The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 32, Part II, 14 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 IMBROGLIO OVER DETAINEES CONTINUES. Oslobodjenje on 14 February
reported that the Bosnian Serbs are still holding the photo journalist
Hidajet Delic, whom they have charged with war crimes. Pale's interior
minister, Dragan Kijac, informed NATO of the case, which follows Delic's
arrest in the Serb-held suburb of Grbavica on 9 February. The Union of
Journalists of Bosnia-Herzegovina has protested to the international
community's Carl Bildt and to Bosnian Serb journalists about the affair.
Meanwhile, AFP on 13 February quoted Bosnian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mirza Hajric as confirming that the government continues to hold four
Serbs whom it arrested at the end of January. Hajric said that one might
be released soon but there may be a case against the other three. Under
the terms of the compromise worked out by U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke,
only those persons whom the Hague tribunal has already indicted for war
crimes may now be arrested on such charges. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN SECURITY CHIEFS FIRED OVER CHINESE SPY CASE. President Leonid
Kuchma has dismissed acting head of the Ukrainian Security Service
Ukraine (SBU) Andrii Khomych and head of the service in Dnipropetrovsk
Volodymyr Sobodenyuk, Reuters and AFP reported on 14 February. Head of
the National Security Council Volodymyr Horbulin did not directly link
the dismissals to the January deportation of three Chinese nationals for
alleged spying, but it is clear that there is a link. The Chinese were
expelled for illegally appropriating ICBM designs from the Pivdenmash
rocket plant in Dnipropetrovsk. Beijing denied they were spies and
demanded that Kiev take appropriate action over the incident. The
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called the incident a misunderstanding,
saying that some Ukrainians had tried to pass sensitive information to
the Chinese without authorization. Horbulin said the SBU officials
forgot they did not have ultimate authority over such information and
had thereby caused an international scandal. China is one of Ukraine's
main trading partners. Kiev has recently been seeking to expand ties
with Beijing. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIA REMOVES UKRAINE FROM POWER GRID. Russia has removed Ukraine from
their joint electricity grid after noting a surge in demand that the
grid could not handle, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported on 13 February.
Energy Ministry spokeswoman Oksana Liven said it was unlikely that
Ukraine will be reconnected anytime soon. The cut-off forced a number of
factories to close. Meanwhile, Kiev is considering temporarily closing
major industrial sites to prevent the collapse of the entire system. The
cut-off comes amid severe weather conditions and a coal miners' strike.
-- Ustina Markus

MERGER OF ESTONIAN POLITICAL PARTIES. The Estonian Rural Center Party
and the Social Democratic Party, which formed an election alliance for
last year's parliamentary elections, met on 12 February to exchange
their position on main policy issues, BNS reported the next day. They
also set up a working group to draw up a draft program for a new
formation, which is to be called the Moderate Party. The reformed
Communists of Estonia's Democratic Labor Party (EDT) made another effort
to establish closer ties with the SDP in the hope of setting up an
alliance of left-wing forces. The SDP rejected a previous appeal saying
that the EDT must first clearly renounce its communist past. -- Saulius
Girnius

