The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881

No. 201, Part II, 16 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:


lawmakers have ordered the government to find some 230 trillion
karbovantsi ($1.3 billion) to raise the country's poverty line,
Interfax-Ukraine reported on 14 October. Deputies on 12 October voted to
increase the minimum poverty level to 4.8 million karbovansti ($27) a
month after monthly inflation rose to 14.2% in September. The government
issued a statement claiming the move "will provoke a disastrous economic
aftermath" and said there is no money in the current budget to fund it.
President Leonid Kuchma said the decision was a politically motivated
effort by opposition deputies to discredit the executive branch and
economic reforms. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE ON RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii
Udovenko, following a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Andrei
Kozyrev, in Moscow on 13 October, said 36 issues, including the Balkan
crisis, had been discussed in a friendly atmosphere, Interfax reported
the following day. Udovenko said the cost of peacekeeping operations
made Ukraine's continued participation questionable, but he added that
Ukraine wanted to continue to take part. With regard to the Black Sea
Fleet, Udovenko said he wished to hold talks with Kozyrev on proposed
draft agreements on Russian deployment and funding before the prime
ministers of the two countries meet to discuss the issue. As for NATO
expansion, Udovenko said both sides expressed concern over the issue.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma the previous day criticized the idea
of a referendum on the unification of CIS Slavic states, saying it was
unreasonable to create a military bloc of CIS countries. -- Ustina

12 October reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
still refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the old parliament. The
Constitutional Court the previous day ruled that, in the absence of a
newly elected parliament, the old legislature remains legitimate.
Lukashenka maintained that the real reason for his problems with the
parliament was his decree stripping deputies of many privileges. If he
allowed them to have their "undeserved privileges," there would be fewer
conflicts between legislature and president, he maintained. -- Ustina

ESTONIAN REFORM PARTY REELECTS KALLAS. A general meeting of the Estonian
Reform Party on 14 October unanimously re-elected Siim Kallas as party
chairman, BNS reported. Kallas said his party was opposed to
extraordinary elections if a new government cannot be formed following
Tiit Vahi's resignation last week, even though the Reform Party would
probably be more successful in them. He suggested the party define the
principles to which it would adhere if it entered a ruling coalition,
and he proposed these include adoption of a new law on pensions, paying
more attention to education and the family, and better social protection
for the population. The farming sector should be supported through
investment, and not through subsidies and price regulation, he added. --
Saulius Girnius

Ulmanis and Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 13 October, having gained the
unanimous approval of the cabinet, signed a formal application document
to join the European Union, Reuters reported. The next day, the chairmen
of all parliamentary parties met with Ulmanis and signed a declaration
asserting that admission into the EU was the most essential goal of
Latvia's foreign policy. Even Socialist Party Chairman Filip Stoganov,
whose party was considered to be opposed to EU membership, now supports
it. -- Saulius Girnius

Guntis Ulmanis said in a radio interview on 13 October that he would not
nominate a candidate for prime minister before the first session of the
sixth Saeima on 7 November, BNS reported. Democratic Party Saimnieks
Chairman Ziedonis Cevers, however, hinted that he had found a party that
was willing to join the coalition of the DPS, Latvian Unity Party,
National Harmony Party, and Popular Movement for Latvia and that
supported his candidacy for prime minister. BNS suggested the party was
the Christian Democratic Union (KDS), which won four seats in an
election coalition with the Farmers' Union. KDS secretary-general Maris
Vitols, however, said the party would not break its links with the
right-of-center National Bloc. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW TAX THRESHOLDS IN POLAND. The Sejm on 13 October approved new tax
scales which, according to Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, mean lower tax
rates for low income earners. The opposition criticized the new taxation
system, arguing that "85% of tax payers will pay slightly lower taxes
and 15% will pay considerably higher taxes." The Sejm accepted the
Freedom Union's proposal to reduce taxes for citizens who do not use the
state medical care system. It also agreed to lower rates for taxpayers
who have children and/or mortgages. President Lech Walesa said he did
not know whether he would sign the bill, Polish dailies reported on 14
October. Meanwhile, a recent public opinion poll shows that support for
Walesa has grown over the past month. Democratic Left Alliance leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski led the poll with 27%, followed by Walesa with
17% and Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (12%). -- Dagmar
Mroziewicz and Jakub Karpinski

around Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was especially tight on 15
October when he appeared at television studios in Ostrava for a live
debate, Czech Television reported. Government officials on 13 October
revealed that an anonymous letter containing explosive powder and
addressed to Klaus had arrived at the government office two days
earlier. It was detected by X-ray screening and made safe, but the
officials said the explosive was not primed. They added that it was the
first such device to be sent to Klaus and that the writer made threats
and demands for money, which they did not specify. Lidove noviny on 16
October quoted the head of Klaus's bodyguards as saying that extra
security measures were in force according to directions laid down by
Interior Minister Jan Ruml. -- Steve Kettle

