|As courage endagers life even so fear preserves it. - Leonardo Da Vinci|
No. 217, Part II, 7 November 1995
********************************************************************* The second issue of the weekly OMRI Economic Digest will be delivered free of charge to Daily Digest subscribers on 9 November. The third and fourth issues will also be sent to Daily Digest readers for free. 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BOSNIAN ARMY COMMANDER SAYS PEACE DEPENDS ON MILOSEVIC. General Rasim Delic told the Sarajevo paper Dnevni Avaz that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is the one to make "crucial decisions" for the Serbian side. Hina on 6 November quoted him as adding that he did "not know whether [Milosevic] is yet willing to do so." The general stated that his troops will do their part to implement any peace agreement once it is finalized. But Mlada Fronta Dnes on 7 November noted that Delic also said that "if the talks do not succeed, the Bosnian army will launch a new liberation campaign." In another development, seven French soldiers were lightly wounded when three gunmen attacked them at Vrapcici, near Mostar, on 5 November. AFP quoted a French spokesman as saying "we have no idea who [the attackers] were." The gunmen escaped, apparently wounded. * Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE DONETSK STRIKES EASE UP. Interfax on 6 November reported the Ukrainian Coal Industry Ministry as saying that protest actions in the Donbass were decreasing. Workers at over 20 mines staged rotational strikes on 2-3 November. Three days later, strikes were reported continuing at only five mines. Miners have been demanding payment of back wages, pensions, and other benefits. In other news, leftist forces in Donetsk intend to ask the parliament and the people to "voice no confidence in President Leonid Kuchma and his anti-popular course" during the 7 November celebrations marking the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution. * Ustina Markus KUCHMA MEETS WITH CHERNOMYRDIN. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, in Israel for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin after the burial ceremony, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 November. The two leaders discussed problematic issues in Russian-Ukrainian relations. Details of the discussion were not made available. * Ustina Markus NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT SWORN IN. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and fourteen other ministers took oaths of offices on 7 November, ETA reported. The Coalition Party and Reform Party have six ministers each and the Rural Union three. Since parliamentary deputies are required to suspend their memberships on becoming ministers, the Reform Party will have four new deputies. The parliament's Reform Party coalition also elected Valve Kirsipuu to replace Siim Kallas as its leader. * Saulius Girnius LATVIAN PRESIDENT OPPOSES SIEGERIST AS MINISTER. Guntis Ulmanis, in an interview with Diena on 6 November, said he opposed the inclusion of Joachim Siegerist, chairman of the Popular Movement for Latvia, in the cabinet, Reuters reported. Ulmanis said Siegerist has made extremist statements in the past, adding that he "cannot agree and never will agree that such a person should be in the government of Latvia." The PML is a member of the National Conciliation Bloc, which reportedly chose Siegerist as its candidate for economics minister. Siegerist did not run for the parliament because of insufficient knowledge of Latvian. He is now hinting that he will accept the post of deputy economics minister until he gains the necessary proficiency in Latvian. * Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA, DENMARK SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Deputy Defense Minister Valdas Sarapinas and his Danish counterpart, Per Carlsen, signed in Vilnius on 6 November a military cooperation agreement for 1996, BNS reported. Cooperation is envisioned to be more intense than this year: more bilateral visits of military specialists are planned, several dozen Lithuanian officers will be trained in Danish military academies, and Lithuanian soldiers will participate in Partnership for Peace exercises in Denmark. Denmark is the first country with which Lithuania has signed a military cooperation agreement. * Saulius Girnius POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. According to unofficial results released by PAP, Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski won 35.11% of the vote and incumbent President Lech Walesa 33.11% in the 5 November elections. Turnout was 64.79%. Meanwhile, the Freedom Union, three former prime ministers of Solidarity-led governments (Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, and Hanna Suchocka) and two former foreign ministers (Krzysztof Skubiszewski and Andrzej Olechowski) have expressed their support for Walesa. Kwasniewski on 6 November said that if he wins the second round, he will ask Walesa to be Poland's chief negotiator for entering NATO, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 7 November. * Dagmar Mroziewicz CONTROVERSIAL SLOVAK PARLIAMENT SESSION. Opposition deputies have met to discuss the agenda of the parliament session scheduled to begin on 8 November, Sme reported. The parties agreed to reject calls by the Slovak National Party (SNS) for the creation of a parliamentary committee to investigate the activities of President Michal Kovac. They also decided that although there is a need for a new language law, they will not support the current version, which they called unconstitutional, anti- minority, and anti-Slovak. Meanwhile, representatives of the Democratic Union on 6 November met with ethnic Hungarian deputies to discuss the draft laws on the state language and on anti-communist resistance. According to DU Deputy Chairman Jan Budaj, both bills are aimed at driving a wedge between opposition parties, TASR reported. Parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic told Slovenska Republika on 7 November that the