A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 135, Part II, 13 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

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CANCELS COUPON PRIVATIZATION. The parliament on 12
July approved an amendment to the privatization law canceling the coupon
privatization program proposed by the previous government, TASR
reported. Some 3.5 million Slovaks purchased coupon books under that
program, which is replaced with a scheme whereby the National Property
Fund (FNM) will issue bonds to coupon holders worth 10,000 koruny with a
five-year maturity. The parliament largely ignored proposals made by the
opposition, including monitoring the FNM's activities and shifting the
bonds' maturity to 30 June 1998 (shortly before the next scheduled
parliamentary elections). A number of opposition figures warned that the
new scheme allows for corruption. According to a FOCUS poll published on
4 July in Narodna obroda, only 3.1% of Slovaks consider the government's
privatization policy "correct," while 56.5% call it "incorrect." --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER VISITS SPAIN. Vladimir Meciar on 12 July concluded his
two-day visit to Portugal and arrived in Spain, accompanied by Deputy
Premier and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik and Foreign Minister Juraj
Schenk. Meciar met with his Spanish counterpart, Felipe Gonzalez, in the
first of several talks with Central European leaders scheduled during
Spain's Presidency of the EU, which began on 1 July. The two leaders
discussed Slovakia's recently submitted application for EU membership
and strengthening bilateral economic ties. Meciar also held talks with
Spanish Defense Minister Gustavo Suarez Pertierra, focusing on Slovak
attitudes toward NATO, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY WARNS OF OPPOSITION MOVES. In a statement sent to
TASR on 11 July, the central council of the Slovak National Party (SNS),
a member of the government coalition, warned that the opposition is
planning a comeback for September. According to the SNS, the party has
been informed that foreign financial circles, including "a well-known
American businessman of Hungarian origin," intend to invest millions of
dollars in the Slovak opposition with the aim of destabilizing society.
This money will be used to corrupt parliamentary deputies, with sums of
up to $10 million per deputy, the party said. SNS deputy Vitazoslav
Moric, in an interview with Sme on 13 July, said if eight deputies are
"bought," the opposition will have enough votes to remove the
government. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

WESTERN CONSORTIUM OFFERS TO BUILD CHORNOBYL SARCOPHAGUS. International
agencies on 12 July reported that a consortium of Western firms has made
a $1.6 billion bid to build a new sarcophagus to enclose a cracking
concrete tomb around the Chornobyl nuclear reactor that exploded in
April 1986. The so-called Alliance consortium, consisting of French,
German, and British companies, was awarded the feasibility study project
last year by the European Union. Alliance announced in London on 12 July
that the new structure, to be built as a pre-stressed concrete arch with
a waterproof covering and stainless steel lining, would act as a shield
during the dismantling of the reactor and old sarcophagus. It is yet
unclear how the project will be financed. Ukrainian authorities have
estimated the cost of closing Chornobyl by 2000 as they have pledged to
do, at around $4 billion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES NEW SPEAKER OF CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma received Yevhen Supruniuk, the new
speaker of the Crimean legislature in Kiev on 12 July, UNIAR and
Ukrainian TV reported the same day. Supruniuk, who recently replaced the
pro-Russian Serhii Tsekov, said he and Kuchma saw eye-to-eye on ways of
solving the region's growing social and economic problems. The leaders
discussed the new Crimean Constitution, establishing a free economic
zone on the peninsula, and ways of financing the repatriation of Crimean
Tatars from other CIS states. Supruniuk said he would concentrate on
dividing powers between Kiev and Simferopol and on settling the region's
most pressing problems before embarking on any official visits to
Moscow. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN FINANCIAL ROUNDUP. Chief presidential economic adviser
Anatolii Halchynsky on 12 July said that Kuchma was prepared to sign two
important decrees on debt repayment and monetary reform, UNIAR reported
the same day. Halchynsky said the first would allow the government to
repay debts to Ukraine's three largest banks, while the second will
create a special commission on monetary reform. But he added that the
move does not mean Ukraine's new currency, the hryvna, would be
introduced in the near future. It is unlikely that the hryvna will be
pegged to any foreign currency because this would require Ukraine to
maintain a currency stabilization fund of some $5 billion, he commented.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER CRITICIZES MONETARY POLICY. Estonian Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi has called the country's monetary system "primitive,"
BNS reported on 12 July. Vahi noted there were problems with pegging the
value of the kroon exclusively to the German mark. He also said the main
problem with Estonia's monetary system was that the total cash in
circulation has increased 3-4 times over the past three years, while GPD
had fallen. In his opinion, the amount of cash in circulation should be
tied to GDP, as in the case of Germany. Vahi was responding to leader of
the Reform Party Siim Kallas's comment that the premier has never
understood the "macroeconomic working mechanism of Estonia's monetary
policy." -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

