|The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde|
No. 189, Part II, 28 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 CZECH PARLIAMENT CREATES SENATE. The lower chamber of the Czech parliament on 27 September approved the establishment of the legislature's upper chamber, Czech media reported. The creation of the Senate was provided for in the Czech Constitution, which went into effect on 1 January 1993 when the independent Czech Republic was established. Since then, the lower chamber has rejected three draft laws that would have established the Senate. It substituted for the upper chamber in its absence and could not be dissolved; furthermore, new elections could not have been called in case of a political crisis. Under the new electoral law, Senate elections will take place in 81 electoral districts in a two-round majority system. Candidates must be over 40 years old. They can be nominated by a political party or must gather at least 1,000 signatures. At the outset, one-third of the senators will be elected for two years, one-third for four years, and one- third for six years. -- Jiri Pehe CZECH LUSTRATION LAW EXTENDED. The Czech parliament on 27 September extended for another four years the screening law that bans former secret police agents and collaborators as well as high communist officials from holding government office, Czech media reported. The lustration law, which was adopted in 1991 and was to expire at the end of 1996, affected some 140,000 people when it was adopted by the former Czechoslovak Federal Assembly. Hundreds of people protested that they were registered as police collaborators without reason and have sued the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Most won their cases due to lack of evidence. -- Jiri Pehe CZECH-RUSSIAN TREATY RATIFIED. The Czech parliament on 27 September approved a friendship treaty with Russia that replaces a Soviet-era treaty signed in 1970, Czech media reported. The treaty, signed by Presidents Vaclav Havel and Boris Yeltsin in 1993, denounces the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and calls for mutually advantageous economic relations and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Russian parliament ratified the treaty in July 1994. Jiri Payne, chairman of the Czech parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, told journalists on 27 September that "Russia is not our enemy at the current time" and that the treaty should not pose a threat to the Czech Republic's desire for early NATO membership. -- Jiri Pehe UKRAINE CLARIFIES POSITION ON MEETING CFE TREATY DEADLINE. Oleksandr Bolychevtsev, an adviser to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Administration for Arms Control, has said that Ukraine will fulfill on time all its commitments specified in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, Holos Ukrainy reported on 26 September. His statement contradicts a recent Interfax report stating that Ukraine, together with other CIS countries, will not meet the deadline for meeting the requirements (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 September 1995). Bolychevtsev said that the 1992 Tashkent Accord specified that Ukraine had to cut additional equipment belonging to the Black Sea Fleet Shore Defense Forces and Marines. Because the Black Sea Fleet dispute between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, "Ukraine is unable to resolve the question of additional cuts," he noted. -- Michael Mihalka G-7 EXPERTS OFFER PLAN TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL. Ukrainian Environment Minister Yurii Kostenko told a news conference on 27 September that G-7 experts have rejected a Ukrainian proposal to build a gas-fired power plant to replace Chornobyl and offered instead their own plan for shutting the nuclear station by 2000, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported the same day. Kostenko said that the experts believed the construction of a single thermal power-generating station was insufficient. According to him, they proposed a more cost efficient and "comprehensive solution" to Ukraine's energy problems, including adding new units to Ukraine's four other nuclear plants, renovating existing thermal plants and increasing the productivity of hydroelectric stations for an estimated total cost of $1.44 billion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak LATVIA'S BANKING CRISIS SUBSIDES. Bank of Latvia Governor Einars Repse told the international conference "Banks and Finances in the Baltic States" on 27 September that Latvia's banking system was showing signs of recovery, BNS reported. He noted that although since January the number of operating banks declined from 55 to 39 (with 10 being declared insolvent), the stability of the lats was preserved by his bank's sale of 18.5% of its currency reserves. He said the crisis was caused by the fact that the banking system had developed more rapidly than other spheres of the economy. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER GIVES UP PARLIAMENT SEAT. Presidential adviser on foreign affairs Justas Paleckis has decided to give up the Seimas seat he gained earlier in the month when Social Democrat Audrius Rudys resigned, BNS reported on 27 September. Paleckis said that a major reason for his decision was that the Social Democratic Party had demanded that he specify those presidential measures he considers incorrect and evaluate the foreign policy of the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party as a precondition for working in its faction. -- Saulius Girnius BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT ON BORDER CONTROLS. The Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a resolution to sign an agreement with Russia on helping to fund measures to strengthen control of the borders between Belarus and the republics of Lithuania and Latvia, Belarusian Radio reported on 26 September. The chief of the Main Directorate of Border Troops was authorized to sign the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL TO HAVE FINAL SAY. The parliamentary commission drafting the new Polish constitution on 27 September decided that if the Constitutional Tribunal rules that a law violates the constitution, that legislation will be rendered null and void. Under current "constitutional provisions," the