Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. - Henry Ward Beecher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 179, Part II, 14 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

BELARUSIAN AIR DEFENSE FORCES SHOOT DOWN U.S. BALLOONISTS. International
agencies on 13 September reported that the U.S. has denounced the
downing of a balloon by Belarusian air defense forces, which resulted in
the deaths of two Americans. The balloon, which crossed into Belarus
from Poland, was taking part in the Gordon Bennett International Race.
Organizers said there were no boundaries as to where the balloons could
fly and that they had permission to enter Belarusian air space.
Belarusian officials claimed they tried to make contact with the
balloonists visually and by radio before shooting it down. US Ambassador
to Belarus Kenneth Yalowitz has been in touch with the Belarusian
Foreign Ministry over the incident, and Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has sent a letter of regret to President Bill Clinton.
Another balloon was forced to land in Belarus, but the two pilots are
reportedly safe. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

IMF APPROVES CREDIT TO BELARUS. RFE/RL on 13 September reported that the
IMF has approved a stand-by credit worth $293 million to Belarus. The
12-month credit is to help the country implement economic reforms.
Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir told Radio Rossii the previous
day that Belarus has met most of the IMF's requirements for the credit:
the budget deficit was only 3.2%, inflation stood at around 3%, and the
average wage reached $72. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

TUG-OF-WAR OVER UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL CONTINUES. The Ukrainian
legislature has voted to sack Prosecutor-General Vyacheslav Datsiuk for
the third time in four months, Reuters reported on 13 September.
Lawmakers said Datsiuk was too preoccupied with political scandals,
including investigations into alleged criminal activities by the
assembly's deputy speaker Oleksander Tkachenko, instead of fighting
organized crime. Deputies received a letter last week from former acting
Prime Minister Yukhim Zvyahilskyi, who has been under investigation and
who accused Datsiuk of leading a politically motivated conspiracy
against him. Zvyahilskyi fled to Israel last year amid charges he resold
aviation fuel purchased by the government and pocketed $25 million.
Datsiuk told a news conference that President Leonid Kuchma had
expressed confidence in him and that he vowed to remain in office.
Kuchma has issued two decrees overturning the parliament's previous
decisions to dismiss Datsiuk. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA SAYS UKRAINE WILL REMAIN NEUTRAL. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma said on 12 September that Ukraine will not participate in any
military blocs, including any CIS security or NATO alliances, NTV
reported. He also stated that Ukraine has not strayed from a single
"letter" of any agreements on the Black Sea Fleet and that the problem
is Russia's delay in accepting Ukraine as an equal partner. Russian
Public Television reported Kuchma as saying that NATO views Ukraine as
an equal partner. This is illustrated by the separate agreement on
cooperation it will sign with Ukraine in Brussels over the next two
days. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

