The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 29, Part II, 09 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
LITHUANIAN PREMIER DISMISSED. The Seimas on 8 February voted 94 to 26
with four abstentions to dismiss Adolfas Slezevicius, Radio Lithuania
reported. President Algirdas Brazauskas said he proposed the vote
because the premier had removed savings worth 135,162 litai ($33,790)
from the LAIB bank two days before its activities were suspended. He
added that the government had worked well for three years and that there
was no reason to make any major changes in its policies. He appointed
Minister for Government Reforms and Local Rule Mindaugas Stankevicius as
interim prime minister. -- Saulius Girnius
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER WARNS MINERS' STRIKE IS BECOMING 'POLITICAL.' Yevhen
Marchuk on 8 February said the ongoing coal miners' strike is turning
into a political campaign against the government, Ukrainian TV reported
the same day. His remarks came after trade union officials blasted
President Leonid Kuchma's economic reform policies at a large rally in
Donetsk. Strike organizers vowed to press on with their strike until all
their demands are met. Although the government has allotted at least 21
trillion ($110 million) to cover a portion of the miners' unpaid wages,
Marchuk warned the unions that the state-owned coal pits could no longer
expect government subsidies. Meanwhile, Ukraine's energy minister told
Ukrainian TV that the country was close to using up its energy reserves
and that several power stations were on the brink of shutting down
because of the strike. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

U.S. TO BACK UKRAINE OVER IMF LOAN. The U.S. has said it will support
Ukraine in its attempts to secure the next tranche of a stand-by loan
from the IMF, international agencies reported on 9 February. President
Leonid Kuchma, in Helsinki on an official visit, met with U.S. Secretary
of State Warren Christopher, who was also in the Finnish capital to hold
talks with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov. The Ukrainian and
U.S. leaders held a hastily arranged meeting just before Christopher
went to meet with Primakov. This is interpreted as Washington's way of
tacitly demonstrating its support for Ukraine in front of Russia. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PASSES DECREE ON EXPORT TARIFFS. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has issued a decree on export tariffs in a move to control
the export of various commodities from Belarus, Belarusian Radio
reported on 7 February. If the parliament approves the decree, tariffs
introduced in April 1994 will remain in force until 1 January 1997.
Meanwhile, the Party for the Belarusian Patriotic Movement wants to
collect signatures in the Chkalauskai district in Minsk to remove deputy
Stanislau Bahdankevich from office, Belarusian radio reported on 8
February. The party's press service alleged that Bahdankevich allowed
many serious breaches of law when he was head of the National Bank of
Belarus. Lukashenka is known to hold Bahdankevich in contempt. -- Ustina
Markus

