The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 48, Part II, 07 March 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "No End in Sight to Turkey's Political Disarray", by Lowell Bezanis
-  "Subtle Change", by Bruce Pannier

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 ELECTIONS MAY BE DELAYED. Robert Frowick, head of the OSCE
mission and in charge of organizing free elections in Bosnia, said they
may not be able to go ahead as planned by the Dayton peace accord owing
to a lack of good faith, Nasa Borba reported on 7 March. Frowick
admitted an absence of pluralistic parties in Bosnia and the danger that
indicted war criminals, such as Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and
military commander Ratko Mladic, would hamper the process. He told NATO-
country ambassadors that he was working on a detailed document outlining
all the hurdles needed to be overcome before elections may be held.
These include access to free media for all candidates, along with free
movement across the country. As the two biggest problems, Frowick named
resettling refugees and the media. Meanwhile, a total of 32 political
parties are reported as registered in Sarajevo, Onasa reported on 6
March. -- Daria Sito Sucic
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN DENMARK. Hennadii Udovenko ended an
official visit to Denmark on 5 March by signing several agreements with
his Danish counterpart Neils Petersen, Radio Ukraine reported. Among
those signed were a protocol on cooperation between the countries'
foreign ministries and a treaty on preventing double taxation. Udovenko
said Ukraine discussed expanding cooperation and seeking advice from
Denmark in the spheres of energy, oil and gas exploration, agriculture
and food processing, as well as European security. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN COAL MINERS REJECT GOVERNMENT OFFER. In a meeting with Deputy
Prime Minister Vasyl Yevtukhov, leaders of Ukraine's coal miners' unions
rejected the government's offer of shares in the state-owned mines to
cover the back wages still owed them, Ukrainian TV reported on 6 March.
The miners requested instead that they be paid in household appliances,
such as refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, produced by
largely still state-owned factories. Yevtukhov said payment in
appliances instead of stock was "more complicated," but  he would
explore the option. The miners suspended a two-week-long strike on 16
February to negotiate payment of the wage arrears. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. Prime Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius
presented his government's program to the Seimas on 6 March, Radio
Lithuania reported. He said that the main goals were maintaining the
stability of the litas and reducing inflation. The program calls for
reducing state expenditures and debts, introducing tax concessions for
local and foreign businessmen, and increasing energy prices. The ruling
Democratic Labor Party expressed its support for the program while the
major opposition parties in the Seimas noted that it differed little
from that of the previous government and that they would vote against
it. The Seimas is required to approve or reject the program within 30
days. -- Saulius Girnius

BELARUS PLANS TO BUILD NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Energy Minister Valyantsin
Herasimau said on 5 March that Belarus had revived plans to have a
nuclear power plant in operation by 2005, Reuters reported the next day.
Before the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, the republic was planning to build
two nuclear plants, but one site was converted to a gas-fired station
and plans for the other were abandoned. Gerasimov noted that Belarus
imports 85% of its fuel from Russia and 25% of its electricity from
Russia and Lithuania. Belarus is also planning to increase energy
conservation, find new home-produced energy sources, use a broader range
of Russian oil companies, and possibly import gas from Turkmenistan. --
Saulius Girnius

BELARUS TO HELP BELGRADE. During the visit of rump Yugoslav President
Zoran Lilic to Minsk on 6 March, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka pledged to assist in the country's economic recovery, ITAR-
TASS reported. He said that Belarus would provide "not only peaceful
products, but also the means necessary to ensure the inviolability and
integrity of Yugoslavia." Lukashenka said the presidents saw "eye to
eye" on all issues: a series of bilateral agreements were signed. --
Peter Rutland

NEW PRO-WALESA MOVEMENT IN POLAND. A movement called "Solid in
Elections" was established on 6 March by former President Lech Walesa's
election activists in various Polish provinces, Polish media reported
the next day. The founders declared that "the Republic's good currently
requires consolidation of all pro-Walesa political forces" because
convergence of power in the hands of one post-communist formation poses
a threat to socio-political reforms in the country and "leads to the
elimination of Catholic, national, and patriotic values from public
life." -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

