There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 20, Part II, 29 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
PRISONER EXCHANGE CONTINUES IN BOSNIA. International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Pierre Gauthier said on 28 January that a
total of 460 prisoners have been released since the exchange began the
previous day. Under the Dayton peace accords, all prisoners held by the
warring factions in Bosnia were to have been released by 19 January. The
EU and the United States have threatened to withhold aid if the prisoner
exchange is not completed. Gauthier said the Bosnian government has
handed over 241 prisoners and the Croats 127. The Bosnian Serbs set 82
prisoners free, but the release of another 70 in northern Bosnia was
unconfirmed. The ICRC expects the release of all registered prisoners to
be completed on 29 January but acknowledges that many unregistered
prisoners remain in the hands of the Bosnian factions. -- Michael
Mihalka
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

NEW ACTING CRIMEAN PREMIER APPOINTED. Arkadii Demydenko, Crimean deputy
prime minister for industry, has been appointed acting premier by the
speaker of the regional parliament, Yevhen Supruniuk, UNIAN reported on
27 January. Demydenko will serve until a new prime minister is approved
by both the Ukrainian government and Crimean legislature. Crimean
deputies dismissed former Premier Anatolii Franchuk in December.
Supruniuk was instructed by lawmakers to make a temporary appointment
and propose candidates for the post. Demydenko is among the four
candidates so far named. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN COAL MINISTER DISMISSED. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
fired Uladzimir Kudenkau because of the continued decline in the
country's coal sector, Radio Rossii reported on 28 January. Enterprise
output fell an average of 11% in 1995, but that of the coal industry
declined by 21%. Lukashenka said Kudenkau's poor performance practically
bankrupted Minsk's autoworks and tractor and television plants.
Lukashenka sought to encourage visiting German businessmen to invest in
Belarus, but the Germans expressed concern over the lack of legislation
guaranteeing investments and private property in the country. After the
U.S., Germany is Belarus's second largest foreign investor, with $120
million invested in 1995. -- Ustina Markus

NO PROGRESS IN ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS. Talks on the Estonian-
Russian border ended in Tallinn on 26 January without any concrete
results, ETA and Interfax reported. The two sides were unable to resolve
the issue of the validity of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, which has
hindered the signing of a border treaty. Meanwhile, progress was made on
resolving the sea border issue, although Finland has still to be
consulted about the exact location where the three countries'
territorial waters converge. The next round of meetings will take place
in Moscow on 28-29 February. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PREMIER RECEIVES PARTY BACKING. The council of the Lithuanian
Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) on 28 January voted by 89 to three with 11
abstentions in favor of LDDP Chairman Adolfas Slezevicius not accepting
President Algirdas Brazauskas's recommendation to resign as prime
minister, Radio Lithuania reported. It argued that a change in
government would not serve the interests of the state. LDDP deputy
chairman Justinas Karosas said the party did not want to fight with
Brazauskas, its former chairman, and hoped to reach a compromise. --
Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, WORLD BANK SIGN AGREEMENT ON MERGING PROBLEM BANKS. Head of
the World Bank mission to Lithuania Marcelo Giugale and Lithuanian
officials on 26 January signed an agreement on merging the Joint-Stock
Innovative (LAIB), Litimpeks, and Vakaru banks into a United Bank by 1
July, Radio Lithuania reported. The new bank will initially be state-
owned but is to be privatized by the end of 1997. Aurabankas, the fourth
bank whose activities have been suspended, is to be declared bankrupt.
Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius on 28 January said that the LAIB and
Litimpeks would begin in February to pay all their depositors up to
1,000 litai ($250) in compensation. --  Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT ACCEPTS PRIME MINISTER'S RESIGNATION. Jozef Oleksy
informed the government on 26 January that his resignation has been
accepted by President Aleksander Kwasniewski. The president asked Oleksy
to stay on as interim prime minister until a new government is formed.
The president has 14 days to appoint a new prime minister, who must be
approved by the Sejm. Meanwhile, the Social Democracy of the Republic of
Poland (SdRP) has elected Oleksy as its leader. Oleksy replaces
Kwasniewski, who resigned in November following his election as
president. The SdRP issued a statement saying Oleksy "ceased to be prime
minister not because his party lost the electorate's support. He
resigned as a result of unprecedented accusations by the internal
affairs minister and because of the campaign launched against him." --
Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PRESIDENT'S WIFE DIES. Olga Havlova died of cancer on 27 January,
aged 62. She met Vaclav Havel while working as an usherette at the
Prague theater where he began his career as a dramatist, and the couple
married in 1964. Havlova shunned the limelight but became publicly known
through Havel's "Letters to Olga," musings on philosophy and other
subjects written while he was in jail for dissident activities. When her
husband became Czechoslovak president at the end of 1989, Havlova
founded the Goodwill Committee, a charity she worked actively for until
her illness and which has distributed around 450 million koruny ($16.5
million), much of it to benefit handicapped children. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar told Slovak Radio on 26
January that the Slovak-Hungarian treaty will be ratified by the
parliament in March, but he warned that ratification "does not mean that
Hungarian nationalism will disappear from the scene." With regard to the
decision to move the central post office and bank to Banska Bystrica,
Meciar told Slovenska Republika on 27 January that "we all like [having]
Bratislava as our capital" but that cooperation with the opposition city
authorities has been unsuccessful. In other news, parliamentary Foreign
Committee chairman Dusan Slobodnik praised Russia's admission to the
Council of Europe, saying "only Russia respects freedom of the press as
much as Slovakia does," TASR reported on 26 January. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY WELCOMES RUSSIA TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Hungarian Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs told Magyar Hirlap on 27 January that Hungary welcomes the
admission of Russia to the Council of Europe, since the key precondition
to European security and stability are the strongest possible ties
between Moscow and European institutions. He added that Council of
Europe deputies believe that in order to neutralize Russia's fear of
isolation, it is better to have the country admitted than excluded. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY GRANTS FREQUENCIES TO U.S. FORCES. The Hungarian cabinet has
issued a decree granting two radio and one television frequencies to
U.S. forces temporarily stationed in Hungary, Magyar Nemzet reported on
27 January. The American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service
submitted an application to the Ministry of Culture last December. The
frequencies are to be granted by the end of the year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN FACTIONS AGREE TO CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES. The Bosnian
factions on 26 January agreed on confidence-building measures by the
deadline stipulated in the Dayton peace accords, international media
reported. Measures include prior notice of large troop movements and
verification of troop and heavy weapons strength. AFP reported that the
Serbs objected to the fact that the OSCE has named half the inspectors
on teams that are to consist of four members from the Bosnian factions
and four from the international community. Meanwhile, separate talks on
arms control continue under OSCE auspices in Vienna. -- Michael Mihalka

IFOR CASUALTIES INCREASE, AMERICAN WOUNDED. Three British soldiers
belonging to IFOR forces were killed on 28 January when their armored
vehicle hit a mine in central Bosnia, and a Swedish soldier died when
the vehicle in which he was riding ran off the road, international media
reported. The same day, an American soldier was wounded by suspected
sniper fire in Sarajevo. He received first aid treatment. -- Michael
Mihalka

