A thing well said will be writ in all languages. - John Dryden 1631-1700
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 172, Part II, 5 September 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

EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON KIDNAPPED, JAILED IN AUSTRIA . . . Michal Kovac
Jr. was forcibly taken from Slovakia on 31 August and abandoned in his
Mercedes limousine outside a police station in the Austrian border town
of Hainburg, Slovak and international media reported. Kovac, aged 34,
was reportedly dragged from his car in Bratislava, hooded, handcuffed,
beaten, given electric shocks, and forced to drink half a liter of
whiskey at gunpoint by about eight unidentified men. Austrian police,
who were informed of Kovac's presence by an unknown caller speaking
German with a Slovak accent, arrested Kovac and took him to a hospital
for treatment from injuries. The pro-government Slovak daily Slovenska
Republika reported in March that a Munich prosecutor had issued an
international warrant for Kovac's arrest last November for his
involvement in illegal business dealings between the Slovak firm
Technopol and German companies. Kovac denied any involvement but
remained on Interpol's "wanted" list. Chief prosecutor Manfred Wick in
Munich asked Austria to extradite Kovac to face fraud charges. -- Sharon
Fisher

. . . FURTHER CLOUDING SLOVAKIA'S POLITICAL SCENE. Michal Kovac Sr.
expressed shock at his son's abduction and insisted that he is innocent.
Presidential spokesman Vladimir Stefko and opposition representatives
suggested the kidnapping was an attempt to discredit the president, who
has been involved in a long-term power struggle with Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar. Kovac Sr. met with his Austrian counterpart, Thomas
Klestil, in Vienna on 1 September to discuss the situation. He later
asked Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk to send a note to Austria
requesting the return of Kovac Jr., but Schenk said he would first have
to consult with Meciar. Slovak government spokesman Tomas Hasala on 4
September denied any official involvement in Kovac Jr.'s abduction. --
Sharon Fisher

PAWLAK WINS GRUDGING PARTY ENDORSEMENT. Polish Peasant Party (PSL)
leader and former Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak barely won his party's
nomination for president on 2 September. Running unopposed in the first
round, Pawlak received the support of only 81 delegates; 141 were
opposed to his nomination. Party support was strongest for Sejm speaker
Jozef Zych, whom PSL members consider more popular and "electable" than
the taciturn Pawlak. But Zych repeatedly refused to vie for the
nomination, and observers said he was waiting for Pawlak to withdraw. In
the second round of balloting, Pawlak received just one vote more than
the minimum required to defeat Senate speaker Adam Struzik,
Rzeczpospolita reported. -- Louisa Vinton

NEW CANDIDATES IN POLISH PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Lech Kaczynski, former head
of the Supreme Chamber of Control, announced his candidacy for president
on 4 September, Rzeczpospolita reported. Kaczynski, who is supported by
the right-wing Center Alliance, said he decided to run after more than
50,000 signatures were gathered to support his campaign. The
announcement dashes any remaining hope that the main right-wing parties
will unite to support a single presidential candidate. Stan Tyminski
also formally launched his campaign on 4 September with the election
slogan "Poland for Poles." Tyminski promised to put a halt to the
"genocidal" Balcerowicz plan and, as was the case in the last
presidential elections five years ago, he threatened to open his "black
briefcase" to reveal compromising information about other candidates.
The two declarations bring the total number of candidates to 28,
according to a count published in Rzeczpospolita. -- Louisa Vinton

CZECH GDP RISES IN SECOND QUARTER. According to provisional figures
released by the Czech Statistical Office, GDP rose 3.2% in the second
quarter of 1995 compared with the same period last year, Czech media
reported on 5 September. The figure represents a slight slowing down
from the first quarter of this year, when the rise in GDP was 3.9%. But
the overall 3.6% rise in real terms for the first six months of 1995 was
in line with official expectations. In nominal terms, GDP totaled 579.3
billion koruny ($22.28 billion) in the first half of this year.
Officials said increases were registered in industry and construction,
while the service sector stagnated during the second quarter. -- Steve
Kettle

