A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 6, Part II, 9 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
UN SECURITY COUNCIL SLAMS CROATIA. The top UN body on 8 January passed a
resolution calling on Zagreb to cease human rights abuses in Krajina and
work to remedy the situation, Hina reported. "The Security Council
strongly condemns the violations of international humanitarian law and
human rights . . . including killings of several hundreds of civilians,
systematic and widespread looting and arson, and other forms of
destruction of property." The resolution also accused Croatia of
blocking the return of refugees, not bringing guilty parties to justice,
not handing over indicted war criminals, and discriminating against
remaining Serbian civilians. It called on Zagreb to restore Serbian
property rights and provide humanitarian aid for stranded Serbian
villagers. The Council asked the secretary-general to prepare a report
on Croatia's compliance by 15 February. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

NEW BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT CONVENES. The new Belarusian parliament is
scheduled to meet for the first time on 9 January, Belarusian Radio
reported the previous day. The top item on its agenda is the election of
a new speaker. Candidates for the post include former Prime Minister
Vyachelsau Kebich, who is supported by the Accord faction; Syamon
Shapetsky, is backed by the Agrarian Party; and former Foreign Minister
Piotr Krauchanka, who is the candidate of the Social-Democratic bloc. --
Ustina Markus

DANISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN ESTONIA. Hans Haekkerup on 6 January
discussed with President Lennart Meri cooperation within the framework
of the Partnership for Peace program and training of Estonian personnel
in Denmark. Following meetings on 8 January with Prime Minister Tiit
Vahi, parliamentary chairman Toomas Savi, and Defense Minister Andrus
Oovel, Haekkeup said the Estonian defense forces had developed quickly
in an exemplary manner. He also stressed that Estonia must join NATO,
ETA reported. Oovel noted that defense cooperation with Denmark was
increasing. -- Saulius Girnius

TIGHTER LATVIAN BUDGET. Finance Minister Aivars Kreituss told reporters
on 8 January that the 1996 budget deficit should not exceed 60 million
lati ($111 million), BNS and LETA reported. He noted that the budget
will have no funds for the redemption of certificates issued by previous
government as compensation for property taken over by the state. Nor
will it compensate depositors in bankrupt banks or pay out 5 million
lati in subsidies owed to farmers. The Finance Ministry hopes to end the
special budgets of various ministries that spent 70-80 million lati last
year without presenting accounts either to it or the Saeima. Kreituss on
5 January accused the previous cabinet of uncontrolled spending in the
last two months of 1995, which, he said, had raised the budget deficit
from 40 million lati to 92 million lati. -- Saulius Girnius

BANK OF LITHUANIA CHAIRMAN RESIGNS. Kazys Ratkevicius on 8 January
announced he has submitted his resignation to President Algirdas
Brazauskas, Radio Lithuania reported. Ratkevicius noted that the
Democratic Labor Party caucus's decision the previous day to support his
ouster was a strictly political move, since no charges of irregular
economic activity have been brought against him. Also on 8 January,
Brazauskas said after a meeting with Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys and
Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius that he would not accepting their
resignations; the two ministers will remain in office. A further blow to
the credibility of the government is the revelation that Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius and Interior Minister Romasis Vaitekunas were
receiving more than 30% interest on savings accounts in the recently
suspended Joint-Stock Innovative Bank. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT LIFTS VETO ON NATIONAL DEFENSE LAW. Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski on 8 January withdrew his predecessor Lech
Walesa's veto on national defense legislation, which places the chief of
staff and secret service under the direct control of the civilian
defense minister. Kwasniewski, following a visit to the General Staff
headquarters, said he is planning to strengthen parliamentary control
over the armed forces. He was accompanied on his visit by newly
appointed Defense Minister Stanislaw Dobrzanski, Polish dailies reported
on 9 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

WALESA TO RESUME WORK AT GDANSK SHIPYARD? The former president is
considering taking up his old job at the Gdansk shipyard, Polish media
reported on 8-9 January. His wife has confirmed the reports. Walesa had
worked at the shipyard as an electrician since 1966 before becoming
involved in politics full-time in April 1989. Rzeczpospolita on 9
January noted that former presidents have no particular rights, except
to be accompanied by bodyguards and to accept medical treatment in the
government hospital. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH REPUBLIC, KUWAIT SIGN INVESTMENT PROTECTION ACCORD. The Czech
Republic and Kuwait on 8 January signed a mutual investment protection
treaty during a two-day visit to the Gulf state by Czech Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus, Czech and international media reported. Klaus told a press
conference that Kuwait is also preparing to provide finance for the
planned reconstruction of a railway corridor across the Czech Republic
from its border with Poland to Austria. No further details were
released. Klaus, who was accompanied by 25 Czech industrialists, also
met with Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, and other
officials for talks on potential Kuwaiti investment in the Czech
Republic. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAKIA'S RULING COALITION TO EXPAND? There is growing speculation
among Slovak media that the anticipated leadership change at the April
congress of the opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) may mean
the party will join the coalition government. SDL chairman Peter Weiss,
who is opposed to the coalition's political line, has said he will not
run again. Head of the SDL shadow government Juraj Hrasko, in an
interview with Narodna obroda on 9 January, noted that the party's
republican council in November 1994 rejected joining the coalition
because of the latter's "confrontational style of governing," including
attempts to dismiss the president and massive purges. According to
Hrasko, the decision on whether the coalition will be expanded is in the
hands of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, rather than the
SDL. "A correct political and program agreement" approved by both
parties would be required for the SDL's entry into the coalition, Hrasko
noted. -- Sharon Fisher

