There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 181, Part II, 18 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

POLISH, CZECH MINISTERS MEET IN WARSAW. Polish Foreign Minister
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski met with his Czech counterpart, Josef Zieleniec,
in Warsaw on 16 September. They agreed that Poland and the Czech
Republic will exchange information on progress toward integration into
NATO, though negotiations with the organization will be conducted
separately. Defense Ministers Zbigniew Okonski and Vilem Holan signed
protocols on Polish-Czech military cooperation, on air rescue
operations, and on land-surveying and cartography, Polish press reported
on 18 September. Holan said that the Czech Republic was considering
purchasing U.S. F-16 jet fighters to upgrade its air force. He
reportedly proposed that the two countries join efforts in acquiring the
American jet. -- Jakub Karpinski and Doug Clarke

POLISH CENTRAL BANK LOWERS INTEREST RATES. The National Bank of Poland
lowered interest rates by two percentage points effective 18 September,
Rzeczpospolita reported. The refinance rate is now 31%, the lombard rate
28%, and the discount rate 25%. NBP President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz
said the steady decline in inflation since April justified the
reduction. According to the Main Statistical Office, prices rose just
0.4% in August, yielding a year-on-year rate of 25.7%. -- Louisa Vinton

MORE NEWS ON BELARUSIAN BALLOON INCIDENT. ITAR-TASS on 16 September
reported Polish Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski as saying Poland
alerted Belarus that hot air balloons would be flying into Belarusian
airspace last week, thereby bringing into question Belarusian air
defense forces claim they had not been informed (see OMRI Daily Digest,
15 September 1995). U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns
complained that Belarus added insult to injury by fining two other
balloonists, who were forced to land, $30 each for not having visas.
Burns warned that Minsk should be careful how it treats American
nationals in the country if it wants to maintain good relations with the
U.S. Segodnya reported that the two balloonists killed when the balloon
was shot down were equipped with radios, but probably did not respond to
Belarusian calls because they had lost consciousness after the balloon
suddenly climbed to a high altitude. Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has ordered an investigation into the incident. -- Ustina
Markus

UKRAINIAN PREMIER CALLS FOR PERIOD OF PROTECTIONISM. Yevhen Marchuk,
speaking to leading Ukrainian economists in Kiev on 15 September, called
for increased government support for industry and temporary
protectionist measures in foreign trade to boost domestic production,
Reuters reported the same day. Echoing remarks by President Leonid
Kuchma, Marchuk said the government program for 1996 would provide
credits and tax breaks to some enterprises and impose import tariffs and
other customs barriers on goods entering Ukraine, but he stressed the
measures would be temporary only. Meanwhile, chairman of the National
Bank of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko told a news conference on 15 September
that the government's July decision to print 12 trillion unbacked
karbovantsi ($7.2 million) for a state grain order and its secretiveness
about imminent monetary reform were to blame for the recent 15% decline
in the value of the karbovanets, Ukrainian TV reported the same day. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

FUND FOR BALTIC-AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPENED IN RIGA. The Fund for
Baltic-American Entrepreneurship opened on 16 September in Riga, BNS
reported. Acting chairman of its board, Daniel Rose, said the fund is a
non-profit organization set up within the framework of the U.S.
government's foreign assistance program for the Baltic States to promote
the development of small and medium-sized private enterprises. Credits
ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 will be given at low interest rates for
up to five years, especially to enterprises in tourism, light industry,
food and timber processing, transport, and storage services. The fund
will grant credits of up to a total of $50 million. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Josef Oleksy, on a two-day official
visit to Lithuania, held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart, Adolfas
Slezevicius. At a press conference on 16 September Slezevicius announced
that the two countries are planning to prepare and sign a bilateral
free-trade agreement by the end of the year, BNS reported. Oleksy
promised support for Lithuania's entry into CEFTA, possibly some time
next year. The premiers stressed their determination to seek membership
in NATO, despite Russian objections, and signed an agreement on
cooperation between their border guards. -- Saulius Girnius

