|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 27, Part II, 07 February 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BOSNIAN SERBS BREAK OFF TIES WITH SARAJEVO GOVERNMENT OVER ARRESTED SERBS. Pale has broken off contacts with the Sarajevo government and threatened to block traffic into Serb-held suburbs if the eight recently arrested Serbs are not freed, Nasa Borba said on 7 February. The Onasa news agency reported the previous day that the government has identified General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic as responsible for "a large number" of murders in eastern Bosnia and around Sarajevo. A government spokesman said the two were arrested during "a routine traffic control" on 30 January. Oslobodjenje on 7 February added that Djukic served in the Yugoslav army in Belgrade but later followed General Ratko Mladic to the Bosnian Serb general staff. The government has asked the Hague-based International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to take part in investigations. The other Serbs were arrested for possessing quantities of weapons and explosives. Elsewhere, Human Rights Watch has appealed to the UN Security Council not to lift sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs yet. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE RUSSIA BLASTS ESTONIA FOR DEPORTING ULTRANATIONALIST. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin on 6 February condemned the recent expulsion from Estonia of ultranationalist Petr Rozhok, BNS reported. Rozhok, a Russian citizen who was the Estonian representative of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, was deported for "anti- constitutional activity" in March 1995. Estonia subsequently granted him visas to attend two court appeals but expelled him after those visas expired. Officials in Moscow told BNS they do not regard the deportation as aimed against a specific person but as a precedent-setting case for expelling Russian citizens. -- Saulius Girnius DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN LATVIA. Niels Helveg Petersen and his Latvian counterpart Valdis Birkavs, meeting in Riga on 5 February, signed an agreement to help finance Latvia's efforts to join the EU, BNS reported. Denmark plans to allocate 35 million Danish kroner ($6 million) for technical and administrative assistance to Poland and the three Baltic states. Petersen the next day held talks with Prime Minister Andris Skele, parliamentary speaker Ilsa Kreituse, and other parliamentary deputies. He said that Denmark supports Latvia's membership in the EU, NATO, and the World Trade Organization and added that visa-free travel between Latvia and Denmark was also discussed. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIAN COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION. Gintaras Zintelis on 5 February submitted a letter of resignation, but Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius refused to accept it, Reuters reported the next day. Zintelis said his decision was not connected with the current campaign to oust the premier, explaining that he wanted return to an academic career. Meanwhile, Seimas deputy Bronislovas Genzelis, who resigned from the ruling Democratic Labor Party in December, was formally accepted as the eighth member of the Social Democratic Party faction. -- Saulius Girnius NEGOTIATIONS ON NEW POLISH GOVERNMENT CONTINUE. Leaders of the two ruling parties in Poland--the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL)-- continue to discuss the formation of a new government. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (SLD), who was appointed prime minister last week, said on 6 February that he wanted to have the cabinet sworn in the next day. But former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy said the PSL was opposed to Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek and Interior Minister Jerzy Konieczny. Jerzy Wiatr (SLD) and Leszek Kubicki, a non-party Supreme Court Justice, are candidates for the education and justice portfolios, respectively, Polish dailies reported on 7 February. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH EDITOR SENTENCED FOR REVEALING STATE SECRETS. Jerzy Urban, formerly spokesman for Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and since 1990 editor of the satirical weekly Nie, was sentenced on 6 February to a one-year suspended prison sentence for publishing secret documents. The court also ordered him to pay a $4,000 fine and banned him from working as a journalist for one year. In June 1992, Urban had published documents dating from 1959 suggesting that Zdzislaw Najder, who was head of RFE/RL's Polish service in the 1980s, was a secret police informer. Urban said he would appeal the sentence. His weekly has a circulation of hundreds of thousands and frequently is critical of right-wing politicians, Polish national symbols, and the Catholic Church. -- Jakub Karpinski RUSSIANS DENY CZECH SECRET SERVICE CHARGES. The Russian embassy in Prague on 6 February denied Czech secret service (BIS) charges that Russia has launched a campaign to discredit the Czech Republic in the West, Czech media reported. BIS's annual report for 1995 accuses Russian intelligence services of trying to hinder the Czech Republic's possible admission to NATO and speculates that they could also try to influence the Czech parliamentary elections in late May. An embassy official called the reports "open provocation." According to Mlada fronta Dnes on 6 February, BIS estimates that around 400 Russian agents are operating in the Czech Republic, including 56 accredited diplomats. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus refused to comment on the allegations, saying he has not yet read the BIS report. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAKIA REJECTS NEUTRALITY. The Slovak Foreign Ministry on 6 February issued a statement rejecting Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin's recent proposal that a neutral zone be created in Central Europe between NATO countries and Russia. The ministry said the Russian plan "does not correspond with progress in discussions on the security model for the 21st century." In other news, a 10-day joint Slovak-U.S. military exercise began on 6 February in Zilina. Training is focused on reconnaissance tasks for international humanitarian missions, non- military rescue missions, aid to civilians in military conflicts, and fighting terrorism, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK JUSTICE MINISTRY REACTS TO PROTEST AGAINST FOUNDATIONS BILL. The Slovak Justice Ministry on 6 February issued a statement responding to the ongoing campaign by the Third Sector Association against the bill on foundations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 January 1996). The ministry denied the association's claims that the bill was prepared within a couple of days and without consulting those affected by it. It said the draft bill has yet to be reviewed by the cabinet and that the parliament will have the final word. Representatives of the Third Sector Association are expected to meet on 12 February with Katarina Tothova, deputy premier for legislative issues, Praca reported. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT DIVIDED OVER SCREENING LAW. Hungarian deputies on 6 February began to debate an amendment to the screening law, Hungarian dailies reported. The law, which was passed under the previous administration in 1994 and subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, forbids those who worked for the communist-era III/III department of the secret service from holding public office. Coalition and opposition deputies are at odds over who should be screened. The cabinet's draft law provides for screening only those who have taken an oath in the parliament, while the opposition wants to include judges, prosecutors, and senior officers in the armed forces and police. Ferenc Koszeg of the Alliance of Free Democrats, the junior coalition party, argued that the law should allow all reports, not just those maintained by the III/III department, to be made public, including those on Hungarian emigres and enlisted soldiers. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ADMIRAL SMITH STILL WILL NOT SEND IFOR AFTER WAR CRIMINALS. John Shattuck, the U.S. State Department's top official for human rights, has taken NATO commander Admiral Leighton Smith by helicopter to two of the most notorious sites of Serbian atrocities. The men visited the Omarska camp and saw one building from which no prisoner is known to have emerged alive. Shattuck called it a "killing camp" but arrived to find a freshly painted Serbian army barracks with soldiers lounging around and watching television. The Serbs said that the reports on the camp by journalists and survivors were propaganda. The two officials later flew to the Ljubija mine, believed to be a huge mass grave. Smith said he still will not have his men "seek out" war criminals, because this is not in their mandate. The BBC on 7 February commented that many doubt that the war criminals will ever face justice unless IFOR becomes more involved in hunting them down. -- Patrick Moore PALE PREVENTS BANJA LUKA MAYOR FROM MEETING U.S. ENVOY. President Bill Clinton's special envoy Robert Galucci is in Banja Luka to meet leading personalities, Nasa Borba reported on 7 February. He spoke to the heads of the Roman Catholic and Islamic communities as well as with some Serbian politicians. But the Independent Social Democratic Party charged the hard-line Pale leadership with having blocked his meeting with Mayor Predrag Radic. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje quoted Michael Steiner, the deputy of the international community's Carl Bildt, as saying dialog between local Serbs and the government on reintegrating the capital is progressing well. -- Patrick Moore UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL MEETS WITH BOSNIAN SERBS. Elisabeth Rehn on 6 February visited the Bosnian-Serb stronghold of Pale to hold talks with Republika Srpska Vice President Nikola Koljevic, parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, and Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic, Nasa Borba reported. Rehn said Bosnian Serb leaders have granted her freedom of movement to carry out her work, despite disagreement over the Hague- based war crimes tribunal and mass graves in Bosnia. Krajisnik complained that the trials in The Hague have been politicized, with charges of ethnic cleansing and massacres unfairly slanted against Serbs. He added that "Muslims were keeping Serbs as ethnic hostages in government-controlled towns," according to AFP. Rehn told the reporters she believes some missing Srebrenica citizens are still alive, "although they were not in the Srebrenica area," Hina reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic U.S. ANNOUNCES INCREASED AID AMID CONTINUED EU CRITICISM. The U.S. on 6 February announced it is increasing aid to Bosnia, international news agencies reported. A U.S. official speaking in Tuzla said his government wants to allocate $200 million in economic assistance to Bosnia for the remainder of the 1996 fiscal year. The U.S. previously had said it would contribute only $600 million. It has come under ongoing criticism by the EU, which expects the U.S. to provide one-third of the estimated $5.1 billion needed for reconstruction in Bosnia. An EU spokesman in Brussels was also critical of Japan and the Islamic states. Meanwhile, a spokesman in Washington said the U.S. will step up efforts to accelerate the deployment of UN police to Bosnia. -- Michael Mihalka APPEALS FOR MORE AID. Regional leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have appealed for more aid, international agencies reported. Bosnian Prime Minister Hsan Muratovic estimated Bosnian war damage at $45 billion, while the Croatian delegation said their country needed $17 billion. Rump Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje Kontic estimated his country lost more than $200 billion directly and indirectly through the war. Hungarian President Arpad Goncz asked that some of money be earmarked for aiding Hungarian infrastructure. Meanwhile, The World Bank reported that almost 90% of the Bosnian population depends on international aid. -- Michael Mihalka UNHCR SAYS NO BOSNIANS WERE COMPELLED TO GO TO AUSTRALIA. A UNHCR official in Belgrade on 6 February denied that Bosnians have been sent against their will to Australia, international media reported. He said