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