Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. - Winston Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 224, Part II, 16 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CROATIA CRITICIZED FOR PROMOTING ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL. "I hope there is
an innocent explanation. It's difficult to imagine one," said South
African Judge Richard Goldstone in Washington. He was commenting on
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's promotion of General Tihomir Blaskic
just one day after Blaskic was indicted for war crimes by Goldstone's
tribunal in the Hague. AFP on 15 November also quoted a court spokesman
as saying that the promotion and transfer of Blaskic from Bosnia to
Croatia will make it easier to arrest him. U.S. Ambassador Peter
Galbraith called on Croatia to hand over all six men whom the tribunal
indicted. In Dayton, Ohio, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns
warned the Croats that "their ability to participate in international
organizations will be affected by their inclination to cooperate or not
with the tribunal." -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

COAL MINERS END STRIKE IN EASTERN UKRAINE. Striking coal miners in
Ukraine agreed to return to work on 15 November after the government
promised to pay back wages totaling 20 trillion karbovantsi ($112
million) incrementally, Reuters reported. One-quarter of the back pay is
to be handed out immediately; but Mikhailo Volynets, head of the
Independent Coal Miners' Trade Union, said the union still wants to talk
to the government about rescuing the coal industry. Coal production in
Ukraine is expected to reach 85 million metric tons this year, down from
95 million in 1994 and far below the 192 million tons extracted in 1988.
The government insists that payments to miners will not impact on plans
to curb inflation and the budget deficit. It also claims there is no
need to print more money in order to pay the miners. -- Bruce Pannier

CRIMEAN TATARS PRESS FOR MORE REPRESENTATIVES IN PARLIAMENT. Reuters on
15 November reported that nearly 2,000 Tatar demonstrators staged a
protest outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol. Despite a
recent agreement providing for Crimean Tatar seats in the legislature
based on proportional representation, the protesters demanded one-third
of the total seats. They also want the Tatars' Turkic language to be
considered equal to Russian and Ukrainian in Crimea. Refat Chubarov, a
leader of the Tatar Mejlis, addressed the protesters and urged them not
to adversely affect the domestic situation in Ukraine. He also relayed a
similar message from President Leonid Kuchma, whom he met earlier in the
week to discuss the formation of a government commission on inter-ethnic
problems in Crimea (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1995). -- Roger
Kangas

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES ASSOCIATION AGREEMENTS WITH BALTIC STATES.
The European Parliament on 15 November voted to approve the European
Union association agreements with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, BNS
reported. The vote for Estonian ratification was 414 to none with 10
abstentions. Latvian and Lithuanian ratification received similar
support, although there were two votes cast against the Lithuanian
agreement. Latvia and Estonia have already ratified the agreements,
which will go into effect only after the parliaments of all 15 EU
countries ratify them. The governments of Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and
Finland have already sent the ratification bills to their parliaments,
which may approve them before the end of the year. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA, RUSSIA BORDER ISSUE. Following two days of talks in Tallinn,
Deputy Chancellor of the Estonian Foreign Ministry Raul Malk on 15
November said an agreement in principle had been reached with Russia on
the border between the two states, ETA reported. Estonia agreed to
regard the present control line as the de facto state border, thereby
effectively giving up its claim to 2,000 square kilometers of land that
had belonged to Estonia under the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty. Estonia is
still trying to convince Russia to recognize the validity of the treaty.
Working groups on the borderline are scheduled to meet next week in
Moscow. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA SIGNS TRADE PACT WITH CYPRUS. Foreign Minister Valdis BIrkavs and
Cypriot ambassador Tasos Panayides signed a bilateral trade agreement on
15 November in Riga, BNS reported. This is the first agreement between
the two countries, which are currently drafting accords on long-term
economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation; air communications; and
shipping. The two sides also discussed the process of integration into
the European Union. Both countries are associate member states. --
Saulius Girnius

BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT CONDEMNS PRESIDENTIAL POLICIES. The council of
the Belarusian Popular Front has issued an appeal condemning the
policies of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belapan reported on 15
November. The appeal claimed the economy had reached a state of
collapse, with hidden unemployment reaching 20%, most collective farms
on the brink of bankruptcy, and foreign and domestic debts steadily
increasing. The president, moreover, has transferred well-armed military
units to the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry and formed his own
personal guard, the appeal stated. It also called on citizens to
participate in the 29 November parliament elections. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE. Opinion polls conducted by the
Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) and Demoskop on 9-12 November give
incumbent President Lech Walesa a slight advantage over Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander Kwasniewski. The Supreme Council of the
Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the SLD's coalition partner, on 15 November
decided not to support either candidate, but Polish National Bank
President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, who lost in the first round of
elections, asked her supporters to vote for Walesa, Polish media
reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH OIL REFINERIES DEAL SIGNED. Representatives of the International
Oil Consortium (IOC), Czech oil refineries, and the Czech government on
15 November signed contracts for the IOC to take a 49% stake in the two
largest Czech refineries, Hospodarske noviny reported the following day.
An outline agreement, almost four years in the making, was signed in
July, shortly after the French company Total abruptly pulled out of the
IOC. Its remaining three members --Agip, Conoco, and Shell--are to pay
$173 million for the shares and are expected to invest a further $480
million in the refineries over the next five years. According to the
contracts signed, the holding company Unipetrol will retain a 51%
controlling interest in the refineries Chemopetrol Litvinov and Kaucuk
Kralupy. -- Steve Kettle

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER CRITICIZES SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW . . . Gyula
Horn, in a letter sent to his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar,
before Slovakia's language bill was debated in the parliament on 15
November, said the bill contains several restrictions on the use of
Hungarian in Slovakia and contradicts the Slovak-Hungarian treaty and
the European Convention on Human Rights, Hungarian and international
media reported. He warned that if the passage of the bill by the Slovak
parliament could fuel tensions in bilateral relations, slow down
implementation of the basic treaty, damage international perceptions of
both nations, and cast doubt on their aspirations toward integration
into Western organizations. "There are nearly 600,000 Hungarians living
in Slovakia, for whom the law on the state language would be an
unacceptable step backward," Horn said. -- Sharon Fisher

. . . BUT SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES IT ANYWAY. Neither Horn's letter
nor strong opposition from the Hungarian minority stopped the parliament
from approving the law, however. With the support of the ruling
coalition and the opposition Democratic Union and Party of the
Democratic Left, 108 deputies voted in favor, 17 against, and 17
abstained. The vote was likely influenced by a proposal from Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia deputy Milan Secansky that each deputy state
his opinion out loud after his name was called. Only about 200-300
demonstrators, bussed in from around the country by the government,
gathered outside parliament to show support for the law. A larger crowd
had been expected. The bill will now go to President Michal Kovac for
approval, but it can be passed again through a simple majority even if
he vetoes it. -- Sharon Fisher

TEACHERS PROTEST IN HUNGARY. At least 40,000 teachers, university
instructors, and public education workers on 15 November attended a
demonstration organized by three trade unions outside the parliament
building, Hungarian and international media reported. The demonstrators
demanded a 25% pay hike, increased funds for cultural and educational
institutions, and job security guarantees. They also called for the
resignation of Culture and Education Minister Gabor Fodor and warned
they will go on strike if their demands are not met. Ministry of Culture
and Education State Secretary Zoltan Szabo is scheduled to meet with
union representatives on 17 November. Teachers, who have an average
take-home pay of approximately 25,000 forints ($185) per month, have
been hard hit by the austerity measures introduced by the government
earlier this year. -- Sharon Fisher

************************************************************************
Would you like more details and expanded analysis on many of the topics
covered in the Daily Digest? OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal
Transition. The 17 November issue examines the changing nuclear threat
in the former USSR and Eastern Europe, including these titles: "Nuclear
Arms -- A Soviet Legacy"  "The 'Sapphire' File: Lessons for
International Nonproliferation Cooperation" and "The Chornobyl Fallout
Persists"  The 1 December issue takes a special look at the Russian
election campaign ahead of the crucial 17 December Duma elections with
such articles as: "Are the Communists Poised for Victory?" "Divided
Democrats Face Uncertain Prospects" and "Zhirinovsky's Uphill Battle"
For subscription info, send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ By mail to
OMRI Publications, Motokov Building, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech
Republic. Tel.: (422) 6114 3303; Fax: (422) 426 396
************************************************************************