Sejm can overrule the tribunal's verdicts by a two-thirds majority. Meanwhile, Stanislaw Ciosek, the Polish ambassador to Russia, has been recalled, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 28 September. But Rzeczpospolita stresses that information on his recall is "unofficial." -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH PREMIER IN SPAIN. Jozef Oleksy, during a three-day visit to Spain, was received on 27 September by Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. Gonzalez said that Spain will be backing Poland's aspirations to join the European Union by 2000 but that it fears the expansion of EU membership will reduce subsides for the poorer Mediterranean member states. Oleksy encouraged Gonzalez to increase Spanish investment in Poland, noting that he would like to see the volume of trade between Poland and Spain amount to $1 billion in 1997 (at present it totals $700 million), Polish dailies reported on 28 September. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz SHALIKASHVILI VISITS SLOVAKIA. Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on 27 September that he is "absolutely satisfied" with the level of cooperation between the Slovak and U.S. armies and with Slovakia's participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, Sme reported. At a joint press conference with his Slovak counterpart, Jozef Tuchyna, Shalikashvili stressed that NATO is not yet in a position to say which countries will join NATO and when. In contrast to U.S. Defense Minister William Perry, who in a recent visit to Slovakia emphasized that Slovakia needs to strengthen democracy before it can join NATO, Shalikashvili avoided discussion of the country's political situation. During the visit, he held talks with Slovakia's president, prime minister, and defense minister. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN COALITION REMAINS INTACT--FOR TIME BEING. Hungary's two ruling coalition partners still have not reached agreement over the issue of cabinet reform, Magyar Hirlap reported on 28 September. The two parties, fiercely criticized by the opposition for openly discussing their "internal" disputes, previously agreed to settle any disagreement by 26 September. Socialist leader and Premier Gyula Horn and Gabor Kuncze, Horn's deputy coalition leader from the Alliance of Free Democrats, said at a press conference on 27 September that the failure to reach an agreement does not mean the dissolution of the coalition, since the original coalition agreement is still in force. Socialist deputy Imre Szekeres recommended that if the coalition stays together, its internal differences be patched over until next year so that the government can focus on the 1996 budget proposal and draft tax legislation still to be presented to the parliament. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE MIXED REACTIONS TO BOSNIAN AGREEMENT. Nasa Borba on 28 September cited U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as calling the accord of two days earlier a "psychological step toward peace." Tanjug quoted Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and EU mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as dubbing it "a major step toward establishing a final peace." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that the pact firmly establishes his Republika Srpska. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, however, stressed that the agreement keeps Bosnia as a single state. Hina reported that Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak argued that "the signed document is so vague that it has no clear provisions" for the future constitutional order. The Frankfurt daily quoted the Bosnian foreign minister as saying that free elections can take place only after Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic are sent to The Hague to be tried for war crimes. Bosnian army commander General Rasim Delic warned against "euphoria." Deutsche Welle on 27 September noted that the agreement is imprecise, sounds too much like earlier failed Yugoslav models, does not include a ceasefire, and involves making deals with indicted war criminals. -- Patrick Moore BELGRADE CALLS FOR A CEASEFIRE . . . Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic has urged an end to fighting across Bosnia within a few days, international media reported on 28 September. U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke is continuing his shuttle diplomacy with that end in mind, but AFP on 27 September cited complaints from the French and Italian foreign ministers about Holbrooke's alleged one-man show that ignores Washington's European allies. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said earlier that a ceasefire must involve the demilitarization of Banja Luka, an end to the "ethnic cleansing" there, the effective lifting of the siege of Sarajevo, road access to Kiseljak and Gorazde, and a large foreign troop presence to implement any peace agreement. The International Herald Tribune on 28 September reported that Bosnian Serbs fired rockets with cluster bombs at Zenica two days earlier and at Travnik the previous day. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said that "this is an indication that the Serb terrorists are looking for a way to stop the negotiating process." Some other observers have suggested, however, that the Serbs have the most to gain by an end to the fighting. -- Patrick Moore . . . WHILE RUMP YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT DOES NOT RULE OUT MORE FIGHTING. Tanjug reported that rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic on 26 September received a high level delegation from the Russian Federation, headed by State Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin. Lilic thanked Russia for its backing of Belgrade's "peace efforts" and for sending humanitarian aid. But while stressing rump Yugoslavia's alleged commitment to the peace process, he also observed that an end to the Balkan crisis was not necessarily in the offing. "What we do not want is to have our patience tested to the limit. . . . It is critical to concentrate our efforts on trying to stop the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina . . . [otherwise] it is certain that the war will spill over its existing borders." -- Stan Markotich DISCOVERY OF MASS GRAVE