Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone. - Edith Cavell 1865-1915 (Spoken to the chaplain who attended her before her execution by firing squad, 12 Oct. 1915.)
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 42, Part II, 28 February 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Turkey's War of Words with Syria and Iraq over Water", by
   Lowell Bezanis

Available only via the World Wide Web:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Analytical/Index.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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BELGRADE LIFTS BLOCKADE AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS... The federal government
of rump Yugoslavia on 27 February voted to lift its blockade against the
Republika Srpska, Nasa Borba reported. The blockade, which was
implemented on 4 August 1994 and sealed the Drina River border between
Repu-blika Srpska and rump Yugoslavia, was lifted officially at
midnight, local time, on 28 February. -- Stan Markotich
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ZYUGANOV ENDS UKRAINIAN VISIT. Russian Communist Party leader and
presidential candidate Gennadii Zyuganov on 27 February ended a two-day
visit to Kiev, international agencies reported. Small groups of
Ukrainian nationalists staged protests during his visit. Zyuganov said
regardless of who won Russia's presidential election, Moscow would
continue to base its foreign policy on the principle of non-
interference. He added that Ukraine remained a top priority. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma did not meet with Zyuganov because he had only
heard of the visit last week and was out of the country at the time. --
Ustina Markus

UKRAINE MAY SHUT DOWN UP TO 70 LOSS-MAKING COAL MINES. Prime Minister
Yevhen Marchuk says his government may close down up to 70 unprofitable
coal mines in the next few years, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 February.
Kiev had announced earlier it would shut down 28 pits in an effort to
restructure the ailing coal industry. Marchuk said he believes the coal
sector still has a bright future because the country has enough coal
deposits to allow mining for another 600 years. However, his government
intends to support only profitable and efficient mines, he added. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

CENTER-RIGHT POLITICAL PARTIES UNITE IN BELARUS. The Bela-rusian
Christian-Democratic Party on 26 February joined the union of center-
right parties called Civic Action, Belarusian TV reported. The union,
which was formed in September 1995, describes itself as "liberal-
conservative" and upholds market reforms and private ownership of land.
The Christian Democrats have been cooperating with the union since last
year's election campaign. Civic Action is led by deputy Stanislau
Bahdankevich, the former head of the National Bank of Belarus. -- Ustina
Markus

PROTESTS BY HEAD OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN ESTONIA. Archbishop
Kornilii on 26 February sent a letter to Constantinople Patriarch
Bartholemew I protesting his decision to reclaim jurisdiction over the
Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, BNS reported the next day. Kornilii
expressed his total support for the Moscow patriarch's decision to
suspend relations with Constantinople and accused Bar-tholemew of
forming a political alliance with the Estonian authorities against the
non-native population. Kornilii also sent a letter to Finnish President
Martti Ahtisaari accusing Archbishop Johannes of Finland of interfering
in the affairs of the Estonian Orthodox Church. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT MAKES SUGGESTIONS FOR NEW GOVERN-MENT'S FINANCIAL
POLICY. Algir-das Brazauskas, in his weekly interview with Radio
Lithuania on 26 February, said Mindaugas Stanke-vicius's new government
should present a program for dealing with the republic's financial
problems. He said the law on free economic zones was problematic since
it did not grant privileges offered in other countries to attract
foreign capital. Brazauskas suggested the law on foreign investments
should be amended to reduce the investment needed to gain a two-year tax
exemption from $2 million to $500,000 or even less. He also said that to
end the fears of the possible devaluation of the litas, the law on litas
stability should be amended to state that the government guarantees its
stability at least until 1 January 1999. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON PROPOSED KALININ-GRAD HIGHWAY. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, speaking during Bela-rusian President Alyaksandr Luka-shenka's
visit to Moscow, said on 27 February that Russia will seek Poland's
consent to build a road link between Belarus and Kaliningrad. "We are
planning to reach an accord with the Poles to build a stretch of road
across their territory," Yeltsin said. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman
Pawel Dobro-wolski said that Poland has not been officially notified
about the plan but added that the subject may come up during Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's visit to Warsaw on 14 March. Polish
Transportation Minister Boguslaw Li-beradzki said Poland can neither
agree to building an "extraterritorial" highway nor sign special transit
agreements because such matters are regulated by all-European
agreements, Polish dailies reported on 28 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

ROMA SENTENCED IN CZECH REPUBLIC. The 24 Vlax Roma, mostly women,
accused of organized pick-pocketing in downtown Prague (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 21 February 1996) have been convicted to up to four years in
prison by a Czech court, CTK reported on 27 February. In addition, three
of the women were barred from Prague for four years and one is to be
deported. Vlax Roma are a minority among Roma in the Czech Republic and
are newer to the region and less well assimilated. Some Roma blame them
for the minority's criminal image. Around 50 Romani protesters gathered
outside the courthouse. The verdict raises questions about collective
trials, especially assumptions related to minority "gangs" or "clans" in
court proceedings. -- Alaina Lemon

TROUBLED SLOVAK-EU RELATIONS. EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van
den Broek, attending the Slovak-EU Association Council session in
Brussels on 27 February, called on Slovakia "to further develop and
strengthen democratic institutions and to respect ethnic minority rights
and freedom of speech." Van den Broek expressed the hope that Slovakia
will soon ratify the Slovak-Hungarian treaty and pass a law on minority
languages. He also asked that Slovakia cancel its 10% import surcharge
by 30 June, show more openness toward foreign investment, close unsafe
nuclear reactors, and harmonize its legislation with that of the EU.
Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, who led the Slovak delegation, called the
meeting "a breakthrough" in bilateral relations, stressing that no one
questioned Slovakia's domestic political path or discussed its internal
instability, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK SECRET SERVICE CHIEF SUES PRESIDENT. Slovak Information Service
director Ivan Lexa on 27 February filed a libel suit with a Bratislava
court against Michal Kovac over assertions at a Vienna court hearing
about the involvement of the SIS and Lexa in his son's kidnapping,
Narodna obroda reported. According to Slovak law, the president is
required within 30 days to submit evidence backing his statements.
Slovak opposition media pointed out that this will not be difficult,
since Kovac can present the police investigation reports and testimony
by former SIS agent Oskar Fegyveres. -- Sharon Fisher

FORMER HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER WILL NOT RECEIVE SEVERANCE PAY. The
Supreme Court has ruled that outgoing Finance Minister Lajos Bokros is
entitled to six months' salary--over 1 million forints ($7,000)--but no
severance pay, Hungarian dailies reported on 28 February. The Prime
Minister's Office had asked the Supreme Court to clarify which rules
should apply to the legal status of ministers, since the relevant law
dates back to 1973. None of the six ministers who quit in 1995 received
severance pay, because they all stayed on as deputies. Reports that
Bokros was about to get 2 million forints in severance drew heated
debates in the parliament earlier this week. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS MEDIA ORGANS. The Hungarian parliament on 27
February elected Socialist Party member Mihaly Tamas Revesz as chairman
of the National Radio and Television Board (NRTB), Hungarian media
reported. Deputies also elected chairmen of the Board of Trustees of the
Hungarian Radio Foundation, Hungarian Television (MTV), and Hungaria
Television. The most controversial member elected to the NRTB was Gabor
Nahlik, the candidate of the opposition Smallholders, who was appointed
acting chairman of MTV in 1993 by Jozsef Antall's government and who
played a prominent role in the so-called media war. In other news, the
parliament amended the banking law to allow tax customs and social
insurance authorities to gain access to bank data under certain
circumstances. This was a prerequisite for OECD membership. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

...BUT U.S. WARNS THAT SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA MAY NOT BE LIFTED. The
U.S. government has warned Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that
international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia will stay in place
if the Belgrade regime continues its crackdown on independent media and
humanitarian organizations, international media reported on 27 February.
U.S. government spokesman Glyn Davies said that "Milosevic has to
understand that he's not operating in a vacuum.... The Dayton Accord
calls for certain standards in human rights and we're going to hold
[Belgrade] to it." -- Stan Markotich
MOST EE FOREIGN MINISTERS BACK EU ARMS EMBARGO. East European foreign
ministers, meeting with their EU counterparts in Brussels on 27
February, discussed the EU arms embargo on Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia,
international media reported. Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania,
Romania, and Slovakia immediately endorsed the embargo. Poland, the
Czech Republic, Albania, and Bulgaria weclomed the idea but said they
needed to consult with their governments before adopting the measure.
They cited a "lack of precision" in the requirement that countries "show
restraint" in selling arms to Slovenia and Macedonia, Rzeczpospolita
reported. -- Michael Mihalka

THREE BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTERS MEET. Republican Prime Minister Hasan
Muratovic, his federal counterpart Izudin Kapetanovic, and the Republika
Srpska's Rajko Kasagic met with the international com-munity's Carl
Bildt in Banja Luka on 27 February. Their agenda centered on restoring
infrastructure across the boundaries between the Serbian and Muslim-
Croat entities. International and regional media said that water will be
piped to Gorazde and power lines rebuilt from Visegrad and Sarajevo via
Gorazde to Foca. Rail transport will be resumed from Serb-held Zvornik
to Banja Luka via federal Tuzla. Kasagic told reporters that there will
be a common customs policy based on the German mark as a reference
currency. -- Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES UPDATE. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia based in The Hague on 27 February concluded its hearings
against Krajina Serb leader Milan Martic in just one day. Martic is in
Banja Luka, and the VOA on 28 February quoted him as saying that any
attempt to arrest and extradite him would be "a terrorist act." He is
wanted for an indiscriminate rocket attack on civilians in Zagreb in
1995. The hearings were wound up because of the need to address a
request by the lawyer of Bosnian Serb General Djordje Djukic that his
client be freed immediately, Nasa Borba noted. Oslobodjenje reported
that the Bosnian Serb authorities have drawn up a list of 2,388 people
suspected of committing attrocities against Serbs, including 11 Serbs
"who betrayed their own people." * Patrick Moore

SARAJEVO SERB EXODUS NEARLY OVER. The evacuation of the Serb-held suburb
of Ilijas is almost complete on the eve of the arrival of government
police. Bosnian Serb refugees blamed their leaders for ordering them out
on short notice and withdrawing essential services at the same time. AFP
on 28 February quoted one man as saying that the Serbian "leaders could
have let us known of their intentions earlier, instead of shunting us
out like cattle at the last minute." The Guardian reported the previous
day that the Serb-held suburbs are in the hands of drunken armed bands
that terrorize the remaining inhabitants, most of whom are sick and old,
and loot what property is left. -- Patrick Moore

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE GRANTS $14 MILLION TO SARAJEVO. The
International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it will allocate $14
million for the reconstruction of the destroyed Olympic arenas in
Sarajevo, Nasa Borba reported on 28 February, citing Deutsche Welle.
Meanwhile, AFP on 27 February reported that international aid agencies
are shunning the Bosnian Serbs and concentrating their efforts on the
Muslim-Croat Federation. Aid workers said donor governments are
reluctant to support the Serbian side because they see no guarantee of
long-term stability. An unidentified source told AFP that development
aid would target exclusively government-controlled territory, while
humanitarian aid projects would remain universal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA SAYS COOPERATION WITH THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL IS CONDITIONAL. The
Croatian parliamentary legislative committee has supported in principle
the proposal on Croatia's cooperation with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. But it said Croatia's support is
conditional on changes being made to the tribunal statutes in accordance
with the legislative systems of Croatia and other successor states of
the former Yugoslavia, Novi List reported on 28 February. Croatian law
prohibits the extradition of a citizen who has already been tried in
Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN LABOR UNREST ENTERS DRAMATIC PHASE. The railroad strike that
began on 22 February has succeeded in shutting down 90% of the trains,
AFP reported on 28 February. The main union grouping, the SSSH, planned
to launch a general strike last week but postponed it without giving a
reason. President Franjo Tudjman has said that the labor unrest is "not
democratic," but the unions have asked to negotiate with him personally
over pay and the high cost of living. -- Patrick Moore

