|Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. - Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881|
No. 240, Part II, 12 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 TO RELEASE FRENCH PILOTS. Two downed French pilots are to be freed by their Bosnian Serb captors on 12 December, international media reported the same day. Reuters, citing "Serbian security sources," said the pilots were slated to cross the River Drina and into Serbia sometime between 10:00 and 10:30 CET on 12 December. Their freeing is expected to eliminate the last potential barrier to the 14 December signing of a peace treaty in Paris ending over three years of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It seems that officials in Serbia brought decisive pressure to bear on the Bosnian Serbs. Rump Yugoslav Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic on 11 December hinted to a visiting NATO delegation that the Bosnian Serbs would soon issue "positive" news about the pilots. -- Stan Markotich ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIANS ELECT SEVEN OF 45 VACANT PARLIAMENTARY SEATS. Ukrainian voters elected seven deputies in by-elections for the 45 vacant seats in the 450-member legislature, including Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, Ukrainian and international agencies reported on 11 December. Marchuk won nearly 84% of the vote in the rural Myrhorod district in Poltava Oblast. Also elected as representatives from Crimea were recently ousted Crimean Premier Anatolii Franchuk and his son, Ihor Franchuk. The success of all three new lawmakers is viewed as a vindication of government policies. Central Election Commission officials said runoffs will take place in two weeks in 11 districts where no candidate gained 50% of the votes. New elections are scheduled in 27 districts where low voter turnout invalidated the vote. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS. According to international agency reports on 11 December, 198 seats in the 260-member legislature have now been filled--more than enough for the new parliament to convene. There has been some confusion over how many deputies were elected from each party. Most reports maintain that independent candidates now have 96 or so seats and that the communists and agrarians have the most seats. The Mass Media Center in Minsk gave the following breakdown: Party of Communists of Belarus, 42 seats; Agrarian Party, 33; the Party of Popular Accord, 8; the United Civic Party, 7; the Social Democratic Hramada, 2; and the Party for All Belarusian Unity and Accord, 2. No candidates from the nationalist opposition Belarusian Popular Front were elected. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINE RECEIVES BLACK SEA FLEET SHIPS, BASES, BUT FEW OFFICERS. The Ukrainian Navy's press service on 10 December reported that Ukraine's Naval Commission began to receive garrisons and weapons of the ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet the previous day, Interfax reported. While it noted that "several officers" asked for permission to continue their service in the Ukrainian Navy, Russian sources told a different story. ITAR-TASS reported the same day that only three out of 200 officers and 19 out of 300 warrant officers wanted to stay with the Ukrainian fleet. It quoted a Ukrainian spokesman as saying that what happened has been a "real shock" for the Ukrainians and that there is "no one to serve on the ships and [naval] sites that have been turned over to us." -- Doug Clarke CRIME IN THE BALTIC STATES. Visvaldas Rackauskas, a senior official at the Lithuanian Interior Ministry, told a press conference on 11 December that the 55,500 crimes reported in Lithuania in the first eleven months of 1995 represented a 6.3% increase over the same period in 1994, BNS reported, This crime rate of 149.3 crimes per 10,000 population was lower than in Estonia (242.6) but higher than in Latvia (140.8). The number of serious crimes or felonies increased by 38.1%, but this was in part due to changes in the criminal code to what was considered a felony. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA SUBMITS APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, during his visit to Madrid on 11 December, submitted Lithuania's application to join the EU to Spanish State Secretary for European Affairs Carlos Westendorp, BNS reported. President Algirdas Brazauskas and Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius signed the application on 8 December at the urging of the Seimas. Gylys proposed that the EU begin negotiations on full membership with all associate members simultaneously, shortly after the EU intergovernmental conference early next year. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH PRESIDENT-ELECT ON NEW APPOINTMENTS. Aleksander Kwasniewski has nominated former Defense Deputy Minister Danuta Waniek, who is also leader of the Parliamentary Women's Group, as the head of his chancellory. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, after meeting with Kwasniewski on 11 December, said that they would like to staff the ministries of defense, foreign, and internal affairs with people from outside the ruling coalition, Polish dailies reported on 12 December. -- Jakub Karpinski POLAND TO START NEGOTIATIONS WITH EU IN 1998. Gazeta Wyborcza on 12 December reported that negotiations on Poland's EU membership will not start until 1998, six months after the Maastricht II conference. The Polish cabinet has begun talks with the EU about changes that must be made to become a member. Rzeczpospolita quotes Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy as saying that the Polish energy sector and agriculture will require a longer period to make necessary changes. But postponing the liberalization of the Polish fuel market will slow down foreign investment in this sector, representatives of international oil companies maintain. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS DELAY ON HUNGARIAN TREATY. By a vote of 62 to 18, the parliament on 11 December rejected a motion calling for the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty to be postponed. The proposal was made by Bartolomej Kunc of the Slovak National Party and was supported by deputies from all three coalition parties. Proposals were also rejected to include opposition deputies in OKO, the parliamentary organ supervising the Slovak Information Service (SIS), and to discuss SIS involvement in the abduction of President Michal Kovac's son. In connection with the conflict of interests law, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy and Slovak Radio director Jan Tuzinsky gave up his parliamentary seat and was replaced by Jozef Henker, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon Fisher EU OFFERS FUNDS TO SLOVAKIA. Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk and EU Ambassador to Slovakia Georgios Zavvos on 11 December signed agreements on EU financial assistance to Slovakia totaling at least 200 million ECU over the next five years, Slovak media reported. The 1995 allocation, totaling 42 million ECU, will be used for private sector development, infrastructure, support of EU integration, development of human resources, and the Tempus program. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY'S OPPOSITION IS AGAINST ENERGY PRIVATIZATION. The Smallholders' caucus has turned to the Constitutional Court to protest the privatization of the energy sector, which it calls a "crime against the nation". It says it is concerned that the foreign buyers will save money by modernizing the sector with 1950s technology and simply collect the guaranteed 8% profit from the state, Vilaggazdasag reported. Like the Smallholders, other groups fear that the privatization of these strategic industries will not serve the long-term interest of the Hungarian economy, since majority foreign ownership will have a negative effect on the country's trade balance and GDP growth. Meanwhile, some local governments in the northeastern part of the country, as well as the Pest County authorities, have complained about the privatization of the gas distribution company Tigaz, whose majority shares were sold to Italy's Italgas. They claim that nobody asked them whether they wanted to sell their holdings. -- Zsofia Szilagyi NO AGREEMENT IN HUNGARIAN-SLOVAK TALKS ON LANGUAGE LAW. Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, following talks in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Kovacs, told a press conference in Bratislava on 11 December that since his country's language law neither threatens nor affects human and minority rights, it cannot be an issue of bilateral dispute, Hungarian media reported. Schenk had asked the Hungarian government to moderate its critical attitude toward the language law, because, he said, it may adversely affect the ratification of the basic treaty. Kovacs stressed that the Hungarian government will appeal to international institutions and pressure the Slovaks to implement European norms in the pending law on minority languages. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERBS CARTING OFF FACTORIES FROM SARAJEVO TO SERBIA. The Pale authorities on 12 December are to hold a referendum on the Dayton agreement among the Serbs of Sarajevo under their control. U.S. and other officials have called the treaty a done deal and refuse to recognize the ballot. RFE/RL said on 11 December that some Bosnian Serbs have already begun fleeing the suburbs slated to pass to government rule. The broadcast added that the Pale authorities are allowing the people to leave for Serbia but strictly controlling how much of their property they can take along. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the next day wrote that the Bosnian Serb authorities have begun carrying off industrial units and other equipment to Serbia. The International Herald Tribune reported on a multiethnic demonstration in government-held parts of Sarajevo to urge the suburban Serbs to stay. -- Patrick Moore GOLDSTONE REFUSES TO GRANT KARADZIC A REPRIEVE. AFP on 11 December reported that Justice Richard Goldstone of the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia immediately turned down a Russian request to "suspend legal action" against the top indicted Bosnian Serb war criminals. The Russians apparently wanted a reprieve for Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to enable at least Karadzic to attend the Paris meeting on 14 December. The Pale authorities called over the weekend for Karadzic to represent them in Paris, but Karadzic's presence would be odd--to say the least--because the treaty to be signed there bans war criminals from public office. Meanwhile in Zadar, a Croatian military court sentenced 16 Krajina Serbs to prison terms for war crimes. The only accused who was actually present was given ten years. -- Patrick Moore ARE THE CROATS HIDING SOMETHING IN MRKONJIC GRAD? Bosnian Croat forces blocked the movement of five British armored personnel carriers in central Bosnia on 10 December, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported two days later. They had previously pledged to allow the British to pass. Croatian police also escorted journalists out of the city, which was taken by Croatian forces in the wake of Operation Storm but which goes back to the Serbs under the terms of the Dayton agreement. The UN and others have charged the Croats with conducting a "scorched earth" policy in the area. In this latest incident, reporters counted four burning houses before they were forced to leave. -- Patrick Moore CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON DAYTON ACCORD. Mate Granic told a joint session of the parliament on 11 December that with the signing of the Dayton agreement, the biggest achievement for Croatia was the affirmation of its territorial integrity, Novi List reported the next day. Granic explained that if Croatia had refused to sign, sanctions would have been imposed because of its military presence in Bosnia- Herzegovina. He also revealed that Croatian troops had been within two or three days of taking the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Banja Luka but had held back because of international concern over a new flood of refugees. In other news, Granic's first aide said that at the London conference, the Croatian delegation had forced a debate on eastern Slavonia, although the agenda did not include it. The delegates had insisted that no solution for Bosnia could be found without a settlement in eastern Slavonia, the BBC reported on 12 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic RUMP YUGOSLAVIA, BULGARIA TO RESUME TRADE