|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 184, Part II, 21 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 NATO AGREES ON ENLARGEMENT STUDY. NATO ambassadors on 20 September approved the enlargement study stipulating "how" and "why" NATO plans to expand to the east, international agencies reported the next day. The study does not indicate who the next candidates will be, nor does it set a timetable for membership. Criteria for membership include a commitment to democracy, human rights, a free-market economy, and democratic control of the military. New members will not be required to base nuclear weapons or other NATO troops on their soil. The study sets the goal of NATO enlargement as "enhanced stability for the entire Euroatlantic region without drawing new lines of division." The document is to be made available next week to participants in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The NATO Council of Foreign Ministers will decide whether to approve the study in December. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC UPDATE. The National Bank of Ukraine, in an apparent effort to liberalize the currency market, has permitted authorized commercial banks to buy hard currency on the interbank currency exchange and sell it to the population, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 19 September. But it has limited the karbanovets' fluctuation in value against the U.S. dollar to within 10% of the official exchange rate set by it. Bank officials said the move was an attempt to narrow the gap between the cash and non-cash exchange rates of Ukraine's provisional currency. In other news, the parliament voted to include pipeline maintenance firms on its list of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises ineligible for privatization, Interfax-Ukraine reported 19 September. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. CRIME IN BALTIC STATES. In the first eight months of 1995, the number of registered crimes was 24,542 for Latvia, 40,103 for Lithuania, and 25,878 for Estonia, BNS reported recently. The crime rates per 10,000 residents were 96.3, 107.9, and 173,4, respectively. Compared with the same period in 1994, the number of crimes declined by 9% in Latvia but grew by 12.8% in Lithuania and 11.1% in Estonia. The number of economic crimes decreased by 3.2% in Estonia but increased by 18.7% in Latvia and 8.1% in Lithuania. The number of registered smuggling cases increased by 142.4% in Lithuania, 120% in Latvia, and 63.6% in Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER SURVIVES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Estonian parliament on 20 September rejected a no confidence motion against Liina Tonisson, BNS reported. The motion, proposed by 22 deputies, blamed Tonisson for continuing scandals around privatization and the firing of the director-general of the Silmet factory in Sillamae that produces rare metals. The deputies said they realized the motion would fail, since the ruling coalition had expressed its full support for the minister. But they added that they had wanted to draw greater public attention to the issue. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE PLEDGES TO HELP LATVIAN ARMY. Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov, meeting with Latvian Prime Minister and Defense Minister Maris Gailis on 19 September, said Ukraine was prepared to offer material and technical assistance to the Latvian Armed Forces and to cooperate in training officers and military specialists, BNS reported the next day. Shmarov said that he understood Latvia's desire to join NATO and commented that the two countries could work together through the Partnership for Peace program. He also had meetings with President Guntis Ulmanis and Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs on 20 September and visited the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion's training center at Adazi. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. FORMER WALESA ADVISER ON PRESIDENT'S LEGAL ACHIEVEMENTS. Lech Falandysz, speaking at a press conference on 20 September about Lech Walesa's achievements as regards legislation, said the president vetoed 23 bills and sent 24 draft bills to the Sejm during his five years in office. Falandysz said that he always sought to interpret unclear Polish "constitutional laws" to the president's advantage, paving the way, among other things, for granting the president the power to decide who has the defense, foreign, and internal affairs portfolios. The press called this procedure a "Falandization of law." -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1996 BUDGET. The Czech government on 20 September unanimously approved a balanced budget for 1996 with revenues and expenditures each totaling 497.6 billion koruny (over $19 billion), Hospodarske noviny reports. The final figure is 35 billion koruny more than the Finance Ministry originally proposed because of revised predictions of GDP growth. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said GDP is expected to grow by 4.8% next year. Expenditures will increase by 14.4% in 1996, with spending on pensions, housing, security, the environment and transport infrastructure being given the highest priority. The Czech Statistics Office, meanwhile, revised upwards its estimate for GDP growth in the second half of 1995 from 3.6% to 4.1% compared with the same period last year. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. CZECH ILLEGAL ARMS NOT BOUND FOR EUROPE. The 5,700 Skorpion submachine guns seized by Czech detectives on 15 September during an illegal export attempt were not bound for a European country, Interior Ministry spokesman Jan Subert told CTK on 19 September. The forged export documents said that the weapons were bound for the Dominican Republic. Subert said the police had a good idea as to their real destination. While he would not name the recipient, he said the evidence ruled out both the Dominican Republic and all European countries. