Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 117, Part II, 16 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

UKRAINE WARNS CHORNOBYL SHUTDOWN HINGES ON G-7 FINANCING. Volodymyr
Horbulin, a member of Ukraine's Security Council and a presidential
adviser, has warned that the shutdown of the Chornobyl nuclear power
plant hinges on financing by G-7 countries, Reuters reported on 14 June.
G-7 leaders are currently meeting in Halifax, Canada. Horbulin told a
news conference that Ukraine will reconsider its decision to close the
plant by the year 2000 if the G-7 leaders fail to increase the amount of
aid offered. At the 1994 summit in Naples, Italy, they pledged $200
million in assistance, but Ukraine says it needs around $4 billion to
construct a gas-fired electricity plant near Chornobyl and to replace a
cracking concrete sarcophagus entombing Chornobyl's No. 4 reactor.
Ukrainian officials have emphasized that assistance should be offered in
the form of grants rather than credits. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,
Inc.

CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS CALL OFF PLEBISCITE ON SLAVIC UNION. Crimean
legislators have formally called off a regionwide plebiscite on union
with Russia and Belarus after the government refused to finance it,
Reuters reported on 15 June. The Crimean government is loyal to Ukraine.
Crimean lawmakers had planned to hold the legally non-binding poll
during local elections on 25 June but pledged to scrap it after
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma rescinded his decree giving him direct
control over the Crimean government. Local officials refused to fund and
organize the referendum. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS MOVES TO KEEP BELARUSIAN RUBLE STABLE. The National Bank of
Belarus has ordered all commercial banks in the republic to sell their
charter hard currency positions to the NBB or on the currency exchange
at the official rate by 1 July, Interfax reported on 15 June. The NBB
said it would dump some $50 million onto the Belarusian market, thereby
enabling the Belarusian ruble (BR) to preserve its value against the
dollar while allowing the bank to issue an additional 500 billion
Belarusian rubles. The decision was criticized by Eduard Verenich,
manager of a Minsk branch of Ukraine's INKO bank. Verenich said the move
lacked "common sense" because the commercial banks' charter capitals
would then be in Belarusian rubles and could devalue if the dollar rose.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS. Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi on 15
June met with opposition leaders--former Prime Ministers Mart Laar and
Andreas Tarand as well as Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas--to discuss
the ratification of agreements signed by the Estonian and Russian
presidents in July 1994, BNS reported, The accords, dealing with the
withdrawal of the Russian army from Estonia and social guarantees for
Russian military retirees, were successfully implemented without formal
ratification, It seems doubtful that two-thirds of deputies will vote
for the ratification, since the agreements imply that the border between
the two countries is not determined by the 1920 Tartu Treaty, as stated
in the Estonian Constitution. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

IRAN SEEKS CLOSER TIES WITH LITHUANIA. Iranian Ambassador to Lithuania
Rez Astaneparast held talks with Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius on
14 June, BNS reported the next day. Astaneparast invited Slezevicius to
pay an official visit to Iran and urged the opening of a diplomatic
mission in his or a neighboring country. Trade between the two countries
totaled a little more than $500,000 in 1994 but is expected to increase.
Astaneparast mentioned the possibility of Iran's participation in the
construction of the oil terminal at Butinge and subsequent sales of
Iranian oil to Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Peng's visit
to Poland, initially scheduled for next week, will not take place,
according to Polish dailies on 16 June. But Li Peng will visit Ukraine,
Belarus, and Russia. Rzeczpospolita on 16 June noted that at the Human
Rights UN Commission in Geneva, Poland recently voted for a resolution
condemning human rights abuses in China. Polish Foreign Minister
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, opening the new Polish Consulate General in
Grodno, Belarus, on 15 June, said Poland would like to balance the
"western and eastern options" in its foreign policy. The same day,
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met with the representatives of
German minority associations in Poland as well as German minority Sejm
deputies and senators, Polish dailies reported. -- Jakub Karpinski,
OMRI, Inc.

