Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 166, Part II, 25 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: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SLOVAKIA LIMITS RFE/RL LICENSE, CLAIMING BIAS. Slovakia's Board for
Radio and Television Broadcasting on 24 August granted a license
extension for one year, instead of six, to Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty (RFE/RL), alleging that the U.S.-sponsored station is anti-
Slovak, Western and Slovak media reported. Another international
broadcaster, the BBC, received a six-year extension. Peter Juras,
chairman of the board for radio and television, told journalists in
Bratislava that "the reason for this decision was our conclusion that
the station violated its own code of ethics," adding that some RFE/RL
comments lacked balance. Another member of the board said that the board
had the impression the station was "anti-Slovak." RFE/RL officials have
welcomed the extension of the license, vowing to continue providing the
"high quality programs our Slovak listeners expect of us." Both RFE/RL
and the BBC broadcast in the Slovak language via medium wave
transmitters leased in Slovakia; their current licenses expire at the
end of 1995. RFE/RL has been a recent target of Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar and his allies. Some RFE/RL correspondents were
physically attacked by Meciar supporters during a rally in Bratislava
last year and, in March 1994, the Meciar government temporarily pulled
the plug on RFE/RL's Czech and Slovak programs in Slovakia, claiming a
bias against Meciar. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT WILL NOT RESIGN. A spokesman for Slovak President
Michal Kovac told journalists on 24 August that the president "does not
intend to step down and will not accept the resignation of Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar," should Meciar decide to resign. Jan
Carnogursky, chairman of the opposition Christian Democrats, said on 24
August that his party "had information that Meciar wants to resign in
September unless the president steps down." According to Carnogursky,
the president should not accept the resignation of Meciar and his
government and "should stay in his post." Kovac said on 24 August that
he is not interested in "intensifying conflict with the government" and
will not react to government attacks. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

WALESA BLASTS PRIME MINISTER. In remarks to radio reporters on 24
August, President Lech Walesa charged that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy
"cheats however he can and lies whenever he can," Gazeta Wyborcza
reported. Asked why he had used an open letter to demand that the
government increase military spending rather than raise the matter
directly with the prime minister, Walesa said he intended to communicate
with Oleksy only in writing or in the presence of witnesses, as
otherwise the prime minister could falsify the record of the discussion.
Walesa also said that if he is re-elected president he will dismiss
National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Walesa charged that
Gronkiewicz-Waltz's candidacy was supported by postcommunist banking
circles. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLAND RATIFIES CHEMICAL CONVENTION. Poland became the 35th country to
ratify the convention banning the production, possession, or use of
chemical weapons, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 August. The convention was
opened for signature in January 1993 and so far 159 nations have signed
it. However, 65 must ratify it before it comes into force. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY REINFORCES ITS BORDER WITH SLAVONIA. Hungary on 24 August
strengthened its defenses with eastern Slavonia, a territory in Croatia
held by rebel Serbs, Western agencies reported. A border guard spokesman
said the move was in response to tension on the border between Serbia
and Croatia, which, he claimed, "was visibly mounting." According to the
spokesman, five border guard units have been brought in from other areas
of Hungary to patrol the 66-kilometer section of the border. He said
patrols would be stepped up but called the measures "purely
precautionary." -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIANS MARK FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE. President Leonid
Kuchma presided over national celebrations marking four years since the
Ukrainian Parliament declared the former Soviet republic an independent
state, Reuters and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 24 August. Kuchma told a
rally in Kiev that Ukraine had laid the foundations for a prosperous
economy but still needed to overcome many of the mistakes made in the
first years of independence. He said the country needed its own economic
model rather than copying Western ones. He said a so-called
constitutional accord between himself and a majority of lawmakers,
signed in June, set political reforms in motion and laid the groundwork
for the formation of a presidential/parliamentary system of government.
He said the pact also dismantled the "impotent" Soviet system of
administration. The Ukrainian leader also announced that the government
was prepared to serve as a mediator in talks over the unification of
rival Orthodox churches in Ukraine in an effort to end religious
tensions that have occasionally erupted into violence over church
property. He said that despite accusations of "persecution" by the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate after riot police
clashed with mourners at the recent funeral of its patriarch, his
government would not favor one confession over another in disputes over
property and other matters. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

