|A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson|
No. 12, Part II, 17 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 PRISONERS BEING HELD IN SERBIA? The Guardian reported on 17 January that some 800 Bosnians from Srebrenica and Zepa are being held at two secret camps in Serbia, AFP said. Some men who had been freed said that they were treated "like animals" and the Red Cross reported "some abnormalities" in conditions. The Red Cross is in Belgrade trying to negotiate the remaining prisoners' release. Meanwhile, the overall prisoner exchange within Bosnia has been frozen over Bosnian demands for information on missing persons (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 January 1996). The Serb delegation chief told TV Pale, moreover, that things could drag on "for another month" over the fate of 200 Serbs he claimed are being held in Croatia. Croatian Television the previous night had mentioned that the Bosnian Croats had released nine prisoners in a unilateral goodwill gesture. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES BUDGET. Ukraine's parliament debated this year's budget at its session on 17 January, ITAR-TASS reported. The budget envisages a 6% deficit. Deputies proposed placing tight restrictions on the government's authority over the budget, and putting a moratorium on its activities related to changing revenues and expenditures in parts of the budget. -- Ustina Markus TWO LATVIAN PARTIES OPPOSE ALTERNATIVE CITIZENSHIP LAW. Latvia's Way and the Green Party issued statements on 15 January urging voters not to support the alternative citizenship law proposed by the For the Fatherland and Freedom union, LETA reported the following day. The statement of Latvia's Way noted that only 1,199 persons had received citizenship under the current law and that there was thus no danger that mass naturalization will threaten the continuity of the Latvian nation and existence of Latvia as a state. The restrictive nature of the alternative law would encourage the political isolation of Latvia, threatening its integration into European structures, hindering foreign investments, and raising internal tensions. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIAN AMBASSADOR IN LONDON DISMISSED FOR CRITICIZING PREMIER. President Algirdas Brazauskas signed a decree on 16 January removing Ambassador to the United Kingdom Raimundas Rajeckas from his post as of 10 February, BNS reported. Rajeckas, who had headed Brazauskas's presidential campaign and served as his senior advisor in 1993, criticized Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius in a newspaper interview earlier this month. He said the decision by Slezevicius to remain in office even though he had withdrawn his personal savings from a commercial bank two days before its activities were suspended showed that he "lacked decency, honor, and a conscience." Rajeckas had said that if he were recalled for these remarks he would return to Lithuania and participate actively in the election campaign, although not for the ruling Democratic Labor Party. -- Saulius Girnius NAZARBAYEV IN BELARUS. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, arrived in Minsk on 17 January for an official visit, ITAR- TASS reported. During the visit Nazarbayev is expected to sign an agreement on friendship and cooperation with his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka. In addition, agreements will be signed on the rights of Kazakhs living in Belarus and Belarusians living in Kazakhstan, and on cultural and educational cooperation. Most talks are expected to focus on economic issues. Kazakhstan is Belarus's third largest trading partner within the CIS, after Russia and Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus POLISH PRIME MINISTER MAY RESIGN. For the first time since allegations were made that he had contacts with KGB operatives in Poland, Jozef Oleksy said on 16 January that he may consider resigning if the prosecutors' proceedings and the conclusions of the extraordinary Sejm commission prove to be disadvantageous for him. Polish dailies on 17 January extensively quote an article in the Poznan weekly Wprost that describes the Oleksy affair as the "tip of the iceberg" and reports that there were more registered KGB informers among Oleksy's party, the Social Democracy of Poland, which is the core element of the ruling Democratic Left Alliance.Wprost quotes the codenames of three such informers, including Oleksy; the other two were not identified. President Aleksander Kwasniewski said on 16 January that "the topic of Oleksy's resignation does not exist today." -- Jakub Karpinski POSSIBILITY OF POLISH GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. Gazeta Wyborcza reports on 17 January that a government reshuffle is possible as an outcome of the spy allegations against Oleksy. The Polish Peasant Party (PSL), a junior coalition partner, would obtain the Prime Minister's post if Oleksy resigned, the daily said. PSL leader Waldemar Pawlak was Oleksy's predecessor. The decisions of the Sejm commission investigating the affair are expected on 31 January. The prosecutors' office was to rule concerning a formal accusation by 20 January, but an extension of this term is possible. Any government changes may therefore be delayed. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES GERMANY. Josef Zieleniec on 16 January accused Germany of raising new demands that complicate the completion of a declaration on bilateral relations, Czech media reported. Zieleniec told a news conference that his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel insisted that the Czech side formally distance itself from the "injustice" of the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The two foreign ministers met in Bonn on 12 January and failed to make a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 January 1996). "This way of escalating demands in meetings cannot lead to the [desired] goal," Zieleniec said, adding that he was nonetheless convinced agreement on the declaration can still be reached. "The ball is now in the German court," he said. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ACCEPTS NATIONALISTS' DEMANDS. Vladimir Meciar on 16 January announced that the conditions set by the Slovak National Party (SNS) concerning the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 January) have been accepted. "The coalition problem is resolved," he said. According to Meciar, the SNS's demands will be addressed at one of the cabinet's upcoming sessions, Narodna obroda reported. In other news, government spokeswoman Ludmila Bulakova on 16 January said that Meciar will not meet with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during a trip to Bonn this weekend to attend a Bertelsmann Foundation conference. Bulakova said Meciar will deliver two speeches at the conference and has no time left to meet with Kohl, TASR reported. Meciar is interested in making an official visit to Germany, rather than having "just a short appointment" during a conference, she stressed. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK FOUNDATIONS LAUNCH ATTACK ON CABINET BILL. Slovakia's Third Sector Association on 15 January officially began its campaign against a government bill on foundations, Narodna obroda reported on 17 January. The association is particularly opposed to regulations which would require the consent of the relevant ministry for a foundation to register with the Interior Ministry and which would require a foundation's start-up capital to be proportional to its aims. The cabinet's bill, which was initiated by Justice Minister Jozef Liscak, was prepared by the justice and finance ministries and the cabinet office. -- Sharon Fisher FORMER HUNGARIAN PREMIER LEAVES NOTES BEHIND. The late Communist Party chief and Prime Minister Karoly Grosz left behind hundreds of pages of documents on the change of regime and politicians instrumental in bringing it about, Nepszabadsag reported on 16 January. Grosz, who died last week, was apparently prompted by the British government to sum up his views in writing about the transformation. He reportedly also wrote about his last conversations with Communist Party head Janos Kadar. In a related development, Nepszava published an interview with Grosz on 11 January -- conducted in 1991 on condition that it be published only after his death -- in which he harshly criticizes some of Hungary's former or current politicians, including Prime Minister Gyula Horn and former Premier Miklos Nemeth. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE PALE CHANGES TACTICS ON SARAJEVO. A top-level meeting of the Bosnian Serb leadership held on 15 and 16 January has decided to try a new approach to force a change in the Dayton agreement's provision that certain Serb suburbs will pass to government control. Instead of talking of a "possible" mass exodus and torchings, Radovan Karadzic and parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik told SRNA that they would would work with the international community's civilian affairs chief Carl Bildt. They want him or international arbitrators to agree to maintain the status quo until elections are held between mid-June and mid- September. In the meantime, they will tell their people to stay put. -- Patrick Moore WHAT ARE THE SERB GOALS IN SARAJEVO? AFP reported on 16 January that Pale has apparently decided that an exodus would deprive it of any say in the future running of Sarajevo. Earlier reports had suggested that Pale wanted to send the Sarajevo Serbs to Brcko to firm up Serbian claims to the disputed strategic corridor there. The Sarajevo Dnevni Avaz noted on 17 January that anti-nationalist Serbs are seeking IFOR's help to prevent an exodus. They also aim to reassure the population through an amnesty for ordinary Bosnian Serb soldiers. -- Patrick Moore FRENCH TROOPS TAKE SARAJEVO UTILITIES "INTO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY." This is how NATO commander Admiral Leighton Smith described IFOR's latest action in Serb-held suburbs, the VOA's Croatian Service reported on 17 January. Oslobodjenje added that water, power and gas are affected, and that the operation involved 150 French soldiers with 10 light tanks and 20 armored vehicles. -- Patrick Moore INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS OVER BOSNIA CONTINUE. The BBC reported on 16 January that UNHCR chief Sadaka Ogata closed the one-day conference dealing with the phased but flexible repatriation of Bosnian refugees (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 January 1996). Meanwhile in Stockholm, an OSCE gathering dealing with elections said that it may not be possible to hold them this year, AFP reported. The participants also said that absentee voting, for which there is a provision in the Dayton agreement, must be permitted. The treaty also says, however, that casting a ballot indicates an intention to return to the area for which one is voting. Finally, the VOA's Croatian Service noted on 17 January that computers were stolen from a UN office in Zagreb. They may hold sensitive data on human rights in Croatia . -- Patrick Moore HAGUE WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL SEEKS IFOR'S SUPPORT. Critics of IFOR have charged that it has followed the example of UNPROFOR and been far too timid in interpreting its mandate. Points in question have included ensuring freedom of movement throughout Bosnia and dealing with war crimes. A spokesman for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia told AFP on 16 January that Justice Richard Goldstone will meet NATO Secretary General Javier Solana on 19 January to discuss cooperation. Goldstone is interested in IFOR's ensuring freedom of movement for those investigating possible atrocities. He also seeks its help in arresting indicted war criminals. An IFOR press spokesman told a briefing on 14 January that IFOR had received no formal request to date for assistance in investigating mass graves. Vecernji list reported on 17 January that Washington favors a more liberal interpretation of the mandate but that London and Paris are reluctant to become involved in the issue of war crimes. -- Patrick Moore OSCE ARMS CONTROL TALKS POSTPONED. Scheduled OSCE-mediated arms controls talks in Vienna were postponed on 16 January because rump Yugoslavia