|Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau|
No. 228, Part II, 22 November 1995
NOTE TO READERS: DUE TO THE OBSERVANCE OF A U.S. HOLIDAY, THE OMRI DAILY DIGEST WILL NOT APPEAR ON 23 OR 24 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CLINTON ANNOUNCES "HISTORIC AND HEROIC" BOSNIAN PEACE AGREEMENT. The presidents of Bosnia-Herzergovina, Croatia, and Serbia on 21 November initialed a text in Dayton consisting of 10 articles, 11 annexes, and 102 maps. It will come into force after the formal signing, which is expected to take place soon in Paris. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that it provides for "one state with one capital" and a central government. The latter will include a presidency, parliament, and constitutional court, with familiar Tito-era legal mechanisms, such as rotating chairmanships and the assignment of posts according to nationality. The Bosnian state will consist of the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Serbian Republic and will remain internationally recognized within its present borders. Free, democratic, and internationally supervised elections will take place; refugees can go home; human rights will be independently monitored; war criminals will be banned from public life and there will be "full cooperation" with the international war crimes tribunal; and some 60,000 NATO troops are expected to separate the hostile forces. The status of Brcko along the Serbian supply corridor will be decided by international arbitration. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN DEBTS TO RUSSIA. Ukraine has run up a debt with Russia of $186 million in 1995, of which $60 million is for gas supplies, Radio Rossii reported on 21 November. In talks with Russian Gazprom officials the previous day, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko agreed that Ukraine will pay off the debt by the end of the year. Among other things, it will transfer nine fishing trawlers--worth $60 million- -to Russia. From 15 December on, Russia will insist on payment for gas deliveries in advance. -- Peter Rutland LUKASHENKA CALLS BELARUS BULWARK AGAINST WESTERN INFLUENCE. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in a four-hour speech to local officials on 21 November, said that "Belarus has become a stumbling block against Western influence permeating the Commonwealth of Independent States," Reuters reported. He pledged to continue the country's cautious move to a market economy rather than subjecting the republic to "shock therapy." He said that Belarus did not need the military cooperation envisaged by NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He also rejected offers of free military education because "our military has enough experience, which we are willing to share." -- Saulius Girnius RISE IN CRIME IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Police Department announced that the number of registered crimes in the first ten months of 1995 increased by 11.6% (from 29,444 to 32,852) compared with the same period in 1994, ETA reported on 21 November. More than 90% of the increase was due to a 15.1% increase in burglaries, even though automobile thefts decreased from 920 to 672. The number of murders and attempted murders declined from 296 to 269, as did cases of serious bodily injury from 221 to 201. The percentage of crime committed by juveniles increased from 19.3% to 20.7% and by groups from 32.4% to 35.3%. -- Saulius Girnius U.S.-LITHUANIAN AGREEMENT ON SECURITY OF MILITARY INFORMATION. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius on 21 November signed an agreement on exchanging classified military information, Radio Lithuania reported. This is the only agreement that Perry will sign during his six-day trip to the Baltic states, Denmark, Macedonia, and Austria. Perry told a press conference in Vilnius that US military aid to Lithuania would be doubled next year, with the number of students training at U.S. military academies increasing from 10 to 30. He also noted that the U.S. Congress is debating a law that would provide for sending surplus military technology and armaments to Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius WORLD LEADERS CONGRATULATE NEW POLISH PRESIDENT. Polish President-Elect Aleksander Kwasniewski has received a letter of congratulation from U.S. President Bill Clinton welcoming Kwasniewski's promises to support "Poland's historic transformation since regaining democracy in 1989." French President Jacques Chirac assured Kwasniewski that Poland could count on continued French support for its bid for EU membership. Russian President Boris Yeltsin expressed hope that Poland's new president would deepen bilateral trust. In an interview with CNN, Kwasniewski on 21 November said he was sure that for NATO politicians, it was most important "to have a democratically elected president of Poland." Meanwhile, supporters of incumbent President Lech Walesa on 21 November said they would contest the election results, alleging that the ballot had been rigged, Polish and international media reported. The Supreme Court is required to decide whether the election was legal by 9 December. -- Jakub Karpinski POLAND SENDS BATTALION TO BOSNIA. A 600-strong Polish battalion is to leave for Bosnia, Chief of the Polish General Staff Tadeusz Wilecki said on 21 November, after talks with Commander of NATO Forces in Europe George Joulwan, Gazeta Wyborcza reported the next day. The battalion is to join the multinational Nordic Brigade, which will operate alongside American forces. Poland is financing the operation but will have access to NATO's logistics, communications, and transportation facilities. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz CZECH PARTIES ON ROMANI, MINORITY CANDIDATES. Jan Vik, secretary of the extreme-right Assembly for the Republic-Czechoslovak Republican Party, has told the press that his party's platform demands a law stating that "no one in the Czech Republic has the right to be a parasite to the detriment of decent and honest people." He went on to specify Roma as "black racists who are acting as parasites." CTK reported his comments on 21 November in the context of reactions to German minority candidates' request to be included on the election lists of Czech parties. Vik classified the Germans as "anti-Czech" and the Roma as "gangs" and "various mafias." The Czech Social Democratic Party said it would not exclude Germans but did not mention Roma. -- Alaina Lemon SLOVAK COALITION RESPONDS TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S RESOLUTION. Slovak National Party deputy Jozef Prokes on 21 November proposed that the Slovak parliament approve a response to the European parliament's recent resolution (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 November 1995). However, the opposition refused to cooperate and walked out of the parliament, Sme reported. Because less than half of all deputies remained, the vote could not take place. Nevertheless, the coalition deputies approved a common declaration criticizing the European parliament for not using all possible means of dialogue available between the EU and associated countries. The coalition also complained that the European Parliament addressed the Slovak government while ignoring the democratically elected parliament. In other news, deputies from Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian coalition on 21 November asked President Michal Kovac not to sign the controversial language bill. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY TO PROVIDE NATO SUPPLY BASE FOR BOSNIA. Hungarian Defense Ministry and NATO officials are considering establishing a supply base for NATO peacekeeping forces on Hungarian territory, international and Hungarian media reported on 20 November. Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti said "Hungary is ready to help implement what is to be agreed on at peace talks." He added, however, that the UN Security Council must first grant a mandate for peacekeeping in Bosnia. Forty U.S. experts have visited Hungary this week to examine facilities and sites in the south of the country where troops could be stationed initially before moving into Bosnia. They are considering establishing a military logistics base for peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and arranging the passage of U.S. troops through Hungary. Foreign Ministry Political State Secretary Istvan Szent-Ivanyi said Hungary could have NATO forces on its territory in the second half of December. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CLINTON ANNOUNCES "HISTORIC AND HEROIC" BOSNIAN PEACE AGREEMENT. The presidents of Bosnia-Herzergovina, Croatia, and Serbia on 21 November initialed a text in Dayton consisting of 10 articles, 11 annexes, and 102 maps. It will come into force after the formal signing, which is expected to take place soon in Paris. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that it provides for "one state with one capital" and a central government. The latter will include a presidency, parliament, and constitutional court, with familiar Tito-era legal mechanisms, such as rotating chairmanships and the assignment of posts according to nationality. The Bosnian state will consist of the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Serbian Republic and will remain internationally recognized within its present borders. Free, democratic, and internationally supervised elections will take place; refugees can go home; human rights will be independently monitored; war criminals will be banned from public life and there will be "full cooperation" with the international war crimes tribunal; and some 60,000 NATO troops are expected to separate the hostile forces. The status of Brcko along the Serbian supply corridor will be decided by international arbitration. -- Patrick Moore QUESTIONS ABOUND OVER BOSNIAN PEACE AGREEMENT. While the agreement has been widely hailed in the "international community," there are ample grounds for skepticism as well. The three sides signed the document only after an exhausting