It is not enough to show people how to live better: there is a mandate for any group with enormous powers of communication to show people how to be better. - Mary Mannes
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 17, Part II, 24 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
HAGUE TRIBUNAL "LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE." AFP on 23 January reported that
British Prime Minister John Major told a questioner in the parliament
that British troops would conduct foot patrols and air surveys to
prevent the destruction of evidence of atrocities. In The Hague, a
spokesman for the war crimes tribunal said that investigations of mass
grave sites near Srebrenica would begin soon. The Czech daily Mlada
fronta Dnes on 24 January noted that the court is "launching an
offensive" against war criminals. Nasa Borba added that hearings will
soon be held in the case of several persons previously indicted,
including the major figures: Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and
General Ratko Mladic, and the Croats Dario Kordic and General Tihomir
Blaskic. The court will also report to the UN Security Council the names
of countries that are not cooperating in prosecuting war criminals. --
Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CRIMEAN NEWS. The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van
der Stoel arrived in Ukraine on 24 January to examine issues related to
Crimean autonomy, ITAR-TASS reported. Van der Stoel will look into
problems surrounding the Tatar minority on the peninsula and its draft
constitution. In other news, ITAR-TASS on 23 January reported that
Crimea has the highest organized crime rate in Ukraine, and the lowest
success rate for apprehending criminals. According to Crimean
Prosecutor-General Hryhorii Vorsinov, no one has been arrested for any
of the 75 contract killings carried out last year;only 32 of the 170
most serious criminal cases were brought to court. Vorsinov said he
would take a tough stand against the peninsula's security organs. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RE-ELECTION, OTHER PLANS. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has said he plans to run for re-election in 1999, Interfax reported on
23 January. He noted that he intends to give the country's six regional
executive councils the right to liquidate commercial structures deemed
detrimental to the state's interests. Lukashenka added that there would
be "serious talks" about the 71,000 commercial enterprises registered in
the republic. The Economic News Agency on 22 January reported that
Lukashenka signed a decree earlier this month introducing a 10% duty on
all foreign currency purchases at the country's Interbank Currency
Exchange. Revenues are to be used for the newly established State
Support Fund for Exporters. Those buying foreign currency to purchase
vital goods will be exempt from the tax, as will those exchanging one
currency for another. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS CONCLUDE 1996 COOPERATION PLAN. Andrus Oovel
(Estonia), Andres Krastins (Latvia), and Linas Linkevicius (Lithuania),
following two days of talks in Tallinn, have signed a cooperation plan
for 1996, ETA reported on 23 January. Oovel told a press conference that
top priorities are preparing the Baltic peacekeeping battalion Baltbat,
creating a joint air space surveillance system, and improving the
cooperation among the navies. He noted that there were no plans to
create a Baltic military union. The three ministers confirmed their
desire for closer cooperation with NATO by sending peacekeepers to
Bosnia and participating in Partnership for Peace programs. -- Saulius
Girnius

NEW HEAD OF ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES APPROVED. The Estonian parliament on
23 January voted by 48 to 24 with seven abstentions to appoint Lt. Col.
Johannes Kert as commander-in-chief of the defense forces, ETA reported.
The 36-year-old Kert was the head of the volunteer Defense League. He
has little formal military education but attended courses on strategic
planning at the Marshall Center in Germany. President Lennart Meri
promoted him to the rank of colonel later that day. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN FAILS. Seimas deputy Kazimieras
Antanavicius on 23 January announced that the campaign to collect
300,000 signatures in two months in support of a referendum has been
unsuccessful, Radio Lithuania reported. The effort got under way in mid-
November 1995. No major political party supported the referendum, which
contained such populist measures as reducing the number of parliamentary
deputies, administrative officials, and ministries as well as revising
tax laws. The referendum organizers initially said some 270,000
signatures had been collected but later revised that figure to 206,000.
-- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER READY TO RESIGN? Gazeta Wyborcza on 24 January
writes that Jozef Oleksy is expected to resign tomorrow, when the
inquiry into spy allegations against him is due to be launched by the
Warsaw Military Prosecutor's Office. In the event of the premier's
resignation, President Aleksander Kwasniewski has 14 days to appoint a
new prime minister and government. Heads of the regional Polish Peasant
Party (PSL) organizations, meeting on 23 January in Lublin, were in
favor of Oleksy's resignation and changes in some ministerial posts.
Head of the Central Planning Office Miroslaw Pietrewicz said he has been
asked by the PSL to lead a new government and that he has agreed "in
principle," Polish dailies reported on 24 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

