|One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles|
No. 141, Part II, 21 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 ATOMIC ENERGY COMMITTEE SAYS CHORNOBYL IS SAFEST PLANT. AFP on 20 July reported that the Ukrainian Atomic Energy Committee has declared the Chornobyl nuclear power plant the "best and most reliable" of the country's five atomic energy stations. The committee said the two still- functioning reactors at the plant operated with 98.9% efficiency in the first half of this year, compared with the Ukrainian average of 84.7%. Committee officials said the plant will continue to operate unless the West provides the funding to shut it down. President Leonid Kuchma has promised to close the facility by 2000 if Western donors are found to finance an alternative gas-fired power-generating station and a new sarcophagus to encase the ruined fourth reactor. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE TO RECEIVE BRITISH ANTARCTIC BASE. Britain will hand over its research base at Faraday in Antarctica to Ukraine, AFP reported on 20 July. The British government in 1993 decided to restructure its research activities in Antarctica and planned to make the Faraday base either an automated facility or hand it over to another country. Ukraine expressed interest in the base in order to continue its scientific research in Antarctica, which ceased after the USSR broke up. The base will be transferred to Ukraine on 31 March 1996. In exchange, Ukraine promised to respect the Antarctic treaty and give Britain and the international community scientific data free of charge. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. BELARUS STILL HASN'T SIGNED IMF LETTER. Belarusian Television on 19 July reported that the government still has not signed a letter that must be sent to the IMF board of directors by 27 July if the country wishes to receive its stand-by credit. The letter lists the economic measures Belarus plans to take in the near future. If the Belarusian government cannot present a concrete report on economic progress by that date, the release of the credit will be delayed at least until the board's next meeting, which is scheduled to take place at the end of the year. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. EESTI GAAS PROFITS. BNS on 19 July reported that one of the top profit earners in Estonia is the natural gas distributor Eesti Gaas. The company made a 12 million kroon ($1 million) profit in 1994, with shareholders earning 30% in dividends. The Estonian government holds the majority stake (39%). Other major shareholders include the Russian gas enterprise Gazprom (30.6%) and the German company Ruhrgas, which bought a 14.67% stake in May. Private investors hold 7.5% of the share, and the government says it intends to sell a further 5% to private individuals through privatization vouchers. The company's biggest problem is consumer debt, which amounts to 70-130 million kroons. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. LATVIAN OPPOSITION WANTS EARLY PARLIAMENT SESSION. Thirty-four Latvian opposition deputies on 20 July submitted a draft resolution requesting that the fall Saeima session begin that day, BNS reported. Maris Grinblats, head of the Homeland and Freedom caucus, said the reason for the resolution was to prevent the cabinet from passing regulations with the force of law in the period between sessions, as allowed by the constitution. The opposition opposes the cabinet's draft regulations on banking, which will be put to the vote on 21 July. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. POLISH MASS PRIVATIZATION BEGINS, INFLATION DROPS. Poland's long-delayed mass privatization program finally has finally begun with the allocation of leading (33%) shares in 413 companies worth $3 billion to the 15 National Investment Funds. Fund managers on 18 July completed the selection process ahead of schedule. Tradable certificates entitling the bearers to one share in each fund are expected to go on sale in mid- November for a sum equal to 5% of the average wage; 28 million Poles are eligible. In other economic news, prices rose by 1% in June, the lowest monthly rate since August 1991, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The Central Planning Bureau predicted that prices could even fall in July, by 0.3- 0.5%, thanks to seasonal declines in food prices. Industrial production was up 11.7% over June 1994. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PARTIES MOBILIZE FOR PRIVATIZATION VOTE. The vote to override President Lech Walesa's veto of the controversial "commercialization" legislation, scheduled for 21 July, has turned into a political showdown between the ruling postcommunist coalition and the opposition. The coalition controls just short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override. Attendance will likely decide the outcome, with all parties declaring full mobilization. Critics argue that the bill is designed to provide the coalition with new sources of political patronage and will slow privatization by requiring Sejm approval for sales in energy, banking, telecommunications, and other sectors. The president plans to challenge the law before the Constitutional Tribunal if the Sejm overrides the veto. All opposition parties have criticized the bill, and the Solidarity union has threatened to strike if it is passed. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADERS. Juraj Schenk on 20 July accused the leaders of the three ethnic Hungarian parties in Slovakia of deeply damaging the interests of the country, Slovak media reported. He was reacting to remarks made by one of the leaders, Laszlo Nagy, after the three returned from a visit to the U.S. (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 July 1995). Schenk accused them of misrepresenting Slovak foreign policy and disparaging their homeland. He said he will ask the mandate and immunity committee of the parliament to consider their statements. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE THOUSANDS STILL MISSING FROM SREBRENICA. Mlada fronta dnes on 21 July reported that thousands of people who fled Srebrenica, especially military-aged men, remain unaccounted for. The VOA on 20 July said that refugees who have reached Tuzla tell "shocking stories" of rapes, beatings, robberies, and killings. Some people were arbitrarily taken off the buses and not seen again. One massacre reportedly took place when Serbs dressed in UN uniforms and driving UN vehicles tricked refugees into coming out of the woods where they had been hiding and mowed them down. The stories told in Tuzla are apparently fairly consistent but cannot be independently confirmed because the Serbs will not let UN monitors into areas under their control. The Security Council on 20 July passed a resolution that, among other things, reminded the Serbs that individuals will be held accountable for the war crimes they commit. The Belgrade weekly NIN on 21 July called Srebrenica "a ghost town." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. ZEPA DOES NOT WANT SREBRENICA'S FATE. International media on 21 July reported that the Bosnian Serb forces are in effective control of Zepa but that local Bosnian army forces refuse to surrender and face what appears to be certain death. The Serbs insist on classifying all Muslim males between 18 and 55 as prisoners of war, and the men fear they will be killed or, at best, sent to a concentration camp. When talks broke down late in the afternoon of 20 July, the Serbs shelled the town. The government troops responded by firing mortars at both the Serbs and the 79 Ukrainian peacekeepers, whom they blame for doing nothing to protect the UN-designated "safe area." The Serbs meanwhile have brought up buses to prepare for what the VOA called "the ethnic cleansing" of Zepa and its 17,000 Muslims. BETA on 20 July reported that the U.S. has written to the Bosnian Serbs asking them to allow international humanitarian organizations access to Zepa. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. PRESSURE GROWS FOR ACTION IN BOSNIA. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic told CNN on 20 July that "there is a time for words and a time for action. . . . The time comes when babies are cut in half, young girls raped and grown up people [are] numb with terror --that is a time for men to act. This is the time to act in Bosnia or leave Bosnia alone." The International Herald Tribune quoted U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as saying that "the notion of a small band of barbarians directly taking on the civilized democracies and winning is a threat to the survival of the security system and we should respond to it with whatever level of coercion is ultimately required." The EU administrator of Mostar, Hans Koschnick, told AFP that "the hypocrisy of the current international policy in Bosnia is no longer bearable." The New York Times on 21 July, however, said that President Bill Clinton "deserves credit for avoiding American combat fatalities." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. DISPLAY OF AIR POWER "NOT SEEN SINCE THE GULF WAR." This is how the VOA on 21 July described the White House's plan outlined the same day at the London meeting of the Contact Group countries plus Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Canada, and Spain. International media suggested that the Serbs will be warned against attacking Gorazde, Sarajevo, or Tuzla or taking peacekeepers hostage. If they do not heed the warnings, their capital at Pale, command centers, missile sites, radar installations, fuel dumps, or other targets may be attacked. Britain is especially concerned for the fate of 300 of its peacekeepers at Gorazde and has reportedly endorsed the American plan. France wants U.S. helicopters to ferry 1,000 French troops into Gorazde, and reports are contradictory as to whether Washington has brought Paris around to its point of view. Elsewhere, Serbian media on 21 July reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has offered to swap some territory held by his men around Sarajevo in return for Gorazde. His men shelled downtown Sarajevo that same day. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBS MAKE GAINS AROUND BIHAC. Krajina Serb forces aided by local Muslim renegades have taken much territory in the west of the Bihac pocket, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 21 July. Hina the previous day quoted Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic as saying that Zagreb will take steps to protect the enclave, the fall of which would greatly improve land links between Krajina and the Bosnian Serbs. Bihac will doubtless be on the agenda when Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and his Bosnian counterpart, Alija Izetbegovic, meet in Split on 22 July. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBIAN RADICALS PRAISE BOSNIAN SERB FORCES. The Serbian Radical Party (SRS), led by accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj, has sent congratulations to the Bosnian Serb forces, BETA reported on 20 July. SRS deputy leader Maja Gojkovic told a 20 July press conference that the Bosnian Serb assault on the Zepa enclave constitutes its "liberation" and the destruction of a base that had been used for "terrorist action" by the Bosnian Muslim forces. Gojkovic warned the international community against becoming embroiled in the war in Bosnia, predicting that the Bosnian Serb forces will continue their advances and turn their attention to the "liberation" of Gorazde. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. TOURIST-FRIENDLY BELGRADE? BETA on 20 July reported that tourism in the rump Yugoslav capital for the first five months of 1995 was up significantly over the same period in the previous year. An estimated 333,000 tourists visited Belgrade between January and May, with 311,160 coming from abroad. The number of foreign visitors to Belgrade is up an estimated 50% over the same period in the past year, while the number of domestic tourists has risen by about 40%. The lion's share of foreigners in Belgrade came from various parts of the CIS, with Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania accounting for most of the balance. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. MILOSEVIC CALLS FOR NATIONAL EQUALITY IN KOSOVO . . . Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, visiting Kosovo for the first time since 1992, called for "a policy of national equality" in which "every citizen will be equal," Reuters and BETA reported on 20 July. At a rally in Kosovska Mitrovica, he called on ethnic Albanians to sideline their political leaders and embrace the Serbian administration. Milosevic also visited the metallurgic works in Trepca where he expressed his "deep satisfaction" about the return to work of 1,200 ethnic Albanians who had boycotted the facility since the abolition of autonomy in 1989. Hinting at charges of atrocities allegedly committed by Albanians in the 1980s, he said: "We must get away from such cruelties and never return to them, no matter whoever they be against, Serbs, Albanians, Turks or Muslims." -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. . . . WHILE KOSOVAR INFORMATION MINISTRY DENOUNCES HIS STATEMENTS. The Ministry of Information of the self-declared Republic of Kosovo responded sharply to Milosevic's statement that Kosovo will become "a region of mutual understanding, cooperation and coexistence." It declared that his name "stands for the introduction of a system of violence and apartheid, for the killing of Albanians [and] their imprisonment, the occupation of Kosovo, the [dismissal] of hundreds of thousands of Albanians from their jobs, large-scale campaigns of raids and tortures, the staging of dozens of political trials, ethnic cleansing, and the colonization of Kosovo with Serbs." The ministry concluded that all Milosevic's visits to Kosovo have aimed at mobilizing the Serbian minority against the Albanians, Kosova Communication reported on 20 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. PARIS CLUB GIVES MACEDONIA MORE TIME TO PAY DEBTS. The Paris Club of government creditors has agreed to reschedule Macedonia's official debts, Reuters reported on 19 July. Macedonian Finance Minister Jane Miljovski said the creditors called the accord "satisfying." The deal will give Skopje up to 15 years to pay the bulk of its nearly $300 million debt. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. MACEDONIA, TURKEY SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Macedonia and Turkey on 20 July signed an agreement on military cooperation providing for the exchange and training of military experts and joint military exercises, international agencies reported the same day. The document was signed during a visit to Skopje by Turkish army Chief of Staff Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi, who met with his Macedonian counterpart, Gen. Dragoljub Bocinov, and Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. Karadayi stressed that the accord "is not directed against the security of a third country." It is the third and broadest document that the two countries have signed on military cooperation. Karadayi's visit came just one week after Turkish President Suleyman Demirel traveled to Macedonia to sign a 20-year friendship treaty. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TALKS ON BASIC TREATY. International agencies reported on 20 July from Bucharest that Romania and Hungary continue to differ over the pending basic treaty. The differences are centered on the Council of Europe's Recommendation 1201. Bucharest has now agreed to include it in the treaty on condition that a common interpretation is reached. Experts from both sides are to attempt to narrow the remaining gaps. Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said at a joint news conference that the common interpretation must exclude any idea of territorial autonomy based on ethnic criteria. President Ion Iliescu, after receiving Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, noted that the demands for territorial autonomy were "ambiguous" and created "confusion and artificial tension." Kovacs argued it was up to the Council of Europe to interpret the recommendation. He also expressed "concern" over the law on higher education passed by the Romanian parliament last month. On returning to Budapest, Kovacs said that he was not planning another meeting with Melescanu and that it was Romania's "turn to come up with a new initiative." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN SECURITY SERVICE ACCUSES NATIONALIST POLITICIAN OF SECURITATE LINKS. The Protection and Guard Service has accused Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party, of having collaborated with Ceausescu's secret police, the Securitate, before the dictator's ouster. The PGS was responding to a campaign conducted by Tudor against Dumitru Iliescu, who heads the service. It also rejected Tudor's accusations of corruption. The PGS's reaction was contained in a press release published by the daily Evenimentul zilei on 20 July. Tudor has often been accused of having had links with the Securitate, but this is the first time the allegation has been made by a successor organization to the Securitate. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. 14TH ARMY AMMUNITION TO BE DESTROYED IN MOLDOVA. The RIA news agency on 20 July, quoting a spokesman for the Transdniester region, reported that all ammunition belonging to the Russian 14th Army would be destroyed at a new testing range 25 kilometers from the Moldovan town of Rybnitsa. In February, a 14th Army source told Interfax that the army had 410,000 tons of ammunition stored in Transdniester, including 50,000 that could not be removed "for technical reasons." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. Safet Zhulali has survived a no-confidence vote brought against him by the opposition Socialist Party, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 21 July. The Socialists claimed that during the campaign for the referendum on a new constitution, Zhulali violated the principle of political independence in the army by rallying for President Sali Berisha's constitution proposal. Zhulali survived a previous no-confidence vote brought by the Socialists, who charged him with being involved in arms trade with the Bosnian Serbs. -- 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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