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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 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 email@example.com 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. 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