If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery. - Michael Harrington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 51, Part II, 12 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
ILIDZA CHANGES HANDS. A Bosnian government multi-ethnic police force
entered Ilidza on the morning of 12 March, making it the fourth of five
suburbs to be transferred from Pale's control. CNN said that gangs of
arsonists and thieves submitted the few remaining mainly elderly
residents to a final night of terror. One Serbian woman said she was
glad the federal police would arrive because IFOR refused to protect her
building. The police station, hospital, and a major factory went up in
flames, despite last-minute attempts by IFOR and the Sarajevo fire
department to end the blazes. Departing Serbian police fired pistols and
grenades as IFOR troops scattered for cover. It was difficult to escape
the impression that "once again thugs had made fools out of what is
supposed to be the most professional army in the world," a BBC reporter
said on 11 March. The UN's Kris Jankowski said that a prominent local
Serb, Danilo Staka, disappeared with his daughter after urging other
Serbs to stay, Onasa reported. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS PRESS AHEAD WITH PLANS TO CURB CRIMEAN AUTONOMY. The
Ukrainian Constitutional Commission on 11 March voted overwhelmingly to
submit to the parliament a draft Ukrainian constitution limiting Crimean
autonomy, Reuters reported. The commission decided to press ahead
despite reservations by President Leonid Kuchma about the document.
Crimean lawmakers have threatened to call a referendum on the region's
status if Ukraine fails to approve a new Crimean constitution by 31
March. Kuchma, parliamentary speaker Oleksander Moroz, and legal experts
have complained that the authors of the draft failed to take into
account Crimean public opinion. The draft constitution curbs, among
other things, the Crimean legislature's authority to initiate
legislation. Hard-liners in Ukraine have said they cannot accept two
republics and two constitutions within one country. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

