What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 11, Part II, 16 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 PRISONER EXCHANGE BREAKS DOWN. Red Cross spokesman Jacques De
Maio told AFP on 15 January that a planned swap of some 900 prisoners
has collapsed. "The parties are not complying. Nobody abided by our
plan. Only nine people have been released," he said. A central issue has
been the demand of the Bosnian government that the Serbs first clarify
the status of thousands of missing persons, arguing that it is
impossible to prepare accurate lists for the exchange of prisoners until
the fate of the missing is clear. A Serbian civilian group of relatives
of missing persons has raised similar demands. Bosnian Foreign Minister
Muhamed Sacirbey said that the Serbs are holding nearly 1,000 persons in
slave labor camps, and he fears they might be killed. The 19 January
deadline for exchanging prisoners as set down in the Dayton agreement is
approaching, and to let it lapse without the swap taking place would not
augur well for implementing other parts of the timetable. -- Patrick
Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

OPINION POLL ON DIVIDING BLACK SEA FLEET. An opinion poll carried out by
the education department of the Black Sea Fleet showed that 47% of
officers are disillusioned over the division of the fleet, ITAR-TASS
reported on 16 January. Another 33% said they were dissatisfied with
what was happening around them. The report said the majority of those
responding negatively in the poll were servicemen living in garrisons
which have been handed over to Ukraine, or are slated to be transferred
to Ukraine. The Black Sea Fleet command recommended that the issue of
citizenship be decided, and a program worked out to move Russian
servicemen out of Ukrainian garrisons to Russia. -- Ustina Markus

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN ESTONIA LIKELY TO SPLIT. Bishop Ambrosius of the
Orthodox Church of Finland and the Rev. Heikki Huttunen, a
representative of the Constantinople patriarchate, held talks on 15
January with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and Interior Minister Mart Rask,
BNS and ETA reported. Huttunen said that a recent meeting in Turkey of
representatives of the Constantinople and Moscow patriarchates had
agreed that orthodox believers in Estonia would have two churches. The
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, established in 1923, would retain
its name while the Orthodox Church with an allegiance to Moscow would
choose a new name. The final agreement between the patriarchates is to
signed in February in Helsinki. -- Saulius Girnius

PENTAGON TO GIVE MORE AID TO LITHUANIAN ARMED FORCES. National Defense
Deputy Minister Valdas Serapinas told a news conference on 15 January
that the Pentagon increased the aid it is giving to the Lithuanian armed
forces this year, BNS reported. The amount for training Lithuanian
troops was increased from $200,000 in 1995 to $350,000 this year. Two
joint Lithuanian-American war exercises in the framework of the
Partnership for Peace program will be held on Lithuanian territory and
also involve Danish and Polish troops. -- Saulius Girnius

PLATINUM TRIAL IN BELARUS. The Belarusian military prosecutor is trying
a case over the theft of 7.8 kilos of platinum worth 15 billion
Belarusian rubles ($13 million) from the former 25th arsenal of the
strategic rocket forces, Belarusian radio reported on 15 January. The
commander of the unit, Uladzimir Zhykharau, the head of the laboratory,
Henadz Davodovich, and his deputy Dzmitrii Muryn, have all gone missing.
The military prosecutor is bringing charges of desertion against the
three as well as theft. The investigation into the case has uncovered
the fact that the thefts had been going on for five years. -- Ustina
Markus

KWASNIEWSKI MEETS DIPLOMATS IN WARSAW . . . Polish President Aleksander
Kwasniewski met foreign diplomats on 15 January and underlined
continuity in Polish foreign policy, Polish media reported. He said that
NATO enlargement does not threaten anyone, in particular Poland's
biggest neighbors, Russia and Ukraine. Kwasniewski, accompanied by
Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati, is to visit EU and NATO headquarters in
Brussels during his second foreign trip starting on 16 January. Andrzej
Styrczula, a former graduate philosophy student at a Jesuit college in
Krakow and Radio Free Europe journalist, became Kwasniewski's spokesman,
Polish media reported on 16 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

. . . WHILE WALESA ADVISES SOLIDARITY IN GDANSK. Former Polish President
Lech Walesa began work on 15 January as a Solidarity consultant in
Gdansk. He does not receive any income for the consultancy and has
confirmed his intention to work in the Gdansk shipyard as an
electrician, unless some new legal arrangements establish a particular
status for him as a former president. Walesa said that he would
"sometimes agree and sometimes disagree" with Solidarity leader Marian
Krzaklewski, Polish dailies reported on 16 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON OLEKSY AFFAIR. According to a poll conducted by
the Public Opinion Research Center (OBOP) on 8-9 January, Poles are
divided over the espionage allegations against Prime Minister Jozef
Oleksy. 40% of respondents said that former Internal Affairs Minister
Andrzej Milczanowski was right when he formally notified the
prosecutors' office about the allegations, 32% said it was irresponsible
behavior; 32% of respondents said Oleksy should continue at his post,
31% that he should take leave of absence, and 19% that he should resign.
Oleksy, who was on holiday last week, resumed his duties on 15 January.
-- Jakub Karpinski