THREE ESTONIAN PARTIES SIGN COOPERATION ACCORD. The Fatherland Union,
the Republican and Conservative People's Party, and the Farmers' Union
on 8 February signed a cooperation agreement, BNS reported.
Parliamentary deputies of the first two parties will coordinate actions
in the legislature and will share seats on standing committees.
Representatives of the Farmers' Union, which has no deputies, will be
allowed to attend the caucus meetings. The three parties set up a joint
work group to draft a plan of action and platform for the fall local
elections. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON FOREIGN POLICY. Dariusz Rosati, speaking to
foreign journalists on 8 February, underlined the continuity in Polish
foreign policy priorities--namely, EU and NATO membership, despite
Moscow's opposition to NATO enlargement. Rosati underlined the need for
dialogue with Russia, saying "Poland is the last country that would seek
a confrontation" with that country. Rosati and Defense Minister
Stanislaw Dobrzanski the same day expressed Poland's wish for an
individual dialogue with NATO in a letter sent to Brussels, Polish
dailies reported on 9 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH BUSINESSMAN EXTRADITED FROM SWITZERLAND. Boguslaw Bagsik on 8
February was extradited from Switzerland to Poland under heavy escort of
anti-terrorist police, Polish media reported. Until 1991, Bagsik was co-
owner of a conglomerate known by the acronym Art-B, which took advantage
of poor inter-bank communications by transferring large deposits from
one bank to another and drawing interest on both accounts. Art-B is
estimated to have made some $100 million in this way. Bagsik was
arrested by the Swiss police in June 1994. Under international law, he
can be sentenced in Poland only for crimes identified as such by Swiss
law. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK DEPUTY: HUNGARY SHOULD APOLOGIZE FOR OCCUPATION. Zora Lazarova on
8 February asked Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk why he has not made the
signing and ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty conditional on
receiving an apology from Hungary for the occupation of southern
Slovakia during World War II, Narodna obroda reported. Lazorova is
chairwoman of the Slovak Green Alternative, which ran on the ticket of
the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia in the last election. Also
on 8 February, Ladislav Pittner of the opposition Christian Democratic
Movement addressed several questions to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
regarding the "illegal activities" of the Slovak Information Service.
These include SIS chief Ivan Lexa's alleged efforts to transfer the
protection of constitutional officials from the police to the SIS and
his demand that violations of the law on the protection of the republic
(which has not yet been approved) be investigated by the SIS. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION DEPUTY WARNS OF 'ABSOLUTE CONTROL.' Democratic Union
deputy chairman Ludovit Cernak, at a press conference on 8 February,
compared the current role of HZDS to that of the Communist Party under
the previous regime. According to the new territorial administration
system currently being prepared, several thousands of jobs will be
created and filled not by experts but by individuals with the "right"
party membership, Cernak said. He also warned that the next elections
may not be fair, noting that free competition among political parties is
being violated since the opposition has insufficient access to Slovak
Radio and TV. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN RETALIATION OVER ARRESTS. Bosnian Serb Justice
Minister Marko Arsovic said his side will detain Muslims and Croats
crossing Bosnian Serb territory if the eight Serbs arrested on 30
January for suspected war crimes and other offensives are not released.
TV Pale on 8 February also urged Serbs to postpone visits to areas
controlled by the government or the Croats until "the security situation
becomes more favorable." Oslobodjenje said on 9 February that the Serbs
have temporarily detained two AP correspondents. Onasa news agency
reported that international policemen visited six of the arrested Serb
officers, including General Djordje Djukic. UN spokesman Alexander
Ivanko added, however, that "international police did not get requested
information about the remaining prisoners. No one knows where they are."
-- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC MEETS WITH KARADZIC. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and
other Bosnian Serb leaders met on 7 February with Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic. Onasa news agency reported unnamed sources as
telling Reuters that Milosevic has agreed with Pale's suspension of
Dayton-based contacts until the arrested officers are freed. Milosevic
is a signatory to the Dayton agreement, which binds him to cooperate
with the Hague-based tribunal in bringing indicted war criminals like
Karadzic to justice. -- Patrick Moore

NATO REJECTS BOSNIAN SERB ANNOUNCEMENT ON SEVERING TIES. NATO on 8
February rejected the Bosnian Serb army's announcement cutting off all
military ties to IFOR unless two Serbian officers held by the Bosnian
government are released, international media reported. A NATO spokesman
stressed that the organization questioned the validity of the order,
which was signed by General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb army
commander. "Under the Dayton peace accords we are not authorized to
communicate with indicted war criminals and we do not recognize General
Mladic as an official representative of the Republic of Serbska," he
said. The spokesman added that NATO saw no connection between the
detention of Serbian soldiers and the military side of the agreement. --
Michael Mihalka

U.S. MOVES TO REVIVE BATTERED PEACE PROCESS. The U.S. on 8 February
announced it will send its A-team back to Bosnia in an attempt to revive
the faltering Balkan peace process, international media reported. U.S.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher telephoned the presidents of
Croatia, Bosnia, and rump Yugoslavia to inform them that the chief
Dayton peace negotiator, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Richard
Holbrooke, will return to the region on 11 February. He will be
accompanied by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John
Shattuck and Robert Gallucci, special envoy for implementing the
civilian side of the accords. -- Michael Mihalka

