Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 246, Part II, 20 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
UN HANDS OVER COMMAND TO NATO IN BOSNIA. The UN handed over command of
the Bosnian peacekeeping operation to NATO in Sarajevo on 20 December,
Western agencies reported. The NATO troops, backed by Europe and the
U.S. and with massive firepower at their disposal, replace the lightly
armed and largely discredited UN peacekeepers, who often found
themselves at odds with the cumbersome UN civilian command structure.
Nonetheless, many UN troops will replace their blue and white with NATO
camouflage and remain in the country. General George Joulwan on 19
December said that despite the recent bad weather and logistical
problems, the deployment of the 60,000-strong force remains on schedule.
Thorvald Stoltenberg, the outgoing UN mediator, cautioned that a new
crisis could occur if the U.S. removed its troops too soon. -- Michael
Mihalka
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BLACK SEA FLEET SKIRMISH. Contradictory reports have emerged over an
incident involving the Ukrainian Navy and the Black Sea Fleet. Interfax
and Segodnya on 19 December quoted Black Sea Fleet spokesman Andrei
Krylov as saying fleet security officers were forced to fire warning
shots into the air to disperse sailors from the Ukrainian navy who had
seized a food depot in Donuzlav. According to Krylov, the sailors were
armed with clubs and steel rods. When they returned after being driven
away, they were apprehended by Black Sea Fleet security personnel. The
Ukrainian navy denied there had been any attempt to seize the depot and
said the sailors were attempting to deliver supplies to the depot. Both
Ukrainian navy and Black Sea Fleet officials are now in Donuzlav
investigating the incident. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT ON PREMIER'S DISMISSAL. ITAR-TASS on 19 December
reported that the Crimean parliament has decided to relieve Prime
Minister Anatolii Franchuk of his duties instead of impeaching him.
Deputies on 9 December passed a no-confidence in the prime minister.
Kuchma said he would not intervene on Franchuk's part. Franchuk stepped
down after being elected to Ukraine's parliament in recent elections. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT RESTORES MILITARY PRIVILEGES. Krasnaya zvezda on 19
December reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
issued a decree restoring privileges to the military and law enforcement
agencies that were rescinded under a 1 September decree. Those
privileges include housing allowances and free passes to health resorts
and sanatoriums upon retirement Although Lukashenka has always spoken
out against privileges for elites, he has backtracked on rescinding
privileges several times. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S DISMISSAL. The
parliament on 19 December approved the dismissal of Aleksander Einseln
as commander-in-chief of the defense forces, BNS reported. President
Lennart Meri relieved Einseln of his duties on 3 December because of a
public row with Defense Minister Andres Oovel. The parliament has so far
refused to discuss Meri's suggestion that Lt. Col. Johannes Kert,
commander of the Defense League, replace Einseln. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY EXPELS CAUCUS MEMBER. A plenary
session of the Presidium of the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDDP)
on 18 December voted to expel Bronius Genzelis from the caucus, Radio
Lithuania reported. Genzelis on 12 December announced that he no longer
considered himself a member of the LDDP because it was betraying the
ideals of social democracy and becoming authoritarian. He added,
however, that he would remain a member of the caucus. The Presidium
suggested that Genzelis resign from the parliament since he was elected
on the LDDP list. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER ACCUSED OF TREASON. At a meeting called suddenly
by outgoing Polish President Lech Walesa on 19 December, Internal
Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski presented documents suggesting
that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy had collaborated with Soviet--and later
Russian--intelligence since 1983, Radio Zet reported. A commission is to
launch an investigation into the case. Walesa on 12 December had
