|Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. - Mark Twain|
No. 214, Part II, 2 November 1995
********************************************************************** The new weekly OMRI Economic Digest will be delivered free of charge to Daily Digest subscribers on four successive weeks beginning on 2 November and ending on 23 November For more information about the Economic Digest, including subscription rates, please contact OMRI in one of the following ways: --send an e-mail message to ECON@OMRI.CZ --call OMRI in Prague, Czech Republic, at (422) 6114-2114 --fax: (422) 6114-3184 --through our World Wide Web page: http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html ********************************************************************** 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, 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 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BALKAN PEACE TALKS OPEN. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke on 1 November convened peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, bringing together Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, international media report. Before the talks, Holbrooke stressed at least a measure of success was imperative, as failure may prove costly. "If we don't succeed, the war will resume and it will resume at a higher level," Reuters quoted him as saying. Meanwhile, Christopher has said that any peace accord must enshrine four basic principles: Bosnia's existence as a single state; a special status for the capital, Sarajevo; protection of human rights and the bringing to justice of those involved in war crimes and atrocities; and the return to Croatian jurisdiction of rebel Serb-held Slavonia. -- Stan Markotich ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS ADOPT FIRST ARTICLE OF CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION. Crimean deputies have approved Article 1 of a new regional constitution that defines Crimea as an autonomous part of Ukraine, effectively ending a prolonged political battle between Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists over the status of the peninsula, Ukrainian TV reported on 1 November. The article asserts that relations between Crimea and Ukraine are to be governed by their respective constitutions. It also declares Sevastopol to be part of Crimea and provides for its citizens to elect representatives to the Crimean parliament. But Ukrainian laws will apply with regard to the city's special status as the base of the Black Sea Fleet. Deputies are to continue reviewing the rest of the draft constitution over the next few days and will then submit it to the Ukrainian legislature for approval. -- Chrystyna Lapychak DELAYS IN UKRAINIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY. Natalya Zarudna, head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's information department, has said differences remain between Ukraine and Romania preventing an agreement on friendship and cooperation from being signed, Ukrainian Radio reported on 31 October. According to Ukraine, Romania does not agree to the inclusion of a clause renouncing any territorial claims on each other. Earlier, it was reported that a compromise wording--condemning the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact of 1939 but renouncing future territorial claims--was drawn up. But it now appears that it has been rejected by the Romanian side. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT MAY WITHHOLD ELECTION FUNDS. In response to the Constitutional Court's ruling that confirmed the validity of amendments lowering minimum voter turnout for parliamentary elections to 25%, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he may block financing for the elections, Reuters reported on 1 November. Lukashenka said he was opposed to changing the electoral law and that if candidates wanted to be elected to parliament, they should "fall on their knees and beg the electorate to vote." The president also reiterated his threat to institute direct presidential rule if the "destabilization of society" continued. -- Ustina Markus IMF ASKS BELARUS TO STOP INTERVENING IN CURRENCY MARKET. The IMF has asked the National Bank of Belarus to stop intervening in the country's currency exchange in attempts to stabilize the Belarusian ruble against the dollar, Belarusian Radio reported on 1 November. The IMF said the NBB had been propping up the ruble at 11,500 to $1 since January, but the program for macroeconomic stabilization to which the Belarusian government and the IMF agreed in September calls for freeing the ruble's exchange rate from "administrative regulation." The IMF recommended lowering the exchange rate to 15,294 to $1 by next January. Otherwise, it said, Belarus risks losing future tranches of a $300 million stand-by loan. -- Ustina Markus NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT PRESENTED TO PRESIDENT. Secretary of the State Chancellery Uno Veering on 1 November faxed a list of the new government to Seattle to President Lennart Meri, who has three days to approve it, BNS reported. The government will again be led by Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and retains seven ministers. Six new ministers from the Reform Party have been nominated: Siim Kallas (foreign affairs), Mart Rask (interior), Toomas Vilosius (social affairs), Jaak Aaviksoon (education), Andres Lipstok (economy), and Kalev Kukk (transport and communications). Tiit Kubri from the Rural Union has been nominated minister for regional affairs. It is likely that the cabinet will take its oath of office on 6 November. