Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 116, Part II, 15 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 LAWMAKERS DRAFT NEW ELECTORAL BILL. The Legal Policy and
Judicial Reform Commission of the Ukrainian parliament has drawn up a
new draft electoral law, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 14 June. The bill
would provide for half of the 450 deputies to be elected directly by
constituencies and the other half by party lists. It would drop the
requirement of a minimum voter turnout of 50% plus one vote for
elections to be considered valid. It would also abolish the requirement
that candidates gain at least 25% of the vote in their constituencies to
be declared winners. The changes are aimed at preventing costly run-off
elections. Deputies would be elected for four-year terms and would have
to be at least 25 years old to run for office. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER REQUESTS MORE PEACEKEEPERS FOR FORMER
YUGOSLAVIA. Valerii Shmarov has officially requested that the parliament
approve sending additional peacekeepers to the former Yugoslavia,
Reuters reported on 13 June. Ukraine already has 1,200 troops in Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Croatia. Since Ukraine began participating in
peacekeeping operations in 1992, a dozen Ukrainians have been killed, 39
injured, and 58 were recently taken hostage and later released by
Bosnian Serbs. The UN has asked Ukraine for an additional 600 troops.
Shmarov said there were political "dividends" in sending more troops
since it showed the international community that Ukraine cared about
peace in Europe. He also noted that it was very good training for
Ukraine' s armed forces. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

POLITICAL CRISIS CONTINUES IN BELARUS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
appealed to the outgoing Belarusian parliament to reduce the
parliamentary quorum to two-fifths so that the new parliament can
convene, Reuters and Belarusian Radio reported on 14 June. Such a move
would put an end to the political crisis that followed the failure last
month to elect enough deputies to form a new parliament. The old
parliament, whose legal status remains in limbo, failed in two separate
votes to reach a decision on transferring power to the new parliament so
that it can pass legislation. It decided instead to hold new by-
elections in November . -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BALTIC STATES AND EFTA. Foreign Ministers Riivo Sinijarv (Estonia),
Valdis Birkavs (Latvia), and Povilas Gylys (Lithuania) attended the
ministerial meeting of the European Free Trade Association in Bergen,
Norway, on 13-14 June, BNS reported. With the transfer of Sweden,
Finland, and Austria to the European Union, Baltic States'  trade with
EFTA' s four remaining members (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and
Liechtenstein) is significantly smaller. The two blocs are still
interested in negotiating free trade agreements. The Baltic ministers
also held separate talks with Norwegian leaders. Birkavs noted that the
possibility of obtaining natural gas from Norway might be discussed at
the meeting of Baltic and Nordic prime ministers in Vilnius on 1 July.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA AMENDS LAW ON FOREIGNERS. The parliament has passed on first
reading amendments to the law on foreigners that provide for people who
do not apply for residence and work permits by 12 July to be stripped of
social welfare benefits and the right to vote in the fall regional
elections, BNS reported on 14 June. Sergei Ivanov, chairman of the
Russian faction in Estonia' s parliament, urged Russian-speakers to hand
in their applications as soon as possible. The amendments, however,
allow for later registration with a penalty fee. The parliament rejected
the faction' s proposal to automatically issue permanent resident
permits to all people who lived legally in Estonia before 1 July 1990.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN COOPERATION ON BORDER CROSSINGS. Latvian border officer
Aris Jansons has said that talks in Pitalov with the leadership of the
Russian North West border guard region were fruitful, BNS reported on 14
June. He said that Russia seemed more willing to take back illegal
refugees who entered Latvia from Russia. The guards discussed ways of
shortening the long lines of cars at the border check points of
Vientuli, Grebeneva, Terehova, and Paledze. Latvian guards proposed that
computers due to be installed at Russian border control points be linked
up with computers at Latvian check points to allow immediate reporting
about stolen vehicles and persons who do not have permits for entering
the other country. Russia proposed joint training exercises for border
guards to promote increased exchanges of experience. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER' S VISIT TO POLAND. Klaus Kinkel,
after meeting with President Lech Walesa on 14 June, said he assured the
president that Germany would continue to support Poland' s aspirations
for membership in NATO and the European Union. No agreement was reached
on 13 June in Kinkel' s talks with Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw
Bartoszewski on returning German manuscripts from the Prussian Library
currently kept at the Jagellonian University in Cracow. Bartoszewski
said both countries have to look for complex solutions to cultural goods
lost, destroyed, or confiscated during the war, Polish and international
agencies reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. The Polish
parliamentary commission drafting the new constitution has decided to
retain many presidential powers granted by the 1992 interim constitution
but curb the president' s legislative veto powers, Polish and
international agencies reported on 14 June. The commission reduced the
number of votes needed to override a presidential veto from two-thirds
to 50% plus one vote. Presidential spokesman Leszek Spalinski said the
ruling coalition parties "are coming to realize they may lose the
elections . . . and want to safeguard themselves should this happen." --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT REJECTS DEMANDS BY TEACHERS, DOCTORS. The Czech
government on 14 June decreed 10% wage rises for public sector
employees, turning down demands by teachers and doctors for larger
increases. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said awarding bigger pay
increases would fuel inflation, Mlada fronta dnes reported. Education
Minister Ivan Pilip argued for teachers to receive more pay, but all
other ministers voted for the 10% rise, which is effective from 1 August
and will cost the state budget 2.2 billion koruny. Unions representing
the teachers and doctors, who have threatened to strike if their demands
are not met, rejected the government' s decision. Meanwhile, Richard
Falbr, head of the trade union association, requested an urgent meeting
with Klaus to discuss the rail unions'  threat to go on strike, possibly
next week, if pay and other demands are not met. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI,
Inc.

