|Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill|
No. 138, Part II, 18 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 UKRAINE SAYS IT WILL SEND MORE TROOPS TO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Volodymyr Yelchenko, head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's UN Department, has said his ministry has asked the parliament to increase the number of Ukrainian peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia to 3,000, international agencies reported on 17 July. His statement came at a time when Ukraine was working out a plan to evacuate 79 Ukrainian peacekeepers from the besieged Bosnian enclave of Zepa if necessary. Despite the willingness to increase troop levels, Yelchenko voiced displeasure with UN leaders for putting Ukrainians at risk, singling out Yasushi Akashi and Thorvald Stoltenberg. Ukraine already has 1,200 troops in Bosnia and Croatia. A dozen Ukrainians have been killed there since 1992. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE ACCUSES RUSSIA OVER NUCLEAR FUEL RODS. AFP on 17 July reported that Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko has accused Russia of failing to deliver nuclear fuel rods to Ukraine as laid down by the January 1994 trilateral agreement between Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S. Russia is to supply Ukraine with approximately $1 billion worth of nuclear fuel rods in compensation for the strategic materials in nuclear warheads removed from Ukraine to Russia. According to Hryshchenko, Russia's suspension of deliveries has forced Ukraine's nuclear power plants to rely on emergency stocks. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov reportedly discussed the problem of fuel supplies from Russia during a recent visit to the U.S. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CONSULTANT ON SLOW PACE OF LAND REFORM. Vasyl Shepa, a consultant to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on agriculture, has blamed the leftist bloc in the parliament for the slow pace of land reform, Radio Ukraine reported 17 July. Shepa told Radio Ukraine that the Left has deliberately blocked not only a number of crucial bills but also amendments to Ukraine's land code needed to speed up the privatization of land belonging to loss-making collective and state farms. He said the Communists and Socialists, as well as many agricultural enterprise managers, are opposed to breaking up the collectives, which are a heavy financial burden on the ailing economy. They also refuse to allow individual farmers to freely buy and sell land or to use it as collateral for credit. He said that as a result, land privatization could be delayed by three years. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN BELARUS. Leonid Kuchma arrived in Minsk on 17 July to meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Ukrainian Radio reported. The two presidents signed a comprehensive agreement on friendship and cooperation that will serve as the basis of future bilateral relations. Accords were also signed on citizens working and residing in the other country, the terms for changing to the residency of the other country, air links, and cooperation in health care and medical services. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. LITHUANIA DEFENDS EXECUTION. BNS on 15 July reported that Lithuania has carried out its seventh execution since independence. Mafia boss Boris Dekanidze was executed on 12 July for the premeditated murder of journalist Vytas Lingys, who had reported on Dekanidze's gang. The execution was criticized by Amnesty International. Government spokesman Vilius Kavaliauskas responded that while capital punishment was not exemplary of good democracy, its abolition was not on the agenda. He added it was considered a good weapon against organized crime. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PRESIDENT VETOES PRIVATIZATION BILL. Lech Walesa on 17 July vetoed the Sejm bill on the privatization and commercialization of state enterprises (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 July 1995). He criticized the Sejm's control over privatization and the possibility that commercialization will not lead to privatization, Rzeczpospolita reported on 18 July. It was the 23rd time that he has vetoed a bill since taking office and the fifth time in 1995. The Sejm needs a two- third majority to overrule the president's veto. So far this year, it has succeeded three times in securing such a majority. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CORRUPTION REPORT GIVEN TO POLISH PRESIDENT, PREMIER. Walesa and Premier Jozef Oleksy on 17 July received a classified report on corruption among state officials and their links with the criminal underworld, Rzeczpospolita reported on 18 July. The report, handed over by Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski, allegedly says that banks, ownership transformation, taxes, and customs duties are most endangered by criminal links. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CZECH REPUBLICAN PARTY RESPONSIBLE FOR "SUDETEN LEAFLETS." The extreme right Republican Party ordered the printing of leaflets that claimed an agreement has been reached on rehabilitating Sudeten Germans in the Czech Republic, Czech media reported. Up to 1 million leaflets containing a bogus statement from German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995) were distributed in the Czech Republic. Mlada fronta dnes quoted the head of a Prague printing firm as saying the order was placed by Republican Party Deputy Chairman Jan Vik. Justice officials said the authors of the leaflets could be prosecuted for "spreading alarmist news" and sentenced to three years in jail. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. DEMOCRATIC UNION CRITICIZES SLOVAK PARLIAMENT. The opposition Democratic Union has criticized the work of the Slovak parliament as a "tyranny of the majority," Sme and Narodna Obroda reported on 18 July. It also alleged that recent changes to the privatization law could be anti- constitutional. Meanwhile, the controversy over whether the DU collected the 10,000 signatures legally needed to take part in last fall's elections continues. DU Chairman Jozef Moravcik on 13 July told a press conference that the party has begun legal action to stop distribution of a publication that includes copies of the electoral lists, including personal data on signatories. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE WHERE ARE THE MISSING 15-20,000 MUSLIMS? The Guardian on 18 July and AFP the previous day say that some 15-20,000 Muslims from Srebrenica remain missing. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said the Serbs should clarify the fate of the refugees, most of whom are civilian males. She noted that from the onset, Serbian war crimes have been committed systematically as part of a definite strategy. Reuters on 18 July reported that some 4,000 Bosnian government soldiers out of a group of 10,000 survived a Serbian ambush, mine fields, and a 12-hour battle to complete a six-day trek across Serbian territory to reach Tuzla. Refugees described hysteria and suicides among people who feared falling into Serbian hands. But Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's adviser, Jovan Zametica, said that "allegations of torture, murder, rape, and deportation of Muslim civilians are made repeatedly without any independent verification. The truth is that none of these things have happened." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBS CLOSE IN ON ZEPA. Bosnian Serb forces have moved to within about 1 kilometer from the center of the "safe area" at Zepa and launched a major mortar attack at mid-morning on 18 July. Nasa Borba said that the Serbs threaten to attack Ukrainian peacekeepers unless NATO stops its overflights. The Ukrainians, Reuters added, are making their weapons inoperative to prevent the Bosnian government soldiers from using them against the Serbs. Government troops last weekend took some of the peacekeepers' weapons in order to defend the UN-declared "safe area" themselves. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS UN MUST GO. The VOA on 18 July quotes Mohamed Sacirbey as saying that the UN's role has come to an end in his embattled republic and that it should go voluntarily or be shown the door. He did not explicitly rule out the UN's remaining under a changed mandate, however. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic meanwhile offered Bosnian Serbs direct talks on evacuating the sick and wounded from Zepa. Momcilo Krajisnik, the number three man in Karadzic's team, said "we will answer this in an official way." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. WASHINGTON, LONDON BLOCK PARIS'S PLAN TO HALT SERBS. A meeting of the international Contact Group's foreign and defense ministers will take place on 21 July in London, following the failure of the British, French, and U.S. military leaders to work out a joint strategy for Bosnia. The International Herald Tribune on 18 July wrote that France wants "a bold military initiative" to stop the Serbs from taking Gorazde and to open a supply road to Sarajevo but that Britain and the U.S. are opposed. AFP noted that the White House fears involvement on the ground but admits it will have to provide some "non-combat" ground forces if U.S. helicopters are used to ferry in British and French units. Washington is also against continuing the cumbersome joint UN-NATO command system, while France wants it kept since Paris does not belong to NATO's command structure. France, meanwhile, has accused the Bosnian government of "sabotaging" the Rapid Reaction Force by attaching too many conditions to its deployment. (See related item in Russian section.) -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. FIGHTING CONTINUES AROUND OSIJEK. Serbian forces over the weekend attacked Croatian troops and UN peacekeepers near Osijek, in eastern Slavonia, killing two. Nasa Borba and Croatian media on 18 July reported that the combat is continuing. Osijek is not far from Serbian-held Slavonian territory that Belgrade is believed to want to keep at any cost because of its oil and agriculture. * Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. ARKAN DENIES POLITICKING IN KRAJINA. Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, the internationally wanted war criminal and leader of the notorious paramilitary Tigers, has denied allegations in Nasa Borba on 18 July that his fighters are in Serb-occupied Croatia at the behest of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In response to suggestions that his forces have intervened in the Republic of Serbian Krajina's political affairs, Arkan observed: "We are no political police, [and] we are here voluntarily and our mission is to defend the Serbian people from genocide . . . not to mix in politics." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. LARGEST TRIAL EVER ENDS IN KOSOVO. The trial of 72 ethnic Albanian former policemen ended in Kosovo on 17 July with the sentencing of 69 defendants to between one and eight years in prison, Kosova Daily Report said the same day. The policemen were accused of forming an "Interior Ministry of the Republic of Kosovo" as part of an effort to separate the southern Serbian region from rump Yugoslavia. The trial brings the number of former policemen sentenced on the same charge to 101. The defendants denied the charges, saying they formed an independent police union to protect their rights after 3,500 policemen were fired in 1991. Some 44 ethnic Albanian policemen are still on trial in Prizren, while 32 have been sentenced to prison terms in Pec and Gnjilan. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. MONTENEGRIN WEEKLY'S ADS CENSORED. Zoran Jocovic, director-general of Radio and TV Montenegro, has banned the broadcasting of advertisements by the independent Montenegrin weekly Monitor, Montena-fax reported on 14 July. Jocovic reportedly defended the decision on the grounds that the advertisement contains objectionable material. Monitor has suggested that the decision was motivated by political considerations and that Jocovic wants to improve his own political fortunes. This latest move may be a renewed attempt to put the weekly out of commission. The government has already jailed several Monitor journalists (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 May 1995). -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SLOVENIA, POLAND SIGN FREE TRADE DEAL. Slovenian Minister for Foreign Economic Relations Janko Dezelak and his Polish counterpart, Jacek Buchacz, signed an agreement in Ljubljana on 17 July abolishing import duties between the two countries, AFP reported the same day. As of 1 January 1996, some 70% of trade between the countries will be duty free, with the remainder becoming exempt over the following two years. Poland is the last of the so-called Visegrad countries to conclude such an arrangement with Ljubljana. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. MACEDONIA, ALBANIA AGREE TO LIFT VISA PAYMENTS. Gazeta Shqiptare on 15 July reported that Macedonia and Albania have agreed to drop DM 40 payments for visas and to unify the countries' requirements for studying at universities. Agreement was reached during a visit to Macedonia by Albania's parliamentary Commission on Foreign Policy. The accord on higher education was prompted by the large number of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian citizens studying in Albania. Meanwhile, Albanian and Croatian diplomats reached an agreement in Tirana on procedures for issuing visas as a first step toward their abolition, Montena-fax reported on 15 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIA REACTS TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION. The Romanian government, responding to the European Parliament's resolution condemning infringements of human and minority rights (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995), has said it is "surprised and puzzled" by the resolution. In a statement carried by Romanian TV, the government said the resolution was adopted at the initiative of Otto von Habsburg, who is "well known for his repeated anti-Romanian positions." The document by no means reflects the "evolution of Romanian society on the road to democracy in the last years," the statement continued. With regard to the EP's position on the new education law, the government said that body had been "misinformed" and had responded to a draft law that differed from the final version. The resolution was an "undeserved insult" toward the Romanian people, it noted. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY. Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu in Strasbourg on 17 July signed the European Council's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Radio Bucharest reported. Romania is the eleventh state to become a signatory to that document. Only three states among the signatories--Finland, Hungary, and Norway-- have so far ratified the charter, which must be approved by at least five states in order to come into force. Adrian Nastase, chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, began a three-day visit the same day to rump Yugoslavia to meet with his Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts. Meanwhile, Albanian Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi began a three-day official visit to Romania where he held talks with his Romanian counterpart, Nicolae Vacaroiu. Finally, a NATO delegation headed by Turkish General Husseyin Kivrikoglu, commander of Land Southeast Europe, began talks on 17 July with Romanian army chiefs on a military exercise codenamed "Cooperative Determination" to take place in Transylvania in September. NATO and troops from countries that signed the Partnership for Peace program will participate in the maneuvers. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ANDRONIC ON NEW POLITICAL SITUATION IN MOLDOVA. Nicolae Andronic, deputy chairman of the Moldovan parliament, said President Mircea Snegur may be elected leader of the new Party of Rebirth and Conciliation (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 July 1995). Andronic, who heads the group of 11 deputies who defected from the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova, said he will "personally make this proposal," Radio Bucharest reported on 17 July. According to Infotag, Andronic also said discussion of Moldovan independence was "worthless" if citizens have no food. He explained that Moldovan statehood depends on the well-being of the population, which may otherwise "look over the fence" to the CIS or Romania. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIA, TUNISIA SIGN TRADE AGREEMENT. Bulgaria and Tunisia on 15 July signed a trade accord, AFP reported the same day. Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib ben Yahia, the first Arab foreign minister to visit Sofia since 1990, met with Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev to discuss boosting bilateral trade, which fell from an estimated $45 million in 1990 to $10.4 million in 1994 but, according to Tsochev, increased in the first half of 1995. Cultural, scientific, and technical accords were also signed, as well as an agreement between the two countries' foreign ministries. Ben Yahia requested that Bulgarian engineers and doctors go to work in his country. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN ARMS FOR BULGARIAN PROPERTY? Russia is reported to have offered Bulgaria 360 T-72 tanks and 12 MiG-29 jet fighters in return for Bulgarian bonds exchangeable for property, according to 24 Chassa on 17 July. The paper said MiG-MAPO--the Moscow company that builds the MiG- 29--wants to acquire hotels on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast and is offering planes worth $500 million. The value of the tanks is still being negotiated. Russia last month agreed to give Bulgaria 100 T-72 tanks and other military equipment to avoid having to destroy them to comply with the European conventional arms treaty. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. U.S.-ALBANIAN MILITARY EXERCISES. As part of the U.S.-Albanian military exercises that will continue until 8 September, a coastal exercise codenamed Sarex 95-2 began on 18 July, Koha Jone reported the same day. Albanian and U.S. military officials claim that the maneuvers have a humanitarian character only. Koha Jone, however, noted that the maneuvers may be regarded as practice for stationing US troops in Bosnia and for possible evacuations from the area. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. BOSNIAN SERB HEALTH MINISTER IN GREECE. Dragan Kalinic has arrived in Athens to appeal for food and medical resources, AFP reported on 17 July. He said that more than 300 doctors have left hospitals on Bosnian Serb territory and that fuel and food are increasingly rare. In an interview with the Greek daily Elevtheropypia, Kalinic said he favored "a fair division of the territory and the population [in Bosnia] because there is no longer any possibility of Muslims, Croats, and Serbs living together." With regard to the fall of Srebrenica, he said that the enclaves "were safe areas only on paper" and that the "majority of attacks against Serbs took place from them." -- Stefan Krause, 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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