HUNGARY PLEASED BY SLOVAK PARTY'S CHANGE OF HEART ON TREATY. A statement
by Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota indicating that his
party is no longer opposed to the Slovak-Hungarian treaty was called "an
unquestionably good sign" by a Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman, CTK
reported on 15 January. The spokesman noted that Hungary "has high
expectations in connection with the ratification of the treaty," not
only concerning relations with Slovakia, but also regarding regional
stability. Slota announced on 13 January that the SNS would support the
treaty if certain compromises are made, including the approval of laws
on the protection of the republic, the state of emergency, local
elections, and education, Narodna obroda reported on 15 January. The
SNS, a junior coalition member, had previously been strongly opposed to
ratifying the treaty, which was signed last March. -- Sharon Fisher

"EUROROMA" HOLDS ORGANIZATIONAL CONFERENCE IN BUDAPEST. An international
meeting of Roma was organized in Budapest on 12 and 13 January by the
Autonomy Foundation, ORS (Romani National News Service) reported on 15
January. Its goal was to establish a program called "Euroroma,"
supported by 350,000 ECU. Four countries -- Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary
and Romania -- will participate in Euroroma. Besides setting up
educational courses and Romani media in Romania and Slovakia, Euroroma
will establish legal offices for Roma, which already function in the
other two countries. -- Alaina Lemon

VAN DER STOEL CRITICIZES SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW? OSCE High Commissioner on
National Minorities Max van der Stoel reportedly criticized the Slovak
language law in a document that has not been made public. In an item
citing "reliable sources," the Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap reports on
16 January that van der Stoel's most serious objection to the law is
that it terminates the act which had regulated the use of minority
languages in offices in Slovakia. He also noted that less money was
spent on minority printing press products and institutions in 1995 than
in 1994 although the Slovak Ministry of Culture was granted more funds
from the budget. Van der Stoel recommended that the ministry give the
responsibility of allocating funds to the minorities. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONFERENCE ON BOSNIAN REFUGEES OPENS. UNHCR chief Sadaka Ogata addressed
a meeting in Geneva on 16 January to discuss the resettlement of up to
2.5 million Bosnian refugees. She stressed that the difficulties will be
enormous. The BBC said that plans are to relocate first the one million
displaced persons within the republic itself; then those 670,000 living
elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia; and finally those abroad, of whom
700,000 are in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. The Bosnian government
had asked that those settled in distant countries be brought home first.
Problems include how to resettle people whose homes and property have
been destroyed, and what to do with those victims of "ethnic cleansing"
who cannot or will not return to their former places of residence. The
costs will be up to $400 million in the first year alone. The UNHCR has
asked European countries not to complicate things further by sending
refugees home soon. -- Patrick Moore

EARLY AUTUMN ELECTIONS IN BOSNIA POSSIBLE? The international community's
High Representative in Sarajevo, Carl Bildt, said on 15 January that the
September deadline for holding elections in Bosnia will be extremely
difficult to meet, Reuters reported the same day. Elections are due to
be held in five to eight months from now, which is not realistic
according to Bildt. Speaking at the Stockholm conference on planning the
elections, he also stressed that the international community would have
to meet the deadline, set out in the Dayton peace agreement, in order
not to jeopardize the reconciliation process. Bildt added that the
biggest obstacle to the election process was election registers, which
were destroyed during the war, as well as huge migrations. Bosnian
Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said that the elections should be
postponed rather than simulated, Nasa Borba reported on 16 January. "The
key issue is not only to hold elections, but to hold free, fair and
democratic elections," AFP on 16 January quoted him as saying. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

UN NAMES HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL POLICE FORCE IN BOSNIA. UN Secretary
General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on 15 January named an Irish assistant
police commissioner, Thomas Peter Fitzgerald, to head the UN
international police force in Bosnia. Fitzgerald has served in UN police
missions to Namibia, El Salvador and Cambodia. The UN wants some 1,700
officers deployed and most of these have been pledged although only
about 150 have so far arrived. A UN spokesman acknowledged that full
deployment will probably not occur by the 31 January date set in the
Dayton peace accords. The UN force is expected to train, assist and
supervise the Bosnian police but not to undertake actual police work. --
Michael Mihalka

TUDJMAN'S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
on 15 January addressed a joint session of both chambers of the
Parliament on the state of the nation in 1995, Hina reported the same
day. He defined 1995 as a year in which "the establishment of
independent Croatia was completed and in which Croatia gained full
international recognition," while 1996 is expected to be a year of peace
when "the occupied Danubian area" will be finally integrated into the
Croatian constitutional and legal system. His two-and-a-half hour speech
focused on the war with the Serbs and the liberation of occupied areas,
foreign policy, government administration and democratic order, the
economy, social issues, and state policy targets for 1996. Tudjman said
that Croatia has become a strategic partner of the U.S. and an
irreplaceable factor in the establishment of a new international order
in the region. -- Daria Sito Sucic

