The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 234, Part II, 4 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
FRENCH COMMANDER IN SARAJEVO RECALLED. The French minister of defense
has called home General Jean-Rene Bachelet following the latter's
remarks to journalists critical of the Dayton agreement (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 1 December 1995). Nasa Borba on 4 December reported that the
statements put the general in the same camp as "Serbian extremists" and
provoked incomprehension from the Bosnian authorities. The New York
Times on 3 December said that Hasan Muratovic, minister for relations
with the United Nations, called for the French forces in Sarajevo to be
replaced by Americans since the government now finds it difficult to
trust the French. French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette tried to
smooth things over and told AFP that his country "will have the means to
enable the Serbs of Sarajevo to stay." Meanwhile, top U.S. officials
have recently stressed that the Dayton agreement is final and that no
changes can be considered. Their concern is that to discuss any one
issue would permit the reopening of all others. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BLACK SEA FLEET UPDATE. Segodnya on 2 December reported that the
transfer of Black Sea Fleet installations in Crimea has officially begun
and that by the beginning of next year, the Black Sea Russian navy will
be deployed only at the Sevastopol base and the Kacha and Hvardiiske
airfields in Crimea. Outside Crimea, Russia will be able to retain a
weapons testing center at Feodosia and a shipyard. Segodnya said the
sudden withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from so many bases in
Ukraine was a natural outcome of downsizing the Russian armed forces and
navy. Since 1991, the fleet's personnel has decreased from 67,000 to
35,000, and further cuts are envisaged. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW COAL INDUSTRY MINISTER. President
Leonid Kuchma has appointed Serhii Polyakov as minister of the coal
industry, Ukrainian TV and Eastern Economist Daily reported on 1
December. The 49-year-old Polyakov was chairman of the Torez City
Council in Eastern Donetsk Oblast. He replaces Viktor Poltavets, who was
recently fired from his post for failing to launch reforms in the
troubled coal sector. The drastic decline in coal production has forced
Ukraine to increase imports of coal from Poland and Russia to meet
domestic needs. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO SEVASTOPOL LIFTED. Restrictions on entry to
the Crimean city of Sevastopol have been lifted as of 1 December,
Interfax-Ukraine and UNIAR reported on 1-2 December. Victor Semyonov,
chairman of the Sevastopol city administration, ordered the city open to
Ukrainian citizens and foreigners alike. The Ukrainian government voted
on 21 November to overturn a May 1993 resolution extending Soviet-era
travel restrictions to the port city and base of the Black Sea Fleet.
Until now, travelers needed an invitation from a resident or military
officer for entry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN ELECTION UPDATE. Syarhei Naumchyk, spokesman for the
nationalist opposition Belarusian Popular Front, on 1 December said
there is evidence that election results were incorrect in the Smorhon
constituency in Minsk, where BPF leader Zyanon Paznyak ran for office,
Belapan reported. Naumchyk said that more than 2,000 ballots were
invalid. He also claimed observers from political parties were not
allowed into polling stations in that constituency. Paznyak received 47
percent of the vote, just failing to gain enough votes to win outright;
but because it was a two-person race, he cannot run in a second round.
In other news, Belapan reported that Presidium member Uladzimir Novikau
has appealed to voters to take part in the 10 December runoff elections.
The Presidium has proposed asking the Belarusian Television and
Broadcasting Company for more air time to publicize the runoffs. Novikau
cast doubt over whether President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has so far
been hostile to media coverage of elections, will allow increased air
time. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC ASSEMBLY MEETING. At its seventh session in Tallinn on 1-2
December, the Baltic Assembly passed documents on increasing the
effectiveness of the assembly, on socio-economic and political issues,
and on refugees, Interfax reported. It also requested that the Council
of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, prior to voting on Russian membership,
ask Russia to "undertake to respect the independence and sovereign
rights of the Baltic states." The session urged the Baltic governments
to expand cooperation in protecting aerial and maritime borders and to
make joint efforts to standardize armaments and communication systems.
-- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN ARMED FORCES COMMANDER RESIGNS. President Lennart Meri on 3
December said he has reluctantly accepted the resignation of Lt.-Gen.
Aleksander Einseln as commander-in-chief of the Estonian armed forces,
Western agencies reported. Einseln, who served 35 years in the U.S.
military, was undermined by several recent scandals in his general staff
and a public dispute with Defense Minister Andrus Oovel. To show
gratitude for his work in establishing the Estonian armed forces, Meri
said he was promoting Einseln to the rank of full general and asking him
to remain in Estonia to head the nation's military academy. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH POLITICAL PARTIES SETTLE ACCOUNTS AFTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
The National Council of the opposition Freedom Union (UW) on 3 December
dismissed Jan Maria Rokita from the party's presidium, saying he had
breached party discipline and had not given his full support to the UW's
presidential candidate, former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron. UW President
and former Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz had said earlier he would
resign if Rokita were not dismissed because he did not want to be head
of such an undisciplined party. Former Prime Ministers and UW members
Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Hanna Suchocka criticized Rokita's dismissal. The
previous day, the Labor Union (UP) dismissed Wojciech Lamentowicz from
its Presidium. Lamentowicz had supported President-elect Aleksander
Kwasniewski after heading the campaign staff of the UP candidate,
ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski, Polish dailies reported on 4 December. --
Jakub Karpinski