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK PRESIDENT REJECTS CALL TO RESIGN. Michal Kovac on 20 September rejected the cabinet's demand the previous day that he resign. In a statement read to journalists, Kovac rebuffed the cabinet's accusations that he is "fragmenting the constitutional system and destabilizing the country." He said that "if the aim of the Slovak government is to frighten the president and to force him to resign by escalating tension, I declare I will remain in the office to which I was democratically elected." The formulation of the cabinet's statement was reminiscent of the 1950s, "when tens of thousands of our citizens suffered on the basis of fabricated accusations," he added. The president also announced that he is willing to open a dialogue with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar at any time. Meciar's party--the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia-- responded to the president's statement by saying that he was "once again putting his personal interests above the interests of society," Sme reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK PARLIAMENT COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE DUBCEK'S DEATH. The parliament on 20 September voted to establish a commission to investigate the circumstances of the death of Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubcek, who died in November 1992 as a result of complications from a car accident. The proposal was put forward by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDSS), of which Dubcek was chairman until his death. Current SDSS Chairman Jaroslav Volf failed to be elected to head the commission. The parliament also approved a foreign currency law that will make the Slovak koruna more convertible as of October, Narodna obroda reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARY READY TO DISCUSS ILIESCU INITIATIVE. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs on 20 September said Hungary was open to the historic reconciliation proposed by Romanian President Ion Iliescu but added that the initiative appeared to be more of a "political than of a binding character," Reuters reported on 21 September. In July, Hungary and Romania broke off negotiations on a bilateral treaty aimed at settling the sensitive issue of minority rights for Romania's 1.7 million ethnic Hungarians. Iliescu suggested last month that the two Central European neighbors should cast aside decades of mutual suspicion and acrimony and settle their differences, following Germany and France's example after World War Two. -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc. IMF CRITICIZES HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC POLICY. Following two weeks of negotiations with Hungarian officials, an IMF delegation has criticized aspects of Hungarian economic policy, Magyar Hirlap reported on 21 September. The IMF was dissatisfied with the slow pace of the social security reform and the type of privatization deals recently concluded. But it approved of the government's economic plans for the next three years and its proposals to reform the state budget. Although the delegation also expressed approval of Hungary's stabilization program to date, it did not suggest when the long-awaited credit agreement would be signed. Talks between Hungary and the IMF will continue in Washington in October. -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE TURKISH PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. Tansu Ciller on 20 September handed in her resignation to President Suleyman Demirel, Western agencies reported. Demirel accepted the resignation but asked Ciller to act as caretaker premier until a new coalition is formed. Ciller's resignation came after the coalition between her conservative True Path Party and the social democratic Republican People's Party (CHP) broke up over domestic security issues. CHP leader Deniz Baykal had declared that the coalition was "effectively finished" and that Ciller should resign to allow for early elections. The CHP's decision to leave the coalition was prompted by differences over economic, social and human rights issues as well as its declining popularity and its supporters' resistance to Ciller's austerity course. Meanwhile, Mesut Yilmaz of the conservative Motherland Party has also demanded early elections, diminishing Ciller's chances to form a new coalition for the rest of the term, which is due to end in the fall of 1996. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. AIR ATTACKS ON BOSNIAN SERBS INDEFINITELY SUSPENDED. International media on 20 September reported that NATO and the UN announced the same day that air attacks against Bosnian Serb targets have been indefinitely suspended. But Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of NATO's southern command, and General Bernard Janvier, UN commander in Bosnia, issued a joint statement saying that "any subsequent attack on Sarajevo or any other safe area, or other non-compliance with the Exclusion Zone, freedom of movement or the functioning of the airport would be subject to investigation and resumption of air strikes." The Bosnian Serbs' "compliance" with the demand to remove heavy weapons around Sarajevo led to the suspension of air strikes. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. BOSNIAN UPDATE. Reuters on 21 September reported that Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian government forces the same day traded artillery fire as government troops continued their advance toward Doboj. The BBC World Service on 21 September reported that Bosnian government forces are continuing a northward push from Ozren Mountain, headed in the direction of Doboj. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb media report that Bosnian Serb forces have successfully "countered" a Bosnian government and Croatian offensive against the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Banja Luka. Reuters, however, cites UN sources as observing that Bosnian government and Croatian forces are halting their advance on Banja Luka and withdrawing some units. In another development, SRNA quotes Serbian paramilitary leader and internationally wanted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, as saying "We arrived [in Banja Luka] to defend the Serbian people and take back what belongs to us." Arkan, with about 1,000 of his paramilitary supporters, is believed to be in the vicinity of Banja Luka. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SERBIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE REMAINS COMMITTED TO PEACE. UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, following a meeting in Belgrade on 20 September, issued a joint statement saying "it was necessary to bring about the end of [regional] hostilities," Tanjug reported. Milosevic reaffirmed his commitment to a diplomatic resolution to the Bosnian crisis. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 21 September reported that rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic, who is in Paris to begin talks with French officials, arrived with the message that "the desire for peace is not a signal of [Belgrade's] weakness." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. CROATIA'S LOWER HOUSE DISSOLVED. The lower house of Croatia's parliament dissolved itself on 20 September, Croatian media reported. This move paves the way for early elections, widely rumored to be scheduled for 28 October. It is expected that early voting will strengthen President Franjo Tudjman and his Croatian Democratic Community's hold on power. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER IN MONTENEGRO TO CLOSE. Montenafax on 19 September reported that the American Cultural Center in Podgorica is slated for closure by April 1996. The report suggests the move is linked to budgetary cuts. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. ETHNIC HUNGARIANS ON ILIESCU INITIATIVE. Bela Marko, chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, has welcomed the initiative by Romanian President Ion Iliescu for a "historic reconciliation" with Hungary, Radio Bucharest reported on 20 September. Marko said, however, that similar proposals and negotiations have yielded no concrete results in the past. The issue of ethnic minorities, he added, requires a legal solution, not just a "declaration of intentions." He also said that the Romanian government's plan to appoint a member of the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity as a prefect of Mures County, where a large Magyar minority lives, was "an unfriendly gesture, contrary to proposals for reconciliation." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVA HOLDS CONFERENCE FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS. A three-day conference designed to bring together foreign investors and Moldovan businessmen started in Chisinau on 20 September, Infotag reported. Some 200 potential investors from 25 countries are participating in the event, organized by the Moldovan government with assistance from the World Bank and the UN Development Program. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told the delegates that Moldova wants to provide an adequate political, legal, and economic environment for foreign investment. The legal framework should allow investors to participate in the privatization process and operate on the local securities market, he added. Foreign investment has been rather modest in Moldova, amounting to less than $100 million. Some 450 joint ventures are registered with the authorities. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. The National Assembly on 20 September discussed the no confidence vote in Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Demokratsiya reported the following day. The vote was submitted by the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) in connection with the death of 14 soldiers (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 September 1995). SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov held Videnov personally responsible for the incident, saying the government is unable to deal with rising crime and deaths in the army. Bulgarian Socialist Party faction leader Krasimir Premyanov said crime in the army went down considerably when the SDS was in power in 1991-1992. The Bulgarian Business Bloc announced it will not support the SDS, while the People's Union and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom said they will vote against Videnov. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN AMBASSADOR TO UN DEFIES GOVERNMENT. Slavi Pashovski, Bulgaria's ambassador to the UN, is not included in the official Bulgarian delegation for the organization's next General Assembly, Demokratsiya reported on 21 September. Pashovski blasted the government in a program on state radio, saying it repeatedly ignored his earlier calls for consultations before ordering him to return to Sofia last week. According to Trud, the government sent him a one-way ticket, after which Pashovski decided not to return. Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova called on him to resign, because he had "distanced himself from the government." Pashovski was appointed by the government of the Union of Democratic Forces in 1991. -- 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 Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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