OSCE OFFICIAL IN SLOVAKIA. OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
Max van der Stoel began a three-day visit to Slovakia on 8 January to
examine the situation of the country's Hungarian minority, Praca
reported. Topics of discussion include the ratification of the Slovak-
Hungarian treaty; Slovakia's state language law, passed in November;
preparations for a law on minority languages; "alternative" (bilingual)
education; state subsidies for minority culture, and Slovakia's plans
for territorial administration. With regard to territorial autonomy for
minorities, Deputy Premier Katarina Tothova told Van der Stoel that
Slovakia will follow the guidelines of the Framework agreement, which
does not guarantee such rights. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN LOCALS COMPLAIN ABOUT IFOR TROOPS. Several members of the town
council of the southern Hungarian town of Kaposvar have complained about
traffic jams caused by IFOR units, increasing air pollution, and damage
to local roads, Nepszabadsag reported on 9 January. At the same time,
the daily noted, the arrival of IFOR troops has boosted the economy of
both Kaposvar and nearby Taszar, where the main air base is located. The
paper also said that numerous IFOR soldiers have been taken ill and are
now in quarantine. Both U.S. and Hungarian health experts denied that
the troops have contracted measles, saying the soldiers picked up some
kind of influenza virus on their way to Hungary. Hospital sources say
that laboratory results in the second half of the week will reveal the
nature of the ailment. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

FORMER HUNGARIAN PREMIER DIES. Karoly Grosz, a former prime minister and
the last secretary-general of the Hungarian Communist Party, died on 7
January after a long illness, Hungarian media reported on 9 January. A
government statement described Grosz, who was 65, as an "ambivalent but
major political personality in the era of transformation" who strove to
launch reforms. Magyar Nemzet, assessing his role in the reform process,
remarked that Grosz only went so far as to give a cautious "yes" to the
reform of the system. Grosz was prime minister from June 1987 to
November 1988. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IS UN RESOLUTION AIMED AT EASTERN SLAVONIA? The BBC on 9 January called
the UN resolution on Croatia (see "Top Story") the organization's
toughest condemnation of that country to date. The broadcast suggested
that the council is under no illusions about any early or massive return
of Krajina Serbs but is seeking rather to reassure the Serbs of eastern
Slavonia, who are slated under a 12 November agreement to return to
Croatian control within two years. AFP reported that Russia may be asked
to help beef up the international military contingent in eastern
Slavonia from fewer than 1,700 to some 5,000 troops as part of a general
upgrading of the UN force in the region. There appears to be general
concern in the international community that any problems in eastern
Slavonia could adversely affect implementation of the Dayton agreement
in Bosnia. Croatia has repeatedly warned that it reserves the right to
retake the territory by force if the Serbs do not respect the current
agreement. -- Patrick Moore

SUSAK BACKS DAYTON DEADLINES. EU administrator Hans Koschnick said in
Mostar on 8 January that Croatian and Muslim officials now seem anxious
to implement the Dayton agreement. "Both sides, importantly, have
managed to calm the situation down. As far as I'm concerned things seem
to be getting better," he told Reuters. U.S. trouble-shooter Robert
Gallucci said in Zagreb, however, that he was unhappy with current
progress on the implementation of the peace treaty. But Croatian Defense
Minister Gojko Susak, who is probably the most powerful of the
Herzegovinian Croats, weighed in solidly on behalf of the Muslim-
Croatian federation: "We have to go on with the federation. If we want
the federation, if we want to stick with the Dayton agreement which has
certain deadlines, then we have to have a much more active approach."
AFP reported on 9 January that EU police officials in Mostar are
nonetheless doubtful that a joint force can be set up by the 20 January
deadline. -- Patrick Moore

MITTERRAND GETS COLD SHOULDER FROM BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT. Many ordinary
Sarajevans may fondly recall late French President Francois Mitterrand,
who died in Paris on 8 January aged 79, for his daring if brief visit to
their besieged city; but those sentiments are not necessarily shared by
the mainly Muslim authorities. The BBC on 9 January quoted Vice
President Ejup Ganic as saying that Bosnia has no reason to remember
him. This presumably reflects the view widely held in Bosnia and Croatia
that Mitterrand was pro-Serbian and sought to restore a united
Yugoslavia as his ultimate goal. President Alija Izetbegovic told OMRI
in Prague in October that he found little sympathy or understanding in
Paris during the Mitterrand presidency but that things improved
dramatically following the election of Jacques Chirac. -- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC SENDS "BEST WISHES" TO BOSNIAN SERBS. Nasa Borba, citing
Tanjug, on 9 January reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
sent the Bosnian Serbs his official greetings on the occasion of the
"national day" of the Republika Srpska. Milosevic observed that this was
the first such holiday commemorated "in peace," and he added that it is
his hope that the Bosnian Serbs can look forward "to a successful
economic and cultural recovery." -- Stan Markotich

