There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 220, Part II, 10 November 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, 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
TENSIONS MOUNT IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. International media on 10 November
reported that Croatian troops have occupied part of the buffer zone
formerly separating them from rebel Serb forces backed by the rump
Yugoslav army in the Vinkovci-Nustar area behind Vukovar. A UN official
told AFP that there was no fighting and that the Croatian move did not
indicate that an offensive was under way. Reuters added that 350 men of
the 3,000-strong elite Croatian Tiger Brigade were also seen heading
toward the area. Other international agencies said the previous day that
both Croatian and Serbian forces were massing and that, "in a surprise
move," Belgian peacekeepers pulled out of their observation and control
posts. Top Croatian officials have repeatedly said they would retake
eastern Slavonia by force if talks fail. Serbian negotiators this week
rejected international mediators' proposals and set conditions that
Zagreb considers unacceptable. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR CULTURE. Leonid
Kuchma, speaking to the Plenum of Creative Unions in Kiev on 9 November,
said the government will continue to support culture, Ukrainian TV
reported the same day. He said the state will provide immediate
assistance to the cinematographers' and writers' unions. Cultural
activists and artists complained bitterly at the meeting about the decay
of culture in the face of Ukraine's economic crisis and government cuts
in subsidies. Kuchma also announced that he will shortly issue a decree
on the reconstruction of the Mykhailivskyi and Uspenskyi cathedrals in
Kiev, destroyed by the Soviet regime in the 1930s and 1940s,
respectively. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE HALTS OIL DELIVERIES AFTER PIPELINE ACCIDENT. Ukrainian TV on 9
November reported that oil deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline to Europe
have been suspended following an accident the previous night. The
Druzhba pipeline transports oil from Russia to East and Western Europe.
The accident occurred in the Transcarpathian region. Some 150 square
meters of ground surface were contaminated, and some oil spilled into
the nearby Latoritsa River. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT RAILS AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, following the Constitutional Court's ruling
earlier this week that decrees passed by the president in August
contravene the constitution, has charged that the court itself is
unconstitutional, NTV reported on 9 November. At a closed session with
the incomplete new parliament, Lukashenka said he had information that
the Constitutional Court has ties to opposition politicians. He also
stated that the nine members of the Constitutional Court, which was not
elected by the people, should not be allowed to pass judgment on
legislation for the whole population. He added that he would take
decisive action if the court did not change its ruling. Secretary-
General of the Constitutional Court Leanid Litkau defended the court's
decision, saying no member of the court is involved in politics or has
any political ambitions. The court judges decrees only in accordance
with the country's constitution and legislature, he stated. -- Ustina
Markus

ESTONIAN PREMIER IN ICELAND. Tiit Vahi on 9 November met with his
Icelandic counterpart, David Oddson, to discuss, among other things, the
introduction of visa-free travel between the two countries, BNS
reported. Oddson said his Foreign Ministry was working on abolishing
visas between all the Baltic states and Nordic countries. Vahi presented
a draft investment protection agreement. Iceland's investments in
Estonia have risen this year from 1.5 million kroons ($131,000) to 5.2
million kroons. Vahi also had talks with president Vigdis
Finnbogadottir, parliamentary speaker Olafur Einarsson, and Nordic
Council President Solrun Gisladottir. -- Saulius Girnius

TALKS ON FORMING LATVIAN GOVERNMENT. Prime minister nominee Maris
Grinblats of the rightist National Bloc and Latvia's Way coalition held
unsuccessful talks with the Unity Party and the leftist Socialist Party
on 9 November, BNS reported. Unity Party faction head Edgars Bans said
the party would not leave the rival National Conciliation Bloc. The
heads of the two largest factions in the NCB--Aivars Kreituss of the
Democratic Party Saimnieks and Odisejs Kostanda of the Popular Movement
for Latvia--refused even to hold talks with Grinblats. -- Saulius Girnius

