Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 238, Part II, 8 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN SERBS TORCH, LOOT GORAZDE VILLAGES. Bosnian Serbs are torching
and looting houses in an area near Gorazde slated to pass to government
control, RFE/RL and Nasa Borba reported on 7-8 December. The BBC on 8
December reported that about 200 Bosnian Serbs from Ustikolina, outside
Gorazde, are moving to Foca rather than live under government control.
Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb forces on 7 December agreed to permit free
movement of traffic, after blocking UN-escorted civilian convoys to
Gorazde earlier this week, Reuters reported the next day. The move came
after the UNPROFOR commander had said he would consider the use of Rapid
Reaction Force artillery if they continued to block traffic. Access to
Gorazde is especially important since its 60,000 residents are
surrounded by Bosnian Serbs and are entirely dependent on outside aid
for survival. -- Daria Sito Sucic
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ANOTHER MISHAP SHUTS DOWN SECOND REACTOR AT UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR PLANT.
Another mishap at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has shutdown
Reactor No. 5 only days after a leak of radioactive steam prompted
management to close the station's first reactor, Interfax-Ukraine and
Reuters reported on 7 December. The automatic shutdown occurred after
the water level fell in three steam generators in the fifth reactor.
Managers said no radiation was leaked. The shutdown within one week of
two of the plant's six reactors, which provide 33% of the country's
nuclear energy, now threatens the power supply to consumers as energy
demand reaches peak winter levels. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

SAIEMA FAILS TO APPROVE NEW LATVIAN GOVERNMENT AGAIN. The Saeima on 7
December voted 50 to 45 with five abstentions to approve the government
proposed by National Conciliation Bloc prime minister candidate Ziedonis
Cevers, BNS reported. But this was one vote short of the 51 required for
approval. Cevers had expected to get 52 votes, but two members of the
Unity Party decided not to vote in his favor because they were opposed
to the system of political blocs in the Saeima. The Saeima in November
rejected the right of center National Bloc premier candidate Maris
Grinblats. It is unclear whom President Guntis Ulmanis will select as a
third candidate, but Bank of Latvia President Einars Repse has been
mentioned as a possible choice. -- Saulius Girnius

BALTIC STATES, EFTA SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS. Estonian Economics
Minister Andres Lipstok, Latvian State Minister for Foreign Trade and
European Affairs Olgerts Pavlovskis, and Lithuanian Minister of Industry
and Trade Kazimieras Klimasauskas--attending the European Free Trade
Association annual ministerial meeting in Zermatt, Switzerland, on 7
December--signed free trade agreements with EFTA, BNS reported.
Lithuania was given five years to abolish duties on a limited number of
industrial products. Trade in farming produce will be subject to
bilateral agreements between individual countries. The accords also
contain provisions relating to rules of competition, protection of
intellectual property, public procurement, state monopolies and state
aid, as well as updated rules of origin. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT URGES APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP. The Seimas on
7 December voted 77 to two with one abstention to adopt a declaration
calling on the president and premier to submit a formal application for
membership to the European Union, Radio Lithuania reported. The
declaration stressed that EU membership is "one of Lithuania's most
important domestic and foreign policy goals, the implementation of which
will encourage economic and social progress and enhance the country's
security." Presidential adviser on foreign policy Justas Paleckis said
the application is expected to be submitted before the EU summit meeting
in Madrid next week. The major parliament factions that day also agreed
on an amendment to Article 47 of the Constitution, which prohibits the
sale of land to foreigners and thus is an obstacle to Lithuania's
integration into the EU. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH JUDGES ON PROTESTS OVER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS. By 7
December, the five teams of judges examining the 593,000 complaints
lodged against the outcome of the presidential elections had completed
their work. Two teams concluded that while President-elect Aleksander
Kwasniewski lied about his university education, this did not influence
the outcome of the elections. Two other teams said that the complaints
were well founded and that Kwasniewski broke the law. The Supreme Court
will decide on 9 December whether infringement of the law could have
influenced the outcome of the presidential elections. In the second
round Kwasniewski beat Walesa by 646,243 votes (see OMRI Daily Digest,
21 November 1995). According to the Supreme Court, the election results
could have been influenced if the margin of Kwasniewski's victory was
half this figure. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLISH SOLDIERS TAKE PART IN EXERCISES IN GERMANY. Polish-German-Danish
maneuvers began in Bavaria on 8 December within the Partnership for
Peace framework, Rzeczpospolita reported. Some 100 Polish soldiers from
the Wroclaw Military College are taking part in the week-long exercises.
Beginning 11 December, French-German-Polish officers will take part in a
staff training program in Muhlheim, Germany. This is the first time that
a non-NATO member will participate in a training program at this level,
Polish dailies reported on 8 December. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LEADER ON SECRET SERVICE. Christian Democratic
Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky on 6 December held a meeting with
former Slovak Information Service (SIS) agent Oskar F., who was recently
pardoned by President Michal Kovac for his alleged participation in the
abduction of Kovac's son. Carnogursky told journalists the following day
that the meeting, which took place outside Slovakia, convinced him that
the SIS was directly involved in the kidnapping of Kovac Jr. In other
news, Carnogursky's wife on 6 December filed charges against Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar for statements made on Slovak Television on 5
September. Responding to her husband's inquiry about whether Meciar was
on the Slovak-Austrian border shortly after the abduction of Kovac Jr.,
Meciar said Carnogursky should ask his wife where he was that night.
Marta Carnogurska had demanded an apology, but Meciar did not respond,
Pravda reported on 8 December. -- Sharon Fisher