DANISH DELEGATION IN LATVIA. A Danish parliamentary delegation, headed
by parliamentary speaker Erling Olsen, held talks on 12 February with
Prime Minister Andris Skele and President Guntis Ulmanis. The next day,
the delegation agreed to an exchange of visits with Latvia's
parliamentary deputies and discussed the possibility of introducing
visa-free travel between the two countries, BNS reported. The Danes said
the ongoing training of Latvian troops in Denmark for peacekeeping
duties in Bosnia was an example of successful cooperation. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN PREMIER CANDIDATE REVEALS KEY GOALS. President Algirdas
Brazauskas on 13 February formally presented Mindaugas Stankevicius to
the Seimas as his candidate for prime minister, Radio Lithuania
reported. Although pledging to continue the program of the previous
government, Stankevicius said his key goal is the revival of the
economy, Radio Lithuania reported. He pledged to "do everything
possible" to attract foreign banks to Lithuania, to increase the number
of establishments to be privatized, to develop small businesses and
promote investment, to modernize the tax system, and to improve
relations between central authorities and local governments. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH MARTIAL LAW SUIT TO BE DISCONTINUED? Following four years of
deliberations, the Sejm Commission on Constitutional Oversight on 13
February announced it will recommend to the Sejm that General Wojciech
Jaruzelski and other authors of 1981 martial law do not face
prosecution. The opposition continues to insist that the former members
of the Military Council of National Salvation and the State Council of
the Polish People's Republic should appear before the State Tribunal.
Meanwhile, the Gdansk District Court has set a date for the first trial
of people linked to the December 1970 massacre, in which 44 people were
killed by military and police units. Jaruzelski, at the time defense
minister, is among the defendants. His lawyer has filed an appeal to
discontinue the lawsuit, claiming his client should appear before the
Constitutional Tribunal instead, Polish dailies reported on 14 February.
-- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK CABINET ASKS PRESIDENT TO VETO ANTI-COMMUNIST LAW. The Slovak
government on 13 February rejected the retroactive nature of the law on
the immorality and illegality of the communist regime and asked Michal
Kovac not to sign it, Narodna obroda reported. The law was passed by the
parliament earlier this month (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 February 1996).
The cabinet also approved a blueprint for the establishing a permanent
CEFTA Secretariat in Bratislava, which would have 15 employees.
According to government spokeswoman Magda Pospisilova, the National
Property Fund will decide on the privatization of Slovakia's financial
sector by the end of February, two weeks later than the date given by
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. Meanwhile, the cabinet agreed that a
decision will be made on Slovakia's new territorial arrangement by the
end of the month. -- Sharon Fisher

AUSTRIAN POLICE QUESTION FORMER SLOVAK INFORMATION SERVICE AGENT. Oskar
F., who made headlines last fall when he accused the Slovak Information
Service of involvement in the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's
son, on 13 February told his story to Austrian investigators, Sme
reported. Czech TV the same day broadcast details of a "secret" meeting
between Oskar F. and Sme editor Peter Toth in which Oskar F. reasserted
previous accusations of SIS involvement in the kidnapping of Kovac Jr.
According to Czech TV, Oskar F.'s family is now being harassed and he
wants to seek asylum in a "democratic country." -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES INCOME TAX AMENDMENT. The parliament and
coalition partners are considering amending the income tax law, passed
by the parliament last December, Hungarian media reported on 13
February. The opposition has called for fewer tax burdens and for the
48% tax rate on annual incomes over 900,000 forints to be lowered. The
junior coalition partner Alliance of Free Democrats, which did not vote
in favor of the bill, supported the amendment. It also reminded the
Socialists about the negative impact of the new tax brackets. In a
related development, the Finance Ministry plans to introduce a "social
insurance tax "in order to reduce the 60 billion forints social
insurance deficit. The Justice Ministry warned that the Constitutional
Court would most probably declare such a provision unconstitutional. The
Pension Insurance Commission said that a new tax would further increase
tax evasion and strengthen the black economy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS CONTINUE BOYCOTT. Bosnian Serbs are continuing their
boycott of dealings with international agencies, international media
reported on 14 February. A NATO spokesman in Sarajevo said that contacts
with Bosnian Serb army officers are "non-existent" at the most senior
level and "spotty" lower down. The Bosnian Serb army seems to be
complying with an order by its commander Ratko Mladic on 8 February to
break contacts with NATO over the Bosnian government's detention of
several Bosnian Serb soldiers. Meanwhile, the OSCE said that Bosnian
Serb representatives did not attend arms control talks in Vienna on 13
February. Robert Frowick, head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia, said in
Sarajevo that the Bosnian Serbs were also boycotting the talks on
elections. Frowick maintained, however, that the boycott was not harming
preparations for the elections. -- Michael Mihalka

NATO TO RECEIVE BETTER INFO ON INDICTED WAR CRIMINALS. U.S. Defense
Secretary William Perry has said IFOR will receive better information
and photographs on indicted war criminals, international media reported.
But he added that "we are not going to do manhunts." His statement comes
in the wake of reports that Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war
criminal Radovan Karadzic passed unhindered through IFOR checkpoints. A
U.S. Defense Department spokesman said the U.S. could not confirm those
reports, which, he said, came from Bosnian Serb officials. The spokesman
stressed that the purpose of the checkpoints was to control the movement
of arms and military personnel, not civilians. -- Michael Mihalka

SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT IN SARAJEVO. International media on 13 February
reported that Milan Kucan arrived in Bosnia the same day in an effort to
"reconstitute good [bilateral] economic ties." Kucan also said he fully
supported Bosnia's "multicultural, multinational, and multireligious
society." He was accompanied by Economy Minister Janko Dezelak. -- Stan
Markotich

BELGRADE REACTS TO EXTRADITION OF WAR CRIMES SUSPECTS. Belgrade has said
that the extradition to the Hague of Bosnian Serb Gen. Djordje Djukic
and Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic for questioning has put a severe strain on
the regional peace process. Federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic
said the move was "one-sided and biased" and was aggravating the Bosnian
Serbs, who, he added, may become irreversibly distrustful of both The
Hague and the NATO presence in Bosnia. He added that "we are now just a
step away from a more dangerous reaction or incident." Meanwhile,
international media reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
met with a delegation of Bosnian Serbs on 13 February. No details of the
meeting have been revealed. -- Stan Markotich

PRESSURE ON ZAGREB OVER CROAT-MUSLIM FEDERATION. German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel, meeting with his Croatian counterpart, Mate Granic, in
Zagreb, said Bonn's support is not unconditional and that Croatia must
help reunify Mostar in keeping with the Dayton accords. Granic replied
that his country is not willing to do so under the arbitration package
drawn up by the EU's German administrator in Mostar, Hans Koschnick,
which Croatia and the local Croats say favors the Muslims. International
media on 13 February added that President Bill Clinton's envoy, Robert
Galucci, stated his support for Koschnick. Croatian Defense Minister
Gojko Susak, who is also the most influential Herzegovinian Croat, seems
to be getting a similar message during his current visit to Washington.
Meanwhile in Zagreb, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke
arrived for talks with President Franjo Tudjman aimed at shoring up the
shaky Federation, Onasa reported. It quoted him as calling the situation
in Mostar "quite serious" and warning that "we need to make the
federation work or else there is going to be a disaster in Bosnia." --
Patrick Moore

HERZEGOVINIAN-BASED CROAT COUNCIL ABOLISHES QUASI-STATE. The
Presidential Council of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna met in
Mostar on 13 February and approved measures to transform itself from a
quasi-state into a political organization. Croats regard the entity as a
form of protection against their being dwarfed by the more numerous
Muslims in the Federation, while the Muslims see it as secessionist. The
Council also voted to resume contacts to the EU to seek a settlement in
Mostar, Onasa quoted Habena as reporting. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN DEPUTY PREMIER WAVES GUN AT JOURNALIST. The Croatian
Journalists' Association has protested over the government's silence
following an incident in which Deputy Prime Minister Borislav Skegro
brandished a pistol in the face of a journalist from Novi list, the
country's only independent daily. Her paper on 14 February also ran an
article on the press conference of Milorad Pupovac, who heads the
Independent Serbian Party of Croatia. Pupovac warned against tendencies
to equate calls for protecting minority rights with treason. -- Patrick
Moore