refugees who fled the enclaves of Zepa and Srebenica when they fell to Bosnian Serb forces in the summer of 1995 "adamantly refused to go back." But a spokesman for a group of some 100 refugees in Adelaide said they had been sent against their will and wanted to return. The UNHCR official said the refugees in Australia are welcome to return to Bosnia but will have to wait their turn, since there are the tens of thousands of other refugees seeking help in repatriation. -- Michael Mihalka GAS CUT OFF TO ZAGREB. Many residents of the Croatian capital on 7 February found themselves without gas amid sub-zero temperatures, German media reported. The energy firm INA is seeking to force the state-run gas board to pay 28 million kuna ($5 million) in back debts. INA plans to cut off more gas gradually. -- Patrick Moore MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT URGES UNITY IN GOVERNMENT COALITION. Kiro Gligorov on 6 February appealed to the Social Democratic Union, the Socialist Party, and the Liberal Party to keep the present government coalition together, Reuters reported. Gligorov' statements followed reports that Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski is preparing to name a new government without the Liberals. "Excluding one member of the coalition from the future reconstructed government is not a political platform I represent [nor is it] the will of our voters," Gligorov said. The Liberals complained that Crvenkovski excluded them from talks about a new government. The dismissal of Macedonian TV editor-in-chief Saso Ordanoski, a Social Democrat, may have been a result of the coalition crisis. Macedonian TV Director-General Melpomeni Korneti, a Liberal, reportedly disagreed with one of his editorials predicting there would be no Liberals in the next government. -- Stefan Krause ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DENIES SEEKING MOSCOW'S HELP IN 1989. Ion Iliescu has denied accusations that he sought Moscow's help during the December 1989 revolt, which many Romanians believe was hijacked by his leftist allies, Reuters reported on 6 February. For the first time since he gained power in December 1989, Iliescu's office issued documents allegedly proving that he did not ask ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to help oust Nicolae Ceausescu. The Presidency said the move was meant to deny "fabrications by the media and politicians about the Romanian revolution and the legitimacy of the National Salvation Front." Under Iliescu's leadership, the NSF seized power after Ceausescu's overthrow. -- Matyas Szabo ROMANIAN SENATE VOTES ON COUNTERESPIONAGE BILL. The Senate on 6 February adopted by a vote of 82 to seven with six abstentions a draft law on the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), Radio Bucharest reported. Under the new legislation, the country's counterintelligence service will be supervised by a joint panel set up by the Commissions for Defense, Public Order, and National Security of the parliament's two chambers. The SIE will be subordinated to the Supreme Defense Council, headed by President Ion Iliescu. The bill has still to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies. -- Dan Ionescu MOLDOVAN DELEGATION IN BUCHAREST. A delegation from the Moldovan parliament's Foreign Policy Commission have met with foreign policy experts in the Romanian parliament's two chambers, Romanian media reported on 6 February. The two sides agreed that the Romanian and Moldovan parliaments will draw up by the end of their current sessions a legislative proposal on easing border crossing restrictions. They also discussed the free exchange of newspapers and publications as well as issues related to national minorities. -- Matyas Szabo BULGARIAN LEGISLATOR FOUND SHOT. Todor Todorov, chairman of the parliamentary agriculture committee and a member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was found shot in the head at his home in Malina, northeastern Bulgaria, on 5 February, 24 chasa reported. He was rushed to the hospital in Dobrich and operated on but is in a deep coma. Police said there was no evidence of violence and are convinced that Todorov attempted to commit suicide. Bulgarian media link the incident to the criticism of the agriculture committee amid the ongoing grain shortage. Standart cited Petar Komarov, a high-level official at the Agriculture Ministry, as saying Todorov has frequently received telephone threats against himself and his family and was disappointed by the attitude of fellow party members. The BSP declined to comment on the incident. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS ACCUSED OF PLANNING COUP. Rilindja Demokratike on 7 February reported that Italian journalist Pietro Zannoni has produced a document, dated 3 March 1990 and signed by a Yugoslav Security Service agent, allegedly proving that the Albanian Socialist Party was involved in espionage and other activities. The document mentions plans to finance agents in Albania "to control the communist apparatus." It also refers to "preparations for a communist coup d'etat in Albania with the support of Russia" and to preserving "relations between the Serbian and Albanian Communists to maintain Serbian domination over Kosovo." The Socialists have repeatedly denied the charges. -- Fabian Schmidt HOLBROOKE ON CANCELED VISITS TO ATHENS, ANKARA. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke on 6 February said it was his decision not to visit Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, CNN reported the same day. Holbrooke said "we have decided on our own that this is not an ideal time to visit," noting that there still is no new Turkish government. Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis the previous day had made clear Holbrooke was not welcome in Athens. Meanwhile, U.S. President Bill Clinton set letters to Simitis, Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel thanking them for "for their cooperation in successfully resolving the issue" of the disputed islet of Imia/Kardak. -- Stefan Krause [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. 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For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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