I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. - Rev. Martin Luther King 1929-1968

No. 242, Part II, 14 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
LEADERS SIGN DAYTON AGREEMENT. The presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and
Serbia arrived in Paris to put their signatures to the complex treaty
negotiated by American diplomats last month. Also present were the
presidents of France and the U.S., as well as the heads of government of
Germany, the U.K., Russia, and Spain. In total, some 50 countries and
international organizations were represented at the 14 December
ceremony. Earlier that morning, the foreign ministers of Bosnia, Croatia
and rump Yugoslavia signed the annexes, which contain the real substance
of the Dayton agreement. Kresimir Zubak signed for the Croat-Muslim
federation and Nikola Koljevic for the Bosnian Serbs. -- Patrick Moore


KOZHYN ON FOREIGN TROOPS IN UKRAINE. Vice Admiral Borys Kozhyn, a deputy
in Ukraine's parliament and former commander of Ukraine's navy, has said
it is time for Ukraine to decide on the status of foreign troops on its
territory and encode this in law, Ukrainian radio reported on 13
December. According to Kozhyn, the law should confirm how long foreign
troops can serve on Ukrainian soil. He added that the time period should
not exceed four years. In addition, he said, foreign troops should abide
by Ukrainian law and the country deploying them in Ukraine should pay a
fee of around 300 ECU per year for each soldier. Rent for land being
used by the troops should be paid for at world prices, and any
ecological or other damage caused by the troops should be fully covered
by their country. The statement was made in reference to Russian Black
Sea Fleet forces in Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA TO PRIVATIZE AIRLINE. The Estonian Privatization Agency on 13
December announced that it will accept bids for the state-owned Estonian
Air until 25 January 1996, BNS reported. The state intends to retain a
34% share in the airline. The agency's general-director said that
management was interested in a strategic partnership with a reputable
air company that could provide know-how and additional investments. The
airline currently has more than 400 employees and expects a turnover
this year of almost 310 million kroons ($27 million), with an
anticipated loss of 14.6 million kroons. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PRESIDENT IN GERMANY. Guntis Ulmanis met with his German
counterpart, Roman Herzog, in Berlin on 11 December, BNS reported.
Herzog said that Germany supports Latvia's admission to the EU but was
more restrained with regard to NATO membership, noting that relations
between the Baltic states and Russia were "a highly important component
of European stability." Ulmanis the next day held talks in Bonn with
Economics Minister Gunter Rexrodt and Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Ulmanis
noted that while Kohl did not give any concrete date for Latvia's
possible admission to the EU, he said that the first decisions on EU
enlargement would be probably made around the year 2000. -- Saulius

convicted Alfons Noviks of genocide and sentenced him to life
imprisonment, Western agencies reported. The 87-year-old Noviks was
charged with being one of the chief organizers of mass deportations,
persecutions, and murders of thousands of Latvians from 1941 to 1949.
During the 18-month trial, Noviks admitted that he had ordered
deportations, but argued that he was not guilty of any crimes because he
was fulfilling only Soviet laws. He has ten days to appeal the sentence.
-- Saulius Girnius

head of the German bishops conference Karl Lehman on 13 December signed
a joint statement by Polish and German bishops -- some 30 years after
the Polish Roman Catholic bishops sent a letter to their German
counterparts. The bishops supported European unity, saying it should be
based on dignity, respect for life, freedom, solidarity, and justice.
They noted that "the wrong done to many Germans by Poles was a result of
expulsions and a lost homeland." The bishops wrote "we forgive and we
ask for forgiveness," repeating the 1965 formulation for which the
Polish bishops were severely criticized by the communist authorities,
Polish dailies reported on 14 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

Czech government on 14 December approved a draft law giving people
almost complete access to files held on them by the communist StB secret
police. Under previous proposals, the real names of StB agents involved
in surveillance and the names of informants would be withheld. Around
60,000 people could inspect their files if the draft becomes law;
another 60,000 files no longer exist, Mlada fronta Dnes noted. It added
that the most recent opinion poll showed that less than one-third of
respondents were interested in opening up the StB archives. Even if the
government draft becomes law quickly, people will be unable to inspect
their StB files until late next year at the earliest, seven years after
the end of communist rule. -- Steve Kettle

