Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 28, 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
MLADIC THREATENS TO BREAK CONTACT WITH NATO. Bosnian Serb civilian
authorities have made good on their threat to end contacts with the
international community and the Bosnian government in Sarajevo over the
arrest of suspected Serbian war criminals. The International Herald
Tribune on 8 February said that indicted war criminal General Ratko
Mladic has broken two months of silence and threatened to end contacts
with NATO as well. IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith spoke to Pale's
legislative speaker Momcilo Krajisnik to urge calm and restraint and met
with Bosnian Serb commanders. He told them he could not force the
government to release the detained officers because it is the business
of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague and he is "out of it," AFP
reported on 7 February. The news agency also quoted an IFOR spokesman as
saying that the peacekeepers are avoiding arresting indicted war
criminals since this would cause "political problems." -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON REFORMS IN COAL INDUSTRY. Leonid
Kuchma on 7 February issued a decree launching reforms in the country's
troubled coal industry, Ukrainian TV reported. The decree calls for all
enterprises under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Coal Industry,
including the country's 227 coal mines, to be restructured into majority
state-owned, joint-stock companies by 1 September. The firms will be
able to conduct business dealings without government interference.
Meanwhile, the government allocated six trillion karbovantsi ($32
million) to cover a portion of unpaid wages to striking coal miners. It
also promised to allot another 15 trillion karbovantsi within 20 days.
Union officials said 72 mines were still on strike and the shortage of
coal was already affecting the coal regions' power supply. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

UKRAINIAN ROUNDUP. Ukraine on 7 February formally took possession of
Britain's Faraday research station in the Antarctic, Reuters reported.
Agreement on the transfer of the station to Ukraine was reached in July
after Russia had refused to hand over any stations to Kiev. ITAR-TASS
reported that Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kuras met with
Israeli religious leader Rabin Adin in Kiev. The visit came at the same
time when Israeli-Ukrainian relations are strained over the case of
former Acting Prime Minister Yukhim Zvyahilsky, who was accused of
embezzling $25 million. Zvyahilsky sought refuge in Israel, where he was
granted the right to permanent residency under a law granting all Jews
that right. Intelnews on 6 February reported that Ukraine's Foreign
Ministry has denied that the three Chinese deported to Beijing last week
were spies. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON PEACEKEEPING. Leanid Maltseu said he was
opposed to the participation of Belarusian troops in any peacekeeping
missions, including those under UN auspices, Belarusian TV reported on 6
February. Maltseu added that without a Supreme Soviet resolution, the
Defense Ministry has no intention of even considering such a
possibility. Belarus has consistently rejected participating in any
military operations beyond its borders, even within the context of the
CIS Collective Security Pact. Meanwhile, the IMF is postponing issuing
the second tranche of a $250 million standby credit because of concerns
over the pace of economic reform in the country, Reuters reported on 6
February. The first $70 million tranche was released in September. --
Ustina Markus

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN VILNIUS. Povilas Gylys (Lithuania),
Valdis Birkavs (Latvia), and Siim Kallas (Estonia) met in the Lithuanian
capital on 7 February to discuss cooperation, Baltic media reported. The
ministers pledged to continue their common efforts to integrate more
fully into European structures. Noting the importance of Russia as a
powerful neighbor, they expressed an interest in meeting with Russia's
new foreign minister, Yevgenii Primakov. Birkavs agreed with the
Lithuanian position that talks on the Latvian-Lithuanian sea border
demarcation should begin by renouncing all previous agreements. Gylys
said the talks could start next month if Latvia did not insist on
waiting until Lithuania formed a new government. -- Saulius Girnius

VOTE ON LITHUANIAN PREMIER'S DISMISSAL. The Democratic Labor Party on 7
February failed to reach agreement on how to vote the next day on the
dismissal of its chairman Adolfas Slezevicius as prime minister, Radio
Lithuania reported. Caucus deputy chairman Justinas Karosas said that
the party's deputies could vote independently but that he would probably
ask that the voting be secret. Slezevicius said that although he was
likely to be dismissed, he would not resign as that would be an indirect
admission that the charges against him were valid. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW GOVERNMENT IN POLAND. Poland's new government was sworn in on 7
February by President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Like its two predecessors,
it is a coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish
Peasant Party (PSL). The government is headed by Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, a 45-year-old lawyer from the SLD, who resigned his post as
deputy Sejm speaker. There are six new ministers: Internal Affairs
Minister Zbigniew Siemiatkowski (SLD), Justice Minister Leszek Kubicki
(no party), Education Minister Jerzy Wiatr (SLD), Culture Minister
Zdzislaw Podkanski (PSL), Labor Minister Andrzej Baczkowski (no party),
and Leszek Miller (SLD), who is chief of the Office of the Council of
Ministers. Cimoszewicz said he will maintain "continuity in foreign,
economic, and social policy," Polish and international media reported.
-- Jakub Karpinski