HOLBROOKE ASKS MILOSEVIC TO ALLOW U.S. REPRESENTATION IN KOSOVO. U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke told VOA on 8 January
that he has held talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and
that the U.S. is seeking permission to establish an official presence in
Pristina. The representation will probably be a United States
Information Agency office, Holbrooke said. He added that it might open
"in the very near future" and will help reduce tensions in the region.
Holbrooke stressed that the U.S. was not supporting the Kosovar
Albanians' demand for independence. But he pointed out that "the
oppression of the people there by the Serbs has been extremely bad." --
Fabian Schmidt

SLOVENIA TO OPEN NEW EMBASSIES? Nasa Borba on 9 January reported that
the Slovenian Foreign Ministry has announced it will open new embassies
in Turkey, South Africa, Portugal, India, Slovakia, Denmark, and the
rump Yugoslavia. But Ljubljana noted that these plans will have to take
into account budgetary and other constraints. Slovenia currently has
embassies in 28 nations. It was the first republic of the former
Yugoslavia to recognize Belgrade (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 December
1995). -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ROM TO RUN IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Ion Cioaba on 7 January
announced he will run in the 1996 Romanian parliamentary elections,
Reuters reported. The international and domestic media treat Cioaba, who
declared himself "king of all Gypsies" in 1992, as something of a joke
and typically focus on his Cadillac motorcades and other signs of
opulence. Reuters writes that "he is not generally recognized by anyone
beyond his family or people keen to do business with him." However, the
agency noted that "his critics, including rival Gypsy leaders, say the
ruling left-wing Party of Social Democracy in Romania uses him as a
puppet in order to garner the substantial Gypsy vote." There are an
estimated 2 million Roma in Romania. -- Alaina Lemon

UNIDENTIFIED VIRUS KILLS BABIES IN ROMANIA. Six newborn babies died and
12 others were in critical condition owing to a unidentified virus at a
maternity clinic in eastern Romania, Romanian and international media
reported on 8 January. Rompres quoted doctors as saying the infants died
from vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and asphyxiation. The Health
Ministry has set up a special panel to investigate the mysterious
deaths, sent expectant mothers to other hospitals, and shut down the
clinic. Romania's infant mortality rate of 21.2 per 1,000 births in 1995
was one of the highest in Europe. -- Matyas Szabo

ASSOCIATION FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH FORMED IN BULGARIA. Svobodno Slovo
(Free Speech) officially constituted itself in Sofia on 8 January, Pari
reported the following day. Around 100 journalists, translators, and
sociologists adopted the forum's statutes and elected its administrative
bodies. Former Bulgarian National Radio journalist Yasen Boyadzhiev was
elected chairman of the organization. Svobodno Slovo defines itself as
politically independent and committed to the defense of freedom of
speech. The founding of Svobodno Slovo comes in the wake of ongoing
quarrels within BNR. Dissenting journalists accused BNR's management of
political censorship, while BNR Director-General Vecheslav Tunev
responded by dismissing seven of the journalists who made the
accusations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November and 19 December 1995).
-- Stefan Krause

DID BULGARIAN DEPUTY PREMIER RESIGN? Pari on 9 January cited unnamed
sources within the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party as saying that
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev handed in his
resignation and has been on leave since New Year. The resignation will
be announced during a cabinet reshuffle in February, the sources said.
Pari adds that Tsochev will take the blame for the ongoing grain
shortage and leave the cabinet along with Interior Minister Lyubomir
Nachev. While 24 chasa carried a similar report, both dailies noted that
other ministers denied any knowledge of Tsochev's resignation. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIAN COURT ORDERS ARREST OF FORMER COMMUNIST OFFICIALS. The Tirana
Municipal Court, following a request by the Prosecutor-General's Office,
has ordered the arrest of former Deputy Interior Minister Hysen Shahu
and former Deputy Director of the state security Sigurimi Sulejman
Abazi. Both officials held office from 1980-1990 and are accused of mass
imprisonments in violation of communist-era laws and the constitution,
ATSH reported on 8 January. The two officials are included on a list of
36 people accused by the Forum of Albanian Intellectuals of crimes
against humanity. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK OPPOSITION FILES NO CONFIDENCE MOTION. The conservative New
Democracy party on 8 January submitted a no confidence motion against
the government of ailing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Reuters
reported the same day. Leading ND members said the move was necessary
because Greece has been "a rudderless ship" since Papandreou was
admitted to the hospital on 20 November 1995. They urged the ruling
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) to nominate a new premier and
accused Papandreou of plunging Greece into political uncertainty by not
resigning. The ND is supported by the small Political Spring party, but
together they hold only 119 mandates in the 300-seat parliament. --
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 omripub@omri.cz 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) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole