If there is anyone listening to whom I owe money, I'm prepared to forget it if you are. - Errol Flynn
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 13, Part II, 18 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
DEADLOCK ON MOSTAR, PRISONER EXCHANGES. The EU told AFP on 17 January
that plans for the reunification of Mostar have "de facto been put
back." The town has been the focus of severe Croatian-Muslim tensions in
recent weeks, despite efforts by the international community to ease
matters in order to shore up the federation, which is an essential
component of the Dayton system. Elsewhere, the U.S. State Department has
urged the Bosnian government to respect the 20 January deadline for the
prisoner exchange, but Sarajevo still wants the question of missing
persons cleared up as part of the arrangement. Oslobodjenje on 18
January reported Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey as saying the
government wants the truth about the dead and demands that all prisoners
be released without exception. Sacirbey noted that more than 1,000
prisoners do not appear on the lists provided by the Serbs. -- Patrick
Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE'S NUCLEAR AUTHORITY STRAPPED FOR CASH. Officials from Ukraine's
State Atomic Energy Committee have said that despite a 2.5% increase in
electricity generation last year, the agency responsible for the
country's five nuclear power plants is strapped for cash, Ukrainian TV
and Infobank reported on 17 January. Committee officials said consumer
debt totaling 98 trillion karbovantsi ($54 million) meant the agency has
only half the funds needed to purchase enough nuclear fuel from Russia
to keep its stations operational. The lack of money may also prevent
repairs being carried out at the Rivne and Pivdennyi plants and outmoded
equipment being replaced at Ukraine's five atomic energy stations. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

DRAFT CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION NEEDS REVISION, LAWMAKER SAYS. Volodymyr
Stretovych, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament's commission on
legislative affairs, said the draft of a new Crimean Constitution,
passed by the Crimean legislature on 1 November, will not be considered
for approval by his body until several provisions deemed too
"separatist" are removed, Ukrainian TV reported 16 January. He said the
articles on property rights, citizenship, and state symbols contravene
Ukrainian law and must be amended. The new Crimean constitution must be
approved by the Ukrainian legislature before it can be adopted by
Crimean lawmakers. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS SETS UP CURRENCY CORRIDOR. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
created a "currency corridor" limiting the Belarusian ruble's value to
11,300-13,100 to $1, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 January. This regulation
is to remain in place until 1 June. The exchange rate against the
Russian ruble is regulated the same way. Also on 17 January, Interfax
reported that the National Bank of Belarus has limited the amount of
Russian and Belarusian rubles that individuals can take out of the
country to 500 times the minimum wage, which stands at 100,000
Belarusian rubles ($8.70). -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA TO RECEIVE FOREIGN SUPPORT FOR REGISTERING NON-CITIZENS.
Estonian Interior Minister Mart Rask, Deputy Director of the Citizenship
and Migration Department Ulo Laanoja, and UN representative Jan Wahlberg
on 17 January signed a UN Development Program project giving Estonia 8
million kroons ($686,000) to register and issue residence permits to its
300,000 non-citizens, ETA reported. Seven million kroons are to be
supplied by Nordic countries. The parliament authorized the Citizenship
and Migration Department, which also receives 25 million kroons from the
state budget, to complete issuing passports by 12 July. -- Saulius
Girnius

FINNISH PRESIDENT IN LITHUANIA. Martti Ahtisaari on 17 January held
talks in Vilnius with his Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Brazauskas,
on Lithuania's banking problems and integration into the EU, BNS
reported. Ahtisaari said he favored abolishing visas between the two
countries, and he offered Finnish assistance in improving border
control. He later met with Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas. The next
day Ahtisaari met with the representatives of the local Finnish
community before returning home. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT IN BRUSSELS. Aleksander Kwasniewski, visiting NATO
headquarters in Brussels on 17 January, said he hoped Poland will be
invited to join NATO by the end of the year and that it will become a
member of the alliance by 2000, Polish and international media reported.
He said he did not believe that Poland's membership in NATO would
represent a threat to Russia "or any other country." NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana said NATO has full confidence in Poland, and he
praised the Polish contribution to the NATO-led peace operations in
Bosnia. Kwasniewski on 18 January is to meet with officials from the
European Commission and the Belgian government. -- Jakub Karpinski