FIRE DAMAGES UKRAINIAN TV, RADIO STUDIOS. A fire destroyed three floors
of Ukrainian State TV and Radio's main broadcasting facility on 10
March, international and Ukrainian agencies reported. Programming was
disrupted, but no one was injured. The cause of the blaze remains
undetermined. Management said the fire caused damage totaling millions
of dollars and destroyed the company's main TV and radio studios.
Broadcasts resumed the next day from reserve studios. The government has
set up a special commission to investigate the cause of the fire. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN INDUSTRIAL CONVERSION MINISTER IN INDIA. Ukrainian Minister
for Industrial Conversion Valerii Maleev arrived in Delhi, India, on 12
March for the opening of a Ukrainian industrial-trade exhibition
intended to promote cooperation between Ukraine and India in that
sphere, ITAR-TASS reported. Some 80 Ukrainian enterprises are
participating in the exhibit, including ones from the metal and
electrical industries and the aerospace sector. Maleev said bilateral
trade between Delhi and Kiev accounts for one-fifth of Indian trade with
the CIS. He noted that there was the potential to expand bilateral trade
and singled out cooperation in the aerospace industry as an area for
development. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS CONSIDERS ESTABLISHING DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH IRAQ. Belarusian
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvostau on 11 March said Belarus is
considering establishing diplomatic relations with Iraq, ITAR-TASS
reported. A document has already been drawn up and will be forwarded to
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka for his approval in the near future.
Khvostau said establishing relations with Baghdad paves the way for
Minsk to cooperate with the Middle East regardless of the political
situation there. He stressed that Belarus was most interested in
economic cooperation and therefore should not postpone establishing
formal relations. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN JAPAN. Siim Kallas, during his visit to
Tokyo on 11 March, met with his Japanese counterpart, Yukihido Ikeda, to
discuss strengthening bilateral relations, BNS reported. The two sides
agreed on an exchange program for doctors, teachers, and diplomats.
Ikeda said more time would be needed to study the possibility of
introducing visa-free travel between the two countries. Kallas also met
with bank heads and signed a memorandum of intent with the president of
the Japanese Industrial Bank on financing joint Estonian-Japanese
projects. Kallas is also scheduled to hold talks with Japanese
industrialists. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN FARM SUBSIDIES. The Latvian Agriculture Ministry has decided to
allot some 4 million lati ($7.3 million) in farm subsidies, BNS reported
on 11 March. More than half (2.15 million lati) will be used to improve
the quality of corn, flax, and other crops as well as to pay the
interest on debts for mineral fertilizers. Some 1.9 million lati will be
used for animal breeding, primarily for cows, but also for swine, sheep,
and horses. In 1995, the ministry earmarked 4.9 million lati for cattle
breeding but disbursed only 2.9 million lati. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH JEWS OPPOSE SHOPPING CENTER NEAR AUSCHWITZ. Polish Jewish groups
on 11 March raised strong objections to plans to open a shopping center
opposite the gate of the Auschwitz death camp, Polish and international
media reported the next day. Local authorities and the director of the
museum at the camp site have agreed to the center. Szymon Szurmiej, head
of a committee representing Jewish groups in Poland, said Auschwitz was
a sacred place and that a 500-meter "quiet zone" should be maintained
around its perimeter so that visitors would not be distracted.
Government spokeswoman Aleksandra Jakubowska said Warsaw has no right to
intervene in the matter. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLISH PRESIDENT EXPLAINS DECISION TO SCRAP WALESA'S DRAFT LAWS. Danuta
Waniek, head of the Polish President's Office, said Aleksander
Kwasniewski has scrapped Lech Walesa's draft laws because they were part
of the former president's election campaign, Polish dailies reported on
12 March. One of these bills gave the president the right to ratify the
concordat. Waniek said the government will prepare draft legislation on
the document between the Vatican and Warsaw, adding that the issue is
not urgent. Waniek also said that Kwasniewski withdrew Walesa's draft
election law because he wanted the government to draw up that
legislation. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH MINISTER PROPOSES DISBANDING COMMUNIST GROUP. Interior Minister
Jan Ruml on 11March formally proposed that the extra-parliamentary Party
of Czechoslovak Communists (SCK) be disbanded, Czech media reported. If
the government accepts the proposal, the Supreme Court will rule on the
issue. Ruml said the SCK has broken both the law on political parties,
under which it was founded and registered one year ago, and 1993
legislation outlawing the pre-1989 governing party, the Czechoslovak
Communist Party (KSC). At its Congress last month, the SCK presented an
election program in which it claimed to be the successor of the KSC. SCK
chairman Miroslav Stepan was a leading member of the KSC and served a
jail term after the fall of communism for abuse of power. -- Steve
Kettle

CZECH HEALTH WORKERS BEGIN PROTEST ACTION. Doctors, nurses, and other
health service workers on 11 March started a series of protests to
demand higher pay and better working conditions, Czech media reported.
The first protest wave consists of collecting signatures on petitions to
be delivered to the government and holding meetings at hospitals across
the country. The protests are due to culminate in a two-day strike on
25-26 March and a major rally in central Prague. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTIES MEET. Representatives of Slovakia's right-of-
center opposition parties on 11 March met with their leftist
counterparts to discuss calling an extraordinary parliamentary session
on the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's son, TASR reported.
Democratic Party Chairman Jan Langos said the kidnapping case is
interfering with the work of several state bodies. The proposed agenda
for the parliamentary session includes reports by Prosecutor-General
Michal Valo, police investigators, and the civil investigation group led
by Christian Democratic Movement deputy Ladislav Pittner. The opposition
called for a similar session last October, but coalition deputies
blocked it by rejecting the proposed agenda. -- Sharon Fisher