U.S. ARMY RELUCTANT TO HELP INVESTIGATE MASS GRAVE SITES? IFOR continues
in its reluctant agreement to protect war crimes investigators if asked
but still does not seem eager to look for evidence of atrocities. This
was what Reuters suggested on 28 January in reference to U.S. troops in
the area of Vlasenica in eastern Bosnia. Reporters followed up on the
testimony of survivors of a massacre of Muslim civilians by Serbs in
1992. Up to 8,000 Muslims had been held earlier at a nearby Serbian
camp, where they were grossly mistreated. The Serbian commander is
wanted for war crimes as a result. Reuters described witness accounts of
the now familiar sequence of butchery, the stacking of corpses, and the
digging of mass graves. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERB OFFICER TO GIVE EVIDENCE ON MASS GRAVES? A Bosnian Serb
colonel, reported to have been a close associate of Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic, is ready to confirm the existence of mass graves in
Bosnia and to indicate where Serbs carried out massacres, AFP reported
on 27 January, citing Der Spiegel. The German weekly quoted an anonymous
source as saying that the officer was from the Bosnian Serb stronghold
of Banja Luka and that thousands of Croat and Muslim victims had been
buried in mass graves near the city. The officer is reportedly in The
Hague, where he will testify before the international war crimes
tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

FEDERATION OFFICIALS VISIT PALE. Kresimir Zubak and Izudin Kapetanovic,
leaders of Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation, on 26 January visited the
Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale for the first time since the outbreak of
the war, AFP reported the same day. Bosnian Serb parliament speaker
Momcilo Krajisnik said that the two sides agreed that all prisoners must
be released, while Zubak called on the governments of Croatia and rump
Yugoslavia to immediately release all prisoners from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The two sides also discussed Serbian-held Sarajevo. Meanwhile,
representatives of associations of independent intellectuals from
Sarajevo and Tuzla are expected to visit rump Yugoslavia early next
month to meet with Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts as well as non-
governmental organizations, Nasa Borba reported on 29 January. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

SLOVENIAN LEFT LEAVES GOVERNMENT COALITION. The United List of Social
Democrats (ZLSD) on 26 January quit Slovenia's governing coalition,
following a dispute with Premier Janez Drnovsek, international media
reported. The ZLSD objected to the fact that Drnovsek had called for the
resignation of Economic Minister Maks Tajnikar of the ZLSD without
consulting the party. According to the premier, Tajnikar violated his
authority by pledging the TAM bus company that the government would
guarantee its debts. The social democrats also vowed to leave the
coalition. Drnovsek responded by saying there was no need for early
elections as the Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats could
continue to govern until the end of the year. -- Stan Markotich

WORLD BANK CONFERENCE OUTLINES MACEDONIA'S PRIORITIES. At a conference
in Ohrid from 26-28 January sponsored by the World Bank and Switzerland,
Macedonia's economic priorities for 2010 were established, Nova
Makedonija reported. Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski was
present at the meeting. Goals include a per capita GDP of $3,000 (as
opposed to the current $690), export-oriented industry, a fully
privatized and efficient economy, high-quality public services, a lower
technological gap relative to developed countries, agriculture dominated
by private farmers, a strong banking system capable of financing
investment, an inflow of direct or portfolio investment of $80-100
million annually, and at least 5.5% annual growth of social product. A
World Bank official noted that a good start has been made in achieving
macroeconomic stability and cited the importance of deregulation,
especially in labor relations. -- Michael Wyzan

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER ATTACKS PRESIDENT AGAIN. Gheorghe Funar,
leader of the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), has
renewed his attacks against Ion Iliescu. Cronica romana on 29 January
published a letter in which Funar complains that Iliescu has not given a
satisfactory answer to an earlier message dealing with the prospects for
a "historic reconciliation" with neighboring Hungary. Funar accused
Iliescu of trying to "hide" from political parties and public opinion in
Romania following Budapest's official reaction to his August
reconciliation proposal. He urged the president to enter a dialogue only
with his Hungarian counterpart and not with the Hungarian premier. --
Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVA URGES CE TO HAVE RUSSIA RATIFY TROOP WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT.
Moldova has asked the Council of Europe to include Moscow's ratification
of the troop withdrawal agreement with Chisinau as one of the conditions
for Russia's admission to the council, Infotag reported on 26 January.
Dumitru Diacov, head of the Moldovan delegation at the current session
of the council's Parliamentary Assembly, said the proposal found broad
support among delegates. The amendment urges Russia to ratify the
October 1994 agreement within six months. Diacov also revealed that two
members of the Moldovan delegation voted against Russia's admission to
the CE. -- Dan Ionescu

