We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 3, Part II, 4 January 1996


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. CALLS ON MILOSEVIC TO RELEASE MUSLIMS. "We're calling for the
release of the 16 people who are now being held by the Bosnian Serbs.
We're making this known privately to the Bosnian Serb military
commanders and we're now making it known privately to [Serbian]
President [Slobodan] Milosevic in Belgrade," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth
Burns said on 3 January. News agencies added that the U.S. embassy in
Belgrade would deliver the message to the Serbian leader. State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns noted that freedom of movement is
crucial to the civilian population and that Washington is "calling upon
the Serb leadership in Pale to release these people [and] conform to the
Dayton accords." --  Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF CENSORSHIP. Ukrainian journalists have
accused the government of censorship following its decision to take the
current affairs program "Pislyamova" off the air on 31 January, Reuters
reported on 3 January. "Pislyamova" last week ran a feature on
dissension among the president's advisers. Oleksandr Tkachenko,
president of the company that produces the program, said an hour before
the New Year's Eve broadcast was to be shown, he was "advised" not to
run the program in accordance with "orders from above." The Ukrainian
Media Club has demanded an investigation into the alleged censorship.
Spokesmen for the president and prime minister denied that they had
anything to do with taking the program off the air. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN GOVERNMENT SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH TRADE UNIONS. Belarusian
Radio on 3 January reported that the Cabinet of Ministers and the
Federation of Trade Unions have reached an agreement on social
protection in 1996. The document was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail
Chyhir, head of the Scientific-Industrial Association Mikhail
Laurynovich, head of the Union of Employers Uladzimir Karahin, leader of
the Union of Employers and Landlords Maks Kunyausky, and head of the
Federation of Trade Unions Uladzimir Hancharyk. The agreement raises the
minimum wage and also the lowest tax bracket. At the end of 1995, unions
were threatening mass protest actions over unpaid wages and delays in
pay hikes. However, the agreement was not signed by the Independent
Trade Unions of Belarus, which organized transport workers strikes last
August, bringing traffic in Minsk to a halt. -- Ustina Markus

NEW ESTONIAN COMMANDER OF DEFENSE FORCES. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi told
a news conference on 2 January that the cabinet unanimously supports
President Lennart Meri's choice of Lt. Col. Johannes Kert, commander of
the Defense League, as commander-in-chief of the defense forces, ETA
reported. The candidacy of acting commander Col. Vello Loemaa was not
discussed. The parliament still has to approve his nomination. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S BUDGET FOR 1996. Finance Minister Aivars Kreituss said that the
1996 draft budget will be presented to the Saeima in early February, BNS
reported on 3 January. The minister predicted that the budget will
probably total some 975 million lati ($1.8 billion), an increase of some
200 million lati over the 1994 budget. He said there are no provisions
in the budget to compensate depositors in bankrupt banks, noting that a
suggested payment of 200 lati to each depositor would cost 26 million
lati. The budget cannot be balanced, and the deficit is likely to be 61-
87 million lati. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PREMIER SAYS HE HAS NOT RESIGNED. Contrary to reports by both
Lithuanian TV and Diena, Adolfas Slezevicius has not announced his
resignation as premier and chairman of the Democratic Labor Party
(LDDP), Radio Lithuania reported on 3 January. The reports came in the
wake of Slezevicius's withdrawal of personal deposits from the Joint-
Stock Innovative Bank two days before the government halted the bank's
activities. He said rumors that the litas would be devalued due to the
banking crisis are unfounded, since the republic's hard-currency
reserves exceed currency in circulation. The LDDP Presidium has issued a
statement calling the withdrawal a "moral and political mistake" and
supporting Slezevicius's decision to redeposit his money in the bank as
soon as possible. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PREMIER ADMITS RUSSIAN CONTACTS BUT CONTINUES TO REJECT SPY
ALLEGATIONS. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy has confirmed that Vladimir
Alganov, a former KGB representative in Poland, was his neighbor and
"good acquaintance." But Oleksy denied once again that he had been a
spy, Polish dailies reported on 4 January. The previous day, Polish
Internal Affairs Minister Jerzy Konieczny and his predecessor, Andrzej
Milczanowski, admitted that documents sent by Milczanowski to the
Prosecutor's Office to offer evidence against Oleksy were incomplete.
Konieczny added that it had been premature to send the documents to the
prosecutor. Oleksy and Milczanowski testified on 3 January before a
special Sejm commission investigating the case. -- Jakub Karpinski

