member of the council (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 June 1995). PPD Secretary-General Naser Zyberi said the party supports Macedonia's accession to the council but only if it meets "high standards." Meanwhile, the Polish UN diplomat Henrik Sokalski has been appointed head of the UNPREDEP mission in Macedonia, MIC reported on 13 June. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN-NATO SEA EXERCISES END. Romanian-NATO maneuvers in the Black Sea ended on 13 June, Western media reported. The six-day exercises, known as "Cooperative Rescue 95," were staged as part of the alliance's Partnership for Peace Program. Romanian, Dutch, Greek, Italian, and Turkish warships simulated rescue operations in Romanian territorial waters. The maneuvers were the fifth joint naval exercises in which Romania has participated since signing up for PfP in January 1994. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVAN PREMIER ON TREATY WITH ROMANIA. ITAR-TASS on 13 June quoted Andrei Sangheli as saying that the signing of a basic treaty with Romania has been delayed because of Romania's stance. Sangheli noted that Bucharest has insisted on including a reference in the treaty to the Molotov-Ribbentrop secret pact of 1939, under which Romania lost Bessarabia and North Bukovina to the Soviet Union the following year. Sangheli added that Moldova was determined to tackle the issue in accordance with European standards. Also on 13 June, Sangheli met with Michael Wygant, head of the OSCE mission in Chisinau, to discuss progress in negotiations with Moldova's breakaway Dniester region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN OPPOSITION WILL NOT SIGN NATIONAL AGREEMENT ON LOCAL ELECTIONS. The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) has said it will not sign a memorandum providing for the opposition to take joint action in the forthcoming local elections, 24 chasa reported on 14 June. The SDS National Coordinating Council said that it supports common electoral platforms and candidates but that agreements have to be reached at a local level. The decision came after the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization said it will withdraw its support from the SDS if it signs an agreement with the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS). Meanwhile, the DPS and the People's Union seem determined to secure such an agreement. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIA DENIES SELLING ARMS TO RWANDANS. The Bulgarian government on 13 June issued a statement denying an Amnesty International charge that Bulgaria has been supplying arms to the former Rwandan army and Hutu militias, Reuters reported. The Amnesty International report, which was issued the previous day, said cargo planes registered in Ghana, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Russia were arriving regularly at Goma airport in Zaire with arms for the combatants. Bulgaria and Albania were identified as two sources of these arms. The Bulgarian statement, signed by Deputy Chairman of the Defense Industry Council Ivan Kolev, said the Bulgarians realized that Rwanda was "a sensitive area and we uphold our national interest in full compliance with international norms." The statement added that there were "forces who have a strong interest in ruining Bulgaria's defense industry." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN ARMY HOLDS MANEUVERS. The Albanian army held exercises on 12 June using experience it gained in joint maneuvers with NATO countries, Reuters reported the following day. The exercises, in which Chinese-made T-54 tanks as well as MiG-17 and MiG-19 jets, took part, were held near the northern-Albanian border with Montenegro. The Defense Ministry said new anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons were also used. More joint exercises are planned in the United States and in Italy later this year. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. FRENCH-ALBANIAN INVESTMENT PROTECTION AGREEMENT. French Secretary of State for Finance Herve Gaymard and Albanian Minister for Industry Albert Brojka have signed an agreement to encourage and reciprocally protect investments, AFP reported on 13 June. The document is aimed at creating a stable legal framework for French and Albanian investors investing in the other country. It will go into effect for a minimum of 10 years. Investments made during this period will enjoy protection for 20 years. -- 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 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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