The burnt child shuns the fire until the next day. - Mark Twain

No. 161, Part II, 18 August 1995

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, 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:


UKRAINE'S GLOOMY HARVEST FORECAST. Deputy Prime Minister in charge of
agriculture Petro Sabluk announced that previous harvest forecasts have
been optimistic and the country will probably produce only 37 million
tons of grain this year, Reuters reported on 17 August. This is only 1.5
million tons more than last year's crop, which was damaged by drought.
Sabluk put the poor harvest down to lack of fertilizers, outdated
machinery, and a locust outbreak. Stressing the inefficiency of
Ukraine's agricultural sector, Sabluk said one-fifth of production was
lost annually, totaling $7 billion. Sabluk also said the government was
reintroducing quotas and licenses on grain exports until the government
purchases the state quota of 10 million tons. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,

over the legal status of the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian National
Assembly (UNA) was canceled after UNA supporters disrupted proceedings,
Reuters reported on 17 August. Some 200 UNA supporters crowded into a
courtroom meant to seat 50. When the judge asked those standing to leave
they refused, whereupon the judge and court employees walked out. UNA's
legal status has come into question because of some of its activities,
which include sending fighters to help oppose Russia in Chechnya and
Abkhazia. UNA supporters were blamed for causing a riot during the
burial of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church earlier this month,
which resulted in police beating mourners with truncheons. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BALTIC TROOPS IN CROATIA. The Latvian Saeima on 17 August voted to
approve the sending of a 40-member volunteer unit to Croatia as part of
the Danish UN peacekeeping battalion, BNS reported. The unit, which has
been training in Denmark for several months, is scheduled to fly to
Croatia on 23 August. Similar units from Lithuania and Estonia recently
ended six-month tours and their replacements will arrive in Croatia on
18 August. It appears likely that the Baltic units will not serve the
normal six-month term since the UN is planning to reduce its troop
levels by withdrawing the Danish battalion within several months. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Slezevicius told a press conference on 17 August that an American or
Japanese company will soon be authorized to sell Lithuanian government
bonds abroad, BNS reported. He said that the earlier practice of selling
the bonds only in Lithuania was detrimental since it had increased the
cost of loans in commercial banks. Lithuania is following the example of
Latvia, which recently reached an agreement with the Nomura Securities
Company in Japan to receive a $45 million loan in exchange for two-year
Latvian government bonds with 5.4% annual interest. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

Education Tatstsyana Halko said President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
decision to ban textbooks printed since independence and replace them
with Soviet-era books was completely unexpected and that education
workers were unprepared for the move, Belarusian Radio reported on 17
August. Halko said there had been no information on the presidential
administration's work in examining the text books to determine if they
were appropriate. In other news, it was reported that the president's
administration was investigating the activities of the Ministry of
Culture and Publishing. The head of the department of political
information in the president's administration, Uladzimir Zamyatalin,
said one reason was to evaluate the ministry's activities during the
critical period of state building. Following the investigation, the
ministry may be divided into two: a Ministry of Culture and a Ministry
of Publications. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CEFTA MEETING IN WARSAW. Trade ministers from the Central European Free
Trade Agreement (CEFTA) -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and
Slovakia -- began a two-day meeting in Warsaw on 17 August. Slovenia's
trade minister is also present. The conditions of admitting Slovenia to
CEFTA are to be discussed together with an agreement on the reduction or
elimination of tariffs on industrial products from 1 January 1996,
Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH "WATERGATE." Two right-wing presidential candidates, Polish
National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and Supreme Court
President Adam Strzembosz, at a common press conference on 17 August
strongly criticized secret negotiations on extending current President
Lech Walesa's term of office for another two years. Gronkiewicz-Waltz
compared these negotiations to the Watergate affair that forced U.S.
President Richard Nixon to resign. Strzembosz said that allowing for
Walesa's term to be extended meant "not only the instrumentalization of
law, but also the abolition of the normative character of the
constitution," Polish media reported on 18 August. -- Jakub Karpinski,
OMRI, Inc.

KOREANS TO INVEST $1.1 BILLION IN POLAND. The president of the South
Korean Daewoo Corporation, Kim Woo Choong, on 16 August signed a letter
of intent in Warsaw with the director of the state-owned car factory FSO
Zeran, Andrzej Tyszkiewicz. Daewoo will take a 60% stake in FSO and
promised to invest $1.1 billion in the enterprise. Daewoo plans to
produce up to 220,000 cars annually and maintain the present workforce
of 20,000, Polish and international media reported. Daewoo has already
invested $900 million in Romania and promised large investment in a car
plant in Lublin, Poland. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH, POLISH PREMIERS MEET. Vaclav Klaus and Jozef Oleksy discussed
their countries' approaches to the EU and NATO during a meeting in
northern Moravia on 17 August, Czech media report. The only point of
difference was over Oleksy's call, made at the EU summit in Cannes in
June, for a special EU summit to consider what he feels is the slow
progress being made in admitting central European countries to the EU.
Klaus said he still believes a special summit is unnecessary. But he
added that the Czech Republic wants to continue cooperating closely with
Poland in their joint quest for NATO membership. Both prime ministers
said there were no serious problems in Czech-Polish bilateral relations.
-- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

