When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

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

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

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