PROBLEMS WITH ESTONIAN DEFENSE BUDGET. BNS on 13 September reported that
Estonia may not be able to fulfill its obligations under international
agreements if defense spending is not substantially increased. Estonia
is obliged to pay some $50 million for arms purchases from Israel, pay
for the Estonian unit in the proposed joint Baltic UN peacekeeping
battalion and Estonian participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace
program, and set up a training center for peacekeepers in Paldiski. This
year's defense budget was only 4.7% of the total state budget. Deputy
Chancellor of the Defense Ministry Elvo Priks said the defense budget
should be closer to 8-12% of the total budget. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL ON SEJM PREROGATIVES. The Polish
Constitutional Tribunal on 13 September clarified when the Sejm is
entitled to overrule the tribunal's verdicts. It stated that if the
president has not yet signed a bill that the Constitutional Tribunal
considers to be unconstitutional, the Sejm cannot overrule the
tribunal's verdict. This Sejm's right to overrule bills applies to only
those already signed into law by the president. The tribunal's ruling
may have practical consequences for the bill on privatization and
commercialization, which has been contested by the president and sent
unsigned to the Constitutional Tribunal, Polish media reported on 14
September. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH PARTY CLEARED IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL. Police investigators on 13
September halted criminal proceedings against three people charged with
fraud in connection with a 52 million koruny ($2 million) debt owed by
one of the members of the Czech governing coalition, the Civic
Democratic Alliance (ODA), since before the 1992 elections. Among the
accused was the head of the ODA Secretariat, Josef Reichman, who
resigned his post in August. After a 10-month investigation, police
decided no laws had been broken, Czech media reported. The affair caused
the ODA's popular support to drop dramatically earlier this year and
generated frictions within the coalition. ODA chairman and Deputy Prime
Minister Jan Kalvoda said the dropping of charges against Reichman
should clear the name of the party. Meanwhile, the trial of the former
head of the Czech Republic's Center for Coupon Privatization, Jaroslav
Lizner, was adjourned on 13 September for two weeks to ensure that
further witnesses can give evidence (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 September
1995). -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION DEPUTY BEATEN UP. Frantisek Miklosko, an outspoken
deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), told
reporters on 13 September that he was beaten up by three unknown men
outside his home in Bratislava the previous evening. Miklosko described
the attackers as "trained professionals." He alleged that the attack was
connected with a recent speech he made in the parliament calling for a
thorough investigation into the abduction of President Michal Kovac's
son. KDH officials blamed the government for the current state of
affairs, saying the cabinet "determines the rate of violation of the
law." Roman Kovac of the opposition Democratic Union agreed that the
attackers could have had political motives, and he stressed that the
Interior Minister should take action, Pravda reported. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S SMALLHOLDERS GAIN IN OPINION POLLS. Opinion polls indicate
that while the popularity of the governing Socialists has dropped from
28% to 23% over the summer, that of the Smallholders' Party is
increasing, Hungarian media recently reported. Experts say the growing
number of supporters of Jozsef Torgyan's party, which has often been
accused of populism, is owing to frustration among Hungarians toward the
ruling parties and not to the achievements of the Smallholders. The
party has often criticized the ruling coalition but lacks a
comprehensive political and economic strategy to solve Hungary's current
problems. The next general elections are in 1998. -- Zsofia Szilagyi,
OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY: WORLD IS IGNORING SERBIA'S HUNGARIANS. Hungary on 13 September
warned that the world is ignoring the plight of ethnic Hungarians in
Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina, where a flood of Serbian
refugees threatens to unsettle the delicate ethnic balance, Reuters
reported. Csaba Tabajdi, senior official responsible for national
minority issues, said that refugees are not voluntarily settling in
Vojvodina but are directed to this area by Serbian authorities. He
pointed out that Hungarians now only represent some 6% of the Vojvodina
population, compared with 28% at the end of World War II. Budapest last
month protested to Belgrade over the treatment of ethnic Hungarians and
called on the authorities to stop forcible evictions. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HAS JAJCE FALLEN? Croatian media on 13 September reported that Croatian
soldiers were in control of Jajce, in central Bosnia, as well as Sipovo
and Drvar. A Bosnian Serb statement called the story "disinformation"
and insisted that Serbian lines were holding. But AFP on 14 September
quoted UN envoy Yasushi Akashi as saying that NATO intelligence
suggested the Croats' reports were true. If that is the case, the road
to Banja Luka will be open to Croatian and Bosnian troops, which are
advancing on the Serbian stronghold from several directions. Jajce has a
key hydroelectric station and its fall would have a significant
practical as well as psychological impact on the Serbs. The BBC said
that 40,000 Serbs were now in flight in the area. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