was not yet ready with its data, Reuters reported. Under the Dayton peace accords, Bosnia, Croatia and rump Yugoslavia are required to provide inventories of heavy weapons -- including tanks, armored personnel carriers, large caliber artillery, airplanes and combat helicopters. "Technical reasons" were cited for the delay. Instead of a full session, the OSCE official chairing the arms talks, Norwegian general Vigleik Eide, held talks with individual delegations. -- Michael Mihalka BOSNIAN PULLBACK ON SCHEDULE. Bosnian Serb and Muslim-Croat troop withdrawals from the 4-kilometer wide zones of separation throughout Bosnia are proceeding on schedule and NATO Brigadier Andrew Cumming said on 16 January that NATO expects the 19 January deadline to be met, western and local media reported. "We're looking at 70% compliance by now and we do expect compliance," NATO commander Admiral Leighton Smith told reporters in Sarajevo. "The military is being really cooperative." Local media reported that troop withdrawals have been completed in several places, including the Posavina corridor and Mostar. There was less confidence that the requirement to remove or destroy all mines in the zones of separation and to mark the ones in the rest of the country would be achieved by the same deadline. "There are so many that we will probably still be finding mines a decade from now," said one NATO official. -- Michael Mihalka SERBIA TO GET NEW "DEMOCRATIC" PARTY. Politika on 17 January reports that Dragoljub Micunovic has said he will be involved in founding a new political party, which sources speculate is to be called the Democratic Party of the Center (DSC). Micunovic, former president and among the founders of the Democratic Party (DS) currently controlled by Zoran Djindjic, was expelled from DS ranks on 2 December. Micunovic now reportedly says his new party may appeal to disaffected DS members. -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN RULING PARTY SEEKS CABINET RESHUFFLE. The left-wing Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) on 16 January urged Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu to reshuffle his cabinet, Reuters reported. Party executive chairman Adrian Nastase told journalists that a reshuffle would give the party "dynamism and impulse" to fulfill its program, especially a plan for accelerating the privatization of state-owned industries. According to that plan, mass privatization should have been completed by the end of 1995. But the deadline had to be extended until 31 March, due to Romanians' failure to trade their coupons and vouchers for shares in particular enterprises. Vacaroiu, who attended a meeting of the PDSR standing bureau, was quoted by Jurnalul national as saying that the cabinet would discuss the reshuffle later this week. -- Dan Ionescu OSCE CHAIRMAN VISITS MOLDOVA. Flavio Cotti, Swiss foreign minister and acting OSCE chairman, on 16 January began a visit to Moldova, BASA-press and Infotag reported. Cotti met with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi, and Foreign Minister Mihai Popov. Snegur informed Cotti of the steps taken by his administration to settle the conflict in eastern Moldova, including the drafting of a special status for the Dniester region that is based on OSCE recommendations. He further said that the Moldovan, Russian, and Ukrainian presidents were planning to sign a joint memorandum to speed up the settlement of the crisis. Asked at a press conference about the possible presence in Moldova of a multi-national OSCE force, Cotti said that his organization lacked funds to conduct peacekeeping operations, and therefore preferred "prevention diplomacy." -- Dan Ionescu UPDATE ON ZHIVKOV APPEAL. The General Assembly of the Bulgarian Supreme Court's criminal divisions on 16 January failed to muster the quorum needed to reach a decision on the appeal of former Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov to review his seven-year sentence,Trud reported the following day. Zhivkov was convicted in 1992 of misappropriating public funds; due to ill health, he is under house arrest. Meanwhile, under the headline "Judicial idiotism turns the criminal Zhivkov into a martyr," Social Democratic Party Chairman Petar Dertliev complained in an article for Standart that Zhivkov never stood trial for crimes against humanity committed during his rule. -- Stefan Krause RACE FOR PAPANDREOU SUCCESSION IS ON. Four top politicians from the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) have announced their candidacy for the post of Greek prime minister, Western media reported on 17 January. Former Industry Minister Kostas Simitis and Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis are said to have the best chances to succeed Andreas Papandreou, who resigned on 15 January. Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who has deputized for Papandreou since November, and former Foreign and Defense Minister Jannis Charalambopoulos, are given less chances. PASOK's Central Committee was meeting on 17 January to discuss the party's future course until the next party congress due in summer. The presidency of the parliamentary faction will also meet that day to discuss the procedures for the election of a new premier. The actual voting is expected to take place the following day. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW TAKES EFFECT. The Albanian government passed a standing order on the implementation of an anti-corruption law that was approved by parliament early last year, Albania reported on 17 January. According to the law, all state employees have to declare their property and explain how they financed it. The order defines the procedures of declaration. State employees are also obliged to declare their incomes and those of their family members up to five years after resignation. A special commission of parliament will be created to investigate officials suspected of corruption. -- Fabian Schmidt [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. 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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
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