Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 35, Part II, 19 February 1996

** New OMRI Analytical Brief:  "North Korea Blasts ITAR-TASS for
Coverage of Embassy Incident", by Scott Parrish.  Available only on
OMRI's WWW site at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Analytical/AB.960219-005.html

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
TWO-DAY BOSNIAN SUMMIT ENDS. Foreign ministers of the Contact
Group countries met in Rome on 17 and 18 February with the
presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. Nasa Borba on 19
February reported that five documents were issued at the end of
the meeting covering the reunification of Sarajevo, the
reunification of Mostar, the Croat-Muslim federation, the
implementation of the Dayton agreements, and the normalization of
relations between Zagreb and Belgrade. The BBC added that the
documents addressed the "practical contradictions" of bringing
war criminals to justice and ensuring freedom of movement. The
Serbian and Bosnian presidents will hold monthly meetings and set
up a telephone hotline. The Croats and Muslims accepted a plan
for Mostar that Deutsche Welle said was virtually the same as EU
administrator Hans Koschnick's proposal, which the Croats have
rejected. A joint police force will be set up on 20 February, and
the EU's mandate for Mostar was extended by six months. --
Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN MINERS SUSPEND STRIKE. Ukrainian miners on 16 February
announced they were suspending their strike after the government agreed
to hold talks with union leaders, international agencies reported. The
miners are demanding that back wages be paid and government subsidies be
granted to the industry. More than 200 of Ukraine's 227 mines initially
went on strike, but by 16 February, the number had dropped to 25. Talks
between union leaders and Deputy Prime Minister in charge of energy
Vasil Yevtukhov are to begin on 19 February, but the miners have warned
that they will resume the strike if no agreement is reached. Ukrainian
TV on 17 February quoted President Leonid Kuchma as saying that the
strike has caused considerable damage to Ukraine's economy and could
have led to an "energy catastrophe." He added that laws should be passed
holding strike leaders accountable for their actions. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET. Ukrainian lawmakers on 16 February
passed the draft 1996 state budget on its first reading, Ukrainian Radio
reported. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz spoke in favor of the
budget for the first time. The draft must incorporate deputies'
criticisms within two weeks to gain the approval of the parliamentary
budget commission. -- Ustina Markus

KYRGYZ FOREIGN MINISTER IN UKRAINE. Roza Otumbayev arrived in Ukraine on
18 February for an official visit, Ukrainian TV reported. Otumbayev met
with her Ukrainian counterpart, Hennadii Udovenko, President Leonid
Kuchma and Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk. Talks focused on economic
relations, particularly future energy imports from Kyrgyzstan to
Ukraine. Preparations were also made for an upcoming visit to Ukraine by
Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES NATIONAL DEFENSE POLICY. Defense Minister
Andrus Oovel on 16 February said that the draft defense policy paper
approved by the government the previous day was not simply a
"declarative act" but a document that will lay the foundation of
Estonia's national defense and defense legislation, BNS reported. The
defense forces will consist of the army, the paramilitary Defense
League, and Interior Ministry forces, including the border guards. The
primary defense goal is joining NATO and the Western European Union.
Oovel said the parliament is likely to accept the draft, since
suggestions by the various caucuses have been taken into account. --
Saulius Girnius

COUNCIL OF EUROPE SECRETARY-GENERAL IN LATVIA. Daniel Tarschys on 16
February participated in the inauguration of a Council of Europe
information and documentation center in Riga BNS reported. The previous
day he met with President Guntis Ulmanis, Prime Minister Andris Skele,
and parliamentary chairwoman Ilga Kreituse, to discuss the admission of
Russia into the council. He stressed that Latvia had nothing to fear
since Moscow would be subject to all the council's admission procedures
and would not be able to "bully" the European human rights body. --
Saulius Girnius

