Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. - Karl Menninger
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 233, Part II, 1 December 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/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
U.S. REJECTS FRENCH CALL FOR REVISING BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN. International
media on 1 December reported that top American officials have again
stated that the Dayton agreement cannot be changed. Their fear is
clearly that tampering with any one aspect of the accord would open a
Pandora's box of additional demands for revisions. The French UN
commander in Sarajevo, General Jean-Rene Bachelet, told a French daily
that the peace plan is flawed because it offers the Serbs of Sarajevo
little choice but to flee. He suggested that the Serbs would destroy
what they could not take along with them and that the Americans had
rushed the treaty through for domestic political reasons. Other French
officials warned that France wants its downed pilots returned before the
agreement is signed. The International Herald Tribune quoted EU mediator
Carl Bildt as saying that the agreement should not be revised but that
the Bosnian government should give special guarantees of safety to the
Serbs. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE FORGES TIES WITH SOUTH KOREA. Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Hennadii Udovenko, during his first official visit to Seoul, has
promised that his country will not sell arms to North Korea if closer
diplomatic and economic ties are forged with South Korea, international
agencies reported on 30 November. Udovenko made his pledge in response
to a personal request by South Korean Foreign Minister Kong Nomyong that
Kiev refrain from exporting weapons to rival North Korea. Kong also
asked for Kiev to provide favorable conditions for Koreans living in
Ukraine. In return, the South Koreans agreed to step up trade and
investment. The foreign minister signed several agreements on forging
diplomatic and economic ties and air links between Kiev and Seoul.
Ukraine plans to set up a permanent mission in the South Korean capital.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

UPDATE ON CHORNOBYL SHUTDOWN. International agencies on 30 November
reported that Ukrainian and G-7 representatives have reached an
agreement in Vienna on a memorandum outlining steps toward a final
shutdown in the year 2000 of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. No
details were offered about the key issue of financing the closure.
Meanwhile, an international conference in Salvutych, where Chornobyl
personnel live, revealed that radiation above the entombed reactor still
measures up to 46 roentgen per hour-- the same levels recorded during
construction of the sarcophagus immediately after the April 1986 nuclear
explosion. A prominent British medical expert says as many as 40% of
children in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia who were exposed to radiation
from Chornobyl nine years ago are expected to develop thyroid cancer
over the next 30 years, AFP reported. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS ELECTION WRAP-UP. Foreign observers said the parliamentary
elections on 29 November were generally free and fair, but they
criticized restrictions on the media, Western agencies reported the next
day. Opposition leaders said the fact that turnout was below the
required 50% in only two of the 141 election districts indicated that
the public was protesting President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's threats to
impose presidential rule if a new parliament were not elected. The
parliament now has 139 deputies: 33 Communists, 39 from the Agrarian
Party, 5 from democratic parties, and 62 independents. It is unclear
whether voters on 10 December will elect 35 new deputies to achieve the
two-thirds quota necessary for the parliament to be valid. -- Saulius
Girnius

CONSULTATIONS ON NEW LATVIAN GOVERNMENT. Prime minister candidate
Ziedonis Cevers on 30 November held talks with representatives of the
Latvian National Independence Party and Latvia's Way on possible support
for his government, BNS reported. In an effort to make his government
more stable, Cevers seems willing to offer cabinet posts to members of
parties that do not belong to his National Conciliation Bloc. Latvia's
Way Chairman Valdis Birkavs, however, said his party will support Cevers
only if another right of center party agrees to support him. This,
however, is unlikely. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA'S DRAFT BUDGET FOR 1996 APPROVED. The Seimas on 30 November
approved the draft budget for 1996, BNS reported. Prime Minister Adolfas
Slezevicius said it will be about 30% larger than that for 1995 and will
be focused more on social needs. Expenditures for social welfare, health
care, education, and culture are to be increased by 79%, 42%, 37%, and
34%, respectively. The salaries of doctors will be raised by 24% and
teachers by 28%. The budget deficit will be larger than this year but
will remain about 2% of GDP, as agreed to with the International
Monetary Fund. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH SUPREME COURT ON VALIDITY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Polish
Supreme Court has rejected some 200 filed complaints about minor
irregularities during the Polish presidential elections. But the court
is currently swamped with the 598,000 complaints lodged by Solidarity
and outgoing President Lech Walesa's election committees about
President-elect Aleksander Kwasniewski's claim he had received a
master's degree. Kwasniewski later admitted that he had not submitted
his master's thesis. The court is to ask sociologists whether this
misinformation could have influenced the election results, Polish
dailies reported on 1 December. The court has to reach a decision by 9
December. -- Jakub Karpinski