SEJM OVERRIDES WALESA'S VETO OF TAX LAW. The Sejm on 1 December overrode
President Lech Walesa's veto on the 1996 tax law (see OMRI Daily Digest,
27 November 1995) by a narrow majority. Walesa has said he will appeal
to the Constitutional Tribunal. Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy said
the government is prepared to implement either the old or the new law
but he stressed that a decision must be reached quickly. Should the
Constitutional Tribunal not reach a verdict by 22 December, the new
president will be able to sign the law, Polish dailies reported on 2
December. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLISH WORKERS PROTEST PLAN TO BUY FOREIGN JETS. Workers at the Polish
aircraft company PZL-Mielec staged a two-hour work stoppage on 1
December to protest government plans to buy second-hand Alpha-Jet
trainers from Germany rather than the "Iryda" trainers built by Mielec.
PAP quoted the strike committee as saying the strikers were "defending
the achievements of the Polish aircraft industry and our jobs." The
government has argued that the Alpha-Jets are cheaper and would
therefore be better for the armed forces, given the limited defense
budget. The strike committee warned it would step up the protests if the
government did not reconsider the purchase. -- Doug Clarke

CZECH CENTRIST PARTIES MERGE. The extra-parliamentary Free Democrats
(SD) and the Liberal National Social Party (LSNS), which has five seats
in parliament, formally merged on 3 December, Czech media reported. SD
leader and former Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier and LSNS
head Vavrinec Bodenlos were elected joint chairmen of the party, to be
known as the SD-LSNS. Recent opinion polls show that, even together, the
SD and LSNS are unlikely to gain parliamentary representation in next
year's general election. But Dienstbier said the Czech political scene
has become polarized and that the new party will campaign as a centrist
alternative. Deputy Prime Minister Josef Lux, leader of the Christian
Democratic Union-Czech People's Party, addressed the new party's
founding session and said he was willing to work with the SD-LSNS. --
Steve Kettle

EASTERN EUROPE'S FIRST GAS SUPPLIER SALE. The Hungarian privatization
agency (APV Rt.) on 29 November sold a majority stake in Tigaz, the
country's biggest gas supplier, to an Italian consortium, Hungarian
media reported. The sale is the first of its kind in Eastern Europe.
Italgas bought a 50% plus one vote stake in Tigaz for almost $172
million. Tigaz supplies 2.3 billion cubic meters of gas a year to more
than 800,000 consumers in northeastern Hungary and has registered
capital worth $116.2 million. Italgas plans to extend service to 200,000
more consumers and wants to invest $255 million over the next five
years. No sizable reduction in the number of staff is envisaged. The APV
Rt. is to decide on the sale of four other gas suppliers this week. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GENERAL MLADIC REJECTS DAYTON AGREEMENT . . . International media on 3
December reported that the Bosnian Serb military commander the previous
day made his first public statements on the peace treaty. He said it was
unacceptable because "some territories in which Serbs have lived for
centuries have been handed over to the Croat-Muslim coalition.'' CNN
showed the internationally wanted war criminal reviewing smartly dressed
and well-disciplined troops whom he told that "we cannot allow our
people to come under the rule of butchers." The network also interviewed
U.S. Chief of Staff General John Shalikashvili, who said that NATO
troops would not conduct a house-to-house search for Mladic and other
Bosnian Serb war criminals but would hand them over "to the civilian
authorities" if caught. -- Patrick Moore

. . . BUT CLINTON EXPECTS MILOSEVIC TO BRING HIM INTO LINE. In apparent
response to Mladic's implicit threats, President Bill Clinton on 3
December said that "we fully expect that [Serbian] President [Slobodan]
Milosevic will take the appropriate steps to ensure that the treaty will
be honored as it is written, and that we will not have undue
interference with implementing it," the International Herald Tribune
reported. On 2 December, the BBC said that Clinton again defended his
call for U.S. forces to help enforce the Bosnian settlement. He said
that the presidents of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia "asked us to help
implement their peace treaty." -- Patrick Moore

NATO AGREES TO SEND FORCES TO BOSNIA. The NATO Council, at a meeting in
Brussels on 1 December, agreed to send a 2,600-strong "enabling" force
to Bosnia to prepare for the deployment of the 60,000 troops comprising
the NATO implementation force, Western agencies reported. U.S. President
Bill Clinton the next day authorized the participation of the 700-strong
U.S. contingent. This is the first time that American troops will be
deployed in Bosnia. The "enabling" force will prepare headquarters,
communications, and transport sites in anticipation of the arrival of
the main force, expected to take place after the peace treaty is signed
in Paris later this month. -- Michael Mihalka

