A tablecloth restaurant is still one of the great rewards of civilization. - Harry Golden
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 245, Part II, 19 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BALKANS ARMS CONTROL PROCESS BEGINS. A one-day international conference
on arms control in the former Yugoslavia took place in Bonn on 18
December, with both Croatia and Serbia threatening to pull out of the
process, Western agencies reported. The Bonn talks met the Dayton peace
accord requirement that signatories begin negotiations on arms control
within seven days of signing the treaty. Croatian Foreign Minister Mate
Granic warned that Croatia will withdraw from the process unless Serbia
recognizes Croatian sovereignty over eastern Slavonia. Serbian Foreign
Minister Milan Milutinovic made a similar threat unless the former
Yugoslavia was readmitted to the OSCE, which is to oversee the arms
control negotiations, Tanjug reported. Many delegates at the conference
expressed skepticism that the parties will take the arms control process
seriously. -- Michael Mihalka
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S ADVISERS RESIGN. UNIAN on 18 December reported
that three of Leonid Kuchma's top advisers have resigned as a result of
infighting within the president's administration. Presidential chief
adviser Oleksandr Razumkov, macro-economic adviser Anatolii Halchinsky,
and domestic policy adviser Dmytro Vydrin said their resignations were
in protest against the influence of certain staff members. Two days
earlier, Ukrainian Radio broadcast a statement by the parliament's press
service criticizing the head of Kuchma's administration, Dmytro
Tabachnyk, who has recently given interviews expounding his views on the
constitutional process and relations between the legislature and
executive. The statement said Tabachnyk did not have the experience,
expertise, or authority to make "tactless definitions on the course of
debates in the parliament." Tabachnyk is considered one of Kuchma's
closest advisors and has often been criticized for wielding undue
influence over the president. -- Ustina Markus

IMF CRITICAL OF BELARUSIAN REFORMS. Belapan on 15 December reported that
IMF head Michel Camdessus has sent a letter to Belarusian Prime Minister
Mikhail Chyhir expressing dissatisfaction with the country's economic
reforms. The letter referred to exchange rate problems, government
intervention in propping up the Belarusian ruble, the National Bank of
Belarus's lack of authority over exchange rate and credit policy, the
discrepancy between budget revenues predicted for 1996 and reality in
the republic, the lack of progress in privatization and reforming
enterprises; and the failure of the government to make foreign payments.
The letter said the government was not following the IMF-approved
program on economic policy and that this could threaten the release of a
second tranche of a standby loan. Deputy Prime Minister Leanid Sinitsyn
said the letter was merely a statement of temporary problems between
Belarus and the IMF and that Belarus intends to continue the reforms it
had agreed on with the IMF. -- Ustina Markus

SWEDISH TOBACCO FIRM TO STOP INVESTING IN ESTONIA. Svenska Tobaks, the
owner of two-thirds of the Estonian tobacco manufacturer Eesti Tubakas,
has decided to stop further investment in Estonia and is considering
continuing production in some other country, BNS reported on 18
December. Eesti Tubakas currently has about 70% of the Estonian tobacco
market. As of 1996, the excise tax on locally produced cigarettes will
be the same as on imported cigarettes, forcing a steep rise in prices.
The price hike is expected to result in lower consumption and increased
smuggling of cigarettes. Svenska Tobaks may then decide to end cigarette
manufacturing in Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN UNITY PARTY TO JOIN NEW GOVERNMENT. Prime minister-designate
Andris Skele announced on 18 December that the Latvian Unity Party has
decided to join the government he is forming, BNS reported. Skele said
its leader, Alberts Kauls, would be given the post of agriculture
minister. The Saeima is scheduled to vote on the new government on 21
December. Chairman of the Popular Movement for Latvia Joachim Siegerist
announced he will be "in an unmasking and fierce opposition" to the
Skele government, which, however, is expected to be approved because it
has the support of the right-of-center National Bloc and the left-of-
center Democratic Party Saimnieks. -- Saulius Girnius