FEWER POLISH TROOPS TO BOSNIA? Poland may send a smaller contingent to
the Bosnian peacekeeping forces owing to a lack of funds, Defense
Minister Zbigniew Okonski said on 30 November. Experts estimate that
sending a Polish battalion will cost at least 54-72 million zloty
($2.16-$2.88 million). The U.S. has said it will cover some
transportation expenses, while the Germans will provide armored
transporters, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 1 December. Meanwhile, Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksander Luczak, at his meeting on 30 November with the
rectors of Polish universities, said those employed in higher education
will receive nominal wage hikes of 50% (36% in real terms). He added
that in 1996, the government wants to increase spending on higher
education by 13% over this year's levels. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK PRESIDENT PARDONS KIDNAPPER. Michal Kovac has pardoned a former
agent of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) who confessed to
participating in the abduction of Kovac's son, Slovak media reported on
1 December. The 26 year-old former agent, known as Oskar F., has given a
series of interviews to Sme detailing the abduction and alleging that
SIS director Ivan Lexa ran the entire action by radio. Oskar F., who is
now in hiding and fears for his life, also spoke with investigator Peter
Vacok, who was later removed from the case. President Kovac said the
testimony of other witnesses has also pointed to Oskar F.'s guilt, and
he noted that Oskar F. could face prosecution. According to presidential
spokesman Vladimir Stefko, Kovac made the decision based on Oskar F.'s
"spontaneous and full confession," which, he said, can be seen as an
effort to clear up the matter and ensure that justice is done. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK COURT CONTRADICTS MINISTRY DECISION. The Supreme Court on 30
November reversed the Finance Ministry's decision to revoke the license
of the investment firm PSIS, Sme and Narodna obroda reported. The
ministry took the decision on 31 March, transferring control of the
PSIS's investment funds to Harvard Investment. In an interview with Sme,
PSIS director Igor Duric said the decision shows that the Slovakia's
courts are functioning. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO SEND MILITARY TROOPS TO BOSNIA? The Alliance of Free
Democrats (SZDSZ), the junior coalition partner, is backing Hungary's
decision to let NATO troops transit the country and to use Hungarian
airspace and bases. It also approves of its offer to send technical or
health teams to Bosnia but is against sending armed units. Two
opposition parties--the Smallholders and the Democratic Forum--are also
opposed to that offer. The parliament last week approved letting NATO
troops be stationed on Hungarian territory and is still debating NATO's
request to dispatch Hungarian troops for non-combat missions (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 29 November 1995) Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti said
Hungarian troops would carry out military tasks and would carry weapons.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

NO AGREEMENT STILL ON HUNGARIAN INCOME TAX. Following weeks of debate,
the parliamentary caucuses of the two governing coalition parties are
still at odds over income tax brackets, Hungarian media reported.
Finance Minister Lajos Bokros insists that a 48% tax rate be levied on
annual gross earnings over 900,000 forints. He wants the government to
collect revenues totaling 480 billion forints. The SZDSZ has rejected
his proposal, saying such a high rate would encourage people to
participate in the black economy and would adversely affect large
families supported by one person with a high income. It is in favor of
44% as the highest rate. The Socialist argue that a greater burden
should be shouldered by those earning higher incomes. The parliament is
due to vote next week on the 1996 budget and new tax legislation. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