IMF MAY RELEASE CREDIT TO BELARUS. Following a visit to Washington by
Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Chairman of
the National Bank of Belarus Stanislau Bahdankevich, the acting managing
director of the IMF, Stanley Fischer, said that Belarus had made
considerable progress in reforming and stabilizing its economy and that
he was confident the IMF board would consider the country's request for
a $290 million tranche of a stand-by loan next month, Reuters and AFP
reported on 24 August. Fischer praised Minsk for its efforts to meet IMF
conditions, especially in making its international credit payments. He
said almost all key issues regarding the release of the credit have been
resolved, although discussions on the technicalities of some aspects
continue. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

MORE ON BELARUSIAN STRIKES. The Minsk Municipal Court has ruled that a
strike staged by metro workers on 17 August was illegal, Belarusian
Radio reported on 23 August. The following day Interfax reported that
deputy Syarhei Antonchyk told a press conference that police had
detained around 30 strikers for their actions. Three trade-union
leaders--Henadz Bykau, Mykola Kanakh and Uladzimir Makarchuk--were
sentenced to 10-15 days of administrative detention. Antonchyk himself
had been detained for around three days despite his parliamentary
immunity, but no charges were filed against him and he was ultimately
released. There are conflicting stories about the legality of his
arrest. One report stated that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka issued an
order suspending parliament deputies' immunity, but presidential
spokesman Uladzimir Zamyatalin denied the existence of such a decree. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

RUEHE'S COMMENTS ON BALTIC STATES CRITICIZED. An article in the 24
August Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung rebukes German Defense Minister
Volker Ruehe for his remarks in the Baltic States on their possible NATO
membership. It cites Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel as saying that the
security architecture in the Baltics could not be built at the expense
of the Baltic States. Germany and the European Union, he said,
understand their wish to become NATO members and would not accept the
creation of gray areas of security. The honorary chairman of the Free
Democratic Party, Otto von Lambsdorff, said that Germany should make
every effort to avoid creating zones of different security in Russia's
neighborhood. In his opinion, Ruehe's remarks could evoke the "highest
concern" for the Baltic states over Bonn's foreign policy course. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIA PASSES LAW ON RADIO AND TELEVISION. The law on radio and
television, adopted by the Saeima on 24 August, provides that state
television and radio be financed from the state budget while privately-
owned channels ensure their own existence, BNS reported. The idea of
having subscription fees for radio and television owners was rejected.
The Saeima will appoint a nine-member National Radio and Television
Council to a four-year term. Foreign television stations, Latvian radio,
cable and satellite broadcasters are exempted from the law's requirement
that the broadcasting time in a foreign language not exceed 30% of total
airtime per month. Starting 1 January, commercials for alcoholic
beverages--except wine and beer--and tobacco products will be banned. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIA REJECTS CHARGES OVER KRAJINA. Croatian Foreign Minister Mate
Granic has again blasted the "false information" that claims that
Croatian forces have systematically burned or destroyed abandoned
Serbian property in Krajina, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported
on 25 August. Granic said that there were isolated cases of excesses
that would be firmly punished, but that they were not the work of
regular Croatian forces. To date 524 Serbian corpses have been counted,
of which 24 civilians have been identified. The minister rejected
Bosnian Serb offers of a territorial exchange in southern Croatia.
Granic is visiting Austria, whose Prime Minister Franz Vranitzky has
criticized Croatia over Krajina. The former Slovenian defense minister,
Janez Jansa, in turn attacked the Austrian Socialist leader, saying that
"Mr. Vranitzky does not hear the [Serbian] shells [falling] on
Karlovac." Austrian conservative politicians have welcomed Granic. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