three-week marathon under intense American pressure. What everyone does when they go home may be another matter, international media noted on 22 November. Croatia can be satisfied because it has achieved most of its aims and could try to distance itself from any future conflict, as Slovenia did after July 1991. Serbia can expect to have most sanctions lifted and will then be free to go its way and claim it has no control over the Bosnian Serbs. The Muslim- dominated government can look forward to the lifting of the arms embargo, albeit in stages. It might not be too far-fetched to imagine a future Serbian-Muslim conflict breaking out once Belgrade has successfully distanced itself from Pale and once Sarajevo has acquired more heavy weapons. -- Patrick Moore ANGRY MEN OF PALE. It remains to be seen whether the pact will come into force, since controlling local warlords has been a problem for all sides. Slobodna Dalmacija on 22 November, moreover, foresaw political difficulties involving the Croats and their role in the unified state. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic told his domestic media that an unjust peace was at least better than war. But the big hurdle seems to be the Bosnian Serbs, whom U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke on CNN called the "big losers." Their parliamentary speaker, Momcilo Krajisnik, told international media that "the agreement that has been reached does not satisfy even a minimum of our interests." The BBC reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic frequently overruled Bosnian Serb members of his delegation during the talks, and the Bosnian Serbs claimed that Milosevic showed them the final maps only 10minutes before the pact was initialed. Krajisnik called the maps "blackmail" and denied that Milosevic could speak for the Bosnian Serbs. It may be that Belgrade is ready to abandon Pale to its fate (as it did in the case of Knin) or that, having just refurbished the Bosnian Serb military infrastructure, it is simply performing a ruse to get the sanctions lifted. -- Patrick Moore PEACE IN OUR TIME? The agreement also contains a number of weak or unclear points. Not everyone agrees with the Americans that there has been a "fair division of territory," in which the Federation took 51.4%. It is doubtful that most "ethnically cleansed" refugees will go home, particularly Muslims who lived in Serb-controlled eastern Bosnia. The pact calls for a unitary state, but it still sounds very much like a partition along ethnic lines. There is no guarantee that the complex Tito-era constitutional mechanisms will work any better than they did when the Serbs sabotaged them in 1992. It is not evident what the future armed forces and police units will look like or whether the region will be demilitarized. Germany has recognized this problem and called for a Bosnian disarmament conference. Nor is it clear what "full cooperation" with the Hague-based tribunal will mean. Implementation talks are to be held soon in London, and moves are under way to put together a NATO force as soon as possible. Vecernji List quoted a Russian general as effectively saying that Russia would control the Brcko corridor. -- Patrick Moore SERBIAN PRESIDENT SAYS DAYTON DEAL IS "JUST." Slobodan Milosevic described the peace deal negotiated at Dayton as "a just solution." Speaking in an interview broadcast by rump Yugoslav state television, Milosevic added "the war is now definitely over." He observed that the Bosnian Serbs were the big winners, noting that they have been apportioned "a far better" share of Bosnian territory than under previous peace proposals. Land and strategic towns previously slated for the Muslim-Croat confederation were now to come under Bosnian Serb control, he added. Milosevic also observed that accompanying peace would be a lifting of the international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. The UN Security Council is "already moving to put an end to all sanctions," he said. Meanwhile, the Serbian media hailed Milosevic as the catalyst behind the achievement of peace. -- Stan Markotich "WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED HERE IS A REAL PEACE." This is how Croatian President Franjo Tudjman described the outcome of the Dayton talks, Hina reported on 22 November. He said that the results confirmed Croatia's international position and that all media agreed that Croatia has defended its national interests and emerged a winner at the conference. Various opposition parties, however, issued critical statements, charging Tudjman with giving away too much in the dispute over the northern Bosnian Posavina region (the justice minister recently resigned over the issue). Tudjman explained that Croatia had to give up territories it recently took in western Bosnia in order to get what it wanted in the Posavina. He denied there had been discussion in Dayton of exchanging Croatia's Prevlaka peninsula for the Serb-controlled Dubrovnik hinterland. -- Daria Sito Sucic WILL THE SDA SANDZAK PARTICIPATE IN A CENTER