STILL NEARLY 3,000 CROATS "MISSING." As part of its normalization of
relations with Serbia, Croatia is expecting cooperation in clarifying
the fate of those Croats who have disappeared, mainly during Serbia's
war against Croatia in 1991. Some 1,400 persons are unaccounted for from
Vukovar and another 500 from the Banija region, the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 1 December. Croatian authorities said the
missing people seem to have been moved around throughout various Serb-
held parts of the former Yugoslavia to hide traces of their whereabouts
and to mask responsibility for their fate. The Croatian authorities
continue to find mass graves in the areas they retook in their lightning
offensives this year; they fear that more exist as far away as Sremska
Mitrovica and Belgrade. Some Croats who have been freed said they were
subjected to torture and dangerous forced labor. -- Patrick Moore

UN EXTENDS MANDATE IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. The UN Security Council on 30
November extended the mandates of its missions in the former Yugoslavia,
Western agencies reported. Those mandates were due to expire the same
day. The UN peacekeepers will remain in Croatia for another 45 days, in
Bosnia two months, and in Macedonia six months. NATO troops are expected
to be deployed in the region by mid-January. Discussions continue over
the composition of the multinational force to be deployed in eastern
Slavonia. According to the UN resolution on Croatia, UN Secretary-
General Boutros Boutros Ghali has to report to the council by 14
December on a "transitional peacekeeping force" in that country. --
Michael Mihalka

SILAJDZIC DISMISSES CHIRAC'S CALLS FOR SERBIAN GUARANTEES. Bosnian Prime
Minister Haris Silajdzic has dismissed the French president's calls for
more guarantees for Serbs living in Sarajevo suburbs (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 30 November 1995), saying that they enjoy the same rights as
other citizens, Reuters reported on 30 November. The BBC quoted Bosnian
Radio on 1 December as reporting that President Alija Izetbegovic has
told the parliament that the full safety of civilians will be
guaranteed, just as there will be punishment for those who have been
killing the residents of Sarajevo for 44 months. Meanwhile, AFP on 30
November reported that a rocket fired from the Serb-held Nedarici area
of Sarajevo crashed into a building in a government-controlled area but
caused no casualties. In another development, the pro-government Serbian
Civic Council called on the international community to open offices in
Serb-held districts of Sarajevo and to appoint a mediator to oversee the
implementation of the peace agreement there. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIA, GREECE ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. Muhamed Sacirbey and
Karolos Papoulias, the foreign ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Greece, on 30 November initialed a document establishing diplomatic
relations between the two countries, AFP reported. The agreement was
initialed in Sarajevo in the presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali
Akbar Velayati. Greece was one of the most outspoken supporters of
Serbia during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. -- Stefan Krause

SLOVENIA-RUMP YUGOSLAVIA NORMALIZE RELATIONS? Nasa Borba on 1 December
reported that on the previous day Slovenia became the first republic of
the former Yugoslavia to recognize the rump Yugoslavia. The announcement
was made by Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler and was described as
"unexpected" by the Belgrade state-controlled media. Ljubljana has also
resolved to lift the trade embargo imposed on Belgrade, AFP reported.
The Slovenian government's decision is to be submitted on 1 December to
the parliament for discussion and ratification. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA STOPS NUCLEAR CARGO FOR BULGARIA. Romanian authorities have
intercepted a barge and a tug carrying 106 containers with nuclear fuel
for Bulgaria's controversial Kozloduy power plant, Romanian and
international media reported on 30 November. The two ships were docked
at Cernavoda, a port on the River Danube, and were on their way from the
Ukrainian port of Reni. They were intercepted because they did not have
permission from the Romanian authorities to transit the country. The
authorities launched an investigation into the incident , while the
Romanian Environment Ministry asked the Foreign Ministry to hand over a
formal protest to the ambassadors of Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia. --
Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN PRIVATE TV STATION LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAMS. The Bucharest-based
PRO-TV station, which started operating in May 1993, has announced that
it will start broadcasting new programs beginning 1 December, Western
media and Radio Bucharest reported. The programs, including foreign
series and movies, are expected to reach up to 3 million households via
satellite. The $20 million project is backed by ex-tennis champion Ion
Tiriac and the businessman Ronald Lauder. According to Radio Bucharest,
the revamped private TV station will promote competition in the sector,
which is still dominated by state-run stations. The same source added
that another TV station, Romanian TV-International, will start
broadcasting programs to viewers throughout the world the same day. --
Dan Ionescu

