Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 182, Part II, 19 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

NEW UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION MAY BE ADOPTED BY YEAR'S END. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma, following a meeting of the Constitutional
Commission, said a final draft of a new post-Soviet Ukrainian
constitution may be ready for public debate in October and could be
adopted in a national referendum by the end of the year, Ukrainian TV
and UNIAN reported on 18 September. The commission--which consists of
administration members, lawmakers, and legal experts--has already
hammered out a preamble and the first section, but a number of critical
issues, including civil rights, still need to be approved. Parliamentary
speaker Oleksander Moroz said a final decision on the procedure for
adoption of the constitution should be made by mid-October. Leftist
forces, including Moroz, oppose adoption by a national referendum. They
favor approval by either a constitutional assembly or the current
legislature. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian Radio on 18 September
reported that OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der
Stoel met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko in Kiev to
continue discussions on the situation in Crimea. Van der Stoel also met
with parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz and held a closed-door
meeting with President Leonid Kuchma. The high commissioner is to travel
to Yalta for a conference on the problems faced by deportees when
seeking to return to their homelands. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

PRESIDIUM OF BALTIC ASSEMBLY MEETING. The Presidium of the Baltic
Assembly, meeting in Riga on 18 September, decided that the assembly's
seventh session will be held in Tallinn on 1-3 December, BNS reported.
Founded in 1991, the assembly consists of 20 deputies each from Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania. The presidium confirmed the 5 September statement
by the assembly's Foreign and Security Committee condemning remarks by
Russian officials who are opposed to the Baltic States' membership in
NATO. The presidium also discussed strengthening ties with the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ESTONIA. Niels Helveg Petersen, at the
beginning of a two-day official, met with his Estonian counterpart,
Riivo Sinijarv, BNS reported on 18 September. Petersen expressed support
for Estonia's membership in both the European Union and NATO, saying
that Denmark's parliament would probably ratify Estonia's association
agreement with the EU in October or early November. Petersen also had
meetings with President Lennart Meri, Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, and
Defense Minister Andrus Oovel. His visit ends on 19 September in Tartu
with a tour of the city's university. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

DELIMITATION OF LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN TERRITORIAL WATERS. The Lithuanian
Foreign Ministry on 18 December announced that Foreign Ministers Povilas
Gylys and Valdis Birkavs agreed at their meeting in Riga on 14 September
to determine the borders of their territorial waters by "generally
recognized international norms and practices of international law,"
RFE/RL reported. A dispute arose when Latvia began negotiations with
Western oil companies for explorations on territory also claimed by
Lithuania. Groups of Lithuanian and Latvian experts will attempt to
settle the border question after the Saeima elections at the end of this
month. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Supreme Court President Adam
Strzembosz has withdrawn from the presidential race and appealed to his
followers to vote for Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-
Waltz. In a statement published by Gazeta Wyborcza on 19 September,
Strzembosz said the election of the Democratic Left Alliance leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski, who currently heads opinion polls, would
practically rule out Poland's chances of NATO entry. He also said the
issue of the Russian armed forces stationed in Kaliningrad should be
addressed and that it is unlikely that Kwasniewski would do so.
President Lech Walesa's ratings recently improved to 16%, Gazeta
Wyborcza reported on 19 September. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. WARNS SLOVAKIA ABOUT DEMOCRACY. U.S. Defense Secretary William
Perry, ending a two-day visit to Slovakia on 18 September, said the
country needs to strengthen democracy before it can join NATO, Pravda
reported. "A test of progress towards democracy is the government's
tolerance of a diversity of opinions, full support of constitutional
rights, and transparency . . . of government activities," Perry said
after meetings with President Michal Kovac, Premier Vladimir Meciar, and
other top officials. But he noted that Slovakia has made significant
progress in meeting other basic conditions for NATO membership. Perry
stressed that NATO will add new members individually, rather than in
blocs. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK-BULGARIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi
Pirinski visited Slovakia on 18 September to discuss bilateral and
regional cooperation, Pravda reported. Pirinski and his Slovak
counterpart, Juraj Schenk, signed a visa-free travel agreement and a
readmission agreement. Commenting on a recent proposal by Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to widen economic cooperation among
countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Pirinski said "to speak about a
return to the CMEA is nonsense." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK KORUNA TO BE CONVERTIBLE IN OCTOBER? National Bank of Slovakia
officials, in a press conference on 18 September, reported progress
toward the stability of the Slovak koruna and favorable developments in
monetary policy allow for the implementation of the currency's full
convertibility October, TASR reported. Inflation decreased to 4.6% in
the first eight months of 1995, and annual inflation was 9.8% in August.
NBS foreign-currency reserves, excluding gold, reached $2.7 billion on
12 September. Parliamentary committees are now ending discussions on the
draft law on foreign exchange, prepared by the NBS and Finance Ministry.
The bill is expected to be approved by the parliament this month. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH SKINHEADS TAKE PART IN ATTACKS ON ROMA IN SLOVAKIA. About a dozen
skinheads from the Czech Republic traveled to the southern Slovak town
of Nesvady on 16 September, broke into a house, and beat up a 57-year-
old Romani man, CTK and TASR reported on 18 September. They beat the man
with a baseball bat and police truncheons, injuring him in the chest and
elbow. A spokesman from the Slovak Interior Ministry told TASR that
local skinheads the same day had invited skinheads from the Czech
Republic to travel to Nesvady, where they had organized an attack on
Romani citizens. TASR and Czech TV reported that another group attacked
Roma the same night in Hodonin, in the Czech Republic. Fifteen skinheads
broke the window of a house and beat a 64-year-old Romani woman, who
sustained back injuries. Twelve members of the group have been accused
of assault and inciting racial hatred. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN MEDIA LAW TO BE PASSED IN 1995? Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn
and the leaders of the six parliamentary parties have agreed to support
the media law and have it passed "possibly this year," Hungarian media
reported on 16 September. They decided to set up a committee to work out
a new concept for the government's draft on media legislation by 15
October. Parliamentary discussions on the media will be suspended until
the draft is ready. Since 1989, Hungary's badly needed media law has
been the subject of repeated disagreements on how to secure media
independence. Jozsef Torgyan, leader of the Smallholders' Party, left
the meeting early, protesting the Hungarian media's "discrimination
against his party." -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN DEPUTIES ON HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN RECONCILIATION. Socialist
deputy Matyas Szuros and Zsolt Lanyi, a representative of the
Smallholders' Party, have criticized the Hungarian-Romanian dialogue,
Hungarian newspapers reported on 18 September. Szuros noted that the
proposed Hungarian-Romanian reconciliation--announced by Romanian
President Ion Iliescu last month--must first be carried out between
ethnic Hungarians in Romania and the Romanian leadership. Only after
that, he stressed, can the problem be dealt with at an intergovernment
level. Lanyi warned that the Hungarian minority is being "held hostage"
by the new education law, and he called for more action by the Hungarian
Foreign Ministry. -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.