promised to reveal "top secret" materials on such activities (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 13 December 1995). Milczanowski's resignation was to have
taken effect on 20 December, but he will now remain in office until
Walesa's term expires on 22 December. President-elect Aleksander
Kwasniewski said the accusations against Oleksy were "stupid," Polish
and international media reported on 19-20 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ON RADIO, TV BOARDS. The Polish
Constitutional Court on 19 December ruled that the boards of public TV
and radio cannot be recalled during their term. The court's ruling was
made at the request of outgoing President Walesa, who said he was
concerned that the government would take advantage of its rights as
owner of public TV and radio to interfere in media affairs. Two judges
objected to the fact that the president's motion was not countersigned
by the prime minister and one judge argued that the commercial code
should also apply to public TV and radio, which are joint stock
companies, Polish dailies reported on 20 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PARLIAMENT RATIFIES OECD MEMBERSHIP. Deputies on 19 December
approved the agreement for the Czech Republic to join the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is the organization's 26th
and first post-communist member country. Foreign Minister Josef
Zieleniec told the parliament that being invited to join the OECD
signified recognition for the Czech Republic's political and economic
transformation, Hospodarske noviny reported. Meanwhile, the Czech
Statistics Office said that GDP grew 6.3% in the third quarter of this
year, more than expected. For the first nine months of 1995, GDP growth
was 4.8%, up from 4.0% in the first half of the year. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAKIA'S RATIFICATION OF TREATY WITH HUNGARY DELAYED AGAIN? Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar, speaking on Slovak TV on 19 December, noted
that a sufficient number of deputies may vote for the ratification of
the Slovak-Hungarian treaty, which was to be discussed in the parliament
the following day. Meciar said he considers it "more realistic" that the
parliament will delay ratification and vote on the treaty later,
together with a special interpretation clause. Meciar had recently said
the treaty would be approved in December (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18
December 1995). The delay is a result of increasing tension within the
coalition, with Meciar's two coalition partners as well as deputies
within his own party criticizing the treaty. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. The parliament on 19 December passed the 1996 budgets
for the state health and social insurance companies and the National
Property Fund, approving 1 billion koruny of the latter's budget to help
boost housing construction, Sme reported. The Constitutional Court the
same day discussed the government's cancellation of the coupon
privatization program and was expected to announce its ruling the
following day. In other news, the ethnic Hungarian Coexistence movement
plans to sue Slovak TV (STV) for its repeat broadcast of a documentary
the evening before the expected ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian
treaty, Pravda reported on 20 December. The documentary, entitled
"Bloody Christmas," deals with Hungary's occupation of southern Slovakia
during World War II. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT ALLOCATES PRIVATIZATION REVENUES FOR DEBT PAYMENT.
The Hungarian parliament, ignoring a request by Prime Minister Gyula
Horn, on 19 December approved an amendment to the draft budget
stipulating that all surplus privatization revenues be used to partly
repay the $33 billion state debt, Hungarian newspapers reported. Most
Socialist deputies voted against the proposal, while the Free Democrats
and opposition parties supported it. Horn had asked the Socialist Party
caucus to give the government time to discuss the matter and had
suggested the revenues be spent on job creation programs. The same day,
the parliament approved a bill defining the structure, duties, and basic
principles of the country's five secret services. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

