|Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. - Winston Churchill|
No. 19, Part I, 26 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ KARADZIC SAYS HE'LL TRY HIS OWN BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMINALS. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told TV Pale on 24 January that he does not dispute that there are war criminals among the Bosnian Serbs but that he insists his Republika Srpska will try them itself. Nasa Borba and the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes on 26 January added that Karadzic said his government is also preparing a case against Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic for war crimes. Karadzic apparently did not comment on the Hague-based international tribunal's indictment of him and top Bosnian Serb military commander, General Ratko Mladic. One of the international community's top representatives in Sarajevo, Michael Steiner, told German TV that he is convinced that Karadzic and the others will eventually be caught and brought to justice. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN EX-PARTY CHIEF DIES IN MOSCOW. The Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow told Reuters on 25 January that former Ukrainian Communist Party chief Petro Shelest died in the Russian capital this week at the age of 87. Shelest headed the Communist Party of Ukraine from 1963 to 1972 and largely supported its hardline anti-Western stance. But his policies promoting the use of the Ukrainian language over Russian and defending Ukrainian culture allowed him to preside over a brief cultural renaissance. In 1972, the Soviet leadership ousted Shelest for encouraging Ukrainian nationalism and ordered a crackdown on Ukrainian intellectuals. After his removal, Shelest served as deputy Soviet prime minister for one year, but owing to poor relations with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, he was dismissed and appointed director of a military enterprise outside Moscow, where he remained until his retirement. -- Chrystyna Lapychak OSCE OFFICIAL ON CRIMEA. OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel has said Ukraine is unable to solve the problem of resettling Crimea's Tatars without financial support from abroad, ITAR- TASS reported on 25 January. Van der Stoel said he will ask OSCE countries to extend aid to Ukraine for the resettlement of the Tatars at an upcoming UN meeting in Switzerland. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kuras said some 250,000 Tatars have returned to Crimea. Around 300 trillion karbovantsy (over $1.5 billion) are needed to resettle them, but Ukraine can afford to allocate only 4.5 trillion karbovantsy ($25 million) for the effort this year. Kuras also said Turkey has offered to construct 100,000 apartments for Tatars in Crimea. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC WOES. Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir, in an interview with Belarusian TV on 25 January, said enterprises owe workers over 320 billion Belarusian rubles ($27.8 million) in back wages. Despite a December 1995 presidential decree on the regular payment of wages, the problem is likely to persist. Chyhir added that the Belarusian gas concern Beltranshaz owes its Russian supplier, Rosgazprom, $300 million. In other news, the Belarusian Popular Front is protesting the agreement between the government and the Russian-Belarusian joint-stock company Slavutych whereby 51% of the Mazyr oil refinery and 74% of the Novopolotsk refinery will be sold to the Russian companies Lukoil and Yukos. The BPF fears the sale of such strategic assets will undermine the country's sovereignty and harm the national economy. -- Ustina Markus LITHUANIAN PREMIER'S FUTURE UNCLEAR. Adolfas Slezevicius on 25 January said he has not yet decided whether to resign voluntarily or wait for the president to submit the recommendation to the parliament, Radio Lithuania reported. A meeting of the Council of the Democratic Labor Party on 27 January is likely to influence his decision. He said he would not act on the resignation letter of Interior Minister Romasis Vaitekunas until his own fate is settled. An agreement with the IMF on the restructuring of four problem banks was signed that day. They will be nationalized and a plan for compensating their depositors is to be drawn up by 15 February. -- Saulius Girnius UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN IN LITHUANIA. Oleksandr Moroz, meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart, Ceslovas Jursenas, in Vilnius on 24 January, signed a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries' parliaments, BNS reported. Moroz expressed satisfaction with the development of economic relations with Lithuania, stressing that Ukraine is involved only in the economic and not the military structures of the CIS. He also met with Seimas deputies from various caucuses and with Mayor of Vilnius Alis Vidunas. The next day, Moroz held talks with President Algirdas Brazauskas and addressed the Seimas. -- Saulius Girnius POLAND LOOKS FOR NEW PRIME MINISTER. President Aleksander Kwasniewski on 25 January met with outgoing Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and leaders of the two coalition parties--the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). Polish dailies on 26 January reveal that the SLD supports replacing Oleksy, who announced his resignation two days ago amid espionage charges, with either chief of the Government Office Marek Borowski or Deputy Sejm Speaker Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (both SLD members). The SLD would also agree to Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych's (PSL) candidacy, while the PSL supports Miroslaw Pietrewicz (PSL), the head of the Central Planning Office. Meanwhile, members of the extraordinary Sejm commission investigating the spy allegations against Oleksy said on 25 January that contrary to a claim by Oleksy in his resignation speech, the secret service had not broken the law. -- Jakub Karpinski SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Jan Havlat, the attorney representing Michal Kovac Jr., has appealed to the Constitutional Court, Sme and Narodna obroda reported on 26 January. Havlat says the appeal points out that a citizen who is forcibly taken abroad can expect that Slovak authorities will ask the country of his whereabouts to provide for his return. Havlat hopes that Slovak authorities will be forced to apply to Austria for his client's extradition; the Slovak government has so far refused to do so. In other news, opposition Christian Democratic Movement chairman Jan Carnogursky on 25 January filed charges against Miroslav Miklas, who heads the district office in Prievidza, in central Slovakia. According to Carnogursky, Miklas in December abused his public office by calling on other state officials to demand resignation of President Michal Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher PRIVATIZATION OF SLOVAK BANKS TO BE COMPLETED BY MID-FEBRUARY? Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on 25 January announced that the entire Slovak banking sector, with the exception of the National Bank of Slovakia, will be privatized by mid-February at the latest. Meanwhile, NBS governor Vladimir Masar noted that the central bank has not yet "received [the text of] a single project connected with the privatization of the banking structures." Meciar also said that Slovakia's 10% import surcharge, which has been in place since March 1994, will be abolished this year, Praca reported. -- Sharon Fisher SECOND IFOR BASE TO BE ESTABLISHED IN HUNGARY. A second rear base for IFOR troops in Bosnia is to be set up in Hungary, MTI news agency reported on 25 January. The base in Pecs will accommodate Danish, Norwegian, Polish, and Swedish troops attached to NATO's Northern Brigade. Their task will be to supply the rest of the brigade, which is to take part in building military infrastructure in northern Bosnia. U.S. logistics bases were set up last December in the southern town of Kaposvar and at the nearby Taszar air base to facilitate the deployment of U.S. troops to Bosnia. An agreement between NATO and the Hungarians has yet to be concluded. In another development, a U.S. army spokesman told Hungarian TV the same day that supplies from Hungary to U.S. NATO troops in Bosnia have been temporarily suspended due to heavy snow and bad road conditions throughout Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE GOLDSTONE PLEDGES NEW INDICTMENTS. The Hague tribunal's chief, Judge Richard Goldstone, told U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 25 January that he is now "completely satisfied" with Washington's cooperation with his agency. He added, however, that the court is swamped with information but still plans to issue new indictments soon, German media reported. In Bosnia, a British journalist told the BBC about a trip to the Srebrenica area, where there is much evidence of mass graves. IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith said that there are between 200 and 300 mass graves in the entire republic and that his forces will secure them when they are under international investigation. He stressed, however, that a larger police forces is needed to deal with common crime, a problem that is expected to grow as refugees return to their looted or destroyed properties. -- Patrick Moore LIFTING OF SANCTIONS CONDITIONAL ON BOSNIAN SERBS' WITHDRAWAL. The UN Security Council on 25 January said the lifting of sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs can be expected after 3 February and is conditional on the Serbs' withdrawal to the borders of the Republika Srpska, Nasa Borba reported on 26 January. The council will rely on NATO to determine whether the Bosnian Serbs have fulfilled this condition by the deadline agreed in the Dayton accord. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb leaders arrived in Belgrade on 25 January to ask Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to lift the blockade of the Serbian-Bosnian border, Reuters reported. Beta quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that all disputes within the Bosnian Serb leadership are a result of the "pointless sanctions on the Drina River." -- Daria Sito Sucic EU, MUSLIMS, CROATS TO FORM POLICE FORCE IN MOSTAR. EU administrator for Mostar Hans Koschnick has announced that an EU-Muslim-Croatian police force will be formed in that city, international and local media reported on 25 January. Koschnick has said he will accept Croatia's offer to provide some 100 police officers, noting that continuing tensions in Mostar would threaten the Dayton peace accords. Ejup Ganic, vice president of the Muslim-Croatian federation, said in a letter to Koschnick that "the activities of criminal elements in west Mostar (the Croatian sector) have not been stopped, despite the presence of European police and administration." -- Michael Mihalka ICRC APPEALS FOR PRISONER RELEASE. The International Committee of the Red Cross on 25 January appealed for the three Bosnian factions to release the 645 prisoners remaining in their custody, international and local media reported. The ICRC also said "several dozen" unregistered Serbian prisoners were being held in the central prison in Tuzla. Amor Masovic, head of the Bosnian government commission for the exchange of POWs, told Sarajevo TV the same day that the ICRC statement was "misinformation" and that it was simply "not true" that the ICRC plan for prisoner release was in accord with the Dayton peace accords. Masovic stressed that the accords called for all prisoners to be released, alluding to the several thousand prisoners whom the Bosnian government claims the Bosnian Serbs are holding in the Potocari camp. -- Michael Mihalka AGREEMENT ON MEDIA ACCESS IN BOSNIA. The Dayton accords specify that there is to be freedom of movement and freedom of the press in the war- ravaged republic, but this has not always been the case in practice. In particular, journalists from each of the three sides have often had difficulty gaining access to the other two. Reuters reported on 25 January, however, that the Muslims, Croats, and Serbs agreed in Sarajevo to guarantee freedom of movement and access, including the right of journalists to interview the other sides' officials. A working group led by a Czech journalist will be set up to deal with any problems. Steiner called the talks "very encouraging." -- Patrick Moore FORMER SERBIAN PREMIER AIMS TO HELP REBUILD RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Beta on 25 January reports that Milan Panic, the former federal rump Yugoslav premier and the head of the California-based multinational ICN Pharmaceuticals, recently traveled to the rump Yugoslavia where he expressed a strong interest in assisting the country's economic development. "If we [help] make better economic conditions here, the political questions will be resolved relatively easily," he said. Panic, who held office in the last half of 1992, welcomed Belgrade's decision to back the Dayton peace agreement. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 26 January reported that Panic has met in Belgrade with high-profile opposition party leaders such as Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement and Dusan Mihajlovic of New Democracy. -- Stan Markotich KOSOVO GOVERNOR SAYS ALBANIANS CAN FORGET INDEPENDENCE. Serbian- appointed Kosovo governor Aleksa Jokic has told a U.S. State Department delegation that Kosovar Albanians will not be granted independence, Nasa Borba reported on 26 January. At a press conference, he said he was not informed that the U.S. is going to open a USIA office in Pristina. Christopher Hill, head of the U.S. delegation and an aide to Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, also met with Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova, but it is not known if any concrete proposals were made for a dialog between the Kosovar Albanians and Belgrade. -- Fabian Schmidt ZAGREB MAYOR ELECTED. Jozo Rados, a member of the Croatian Social- Liberal Party and the candidate of the seven opposition parties, was elected mayor of Zagreb on 24 January by a vote of 33 to 15 with two abstentions, Hina reported the same day. He was the second opposition candidate for the Croatian President Franjo Tudjman refused to confirm the election of the first one. Two opposition members voted against Rados, while some ruling party (HDZ) members voted for him. Zagreb City Assembly President Zdravko Tomac, member of the Social Democratic Party, responded to accusations that his party had reached a compromise solution with the HDZ, by saying that the Social Democrats are not in favor of radical moves. He added that Rados's election was a way to settle Zagreb's political crisis, Novi list reported on 26 January. -- Daria Sito Sucic MACEDONIA, RUMP YUGOSLAVIA CLOSE TO RECOGNITION? Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic, speaking to his Italian counterpart, Susanna Agnelli, on the telephone, announced his country will recognize Macedonia "as soon as some simply technical questions are resolved," Nasa Borba reported on 26 /January. Milutinovic did not elaborate on the nature of those questions. Nova Makedonija the previous day reported that rump Yugoslav-Macedonian talks were held in Belgrade "in a constructive atmosphere" and may lead to mutual recognition by early February. The daily said the main problem is the question of continuity of the former Yugoslavia, but both sides are seeking "a mutually acceptable solution." Meanwhile, Macedonian media speculate that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic will visit Skopje soon. -- Stefan Krause OSCE CHAIRMAN IN ROMANIA. Flavio Cotti, chairman in office of the OSCE, arrived in Romania on 25 January, Radio Bucharest reported. Cotti met with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu to discuss, among other things, the situation in Bosnia, the Republic of Moldova, and Chechnya. The Romanian side asked the OSCE to step up its involvement in the Moldovan-Dniester conflict and to intercede in favor of the release of Ilie Ilascu and his colleagues from a Tiraspol jail. The so-called "Ilascu group" is being detained by the Dniester authorities for alleged terrorist acts. Cotti, who is also foreign minister of Switzerland, praised diplomatic contacts between the two countries and noted that bilateral economic relations were expanding. Cotti the same day also met with President Ion Iliescu. -- Dan Ionescu MOLDOVA TO TAKE ACTIVE PART IN NATO'S PFP PROGRAM. Moldova will participate in 85-90% of projects within the Partnership for Peace program in 1996, a spokesman for the Moldovan armed forces told journalists in Brussels on 25 January . Infotag quoted him as saying that Moldova's participation in the program is limited by financial possibilities and will be restricted to sending groups of observers. He noted that NATO "understands and respects the neutrality of Moldova, which, according to its constitution, cannot join any military-political blocs." But he did not exclude future Moldovan participation in NATO military exercises. Moldova plans to host this year a PfP international seminar on military medicine. -- Matyas Szabo NEW GOVERNOR OF BULGARIAN NATIONAL BANK. Lyubomir Filipov's appointment as governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has prompted personnel changes in a number of parliamentary committees, Bulgarian media reported. The parliamentary Socialist majority on 24 January confirmed Filipov in that post as the successor of Todor Valchev, whose five-year term had expired. Nikolay Koychev has replaced Filipov as head of the parliamentary Economic Committee, while Yordan Shkolagerski replaces Koychev as chairman of the Committee on Labor, Social, and Demographic Problems. Both Koychev and Shkolagerski are members of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. -- Stefan Krause UPDATE ON HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT GONCZ'S VISIT TO ALBANIA. Arpad Goncz, addressing the Albanian parliament, called for Albania's full membership in the Central European Initiative, Magyar Hirlap reported on 26 January. Goncz also urged expanded political and economic ties as well as deeper cultural and scientific cooperation. Later he met with Prime Minister Alexander Meksi to discuss gradually lifting visas requirements after concluding an agreement on extradition. Meksi offered to ease restrictions on Hungarian business activities in Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt and Zsofia Szilagyi [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. 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