If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. - Carl Sagan
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 43, Part II, 29 February 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Tirana Bomb Blast Leads to Crackdown on Independent Media",
   by Fabian Schmidt
-  "Serbian President's Crackdown Includes Humanitarian Group", by
   Stan Markotich
-  "Czechs Free Up Crown's Exchange Rate", by Steve Kettle

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN FEDERAL POLICE ENTER ILIJAS. The multi-ethnic police force of
the Bosnian Federation has taken up posts in the second of the formerly
Serb-held suburbs of Sarajevo to pass to federal control under the terms
of the Dayton agreement. The 90-strong contingent included 25 Serbs and
15 Croats. As before, most local Serbs were driven out by their own
authorities, which withdrew essential services and utilities and
contributed to a climate of panic and fear but did not always provide
transportation. Armed gangs then looted and intimidated local residents,
so that only the old and infirm remained. This will help consolidate
"ethnic cleansing" and is in keeping with the view of the Bosnian Serb
leadership that people of different nationalities cannot live together,
but it is not the concept of the Dayton accords. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS ELECT PRIME MINISTER. Crimean deputies have elected
Arkadii Demydenko as the region's prime minister, interna-tional and
Ukrainian agencies reported on 28 February. The 46-year-old engineer is
considered a moderate and served as deputy prime minister in the
government of Anatolii Franchuk, who was dismissed in December for his
alleged pro-Kiev sympathies. Demydenko promised to pursue greater
economic independence for the peninsula, particularly through developing
offshore oil and gas deposits and alternative energy sources. UNIAN on
26 February reported that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma expressed
satisfaction with Demy-denko's nomination for the post. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

EUROPEAN COMMISSION URGES TRADE ACCORD WITH BELARUS. The European
Commission has proposed that EU countries sign a temporary trade
agreement with Belarus, Reuters reported on 28 February. The accord will
apply until a comprehensive agreement on partnership and cooperation
comes into force. The comprehensive accord was signed last March but has
not been ratified because the EU has been waiting for confirmation that
Belarus is sincere in its commitment to economic and political reform.
-- Ustina Markus

DENMARK TO HELP ESTONIA PREPARE FOR EU MEMBERSHIP. Estonian Foreign
Minister Siim Kallas and Danish Ambassador to Estonia Sven Roed Nielsen
on 28 February signed an agreement on Danish technical and expert
assistance to help Estonia join the EU, BNS reported. The accord allows
Estonian ministries and other institutions to receive advice on how to
amend legislation to bring it into line with EU requirements. The
implementation of the agreement will be controlled by a committee of
Estonian senior officials set up to coordinate EU-related questions. --
Saulius Girnius

ENERGY PRICES IN LITHUANIA MAY INCREASE. Prime Minister Mindaugas
Stankevicius, speaking on Radio Lithuania on 28 February, said the
government will probably have to raise energy costs for consumers since
the budget deficit is growing. He noted that while Lietuvos Dujos owed
$36 million to Russian natural gas suppliers, Lithuania's consumers owed
the energy system more than $75 million. He regretted that the
government used a large part of foreign loans to pay energy debts rather
than for investments to increase production. He also said he expected to
announce the appointment of a new energy minister by the end of the
week. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW CHIEF OF POLISH STATE SECURITY OFFICE. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz on 28 February accepted the resignation of Gromoslaw
Czempinski, head of the Polish State Security Office (UOP). Czempinski
stepped down in connection with the leaks to the press about spy
allegations against former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy. Cimo-szewicz the
same day named Andrzej Kapkowski as the new UOP chief. Kapkowski has
worked in counter-intelligence since 1968, Polish dailies reported on 29
February. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH TELEVISION PRESIDENT TENDERS RESIGNATION. Wieslaw Walendziak has
tendered his resignation, Rzeczpospolita reported on 29 February.
Walendziak gave no reasons for his decision. He had supported extending
the contract of Maciej Pawlicki, former director of Polish TV's First
Channel, but three deputy presidents had opposed such a move.
Rzeczpospolita said that Walendziak may have resigned on finding out
that he had limited influence over the day-to-day running of the
company. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLAND, UKRAINE TO FORM JOINT PEACEKEEPING BATTALION. Poland and Ukraine
have agreed to form a joint peacekeeping battalion, Interfax reported on
28 February. The unit will be financed by both countries and will
consist of Ukrainian units based in Lviv and Polish units in Przemysl.
The first joint military exercise are to be held in April on the
outskirts of Lviv. English will be the battalion's official language. --
Jakub Karpinski

