|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 129, Part II, 5 July 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 PRESIDENT RESHUFFLES GOVERNMENT . . . Leonid Kuchma on 3 July appointed a new government, dropping his top reformer from the roster, international and Ukrainian agencies reported the same day. Kuchma told Radio Ukraine that his decision to dismiss First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk did not mean a change in the course of economic reform but represented a shift away from strict monetarism toward deep restructuring of industry. Kuchma replaced Pynzenyk with another market reformer, Roman Shpek. Shpek's deputy, Vasyl Hureyev, replaces him as minister of economics. As part of an anti-crime and corruption campaign, Kuchma named Vasyl Durdynets as the new deputy premier for state security and as head of a presidential committee on corruption and organized crime. He also moved former Interior Minister Volodymyr Radchenko to head the Ukrainian Security Service and appointed his deputy the new interior minister. Kuchma reduced the number of deputy prime ministers from nine to five. The ministers for foreign affairs, finances, defense, education, environment and nuclear safety, foreign economic relations and trade, the Cabinet of ministers, statistics, forestry, as well as the chairman of the State Property Fund have retained their posts. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. . . . AND ENDS VISIT TO GERMANY. Kuchma ended his three-day visit to Germany on 4 July, Radio Ukraine reported. He met with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President Roman Herzog, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and a number of industrialists and businessmen in an attempt to attract German investment. Germany is Ukraine's second-largest Western trading partner after the U.S., with investments totaling $64 million. A number of agreements were signed, including ones on preventing double taxation and on cooperation in environmental matters. The issue of Ukrainians of German descent who have returned to Ukraine from Kazakhstan and are living in extreme poverty, despite financial aid from Bonn, was also raised. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. PROGRESS ON LATVIAN-ESTONIAN SEA BORDER DISPUTE. Latvian Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 3 July announced that the Gulf of Riga will be divided between Latvia and Estonia, LETA reported the following day. Gailis said Latvia has stopped claiming that the gulf waters are inland waters, while Estonia has renounced its unilaterally declared sea borders. Gailis said he hoped the matter would be fully resolved by the fall. He also said that at the meeting of Nordic and Baltic prime ministers last week an agreement was reached between Latvia and Lithuania on seeking international arbitration in their sea border dispute. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. LITHUANIA APPROVES LAW ON REFUGEES. BNS on 4 July reported that the Lithuanian parliament passed a law on the status of refugees in Lithuania to take effect once it is signed by the president. The law states that foreigners who need protection or face the risk of persecution in their own countries may be granted refugee status. Asylum will be denied to people convicted of crimes against humanity and peace as well as serious non-political offenses. It will also be denied to those who threaten Lithuania's security, are infected with dangerous diseases, or refuse to submit to a medical examination. The law commits Lithuania to readmitting refugees who leave the country and are deported from Western countries. -- Ustina Markus , OMRI, Inc. CONTINUED QUARREL OVER POLAND'S CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT. President Lech Walesa's representatives on the parliament's Constitutional Commission resigned on 4 July after the president's 21 June statement criticizing his lawyers for preparing a "socialist draft." The presidential spokesman said Walesa had recalled his representatives. Representatives of the Freedom Union had demanded the previous day that the commission's work be postponed until the presidential campaign is over, while representatives of the ruling Democratic Left Alliance had demanded that its work be accelerated. Aleksander Kwasniewski, head of the commission and a presidential candidate, said "some election or other is always under way, and the time is ripe for Poland to have a constitution," the Polish press reported on 5 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. GDANSK PRIEST APOLOGIZES FOR SERMON. Father Henryk Jankowski, who in an 11 June sermon referred to "people who did not say whether they come from Moscow or Israel" and commented that "the star of David is inscribed in the symbols of the swastika and hammer and sickle," has sent a letter to Gdansk Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski saying he was rightly criticized by his superiors for those remarks. He added that referring to the Jewish nation's most holy symbols within the context of this century's criminal ideologies was "a wrong done to Jews and a great abuse for which I wholeheartedly apologize," Polish media reported on 5 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CZECH PREMIER IN PORTUGAL. Vaclav Klaus, on a two-day visit to Lisbon from 3-4 July, met with Portuguese Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva and other officials, Czech media reported. Their talks centered on expansion of the European Union. Klaus told a press conference that the Czech Republic is ready to begin serious discussions about possible entry into the EU after the 1996 EU intergovernmental conference. An aide to Klaus told Radio Alfa that a formal application to join the EU could be made by the end of this year. Ministers have so far declined to specify a date for applying. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. POPE ENDS VISIT TO SLOVAKIA. More than 500,000 people on 3 July attended an open-air mass in Levoca celebrated by Pope John Paul II at the end of his four-day visit to Slovakia, international and Slovak media reported. Attending the mass were Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and President Michal Kovac, with whom the Pope had met the previous day in Bratislava. Kovac and the pontiff discussed the political situation in Slovakia and again expressed the hope that the latter's visit will help calm the political atmosphere in Slovakia. Meciar informed John Paul II that the Russian Patriarch has accepted his offer to visit Slovakia. Meciar and the Pope focused mainly on Church-state relations. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK DELEGATION IN ISRAEL. A delegation headed by Slovak Parliamentary Chairman Ivan Gasparovic on 3 July met with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Slovak media reported. Rabin noted that Slovakia has not only distanced itself from "negative deeds" of the past but also apologized to the Jewish nation for the suffering Jews experienced in Slovakia during World War II. He praised Slovakia for restituting Jewish property. Peres told the Slovak delegation that he appreciates what the Slovak parliament and government have done for the Jewish community in Slovakia since 1989. The Israeli and Slovak sides also discussed bilateral cooperation. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN ARMS FOR HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARDS. The Hungarian Border Guards will receive Russian armored personnel carriers, anti-tank missiles, and other military equipment worth $58 million, ITAR-TASS reported from Budapest on 4 July. The deal will cover part of Russia's $900 million debt to Hungary and include small arms, night-vision devices, and bullet-proof vests. The agency said it was told that the Russian supplies would be the largest re-equipment of the border service this century. Nevertheless, the service would like another $22 million deal with Russia. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN TO TAKE MORE HOSTAGES. International media on 5 July reported that U.S. military personnel to support UN operations in Bosnia have begun arriving in Split. The International Herald Tribune wrote on 1 July, however, that the proposed Rapid Reaction Force may be little more than a cover for the withdrawal of all UN forces. One UN official said that "if we don't have the Serbs' strategic consent, we don't try" to open land corridors. The article notes that UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi is reluctant to do anything that "might anger the Bosnian Serbs," but AFP on 3 July suggests that the Serbs are not reciprocating. Their vice president told a Greek daily that "we have shown much patience [toward peacekeepers] whom we consider the aggressors. We will bother them again if necessary without hesitating." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBS FIRE ON PEACEKEEPERS FOR THIRD DAY. Bosnian Serb forces on 4 July again shelled French peacekeepers using the precarious Mt. Igman supply route into Sarajevo. The BBC added that the French returned the fire. RFE/RL noted that the food situation in the besieged capital is critical, and Vjesnik writes that "Sarajevo is without food." Meanwhile, Bosnian Croat authorities confirmed that they will not allow British and French contingents slated for the new UN force to pass until its mission is clarified. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MILOSEVIC RUNS SERBIAN WAR MACHINE. The International Herald Tribune on 4 July argued that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is not only no peacemaker but has actually tightened his grip on Serbian forces throughout Croatia and Bosnia. His claim to have cut off supplies to Bosnian Serbs is "a sham" since the goods are delivered via Krajina. Milosevic has shipped draft-age refugees back from Serbia to Bosnia and Krajina and denied draft-age young men from those areas access to Serbia. Pay records found by the Croats in western Slavonia two months ago show that Belgrade paid the salaries of at least 300 officers there, and the new Krajina commander appointed later in May was sent from Belgrade on Milosevic's orders. Moreover, the method the Serbs used in downing a U.S. F-16 on 2 June showed that all Serbian air defense systems are increasingly integrated. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. CROATIA CLAIMS IT WILL NOT LAUNCH NEW ATTACKS. Prime Minister Nikica Valentic said Operation Blitz on 1-2 May was a limited action and that the Croatian army will launch no fresh strikes against the Serbs, although it could easily do so. He tried to reassure the economically vital tourist industry that visitors need not fear being caught in a war zone, adding that he and his family will spend their vacation in Dubrovnik, Novi list reported on 1 July. Some opposition parties earlier demanded that the minister for tourism be sacked for saying that this year's picture is rosy. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBIAN COURT REDUCES GENERAL'S SENTENCE. Nasa Borba on 4 July reported that the rump Yugoslavia's highest military court has reduced Maj. Gen. Vlado Trifunovic's jail term. Trifunovic was first sentenced in 1992 for allegedly undermining national security by surrendering weapons and refusing to fight Croatian forces during the war between Croatia and the Belgrade-backed Croatian Serbs. Trifunovic's original 11-year sentence was cut to seven years. Two of four fellow officers who appeared with Trifunovic in court also had their sentences reduced. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. KOSOVAR ACTIVIST DIES AFTER POLICE TORTURE. Shefki Latifi, a human rights activist from Kosovo, has died after being tortured by police, AFP reported on 4 July. According to the Kosovar Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Latifi was arrested in Podujevo on 4 July and "brutally beaten" at a police station. He died a few hours later at his home. Latifi is reported to be the 10th victim of Serbian police violence since the beginning of this year. Police harassment of ethnic Albanians in Podujevo has increased since the ethnic Albanian police officer Bejtush Beka was killed there in June. The circumstances of Beka's killing remain unclear. Freelance journalist Ramadan Mucolli claims he was arrested and tortured by police because of his report for Albanian Television about the Beka's death. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION INVESTIGATES TRAILING OF JOURNALISTS. The parliamentary commission supervising the Romanian Intelligence Service is investigating the case of journalists who reported President Ion Iliescu's alleged past links with the KGB and were subsequently shadowed by RIS agents (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 and 27 June 1995). Romanian Television reported on 3 July that the commission has questioned RIS director Virgil Magureanu, who argued again that the two journalists were never "intentionally trailed." In a related development, Evenimentul zilei reported on 5 July that Tana Ardeleanu, the journalist who first alleged the KGB links and who was shadowed by the RIS, was prevented by border guards from leaving the country because of a penal case in which she is involved. The daily commented that it was strange she would attempt to leave Romania right now, since her deposition to the parliamentary commission is of utmost importance in clarifying the shadowing case. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON "LETTER OF THE 300." National Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca told a press conference carried by Radio Bucharest on 3 July that the letter from 300 active and reserve military addressed to Iliescu and published by the extreme nationalist weekly Romania mare (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 and 26 June 1995) was "totally unjustified" and "offensive." He said the letter did not reflect "the true spirit" of the Romanian army, where the ongoing reform of the armed forces was "properly understood." According to Evenimentul zilei on 4 July, Tinca revealed that the army's counter-espionage department has established that no active duty officer signed the letter, contrary to a claim by those who published it. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. PDSR REJECTS "BLACKMAIL" BY EXTREMIST ALLIES. Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR, the main coalition party), has said his party will not "give in to blackmail" by the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the Greater Romania Party (PRM), Radio Bucharest reported on 4 July. Nastase said that if necessary, the PDSR could rule as a minority government. Reuters reported that Nastase said early elections were also a possibility. The statement comes in the wake of criticism by the PUNR and the PRM of the education law passed by the parliament, the parleys with Hungary on the pending bilateral treaty, the PUNR's demand that it be given the foreign affairs portfolio (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 July 1995), and the "letter of the 300." According to Reuters, Nastase said that the PDSR will not allow coalition partners to interfere in foreign affairs, adding that the Foreign Ministry is above party politics and serves only national interests. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVAN RULING PARTY REJECTS SNEGUR ACCUSATIONS. The Executive Committee of the Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM) has rejected accusations made by President Mircea Snegur after his resignation from the party (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 June 1995). In a statement carried by Infotag on 3 July, the PDAM said Snegur had presented a distorted image of the party, accusing it of anti-national policies. It argued that the party is the main advocate of reform in the country and has never claimed, as Snegur implied, that the future of Moldova is tied solely to that of the CIS countries. With regard to Snegur's initiative to re-designate the country's official language as Romanian, the party noted that in the past, he has said that the "designation of our language originates in the name of our country." Meanwhile, Infotag on 3 July quoted Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli as saying he supports the idea of conducting a referendum on the official designation of the country's main language. He said that amending the constitution to reflect this change--as suggested by Snegur's initiative--would "ruin Moldova as an independent state." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. TURKISH PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA. Suleyman Demirel arrived in Bulgaria on 4 July for an official three-day state visit, accompanied by a large contingent of business leaders and state officials, international media reported. He stressed that relations between Turkey and Bulgaria, strained severely after Sofia's efforts in the 1980s to forcibly Bulgarize its estimated 800,000-strong Turkish minority, were now cordial and improving. Demirel discussed, among other things, regional security issues and bilateral relations with Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev. "Turkey will back Bulgaria's candidacy for [membership] in NATO," Demirel was quoted as saying by BTA. The Turkish leader is also slated to meet with Bulgarian Premier Zhan Videnov and to address the Bulgarian parliament. -- Stan Markotich and Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS ILIR HOXHA'S SENTENCE. The Albanian Appeals Court on 3 July upheld a one-year prison sentence handed down to Ilir Hoxha, Reuters reported. Hoxha, son of communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was sentenced on 8 June after being found guilty of "inciting national hatred by endangering public peace" and calling for vengeance and hatred against parts of the population" in an interview with Modeste in April (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 June 1995). -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER IN ALBANIA. Gerassimos Arsenis, visiting Tirana from 3-4 July, met with his counterpart, Safet Zhulali, President Sali Berisha, and Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, AFP reported. They discussed further military and political cooperation and signed a cooperation program on closer military contacts, including joint military exercises and support for Albania's military health service and arms industry. Arsenis said the talks had put an end to a difficult, tense year over the status of ethnic Greeks in Albania and Albanian immigrants working in Greece. He added that Greece was willing to help Albania seek integration into EU structures. -- 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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