OSCE CHAIRMAN-IN-OFFICE ON OSCE TASKS. Hungarian Foreign Minister and
OSCE Chairman-in-Office Laszlo Kovacs, in a keynote speech to the two-
day conference of OSCE foreign ministers in Budapest, voiced concerns
about the situation of non-Serbs in several Serbian regions,
international and Hungarian media reported on 8 December. Kovacs
stressed that the OSCE should continue to look at the human rights
situation in Kosovo, the Sandzak, northeastern Montenegro and Vojvodina,
which are all multiethnic regions. He added that the OSCE hopes to
establish a long-term presence in Croatia, where it would assist central
and local authorities in building democracy, protecting human and
minority rights, and promoting the safe return of refugees. --  Zsofia
Szilagyi

"OILGATE" SCANDAL IN HUNGARY. As the privatization of the Hungarian Oil
company MOL continues, a scandal has erupted in Hungary that domestic
media have dubbed "Oilgate." The opposition has accused socialist
ministers and deputies of involvement in controversial oil deals with
Russia over the past few years. Minister of Industry and Trade Imre
Dunai and his predecessor Laszlo Pal are charged with helping private
companies with close ties to the Socialist Party to benefit from oil
deals related to Russia's repayment of its $900 million debt to Hungary.
Following the accusations earlier this week, Dunai removed Otto Hujber
of the Socialist Party from an inter-ministry commission on Russia's
debt and oil shipments. Hujber previously had been in a position to
decide which companies could take part in oil deals and was also
chairman of one of the companies involved. Prime Minister Gyula Horn has
ordered an investigation into the case. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PERRY SAYS U.S. IS NOT NEUTRAL OVER BOSNIA. Secretary of Defense William
Perry said "we believe that the Bosnian government and people have
suffered atrocities and killings, and we don't approach [implementing
the Dayton peace agreement] as psychologically neutral." He added that
the U.S. will nonetheless try to be "evenhanded," the International
Herald Tribune reported on 8 December. Monitor Radio the previous
evening said "thousands of Bosnian Serbs stomped on the American flag"
in a demonstration that Nasa Borba on 8 December called "well
organized." The BBC reported that U.S. diplomats are urging the Bosnian
government to send home the roughly 2,000 Islamic fighters from around
the Muslim world. The tough irregulars are seen likely to cause problems
for implementing the peace settlement. -- Patrick Moore

