Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 45, Part II, 04 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
MILOSEVIC REELECTED PARTY LEADER. Nasa Borba on 4 March reports on
developments during the 2 March third congress of the Socialist Party of
Serbia. Predictably, events demonstrated that Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic remains firmly in control of his party. He was reelected party
president with only 4 of 1,799 delegates failing to confer support.
Furthermore, the party signaled that ultranationalists within its ranks
were, for now, being forsaken. A 185-member central committee, purged of
ultranationalists, was elected. Following his reelection, Milosevic
spoke on the issue of regional peace, saying that the Bosnian and
Croatian Serbs owed Serbia a debt of gratitude for supporting them
throughout the period of conflict. AFP quoted Milosevic as saying:
"Everyone who has benefited from this solidarity should remember it as
an example of generosity and as a debt that future generations may
perhaps be called upon to repay." -- Stan Markotich
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT INCREASES BENEFITS FOR CHOR-NOBYL WORKERS. The
Ukrainian government has increased wages and benefits for Chornobyl
employees and all individuals who work in the 30-km zone around the
nuclear power plant, Ukrainian TV reported on 1 March. Meanwhile, on a
visit to the station, Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk said the cleanup
from the April 1986 accident at Chornobyl has cost the government $3
billion over the past four years. He invited all the leaders of the G-7
powers to visit the plant, following the G-7 summit in Moscow in April,
for the 10th anniversary of the deadly explosion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER IN BELGRADE. A Ukrainian delegation
headed by parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz ended an official visit
to Belgrade on 2 March, Ukrainian television reported. Moroz said he was
pleased with the outcome of the visit and hoped it would be mutually
beneficial to Ukraine and rump Yugoslavia. Moroz met with Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and Prime Minister Ratoje Kontic. Moroz
urged that economic agreements between Ukraine and rump Yugoslavia be
signed and ratified. He also said he would support rump Yugoslavia's
reentry into European organizations and the lifting of UN sanctions
against it. -- Ustina Markus

US EXPORT-IMPORT BANK APPROVES CREDIT TO UKRAINE. The U.S. Export-Import
Bank has approved $171.3 million in credit guarantees to Ukraine, ITAR-
TASS reported on 2 March. The guarantees are to be used to buy
agricultural equipment. Under U.S. law, Congress has 30 days in which it
can vote against the credit. If it should do so, then the directors of
the bank would have to amend the credit proposals to suit Congress. --
Ustina Markus

MEETING OF ESTONIAN, LATVIAN PREMIERS. Tiit Vahi and Andres Skele in
Parnu on 1 March discussed the maritime border question and fishing
issues, BNS reported. Latvia refuses to accept Estonia's unilateral
decision to declare the fish-rich areas around the island of Ruhnu as
part of its economic zone and its trawlers have fished in the area
before being expelled by Estonian warships. The premiers and border
talks delegations summed up the results of previous talks and defined
the points where progress could be achieved. The two sides agreed that
relations between their countries were good, but made little progress in
settling the dispute. The Estonian parliament's foreign affairs
committee is scheduled to travel to Latvia in April to discuss the
border problem with its Latvian counterpart. -- Saulius Girnius

ACTING CHAIRMAN OF LITHUANIA'S RULING PARTY ELECTED. The council of the
Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) on 2 March elected Seimas
chairman Ceslovas Jursenas as the party's acting chairman, RFE/RL's
Lithuanian Service reported the next day. The council also elected
Justinas Karosas as first deputy chairman, replacing Gediminas Kirkilas,
who was criticized for vacationing in Germany while the Seimas voted on
the dismissal of LDDP chairman Adolfas Slezevicius as prime minister. --
Saulius Girnius

POLISH DEPUTIES FOR CHANGES IN ABORTION LAW. Labor Union (UP) deputy
Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka on 1 March presented a draft abortion law to the
Sejm, supported by the UP and the ruling Democratic Left Alliance
deputies. The bill would allow women to have an abortion until the 12th
week of pregnancy if they cannot afford to have a baby or have other
personal problems. If parliament passes the bill, it is likely to be
signed into law by President Aleksander Kwasniewski. An earlier bill
easing the abortion law was vetoed by former president Lech Walesa. The
current law allows for abortions only if the pregnancy poses a threat to
the woman's life or health, if it results from rape or incest or if the
fetus is irreparably damaged. Doctors who perform abortions in other
cases face a prison term of up to two years. Public opinion polls show
that a majority of Poles want the abortion law relaxed. -- Jakub
Karpinski

