Give Peace A Chance. - John Lennon and Paul McCartney
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 156, Part II, 11 August 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 FOREIGN, DEFENSE MINISTERS VISIT DISPUTED ISLAND. Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko and Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov
visited Serpent Island in the Black Sea on 10 August, Reuters reported.
Ownership of the 1.5 sq. km island, which was handed over by Romania to
the Soviet Union in 1947 and used as a military base, has been disputed
by Romania. Romanian officials have said the island is just a small
cluster of rocks and cannot be considered a full-fledged part of either
country. But large deposits of oil and gas have reportedly been found
just off the island, and Romania wants to renegotiate "an accord on
borders and on mapping out Black Sea areas." This could mean that 2,800
sq. miles of sea area will be disputed. Ukraine maintains that current
borders are inviolable. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Natalya Zarudna
said neither the island nor the ministers' visit should concern Romania
since the island is part of Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS TO MEET IMF TARGET BY MID-AUGUST. The Belarusian government has
committed itself to meeting the IMF target on renewing investment funds'
licenses by 15 August, Belarusian TV reported on 9 August. This should
help persuade the IMF to release credits worth $250-300 million to the
republic. The investment funds' licenses were rescinded after the first
round of Belarusian privatization in March. Deputy Minister for State
Property and Privatization Vasil Nekrashyevich defended the move, saying
that many investment funds were exploiting their clients by buying
privatization checks below their face value and then reselling them at
higher prices. Nekrashyevich said that such activities have now ceased
and that only three investment funds are still under investigation. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS INCREASES FUEL PRICES. Belarusian Radio on 10 August reported
that the price of oil and oil products in Belarus will increase to match
those of Russia. To date, Belarus has maintained some of the lowest
prices for fuel among CIS countries. Its decision to raise those prices
was prompted by its customs union with Russia, which foresees uniform
fuel prices in both countries. Ironically, integration with Russia was
promoted in Belarus with the argument that closer ties would keep energy
prices down. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

NORWEGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BALTIC STATES. Jorgen Kosmo began a tour
of the Baltic States on 8 August by signing a bilateral military
cooperation agreement with his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas
Linkevicius, in Vilnius. Kosmo then traveled to Latvia where he signed a
similar agreement with Prime Minister Maris Gailis and visited the
training base of the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion at Adazi. He toured
the Tallinn port on 10 August, discussing Norwegian aid for the Estonian
navy, the recently opened defense forces training center in Paldiski,
and the Amari airfield, BNS reported. The next day, he signed a military
cooperation agreement with Estonian Defense Minister Andrus Oovel. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

EIGHT PERSONS REMOVED FROM LATVIAN SAEIMA ELECTION LISTS. The Latvian
Central Electoral Committee on 10 August crossed off eight names from
the lists of candidates in the fall parliamentary elections, BNS
reported. Six candidates of the Socialist Party were removed because
they were active members of the Communist Party after 13 January 1991. A
Russian Citizens' Party candidate was removed for having a forged state-
language test certificate and a National Democratic Party candidate for
having been an employee of the Soviet security services. The Riga Center
District Court the previous day ruled that the stipulation that former
communists cannot run in the parliamentary elections did not contradict
the Latvian Constitution. It also rejected the Socialist Party's demand
that former Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds Rubiks be
reinstated as a parliamentary candidate. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA'S HARD-CURRENCY RESERVES "MORE THAN SUFFICIENT." Prime
Minister Adolfas Slezevicius told a press conference on 10 August that
because of "more than sufficient" reserves of gold and hard currencies,
the value of the litas will remain stable, BNS reported. He said the
reserves are worth almost $700 million, exceeding the amount necessary
to cover all the litai in circulation by $130 million. Slezevicius also
noted that the per capita reserves of Lithuania were larger than those
of Poland. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON ATTEMPT TO POSTPONE POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Polish TV
on 10 August quoted three independent but unidentified sources as saying
that Polish Ambassador to Russia Stanislaw Ciosek, in his letter to the
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander Kwasniewski suggesting
that presidential elections be postponed (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8
August 1995), proposed that President Lech Walesa's term of office be
extended for another two years, after which he would not seek re-
election. His successor would be elected by the National Assembly and
Kwasniewski would be assured of being elected. Gazeta Wyborcza on 11
August quotes an SLD politician Danuta Waniek as saying that Walesa was
pressing in June for the "new round table," as Ciosek's proposal is
known, "otherwise 100,000 people will be [protesting] on the streets."
-- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH FOREIGN RELATIONS. Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra
on 10 August told reporters that he has met with German Foreign Ministry
State Secretary Peter Hartmann several times to discuss ways to improve
bilateral relations, Rude pravo reported. Major disagreements are over
views on the Nazi occupation of the Czech Lands during World War II and
the Czechoslovak government's forced expulsion of Sudetan Germans after
the war. Meanwhile, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus and Agriculture Minister
Josef Lux met with Polish Agriculture Minister Roman Jagelinski in
Prague on 10 August to discuss bilateral relations, the Central European
Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and membership in the EU. Preparations
were also made for a meeting between Klaus and Polish Prime Minister
Jozef Oleksy scheduled for 17 August. Lux and Jagelinski signed an
agricultural cooperation agreement that, according to Lux, should
increase Czech exports of fruit, vegetables, and consumer goods to
Poland, CTK reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH ANNUAL INFLATION RATE BELOW 10%. The Czech Statistical Office has
announced that annual inflation reached only 9.7% in July, Hospodarske
noviny reported on 11 August. Although housing prices increased, grocery
prices fell, particularly those of seasonal vegetables. In other news,
the Czech unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in July. The highest
level was in the district of Karvina (6.8%) and the lowest was in Prague
(0.2%). -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION TAKES ACTION. Democratic Union Deputy Chairman Roman
Kovac confirmed that 43 opposition deputies from the DU, Christian
Democratic Movement, Common Choice, and the Hungarian coalition have
filed charges with the Constitutional Court against a parliamentary
commission established in November 1994, Narodna obroda reported on 11
August. The commission, which consists only of coalition members, is
investigating the "constitutional crisis" of March 1994 and has called
in for questioning a number of deputies who left the ruling Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and Slovak National Party in 1993 and 1994.
The apparent aim of the commission is to collect evidence against the DU
and the Slovak president. Kovac said the commission has been given
executive powers, thereby violating the constitutional division of
powers. Another DU Deputy Chairman, Milan Knazko, criticized the
government's current campaign against the president. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT COUNCIL HOLDS EXTRAORDINARY SESSION ON ROMA. The
Slovak government Council for Nationalities on 10 August held an
extraordinary session at which it adopted proposals on issues of racism
and violence against Roma, Sme reported. The session was attended by 12
Romani groupings (comprising 6 Romani political parties and a total of
30 organizations) as well as representatives of districts with large
Romani populations. The council adopted 10 recommendations aimed at
preventing the spread of violence and, specifically, at monitoring the
activities of skinheads. Council chairman and Deputy Premier Jozef
Kalman said details of the measures to be taken would be worked out
soon. The council also condemned the events of 21 July in Ziar Nad
Hronom as a criminal act. One Romani youth died after being set on fire
by skinheads. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN MILITARY EXERCISES. Hungary and Romania on 10 August
began military exercises provided for by a cooperation agreement signed
by the two countries' Defense Ministries last year, Radio Bucharest
reported. The exercises are taking place in central Hungary and will
last for 10 days. Romania has sent a platoon of some 35 men, who will
participate in shooting practice with their Hungarian counterparts.
Reuters quoted Lieutenant Colonel Laszlo Tikos as saying that a
Hungarian platoon will visit Romania on 28 August. He added that tank
exercises and maneuvers between the countries' Danube River fleets are
also planned for later this year. Both fleets are involved in enforcing
the trade embargo against the rump Yugoslavia. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. PRESENTS EVIDENCE OF SREBRENICA MASSACRE. U.S. Ambassador to the UN
Madeleine Albright told the Security Council on 10 August that there is
"compelling evidence" that Bosnian Serb forces killed up to 2,700
Muslims in Srebrenica and buried them in a mass grave. She produced
photos and an eyewitness, who said he escaped by pretending to be dead
and then fleeing to Bosnian government territory. The Security Council
has demanded that the Serbs allow human rights monitors into the area.
The international media also stated on 11 August that Amnesty
International has released a report saying that up to 4,000 Muslims
remain unaccounted for. The Guardian, however, wrote that there is not
sufficient evidence to conclude that a massacre has taken place. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REPORTS ON MLADIC'S GRISLY ROLE IN SREBRENICA. Newsday reporter Roy
Gutman on 8 August wrote that Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic took
an active interest in the fate of the captured Srebrenica Muslims and
"personally attended much of the butchery that followed." He would
reassure his victims that he would protect them and then promise his
troops a massacre in what one observer called the typical "fascist
pattern we've seen throughout" the conflict. Referring to the men and
boys, Mladic announced to his soldiers that there would be "a feast . .
. with blood up to your knees." Of the women, eyewitnesses said the
internationally wanted war criminal told his troops: "Beautiful. Keep
the good ones over there. Enjoy them." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REFUGEE UPDATE. International media on 11 August reported that the
Security Council has called on Croatia to protect the thousands of Serbs
fleeing to Bosnian Serb territory and to Serbia. Particularly ugly
incidents were reported from Sisak, where Croatian crowds not only
pelted the Serbs with stones and bricks but also hauled them out of
their vehicles and beat them as police looked on. The International
Herald Tribune said that some Serbs swore vengeance, but that one man
blamed the collapse of Krajina on the Serbs' own "crime, smuggling."