CZECHS RELAX MONETARY PO-LICY, CUT TAXES. The Czech National Bank (CNB)
on 28 February widened the band in which the koruna can fluctuate from
plus or minus 0.5% of the basket of currencies to which it is fixed (the
German mark and U.S. dollar) to plus or minus 7.5%, Czech media
reported. CNB Governor Josef Tosovsky said the move would aid anti-
inflation policy and keeping the currency stable. The Czech (and
previously, Czechoslovak) koruna had been kept under tight control for
more than five years. IMF officials had recommended easing monetary
policy to help stem a large inflow of foreign speculative capital into
the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, the government approved cuts in income
tax and VAT that will remove 9.4 billion koruny ($348 million) from the
1997 state budget. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH DEPUTIES DESERT PARTY. The caucus leader of the centrist Free
Democrats-Liberal National Social Party (SD-LSNS) on 28 February
announced that at least five of its six deputies have formed a new group
called the Civic National Movement, Czech media reported. The deputies,
who previously represented the LSNS, have been in conflict with the new
party leadership since last fall when the LSNS merged with the SD,
headed by former Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier. Caucus
leader Tomas Sterba has been threatened with expulsion from the party
for contravening official policy. He has accused the SD of highjacking
the LSNS. The split comes exactly three months before parliamentary
elections are due to be held. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY TO JOIN COALITION? Party of the Democratic Left
(SDL) chairman Peter Weiss on 28 February told reporters that his party
will not join the current government. Weiss called it "unacceptable" for
the SDL to work with the Slovak National Party, which "is in the cabinet
only to profit from privatization" and which has "repeatedly tried to
rehabilitate the quasi-Fascist war-time state." Weiss said the SDL is
considering joining a restructured cabinet because of increasing social
tension and Slovakia's weak international position at a time when
expansion of the EU and NATO is being decided. Criticizing the cabinet's
plans to privatize Slovakia's biggest banks by selling them to the
country's largest firms (which are also the banks' debtors), Weiss
stressed the need to restructure the banks' portfolios, to weaken their
monopoly, and to pass legislation on state supervision and protection of
deposits. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER OUTLINES REFORM PROGRAM. Peter Medgyessy has
said he wants to continue with the stabilization program of his
predecessor, Lajos Bokros, and will aim for larger economic growth,
Hungarian media reported on 29 February. Medgyessy was addressing the
parliamentary Economic Committee, which backed his ideas. Medgyessy said
there is a realistic chance of increasing economic growth from 1.5% of
GDP in 1995 to 4-5% in 1997. He added that reducing inflation from the
current 29% to 20%, as stipulated by the government, is his top
priority. Medgyessy also aims to reduce interest rates and reform the
pension and health insurance systems. -- Szilagyi Zsofia

