The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 229, Part II, 27 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN SERBS ACCEPT DAYTON AGREEMENT. Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic gathered together top Serbian, Montenegrin, rump Yugoslav, and
Bosnian Serb leaders outside Belgrade on 23 November. The Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung wrote two days later that Bosnian Serb chief Radovan
Karadzic and his associates accepted the Dayton agreement, which
parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik had earlier criticized. Karadzic
said after the Belgrade meeting that the peace accord was "painful" for
his people but that he would seek to obtain changes by "political
means," not military ones. According to the Dayton text, Milosevic is
obliged to ensure that the Bosnian Serbs comply with it. -- Patrick
Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN LEADERS SAY G-7 AID OFFER IS INSUFFICIENT TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk said
late last week that the latest offer of $2.2 billion in loans and grants
by the G-7 powers was insufficient to shut down the Chornobyl nuclear
power plant by the year 2,000, international and Ukrainian agencies
reported. It was the first time Kuchma had doubted whether the station
can be closed by that deadline, despite pledging in April that it would
be. Kuchma said the latest G-7 offer, made during talks in Kiev last
week, was inadequate to cover the construction of a new permanent
encasing to replace the current crumbling sarcophagus around the ruined
fourth reactor. Marchuk said if the Western powers do not come up with
$4 billion, Ukraine will proceed with modernization of the two reactors.
Meanwhile, the parliament on 24 November ratified an EU loan package
worth 85 million ECU to supplement the country's hard currency reserves
and support its balance of payments, Ukrainian Radio reported. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS'S TOP COURT MAKES ELECTION OF PARLIAMENT MORE DIFFICULT.
Belarus's highest court on 23 November changed its mind on the rules
governing parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. It ruled that a 50%
turnout was needed to validate the by-elections for the 141 seats that
were not filled in May because of low voter turnout. The court in
October agreed that the parliament could lower the threshold to 25%.
Asserting that the same rules should apply for electing parliament
deputies, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had demanded that the court
change its ruling. Lukashenka has severely restricted media coverage for
the elections, which are to take place on 29 November. He has vowed to
introduce direct presidential rule if a full-fledged parliament is not
elected. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA SIGNS FORMAL EU APPLICATION. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi on 24
November signed Estonia's formal application for full membership in the
European Union, ETA reported. Vahi said that he was optimistic that
Estonia will become an EU member since it meets the membership criteria
"fairly well." At the same time, he acknowledged it will take time and
require a referendum. The Danish and Swedish parliaments recently
ratified the association membership agreements of the three Baltic
states with the EU, which were signed in June. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS NEW GOVERNMENT. The Saeima on 23 November
rejected by a vote of 51 to 48 the right-of-center government proposed
by prime minister candidate Maris Grinblats, BNS reported. Ziedonis
Cevers, head of the National Conciliation Bloc, said after talks with
President Guntis Ulmanis that his proposed cabinet would probably not
now include Joachim Siegerist, chairman of the Popular Movement for
Latvia. Ulmanis had declared that Siegerist was an extremist whom he
would not allow to be a minister. -- Saulius Girnius

PRIVATIZATION BILL SCRAPPED IN POLAND. The Polish Constitutional
Tribunal on 22 November declared as void the bill on privatization and
commercialization, which President Lech Walesa vetoed in July. Walesa's
veto was rejected by the Sejm, and the president appealed to the
Constitutional Tribunal, saying the bill "violates the government's
exclusive authority and the constitutional principle of the division of
power." The tribunal agreed with the president's arguments. -- Jakub
Karpinski