RUDE PRAVO DROPS "RUDE" FROM MASTHEAD. Rude pravo (Red Justice), the
former organ of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist
Party (KSC), on 18 September dropped the word "Rude" from its title.
Editor-in-Chief Zdenek Porybny wrote that the move may come as an
unpleasant surprise for some of the daily's longtime readers but did not
mean a change in the paper's style or content. Founded in 1920, Rude
pravo became the KSC's mouthpiece the following year. After the fall of
communism, it was bought by Porybny and other senior staff. As an
"independent" paper, it is now close to the Social Democratic Party and
is one of the three biggest-selling Czech dailies. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH PRESIDENT DEFENDS INTERIOR MINISTER AGAINST MECIAR. Vaclav Havel
on 17 September defended Jan Ruml for making critical remarks about
Slovakia that almost caused Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar to
call off a meeting with his Czech counterpart last week. Referring to
the kidnapping of Slovak President Michal Kovac's son, Ruml said
Slovakia was in a deep political crisis and "the atmosphere there plays
into the hands of psychopaths, members of the former StB
[Czechoslovakia's communist secret police], the KGB and whoever." Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus distanced himself from the remarks on 10 September
before meeting with Meciar, who said Ruml should remember he is a
government minister and no longer a cowherd in Slovakia (one of the few
jobs Ruml was allowed to hold as a dissident under communist rule). In
his weekly radio address, Havel said Ruml had the right to comment on
any country and that Meciar should remember the circumstances under
which Ruml was forced to become a cowherd. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRESIDENT CRITICIZES CABINET'S REACTION TO SON'S KIDNAPPING.
Michal Kovac, in an interview with Die Presse on 16 September, said he
was "dissatisfied" with the cabinet's rejection of his proposal that the
Foreign Ministry formally ask for his son's return from Austria. Kovac
said he did not know of any case where a government had no interest in
the return of a citizen of its country. In other news, Christian
Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Frantisek Miklosko asked for the
resignation of Slovak Information Service director Ivan Lexa and head of
counter intelligence Jaroslav Svechota for "total incompetence," Sme
reported on 16 September. Miklosko said that after the two men came to
office, several strange events began to occur, including the searching
of the house of the head of the Slovak Bishops' Conference, the
kidnapping of the president's son, and the beating up of Miklosko
himself. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK FOREIGN RELATIONS. Slovak Economy Minister Jan Ducky and Czech
Industry and Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy, at a private meeting on 13
September, agreed that it is in the interest of both states that the
bilateral customs union continue, Pravda reported on 16 September. A
meeting of the Customs Union Council is scheduled for the end of
October, during which questions such as Slovakia's recently approved
measure permitting duty free imports of small cars are to be discussed.
TASR on 15 September reported that Ducky and Dlouhy also dealt with the
construction of Slovakia's Mochovce nuclear plant, in which several
Czech firms and banks have expressed interest. In other news, U.S.
Defense Secretary William Perry arrived in Bratislava on 17 September
for a two-day visit focusing on European security and NATO enlargement.
-- Sharon Fisher

NEW ROMANI COALITION IN SLOVAKIA. Fifty Romani delegates met in Kosice
to found a coalition of Romani political parties, TASR reported on 16
September. The parties include the Romani Civic Initiative, the Romani
Democratic Movement, the Labor and Security Party, the Democratic
Alliance of Roma, and the Romani Congress. The coalition, named the
Union of Romani Political Parties of Slovakia and estimated to have some
40,000 members, chose Mikulas Horvath as its chairman. CTK also reported
the same day that the parties began working together in April when the
Slovak government requested they unite. The coalition also adopted a
declaration to the president, parliament, and government opposing
official policy on Roma and asking that posts for special commissioners
on Roma be set up in both Bratislava and Kosice. -- Alaina Lemon