TWO CZECH PARTIES PLAN MERGER. Leaders of the extraparliamentary Free
Democrats (SD) and the small Liberal Social National Party (LSNS) met on
17 August and said they hoped to merge their parties by the end of this
year and jointly contest next year's parliament elections. SD chairman
Jiri Dienstbier said there was a need for a strong centrist, liberal
grouping on the Czech political scene, Czech media report. According to
recent opinion polls, the SD and LSNS together would not gain the 5% of
the total vote needed to secure parliamentary representation. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OFFICIAL ON U.S. RELATIONS. Foreign Ministry State Secretary
Jozef Sestak told Slovak Radio on 17 August that the U.S. "supports the
positive development in Slovakia." The ministry sent a note to the U.S.
government on 9 August, asking whether it had changed its attitude
towards the Slovak government (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 August 1995).
According to Sestak, the U.S. requested that its response not be made
public, but he stated that the U.S. government "reconfirmed mutual
respect" between the two countries, and said it was "prepared to
cooperate . . . with Slovakia's democratically elected representatives."
Sestak also reacted to an editorial in The New York Times on 15 August
which said "both Bonn and Washington have stepped up their warnings that
[increasing government intervention in such areas as culture and
education] would bar Slovakia from NATO and the European Union." Sestak
called the editorial "a compilation of various facts and half-truths"
and said the U.S. "promptly reacted," disagreeing with both its timing
and its contents. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

Radio Twist on 21 August will launch its news program, "Zurnal Radio
Twist," to compete with state-owned Slovak Radio's "Radiozurnal." The
start-up date was planned to coincide with the anniversary of the 1968
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. According to the program's
director Lubos Machaj, "it is a day when we lost our freedom 27 years
ago and a day when our station will begin to freely broadcast
information," Pravda reports. The program's journalists include several
well-known figures who were dismissed from state TV and radio. From
September the program, to be broadcast twice daily for 25 to 35 minutes,
will also be accessible in central Slovakia through a network of other
stations. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.


Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on 18 August that over 4,000 Croatian troops
backed by tanks have assembled in the Dubrovnik region for an apparent
assault on Trebinje. The goal is to take the heights over the medieval
town and end the Serb shelling of the region. Mlada fronta dnes said
that volunteer firemen are continuing to fight the blazes in the
countryside caused by the shells. Reuters reported on 17 August that
Dubrovnik's art treasures are being boarded up for safekeeping. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

HAVE THE CROATS TAKEN DRVAR? Bosnian Croatian troops have the west
Bosnian town of Drvar "under their control," according to Croatian Radio
on 17 August. The broadcast added that the Serbs suffered heavy losses
and that the elite Podrinjska Brigade was destroyed. The fleeing Serbs
reportedly left behind large quantities of arms and ammunition,
including long-range artillery. There has been no independent
confirmation of the story. Meanwhile in the Bosnian government army,
there has been a major shakeup of the command structure, particularly at
the corps level, according to Vjesnik on 18 August. The move had been
announced earlier by President Alija Izetbegovic. Reuters reported that
Britain and France will ask the UN Security Council to "chastize Croatia
and Bosnia publicly for political and financial demands they say will
cripple the Rapid Reaction Force." The UN and NATO, meanwhile, have
finalized plans to protect the remaining "safe areas" and have warned
the Serbs that "hostile actions will be met with air strikes." The UN
has announced, however, that it intends to remove all peacekeepers
except for a skeleton force from Gorazde by mid-September. The
Ukrainians will leave for sure and the British will probably follow.
Malaysia has rejected an appeal to send 10 men to Gorazde, saying that a
tiny force is likely to be taken hostage. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MLADIC BLASTS KARADZIC. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic had ordered
that Drvar be defended at all costs, but Bosnian Serb military commander
General Ratko Mladic remained silent in public. On 17 August, however,
he faxed a fresh attack on Karadzic to news agencies. The message said
that Karadzic "is probably aware that he has lost the support of the
main pillars of our society, the people and the army." Meanwhile, Globus
on 18 August reported that a former ally of the two internationally
indicted war criminals, Bihac-pocket kingpin Fikret Abdic, is "under the
supervision" of Croatian police in Zagreb's Palace Hotel. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

