What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 177, Part II, 12 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CRIMEANS ELECT INCUMBENTS IN LOCAL BY-ELECTIONS. Some 53.8% of eligible
voters turned out to vote in by-elections to local councils, Ukrainian
TV and ITAR-TASS reported on 11 September. Preliminary results reveal
the majority chose incumbents over their challengers. Two rounds of
elections earlier this summer were declared invalid due to low turnout.
Ukrainian authorities reportedly made special efforts to attract voters
to the polls, including distributing free lottery tickets at Yalta
polling stations. They also pledged to return Russian-language dubbing
to the Crimeans' favorite prime-time soap opera "Santa Barbara," after
hundreds protested a decision by state-owned Ukrainian TV to start
dubbing the show in Ukrainian. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE ON RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR BOSNIA. Ukrainian Radio on 11 September
reported that the Ukrainian parliament has not formulated its position
on the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Russian State Duma asked the
Ukrainian and Belarusian legislatures to work out a common stance on the
crisis. According to the report, shouting and noises in the Ukrainian
legislature made it clear that there is no common position among the
deputies themselves, let alone with Russia and Belarus. Some deputies
were critical of Russia's initiative to have the three Slavic republics
take a common stand on Bosnia. Deputy Oleksandr Lavrinovych said
international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE
already have mechanisms for consensus. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS NATO. Valdis Birkavs, on an
official visit to Germany, held talks with Klaus Kinkel in Bonn on 11
September, Reuters reported. The talks focused on the Baltic States'
possible membership in NATO, despite Russian opposition. The ministers
issued a statement that the admission of new members to the alliance
must contribute to peace and stability in all of Europe. "Gray zones for
security policy may not be allowed to arise to the detriment of the
Baltic countries," the statement stressed. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

POLISH LEFT UNITED BEHIND ITS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Twenty-seven of
the 28 organizations constituting the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD),
ruling in coalition with the Polish Peasant Party, on 11 September
signed a document of support for the SLD's presidential candidate,
Aleksander Kwasniewski. The Pensioners Association--the only SLD
organization not to have signed yet--wants to meet with Kwasniewski
before signing. Kwasniewski said that the Left has shown it can find an
internal agreement and noted that the Right's efforts to reach an
understanding are "grotesque," Polish dailies reported on 12 September.
-- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS U.S. VISIT. Zbigniew Okonski, during his
visit to the U.S. from 6-11 September, met with Defense Secretary
William Perry, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and
presidential security adviser Anthony Lake. He noted that no dates for
NATO's enlargement were given and that Talbott "seemed to made efforts
to erase his image as Russia's sympathizer." Okonski told a
Rzeczpospolita reporter that Talbott said he was always for NATO
expansion but did not want to isolate Russia. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
Inc.

CEFTA SUMMIT AGREES ON EXPANSION AND REDUCTION OF TARIFFS . . . The
prime ministers of the four countries of the Central European Free Trade
Agreement (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary), meeting
in Brno on 11 September, agreed to further liberalize trade between
their countries and to expand the membership of CEFTA, Czech and
international media reported. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said all
four members agreed on the admission soon of Slovenia and on opening the
door also to Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic States. The prime
ministers of Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria as well as the Lithuanian
foreign minister attended the summit. The CEFTA members agreed to cut
back the list of so-called "sensitive items" in industrial and
agricultural trade that are still protected. They also mandated Czech
officials to prepare plans for liberalization of trade in services and
authorized Poland to take the same steps for financial transactions. But
Czech ministers rejected a Slovak proposal to create a permanent CEFTA
Secretariat in Bratislava. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

. . . WHILE CZECH, SLOVAK PREMIERS WANT CUSTOMS UNION TO CONTINUE.
Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, meeting officially for the first time
since February 1993, stressed in Brno on 11 September that they wanted
to continue the customs union between their countries, Czech media
reported. The Czechs accused Slovakia of breaching the union by
scrapping customs duties and import surcharges on some foreign-made cars
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 6 September 1995). Meciar said the step was
temporary and due to last only until the end of 1996. Klaus distanced
himself from remarks made during the weekend by Czech Interior Minister
Jan Ruml in connection with the abduction of Slovak President Michal
Kovac's son. Meciar, too, sharply criticized Ruml, who had said that
Slovakia was in a deep political crisis, that democratic control
mechanisms were not functioning, and that Slovak security services were
too closely linked to Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK INFORMATION SERVICE REFUSES INVESTIGATOR'S REQUEST. SIS director
Ivan Lexa, in a letter to TASR on 11 September, refused a request by
Maj. Jaroslav Simunic to remove SIS agents' obligation of secrecy,
saying such a step would "damage state interests." Simunic, who
initially headed the police investigation into the recent kidnapping of
President Michal Kovac's son, suspected that SIS agents were involved in
the matter. He was removed from the case on 7 September and subsequently
left the police force. According to Reuters on 11 September, Simunic has
promised to continue a private investigation of the case. In other news,
Lexa, who is a close ally of Premier Vladimir Meciar, on 11 September
announced that he has filed charges with the attorney-general against
three Slovak opposition dailies for their coverage of the case, saying
the papers aimed to discredit the SIS. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CURRENCY TO BE CONVERTIBLE? Premier Vladimir Meciar, speaking on
Slovak Radio on 11 September, announced that the Slovak koruna could be
convertible by 1 October if the parliament added the cabinet's recently
approved foreign exchange bill to the program of its current session. At
a party gathering four days earlier, Meciar had said the koruna would be
fully convertible by 1 October. According to Narodna obroda on 12
September, if the bill is not discussed during the current parliamentary
session, the currency cannot be made convertible until December, since
the next parliamentary session begins in November. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY TO RECEIVE LOAN. The Hungarian National Bank on 11 September
signed an accord with an international bank consortium granting it a
$200 million loan with a five-year maturity, international media
reported. Experts said the HNB was granted better conditions than in the
case of previous loans owing to the country's improving image on
international financial markets. Hungary's foreign debts have been
restructured so that only 75% of its total debt obligations currently
fall on the state, HNB Vice President Frigyes Harshegyi said. According
to Harshegyi, Hungary's current account deficit will remain below $3
billion in 1995. -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"WAVES OF PLANES" HIT PALE. AFP on 12 September reported that NATO air
attacks are continuing around the Bosnian Serb capital. The BBC noted
that the recent cruise missile attacks on the Serbs' air defense system
at Banja Luka resulted in "severe damage," and that further strikes may
be in the offing. The VOA added that Stealth aircraft would soon arrive
in Italy to take part in the Bosnian operations as needed. The broadcast
pointed out that the air defense system has not yet been put totally out
of commission, adding there is no confirmation of Serbian reports that
the attacks have caused civilian casualties. The International Herald
Tribune quoted NATO sources as saying more strikes will be needed, but
AFP cited UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi as saying he and Secretary-
General Boutros Boutros Ghali are opposed to adding targets of civilian
importance to the list. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KARADZIC THREATENS TO LEAVE PEACE PROCESS. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic has sent a message to Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin
and to Prime Minister John Major setting down his position in the wake
of the cruise missile attacks. He lamented that the new moves have come
after a major "breakthrough" was achieved in the peace process in
Geneva, the BBC reported on 12 September (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11
September 1995). The internationally sought war criminal said it is
"incomprehensible" that NATO has "taken sides with our enemies" and
"declared war against the Serbs." Karadzic called the attacks
"unjustified and truly barbaric," Nasa Borba reported. Most important,
he added that "faced with continuing attacks, [the Bosnian Serbs] could
be forced to reconsider further participation in peace negotiations." It
is unclear whether Belgrade, with which Pale now forms a joint
delegation at the peace talks, supports him on this issue. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN SERBS APPEAL TO RUSSIA. Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA carried a
message from the Pale leadership to the "Russian people, President Boris
Yeltsin and the Duma to demand in the form of an ultimatum an end to the
NATO operations." AFP on 12 September cited the statement as saying that
"the NATO action deprives of sense the peace process that has scarcely
begun and its initial results, although the Serb people are prepared to
compromise." Russia has already pledged additional humanitarian aid for
the Bosnian Serbs. The history of Russia's relations with the Serbs over
the centuries has been checkered, however, with Russian policy based on
hard calculations rather than on sentimentality. At times, St.