sentenced a 21-year-old Czech to 12 years in prison for killing a Romani
man earlier this year, international and Czech sources reported. Three
other men were sentenced to 18 months. Mlada fronta Dnes called the
verdict "absurd," saying it is not a statement against racism because
the court did not find the murder to be racially motivated. CTK reported
that the skinheads had had no prior acquaintance with the Romani family
before breaking into their house and had been overheard in a restaurant
announcing that they were off to "go at some Gypsies." The prosecutor is
appealing. The trial has been the focus of intense debate about racism
in the Czech Republic for several weeks. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES 1996 BUDGET. The parliament on 13 December
passed the state budget for 1996 by a vote of 81 to 47, Slovak media
reported. The budget plans for revenues of 162.4 billion koruny ($5.6
billion) and expenditures of 189.4 billion koruny, GDP growth of 5-6%,
and inflation of 6-7%. In an interview with Sme, Democratic Party
Chairman Jan Langos criticized the government's "arrogance" for failing
to meet the real needs of citizens, particularly in the areas of health
and education. He also called attention to the 30 billion koruny of
reserves, which can be used by the government as "political gifts." The
budget of the Presidential Office was cut by 25% from the 1995 level as
a result of the ongoing feud between the president and prime minister,
while the budgets of the government office and the Slovak Information
Service were increased by 176% and 47%, respectively. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY DEBATES NATO REFERENDUM. The parliament's Constitutional
Committee on 13 December ruled that the parliament is not obliged to
approve a referendum on Hungary's NATO membership called for by more
than 100,000 signatories, Hungarian media reported. The
extraparliamentary communist Party of the Workers organized the
signature drive, which, according to the constitution, should oblige the
parliament to approve a referendum on the matter. The coalition parties
have not supported the idea, saying it is too early for such a
referendum. The committee said that it will regard the petition drive as
an initiative expressing an opinion and that the parliament will decide
on whether to approve a referendum. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

issuance of shares in MOL, the Hungarian Gas and Oil Company, on the
Budapest Stock Exchange closed on 13 December with an oversubscription
of 45 million forints ($0.3 million) for the 3.2 billion forint package,
Hungarian newspapers reported. Domestic private investors accounted for
more than 1.7 billion forints, while foreign private investors invested
1.5 billion forints. In other news, Vilaggazdasag reported on 14
December that, despite a week of intensive negotiations, no agreement
has been reached on the sale of a majority stake in the
telecommunications company Matav to its minority owner MagyarCom, a
consortium of Deutsche Telekom and Ameritech. The report contradicts a
Financial Times report on 13 December according to which the State
Privatization and Holding Company struck a deal with MagyarCom on
increasing the consortium's stake from 30.3% to 60-70%. -- Zsofia


on 14 December noted that France was anxious to put on a good show to
offset the fact that the settlement is primarily an American
achievement. The International Herald Tribune added that the Gaullist
government wanted to add a diplomatic coup of its own by obtaining
mutual diplomatic recognition by Belgrade and Zagreb and by Belgrade and
Sarajevo. The BBC reported that Croatia in particular, however, did not
want to take any action that could be viewed as endorsing rump
Yugoslavia's claim to be the single legal successor to the former
Yugoslav federation. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, international media noted
that the mood on 14 December was optimistic and that shots were fired in
celebration. * Patrick Moore

DID FRENCH DO A DEAL TO FREE PILOTS? There has been much speculation in
recent weeks that French expressions of concern for Sarajevo's Serbs
were linked to the issue of the two captured pilots. The Daily Telegraph
wrote on 13 December that, in the wake of failed attempts to free the
officers, "as the Bosnian peace talks wound up, Belgrade reminded France
of its historical friendship with Serbs and asked for 'a gesture.' Mr.
[Jacques] Chirac responded by expressing concern that the peace pact did
not protect the Sarajevo Serbs. In return, France expected its pilots'
release. When this did not follow, Mr. Chirac asked Mr. [Slobodan]
Milosevic for their return [by 11 December]." Gen. Jean-Philippe Douin
then "flew to Belgrade to handle the negotiations [and] ended by
drinking plum brandy with Gen. Ratko Mladic." -- Patrick Moore

PARIS DENIES STORY. International media on 13 December said that the
French defense and foreign ministers denied having made any concessions
to obtain the two men's release. Nasa Borba on 14 December reported that
Mladic wanted to keep the pilots in order to plea bargain with the Hague
war crimes tribunal and gave them up only when Milosevic threatened to
arrest him if he did not. -- Patrick Moore

the UN over who should police eastern Slavonia, Western agencies
reported. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali on 12 December
recommended that 9,300 troops be sent to the region under the auspices
of a multinational force to be attached to the UN NATO-led
Implementation Force (IFOR), Hina reported. This proposal contradicts an
earlier understanding with the Americans that the east Slavonian force
remain a UN operation, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright
convinced Boutros-Ghali to downgrade the "recommendation" to a
"preference." After the original report was publicly released, Albright
called it "misguided and counterproductive" for the secretary-general to
try to avoid this operation "because of the risk of exacerbating a
negative image of UN activities in the former Yugoslavia." Currently,
1,600 Belgian and Russian peacekeepers serve in eastern Slavonia. --
Michael Mihalka

with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel the president of the Kosovar
shadow-state Ibrahim Rugova said that Kosovo will be on the
international agenda once the Dayton peace agreement has been signed. He
said he had been assured of support by Kinkel and previously by the U.S.
government, Nasa Borba reported on 14 December. Kinkel, however, is
quoted as saying that Bonn does not support Kosovo's breaking away from
rump Yugoslavia. Nasa Borba added that Serbian Socialist Party deputy
leader Goran Percevic met with the German parliamentary Foreign Affairs
Committee and that the Kosovo conflict was discussed at the meeting. --
Fabian Schmidt

