Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 21, Part II, 30 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 RELEASE STILL INCOMPLETE. An International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) spokesman told OMRI on 30 January that Bosnian factions
still hold 103 registered prisoners, at least 40 in defiance of the
Dayton peace accords. Bosnian Serbs hold 39 prisoners, five as suspected
war criminals, which they are entitled to do under the accords. All 50
prisoners held by the Croats are classified as suspected war criminals.
The Bosnian government holds 14 prisoners, eight as suspected war
criminals. The ICRC stresses that the situation remains fluid and the
numbers may change. Over 500 prisoners were handed over in last three
days in an exchange that should have been completed by 19 January. All
sides claim that the others are holding many unregistered prisoners.
Serbs claim the Bosnian government holds over 200 prisoners in Tuzla's
prison and several dozen elsewhere with some 250 also imprisoned in
Croatia. The Bosnian government wants the Bosnian Serbs to account for
several thousand missing Muslim men. -- Michael Mihalka
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ORDERS PAYMENT OF MINERS WAGES ON EVE OF STRIKE.
Leonid Kuchma ordered the Ukrainian Finance Ministry and National Bank
to find an "uninflationary source" of funds to pay back wages to
thousands of coal miners, set to begin an indefinite nationwide strike
on 1 February, Interfax-Ukraine reported 29 January. The state-owned
coal mines owe their workers 78 trillion karbovantsi (around $43
million) in back wages, and many miners have not been paid in six
months. Union leaders have appealed to Russian and Polish coal miners'
unions to support them by impeding coal imports to Ukraine. They
complain that Kiev imported 20 million tons of coal for $520 million
last year, but failed to pay wage arrears. ITAR-TASS reported that
leaders of Ukraine's machinists' and defense workers' unions have
promised to hold a one-day solidarity strike. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

IMF IN UKRAINE AND BELARUS. An IMF delegation arrived in Minsk on 29
January to determine whether the next tranche of a Stand-by credit
should be released, Belarusian radio reported. The credit, worth almost
$300 million, was approved last February, but the release of funds was
frequently delayed by Minsk's non-adherence to the reform program. On 30
January AFP reported that an IMF team arrived in Kiev to examine
Ukraine's abidance to the austerity program necessary to secure the
release of the fourth tranche of its Stand-by credit. Last year the IMF
agreed to grant $1.5 billion credit to Ukraine, but the release of the
fourth tranche was delayed this month because parliament failed to pass
laws on budget revenues. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN MILITARY DELEGATION IN BELARUS. A Ukrainian military
delegation headed by Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov arrived in Belarus
on 20 January for a two day official visit, ITAR-TASS and Belarusian
radio reported. Shmarov will meet with his Belarusian counterpart Leanid
Maltseu, as well as President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Prime Minister
Mikhail Chyhir, and CIS Executive Secretary Ivan Karatchenya. Documents
are to be signed on cooperation between the defense ministries of the
two countries, cooperation in air-defense, and exchanges between the
defense ministries' research and educational institutions. The defense
ministries of Ukraine and Belarus have been concluding cooperation
agreements on an annual basis since independence. -- Ustina Markus

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT STILL WANTS PREMIER TO RESIGN. Algirdas Brazauskas
on 29 January signed a decree asking the Seimas to vote on the removal
of Adolfas Slezevicius as prime minister on 8 February, Radio Lithuania
reported. Brazauskas said that he had not yet decided whom he would ask
to be prime minister if Slezevicius were removed and thought that the
most of the ministers in the present cabinet would retain their posts.
Slezevicius, on the other hand, asserted that he thought that there was
a good possibility that early parliament elections would be necessary.
Brazauskas also signed a decree accepting the resignation of Romasis
Vaitekunas as interior minister. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN SUGGESTS CONTROL LINE AND NOT BORDER TREATY
WITH RUSSIA. Eino Tamm, the chairman of the parliament foreign affairs
commission, called on 29 January for a broad discussion on the necessity
of concluding a border treaty with Russia, BNS reported. He said that
since a Russian-Estonian border treaty could cancel the Tartu Peace
Treaty of 1920 it would be wiser for Estonia, after reaching an
agreement with Russia, to declare that its control line passed through
such and such geographical points. He noted that there were many
countries that have no bilateral agreements on borders, but boundaries
recognized de facto. -- Saulius Girnius