Petersburg or Moscow has openly favored Sofia over Belgrade. An
Izvestiya analyst recently told the BBC that Russia should now
concentrate on its main interest in Europe, which is the EU and not
Serbia. (See related story in the Russian section.) -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT SECURES TUZLA-ZENICA ROAD. Reuters on 11 September
said Bosnian government forces may have not taken advantage of the
Serbs' current troubles in the Sarajevo area but that they are pressing
their enemy elsewhere. The town of Voguca fell to government troops,
thereby consolidating their hold on the key all-weather road connecting
Tuzla and Zenica. Vjesnik on 12 September spoke of Croatian and Bosnian
government forces' success to the north as well. Vecernji list added
that Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic, who is visiting Washington,
said again that eastern Slavonia must be returned to Croatia as part of
a comprehensive regional settlement. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY CRITICIZES NATO. BETA on 12 September reported
that Serbia's opposition Democratic Party (DS), led by Zoran Djindjic,
has issued its sharpest verbal attack against NATO. The DS said that
NATO air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs amount to "a shameful,
terrorist attack." The party pledged to hold "peaceful protests" against
the international organization. In another development, BETA reported
the same day that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) has
published a book arguing that a famous and controversial 1986 memorandum
was "not a blueprint for war and ethnic cleansing." The SANU Memorandum-
-Replies to the Critics has been released to coincide with the ninth
anniversary of the document's contents being made public. Observers
point out that in 1986, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who then
was beginning his rise to power, used the notorious SANU Memorandum as
the basis for his ultranationalist policies and to whip up ethnic hatred
against Serbia's minorities. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW. Members of the
Federation of Hungarian Democratic Youth of Romania--a component member
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR)--left on
bicycles for Strasbourg on 8 September to protest to the European
Council against Romania's new controversial education law, Radio
Bucharest announced the same day. Reuters on 11 September reported that
the group was received that day at the Hungarian parliament. The UDMR on
8 September organized a meeting to protest the law in the Transylvanian
town of Miercurea Ciuc. Local UDMR branch leader Erno Borbely said that
although there will be no boycott of the opening of the new school year,
the UDMR will initiate other protests. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT EASES BAN ON HOMOSEXUALITY AMID PROTESTS. The
Chamber of Deputies on 12 September voted to ease Penal Code provisions
on homosexual acts, Romanian media reported. These will now be punished
only if they are committed in public, in cases of rape, or in incidents
involving those under the age of consent. The opposition was split on
the vote, with the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic opposing
the amendment. The daily Curierul national on 12 September reported that
the Association of Christian Orthodox Students in Romania pledged to
continue a drive to gather signatures opposing homosexual relationships
among consenting adults. It has so far gathered nearly 200,000
signatures and needs 500,000 to have the matter submitted to a national
referendum. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVA PROTESTS SMIRNOV'S SPEECH TO RUSSIAN DEPUTIES. The Moldova's
Foreign Ministry on 11 September said the Russian State Duma committed
an "unfriendly act" toward Moldova two days earlier "by giving the
floor" to Igor Smirnov, leader of the Transdniester breakaway region,
BASA-press and Infotag reported. The ministry said the Duma "brutally
violated international law, norms, and principles" and breached
Moldova's "sovereignty and territorial integrity." Smirnov, in fact, did
not address the State Duma but rather a meeting of the Agrarian Party
faction in the parliament building. He called on the Russian deputies to
"promote Transdniestrian statehood or to make the region part of
Russia." Smirnov said NATO was "slowly approaching the borders of
Transdniester, a truly Russian land," and that Russia was "the only
power that can defend us." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN MOLDOVA. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, beginning a two-
day visit to Moldova on 11 September, criticized NATO's air strikes
against the Bosnian Serbs, Western agencies reported. He said the
protests against the bombings will not bear fruit unless the former
Soviet republics "attain unity in the military-political sphere. Ten
years ago, such bloodshed would have been impossible, because the USSR
acted as guarantor of stability." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES YELTSIN STATEMENT ON NATO EXPANSION.
Zhelyu Zhelev, reacting sharply to Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
remarks that an eastward NATO expansion may lead to war in Europe (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 11 September 1995), has told Russia to mind its own
business. In a statement presented by his spokesman Valentin Stoyanov on
11 September, Zhelev said that "Bulgaria is an independent state that
conducts its own foreign policy, taking only its national interests into
consideration, and it will not allow anybody--in the East or the West--
to decide questions related to its national security and sovereignty."
At the same time, Zhelev expressed understanding for Yeltsin, noting
that he was the first to support Yeltsin during the August 1991 coup,
Demokratsiya reported on 12 September. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S. Sali Berisha, speaking on 11 September at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies, said his country is
prepared to offer NATO more military bases, Reuters reported the same
day. The U.S. army already uses bases in northern Albania for unmanned
spy planes flying over Bosnia. Berisha said the sanctions against the
rump Yugoslavia should remain in place until a solution to the Kosovo
crisis has been found, adding that the issue should be put on the agenda
of the Contact Group. He added that "failure to give this issue a
solution will be disastrous." Berisha met with Secretary of State Warren
Christopher and Defense Secretary William Perry. He is due to hold talks
with U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore on 12
September. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK, MACEDONIAN REACTIONS TO DIRECT TALKS. Only days before the Greek
and Macedonian foreign ministers start direct talks in New York, opinion
polls and statements show that this move is controversial in both
countries. A poll published in the Athens daily Ethnos on 11 September
indicated that more than 60% of those questioned are against signing an
agreement with Macedonia. Some 28% said the government would be "selling
out" to the U.S. if it negotiated any deal, while 32% said the proposed
accord would inevitably lead to the recognition of Macedonia under that
name. Only 18.5% said the name does not matter. Meanwhile, Macedonian
Orthodox Church communities in Australia protested the changing of the
flag and the constitution in a letter sent to the political leadership
on 10 September calling it "not acceptable at all," MIC reported the
following day. They joined the nationalist opposition, which has accused
the government of preparing a "non-legitimate compromise" with Greece.
-- Stefan Krause, 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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