issue of the DU mandates will not be discussed during the current session. * Sharon Fisher SLOVAK INTELLIGENTSIA OPPOSES GOVERNMENT POLICIES. The Forum of Intelligentsia of Slovakia-which includes a number of well-known scholars, actors, and writers-on 6 November issued a statement expressing opposition to government policies. "Slovak society is being turned into a boxing ring" in which political opponents of the current government are being labeled "people who insult the nation" or "traitors [bought by] Western agencies," the group said. The forum also said Slovakia is becoming a "European disappointment" that may have "unforeseeable consequences," Pravda reported. In other news, the Liberal International, meeting on 4-5 November in Opatija, Croatia, accepted two resolutions on Slovakia. With regard to the DU mandates, the LI demanded that the coalition stop its attempts to change the election results. It also requested that the government start a dialogue with minorities. The Hungarian Civic Party became the first Slovak party to be accepted as a regular member, while Coexistence and the DU maintain observer status, Sme reported. * Sharon Fisher CONTROVERSY OVER HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL IN PREMIER'S PRESS OFFICE. Hungarian media on 6 November reported that Endre Mihalyi, a newly appointed staff member of the Prime Minister's Press Office is currently being investigated by the police for embezzling funds at his previous work place. Henrik Havas, a well-known journalist who heads the office, said Mihalyi will not be taken on until the investigation is over. In the future, staff members will be asked to make a statement on whether any proceedings are under way against them. The office was recently created to advance dialogue between the government and society. * Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARY'S HIGHEST TAX BRACKET TO BE SET AT 48%? Magyar Hirlap on 7 November reported that the Finance Ministry has drawn up a tax schedule imposing a 48% tax on those whose annual income exceeds 1 million forints ($7,600), instead of the current 44%. The new tax schedule comes in the wake of a bill on personal income tax approved by the government on 26 October. The only main difference between this bill and the 1995 tax legislation is that the zero tax bracket has been eliminated. Although talks within the Interest Coordination Council-a group composed of government, employer, and employee representatives-are under way, the Finance Ministry said it will not back down from its plan to collect 480 billion forints in personal income tax next year, adding that if necessary, the highest tax bracket could be set at 48% or somewhere near that figure. * Zsofia Szilagyi BELGIUM SUPPORTS HUNGARY'S NATO MEMBERSHIP DRIVE. Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti on 6 November received support for Hungary's bid to join NATO from his visiting Belgian counterpart, Jean-Pol Poncelet, Hungarian media reported the next day. With regard to Russian leaders' concerns about the eastward expansion of the alliance, both ministers stressed that while Russia is a major power, accession is the sovereign decision of independent countries and cannot be vetoed by Moscow. On the subject of stationing Belgian peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, Keleti confirmed that Hungary will give all possible assistance when the troops pass through Hungarian territory. It is also conceivable, he said, that Hungarian medical or logistical units will join the international force. * Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SERBIAN PRESIDENT SAID TO BE "UPSET." Nasa Borba on 7 November reported that Serbian President Slobodan "Milosevic is upset because he thinks the Americans brought him to Dayton on false pretenses." Milosevic is said to be most concerned about the demand that his negotiating team agree to the ouster of Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic, before the implementation of any regional peace accord. Milosevic is reportedly not opposed to Karadzic and Mladic facing trial at the Hague on charges of war crimes, but he has stressed that both men must first be convicted in Serbia of any wrongdoing. He also insists that the Dayton talks focus only on issues agreed to in advance, which allegedly do not include the fate of the Bosnian Serb leaders, Reuters reported. * Stan Markotich BOUTROS GHALI SAYS DUTCH DID "GOOD WORK." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 7 November quoted the UN secretary-general as saying that the small "Dutchbat" stationed at Srebrenica had acted within the limits of its mandate. He noted that UN member countries did not make available anywhere near the number of troops that the world body had requested for peacekeeping in the first place. The Dutch have been widely criticized at home and abroad for allegedly turning a blind eye to Serbian massacres of thousands of Muslims, primarily civilian males, in July. Boutros Boutros Ghali said it was not Dutchbat's assignment "to defend the enclave" and that he has "no criticism [of the Dutch]. They performed good work." Meanwhile Nasa Borba reported that in Banja Luka, the number of Serbian refugees stands at 71,750. More than 60,000 have been moved out of reception points and into "individual accommodations." * Patrick Moore SARAJEVO GAS SUPPLIES CUT BACK. Three weeks after natural gas again started flowing to the Bosnian capital, supplies have been reduced again, Hina reported on 6 November. A UN official said the reasons are technical and not political. Besides the great losses of gas due to the makeshift pipelines, the biggest obstacle is money. UN experts estimate that supplies for November will cost around $1 million, while the total for the winter will be $20-30 million. Meanwhile, the Russian gas supplier Gazprom wants to charge the Bosnian government for October gas deliveries, while agreeing to freeze a debt from previous years. The spokesman said that the UN has been looking for international donors but without results. * Daria Sito Sucic BOSNIAN REFUGEE AGREEMENT