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIA CRITICIZED FOR PROMOTING ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL. "I hope there is
an innocent explanation. It's difficult to imagine one," said South
African Judge Richard Goldstone in Washington. He was commenting on
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's promotion of General Tihomir Blaskic
just one day after Blaskic was indicted for war crimes by Goldstone's
tribunal in the Hague. AFP on 15 November also quoted a court spokesman
as saying that the promotion and transfer of Blaskic from Bosnia to
Croatia will make it easier to arrest him. U.S. Ambassador Peter
Galbraith called on Croatia to hand over all six men whom the tribunal
indicted. In Dayton, Ohio, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns
warned the Croats that "their ability to participate in international
organizations will be affected by their inclination to cooperate or not
with the tribunal." -- Patrick Moore

TUDJMAN LEAVES DAYTON. The Croatian president has again left the peace
talks in Ohio for Zagreb, although this time Hina gave no reason. It is
unclear if there is any connection between his departure on the 15th and
the Blaskic case (see "Top Story" above). AFP reported that Secretary of
State Warren Christopher did not raise the issue with Tudjman when they
met the previous day but that U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke would do
so. Other international agencies said that before leaving Tudjman signed
an agreement with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and Croat-Muslim
Federation President Kresimir Zubak to help 20,000 Muslim refugees loyal
to deposed Bihac pocket kingpin Fikret Abdic to go home. Zubak also
issued a statement saying that the Bosnian Croats will not give up any
territory in the Posavina region enabling the Serbs to widen their
supply corridor, Vecernji list reported on 16 November. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. REPORTER TELLS OF MORE MASS GRAVES. David Rohde, the journalist
from the Christian Science Monitor whom Bosnian Serbs took prisoner on
29 October and held for ten days, says there are more fresh burial sites
in eastern Bosnia. He told a news agency on 15 November that he found
two graves large enough to hold 1,000 people in Sahanici before the
Serbs captured him. Rohde also spoke of an additional site but added
that the Serbs are "tampering with the evidence." Rohde has interviewed
survivors and reported extensively on the massacre of mainly Muslim male
civilians from Srebrenica in July, from which some 8,500 people remain
unaccounted for. -- Patrick Moore

OGATA SAYS REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES MAY START IN SPRING. UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, after meeting with other senior
UN officials to discuss post-war repatriation and human rights programs
in former Yugoslavia, said the region's refugees may be able to return
to their homes in the spring if political agreement is reached by the
end of the year, Reuters reported on 14 November. She also estimated
that two years and some $500 million were necessary to repatriate the 3
million or so displaced people from former Yugoslavia. The UNHCR
foresees three stages for the repatriation program, beginning with the
1.3 million displaced people within Bosnia. The second stage would focus
on the return of the 820,000 displaced people from other ex-Yugoslav
republics, and the third stage on the repatriation of the 700,000
refugees now in Western Europe. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NATO COMMANDER VISITS SARAJEVO. General Michael Walker, the commander of
NATO's Rapid Reaction Corps, held talks with top Bosnian military and
civilian officials in Sarajevo on 15 November to discuss NATO's possible
deployment in the former Yugoslav republic, Reuters reported the same
day. Walker would be the commander of 60,000 NATO ground forces expected
to replace UN troops in Bosnia if a final peace agreement is reached. A
NATO source described his visit to Bosnia as "routine [reconnaissance]
for planning purposes." Walker met with General Rasim Delic, commander
of the Bosnian army, and Vice President Ejup Ganic, who urged him to get
actively involved in Bosnia's problems in order not to repeat the UN's
mistakes. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBS STAND FIRM ON PARTITION OF BOSNIA. While peace talks in Dayton
continue under much secrecy--with some media reports suggesting that a
breakthrough is imminent and others contending the talks may be on the
verge of collapse--the Serb side appears to be pressing demands that may
preclude a just peace agreement being reached. Nasa Borba on 16 November
reported that the Serbian delegation continues to lobby for at least a
de facto partition of Bosnia, the division of Sarajevo, access to the
sea for the Republic of Srpska, and "the return of territories in
western Bosnia." -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV ARMY ENGAGED IN MANEUVERS. AFP and Tanjug on 15 November
reported that troops from the rump Yugoslavia are engaged in maneuvers
in Montenegro's Mount Golija region. The purpose of the exercises is for
"the units to carry out complex operations." Official reports stress
that units have demonstrated a "high level of motivation and ability, in
difficult weather conditions." -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN FRANCE. Ion Iliescu, on an official visit to
France, met with his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, on 15 November,
Radio Bucharest and Western agencies reported. The two leaders discussed
a program for bilateral economic cooperation aimed at encouraging trade
and investments. Iliescu is scheduled to attend ceremonies marking
UNESCO's 50th anniversary on 16 November. Romanian Culture Minister
Viorel Marginean, Education Minister Liviu Maior, and Science and
Technology Minister Doru Dumitru Palade joined the Romanian delegation
in Paris to take part in the ceremonies. -- Dan Ionescu

