|The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts|
No. 248, Part II, 22 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ $500 MILLION PLEDGED FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF BOSNIA. At a two-day meeting in Brussels (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 December 1995), representatives from 50 donor countries announced that $500 million has been pledged for the first three months of 1996, Nasa Borba reported on 22 December. They said they hope to raise an additional $40-50 million and thereby exceed the estimated $518 million required for immediate needs. The biggest donors were the organizers of the meeting: the World Bank pledged $150 million and the EU $112 million. On arriving in Sarajevo, Carl Bildt, the international community's high representative for reconstruction, warned that the peace process will be endangered unless help from outside the country comes soon. The next conference of donors is scheduled for March 1996, when pledges for the estimated $5.1 billion for the longer term will be made. -- Daria Sito Sucic ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN NAVY ON LATEST BLACK SEA FLEET DISPUTE. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service, responding to acting Black Sea Fleet Commander Petr Svyatashov's statement blaming Ukraine's navy for a skirmish on 17 December over a food depot in Donuzlav (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 December) accused the Black Sea Fleet command of "deliberate provocation," UNIAN reported on 21 December. Svyatashov said the incident came about because two separate navies share the same territory and because of poor control in Ukrainian naval units. The Ukrainian side claimed the incident was the result of reluctance on the part of some Black Sea Fleet officers to recognize the transfer of fleet facilities to Ukraine's navy. It also denied that there had been any attempt to seize facilities. According to Segodnya on 20 December, Russian navy commander Admiral Feliks Gromov sent a message to the fleet command stating that all facilities in Sevastopol and some in other areas will continue to be used by the fleet after 1 January, the date on which joint Ukrainian-Russian control of the fleet expires. -- Ustina Markus ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES AGREEMENTS WITH RUSSIA. The Estonian parliament on 20 December ratified the two agreements signed by Russian and Estonian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Lennart Meri in July 1994, BNS reported the next day. The parliament, however, added four explanatory declarations to the agreement on the withdrawal of Russian troops. The agreement on military pensioners was also complemented, with a declaration stating that it applied only to military personnel in Estonia who had received pensions from Russian sources before the signing of the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT. The Saeima on 21 December voted 70 to 24 to approve the government of 37-year-old businessman Andris Skele, BNS reported. Previous attempts to form a government by the rightist National Bloc and leftist National Conciliation Bloc failed by small margins; Skele, who has no party affiliation, was thus selected as a compromise candidate. He formed a government with the approval of six of the nine parties in the parliament, five of which have a deputy prime minister in the cabinet. Skele told the Saeima that his economic goals are to maintain the stability of the lats, balance the budget, and improve the investment climate. He added he will continue to strive for membership in the European Union and NATO, while maintaining a stable relationship with Russia. -- Saulius Girnius HEADS OF TWO LITHUANIAN BANKS ARRESTED. Lithuanian police on 20-21 December arrested board chairman Jonas Mackevicius, director Gintautas Preidys of the Litimpeks Bank, and board chairman of the Lithuanian Akcinis Inovacinis Bank Arturas Balkevicius on charges of squandering large sums of the banks' funds. BNS reported. According to preliminary information, Litimpeks squandered 150 million litai ($37.5 million) and LAIB 271 million litai. In a measure to prevent the banks from going bankrupt, the parliament passed a law granting the government the right to extend guarantees for interbank loans of up to 300 million litai to commercial banks suffering from insolvency. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER, PREMIER ON SPY ALLEGATIONS. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski--speaking in the Sejm on 21 December, one day before his declared resignation--said that the ministry knew for some years that "one of foreign services" had a permanent informer among Polish postcommunist political circles. In 1995, the ministry received information that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy "was an informer" and that between 1990 and 1995 he had "many meetings with foreign intelligence agents" to whom he revealed classified information. Oleksy told the Sejm he was "never anybody's agent." He said he stopped meeting an unnamed Russian diplomat after being told by the Polish secret services that he was a KGB officer. He rejected Milczanowski's claim that the matter had come to light during the past few months, noting that the Internal Affairs Ministry had been collecting information against him for a long time. A 12-member Sejm commission is to investigate the matter. -- Jakub Karpinski HAVEL VISITS SARAJEVO. Czech President Vaclav Havel on 22 December began a two-day visit to Sarajevo at the invitation of Bosnian President Ilija Izetbegovic, CTK reported. He is the first foreign head of state to visit the Bosnian capital since the signing of the Dayton peace agreement. Before departing from Prague, Havel told reporters the aim of his visit was to express solidarity with the people of Bosnia and Herzogovina and show support for democracy and the principles of civil co-existence. Havel was due to have talks with Izetbegovic and Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic during the visit. The Czech president was accompanied by Defense Minister Vilem Holan and Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, who was scheduled to remain in Sarajevo over Christmas. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK OPPOSITION ON DELAY OF TREATY RATIFICATION. Democratic Union deputy Milan Knazko, at a press conference on 21 December, criticized Meciar for not defending the Slovak-Hungarian treaty in the parliament, commenting that the delay in ratifying the treaty was intended to hide the conflict within the coalition over the issue. Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Chairman Jan Carnogursky pointed out that the treaty was signed nine months ago, giving Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar sufficient time to clear up any conflicting interpretations with Hungary. KDH deputy Frantisek Miklosko said the passage of the controversial language law in November was probably not sufficient to appease the nationalists within the coalition. -- Sharon Fisher DECLINING SUPPORT FOR SLOVAK PREMIER, PRESIDENT. According to an opinion poll carried out by the FOCUS agency in early December, popular confidence in Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar stood at 22.1%, a 3.8% drop since October. Support for President Michal Kovac fell 2.8% to 16.4%, while confidence in parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic rose 3.2% to 15.3%. In terms of parties, support for Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) fell from 29.9% to 25.7%, while the popularity of the Association of Workers of Slovakia was down to just 3.2%. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET, MEDIA BILLS. Parliament on 21 December approved the 1996 budget and--following five years of debate and delay--the media bill on public and private broadcasting, Hungarian media reported. The budget bill was supported by the two coalition parties but rejected by the opposition, which said it did not contain enough reform measures. Provisions of the media bill, which received greater support, have not yet been publicized. The parliament also approved state subsidies totaling 4 billion forints ($28.5 million) for churches. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARY'S FERIHEGY AIRPORT WILL NOT BE NATO AIR BASE. Defense Ministry spokesman Lajos Erdelyi on 20 December denied that a second NATO air base would be established at Budapest's Ferihegy airport, Hungarian media reported the next day. He said an erroneous report was released by AFP the previous day quoting Col. John Martinson of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 December 1995). Erdelyi told Nepszabadsag that air planes carrying military equipment will land at Budapest airport, but shipments will be forwarded to military bases in Taszar and Kaposvar, southern Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE MUSLIM-CROATIAN FEDERATION SETS UP UNIFIED COMMANDS IN BOSNIA. The federal parliament met in Sarajevo on 21 December and established joint commands for the army and police--just after the 20 December deadline set down in the Dayton treaty--the VOA's Croatian-language service said the next day. There will be a joint defense ministry and command, but recruits will be able to choose whether they want to serve in the Croatian or mainly Muslim part of the army. AFP added that the two police forces will also report to one center. The Muslim-Croat federation is treated as one entity in the Dayton agreement, but the allied armies to date have had only coordinated activities and do not have an integrated command structure. On the contrary, the Bosnian Croat army is closely linked to the Croatian military. Elsewhere, the International Herald Tribune on 22 December reported that the U.S. has named Pentagon Bosnia expert James Pardew to head the project to upgrade government forces with Turkish assistance. -- Patrick Moore UN CONDEMNS SERBS FOR SREBRENICA MASSACRES. The Security Council has rebuked rump Yugoslav representative Vladislav Jovanovic, who tried to claim that the Muslims killed their own people in Srebrenica in July. The resolution clearly blames the Serbs for the murder, rape, expulsion, and conscription into forced labor of civilians, and mentions Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka, and Sanski Most. It also singles out Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic as indicted war criminals, news agencies added. The massacre of around 5,000 mainly Muslim men has often been referred to as the single biggest atrocity in Europe since World War II. A report by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and investigations by the Christian Science Monitor, independent Serbian journalists, and others clearly point to a mass killing, possibly led by Mladic himself. -- Patrick Moore INTERNATIONAL POLICE TASK FORCE LAUNCHED. The Security Council also set up a 1,721-strong international police force to train and monitor local police and assist them as need be. This will be the biggest armed UN presence in the area following the disbanding of UNPROFOR. The UNHCR will supervise the upcoming exchange of prisoners. Meanwhile in Pale, Karadzic told Red Cross officials that he will do all he can to make sure that Dayton's 20 January deadline for releasing prisoners is met. Elsewhere, Serbian villagers in Dojici, near the Croatian front lines, gave a rousing welcome to British troops, Reuters reported on 21 December. They credited the Dayton agreement with saving them from a Croatian occupation. -- Patrick Moore IFOR COMMANDER MEETS WITH LOCAL CHIEFS OF STAFF. The chiefs of staff of the Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian forces--meeting in Sarajevo on 21 December with the commander of the NATO-led implementation force (IFOR), Admiral Leighton Smith--promised to cooperate with IFOR, Western agencies reported. They said that they would restrain their forces, leave the "zones of separation," and allow unrestricted access for IFOR. Smith said after the meeting that the local forces have so far proved extremely cooperative with IFOR. -- Michael Mihalka SWISS NAMED HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN FOR BOSNIA. The OSCE on 21 December named Swiss diplomat Gret Haller as human rights ombudsman for Bosnia, Western agencies reported. The Dayton peace accord created the post and invested it with responsibility for investigating alleged human rights abuses and initiating proceedings against those involved. Haller currently serves as the Swiss representative to the Council of Europe. -- Michael Mihalka SERBIAN RADICAL LEGISLATORS LOSE MANDATE IN MONTENEGRIN PARLIAMENT. Eight former Serbian Radical Party legislators were suspended from their duties in the Montenegrin parliament on 21 December, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The parliamentary commission on immunity and mandates was abiding by a decision taken by the Justice Ministry and the Montenegrin election commission to ban the legislators from the parliament. The commission concluded that following a split in the Serbian Radical Party, the legislators were no longer members of the registered Serbian Radical Party but of an unregistered extraparliamentary party with the same name led by Drago Bakrac. -- Fabian Schmidt MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL RESUME DUTIES. Kiro Gligorov has said he will return to office at the beginning of 1996. In his first interview since the attempt on his life on 3 October, published in Nova Makedonija on 22 December, he rejected speculations about a successor and said he is "convinced that the citizens of Macedonia will elect their president in the next regular elections." He noted that the attempt on his life "will [possibly] remain a mystery for a long time." Gligorov said there is no change in the Macedonian position on the name issue. He said that "after Dayton and Paris, Macedonia adheres to its well-known position of being an independent and sovereign country oriented toward European integration." He added that "Macedonia maintains the standpoint that it is one of the six equal successors of the former Yugoslavia." -- Stefan Krause ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON 1989 REVOLUTION. Ion Iliescu--in an address to a 21 December symposium on the 1989 revolution broadcast live on Radio Bucharest--denounced attempts to "denigrate and mystify" the significance of the uprising. He said revolutions should be defined not according to how they were carried out but according to what they achieved. Viewed from this perspective, he said, the December 1989 overthrow of the communist regime was indeed revolutionary. Iliescu denied accusations that he had in any way attempted to bring about a Soviet intervention in Romania at the time. He said Washington wanted to give Moscow a green light to intervene but Moscow refused. He also denied accusations that he staged the shooting and killing of civilians as part of a scenario to justify the takeover. Iliescu said he regretted the quick trial and execution of Nicolae Ceausescu but argued that the decision was necessary to stop the revolution from turning into a civil war. -- Michael Shafir IMF EXTENDS, INCREASES ROMANIA'S STAND-BY CREDIT. RFE/RL's correspondent in Washington on 21 December reported that the IMF has agreed to extend Romania's current stand-by credit line and to add $280 million to the funds available. The extension follows lengthy negotiations. Earlier this year, Romania was denied access to the remaining $110 million from a 1994 stand-by loan because it had not met the original agreement's performance criteria. The renewed program and the additional credit, available through April 1997, will be used to support Romania's adjustment and structural reform policies. -- Michael Shafir ZYUGANOV ADDRESSES TRANSDNIESTRIAN ELECTORATE. Gennadii Zyuganov, chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which emerged victorious in the recent parliamentary elections, has called on Transdniestrian residents to take an active part in the elections to the region's Supreme Soviet and the referendum on the region's constitution scheduled for 24 December. Infotag and BASA-press on 21 December reported that Zyuganov expressed his party's support for "the Transdniestrian people's wish to be masters of their own destinies" and said they should "demonstrate to the CIS people the common wish to live in one family." Romanian President Ion Iliescu on 21 December remarked that Zyuganov's address showed "flagrant disregard for non-interference in the internal affairs of the new independent states." -- Michael Shafir KOZLODUY TO HELP SUPPLY BULGARIA WITH ELECTRICITY. Trifon Tsvetkov, chairman of the Bulgarian National Electrical Company (NEK), said at a press conference on 21 December that the country will not experience problems with its electricity supply this winter, Bulgaria media reported the next day. All three blocks of the coal-fired Maritsa Iztok plant are functioning, as are all but one at the Kozloduy nuclear plant. On 18 December, the French European Affairs minister had warned that the country's chances of entering the EU were jeopardized by keeping Kozloduy in service (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). It was also announced that electricity consumption will rise by 1.2% in 1995. Due to low prices, the NEK will lose 2 billion leva ($284 million). Industrial enterprises owe the company 2 billion leva, while the factory producing coal briquettes owes it 1.2 billion leva. -- Michael Wyzan GREECE TO SEND TROOPS TO BOSNIA. Greek government spokesman Tilemachos Hytiris on 21 December said the cabinet has decided to send three ships, three helicopters, and 250 men to Bosnia as part of the multi-national peace-keeping force, Reuters reported the same day. Greece, which maintains good ties with Serbia, refused to participate in any international missions to the former Yugoslavia before the signing of the Dayton and Paris agreements, saying Balkan countries should keep out of the conflict. -- Stefan Krause [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. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. 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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