Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. - Karl Menninger
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 8, Part II, 11 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

BOSNIAN MINE MAY BE MASS GRAVE FOR 8,000 MUSLIMS, CROATS.
The New York Times on 11 January reported that a huge open-pit iron mine
near Ljubija may hold the remains of thousands of victims of Serbian
"ethnic cleansing." Many of the corpses seem to have been reburied from
other sites among northwestern Bosnia's Serbian killing fields and
concentration camps. The bodies were often mauled by mining equipment,
doused with chemicals, and dumped under tons of debris. British
spokesmen said their troops frequently come across decomposed corpses,
which the Serbs then quickly remove. Local residents said they saw bus
after bus filled with Muslims and Croats enter the mine gates, but none
of the passengers ever returned. Human rights groups want to investigate
Ljubija and mass grave sites near Srebrenica to prove that the Serbs
deliberately committed genocide, but they say IFOR is unwilling to help
them. -- Patrick Moore

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE ALLOWS RUSSIAN OIL THROUGH PIPELINES. Ukraine on 10 January
allowed Russian oil to flow through the Druzhba pipeline to the Czech
Republic and Slovakia, ITAR-TASS reported. The pipeline was closed on 1
January after Russia refused to pay $5.23 (an increase of 70 cents) for
pumping one ton of oil through 100 km of Ukraine's territory. Two days
later, oil supplies resumed to Hungary, but not to other countries.
Slovakia grew concerned that its economy would suffer if supplies were
not resumed, since Russia is its only supplier of crude. Russian oil
exporters stand to lose up to $20 million because of the tariff dispute.
The Russian Fuel and Energy Ministry has not decided whether to accept
the new transportation rate, which would make Russian oil more expensive
on the Central and West European markets. -- Ustina Markus

NO PROGRESS ON RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN BORDER DEMARCATION. Borys Danilchenko,
head of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry CIS Department, said Russia is
delaying demarcating its border with Ukraine, Interfax reported on 9
January. According to Danilchenko, work on the Belarusian-Ukrainian
border is almost complete. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS ELECTS NEW PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER. Semyon Sharetsky, leader of
the Agrarian Party, has been elected chairman of the Belarusian Supreme
Soviet after two rounds of voting, international agencies reported on 10
January. Three other candidates competed in the first round of voting:
head of the United Civic Party Stanislau Bahdankevich, former speaker
Mechyslau Hryb, head of the Communist caucus Syarhei Kalyakin. With the
Communists holding the largest number of seats in the new parliament and
the Agrarians the second largest, Kalyakin and Sharetsky won the most
votes in the first round of voting. In the second round, centrists and
pro-reform deputies threw their support behind Sharetsky. -- Ustina
Markus

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES ALIEN PASSPORTS. Interior Minister Mart
Rask on 9 January announced that the government has decided to grant
alien status and alien passports to some 300,000 residents who have only
former USSR passports, ETA reported the next day. The Soviet passports
expire on 12 July. The Citizenship and Immigration Department will issue
alien passports valid for five years in conjunction with a residence
permit. Rask was instructed to tell the government by 30 January how
much the operation is expected to cost. -- Saulius Girnius