PETITION FOR LATVIAN ALTERNATIVE CITIZENSHIP BILL FAILS. For the
Fatherland and Freedom union seems to failed in its bid to gather
131,004 signatures, or one-tenth of electorate, in support of a more
restrictive citizenship law, BNS reported on 16 February. All signatures
should have been collected by mid-February. The law, which would have
introduced an annual naturalization quota of 0.1% of Latvia's citizens,
was opposed by many international organizations. Unofficial results
released by the Central Election Committee indicate that only 126,595
signatures were collected. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH COAL MINERS SUSPEND STRIKE. The Solidarity trade union
representing striking Polish coal miners and President of the
Nadwislanska coal company Henryk Stabla reached an agreement on 18
February, Polish media reported. Solidarity has dropped its demand that
the company pay each miner an additional 600 zlotys for 1995 in return
for wage hikes if productivity goals are met. The strike has been
suspended until 20 February, when Stabla is expected to have reached
agreements with other trade unions representing workers at the company.
-- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK SECRET SERVICE DENIES ROLE IN ABDUCTION OF PRESIDENT'S SON. The
Slovak Information Service on 16 February denied that SIS agents
participated in the kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr. Responding to the
president's accusations against the SIS the previous day (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 16 February), it claimed that the president accused the SIS
"without submitting a single piece of concrete evidence." Interior
Minister Ludovit Hudek, prosecutor general Michal Valo, and the
government office also protested Kovac's accusations, Narodna obroda
reported. In other news, Kovac on 15 February vetoed the law on the
immorality and illegality of the communist regime, which was approved by
the parliament on 2 February. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS. Lajos Bokros on 18 February tendered
his resignation after a tumultuous cabinet debate in which his proposal
to levy a new, social insurance tax was rejected, Hungarian media
reported the next day. Bokros, who has been under increasing attack
since the announcement of a radical stabilization program last March,
said the new tax was necessary to meet the IMF requirement that the 60
billion forint social insurance deficit be reduced by more than two-
thirds. In his resignation letter, he noted that without government
support, he could neither visualize nor guarantee the success and
implementation of public spending reform. Top government officials have
pledged to continue with the stabilization program, but the unexpected
resignation of the internationally respected finance minister may
jeopardize the country's prospects for OECD membership and for an
impending IMF loan. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

POLISH PRESIDENT IN HUNGARY. Aleksander Kwasniewski, on a two-day
unofficial visit to Hungary, stressed that Poland and Hungary are not
competing to gain admission into NATO and the EU, Hungarian media
reported on 19 February. He added that his visit to Budapest was of
symbolic significance and he praised developing relations between the
two countries, Kwasniewski met with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, and
the two presidents told a joint news conference after their meeting that
Poland and Hungary regard each other as partners in their efforts to
join the EU and NATO. They also noted that "their strategic aims and
interests are similar". With regard to Russian fears about NATO's
eastward expansion, the Polish President suggested that a dialogue be
opened with Russia after the June Russian elections. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MIXED EVALUATIONS OF BOSNIAN SUMMIT. Outgoing U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State Richard Holbrooke said he was pleased with the results of the
Rome gathering, saying it served to smooth out the "bumps in the road"
that had emerged and presented the Dayton process with its first serious
crises, the BBC reported on 19 February. Leading Bosnian Serb
politicians responded differently to the provisions dealing with the
future of the Serbs in Sarajevo, and Nasa Borba noted that 800 Serbs
left the suburb of Hadzici for Branunac in eastern Bosnia even as the
summit was taking place. -- Patrick Moore

IFOR RELEASES SUSPECTED TERRORISTS. IFOR on 16 February handed over to
Bosnian government authorities 10 people detained in a raid on an
alleged terrorist camp the same day, international media reported. Eight
of the detainees were Bosnian and had documents identifying them as
employees of the Bosnian Interior Ministry. The remaining two were
Iranian nationals whom, according to the Iranian government, were on a
humanitarian mission. Another Iranian national with a diplomat's
passport was released after questioning. -- Michael Mihalka