EUROPE'S OLDEST SUBWAY REOPENED IN HUNGARY. Following a multi-million
dollar facelift, Europe's oldest subway, built in 1896, was reopened in
Budapest on 15 September, international media reported. "Budapest must
develop her mass transport system to meet the challenges of the 21st
century if our city is to become a regional financial center," Mayor
Gabor Demszky said at the opening ceremony. The subway has been restored
in its original, turn-of-the-century style and is expected to become a
major tourist attraction. The six-month facelift cost over 3 billion
forint ($27 million) and was partly financed by the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO GIVES SERBS 72-HOUR REPRIEVE. International media on 18 September
reported that the Atlantic alliance the previous night agreed to
continue suspending its air attacks on Bosnian Serb positions until
10:00 p.m. on 20 September. The decision came after the Serbs pulled
some 150 of 300 pieces of heavy weaponry out of the Sarajevo exclusion
zone by the 17 September deadline and said that the rest would go
shortly. The VOA reported that the Rapid Reaction Force will nonetheless
stay to reassure the Bosnian government because mortars smaller than 82
mm or anti-aircraft guns may remain. Sarajevo airport has reopened, as
have at least some land supply routes. It is unclear what the Serbs are
doing with the artillery they remove, and the BBC said they may need the
guns in the west of the republic. There Serbian forces are apparently in
full retreat and are abandoning their big guns. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT, CROATS PRESS ON IN CENTRAL BOSNIA. Sanski Most,
Bosanska Krupa, and possibly Prijedor have fallen to the advancing
allies over the weekend, the BBC said on 17 September, quoting Belgrade
media. The Bosnian Serbs at first denied the reports, but their leader,
Radovan Karadzic, later conceded "big losses," although he claimed his
new front was holding, Nasa Borba reported on 18 September. He also sent
his "foreign minister" to Moscow for "military assistance." Mlada fronta
dnes said that 100,000 Serbs have fled toward Banja Luka, and the VOA
noted that they are clogging roads in what appears to be a rout and a
humanitarian crisis. The panicked Serbs are abandoning even positions
assigned them by the current partition plans, and Mlada fronta dnes
reported that their losses now amount to 3,000 sq km. The road to Banja
Luka seems open, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted that the
allies are only 50 km from that goal. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN AUTHORITIES URGE REFUGEES TO COME HOME. Bosnian Television on 17
September continued to run footage of victorious Bosnian and Croatian
forces on the move as well as of happy refugees going home. General
Mehmed Alagic told viewers: "Dear Bosnians, come home! The time has
come, your homes are free and waiting for you," news agencies noted.
Silajdzic defended the offensive, saying "this is the Republic of Bosnia
and Herzegovina and we are entitled to liberate our territory." British
Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, however, condemned the advance after
meeting on 18 September with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in
Belgrade. Rifkind said only a negotiated settlement is possible, while
rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic told AFP that "we are
very concerned about this offensive and that is not part of the peace
process." But his Bosnian counterpart, Muhamed Sacirbey, told VOA that
"the best diplomacy is created on the ground." -- Patrick Moore

CROATS TO HAND OVER INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL. The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung on 18 September reported that the Bosnian Croats will deliver
Ivica Rajic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia in The Hague. He is wanted in conjunction with the massacre
of Muslim civilians in Stupni Do on 23 October 1993. The same paper on
15 September quoted the head of the tribunal, Judge Richard Goldstone,
as warning against granting immunity to any internationally wanted war
criminals as part of a peace package. The Serbs have charged him with
partisanship because virtually all of the indicted men are Serbs,
including Karadzic, his military commander General Ratko Mladic, and
Krajina leader Milan Martic. -- Patrick Moore

ANOTHER ANTI-NATO RALLY IN BELGRADE. As many as 3,000 people gathered
outside the U.S. embassy building in Belgrade on 15 September to protest
NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serbs and the U.S.'s backing of NATO,
international media reported the same day. Protesters "besieged" the
embassy, shouting abuse aimed at various political leaders and members
of the NATO alliance. This latest rally comes on the heels of a similar
event on 13 September, which attracted only several hundred
participants. -- Stan Markotich

