No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 236, Part II, 6 December 1995



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 236, Part II, 6 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
NO NATO, EU ENLARGEMENT DISCUSSIONS BEFORE 1997. NATO foreign ministers
on 5 December decided to move cautiously on enlargement, Western
agencies reported. They adopted a three-part plan providing for
extensive talks with potential applicants, strengthening the Partnership
for Peace program, and reviewing internal changes necessary for
enlargement. No discussions on membership will take place before 1997
under this program, largely owing to concerns about control over the
military in some potential member countries, relations with Russia, and
the decision to proceed with the Bosnian operation (see below).
Meanwhile, President of the European Parliament Karl Haensch, speaking
in Warsaw on 5 December, said negotiations on EU enlargement will likely
begin in 1997, after the EU's intergovernmental conference. But the
current holder of the EU's rotating Presidency, Spanish Prime Minister
Felipe Gonzalez, warned the same day in London that the EU currently has
no strategy for enlargement. -- Michael Mihalka
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

RADIOACTIVE LEAK PROMPTS REACTOR SHUTDOWN AT UKRAINIAN PLANT . . . A
leak of radioactive steam from a pump prompted management at the
Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to shutdown its first reactor on 4
December, international and Ukrainian agencies reported the next day.
Experts said the leak posed no danger to the population or the
environment because it occurred inside the reactor's containment
structure. The malfunction rated zero on the international scale of
seven for nuclear accidents. The six-reactor plant at Zaporizhzhya,
which produces 33% of the country's nuclear energy, has the poorest
safety record of Ukraine's five atomic energy stations. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

. . . AND REMOVAL FROM RUSSIAN POWER GRID. Reuters on 5 December
reported that Ukraine was decoupled from a joint power grid with Russia
at the latter's initiative for taking too much power. Oleksandr
Voyevoda, an engineer at Ukraine's Energy Ministry, said the surge in
Ukrainian consumption was due to the shutdown of the reactor at
Zaporizhzhya. The Russian side explained its move by pointing to the
accumulated unpaid bills that, it said, would have risen if Ukraine were
not detached from the grid. Voyevoda said he hoped Russia would bring
Ukraine back on line after the Zaporizhzhya reactor and two others were
repaired. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN CUSTOMS UNION. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor
Pynzenyk has said there is no need for a customs union between Russian
and Ukraine since customs problems have already been resolved by the
Ukrainian side, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 5 December. Pynzenyk
said Ukraine has already made its national currency convertible;
canceled all export restrictions, quotas and licenses; and created a
free trade system. Pynzenyk criticized Russia for not responding with
reciprocal actions and for raising instead the idea of the unnecessary
customs union. He concluded that it was in both countries' interests to
sign the long-delayed treaty on friendship and cooperation. -- Ustina
Markus

BELARUS, RUSSIA BEGIN SECOND STAGE OF CUSTOMS UNION. Belarusian Radio on
4 December reported that Russia and Belarus have begun implementing the
second stage of their customs union, which calls for unifying their
taxation systems. Currently, Belarus has much lower domestic taxes than
Russia. According to deputy head of the Russian State Customs Committee
Valerii Draganov, this could prove costly to the Russian market, which
would be flooded with cheaper Belarusian goods, especially foodstuffs,
manure, and fertilizers. -- Ustina Markus

SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS ESTONIA. Jelko Kocin held talks in
Tallinn on 4 December with his Estonian counterpart, Andrus Oovel, and
Foreign Ministry deputy chancellor Raul Malk. Kocin proposed that visa-
free travel between the two countries be introduced. The next day Jocin
met with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi to discuss cooperation between the two
countries in their efforts to join NATO and the EU, BNS reported. At a
press conference, Kocin said an Estonian delegation will go to Slovenia
to study its air control system, while Slovenian specialists will visit
Estonia to help improve the mobilization system. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S WAY, NATIONAL BLOC WILL NOT SUPPORT CEVERS GOVERNMENT. Prime
Minister-designate Ziedonis Cevers has failed in his attempts to create
a broad-based government by gaining support from right-of-center
parties, BNS reported on 5 December. Latvia's Way faction head Andrejs
Pantelejevs said he will meet with the National Bloc on 6 December to
decide whether to vote against or to abstain in the Saeima vote on the
Cevers government the next day. Cevers told reporters that his inability
to broaden the coalition of the National Conciliation Bloc was a
political failure but added that the talks "improved the political
climate." His proposed government is expected to be approved with the
support of the Socialist Party. -- Saulius Girnius