FORMER POLISH PRESIDENT INITIATES POLITICAL TALKS. Lech Walesa, after
meeting on 23 January with Freedom Union leaders Leszek Balcerowicz and
Bronislaw Geremek, says he sees two possibilities with regard to the
future of the opposition: the creation of either a unified bloc or two
blocs--one center-left, the other center-right. Walesa wants to meet
with the leaders of 15 political groupings on 1 February, Polish dailies
reported on 24 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH REPUBLIC SUBMITS EU APPLICATION. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 23
January submitted the Czech Republic's formal application to join the
European Union. He handed it to Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini,
the current EU chairman, during a two-day visit to Rome. In a memorandum
accompanying the application, the Czech government said that it welcomed
the process of European integration and that the Czech Republic has
traditionally been a part of Western European civilization, Czech media
reported. The Czech Republic is the ninth postcommunist country to apply
for EU membership; Hungary and Poland submitted their applications in
1994, while Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania
followed suit last year. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK-UKRAINIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED. Slovak and Ukrainian cabinet
officials, meeting in the High Tatras on 23 January, signed agreements
on double taxation, tax evasion, and cultural cooperation. The two
governments discussed cooperation in the armaments industry and
conversion as well as construction of a highway linking the two
countries, which Slovakia wants to complete by the year 2005. Ukrainian
Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk said he and his Slovak counterpart,
Vladimir Meciar, discussed in detail the creation of a free trade zone.
Marchuk, who expressed discontent over the 1995 volume of bilateral
trade of $290 million, said the talks have paved the way to increase
this amount to up to $1 billion in 1996, Narodna obroda reported. --
Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BOSNIA, CROATIA. Gyorgy Keleti met with
IFOR commander in chief Admiral Leighton Smith and Bosnian Defense
Minister Jadranko Prlic in Sarajevo on 23 January to discuss Hungarian
participation in the Bosnian peacekeeping effort, Hungarian media
reported. Prlic said Bosnia welcomes the presence of the Hungarian
technical battalion and thanked Hungary for receiving Bosnian refugees
during the war. During his three-day visit, Keleti met with Serbian
military officials in Belgrade and Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak
in Zagreb. He announced that a Hungarian-Croatian military agreement
will be signed in Budapest in early February. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO CERTIFIES BOSNIAN SERB COMPLIANCE BUT SANCTIONS REMAIN. NATO has
sent a letter to the UN certifying that the parties to the Bosnian
conflict have "complied with the requirement to withdraw their forces
from the zones of separation," international agencies reported on 23
January. Under the terms of a November 1995 UN Security Council
resolution on the Dayton peace accords, this should have led to the
automatic suspension of sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs. But
European members of the council are apparently unwilling to agree to a
lifting of the sanctions without more detailed information. Bosnian Serb
Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic told Radio Bijeljina that he did not
understand why sanctions had not been lifted yet. He underscored that
the Republic Srpska has sought to cooperate not only with rump
Yugoslavia but also with Croatia. -- Michael Mihalka and Daria Sito
Sucic