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER IN POLAND. Yevhen Marchuk, heading a senior
economic delegation, visited Poland on 17 December and met, among
others, with his Polish counterpart, Jozef Oleksy. Polish and Ukrainian
ministers of industry, transport, communications, farming, and finance
signed agreements determining timetables for various projects. The
communications ministers agreed to extend the existing telecommunication
highway between Lviv and Rzeszow to Kiev and Krakow. The Polish side
expressed interest in buying shares in privatized Ukrainian iron mines
and steelworks, Polish dailies reported on 19 December. -- Jakub
Karpinski

TWO PROSECUTORS FIRED IN POLAND. A spokesman for the Polish Justice
Ministry on 18 December confirmed that Justice Minister and Prosecutor-
General Jerzy Jaskiernia has fired two prosecutors involved in
investigations into the finances and education history of President-
elect Aleksander Kwasniewski. The spokesman denied the dismissals had
political motives. Warsaw chief prosecutor Jerzy Labuda resigned in
protest, Polish dailies reported on 19 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

KLAUS LOSES DISPUTE OVER ELECTION DATES. President Vaclav Havel, trying
to cut short a lingering dispute within the governing coalition, on 18
December formally proposed that the Czech Republic's parliamentary
elections be held on 31 May and 1 June next year, while the first
elections to the Senate should take place on 15 and 16 November 1996.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS) last week
confirmed that it wanted the elections to be held simultaneously, while
two of its coalition partners --the Civic Democratic Alliance and
Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party--insisted on them
being separated. After meeting with Havel, Klaus reluctantly accepted
the president's proposal and said the ODS would support it to prevent a
constitutional crisis, Czech media reported. Under the constitution, the
president calls elections but the dates must be confirmed by the prime
minister. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK CEREMONIES MARK RETURN OF BOJNICE ALTARPIECE. Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar and other Slovak officials on 18 December attended
lavish ceremonies at Bojnice Castle marking the return of its altarpiece
from the Czech Republic. Bishop Dominik Hrusovsky consecrated the
altarpiece and held a mass in the castle's chapel, which was broadcast
on Slovak TV. After 62 years, the 14th century Florentine altarpiece was
returned to Slovakia on 15 December, following an agreement between
Czech Culture Minister Pavel Tigrid and Slovak Ambassador to the Czech
Republic Ivan Mjartan whereby the altar was exchanged for 10 Gothic wood
paintings of Slovak origin. The altar had been a subject of Czech-Slovak
dispute since the split of Czechoslovakia. Meciar called its return a
Christmas present to the Slovak nation. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK TRADE UNIONS REFUSE TO SIGN GENERAL AGREEMENT. The assembly of
the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ) on 18 December discussed the
1996 General Agreement between the government, unions, and employers,
Slovak media reported. KOZ officials said they will not sign the
agreement until promises included in the 1995 agreement are fulfilled
and demands made by the unions in the 23 September protest rally are
met. KOZ President Alojz Englis announced his union was recently
accepted into the European Trade Union Confederation. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS NATO REFERENDUM INITIATIVE. The
parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee has rejected a Workers' Party
initiative to call a referendum on Hungary's accession to NATO,
Hungarian media reported on 19 December (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14
December 1995). Committee Chairman Matyas Eorsi explained that deputies
believe it makes no sense to stage a referendum until Hungary's terms of
admission have been clarified. Meanwhile, the Socialist Party caucus
said it does not back a referendum on accession since the country is not
in a position to make a decision on the matter. However, it said that if
Hungary receives a request for admission, and negotiations on accession
conclude successfully, then the country should decide on NATO membership
by means of a referendum. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

NO FOUL PLAY IN HUNGARY'S OILGATE AFFAIR. A governmental commission has
concluded that no illegal acts were committed in the recent "oilgate"
affair (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 December 1995), Hungarian media
reported on 19 December. But the commission called for clearing up
issues related to the settlement of the Hungarian-Russian debt, which
the cabinet is to debate this week. All parliamentary caucuses have
endorsed setting up a parliamentary commission to investigate the
affair, in which it is alleged that there were links between oil dealers
and Socialist Party figures in Russian oil shipments in partial payment
of Russia's debt to Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