POLAND TO SEND BATTALION TO BOSNIA. The Polish government on 5 December
decided to send a 660-strong battalion of "Red Berets" volunteers to
Bosnia at the beginning of January. The soldiers will be located west of
Tuzla and will serve within the Nordic Brigade (Finland, Sweden,
Denmark, and Norway), which is to be under the First U.S. Armored
Division, Polish dailies reported on 6 December. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

PARTY PREFERENCES AFTER POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. A recent opinion
poll conducted by the Social Research Bureau (PBS) shows that if
parliamentary elections were held in late November, the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) would receive 33% of votes, Solidarity 19%, the Freedom
Union (UW) 12%, the Polish Peasant Party 7%, and the Labor Union 6%. The
rating of the SLD is similar to the percentage of votes received by the
SLD presidential candidate and President-elect Aleksander Kwasniewski in
the first round of the presidential elections last month, Rzeczpospolita
reported on 4 December. According to a Public Opinion Research Center
(OBOP) public opinion poll published on 5 December in Gazeta Wyborcza,
the SLD would have 260 of the 460 seats in a future Sejm, Solidarity 60,
the UW 55, and former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski Movement for Poland's
Reconstruction, which was recently founded, 50. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH GOVERNMENT SUSPENDS PURCHASE OF GERMAN JETS. Polish Prime
Minister Jozef Oleksy, reacting quickly to warning strikes at the PZL
Mielec aircraft factory, on 5 December announced that the government has
suspended the Defense Ministry's plan to buy second-hand Alpha-Jets from
Germany rather than Polish-made Iryda trainers, Reuters reported. Oleksy
said the decision would be reviewed later but added that the fate of PZL
Mielec could not be determined by "technical parameters." -- Doug Clarke

SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The cabinet on 5 December approved a draft law
on banking that introduces mortgages and is expected to rejuvenate
housing construction, Pravda reported. Controversial statements made by
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Jozef Sestak during the
parliamentary Environmental Committee's debate on the Slovak-Hungarian
treaty were not discussed, Sme reported. (Sestak on 1 December said that
no agreement resulting from a compromise is optimal: "Hitler reached
optimal agreements when he had 150 divisions on the border and dictated
to the other side what he wanted.") The cabinet also failed to discuss
the possible dismissal of Finance Ministry State Secretary Jozef Magula,
as demanded by the opposition in connection with the PSIS investment
firm (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 December 1995). It did, however, approve
the resignation of the ministry's other state secretary, Rudolf Autner.
-- Sharon Fisher

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN TREATY. Augustin Marian
Huska, deputy chairman of the parliament and of Slovakia's ruling
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), is not convinced that the
process of ratifying the Slovak-Hungarian treaty will be completed
during the December parliamentary session, Sme reported on 6 December.
The HZDS supports the treaty, according to chairman of the party's
parliamentary caucus, Tibor Cabaj. However, the Slovak National Party
(SNS) is opposed, and the Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) has
expressed opposition to the inclusion of Council of Europe
Recommendation No. 1201. It remains unclear whether the opposition will
support the treaty's ratification, as several of the parties have yet to
decide on their final stance. Along with the 1996 state budget, the
treaty is the biggest issue on the agenda of the December parliament
session. -- Sharon Fisher

