As courage endagers life even so fear preserves it. - Leonardo Da Vinci
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 247, Part I, 21 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
EU PLEDGES MONEY FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF BOSNIA. Officials from more than
40 countries met in Brussels on 20 December to begin discussing the
reconstruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They estimated that $1.5 billion
is needed for priority projects such as transportation, water and
sewage, while World Bank experts projected that the cost of
reconstructing Bosnia in the first years alone will be $5.1 billion,
Nasa Borba reported the next day. Only the EU was immediately ready to
pledge $100 million of the $518 million needed to cover immediate needs.
Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said that the Bosnian
delegation has not come to Brussels to beg because the Bosnian
government and its citizens are ready to rebuild the country themselves.
But he added that he was disappointed by the poor response of the
donors. -- Daria Sito Sucic
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE, G-7 SIGN CHORNOBYL AGREEMENT. Ukraine on 20 December signed an
agreement with the G-7 on the closure of the Chornobyl nuclear power
station, international agencies reported. Details of how the closure
will be financed have not been made available, but the agreement
reportedly says only that Kiev is to contribute as much as its resources
and economy allow. The issue of rebuilding the sarcophagus over the
highly radioactive Reactor No. 4 is also left vague, and a deadline for
the closure is omitted. Moreover the agreement is not legally binding.
Ukrainian officials have said they felt pressured to sign the deal
because of threats to withhold credits for economic restructuring. The
agreement was signed in Ottawa by Ukrainian Economics Minister Yurii
Kostenko and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Minister
Shiela Copps. Copps represented the G-7, which is currently chaired by
Canada. -- Ustina Markus

LUKASHENKA APPOINTS NEW KGB, INTERIOR MINISTRY CHIEFS. Reuters and
Interfax on 20 December reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has promoted Deputy Interior Minister Valyantsin Aholets to
the post of interior minister and head of the Brest regional KGB
Uladzimir Matskevich to chairman of the KGB. The former head of the KGB,
Uladzimir Yahorau, resigned after being elected to the parliament.
Lukashenka had dismissed former Interior Minister Yurii Zakharenka in
October. -- Ustina Markus

ACTING COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES APPOINTED.
President Lennart Meri on 20 December appointed chief of the General
Staff Col. Vello Loemaa as acting commander-in-chief of the defense
forces. Loemaa replaces Aleksander Einseln, whom the parliament had
relieved of his duties the previous day, BNS reported. Although Meri had
nominated Lt. Col. Johannes Kert, the head of the Defense League, to
replace Einseln, he was required to follow Einseln's choice of Loemaa as
his replacement to "ensure continuity in the leadership of the defense
forces." -- Saulius Girnius

OPERATIONS OF LITHUANIA'S LARGEST COMMERCIAL BANK HALTED. Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius and Bank of Lithuania President Kazys Ratkevicius on
20 December said the republic's largest commercial bank, the Lithuanian
Akcinis-Inovacinis Bank, has halted all its operations due to lack of
money, Radio Lithuania reported. Citizens have deposited some 300
million litai ($75 million) in the bank, which can count among its
customers the Ignalina atomic power plant and the Mazeikiai oil
refinery. The bank's problems were caused by issuing loans sometimes at
rates even lower than those paid to the bank's depositors. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER REJECTS COLLABORATION ACCUSATIONS . . . Jozef
Oleksy, who has been accused of collaborating with Soviet and Russian
secret services (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 December 1995), has said on
Polish TV that the accusations are false and a "dirty provocation." He
commented that "people in the secret services, with the permission of
the internal affairs minister and President Walesa, undertook attempts
to destabilize the country three days before the changeover in Poland's
Presidency. Walesa's camp knows no moral or ethical restraints in the
struggle for power," Oleksy said. He also went on to reveal that, in an
obvious blackmail attempt, he was told last week that if he were to quit
before 19 December, the matter would be kept secret. Oleksy said,
however, that he would not hide behind his parliamentary immunity and
would accept any independent verdict, Polish media reported on 20-21
December. -- Jakub Karpinski