POLITICAL SHOWDOWN IN ZAGREB. Croatia's seven-party opposition coalition
on 2 December elected new officials to the Zagreb City Assembly after
deputies from the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the
Croatian Party of Rights had walked out the previous day, international
media reported on 4 December. Hina quoted President Franjo Tudjman on 1
December as saying that he "cannot allow Zagreb, whose population
constitutes a quarter of the whole of Croatia's, to get a city or county
authority that would oppose state policy" and that "all democratic
means" will be used to prevent such a scenario. The next day, HDZ
members, who hold a third of the city assembly's 50 seats, walked out in
an attempt to block an opposition coalition from taking power in Zagreb.
Nonetheless, Zdravko Tomac was unanimously elected speaker of the
assembly and Goran Granic Zagreb mayor, Novi List reported. Meanwhile,
10,000 Posavina Croats gathered at a protest rally in Zagreb on 2
December to demand an emergency session of the Croatian Assembly over
the Dayton accord, the BBC reported on 4 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTY PURGES RANKS. BETA on 2 December reported that
the Democratic Party (DS) voted to dismiss two prominent members from
its ranks. Dragoljub Micunovic, former party president and member of the
federal legislature, and Veselin Simonovic, a deputy in the Serbian
legislature. DS Vice President Miodrag Perisic explained that "the
[party's] main committee considered that through their recent
activities, [the two men] had caused political harm to the party."
Micunovic responded that the dismissals meant that from now on, the DS
is a party "without either a soul or a brain." -- Stan Markotich

HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL ON ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS. Following a one-week
visit to Romania, Laszlo Labody, director of the office in charge of
Hungarians living abroad, told a press conference in the Transylvanian
city of Cluj that the Romanian education law should be modified. Labody
said it was "not normal that street demonstrations by a few thousand
students [in Bucharest] could lead to the amendment of the law, whereas
the 500,000 signatures gathered from among members of the Hungarian
community in a legislative initiative to amend that law are being
ignored." Radio Bucharest on 3 December quoted him as saying that
Romania and Hungary will certainly reach a historic reconciliation
because the Hungarian government's program and Romanian President Ion
Iliescu's proposal have the same aim. According to Duna TV Budapest,
Labody said the only remaining impediment to concluding the basic treaty
between the two countries is the disagreement over the paragraph on
national minorities. -- Matyas Szabo

YELTSIN RESPONDS TO MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT'S LETTER. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, responding to a 17 November letter from Mircea Snegur on the
Russian State Duma's resolution on the Transdniester (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 20 November 1995), stressed that his country's policy toward
Moldova has not changed and that Moscow continues to support a political
solution to the conflict with the breakaway region. He added that the
Transdniester should be granted a "special status" and that "Moldova's
independence and territorial integrity" should be preserved. Infotag on
1 December reported that Yeltsin reiterated his readiness to hold a
summit meeting with Snegur after an agreement is reached between
Chisinau and Tiraspol and that he added such an agreement would also
allow for the participation in the summit of the Tiraspol leadership. --
Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS GOVERNMENT BID FOR EU MEMBERSHIP. The
Bulgarian National Assembly on 1 December voted to authorize the
government to request full EU membership, RFE/RL reported. The motion
was approved by a vote of 212 to one. The Bulgarian government the
previous day had decided to formally apply for full EU membership. In an
address on state-owned TV and radio, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said EU
membership is in the strategic interest of the country. Videnov will
submit Bulgaria's application during the EU summit in Madrid in
December. Bulgaria has been an associate EU member since February 1995.
-- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA PROTESTS ROMANIAN SEIZURE OF NUCLEAR FUEL. Bulgaria on 1
December protested Romania's decision to halt a cargo of nuclear fuel
bound for Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1
December 1995). Reuters cited Yanko Yanev, head of the Atomic Energy
Committee, as saying that Romania's action contravenes an international
convention. A transport of nuclear waste would have needed permission to
transit Romanian waters but "such requirements do not refer to fresh
fuel, which is not radioactive," he argued. According to Yanev, such
fuel transports have been going on for 20 years. An official at the
Romanian port of Cernavoda on 2 December said the two Bulgarian vessels
are still being held there. -- Stefan Krause

INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO HEAD OF BALLI KOMBETAR. An investigation has
been launched into Abaz Ermenji, chairman of the Balli Kombetar
(National Front), Zeri i Popullit reported on 1 December. According to
the Prosecutor-General's Office, the National Committee of World War II
Veterans has charged Ermenji with committing crimes against humanity
between 1941-1945. The former partisans claim that Ermenji was involved
in the massacre of 114 innocent citizens in the southern region of
Skrapari and the killing of 24 family heads. Ermenji returned to Albania
on 21 October 1995 after 49 years in exile and was welcomed by friends
and party members of the Balli Kombetar, which was reestablished after
1991. -- 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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