ROMA WIRE SERVICE BEGINS OPERATION IN HUNGARY. A Romani news agency
opened in Hungary last week, MTI reported. National Roma Press (ORS) is
staffed by both Roma and non-Roma and aims to provide "objective news"
about Roma. Within several days only, ORS has tripled the number of
Roma-related stories in Hungarian available on the wires. Founded as
part of the Roma Civic Rights Foundation, the agency has eight employees
in Budapest and 19 in each of Hungary's counties. -- Alaina Lemon

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES SENDING CONTINGENT TO BOSNIA. The
Hungarian parliament on 5 December voted by a large majority in favor of
sending a 500-strong technical contingent to assist the international
peacekeeping force in Bosnia, Hungarian media reported. The contingent
will be armed, but NATO peacekeeping troops will ensure its protection.
It will be stationed in Croatia and will also carry out duties in
Bosnia. Hungarian Foreign and Defense Ministry officials argue that
participating in the Bosnian peacekeeping mission is a major step toward
accession to NATO and may help improve Hungary's relations with
neighboring countries. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO MINISTERS BACK BOSNIA PLAN. NATO foreign and defense ministers,
meeting together for the first time since 1979, endorsed on 5 December
the plan to send 60,000 troops to Bosnia, Western agencies reported. All
NATO countries and at least 14 non-NATO countries (Austria, the Czech
Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan,
Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Ukraine) are expected to
participate. Talks are continuing with Bangladesh, Egypt, and Malaysia.
U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said NATO forces will
apprehend war crime suspects "if they do something to obstruct the
process" of ensuring peace in Bosnia, but he added NATO will not seek
them out. Meanwhile, the British Defense Secretary Malcolm Rifkind
echoed French concerns by noting that "practical measures" should be
taken to meet the concerns of the Bosnian Serbs in Sarajevo, which has
been assigned to the Bosnian-Croat federation. -- Michael Mihalka

MILOSEVIC TO DUMP KARADZIC SOON? Beta on 5 December quoted Bosnian Serb
sources as saying that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic will oust
Radovan Karadzic from the Bosnian Serb leadership around the time of the
Paris conference, which is slated for 14 December. The peace accord
prohibits indicted war criminals like Karadzic and his military
commander Ratko Mladic from holding public office. Milosevic is obliged
to carry out the agreement. Speculation on a successor for Karadzic
centers on the Banja Luka leadership and on Karadzic's vice-president,
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

UN WORKING TO REASSURE SARAJEVO SERBS. The UN has opened its first
offices in Sarajevo suburbs now controlled by Pale but slated for
Bosnian government administration by the Dayton accord. Some 60,000-
70,000 Serbs will then join a similar number of Sarajevo Serbs who spent
the war on the government side and at the receiving end of Mladic's
guns. A UN spokesman said that the peace agreement is final and that
Karadzic's planned referendum on 12 December will have no bearing, Hina
reported on 5 December. The UN is trying to build confidence among the
Serbs of Grbavica and Ilidza despite Pale's attempt to portray an
atmosphere of panic, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted. Meanwhile
in Zagreb, Hina said that Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa met with Jadranko
Prlic, prime minister of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, to
discuss the Dayton agreement and the role of Prlic's people in
implementing it. -- Patrick Moore

DEEP DIVISION WITHIN RANKS OF SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTY? BETA on 5
December reported on statements made at a press conference by two ousted
high-profile members of the opposition Democratic Party (DS), led by
Zoran Djindjic. Dragoljub Micunovic, former party president and member
of the federal legislature, said his expulsion on 2 December, along with
that of his colleague Velimir Simonovic, is unlikely to be accepted
passively by the majority of the party's rank-and-file, who, he said,
will "make their voices heard" on the issue. Micunovic added that the
expulsions indicate Djindjic's resolve "to amputate the peacemaking part
of the party." Simonovic also added that "Djindjic will not succeed in
shutting [us] out of political life." Micunovic maintained that DS
members have already approached him about founding a rival party, but he
insisted that no exercise in "fragmenting" the DS will be undertaken at
present. -- Stan Markotich

BUKOSHI INSISTS ON INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO. International agencies on 5
December quoted Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi as
saying that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo will never give up their demand
for independence and as rejecting the idea of reestablishing the
province's autonomy. Bukoshi noted that "there will be no change in our
political attitude toward the future of Kosovo." He was attending the
congress of the Albanian Christian Democratic Party in Tirana. Bukoshi
stressed that impatience in Kosovo is growing and that if the "Albanians
could see that the political means to change their destiny are having no
effect, the situation might get out of control." -- Fabian Schmidt

BATTLE OVER ZAGREB ASSEMBLY CONTINUES. Zdravko Tomac, elected speaker of
the municipal assembly, and Goran Granic, elected mayor of Zagreb, held
a press conference on 5 December at which they stressed their resolve to
retain their posts by asking the Constitutional Court to "protect their
rights," Hina reported. This latest action was prompted by the Croatian
government's 4 December ruling that no decisions taken by the
opposition-dominated Zagreb city and county assemblies are valid because
these bodies no longer had a two-thirds quorum when Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) deputies filed out the municipal assembly on 1 December.
-- Stan Markotich

WINTER HAVOC IN ROMANIA. Heavy snow and storms have blocked Romania's
roads, railways, and airports, Romanian and international media reported
on 5-6 December. Nine people died in car accidents, while at least 10
froze to death. The harsh weather left some 600 towns and villages
without electricity and 38 without telephone lines. A total of 1,100 km
were closed on the national roads and 45 trains have been canceled.
Domestic flights were suspended at all regional airports, and some
international flights were diverted to Sofia. Homes in most cities have
only minimal heating, and primary schools in Bucharest will be closed
for the rest of the week. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVA, U.S. SIGN MEMORANDUM ON MILITARY COOPERATION. Moldova and the
U.S. have concluded a memorandum on military cooperation, RFE/RL's
correspondent in Washington and Infotag reported on 5 December. The
document was signed in Washington by Moldovan Defense Minister Pavel
Creanga and U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry. It envisages
information exchanges, visits by delegations, and training of Moldovan
military personnel in the U.S. Perry said the signing of the memorandum
reflects the U.S.'s policy of supporting the independence, sovereignty,
and territorial integrity of Moldova. -- Michael Shafir

CONTINUED TENSIONS OVER ETHNIC TURKISH MAYOR IN BULGARIA. The dispute
over the election of Rasim Musa as mayor of Kardzhali continues to spark
political controversy and fuel ethnic tension, Reuters reported on 5
December. Musa is a member of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and
Freedom (DPS) and was elected mayor by a margin of 658 votes. He has
been unable to take office because his election is contested by the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and because the provincial governor
refuses to accept his election or call a session of the municipal
council. (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 and 29 November 1995). DPS Chairman
Ahmet Dogan, speaking at a press conference on 5 December, said this
showed that some Bulgarian politicians "are prepared to play the
nationalist card." He also accused the BSP of exploiting the fears of
ordinary Bulgarians to achieve its political goals. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA TO INTRODUCE VISA APPLICATION FEE. The Bulgarian government on
5 December announced it will introduce a visa application fee of $20 in
addition to existing visa charges, Reuters reported the same day.
Nationals who do not need a visa, such as U.S. citizens, will also have
to pay a fee of $20. Foreign Ministry official Nikolay Kaludov said the
fee was introduced in an attempt to raise money for Bulgarian citizens
"who have been robbed or have lost their documents abroad" and also to
modernize equipment for passport and visa services. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN CHIEF EDITOR FINED $2,000. Aleanca chief editor Blendi Fevziu
has been fined $2,000, Koha Jone reported on 6 December. According to
Human Rights Watch, earlier reports that Fevziu's case had been dropped
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 December 1995) were wrong. Fevziu was
convicted of slander for publishing a list of alleged corrupt
politicians that included the name of the State Control Commission head
Blerim Cela. The list had previously been read out in the parliament. --
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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