LAND SALES TO FOREIGN COMPANIES IN LATVIA. Prime Minister Andris Skele
hinted that the current restrictions on the sale of land to foreigners
may be abolished because they are discouraging foreign investment, BNS
reported on 10 January. Two months ago, Latvia began to sell land to
companies from countries with which it has concluded agreements of the
promotion and protection of investments--namely, France, Great Britain,
Switzerland, Taiwan, Norway, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Germany is
expected to sign a similar agreement soon. Companies from other
countries are allowed to buy land only when Latvian citizens provide at
least 51% of the company's founding capital. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA PLANS TO SIGN NATO AGREEMENT ON STATUS OF FORCES. The
government on 10 January said it will ask President Algirdas Brazauskas
to give Darius Cekuolis, Lithuania's ambassador in Brussels, the
authority to sign a Status of Forces Agreement with NATO as a
Partnership for Peace program member-nation, Radio Lithuania reported.
Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius noted that because Lithuanian forces
were being sent abroad more often to participate in PfP exercises, it
was important to settle their legal status in foreign countries. Without
SOFA, Lithuania has to prepare a separate agreement for its troops for
each mission. Several NATO and PfP countries have already signed such
agreements. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON POLISH PREMIER SPY AFFAIR. Poland's chief military prosecutor
Ryszard Michalowski has indicated that he may decide against launching a
formal investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy
spied for the Russians. Michalowski told Zycie Warszawy on 10 January
that to find someone guilty of espionage, it must be proven that the
accused  acted "consciously." Oleksy says that while he was acquainted
with Col. Vladimir Alganov, he did not know that he was a KGB agent.
Meanwhile, former Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski told
Polityka that in July 1992 Oleksy began to meet confidentially with a
new Russian diplomat in Poland who was also an intelligence agent and
who took over some of Alganov's tasks. -- Jakub Karpinski

ISRAELI PRESIDENT IN PRAGUE. Ezer Weizman began a three-day visit to the
Czech Republic on 10 January at the start of a European tour, Czech and
international media reported. President Vaclav Havel awarded Weizman the
Czech Republic's highest honor--the Order of the White Lion with Chain--
and discussed with him bilateral ties and the Middle East peace process.
Weizman said Israel was grateful for Czechoslovakia's military and
political support when the Jewish state was founded in 1948. Bilateral
relations were broken off relations in 1967 and restored only after the
fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. Weizman is scheduled to visit the
former Nazi concentration camp at Terezin and then to continue his tour
in Germany. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTERS MEETS WITH OSCE OFFICIAL. Vladimir Meciar on 10
January met with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van
der Stoel at the end of his three-day visit to Slovakia. Van der Stoel
recommended that the government approve a law on the use of minority
languages to accompany the state language law approved in November,
Pravda reported.  Meciar noted that he would like to receive a report on
the situation of minorities in EU countries, adding that "if the results
show that there is a higher level of minority rights in other countries,
we will be glad to adapt." Meciar assured Van der Stoel that the Slovak
parliament will pass the Slovak-Hungarian treaty in January or February
with the support of deputies from the government coalition, TASR
reported. -- Sharon Fisher

RFE/RL TO LOSE SLOVAK LICENSE? Peter Juras, chairman of Slovakia's Board
for Radio and TV Broadcasting, told reporters on 10 January that RFE/RL
will lose its license to broadcast in Slovakia "if it does not improve"
within the next 30 days. He accused RFE/RL of failing to fulfill
conditions set when the license was granted, including "objectivity,
impartiality, and a reassuring tone," and said "the question arises as
to whether the Slovak service of RFE/RL is an ideological tool in the
hands of interest groups in the U.S. against an independent Slovakia."
Juras noted that even the opposition and the president were not spared
of RFE/RL criticism for their support of the controversial language law.
RFE/RL Director of Broadcasting Robert Gillette issued a statement
saying the station's management "fully respects the professional
integrity of its Slovak service." According to RFE/RL sources, the
station learned about the board's criticisms only through the press
conference. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS MEDIA LAW. Arpad Goncz on 10 January signed
Hungary's long awaited media bill, which was passed by the parliament
last month, Hungarian media reported. Magyar Hirlap reported that the
law will take effect on 1 February. Four parliamentary parties have
agreed to meet to prepare parliamentary and governmental measures on the
implementation of the law. The opposition Smallholders and Christian
Democrats declined to take part in the talks. Among the most pressing
tasks are reportedly establishing public service foundations and
electing the 31 members of the National Radio and Television Committee.
Parliamentary commissioners may be appointed to supervise the operations
of Hungarian TV and Hungarian Radio. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ASKED TO RULE ON NATO REFERENDUM
PETITION. The extra-parliamentary Hungarian Workers' Party on 10 January
appealed to the Constitutional Court to overturn what it called the
parliament's unconstitutional rejection last month of its petition
calling for a referendum on Hungary's NATO membership, Hungarian dailies
reported. The party said the parliament used an arbitrary interpretation
of the law on referendums to reject the petition. The party had
collected 142,000 signatures endorsing a referendum on NATO membership
(100,000 are required by the constitution) but the parliamentary
Constitutional Committee subsequently rejected the petition.  Government
officials said it was to early to call a referendum since the country
had not yet been invited to join the alliance. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MILOSEVIC TO HELP PREVENT FURTHER ATTACKS? NATO commander Admiral
Leighton Smith on 10 January said Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
has promised to help prevent future incidents like the bazooka attack in
Sarajevo that killed one and injured many more (see OMRI Daily Digest,
10 January 1996). Both men agreed that the shelling was an isolated
terrorist incident and not part of some Bosnian Serb project to torpedo
the Dayton agreement, the International Herald Tribune reported on 11
January. Nasa Borba added that Milosevic pledged the attack will not go
unpunished. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said diplomats and
military experts in the Bosnian capital fear that the Serbs intend to
torch their suburbs rather than hand them over to government authority.
The Serbs there made up only about half of the prewar population, and
thousands of expelled Muslims and Croats now want to go home. Meanwhile,
the VOA's Croatian Service reported that President Bill Clinton will
visit Tuzla in the near future but will not go to Sarajevo because of
security concerns. Hina noted that he will also go to Zagreb. -- Patrick
Moore

BILDT BRINGS SERBS, GOVERNMENT TOGETHER. The international community's
Carl Bildt on 10 January chaired the first publicized meeting in four
years in Sarajevo between representatives of the Bosnian Serb civilian
leadership and their government counterparts. Nasa Borba said on 11
January that Bildt's spokesman called the session "the beginning of a
process of resolving urgent problems relating to the Sarajevo area," but
Reuters noted that any solution is a long way off and that the
government representatives have no intention of visiting Serb-held
territory. Meanwhile, Muslim and Croat leaders have apparently agreed on
Izudin Kapetanovic as the Federation's new prime minister. He comes from
Tuzla and belongs to the mainly Muslim Party of Democratic Action. --
Patrick Moore

SHELLS FLY IN MOSTAR. The EU on 10 January blamed primarily the Croats
for continued shelling in the divided Herzegovinian city, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service said. The EU administrator, Hans Koschnick, again
threatened to resign unless the Croats and Muslims get to work on
breathing life into their federation, AFP reported. President Clinton's
trouble-shooter is making the rounds in the region to try to bring an
end to Croatian-Muslim tensions. Hina noted on 8 January that German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said that he and U.S. Secretary of State
Warren Christopher would both become more involved in settling the
Mostar issue. Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 9 January that the town of
Citluk, located between Mostar and the pilgrimage site of Medjugorje,
has offered to provide a home for Mostar's new airport. -- Patrick Moore

POLITICAL STANDOFF INTENSIFIES IN ZAGREB. Novi list reported on 11
January that President Franjo Tudjman still will not confirm Goran
Granic of the opposition coalition as mayor of Zagreb. It was made clear
to Granic that he would not receive presidential approval, and on 10
January he offered his resignation to the opposition-dominated city
council that elected him. That body rejected the offer. Zagreb county
council chairman Zdravko Tomac said the standoff is likely to continue
"until somebody drops dead." -- Patrick Moore

