|Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson|
No. 125, Part II, 28 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 CRIMEAN TATARS BURY VICTIMS OF WEEKEND CLASHES. Some 3,000 Tatars gathered in the Crimean capital Simferopol on 27 June to bury two Tatars who were killed on 25 June, allegedly in clashes with riot police, international and Ukrainian agencies reported. The two died, and up to 10 others were injured, during a funeral procession. Tatar leaders said men in OMON riot police uniforms opened fire on the procession on the way to the town of Feodosia. The government has beefed up security on the peninsula after several days of violence between Crimean Tatar merchants and alleged criminal gangs, whom the Tatars say murdered two of their compatriots on 23 June when they refused to pay protection money. National guardsmen set up checkpoints around Simferopol and the OMON patrolled the streets of six towns after hundreds of Tatars rampaged through businesses they claim are owned and frequented by gang members. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has ordered a government inquiry into the violence. Tatar leaders have accused local authorities of corruption and ties to organized crime. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIA AMENDS LAW ON ALIENS. In an extraordinary session on 27 June, the parliament amended the law on aliens giving the government four months from 12 July to establish rules for accepting residence and work permit applications from non-citizens, BNS reported. Opposition deputies who wanted specific dates for a deadline and a clear idea on how the government would handle future applications walked out of the session before the vote. Aliens who submit applications before 12 July will be given temporary residence permits for a maximum period of five years. Those not applying by 12 July will lose their right to vote in the fall local elections. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. NATO'S SACEUR VISITS LITHUANIA. Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Gen. George Joulwan arrived in Lithuania on 26 June for a three-day visit. The following day he held talks with Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius and visited the training base at Rukla, BNS reported. He spoke favorably about Lithuania's participation in the Partnership for Peace program and thanked the country for sending peacekeeping troops to Croatia. On 28 June, Joulwan was scheduled to meet President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, and inspect the Lithuanian fleet at Klaipeda, from where he will travel to Latvia and then later to Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIANS ON REFERENDUM. The Independent Institute of Social- Democratic and Political Research conducted an opinion poll among leading political and economic officials in Belarus on how they believe the 14 May referendum will effect the country by the end of the year, Russian television reported on 27 June. The majority, 80%, think that borders between Russia and Belarus will be liquidated, and 40% said that privatization will be stopped and commercial banks will be nationalized. Only seven percent felt there would be any political integration between the two countries. Answers to what the general effects of the referendum will be on Belarus included the polarization of society, further deterioration of the economy, and growing dictatorship. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. US DEFENSE SECRETARY IN POLAND. William Perry visited Poland on 27 and 28 June at the invitation of his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Okonski. Perry said that Washington backed Poland's full NATO membership and US President Bill Clinton would propose $100 million in the 1996 budget for the Partnership for Peace program, of which Poland would get $25 million. "Poland is a key to stability in Central and Eastern Europe. . . . NATO will expand its membership and Poland will be among the first nations to join this expanded membership," Perry said. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PREMIER IN CANNES. Jozef Oleksy proposed at the EU summit in Cannes on 27 June that a special summit be devoted to the admission of East and Central European states, Polish and international media reported. Polish plenipotentiary at the EU talks Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said on 26 June that Poland hopes to join the EU by the year 2000 and Poland's efforts to scrap barriers to EU goods should be reciprocated by the EU countries. Treating Poland increasingly as a EU member should involve recognizing Polish diplomas and dropping anti-dumping procedures over Polish exports, according to Saryusz-Wolski. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CZECH PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN ON REGIONAL REFORM. According to parliament chairman Milan Uhde, the time is not ripe to reform the Czech Republic's regional administrative structure because there is no consensus in the country on the issue, Lidove noviny reported on 27 June. However, Uhde said, the problem should be discussed further. Uhde was reacting to the failure of the parliament to institute a new regional structure; his own ODS party was instrumental in blocking a draft law in parliament on 23 June, although deputies from the three other governing parties voted in favor. President Vaclav Havel strongly criticized the parliament's failure to create a new regional structure, which is stipulated in the Constitution. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. KLAUS MIFFED AT MECIAR REBUFF. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on 27 June refused a meeting with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus to discuss problems in bilateral relations, Czech media report. The two premiers talked briefly in Cannes, where they attended the EU summit. Among topics Klaus wanted to discuss was the cancellation of the clearing system of trade payments between the two countries; the Czech parliament has already voted to abolish it. Instead of discussions at prime ministerial or ministerial level, Meciar proposed a meeting of ambassadors or government officials. Klaus termed Meciar's position "uncalled for and unfortunate" and said it would not help Czech-Slovak relations. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAKIA SUBMITS EU APPLICATION. Premier Vladimir Meciar and Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk formally submitted Slovakia's memorandum and application for EU membership to French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette during the EU summit in Cannes on 27 June. According to TASR, the government's memorandum states that Slovakia aims to obtain full membership by the year 2000. It also stresses that the "existence of democratic institutions is guaranteed" by law and that the "constitutional system is stabilized." Meciar has often called for changes in the constitutional system and the resignation of President Michal Kovac, but he lacks the three-fifths parliamentary majority needed to change the constitution or remove the president. In May, the parliament passed a non-binding vote of no-confidence in Kovac, which opposition members claimed was unconstitutional. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAKIA GEARS UP FOR POPE'S VISIT. Pope John Paul II will arrive in Slovakia on 30 June for a four-day visit, which will include the canonization of three martyrs and meetings with political and church leaders. According to Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec, restitution of church property has been moving along smoothly since the law passed in fall 1993, AFP reports. Archbishop Nikolaj, who heads Slovakia's Orthodox church, will boycott a meeting between the pope and non- Catholic churches scheduled for 1 July, TASR and Reuters reported on 27 June. In a letter to Dominik Hrusovsky, secretary general of the Bishops' Conference, Nikolaj stressed that the Orthodox Church "is not a Catholic religious community" and that relations between the Catholic Church and his church are "not in order." A conflict between the Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches has continued since 1950, when the communists transferred Greek Catholic property to the Orthodox Church. Although the pope is not expected to mediate in the long-running dispute between Slovakia's premier and president, the bishops issued a statement of hope that the pope's message of tolerance would contribute "at least partially to reconciliation in a Slovak society polarized by the conflict." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. RAIL ACCIDENTS IN HUNGARY. International media report that seven people died on 27 June in two separate rail accidents in Hungary. Six people died and five others were injured when a bus and a train collided near Nyul, west of Budapest. All the victims were bus passengers. Hungary's state railway officials are investigating the cause of the accident. A second collision, involving a train and a van, took place in Barcs near the Croatian border. MTI reports that the van driver was killed and one passenger seriously injured when the van failed to heed a warning signal. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE KARADZIC REJECTS TRUCE. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, responding to European Union calls for a negotiated temporary four-month truce, rejected the idea outright on 27 June. Karadzic, speaking to the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA, observed that "temporary ceasefires . . . have been misused by our enemies for regrouping and for the further obtaining of weapons." He said also that he wanted a permanent end to fighting, and hinted that a meeting with EU mediator Carl Bildt could be only days away. Meanwhile, on 27 June Reuters reported that Bosnian Serb military leader General Ratko Mladic has threatened that his Serb forces will continue to fight, and hinted that they are prepared for a protracted military involvement. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. BOSNIAN CRISIS DEEPENS. International media report on 27 and 28 June that there are few signs that fighting throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina will abate. On 27 June, the Croatian news agency Hina reported that Bosnian Serbs launched cannon attacks on civilian targets throughout northeastern Bosnia. Bosnian Serb forces also launched infantry attacks against several Bosnian army defense lines, but were reportedly repelled. Meanwhile, shelling and sniping continues in and around Sarajevo, where at least two were killed and 15 injured on 27 June. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SACIRBEY: BOSNIA PREPARED TO ACCEPT UN WITHDRAWAL. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey on 27 June said that the Bosnian government would be prepared to accept the departure of the UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, although he stressed that his government was not seeking such an eventuality. Reuters reported that he also observed that Western hints of a withdrawal could be met or compensated for by ending the UN arms embargo against Bosnia and Herzegovina. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. TUDJMAN'S WELLINGTON PRESS CONFERENCE. Vecernji list on 28 June reports on Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's continuing overseas visit. Tudjman met with New Zealand's Premier James Bolger and other high- ranking officials on 27 June and later gave a press conference which dealt extensively with conditions in Croatia and throughout the former Yugoslavia. Tudjman said that Croatian military forces were not planning to launch offensives against rebel Serbs occupying parts of Croatia often referred to as Krajina unless provoked into action by Serbian extremists. Hina coverage of the press conference observed that Tudjman stressed that Croatia would not "agree to an extension of the UN peacekeeping mandate if it failed to produce any results in solving the problem of occupied territories and their reintegration into the constitutional and legal system of Croatia." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ILIESCU AT CANNES. Romanian President Ion Iliescu on 27 June attended the European Union summit in Cannes, where he was to present Romania's recently completed "national strategy" for joining the EU. He told Radio Bucharest that the strategy is supported by all parliamentary parties. On the same day, Iliescu met with Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn. In a statement after the meeting, he described the talks as "positive and constructive," and said relations between the two countries were better than they were occasionally perceived in the West. Iliescu stressed that the two sides were seeking a solution to the problems posed by the drafting of a new basic bilateral treaty. According to Radio Bucharest, the foreign ministers of the two countries will meet in the first half of July to discuss the treaty issue. --Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. SHUMEIKO ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT. Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Vladimir Shumeiko on 27 June said that NATO should be abolished. Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Romania, he expressed doubts about what he called NATO's pacifist character and said the treaty's expansion was contrary to Russia's interests. In earlier statements, Shumeiko tackled the issue of the basic treaty between Romania and Russia. He said negotiations were "practically finalized," the only problem remaining being Romania's insistence on having the Ribbentrop- Molotov pact denounced in a preamble to the treaty. He suggested that it was "unwise" to "dig up the past" rather than "live for the sake of today and tomorrow." On 26 June, Shumeiko also met President Ion Iliescu, Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Adrian Nastase, and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu with whom he discussed the two countries' relations with Moldova and NATO expansion eastwards. -- Michael Shafir and Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. GREEN LIGHT FOR MOLDOVA AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 27 June unanimously approved Moldova's application for joining the council, Moldovan media reported. The Republic of Moldova will formally become the organization's 35th member only after the CE Council of Ministers ratifies the assembly's vote. This is expected to take place in mid-July. Moldova, which gained the status of a "special guest" in February 1993, would thus be the first state from the Commonwealth of Independent States to be admitted to the CE as a full member. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVA TURNS DOWN REQUEST FOR RUSSIAN MILITARY BASES. Defense Minister Pavel Creanga on 27 June ruled out the possibility of having Russian military bases in Moldova, Reuters reported. Creanga's statement came in response to a request made by his Russian counterpart Pavel Grachev at the end of a two-day visit to Moldova. Grachev said he wanted some Russian troops to remain in the breakaway Dniester region to help keep peace there. But Creanga told him that Moldova's constitution does not allow any foreign troops to be stationed in the republic. On 26 June Grachev said in Tiraspol that Russia would like to have a military base with some 3,500 servicemen in that region. Moldova and Russia in October 1994 initialed an agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Russian Army from eastern Moldova within a three-year period following the accord's ratification. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. DEMONSTRATORS CALL ON BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN. About 20,000 protesters gathered in Sofia on 27 June to demand the resignation of the Socialist-led government, international agencies reported the same day. They accused Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and his cabinet of failing to halt falling standards of living and of resorting to Communist-era methods of running the country. The demonstrators demanded that the government stop taxing social benefits, lift restrictions on wage increases in the public sector, freeze energy prices, and change its method of measuring inflation. It was the first rally uniting supporters of the two largest trade unions, Podkrepa and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB). KNSB Chairman Krastyo Petkov said the rally "shows that people with different political views disapprove of government policy." Social Minister Mincho Koralski dismissed the unions' demands as hysteria. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. AMOCO TO ENTER BULGARIAN MARKET. Amoco corporation on 26 June announced plans to invest $50 million in Bulgaria over the next decade, international agencies reported the following day. Amoco plans to build 50 gasoline stations in the country as part of its expansion program for Eastern Europe. The managing director of the company's Bulgarian Branch, Norman Benson, said Bulgaria "is one of the key countries in the company's strategy in Eastern Europe," adding that Amoco will watch for possible investment opportunities if the country's state-owned petroleum refining and distributing industry is privatized. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. CHIRAC CRITICIZES GREEK EMBARGO ON MACEDONIA. French President Jacques Chirac on 27 June strongly criticized Greek policy towards Macedonia, calling it "a to-do over flags," Reuters reported the same day. Speaking at a concluding news conference of the EU summit in Cannes, Chirac said Greece stood alone against the other 14 EU members in refusing to lift its embargo on Macedonia. The French president said the Greek embargo threatened Macedonia's existence, deprived it of EU aid and kept it out of the OSCE security framework. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ETHNIC ALBANIAN JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN KOSOVO. International agencies reported on 27 June that Ramadan Mucolli was arrested in Pristina by Serbian police. A statement by the Democratic League of Kosovo, an ethnic Albanian party, said that Mucolli's flat was searched and his tape recorder and passport were confiscated. According to the statement, Mucolli worked for Radio Pristina until he was fired five years ago, and since then has filed reports for Albanian media, including Tirana radio and television. There was no confirmation of the arrest from Serb police. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN AND AMERICAN MILITARY ENGINEERS TO EXERCISE. A combined engineering exercise involving U.S. and Albanian forces will be held in Tirana from 1 July to 16 September, the Pentagon announced on 27 June. Named "Uje Kristal 95", the exercise will be the first of its kind in the area. Active duty and reserve American engineers will work with their Albanian counterparts at a trauma hospital to improve its sanitation and emergency operation infrastructure. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Steve Kettle 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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