NEW CAUCUS IN HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT. Breakaway deputies opposed to the
rightward shift in the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) on 11 March
achieved formal recognition as an independent caucus, international
media reported. The Hungarian Democratic People's Party (MDNP), led by
Ivan Szabo, former industry minister and finance minister, has 15
deputies (the minimum number required for a caucus). It aims to form a
center-right alternative to the ruling socialist-liberal coalition.
Meanwhile, the rump MDF has only 19 deputies and will seek to renew ties
with the Hungarian Truth and Life Party, which is led by extremist
Istvan Csurka. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARDS SEIZE HEROIN. Hungarian customs officials on 11
March announced the arrest of three Bulgarians attempting to smuggle 28
kilograms of heroin across the Hungarian-Romania border the previous
day, international media reported. The officials said the highly pure
heroin was found hidden in the back seat of a Mercedes at the Battonya
border crossing. The Bulgarians were handed over to the police for
questioning. Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS CLAIM NATO USED NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Soldiers of the Atlantic
alliance may now be reluctant to protect pensioners in Sarajevo suburbs,
but Bosnian Serb TV claims that last year NATO planes used nuclear
weapons in the air strikes on Serb positions that helped make the Dayton
conference possible. "In their combat assaults on Serb defence positions
and Serb villages, the NATO air force and rapid reaction force used the
most modern combat weapons including low intensity nuclear weapons that
caused a certain degree of long-term radiation. In the course of their
investigations, teams [of experts from Pale and Belgrade] detected
symptoms of radiation-linked diseases in several dozen people and
unusual behavior in cattle," AFP on 12 March quoted the broadcast as
saying. -- Patrick Moore

EU TO OVERSEE MOSTAR CENTRAL DISTRICT. Mostar EU administrator Hans
Koschnick announced that the EU will take over administration of the
central Mostar district until new city authorities and a mayor for the
whole of Mostar have been appointed, Oslobodjenje reported on 11 March.
Mijo Brajkovic, mayor of the Croatian-held part of Mostar, said the
Croatian side had not agreed to this decision, Nasa Borba and Vjesnik
reported the next day. Meanwhile, La Stampa announced that a possible
replacement for Koschnick, who is leaving his post at the end of April,
is Giorgio Giacomelli, a UN official known for his diplomatic experience
and expertise in fighting organized crime. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SHORTS. General Jovo Maric, a senior Bosnian Serb air force
commander, died in a road accident near Rogatica the previous week, AFP
reported on 11 March. In Belgrade, the deputy prosecutor from the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal has arrived to seek the extradition of two
witnesses to the massacres at Srebrenica. They disappeared following
their recent arrest by Serbian police (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 March
1996). In Sarajevo, the canton assembly held its opening session but
without deputies from the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ),
Oslobodjenje reported on 12 March. The HDZ and its Muslim counterpart,
the Party of Democratic Action, have been engaged in a running power
struggle within the federation. -- Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAV BUSINESS LEADERS PROMISE TO HELP REBUILD REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.
A delegation of businessmen from Serbia and Montenegro are currently in
Banja Luka to meet with ranking political officials of the Republika
Srpska, Television Serbia reported on 10 March. The main item on the
agenda was economic cooperation between rump Yugoslavia and the Bosnian
Serbs. SRNA quoted Mihajlo Milojevic, head of rump Yugoslavia's Chamber
of Commerce, as saying that "Serbia and Montenegro have no plans to
abandon our [Bosnian Serb] brethren." He added that "with its rich
resources and our aid, the Republika Srpska will become a modern state."
-- Stan Markotich

REFUGEES IN MONTENEGRO. International Red Cross sources reported that
some 200 refugees arrived in Podgorica last month, including some 53
families from the Republika Srpska and 16 from territories once held by
rebel Croatian Serbs. An estimated 12, 500 refugees are now in
Podgorica, Montena-fax reported on 11 March. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIA, RUMP YUGOSLAVIA SEEK TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS. Croatia and the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 11 March signed memoranda on opening
an Adriatic oil pipeline, a Zagreb-Belgrade highway, railroad and air
links, and consular offices in Belgrade and Zagreb, Croatian media
reported. The previous day, Croatian and rump Yugoslav delegations, led
by Foreign Ministers Mate Granic and Milan Milutinovic, had met for one-
day talks. Granic said the main goal is to reach an agreement on
normalizing bilateral relations as soon as possible, Hina reported.
Croatian President Tudjman said that to speed up the normalization
process, eastern Slavonia into Croatia must be returned to Croatian
control and the division of former Yugoslav assets expedited. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