IFOR TO ESTABLISH AIR BASE IN BUDAPEST. Col. John Martinson of the U.S.
Embassy in Budapest on 19 December said IFOR troops will set up a second
air base at Budapest's Ferihegy airport owing to bad weather in Taszar,
southern Hungary, Hungarian media reported. Defense Ministry official
Gabor Nagy said IFOR headquarters asked the Hungarian government last
weekend to allow military planes to land at Ferihegy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER PLEDGES TO HELP IFOR. New Bosnian Serb Premier Rajko
Kasagic delivered his first public statement on local television on 19
December, AFP reported. He told his audience that the Serbs "should
cooperate with IFOR to ensure that they have peace and security, because
our future will depend on such cooperation." Kasagic also made it clear
that his men would help IFOR in keeping law and order and that stealing
vehicles belonging to international organizations would stop. Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has called the Dayton agreement
"disastrous" but said that the Serbian cause will now have to be
advanced politically and not with weapons. -- Patrick Moore

NEW SIGNALS TO SARAJEVO SERBS. The VOA's Croatian-language service
reported on 20 December that the Serbian mayor of Ilidza, which is due
to pass to Bosnian government control, has urged his people to stay. It
appears to be the first public statement by a Bosnian Serb official in
Sarajevo that it might be possible for his people to live under the new
authority. Nasa Borba quoted the speaker of Pale's parliament, Momcilo
Krajisnik, as also holding open some possibilities other than
resettlement for the Serbs in the Sarajevo suburbs. He told a local
audience that "the people who defended this city have a right to stay in
it" and that "at this moment there are a significant number of arguments
that point to a favorable solution." Krajisnik indicated that the Serbs
would have to have their own authorities and police. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. OFFICIAL CRITICIZES BELGRADE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ATROCITIES AGAINST
MUSLIMS. Reuters on 19 December reported that U.S. Ambassador to the UN
Madeleine Albright has criticized allegations by Belgrade that Bosnian
Muslim forces were responsible for atrocities against fellow Muslims in
Srebrenica in July, when the enclave fell to advancing Bosnian Serbs.
Albright said charges made by rump Yugoslav representative to the UN
Vladslav Jovanovic in a letter to the Security Council were "a big lie"
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). "I just hope Mr. Jovanovic
was acting without instructions as it goes beyond my understanding of
what he would gain by sending such a preposterous letter that has
basically insulted the intelligence of the Security Council,'' Albright
said. In a separate development, Tanjug reported that same day that
Belgrade will honor a pledge to allow NATO forces to transit through
rump Yugoslav territory. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT SAYS RECOGNITION OF CROATIA ON HOLD . . . Politika
and Nova Makedonija on 20 December reported that Momir Bulatovic,
speaking at a press conference the previous day, said Belgrade's
recognition of Croatia will be withheld as long as Zagreb continues to
control a small strip of coastal territory known as Prevlaka peninsula,
flanking the Bay of Kotor, the base of the rump Yugoslav navy. He noted
that Croatia agreed at Dayton to give up Prevlaka in exchange for
territory near the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. "We do not wish recognize
the Republic of Croatia . . . as long as it does not fulfill the
obligations it agreed to. We will not give up our interests," Bulatovic
commented. -- Stan Markotich

. . . BUT GRANTS AMNESTY TO DISSIDENT WRITER, MUSLIM LEADERS. Bulatovic
on 19 December granted an amnesty to well-known writer Jevrem Brkovic,
who is living in exile in Croatia, as well as to 82 other people,
including leaders of the mainly Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA),
Hina reported. Bulatovic told reporters that he wanted "to stress
symbolically the significance of the peace accords" by stopping legal
action against individuals and groups on the basis of their political,
ideological, and religious beliefs. -- Daria Sito Sucic

LJAJIC REGARDS SERBIAN RENEWAL MOVEMENT AS "POLE OF OPPOSITION." The
head of the ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak (SDA),
Rasim Ljajic, has met with a German parliamentary delegation in
Belgrade, Nasa Borba reported on 20 December. Ljajic demanded the return
of the OSCE monitoring mission to the rump Yugoslavia, which Belgrade
evicted in 1993. He stressed that the SDA is cooperating with the
Serbian Renewal Movement in its fight against reorganizing election
districts in favor of the Socialist Party of Serbia and added that his
party is also ready to cooperate with the New Democracy and the Civic
Union of Serbia. The SDA Sandzak boycotted the last Serbian elections.
-- Fabian Schmidt

HEAD OF MACEDONIAN PRIVATIZATION AGENCY FIRED. The Macedonian government
on 19 December relieved Miroljub Sukarov, director of the country's
privatization agency, of his duties, Nova Makedonija reported the next
day. Strained communications between the cabinet and the agency and the
former's disagreement with certain agency decisions were cited as
reasons for the move. Sukarov, who had supervised the privatization
process since 1991, will be succeeded temporarily by agency's deputy
director. -- Michael Wyzan