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR FAILS TO ARREST KARADZIC AGAIN. IFOR commander U.S. Admiral
Leighton Smith admitted that Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war
criminal Radovan Karadzic was in Banja Luka at the same time as some of
Smith's men on 27 February. Smith claimed, however, that they could not
have arrested him. Reuters on 28 February quoted Smith as saying: "We
did not have Karadzic in our hands. We happened to be in the same city.
He happened to have a fairly substantial number of guards. He was also
in public places where civilians were around. If IFOR had attempted to
detain him, there clearly would have been some resistance. It would have
been unwise frankly on the part of those IFOR people who may have seen
him in Banja Luka to have pursued any sort of a detention." This is the
latest in a series of reports that Karadzic was in the vicinity of the
peacekeepers, who did nothing to apprehend him. -- Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES UPDATE. Nasa Borba and Novi list on 1 March reported that the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has deferred
until 2 March its ruling on a request to free Bosnian Serb General
Djordje Djukic. This was a rebuff to his lawyer's request for him to be
released by 1 March "at the latest," AFP reported. Onasa on 28 February
quoted Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic as saying that evidence is
being collected against Canadian General Lewis McKenzie on suspicion of
his participating in war crimes, "mainly rapes," when he was UNPROFOR
commander in Bosnia. McKenzie was linked to reports about gatherings at
a Serb-run brothel near Sarajevo and later became a lobbyist for the
Serbian cause. Meanwhile in Zagreb, parliament agreed on 27 February
after heated discussion to postpone until March a vote on a bill to
enable Croatia to extradite suspected war criminals wanted by the
tribunal. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN JOURNALISTS BOYCOTT CARL BILDT. The Independent Union of
Professional Journalists of Bosnia-Herzegovina broke off all contacts
with the international community's High Representative Carl Bildt as of
1 March, Onasa reported on 27 February. This is to protest the Serbs'
continued detention of Bosnian photographer Hidajet Delic, whom the
Serbs captured and accused of "war crimes" on 8 February in apparent
response to the arrest of Djukic and other Serb officers. The
journalists said that Bildt is responsible for ensuring freedom of
movement in Sarajevo. OMRI special correspondents Jan Urban and Yvonne
Badal visited Delic and said he "was not in a good mental state,
although he kept repeating he had not been physically abused." Urban
added that the Serbs have not filed charges against Delic or let him
contact a lawyer. -- Patrick Moore

EU MAINTAINS ARMS EMBARGO AGAINST BOSNIA, CROATIA, RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The
EU Council of Ministers, meeting in Brussels on 27 February, decided
maintain its arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and the
rump Yugoslavia until the IFOR mission ends and eastern Slavonia is
transferred to the Croatian government, Novi list reported on 29
February. The embargo does not include equipment needed to clear mines.
Requests by Slovenia and Macedonia to be allowed to import arms will be
discussed on a "case-by-case" basis. The EU will reconsider its decision
again shortly before the IFOR mandate in Bosnia and the UN mandate in
eastern Slavonia expires. -- Daria Sito Sucic

INTERNATIONAL MONITORS CONCLUDE RUMP YUGOSLAV MISSION. International
monitors observing cross-border activity between the rump Yugoslavia and
the Republika Srpska have ended their mission following the lifting of
sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, Nasa Borba reported on 29 February.
The mission began in September 1994, after Belgrade had agreed to halt
all traffic, except humanitarian aid deliveries, to the Bosnian Serbs.
Belgrade will now resume responsibility for monitoring the border. In
other news, on 28 February Tanjug reported that UN special
representative Kofi Annan, who on 27 February announced he was resigning
his post, paid a visit to Belgrade where he met with Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and other officials. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN CARDINAL WARNS OF DANGER OF "ISLAMIZING" BOS-NIA. Vinko Puljic,
during a visit to Bonn for talks with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, has
warned of the danger of "Islamizing" Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nasa Borba
reported on 29 February, citing Deutsche Welle. Puljic asked Kohl for
political, moral, and material aid in the reconstruction of Bosnia. He
expressed special concern for the refugees who have found safe haven in
Germany, saying he feared they would become beggars on returning home.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIA REACHES DEAL WITH FOREIGN CREDITORS. Slovenia has become the
first former Yugoslav republic to reach a deal with its foreign
creditors to pay its share of the former Yugoslavia's debts, Radio
Slovenia reported on 28 February. The parliament formally approved the
deal. Governor of the Bank of Slovenia France Arhar was quoted as saying
"the bonds for covering the debt will be issued before the end of June."
Slovenia and the London Club of creditors last year agreed that
Ljubljana will pay 18% of the former Yugoslavia's debts. -- Stan
Markotich