NATO HOPEFULS TO MEET IN PRAGUE. The foreign ministers of 12 Central and
East European countries will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher in Prague on 19 March to discuss European security, Czech
and international media reported. The meeting was announced by Czech
Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec after he returned from Moscow, where he
and his Russian counterpart, Yevgenii Primakov, discussed Russian
objections to the enlargement of NATO. Following the Prague meeting,
Christopher is due to travel to Moscow. Along with Christopher and
himself, Zieleniec said the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria,
Macedonia, and Albania have been invited to the Prague talks. -- Steve
Kettle

U.S. STRESSES ROMANI DISCRIMINATION IN CZECH REPUBLIC AND HUNGARY...The
U.S. Department of State, in its 1995 human rights reports issued on
March 6, singled out prejudice against Roma as the main area of concern.
In the Czech Republic, the report recognized that courts proceeded "with
more vigor" than before as the government publicly condemned racially
motivated attacks. It said, however, that Roma are still vulnerable to
serious racial prejudice and attacks which the authorities have not been
able to suppress, and that the law on citizenship has left 10--24,000
people, mostly Roma, without citizenship. The report also said that,
while Hungary has been pursuing parliamentary democracy, discrimination
against Roma still exists. Some in Eastern Europe argue that the West
should also look to its own treatment of minorities, which undermines
the efficacy of the issued reports. -- Alaina Lemon

...ALSO CRITICIZES SLOVAK HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. The State Department
report  on Slovakia said the  government's actions in 1995 gave rise for
concern, Reuters reported. While recognizing Slovakia's overall respect
for human rights in 1995, the report noted that "disturbing trends away
from democratic principles emerged," including "politically motivated
dismissals of public officials, intimidation of opponents of government
policy, police misuse of authority, and interference with the electronic
media." It pointed to suspected involvement of the Slovak Information
Service in the kidnapping of the president's son, the use of police to
spy on leading opposition politicians, and the harassment by police of a
senior clergyman. The report also expressed concern about the lack of
protection for Roma against discrimination, the situation of the
Hungarian minority, and some isolated cases of anti-Semitism. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. Police on 6 March questioned the president's son for the
first time in connection with his alleged involvement in the $2.3
million fraud involving the Slovak firm Technopol, Slovak media
reported. Michal Kovac Jr.'s lawyer, Jan Havlat, expressed satisfaction
that his client was finally able to defend himself, and he noted that
the possibility of taking Kovac into custody was not discussed. In other
news, the European Human Rights Commission on 6 March rejected a
complaint against Slovakia by two Slovak emigrants who claimed their
human rights were violated by a decision to make permanent residence in
Slovakia a condition for the restitution of property taken by the state
under the Communist regime. Party of the Democratic Left deputy Robert
Fico, who defended Slovakia in the case, said the country had won its
first dispute in Strasbourg, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR CHIEF WARNS ABOUT CROAT-MUSLIM FEDERATION. Bosnian federal
president and Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak appeared on 6 March to
distance himself from his earlier harsh words on the future of the
federation that Slobodna Dalmacija had reported, Onasa stated. The NATO
commander in Bosnia, U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith, however, remains
openly pessimistic about the future of Croat-Muslim cooperation, the VOA
said on 7 March. AFP quoted the admiral as saying that Mostar is
evidence of the deep-set problems of the partnership, which has yet to
take root at either the political, military, or people-to-people levels.
He predicted things will go from bad to worse in the spring. Former
Bosnian Prime Minister and now opposition politician Haris Silajdzic
issued similar warnings, saying that the politicians responsible for the
Croat-Muslim war of 1993 must go if trust is to be rebuilt.  Vecernje
novine  ran the report on 7 March. -- Patrick Moore

