|It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer|
No. 132, Part II, 10 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 GERMAN CHANCELLOR ENDS VISIT TO POLAND. Helmut Kohl, during his first visit to Poland since 1989, met with President Lech Walesa and representatives of the German minority on 7 July. The next day, he laid wreaths at the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. He was accompanied by Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, an Auschwitz survivor. Kohl is to join Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and French President Jacques Chirac for a trilateral summit in the fall, Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Polish ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski, backed by the leftist Labor Union party, declared his presidential candidacy on 7 July. He said he would not resign as ombudsman because finding his successor would be difficult during the summer recess. Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski is currently leading the polls, with 25% of the vote. He is followed by President Lech Walesa (12%), Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz Waltz and Zielinski (11% each), and former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron (10%), Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. POLISH-U.S. MILITARY EXERCISES. Some 300 American troops from the First U.S Armored Division, stationed in Germany, have begun joint exercises with some 200 Polish troops from the Fourth Armored Division. The six- day maneuvers, which are part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, began on 10 July in Wedrzyn, 400 kilometers west of Warsaw. Named "Double Eagle 95," the exercise aims to hone peacekeeping skills, such as protecting and evacuating refugees, in conditions similar to those in the former Yugoslavia, Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. UPDATE ON LATVIAN ELECTIONS. BNS on 8 July reported that the Latvian Independence Party will put forward 11 of the 17 candidates on a joint list with the Political Union of Low Income Residents. The Latvian Socialist Party confirmed its list of candidates the same day. It included Alfreds Rubiks, a former leader of the Latvian Communist Party who has been in custody since August 1991 for attempting to seize power by force. The Supreme Court is to rule on the case later this month. The Latvian Socialist Party will field a total of 50 candidates. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES REFINERIES DEAL. The Czech government on 7 July approved a deal whereby three international oil companies will take a 49% stake in the two biggest Czech refineries, Czech media reported the following day. The International Oil Consortium--made up of Shell, Agip, and Conoco--will have equal shares in the project. They will pay a total of $173 million, with investment over the next five years estimated at up to $500 million. The French company Total pulled out of the consortium at the end of June, delaying the deal by more than a week. An outline agreement is due to be signed by Unipetrol, the holding company that will retain 51% of the refineries, and the IOC on 11 July. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. CZECH REPUBLIC, EU SIGN PHARE AGREEMENT. The EU will provide the Czech Republic with 330 million ECU over the next five years through the PHARE program, Czech media reported on 8 July. Under an agreement signed the previous day in Prague by EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek and Czech Economy Minister Karel Dyba, the funds will be used for infrastructure projects and to promote the Czech Republic's integration into the EU. Planned projects include improving road links with Germany and Austria and upgrading the Berlin-Prague-Vienna rail line. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. KLAUS TO MEET KOHL SOON? Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus, during a three-day visit to Baden-Wurttemberg, said he hopes to meet German Chancellor Helmut Kohl soon to discuss problems in Czech-German relations, Czech media reported on 10 July. Baden-Wurttemberg Premier Erwin Teufel, a deputy chairman of Kohl's CDU party, confirmed that Kohl wants to meet with Klaus during the summer vacation. The issues of the expulsion of 3 million Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II and German compensation for Czech victims of Nazism still dog bilateral relations. Klaus repeated his view that both sides have to look ahead but that problems from the past must be solved quickly so as not to complicate future relations. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. CZECH PARATROOPS EXERCISE WITH DUTCH MARINES. The Czech Republic's elite 43rd Airborne Mechanized Battalion--part of the recently formed Rapid Deployment Brigade--began joint exercises with Dutch Marines in Chrudim, eastern Bohemia, on 7 July, CTK reported. The previous day, 32 members of the battalion jumped from Dutch F-27 troop transports. The two units will jump together on 10 July as part of the exercise. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. MEETING OF SLOVAK, HUNGARIAN, AUSTRIAN LEADERS. Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky met with Slovak and Hungarian Premiers Vladimir Meciar and Gyula Horn in the Austrian town of Rust on 7 June. According to Vranitzky, the goal of the trilateral partnership is to create a zone of stability and cooperation in Central Europe and to establish contacts for EU membership, Slovak media reported. The three leaders signed an agreement on economic and security cooperation. Vranitzky and Horn also signed a cooperation agreement aimed at securing an EU credit to develop border areas. Pravda reported Meciar as saying that Slovakia is still examining alternatives to the controversial nuclear plant under construction at Mochovce. But after the meeting, Meciar told reporters that Slovak Economy Minister Jan Ducky had left for Moscow to discuss a Russian offer to help finance Mochovce, AFP reported. According to Narodna obroda on 7 July, the German firm Bayernwerk has already pulled out of the project. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAKS FAVOR EU MEMBERSHIP, UNSURE ABOUT NATO. According to a poll conducted by the FOCUS agency in the first half of June, 58.8% of Slovaks said they would vote in favor of EU membership, while only 8% were opposed. With regard to NATO membership, 38.6% said they would cast their ballot in favor, 19.2% would voe against, 21.3% would not vote at all, and 20.9% were undecided, Reuters and TASR reported. Askd to evaluate the current cabinet's socal policies, only 2.9% of the respondents said they were "correct," while 57.7% called them "incorrect." In a similar poll in May 1994 during Jozef Moravcik's term as premier, 7.1% of respondents said government policies were correct, while 37.6% called them incorrect, Narodna obroda reported on 8 July. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. CHINESE PRESIDENT IN HUNGARY. Jiang Zemin arrived in Hungary on 8 July for a three-day official visit, Hungarian media reported. Jiang told MTI the next day that the main aims of his visit were to develop "further economic and cultural links between the two countries." Jiang is to meet with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and Prime Minister Gyula Horn on 10 July. Reuters reported that the Hungarian government hopes to persuade China to buy more Hungarian goods and to increase investment in Hungary. Hungary has a growing trade deficit with China, which it hopes to reverse. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SERBS POUR INTO SREBRENICA. Bosnian Serb forces continued to push into the UN-designated "safe area" of Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, on 8-9 July. International media on 10 July indicated that their tanks are 1-2 kilometers from the town itself. Nasa Borba quoted a British UN spokesman as saying that "the Serbs have limited aims," but a Serbian representative told the BBC that his forces were determined to take the enclave for military reasons. The UN blamed the Bosnian government for the death of one Dutch peacekeeper, but the Serbs took another 32 of them away. A British UN officer told the BBC on 9 July that the men were not hostages but merely "enjoying the hotel" in nearby Bratunac. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. ARE AIR STRIKES IN THE OFFING? Mlada fronta dnes on 10 July ran the headline that the Serbs have taken hostages as insurance against NATO air strikes. AFP quoted the UN as threatening the Serbs with airborne retaliation if they attack a Dutch blockade barring the road to Srebrenica. "If this blocked position is attacked, NATO close air support will be employed. The [Serbs are] reminded of the grave consequences of ignoring this warning." Angry Bosnian government officials are not impressed, however; and the International Herald Tribune quoted Ambassador to the UN Mustafa Bijedic as saying that "if Srebrenica falls, that will be the end of the UN mission" in the embattled republic. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. The BBC on 9 July quoted UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali as telling all sides in Bosnia either to renew the peace process and stop hindering UNPROFOR or to face the possible withdrawal of UN forces. Unknown assailants the previous day shot at the helicopters carrying EU negotiator Carl Bildt and his party near Konjic, forcing them to land. But Slobodna Dalmacija noted that the UN is showing spunk at least toward the Croats and that 2,000 French troops entered the Tomislavgrad area, despite warnings not to do so until their mission is clarified. Sky News on 9 July added that Bosnian Serb forces pounded Sarajevo and Bihac. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. CONTROVERSY MOUNTING OVER MAZOWIECKI REPORT. The International Herald Tribune on 8 July reported that UN special envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki has issued another report on human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia. He cited offenses by all sides and said that snipers in Sarajevo should be treated as war criminals. The former Polish prime minister also mentioned the stepped-up "ethnic cleansing" of Croats by Serbs in the Banja Luka area, even though the Serbs refuse to let him visit their territory. The situation in Mostar also attracted his attention, including the plight of the few remaining Serbs. The 10 July Belgrade and Zagreb dailies center their attention on parts of the report that suggest Croatian offenses against Serbs in western Slavonia in May were worse than Zagreb has admitted. The Croats, however, remain adamant that there was no systematic policy against Serbian civilians during Operation Blitz. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MILOSEVIC TALKS TO TIME MAGAZINE. Reuters on 9 July reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has granted an interview to Time. This is the first time in over a year that he has spoken to an English- language publication. Milosevic stressed his commitment to working for regional peace but stressed once again that international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia are hampering Belgrade's peace efforts. "Serbia is a major factor for peace in the Balkans . . . but we are under sanctions; we are in prison. The international community is making a mistake in expecting us to run in our struggle for peace but do so with the chains of sanctions on our legs," he commented. In other news, Milosevic on 7 July presided over the opening of Belgrade's first underground rail station in a ceremony that took part on Serbian Uprising Day, which marks the revolt against Nazi occupiers, Nasa Borba reported on 8-9 July. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. MONTENEGRO PROTESTS NEW PASSPORT REGIME FOR MACEDONIANS. Montenegro has protested to Belgrade over a new rule requiring that Macedonians visiting rump Yugoslavia travel with passports. Macedonians have so far needed only an identity card to visit that country. Montenegrin Minister for Tourism Dragan Milic said the regulation is "a direct attack on Montenegro's tourism industry," AFP reported on 9 July. Tourism has been a major source of hard currency for Montenegro since international sanctions were imposed on rump Yugoslavia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. MONTENEGRIN OFFICIAL ON MEDIA. Svetozar Marovic, speaker of the Montenegrin parliament, attended a meeting on 8 July of the administrative committee of Radio and Television Montenegro. He urged the organization to grant air time to opposition political parties. "The state media have to give everyone a chance, they have to hear everyone out," Montena-fax on 9 July reported him as saying. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN PRESIDENT REBUKES HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY. Ion Iliescu on 8 July told a delegation from the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) that he sees no reason why he should not promulgate the law on education recently passed by the parliament. But he said he will wait until the Constitutional Court rules on the matter. The UDMR asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional and demanded that Iliescu refuse to promulgate it. Radio Bucharest quoted Iliescu as saying the UDMR's threats to stage demonstrations and boycott schools were "politically dangerous" and could "encourage extremism," leading to a repetition of the 1990 inter-ethnic clashes in Targu Mures. Gheorghe Funar, leader of the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, published an open letter to Iliescu in Cronica romana on 8 July saying the rights granted to the Hungarian minority under the education law would "legislate segregationism" in education and promote the "Magyarization of Romanians" in counties where Hungarians form the majority. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS BUCHAREST MAY LOOK EAST. Gheorghe Tinca said in an interview with Cronica romana on 7 July that Romania may look to Russia for help in modernizing its armed forces if NATO expansion into Eastern Europe does not include Romania soon, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Tinca said that even if the West pays greater attention to Romania's defense needs, Bucharest will remain interested in cooperation with Russia, since it needs spare parts from there. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. VACAROIU IN VIETNAM. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, on a two-day visit to Vietnam from 7-8 July, held talks with his counterpart, Vo Van Kiet, President Le Duc Anh, and Communist Party Secretary-General Do Muoi, Radio Bucharest and international media reported. The two sides signed a taxation accord and agreements on consular affairs, cultural and scientific cooperation and setting up chambers of commerce. Vacaroiu said Romania wished to renew its "traditional friendship" with Vietnam and revive commercial and economic cooperation. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. 14th ARMY BEGINS TO DESTROY EQUIPMENT. Radio Bucharest reported on 8 July that Maj. Gen. Valery Yevnevich, commander of the 14th Army headquartered in Tiraspol, has announced his troops have begun disposing of some military equipment. Citing Radio Moldova, Radio Bucharest the next day said that for the first time in three years, 14th Army troops were reinforced by 300 recruits from the Russian federation. Previously, all new recruits were drafted from "eastern Moldova." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVA TO INTRODUCE COMPULSORY MEDICAL INSURANCE FOR TOURISTS. Beginning 1 January 1996, Moldova will require all tourists to have medical insurance, Radio Bucharest announced on 7 July. Citing the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, the radio said entry visas will be issued only upon proof of valid international medical insurance. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. WORLD BANK APPROVES LOAN FOR BULGARIA. The World Bank on 8 July announced it has approved a $95 million loan for Bulgaria intended to help the country restructure its railroads, Reuters reported the same day. The loan will cover track renewal, training projects, and installation of modern signaling and telecommunications equipment. The total cost for the restructuring of Bulgarian railroads is estimated at $296 million; Bulgarian State Railroads, the EU's PHARE program, and the EBRD will provide the balance. The Bulgarian parliament recently passed a law on the relations between the state and the railroads, a World Bank condition for approving the loan. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. FORMER BULGARIAN DEPUTY MINISTER KILLED. Lambo Kyuchukov was found dead on 7 July on Mt. Vitosha, south of Sofia, Standart reported on 10 July. Kyuchukov was deputy education minister in charge of administrative and economic questions until his resignation last January. Police reported he was shot dead. He was last seen on 7 July at Sofia University, where he taught. Kyuchukov was allegedly well informed about the "hidden privatization" of student dormitories in Sofia, including bribes from Arab companies that wanted to rent buildings in the neighborhood. He also discovered that some 20 million leva ($300,000) were missing from the ministry's budget. According to Standart, he received telephone threats after this discovery. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. BOUTROS GHALI CALLS ON GREECE, MACEDONIA TO END DISPUTE. UN Secretary- General Boutros Boutros Ghali on 9 July urged Greece and Macedonia to resolve their dispute over the use of the name "Macedonia," international agencies reported the same day. Boutros Ghali, speaking on his way to Athens to receive the Onassis Prize for International Understanding and Social Achievement, said the main purpose of his three-day visit is "to reinforce the relationship between the United Nations and Greece." According to Greek officials, the discussions will include the Bosnian war and Greece's differences with Turkey and Macedonia. Boutros Ghali is scheduled to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, and Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. RAMIZ ALIA RELEASED. In a surprise move, an appeals court on 7 July ordered the release of Albania's former communist president Ramiz Alia, international agencies reported. Alia was jailed in August 1993 and sentenced in July 1994 to a nine-year prison term on charges of violating the rights and freedoms of Albanian citizens. His term was later reduced by various courts of appeal and a presidential amnesty. Alia lost a Tirana court hearing on 10 June 1995 after a new penal code took effect. But his case was reviewed when State Prosecutor Sokol Parruca requested Alia's release following Albania's admission to the Council of Europe on 29 June. European politicians accused Albania's Democratic Party leaders of staging political trials against their old communist rivals. Supreme Court Chief Judge Zef Brozi called Alia's release "an example of the independence of Albanian justice." -- 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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