ARMING MUSLIMS IS CENTRAL TO U.S. STRATEGY IN BOSNIA. As the deployment
of NATO troops in the former Yugoslavia gathers pace, the arming of the
Bosnian government has become a central element in the Clinton
administration's strategy to gain U.S. congressional support for the
deployment of American troops to the region, Western agencies reported.
Addressing the U.S. Senate on 6 December, Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke said the U.S. has assured the Bosnian government in
Dayton that the US "will lead an international effort to ensure that the
Bosnians have what they need to defend themselves adequately when IFOR
[the NATO implementation force] leaves." He added that the U.S. will not
train troops but will rely on "third parties" such as the private
company MPRI, composed of retired U.S. officers, who helped train
Croatian forces. -- Michael Mihalka

SERBIA REJECTS FRENCH WARNING OVER PILOTS. The rump Yugoslav Foreign
Ministry rebuffed the French demand that President Slobodan Milosevic
ensure the quick return of the two downed aviators. The Serbian
statement rejected "all tendentious interpretations of the incident."
The International Herald Tribune on 8 December also reported that the UN
has protested the eviction of 60 Muslim families by the Serbs in
northern Bosnia. Hina the previous day said that a joint commission for
missing persons has been set up by Belgrade and Zagreb and has already
begun work. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER BACKS PEACE ACCORD. Vuk Draskovic, leader of
the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), has become the first head of a major
Serbian opposition party to back the Dayton peace plan for Bosnia. Nasa
Borba on 8 December published an article by Draskovic in which he
explained his position by saying "I do not want to be associated with
the charges that in Dayton [Serbian President Slobodan] Milosevic sold
out the Serbs on that side of the Drina and shamed the ones on this side
of the Drina." He went on to write that the current peace "is neither
righteous nor base. It is woven from blood and tears, from illusions and
deceit . . . , from ideological and mafia-backed patriotism . . . and
from wounds that will not be able to heal for a long time to come. . . .
But this peace is the one outlet, the only hope and chance, that our
future generations will not be born into a life [world] that resembles
ours." -- Stan Markotich

RUGOVA ASKS U.S. FOR MEDIATION IN KOSOVO CONFLICT. Kosovar shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova has asked U.S. secretary of State Warren
Christopher to mediate in the Kosovo conflict. After meeting with
Christopher in Washington on 7 December, Rugova said he had received a
pledge of support. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns pointed out
that the U.S. has pressed Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to
respect the rights of the Albanian majority and that "we have a general
assurance from the Serbs that the rights of the Albanian community will
be respected," Reuters reported on 7 December. -- Fabian Schmidt

"OIL MEN ARE FASTER THAN STATES." This is how Slobodna Dalmacija on 7
December described a secretive meeting two days earlier between
representatives of the Croatian oil company INA and its Serbian
counterpart, Jugopetrol. The daily said that the two oil giants are
anxious to start doing business again even before relations between
Zagreb and Belgrade have been formally normalized. In particular, the
firms want to see the Adriatic oil pipeline reopened "as soon as
possible." This quick readiness to do business suggests that the war has
been not the inevitable result of "ancient hatreds" but rather about
land, money, and power. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIA TO COOPERATE WITH HAGUE-BASED TRIBUNAL. Croatian Minister of
Foreign Affairs Mate Granic has said that Croatia wants to cooperate
with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and
will act in accordance with its requests regarding Dario Kordic, who has
been charged with war crimes. He added, however, that Croatia will also
try to defend him, RFE/RL and BETA reported on 7 December. According to
Granic, Kordic has shown his understanding of the seriousness of the
charges by resigning as head of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Granic added that he is negotiating with Justice
Richard Goldstone on the possibility of Kordic's remaining in Croatia
while defending himself. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVAK PREMIER IN SLOVENIA. Vladimir Meciar, during a two-day visit to
Slovenia, concluded with his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Drnovsek, an
air traffic agreement, Slovak and Slovenian media reported. Meciar
observed that relations between Slovakia and Slovenia are "very close"
and will certainly improve, especially in the economic realm, once
Slovenia becomes a full member of the Central European Free Trade
Agreement (CEFTA) on 1 January. Meciar also met with Slovenian President
Milan Kucan and opened a Slovak embassy in Ljubljana. -- Stan Markotich
and Sharon Fisher