APPOINTMENTS TO POLISH PRESIDENT'S OFFICE. Gazeta Wyborcza on 4 January
reported that President Aleksander Kwasniewski has appointed Marek
Siwiec and Jerzy Milewski as state secretaries. The former will be a
political adviser to the president, while the latter will also head the
National Security Office. He also appointed seven undersecretaries of
state, including Zbigniew Siemiatkowski (internal affairs) and Krzysztof
Janik (local government affairs). Two officials who worked for former
President Lech Walesa's office--Szymon Kociszewski (administration) and
Andrzej Gliniecki (legal affairs)--will be retained by Kwasniewski.
Barbara Labuda, former Freedom Union deputy, will be responsible for
social issues. Andrzej Majkowski has been chosen to head the Foreign
Affairs Office, and Wojciech Lamentowicz (formerly of the Labor Union)
will be Kwasniewski's adviser on foreign affairs. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER'S PLAN REJECTED AGAIN. Czech economic ministers
on 2 January rejected a new concept for the Czech military presented by
Defense Minister Vilem Holan, Radio Prague reported the following day.
It was the second concept the minister has proposed. His previous plan
was turned down last November because Holan did not provide cost
figures. He wants to cut 15,000 men, leaving 50,000 in the armed forces.
The report said that Holan this time had said how much the plan would
cost, but it was apparently rejected because "some parts of the new
document were descriptive rather than analytical." -- Doug Clarke

OPINION POLL INDICATES REFERENDUM TO DISMISS SLOVAK PRESIDENT WOULD
FAIL. An opinion poll conducted by the FOCUS agency in December showed
that President Michal Kovac would survive a referendum to remove him
from office, Narodna obroda reported on 4 January. A total of 26.1% of
respondents said they would vote for Kovac's dismissal, while 46.3% said
they would oppose it; 21.8% said they would not participate and 5.8%
were undecided. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar has several times called
for a referendum to dismiss the president. Kovac's dismissal was
supported mostly by followers of Meciar's party, the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia; 71% of that party's supporters said they would be
in favor of dismissing him. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON ASKS CABINET TO HAVE HIM EXTRADITED. Michal Kovac
Jr. on 3 January appealed to the Slovak government to have him returned
to Slovakia, Praca reported. Kovac Jr. has been in Austria since August,
when he was abducted and subsequently arrested on fraud charges
involving the Slovak firm Technopol. Austrian authorities are still
deciding whether to return him to Slovakia or to turn him over to
Germany, where an international warrant for his arrest was issued in
November 1994. Shortly after his son's abduction, President Michal Kovac
asked the government to have Kovac Jr. returned to Slovakia, but the
cabinet refused, saying it could do so only if charges were brought
against him in Slovakia. Kovac Jr. argued that because such charges were
filed on 27 December, there is no longer any reason to keep him in
Austria. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S IMMIGRATION OFFICE OPPOSES ASYLUM FOR MORE REFUGEES. The
Office of Refugees and Migration Affairs on 3 January advised the
government not to accept any more asylum seekers from the Balkans,
Hungarian media reported. Bela Jungbert, head of the office, said that
"since there is no war, the status does not make sense any longer." But
he added that those seeking political refugee status would not be
affected. Jungbert noted that as of 1 January 1996, Austria and Germany
stopped accepting asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia. Between
1991 and 1995, some 75,000 refugees sought temporary asylum in Hungary;
8,500 are currently still in Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