IFOR GAINS ACCESS TO BOSNIAN SERB WEAPONS DEPOTS Following the use of
anti-tank aircraft and helicopter gunships in a show of force, IFOR
gained access to two Bosnian Serb weapons depots on 17 February,
international media reported. IFOR has twice been prevented from
entering the depots, near Han Pijesak and Han Kram, in eastern Bosnia.
Some 25 tanks and 13 armored fighting vehicles were discovered.
Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serbs have pulled back 10 tanks from the 20-km
exclusion zone separating the Bosnian entities. IFOR on 16 February said
it will destroy all unreported weapon systems in the zone. -- Michael
Mihalka

IFOR AT FULL STRENGTH. IFOR has reached its full strength of 60,000
troops, according to U.S. General George Joulwan, NATO's supreme allied
commander in Europe. International media quoted him as saying on 18
February that the movement of IFOR forces into Bosnia was "the biggest
and most complex in Europe since World War II." Some 50,000 troops from
16 NATO states and 10,000 from 16 non-NATO states make up the force.
Negotiations are still under way with Albania, Bulgaria and Bangladesh
about contributing troops to IFOR. -- Michael Mihalka

UPDATE ON STUDIO B TAKEOVER BID IN BELGRADE. Some 20 journalists working
for independent Studio B Television were fired on 17 February for
refusing to cooperate with a new editorial board appointed by the ruling
Socialist Party of Serbia, Serbian media reported. This development came
one day after a Belgrade court ruled that Studio B had been improperly
constituted. Leaders of most major parties called press conferences on
16 February to criticize the SPS and Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic. Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic said the latest
bid to take over Studio B underscores Milosevic's fundamental lack of
commitment to democracy, free speech, and freedom of the press. The
government's action also prompted public protests in Belgrade on 16
February. -- Stan Markotich

KOSOVO TERRORIST GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR REFUGEE CAMP BOMBING. A
previously unknown terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the
bombing of Serbian refugee camps in Kosovo on 11 February (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 13 February). The Kosovo Liberation Army sent a letter to
Rilindja saying the attacks were only a "first warning" to the Serbs,
whom it accused of wanting to "colonize" the province, AFP reported on
17 February. The group called on the international community to
recognize the self-declared independence of the province. Meanwhile, an
unidentified leader of the National Movement for the Liberation of
Kosovo, told Gazeta Shqiptare on 18 February that the group is preparing
for a guerrilla war. Neither of these groups are supported by the main
political formations in the province. -- Fabian Schmidt

HOLBROOKE SAYS KOSOVO OF "HIGHEST IMPORTANCE." U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State Richard Holbrooke has renewed the commitment to open a U.S.
Information Agency office in Kosovo "in the very near future." Holbrooke
stressed that there has been no "meeting with the Yugoslav leadership in
which [he has] not discussed this issue." He added, however, that "I'm
not going to go into the nature of the confidential diplomatic exchanges
on issues like this because they don't serve the purpose," AFP reported
on 18 February. -- Fabian Schmidt

GOVERNMENT PAPER SAYS TUDJMAN IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH POLITICAL REALITY.
Slobodna Dalmacija on 19 February reported that Vlado Gotovac has
replaced Drazen Budisa as head of the Croatian Social and Liberal Party-
-the country's largest single opposition grouping--following the party's
poor showing in last October's parliamentary elections. The Croatian
opposition has failed to offer a serious presidential alternative to
Franjo Tudjman and, above all, has been unable to present a united front
against the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ). It has
nonetheless managed to win control of the city and county of Zagreb,
although Tudjman has blocked its first candidate for mayor and now plans
to veto the second one and thereby force new elections. News agencies on
18 February quoted the government-controlled daily Vjesnik as saying
that HDZ party professionals expect their party to lose Zagreb by an
even bigger margin in a fresh vote but have found Tudjman unwilling to
listen. In its virtually unprecedented criticism of the chief executive,
the paper suggested that the president was "out of touch with political
reality." -- Patrick Moore

ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN ROMANIA. The Socialist Party on 18
February chose chairman Tudor Mohora as its candidate in the fall
presidential elections, Romanian TV announced on the same day. Incumbent
President Ion Iliescu has not yet officially declared his intention to
run again but is widely expected to do so. Among the other declared
contenders are Chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania Emil
Constantinescu, Chairman of the Democratic Party--National Salvation
Front, former Premier Petre Roman, leader of the extremist Greater
Romania Party Corneliu Vadim Tudor, and Radu Campeanu, the leader of a
group that split away from the National Liberal Party. Also on 18
February, former international tennis star Ilie Nastase was named the
Party of Socialist Unity in Romania's candidate for mayor of Bucharest.
Local elections will probably take place in May. -- Michael Shafir

UPDATE ON RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM MOLDOVA. Valerii Yevnevich,
commander of the operational group of Russian forces stationed in the
breakaway Dniester region, has said the withdrawal of the troops is
being hindered by Moldovan, Ukrainian and Dniester authorities, Romanian
TV reported on 16 February, citing international agencies. According to
Yevnevich, only two out of 19 rail convoys have left the region, since
the Moldovan authorities have failed to provide rail cars. Chisinau says
Moldova's share of the military equipment should be transported back to
Moldova by the Russians, while Yevnevich claims the Moldovans should
fetch it themselves. He also said there are problems with transit
because Dniester custom officials are demanding a share of armaments in
exchange for allowing the rail cars to transit the region. Ukrainian
custom officials want "alcohol and $20 per rail-car." -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN ETHNIC TURKS PROTEST ANNULMENT OF KARDZHALI ELECTIONS. Some
6,000 ethnic Turks on 17 February demonstrated against the annulment of
the local elections in Kardzhali, AFP reported the same day. The
election of both the city council and Rasim Musa from the ethnic Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) as mayor was declared invalid on 5
February after the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) charged there had
been irregularities. DPS Chairman Ahmet Dogan warned that "If this house
catches fire, everything will burn down." He told demonstrators that
pressure should be exerted on the government by all legal means. By-
elections in Kardzhali have been called for May. In other news, Reuters
reported that BSP parliamentary deputy and chairman of the parliament's
Agriculture Committee Todor Todorov, who was found shot at his house on
5 February (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 February 1996), died on 19 February
without regaining consciousness. -- Stefan Krause

OIL THIEVES POLLUTE DRINKING WATER IN BULGARIAN TOWN. Thieves who tried
to siphon diesel oil from a pipeline in Varna on 16 February polluted
the drinking water of the Black Sea town and eight surrounding villages,
Bulgarian and Western media reported. The oil from the underground
pipeline connecting Varna with the Neftohim oil refinery soaked into
water supplies and leaked into a nearby river. Water tankers carried
emergency supplies to Varna over the weekend. Neftohim spokeswoman
Tatyana Hadzhieva said 60 similar thefts were registered last year. She
added that Neftohim in 1995 invested 80 million ($1.1 million) leva for
changing pipelines for environmental reasons and another 13 million leva
($175,000) to have Interior Ministry troops guard pipelines. Meanwhile,
Bulgarian media on 19 February reported that the situation is
"normalizing" itself but that drinking tap water is still forbidden. --
Stefan Krause

RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER IN ALBANIA. Sergei Krylov arrived for a
two-day official visit to Tirana on 16 February, international agencies
reported the same day. The two sides pledged to try to find a political
settlement to the Kosovo conflict but could not agree about how to
negotiate an end to the conflict. Russia rejected Albania's demand that
Serbia's admission to international organizations be linked to solving
the conflict in Kosovo. They also disagreed about whether Serbia should
be forced to accept mediation by a third party. Krillov was received by
President Sali Berisha. -- Fabian Schmidt

UPDATE ON GREEK-TURKISH DISPUTE OVER ISLET. The European Commission on
16 February confirmed its "solidarity" with Greece in the dispute over
the Imia/Kardak islet, Reuters reported. But at the same time, it
stressed this did not mean it was taking a stand on the "legality of
either the Turkish or Greek positions." Meanwhile Athens has called for
an EU-Turkey ministerial meeting scheduled for 25 March to be postponed
because it coincides with the Greek national holiday marking the
beginning of the insurrection against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. --
Lowell Bezanis and 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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