IMPASSE OVER SERBIAN REFUGEES FROM KNIN. Nearly 700 Serbs who fled
Croatia's lightning victory earlier this month are still waiting to
leave UN headquarters in Knin for Serb-held territory, international
media reported on 25 August. Plans for them to depart have been held up
by a dispute between Croatia and the UN over suspected war criminals in
the group. Zagreb has identified 61 persons whom it will not allow to
leave and wants to examine. The UN, however, will not release them
without a detailed account of the charges and assurances that the UN can
monitor the interrogations. Novi list quoted the leader of Croatia's
Serbian People's Party, Milan Dukic, as accusing the Croatian military
of deliberately destroying Serbian property in Krajina in order to
discourage Serbs from returning. Croatian authorities in turn suspect
the Serbs of making such charges in an effort to distract attention from
Serbian war crimes. Slobodna Dalmacija cited a Roman Catholic official
as saying that the Serbs had destroyed all Catholic church buildings in
Krajina, but that the Croats would now "build even more beautiful
churches." Sky Channel News on 24 August showed footage of Croatian
troops guarding Serbian churches in Krajina. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

SACIRBEY CRITICIZES NEW PEACE PROJECT. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed
Sacirbey said that new U.S. peace efforts are flawed because they
include no plans for sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs if they reject
the project. The VOA on 25 August also quoted him as likening Bosnia to
a crippled man who had been hit by a drunk driver. Sacirbey added that
lifting the arms embargo against his government would provide an impetus
to the peace process by encouraging the Serbs to negotiate seriously.
The Belgrade weekly NIN, however, quoted Bosnian Serb "parliament
speaker" Momcilo Krajisnik as saying that EU mediator Carl Bildt had
recently given the Serbs "guarantees [in Geneva] that there will be two
separate states with compact territories within the former Bosnia-
Herzegovina." Krajisnik called that "great progress," AFP noted. Bildt
has been declared persona non grata in Croatia, and the Bosnian
authorities refuse to meet with him. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN TROOPS ATTACK BRITISH. News agencies reported on 25 August that
suspected rogue members of the Bosnian army attacked British UN
peacekeepers in Gorazde the previous night. A 15-minute fire-fight left
two Bosnians dead but no British casualties, and the motive for the
attack was unclear. The UN has protested the incident, but the British
government called it "minor incursion." The U.K. troops are in the
process of leaving the UN-declared "safe area," which is now supposed to
be only protected by NATO air power. Former UN human rights monitor
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who quit in disgust over the international
community's failure to protect Srebrenica and Zepa, said in Kuala Lumpur
that his resignation was final. Elsewhere, Bosnian Radio reported that
videos discovered in the rooms of Bihac-pocket kingpin Fikret Abdic
revealed dissension in his followers' ranks. The tapes also suggested a
link between Abdic's men and the death of Bosnia's foreign minister
earlier this year. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN ENVOY MEETS SERBIAN PRESIDENT. Russian envoy Alexander Zotov met
in Belgrade with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on 24 August to
discuss peace prospects in the former Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported
the following day. Zotov, Moscow's representative to the five-nation
Contact Group, met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on 21 August
and with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic the following day. In other
news, Tanjug reported on 23 August that rump Yugoslavia's new foreign
minister, Milan Milutinovic, wrote UNESCO, urging the international body
to protect the Serbian cultural legacy in Krajina. -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CONDEMNS KARADZIC. Vuk Draskovic's Serbian
Renewal Movement (SPO) issued a statement on 23 August condemning the
leadership of the Bosnian Serbs, Serbian TV in Belgrade reported the
same day. According to the report, the SPO has concluded that the recent
Bosnian Serb attacks on Sarajevo are simply "one more incomprehensible,
uncivilized, anti-Serbian action undertaken by the war adventurers in
Pale." The statement went on to add that "it is now crystal clear that
Radovan Karadzic and all his supporters want to stop the peace process
and carry on the war at any cost." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN ARMY SHOOTS AT KOSOVAR ALBANIANS. The Serbian army fired mortar
shells on Albanian neighborhoods in Urosevac on 22 August, according to
the Kosova Daily Report on 23 August. The attack damaged houses but no
casualties were reported. Albanian political parties in the region and
human rights groups denounced the incident as an attempt to provoke a
conflict in Kosovo. Meanwhile, according to Serbian officials, about
5,000 Serbian refugees have arrived in Kosovo and another 7,000 are
still expected. Refugees who are willing to settle in Kosovo are offered
more farmland than refugees who want to settle in other regions,
Politika says, but many refugees who arrive still end up wanting to
leave the region soon after their arrival. Fifty Serb refugees left
Prizren on 23 August for Serbia proper, the Kosova Daily Report said on
24 August. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