POLISH PRESIDENT VETOES TAX BILL. Lech Walesa on 25 November vetoed the
bill providing for new tax classes (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 October
1995), Polish dailies reported on 27 November. Walesa explained his move
by saying that the bill would restrict "initiatives for economic
development." He also questioned the provision stating that the new tax
thresholds will not be adjusted to keep step with inflation and
criticized the bill for not allowing donations for charitable purposes
to be deducted from taxes. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH COALITION PARTIES FAIL TO AGREE ON SENATE ELECTIONS. Leaders of
the four parties in the Czech governing coalition on 24 November failed
to agree on a date for the first elections to the upper chamber of
parliament, the Senate, Czech media reported. The Civic Democratic Party
of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and the Christian Democratic Party want
the elections to be held concurrently with the regular parliamentary
elections, which the four parties agreed should take place on 31 May and
1 June 1996. The Civic Democratic Alliance and Christian Democratic
Union-Czech People's Party would prefer the Senate ballot to be held in
the fall. A meeting of the coalition parties later this week should
decide the issue. President Vaclav Havel, who is responsible for calling
elections after consulting with Klaus, has already said he would prefer
the parliamentary and Senate votes to be held separately. -- Steve
Kettle

EURO DEPUTIES REJECT SLOVAK CRITICISM. Members of the European
Parliament on 24 November denied that the EU has interfered in
Slovakia's internal affairs by criticizing the state of democracy in the
country, Reuters reported. The agency quoted Herbert Boesch--the
Austrian head of the European delegation, which met Slovak parliament
deputies to discuss strengthening dialogue--as saying that they did not
accept Slovak charges that their concerns were based on one-sided
information. Slovak parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic told the meeting
that diplomatic notes from the U.S. and EU, together with the European
Parliament's resolution last week calling on Slovakia to show greater
respect for human rights and democracy, were creating dangerous tensions
in Slovakia. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON DEFENDS HIMSELF IN TV BROADCAST. Michal Kovac
Jr., in a program broadcast by Slovak Television on 25 November,
rejected accusations of his involvement in fraudulent business
transactions, Slovak and international media reported. Kovac Jr., who
was abducted to Austria on 31 August and detained there, called the
charges "complete lies." The accusations were made a week earlier on STV
by Peter Krylov, who was convicted in Germany of fraud and implicated
the son of the Slovak president. Kovac Jr. said he had never had any
business connections with Krylov and accused state-run STV of not
bothering to seek proof of Krylov's charges, which discredited both him
and "above all, my father." -- Steve Kettle

HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION . . . Lajos Bokros on 23
November offered his resignation after the Constitutional Court declared
another part of his austerity package unconstitutional, Hungarian media
reported. Bokros claimed that the court's recent rulings--including
annulling a government decision to raise mortgage interests--have
drastically reduced the government's scope for action in economic
policy. Prime Minister Gyula Horn refused to accept Bokros's resignation
while Bokros made it clear that his future moves will depend on whether
the government's powers are broadened. Meanwhile, at their annual
congress this weekend, the Socialists approved a policy statement
favoring economic stabilization and maintaining the present governing
coalition, thus strengthening Bokros in his position. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

. . . AS DOES EDUCATION MINISTER. Gabor Fodor also tendered his
resignation on 24 November, saying he cannot accept a government
decision to cut spending on public education next year. He added that he
had not received the necessary support from Horn to back up his work,
Hungarian newspapers reported. Fodor's resignation was accepted by
Premier Horn and goes into effect on 1 January, following the conclusion
of discussions on the 1996 budget. Fodor, a member of the Alliance of
Free Democrats, told reporters his resignation is related neither to the
recent teachers' demonstrations nor to Bokros's resignation. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN "A NEW BEIRUT." Bosnian Serbs, while accepting
the Dayton peace plan, have recently staged protests against
establishing a unified city administration for Sarajevo. Karadzic met
with Bosnian Serb leaders on 26 November, and international media
reported that the Serbs insisted that parts of the Dayton agreement
dealing with Sarajevo and with the international peace force be
renegotiated. German media quoted him as saying his troops will stay in
place until this happens. Karadzic told BBC TV that without his approval
the treaty is "worth nothing," and he threatened that Sarajevo could
become "a new Beirut in Europe." BBC Radio commented that he was "trying
to scare the U.S. Congress" into blocking plans to send 20,000 troops to
Bosnia and thereby trying to upset the entire peace agreement. Mlada
fronta Dnes wrote on 27 November that the Bosnian Serbs are determined
not to yield on Sarajevo and will "defend every house" rather than give
up some districts currently under their control. -- Patrick Moore