EASTERN EUROPE TO COOPERATE WITH EU ON ENVIRONMENT. Environment
ministers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania and Slovakia met with senior EU officials in Brussels on
18 September and agreed to convene at least annually to assess their
progress on meeting EU environmental standards, international media
reported. EU Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard said Eastern
Europe still needed to do a great deal to meet those standards. Austria
and the Scandanavian countries have stressed that standards should not
be lowered to accommodate prospective members. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI,
Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SACIRBEY OFFERS BANJA LUKA "DIALOGUE." As Croatian and Bosnian forces
close in on Banja Luka, Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey has
offered to talk with Serb leaders there. AFP on 18 September quoted him
as calling this "an opportunity to set an example of mutual coexistence
for the future of how the entire peace process should go ahead. We are
trying in fact to create the symbol of a Bosnian southern breeze, rather
than a Bosnian storm." British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind agreed
to help find Serbian leaders willing to talk. "We hope it could provide
the basis for a ceasefire throughout the country," he said. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS FLEE BANJA LUKA. Nasa Borba on 19 September reported that a column
of refugees 70 km long is moving from the threatened Bosnian Serb
stronghold of Banja Luka toward Derventa and Serbia beyond. The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung added that the lightning offensive by
allied forces has left the Serbs with only 50% of the republic's
territory, and that figure appears to be shrinking rapidly. Tanjug
reported unsuccessful Croatian and Bosnian advances near Mostar, but
there has been no independent confirmation of the story. The VOA said
that Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic is in a Belgrade
hospital recovering from surgery to remove a kidney stone, and that his
civilian counterpart, Radovan Karadzic, is largely ignored by fellow
Bosnian Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN, MUSLIM CIVILIANS "IN GRAVE DANGER." The Banja Luka Serbs are
reported to have been particularly ruthless and systematic in their
"ethnic cleansing," which was extended to the complete destruction of
historic mosques and other monuments. The BBC on 19 September quoted
international monitors as saying that the few remaining Croatian and
Muslim civilians now face special peril from the fleeing Serbs. The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 18 September noted the same about the
non-Serbs in Donji Vakuf. The BBC on 17 September, however, reported
that Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic refused to comment on
accounts of atrocities against 6,000 Serbs trapped in that area. British
and Serbian papers, moreover, continue to carry articles about sinister
behavior by Croatian forces in Krajina, including grisly murders of the
few, mainly elderly and infirm Serbian civilians who stayed behind.
Croatia denies the stories and accuses some of the journalists of long-
standing bias. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

"THE PEACE PLAN FALLS WITH BANJA LUKA." This is how Nasa Borba on 19
September sums up the relationship between developments on the ground
and diplomacy. The International Herald Tribune quoted Sacirbey as
adding that "military pressure has been an effective force" in the peace
process. The VOA reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has
urged the international community to use its influence in Zagreb and
Sarajevo to halt the offensive. Following the killing of a Danish
peacekeeper near Bihac, the UN Security Council demanded the Croatian
and Bosnian forces stop fighting. A State Department spokesman insisted
that the current peace plan remain the basis of future talks. U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said "the light here is red.
It's a red stoplight. Stop the fighting. Go back to the negotiating
table," AFP reported from Moscow on 18 September. Meanwhile in New York,
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali said that time has come to
replace UN forces in Bosnia with "regional" ones. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Algirdas Brazauskas on 18 September
began a two-day official visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported.
Brazauskas, who is returning Romanian President Ion Iliescu's visit to
Vilnius in March 1994, is the first Lithuanian head of state to visit
Romania. Brazauskas' talks with Iliescu the same day focused on ways to
coordinate the countries' efforts to join Euro-Atlantic structures.
Addressing a joint session of Romania's two-chamber parliament,
Brazauskas defined his country's "main [foreign policy] goal" as joining
NATO. He said a selective admission to that organization would create
the "emergence of gray zones in which a vacuum of security would
prevail." Brazauskas also met with Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu and the
chairmen of both houses of the parliament. The two countries are
expected to sign accords on culture, health, and Interior Ministry
cooperation. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA WANTS TO JOIN NATO AT SAME TIME AS HUNGARY. Evenimentul zilei on
18 September quoted Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca as saying his
country wanted "to join NATO at all costs at the same time as Hungary."
Budapest has already set 1997 as a deadline for joining the Western
military alliance. Romania and Hungary have been negotiating a bilateral
basic treaty since 1991 but have been unable to reach agreement on the
final wording. The main stumbling block is the treatment of the large
Hungarian minority in Romania. Tinca also commented that military
relations with Russia were in "poor shape." He rejected Russian
objections to Romania's plans to join NATO and suggested that Russia was
"isolating itself" from the rest of Europe. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

NEW RESTRICTIONS ON ROMANIAN MEDIA. The Chamber of Deputies on 18
September adopted Article 206 of the new Penal Code on "defamation
through the media." According to the article, Journalists using the
electronic media and press for the purpose of calumny are liable to jail
terms of between six months and three years. The opposition National
Peasant Party-Christian Democratic denounced the legislation as
curtailing freedom of expression and jeopardizing democracy in general.
Meanwhile, two journalists who wrote that President Ion Iliescu worked
for the KGB went on trial on 18 September for having "offended the
authorities." If found guilty, the two could be sentenced to up to three
years in prison. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

SEPARATISTS HINDERING 14TH ARMY AMMUNITION DESTRUCTION. Authorities in
the breakaway Transdniester region in Moldova are obstructing efforts to
destroy ammunition of the former 14th Army, the deputy commander of
Russian troops in the region told Interfax on 18 September. The officer
said that at the end of the previous week, the arms depots and testing
ground near the village of Kolbasna had been blocked by units of the
breakaway republic's armed forces. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA WILL NOT HELP RUSSIA TO BREAK SANCTIONS AGAINST FORMER
YUGOSLAVIA. Bulgarian deputies on 18 September rejected a call by a
visiting delegation from the Russian State Duma to help create a land
corridor to supply fuel to rump Yugoslavia, international agencies
reported the same day. Chairman of Bulgaria's parliamentary Foreign
Policy Committee Nikolay Kamov said there was a consensus [among
committee members] on not breaking the UN sanctions and "no opportunity
for Bulgaria to oppose unilaterally the sanctions or stop enforcing
them." The Russian delegation had asked for a corridor through Bulgaria
to deliver fuel to rump Yugoslavia as humanitarian aid. Standart on 19
September reported that the Russian deputies threatened serious
consequences if Bulgaria did not comply. Gen. Leonid Mayorov, an adviser
to Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin, was quoted as saying the first Russian air
planes with humanitarian aid for the Bosnian Serbs will leave Russia on
19 September. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY GAINS MAJORITY SHARE IN DUMA. Businessman
Nikolay Krivoshiev, in a letter published in 24 chasa on 19 September,
announced he will hand over his 49% stake in the Bulgarian Socialist
Party's newspaper Duma to the party's Supreme Council, bringing the
BSP's stake up to 51%. The remaining 49% is held by the newspaper's
staff. Krivoshiev took his share in 1994 in order to "save the
newspaper" and help the party, as he said in his letter. He accused
Duma's editor in chief, Stefan Prodev, of working against the BSP's
interests and its leadership, saying that handing over his shares to the
party leadership will help the necessary "clarification process." --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA UPDATE. The Albanian government has asked the Constitutional
Court to rule that the country's Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to
hear an appeal by jailed Socialist leader and former premier Fatos Nano,
international media reported on 18 September. Should the Constitutional
Court rule in the government's favor, Nano, who was jailed for 12 years
in April 1994 on charges of falsifying documents and misappropriating
aid money, is likely to remain in prison. In other news, Republika on 14
September reported that Ramiz Alia, Albania's last communist ruler, has
joined the Socialist Party. Alia, who had been serving a prison sentence
for various crimes, including corruption, was released in July 1995. At
the time, Socialist leaders vowed that Alia would not be welcome to join
their ranks. -- Stan Markotich, 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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