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS . . . Presidential
spokesman Traian Chebeleu told a press conference in Bucharest that
"anti-reconciliation attitudes" are being constantly expressed both in
Hungary and among leaders of the Hungarian minority in Romania, Romanian
media reported on 7-8 December. Chebeleu said "extremist voices are
emerging, as if coordinated, to undermine" President Ion Iliescu's
proposal for a historic reconciliation with Hungary. As an example, he
quoted Bela Pomogats, chairman of the Writers' Union of Hungary, as
saying "the initiative is wrong and inopportune" and makes only empty
promises. The Hungarian minority's claim to have Church properties
restituted is viewed by Iliescu as "an aberration," he noted. -- Matyas
Szabo

. . . AND ON REVIVAL OF IRON GUARD. Chebeleu also said that President
Iliescu was "concerned" about growing signs that a revival of the
fascist legionary movement was under way. He pointed to legionary
instruction camps, marches, the dissemination of overtly pro-legionary
literature and articles, and veiled pro-legionary television programs.
Chebeleu said the president was "astonished" by the attempt to "justify
legionary assassinations." The latter reference was apparently directed
at opposition senator Sabin Ivan who criticized Iliescu's address
commemorating the assassination of historian Nicolae Iorga by members of
the legionary movement in 1940. Sabin had said the "crimes" committed
against the movement by its adversaries should also be revealed. --
Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH POPE. Zhelyu Zhelev was received by Pope
John Paul II in a private audience on 7 December, 24 chasa reported. The
Pope said he will travel to Bulgaria, adding that his visit should
silence all allegations about a Bulgarian involvement in the attempt on
his life in May 1981, Zhelev's spokesman Valentin Stoyanov said. With
regard to the so-called "Bulgarian trail," the Pope noted that "guilt is
always personal." Ali Agca, who tried to kill the Pope in 1981, said in
September that Bulgaria was not involved in the attempt. After meeting
with the Pope, Zhelev left Italy for an official visit to Albania (see
below). -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA WILL PROVIDE AID, BUT NO TROOPS TO EX-YUGOSLAVIA. Bulgarian
Deputy Foreign Minister Stefan Staykov on 7 December said his country
will provide medical and technical aid to the peacekeeping forces in the
former Yugoslavia but has no plans to send military personnel, Reuters
reported. Staykov also announced that Bulgaria and rump Yugoslavia next
week will sign agreements on economic cooperation and air traffic
control. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LIBERAL ABORTION LAW. The Albanian parliament
has passed legislation allowing abortion as a "family planning method,"
international agencies reported on 8 December. Abortion was considered a
crime under communism. But with the current lack of contraceptives in
the country, lawmakers appear to have adopted a more liberal stance.
Some 30,000 abortions are estimated to take place every year. Often
illegal abortions end fatally because of poor medical equipment and
knowledge. -- Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN ALBANIA. During his visit to Tirana on 7-8
December, Zhelyu Zhelev discussed with his Albanian counterpart, Sali
Berisha, plans to build a highway, railway, and telecommunications
corridor between Durres, Skopje, Sofia, and Istanbul. According to
Zhelev, Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro has said Italy will
financially back the project. Both presidents called for regional
cooperation in the Balkans following the end of the Bosnian war and for
talks between Serbs and Kosovar Albanians, international agencies
reported on 7 December. -- 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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