|Dlya togo chtoby tvorit' velikie dela, nuzhno zhit' tak, budto i umirat' ne pridetsya. - Vovenarg|
No. 190, Part II, 29 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 UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN U.S. Yevhen Marchuk, during his trip to Washington, met with U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Senate majority leader Bob Dole, Interfax and Ukrainian TV reported on 27-28 September. He also addressed a government roundtable on US assistance for Ukrainian reforms. The US officials urged that privatization be sped up to boost U.S. investment in Ukraine, and Gore promised the U.S. would use its influence to increase aid to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko called for the lifting of UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Interfax-Ukraine reported 28 September. Udovenko said the embargo was counterproductive in promoting a peaceful settlement of the conflict. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS TWO NEW MINISTERS. Leonid Kuchma has appointed Serhii Holovatyi, a reformist deputy and founder of the Ukrainian Legal Foundation, as Ukraine's new justice minister, Ukrainian TV reported on 27 September. He also replaced the Ministry of Culture with a new Ministry of Culture and Art. Dmytro Ostapenko, director of the Ukrainian National Philharmonic, was named to head the new ministry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINE AGREES TO G-7 PLAN TO SHUT DOWN CHORNOBYL. Ukrainian Environment Minister Yurii Kostenko on 28 September said his government has agreed in principle to a plan proposed by experts from the G-7 industrial nations for shutting down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant by 2,000 (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995), Ukrainian TV and RFE/RL reported the same day. Kostenko said Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma responded favorably to the proposal for restructuring Ukraine's energy sector after closure of Chornobyl. He said a plan of action would be ready by mid-October and that Ukraine and the G-7 would sign a final agreement in November. -- Chrystyna Lapychak BELARUS RESUMES DESTRUCTION OF CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 28 September said that Belarus has resumed the destruction of weapons as required by the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, Interfax reported, He said the destruction was stopped in March because of a lack of funds and that its resumption had been prompted by German assurances in August that Western governments will guarantee financial aid for the destruction program. Meanwhile, ITAR- TASS the same day quoted a Russian general as saying Belarus has temporarily suspended the transportation of strategic nuclear weapons to Russia. Vladimir Verkhovtsev told a Moscow press conference that the removal of the weapons would not take long once the political decision to resume it was made. -- Saulius Girnius and Doug Clarke WALESA VETOES PENSION BILL. Polish President Lech Walesa on 28 September vetoed the bill on pensions, which foresees only one increase for pensioners next year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 September 1995). "Old- age or disability pensions are not a matter of charity or state benevolence," Walesa said in a speech on Polish TV. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy said earlier that rejection of the bill would mean a collapse of the state's finances. Oleksy also warned against seeking to make political capital out of the bill during the presidential campaign. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH DEPUTIES REFUSE TO GIVE UP PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY. The vast majority of deputies in the Czech parliament on 28 September voted against a bill that would limit immunity for parliamentary deputies, Mlada fronta dnes reported. Among other things, the bill would have abolished the immunity of deputies in the case of traffic violations. In other news, the opposition Social Democratic Party on 28 September asked President Vaclav Havel to veto the extension of the lustration law passed the previous day. -- Sharon Fisher CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. The parliament on 28 September approved a law allowing for the creation of non-profit organizations in 1996, Lidove noviny and Hospodarske noviny reported. Under the legislation, such organizations can be founded by private individuals living in the Czech Republic as well as by the state. They will be exempt from property taxes as well as levies on inheritances and gifts but will have to pay other taxes, duties, and administrative fees. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik said non-profit organizations will not be allowed to redistribute their profits to the advantage of the founders but only to reinvest them. Kocarnik expects the new law to encourage the development of non-government organizations in social services, culture, sport, health care, and education. The organizations can be financed through investments, gifts, inheritances, and grants from the state or local budget. -- Sharon Fisher CZECH, SLOVAK, RUSSIAN FIRMS TO CONSTRUCT MOCHOVCE. Following consultations in Bratislava on 28 September on the completion of Slovakia's nuclear plant at Mochovce, Skoda Praha was officially confirmed as the general contractor for technological aspects of the project, Hospodarske noviny reported. Prague-based Energoprojeckt, along with several Russian firms, was chosen as the plant's general designer, while Hydrostav Bratislava and Bratislava-based Elektrosystemy were selected to oversee construction and electrical equipment, respectively. According to Slovak Economy Minister Jan Ducky, the security system will be provided by the German firm Siemens and the French company Framatome. The sources of funding have not yet been determined, but it is probable that the Czech banks Komercni banka and Ceska sporitelna will be the project's major source of investment, Mlada fronta dnes reported. -- Sharon Fisher ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN BRATISLAVA. Between 10,000 and 15,000 demonstrators gathered in Bratislava on 28 September to protest Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's authoritarian style of government, Slovak and international media report. The rally was organized by the Committee for the Freedom of Speech as well as by several youth organizations. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky, referring to the abduction last month of President Michal Kovac's son, told the demonstrators that "the chief of the secret service, Ivan Lexa, is arrogantly preventing the investigation of the kidnapping, and Meciar supports him. Is that not a sign that both are implicated in the kidnapping?" -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PREMIER ABANDONS PLANS FOR CABINET RESHUFFLE. Hungarian Premier and Socialist leader Gyula Horn on 28 September withdrew his plans to carry out a cabinet reshuffle and agreed not to take any measures that would infringe the coalition agreement of 1994, the Hungarian press reported the next day. The two coalition partners--the Hungarian Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats--now consider their long tug-of-war to be over. The Socialists, especially Horn, had been pressing for a reshuffle to improve the way the government works. Meanwhile, the parliament is likely soon to pass legislation providing for the convertibility of the forint, according to Hungarian press reports. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARY SAYS HEAVILY ARMED EX-YUGOSLAVIA POSES THREAT. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told the UN General Assembly on 28 September that huge stockpiles of arms in the former Yugoslavia are a threat to neighboring countries, Hungarian newspapers and international media reported the next day. Kovacs stressed his country's concern for the ethnic Hungarian minority in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. He called for a comprehensive peace settlement for the former Yugoslavia that would guarantee minority rights. Meanwhile, Hungary is concerned about the several thousand ethnic Hungarians living in eastern Slavonia (now under Serbian control), many of whom were recently singled out for forced labor. According to Sandor Jakab, deputy of the Democratic Community of Hungarians in Croatia, five of them have been killed by Serbs. -- Zsofia Szilagyi NATO PRESENTS ENLARGEMENT STUDY. NATO on 28 September briefed participants in the Partnership for Peace program on its enlargement study, international media reported the same day. The study addresses the "how" and "why" of NATO enlargement but not the "who" and "when." It states that new members will come under NATO's "nuclear umbrella" even though nuclear weapons need not be based on their soil. One reason for Russia's opposition to NATO enlargement has been the possible deployment of nuclear weapons in neighboring countries. NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes said NATO will seek to continue involving Russia in European security matters. -- Michael Mihalka SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CROATIAN OPPOSITION MAKES ELECTION PACT. Seven ideologically diverse parties ranging from the far right to the moderate left reached an agreement on 28 September to field joint candidates in the 29 October parliamentary elections. The VOA reported that they want the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to face only one challenger in each district so as not to divide the opposition vote. The HDZ controls most of the media and an extensive patronage network and is expected to profit from popular support for the Croatian military's lightening victories against the Serbs this year. A new electoral law for the 127- seat Sabor also favors the HDZ by allowing for only 28 deputies to be elected on a district basis, as opposed to at-large candidacies on party lists. The number of seats reserved for the Serbian minority has been reduced, and 12 deputies will be elected at large by Croats abroad in what is seen as an attempt by the HDZ to obtain at least a two-thirds majority in the Sabor. The opposition has been weak thanks to a combination of its own ineptitude and the HDZ's skillful use of power. -- Patrick Moore BLEAK PICTURE FOR CROATIAN SERBS. Nasa Borba on 29 September quoted a UN spokesperson as saying that only about 1,000 Serbs are left in the Knin region, and that virtually all of them are elderly. She added that 73% of Serbian houses in the area have been burned or otherwise rendered uninhabitable and that torchings and looting continue. One of the main Serbian political leaders in Zagreb, Milorad Pupovac, told Reuters that "the basic problem for those [Serbs] left is they are not integrated into Croatian society. From the psycho-political point of view, Serbs are just not welcome." Tanjug on 28 September reported that UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg arrived in eastern Slavonia for talks with Serb rebels, saying "this is a last chance for a settlement of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia." -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN WRAPUP. Fighting continued around Kljuc and Mt. Ozren, Nasa Borba reported on 29 September. Western news agencies noted that the Serbs are consolidating their position around Banja Luka and Bosanski Novi, while Serbian gunners have shelled Konjic and Zenica. UN and European observers said that some brief fighting has taken place between Croats and Muslims over newly captured territory but that the alliance between them is more or less holding. One diplomat told AFP that "at the end of the day, Croatia has two objectives: to protect its borders and to gain entrance to the European Union." For these reasons, good relations with the Muslims are in the Croats' long-term interest, as Zagreb's friends in Washington and Bonn tirelessly point out. -- Patrick Moore WHITE HOUSE SUPPORTS SUIT AGAINST BOSNIAN SERB LEADER. The Clinton administration has endorsed a lawsuit against Radovan Karadzic filed by two Bosnian women who have charged him with war crimes, the International Herald Tribune reported on 28 September. After a lower court ruled that the civil lawsuit could not be brought against the Bosnian Serb leader, the women turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Another indicted war criminal, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, has arrested the military officers considered responsible for the defeat that Bosnian Serbs suffered during the Croatian-Bosnian offensive, Nasa Borba reported on 29 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic SERBIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN. Reuters on 29 September quoted Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) leader Vojislav Kostunica as saying the latest Bosnian peace initiative plan "will not survive." He added that long-term prospects for the survival of Bosnia- Herzegovina were bleak and suggested that there will be a rapprochement between Belgrade and the Bosnian Serbs. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 29 September quotes Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party and accused war criminal, as calling the Bosnian peace plan "a capitulation and a defeat for Serbian national policy." -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN NEW YORK. Teodor Melescanu and Laszlo Kovacs, in New York to take part in the UN General Assembly session, met to discuss Budapest's reaction to President Ion Iliescu's proposal for a historic reconciliation between the two countries, Radio Bucharest reported on 28 September. Kovacs said the Hungarian government is already studying the submitted documents. He stressed that solving outstanding problems in bilateral relations should precede the proposed reconciliation, adding that the issue of minority rights requires a legal framework to include specific commitments. Melescanu told Radio Bucharest that the first meeting to discuss concrete diplomatic steps will be held soon. -- Matyas Szabo ROMANIA REACHES AGREEMENT WITH EXIMBANK. According to RFE/RL on 29 September, Romania has become the fourth Central European country to conclude a cooperative financing agreement with the U.S. Export Import Bank (Eximbank). President Ion Iliescu was present for the signing of the agreement, which greatly increases financing available for projects within Romania and possibilities for including Romanian products in joint U.S.-Romanian projects in third countries. Iliescu on 29 September met with IMF and World Bank officials. According to RFE/RL, the talks were successful and Bucharest has a good chance of receiving the second half of the IMF stand-by agreement, which is due to expire in December. Romania received the first half of a transformation loan in May 1994 but has been unable to meet the fund's performance criteria to receive the second half. -- Michael Shafir NATO AIR AGREEMENT SIGNED IN ROMANIA. Radio Bucharest and Reuters on 29 September reported that an agreement on harmonizing civilian and military airspace standards was signed in the Romanian mountain resort of Sinaia between NATO, on the one hand, and Romania, Slovenia, and Albania, on the other. The agreements requires the signatories to upgrade their air traffic control and air space surveillance to NATO standards. -- Michael Shafir CHISINAU, TIRASPOL DEADLOCKED ON "MOLDOVAN-LANGUAGE" SCHOOLS. Officials from Chisinau and Tiraspol on 28 September failed again to reach agreement on resolving the issue of schools in the Dniester region that offer instruction in the "Moldovan" language using the Latin script, Infotag reported. The representatives of the breakaway republic say the Latin script may be used only in schools "financed by anybody but not by the Dniester budget." BASA-press quoted Aleksandr Karaman, vice president of the Dniestrian region, as saying that if "Moldovan-language schools do not acquire a legal status by 10 October, they will be closed." These schools have to be registered with local authorities and must accept the Tiraspol Education Ministry curriculum. -- Matyas Szabo and Michael Shafir BULGARIA EXPRESSES INCREASED DEFIANCE OVER NUCLEAR ISSUE. Deputy Premier Kiril Tsochev, speaking on Bulgarian Radio on 28 September, said Bulgaria will reopen a reactor at the controversial Kozloduy nuclear plant if the facility meets technical inspection standards. The results of a national Atomic Energy Commission review, currently under way and slated for completion on 1 October, will determine whether the reactor will be restarted, Tsochev said. He added that Bulgaria "is not waiting for [foreign] permission to restart the reactor." There has been widespread international concern about safety standards at Kozloduy, most recently voiced by Germany (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 September 1995). -- Stan Markotich ALBANIAN UPDATE. Montena-fax on 28 September reported that the foreign ministers of Greece and Albania, Karolos Papoulias and Alfred Serreqi, met the previous day in New York. The Greek side was reported as saying that talks were "beneficial to both sides," despite the fact that little progress was made on outstanding issues such as the status of the Greek minority in Albania. In another development, MIC on 28 September reported that the Tirana daily Koha Jone has taken the government to task for its foreign policy toward neighboring Macedonia. According to the report, Tirana's "softer" attitude toward Macedonia compares unfavorably with Greece's hardline approach. Koha Jone alleged that Tirana's failure to lobby for ethnic Albanian interests in Macedonia has made it "clear to Albanians [in Macedonia] that the borders between the two countries are definite, telling them exactly where their place is." -- Stan Markotich DEMIREL RECEIVES TABUNSHCHIK. Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on 27 September met with Georgi Tabunshchik, leader of Moldova's Gagauz autonomous region, TRT TV reported the same day. Demirel again pledged "every kind of support" for the Gagauz people but noted that the consolidation of Gagauz autonomy must be accomplished peacefully. A major goal of Turkish foreign policy since 1991 has been promoting the interests of Turkic speakers throughout the region. -- Lowell Bezanis [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. 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