The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 251, Part II, 29 December 1995



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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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
U.S. LIFTS SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. U.S. President Bill
Clinton announced on 28 December that Washington has suspended its
sanctions regime against Belgrade. The suspension, which went into
effect immediately, opened the way for fuel supplies and mechanical
equipment to flow from the U.S. to Serbia, halted by presidential orders
issued from June 1992. Clinton said in his statement that "we insisted
on a credible reimposition mechanism to ensure no backsliding on the
commitments made by the Serbs." Nasa Borba on 29 December reported that
on the previous day Russia also suspended sanctions against the rump
Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK TO LEND $230 MILLION TO UKRAINE. The Export-Import
bank of Japan will lend Ukraine 24 billion yen ($230 million) to cover
the financial aid the Japanese government has committed itself to
offering Ukraine, AFP reported on 28 December. The bulk of the credit,
18 billion yen, will be extended in syndicated loans in cooperation with
the World Bank, and only six billion yen would come directly from the
Export-Import Bank. Japan promised the aid last March to help Ukraine
stabilize its economy and dismantle the nuclear weapons on its soil. --
Ustina Markus

UKRAINE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN BOSNIAN PEACE FORCE. Ukraine has
informed the NATO peace Implementation Force (IFOR) that it would not be
able to participate in its operations in Bosnia because of financial
difficulties, AFP reported on 28 December. IFOR chief-of-staff Lt. Gen.
William Carter said Ukraine's withdrawal should not be a setback for the
NATO-led force since other countries have come forward with greater
contributions than anticipated. Ukraine will continue to provide Antonov
transport craft for the Bosnian operations. -- Ustina Markus

HEAD OF BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ASKED TO RESIGN. The head of
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's administration, Mikhail Myasnikovich,
has asked the head of the Constitutional Court, Valerii Tikhinya, to
resign, radio Ekho Moskvy reported on 28 December. Myasnikovich
reportedly told Tikhinya that if he did not leave his post willingly, a
decision to remove him would be made by the president. Lukashenka has
reportedly been putting pressure on Tikhinya for some time. The court
has found seven of Lukashenka's presidential decrees to be
unconstitutional. In other news, Belarusian radio reported that although
the cabinet of ministers has allocated three billion Belarusian rubles
to the new parliament so that it can open, the money has not appeared on
the secretariat's account. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN TRADE UNIONS SUSPEND STRIKE PLANS. Belapan reported on 28
December that The Federation of Trade Unions has decided to remove from
its January agenda plans to hold a national strike. The decision was
taken because the cabinet of ministers is reportedly taking the unions
demands into consideration. The Independent Trade Unions of Belarus are
reportedly planning to go ahead with their preparations for a national
strike in January. The announcement came soon after President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka warned that any mass protest actions could destabilize the
country. The Federation of Trade Unions was the official union during
the Soviet era and has often been more amenable towards the government
than the Independent Trade Unions. -- Ustina Markus

TWO PRIVATE ESTONIAN TV STATIONS TO MERGE. The private television
stations RTV and EVTV--which currently broadcast on alternate days on
the same channel--will combine their programs from the beginning of 1996
as the first step toward their full merger as new station TV3, BNS
reported on 27 December. Some 70-80% of RTV's current shareholders are
to take part in the founding of the new station while only one
shareholder, Sweden's Kinnevik, will participate from EVTV. -- Saulius
Girnius

FORMER LATVIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER INDICTED. A prosecutor told BNS on
28 December that Dainis Gegeris has been indicted for neglect of duty
and abuse of service authority. The charges were brought in the case
against the Lata International firm that was founded in 1992 to service
foreign loans, but squandered the money. It was declared bankrupt by the
Latvian Commercial Court on 22 November. The prosecutor noted that the
new prime minister, Andris Skele, who was deputy agriculture minister at
that time, did not play any role in the Lata case. -- Saulius Girnius