Novi list wrote that Serbs in Benkovac forced 70 Croats to flee with
them and killed three of the elderly. The BBC noted that some Bosnian
Serbs have begun joining the Krajina exodus, fearing that the Bosnian or
Croatian armies will move into their areas next. The VOA reported that
Krajina Serb refugees in the Banja Luka area have started forcing the
few remaining Muslims and Croats to flee and that those Muslims and
Croats have begun arriving in Croatia. The broadcast also noted the
"qualitative difference" between the flight of the Krajina Serbs in a
well-coordinated movement of vehicles loaded with goods and the
expulsion of the Croats and Muslims on foot and with little more than
the clothes they were wearing. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER WITHDRAWS RESIGNATION. In a move little noticed
while media attention was on Croatia, Haris Silajdzic offered to resign
on 3 August. International media reported on 11 August that he agreed
the previous day to stay on after receiving much support from Bosnia's
allies abroad and a request to remain in office from President Alija
Izetbegovic. Silajdzic told the Italian daily Il Messaggero on 10 August
that Izetbegovic had acquired more and more power at his expense over
the past year. Silajdzic demanded that the government be responsible
only to the parliament and not to the president. He slammed the
legislature as well, saying that it showed no interest in the fate of
the people of Srebrenica and Gorazde. Finally, the prime minister said
that the current in-fighting was simply about power and did not include
an ideological debate on the role of political Islam. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE COMPLAINS OF "CROATIAN AGGRESSION" . . . Tanjug on 10 August
reported that federal rump Yugoslav authorities plan to appeal to the UN
Security Council to help restrain "Croatian aggression." According to
Tanjug, Belgrade believes that Zagreb remains the key source of "danger
. . . to [an] expansion of the conflict." Belgrade is also expected to
call again for a lifting of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND CONTINUES TO MOBILIZE. AFP on 10 August quoted eyewitnesses as
saying that Belgrade is continuing to move troops and military hardware
closer to the Croatian border in eastern Slavonia. The news agency,
citing the Belgrade newspaper Telegraf, also observed that rump Yugoslav
military authorities may mobilize up to 26,000 reservists who are likely
to be added to the army near Novi Sad, bringing its total up to some 35,
000 troops. Since 5 August, convoys of at least 100 armored vehicles
carrying anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have made their way to
Sid, on the border with Croatia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE MEDIA SIGNAL SHIFT ON "GREATER SERBIA" POLICY? State-run
Serbian TV newscasts since 7 August have used a new format for weather
reports. Previously forecasts were accompanied by maps of the rump
Yugoslavia as well as maps denoting "Serbian lands" occupied by Serbian
forces outside the rump Yugoslavia. Recent broadcasts have shown instead
flower arrangements when commentary switched to accounts of weather
outside the rump Yugoslavia. This development has added fuel to
speculation that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has signaled he is
moving away from the goal of incorporating Serb-held and -populated
territory outside the rump Yugoslavia into a "Greater Serbia." -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN DAILY RENEWS ATTACKS OVER EMBARGO. Romania libera editor-in-
chief Petre Mihai Bacanu, speaking at a press conference on 10 August,
renewed allegations that Nicolae Vacaroiu's cabinet endorsed oil
contraband to the rump Yugoslavia, Radio Bucharest reported. Bacanu
first made the accusation in a 26 July article. He told journalists that
the government was "lying to everybody, including the Security Council,"
over its adherence to the UN embargo, citing several instances of
sanctions-breaking. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry the same day
said his department was strictly applying the sanctions. He mentioned
hundreds of cases in which police and border guards have confiscated
fuel from smugglers. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PREMIER SENDS OPEN LETTER TO DNIESTER LEADER. Andrei Sangheli,
in an open letter to Dniester leader Igor Smirnov, has urged that
Moldovan pupils in the breakaway region be allowed to learn their mother
tongue in the Roman alphabet, Infotag and Interfax reported on 9 and 10
August. Sangheli deplored the confusion reigning at local schools
following a ban on the teaching of "Moldovan" in the Latin script
imposed by Tiraspol last year. The pro-Russian Dniester leadership
insists on the use of the Cyrillic alphabet at schools there. The ban
resulted in the closure last year of Moldovan schools for several
months. The so-called Moldovan language is a Romanian dialect. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT INCREASES ELECTRICITY PRICES. The cabinet on 10
August announced increases in electricity prices by 25% for private
households, and 38% for industry, Bulgarian newspapers reported the
following day. The new prices will go into effect on 1 September. From
15 November, electricity prices will be adjusted to take into account
inflation. Pensioners will receive a monthly compensation equivalent to
the price of 500 kW. Trud reported that the government expects inflation
to go up by 2% as a result of the hikes. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA TO MAKE DEBT PAYMENT. AFP on 10 August reported that Bulgaria
will pay part of its debt to Paris Club creditors on 19 August. The
agency cites a report in Standart based on statements by unidentified
Finance Ministry officials. The next regular debt payment of around $10
million is slated for 30 September. Total repayment on the principal in
1995 amounts to $50 million, while another $5-6 million is due in
interest payments. Standart also reported that the National Bank's
reserves amounted to $1.5 billion on 1 August, up from $889 million in
January. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

RECORD HIGH FOR ALBANIAN TOURISM. Albania in the first half of 1995
registered a record number of foreign visitors, BETA reported on 10
August. Some 36,000 tourists visited the country. Tourism is a key
element in Albania's strategy for economic development. Most foreigners
went to the southern part of the country, where Italian and German
businesses are the largest investors. -- 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
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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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