WHAT NOW FOR BOSNIAN SERBS? Top U.S. officials made it clear on 26
November that the Dayton agreement will not be renegotiated and that
Karadzic, as an indicted war criminal, could face arrest if he tries to
attend the signing in Paris. Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to
the United Nations, told AFP: "If there is any kind of [armed] action
[on the ground in Bosnia] by rogue elements, they are going to get
whacked." Speculation has been rife that Milosevic might deal with the
problem of war criminals by forcing Karadzic into retirement and
offering General Ratko Mladic a top post in the rump Yugoslav army,
where he would still be in a position to influence Bosnian affairs.
Milosevic might then offer formal leadership of the Bosnian Serbs to
someone from Banja Luka or to Nikola Koljevic. The latter is a professor
who is often portrayed as a moderate, but whom former U.S. Ambassador
Warren Zimmermann described in Foreign Affairs as "directing artillery
fire on the civilian population of Sarajevo." -- Patrick Moore

IS SERBIA STILL MANUFACTURING POISON GAS? The BBC, citing ITV's program
"World in Action," reported on 26 November that Serbia is continuing to
produce sarin, a poison nerve gas, raising questions about its possible
future use and why Belgrade apparently did not make it available to the
Bosnian Serbs. In other news, ultranationalist leaders in Serbia
continue to criticize Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for his role
at the Dayton peace talks. Nasa Borba on 24 November quoted Vojislav
Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party and accused war criminal, as
dubbing the peace accord "the greatest sellout and the greatest defeat
ever in history of our people." He added that Serbs were "disappointed"
with the deal. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN TROOPS TORCHING MRKONJIC GRAD. The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung on 27 November reported that uniformed Croats are systematically
looting and burning properties in Mrkonjic Grad and surrounding areas.
Croatian forces took the region in the weeks before the peace conference
but will return it to the Serbs rather than yield land to them along the
northern supply corridor. The daily also wrote about the extensive
devastation of Roman Catholic churches and other property in Croatia by
the Krajina Serbs during the four years of their uprising. -- Patrick
Moore

PREVLAKA PENINSULA AT CENTER OF CROATIAN CONTROVERSY. All local
opposition parties from the Dubrovnik region on 26 November protested
that the possible swap of the Prevlaka peninsula, which controls access
to Montenegro's Bay of Kotor, for the Serb-controlled Dubrovnik
hinterland, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Meanwhile, Vecernji list
and Slobodna Dalmacija recently published interviews with Minister of
Foreign Affairs Mate Granic saying that Croatia emerged from Dayton with
its international borders intact, referring to Prevlaka and eastern
Slavonia. He said that the Serbs and Montenegrins demanded certain
"territorial swaps" but that no discussions can start before both
Croatia and rump Yugoslavia officially recognize each other. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

PERRY IN MACEDONIA. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, during his
visit to Macedonia on 23-24 November, said that 25 countries have so far
offered to contribute troops to the 60,000-strong peacekeeping force for
Bosnia, international agencies reported. He added that the mainly NATO
force would be deployed very quickly after the signing of a peace
agreement in Paris in early December and that there would be enough
troops in Bosnia within weeks to carry out essential tasks. Perry also
met with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, who appeared in public for
the first time since the assassination attempt on 3 October. Perry was
accompanied by the defense ministers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and
Sweden, which have 1,100 peacekeeping troops deployed in Macedonia. --
Fabian Schmidt

