Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 44, Part II, 01 March 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 SERBS RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON ARMS CONTROL. Bosnian Serbs on 29
February resumed talks in Vienna on disarmament and arms control in the
former Yugoslavia, international agencies reported. The Bosnian Serbs
quit the talks two weeks ago after the arrest of the two senior Serbian
officers suspected of involvement in war crimes. Contacts with the
international community were restored on 22 February. The Vienna talks
are organized by the OSCE and include officials from the rump
Yugoslavia, Croatia, and the Bosnian Federation. Nasa Borba on 1 March
reported the Norwegian ambassador to the OSCE as saying that if
participants do not reach agreement by 6 June, the Dayton accord
regulations on arms quotas will be enforced. -- Daria Sito Sucic
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ORDERS TRANSFER OF SOCIAL SERVICES TO
MUNICIPALITIES. The Ukrainian government has ordered the phased transfer
of local social services from state-owned firms to municipal
jurisdiction, UNIAN reported on 27 February. A government resolution
provides that 30% of housing and 20% of pre-schools and recreational
facilities be turned over to city government financing and management
this year. The plans calls for nearly all social services to be under
municipal control by 1998 and is part of a government effort to
restructure and streamline the industrial and agricultural sectors. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEANS TO SERVE IN BLACK SEA FLEET. The Black Sea Fleet has begun
accepting applications from Crimeans wishing to serve in the Black Sea
Fleet, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 March. Ukraine until now has been against
Crimeans serving in the fleet. More than 80 Sevastopol residents have
taken Russian citizenship and are being trained to serve in the fleet.
Instructors at the fleet's technical school say Crimeans tend to be the
most-disciplined students. -- Ustina Markus

UNPAID WAGES IN BELARUS. The Belarusian Ministry of Statistics has said
that one in four Belarusians was not paid in December 1995, Belarusian
Radio reported on 29 February. As of 9 February, workers were owed 509
billion Belarusian rubles ($44 million) in back wages. Over half of the
debt is owed to collective farm workers. Trade unions have been
threatening strikes since late 1995 over the issue of unpaid wages. --
Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS. Some progress was made during border
talks in Moscow on 28-29 February but there was no breakthrough on the
dispute over the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, BNS reported the delegation
heads as saying. A trilateral meeting with Finnish officials is to take
place in late March over determining the point of convergence of the
three countries' borders in the Gulf of Finland. Russia promised to
consider what Estonia termed a constructive proposal on the 1920 treaty,
but no information about its contents was revealed. The next round of
Estonian-Russian talks is scheduled for 27-28 March in Tallinn. --
Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA'S TV3 WINS BROADCASTING LICENSE. Culture Minister Jaak Allik on
29 February granted a national broadcasting license to the private
company TV3, formed by the merger of the private stations RTV and EVTV,
ETA reported. The ministry's Broadcasting License Committee two days
earlier voted in favor of AS Trio, which owns several radio stations.
Allik, however, doubted that it could start transmissions immediately
since it lacked the technical basis and experienced employees. Major
shareholders in TV3 are the Swedish media giant Kinnevik and Finnish
MTV3. -- Saulius Girnius

POLL ON POPULARITY OF LI-THUANIAN POLITICIANS. A poll carried out in
mid-February by the British-Lithuanian joint venture Baltic Surveys
suggest that public trust in Lithuanian politicians has grown since
January, Radio Lithuania reported on 29 February. Seimas Deputy Chairman
Egidijus Bickauskas remained in first place, with a 54% rating. He was
followed by Center Union chairman Romualdas Ozolas with 50%. President
Algirdas Brazauskas's rating registered the largest increase, by nine
points, to 48%. But trust in the presidency increased by only two
points, to 25%. Former Premier Adolfas Slezevicius received a positive
rating of only 7%. -- Saulius Girnius