LEADS TO NEW CHARGES AGAINST WAR CRIMINAL. The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has made further charges against Dusko Tadic following the recent discovery of mass graves in northwestern Bosnia, Nasa Borba reported on 27 September. Tadic is a Bosnian Serb who is the only accused war criminal in the Bosnian conflict to have been delivered to the Hague. One of the tribunal's investigators went to the field near Kljuc to see a mass grave where the bodies of 540 people were at first reported to have been found. But Oslobodjenje on 27 September noted that about 2,000 bodies were eventually located. The new accusations charge Tadic with "war crimes committed between May and December 1992 in the concentration camps Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje" as well as crimes connected with the "expulsion of Muslims from the Prijedor area." -- Daria Sito Sucic CROATIA ARRESTS 395 FOR KRAJINA CRIMES. Croatian authorities have arrested 260 civilians, 70 police, and 65 soldiers in connection with the looting and torching of abandoned Serbian property since the collapse of Krajina in early August. UN spokesman Chris Gunness told news agencies on 27 September that he is still waiting for Zagreb to investigate the alleged murder of Serbian civilians by Croatian troops and to control continuing looting and torching. The Croatian authorities argue that their army is tied up in Bosnia and cannot effectively patrol all of Krajina. Novi list on 28 September reported that some abandoned Krajina Serbian homes are being given to Croatian refugees and displaced persons from the Banja Luka area. In Jajce, however, Croatian authorities have told Croats not to take homes belonging to local Muslims. -- Patrick Moore MORE ALBANIANS FROM MONTENEGRO TO STUDY IN ALBANIA. Montena-fax on 27 September reported that an additional 20 ethnic Albanian students from Montenegro will be enrolled this year at Albanian universities. To date, only 30 or so Albanians from Montenegro have been studying in Albania. -- Stan Markotich COUNCIL OF EUROPE APPROVES MACEDONIAN MEMBERSHIP. The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on 27 September approved Macedonia's request for membership, AFP reported the same day. CE officials said the Committee of Ministers will formally approve the admission on 15 October; and Macedonia will officially join, together with Ukraine, on 9 November under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia will have three seats in the assembly. Macedonia's admission to the organization is the first concrete result of the recently signed Greek-Macedonian accord, whereby Athens agreed not to object to Macedonian membership in international organizations of which it is a member. -- Stefan Krause NEW POLITICAL ALLIANCE IN ROMANIA. The opposition Democratic Party- National Salvation Front and the Social Democratic Party of Romania on 27 September signed an accord on forming a political alliance, Romanian media announced the same day. Called the Social Democratic Union, the new alliance plans to run on joint lists in the 1996 parliamentary elections and in many electoral districts in local elections due to be held in early 1996. -- Michael Shafir STIFF JAIL TERMS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS IN ROMANIA. The Chamber of Deputies on 27 September voted to impose sentences of 25 years to life for drug trafficking. The relevant provisions are to be included in the new Penal Code under review by the chamber. Romanian media and international agencies reported that the legislation also provides for jail terms of up to 15 years for the production and use of narcotics. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Mircea Snegur, addressing the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on 26 September, said that Moldova wants to settle the conflict in the Transdniester region by peaceful political means, Infotag reported. He called on the Council of Europe to organize an international conference on separatism in Chisinau. In Snegur's opinion, finding a resolution to the conflict is being hampered by "Tiraspol's reluctance to agree on a compromise and by external factors, including backing by some interested forces in the Russian State Duma." Snegur also noted the Moldovan Constitution "prohibits the country's participation in any military blocs and deployment of foreign military bases on the national territory." He stressed that Moldova may participate only in programs of cooperation and training, such as NATO's Partnership for Peace program. -- Matyas Szabo MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE COMMITTEE DEMANDS GOVERNMENT'S DISMISSAL. Anatol Petrencu, leader of the Moldovan student strike committee, told BASA- press on 27 September that the committee is demanding that the parliament and the president dismiss the cabinet. If they fail to do so, Petrencu said, the students' demonstrations will resume on 18 October. He added that the decision was prompted by the present economic plight of the population and the authorities' indifference toward it. Presidential adviser Tudor Colesnic, who heads the commission for dealing with the strikers' economic grievances, said that for the time being, "there are no grounds" to change the government. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIA ANGERED BY INCLUSION ON EU BLACKLIST. Bulgarian politicians reacted angrily to the European Union's decision to include the country on a list of nations deemed to pose a security or immigration threat, Reuters reported on 27 September. Of the six former communist countries with associate membership in the EU, only Bulgaria and Romania are included on the list of countries for which tough visa requirements will be required. Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaykov called the decision "groundless and totally unacceptable" because it puts Bulgaria "in a discriminative position compared to other East European countries." Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov said Bulgaria's inclusion on the list contradicted its associate EU membership. Foreign Ministry officials said they hope to get Bulgaria removed from the list before it becomes effective in six months. -- Stefan Krause [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. 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