SLOVENIA TO BECOME MEMBER OF FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION. Ljubljana on 25
November signed an agreement, to go into effect on 1 January, whereby
Slovenia will become a member of the Central European Free Trade
Agreement. Slovenia joins the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and
Slovakia in CEFTA. Reuters quoted Slovenian Minister of Economic
Relations and Development Janko Dezelak as saying "we expect trade with
CEFTA members will significantly increase as a result of the agreement."
-- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL RESTITUTION LAW. Ion Iliescu on
24 November promulgated a controversial restitution law offering
Romanians modest restitution for properties confiscated under the
Communists in the late 1940s and 1950s, Romanian and Western media
reported. Communist nationalization stripped hundreds of thousands of
Romanians of most of their property, including homes and flats. The new
law provides for compensation not exceeding 50 million lei (some
$18,000). A communique released by the Presidential Office said the
current administration cannot accept the blame for the actions of the
former regime. It also said the authorities have to prevent "new
injustice" against those currently living in nationalized flats. Romania
has yet to resolve numerous arguments over the restitution of property
that belonged to the Jewish community and the Greek Catholic Church. --
Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN SENATE ASKED TO LIFT EXTREMIST SENATOR'S IMMUNITY. Justice
Minister Gavril Iosif Chiuzbaian asked the Senate to strip Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, leader of the chauvinistic Greater Romania Party, of his
parliamentary immunity, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported on 24
November. The minister's decision came one month after the prosecutor-
general's request to start procedures for lifting Tudor's immunity.
Tudor has been accused of offending President Ion Iliescu and defaming
state institutions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 October 1995). The final
decision will be taken through a secret vote in the Senate, where two
thirds of the senators have to vote for lifting his immunity. -- Matyas
Szabo

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ON RUSSIAN DUMA RESOLUTION. The Moldovan parliament
on 24 November issued a declaration to the Russian State Duma demanding
the recognition of the Dniester region's independence, BASA-press
reported. According to the declaration, the Duma's resolution of 17
November "runs counter to the principles of interstate relations,
Moldovan-Russian agreements, and CIS foundation acts." The document adds
that the Moldovan legislation, its policy toward national minorities,
and the commitments made to international organizations "do not give
other states, including Russia," reasons to treat Moldova in a
discriminatory manner. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF CENSORSHIP. Thirty-four
journalists working for state-run Bulgarian National Radio on 22
November issued a declaration accusing the socialist government of
censoring state-run media, RFE/RL reported. The declaration accuses the
government of suppressing "professionalism and freedom of speech,"
deciding which news items and studio guests will appear, rearranging
newscasts, and virtually stripping journalists of the right to produce
commentaries. Journalists can be fined 2,000 leva ($29), one third of
their average salary, for not complying with government regulations. BNR
Director-General Vecheslav Tunev refuted the charges, saying his policy
aims at defending "national interests" and "the agenda of society."
President Zhelyu Zhelev on 24 November received the 34 journalists to
show solidarity with them. He called Bulgaria's postcommunist
development "an imitation of freedom of speech, of democracy, of
pluralism, and sometimes even of opposition." -- Stefan Krause

FURTHER CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ALIA. Former Albanian President Ramiz
Alia has been accused of ordering police to shoot at demonstrators in
Tirana on 20 February 1991, international agencies reported on 25
November. It is reported that documents are available proving Alia gave
the order as demonstrators toppled the monument of his predecessor,
Enver Hoxha. Hekuran Isai, Alia's interior minister at the time, said he
refused to obey the order because "bloodshed [was] certain." In a speech
held after the incident, Alia complained to army officers that "the
police did not carry out its task" and spoke of "organized bloodshed, if
necessary...to organize the army to fight the internal enemy." -- Fabian
Schmidt

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN TURKEY. Ion Iliescu, heading a large delegation
that included business leaders as well as his foreign, trade and
transport ministers, paid a one-day visit to Turkey on 23 November,
Western media reported. Iliescu met with Turkish President Suleyman
Demirel to discuss strengthening bilateral economic and political ties.
Annual bilateral trade totals $700 million, and an estimated 4,000
Turkish companies are active in Romania. -- Lowell Bezanis

[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

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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