DATA EXCHANGE AT OSCE ARMS CONTROL TALKS. The exchange of data on major
weapons took place at the OSCE arms control talks on 23 January, after a
delay of 10 days, international agencies reported. Belgrade had cited
"technical reasons" for its failure to hand in its list. Croatia and the
Bosnian warring factions are also participating in the talks. Norwegian
General Vigleik Eide, who is chairing the talks, called the exchange of
data, "a very important step" but said that a "lot of work" would be
necessary to convince all sides that the data are reliable. -- Michael
Mihalka

IFOR TIGHTENS SECURITY FOLLOWING EXTREMIST THREAT. IFOR has tightened
security following reports that Muslim extremist groups may attack US
targets in Bosnia. The New York Times on 24 January reported that
attacks would be in retaliation for the sentencing of Sheik Omar Abdel-
Rahman this month in New York. U.S. intelligence has reported a recent
increase in activities of Islamic volunteer groups who have been seen
observing U.S. installations. "Foreign fighters" were supposed to have
left Bosnia by 19 January, but many have reportedly remained, including
150-200 Iranian Revolutionary Guards. -- Michael Mihalka

SANDZAK MUSLIMS URGED NOT TO HELP "ETHNIC CLEANSING." Sarajevo's
Vecernje novine on 24 January reported that Bosnia's governing Muslim
party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), has appealed to Muslims in
Sandzak not to exchange their homes and other real estate with Bosnian
Serbs. This practice is followed by some Bosnian Muslims and helps
solidify "ethnic cleansing" by creating ethnically homogenous areas,
which is contrary to the concept of Bosnia as a multiethnic state, set
down in the Dayton agreement and endorsed especially by the Sarajevo
government. Sandzak is divided between Serbia and Montenegro, but its
Muslim majority feels close to the Bosnian Muslims and is led by the
SDA. Sarajevo is apparently anxious lest the Muslim position in Sandzak
be weakened. -- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC ALLIES HIT BOSNIAN CAMPAIGN TRAIL. Since the signing of the
Dayton peace accords, open challenges to the virtual monopoly held by
Bosnia's three main ethnically-based parties have gradually emerged. One
threat to Radovan Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party comes from the
Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS), which appears to be a
clone of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists. Nasa Borba
on 24 January reported that a delegation from the SPRS and its ally the
United Left called on their mentor in Belgrade to discuss the situation
in Bosnia and to urge closer links between the Republika Srpska and
Serbia. AFP reported from Brcko that SPRS leader Dragutin Ilic told
voters that their key to the future is to "put in place a social system
resembling that of [rump] Yugoslavia" and that his party is the one to
bring close ties with Belgrade about. Ilic, like so many of the
politicians in postcommunist ex-Yugoslavia, is a medical doctor by
profession. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN RADICAL SAYS HE WILL TESTIFY AGAINST MILOSEVIC. Vojislav Seselj,
leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party and an accused war
criminal, has said he wants to go the Hague to testify against Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, international media reported on 23
January. Seselj maintained he can prove that Milosevic is responsible
for war crimes throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and that Bosnian Serb
leaders Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, Ratko Mladic,
were only indirectly, if at all, responsible for commanding forces in
Bosnia. Seselj noted that key members of the Bosnian Serb military
command structure remain on Belgrade's payroll. Earlier this month,
Seselj complained bitterly about difficulties he had encountered in
obtaining a passport, prompting speculation that Milosevic wants to keep
Seselj in Serbia so that he cannot testify. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIA TO ACCEPT EU ARBITRATION IN MOSTAR. Croatian Foreign Minister
Mate Granic has told the Council of Europe in Strasbourg that Croatia
will accept EU arbitration in Mostar if Croats and Muslims cannot solve
their dispute by themselves, Nasa Borba reported on 24 January. Granic
also informed the council that more than 2O suspected war criminals in
Croatia would go on trial. He added that over 1,000 suspected war
criminals were currently being investigated. The Croatian parliament is
expected to pass a bill next month on cooperation with the Hague-based
International War Crimes Tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MONTENEGRIN-BRITISH SOCIETY FOUNDED. Montena-fax on 23 January reported
that a Montenegrin-British Society has opened in Cetinje. Its function
is to foster bilateral ties, specifically in areas such as science,
culture, and sports. British government official Ivor Roberts noted that
ties between Britain and Montenegro have historically been close and
mutually beneficial. -- Stan Markotich