SEJM CONFIRMS MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY. The Sejm on 12 July confirmed
a five-year moratorium on capital punishment, Polish media reported on
13 July. The moratorium was opposed by the Senate on 30 June. The last
execution took place in Poland in 1988; since then, a few death
sentences have been passed each year but have not been carried out.
According to an opinion poll conducted in June by the Public Opinion
Research Center, 60% of Poles are in favor of the death penalty while
30% would like it to be abolished. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PROSECUTOR RULES ON MILITARY SERVICE ABROAD. The Military
Prosecutor's Office in Opole, in southwestern Poland, on 12 July ruled
that two Polish citizens of German origin who performed military service
in Germany did not commit a criminal offense. Polish law prohibits
military service in a foreign army but makes an exception for people
living abroad who have dual citizenship. The German minority leader
Henryk Kroll, vice president of the Sejm National Minorities Committee,
on 12 July said the Polish authorities should not make life difficult
for emigrants who served in the German army, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on
13 July. "I would like thousands to return. A quarter of a million
emigrated, let 300,000 return," he commented. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
Inc.

CZECH EMPLOYERS, UNIONS WELCOME END OF WAGE REGULATION. Richard Falbr,
head of the trade union federation, has welcomed the Czech government's
decision to abolish wage regulation (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 July
1995), which since July 1993 had kept maximum salary increases down to
5% above inflation. Falbr said the move created better conditions for
collective bargaining, Lidove noviny reported. The paper also quoted
employers as supporting the step, saying it enabled them to offer their
best-qualified employees higher wages. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said
wage deregulation should neither push up inflation nor lead to
significantly higher unemployment. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT IN FAVOR OF EXTENDING SCREENING LAW. The Czech
government on 12 July approved proposals to extend the country's
screening law for an extra two years, Czech media reported. The
proposals were originally made by deputies from Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus's Civic Democratic Party. The law, which went into effect in 1991,
bans former high officials of the Communist Party, StB secret police
officers and agents, and members of the People's Militia--the disbanded
paramilitary arm of the Communist Party--from holding various public
offices until 1996. Opposition parties are opposed to extending the law.
-- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"ETHNIC CLEANSING IS APPARENTLY UNDER WAY." This is how the VOA on 13
July described the Bosnian Serbs' expulsion of 5,500 Muslim refugees
from Srebrenica. Some 30,000 tired and frightened people sought shelter
at the Dutch UN base at Potocari, which has been used by 200
peacekeepers. A UN spokesman said there is a "stable refugee situation"
at the base, with 10,000 people inside and 20,000 outside, AFP reported.
The Serbs on 12 July brought up nearly 50 trucks and busses under the
personal supervision of General Ratko Mladic. Male Muslims aged between
16 and 50 were sent to Bratunac for "examination." Others were taken to
Tuzla, where 2,000 have arrived, or to Kladanj, where 3,500 people were
dumped near the front lines and forced to walk for two hours across no
man's land to Bosnian government positions. Many had bribed Serbian
soldiers to be allowed on buses. The Serbs hold some 48 Dutch
peacekeepers hostage. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REACTIONS TO THE FALL OF SREBRENICA. Reuters on 13 July quoted British
Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind as urging Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic to make the Bosnian Serbs "behave in a more civilized
fashion." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited remarks by Bosnian
President Alija Izetbegovic that his government probably will ask
UNPROFOR to leave when its mandate runs out in November. The local
Croats seem to be warming to the UN, however, with Hina saying their
leader Kresimir Zubak has given the UN Rapid Reaction Force permission
to use Croatian territory. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic warned
that "the longer the war lasts, the more inflexible the Serbs will
become." He said that Srebrenica had been freed of "Muslim terrorists"
and that "order and calm" now prevail in the former east Bosnian
enclave, AFP noted. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Srebrenica may
prove to be a decisive event "like Waterloo or Stalingrad" in
determining "the kind of world we live in." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

"INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FAILED THE TEST." This is how Vesna Pesic,
president of the Citizen's Union of Serbia, described the developments
in Srebrenica, sharply criticizing the Bosnian Serbs, Nasa Borba
reported on 13 July. But Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic
Party of Serbia, said the Bosnian Serb army's latest move was an "act of
self-defense." He claimed that NATO air strikes provoked the annexation
of the enclave, adding that the peace mediators were trying to
"extinguish fire with fuel." State-run Borba, however, claims that UN
peacekeepers consider that the occupation of Srebrenica has freed them
from a nightmare. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

BOUTROS GHALI IN FAVOR OF MORE NEGOTIATIONS. UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros Ghali, on the last day of his visit to Athens, said that
despite continuing Bosnian Serb aggression, negotiations and maintaining
the UN presence in former Yugoslavia is the only road toward solving the
crisis, international agencies reported on 12 July. He said it is
important "that we are condemning the offensive of the Bosnian Serbs
against...Srebrenica and the violation of [UN] resolutions." Boutros
Ghali added that a solution has to be found both for the problems of the
refugees and "for the problem as a whole." He said he does not know if
UN troops are in a position to take Srebrenica back from the Serbs or to
defend the safe areas of Zepa and Gorazde, adding this has to be thought
out by UN military officials in the area. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION. The world organization's
leading body on 12 July unanimously adopted a text calling on "both
sides" to withdraw their armed forces from Srebrenica. Secretary-General
Boutros Ghali has been authorized to use "all resources available" to
reestablish the "safe area." The VOA suggested on 13 July that the
resolution outlines no clear course of action and was passed simply
because it was seen as "better than doing nothing." It may lead to more
futile efforts at diplomacy and subsequent humiliation for the UN. The
BBC reported that there is no political will in the Security Council to
evict the Serbs by force and that some UN officials are privately saying
the fall of Srebrenica may help speed up a peace settlement. French
tough talk is seen largely as posturing, despite Prime Minister Alain
Juppe's comment to AFP on 12 July that "we cannot leave Srebrenica with
our tail between our legs." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

EU ADMINISTRATOR IN MOSTAR CALLS RESOLUTION "BALONEY." Hans Koschnick
said "this resolution is again nothing but baloney which nobody takes
seriously," according to AFP on 13 July. "We're lying to ourselves day
after day with these resolutions and it makes me sick," he said. "We
cannot defend such enclaves so far into Serb territory without war, and
if we don't want that we should retreat. The UN and NATO should finally
say what they really want and define a policy." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