HORN TO ATTEMPT TO DISSUADE ROMANIANS FROM IMPLEMENTING EDUCATION LAW.
Citing the Hungarian news agency MTI, Radio Bucharest on 25 August
reported that Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn will initiate a
"governmental level" meeting in an attempt to dissuade Romanian
President Ion Iliescu from implementing a recently-passed, controversial
education law. Horn also said he wanted to talk with Slovak Premier
Vladimir Meciar on Slovakia's new language law and said he had already
initiated talks with Belgrade on the resettling of Serb refugees in
Vojvodina. Horn considers the measure as "modifying the province's
ethnic balance." The Hungarian premier also said Budapest will not
introduce visa requirements for citizens from neighboring countries but
will take other measures to prevent criminal elements from entering
Hungarian territory. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

CHISINAU PARLIAMENTARY ROUNDTABLE ON POLITICAL SITUATION. Triggered by
the conflict between President Mircea Snegur and the Democratic Agrarian
Party of Moldova, a roundtable on the political situation in Moldova was
held on 24 August with the participation of most parties represented in
the legislature, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. Two opposition
parties, the Popular Front Christian Democratic and the United
Democratic Congress did not, however, participate in the debate, which
was organized at the initiative of the parliament. Participants
expressed deep concern in view of the escalation of the conflict between
the presidency, the government and the parliament. They called on the
state structures "to assume full responsibility for normal functioning
and the safeguarding of the image of a country striving to advance on
the road to stability and democracy." They also agreed to hold similar
consultative meetings at intervals of two months at the most. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

NEW TWIST IN BULGARIAN MILITARY DEATHS. The office of Sofia's Military
Prosecutor has released revealing information relating to a case
involving the deaths of 14 military personnel, Bulgarian Radio reported
on 23 August. A military truck crashed and burned in Sofia on 11 August,
resulting in the deaths (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 August 1995). The
prosecutor's office says a row of bullet holes, allegedly coming from
the make and model of a firearm used by professional assassins, has been
detected in one of the vehicle's doors. Investigation into the incident
continues. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

PEDAGOGIC SEMINAR FOR MACEDONIAN-LANGUAGE TEACHERS FOR ALBANIA. The
Macedonian Ministry of Education and Physical Culture organized a
seminar in Ohrid for teachers from Albania who will teach the Macedonian
language in that country, the independent Macedonian news agency MIC
reported on 23 August. The seminar focuses on Macedonian language,
literature, and culture. Meanwhile, a new round of talks began in Tetovo
between the Macedonian government and the ethnic Albanian political
parties under the mediation of EU diplomat Gerd Ahrens. The aim is to
solve the conflict about a law on higher education in the Albanian
language for the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, BETA reports on 24
August. The leader of the Party of Democratic Prosperity of the
Albanians, Arben Xhaferi, repeated demands that a university in the
Albanian language be opened and the use of the language be allowed in
parliament and public offices. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN-GREEK TRANSPORT COMMISSION MEETS. A two-day meeting of the
Albanian-Greek Commission on Transport opened in Ioannina on 22 August,
Radio Tirana reported on 23 August. The first session of the meeting
focused on agreements on road transport, including goods transport, and
addressed rail links between the two countries. A bilateral transport
protocol is expected to be signed. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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