IS BELGRADE BLOCKING USIA OFFICE IN KOSOVO? Margit Savovic, rump
Yugoslav Minister without portfolio in charge of civil liberties and
minority rights, on 22 January said "Kosovo and Metohija are an integral
part of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," adding that
Serbia will not allow this issue to be internationalized, MILS reported
on 23 January. Savovic was referring to plans, announced earlier this
month by U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke, to open a U.S.
representation in the province--probably a USIA office. She pointed out
that the U.S. would have to consult with Belgrade before opening the
office. Turkey is also reportedly considering opening a consular office
in Pristina. -- Fabian Schmidt

NEW MACEDONIAN CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF TAKES OVER. President Kiro
Gligorov on 23 January appointed Col. Gen. Trajche Krstevski as chief of
general staff. He replaces Col. Gen. Dragoljub Bocinov, who recently
retired. Krstevski was a career officer in the former Yugoslav army for
30 years. He left his last post in Croatia in 1991 to return to
Macedonia and was appointed deputy chief of general staff in April 1992.
-- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN DIPLOMATIC NEWS. Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu on 23 January received a Moldovan delegation headed by Deputy
Foreign Minister Aurelian Danila. Romanian media reported that the two
sides discussed organizing an inter-ministerial meeting in Chisinau and
decided to restart negotiations on a bilateral basic treaty. The same
day, a Romanian group seeking the liberation of Ilie Ilascu, who is
currently detained in Tiraspol for alleged terrorist acts against the
self-proclaimed Dniester authorities, announced they were seeking the
reunification of Moldova with Romania. They also proposed the formation
of a "unification group" in the Romanian parliament, saying that "the
signing of treaties with Ukraine and Moldova is too sensitive a matter
to be left in the hands of the Foreign Ministry." -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER LEADERS MEET. Leaders of the Republic of Moldova and
the self-proclaimed "Dniester republic" met in Chisinau on 23 January,
Infotag reported. The Moldovan team included President Mircea Snegur,
Parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi, and Finance Minister Valeriu
Chitan. President Igor Smirnov and Supreme Soviet Chairman Grigorii
Marakutsa headed the Dniester side. The meeting focused on economic
issues, especially how to implement a July 1995 agreement on monetary
and credit arrangements. The Dniester leaders asked Chisinau not to
hinder the transportation of Dniester bank notes, printed in Munich,
through Moldovan territory. Infotag reported that the meeting was
brokered by the OSCE mission in Moldova and by the special envoys of the
Russian and Ukrainian presidents to the Moldovan-Dniester negotiations.
-- Dan Ionescu

WAS BULGARIAN MINISTERS' ELECTION ILLEGAL? The Union of Democratic
Forces (SDS) has issued a statement saying the 23 January election of
Atanas Paparizov and Svetoslav Shivarov as trade and agriculture
ministers violated parliamentary procedures, Demokratsiya reported. The
opposition objects to the fact that the old ministers were dismissed and
the new ones appointed without debate. The opposition boycotted the
vote, and both the SDS and the People's Union are reportedly considering
taking the matter to the Constitutional Court. Meanwhile, former Deputy
Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev told Standart that he
already had decided to quit in October 1995 because he was under
constant criticism from the Socialists. -- Stefan Krause

TURKEY TO TRAIN BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ARMY. Turkey will provide military
training to the Bosnian government army under an agreement signed in
Sarajevo on 22 January, Reuters reported. Further details on the
agreement were unavailable. Bosnian General Rasim Delic, who signed the
protocol for the Bosnian side, noted that the agreement "is only a
beginning" and that "we expect huge aid from Turkey." -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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

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