ROMANIAN, MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTS MEET. Ion Iliescu on 10 January met with
his Moldovan counterpart, Mircea Snegur, who is currently vacationing in
Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. The two presidents focused on the
main political, economic, and social problems posed by the reform
process in their countries. They expressed their desire to  expand
bilateral relations, regardless of political development in 1996, which
is election year in both Romania and Moldova. Snegur also met with
Metropolitan Daniel of Moldova, with whom he discussed a possible
reunification of the countries' Christian Orthodox Churches. During the
Soviet era, the Moldovan church was subordinated to the Moscow
Patriarchate. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVA, UKRAINE STRENGTHEN COOPERATION. Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister
Valentin Cunev and his Ukrainian counterpart, Anatolii Kinakh, have
signed a protocol on trade cooperation and setting up a customs union,
BASA-press reported on 10 January. The protocol outlines the main areas
of cooperation, including the establishment of a free exchange regime.
It was signed at the end of a two-day visit to Moldova by a Ukrainian
government delegation. Interior Ministers Constantin Antoci and Yurii
Kravchenko signed the same day an agreement on cooperating to combat
weapons and drug trafficking as well as car theft. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT SURVIVES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. A no confidence vote
against the cabinet of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov on 10 January was
rejected by 130 to 105 votes with five absentees, Bulgarian and
international media reported. The opposition had demanded the
resignation of the Socialist cabinet because of the ongoing grain
crisis. After the vote, Videnov said the government will use the state
reserves but not the military reserves to regulate supplies. Union of
Democratic Forces leader Ivan Kostov argued that those reserves should
be used only in case of war or natural disasters. "The sole cause of
this crisis is the government's incompetence," he said. RFE/RL's
Bulgarian Service reported that at least five Socialist deputies voted
against the government. Since the Socialists hold 125 seats, this
suggests that 10 deputies from other parties supported the government.
-- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA WILLING TO TAKE PART IN IFOR. Duma on 11 January, citing
information from the presidential Consultative Council on National
Security, reported that the Bulgarian government is holding talks with
the IFOR command about the possible participation of Bulgarian troops.
Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov
have reportedly suggested to the cabinet that Bulgaria contribute a
pioneer unit, a field hospital, and civil staff as well as hospital beds
and rehabilitation centers in Bulgaria. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIA LIFTS VISA REQUIREMENT FOR GREEKS. Albanian President Sali
Berisha has decreed the lifting of visa requirements for Greek citizens,
Reuters reported on 10 January. The decision was made in an attempt to
further improve bilateral relations.  Visas for Greeks were introduced
in September 1994 after Greece closed its border to Albania when six
ethnic Greeks suspected of espionage and illegal arms possession were
arrested  in Albania. Relations improved after their release February
1995. --  Fabian Schmidt

FORMER TIRANA PROSECUTOR "FLEES" TO U.S. Former Deputy Chief Prosecutor
of Tirana Genc Gjokutaj has fled the country on a U.S. tourist visa,
Koha Jone and international agencies reported on 10 January. The 27-
year-old Gjokutaj--who took part in the trials of imprisoned Socialist
Party leader Fatos Nano, a number of bank directors charged with
corruption, and  communist dictator Enver Hoxha's son, Ilir--is
suspected of having accepted large bribes. He was suspended from the
bar, and investigations were launched by the Prosecutor-General's
office. Koha Jone suggested that he received some $40,000 in one
instance alone. -- Fabian Schmidt
GREEK PARLIAMENT REJECTS NO CONFIDENCE MOTION. The Greek parliament on
10 January voted against a no confidence motion in the government of
ailing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Greek and international media
reported.  Antonis Samaras, the leader of the opposition Political
Spring (POLA) party, said POLA deputies will boycott parliament sessions
until a new premier is elected. Meanwhile, Papandreou has asked to meet
with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, AFP reported on 10 January. This
has raised speculation about his political future, since the ruling
Panhellenic Socialist Movement is divided over whether Papandreou should
be replaced. His doctors over the past few days have repeatedly said his
health is improving but have not said if he will be able to resume his
duties. -- Stefan Krause

GREEK PEACEKEEPERS LEAVE FOR BOSNIA. A contingent of 180 Greek soldiers
and 80 vehicles left for Bosnia on 10 January to join IFOR, AFP reported
the same day. They will be stationed in Visoko, northwest of Sarajevo,
as part of a Belgian-commanded transport unit. Seventy Greek soldiers
and officers are already based there. -- Stefan Krause


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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