UN AGREES ON FORCE FOR E. SLAVONIA. The UN Security Council authorized
on 15 January a 5,000-strong force and a civilian transitional authority
for Eastern Slavonia, international agencies reported. An American
diplomat, Jacques Klein, is expected to head both missions which have a
mandate of one year with an option for a second. An agreement concluded
on 12 November on the sidelines of the Dayton negotiation on Bosnia
stipulated that Eastern Slavonia would be reintegrated into Croatia
within two years. The UN mission is expected to serve as an interim
political authority, oversee the return of refugees, organize elections,
train a provisional police force, collect weapons and restart utilities.
-- Michael Mihalka

"AMBASSADORS ARE RETURNING TO BELGRADE". This is how Politika on 16
January headlines a report, which says that in the near future a number
of western countries are expected to reestablish contacts with the rump
Yugoslavia at ambassadorial level. According to the article, French
authorities, in a move that may pave the way for others, have said they
will restore their ambassador. Most western nations withdrew their
ambassadors, leaving charges in authority, in May 1992 with the
imposition of strict sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MACEDONIA. Milan Kucan paid a one-day visit
to Macedonia on 15 January, Nova Makedonija reported the next day. Kucan
met with President Kiro Gligorov and Foreign Minister Stevo Crvenkovski
and discussed political and economic cooperation. Macedonia is currently
the seventh largest foreign trade partner of Slovenia. Both presidents
concluded that the Balkan crisis can only be solved with a European
perspective and expressed their desire for membership of the European
Union. They also stressed that "all former Yugoslav republics have equal
status in their succession to former Yugoslavia," thus rejecting
Belgrade's claims to be the sole legal successor, Politika reported. --
Fabian Schmidt

DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY IN BUCHAREST. President Ion Iliescu on 15 January
received French European Affairs Minister Michel Barnier, who is paying
an official visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. Barnier also met
with Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, Senate
Chairman Oliviu Gherman, Chamber of Deputies Chairman Adrian Nastase,
and with leaders of various political parties. The talks focused on
Romania's efforts of integration into European structures. The same
topic figured high in Iliescu's speech delivered on the same day at a
traditional new year reception for the diplomatic corps. In a separate
development, Romanian media reported on a visit to Bucharest by OSCE
High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel. He discussed
with Gherman, Nastase, and Education Minister Liviu Maior issues related
to the treatment of ethnic minorities in Romania, including a
controversial education law, adopted in 1995. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT PREPARED TO RESUME DNIESTER TALKS. Mircea Snegur on
15 January called for the resumption of the monthly meeting of all
parties involved in the settlement of the Dniester conflict, BASA-press
and Infotag reported. Snegur made the remark in a conversation with
Russia's newly-appointed special envoy to the negotiations, Yurii
Karlov. Talks between Chisinau and Tiraspol were suspended following an
unsuccessful summit meeting in mid-September between Snegur and the
president of the self-proclaimed Dniester republic, Igor Smirnov. -- Dan
Ionescu

RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN BULGARIAN PRESIDENT AND OPPOSITION? A newly formed
group of intellectuals called "Concord in Bulgaria" is considering
supporting the candidacy of President Zhelyu Zhelev for another term in
office and is trying to reach a rapprochement between Zhelev and the
Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), 24 chasa reported on 16 January. Some
50 writers, artists and scholars will meet Zhelev on 16 January to
"build a bridge" between Zhelev and the SDS and to assess the
president's five years in office. Meanwhile, Zhelev invited SDS leader
Ivan Kostov to talk about domestic political questions next week. Kostov
has not replied so far and is waiting for the SDS's ruling bodies to
decide. -- Stefan Krause

PAPANDREOU RESIGNS . . . After almost two months in hospital, Greek
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on 15 January submitted his
resignation, Greek radio reported the same day. Papandreou said his
illness "should not become an obstacle for the country" and called on
the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) to proceed immediately with
the election of a new premier. PASOK Secretary-General Kostas
Skandalidis called the resignation "a historic moment for our party and
. . . a courageous act" by Papandreou. Parliament Chairman Apostolos
Kaklamanis said the PASOK deputies will probably convene on 18 January
and elect a new premier by 20 January at the latest. Papandreou did not
resign as PASOK chairman. The Athens stock market rose by 1.79% on 15
January when it became apparent that Papandreou would resign, Reuters
reported. -- Stefan Krause

. . . AND SIMITIS ANNOUNCES HIS CANDIDACY. Former Industry Minister
Kostas Simitis on 16 January officially announced his candidacy to
succeed Papandreou, Reuters reported. The contest is likely to be
decided between Simitis and Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, who is
regarded as a Papandreou loyalist who would probably continue his
predecessor's policies. Simitis would likely try to reform both the
party and the state apparatus. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS CHINA. Sali Berisha arrived in Beijing on 16
January, international agencies reported. Berisha met with President
Jiang Zemin, and the two sides signed agreements to cooperate in science
and technology, and radio and television. Albania has debts to China
amounting to $35 million. It is the first visit by an Albanian president
since communist Albania broke relations with China in 1978 over
ideological disagreements. Albania and China have increased bilateral
trade since 1992, amounting to about $20 million in 1995.-- Fabian
Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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

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