UN CHANGES UNPREDEP MANDATE. The UN Security Council on 13 February
unanimously approved changes in the mandate of the UNPREDEP forces
stationed in Macedonia, Reuters reported the same day. The council
agreed to allow UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali to appoint an
UNPREDEP force commander, in effect making UNPREDEP an independent
mission reporting directly to New York. So far, it was part of UNPROFOR
and reported to its headquarters in Zagreb. The Security Council also
approved sending another 50 soldiers to join the 1,100-strong force. --
Stefan Krause

ROMANIA, HUNGARY TO RESUME BASIC TREATY TALKS. Romania and Hungary on 13
February agreed to resume talks on a basic treaty at the beginning of
March and on Romanian President Ion Iliescu's reconciliation initiative
later this month, Romanian and international media reported. Romanian
Deputy Foreign Minister Marcel Dinu told his visiting Hungarian
counterpart, Ferenc Somogyi, that Romania's 1996 presidential and
parliamentary elections will not influence the talks. Somogyi said
Iliescu's proposed meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn in
March could result in the signing of the basic treaty. He added,
however, that it was not necessary for the two countries to join NATO at
the same time and that Hungary's earlier admission would not have a
destabilizing effect on the region. US Assistant Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke, in Bucharest on 13 February, urged the two countries
to sign the treaty if they wanted to be admitted into NATO. -- Matyas
Szabo

ROMANIA'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY CONCERNED ABOUT DRAFT LAW ON POLITICAL
PARTIES. A spokesman for the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
(UDMR) told OMRI on 14 February that the draft law on political parties,
currently being debated in the Senate, is causing concern within the
UDMR. Anton Niculescu said this was due to provisions requiring
political parties to have branches in at least 21 of the 41
administrative counties and allowing minority ethnics to set up their
own organizations or become members of political parties but forbidding
them to set up ethnic political formations. The UDMR--defined as an
umbrella organization of political, cultural, and professional
organizations of the Hungarian minority open to all nationalities--would
not be prevented from running in the elections under the new law.
Nonetheless, Niculescu said, the new regulations pose a potential
danger. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON REASONS FOR SEEKING RE-ELECTION. Zhelyu Zhelev,
responding to questions posed by a group of intellectuals a month ago,
on 13 February summed up what he considers his main achievements as
president to date and his reasons for seeking re-election, Standart
reported. Zhelev singled out the peaceful transition from communism to
democracy, the absence of ethnic strife, and continued unity within the
army. With regard to his credentials as president, Zhelev said he took
his work seriously, did not seek personal gain from his office, and
always put Bulgaria above party interests. Asked about his role in the
fall of the government of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) in
October 1992, for which the SDS blamed mainly him, he said neither he
nor the SDS had wanted it to happen but that he takes his "share of the
responsibility." -- Stefan Krause

DID ALBANIAN FINANCE MINISTER ORDER INDEPENDENT DAILIES CLOSED? Koha
Jone on 13 February reports that Finance Minister Dylber Vrioni last
week signed an official document ordering the director of the printing
house Demokracia not to print 14 periodicals beginning on 23 February.
According to Koha Jone, Vrioni argued that the periodicals were
registered at the Tirana Licensing Court as magazines or weeklies but
are in fact regular newspapers. The order affects, among others, Koha
Jone, Albania, Dita Informacion, Populli Po, Aleanca, and AKS. Koha Jone
called the order "absurd," saying it has registered all its publications
properly and calling Vrioni's move a "war against the independent
press." Meanwhile, opposition Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka
has predicted that the Democratic Party will abuse its power to make
unfair use of public Radio and Television in the upcoming election
campaign. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE WILL NOT TAKE ISLET CASE TO COURT. Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos on 13 February said that Greece will not take the case of a
disputed islet to the International Court of Justice in the Hague,
international agencies reported the same day. Both Athens and Ankara
claim the islet, which the Greeks call Imia and the Turks Kardak.
Pangalos said the Greek government "will not seek recourse anywhere
because it does not contest or doubt anything." But it added that "if
someone else goes to the Hague, then we will deal with it." -- 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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