UNPRODUCTIVE LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SESSION ON BANK CRISIS. The
extraordinary Seimas session called on 28 December to pass a government
resolution on guaranteeing the stability of banks did not achieve its
purpose, Radio Lithuania reported. After the opposition proposed an
alternative measure, President Algirdas Brazauskas called the government
resolution "somewhat abstract" and proposed the formation of a work
group that would present a combined proposal to the parliament the next
day. He said that the blame for the current problems should be shared by
the government, the Bank of Lithuania, the leaders of commercial banks,
as well as the credit givers and receivers. He urged the creation of a
better bank supervision system. -- Saulius Girnius

NEGOTIATIONS ON MINISTERIAL NOMINATIONS IN POLAND. The representatives
of the ruling coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the
Polish Peasant Party initially agreed on 28 December on the appointment
of Jerzy Konieczny as Internal Affairs Minister, and Dariusz Rosati as
Foreign Affairs Minister, Rzeczpospolita reported on 29 December.
Konieczny, a professor of law, headed the State Security Office in 1992-
1993 and declared his support for Lech Walesa. Rosati, a professor of
economics and former Communist Party member, was the SLD candidate to be
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in 1994, when Walesa blocked
his nomination. The choice of the Defense Minister has not been decided,
and, according to Polish dailies of 29 December, the SLD would like to
nominate former Deputy Minister Jerzy Milewski, who was a Walesa
supporter and then became President Aleksander Kwasniewski's security
advisor. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH SECURITY OFFICE PROMISES SUPPLEMENTARY EVIDENCE IN OLEKSY'S CASE.
The Deputy Chief of the State Protection Office (UOP), Jerzy Nozka, said
after a meeting with Sejm speaker Jozef Zych on 28 December that his
office would give military prosecutors the supplementary evidence
referring to alleged contacts between Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and
foreign (Soviet/Russian) intelligence, before 20 January. The
prosecutors office formulated 12 questions to the UOP concerning the
material former Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski delivered
on 19 December. The chief of the Military Information Service (WSI),
General Konstanty Malejczyk, said before the end of the year the WSI
would provide the prosecutors with information on the activities of
foreign countries' secret services in Poland (the prosecutors had
demanded such a report). Contradicting what he said on 27 December,
Oleksy said he does not exclude taking a temporary leave of office,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 29 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL ON TAXES. The Polish Constitutional
Tribunal has ruled that the tax law adopted for the first time by the
Sejm on 13 October is unconstitutional, saying that vacatio legis, or
the period for adaptation of the law, was too short. The law provided
for a six-grade taxation scale of 19, 21, 24, 31, 38, and 45%, instead
of the current 21, 33, and 45%. The last three thresholds will be in
force for 1996, the Polish press reported on 29 December. The court's
decision ended the legal fight between former President Lech Walesa on
the one side and the government and parliament on the other. Walesa
vetoed the bill on 27 November, and the Sejm overrode the president's
veto on 1 December. Instead of signing the bill, Walesa sent it to the
tribunal on 4 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

FIRE AT CZECH NUCLEAR PLANT. A small fire broke out on 28 December at
the nuclear power station at Dukovany in southern Moravia but was
extinguished within 20 minutes, Czech media reported. Officials of the
state nuclear security agency said the fire started in a transformer
serving the plant's lighting system. No one was injured and the fire did
not cause any safety problems. The plant is near the border with
Austria, which has repeatedly asked the Czech government to close the
station on safety grounds. Officials said the Austrian embassy in Prague
was informed of the fire. They stressed that similar incidents happen
about twice yearly, but so far Dukovany's reactor and safety systems
have not been affected. -- Steve Kettle

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO PLEASED WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF BOSNIAN TREATY. The commander of
NATO ground forces, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Walker, said that "it
appears that all parties are demonstrating a spirit of cooperation in
complying with the peace agreement . . . We are [however] in [the] early
days, it is a honeymoon period." He added that the first 30 days would
be decisive because all three sides must disarm their militias and
civilians by 20 January. IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith echoed
Walker's optimism, saying that he was "very happy at what has been
achieved in the first week of the mission." The International Herald
Tribune and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung carried the reports on 29
December. -- Patrick Moore