FORMER POLISH PRESIDENT PROPOSES NEW ROUNDTABLE NEGOTIATIONS. Lech
Walesa on 17 January called for closed-door roundtable talks in an
effort to resolve the crisis over spying allegations against Prime
Minister Jozef Oleksy, Polish dailies reported on 18 January. Walesa
said that about 20 of the country's largest political parties should be
invited to the talks. He added that the talks should be initiated by
Primate Jozef Glemp and should resemble the 1989 roundtable meetings at
which Poland's communist authorities negotiated the transfer of power to
the "constructive opposition." Government spokesperson Aleksandra
Jakubowska welcomed Walesa's proposal, while opposition deputies were
less enthusiastic, favoring instead that special Sejm commission
investigation into the Oleksy affair be made public. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK OPPOSITION EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT TREATY WITH HUNGARY. Party of
the Democratic Left (SDL) deputy chairman Milan Ftacnik on 17 January
said that the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has
confirmed it is "in the tow of the nationalists." Ftacnik's statement
comes in the wake of the HZDS's decision to meet the conditions set by
its coalition partner, the Slovak National Party (SNS), for the
ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. Ftacnik noted that those
conditions could "devalue" the aim of the treaty, which was meant to
calm and stabilize relations with Budapest. Hungarian Christian
Democratic Movement deputy chairman Pal Csaky said the SNS's demand for
a bill on the protection of the republic was a "dangerous step" that
would remove Slovakia from "the family of democratic countries," Slovak
Radio reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN MOST POPULAR POLITICIAN. A FOCUS agency poll
conducted in December showed that Ivan Gasparovicis is the country's
most popular politician, with 24.7% support, TASR reported on 17
January. Opposition SDL deputy chairwoman Brigita Schmoegnerova received
(23.3%) and President Michal Kovac (22.6%). Ethnic Hungarian Coexistence
chairman Miklos Duray drew the most negative responses (64.0%), followed
by Slovak Information Service director Ivan Lexa (50.2%), and
Association of Workers of Slovakia chairman Jan Luptak (48.7%). --
Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO JOIN OECD BY APRIL? Istvan Major, head of the Hungarian team
negotiating with the OECD, said Hungary may join the organization in
April, Hungarian media reported on 18 January. Negotiations over the
next few weeks will focus on questions of taxation, foreign exchange
regulations, international tax agreements, and exchange of tax
information. According to OECD officials, the issue of withholding
banking information in Hungary has to be resolved. OECD countries expect
banks of member countries to exchange information on clients suspected
of fraud; access to such information in Hungary is prohibited. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN CABINET DISCUSSES SURPLUS PRIVATIZATION REVENUES.
Privatization Minister Tamas Suchman is urging the government to
allocate some of the surplus privatization revenues to infrastructure
development. The parliament in late December approved spending all
surplus revenues--some 285 billion forints ($2 billion)--on repaying the
foreign debt. But Hungary's coalition parties have been split over the
issue since last November; Finance Minister Lajos Bokros and Alliance of
Free Democrats are in favor of using the money to pay off the debt,
while most socialist deputies, including Prime Minister Gyula Horn, are
opposed. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SARAJEVO SERBS STRESS NEED FOR OWN ADMINISTRATION. The Bosnian Serbs are
following up on their switch in tactics to accept the transfer of their
suburbs to government control under certain conditions (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 17 January 1996). The BBC on 18 January said that they were now
willing to back the terms of the Dayton agreement and that their
representatives were meeting with the international community's Michael
Steiner to discuss cooperation. Reuters reported that the Serbs want a
local administration that will guarantee their rights. Steiner said that
he and the Serbs agreed that the agreement would be implemented without
any changes but that Serbian concerns would be taken into account. --
Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERB SOLDIERS DESERTING TO GOVERNMENT SIDE. Concern about the
future for themselves and their families has prompted "several dozen"
Bosnian Serbs to desert their units and report to government
authorities. AFP said on 18 January that the men were especially
concerned that their families living in the Sarajevo suburbs not join
any exodus. The government authorities jokingly greeted one man with
"Welcome to the Muslim fundamentalist side." The government officials
said they were obliged to make sure the deserters were not wanted for
war crimes but added that "those who come over have a clear conscience."
-- Patrick Moore

IFOR SEIZES SECRET GOVERNMENT AIR BASE. French IFOR troops seized a
secret Bosnian government air base on 17 January after repeatedly being
denied access to it, international agencies reported. The Visoko
airstrip, about 20 kilometers from Sarajevo, was reportedly used to
store weapons smuggled into the country in contravention of the UN arms
embargo. IFOR was asserting its right to unrestricted freedom of
movement under the Dayton peace accords. -- Michael Mihalka

BILDT TALKS WITH NATO. International community representative Carl Bildt
on 17 January met with the North Atlantic Council, NATO's executive
body, international agencies reported. NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana expressed full support for Bildt's efforts, saying "peace is
reconciliation and...the main task...is in the hands of Carl Bildt."
Relations between Bildt and NATO have been strained because of
continuing NATO grumbling over the slow pace of the civilian peace
effort. Bildt, for his part, has complained that the U.S. has prevented
him from using UN facilities and that he has received funding only from
the EU. Bildt said he expected a substantial contribution from the U.S.
in the near future. -- Michael Mihalka