PEACEKEEPERS TO PROTECT SITES OF WAR CRIMES IF ASKED. IFOR is currently
carrying out about 300 civilian construction projects in Bosnia,
including repairing bridge links between that republic and Croatia at
Brcko and elsewhere, news agencies reported on 6 March. A NATO spokesman
in Brussels said that the peacekeepers will now consider on an
individual basis requests to guard suspected sites of war crimes to
prevent tampering with evidence, especially if the request comes from
the international tribunal in The Hague. The 60,000-strong force will
still give priority to its military duties as set down in the Dayton
agreement. NATO has drafted some new guidelines for IFOR, but it is not
clear if they will enable the peacekeepers to become more active in
catching or detaining war criminals. Reuters noted that Washington has
agreed to the guidelines. A diplomat said the new measures are not a
case of  "mission creep" but of mission evolution. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN-IRANIAN IMBROGLIO CONTINUES. Serbian propaganda has long
stressed alleged links between the Bosnian Muslim leadership and
international Islamic fundamentalism represented by Iran. Washington,
moreover, has been concerned about any continued presence of Iranian
fighters or other agents in the embattled republic. The matter has
resurfaced in the wake of Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic's visit to
Tehran and of U.S. media reports that Bosnian troops are being trained
in Iran. Onasa wrote on 6 March that the Bosnian army press office has
officially denied those stories, but the VOA on 7 March quoted the
Washington Post as outlining extensive military links between the two
countries. Onasa wrote that Bosnia had succeeded in keeping both Iran
and the U.S. as allies, but Vecernje novine objected to "friendly
persuasion" by the Americans and Europe -- including Croatia -- against
Sarajevo's links to Tehran. Iran has pledged to help Bosnia rebuild, as
have its rivals Turkey and Saudi Arabia. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIA AND THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE. The president of the committee for
democracy, human rights, and humanitarian issues of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe has proposed that talks on Croatia's
membership in the CE be postponed for another year, Nasa Borba reported
on 7 March. The reasons given were "the Croatian president's latest
anti-democratic actions." The report said that "since Krajina was
retaken, Franjo Tudjman has been increasingly far away from the European
democracies' social values,"including a disregard for  the opposition
and critical media, his own family's accumulation of wealth in the
privatization process, manipulating election rights, protecting war
criminals, and silence over attacks on the EU administrator in Mostar.
The report concluded by expressing fears that the Croatian president is
ready to turn the country into a dictatorship for his own purposes. --
Daria Sito Sucic

BELGRADE'S STUDIO B WINS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTERS. Nasa Borba on 7 March
reports that the EU has sharply criticized the Serbian government for
its recent take-over of Belgrade's only politically independent
television broadcaster, Studio B. According to the report, actions such
as the Serbian regime's against the independent media may contribute to
a strain on "the development of future relations between the EU and the
countries of the region." In a related story, the same daily reports on
how the citizens and residents of Belgrade continue to suffer from an
information blackout and exposure to regime-controlled and manipulated
programming. "Of the 11 television stations which can be viewed in [and
around] the territory of Belgrade, five broadcast nothing but films and
music shows," Nasa Borba observes. -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN-ITALIAN RELATIONS UPDATE. Ljubljana dailies on 6 March
reported that a controversy between Italy and Slovenia centering on the
issue of property ownership may be resolved in the very near future
owing to a compromise suggested by Spanish mediation. Reports suggest
Rome is satisfied with the Spanish proposals, and that Ljubljana appears
inclined to accept them. Beta reports that the Italian side has insisted
that foreigners who lived in Slovenia before 1991 be allowed to purchase
and own real estate, a move that would enable Italians who left
immediately following World War II to once again own property in
Slovenia. -- Stan Markotich

STRIKERS BLOCK SUBWAY TUNNEL IN BUCHAREST. Some 1,000 metro workers on 6
March blocked a downtown station and the subway tunnel in Bucharest to
protest their union leaders' decision to suspend a strike started on 4
March, Romanian media reported. The strikers ignored a Supreme Court
ruling of the same day ordering them to call off the action because it
was seriously harming the national economy. The strike has affected up
to one million commuters in Bucharest, forcing them  onto packed buses
and trams. The strikers are demanding a 28% pay rise and better working
conditions. The government agreed to continue negotiations with the
unions over those demands. -- Dan Ionescu