END TO MUSLIM CRISIS IN SIGHT? The crisis over the Muslims held by
Bosnian Serbs has developed into a Serbian test of NATO's will. NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said the matter was "a harsh blow . . .
[but] we are prepared to tackle highs and lows." Bosnian government
minister Hasan Muratovic told Reuters on 4 January that he is satisfied
that NATO is taking things seriously after he received a letter from
IFOR's commander, Admiral Leighton Smith. Nasa Borba noted that Bosnian
officials were using terms like "pure terrorism" to refer to the
incident. On 4 January, three of the detainees were released and
Belgrade's Radio Politika reported from Pale that all 16 would be freed.
The BBC said, however, that the Bosnian Serbs wanted to treat the
Muslims as prisoners of war and exchange them for Serbs later. --
Patrick Moore

PERRY ON NATO IN BOSNIA. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense William
Perry, speaking in Sarajevo on 4 January, said the NATO-led peacekeeping
force in Bosnia will not act as a "police force." He was responding to
Bosnian government complaints that NATO is not doing enough to protect
Muslim civilians. Perry said that while NATO has the responsibility to
ensure freedom of movement, he felt that the issue of the Muslims held
by Bosnian Serbs would be better handled by the international UN
civilian police force, which is expected to arrive in Bosnia later this
month. He added that in the meantime, NATO "will do what it can to
assist." -- Michael Mihalka

ITALIAN SOLDIER WOUNDED IN SERBIAN SUBURB. News agencies reported on 4
January that an Italian man was involved in what might be the first
deliberate attack on NATO troops. The incident took place before 5:00
a.m. in Vogosca. Meanwhile in Mostar, the UNHCR suspended its convoys
after local Croatian officials tried to impose a tax of 50 kuna ($10)
per truck. The Herzegovinian Croats have been notorious for such
activities in the past, and the incident serves to recall that de facto
check-points continue to exist, including in Sarajevo. During the night
of 3-4 January, Muslims in Mostar attacked Croatian vehicles, but Hina
said nobody was injured. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman arrived in
Sarajevo on 4 January for brief talks with Bosnian leaders. Finally,
Nasa Borba reported that telephone links have been restored between
Sarajevo and Belgrade after a break of over three years. -- Patrick
Moore

MONTENEGRIN POLITICIAN ON "REAL WAR HEROES." Nasa Borba on 4 January
reported that Srdjan Darmanovic, vice president of the Social Democratic
Party of Montenegro, has come out strongly in favor of legislation
granting an amnesty to all those who fled the former Yugoslavia to avoid
serving in the Balkan conflicts. "We believe that the youth who fled in
the wake of mobilization [campaigns] are the real war heroes . . . and
not those who actually participated in this filthy war. . . .  These
were the people who were right not to want to fight in a senseless
conflict," Darmanovic said. He added that any objectors wishing to
return should be encouraged to do so. -- Stan Markotich

OSCE TALKS ON ARMS CONTROL BEGIN. OSCE talks on arms control and
confidence-building measures got under way in Vienna on 4 January,
international agencies reported. The negotiations fulfill requirements
laid down in the Dayton peace accords. Hungary's Istvan Gyarmati is
chairing the talks on confidence-building measures, which are scheduled
to finish on 26 January. Vigleik Eide from Norway is presiding over the
talks on arms control, to be completed no later than 6 June. At a news
conference in Vienna on 3 January, Gyarmati said the first aim of the
confidence-building talks is to exchange military data and set up
military liaisons between the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-Croatian
federation. He added that this task would prove "politically and
psychologically difficult." -- Michael Mihalka

ROMANIA REJECTS DNIESTER REFERENDUM. Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Sorin Ducaru on 3 January rejected a referendum supporting the creation
of an independent state in Moldova's breakaway Dniester region, Radio
Bucharest and Reuters reported. According to Ducaru, the "pseudo-
elections" and the 24 December referendum were staged by "illegitimate
authorities" and contravened the Moldovan constitution. The spokesman
added that Romania backed Moldova's territorial integrity and would
continue to participate in the search for a peaceful solution to the
conflict in eastern Moldova. -- Dan Ionescu