U.S. ENVOY IN POLAND. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. assistant secretary of
state for European and Canadian Affairs, visited Poland on 7 February
for talks with President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Prime Minister
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, and former President Lech Walesa. Holbrooke
said he assured his Polish hosts that the Clinton administration is
fully aware of Poland's wishes to join NATO. He added that Poland's
participation in the NATO mission in Bosnia "is going to make a very
favorable impression on the United States and on other NATO allies,"
Polish and international agencies reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH GOVERNMENT EASES CITIZENSHIP RESTRICTIONS. The Czech government on
7 February approved amendments to the citizenship law, removing the
controversial requirement that applicants must have had a clean criminal
record for five years, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The Council of Europe
and U.S. senators, among others, have strongly criticized the law as
being restrictive. They say it discriminates in particular against Roma
who have lived in the Czech Republic for a long time but are technically
Slovak citizens. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told reporters that the
amendments were primarily intended to ease the way for Slovaks to gain
Czech citizenship. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH PREMIER SAYS NUCLEAR BILL IS NOT ABOUT WEAPONS. Vaclav Klaus on 7
February said the government's "nuclear bill," which is due to go before
the parliament soon, does not concern nuclear weapons but is
"exclusively a bill about Temelin [the Czech Republic's second nuclear
power station] and related matters," Czech media reported. Czech
newspapers have claimed the proposed law would prohibit NATO nuclear
weapons being deployed in the country. They have also published a
paragraph that would ban the "export, production, import, operation,
ownership, storing and any other handling of nuclear weapons." Klaus has
called for the issue not to become part of the upcoming parliamentary
election campaign, saying the Czech Republic must accept the possibility
of nuclear weapons on its territory if it wants to join NATO. The main
opposition wants the country to be a nuclear-free zone. -- Doug Clarke
and Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES PRIVATIZATION AMENDMENT. The Slovak
parliament on 7 February passed an amendment to the law on large-scale
privatization under which company owners may be freed from the
obligation to provide for employee participation in the privatization
process. Sme on 7 February writes that the legislative initiative
"strengthens the influence of today's buyers of direct-sale properties
to the detriment of employees." The parliament also approved a law on
the protection of state secrets, which replaces communist-era
legislation. An opposition proposal that former members of the communist
secret police be denied access to classified information was rejected.
Meanwhile, a Czech-Slovak border agreement was approved, providing for a
swap of 452 hectares of territory, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW TO GO TO HIGH COURT. The opposition Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH) and Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement
(MKDH) agreed on 7 February to take the state language law to the
Constitutional Court, Pravda reported. The Hungarian coalition--which
has argued that the law infringes on minority rights--wants to lodge the
complaint as "urgent" so it will be addressed as quickly as possible.
The KDH was the only Slovak party that did not vote in favor of the law.
MKDH Chairman Bela Bugar announced he intends to ask Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar for a meeting to discuss minority language usage and the
new territorial administration bill. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY READY FOR OECD MEMBERSHIP. The last obstacle to Hungarian
membership in the OECD was removed on 7 February, when an OECD committee
on foreign investment gave its approval, Reuters and Hungarian media
reported. One day earlier, the committee had met in Paris with a
delegation led by Finance Minister Lajos Bokros. Hungary can now join
the organization as early as March, which would make it the second post-
communist country, after the Czech Republic, to do so. Membership is
conditional on parliamentary approval of amendments to the bank secrecy
act. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MIXED REACTIONS TO DETENTION OF SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINALS. The BBC on 7
February quoted top officials of the tribunal as saying that the Bosnian
government's actions were "quite proper" and that all sides "are duty
bound" by the Dayton agreement to cooperate with the court and arrest
war criminals. Onasa cited court officials as adding that they had asked
the Bosnians to arrest General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa
Krsmanovic. The tribunal is considering asking the Bosnian authorities
to arrest on its behalf other suspects held in Sarajevo. The BBC quoted
President Bill Clinton's special envoy Robert Galucci as saying that the
government had a point in arresting suspected war criminals, but he also
expressed sympathy for the Serbian view that the detentions contravene
the principle of freedom of movement. -- Patrick Moore

RED CROSS ON FATE OF BOSNIAN MUSLIMS IN SREBRENICA. An official from the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on 7 February that
he believed the 3,000 Bosnian Muslims detained by Bosnian Serbs in July
1995 after Srebrenica's fall were killed, international media reported.
He added that the fate of another 5,000 Bosnian Muslims who tried to
flee the area needed to be "urgently settled." This is the first time
the ICRC, which is known for its caution, has suggested that the 3,000
Srebrenica Muslims may be dead. Several thousand Muslim men reportedly
crossed over into government territory last July after Srebrenica's
fall, but the ICRC was unable to register them. The ICRC says it is
finding new prisoners each day but the Bosnian factions are violating
the Dayton peace accords by denying it access to them. -- Michael
Mihalka

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BOSNIA. Pavel Grachev arrived in Bosnia on 7
February to review the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, international
media reported. He met with NATO commander U.S. General George Joulwan,
who commented that "cooperation between U.S. and Russian troops [in
Bosnia] can create a new relationship between NATO and Russia." Grachev
noted that the deployment of Russian troops had occurred without
incident. -- Michael Mihalka