"ROM SOM" FEST ENDS IN BUDAPEST. The "Rom Som" festival ended on 3
September with a gala performance at the Budapest Congress Center at
which a letter of support from Premier Gyula Horn was read out in both
Romani and Hungarian. International media reported that few Roma
attended the festival's main events--performances of Carmen by a Spanish
flamenco troupe, Romeo and Juliet in Romani, and concerts by famous Jazz
artists--citing high ticket prices. However, local Roma filled the halls
of other, less publicized performances. Antonia Haga, Romani SZDSZ
representative to parliament, said proceeds will go toward Romani
education and that it is hoped the annual festival will be funded by the
EU. While "Rom Som" has been billed as the first-ever "World Gypsy
Festival," similar events have been held in Poland, Macedonia, and
elsewhere. -- Alaina Lemon

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY IN UKRAINE. Malcolm Rifkind was in Kiev on 3
and 4 September on the first leg of a three-country visit, international
agencies reported. He met with President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister
Yevhen Marchuk, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, and Foreign
Minister Hennadii Udovenko. Rifkind discussed the situation in Bosnia
and NATO's role there, the closure of Chornobyl, and Ukraine's
integration into international organizations. He said Britain was ready
to uphold Ukraine's eventual membership in the Council of Europe and
that it supported enhanced economic cooperation with all European
institutions. -- Ustina Markus

UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN DECREES. Izvestiya on 5 September reported that a
number of Belarusian newspapers have published Presidential Decree No.
336 of 21 August, which did indeed suspend deputies' immunity, thereby
allowing for the arrest of deputy Syarhei Antonchyk (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 1 September 1995). The decree also suspended the activities of
the Independent Trade Unions, the Minsk Metro Trade Union, and the
Railroad and Transport Facilities Workers' Union and called upon the
Prosecutor's Office to start proceedings aimed at abolishing those
organizations. Meanwhile, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told
journalists that he will only work with the new parliament, Belarusian
radio reported on 4 September. The old, outgoing parliament is due to
convene this week and will continue its work until a new legislature is
in place. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER IN U.S. Tiit Vahi returned to Tallinn on 3
September after a two-week trip to the U.S. that included three working
days in Washington. Vahi on 30 August discussed the fight against drug
trafficking with FBI director Louis Freeh. The next day he held talks
with IMF Deputy Director Stanley Fischer and World Bank Managing
Director Richard Frank, both of whom expressed approval of Estonia's
economic policy. Vahi on 1 September met with Deputy Secretary of State
Strobe Talbott and top officials from the Defense Department, BNS
reported. -- Saulius Girnius

HUNGER STRIKE BY MIGRANTS IN LATVIAN CAMP. Aldis Lieljuksis, head of the
Interior Ministry's Police Department, told a news conference on 4
September that the hunger strike by Asian migrants at the Olaine
internment camp was over, Reuters reported. The strike began on 30
August. After some of the strikers started a fire at the camp, the
police moved in and detained twenty of them. Many of the 128 migrants at
the camp were on the so-called "Train of Despair" that Russia and
Lithuania refused to admit in April. Latvia does not have the legal
framework to deport the migrants, and no Western country is prepared to
accept them. -- Saulius Girnius

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN, NATO SUSPEND BOMBING OF BOSNIAN SERB POSITIONS . . . The Atlantic
alliance interrupted its air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs on 1
September to see if the Serbs would then comply with key demands. The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 4 September said the points included
an end to attacks on Sarajevo and other "safe areas," the withdrawal of
heavy weapons beyond the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the Bosnian
capital, and complete freedom of movement for UN and NGO personnel,
including access to the Sarajevo airport. The Serbs had until 11:00 p.m.
local time on 4 September to comply. International media on 5 September
noted that messages from the Bosnian Serb military and civilian
leaderships included unacceptable conditions. General Ratko Mladic also
sent a fax indicating that he could not order a withdrawal since that
would be a political decision requiring a popular referendum and a vote
by the Pale legislature, the BBC reported. -- Patrick Moore