RUSSIAN MILITARY TRANSPORT LEAVES MOLDOVA. BASA-press on 26 January
reported that a train carrying military equipment belonging to Russian
troops based in eastern Moldova left Tiraspol for Russia. The transport
is the first of 20 to be carried out by 1 June. Mainly antiquated
engineering equipment, including pontoon bridges, was included in the
transport. Gen. Stefan Kitsak, head of the armed forces of the self-
proclaimed Dniester republic, said no combat weapons were withdrawn.
Kitsak stressed that the Dniester authorities resolutely oppose the
evacuation of any combat technique from the region. He noted that part
of the equipment to be withdrawn will be handed over to the Dniester
army. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN INDUSTRY CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN IN 1995. Bulgarian real
industrial production grew by a robust 7% in 1995, up from 4.5% in 1994,
Bulgarian newspapers reported on 26 January, citing the National
Statistical Institute. Private sector industrial production experienced
25% growth, with private producers now accounting for 12% of industrial
production (up from 8% in 1994). Dynamic branches included chemicals and
petrochemicals, which grew by 16.1%, and paper (14.7%). The only three
branches suffering production declines were printing, non-ferrous
metals, and light industry. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN POLICE BLOCKS DELIVERY OF INDEPENDENT DAILY. Armed police on 26
January blocked and searched six vans carrying 37,000 copies of Koha
Jone, international agencies reported. The vans also contained 33,000
copies of another 11 newspapers, which were being delivered by Koha
Jone's transport agency. Police said they would impound the vans for at
least five days, thus preventing the distribution of opposition media
outside Tirana. Koha Jone Chief Editor Nikolla Lesi called the incident
"yet another attack against the free press in Albania." He added that
the police action followed his refusal to back the Democratic Party
during the election campaign. The Interior Ministry denied political
motivation, saying that four of the six vans either lacked papers or had
technical defects. Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Journalists
has protested the police actions as a deliberate attack before the
elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT IS POOR. Sali Berisha has declared assets of 360,000
lek (less than $ 4,000) and a small three-room apartment in central
Tirana as his only property, international agencies reported on 27
January. The declaration followed the passage earlier this month of an
anti-corruption law ordering all state officials to declare property
exceeding 1 million lek ($ 10,000) and its origin. After becoming
president, Berisha remained in his 72 square meter apartment in Tirana.
He is the first person to declare his assets under the new law, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 27 January. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK, RUMP YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Greek Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos and his rump Yugoslav counterpart, Milan Milutinovic,
met in Athens on 28 January to discuss Belgrade's imminent recognition
of Macedonia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 January 1996), AFP reported the
following day. Greek newspapers say that Belgrade is prepared to
recognize the former Yugoslav republic under the name Macedonia, which
Greece continues to oppose. Meanwhile, Greek Interior Minister Akis
Tsochatzopoulos has urged the international recognition of rump
Yugoslavia, Beta reported on 28 January. He said "the peace process in
Bosnia-Herzegovina could be seriously crippled if all sides do not
recognize [rump Yugoslavia] as a state." -- Stefan Krause

GREECE, TURKEY DISPUTE DESERTED ISLAND. Tension has risen between Greece
and Turkey over sovereignty of the uninhabited island of Imia, Western
agencies reported on 28 January. Athens claims it was given the island
when Italy ceded the Dodecannese to Greece in 1947, while Ankara claims
it is Turkish. The mayor of the Greek island of Kalymnos raised the
Greek flag on Imia last week when a Turkish captain refused Greek
assistance after his vessel ran aground, saying the island is Turkish. A
group of Turkish journalists responded by traveling to Imia, taking down
the Greek flag, and raising the Turkish one. The next day, a Greek navy
vessel rehoisted the Greek flag. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos has protested the incident to the Turkish ambassador. -- Stefan
Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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