VOTING INTENTIONS IN POLAND: "ANYBODY BUT WALESA." According to an
opinion poll conducted on 26-29 May and published by Gazeta Wyborcza on
16 June, every second Pole is adamant that he will not vote for
President Lech Walesa in the upcoming presidential elections. Walesa is
first on the list of negative choices, followed by the Confederation of
Independent Poland leader Leszek Moczulski (43%) and the leader of the
liberal Real Politics Union, Janusz Korwin-Mikke (32%). -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH RAIL UNIONS CALL INDEFINITE STRIKE. Czech rail unions on 15 June
called an indefinite strike beginning 21 June to demand higher wages,
Czech media reported. The government has proposed a 10% rise for public
sector employees (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 June 1995), but rail workers
say their wages have fallen behind other groups. A meeting between union
leaders and Transport Minister Jan Strasky is planned for 20 June.
Strasky said the strike call was an act of pressure. Other ministers
said the government would not give in to ultimatums. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus told Lidove noviny that while production has grown in other
sectors, turnover in transport services fell by 15% in the first four
months of this year. The rail unions should try to explain how their
wages can rise as demanded in such circumstances, Klaus said. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA'S RULING PARTY TO MEET ETHNIC HUNGARIANS. Narodna obroda on 16
June reports that the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS)
has sent letters to the three parties representing the Hungarian
minority in the parliament requesting discussions on Slovakia's
political situation. Hungarian Civic Party Chairman Laszlo Nagy said his
party offered to hold talks with the HZDS in January and has been
waiting for an answer ever since. He recommended that discussions focus
on problems in Slovakia's democratic development and strengthening of
executive power, financing of Hungarian culture and press, Hungarian
education, and preparations for a law on the state language. Meanwhile,
Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk said the first item on the agenda of the
next session of the parliament will be the ratification of the Council
of Europe framework agreement on ethnic minorities. This will create
conditions for the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. --
Sharon Fisher , OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA, UKRAINE SIGN AGREEMENTS. Slovak and Ukrainian Premiers
Vladimir Meciar and Yevhen Marchuk on 15 June signed agreements on
international road and railway transport, telecommunications, border
crossings, and customs issues. An agreement was also signed on
cooperation between the two countries' economic ministries. Meciar was
in Ukraine on a two-day official visit, accompanied by a number of top
Slovak officials and businessmen. It is expected that an agreement on
the prevention of double taxation will be concluded soon. Meciar also
mentioned that the two countries may set up a common capital market,
Slovenska Republika reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES BIG OFFENSIVE. International media on 16
June reported that Bosnian government forces launched a major drive at
dawn to break the Serbian siege of Sarajevo. The move was rumored for
days because of the buildup of 15,000-30,000 troops north of the
capital. Both Serbian and government troops have taken many of their
heavy weapons from UN storage depots, and the Serbs fired on Sarajevo
with their six captured French light tanks. Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic, in a TV address hours before the offensive began, said
supply routes would be reopened to "prevent further strangulation of the
city." Intense fighting is reported both to the north and south of
Sarajevo, and government forces have moved up from the Mostar area. In
central Bosnia, they are attacking around Telsic on the Doboj-Banja Luka
road. --  Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.

WILL THEY BREAK THE SIEGE? The mainly Muslim army is strong on manpower
but lacks sufficient arms, especially heavy weapons. But it now appears
that the Bosnian Croats are helping by bringing up their big guns
against the Serbs. Croatian TV estimates that the joint campaign could
take up to 20 days and involve 3,000 casualties, while the BBC said that
the government will probably need up to 50,000 men to dislodge the
12,000 Serbs. A correspondent in the city said that people are preparing
for random Serbian shelling of civilian targets but that Sarajevans have
stopped hoping for help from the international community. The VOA added
that the government has placed all territory under its control on
"unprecedented special alert" and that police patrols outside public
buildings have been beefed up. -- Patrick Moore , OMRI, Inc.

KARADZIC CALLS THE CAMPAIGN "A LAST TRY." Bosnian Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic on 14 June cut short a visit to Washington, saying that his
government was taking "countermeasures" to protect Sarajevo. News
agencies quoted Mayor Tarik Kuposovic as adding that liberation is at
hand. Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said the offensive was prompted
by the UN's failure to enforce the heavy weapons exclusion zone. UN
special envoy Yasushi Akashi stated on 15 June that he is worried by the
offensive, but "at the same time . . . can well understand the anxiety
of the government about Sarajevo." Nasa Borba on 16 June quotes Karadzic
as calling the offensive "a last try to change the situation on the
ground." The local Bosnian Serb army commander, Major-General Dragomir
Milosevic, told SRNA that his soldiers would smash any attempt to break
the siege. He also warned that the activities around Sarajevo could be a
ploy to distract attention from attacks elsewhere. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

SECURITY COUNCIL BACKS RAPID REACTION FORCE. The G-7, meeting in Halifax
on 15 June, urged the combatants in Bosnia and Croatia to cease all
military activity and pursue a negotiated settlement. Meanwhile at the
UN, the Security Council approved the RRF in a 13-0 vote on Resolution
998, with Russia and China abstaining. The question of financing has
been postponed in view of uncertainties about whether the U.S. will pay
for part of the costs. The troops will wear national uniforms and not
have white vehicles, but otherwise it seems that the RRF will be just an
arm of UNPROFOR. In Bosnia itself, the Serbs continue to hold 26
peacekeepers hostage, including two of the three Czech officers
originally taken captive. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KRAJINA REFUGEES IN SERBIA PRESS-GANGED. Serbian authorities have begun
a new wave of rounding up ethnic Serbian refugees from the Serb-held
Krajina regions of Croatia for military service, Reuters reported on 15
June. This latest wave began on 11 June with police and army night raids
on refugee centers and residences housing refuges. It is the biggest
such operation since January 1994. AFP observes that the operation, in
contravention to both the United Nations and UN High Commissioner for
Refugees charters, specifically targets ethnic Serbian refugees in
Serbia's northern Vojvodina region. Some men press-ganged for service in
the armed forces of the self proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina have
"jumped off moving buses to escape," AFP noted. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
Inc.

MACEDONIAN NATIONALISTS AND ETHNIC ALBANIANS DISCUSS COALITION.
Negotiations on a coalition between the nationalist Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National
Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) and the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic
Prosperity (PPD) and the Democratic People's Party (PDP) took place in
Skopje on 15 June. The VMRO-DPMNE needs the PPD and PDP votes to elect a
new mayor for the Macedonian capital. The PPD leadership has reportedly
given the green light to its legislators. In exchange, it would gain the
post of vice president at the Town Hall, until now held by the Internal
Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Macedonian National Democratic
Union (VMRO-MNDS). Negotiations between the VMRO-DPMNE and the VMRO-MNDS
reportedly ended "in total disaster," MIC reported on 15 June. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

EU AND SLOVENIA INITIAL ACCORD. The EU and Slovenia on 15 June initialed
an association agreement on trade and political cooperation,
international agencies reported. But Italy said it will sign the
document only after Slovenia changes those parts of its constitution
dealing with restitution to Italians who left the country after World
War II. The Slovenian government has introduced the necessary
legislation but the parliament has not yet approved it. If the dispute
is settled, Slovenia will become the 10th East European country to
conclude an association accord with the EU. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI,
Inc.

ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS STAGE RALLY. Some 5,000 people on 15 June attended
a rally staged by Romania's main trade union organizations in
Bucharest's Union Square, Romanian media reported. The leaders of the
National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-The Brotherhood,
the National Labor Bloc, and Alfa Cartel expressed disappointment over
the low turnout at the meeting, blaming pressure from the authorities.
Alfa Cartel chairman Bogdan Hossu, in a press release, accused some
labor leaders of "betraying" union members' interests. He said his
organization was determined to continue the protests. Workers' rallies
were staged in several other Romanian towns, including Resita,
Hunedoara, Deva, Constanta, and Botosani. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES EDUCATION LAW WITH HUNGARIAN PREMIER.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn, in a telephone conversation with
Romanian President Ion Iliescu on 15 June, expressed concern over the
adoption by Romania's Senate the previous day of an education bill,
Radio Bucharest reported. Horn said the law was contrary to European
norms. Iliescu replied that the new legislation had still to be approved
by the parliament's other chamber, adding that he had no prerogatives to
intervene in parliamentary procedures. Horn also commented that at talks
over the basic Hungarian-Romanian treaty beginning in Bucharest on 19
June, an agreement such as that between Hungary and Slovakia could be
reached if the political will existed. According to a communique issued
by the Romanian Presidency, Iliescu shared Horn's optimism. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS ON LEBED'S REPLACEMENT. Moldovan Parliament Chairman
Petru Lucinschi on 15 June was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying he hoped
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's decision to accept Lt. Gen. Alexander
Lebed's resignation would not provoke tension in Moldova's Dniester
region. Lucinschi also said that he was confident that the newly
appointed commander of the 14th Russian Army headquartered in Tiraspol,
Maj. Gen. Valeriy Yevnevich, would be able to maintain order and
discipline within the troops and prevent the plundering of the army's
arsenals. He added that Moldova wanted Russia to respect the provisions
of the agreement, initialed in October 1994, on the withdrawal of the
14th army from the region. In related news, Moldovan Defense Minister
Pavel Creanga, who is visiting Bulgaria, said Lebed's replacement should
not affect the schedule of the 14th army's withdrawal. -- Dan Ionescu,
OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION AGREES TO SIGN ELECTION MEMORANDUM. The Union of
Democratic Forces (SDS), the People's Union, and the ethnic Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) have agreed to sign a memorandum
on joint action in the forthcoming local elections, Demokratsiya
reported on 16 June. The memorandum allows opposition local
organizations to nominate joint candidates for the post of mayor. The
SDS leadership initially said it will not sign an agreement with the DPS
on a national level, but the deputy chairmen of the three formations on
15 June agreed on a common text. The document is to be signed on 16 June
by the leaders of the three parties. -- Stefan Krause , OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON GREEK EARTHQUAKE. International agencies on 16 June reported
that the death toll in the earthquake that hit Central Greece the
previous day has risen to at least 16. More than a dozen people are
still unaccounted for, while 73 were transferred to hospitals in Aigion
and Patras. Authorities declared about 500 buildings uninhabitable. In
Aigion alone, almost 900 houses were damaged. President Kostis
Stephanopoulos and government members went to the area, while Prime
Minister Andreas Papandreou issued a letter of condolence. French and
Swiss rescue teams arrived in Greece to assist local authorities in the
search for survivors, while Japan also offered its help. Meanwhile, MIC
reported that Macedonia was hit by a quake on 14 June measuring 4 on the
Mercalli scale. No damage or injuries were reported. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN WHO SHOT AT U.S. SOLDIERS SENTENCED. The Albanian who shot at
two U.S. soldiers during the first joint military exercises between
Albania and NATO in January has been sentenced to one year in prison,
Reuters reported on 15 June. The man, who wounded the soldiers after a
bar brawl, was convicted of illegal possession of arms. Charges of
homicide were dropped after the court ruled he was mentally
"irresponsible" when he fired the shots. The man claimed the Americans
had molested his fiancee while he was celebrating his engagement with
friends. He has a previous record of mental disorders. -- 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
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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
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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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