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST FORMER POLISH PREMIER TO BE DROPPED? The
Supreme Military Prosecutor's Office on 29 February said it will not
lift Jozef Oleksy's parliamentary immunity. Such a move is necessary for
prosecutors to formally charge the former prime minister, who has been
accused of spying for the former Soviet Union. Polish dailies on 1 March
suggest that the prosecutors will most probably drop the proceedings
against Oleksy. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH DOCTORS CALL SECOND STRIKE. Members of the Medical Trade Union
Club (LOK) on 29 February called a two-day strike for 25-26 March to
demand higher pay and better work conditions, Czech media reported. LOK
chairman David Roth said no progress has been made in reforming the
state health system, harming patients and frustrating doctors. The
strike will include a rally in central Prague, while emergency services
will be maintained at hospitals. If LOK's demands are not met, doctors
will limit overtime work after the strike. Up to 5,000 doctors and
nurses took part in the first strike rally last November. -- Steve
Kettle

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN SLOVAKIA. Yevgenii Primakov, during his
first visit to a former Eastern bloc country since taking office, on 29
February urged top Slovak officials to drop plans for NATO membership,
Slovak and international media reported. Primakov's counterpart, Juraj
Schenk, stressed that Slovakia continues to aim for full integration
into West European structures. While noting that Russia has "no veto
right" in the matter, Primakov emphasized that NATO expansion "would put
Russia into a worse geopolitical and military position, not to mention
the psychological aspects of the process." A Slovak Statistical Office
poll released on 29 February showed that 65% of Slovaks favor EU
membership, while only 43% view integration into NATO positively. --
Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek on 29 February signed a
draft law on Slovakia's new territorial arrangement, Narodna obroda
reported. The bill, which provides for eight regions and 74 districts,
will be reviewed by the cabinet next week. Also on 29 February, Mikulas
Dzurinda of the Christian Democratic Movement criticized the cabinet's
new privatization method, Pravda reported. He claimed that when the
government privatizes a firm, it keeps 34% for itself. Meanwhile,
Narodna obroda's new editor-in-chief, Tatiana Repkova, announced that
under her leadership, the paper will be a "general daily with a liberal
democratic orientation" and will focus on economic and social issues. As
of 1 March, Pravda's new editor-in-chief is Pavol Minarik, formerly a
correspondent for the Czech daily Pravo. Minarik is the fourth person to
assume that post in less than one year. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN ISRAEL. Gyorgy Keleti on 29 February met
with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to discuss cooperation on
security matters and the Middle East peace process, international and
Hungarian media reported. The two men also discussed the possibility of
the Israeli air defense companies upgrading Hungarian Air Force MiG-21
fighter planes. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

USAID MAY CLOSE DOWN IN HUNGARY. The US Agency for International
Development (USAID) may close down its Budapest office before 2000.
International agencies quoted office head Tom Cornell as saying "Hungary
is progressing faster than expected and thus needs less and less
American assistance." The organization has spent some $230 million on
aid programs since 1991 and has an annual budget of between $15 and 21
million for the coming years. USAID's Budapest bureau provides financial
and technological aid in the financial sector and supports several non-
governmental organizations, Cornell said. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IS GENERAL DJUKIC MISSING LINK TO MILOSEVIC? The International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on 1 March announced that Serbian
General Djordje Djukic has been formally charged with "crimes against
humanity" and "violation of war rights and conventions," AFP reported.
It will also hold another Serbian officer, Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic, until
at least 4 April. The Guardian on 29 February published an article based
on a package of leaked documents on Djukic and some secret Serbian maps.
It argues that Djukic is an officer in Belgrade's army, not Pale's, and
that the "international community" was aware all along of Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic's role in starting and continuing the war
in Bosnia through the end of 1995. The author concludes that "the
revelation that the general is Belgrade's man has explosive implications
for the Dayton peace agreement, while cutting to the core of the history
of the conflict by revealing Belgrade's secret role in the Bosnian Serb
war machine." The authenticity of the documents has yet to be verified,
but many observers have long suspected such a link. -- Patrick Moore

SIEGE OF SARAJEVO ENDS. With the arrival of federal police in Ilijas on
29 February, the blockade of the Bosnian capital formally came to an
end. Oslobodjenje on 1 March reported that Interior Minister Avdo Hebib
has reopened the overland route from Sarajevo to Zenica and Tuzla. The
Serbian siege lasted nearly four years, despite repeated attempts by the
government army to break through. UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko blamed
the Pale leadership for ordering the looting of Ilijas before the
federal units arrived. In another development, suspected war criminal
and Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic has reemerged on the political scene by
registering his Democratic People's Community in Mostar. -- Patrick
Moore

MORE VIOLATIONS OF DAYTON ACCORDS ON PRISONERS, FORCED LABOR. The Onasa
news agency on 29 February quoted a prominent Roman Catholic priest,
Karlo Visevicki, as telling Bosnian Prime Minister Izudin Kapetanovic in
Banja Luka that Serbs continue to make Muslims do forced labor in
western Bosnia. AFP the same day reported that the International
Committee of the Red Cross said that the government authorities are
holding 52 more Serbian prisoners in Tuzla, bringing the total there to
at least 129. Two others are being held in Zenica. These Serbs and all
other prisoners not wanted for war crimes should have been freed six
weeks ago. The Serbs are still officially holding 23 captives and the
Croats two, in addition to those all three sides are keeping in
connection with war crimes investigations. -- Patrick Moore

WORLD BANK APPROVES $45 MILLION AID TO BOSNIA. The World Bank has
approved $45 million in emergency reconstruction aid for Bosnia in the
form of loans and grants, AFP reported on 29 February, quoting an
unidentified source. The aid is part of an emergency fund created by the
World Bank totaling $150 million. The World Bank is expected to announce
on 1 March which reconstruction projects will be financed by these
funds, whose contributors include the EU, the U.S., Canada, Germany,
Japan, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Britain. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOMB EXPLODES IN MOSTAR. A bomb destroyed a Muslim-owned bank in the
Croatian part of Mostar on 29 February, Nasa Borba and AFP reported. No
casualties were reported. The bank is owned by a Muslim family that
lives in Zagreb. Bosnian Croat police have opened an investigation into
the blast, which, they say, may be linked either to mafia operations or
to ethnic strife. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SOROS FOUNDATION VOWS TO CONTINUE WORK IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The Soros
Foundation has pledged to re-register in order to continue its aid work
throughout rump Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 1 March. The
foundation was banned last month by Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic's regime. The organization said that since it was banned,
there has been a risk that 30,000 refugees will not receive critical
food aid, pre-schoolers will be deprived of basic educational supplies,
and some 100 health facilities will not get critical medical supplies.
Foundation head Sonja Licht noted that the rump Yugoslavia is "the only
country that has banned the Soros Foundation from operating on its
territory." -- Stan Markotich

WORLD CHESS CHAMPION ENLISTS WITH SERBIAN SOCIALISTS. Russian chess
master Anatolii Karpov has formally joined Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, AFP reported on 29 February.
Karpov is said to be the first foreigner to join Milosevic's ruling SPS.
-- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SENATOR TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES. Constantin
Ticu Dumitrescu, senator for the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic, on 29 February said he will boycott parliamentary debates,
Radio Bu-charest reported. Dumitrescu, a former political prisoner under
the Communists, said he was protesting the indefinite postponement of
the debate over a draft law he proposed two years ago. The bill would
provide for information on the former political police to be released
and would allow citizens access to their Securitate files. He also
pointed to another draft law blocked by the parliament, saying the
legislation aimed at banning former communist officials from holding
high office within the administration. Dumitrescu argued that informers
are still at work everywhere in Romania and that some have infiltrated
the democratic opposition. -- Dan Ionescu

MAJOR OIL LEAK IN ROMANIA. An oil tanker has spilled up to 250 tons of
gasoline in the harbor of Constanta on the Black Sea, Romanian and
Western media reported on 29 February. The leak occurred when the
Maltese-registered tank ship was unloading its cargo. A port official
blamed the oil spill on "negligence by the crew," who have been ordered
to pay a small fine only and the costs of the clean-up operation. Fuel
imports have been increased in an attempt to halt an energy crisis
caused by particularly cold weather. -- Dan Ionescu