CZECH CABINET APPROVES HARD CURRENCY LAW. The Czech government on 14
June approved a draft law that could make the koruna convertible in the
fall, Czech media reported. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the economy
was ripe for the freeing of the currency and that the new law will bring
the Czech Republic in line with IMF conditions. The parliament will
discuss the draft law after the summer recess. If it is passed quickly,
it could come into effect on 1 October. Among its provisions are lifting
restrictions on individuals buying foreign currency and transferring
money abroad. Holding bank accounts in other countries, however, will be
subject to the approval of the Central Bank or the Finance Ministry. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER IN UKRAINE. Vladimir Meciar on 14 June began a two-day
official visit to neighboring Ukraine, accompanied by a delegation of
ministers, other top officials, and businessmen. Meciar commented to
TASR before his departure that there are no regular political contacts
between Slovakia and Ukraine and that bilateral trade has declined. He
said that unresolved issues included payments in bilateral trade and
possible direct participation by Slovak firms in Ukraine' s
privatization program. Meanwhile, TASR reports that a delegation from
Meciar' s Movement for a Democratic Slovakia visited Serbia on 14 June
to meet with officials from the Serbian Socialist Party, while Foreign
Minister Juraj Schenk traveled to Slovenia. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICAL ROUNDUP. Representatives of three opposition parties--
the Christian Democratic Movement, the Democratic Union, and the Party
of the Democratic Left (SDL)--met on 13 June to discuss ways to
cooperate, Sme reported. SDL Chairman Peter Weiss said his party will
hold talks with the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia on 23
June. Meanwhile, a new faction, called the Revival of Social Democracy
and led by Boris Zala, has been created within the opposition Social
Democratic Party. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS HOLD BACK ON RELEASING LAST HOSTAGES. The BBC on 15 June reported
that Bosnian Serb authorities will release the 26 remaining hostages
only if UNPROFOR lets go four Serbs it has detained as "guests." The
four were captured on 27 May when UNPROFOR retook the Vrbanja bridge in
Sarajevo. The remaining hostages in Serbian hands include 15 UN military
observers and 11 Canadian soldiers. Canadian authorities said they feel
the hostage crisis is far from over. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CLINTON WARNS SARAJEVO AGAINST MILITARY SOLUTION. Leading authorities
from the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, and the UN have expressed alarm
at the reported massing of 20,000-30,000 Bosnian government troops north
of Sarajevo. President Bill Clinton told Bosnian Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic on 14 June that "in the end, the military solution is not
available to the Bosnian government," the VOA reported. British State
Secretary Douglas Hogg said he feared a new Bosnian offensive would set
off "a cycle of increasing violence." Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed
Sacirbey announced in Vienna, however, that his government had to take
"preventive measures" because the Serbs are moving new weapons into the
UN exclusion zone around Sarajevo, Reuters said. Sacirbey did not deny
reports about the massing of government troops in an apparent attempt to
break the siege of the capital, but he argued that the people of
Sarajevo have no intention of spending another winter cut off from the
world. -- Patrick Moore

50 KRAJINA SERBS RETURN TO CROATIA. The Croatian government has approved
requests by 50 Krajina Serb refugees in Bosnia to go back to their homes
in western Slavonia, which Croatian forces retook in Operation Blitz on
1-2 May. All will receive Croatian citizenship, as have the 1,600 Serbs
who never left, news agencies reported on 14 June. Slobodna Dalmacija
noted the following day that a Serbian family left Benkovac in Krajina
for Zadar, complaining about "impossible living conditions" in the
impoverished rebel Serb territories. The Croatian authorities realize
that they must treat the Serbian minority fairly if Zagreb is to enjoy
the good graces of its friends and allies abroad. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

HOW BADLY ARE SANCTIONS HURTING SERBIA? Nasa Borba on 15 June reported
that rump Yugoslav National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic has said
that much of the foreign exchange injected over the past twelve months
into the rump Yugoslav economy came from Serbian citizens with offshore
assets in Cyprus. According to Avramovic, there is still money available
from Cyprus and "other parts of Europe." Such revelations raise
speculation about the sincerity of rump Yugoslav officials, notably
Milosevic, in alleging that international sanctions against Belgrade are
causing irreparable harm to the rump Yugoslav economy. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