MACEDONIAN WRAP-UP. Mace-donian President Kiro Gligorov was awarded the
annual peace prize of the Crans Montana Forum, MIC reported on 28
February. Gligorov will receive the prize at the next session of the
forum, which will be held under the auspices of the Council of Europe,
the European Commission, UNIDO, and UNESCO. Meanwhile, Defense Minister
Blagoy Handziski on 27 February received the first Russian military
attache to Macedonia, Col. Stanislav Gromov. The EU Council of Ministers
concluded that the EU should adopt a restrictive approach toward arms
exports to Macedonia and Slovenia, given the situation in the former
Yugoslavia. Export licenses will now have to be approved on a case-by-
case basis. Finally, Politika on 29 February reported that rump Yugoslav
Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic is in Skopje to negotiate
preparations for the mutual recognition of the two states. -- Fabian
Schmidt

ROMANIAN SENATE CHAIRMAN IN U.S. A Romanian parliamentary delegation
headed by Senate Chairman Oliviu Gherman is paying an official visit to
the U.S., Radio Bucharest reported on 28-29 February. Gher-man, who is
also chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, met
with U.S. congressmen and members of the Clinton administration to
discuss the progress of reforms in Romania and its efforts to join Euro-
Atlantic structures. The visit has been sponsored by the congressional
research service, which has launched an assistance program for Romania.
-- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA RESUMES TREATY TALKS WITH NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES. Romanian
Foreign Ministry official Dumitru Ceausu and Vladimir Vasilenko, a
special envoy to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, resumed bilateral treaty
talks in Bucharest on 27 February following a four-month break, Romanian
and international media reported. Negotiations on a Romania-Yugoslav
Federation basic treaty began in Belgrade the same day. The talks had
been postponed after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the
rump Yugoslav government. A new round of negotiations between Romania
and Hungary over Romanian President Ion Iliescu's "historic
reconciliation proposal" also began on 28 February in Bucharest. --
Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON BASIC TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Petru Dascal
on 28 February said Moldova and Russia should denounce both the 1990
bilateral treaty and a 1995 additional protocol stipulating military
assistance in case of need. Moldovan agencies quoted him as saying that
due to the rapid development of events over the past several years, the
treaty is outdated, although it has not yet been ratified by the Russian
State Duma. Dascal said the two countries should begin negotiations on a
new treaty that would take into account the current state of bilateral
relations. -- Matyas Szabo

BANK TAKEOVER IN BULGARIA. The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has
effectively taken over the private Bank for Agricultural Credit Vitosha
(BZK), Pari reported on 29 February. BZK's shareholders will hand over
their shares to BNB without compensation and BNB will continue to
refinance BZK. Since the beginning of 1996, BNB has pumped some 2.5
billion leva ($33.1 million) into BZK in order to avoid insolvency. The
latest move is aimed at stabilizing the bank and protecting depositors.
BZK head Atanas Tilev, who is also the biggest shareholder with some
40%, has agreed to the deal. The BNB insists on changes in BZK's
statutes and management. Such changes have to be approved by 75% of
shareholders. -- Stefan Krause

BOMBS EXPLODE THROUGHOUT ALBANIA. Unrelated bomb explosions took place
throughout Albania on 27-28 February. Unidentified assailants in Vlora
blasted a hole in the balcony of an apartment building, Koha Jone
reported on 29 February. The blast shattered glass in the building. A
bailiff in Gramsh found a bomb with a burning fuse on his balcony but
was able to throw it away before it exploded. Gazeta Shqiptare reported
that a garbage can near an apartment block in Shkoder was blasted by a
bomb. The explosion was so loud that it could be heard in most parts of
the city. Investigations into all three incidents have begun. Meanwhile,
police have published sketches of a person who left the car containing
the bomb that went off in Tirana on 26 February, Lajmi i Dites reported.
-- Fabian Schmidt

AGREEMENT REACHED "IN PRINCIPLE" TO FORM TURKISH COALITION GOVERNMENT.
Turkish caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, leader of the True Path
Party, and Mesut Yilmaz, chief of the Motherland Party, have agreed "in
principle" to form a "grand coalition," Western agencies reported. But
the former bitter rivals reportedly remain divided over who should
initially serve as prime minister if a rotation scheme is agreed on. A
second round of talks between Ciller and Yilmaz is scheduled for 1
March. There have been three abortive attempts to form a coalition
government since the general elections last December. -- 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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