Ни один собеседник не стал бы слушать, если бы не знал, что потом наступит его очередь говорить. - Э. У. Хоу
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 10, Part II, 15 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CLINTON VISITS BOSNIA, CROATIA. U.S. President Bill Clinton paid a
whirlwind visit to Tuzla on 13 January to speak to American IFOR troops.
He told them they were sent there to help the Bosnians build peace,
which was in keeping with key U.S. interests. He later said to CBS that
IFOR should help UN war crimes investigators reach mass grave sites,
provided it does not interfere with the soldiers' primary job. Clinton
used his trip to Zagreb to reiterate to President Franjo Tudjman
Washington's support for the troubled federation linking the Croats and
the Muslims, which is a cornerstone of the Dayton agreement. He had
earlier made the same point in Tuzla when speaking to Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic. News agencies added that Clinton phoned Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, and that the two men expressed
satisfaction with the implementation of the treaty. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

TROUBLE IN UKRAINE'S COAL MINES. Management evacuated a coal mine in the
Donbas after receiving a bomb threat from a caller demanding that the
Ukrainian government pay wage arrears owed to thousands of miners since
October, Ukrainian TV and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 11 January. Bomb
disposal units found no explosives in the pit, but the threat highlights
the predicament of the country's coal miners, who have held numerous
strikes and rallies to pressure the government to pay 38 trillion
karbovantsi ($21 million) in back wages. Currently, workers at seven
mines are on strike. Meanwhile, the government raised wages for
government employees, members of the armed forces, and Interior Ministry
personnel by 12%, Ukrainian TV reported the same day. It also hiked
pensions by 190% and monthly aid to low income disabled people to
887,000 karbovantsi. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ATTACKS PARLIAMENTARY OPPONENTS. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka, in a four-hour address to a closed parliamentary session on
12 January, attacked several deputies who oppose his policies, including
former Interior Minister Yurii Zakharenka, former parliamentary speaker
Mechyslau Hryb, and head of the Constitutional Court Valerii Tikhinya.
Russian Television reported. Almost two-thirds of the report was devoted
to criticizing former head of the National Bank of Belarus Stanislau
Bahdankevich. Almost all caucuses in the parliament interpreted the
report as a move to prevent Bahdankevich from being elected deputy
speaker of the parliament. In other news, Interfax on 11 January quoted
newly appointed parliamentary speaker Syamyon Sharetski as saying the
parliament will use two languages: Russian for discussing economic
issues, the budget, and taxes; and Belarusian for discussing cultural
issues. -- Ustina Markus

FINLAND SETS UP COMMISSION FOR VISA TALKS WITH ESTONIA. Finnish
President Martti Artisaari on 12 January ordered the establishment of a
commission to holding talks with Estonia on visa free travel between the
two countries, ETA reported. The commission will be composed of
officials from the Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and Finnish
Embassy in Tallinn. Estonia has complied with Finnish requests to sign
treaties on returning illegal immigrants and closer cooperation between
law enforcement agencies. Finland would also like to be able to
electronically check passports of Estonians entering the country. The
talks are expected to be concluded this year, but it is unclear when
travel without visas would begin. -- Saulius Girnius

CAMPAIGN GETS UNDER WAY TO COLLECT SIGNATURES FOR ALTERNATIVE LATVIAN
CITIZENSHIP LAW. The drive to collect 131,000 signatures--or one-tenth
of the republic's eligible voters--in support of an alternative
citizenship law proposed by the For the Fatherland and Freedom union
will be held from 15 January to 13 February, BNS reported on 12 January.
Election Committee Chairman Atis Kramins said 625 signing places will be
opened. If the required number is gathered, the bill will be submitted
to the president and parliament. The alternative law provides for a
larger number of restrictions on naturalization and would in effect deny
citizenship to people who arrived in Latvia after 1940. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER IN LITHUANIA. Josef Zych, during his two-
day official visit to Vilnius, on 12 January met with his Lithuanian
counterpart, Ceslovas Jursenas, and other deputies, Radio Lithuania
reported. His visit was timed so that he could address the special
Seimas session commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Soviet attack
on the crowd at the Vilnius television tower. At that time, Lithuania's
foreign minister traveled to Poland with the authority to form a
government in exile if necessary. Zych and President Algirdas
Brazauskas, following their meeting the next day, decided that the two
countries will jointly honor the memory of Poles murdered by Lithuanians
in Glitiskes and Lithuanians murdered by Poles in Dubingiai during World
War II. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER IN POLAND. Sergei Krylov, visiting
Warsaw on 12 January, handed Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski an
invitation from his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, to visit Moscow.
The visit will most likely take place in April, Polish media reported on
13 January. Yeltsin was apparently the first foreign leader to invite
Kwasniewski for a state visit, but the Polish leader opted to travel
first to Germany and France, stressing the importance of Poland's
Western ties. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTERS FAIL TO RESOLVE PROBLEMS. Josef
Zieleniec and Klaus Kinkel met in Bonn on 12 January but failed to agree
on a joint declaration designed to improve Czech-German relations, Czech
and international media reported. Talks on the proposed declaration are
stalled over the issue of claims by Sudeten Germans whose families were
expelled from Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 10 January 1996). "The burdens of the past are so great that
today no breakthrough could be achieved," Kinkel told reporters.
Zieleniec said talks will continue, and he was optimistic that agreement
will be reached. Deputy Chairwoman of the Bundestag Antje Vollmer called
on Chancellor Helmut Kohl to intervene personally to break the deadlock
before the Czech Republic holds parliamentary elections at the end of
May, Czech dailies reported on 15 January. -- Steve Kettle

BRATISLAVA BRANCH OF SLOVAK COALITION PARTY TO BE CLOSED. Association of
Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) Chairman Jan Luptak, following a ZRS Central
Council meeting on 13 January, told Slovak Radio that the ZRS's
Bratislava branch will be closed. Several members of the branch authored
an article, published in December in Praca, criticizing Luptak for
yielding to the influence of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. According
to Luptak, "all the workers had left [the branch] and only intellectuals
remained." A ZRS deputy chairman was asked to participate in forming new
"clubs" in Bratislava that could come under the ZRS's control. Luptak
said the party also discussed the government's proposal for a new
territorial arrangement. Although he expressed reservations about the
cabinet's plan, Luptak noted that, as a coalition partner, the ZRS will
support the cabinet's proposal, Narodna obroda reported on 15 January.
-- Sharon Fisher

U.S. PRESIDENT PAYS WHIRLWIND VISIT TO HUNGARY. Bill Clinton expressed
his thanks to the people, government, and military of Hungary during a
brief visit to Hungary's Taszar air base on 13 January, Hungarian media
reported the next day. Clinton also met with President Arpad Goncz,
Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, and Defense
Minister Gyorgy Keleti. He told Hungarian leaders that NATO's
enlargement is inevitable and that Russia cannot have a veto on the
matter. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

CEFTA FINANCE MINISTERS MEET IN BUDAPEST. Central European Free Trade
Agreement (CEFTA) finance ministers, meeting in Budapest on 13 January,
discussed the pitfalls of economic liberalization, Hungarian media
reported. The meeting was called primarily to allow CEFTA finance
ministers to coordinate their stands on economic integration into
Western Europe. It was agreed that although economic liberalization is
realizable, strict monetary policies must be upheld. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS WITHDRAW ARMOR, BUT GOVERNMENT UNHAPPY. AFP reported on 14 January
that Bosnian Serb forces are pulling big guns and armor out of Sarajevo
suburbs slated to pass to government control. The Bosnian government,
however, argued that the materiel had been in the heavy weapons
exclusion zone and should have been destroyed. An IFOR spokesman
admitted that the British had even supplied the Serbs with fuel. It also
seems clear that the Serbs are not removing thousands of land mines as
the Dayton agreement obliges them to do and that this task will probably
fall to the French. The Serbs have been trying in a variety of ways to
test how far they can violate or bend provisions of the treaty.
Elsewhere, IFOR troops defused tensions on 13 January between Croatian
and government forces near Doboj. -- Patrick Moore

SARAJEVO SERBS REJECT MILOSEVIC'S PLEA. Milosevic on 12 January appealed
to Serbs in the Sarajevo suburbs to stay put, but one of them told AFP
that Milosevic's plea "was the best reason to leave." Many Serbs from
Bosnia and Croatia are bitter at the Belgrade leader, whom they feel
sold them out. Some have already transferred their most valuable
property to Serb-held areas. Persistent but unconfirmed reports from
Sarajevo suggest that tough police units have been moved in from
Bijeljina and elsewhere to intimidate those Serbs taking a wait-and-see
attitude. People are reportedly being pressured into joining a mass
exodus that would wind up in Brcko to consolidate the Serbian hold on
the disputed supply corridor there. -- Patrick Moore

THREE MORE PRISONERS FREED. As moves proceed toward a major exchange
this week of prisoners between the Bosnian government and Serb sides,
the Serbs freed three civilians on 14 January. Two civilians remain in
their custody in a continuing violation of the guarantee of freedom of
movement set down in the Dayton agreement. Reuters said that the two
Serbs and one Muslim were freed after pressure from international
representatives, including the UN civil affairs chief Antonio Pedauye.
One of the two Serbs chose to remain on Bosnian Serb territory. Pedauye
had been speaking to Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker Momcilo
Krajisnik about the incident on 9 January in which a Serb bazooka hit a
tram. Oslobodjenje said two days later that the Bosnian Serb leadership
must not be allowed to evade responsibility for the act by blaming it on
rogue units. -- Patrick Moore

BELGRADE TO LIFT EMBARGO AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS? Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and a Bosnian Serb delegation met in Belgrade on 11
January to discuss lifting Belgrade sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs
and to begin the process of re-establishing bilateral economic ties,
Nasa Borba reported on 15 January. The report notes that it is unclear
when the Drina border will be re-opened but suggests it may take place
in the near future. In the past, the Bosnian Serbs have demanded
political, economic, and cultural ties with Belgrade that mirror
Croatia's relations with the Muslim-Croatian federation in Bosnia-
Herzegovina. -- Stan Markotich

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY INCREASES PRESSURE ON MOSTAR. German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel on 14 January was promised by his Croatian
counterpart, Mate Granic, that Croatia will try to restrain Croatian
extremists. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey also attended the
meeting in Mostar, Western and local media reported. Granic said after
the meeting that "overall relations between Bosnians and Croats are
good, and there are difficulties only in the field." Meanwhile, Mijo
Brajkovic, mayor of the Croatian sector of Mostar said he will continue
to resist efforts to unify the city, which, under the terms of the
Dayton accords, must take place by 20 January. Brajkovic said Croats
want to remain in "ethnically pure" neighborhoods. -- Michael Mihalka

KOSOVAR SHADOW-STATE PRESIDENT ASKS FOR HOLBROOKE'S MEDIATION. Ibrahim
Rugova said he expects and wishes U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke to mediate in solving the Kosovo problem,
international agencies reported. Rugova also welcomed the planned
opening of a Kosovar shadow-state office in Washington by the end of
January. Holbrooke has asked Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for
permission to open a U.S mission in the Kosovar capital, Pristina. --
Fabian Schmidt

UNPREDEP MISSION IN MACEDONIA TO BECOME INDEPENDENT. As of 1 February,
the UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) mission in Macedonia will
be independent of the UN command in the other parts of former Yugoslavia
and will report directly to the UN headquarters in New York, MIC
reported on 12 January. The decision was announced by UN special envoy
Kofi Annan before he ended a two-day visit to Macedonia. Annan
emphasized that the UNPREDEP mission was a success for the UN. He said
that UNPREDEP's mandate has been extended for another six months and
will most likely be extended after that. -- Fabian Schmidt

NEW EVIDENCE ON CEAUSESCU'S MISSING FORTUNE. Valentin Gabrielescu, head
of a parliamentary inquiry into the December 1989 uprising against
Nicolae Ceausescu, was quoted by the Romanian media on 12 January as
saying that there is new evidence supporting old allegations that the
dictator frittered away more than $1 billion. According to Gabrielescu,
former Premier Theodor Stolojan, who is currently working at the World
Bank, has provided evidence that the money was held at the Romanian Bank
for Foreign Trade in two accounts used in the past mainly by Dunarea, a
company controlled by the former Securitate. During the Ceausescu era,
Stolojan, who could not be reached for comment, headed a government
department in charge of hard currency transactions. -- Dan Ionescu

DNIESTER REGION IMPOSES STATE OF "ECONOMIC EMERGENCY." Igor Smirnov,
president of the self-styled Dniester republic, on 12 January issued a
decree declaring a state of "economic emergency" in the region for six
months, Infotag reported. But the measures are primarily administrative
and may be intended as an excuse for political repression. Smirnov's
decree provides for stricter control over public order; a special regime
for entry and exit from the region; traffic restrictions and more checks
on local roads; immediate expulsion of foreigners who disturb public
order; strict control over copy machines and radio transmitters; and
censorship of the media. The administration is also empowered to suspend
the activities of political parties and public organizations that
"hinder the normalization" of public life. -- Dan Ionescu

ANOTHER MOLDOVAN JOURNALIST BEATEN UP. A reporter for Mesagerul, the
mouthpiece of the opposition Party of Democratic Forces, has been beaten
up by four unidentified men in a Chisinau street, BASA-press and Infotag
reported on 12 January. Ilie Lupan is the third Mesagerul journalist to
fall victim to such an attack over the past two weeks (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 8 January 1996). The assailants took only his brief case, which
contained a file. Lupan said the police were slow to react to his call
and, in a protest addressed to the authorities, has accused the Ministry
of Security of involvement in the attack. -- Dan Ionescu

ANOTHER BULGARIAN MINISTER RESIGNS. Agriculture Minister Vasil
Chichibaba on 12 January handed in his resignation to Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov, Bulgarian and Western media reported. He is the second
member of the Socialist cabinet to resign in two days. Videnov said he
will accept the resignation of both Chichibaba and Deputy Prime Minister
and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev, who resigned last week. Both ministers
have been blamed for the ongoing grain crisis. Videnov admitted that
they "had not received a sufficient amount of trust and assistance from
within the governing party." -- Stefan Krause

GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS "FRUITFUL." Greece and Macedonia on 12 January
began a second round of UN-sponsored talks in New York under the
mediation of UN negotiator Cyrus Vance, AFP reported the same day. The
talks are aimed at finding a permanent solution to the disputed issue
over the name of the former Yugoslav republic. A statement issued on 12
January said the talks were "fruitful" and were conducted in a "cordial
atmosphere." No other details were given. In related news, Nova
Makedonija on 12 January reported that the head of the Greek liaison
office in Skopje handed his credentials to the Macedonian foreign
minister. Under the September 1995 interim accord, both sides are to set
up liaison offices in each other's capital by the end of January. --
Stefan Krause

GREECE DECLINES TO EXTRADITE SERBIAN MURDER SUSPECT TO BELGIUM. Greek
Justice Minister Jannis Pottakis decided that a Serbian man accused of
killing a Kosovo Albanian leader will be extradited to rump Yugoslavia
and not to Belgium, AFP reported on 13 January. Darko Asanin is accused
of taking part in the murder of Enver Hadri in Brussels in 1990 and of
murdering one of his suspected accomplices in Germany a year later. A
Greek court ordered Asanin's extradition to Belgium, but Pottakis
overruled the decision. -- 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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