SERBIA PROPOSES AMNESTY. The rump Yugoslavia's Supreme Defense Council
has advocated the drafting of a law granting an amnesty to 12,455 people
indicted by military authorities for failing to serve in the regions'
wars over the past few years, Nasa Borba, citing Tanjug, reported on 18
January. The council is the country's highest military executive
authority. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Montenegrin President
Momir Bulatovic, and federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic are
among its members. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN REFUGEES IN CROATIA FORCED TO MOVE AGAIN. Oslobodjenje on 18
January reported that some 900 Bosnian refugees in Zagreb collective
centers are being forcibly moved to the Gasinci refugee camp. Croatia
has requested that refugees not be moved before 1 March, when the
Bosnian government is expected to have completed preparations for
accommodating the refugees. In another development, Bosnian refugees
from Srebrenica and Zepa have begun to leave the rump Yugoslavia for
third countries, Nasa Borba reported on 18 January. UNHCR officials
explained that the refugees were leaving because of poor living
conditions and the mistreatment of refugees, who are reluctant to return
to Bosnia due to the lack of safety there. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN, BULGARIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN AGREEMENT ON FRIENDSHIP. Franjo
Tudjman and Zhelyu Zhelev signed an agreement on friendship and
cooperation in Zagreb on 17 January, Vecernji list reported. Zhelev
emphasized that Bulgaria was interested in participating in the
reconstruction of Croatia and was ready to support Croatia's
applications for admission to the Council of Europe and Black Sea
Alliance, Hina reported. Tudjman said that the agreement "will lay a
foundation for overall cooperation." -- Daria Sito Sucic

INVESTIGATIONS INTO CEAUSESCU'S CHILDREN DROPPED. Prosecutors on 17
January announced that they have dropped investigations into the three
children of late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Reuters reported.
Zoe, Valentin, and Nicu Ceausescu have been cleared of "undermining the
national economy" by using their privileged position to exploit the
assets of the former Communist Party. The authorities also lifted a
foreign travel ban on the three. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA SETS BROADCASTING RULES FOR ELECTIONS. The National Audiovisual
Council (CNA) on 16 January released broadcasting guidelines for the
April local elections, Romanian and Western media reported. Free and
equal time on state media will be given to all candidates, irrespective
of their political affiliation. "Audio or video material that slanders
opponents" is prohibited, and no opinion polls may be published in the
run-up to the elections. Private radio and TV stations can charge for
air time. Similar regulations are expected to apply to the general and
presidential elections, due to take place by the end of the year. The
opposition has often accused the state-controlled media of favoring
candidates from the ruling party in election campaigns. -- Dan Ionescu

TV JOURNALIST KIDNAPPED IN MOLDOVA. Five men in police uniforms have
kidnapped the deputy head of a private television company in Moldova,
BASA-press reported on 17 January. Ion Frunza was beaten up and abducted
in a Chisinau street on 13 January. He works for the Catalan TV company,
which began broadcasting last year. Police rejected claims that the
kidnappers might be members of the police force. This is the third
attack on Moldovan journalists since late December. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH NATO. Zhelyu Zhelev warned the
Socialist government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov that reluctance to
join NATO could have adverse effects on Bulgaria's economic and
political relations with the West, international agencies reported on 17
January, citing an interview with the weekly Sega. Zhelev said Bulgarian
reservations about full membership in NATO could lead NATO to look at
Bulgaria "with suspicion." He also said Bulgaria has a "moral and
political" right to take greater part in the reconstruction of the
former Yugoslavia since it "incurred great losses...without being
guilty." But he added that the government's foreign policy could affect
Bulgaria's participation in reconstruction programs. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REVIEWS GENOCIDE LAW. The Albanian
Constitutional Court is reviewing the Law on Genocide and Crimes against
Humanity Committed in Albania During Communist Rule Out of Political,
Ideological, and Religious Motives, the Albanian-language service of
Deutsche Welle reported on 17 January. Deputies from the Socialist
Party, the Social Democrats, and the Democratic Alliance requested a
ruling on the constitutionality of the law, which bans communist-era
high ranking officials as well as members or collaborators of the
security service from holding public office until December 2001. The
opposition argues the law is designed to ban its politicians from
running in the upcoming elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE, MACEDONIA OPEN LIAISON OFFICES. Greece and Macedonia on 17
January opened liaison offices in each other's capitals, as stipulated
by the interim accord signed in September 1995, Nova Makedonija reported
the following day. The Greek office is headed by Alexandros Malias.
Macedonia is expected to name the head of its delegation by 1 February.
-- Stefan Krause

RULING GREEK PARTY SETS PROCEDURES FOR PAPANDREOU SUCCESSION. The ruling
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on 17 January issued the
procedures for the succession of Andreas Papandreou as Greek prime
minister, international media reported. The new prime minister will be
elected by the 168 PASOK parliamentary deputies from among four
candidates: former Industry Minister Kostas Simitis; Defense Minister
Gerasimos Arsenis; Interior, Public Administration, and Decentralization
Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos; and former Foreign and Defense Minister
Jannis Charalambopoulos. The election is to take place on 18 January. --
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