NOT YET IMPLEMENTED. Implementation of the agreement reached in Dayton on 2 November by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to allow 600 families inside Bosnia to return home has not yet begun. According to a 6 November AFP report, Sarajevo accused Bosnian Croat authorities of not allowing several hundred Muslim families to return to Jajce, while Tudjman blamed "extremists" on both sides. At the same time, repatriation of Velika Kladusa refugees organized by the UNHCR on a voluntary basis has successfully started, Hina reported on 6 November. * Daria Sito Sucic SANDZAK PARTY DEMANDS UNITY OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. The Executive Committee of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak issued a declaration saying a "just peace" is not possible "without the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina [in its internationally recognized borders]; the return of refugees to their houses; and free, democratic elections under international control." The declaration, published by Montena-fax on 6 November, also states that no war criminals be allowed to participate in elections. * Fabian Schmidt CROATIA ANNOUNCES MAJOR OIL FIND. The Croatian oil company INA has discovered an important new oil and gas field near Bjelovar. AFP on 6 November quoted INA spokesmen as saying it will be the third-largest such field in Croatia and that it is expected to yield 70 tons of oil and 3 million cubic meters of natural gas daily. The annual revenue is expected to be $3 million. Plans are under way to begin operations before the end of the year, despite the onset of harsh winter weather. * Patrick Moore BALKANS HIT BY BLIZZARDS. Local and international agencies on 6 November reported that heavy snowstorms in the Balkans have disrupted transportation, shut down ports and airports, and contributed to a dozen traffic deaths in Romania. In Sarajevo, the supply route over Mount Igman was blocked and there were a rash of traffic accidents, some involving UN vehicles. The Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna and the Romanian port of Constanta were closed due to four-meter high waves. The weather caused a backup of trucks and buses on the main Bulgarian highway to Greece and Macedonia. A large number of roads and some airports had to be closed in Romania. In Moldova, hundreds of villages were plunged into cold and darkness when heavy snow disrupted electricity supplies. * Michael Shafir ROMANIAN ACTORS STAGE PROTEST. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu received a delegation of Romanian actors on 6 November after they had staged a protest march in Bucharest to demand pay increases and better working conditions. Local and international media reported that actor Ion Caramitru, who heads the actors' trade union, said the monthly wage of a professional actor-150,000 lei ($66)-was not enough to survive on, while technical staff in theaters earned about half that amount. The union, which represents 13,000 actors and technical staff, is demanding a 70% rise. * Michael Shafir ROMANIAN PREMIER ON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. Vacaroiu told a 6 November meeting with ministers and officials in charge of the country's economic structures, that from January to September, imports considerably exceeded exports. Vacaroiu said immediate measures must be taken to redress the country's trade balance but added that agreements concluded with the EU and GATT must be respected. Romanian TV reported the premier saying imports geared toward investment are welcome but that imports of consumer products are often "competing unfairly " with local goods. * Michael Shafir AMERICAN PRAISE FOR MOLDOVA. US Ambassador James Collins, at the head of a delegation in Chisinau on a one-day visit, said the U.S. reconfirms its support for Moldova's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, Infotag reported on 6 November. Collins, who is special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states, told a press conference that Washington considers Moldova to be a leader in political and economic reforms among those states. He added that the U.S. welcomes the Chisinau-Moscow agreement on Russian troop withdrawal and will be backing all efforts for its implementation. "As an independent state, Moldova has a full right to decide whether or nor foreign troops should remain on its territory," Collins said. The delegation met with President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi, and other officials. * Michael Shafir CHIEF EDITOR OF ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PAPER FACES TRIAL. Blendi Fevziu, chief editor of the opposition Democratic Alliance's weekly Aleanca, is facing trial for "slander," Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 November. Blerim Cela, head of the anti-corruption agency, has accused Fevziu and Democratic Alliance deputy Perikli Teta (who enjoys parliamentary immunity) of incorrectly reporting his involvement in the illegal activities of the oil import firm EPIDAMN, including falsifying documents. Fevziu claimed that the state lost about $1.6 million as a result of these activities, while Teta published a list of politicians who he claims were involved in corruption. * Fabian Schmidt TURKISH GOVERNMENT WINS PARLIAMENTARY CONFIDENCE VOTE. The week-old coalition government of Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's center- right True Path Party (DYP) and the social democratic Republican Peoples' Party (CHP), led by Deniz Baykal, has won a vote of confidence in the parliament by a margin of 243 to 171, international media reported on 5 November. Baykal, who was instrumental in bringing down the coalition in September and subsequently helped block Ciller's efforts to form a minority government, will serve as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. The Turkish Constitutional Court must now decide if early elections, announced for 24 December, can take place. * 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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