POLISH, CZECH PRIME MINISTERS MEET. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Vaclav
Klaus met on 3 March in Karpacz in southern Poland, Polish and
international media reported. They agreed that Poland is to supply goods
and investment services related to ecology on the borderland to settle
its trade deficit with the Czech Republic. Fostering of cooperation will
go in line with agreements within the Central European Free Trade
Agreement (CEFTA). The Polish prime minister said CEFTA should expand to
include Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Romania. As for the return of property
of Polish minority organizations, nationalized after World War II, Klaus
said that governmental decisions in favor of the Poles are being
prepared, but restitution concerns individuals only. -- Dagmar
Mroziewicz

POLISH PRESIDENT VISITS SLO-VAKIA. Aleksander Kwasniewski on 1 March
held talks with his Slovak counterpart, Michal Kovac, in the High Tatra
mountains, Slovak and international media reported. In contrast to his
statements last month, alleging that Slovakia will gain EU membership
after the other Visegrad countries because of its domestic political
situation, Kwasniewski emphasized that the two countries' strategic
goals are "identical" and said Poland would be glad if all four Visegrad
countries could enter the EU and NATO together. Responding to statements
by Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov during his visit to
Slovakia the previous day, Kwasniewski stressed that efforts to join
NATO should not be understood as "an unfriendly act towards Russia;"
NATO is "the main pillar of the new security system in Europe" and not
"a bloc against Russia." Kwasniewski rejected Slovakia's proposal that a
permanent CEFTA secretariat be created in Bratislava. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S LARGEST OPPOSITION PARTY ELECTS NEW PRESIDIUM. Sandor Lezsak
was elected president of the Democratic Forum (MDF) during a heated
national convention on 2 March, Hungarian media reported. He defeated
executive president Ivan Szabo, who won about one-third of the votes.
Szabo resigned as parliamentary caucus leader and nearly 200 of the 600
delegates to the convention signed a declaration dissociating themselves
from the new leadership. The MDF, the senior coalition party in the
former government, has been divided since the general elections in 1994
and it is unlikely that the new presidium--or any other--will be able to
restore the party's popularity, which currently stands at 5%. MDF's
former president Lajos Fur announced on 14 February that he would not
run for reelection. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN PREMIER SAYS "NO MORE AUSTERITY MEASURES IN 1996." Gyula Horn
said on 2 March that the recent energy price increase was the last
government measure this year which will hit living standards, Hungarian
dailies reported on 4 March. He also said that both the population and
the government have lived through a tough 12 months and that most
Hungarians are expected to feel the benefits of the present austerity
measures from 1997 on. This statement is in contrast with new Finance
Minister Peter Medgyessy's pledge to continue with his predecessor Lajos
Bokros's rigorous stabilization program. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS BLOCKING FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT NEAR DOBOJ. Bosnian Serb police and
civilians have been preventing Muslim and even Serbian refugees from
visiting relatives or reclaiming their homes and property in this
strategically important region of northern Bosnia, AFP reported on 4
March. Doboj is the key to controlling the supply corridor linking
Serbia with Banja Luka, but the Dayton accord strictly specifies that
there is to be freedom of movement and that refugees have the right to
go home. Late last month the Serbs increased the number of checkpoints
and began blocking visitors in what seems to be a series of moves
designed to test the limits of IFOR's patience. So far the peacekeepers
have been reluctant to challenge any local forces beyond purely military
matters. They say freedom of movement is the business of the UN's police
force, which has hardly begun to appear on the scene. -- Patrick Moore