TOP NATO OFFICIAL IN BELGRADE. NATO commander for Europe, U.S. General
George Joulwan, arrived in Belgrade on 28 December and met with several
rump Yugoslav officials, including army chief of staff Momcilo Perisic
and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Following his two-hour talks
with Milosevic, Joulwan said the meetings were "very productive" and
conveyed "appreciation for the transit of IFOR, particularly American
aircraft here in Belgrade, and allowing forces to transit through Serbia
to Bosnia." Joulwan was accompanied on his visit by 54 U.S. soldiers,
who shall become the first NATO troops to cross into Bosnia from the
rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

WEATHER PROVES TO BE IFOR'S BIG ENEMY. NATO troops have been having to
deal with threats not from the locals but from the elements (See OMRI
Daily Digest, 28 December 1995). International media reported on 29
December that U.S. efforts to build a 310-meter pontoon bridge over the
Sava River for U.S. troops have been held up by the floods. The waters
also hit their camp at Zupanja after destroying a protective barrier.
Senior U.S. and Croatian army officers have agreed to work together on
the construction of the bridge. Meanwhile, the Czech daily Mlada fronta
Dnes said that American soldiers are preparing for a longer stay than
planned at their bases in Hungary. -- Patrick Moore and Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERBS WAIT FOR SMITH'S DECISION. In accordance with the Bosnian
Serbs' request to IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith, asking for
about a year's delay in the transfer of authority of the Serb-held parts
of Sarajevo to the Bosnian government (See OMRI Daily Digest, 27
December 1995), Bosnian Serb Parliamentary Speaker Momcilo Krajisnik
said at Pale that they will wait for the decision until 30 January. "If
[the] response is negative, we'll still have enough time to displace
people, property and state enterprises," Beta quoted Krajisnik as saying
on 29 December. Krajisnik also claimed that an agreement on certain
corrections of Dayton's territorial maps was reached with the "Muslim
side" relating to swaps of some Muslim and Serb villages in eastern
Bosnia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

HUNGARIAN RESPONSE TO ROMANIAN RECONCILIATION INITIATIVE. The Bucharest
daily Evenimentul zilei reports on 29 December that the Romanian
ambassador to Budapest, Ioan Donca, has received the Hungarian response
to President Ion Iliescu's initiative for a "historic reconciliation"
between the two countries. No details were provided. The daily also
wrote that Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu sent a letter to his
Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs, including Bucharest's response to
the latest proposals made by Hungary on the basic treaty between the two
countries. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA REJECTS TURNING RUSSIAN CONTINGENT INTO PEACEKEEPING FORCE. The
Moldovan delegation to the Joint Control Commission on 28 December
issued a statement rejecting the proposal to turn the Russian contingent
in Transdniester into a peacekeeping force. The proposal was made
earlier this year by Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Sokolov, deputy commander of the
Russian Land Force. According to Infotag, the statement says the
proposal is unacceptable "due to a certain politicization of the
contingent servicemen and their failure to remain unbiased in the
conflict." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS MEDIA CHIEF'S OUSTER . . . Zhelyu Zhelev
publicly demanded that Vecheslav Tunev, Director-General of Bulgarian
National Radio, submit his resignation, international media reported on
28 December. Prompting the call was an incident on 18 December, when
seven state radio employees were dismissed by Tunev after alleging that
management was censoring their work and following assurances by Tunev
himself that they would not be fired (See OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December
1995). Zhelev called the firings "an outrage" and added that the one
responsible "should not go unpunished." The president made his remarks
following meetings with members of Free Speech Forum, a journalists'
organization devoted to tracking the conditions affecting the freedoms
of the media. -- Stan Markotich