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE DID NOT HIJACK 1989 REVOLT. Ion Iliescu on 19
December rejected charges that he hijacked the December 1989 uprising to
seize power for himself and old-guard Communists, Reuters reported. In a
statement read by presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu, Iliescu
"indignantly" rejected what he described as a "new attempt to denigrate
the Romanian revolution, to distort facts and launch a series of
allegations." Iliescu was responding to recent accusations by Valentin
Gabrielescu, a senator for the National Peasant Party-Christian
Democratic and head of the parliamentary commission investigating the
revolution. Gabrielescu holds Iliescu responsible for some of the 1,200
deaths during the revolt. He said he decided to issue his view of the
events for fear that the commission's report would be ignored. -- Dan
Ionescu

UZBEK FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES ROMANIAN VISIT. Uzbek Foreign Minister
Abdulaziz Komilov and his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, have
announced that the two countries will officially establish diplomatic
relations and work on improving bilateral trade, ITAR-TASS reported on
19 December. During his visit, Komilov also met with Prime Minister
Nicolae Vacaroiu and President Ion Iliescu. -- Roger Kangas

MOLDOVAN OFFICIAL ON RUSSIAN ELECTIONS, INDEPENDENCE. Parliamentary
chairman Petru Lucinschi on 19 December warned that the Communists'
victory in the Russian elections could jeopardize his country's
independence. In a statement quoted by BASA-press and Infotag, Lucinschi
spoke of "possible attempts [by some Duma deputies] to call into
question decisions concerning Moldova's independence and integrity." But
he expressed the hope that "Russia is not going to base its policies on
emotions and hasty decisions" and that it will continue to respect the
commitments it made within the framework of the CIS. On a positive note,
Lucinschi commented that the State Duma's activities were likely to
become more stable and predictable, which, he said, "perfectly suits
Moldova's interests." -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN FORMER PREMIER THREATENS VIDENOV AIDE. Nevena Gyurova, public
relations officer in the government's press center and an adviser to
Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, said in a 19 December interview with
RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service that former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov has
been blackmailing her over the past five years. She said Lukanov has
threatened to publicize her former drug addiction. According to Gyurova,
Lukanov has "intimate information about [former Bulgarian Socialist
Party leader Aleksandar] Lilov and [President Zhelyu] Zhelev." She said
his methods are typical for the former Sixth Direction of the Communist
State Security, which dealt with political opponents. Gyurova said she
turned to RFE/RL because the domestic media are afraid to get into a
conflict with Lukanov. Lukanov is generally seen as one of the country's
most influential politicians with good connections to financial and
economic groups. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT LAMBASTES NATIONAL MEDIA BOSSES. Zhelyu Zhelev,
during his visit to Lisbon, on 19 December told journalists accompanying
him to Portugal that the governing majority has "brutally usurped" the
national media, Pari reported the following day. He said this could have
consequences for Bulgaria's international standing. "Hardly anyone will
talk to us seriously about EU membership when leading journalists are
dismissed in the national media in such a brutal way," Zhelev said. Also
on 19 December, the Union of Democratic Forces, the People's Union, the
Movement for Rights and Freedom, and members of the Bulgarian Business
Bloc demanded in a joint statement that the Bulgarian National Radio
director-general be dismissed immediately, otherwise they will use all
possible means to defend freedom of speech, Standart reported. BNR
journalists the same day issued a declaration demanding that their
dismissed colleagues be reinstated. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS AGREEMENT FOR GERMAN AID. Sali Berisha, during
his visit to Germany, has signed an agreement for a DM 47 million ($33
million) aid package for infrastructure projects such as water supply
and sewage treatment plants. The agreement is also designed to secure
foreign investments through a legal framework. Another DM 13 million
pledged to Albania remains to be allocated for future projects,
international agencies and Deutsche Welle's Albanian-language service
reported on 19 December. At a reception of the Association of German
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHT), Berisha said German companies
Krupp and Preussag expressed interest in investments. -- 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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