. . . AND THEN RESUME BOMBING AGAIN. A UN spokesman on 5 September said
that the Serbs moved only 20-25 heavy weapons out of the exclusion zone.
Special envoy Yasushi Akashi noted that this was "limited movement" only
and hence not likely to be acceptable, Reuters reported. The BBC added
that the Serbs have 200-300 such guns in the area. AFP quoted Akashi as
saying that "we need evidence of substantial movement--if not
completion--of the withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the exclusion
zone." British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind told the BBC from
Moscow that the Serbs had presented written acceptance of the demands
and that "there will be no further need to contemplate air strikes."
Reuters reported from Zagreb, however, that NATO had indeed resumed
bombing. NATO and UN officials had been concerned that the Serbs would
try various ruses to buy time. The International Herald Tribune said
that a UN spokesman had warned Mladic that "if he doesn't play ball,
he's going to get hit very, very hard." -- Patrick Moore

SERBS PRESS ATTACKS ELSEWHERE. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 4
September noted that Bosnian Serb forces continued to attack in northern
and western Bosnia. They seemed interested in widening their supply
corridor from Serbia and shelled Gradacac, which was held by government
and Croatian defenders even during the Muslim-Croatian war of 1993.
There were also reports of shelling and sniper fire from Serbian
positions in Sarajevo. Slobodna Dalmacija on 5 September noted that 400
shells fell on Lukavac near Tuzla. International media said the previous
day that the Serbs had released the five EU monitors who were first
reported dead and then held up in Visegrad by Bosnian Serb forces. --
Patrick Moore

DIPLOMATIC UPDATE. International media on 5 September said that Bosnian
President Alija Izetbegovic feels the current U.S. peace plan has too
many "gray areas" to be acceptable. He specifically ruled out any
confederation between the Bosnian Serbs and rump Yugoslavia in any
future settlement, although he reaffirmed certain rights for the Serbs.
He had been speaking in Ankara with U.S. special envoy Richard
Holbrooke, who came from talks in Bonn, Belgrade, Athens, and Skopje.
The details of the U.S. plan have yet to be made public, but it is based
on the Contact Group project of July 1994 and likewise involves the
effective partition of the republic. Holbrooke was nonetheless
optimistic about the chances for peace. Top Contact Group political
officials will meet in Geneva with Zagreb's, Sarajevo's, and Belgrade's
foreign ministers on 8 September. -- Patrick Moore

RAIDS FOLLOW SHOOT-OUT IN KOSOVO. The Serbian police raided more than 60
houses following a shoot-out on 30 August, Kosova Daily Report said on 4
September. According to initial reports, two Serbian policemen were
killed and four wounded in an explosion following a shoot-out at a
police station near the village of Irzniq. Later sources, however, spoke
of two injured and no casualties. Police began raiding houses and
arresting people immediately after the shoot-out. Elsewhere, a court in
Gnjilan sentenced nine ethnic Albanians to between six months and four
years in prison for allegedly planning to forcibly secede from the rump
Yugoslavia, BETA reported on 31 August. -- Fabian Schmidt

VAN DER STOEL ON ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW. OSCE High Commissioner for
Ethnic Minorities Max van der Stoel, concluding the official part of his
visit to Romania on 1 September, recommended that the new Romanian
education law be reformulated to enable technical colleges to teach in
the Hungarian language. Radio Bucharest reported the same day that the
commissioner also recommended the inclusion of Hungarian-language
instruction in social sciences and economics at the country's
universities. Van der Stoel said the law currently allows for broad
interpretation of its provisions and that its implementation should be
reviewed (presumably by international organizations) at "regular
intervals" to ensure international standards are being applied. --
Michael Shafir