SNEGUR HINTS AT SECOND PRESIDENTIAL MANDATE. In an interview with
Handelsblatt and Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur
suggested that he was interested in a second presidential mandate for
the sake of continuing with reforms over the next five years. Infotag
quoted Snegur as saying that he was "dreaming of forming, as soon as
possible, a team of like-minded allies to conduct the second stage of
the reform process" in his country. Snegur stressed that Moldova is not
planning to join NATO and expressed the hope that the forthcoming
parliamentary elections in Russia will not signal a victory of left-wing
forces, which, he said, "have nothing on their minds other than
restoring the former USSR." -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1996 BUDGET DRAFT. The Bulgarian cabinet
on 30 November approved the final version of the 1996 budget draft, Pari
reported the following day. The draft envisages revenues totaling 419
billion leva ($5.99 billion) and expenditures 474 billion leva ($6.78
billion). The budget deficit is estimated at 4.7% of GDP and the yearly
inflation rate at 20%. The draft envisages a 3% growth in GDP for 1996.
Government spokesman Nikola Baltov said the draft will be submitted to
parliament at the earliest possible date. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN NATIONAL RADIO UPDATE. The parliamentary Commission for Radio,
TV, and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency on 30 November discussed a
statement by journalists from Bulgarian National Radio's Horizont
station accusing the BNR of censorship (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27
November 1995). The Socialist-dominated commission approved a report
saying there is no censorship on BNR and that the questions raised by
the dissenting journalists are of a strictly professional nature,
Demokratsiya reported. Meanwhile, the opposition adopted a declaration
accusing the BNR's management of censorship and of violating the
constitution. Representatives of the protesting journalists and BNR
Director-General Vecheslav Tunev were present at the meeting. -- Stefan
Krause

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WANTS GOVERNOR PUNISHED. Zhelyu Zhelev on 30
November said he wants Prime Minister Zhan Videnov to punish the Haskovo
Province Governor Angel Naydenov, Standart reported. Zhelev is outraged
by Naydenov's failure to convene the Kardzhali City Council, which was
elected more than one month ago and to recognize the election of
Kardzhali Mayor Rasim Musa. Both the Municipal and the Central Electoral
Commission confirmed that the elections in Kardzhali were legal, but
Naydenov has said he will not call a City Council meeting until a court
rules on a complaint filed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party about the
elections in Kardzhali. Zhelev issued his statement after meeting with
leaders of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, and with
Musa, who is a member of that party. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIA PASSES LAW ON SIGURIMI FILES. The Albanian parliament has passed
a law on opening the communist-era secret service (Sigurimi) files of
public figures, international agencies reported on 1 December. A seven-
member state committee will check the files for all persons who run for
parliamentary positions, who are appointed to leading local and central
government posts, or who are employed by the courts. The law will also
apply to people working in the state media and at newspapers with a
daily circulation of more than 3,000. Anyone convicted of collaborating
with the Sigurimi will be banned from working in his field until 2002.
The files for all other citizens will be closed for 30 years. Deputy
Socialist Party leader Namik Dokle criticized the law saying "it smells
of apartheid." -- 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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