A FEDERAL MODEL FOR SARAJEVO? Boza Kljajic of the Serbian Civic Council
has suggested that Sarajevo be set up as s special federal district on
the model of Brussels, Mexico City, or Washington. The Council
represents the anti-nationalist Serbs who have spent the entire war in
the part of Sarajevo controlled by the Bosnian government. Nasa Borba on
19 December quoted him as saying that the city should remain a united
and undivided one in which all citizens and peoples would enjoy total
equality. Reuters said the previous day, however, that the Serbian
nationalist leadership in Pale has other ideas. It met with Belgrade
architects to plan a new city consisting of Serbian refugees from
Sarajevo who refuse to live under government rule. Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic said that rump Yugoslavia will foot the bill. --
Patrick Moore

SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINAL ARRESTED. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on
19 December reported that an unnamed man was arrested in Dusseldorf on
the suspicion of having assisted in genocide. The 48-year-old Serb was
supposedly the leader of a chetnik gang that committed atrocities in
Bosnia in the spring and summer of 1992. The paper added that a sniper
in Sarajevo fired on a tram and wounded a woman. -- Patrick Moore

WORLD BANK REQUESTS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR BOSNIA. The World Bank is
asking Western countries to finance a $100 million assistance initiative
for Bosnia, Hina reported on 16 December. The money would go for
establishing state institutions, financing small and medium-sized
enterprises, and funding social welfare. The bank estimates that
reconstructing Bosnia will cost $5.1 billion. -- Michael Wyzan

BELGRADE BLAMES BOSNIAN MUSLIMS FOR SREBRENICA MASSACRE. Reuters on 18
December reported that official Belgrade has defended the Bosnian Serbs
against charges of massacring Bosnian Muslims and forcing some 5,500
people to go "missing" when Bosnian Serbs overran the Muslim enclave of
Srebrenica in July. In a letter to the UN Security Council, Belgrade's
representative to the UN and former Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic
charges that the Bosnian Muslims were themselves responsible for the
atrocities. He asserted that as the Bosnian Serbs approached Srebrenica,
"those [Bosnian Muslim] units which wanted to continue fighting were
mercilessly killing those who wanted to surrender and were in favour of
a ceasefire." Reuters suggests Jovanovic's remarks may be an effort to
"head off" an expected UN resolution condemning the Bosnian Serbs for
the atrocities. -- Stan Markotich

TETOVO UNIVERSITY CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY. The illegal Albanian-
language university in Tetovo celebrated its first anniversary on 16
December, MIC reported two days later. At a ceremony attended by Culture
Minister Eshtref Aliu and ethnic Albanian legislators, university dean
Fadil Sulejmani called 17 December, the day the university was founded,
a "day of Albanian liberation in Macedonia." Police earlier this year
destroyed parts of the self-proclaimed university's premises and
prevented students from entering the building. Nonetheless, according to
Sulejmani, the university has underground faculties of math, natural
sciences, law, economy, philology, philosophy, and the arts. The
university claims to have 1,300 students and 150 professors. -- Fabian
Schmidt

ROMANIAN REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY SPARKS CONTROVERSY. Valentin
Gabrielescu, head of the Romanian Senate's Commission of Inquiry into
the Events of December 1989, has accused President Ion Iliescu of being
responsible for the bloodshed that followed the fall and execution of
communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian and international media
reported on 18 December. Iliescu was also accused of having used the
revolt to stage a coup and of ordering Ceausescu's killing to prevent
him from revealing what he knew about the country's new leaders. Some
participants in the December 1989 events have decided to stage a
posthumous retrial of Ceausescu because, they maintain, none of the
charges against him holds water. President Iliescu told Mediafax that he
may sue Gabrielescu. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIA TO TIGHTEN CONTROL ON CIVIL AVIATION. Romanian Transport
Minister Aurel Novac, speaking on Radio Bucharest on 18 December,
announced plans to tighten control on the country's civil aviation
following two fatal crashes involving Romanian airliners this year.
Novac said that aviation officials would conduct stricter controls to
determine pilot errors or technical deficiencies. He expressed the hope
that the new measures "will prevent accidents in the future." An
Antonov-24 charter plane belonging to the Banat Air company crashed near
Verona, in Italy, last week, killing all 49 people aboard. -- Dan
Ionescu