NEW RIFT IN SERBIAN OPPOSITION RANKS? Reuters on 15 June reported that
the leaders of two of Serbia' s main opposition parties--Zoran Djindjic
of the Democratic Party (DS) and Vojislav Kostunica of the Democratic
Party of Serbia (DSS)--remain adamant that they will not support a
nationalist, anti-Milosevic 17 June rally. Vojislav Seselj, leader of
the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party and an alleged war criminal,
organized the demonstration. This latest development may signal a rift
between the three parties, which formed an electoral alliance in
February for upcoming municipal elections. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN RADICAL LEADER' S PRISON TERM EXTENDED. A Pristina court has
extended the prison term handed down to Seselj in an apparent move to
prevent him attending the 17 June rally, Nasa Borba reported. Seselj,
together with party deputy chairman Tomislav Nikolic, was arrested in
Gnjilan on 2 June after clashes with police. Seselj' s original 20-day
sentence has been extended to 60 days. Seselj recently criticized
Milosevic for supporting the Contact Group' s peace plan and called him
a traitor. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS AGREE TO COOPERATE. Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia
have agreed to meet in Tetovo to "jointly review and present the
fundamental questions" on improving the situation of Albanians in
Macedonia," MIC reported on 14 June. Agreement was reached at a meeting
of representatives of ethnic Albanian political parties and
associations. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION COMMEMORATES JUNE 1990 EVENTS. Thousands of
Romanians on 14 June marched through downtown Bucharest to mark the
fifth anniversary of the violent crackdown on a pro-democracy rally in
June 1990. Radio Bucharest reported that the march was staged by the
Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), the Confederation of Democratic
Trade Unions, the PROPACT trade union, and several student associations.
CDR Chairman Emil Constantinescu, addressing a crowd of about 10,000 on
University Square, said the 1990 government-sponsored violence was
intended to crush the democratic opposition. He read out a seven-point
program aimed at lifting Romania out of its political and economic
crisis. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN UNIONS, GOVERNMENT FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT. Romanian trade
union leaders, following several rounds of negotiations with political
parties supporting the government, announced on 14 June that no
breakthrough has been reached over better pay and work conditions, Radio
Bucharest reported. The unions intend to proceed with plans to stage
protests over the next two weeks. Union leaders reiterated their
distrust of the left-wing cabinet but said they are willing to continue
negotiations with the government. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA REJECTS MOLDOVAN CRITICISM OF TREATY. Mircea Geoana, a spokesman
for the Romanian Foreign Ministry, told journalists on 14 June that
negotiating a basic treaty between Romania and Moldova was "a complex
process." Referring to a statement made by Moldovan Premier Andrei
Sangheli, Geoana denied that Romania wanted a special document to be
annexed to the treaty denouncing the 1939 Nazi-Soviet secret pact under
which Romania lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. He announced that
talks over the text of the future treaty will soon be resumed in
Bucharest. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

WATER RESTRICTIONS IN BULGARIAN CAPITAL TO BE LIFTED. Normal water
supplies will resume in Sofia next week following eight months of
rationing, Reuters reported on 14 June. The decision was taken by the
Sofia municipality after experts reported that 190 million cubic meters
of water flowed into the Iskar reservoir over the first five months of
this year. Officials said they expect another 300 million cubic meters
to flow into the reservoir by the end of 1995, thereby guaranteeing the
city' s minimum required supplies until March 1996. Under the rationing
scheme, monthly water consumption in Sofia fell from an average of 17-18
million cubic meters to some 11 million. Meanwhile, Bulgaria still has
not ratified a $98 million loan from the World Bank aimed at improving
water supplies and repairing the antiquated pipelines. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN CONSTRUCTION TROOPS POPULAR IN AFRICA. Bulgaria' s military
construction troops have just finished building a bridge across the
Limpopo River between South Africa and Zimbabwe, BTA reported on 12
June. The troops'  General Administration has signed contracts for more
projects in both countries and is studying additional ones in Swaziland
and Mozambique. The agency said the construction troops have created
two-thirds of Bulgaria' s infrastructure. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

NAA PRESIDENT SAYS EAST EUROPEAN ENTRY INTO NATO POSSIBLE BY 1998.
Karsten Voigt, president of the North Atlantic Assembly, told a security
seminar in Sofia on 13 June that NATO should be ready to accept new
members by 1998, international agencies reported. He repeated his
assertion made last month at the NAA meeting in Budapest that because
NATO expansion was not directed at an external threat, foreign troops or
nuclear weapons need not be deployed on new members'  territories. Voigt
said that Bulgaria' s prospects in joining NATO early depended on its
own actions. He praised Bulgaria for its efforts in developing positive
relations with its neighbors and quickly recognizing the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

STRONG EARTHQUAKE IN GREECE CLAIMS AT LEAST 10 LIVES. An earthquake
measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Central Greece on 15 June,
international agencies reported. Its epicenter was near the town of
Eratini, on the Gulf of Corinth. At least 10 people were killed and some
100 injured. One apartment building and one hotel in Aigion are reported
completely destroyed, while the port facilities of Eratini have sunk
into the sea. The BBC said that the town of Aigion is the scene of
"complete devastation." Damage is also reported in other nearby towns.
According to Reuters, ancient Delphi suffered considerable damage, too.
Rescue operations are severely hampered by afterquakes and the breakdown
of electricity and communications lines. Northwestern Greece was hit by
a strong earthquake last month. -- 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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Copyright (c) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved.


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