BILDT CONCERNED ABOUT KARA-DZIC. One example of how IFOR has been
reluctant to challenge the Serbs involves Pale's president and indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic. He has reportedly gone through IFOR
checkpoints or come close to IFOR troops on numerous occasions, but no
one seems to have been able to identify him or felt they were in a
position to arrest him. The international community's High
Representative in Bosnia, Carl Bildt, said on 3 March that he is
concerned about Karadzic's increased public profile, but added that
Karadzic may not be in charge in Pale. He did not elaborate, Reuters
reported. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serb leader appealed to Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic to provide help for Serbian refugees who
have fled Sarajevo at Pale's orders in recent weeks. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIA GOVERNMENT SAYS BELGRADE HOLDING BACK DATA ON 1,700 KILLED. A
Croatian government commission on the missing says that Serbia is hiding
information on about 1,700 persons believed killed during the Serbian
war against Croatia in 1991 and in its aftermath the following year. The
commission is dealing with some 2,800 cases of missing civilians and
soldiers. A joint Croatian-Serbian group will soon begin trying to clear
up these and other cases in keeping with an agreement signed during the
Dayton conference last year. Vecernji list carried the report on 4
March. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIANS SEND TROOPS TO IRAN FOR TRAINING. The Bosnian government has
sent troops to Iran for training in a bid to upgrade its military, AFP
quoted The New York Times as reporting on 4 March. NATO officials think
the Bosnian troops will gain marginal military experience there, while
the emphasis will be on their ideological indoctrination, Nasa Borba
quoted the article as saying. While the presence of Bosnian soldiers in
Iran does not violate the Balkan peace accord, it could provoke tensions
between the Bosnian government and the U.S., and between Muslims and
Croats within the Bosnian Federation. Meanwhile, Bosnian Prime Minister
Hasan Mura-tovic, during his visit to Teheran, underlined the importance
of Iran's contribution to the reconstruction of Bosnia, international
agencies reported. Iran has suggested the establishment of a joint
Bosnian-Iranian bank to help create more confidence in joint investments
and private sector activities in the two countries, Reuters reported on
4 March. -- Daria Sito Sucic
U.S. AMBASSADOR IN CROATIA DISPLEASED WITH REPATRIATION PACE. Peter
Galbraith told Vjesnik on 3 March that he is worried about the slow
steps the Croatian administration has been taking in approving requests
by Krajina Serbs to return to Croatia. "It should have been solved in a
couple of minutes, not in seven months," he said. The government's
refugees office said that more than 5,600 of 14,000 applications by
Croatian Serbs to return had been processed, but UNHCR officials noted
that only 2,500 had been approved, AFP reported on 3 March. Meanwhile,
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told visiting American congressmen
that Croatian Serbs who did not commit war crimes, and are ready to
accept Croatia as their homeland, will be allowed to return, Nasa Borba
reported on 4 March. -- Daria Sito Sucic

THOUSANDS PROTEST MILOSEVIC REGIME. Beta on 2 March reported that while
the SPS congress was in session (see Top Story), some 20,000 individuals
gathered in the Serbian industrial city of Kragujevac to register their
protest of what was dubbed the authoritarianism of Milosevic's
government. The rally was organized by Serbian opposition parties, which
reportedly regarded the Kragujevac rally as "a dress rehearsal" for the
planned upcoming fifth anniversary of the 9 March Belgrade
demonstrations. Five years ago, an estimated 100, 000 people rallied in
the capital, demanding Milosevic's resignation. Their action triggered
the largest police deployment ever in the city, and two persons were
killed. -- Stan Markotich

ANOTHER ROMANIAN EXTREME NATIONALIST RUNS FOR PRESIDENT. Senator Ion
Coja was elected on 3 March as the candidate of the Romanian Democratic
Agrarian Party (PDAR) in the presidential elections scheduled for fall
1996. Coja, who is a PDAR vice-chairman, is also vice-chairman of Vatra
Romaneasca (Romanian Cradle), an anti-Hungarian cultural mass-movement.
He is also known for denying that the Iron Guard, Romania's interwar
fascist movement, was guilty of committing any atrocities against the
Jews. Coja joins two other extreme nationalists in the run for the
presidency, Greater Romania Party chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor and
Socialist Labor Party first vice-chairman, Adrian Paunescu, both of whom
are former Ceausescu "court poets." The PDAR conference held in
Bucharest on 2-3 March also reelected Victor Surdu chairman of the
party, Romanian media report. -- Michael Shafir