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH INTERNAL MINISTER TO REVEAL INFORMATION ON SECRET POLICE AGENTS. Polish Minister of Internal Affairs Andrzej Milczanowski said he would disclose the names of the secret police agents who spied on the student activist Stanislaw Pyjas if requested to do so by a prosecutor or judge. Pyjas was followed by some 14 security agents for two years before his death in May 1977. It is widely believed that he was murdered by the secret police. Recent amendments to the police law state that the minister can disclose information on secret agents if it may help to reveal murderers. Until now, Milczanowski has refused to disclose information on secret police agents from the communist era, Zycie Warszawy reported on 2 November. -- Jakub Karpinski in Warsaw POLISH ELECTION UPDATE. According to a 26-29 October poll by the Warsaw- based Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski will win 32% of the vote in the 5 November presidential elections. Current President Lech Walesa received 26%, former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron 8%, ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski 5%, former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski 4%, Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz 3%, former Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak 3%, radical peasant activist Andrzej Lepper-3%, and Liberal Party leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke 2%, Warsaw dailies reported on 2 November. Walesa's support has grown by 10% since September and Kwasniewski's by 7%, while Gronkiewicz-Waltz has sunk by 13%. -- Jakub Karpinski in Warsaw CZECH HOSPITAL DOCTORS GO ON STRIKE. Hospital doctors in the Czech Republic went on strike on 1 November or staged token protests for higher pay and against what they consider the near-collapse of the state health service. Up to 5,000 doctors and nurses demonstrated outside the Health Ministry in Prague and rallies were held in other towns, Czech media reported. Emergency treatment for patients was maintained, and some doctors worked normally but donated their day's pay to medical charities. The leader of the doctor's group that organized the strike said industrial action, such as refusing to perform abortions and carrying out normal administrative tasks, will continue until their demands are met. New Health Minister Jan Strasky on 30 October presented a package of short-term reform proposals, but the more militant doctors called these vague and insufficient to call off their action. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK JOURNALIST ATTACKED. Peter Toth, a journalist with the opposition daily Sme who has been reporting on the investigation into the abduction of President Michal Kovac's son, was physically attacked near his Bratislava apartment on 31 October, Narodna obroda reported. Before the attack, an unknown man phoned Toth to ask for a meeting, but no one showed up. Toth did not see the attacker's face. Sme, in its extensive coverage of the Kovac Jr. case, has published information and interviews pointing to involvement by the Slovak Information Service (SIS). SIS director Ivan Lexa, an ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, on 11 September filed charges against Sme and two other opposition dailies for their coverage of the case, saying the papers aimed to discredit the service. -- Sharon Fisher CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW. Miklos Duray, chairman of the ethnic Hungarian Coexistence party, told Praca on 2 November that the Slovak language law violates the country's constitution and the Slovak- Hungarian treaty. The most recent version of the bill was approved by the cabinet on 24 October and will be discussed later this month by the parliament. According to Duray, ethnic Hungarian deputies will not support the treaty if certain controversial legislation is passed first. Representatives of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian parties are scheduled to meet with Council of Europe secretary general Daniel Tarschys on 2 November to discuss the government's draft language law. In other news, Meciar and his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula Horn, will meet in Berlin on 10 November to discuss the language law. -- Sharon Fisher TRADE UNION PROBLEMS BREWING IN SLOVAKIA. Deputy Prime Minister Jozef Kalman on 31 October reacted to a statement by the Confederation of Trade Unions the previous day declaring a "state of crisis." Kalman called the statement "a precipitate step" that was opposed to the spirit of "social partnership and participation" in finding mutually acceptable solutions to problems, Praca reported on 2 November. Trade unions held a demonstration in Bratislava on 23 September to protest government social policies, particularly the cabinet's cancellation in July of lower public transportation fares for the socially disadvantaged. The government has yet to meet union demands. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PREMIER VISITS BRITAIN . . . Gyula Horn, during a 36-hour visit to Britain aimed at improving economic and political ties, said on 31 October that admission to EU and NATO are of equal importance to Hungary for economic, political, and security reasons, Hungarian newspapers reported the next day. Horn met with his British counterpart, John Major, who pledged that Britain would do its best to promote Hungary's accession to both institutions; EBRD president Jacques de Larosiere; and other high-ranking officials. Horn said that Hungarian foreign policy aims to decrease tension and forge good neighborly relations in Central and Eastern Europe. He suggested that assurances be given to Russia and Ukraine that NATO expansion will not represent a security threat to them. -- Zsofia Szilagyi . . . AND THREATENS RESIGNATION. On his return to Hungary, Horn, who is also Socialist Party leader, said that if the prime minister is not allowed to be also head of a political party, a new person will have to be found to replace him in both jobs, Hungarian media reported on 2 November. His statement appears to have ended a dispute within the party about the separation of the two posts. Many socialist deputies, including those most critical of allowing one person to hold both positions, seem uneasy about a separation under such conditions. The issue of separating the two posts came up several months ago when the socialist caucus became increasingly critical of Horn's moves as premier. Until now, Horn had seemed willing to accept the idea. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BALKAN PEACE TALKS OPEN. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke on 1 November convened peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, bringing together Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, international media report. Before the talks, Holbrooke stressed at least a measure of success was imperative, as failure may prove costly. "If we don't succeed, the war will resume and it will resume at a higher level," Reuters quoted him as saying. Meanwhile, Christopher has said that any peace accord must enshrine four basic principles: Bosnia's existence as a single state; a special status for the capital, Sarajevo; protection of human rights and the bringing to justice of those involved in war crimes and atrocities; and the return to Croatian jurisdiction of rebel Serb-held Slavonia. -- Stan Markotich DID CHIRAC PREVENT NATO AIR RAIDS IN SREBRENICA . . . Die Tageszeitung on 1 November carried a story, based on UN and French sources close to the government, saying that on French President Jacques Chirac's orders, UN commander General Bernard Janvier did not authorize air raids to prevent the fall of Srebrenica. The paper said that Janvier rejected five requests by the Dutch peacekeepers in Srebrenica for air support after the Bosnian Serbs started attacking the town on 6 July. Die Tageszeitung further said that Chirac gave the order not to fly air raids at the beginning of July, even before the Serbian offensive, and that the French and U.S. secret services were aware of Serbian plans. -- Fabian Schmidt . . . BUT ONLY AFTER SECURITY COUNCIL REACHED AGREEMENT? At a UN Security Council meeting on 24 May, the three Contact Group members Britain, France, and Russia called for abandoning Srebrenica Zepa and Gorazde and the U.S. and Germany "tacitly consented," AFP and Die Tagezeitung reported on 1 November. The French government has declined to comment. Meanwhile, the rump Yugoslav government denied reports in The Washington Post on 29 October saying that its troops were involved in the conquest of Srebrenica. It also denied the existence of prison camps for Bosnian Muslims on rump Yugoslav territory. -- Fabian Schmidt BOSNIAN SERBS HAND OVER EVIDENCE TO WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL. The Association Of Camp Detainees 1991 handed over dossiers, based on testimony given by 10 victims and witnesses to the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague. The association says the documents reportedly attest to the killing of 60 Serbs and the torture of many more. They also name "10 to 20 perpetrators," including "very high officials of the Bosnian and Croatian governments," AFP reported on 1 November. -- Fabian Schmidt SERBIAN POLICE RAIDS IN KOSOVO. Serbian police, including those from the economics section, raided ethnic Albanian homes and shops in various towns throughout October on the pretext of searching