KARADZIC KICKS OFF ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN PRIJEDOR. Although banned by the
Dayton agreement from running in the elections because he is an indicted
war criminal, Bosnian Serb leader has launched the campaign of his
Serbian Democratic Party. He announced on 8 February that he has not
given up his goal of uniting the Republika Srpska with rump Yugoslavia.
He also urged toughness: "At no cost must we allow the degree of [our]
autonomy to be reduced" in favor of the central government. He
implicitly accused unnamed Serbian parties of being willing to make
compromises with Sarajevo. Several opposition Serbian parties have
indeed made contacts with the opposition in Sarajevo in the spirit of
the Dayton accords. This is anathema to nationalists like Karadzic, who
added: "we will never renounce the fruits of our combat," AFP reported
on 9 February. -- Patrick Moore

MOSTAR IMBROGLIO CONTINUES. The situation remains outwardly calm in
Herzegovina's largest city following the rampage by Croats against the
EU and its administrator Hans Koschnick on 7 February. Onasa said the
next day that the EU has asked NATO to protect the former mayor of
Bremen, whose car was battered for an hour by Croatian protesters.
Koschnick had handed down a binding decision to create a large
ethnically mixed central district in the city, which is overdue to be
reunited. The Croats want to control the center, at least in their
western half of town. Vecernji list on 9 February quoted Bosnian Croat
leader and Federal President Kresimir Zubak as rejecting Koschnik's
decision as "an act of self-will" that is not in keeping with Dayton. --
Patrick Moore

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC. Pavel Grachev on 9
February met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade to
discuss the Bosnian peace process, AFP reported. The two leaders agreed
that the peace agreements should not be implemented in an "arbitrary"
manner. They also concluded that so far the results of the peace process
were good and were attributable to the efforts of international players,
notably Russia and the rump Yugoslavia. Grachev also met with
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, who described the arrest of the
Serbian officers in Bosnia as "a very worrying matter." -- Stan
Markotich

LIBERALS THROWN OUT OF MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT. The Social Democratic
Union of Macedonia (SDSM) has rejected President Kiro Gligorov's calls
to keep the governing coalition together by ruling out the participation
of Liberal Party ministers in a new government, MIC and ONASA reported
on 8 February. The party leadership asked SDSM Chairman and Prime
Minister Branko Crvenkovski to draw up a new government by the end of
the week. The Liberals supported Gligorov's appeal and have expressed
readiness to "search for solutions" to solve disputes within the
coalition. In the past, the Liberals had refused to meet with the Social
Democrats and may thus have contributed to the ongoing government
crisis. -- Fabian Schmidt

SHALIKASHVILI CONCLUDES ROMANIAN VISIT. U.S. Joint Chief of Staff Gen.
John Shalikashvili, at the end of his two-day visit to Romania, praised
bilateral military cooperation with Romania and the country's efforts to
modernize its army, Romanian and international media reported on 8
February. But he added that NATO membership for Romania was not
imminent. Following talks with President Ion Iliescu and Defense
Minister Gheorghe Tinca, Shalikashvili said he was "heartened" by what
he had heard. He noted that the airport offered by Romania in Timisoara,
close to the Yugoslav border, was currently not needed as a support base
for the NATO-led peace mission in Bosnia, but he said an assessment team
will visit it to ensure it is suitable should the need arise.
Shalikashvili also said in Bucharest that there was no need for "buffer
zones" between NATO and Russia because the alliance was "not in
confrontation with Russia." He said NATO "extends its hand of friendship
to Moscow." -- Michael Shafir