TIRASPOL MILITARY TRIBUNAL STARTS PROCEEDINGS AGAINST GRACHEV. The
military tribunal of the Russian-based forces in the Trans-dniester on 1
March started proceedings against Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev, BASA-press reported on the same day. The tribunal decided to
start the proceedings under the Russian Penal Code, for "failure to
carry out a judicial ruling." Grachev is accused of failing to implement
the court's earlier ruling to reinstate Colonel Mikhail Bergman as
Tiraspol garrison commander. Berg-man, one of the staunchest supporters
of former 14th Army commander General Alexander Lebed, was dismissed as
Tiraspol garrison commander in October 1995. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN UPDATE. Health Minister Mimi Vitkova confirmed that seven
persons infected with HIV-contaminated blood protein have died, 24 chasa
reported on 4 March. The chief prosecutor on 27 February ordered an
investigation into the case which involves at least 41 persons who were
infected in state-run hospitals. Meanwhile, Bulgarian doctors on 1 March
demonstrated against insufficient funds for the country's health system,
restrictions on private medical practice, and low pay, Reuters reported.
They demanded Vitkova's resignation. The protest in Sofia was organized
by medical trade unions and supported by the opposition. -- Stefan
Krause

GREEK DIPLOMATIC UPDATE. NATO Secretary General Javier Solana on 2 March
concluded a two-day visit to Athens, AFP reported. He said he will
"continue to work constructively" to resolve the differences between
Greece and Turkey, but gave no details of his talks with Greek Prime
Minister Kostas Simitis and other leading politicians. The same day,
Greece vetoed a 750 million ECU ($940 million) loan to Turkey by the
European Investment Bank. On 1 March, a Greek and a Turkish military
vessel collided near the disputed islet of Imia/Kardak. Both sides
claimed that the incident took place in their territorial waters. Also
on 1 March, the Greek government asked that the Italian and Dutch
military attaches be recalled after they were arrested in January on the
island of Lesbos with notes possibly relating to military installations
there. Italy and the Netherlands recalled the diplomats but denied the
charges. -- Stefan Krause

TURKISH CONSERVATIVES FORM COALITION. The True Path Party (DYP) and the
Motherland Party (ANAP) on 3 March agreed to form a minority government,
Western agencies reported. The cabinet will be headed by ANAP Chairman
Mesut Yilmaz until the end of 1996, and by DYP leader and outgoing Prime
Minister Tansu Ciller for the following two years. Then Yilmaz takes
over for one more year, followed by an as-yet unnamed DYP politician.
DYP and ANAP together hold 261 of the 550 seats in parliament, but the
Democratic Left Party of former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said it
will support the government in a vote of confidence. The coalition
agreement names as main targets the reduction of inflation and
unemployment. President Suleyman Demirel denied that the military
interfered to keep the Islamist Welfare Party out of the government. --
Stefan Krause

MORE ARRESTS AFTER TIRANA BOMBING... Police on 1 March arrested two
young men who allegedly resemble the man who parked the car carrying the
bomb which went off in central Tirana on 26 February, international
agencies reported. Meanwhile, Albanian Police General Director Agim
Shehu denied reports that the bomb attack might be linked to the Italian
Mafia. Shehu claimed the attack "has been carried out by left-wing
extremists and the former (communist) Albanian secret police," Reuters
reported. He declined, however, to disclose what evidence investigators
had found. -- Fabian Schmidt

...WHILE MEDIA REMAINS UNDER PRESSURE. An Albanian court on 2 March
ordered for the second time the continued detention of Populli Po
journalist Ylli Polovina, who was arrested and accused of inciting
political violence in an article that predicted political terrorism in
Albania. Polovina's relatives and journalists were not allowed to attend
the court hearing. Meanwhile, Reuters and Voice of America journalists
have been interrogated by police following their reporting. Vefa
Holding, whose supermarket burned down in the blast, has denied Reuters
reports saying the firm was involved in arms sales. -- Fabian Schmid

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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

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