CROATS, BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT TROOPS ADVANCE. A UN military spokesman told
news agencies on 13 September that Bosnian government forces have scored
important gains in the Mt. Ozren area and that claims of successes by
the Bosnian and Croatian forces seem "likely." He denied charges that
NATO air strikes made the changes on the ground possible, pointing out
that the raids have been mainly in eastern Bosnia whereas the land
action has been to the west. Another UN official, however, urged caution
on the ground at a time when diplomatic initiatives are under way and
protested that the government's advance has sent Serb civilians fleeing.
Meanwhile in London, the Foreign Office again singled out Croatia for
blame. A spokesman told Reuters: "We would condemn what Croatia is doing
in western Bosnia." The BBC on 14 September added that the UN Security
Council and the U.S. have also called for a halt to the advance. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

GENERAL SMITH STAYS TOUGH ON SERBS. The Guardian and some other media on
13 September suggested that NATO and the UN might allow the Serbs to
keep some of their big guns around Sarajevo. This would be "to reassure
their own population," in keeping with statements made by Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic. Some observers have suggested that Bosnian Serb
commander General Ratko Mladic has been holding out against the air
strikes in the hope that Western politicians will lose heart and opt for
just such a compromise. UNPROFOR commander Lt.-Gen. Rupert Smith,
however, thinks otherwise. As his spokesman told Reuters, he argued
that: "Our line remains we're into peace enforcement here. Peace
enforcement is not negotiating. . . . We've seen that. It has failed
over years here. We are saying if you do not do this, no conditions, you
continue to get bombed." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KARADZIC CLAIMS FEW CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. Visiting one of the areas under
attack from allied Bosnian and Croatian forces, Karadzic said that "we
have had very few civilian casualties from NATO aircraft and from enemy
artillery." This contradicts a Russian statement that claimed that the
Serbs were a victim of "genocide" because of the air strikes, the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung pointed out on 14 September. The
internationally wanted war criminal was seeking to bolster sagging Serb
morale. The BBC, however, quoted his "foreign minister" as telling an
international audience that the air raids had produced great damage and
heavy civilian casualties, which has generally been the Serbian line to
date. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

HOLBROOKE MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC. U.S. envoy and Assistant Secretary of
State Richard Holbrooke concluded talks with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic in the early hours of 14 September, Tanjug reported the same
day. Milosevic and Holbrooke spoke at length about regional peace
prospects. Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic also
participated in the meeting. Meanwhile, AFP on 13 September reported
that at least "several hundred" protesters gathered around the U.S.
cultural center in Belgrade the same day to protest NATO actions in
Bosnia and the U.S.'s "involvement in the Bosnian crisis." The rally was
organized by Serbia's opposition Democratic Party. -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN POLICY. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana, at a
press conference on 13 September, reiterated his country's position on
NATO enlargement, saying that the matter concerns only NATO and the
countries that have asked to become members. Radio Bucharest quoted
Geoana as also saying Romania welcomes the Geneva agreement on the
former Yugoslav countries and considers the agreement "an important
step" toward "mutual recognition among the three states." He said
Romania was "satisfied" with the renewal of contacts between Greece and
Macedonia. Finally, Geoana expressed "full support" for Moldova's
rejection of "any parallel" between the conflict in Bosnia and the
Transdniester (as alleged in Igor Smirnov's speech before deputies of
the Russian State Duma). Romania believes the conflict in "eastern
Moldova" must be solved "exclusively through peaceful means." -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

CHOLERA IN ROMANIA, MOLDOVA. A statement released by the Ministry of
Health and carried by Radio Bucharest on 13 September says the number of
cases of cholera in Romania has reached 70. BASA-press reported the same
day that the number of cholera cases in Moldova has now reached 235.
Thirteen cases were reported in the capital, Chisinau -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

NO BREAKTHROUGH IN CHISINAU-TIRASPOL TALKS. International agencies on 13
September reported that the summit meeting between the Moldovan and
Transdniestrian leaders ended with no progress reported. A press release
by the Transdniestrian side said the "discussions were tense" and
differences persisted. Infotag said Mircea Snegur and Igor Smirnov
failed to achieve any progress in defining the legal status of the
breakaway region but that it was agreed negotiations would continue. A
member of the Moldovan delegation told Infotag that Tiraspol is "taking
its time" to await the results of the Russian parliamentary elections in
December. He said Transdniestrian "stubbornness" about insisting on the
recognition of its independent status prevented solving "simpler
matters" of an economic nature or the question of restoring bridges over
the River Dniester destroyed during the fighting. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

TRANSDNIESTRIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW ELECTION LAW. The breakaway
republic's parliament on 12 September passed a new election law, Infotag
reported the next day. The law provides for a mixed system of party
lists and single-constituency representation. Elections are due on 24
December, but Infotag cited Igor Smirnov as saying the timing of the
elections may yet be decided in a referendum in which other issues,
among them the region's constitution, will be voted on. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTION LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Constitutional Court
on 13 September ruled that the local election law partly violates the
constitution, Reuters reported the same day. The court overruled a
provision that reporters of state-run media are not allowed to express
their personal opinion about elections to be held in late October.
Constitutional Court judge Ivan Grigorov said reporters "have the right
to express opinions in their reporting of the local elections" and that
this right "in turn guarantees every Bulgarian's right to be kept
informed." But the court did not reject two other provisions--that
soldiers can vote only in their home constituency and that mayoral
candidates are not allowed to have dual citizenship. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

GREECE, MACEDONIA SIGN ACCORD. The foreign ministers of Greece and
Macedonia, Karolos Papoulias and Stevo Crvenkovski, on 13 September
signed an agreement in New York aimed at normalizing relations between
their countries. The signing came after more than two years of mediation
by the UN and the U.S. Under the accord, Greece recognizes Macedonia's
sovereignty and will lift its embargo, while Macedonia will change its
flag and amend its constitution to stress that it has no claims on Greek
territory. Each side will set up liaison offices in the other's capital
and will recognize the common existing border. Greece and Macedonia have
30 days to implement these measures, and the agreement will remain in
effect for seven years or until a definitive accord is signed. However,
the name issue has yet to be settled; negotiations are scheduled to
start later this year. According to AFP, UN mediator Cyrus Vance said
the agreement will have a ""positive effect . . . in the region." UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and U.S. President Bill Clinton
also hailed the accord. The U.S. established full diplomatic relations
with Macedonia only hours after the accord was signed. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

U.S. SUPPORTS ALBANIA'S STAND ON KOSOVO. Albanian President Sali Berisha
on 13 September said the U.S. was watching Serbia's treatment of the
ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo and that U.S. President Bill Clinton
"will insist" on the restoration of Kosovo's autonomy, Reuters reported
the same day. Berisha asked Clinton to initiate negotiations between the
Kosovar leadership and the Belgrade government under international
mediation. Berisha said U.S. support, such as the U.S. contingent in the
UNPREDEP force in Macedonia, would have a stabilizing effect. Earlier
that day, Boston University President John Silber abruptly canceled
plans to award an honorary degree to Berisha after Nicholas Gage, a
best-selling author of Greek ancestry, alleged that Albania fails to
provide proper education to its Greek minority. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
Inc.

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WALKS OUT OF PARLIAMENT. The Albanian opposition
walked out of the parliament on 13 September to protest government
attempts to unseat Supreme Court Chief Judge Zef Brozi. The government,
claiming that Brozi has violated the constitution in some rulings, asked
the Constitutional Court to convene a hearing on Brozi's conduct in
office on 14 September. The government, however, has not specified its
charges. If the Constitutional Court dismisses Brozi, he will be
prevented from reviewing Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano's case on 20
September. Brozi is expected to release Nano, who is serving a disputed
prison term for misappropriation of Italian aid funds. Nano's release
might reduce the ruling Democrats' chances of winning the upcoming
elections in early 1996, international agencies reported. Prime Minister
Aleksander Meksi earlier ignored an opposition request to explain police
actions outside the Supreme Court on 6 September (see OMRI Daily Digest,
7 September). -- 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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