CONTROVERSY OVER PLUNDERED ROMANIAN JEWISH FORTUNES IN SWISS BANK. The
World Jewish Congress has said the Association of Swiss Bankers is
hiding data on the fate of Romanian Jews' fortunes plundered during
World War II and deposited in a Swiss bank account, Reuters and Cronica
romana reported on 29 February-1 March. The WJC said details of an
account belonging to Radu Lecca have been discovered in a Securitate
file. Lecca, who was in charge of "Romanianizing" Jewish property, is
widely suspected of having amassed a fortune by threatening Jews with
deportation. He was sentenced to death in 1946 but his sentence was
commuted to life imprisonment. The file states that in 1963, Lecca--
possibly under pressure from the Securitate--attempted to reclaim money
from the Swiss Volksbank but was told no record of the account existed
because the bank's records had been destroyed. -- Michael Shafir

EU-MOLDOVA COOPERATION COMMITTEE CONVENES IN CHI-SINAU. The EU-Moldova
Joint Cooperation Committee on 29 February met for the first time,
Moldovan agencies reported. Moldovan Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli said
the committee was set up to implement the first agreements signed by
Moldova and the EU. He expressed gratitude to the EU for its support in
the peaceful settlement of the Dniester conflict and in efforts to
withdraw Russian troops from Moldovan territory. Without EU's
humanitarian assistance and preferential credits, "Moldova may
experience social unrest," he added. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. The Bulgarian government on 29 February adopted
regulations for implementing the arms trade law, Standart reported. The
regulations give private and state-run companies equal status. Private
firms, however, must be Bulgarian majority-owned. Industry Minister
Kliment Vuchev said he is not so interested in re-exports but noted that
"it is important arms are being sold, that our plants work." Also on 29
February, the cabinet decided to raise the price of gasoline, diesel
fuel, and fuel oil. The government said the hikes were due to the
devaluation of the lev against the dollar and the need to finance road
maintenance and reconstruction. -- Stefan Krause

WAS ITALIAN MAFIA INVOLVED IN TIRANA BOMBING? Reuters on 29 February
quoted unofficial sources "with knowledge of the police investigation
into the [bomb blast in Tirana on 26 February]" as saying the owner of
the car that carried the bomb has been detained and has links with the
Italian Mafia. He reportedly came from Italy's Puglia region. Vefa
Holdings, the owner of the supermarket that was destroyed in the blast,
is reportedly also involved in arms trading. -- Fabian Schmidt

JOURNALIST CONTINUES TO BE DETAINED IN TIRANA. Meanwhile, a Tirana court
has ruled that Populli Po journalist Ylli Polovina is to remain in
prison, Koha Jone reported on 1 March. Polovina wrote an article last
November suggesting that bomb attacks like that on Macedonian President
Kiro Gligorov in October could also happen in Albania. The prosecutor
charged him with "publicly calling for violent acts." Polovina faces up
to three years in prison if found guilty. The Albanian Helsinki
Committee, Reporters without Borders, and the International Center
against Censorship Article 19 have protested both Polovina's arrest and
raids on Koha Jone's offices since the bombing. Koha Jone Chief Editor
Nikolle Lesi has been charged with illegal arms possession, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported. President Sali Berisha continues to blame the
communist-era secret police for the explosion. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE WILL CONTINUE TO BLOCK EU AID TO TURKEY. Greek Prime Minister
Kostas Simitis on 29 February said Greece will block EU aid to Turkey
"as long as Turkish aggressiveness persists," Reuters reported. He said
it "would be foolish for Greece to go along as if nothing were happening
while Turkey threatens war." He also noted that Turkey is not following
a provision of the customs union with the EU committing it to friendly
relations with EU countries. Turkish caretaker Prime Minister Tansu
Ciller said the same day that Greece should not use EU membership as a
weapon against Turkey. She called on Athens to solve differences by
dialogue. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana arrived in
Athens on 29 February to discuss the effects of the Greek-Turkish
dispute on military cooperation in the region, AFP reported. -- Stefan
Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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

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