ROMANIA'S HUNGARIANS PROTEST EDUCATION LAW. International agencies on 2
September estimated that some 10,000 ethnic Hungarian participated in a
rally in the Transylvanian town of Targu Secuiesc protesting the
education law. The meeting was organized by the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR). UDMR chairman Bela Marko said the
Hungarian minority rejects the "forced assimilation" stipulated by the
new law. Pan Laszlofi, chairman of the Association of Hungarian
Educators in Romania, said his organization was preparing to found an
autonomous Hungarian university. The UDMR announced the setting up of
the Foundation for the Defense of the Hungarian Language. It also said
10 ethnic Hungarian youths would be cycling to Strasbourg to protest
there and en route against the new education law. -- Michael Shafir

TRANSDNIESTER MARKS "INDEPENDENCE DAY." International agencies on 2-4
September reported that the Tiraspol authorities organized meetings
marking the fifth anniversary of the republic's break with Moldova. Igor
Smirnov, president of the region, said the final aim of the parleys with
Chisinau was to secure recognition of the republic's independence and
consolidate statehood and the army. Reuters reported that helicopters
trailing the Transdniestrian flag flew over Tiraspol as several thousand
troops marched through the streets "recalling scenes not witnessed in
Moscow since the collapse of communism." BASA-press said the military
parade featured missile launchers, combat helicopters, and armored
vehicles. The festivities were also attended by an unofficial delegation
of three Russian State Duma radical nationalist deputies, headed by
Sergei Baburin, who said the present Transdniestrian republic "is the
future of Russia," Infotag and BASA-press reported. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA'S AGRARIANS HOLD CONGRESS. The second extraordinary congress of
the main governing party, the Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova
(PDAM) , was held in Chisinau on 2 September, BASA-press and Infotag
reported. Chairman Dumitru Motpan accused the 11 deputies who left the
party to join President Mircea Snegur's Party of Revival and
Conciliation of taking part in an "action planned in advance [and]
synchronized with the initiative to change the name of the state
language" and to increase the president's constitutional powers. He said
the PDAM rejects the proposal to set up a presidential regime with a
bicameral parliament, accusing Snegur of wishing to dissolve the present
one-chamber legislature. -- Michael Shafir

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE REJECTS ACCUSATIONS. Zef Brozi has rejected
accusations that he worked for the communist-era secret service, saying
he was never asked to do so. He has asked the Prosecutor's Office to
open investigations into journalists for the ruling Democratic Party's
newspaper Rilindja Demokratike, which first published the accusations
against him. Brozi also claims his office and private telephone have
been tapped. In other news, Brozi said Socialist Party leader Fatos
Nano's appeal to be released from prison will be reviewed in September.
The review was delayed after the court said it needed more time to study
the accusations against Nano, who was found guilty of the
misappropriation of Italian aid funds, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 2
September. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE, MACEDONIA TO START TALKS. Greece and Macedonia agreed to hold
direct talks aimed at improving bilateral relations, international
agencies reported on 4 September. Dimitris Karaitidis, adviser to the
Greek prime minister, said Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and his
Macedonian counterpart, Stevo Crvenkovski, will meet in New York next
week for UN-brokered talks. The agreement was confirmed by the U.S.
State Department. The announcement came a few hours after talks between
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and Greek Prime
Minister Andreas Papandreou. U.S. President Bill Clinton called the step
a "courageous and visionary decision" and a "major step toward peace and
stability in the region." -- Stefan Krause

GREEK-ALBANIAN TALKS FAIL. Talks between Karolos Papoulias and his
Albanian counterpart, Alfred Serreqi, failed to produce any results,
Reuters reported on 1 September. According to Greek officials, Serreqi
left the meeting after 15 minutes, angered by Greek demands to open
schools for Albania's ethnic Greek minority. He also failed to attend a
scheduled news conference. Greece has demanded three independent Greek
schools in southern Albania in return for granting legal seasonal
employment to some of the 300,000 or so Albanians illegally living and
working in Greece. The agreement was to be signed during Serreqi's
visit, but the Greek side wanted "signs of goodwill" from the Albanian
foreign minister. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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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