MOLDOVAN REACTIONS TO RUSSIAN ELECTIONS. The outcome of the Russian
parliamentary elections will not influence Moldovan foreign policy, an
adviser to President Mircea Snegur told Infotag on 18 December. He
described Russian Communist Party Chairman Gennadii Zyuganov's statement
that the restoration of the USSR was inevitable as "irresponsible" and
out of touch with reality. Another presidential adviser was quoted as
saying that Moldova hoped that the new Russian State Duma would adopt a
more realistic stance on both the ratification of the Russian-Moldovan
Army Withdrawal Agreement and the settlement of the Dniester conflict.
In a related development, leader of the Moldovan Communist Party
Vladimir Voronin hailed the Communists' strong showing in the Russian
elections. According to BASA-press, Voronin plans to discuss the
Dniester conflict with the communist Duma deputies soon. -- Dan Ionescu

SEVEN BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS FIRED. Seven of the Bulgarian National Radio
journalists who signed a declaration on 21 November accusing BNR's
management of censorship were dismissed on 18 December, Bulgarian
newspapers reported the following day. The dismissals occurred despite
assurances from BNR Director-General Vecheslav Tunev that none of the
protesters would be fired. Tunev said their actions would lead to a
split within the radio. According to Trud, he accused them of "complete
disloyalty." Among those dismissed are two deputy directors of BNR's
Radio Horizont. Duma reports that the director and the editor-in-chief
of BNR's [international] Radio Bulgaria were also replaced. -- Stefan
Krause

KOZLODUY COULD AFFECT BULGARIAN TIES WITH EU. French European Affairs
Minister Michel Barnier on 18 December said Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear
plant could be a major obstacle in Sofia's efforts to join the EU,
Reuters reported the same day. Speaking to a news conference in Sofia
after talks with Bulgarian officials, Barnier said that "without wishing
to point the finger at anyone . . . , [the nuclear issue] is an
important one . . . and could be a determining factor in the process of
EU enlargement." The decision to restart Kozloduy's Reactor No. 1 in
October 1995 led to sharp reactions from Western countries that question
the reactor's safety. Barnier said that Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev told him the reactor will be shut down
in April for further checks. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT IN GERMANY. Sali Berisha, on an official visit to
Bonn, met with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Klaus
Kinkel on 18 December, the Albanian-language service of Deutsche Welle
reported. Berisha discussed economic cooperation between the two
countries and urged Albania's integration into the European Union and
NATO. Berisha will also meet with German President Roman Herzog, Finance
Minister Theo Waigel, and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister
Carl-Dieter Spranger as well as representatives of the German Chambers
of Commerce and Industry. Berisha urged international support for a
resolution of the Kosovo crisis that respects internationally recognized
borders. -- Fabian Schmidt

FIRST GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS ON NAME ISSUE. Greek Ambassador to the UN
Christos Zacharakis and his Macedonian counterpart, Ivan Toshevski, met
in New York on 16 December for first talks about the disputed name
issue, Nova Makedonija reported on 18 December, citing Greek media
reports. According to those reports, the talks took place in a positive
and "very encouraging" atmosphere and lasted more than four hours. Both
sides said the problem should be solved as soon as possible and both
made suggestions for a possible solution. Further progress is expected
after both sides report to their governments. UN mediator Cyrus Vance
called the meeting "extremely interesting" and said similar meetings are
expected to take place after the Christmas holidays. -- 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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