COALITION TALKS ON FUTURE PRIME MINISTER IN POLAND. After Prime Minister
Jozef Oleksy's resignation was accepted on 26 January, the leaders of
ruling coalition parties, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the
Polish Peasant Party (PSL), agreed on 29 January that the government's
economic policies would continue. Polish dailies on 30 January reported
that the candidacy of PSL's Aleksander Luczak for prime minister was
being considered seriously and the PSL no longer insisted on the
candidacy of Central Planning Office head Miroslaw Pietrewicz. The
dailies reported that the SLD is backing the candidacies of Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz (SLD) and Marek Borowski (SLD). -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK THEATERS PROTEST MINISTRY MOVE. Association of Theater Unions of
Slovakia representative Jozef Horvath on 29 January announced that
charges have been filed at a local court following a decision by the
Culture Ministry earlier this month to join the State Theater in Kosice
with the Theater of Jonas Zaborsky in Presov, creating the East Slovak
Theater, Sme reported. The decision was made without any public
discussion, and employees of the Kosice theater have been striking,
while those of the Presov theater are also ready to strike. Despite the
protests, the ministry issued a statement on 29 January refusing to
change its stand. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK WORKERS CHAIRMAN ON TREATY WITH HUNGARY. Jan Luptak, chairman of
the Association of Workers of Slovakia, a junior coalition partner, told
TASR on 29 January that certain steps must be taken prior to
ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. Luptak mentioned in
particular the adoption of a law on the protection of the republic,
which he said should prevent the creation of autonomous regions. Luptak
also stressed that the interpretation of the treaty must be clear before
ratification takes place, noting his frustration that the Council of
Europe has yet to clear up its position on Article 11 of its
Recommendation No. 1201, which deals with autonomy for minorities. --
Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY MAKES STEADY PROGRESS TOWARDS OECD MEMBERSHIP. OECD legal
counselor Christian Schricke arrived in Hungary on 29 January to prepare
the documentation for an eventual membership agreement with the
organization, Magyar Hirlap reported. His visit follows the OECD's
approval of Hungary's tax and environment policy last week. The long-
pending issue of bank secrecy was also resolved when Hungary undertook
to comply with OECD regulations allowing tax authorities to look into
the accounts of bank clients suspected of wrongdoing. The next step in
Hungary's negotiations will be in early February when OECD officials
will meet a Hungarian delegation -- led by Finance Minister Lajos Bokros
-- in Paris and examine Hungary's foreign exchange, privatization, and
economic policies. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SREBRENICA WOMEN OCCUPY ICRC SEAT IN TUZLA. After a peaceful rally in
front of the ICRC office in Tuzla on 29 January morning, angry women
refugees from Srebrenica, fearing for the fate of 8,000 men missing
after the fall of Srebrenica, occupied local Red Cross offices, Reuters
reported. The ICRC has acknowledged 8,000 people from Srebrenica as
missing, and most of them are feared dead, for several possible mass
graves had been reported in the area. A delegation of 20 women demanded
to know the truth about the missing, and to have an IFOR escort on their
way back to Srebrenica. Meanwhile, the ICRC Sarajevo office issued a
strongly-worded statement denouncing the violent protest, defending its
own position, but also calling on the Sarajevo government to guarantee
the security of ICRC staff, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ON REFUGEE REPATRIATION TO CROATIA AND BOSNIA. Croatian Foreign Minister
Deputy told Vjesnik daily on 29 January that 30,000 refugees are
expected to repatriate to Croatia, and 900,000 to Bosnia-Herzegovina in
1996, Nasa Borba reported the next day. The Croatian government
estimates 57,000 Croats are refugees abroad with some 37,000 in Germany.
In Croatia itself there are 187,000 Bosnian refugees, 80,000 of whom
have applied to the UNHCR to return. The issue of the return of Croatian
Serbs and the problem of Vojvodina Croats will be solved when Croatia
and rump Yugoslavia normalize their relations, Nasa Borba cited him as
saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BELGRADE TO RECOGNIZE MACEDONIA. Tanjug on 29 January reported that rump
Yugoslavia adopted an agreement on the recognition of and normalization
of relations with Macedonia. The report said the agreement will be
signed by both Skopje and Belgrade at some as yet "unspecified date."
Nova Makedonija on 30 January suggested that the recognition was
prompted by the hopes that it could help it to gain European Union
recognition of its own state. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 30 January
reports that recognition of Macedonia under the name of "republic of
Macedonia" could place a strain on Belgrade's friendly relations with
Greece, which continues to oppose usage of the name "Republic of
Macedonia." -- Stan Markotich