SERBIAN PARTY BACKS NATO. Nasa Borba on 13 December reported that New
Democracy supports rump Yugoslavia's membership in NATO's Partnership
for Peace program as a means of integrating the rump Yugoslavia into
Western institutions. Since it was founded in 1990, it has been the only
party in the rump Yugoslavia to have a consistent and "clear pro-
European orientation." ND provides critical backing for the governing
Socialist Party of Serbia in the Serbian republic's legislature, giving
the SPS a de facto majority. A recent spate of remarks by ND member
Dusan Mihajlovic stressing the party's support for PfP may be designed
to support Milosevic's desire to reintegrate the rump Yugoslavia into
the community of nations. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN AIRLINER CRASHES IN ITALY. A Romanian airliner crashed on 13
December near Verona, killing all 41 passengers and eight crew members
on board, Romanian and international media reported. The Russian-built
Antonov 24 plane caught fire shortly after it crashed about one km
beyond the end of the runway at Villafranca airport. -- Matyas Szabo

Ministry of Foreign Affairs told a press conference on 13 December that
Romania and Ukraine are not discussing any territorial problems at
present, nor is such a discussion on the agenda. Gabriel Gafita said the
issue of "historical rights" can be approached in contexts other than
that of the bilateral treaty between the two countries. He said the
"discussion on Serpent Island has triggered some emotional reactions"
and that Romania hoped these "would soon be overcome" now that the two
countries' foreign ministers have agreed to work jointly to prepare a
summit meeting between their premiers. -- Michael Shafir

Petrencu, leader of the Moldovan students' strike committee that
organized street demonstrations earlier this year, told BASA-press on 12
December that the committee contests a recent ruling of the Supreme
Court that the protests were illegal. The court outlawed the protests
because they were held during working hours and blocked traffic on the
main Chisinau streets and because some demonstrators were underage. A
judge at the trial, Petre Raileanu, told BASA-press that the ruling was
final and could not be appealed. -- Michael Shafir

major trade unions on 13 December walked out of a meeting of the Council
for Trilateral Cooperation, which consists of representatives of the
government, employers, and trade unions, Demokratsiya reported the
following day. Both Podkrepa and the Confederation of Independent Trade
Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) disagreed with those parts of the state budget
draft for 1996 dealing incomes policy, saying they do not see any chance
to reach an agreement with the government on this question. The
government wants to deduct 2% social insurance contribution from
workers' wages; in the past, employers made all such contributions. The
trade unions object to those plans, arguing they will lead to a fall in
real incomes. -- Stefan Krause

Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano was released from jail for 24 hours on
13 December to attend the funeral of his mother, Reuters reported the
same day. More than 2,500 people were present at the burial of Marije
Nano, with the funeral reportedly turning into a show of support for her
son. President Sali Berisha ordered Nano's release after a court had
rejected his request. Nano was sentenced for misappropriating Italian
aid funds and has three-and-a-half years left to serve, but his guilt is
disputed and the Socialists say he is a political prisoner. Amnesty
International and international parliamentary bodies have called for
Nano's release. -- Fabian Schmidt

Parliament on 13 December approved the customs union accord between the
EU and Turkey, international media reported. Some 343 deputies voted in
favor of the agreement, 149 against, and 36 abstained. The agreement,
which calls for the removal of tariffs on industrial products and other
impediments to trade between the EU and Turkey, was signed last March
following 20 years of negotiations. It becomes effective on 1 January
1996. The European Parliament initially appeared determined to reject or
delay the deal on the grounds that Turkey's human rights record and
progress toward democratization was insufficient. Its turnaround stems
from the widespread belief that Turkey's pro-Western orientation needs
to be shored up. The deal is accompanied by an aid package worth $1
billion to help protect Turkish producers. -- Lowell Bezanis and Stefan

REACTIONS TO CUSTOMS UNION VOTE. Greece expressed its reservations after
the European Parliament's vote. Government spokesman Tilemachos Hytiris
said Turkey will have to prove that it conforms to EU standards, and he
called on the government in Ankara to improve its human rights record.
None of the 24 Greek deputies in the European Parliament voted in favor
of the agreement. The Cypriot government called on Turkey to withdraw
its troops from northern Cyprus. Also on 13 December, some 1,000
Armenians, Cypriots, and Kurds demonstrated outside the EU offices in
Athens to protest the customs union, chanting "Turkey's hands are washed
in blood." -- Stefan Krause

[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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