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT CLARIFIES POLISH PRESIDENT'S RIGHTS. The Sejm
on 9 November amended the so-called small constitution to state that the
Sejm has three months in which to pass the budget once it has been
submitted and that if it fails to do so, the president has 21 days to
dissolve the parliament, Polish dailies reported on 10 November.
President Lech Walesa earlier this year delayed promulgating the 1995
budget and threatened the Sejm with dissolution, arguing that the time
he had delayed promulgating the budget should be subtracted from the
three months allocated to the Sejm. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLAND ON BOSNIAN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS. US Defense Secretary William
Perry, speaking in Brussels on 9 November, said that countries not
belonging to NATO that take part in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia
cannot count on financial help from the alliance. Polish Ambassador to
Belgium and the WEU Andrzej Krzeczunowicz, however, told reporters that
Poland is ready to send a battalion, a field hospital, or a logistic
unit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying Polish participation under the
alliance's supervision is important for Poland's future NATO membership,
Polish dailies reported on 10 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL IN POLAND. Boutros Boutros Ghali arrived in Poland
on 9 November for a four-day visit. Polish President Lech Walesa
declared that Poland will support all UN actions but said "our further
participation in financing peace operations cannot be expected" due to
economic difficulties. Ghali came to Poland to hold talks with Polish
politicians on country's duties as a non-permanent member of the UN,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 10 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS RACIST ATTACKS BECOMING MORE VIOLENT. Jan
Ruml told a parliamentary seminar on extremism on 9 November that racist
attacks in the Czech Republic account for only a insignificant part of
all crimes but that they are becoming increasingly violent, Czech media
reported. He admitted that the public frequently sympathizes with those
who attack Roma. Attorney-General Bohumira Kopecna said the number of
people prosecuted for racist crimes increased from 168 out of a total of
almost 86,000 prosecutions last year to 239 out of 54,000 in the first
six months of 1995. Parliamentary chairman Milan Uhde criticized a draft
law due to be submitted by Ruml this month for its "clumsy" definition
of extremism. President Vaclav Havel earlier this week also criticized
the proposed law, as it lists environmental activists alongside
skinheads in a directory of "extremist" groups. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS. President Michal Kovac on 9
November responded to accusations made the previous day by Igor Urban,
chairman of the parliamentary agency overseeing the Slovak Information
Service. Urban had said that Kovac may have misused his powers by
seeking intelligence reports from the SIS. Kovac strongly rejected
Urban's accusations, saying he was "deeply troubled" that Urban had
suggested that the president had violated the law. Kovac said all he had
done was ask for a report on SIS activities, to which he is fully
entitled by law, Pravda reported. Also on 9 November, Kovac's son, who
was abducted in August and is currently in jail in Austria, announced
that he wants to enter Slovak politics after his case is closed.
-- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION CRITICIZES LANGUAGE BILL. The Hungarian Civic Party on
9 November expressed concern about preparations for a demonstration
outside the Slovak parliament on 15 November, when the controversial
language bill is scheduled for discussion, Pravda reported. The
demonstration is allegedly being organized by the government coalition
in order to influence voting on the bill. Also on 9 November, the
Democratic Union stressed its opposition to the bill. DU Deputy Chairman
Ludovit Cernak, who previously served as chairman of the Slovak National
Party, told reporters that DU deputies are not against a state language
law; however, he criticized the current version, saying that under its
provisions, the popular Slovak opera singer Peter Dvorsky would be
prosecuted if he were to sing an aria in Italian. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER NOMINATES NEW LABOR MINISTER. Gyula Horn has nominated
Peter Kiss, administrative state secretary at the Prime Minister's
Office and a fellow member of Socialist Party, as labor minister,
Hungarian newspapers reported on 9 November. If his appointment is
approved by the parliament, Kiss will replace Magda Kovacs Kosa, who
resigned last month because of differences of opinion over the
government's social welfare policy (see next item). Kiss is closely
linked to the Socialist Party's left wing, which has become increasingly
critical of government economic policy for neglecting leftist values and
the party's election platform. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN CABINET ACCEPTS FIRST VERSION OF MODERNIZATION PROGRAM. The
cabinet on 9 November accepted the first version of a modernization
program that includes preparations for meeting criteria for EU and NATO
accession and a three-year economic plan, Hungarian media reported the
next day. The cabinet also approved a legal harmonization program
stipulating regulations for accounting, insurance, competition, consumer
protection, and the banking system. Further, it decided that employers
will have to pay full sick benefit for the first 15 days of an
employee's illness. The original proposal was for employers to pay full
benefits for 25 days. Former Labor Minister Kosa--fearing that if this
proposal were implemented, employers would want to dismiss workers who
were frequently sick--had advocated 15 days only. She resigned over this
issue, and many other ministers threatened to follow suit if the
government were not able to agree on a social welfare policy. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

NEW TRADE UNIONS HEAD IN HUNGARY. Laszlo Sandor on 9 November was
elected president of the National Federation of Trade Unions (MSZOSZ),
Hungarian media reported. Formerly vice president of the union, Sandor
said the MSZOSZ will be somewhat different but noted that since all
decisions are made collectively, there are unlikely to be any radical
changes. Sandor replaces Sandor Nagy, who resigned last month because of
differences with the government over leftist values and internal
conflicts within MSZOSZ (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 October, 1995).
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KRAJINA REFUGEES SUFFER IN SERBIA. The UN Security Council on 9 November
unanimously approved a resolution condemning all violence in the former
Yugoslavia. The bulk of the admonitions was directed at the Bosnian
Serbs, who were urged to close detention camps and provide international
monitors with access to suspected mass grave sites. AFP added that
Croatia was told to respect the rights of Serbs in the former Krajina
and to let refugees go home. The warnings to Zagreb reportedly came at
the behest of Moscow, Paris, and London. Mlada Fronta Dnes on
10 November showed a photo of elderly Serbs near Knin receiving UN
relief packages. Meanwhile in Belgrade, the Alternative Information
Network said that Serbian refugees in Krajina who fled to Serbia live as
outsiders and are terrorized by paramilitaries led by internationally
wanted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan." Many Krajina Serbs said
they would rather go home, even if their houses were in ruins, than stay
on in Serbia under such conditions. -- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC SHOWS NO DESIRE TO COMPROMISE. Reuters on 9 November reported
that U.S. negotiators will hand over documents to the Bosnian, Croatian,
and Serbian delegations at the Dayton talks that, it is hoped, may lay
the foundation for a regional peace. But Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic has already said that he will back no plans providing for the
ouster of Bosnian Serb leaders and indicted war criminals Radovan
Karadzic and his military counterpart, Ratko Mladic before a peace
accord is reached. Also, on 9 November, Vecernji list reports that
Milosevic will continue to refuse to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Croatia, nor will he discuss the issue of human rights in Serbia. -- Stan
Markotich