RELATIONS. The Bulgarian daily Duma on 12 December reported that a visit to Belgrade by a Bulgarian trade delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev, will result in the restoration of "normal trade" between the two Balkan states. During his visit, Tsochev signed a protocol with Belgrade authorities on restoring trade and economic relations. Tsochev and his team met with Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Jovan Zebic. Zebic greeted his guests by thanking Bulgaria for its "objective approach" to relations with Belgrade during the wars throughout the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich KOSOVAR SHADOW STATE TO OPEN OFFICE IN WASHINGTON. The Kosovar shadow state government announced it will open an information office in Washington, Reuters reported on 11 December. The State Department welcomed the decision but said it would not constitute a diplomatic mission. The Kosovar shadow state so far has offices in Bonn, Brussels, Geneva, London, and Tirana. Meanwhile the UN human rights committee approved a resolution, to be voted on by the General Assembly next week, condemning human rights violations in Kosovo. -- Fabian Schmidt ROMANIAN COALITION MEMBER TO LEAVE ALLIANCE? Chairman of the Socialist Labor Party (PSM) Ilie Verdet has said that the protocol signed in January with the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) was "null and void" because it "never functioned." Radio Bucharest and Libertatea quote him as saying that the PSM "never participated in the government" since it only backed the PDSR politically. He added that the PSM might back a no-confidence motion in the government, regardless of what side of the political spectrum the motion comes from. Since the alliance between the PSDR and the Greater Romania Party (PRM) disintegrated, the PSM has said several times that its alliance with the main coalition partner has ceased to function. But Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the PSDR, said this did not stop the PSM from continuing to demand positions for its members in local government. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA, GERMANY TO COOPERATE IN COMBATING INTERNATIONAL CRIME. Romanian Minister of Interior Doru Ioan Taracila and his German counterpart, Manfred Kanther, have signed a cooperation agreement on combating organized international crime, Romanian media reported on 9 December. The document, initialized in Bonn during Taracila's visit to Germany, provides for cooperation between the two police forces in capturing Romanian criminals in Germany, who have been making the headlines in the German press over the last few weeks (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 December 1995). -- Matyas Szabo MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT TO RUN AGAIN. Mircea Snegur told an 8 December press conference marking the fourth anniversary of his election that he will run for another term if the Party of Revival and Conciliation of Moldova asks him to, BASA-press and Infotag reported. But he added that it was "premature" to announce his candidacy now. Snegur expressed dissatisfaction with economic cooperation within the CIS, adding that Moldova will never abide by CIS political-military agreements. On the pace of reform, Snegur said that the country was "lagging behind the opportunities offered by history." In an allusion to the government of Andrei Sangheli, he said that unlike those who opt for "discrediting opponents" instead of "giving an honest account of their performance," he had "nothing to hide." -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES TRANSDNIESTER'S LEGAL STATUS. The Moldovan parliament has discussed the draft on the legal status of the Transdniester region, Infotag and BASA-press reported on 8 December. The draft envisages guaranteeing divisions of political power between Chisinau and Tiraspol as well as preserving the ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions of the Transdniester population. Tiraspol, however, recently proposed that the Transdniester and Moldova build their relations as two independent states, each with its own constitution. It also envisages establishing collaboration "on a contractual basis" between the two states' armed forces, interior ministries, and banks and other financial establishments. -- Michael Shafir CHANGES IN BULGARIAN CABINET IMMINENT? Following a meeting of the Executive Bureau of the governing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the major Bulgarian dailies on 12 December are speculating about possible changes in the government lineup. According to those reports, Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov and Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev may be replaced after the next plenary meeting of the BSP Supreme Council, scheduled for January 1996. Standart reports that there is widespread dissatisfaction within the party with the way the judicial system in functioning. Kontinent and 24 chasa cite leading party officials as saying that both Chervenyakov and Nachev are not doing enough to fight growing crime. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIA SAYS MACEDONIA STIRS UP ANTI-BULGARIAN FEELINGS. Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Hristov on 8 December accused the Macedonian authorities of using the 3 October attempt on the life of Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov as a pretext to stir up anti- Bulgarian feelings in Macedonia. Reuters cited Hristov as saying that "impermissible forms of pressure" were being exerted on "people who consider themselves to be Bulgarian." He added that some people were detained for days without charges being brought against them. Macedonian police on 9 December continued their raids of Skopje suburbs in connection with the assassination attempt, Vecher reported on 11 December. -- Stefan Krause [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. 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For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 Greg Cole, Director Center for International Networking Initiatives The University of Tennessee System Phone: (423) 974-7277 2000 Lake Avenue FAX: (423) 974-8022 Knoxville, TN 37996 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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