SECURITATE FILE ON ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE HEAD PUBLISHED IN NEWSPAPER.
Evenimentul zilei on 4 January continued to publish excerpts from the
Securitate file on Virgil Magureanu, head of the Romanian Intelligence
Service. The file, which was put at the daily's disposal by Magureanu,
shows that he was recruited as a Securitate "resident" in the Banat
region in 1963 and put in charge of supervising local informers. One
year later, he was dismissed for "inefficient work." Adevarul warned
that Magureanu was about to "open a Pandora's box" in a country where
ordinary citizens are still denied access to their Securitate files.
Meanwhile, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist Greater Romania
Party, announced he would publish Magureanu's complete file, which, he
said, showed that Magureanu continued to work for the Securitate after
1964. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS PRESIDENTIAL ACCUSATIONS. The Moldovan
parliament has rejected recent accusations by President Mircea Snegur
that the parliament and its chairman, Petru Lucinschi, have attempted to
block talks between Chisinau and Tiraspol aimed at restoring Moldova's
territorial integrity, BASA-press reported on 2 January. The parliament
noted in a statement that it is not true that Lucinschi failed "to react
adequately to the unconstitutional [24 December] elections in
Transdniestria." In late December, Snegur described as "irresponsible"
Lucinschi's appeal to the Dniester population to support "conciliatory
forces" in the region. Local media argue that both Snegur and Lucinschi
are trying to make political capital out of the Dniester crisis in
anticipation of the December 1996 presidential elections. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN SOCIALIST QUARRELS CONTINUE . . . Political differences within
the governing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) have become increasingly
apparent, with Bulgarian newspapers on 4 January publishing statements
by BSP leaders criticizing Zhan Videnov's government. BSP Deputy
Chairman Georgi Parvanov, in an interview with 24 chasa, called on
Videnov to reshuffle his cabinet and replace some of his advisers, but
he declined to name anyone. Standart reported that the reformist
Alliance for Social Democracy (OSD) within the BSP has demanded the
resignation of Agriculture Minister Vasil Chichibaba because of the
ongoing grain shortage. The daily quotes OSD member Chavdar Kyuranov as
saying "there are objective preconditions for corruption because of the
concentration of economic power around the prime minister." -- Stefan
Krause

. . . WHILE OPPOSITION WANTS NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. Union of Democratic
Forces (SDS) caucus leader Yordan Sokolov has said his faction will
introduce a no confidence motion on 5 January because of the
government's failure to deal with the grain crisis. Demokratsiya quoted
Sokolov as saying the SDS motion will ask for a no confidence vote in
the cabinet as a whole, not just in Prime Minister Zhan Videnov or in
individual ministers. The motion will be discussed in the parliament on
12 January, and the vote will most likely take place on 17 January, 24
chasa reported. The daily also said that the no confidence vote will be
supported by all opposition parties. Meanwhile, Zemya, citing unnamed
sources, reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kiril
Tsochev will hand in his resignation on 17 January. Tsochev opposes the
government's decision to extend the export ban for grain until the end
of 1996. -- Stefan Krause

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION IN ALBANIA. A delegation of members of the
Council of Europe's Legal Affairs and Human Rights Commission and
Political Commission arrived in Albania on 3 January. Gazeta Shqiptare
reported. They met with representatives of political parties and the
speaker of the parliament. They are expected to hold talks with the mass
media, the prosecutor-general, and members of the Lawyers' Association.
A meeting with President Sali Berisha is also scheduled. Meanwhile,
Reuters reported on 4 January that Berisha will visit China from 16-19
January following an invitation by Chinese President Jiang Zemin. --
Fabian Schmidt

REPLACEMENT OF GREEK PREMIER IMMINENT. Leaders of the governing
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) have publicly called for Prime
Minister Andreas Papandreou's replacement, Reuters and AFP reported.
PASOK Secretary-General Kostas Skandalidis on 3 January said the party
will start the procedure to replace Papandreou, who has been in hospital
for seven weeks. Skandalidis said a PASOK Central Committee meeting
scheduled for 20 January will find a solution to the "political problem
caused by [Papandreou's] illness." The decision was taken at an eight-
hour meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau, the party's highest political
body. Following the meeting, leading PASOK members declared an "acute
political crisis." Meanwhile, the latest medical bulletin on 3 January
said a "kidney biopsy showed extensive damage." -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (C) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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