SLOVAK PREMIER IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Nasa Borba on 30 January reports that
Slovak premier Vladimir Meciar arrived in Belgrade the previous day,
where he met Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Meciar's government
delegation included members of the Slovak business community, and the
purpose of the visit was to restore bilateral ties, particularly
economic, in the energy, pharmaceuticals, and tourism sectors. Meciar
called his visit a "symbol" of Slovakia's efforts to maintain balanced
relations with all Balkan countries, stressing that Slovakia never
looked for the guilty party in the conflict but was always looking for
peace, TASR reported. According to AFP, Meciar said that Slovakia will
support rump Yugoslavia's membership in the UN and the IMF, and its
joining the World Trade Organization and CEFTA. He also announced that
he had proposed negotiations for the creation of a free trade zone with
Belgrade. -- Sharon Fisher and Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN MINISTERS TO RESIGN. Reuters on 29 January reported that four
ministers, who are members of the United List of Social Democrats
(ZLSD), will resign from their cabinet posts on 30 January, while "ten
of the ZLSD's state secretaries will offer their resignation when new
ministers are appointed." On 26 January the ZLSD left the three-party
governing coalition, following an inter-party row precipitated by
Premier Janez Drnovsek's call for the ouster of Economic Activities
Minister Maks Tajnikar of the ZLSD (see OMRI Daily Digest 29 January).
The two remaining coalition partners, the Christian Democrats and
Liberal Democrats, hold 45 of the 90 legislature's seats, and both
Drnovsek and President Milan Kucan have ruled out the need for early
elections. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY RESPONDS TO ALLY'S ATTACKS. The Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR) on 29 January responded to attacks by
Gheorghe Funar, the leader of the extremist Party of Romanian National
Unity (PUNR). In a statement read on Radio Bucharest, the PDSR press
bureau expressed surprise over Funar's allegations that the PDSR had
struck a "secret pact" with the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania for the upcoming local elections. The charge had been formulated
in a letter addressed by Funar to President Ion Iliescu. The PDSR
further accused the PUNR of trying to make political capital by
artificially stirring up tension in Transylvania, where most of
Romania's ethnic Hungarians live. The PUNR has several portfolios in the
PDSR-dominated cabinet of Nicolae Vacaroiu. Romanian dailies wrote on 30
January that the PDSR-PUNR coalition seems doomed to end soon. -- Dan
Ionescu

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT HOSTS PARTY TALKS. Romanian President Ion Iliescu on
29 January invited leaders of the political parties represented in
parliament to a meeting, Romanian and international media reported. The
discussions focused on the upcoming elections, the law on local
government, the project on the state budget, and Romania's foreign
policy. Iliescu called for a civilized electoral campaign, and expressed
hopes that local elections could be held in April and parliamentary and
presidential ones in September. He asked the participants to support the
privatization process and the country's integration in the EU. The stage
of the negotiations over the bilateral basic treaties with Hungary,
Ukraine, and Russia were also discussed. The press did not have access
to the meeting. -- Matyas Szabo

HUNGARIAN AND CROATIAN ROMA PLAN EXCHANGES. The Ministry of Education
and Sport of the Croatian Republic sponsored a conference on Romani
education last week in Krizevcima, HINA reported on 27 January. Among
those invited were representatives from the Ghandhi high school for Roma
in Pecs, who told MTI on 29 January that the Hungarian and Croatian
teachers should share experiences in teaching for minorities, and would
plan exchanges. The Ghandhi school representative said that many Roma in
Pecs and across the border in Croatia are Beash and speak the same
dialect, but have been separated since the Trianon Treaty. According to
the last official census, there are 6,695 Roma in Croatia, but according
to Romani organizations, there are 150,000, 80% of whom are Beash-
speaking rather than Romani-speaking. -- Alaina Lemon