NEW COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER APPOINTED IN ROMANIA. President Ion Iliescu
installed Ioan Ovidiu Muntean as Romania's new communications minister
on 6 March, Romanian and international media reported. The 48-year-old
Muntean formally joined the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National
Unity (PUNR) on the eve of his appointment and is replacing Adrian
Turicu of the same party, who  was dismissed in January. Muntean's
appointment ends a political dispute between the PUNR and the Party of
Social Democracy in Romania, both members of the government coalition.
-- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS CALL FOR CABINET RESHUFFLE. 24 chasa on 7 March
cited an unnamed member of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party's (BSP)
executive as saying that a cabinet reshuffle will "with certainty [take
place] by the end of March." A plenary meeting of the BSP Supreme
Council, its coalition partners, and the parliamentary faction scheduled
for 10 March will officially authorize BSP Chairman and Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov to make the changes "he considers necessary." BSP Deputy
Chairman Georgi Parvanov told Standart that the plenary meeting will
propose "concrete changes." Videnov's other deputy, Yanaki Stoilov, told
the BSP daily Duma that "changes in the interior ministry, the
financial, and the economic team are necessary." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN CURRENCY PLUNGES. The lev on 6 March lost heavily against the
U.S. dollar, Duma and Pari reported. With a Bulgarian National Bank
(BNB) fixing of 77.783 leva to the dollar, trading began at around 78-79
leva, but soon passed the 80 leva barrier. At an exchange rate of 82
leva in the early afternoon, the banks stopped trading, but exchange
offices were selling the U.S. currency for 85--86 leva later the same
day. The BNB did not intervene. According to a dealer cited by
Kontinent, "fear and pessimistic projections make people buy" U.S.
dollars. Other dealers, however, said there is no objective reason for
the fall of the lev or that it is due to speculation. Also on 6 March,
the new prime interest rate of 49% became effective. Many exchange
offices on 7 March temporarily refused to conduct any trade because of
the uncertainty, international media reported. -- Stefan Krause

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW SPEAKER. The Macedonian Parliament on 6
March elected Tito Petkovski as its new chairman, MIC reported.
Petkovski replaced Stojan Andov, who announced his resignation on 23
February to protest a new government coalition that no longer includes
his Liberal Party. Petkovski is a member of the Social Democratic Union
of Macedonia, the biggest party in the parliament and the government.
Some 79 deputies supported his candidacy, five voted against him, while
the 29 deputies of the Liberal Party abstained. -- Stefan Krause

BOMB EXPLODES IN ALBANIAN PORT CITY. A five-kilo TNT bomb hidden in a
dustbin exploded in Durres at midnight on 5 March, AFP reported. The
incident caused no casualties. Police arrested several people in
connection with the blast, which blew out windows on both sides of one
of the city's main streets. One of the arrested persons reportedly had a
Scorpion automatic weapon and a gun, but police released no further
details. On 26 February, a bomb killed four people in Tirana and dailies
reported about more minor explosions in subsequent days, including one
in a dustbin in Shkoder. The government accused former communist agents
of planting the Tirana bomb. -- Fabian Schmidt

TURKEY'S 53RD GOVERNMENT. President Suleyman Demirel on 6 March
approved a minority conservative government  to be headed by former
Premier Mesut Yilmaz, Western and Turkish media reported the same day.
Yilmaz, chairman of the Motherland Party (ANAP)  told the press the 53rd
government will be one of "reform and change" and said a transparent and
honest state would be "one of the highest priorities" of the new
government.  He also noted that  formulating the cabinet list of 33
members was achieved with great difficulty. Turkey's foreign minister
to-be is Emre Gonensay, a former special adviser to outgoing Prime
Minister Tansu Ciller. The government must now win a parliamentary vote
of confidence, tenatively scheduled for 12 March. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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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