COALITION? This question was posed by Nasa Borba on 21 November after a meeting of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak. The meeting, attended by representatives of 19 Muslim political organizations, concluded that the Muslims of Sandzak should seek a solution to the minority conflict in the region in accordance with international law and with respect for the integrity of international borders. The council thus demanded to be represented at international conferences on former Yugoslavia. Rasim Ljajic, leader of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), said he is conducting talks with Belgrade, adding that his party will in the future participate in the political life of Serbia. The SDA did not run in the last parliamentary elections but might form a coalition with the moderate Serbian opposition or other minority parties. -- Fabian Schmidt ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS NEW PENAL CODE. Radio Bucharest announced on 21 November that the Chamber of Deputies has rejected the draft law on the modification and completion of the Penal Code. Results of the vote will be announced on 23 November, but "private parliamentary sources" were quoted as saying that the Greater Romania Party (which recently left the ruling coalition) and the Socialist Labor Party (a member of the government alliance) voted against the draft, together with the opposition National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN-DNIESTER MEETING CANCELED. A meeting between experts from Chisinau and Tiraspol scheduled for 21 November was canceled after the Dniester delegation refused to attend, Infotag reported. The meeting was intended to conclude preparations for a late November summit between Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and the president of the self-styled "Dniester republic," Igor Smirnov. According to Tiraspol officials, the Dniester negotiators refused to attend because the "Moldovan leadership has subjected Tiraspol to a squall of devastating criticism." Snegur expressed doubts that the Chisinau-Tiraspol summit can be held given this latest development. -- Matyas Szabo BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CANNOT RUN AGAIN, SOCIALISTS SAY. Miroslav Popov, member of the Executive Bureau of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was quoted by 24 chasa on 22 November as saying Zhelyu Zhelev cannot run for another term as president under the present constitution. Zhelev is currently serving his second term and, according to the constitution, cannot serve a third term, Popov said. The BSP is considering asking the Constitutional Court to rule on the question. Zhelev was first elected by the parliament in August 1990 and then by popular vote in January 1992, after the new constitution went into effect. Meanwhile, some member parties of the Union of Democratic Forces said they will support Zhelev if he runs again. -- Stefan Krause THREE BULGARIANS INDICTED OVER DEATH OF TAMILS. Western media report that three Bulgarians have been indicted for the death of 18 Tamil refugees. The Tamils were found in an abandoned Bulgarian-registered truck near the Hungarian town of Gyor on 15 July (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 and 20 July 1995). Among the three indicted is the the driver of the truck, who is accused of multiple homicide. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. The other two accused were indicted for illegally moving people across international borders. They were released on bail. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIA DEMANDS EXTRADITION OF FORMER COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS. Albania is to apply for the extradition of several communist-era officials living abroad, Koha Jone reported on 21 November. This announcement follows a letter from the head of the Parliamentary Commission on Defense, Public Order, and the Secret Service to Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi. The officials worked mainly at the Defense and Interior ministries or for the secret services; some were ambassadors or consuls. Among other things, they are charged with corruption and espionage. The accused include Sofokli Duka, the former head of the secret police, and former Defense Minister Kico Mustaqi, who is charged with planning a coup d'etat and bearing responsibility for a violent crackdown on a pro-democracy demonstration in 1991. -- Fabian Schmidt ALBANIA OFFERS FACILITIES FOR NATO FORCES IN BOSNIA. President Sali Berisha, in an interview with Albanian TV, repeated earlier offers to provide NATO troops with access to Albanian airports and harbors. Berisha also expressed the hope that the Dayton agreement will offer "real prospects for the solution of the Balkan crisis, including its most delicate problem--the Kosovo question," Rilindja Demokratike reported on 22 November. -- 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 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
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