list on 18 August quoted Minister Adalbert Rebic as saying that his
government calculates the Serbs will expel to Croatia up to 20,000
Croats. Some 4,769 have come in recent days from the Banja Luka area
plus another 406 from Srijem. Reuters said that 350 Muslims have arrived
east of Travnik after being deported by the Serbs and that more are on
the way. Meanwhile in Serbia, the French aid group Medecins du Monde
called the situation of the Krajina Serb refugees "a humanitarian
emergency under control." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MILOSEVIC MEETS HOLBROOKE, BILDT. BETA reported on 17 August that on the
same day Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met with U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke for five hours, but no agreement
was reached on a resolution to the Bosnian crisis. Talks between the two
resumed on 18 August, but were interrupted the previous day when
European Union negotiator Carl Bildt made "an unexpected stopover" in
Belgrade and himself met with Milosevic. Bildt is persona non grata in
Zagreb, following his charge that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman may
be guilty of war crimes, and Bosnian government officials have refused
to meet with him, observing that the peace process he is promoting is
dead. Finally, AFP on 18 August reports that Milosevic is slated to meet
the Greek and Spanish foreign ministers the same day. -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

leader Bob Dole on 17 August sent a letter to President Bill Clinton,
cautioning against lifting sanctions against Belgrade until a
comprehensive regional peace settlement is reached, international media
reported. At least a partial lifting of sanctions in exchange for
Belgrade's recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is
reportedly part of the plan being discussed in the region by Assistant
Secretary of State Holbrooke. "If we lift sanctions now for what are
clearly minimal returns, such a comprehensive settlement will be
virtually impossible to reach and implement . . . The bottom line is
that sanctions are the only real leverage the international community
has been willing to use on the Belgrade regime," wrote Dole. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

Kontic has appealed to the Danish government to unfreeze Belgrade's bank
assets, Tanjug reported on 16 August. According to Kontic, Belgrade's
Danish assets would go towards procuring humanitarian aid for the
Krajina Serb refugees in rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRIVATIZATION LIST PUBLISHED. The government published a list
of 3,907 state-owned enterprises it hopes to sell in a new wave of
privatization, Romanian and Western media reported on 17 August.
However, it admitted that nearly 25% of the firms on offer were loss-
making, and some were virtually bankrupt. This contradicts an earlier
pledge that only profitable firms would be privatized. Iacob Zelenco,
the head of the National Privatization Agency, claimed in an interview
with national TV that most of the loss-making firms faced minimal or
temporary financial difficulties. Romania's Parliament in June adopted a
law to speed up privatization of nearly 6,200 state enterprises, based
on a coupon system. Distribution of the nominative coupons started on 1
August. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

city council of Tiraspol, the capital of the self-proclaimed Dniester
republic, attacked the local authorities for having allegedly
surrendered to the government in Chisinau by accepting that the Moldovan
currency is used in clearing operations, Infotag reported on 17 August.
The council, which is packed with radicals and former communists,
accused Supreme Soviet Chairman Grigorii Marakutsa and acting Dniester
bank governor Vyacheslav Zagryadsky of planning to "liquidate" the
Dniester republic by favoring its "economic and political absorption
into Moldova." Dniester President Igor Smirnov, who attended the
meeting, dismissed the criticism as "malevolent." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI,

Report puts Bulgaria in 65th place among the 174 UN members,
Demokratsiya reports on 18 August. In 1991, Bulgaria ranked 33rd and in
1994 it was 48th. The report measures GDP, real spending power, life
expectancy, and education level. According to the report, average life
expectancy went down by almost four years since 1991, and is now 71.2
years. Men's life expectancy is only 67.6 years, and women's 74.4. Some
7% of the Bulgarian population are "absolutely illiterate." A ranking of
women's emancipation, which includes women's participation in economic
and political decision-making, puts Bulgaria in 20th place, two below
Hungary. They are the only former Communist countries among the top 20.
-- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

member was cited by 24 chasa on 18 August as saying that Zhan Videnov is
dissatisfied with the performance of some members of his cabinet. But
according to an anonymous top official of the Bulgarian Socialist Party,
Videnov will not reshuffle his cabinet before Spring 1996. The report
said Videnov is particularly dissatisfied with Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Economic Development Rumen Gechev. Also under fire are
Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev, Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov,
Labor and Social Welfare Minister Mincho Koralski, and Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev. Other ministers, including
Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, were also strongly criticized by
Videnov. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

delegation visited Albania on 17 August, BETA reported the same day. The
delegation was received by President Sali Berisha, who described the
situation in the Balkans as "very tense" and said that Serbia should not
be thanked for its restraint after the Croatian offensive since that
would be to "reward the aggressor." He also said that the settlement of
refugees in Kosovo increases the danger of a spill-over of the conflict
to the south. Meanwhile, Albania and the U.S. signed an agreement for $5
million worth of humanitarian aid. It contains mainly olive oil and is
part of a $70 million aid package to Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570

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