. . . AND PARDONS CONVICTED COMMUNIST OFFICIAL. Reuters on 28 December
reported that Zhelev exercised his constitutional prerogative and
pardoned Stoyan Ovcharov, a former Minister of Economy and Planning
under communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. Ovcharov was in the second year
of a nine-year sentence for embezzling funds that went to finance the
education of Zhivkov's grandson. Zhelev cited Ovcharov's ill health, and
said that humanitarian considerations led to the pardon. Former Prime
Minister Georgi Atanasov (Ovcharov's co-defendant) was pardoned in 1994
after serving less than one year of his ten-year sentence. -- Stan
Markotich

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET WITH SMALL DEFICIT. The Macedonian
parliament on 27 December approved the 1996 budget, which will be in
deficit by about 3 billion denars ($79 million), about 4.5% of the GDP,
Nova Makendonija reported the next day. The shortfall will be covered
entirely by credits from international financial institutions. The
budget is based upon a macroeconomic framework assuming 6% inflation, an
exchange rate of 27 denar/DM, 2% growth of social product, a freeze of
salaries in the budget sphere at the level of August 1995, the abolition
of vacation pay, a reduction in the number of social welfare recipients,
and continued reform of the banking system and customs service. In
parliamentary discussions, cuts in agricultural subsidies and social
welfare spending sparked the most controversy. -- Michael Wyzan

BULGARIAN ATHLETES OPEN BANK, BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO OPEN ROADS. A
group of prominent athletes, including soccer great Hristo Stoichkov,
established a commercial banking enterprise on 26 December, dubbed
National, 24 Chasa reported the following day. Among the first acts
undertaken by management was to offer 101 free shares, each valued at
roughly $1.5, to former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, in what is
widely regarded in the Bulgarian media as a publicity stunt. It is
unclear whether Zhivkov, under house arrest, has claimed the shares. In
a separate development, Reuters on the same day reported that the
Bulgarian government plans a massive upgrading of the country's
infrastructure over the next three years. Transport Minister Stamen
Stamenov was quoted as saying that they will be able to rehabilitate
some 2,000 kms of roads between Bulgaria and the Middle East by 1998,
which he said would help the country get in line with EU standards. --
Stan Markotich

BANS ON GRAIN, OILSEED EXPORTS EXTENDED THROUGH 1996. The Bulgarian
cabinet on 28 December extended for another year the ban on the export
of bread and feed grain and oil-bearing seeds and their derivatives,
Demokratsiya reported the next day. The move had been controversial,
even within the cabinet, with Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev (also a
Deputy Prime Minister) against it because it would harm the country's
chances of joining the World Trade Organization, as well as the
interests of producers. The move comes on the heels of this year's
"grain crisis": this year's harvest is the lowest in the last 15 years,
except for 1985, and bread and grain have been scarce this fall. The
cabinet also proposed that the export of meat, coal, and liquid fuels be
subject to registration and that licenses be required for the export of
gold and silver. -- Michael Wyzan

EU SUPPORTS ALBANIAN INFRASTRUCTURE. The EU and the Albanian government
have signed an agreement providing about 25 million ECU ($32.5 million)
in aid for infrastructure development on 22 December, international
agencies reported. The aid includes a program of 16 million ECU ($20.8
million) for ports and roads and an additional 9 million ECU for roads
along the Adriatic Sea. Since 1991, the EU has provided $671.6 million
in aid to Albania, making it the country's leading donor. -- Fabian
Schmidt

SEARCH FOR TURKISH PILOT OFF MITILINI. Greek and Turkish military
aircraft are searching for the pilot of a Turkish F-4 jet fighter which
crashed near the Greek island of Mitilini, Western media reported on 28
December. The plane, one of two which Athens claims violated Greek
airspace, crashed due to mechanical failure after being intercepted by
Greek warplanes. Greek and Turkish warplanes regularly engage in mock
dogfights in the Aegean where the two countries dispute the extent of
their respective territorial waters. In February a Turkish F-16 was lost
in a similar incident. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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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