HUNGARIAN AMBASSADOR EVALUATES TIES WITH ROMANIA. Hungarian ambassador
to Romania Ferenc Szocs said at a 15 November press conference in
Bucharest that Hungary is prepared to respond next month to Iliescu's
call for a "historic reconciliation" and that negotiations may begin in
January, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. He added that Hungary will
ask for three joint commissions to be set up to negotiate a Hungarian-
Romanian basic treaty, a political declaration on intergovernmental
agreements, and another document on minority rights. -- Matyas Szabo

SNEGUR'S PARTY PLEDGES TO PULL MOLDOVA OUT OF CRISIS. The Party of
Revival and Conciliation in Moldova (PRCM), which supports President
Mircea Snegur, has declared itself the main force capable of pulling
Moldova out of its current economic and political crisis, Infotag and
BASA-press reported on 15 November. Snegur, who presided over a meeting
of the PRCM Executive Board the previous day, noted that reforms were
losing momentum and poverty was becoming more widespread. He stressed
that most public sector employees have not received wages for months.
Senior PRCM officials warned that "social unrest might arise" if the
parliament fails to approve Snegur's initiative to change the name of
the state language in the constitution. The PRCM was set up in July by
Snegur loyalists who quit the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of
Moldova. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN LAW ON PRIVATIZATION FUNDS MAKES ITS WAY THROUGH PARLIAMENT.
Bulgarian deputies on 15 November adopted on its first reading the
chapter of the Law on Privatization Funds dealing with control over
those funds, Pari reported the next day. The law is a key component of
Bulgaria's Czech-inspired mass privatization campaign. The Council of
Minister's Commission on Licensing of Funds will be able to confiscate
the licenses of funds found to violate the law, although only the
executive board can be fined (not the fund itself). A fund may transform
itself into a holding or investment company six months after the final
auction. Kalin Mitrev, executive director of the Center for Mass
Privatization, noted that citizens can register to take part in the
privatization process one week after the law's proclamation.
Registration will last three months, while the transfer of vouchers will
take one month. Auctions will then take place over eight months. --
Michael Wyzan

U.S. SPY PLANE MISSION SUSPENDED DURING WINTER. Koha Jone on 16 November
reported that the U.S. has suspended unmanned reconnaissance flights
over Bosnia. The three "Predator" spy planes that have been stationed at
the Gjader airbase in Albania since July have reduced their number of
flights recently. U.S. officials said plane missions cannot be conducted
during the winter months, but they did not rule out the possibility that
they might begin again next year, depending on the situation in Bosnia.
-- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN DESERTER RECEIVES FIVE-MONTH JAIL TERM. Maiko Zace, an Albanian
sargeant who deserted his unit during a joint military exercise with
U.S. troops in Louisiana this summer, has been sentenced to five months
in prison by a military court, Zeri I Popullit reported on 16 November.
The exercise, codenamed "Eagle of Peace," was aimed at creating an
Albanian unit that could participate in future UN peacekeeping missions.
Five other soldiers who deserted the unit--two journalists from the
military newspaper Ushtria dhe Koha, one medical doctor, and two
squadron commanders--are still in the U.S. Albania is demanding their
extradiction. -- Fabian Schmidt

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


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