|When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield|
No. 168, Part II, 29 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 WALESA REORGANIZES PRESIDENTIAL STAFF. Polish President Lech Walesa told reporters on 28 August that Mieczyslaw Wachowski, the top aide who was fired three days earlier, "is and remains my friend," Gazeta Wyborcza reported. There were two reasons for the dismissal, Walesa said. Wachowski needed a rest from constant accusations of misconduct, and the president needed to reorganize his office to prepare for a second term. Walesa on 28 August promoted presidential staffers Andrzej Zakrzewski to minister of state (last held by Wachowski) and Andrzej Ananicz to secretary of state. Zakrzewski met with several former Walesa aides who had left the president's service because of disagreements with Wachowski in an apparent attempt to regroup for the fall elections. Walesa indicated to reporters that former Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski is being courted to head the president's re-election campaign. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. POLISH BISHOPS OPPOSE POSTCOMMUNISTS. In a pastoral letter read out in all Catholic churches on 27 August, the Polish episcopate urged Catholics not to vote for candidates in the upcoming elections who "participated in the exercise of power at the highest party and government levels under totalitarian rule," Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The Church hierarchy traditionally declines to endorse specific candidates but instead issues general guidelines for voter behavior. The statement supported candidates who defend "ethical and evangelical values but also respect the views of other faiths and non-believers." Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski argued that the bishops' admonition did not refer to him. His role as minister for youth and sport in the last two communist governments was nothing to be ashamed of, he said. National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz commented that Kwasniewski should have another look at his own resume. Kwasniewski joined the communist party in 1977 and was one of the its rising stars in the late 1980s. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN LIBERALS THREATEN TO QUIT RULING COALITION. Hungary's Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over a proposal to name a deputy prime minister to oversee the economy, Radio Budapest and international agencies reported. The liberals argue that such a post would diminish the power of Finance Minister Lajos Bokros, whose controversial austerity package aimed at dealing with the country's large budget deficit enjoys strong support from the SZDSZ. Prime Minister Gyula Horn has stressed he intends to establish the post, despite opposition from the coalition partner. He has also said he is in favor of appointing trade union leader Sandor Nagy, who is generally regarded as leader of the Socialist Party's left wing, which is opposed to both the austerity package and market reforms that result in job losses. The Socialists have a narrow majority in the parliament, but it is unclear what the party's pro-market wing would do in the event of a split with the SZDSZ. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN PARTY CALLS FOR BREAK WITH ROMANIA. International agencies on 28 August reported that Hungary's Smallholders' Party has called on the government to break off diplomatic relations with Romania. The call came at a weekend meeting of opposition parties in Hungary. Prime Minister Gyula Horn, who was present at the meeting, called for a continued dialogue and diplomatic efforts to improve relations with Romania. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN PARTY OF GYPSIES DEMANDS PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION. Albert Horvath, leader of the Hungarian Party of Gypsies, hand-delivered a letter to Premier Gyula Horn demanding that the government guarantee Gypsies parliamentary representation, MTI reported on 28 August. He said he had to resort to delivering the letter to the Socialist Party headquarters because he had written so many already and not received an answer. Horvath cited constitutional paragraphs promising minorities representation in the parliament as well as equal political and cultural rights. He pointed out that the unemployment rate for the minority stands at 80% and that many Gypsies earn only 6,700 forint ($55). Without parliamentary representation, he said his party was unable to try to make changes. Some Romani and Gypsy parties do not use the name "Roma" in order to include those groups that do not speak Romani. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK PREMIERS TO DISCUSS SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW. Gyula Horn and Vladimir Meciar plan to meet to discuss the draft of a controversial Slovak language law during the Central European Free Trade Agreement meeting in the Czech town of Brno on 11 September, Hungarian media reported on 28 August. The draft language law would require all schools, including those predominantly or exclusively attended by members of the Hungarian minority, to teach in the Slovak language. An estimated 600,000 ethnic Hungarians live in southern Slovakia. -- Jan Obrman, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS CRITICIZE LUPTAK. The Slovak Christian Democratic Movement has again attacked Jan Luptak, deputy parliamentary chairman and a member of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, for questioning the need for independent judges, TASR reported on 28 August. Christian Democratic deputy Ivan Simko was quoted as saying that it is "incredible that the chairman of a party that nominated the minister of justice is attacking the very pillars of a free society, namely the independence of the judiciary." Luptak said in an interview with Slovak TV on 17 August that "it is a mistake for society to have independent judges [at a time] of economic transformation." -- Jan Obrman, OMRI, Inc. MOST BELARUSIAN SCHOOLCHILDREN TO STUDY IN RUSSIAN. Following the May referendum on giving the Russian language equal status with Belarusian, it appears the majority of first graders will be taught in Russian, Belarusian Radio reported on 28 August. Of the 25,000 first graders in Minsk, 11,000 will be taught in Russian and 5,000 in Belarusian. The parents of the remaining 9,000 have not yet decided in which language they want their children to receive instruction. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian Radio on 28 August reported that foreign investment in Ukraine increased in the first six months of the year to $560 million. The biggest investors are Germany and the U.S., which respectively account for 20% and 19% of total foreign investment. They are followed by Britain, Russia, Cyprus, Switzerland, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Most investment has gone into the machine building industry, metals, domestic trade, the food business, and light industry. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. FINNISH PRESIDENT VISITS LATVIA. Martti Ahtisaari, at the start of a two-day visit to Riga on 28 August, met with his Latvian counterpart, Guntis Ulmanis, BNS reported. They discussed the financial situation in Latvia and how Finland could assist Latvia to join the European Union. Finnish and Latvian Foreign Ministers Tarja Halonen and Valdis Birkavs signed an accord on formally handing back to Latvia its pre-war embassy building in Helsinki. The ministers also discussed the possibilities of introducing visa-free travel between the two countries, Finnish assistance to Latvian border guards, and cooperation in combating organized crime. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Zbigniew Okonski and his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevicius, on 28 August signed protocols on cultural cooperation and the transfer of military equipment to Lithuania, RFE/RL reported. They also discussed the formation of a joint UN peacekeeping battalion. Okonski met with President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, and Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT DEMANDS ACTION. The attack on Sarajevo's Markale market on 28 August left at least 37 dead and 87 wounded, international media reported the following day. Soon after the shelling, Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said that Bosnia's participation in the peace process should be suspended until NATO clarified its role in protecting Sarajevo as a UN-designated "safe area." Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey stressed that "there must be some credibility restored by the international community in not allowing terrorism to undermine their own peace process [or] their own credibility." President Alija Izetbegovic promised revenge against the Serbs, adding that "as far as the killers are concerned, my message to them is we shall strike back . . . and very soon too." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBS DENY INVOLVEMENT IN SHELLING . . . Nasa Borba on 29 August said the entire Bosnian Serb leadership has denied any connection with the Sarajevo attack. As was the case with the previous shelling of the market on 5 February 1994, the Serbs suggested that the government bombarded its own people for devious ends. The Serbian civilian leader, Radovan Karadzic, told SRNA that "the Muslim side, as usual, on the eve of important moments in the negotiations, staged a massacre of its own population to sabotage the peace process." His information minister called it "a classic act of Islamic terrorism." The military commander, General Ratko Mladic, said his men were not responsible. Bosnian Serb Radio claimed that soon after the Markale incident, government forces shelled a Serbian Orthodox church near Sarajevo and killed a member of a wedding party. There has generally been a pattern of the Serbs denying war crimes and accusing the Muslims or Croats of similar things each time the Serbs have done something particularly condemnable. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. . . . BUT UN DOES NOT BELIEVE THEM. Few people outside Serbian circles seemed to believe Karadzic and his fellows, however. The UN on 29 August announced that it had "concluded beyond all reasonable doubt" that Bosnian Serb forces fired the 120mm mortar round into an area packed with innocent civilians. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, would follow. Air strikes or use of the Rapid Reaction Force nearby were the two most likely options. The UN statement added that "all options are being reviewed, including the use of air power." Even the usually mild-mannered special envoy, Yasushi Akashi, said there would be "very strong action." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. BOSNIAN SERBS WELCOME U.S. PEACE PLAN. The International Herald Tribune on 29 August said U.S. mediator Richard Holbrooke was somewhat cautious in his recommendations as to what should be done. Holbrooke, the "architect" of the short-lived policy of direct talks with Pale last winter, is now promoting Washington's latest effort to secure peace by effectively partitioning Bosnia. The Sarajevo government rejects any attempt to destroy the unity of the country. But the Bosnian Serb "legislature," meeting on Mt. Jahorina in the early hours of 29 August, welcomed Holbrooke's efforts for "a durable and just peace." Karadzic applauded the plan, saying earlier on Bosnian Serb Radio that "the American initiative, as far as we know, takes into account a maximum of Serb interests, and I hope our parliament will welcome this offer favorably." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. WHAT DID THE DUTCH KNOW IN SREBRENICA? The Bosnian Serb legislators also agreed that they and rump Yugoslavia would be represented at future international conferences by a joint delegation. The measure had been suggested by EU mediator Carl Bildt, SRNA said. Meanwhile, Bosnian and Serbian media continued to speculate on persistent but unconfirmed reports that Mladic has tried to arrest Karadzic. The two internationally wanted war criminals have been publicly at odds over a variety of issues related to tactics and power. In Gorazde, British forces completed their withdrawal ahead of schedule, leaving behind only two military observers and a political analyst. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 28 August reported on the continued row in the Netherlands over the behavior of Dutch peacekeepers following the fall of Srebrenica in July. They have been charged with turning a blind eye to massacres of Muslims and other war crimes in order to avoid clashing with the Serbs. The latest reports suggested that the Dutch virtually had to stumble over mounds of corpses as they were leaving the area. AFP said that the Serbs still refuse to allow an independent investigation . -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MORE REFUGEES EXPECTED IN VOJVODINA . . . A peace conference in the Hungarian town of Szeged, attended by nongovernmental representatives from 15 countries, has expressed fears that another 70,000 Krajina Serbs will be settled in Vojvodina, which has large Hungarian, Croatian, and other Central European minorities, Hungarian TV1 reported on 27 August. Meanwhile, Hina on 28 August said that 565 ethnic Croatian refugees arrived in Croatia from Vojvodina on 28 August. The mass expulsion of Croats and Muslims from Banja Luka and other areas in northwestern Bosnia continued on 28 August, Croatian Radio reported. Some 300 people crossed the River Sava from Srbac to Davor, and more refugees are expected to arrive. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. . . . BUT MINISTER FOR MINORITIES SEES NO DIFFICULTIES. Margit Savovic, rump Yugoslav minister without portfolio in charge of civil liberties and minority rights, has denied that Serbian refugees in Kosovo and Vojvodina will disturb the ethnic balance there, Tanjug reported on 27 August. Savovic charged "certain countries" with using the refugee crisis to "interfere in Yugoslavia's internal affairs." Vjesnik on 29 August said that paramilitary troops under internationally wanted war- criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic, alias "Arkan," have begun press-ganging refugees in Serbia for deployment in eastern Slavonia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. VAN DER STOEL IN ROMANIA. Amid renewed tension in Romanian-Hungarian interethnic relations in Transylvania, Max van der Stoel, the OSCE High Commissioner for Ethnic minorities, began a four-day visit to Romania on 28 August, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. He met with leaders of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania and is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Chamber of Deputies chairman Adrian Nastase, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, government coordinator of the Council for National Minorities Viorel Hrebenciuc, and deputy justice and education ministers. Van der Stoel will also participate in a symposium on international legislation for national minorities. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN MOLDOVA. Yevhen Marchuk on 28 August began a two- day visit to Moldova, Infotag reported the same day. He met with his Moldovan counterpart, Andrei Sangheli, and parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi. During the visit, thirteen agreements on economic cooperation are to be signed as well as an accord on the protection of minority rights. Sangheli said the Moldovan side intends to raise the issue of agreements that have been signed but not implemented. The Ukrainian parliament has not yet ratified a treaty on friendship and cooperation, signed in October 1992, and other agreements have also not been observed. Radio Bucharest reported on 29 August that Marchuk proposed setting up a customs-free trade zone between the two countries and that his hosts responded to the proposal "with interest." Chisinau is also planning to raise the issues of border demarcation and Moldovan cargo transit through Ukrainian territory. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVA PROTESTS RUSSIAN ARMS TRANSFER TO TIRASPOL. The Moldovan government on 28 August officially protested the intention of the Russian military in Transdniester to transfer armaments to the authorities of the breakaway republic, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. Valerii Yevnevich, head of the Russian military in Transdniester, was quoted as saying the equipment about to be transfered to Tiraspol cannot be used for military purposes. He had previously said that a team of officers from the Materials Resources Direction of the Russian Defense Ministry were in Tiraspol to deal with the transfer of the army's assets in Slobozia, Parcani, and Bender. BASA-press reported on 25 August that according to Yevnevich, both the staff and equipment of the Russian battalions in Bender and Slobozia are to be transferred to the garrison in Tiraspol. He said that to date, no equipment has been transferred either to the Transdniestrian authorities or to Russia. He also noted that more than 5,600 missiles and mines have been destroyed and 3,800 remain intact. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. CONFLICT OVER MOLDOVAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. The Bessarabian Metropolitan Seat, which is subordinated to the Bucharest Patriarchate, has sued the Moldovan government for refusing to register the seat for three years, BASA-press reported on 25 August. A court in Buiucani will start examining the lawsuit later this week. The Moldovan Orthodox Church, to which most Orthodox believers in the country belong, is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate. Last week, Moldova's State Service for Religious Problems proposed that the Moldovan Orthodox Church should be subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a compromise measure. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIA OPPOSES LIFTING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi, during the visit to Tirana of his Egyptian counterpart, Amr Moussa, has stressed again that sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia should not be lifted unless the Kosovo conflict is resolved. Moussa and Serreqi said their countries have identical views on the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. Moussa added that Egypt considers the settling of Serbian refugees in Kosovo to be an "attempt to alter the demographic structure in Kosovo, [which is] unacceptable," Reuters reported on 28 August. According to BETA, Moussa also met with President Sali Berisha and Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi to discuss Egyptian investments in Albania and other forms of cooperation. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL IN ATHENS FOR BALKAN TALKS. White House communication manager George Stephanopoulos arrived in Athens on 28 August, Reuters reported the same day. Stephanopoulos will meet with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, and the main conservative opposition party leader, Miltiades Evert, on 29 August to discuss the situation in the Balkans. The talks will focus on Greece's differences with neighboring Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the war in Bosnia. -- 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 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write email@example.com for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html 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. ISSN 1211-1570
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