ROMANIA-EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL CONVENES. Romanian Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu, presiding over a meeting of the Romanian-EU
Association Council in Brussels on 27 February, presented his country's
strategy for joining the EU, which includes bringing its legislation in
line with EU standards and speeding up economic reforms. Radio Bucharest
reported that he also renewed Romania's request that EU member states
abolish visa requirements for Romanian citizens. The meeting was
attended by EU Council President Susanna Agnelli and by Hans van den
Broek, EU commissioner for relations with Eastern Europe and the CIS.
Van den Broek said he was satisfied with Romania's "considerable efforts
to pave the way for full EU membership." -- Dan Ionescu

U.S. DEFENSE OFFICIAL IN ROMANIA. U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Paul
Kaminski paid a four-day visit to Romania to discuss bilateral military
cooperation, Romanian and international media reported on 26-28
February. Kaminski and his Romanian counterpart, Gen. Florentin Popa,
signed an agreement on the exchange of information in military research
and development. Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu told Kaminski that Romania
continues to aim for NATO integration. The two sides discussed the
possibility of U.S. support in modernizing the Romanian army and defense
industry. Kaminski also met with President Ion Iliescu, Defense Minister
Gheorghe Tinca, and other senior officials. -- Matyas Szabo

RUSSIAN TANKS TO BULGARIA. Russia is to provide Bulgaria with 100 T-72
tanks and other armored "fighting vehicles," Kontinent reported on 27
February. The daily noted that relations between Russia and Bulgaria
have always been close, observing "Bulgaria is one of those few
countries in Eastern Europe that is not pressing for NATO membership."
Meanwhile, Demo-kratsiya reported that Gen. Mikho Mikhov last week
refused Moscow's "gift" of 12 Mi-24 helicopters because of their low
technical grade and the high cost need to repair and maintain them. The
arms transfer was agreed to in 1995. -- Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN POLICE ARRESTS MEDIA EMPLOYEES IN CONNECTION WITH BOMB ATTACK.
Albanian police on 27 February arrested the two bodyguards of Koha Jone
editor in chief Nikolla Lesi in connection with the bomb explosion in
Tirana the previous day, Albanian media reported. This move came after
police had interrogated 33 Koha Jone staff members on the day of the
blast. State radio said the bodyguards resembled police sketches of the
alleged perpetrators. Police also raided Lesi's apartment and
confiscated a hunting rifle and a safe box containing tapes of a 1994
trial in which two journalists were convicted of slander and revealing
state secrets. Meanwhile, the Association of Professional Journalists
has protested the police raid on Koha Jone. President Sali Berisha said
"the government is com-mitted...to iden-tifing the perpetrators, and I
believe Albanian justice will give them the punishment they deserve --
capital punishment." The Socialist Party has rejected claims it was
involved in the attack and has called on all political parties to "unite
in the fight against terrorism." -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE, MACEDONIA FAIL AGAIN TO REACH AGREEMENT ON NAME ISSUE. Greece
and Macedonia, meeting at UN headquarters in New York on 27 February,
failed again to reach agreement on the issue of a permanent official
name for Macedonia. Both parties agreed, however, to continue the
dialogue in April. Macedonia was admitted to the UN in April 1993 under
the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Greece continues to
object to the use of "Macedonia" in its name, arguing it implies
territorial claims against the northern Greek province bearing the same
name. -- Lowell Bezanis and Stan Markotich

[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
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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