. . . WHILE GAZETA WYBORCZA PUBLISHES DETAILS. The Polish daily on 21
December wrote that according to sources close to outgoing President
Lech Walesa, he was told in early December by unnamed secret service
agents that Oleksy had contacted KGB agents identified by Polish
intelligence. Later, Walesa received documentary evidence collected by
the Internal Affairs Ministry over the past eight months. The newspaper
added that Oleksy had been warned last year that Polish intelligence was
aware he had been meeting with Russian secret service officers.
President-elect Aleksander Kwasniewski is said to have been told on 12
December about the documentary evidence, which, according to Gazeta
Wyborcza was delivered on 19 December to the Sejm and Senate speakers
and the heads of Poland's main courts. Kwasniewski the next day stressed
that he has full confidence in Oleksy. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PARLIAMENT REJECTS UNIVERSITY FEES. Deputies from two government
parties--the Civic Democratic Alliance and Christian Democratic Union-
Czechoslovak People's Party--on 20 December joined the opposition in
voting down a government draft law on universities. Its most contentious
provision was the introduction of tuition fees for higher education
students from next year. Deputies voted 107 to 61 to return the bill to
the government for further study. Education Minister Ivan Pilip said a
new version will not be presented before next year's parliamentary and
Senate elections; he termed the vote the start of the general election
campaign. The rector of Charles University in Prague, Karel Maly,
welcomed the vote. According to Maly, the present law is better than the
government proposal, which was full of inadequacies, Pravo reported. --
Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT DELAYS RATIFICATION OF TREATY WITH HUNGARY. By a vote
of 80 to 46, the Slovak parliament on 20 December postponed ratifying
the Slovak-Hungarian treaty until its next session. It also asked
parliamentary Foreign Committee chairman Dusan Slobodnik to draft an
interpretation clause. Slobodnik said that through consultations with
Budapest a compromise might be reached on the interpretation of the
treaty. But Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk argued that it was unrealistic
that Hungary would agree to such consultations. Critics have pointed out
that, besides the sticking points over minority rights issues, the
treaty does not deal with the question of succession to former
Czechoslovakia and thus allows for challenging Trianon and the 1977
agreement on the Gabcikovo dam project. The parliament also voted to
abolish the embargo against rump Yugoslavia and to endorse a cabinet
proposal to send peacekeeping forces to eastern Slavonia, Slovak media
reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK COURT RULES ON COUPON PRIVATIZATION. The Constitutional Court on
20 December ruled that an amendment to the large-scale privatization law
is not unconstitutional, thereby rejecting claims by a group of
opposition deputies. The amendment--approved by the parliament in
September for a second time after being vetoed by President Michal
Kovac--cancels the second wave of coupon privatization in favor of a
program based on bonds. The court declared only one section of the
amendment unlawful--namely, that requiring municipalities and housing
associations to accept bonds when selling apartments, TASR reported. The
court rejected opposition objections against the government's changing
the rules of privatization in the middle of the process and against
transferring control over privatization from the cabinet to the National
Property Fund. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY YIELDS CONTROL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANT. In a deal giving a
German-U.S. group a majority stake in the telecommunications company
Matav, Hungary has become the first country in Eastern Europe to yield
control of its telecommunications industry, Reuters reported on 20
December. MagyarCom, a consortium equally owned by Deutsche Telekom AG
and Ameritech Corp., will pay $852 million for an additional 37% of
Matav, giving it a majority holding of 67%. Matav is one of Hungary's
and Eastern Europe's largest firms and has a monopoly on national cable
telephone services. This latest deal is one of the largest foreign
investments in Eastern Europe to date. The MagyarCom consortium bought a
30% stake in Matav in 1993 for $875 million and received a 25-year
concession for long-distance and local calls and a monopoly on long-
distance calls for eight years. -- Jiri Pehe

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WHITE HOUSE TO LIFT EMBARGO AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA? Nasa Borba on 21
December reported that President Bill Clinton is about to lift the
embargo against Belgrade, including all sanctions related to trade, air,
and sea transport as well as to other business contacts. In accordance
with the November resolution of the UN Security Council on immediate
suspension of sanctions, Clinton would thus reward the former
Yugoslavia's "constructive participation" in the Dayton peace talks. But
this move would not include lifting so-called "outside sanctions,"
meaning the country's immediate readmission to the UN, the OCSE, and
international financial organizations. Meanwhile, French President
Jacques Chirac told Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that France
will be among the first countries to recognize the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia and to establish full diplomatic relations, Beta reported on
20 December. The same agency reported that telephone communications
between rump Yugoslavia and Croatia were reestablished on 20 December.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

NATO HAS 17,000 TROOPS IN BOSNIA. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana,
speaking at a press conference in Brussels on 20 December, said NATO
already has 17,000 troops in Bosnia, Western agencies reported. But most
of those troops were formerly with the UN. An IFOR press spokesman told
OMRI that as of 21 December, only 1,400 NATO troops had arrived in
Bosnia and some 1,000 in Croatia. Meanwhile, British troops have arrived
in Krupa, 30 km south of Banja Luka, and IFOR forces have removed
roadblocks to Sarajevo airport. -- Michael Mihalka

SERBIAN RENEWAL MOVEMENT ANNOUNCES NEW COALITION. The Serbian Renewal
Movement is to form a new coalition of opposition parties, according to
Nasa Borba on 21 December. Party leader Draskovic has announced that a
joint "list without Communists" will be drawn up for future elections.
That list will include the Civic Union of Serbia, New Democracy, the
Vojvodina Reformists, the Union of Vojvodina Hungarians, and the Party
of Democratic Action of Sandzak. It may also include the political
movement Democratic Center, which is expected to form a party. -- Fabian
Schmidt

WHAT FUTURE FOR CROATS IN VOJVODINA? Rump Yugoslavia has a Croatian
population estimated at about 250,000. The largest single group of them
live in Vojvodina, which had at least 160,000 Croats before the war but
of whom over 45,000 have left, mainly under duress. President Bela
Tonkovic of the Democratic League of Croats in Vojvodina told human
rights activists that his people face constant harassment and
psychological pressure. Their legal status as a "nation" or a national
minority has not been clarified, and they are virtually excluded from
public life but subject to rigorous military conscription and
discrimination in hiring. They made a formal complaint to the Serbian
government in June 1993 but have had no response to date, Nasa Borba
reported on 21 December. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES TOUGH 1996 BUDGET. The Macedonian
parliament on 20 December began discussing the 1996 budget, which is
based on 6% retail price inflation, 10% growth in social product, and 2%
growth in industrial production, Nova Makedonija reported the next day.
Planned revenues of 42.9 billion denars ($1.1 billion), represent 23% of
social product, compared with 23.8% in 1995. Wages in the budgetary
sphere will be frozen at their August 1995 levels, vacation pay
eliminated, and social welfare spending and agricultural subsidies
reduced. The largest revenue sources will be excise taxes, the personal
income tax, and the sales tax. -- Michael Wyzan