SENIOR EU OFFICIAL IN BUCHAREST. EU Commissioner for relations with
Eastern Europe and the CIS Hans van den Broek, on an official visit to
Bucharest from 7-8 February, said "Romania is definitely on the right
track" toward EU integration, Romanian and international media reported.
At the same time, he urged the country to speed up economic reforms and
to bring its legislation in line with that of the EU. With regard to
negotiations on Romania's EU membership, Van den Broek said they will
not start before the end of the next year. He met with President Ion
Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu, and the two parliamentary speakers. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON RUSSIAN TROOPS WITHDRAWAL. Mihai Popov,
speaking at a press conference on 8 February, said "now that Russia has
entered the Council of Europe, it is easier for us to negotiate the
Russian troop withdrawal from Moldova," BASA-press reported. He added
that Moldova supported Russia's membership in the CE on the condition
that the Russian State Duma ratifies the evacuation agreement within six
months. He proposed setting up a special commission to report
periodically to the parliament on the implementation of the many
bilateral agreements with Russia that Moscow has not yet implemented.
Popov confirmed Chisinau's refusal to transform some Russian military
subdivisions in the Dniester region into peacekeeping forces. -- Matyas
Szabo

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES 1996 BUDGET. The Bulgarian parliament passed
this year's state budget on 9 February, Bulgarian media reported.
Opposition deputies criticized the document as anti-social and relying
on changes to tax legislation that have not yet been enacted. They also
pointed out the need for a medium-term program on servicing the
country's large foreign and internal debts. The government's official
macroeconomic projection for 1996 envisions a budget deficit of 4.5-6%
of GDP. -- Michael Wyzan

BULGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. The Bulgarian parliament on 8 February
rejected a motion by the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) to dismiss
parliamentary chairman Blagovest Sendov, Pari reported. Sendov came
under fire for controversial statements about NATO enlargement allegedly
made during a visit to Moscow (see OMRI Daily Digest, 31 January 1996).
Reuters on 8 February reported that four Defense Ministry employees
working in the ministry's radioelectronic defense department institute
have been arrested on charges of illegally transferring or selling to
private firms military technology and information "related to national
security and defense." Defense Ministry spokesman Tsvyatko Donchev said
his ministry so far has no information on the involvement of foreign
firms. Western firms have shown strong interest in buying Bulgarian-
produced radio defense systems. -- Stefan Krause

CHIEF OF GREEK GENERAL STAFF FIRED OVER DISPUTED ISLET. The Greek
government's Defense and Foreign Affairs Council on 8 February dismissed
Admiral Christos Limberis as chief of staff of the armed forces, Reuters
reported the same day. Limberis was sacked for the military handling of
the conflict with Turkey over a disputed islet last week. He offered
military options for driving Turkish commandos from territory that
Athens considers Greek, but those options were rejected by Prime
Minister Kostas Simitis on the grounds that military action might have
fueled a major conflict. Simitis was also furious at Limberis for
publicizing what was said at confidential talks that the two held during
the crisis. Limberis had refused to resign. Meanwhile, international
agencies reported that the EU on 7 February expressed its "full
solidarity with Greece" and thanked both sides for peacefully resolving
the crisis. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRISONERS IN GREECE DEMAND EXTRADITION. Albanian prisoners
being held in Greece have threatened to go on hunger strike if they are
not extradited to Albania, Western agencies reported on 9 February. In
an open letter to Albanian President Sali Berisha, published in Albanian
newspapers, the prisoners say they are mistreated by Greek prison guards
who frequently beat them up without reason. They also complain that they
do not receive enough food and that living conditions in the cells are
unbearable. In August 1995, Greece and Albanian signed a prisoner
exchange agreement. Last month, Gazeta Shqiptare reported that 790
Albanian prisoners would be sent to Albania to serve the rest of their
sentence there. -- Stefan Krause

TURKEY TO HOST CONFERENCE ON MILITARY AID TO BOSNIA. The Turkish Foreign
Ministry announced it will host an international conference to bring
together countries and organizations willing to support a "train and
equip" program for the Bosnian federation, AFP reported on 8 February.
The decision to hold the conference followed discussions in Ankara
between Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal, former Bosnian Foreign
Minister Muhamed Sacirbey, and James Pardew, U.S. special representative
for military stabilization in the Balkans. Sacirbey told reporters that
Turkey's military contribution to Bosnia "is not a program of war but is
aimed at developing peace." -- Lowell Bezanis

[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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