PERRY PRAISES SLOVENIA. US Secretary of Defense William Perry, at the
start of his tour of Central Europe, said on 17 September in Ljubljana
that Slovenia is just as qualified as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland to join NATO, international media reported. "Of all of these
countries, I believe that Slovenia has made perhaps the greatest
progress in the transition to democracy, the transition to a market
economy and the smooth turnover of the military to civilian control," he
commented. Perry the previous day expressed "cautious optimism" that the
arms embargo against Slovenia will be lifted this year. -- Michael
Mihalka

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY. The National Council of
the extremist Greater Romania Party has nominated party chairman
Corneliu Vadim Tudor as its candidate for the 1996 presidential
elections, Radio Bucharest reported on 16 September. Tudor said that, if
elected, he would oppose alleged plans to turn Romania "into a colony of
occult forces worldwide." He also promised to become a second Vlad the
Impaler, the 15th-century Wallachian prince notorious for his cruelty.
Tudor the previous day had demanded the removal of head of the Romanian
Intelligence Service (SRI) Virgil Magureanu, whom he accused of having
established a "political police [force]." He also blamed the SRI for
allegedly allowing Hungarians "to buy up Transylvania through all kinds
of private companies." Tudor's attacks against the SRI come in the wake
of the recent publication of documents showing he was a Securitate
informer. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA'S HUNGARIANS STAGE SCHOOL PROTEST. Some 8,000 pupils, teachers,
and parents on 15 September rallied in Sfantu Gheorghe, a Transylvanian
town where ethnic Hungarians are in an overwhelming majority, to protest
the education law adopted this summer. Romania's Hungarians see the
legislation as discriminating against ethnic minorities. Romanian media,
however, reported on 16 September that, despite calls by the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania, there were no similar protests in
other Transylvanian towns. President Ion Iliescu, speaking in Oradea at
a ceremony marking the beginning of the new school year, appealed to
Romanian and Hungarian pupils and teachers to support his initiative for
a "historic reconciliation" between the two countries. Iliescu launched
the initiative at a meeting with political leaders on 14 September. --
Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OVERRULES DISMISSALS. Moldova's
Constitutional Court overruled the parliament's decision to dismiss
parliament deputy chairman Nicolae Andronic, chairman of the Law
Committee Eugen Rusu, and chairman of the State Security and Public
Order Committee Ion Ungureanu, Infotag and BASA-press reported on 15
September. The three were fired in late July following their resignation
from the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova. The court said the
dismissals were anti-constitutional and amounted to political
persecution. Members of the parliamentary majority criticized the
court's decision as "hasty and violating parliamentary regulations." --
Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR "MINI-MARSHALL PLAN." Zhelyu Zhelev on 15
September called for a program funded by the West to help Balkan states
recover from the losses suffered during the former Yugoslav conflict,
Reuters reported the same day. Meeting with the ambassadors to Bulgaria
of the EU and NATO member countries, Zhelev said a "mini-Marshall plan
should include all Balkan states which have suffered economic losses
from the Yugoslav conflict, among which is Bulgaria." Standart on 16
September reported that the government supported Zhelev's position.
International institutions estimate Bulgaria has lost trade worth $1.4
billion as a result of the sanctions. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER OFFERS BASES FOR STEALTH BOMBERS. Alfred
Serreqi has offered air bases for stealth fighter-bombers that the U.S.
wants to use in Bosnia, AFP reported on 14 September. Italy earlier
refused to provide bases for the F-117 jets, demanding that Rome be
allowed to participate in the Bosnian peace process. Three U.S.
reconnaissance planes have been based at the Gjader base since mid-July.
Elsewhere, Albanian and U.S. military units on 14 September started
their seventh joint military exercise, code-named "Peaceful Eagle,"
Reuters reported. The exercise aims at training Albanian units to be
deployed in future UN peacekeeping missions. -- Fabian Schmidt

[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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