CROATIAN PROTESTERS RANSACK EU OFFICE IN MOSTAR. Following EU
administrator Hans Koschnick's 7 February announcement of adminstrative
reorganization of Mostar, a large group of Croats ransacked EU offices
in the city, international and local media reported. Demonstrators
trapped Koschnick for an hour in his car to protest his plan to unify
the city. Mostar Mayor Mijo Brajkovic, who has rejected Koschnick's
plans, joined the demonstrators, Hina reported. He told Reuters to
expect Koschnick "to change his decision now." Meanwhile, NATO called on
the Mostar Croats to halt all attacks on the EU administration and
announced that NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana will visit the town.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel asked Croatia to support and
protect the EU mission and its staff in Mostar. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. The Slovenian parliament on 7 February
elected three new ministers to portfolios that were vacated in late
January when the coalition partner United List of Social Democrats
(ZLSD) broke away, Reuters reported. The coalition is now composed of
the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS) and the Christian Democratic Party
(SKD).Tone Rop, an LDS member, has been appointed labor minister; Andrej
Umek of the Christian Democrats science minister; and Janez Dular, an
independent and one-time deputy editor of the daily Slovenec, culture
minister. The LDS now has seven portfolios, the SKD five, and
independents three. -- Stan Markotich

GEN. SHALIKASHVILI IN ROMANIA. General John Shalikashvili, chairman of
the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, on 7 February began a two-day visit to
Romania, Romanian and Western media reported. Shalikashvili met with
Romanian President Ion Iliescu and Chief-of-Staff Gen. Dumitru Cioflina
to discuss Romania's ambitions to join NATO and its participation in the
Partnership for Peace Program. They also discussed U.S.-Romanian
military relations, which Shalikashvili described as "very, very close."
Shalikashvili is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca
and to visit an army non-combat battalion that Romania has offered to
send to Bosnia as part of the peacekeeping forces there. Romania was the
first country to enroll in NATO's PfP program. -- Dan Ionescu

MORE STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Following a warning strike earlier this week,
some 4,000 employees at the Rodae car plant in Craiova began an
indefinite walkout on 7 February, Romanian and international media
reported. Workers at the plant, which is majority-owned by South Korean
industrial giant Daewoo, are demanding cost-of-living wage increases,
the dismissal of two Romanian directors at the plant, and expenses for
Romanian workers who receive training in South Korea. The plant's
management said it will go to court to have the strike called off.
Meanwhile, metro workers in Bucharest staged a two-hour warning strike
in support of higher wages and better working conditions. They are
threatening an indefinite strike early next week. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER LEADERS MEET. Mircea Snegur and Igor Smirnov met in
Tiraspol on 7 February, Moldovan and western media reported. The two
sides discussed financial and monetary issues, with Tiraspol insisting
that Moldova allow the transit of Dniester bank notes printed in
Germany. The disputed status of the Dniester region within the Moldovan
state was not discussed, Infotag said. The only document the two sides
signed was a protocol on cooperation on customs issues. The summit was
scheduled for 31 January but was postponed by the Dniester leaders. --
Dan Ionescu

FORMER BULGARIAN MONARCH TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? Former Tsar Simeon II, in
an interview with the French royalist weekly Action Francaise Hebdo, has
said he may run in the Bulgarian presidential elections later this year
since he sees no reason "to limit his options to scenarios from the
past," AFP reported on 8 February. With regard the constitutional
provision that the president must have lived in Bulgaria for the past
five years, Simeon said in his case"this condition is invalid because I
am living abroad not out of choice but by force." One question that
remains open is whether running for president means implicit recognition
of the 1946 referendum abolishing the monarchy, which Simeon claims was
invalid. -- Stefan Krause

RUMP YUGOSLAV DEFENSE MINISTER IN SOFIA. Pavle Bulatovic on 7 February
concluded a two-day official visit to Bulgaria, Bulgarian and
international media reported. Bulatovic and his Bulgarian counterpart,
Dimitar Pavlov, signed a bilateral agreement on restoring military ties
disrupted by UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. Bulgarian Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov said the agreement is part of the peace process in
the Balkans and a good basis for the restoration of economic cooperation
between the two countries. On the arrest of two high-level Bosnian Serb
officers by the Bosnian government, Bulatovic said this "may have an
adverse effect on the implementation of the Dayton and Paris accords."
He called it "unacceptable" that state representatives on an official
mission should be arrested, and he accused IFOR of indifference. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN, GREEK OFFICIALS HOLD TALKS IN TIRANA. Greek Foreign Ministry
legal and economic experts concluded two-day talks in Tirana with their
Albanian counterparts on Albanian immigrants in Greece and the possible
legalization of their status, ATSH reported on 7 February. Agreements on
seasonal work and property regulations were discussed, as was the
opening of Greek-language schools for ethnic Greeks in Gjirokastra,
Delvina, and Saranda. Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi promised
to introduce "the most advanced standards of education" for the Greek
minority, while the Greek delegation promised to support Albania's
efforts to join the EU. -- Fabian Schmidt

[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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