|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 195, Part II, 6 October 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 PRESIDENT ON GROWING SUPPORT FOR LEFTIST FORCES. Leonid Kuchma told a news conference on 4 October that large segments of the population are showing support for the left-wing opposition, Radio Ukraine reported on 4 October. But he noted that the growing popularity of communists and socialists, mainly among pensioners, was more a protest against declining living standards than support for communist ideas. Kuchma blamed the fragmented legislature for delays in adopting badly needed legislation, which he said have led to large economic losses. He added that the parliament's failure to adopt a resolution allowing implementation of a new tax code has caused the government to lose a substantial amount of revenue. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINE, POLAND TO SET UP JOINT BATTALION. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov and his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Okonski, have signed a communique stating that Ukraine and Poland will set up a joint peacekeeping battalion, Interfax and AFP reported on 5 October. The battalion is expected to be operational by November 1996 and will carry out peace missions within international bodies. Shmarov was on a two-day visit to Poland to discuss a number of issues, including air defense, border cooperation, and NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Both defense ministers affirmed their commitment to closer military cooperation and decided to meet at least every six months. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RESOLVE DISPUTE OVER PRESIDENTIAL DECREES. Belarusian Radio on 5 October reported that the Belarusian Constitutional Court has begun considering the legality of the first of six presidential decrees under scrutiny. The decree deals with the state budget and temporary measures to reduce expenditures. The parliament asked the court to review the decree since it considers that it, rather than the president, has the authority to approve budgetary revenues and expenditures. Interfax the previous day reported that parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb asked the Court to examine whether amendments to the law on elections are constitutional. The parliament amended the election law so that elections can be considered valid if 25% of the electorate vote, instead of the previous 50%. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has opposed the change, saying a parliament could not have deputies elected under two different election laws. -- Ustina Markus POST-ELECTION COALITION FORMED IN LATVIA. Joachim Siegerist, leader of the Popular Movement for Latvia, said on 5 October that he will support the left-wing coalition led by Democratic Party Saimnieks chairman Ziedonis Cevers, BNS reported. The two groups will have only 48 deputies but are expected to gain either the support--tacit or otherwise--of the Socialist Party to ensure the election of Cevers as prime minister. Siegerist, who is a radical rightist, said he would have preferred forming a coalition with the rightist National Bloc but that one of its leaders For the Fatherland and Freedom chairman Maris Grinblats, had rejected his proposal. -- Saulius Girnius NEW ECONOMICS MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. President Algirdas Brazauskas on 5 October accepted the resignation of Aleksandras Vasiliauskas and appointed Vytas Navickas as his replacement, BNS reported. Navickas served as economics minister from April 1990 to May 1991 and since then has been a deputy minister. He said that his ministry's primary task will be the integration of the Lithuanian economy into Europe. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER SUMS UP U.S. VISIT. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, on returning from New York on 5 October, said "we have great chances to gain the status of nonpermanent member in the UN Security Council." The Czech Republic's term as a nonpermanent member is drawing to a close, and it is likely that Poland will be granted membership over Albania. Asked about the appointment of a new ambassador to Russia, Bartoszewski said the issue was still pending, Polish dailies reported on 6 October. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz SLOVAK PRESIDENT COMES UNDER INCREASING PRESSURE. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, addressing a sport stadium full of supporters (about one half of whom were reportedly women over 40) on 5 October, said "the nicest" way to remove President Michal Kovac would be to pass a law ending his term in office, Pravda and TASR reported. If this does not work, Meciar said, "we will consider a referendum." He added that the issue "should be discussed in the parliament, on the streets, on town squares, and at work." Culture Ministry spokeswoman Marta Podhradska, in an interview with Slovak Radio on 5 October, admitted that her ministry has called on state administration offices to sign a letter asking for Kovac's resignation. The National Property Fund's executive committee has also called on the president to resign. -- Sharon Fisher HEAD OF SLOVAK GREENPEACE EXPELLED FROM CZECH REPUBLIC. Lubica Trubiniova and several other Slovaks have been banned from entering the Czech Republic for one year because they took part in a blockade on 1-3 October of the main entrance to the Czech nuclear plant Temelin, Pravda and Lidove noviny reported on 6 October. Trubiniova was detained on 2 October and compelled to leave the country within 24 hours. She described her punishment as "a clear tendency of the Czech state to repress...public criticism about the government's decision to complete the plant." Trubiniova alleged there has been no public discussion on the project. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN STUDENTS STRIKE DEAL WITH GOVERNMENT. Hungary's students struck a deal with Prime Minister Gyula Horn and Minister of Culture Gabor Fodor on 5 October, Hungarian newspapers and international media reported the next day. While the students accepted the need for basic tuition fees, the government agreed to suspend plans to have additional fees imposed by institutes of higher education. Paying for tuition is part of the austerity package that has triggered protests across the country this year. Tamas Bauer, leader of the Alliance of Free Democrats (the junior coalition partner in the Socialist-led government) told Hungarian TV on 5 October that he hoped the government would not give in to pressure, "because then everyone will take to the streets with their grievance." Meanwhile, Minister of Labor Magda Kovacs Kosane announced her resignation on 5 October citing conflicts between the Finance Ministry and the Labor Ministry over the former's proposal on sick pay, Nepszabadsag reported. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARIAN FOUNDATION AWARDED "ALTERNATIVE NOBEL PRIZE." A Hungarian foundation that promotes Romani entrepreneurship in business, agriculture, and education has received the 1995 Right Livelihood Award, which will be officially presented on the eve of the Nobel prize ceremonies, international media reported on 4 October. The Hungarian Self-Reliance Foundation will share the $250,000 award with Serbian, Thai, and Indonesian human rights organizations. The foundation aims to help the many Roma who have lost work in recent years, offering them opportunities to retrain and acquire basic legal and financial knowledge. -- Alaina Lemon SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE SIGNED. International media on 6 October reported that an American-mediated cease-fire was signed the previous day. The latest in a series of at least 35 truces was approved by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo and by Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic in Belgrade, with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic as a witness. Croatia is not a party but accepted it. Fighting for last-minute advantages can continue until the pact comes into force, which will be at 12:01 a.m. on 10 October, or, if full gas and electricity supplies have not been restored to Sarajevo by then, at 12:01 a.m. on the day after their restoration. It remains in effect for 60 days or until a peace conference concludes, whichever is later. Clear orders for implementation must be given to men in the field, and civilians must be treated well and prisoners released. Roads connecting Gorazde with Sarajevo and Belgrade will be reopened. -- Patrick Moore CLINTON TO SPONSOR PEACE TALKS. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 6 October reported that the Bosnian government made a key concession by abandoning its demand that Banja Luka be demilitarized. The International Herald Tribune said that President Bill Clinton announced "proximity talks" would begin in the U.S. on 25 October. Delegations of "the warring parties" will sit in separate rooms while American diplomats shuffle back and forth between them. The purpose will be to finalize a settlement, including what amounts to a partition of the ethnically mixed republic. A final treaty would then be signed in Paris. -- Patrick Moore UPBEAT REACTIONS TO CEASE-FIRE. Clinton on 5 October said that pact marks "another solid step on the hard and hopeful road to peace," international media reported. Tanjug quoted Karadzic as saying it was "another big step toward peace" and that, if it holds, it is "the beginning of the end of the war." The International Herald Tribune cited Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as commenting "we will respect it, and I also think the Serb side will respect it." Russian President Boris Yeltsin pledged "active support for efforts at reaching a peace settlement." -- Patrick Moore OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. Even before the cease-fire comes into effect, representatives of the Contact Group, plus Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Canada, meet in Rome on 6 October with delegates from Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to discuss postwar reconstruction. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted that Canada intends to withdraw its peacekeeping contingent by the end of November. The UN Security Council on 5 October warned both Croatia and Bosnia to provide better treatment to Serbian civilians. And the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA reported that Bosnian Serb troops have recaptured Kljuc, but there is no independent confirmation of the story. -- Patrick Moore CONTRADICTORY REPORTS ON GLIGOROV'S CONDITION. Macedonian Radio on 5 October quoted the doctors attending Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov as saying his condition is stable, Reuters reported the same day. Vecher quoted one of the doctors as saying the results from the X-rays are good and no operations are planned for the moment. Meanwhile, Bulgarian Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev said Gligorov's condition is "more serious than has been officially announced and it is getting worse," according to RFE/RL. He added that Gligorov "is already blind in one eye and his right arm has been amputated." "A tragic end is possible," Nachev commented following a meeting with Bulgarian intelligence chief Brigo Asparuhov. -- Stefan Krause MACEDONIA CHANGES FLAG. The Macedonian parliament on 5 October voted to change the country's flag, international and Macedonian media reported. The new flag, which depicts a sun with eight broad rays instead of the 16-point Star of Vergina, was approved by 110 legislators, with one vote against and four abstentions. The nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity called the adoption of the new flag "illegal." Under the Greek- Macedonian accord signed on 13 September, Macedonia agreed to change its flag and clarify parts of its constitution. Greece, for its part, will lift its blockade on Macedonia. Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou expressed his satisfaction at Macedonia's decision, saying he hopes talks between Athens and Skopje will lead to closer ties. -- Stefan Krause OPPOSITION COALITION TO FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY IN CROATIA. Croatian media have been reporting extensively on the election coalition of five opposition parties, described by their leaders as "purely centist." The coalition aims at protecting political pluralism and preventing only one party--the ruling Croatian Democratic Unity (HDZ)--from running the country (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 September 1995). The coalition has to receive at least 11% of votes to win seats in the parliament but its leaders believe it will win at least 20%, Vjesnik reported on 4 October. It is the first time that a key regional party, the Istrian Democratic Union (IDS), has joined a national coalition. The IDS, which is highly popular in Istria, previously rejected forming a coalition with the HDZ. -- Daria Sito Sucic ROW CONTINUES OVER ILIESCU'S REMARKS IN U.S. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu has rejected as "disqualifying, absurd, and trivial" the attacks launched by Greater Romania Party (PRM) Chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor against Ion Iliescu (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 October 1995). Radio Bucharest quoted Chebeleu as saying that Tudor's overreaction was based on misinterpreted and unverified reports in the U.S. press. He also said that the president could not demean himself to respond to Tudor's attacks. But he added that Romania's judicial organs have the duty to defend the presidential institution. Also on 5 October, Tudor's party expressed "stupefaction over the ultimatum" sent by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania that the PRM clarify its position. It also threatened to denounce the alliance protocols with the ruling party. -- Dan Ionescu ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ROMANIA. Susanna Agnelli, on an official visit to Romania on 4-5 October, discussed bilateral cooperation with her Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, and met with President Ion Iliescu, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, and the chairmen of the two houses of the parliament, Radio Bucharest reported. The Romanian officials praised Italy's support for Romania's admission into European structures. But they raised the question of visa requirements for Romanian citizens visiting Italy. Agnelli and Melescanu exchanged the instruments of ratification for a Friendship and Cooperation Treaty between their countries. -- Dan Ionescu ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN NEWS AGENCIES TO COOPERATE. The state-run new agencies Rompres and MTI have signed in Bucharest a cooperation agreement, Radio Bucharest reported on 5 October. The agreement provides for the exchange of news and services as well as professional assistance to correspondents. MTI director-general Karoly Alexa said the Hungarian public is interested in all news about Romania, not just that concerning the Hungarian minority. He stressed that for this reason, it is important to have a Hungarian correspondent in Bucharest and a Romanian one in Budapest. The two news agencies are not allowed to interfere in each other's reporting and, where necessary, will cite each other as primary sources. -- Matyas Szabo BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PROTESTS INCLUSION ON EU BLACKLIST. Bulgarian deputies on 5 October protested the EU's decision to include Bulgaria on the so-called "blacklist" of 101 countries for which visas are required, RFE/RL and Reuters reported the same day. In an official declaration, they said the decision was "discriminatory." Former Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov of the Union of Democratic Forces said introducing such requirements "is unfair and penalizes ordinary Bulgarians." He added that including Bulgaria on the blacklist "only plays into the hand of those skeptical about our integration into the EU." Bulgaria and Romania are the only two East European countries with associate EU membership that are on the list. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN BUSINESS BLOC FALLS APART. Three parliamentary deputies from the Bulgarian Business Bloc on 5 October officially left the party and its parliamentary caucus, Standart reported the following day. The BBB has thus lost the status of parliamentary faction, since, with only nine deputies, it is one short of the required minimum of 10 legislators. The three deputies said they disagreed with the politics of the party's leadership and accused their colleagues of "infantilism and immorality." Over the past few months, BBB deputies had repeatedly threatened to leave the caucus. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ADDRESSES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Alfred Serreqi, speaking at the 50th session of the UN General Assembly on 3 October, focused most of his remarks on the conflicts in the Balkan region, ATA reported the same day. "The tragedy of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina is due to Belgrade's desire for the creation of a greater Serbia," he said. Serreqi also condemned Serbian police terrorism against the majority Albanian population of Kosovo. "A tragedy of unprecedented scale will erupt in Kosova unless Belgrade authorities are subjected to international pressure to halt their policy of confrontation," he noted. He praised Kosovar Albanian leaders, saying it was their policy of peaceful resistance that had largely succeeded in so far averting conflict in the province. -- Stan Markotich TURKISH PREMIER-DESIGNATE ANNOUNCES NEW CABINET. Tansu Ciller on 5 October won presidential approval for a minority government conditionally supported by two small right-wing parties, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and Democratic Left Party (DSP), international and Turkish media reported the same day. In order to win a vote of confidence, Ciller is counting on the support of nine independent deputies and 14 renegades from the Motherland Party and Republican Peoples Party, Milliyet reported the next day. The new cabinet is drawn entirely from the ranks of Ciller's True Path Party. Both the MHP and DSP have made their support conditional on Ciller's successful resolution of an ongoing strike by 350,000 public sector workers. -- 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. 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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