BOSNIA, SERBIA TO RECEIVE GAS SUPPLIES. Following a joint request by the
presidents of Bosnia and Serbia for domestic gas supplies to be turned
on "as a humanitarian exception" to the embargo, agreement was reached
at the Bosnia peace talks in Dayton on 9 November to partially lift
economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, Reuters reported the same
day. A UN committee overseeing sanctions met later in New York to
discuss the issue but postponed talks for a day after one member said it
needed instructions. -- Daria Sito Sucic

WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL INDICTS RUMP YUGOSLAV OFFICERS. Nasa Borba on 10
November reported that the International Crimunal Tribune for the Former
Yugoslavia the previous day indicted three Yugoslav army officers for
their part in crimes against humanity. Colonel Mile Mrksic, Major
Veselin Sljivancanin, and Captain Miroslav Radic have been charged in
connection with the slaying of 260 non-Serbian prisoners of war held in
the Croatian town of Vukovar. On 20 November 1991 the victims were
massacred behind a local hospital and their bodies concealed in a mass
grave. The Belgrade daily observed this is the first instance of the
court charging rump Yugoslav nationals with wartime atrocities. -- Stan
Markotich

MACEDONIA, UKRAINE BECOME MEMBERS OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Macedonia and
Ukraine on 9 November became the 37th and 38th member states of the
Council of Europe, international agencies reported the same day. They
are the 13th and 14th states from Central and Eastern Europe to enter
the council in the last five years. To fulfill membership requirements,
Macedonian officials made formal pledges to guarantee human rights, and
Ukrainian officials agreed to suspend and eventually eliminate the death
penalty from the country's criminal code. Ukraine is the first former
Soviet republic to abolish capital punishment. The council's legal and
human rights committees are currently reviewing membership applications
from Russia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN SENATE PASSES RESTITUTION LAW. The Romanian Senate on 9
November passed a version of the restitution law that takes into account
the Constitutional Court's objections to a version passed by the Chamber
of Deputies, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. The Chamber of
Deputies amended its original version to make Romanian citizens eligible
for restitution even if they reside abroad and to allow owners of
apartments taken over by the state without appropriate legislation to
reclaim their property. The opposition considers the law too
restrictive. Romanian media on 10 November reported opposition members
as saying the vote in the Senate was a fraud, since among those who
voted "yes" were parliamentarians on a visit to China and other
absentees. The opposition says that without these fraudulent votes, the
draft would have failed to garner the necessary support. -- Michael
Shafir

ROMANIA DENIES BANNING HUNGARIAN TV CHANNEL. Romania's National Audio-
Visual Council has denied banning broadcasts of the Hungarian satellite
program Duna TV on cable network (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 November),
Romanian media reported on 9-10 November. The controversial decision
aroused strong criticism among Romania's Hungarian minority. -- Matyas
Szabo

NATO AIRCRAFT ALLOWED TO FLY OVER ROMANIA. Romania and NATO have signed
an agreement allowing NATO transport aircraft to fly over Romanian
territory, Reuters reported on 9 November, citing the Foreign Ministry
spokesman in Bucharest. The agreement was signed in Brussels last week.
Mircea Geona said the agreement was "an important step towards Romania's
integration into NATO." -- Michael Shafir

WORLD BANK ON MOLDOVAN ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. James Park, World Bank
permanent representative in Moldova, said the country has made important
progress in macroeconomic tightening, liberalization of trade and
prices, and privatization, BASA-press reported on 9 November. In an
interview with the government daily Moldova suverana, Park said that it
was nonetheless necessary to introduce other reforms as well, especially
in agriculture and the social sector. He said that if the reforms lost
momentum, the "achieved results would be minimized." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIA PROTESTS TO ANKARA. Bulgaria has protested to Turkey for what
it called that country's diplomatic support for candidates of the ethnic
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms in the recent local elections.
A spokesman for the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said the activities of
Turkish diplomats exceeded normal standards of diplomatic representation
and could strain bilateral relations, noting that their activity can be
interpreted as "an attempt to influence the outcome of elections,"
Reuters reported on 9 November. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms won
about 5% of the vote in the first round of elections, which took place
on 29 October. -- Lowell Bezanis

ANOTHER BOMB ATTACK ON JOURNALIST IN ALBANIA. Just six days after a bomb
damaged the house of Koha Jone chief editor Nikolle Lesi (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 3 and 8 November), the car of the Albanian Radio and TV
journalist Sami Selishta was destroyed by explosives in northeastern
town of Peshkopi, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 9 November. The daily
claimed that an "anti-media Mafia" was responsible for the attacks, but
so far police have no leads on the assailants. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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