GREEK-TURKISH DISPUTE OVER ISLAND ESCALATES . . . The dispute between
Greece and Turkey over the uninhabited rock islet Imia escalated on 30
January as both sides sent warships into the southeastern Aegean,
international media reported. Turkish frigates and patrol boats crossed
between the Turkish coast and Imia while Greece assembled several
warships near the island and put all military airfields in the Aegean on
alert. Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said a Turkish vessel
and a helicopter violated Greek territory. "Imia is Greek and it is the
duty of the Greek armed forces to defend it," he added. Meanwhile,
Reuters reported that Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis on 30 January
met with four ministers, including Arsenis, and Chief of Staff, Admiral
Christos Lyberis to discuss the situation. -- Stefan Krause

. . . AS BOTH SIDES STICK TO THEIR POSITION. Turkish Prime Minister
Tansu Ciller on 29 January said Ankara will take "all necessary
measures" if Greece does not withdraw its troops from Imia "shortly."
Athens denies Turkish side claims that at least 12 Greek soldiers are on
the island. Turkey will not give up its "national rights," Ciller said,
but noted Turkey's readiness to hold talks with Athens about the status
of Imia. Also on 29 January, Simitis said Greece's response "to this and
every [act of] aggressive nationalism" will be "strong, immediate, and
effective." He said that Greece "has the means and will use them without
hesitation" and that "we will accept absolutely no questioning of our
territorial rights." -- Stefan Krause

YELTSIN MEETS BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN. President Boris Yeltsin met
with the Bulgarian parliament chairman Blagovest Sendov in Moscow on 29
January to discuss bilateral relations and NATO expansion, Russian
agencies reported. According to the presidential press service, the two
agreed that NATO expansion is unnecessary and they both called for
strengthening the "traditional friendship" between Russia and Bulgaria.
Also on 29 January, Yeltsin had a telephone conversation with Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev during which he underlined Russia's opposition
to NATO expansion. Although they two presidents pledged to intensify
Russo-Bulgarian cooperation, Zhelev, unlike Sendov, did not endorse
Yeltsin's statement on NATO. Sendov was elected to the Bulgarian
parliament on the Socialist Party ticket and opposes NATO expansion,
while Zhelev favors Bulgarian membership in the alliance. -- Scott
Parrish

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT INVESTIGATES SOCIALIST PARTY FUNDING. The Albanian
parliament set up a commission to investigate the funding of the
Socialists, AFP reported on 29 January. The move follows earlier
allegations by Italian journalist Pietro Zannoni that the Serbian
government paid about $20 million to the Socialists "to support the
return of communists to power," (see OMRI Daily Digest 25 January). The
report alleged that Belgrade had acted "under orders from Russian
communists," and that the independent daily Koha Jone was similarly
financed. Meanwhile, Zannoni in an interview to the BBC, published in
Zeri I Popullit on 27 January said that he met an agent of the
communist-era secret service Sigurimi in summer 1995 in the house of a
high ranking Socialist Party official where he received two documents,
proving the charges. Zannoni failed to mention names. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN PARTY LEADER ARRESTED FOR COMMUNIST-ERA CRIMES. Party of
National Unity (UNIKOMB) leader Idajet Beqiri has been arrested after he
was accused with crimes against humanity, committed as a communist
prosecutor, international agencies report on 30 January. Beqiri is
charged by the National Forum of Intellectuals with ordering
deportations in the early 1980s. He is the 31st former communist
official to face trial following the Forum's charges. UNIKOMB called the
arrest part of the strategy of "tension and violence" pursued by the
ruling Democratic Party against the opposition. Meanwhile, in unrelated
news, the vans of the independent daily Koha Jone remain blocked by
police -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ISRAEL. Sali Berisha met with Israeli
President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Shimon Peres on 29 January,
AFP reported the same day. Berisha, who is on a three-day visit is also
scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Ehud Barak and Education
and Culture Minister Amnon Rubinstein. During the stay Israel and
Albania will sign a series of scientific and cultural cooperation
agreements. Afterwards Berisha will spend two days on a visit to Malta.
-- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Saulius Girnius

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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