ROMANIAN SENATE APPROVES SENDING BATTALION TO BOSNIA. The Senate on 20
December voted 107 to seven to approve contributing an engineer unit to
the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Radio Bucharest reported.
The 200-strong battalion, whose mission is to last for up to 12 months,
will mainly help restore roads and bridges in the region. The estimated
cost of the operation--18 billion lei (some $7 million)--will be covered
from the budget. The initial proposal to dispatch a unit to the former
Yugoslavia was made by President Ion Iliescu in a letter to the
parliament. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA TO STICK TO ITS PRO-WESTERN POLICY. A spokesman for Romania's
Foreign Ministry on 20 December said his country's decision to seek NATO
membership was "irreversible," Radio Bucharest reported. He stressed
that a possible change in Russia's foreign policy following the recent
elections will not affect Romania's policy of integration into Euro-
Atlantic structures. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANI FOREIGN-LANGUAGE COURSE OFFERED AT BUCHAREST UNIVERSITY.
Bucharest University is to offer instruction in Romani as a foreign
language as part of a three-year course that will include Sanskrit and
Hindi, Reuters reported, citing Evenimentul Zilei on 19 December. The
reports did not stipulate which Romani dialect will be taught and
whether the courses are meant for Roma or non-Roma. Romani is offered,
among others, at Charles University in Prague and at the Gandhi High
School in Pecs, Hungary, as part of courses about or for Roma. -- Alaina
Lemon

MOLDOVAN RULING PARTY ACCUSED OF "BOLSHEVISM." The Agrarian Democratic
Party of Moldova (PDAM) has been accused of establishing "a Bolshevik-
style dictatorship in some raions in an attempt to politicize the
population" and thus divert public attention from the current "economic
disaster," Radio Bucharest reported on 19 December, quoting Moldpres.
The accusation was made in a communique released by the Executive
Committee of the Party of Revival and Conciliation in Moldova, led by
President Mircea Snegur, who quit the PDAM in late June to set up his
own party. Meanwhile, Infotag on 20 December quoted a presidential
spokesman as saying that Snegur was not prepared to accept any
compromise on the controversial issue of the designation of the
country's official language. The spokesman said that according to
"scientific truth," that designation could be only "Romanian." -- Dan
Ionescu

BULGARIA, ROMANIA SIGN MILITARY ACCORD. The chiefs of staff of the
Bulgarian and Romanian militaries signed an agreement on military
cooperation in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, Bulgarian media reported on 19
December. The two sides agreed to continue their cooperation along their
common border, to increase the exchange of military information, and
promote more military contracts. Romanian Chief of General Staff Lt.-
Gen. Dumitriu Cioflina was quoted as saying the Bulgaria was the first
country with which Romania had signed such an agreement. He added that
Romania intended to sign similar agreements with Ukraine and Hungary. --
Doug Clarke

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN PORTUGAL. Zhelyu Zhelev, during a three-day
official visit to Portugal on 18-20 December, stressed that Sofia will
step up its efforts to join the EU and NATO but he added that it is
unlikely Bulgaria will be admitted as a full EU member by 2000,
Bulgarian and international media reported. Zhelev met with his
Portuguese counterpart, Mario Soares, Prime Minister Antonio Guterres,
Parliamentary President Antonio Santos, and caucus leaders. Zhelev noted
that bilateral relations should be developed further, while Soares said
Portugal considers Bulgaria's application for full EU membership to be
fully justified and timely. Zhelev on 20 December met with former
Bulgarian Queen Ioanna, who lives in Estoril. Zhelev said they discussed
"very private matters." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS WANT RESIGNATION OF RADIO BOSS. Hundreds of
demonstrators, including many journalists from private and state media,
on 20 December protested the dismissal of seven journalists from
Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian newspapers and Western media
reported. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of BNR Director-
General Vecheslav Tunev, who sacked the journalists on 18 December (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). A declaration by journalists said
the dismissals "irrefutably prove that there is political censorship in
[BNR]." Opposition leaders attended the meeting but did not speak,
saying they did not want to give the gathering a "partisan twist." --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHIEF ACCUSED OF SENTENCING PRIEST TO
DEATH. Rustem Gjata has been charged with sentencing Dom Gjergj Gjoni to
death in 1973, Koha Jone reported on 21 December. The catholic priest
from the diocese of Shkoder had been charged with high treason for
trying to flee Albania after it was declared an atheist state and after
churches were closed in 1967. Gjata was reported to have pronounced the
death sentence even though the prosecutor had demanded only a 15-year
prison term. -- 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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