U.S., MACEDONIA HOLD FIRST JOINT MANEUVERS. The U.S. and Macedonia on 11
March began their first joint military maneuvers, international agencies
reported. The exercises were held on the Sar Planina mountains, and a
special U.S. elite unit from Colorado took part. The U.S. and Macedonia
previously signed a military cooperation agreement. Macedonia will
participate in joint NATO military exercises in Albania in July. --
Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT GIVES SUBWAY WORKERS ULTIMATUM. The Romanian
government on 11 March gave Bucharest's subway workers until midnight to
end a week-old wildcat strike or face instant dismissal, RFE/RL's
correspondent in Bucharest and international media reported. OMRI was
informed on 12 March that the strikers had not returned to work. In a
related development, dock workers at six ports on the Danube went on
strike for two hours in demand of more pay and threatened to launch a
general strike later this week. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION TO BILATERAL TREATY WITH UKRAINE. Nine cultural and
other organizations on 11 March sent an open letter to President Ion
Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu, and the parliament demanding that Romania not sign the basic
treaty with Ukraine, Radio Bucharest reported the next day. The
signatories said the treaty should not be approved unless territories
incorporated into the Soviet Union after World War II and now in Ukraine
are returned to Romania. Among the organizations that signed the letter
was Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Cradle), whose political arm, the Party
of Romanian National Unity, is a member of the ruling coalition. --
Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES MESSAGE FROM YELTSIN ON TRANSDNIESTER. Yurii
Karlov, envoy to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, has handed Mircea
Snegur a message on ways to solve the conflict in the breakaway region
of Transdniester, Radio Bucharest reported quoting Moldpres. The message
proposes a summit meeting at which an intermediary agreement would be
signed on the basic principles for solving the dispute. -- Michael
Shafir

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION ON JOINT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Union of
Democratic Forces (SDS) still has not clarified its position on how the
opposition to the Socialists should elect a joint candidate for
president. Kontinent on 12 March quotes an unnamed source within the SDS
leadership as saying that some SDS leaders are against preliminary
elections among opposition party members unless "all conditions for the
SDS candidate to win exist." Opinion polls suggest that none of the
three SDS contenders for the post of presidential candidate--Petar
Stoyanov, Asen Agov, and Aleksandar Yordanov--would win primaries
against incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev. Most SDS politicians are
opposed to his candidacy. The SDS National Coordinating Council is to
ask for guarantees from SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov that "Zhelev will not
win the primary elections," Trud reported. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN UPDATE. The Democratic Alliance, the Social Democratic Party,
the Party of Human Rights, and the Christian Democrats have decided to
form a coalition for the upcoming elections, Koha Jone reported on 12
March. The centrist coalition is to be known as the "Pole of the Center"
and will challenge the two main parties, the Democrats and the
Socialists, who are expected to run a close race. Meanwhile, unknown
assailants have broken into the offices of the Democratic Party of the
Right, but they apparently stole only protocols and a list of speakers
at party meetings. The party accused the ruling Democrats of involvement
in the incident. In unrelated news, the monarchist Legality Party has
collected 100,000 signatures since November 1995 calling for a
referendum on a constitutional monarchy, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 12
March. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK DEVELOPMENT MINISTER PROPOSES BALKAN COUNCIL. Vaso Papandreou on
11 March proposed the formation of a Balkan council to encourage
regional cooperation and help Balkan countries make good use of EU
funds, AFP reported. Papandreou said such a body could gradually widen
its activities to include industry, infrastructure policy, and,
eventually, "political cooperation and preventive diplomacy for defusing
crises." She said that, within such a framework, Greece would support
other Balkan countries in their dealings with the EU. Papandreou added
that the EU should send a representative to the council. -- Stefan
Krause

[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

----=_Tuesday, March 12, 1996 3:15 PM--
 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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