post-communist Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) held simultaneous
meetings in Bratislava on 13 October, offering three standpoints, Pravda
reported. Chairman Peter Weiss threatened that the coalition could be
leading Slovakia toward an authoritarian regime, while SDL deputy Robert
Fico said he was glad that his party had disappointed the opposition
Christian Democratic Movement by not participating in the joint meeting
on 10 October (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 October 1995). Deputy Lubomir
Fogas launched an attack on the opposition Democratic Union. The SDL
Republican Council met on 14 October to discuss the party's dwindling
popularity in opinion polls. The council issued a statement saying the
SDL "does not want to and cannot be in a homogenous opposition camp."
But it was highly critical of the cabinet and expressed dissatisfaction
with the "current political, economic, and social state of society," Sme
reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK FOREIGN RELATIONS. Slovak President Michal Kovac concluded his
visit to Germany on 13 October, meeting with his German counterpart,
Roman Herzog. Bilateral relations, European security issues, and
European integration topped the agenda. Herzog praised Kovac's
contribution to building democratic institutions in Slovakia and
expressed satisfaction with the favorable development of bilateral
economic relations, TASR reported. Germany is Slovakia's biggest foreign
investor and Slovakia's second biggest trade partner. In other news,
U.S. President Bill Clinton on 13 October announced his intention to
nominate Ralph Johnson, a career diplomat, as U.S. ambassador to
Slovakia. -- Sharon Fisher

Gyula Horn on 14 October said that he agreed with the IMF's terms of a
credit agreement but that his government will have to show greater
sensitivity toward social considerations in order not to endanger
political stability, Reuters reported the same day. Horn was responding
to Finance Minister Lajos Bokros's statement that he had reached a
verbal agreement with the IMF. Bokros returned earlier that day from the
annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank with a letter listing the
conditions Hungary has to satisfy in order to clinch an 18-month standby
credit agreement early next year. Bokros said none of those points was
in conflict with government policy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

PFP EXERCISES BEGIN IN HUNGARY. NATO and Partnership for Peace countries
on 14 October began six-day exercises in Hungary that were jointly
planned by Germany, Britain, and Hungary, international media reported
the same day. The exercises, involving 350 foreign and 200 Hungarian
officers, are to focus on increasing cooperation between decision-makers
and staff to solve tasks that may arise during peacekeeping missions.
Nine countries have sent observers to the exercise, codenamed
"Cooperative Light '95." But one notable absentee is Russia. "They were
invited but are not attending. They did not say why," a NATO spokesman
said. -- Zsofia Szilagyi


KARADZIC DEMANDS SCAPEGOATS . . . The Bosnian Serb parliament met in
Banja Luka on 15 October following a gathering of the ruling Serbian
Democratic Party. Civilian leader Radovan Karadzic continued his
apparent power-play with military commander General Ratko Mladic,
demanding that the army leadership "bear the consequences . . . for a
considerable loss of territory and military defeats. Army commanders
must look each other in the eyes and see which of them was taking
brigades out [of battle] without an order or approval. Those unable to
respond to enemy attacks must be either replaced or they must change
their attitude." The International Herald Tribune and Nasa Borba ran the
story on 16 October. -- Patrick Moore

. . . BUT ONLY A MINOR LEADER GOES. Independent legislator Milorad Dodig
and seven colleagues have demanded a purge of both the civilian and
military leaderships, AFP noted. Other deputies have urged the sacking
of General Milan Gvero and three other commanders. Mladic, who can
usually count on the backing of his generals and of Belgrade, simply
called for a "decisive battle," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
added. But in the end, the legislature left both internationally wanted
war criminals, Karadzic and Mladic, in power. The only "resignation" was
that of Prime Minister Dusan Kozic, a relatively minor figure.
Meanwhile, as Serbian refugees continue to flee in northwest Bosnia, the
legislature took steps to shore up the Serbian position there. Although
it rejected a motion to move the capital from Pale to Banja Luka, it did
agree to place the supreme military command there and to call for a
reorganization of regional defenses. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN BATTLEFIELD UPDATE. International media on 16 October reported
that the military situation is stabilizing. Serbian military sources the
previous day said the Banja Luka front is firming up 50 km west and 35
km south of the town. The Serbs charged on 13 October that allied forces
shelled Prijedor, where Karadzic was visiting. He called on the U.S. to
use its influence with the allies to make them stop. A UN spokesman said
that 40,000 Serbs fled Prijedor on one day alone, Reuters noted.
Croatian Radio on 15 October quoted Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed
Sacirbey as urging Serbian civilians not to abandon their homes.
Elsewhere, AFP quoted Bosnian General Atif Dudakovic as saying that
peace will be made only on the battlefield, and that "the Serbs must be
stopped with the only language they know." -- Patrick Moore

expelled from the Banja Luka area claim that the Bosnian Serbs have
reopened two concentration camps near the northwestern city, AFP
reported on 16 October. The Manjaca camp held between 4,500 and 6,000
people, mostly Muslims, at the beginning of war in 1992; it was later
shut down under international pressure. Meanwhile, Moslem authorities in
Sanski Most, recently recaptured from the Serbs, have found the corpses
of 85 people killed during the Serbs' retreat. They fear that 160 may
still be found. Some 1,000 Moslem men are missing in Sanski Most, and
the authorities suspect they are being held by Serbs at the Manjaca
camp. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SHALIKASHVILI'S BALKAN TOUR. U.S. army General Chief of Staff John
Shalikashvili began a tour of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and Croatia on 12 October, international media reported. He attended the
closing ceremony of a joint U.S.-Albanian military exercise and promised
U.S. assistance in building a military training center in Albania, which
has provided NATO with port and air facilities. Shalikashvili met with
parliamentary chairman and acting President Stojan Andov in Skopje on 13
October, saying he supports Macedonia's ambitions to join the
Partnership for Peace program. Shalikashvili the next day met with
government and military leaders in Sarajevo to review NATO plans to send
60,000 troops, including 25,000 Americans, to supervise the
implementation of a Bosnian peace settlement. -- Fabian Schmidt

journalists on 15 October in La Valletta, said the UN economic embargo
against the rump Yugoslavia has cost his country some $8 billion. He
also said that international loans granted Romania are no compensation
for those losses. Iliescu arrived in Malta on 14 October to attend a
Crans Montana conference of countries from Europe and the Mediterranean
on possible ways to ease the sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro,
Radio Bucharest reported. The next day, he began a two-day official
visit to Tunisia at the invitation of his Tunisian counterpart, Zine al-
Abidine ben Ali. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN COURT ON THRONE SUCCESSION. A court in Alexandria on 13 October
issued a statement supporting the claims of self-styled Prince Paul of
Romania to the succession of the Romanian throne, Radio Bucharest
reported. The statement proclaimed the validity on Romanian territory of
a decision taken by a Lisbon court in 1955 in favor of Paul's father,
Carol Mircea, the son of late Romanian King Carol II from a morganatic
marriage. Romanian independent media consider the court's decision a
direct attack against Romania's last king, Mihai I, who was forced into
exile by the communists in December 1947 and now lives in Swiss exile.
The 13 October decision coincided with a visit to Romania by Mihai's
wife, Ana de Bourbon-Parma. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA, EU DISCUSS INTEGRATION. Romanian and European Union officials
met in Bucharest on 12-13 October to discuss Romania's integration into
European structures, Romanian and international media reported. The
participants analyzed Romania's strategy for EU integration as well as
the implementation of the European Integration Agreement. Romanian Prime
Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu said economic and legislative reforms were the
main condition for EU integration. It is hoped that in the future,
Romania and other associate members will participate in EU programs as
full members. Meanwhile, the 94th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary
Union ended in Bucharest on 13 October, Radio Bucharest reported. The
conference adopted resolutions on the global political and economic
situation, on the role of parliaments in fighting corruption, and on
banning nuclear tests. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN TRADE UNIONS STAGE PROTESTS. Several trade unions held protests
throughout Moldova to demand an improvement in living standards and
crime-fighting measures, BASA-press reported on 14 October. About 3,000
people attended the protest meeting in Chisinau, where speakers said
that the government owed 194.4 million lei ($43 million) to employees in
unpaid wages and that every sixth employee at state enterprises was on
forced leave. Crime in Moldova went up 19% in the first half of 1995,
with every fourth offense committed by a jobless person. -- Matyas Szabo

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ITALY. Sali Berisha and Albanian Defense
Minister Safet Zhulali, during a three-day visit to Italy that began on
13 October, signed a friendship treaty as well as military and economic
agreements with Italian Defense Minister Domenico Corcione and Finance
Minister Augusto Fantozzi, Reuters reported the same day. Berisha
promised to stop illegal immigration from Albania to Puglia. Italian
officials said the first steps toward an agreement on the issue of visas
for Albanians performing seasonal work were taken in an exchange of
letters. Some 100,000 Albanians are estimated to have migrated to Italy
since 1991, of whom 35,000 have done so legally. Berisha also met with
President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, and the
pope, Gazeta Shqiptare reported the next day. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE LIFTS BLOCKADE ON MACEDONIA. Greece on 14 October officially
opened its border with Macedonia, international agencies reported. While
Greek sources say the border was indeed opened that day, Macedonian
reports say that only a Macedonian TV crew was allowed to cross
following the intervention of Greek colleagues. The next day,
individuals on foot and passenger cars were reported crossing the
border, but no trucks. Macedonian tourists will be given a Greek visa
stamped on white sheets of paper. Greece imposed the embargo in February
1994 in order to force Macedonia to change its name, flag, and
constitution. Under an accord signed on 13 September 1995, Greece agreed
to lift the embargo within 30 days. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570

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