for arms, Kosova Daily Report said on 1 November. According to Kosovar shadow-state sources, police maltreated 34 Albanians in Urosevac alone and severely beat up seven others. The government claims that the Serbian police raided shadow-state schools and universities and "almost every Albanian- owned shop and firm [in Urosevac] and the surrounding villages." -- Fabian Schmidt MACEDONIA ADMITTED TO PHARE PROGRAM. The Foreign Ministers Committee of the European Union has accepted the EU Commission's recommendation to admit Macedonia to the PHARE program, Macedonian Radio reported on 1 November. The move was announced during a two-day visit to Macedonia by a European Parliament delegation. The 13 September Greek-Macedonian agreement has removed the last obstacle to Macedonia's admission, which should unlock considerable financial assistance for the country. -- Michael Wyzan ROMANIAN REACTIONS TO BISHOP TOKES' "ALTERNATIVE RECONCILIATION" PROPOSALS. Reacting to Reformed Bishop Lazslo Tokes' "alternative proposal" for a Romanian-Hungarian reconciliation (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 November 1995), presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu said that the honorary chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania "lacks credibility" because of his repeated "anti-Romanian attitudes" and his spreading "lies" abroad about the situation of the Hungarian minority. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana told a press conference in Bucharest that Tokes' proposal shows he was demanding autonomy based on ethnic criteria, which, he said, is rejected by all European states and "undermines stability in our region," Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. -- Michael Shafir LEADER OF ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY RESIGNS. Mircea Hamza, a deputy chairman of the extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM), has resigned his post. In an open letter to PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor published in Evenimentul zilei on 2 November, Hamza said the PRM started out as a patriotic party but has turned into one displaying "grotesque wholesale attitudes against Hungarians, Jews, and Gypsies." Hamza denounced Tudor's attacks on Romania's efforts to become integrated into European structures, saying that "by implication" this amounts to opting for "the zone represented by Russia." He added that Tudor has "blindly and grossly" attacked President Ion Iliescu, thereby insulting all Romanians who voted for him. -- Michael Shafir BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION COUNCIL IN CHISINAU. A meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council in Chisinau on 1 November decided to speed up efforts to set up a Black Sea Trade and Development Bank. The meeting was supposed to be attended by the foreign ministers of member states, but only those from Moldova and Romania (which has taken over the chairmanship for the next six months) were present; the remaining countries sent their deputy foreign ministers, Infotag reported on 1 November. The decision to set up the bank was taken in early 1995 but has been ratified only by Albania and Greece. It was agreed that Greece, Turkey and Russia will have 16.5% of the shares each; Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria 13.5% each, and the remaining five countries 2% each. -- Michael Shafir ZHIRINOVSKY'S PARTY TO SUPPORT TRANSDNIESTRIAN INDEPENDENCE. Visiting Russian State Duma deputy Nina Krivelskaya, addressing the parliament of the breakaway Transdniestrian region, said that the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky will offer all possible assistance in promoting the recognition of Transdniestrian independence, Infotag reported on 1 November. Krivelskaya, who is heading an unofficial delegation of the State Duma, said her party's goal was to restore a "unified state" within the "borders of the former Czarist Russian Empire." Meanwhile, the Transdniestrian parliament on 1 November voted to hold a referendum on joining the CIS, Infotag reported the same day. The referendum will be held jointly with the parliamentary elections, scheduled for 24 December. Voters will also be asked to approve the recently passed Transdniestrian constitution. -- Michael Shafir TOP JUDGES SAY NO "VACUUM" IN BULGARIA'S LEGAL SYSTEM. The Constitutional Court on 31 October ruled that there is no "vacuum" in the country's legal system, 24 chasa reported the following day. The court decided that if a law is declared unconstitutional, the previous version of that law is to become valid again. In cases where there are no earlier versions, the law is to be regarded as invalid, The judges had been asked to rule on the question by Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev, who wanted to know the practical consequences of declaring a law unconstitutional. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia [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
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.