SERBS POUND ZEPA AND SARAJEVO. Bosnian Serb forces continue to put
pressure on two other "safe areas," namely Zepa and Sarajevo. The Serbs
shelled the capital's historical Turkish quarter at dawn on 13 July and
later fired on a UN relief truck as it entered their territory, wounding
the Russian driver. Vecernji list quoted Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic
as complaining about the lack of a strong Bosnian Croat political
presence in Sarajevo, noting that local Croats are psychologically tired
of constantly living in uncertainty. Meanwhile in Serb-held eastern
Slavonia, pro-Belgrade Serbs prevented politicians from Knin from
entering from Serbia and thereby scuttled chances for a legislative
session to form a new government. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN DEPUTIES IN MACEDONIA. A delegation of Albanian deputies, led
by head of the Albanian parliamentary commission on foreign policy
Eduard Selami, have held talks with Macedonian Foreign Minister Stevo
Crvenkovski and Minister for Education and Sports Emilia Simoska, Flaka
reported on 13 July. They discussed the rights of Macedonian Albanians
to higher education in their mother tongue, minority rights, and the
abolition of entry visas for Macedonians and Albanians wanting to visit
each other's country. The legislators also met with Macedonian deputies.
Selami had said before the visit that developing relations and future
cooperation between Macedonia and Albania would depend on the outcome of
the Albanian deputies' visit. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON ROMANIA'S NEW EDUCATION LAW. Cronica romana on 13 July
published an appeal by Gheorghe Funar, chairman of the extremist Party
of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), to President Ion Iliescu over the new
education law. Funar urged that Iliescu reconsider intention to
promulgate the law and his refusal to ask the Constitutional Court to
verify its legality. He said the president, the government and the
parliament have been "blackmailed" into passing the law, claiming that
it paves the way for the Hungarian minority's territorial autonomy. He
also claimed there is a "secret accord" between the majority party, the
Party of Social Democracy in Romania, and the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania to link the law to the signing of the basic treaty
with Hungary. Cronica romana reports that the PUNR's Permanent Bureau
has distanced itself from Funar's appeal, saying it does not share his
view. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRITAIN. Radio Bucharest on 12 July
reported that Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu began a three-day visit
to Great Britain. He met with his British counterpart, Malcolm Rifkind,
with whom he will sign an accord on the protection of investments on 13
July. He also addressed the Institute for Strategic Studies and held
talks with Defense Ministry officials. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nicolae
Vacaroiu met on 12 July in Bucharest with Greek Foreign Minister Karolos
Papoulias to discuss economic cooperation and the feasibility of joint
Greek-Romanian initiatives on the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The
same day, Romanian Transportation Minister Aurel Novac and his visiting
Turkish counterpart, Ali Sevgi Erek, signed a protocol on creating a
joint commission on transportation, Romanian TV reported. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVA, ALBANIA BECOME MEMBERS OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Moldova and
Albania on 13 July became members of the Council of Europe,
international agencies reported the previous day. The CE's Parliamentary
Assembly had approved Albania and Moldova's applications at the end of
June, making them the 35th and 36th members, respectively, of the
organization. Moldova, the first member of the Commonwealth of
Independent States to join the CE, will have five seats in the
Parliamentary Assembly, while Albania will have four. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DEFENDS CONSTITUTION, CRITICIZES SOCIALISTS. Zhelyu
Zhelev on 12 July said the Bulgarian Constitution remains the best
guarantee of democratic stability, Reuters reported the same day.
Addressing the parliament on the fourth anniversary of the
constitution's adoption, Zhelev said everybody must "look beyond narrow
party interests" to uphold it. He went on to attack the Socialist
majority, saying "we are all wary about the resurrection of a one-party
state." Socialist deputies jeered him when he commented that "calls for
a war against the Constitutional Court are calls for war against the
constitution itself." The court recently ruled that several laws passed
by the Socialists were unconstitutional. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

TURKISH PRESIDENT IN ALBANIA. Suleyman Demirel arrived in Tirana for a
two-day visit on 12 July, international agencies reported. He held talks
with Albanian President Sali Berisha on improving economic, military,
and cultural relations. The talks also focused on the Bosnian crisis and
the capture of Srebrenica. Demirel is to travel to Macedonia, where he
is expected to sign a "friendship, good-neighborly, and cooperation"
agreement. -- 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.


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole