Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability. - Percy Shelley
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 52, Part II, 13 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 AFTERMATH. Bosnian federal officials on 12 March followed their
police into the fourth formerly Serb-held Sarajevo suburb to change
hands. They were joined by hundreds of Croats and Muslims who had been
expelled from their homes during the war, the BBC reported. These
ordinary citizens often found their dwellings destroyed and protested to
the international community's High Representative Carl Bildt that
nothing had been done to guard their property, Oslobodjenje added on 13
March. The UN police reported complaints "every five minutes" of looting
and intimidation directed against the few remaining Serbs. IFOR earlier
refused to help protect those Serbs against Serbian gangs and arsonists,
but it is now sending in additional forces to help the police. --
Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE CUTS POWER TO 7,000 ENTERPRISES. Ukraine's Energy Minister
Oleksii Shcheberstov on 12 March said power has been cut to 7,000
factories that have failed to pay their electricity bills, Reuters
reported. Shcherberstov said more than 40,000 enterprises have
outstanding bills amounting to $980 million, meaning that 30% of all
electricity and 50% of heating had been supplied for nothing. He
stressed that the energy ministry could not "carry such a burden for
very long." The country's energy suppliers have been under great strain
because of unusually cold temperatures, a coal miners' strike, and
Russia's decoupling Ukraine from their joint power grid after Ukraine
began using more than its normal share of electricity. -- Ustina Markus

FATAL MINE ACCIDENTS IN UKRAINE. Two fatal accidents took place in
Ukraine's coal mines within two days, international agencies reported.
Eight miners on 11 March were killed and four injured after a fire
trapped them 900 meters below ground in Luhansk. The following day, two
miners died when a rock collapsed in another mine in Luhansk. Ukraine's
mines have the highest accident death rate in the world. In 1995 alone,
more than 300 miners were killed. So far this year, 40 have died in
accidents at the workplace. -- Ustina Markus

DUTCH PRIME MINISTER IN KIEV. Wim Kok arrived in the Ukrainian capital
on 12 March for a three-day official visit, ITAR-TASS reported. Kok met
with President Leonid Kuchma and signed a joint declaration on improving
bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and the Netherlands. Kok said that
on Ukraine's behalf, he would work with international financial
organizations, especially the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development and the World Bank. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN MILITARY REDUCTIONS. The Belarusian military, already halved
since independence, is to be reduced by another third to 60,000
servicemen and officers, Russian Public TV reported on 12 March. The
military will be used exclusively for the defense of the republic and
headed by the General Staff. There will be only two branches: ground and
air defense forces. Previously, an air assault force had been envisaged.
Some garrisons are being merged, while others will be evacuated. During
the Soviet era, Belarus was the most-militarized republic in the USSR.
-- Ustina Markus

GERMAN, DANISH SUPPORT FOR BALTIC STATES' MEMBERSHIP IN EU. German and
Danish Foreign Ministers Klaus Kinkel and Niels Helveg Petersen,
following a meeting at Flensburg on 11 March, said that the European
Union should be expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,
Western agencies reported. Kinkel noted: "We are of the opinion that the
Baltic states must become members of the EU as soon as possible." --
Saulius Girnius

FINNISH DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS ESTONIA. Anneli Taina, during her visit
to Estonia on 11-12 March, held talks with her Estonian counterpart,
Andrus Oovel, President Lennart Meri, and defense forces commander
Johannes Kert, BNS reported. The defense ministers reached an agreement
to resume training Estonian officers in Finland and sending Finnish
officers to Estonia as military advisers. Former defense forces
commander Aleksander Einseln reduced military ties because Finland did
not meet NATO standards. Taina also discussed regional security
questions and developments in Russia as well as visiting the training
center at Paldiski. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT INTERVENES IN AUSCHWITZ SUPERMARKET ROW. Polish
President Aleksander Kwasniewski on 12 March criticized the proposed
construction of a shopping center opposite the gate of the Auschwitz
death camp, Polish and international media reported. Prime Minister
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz the same day urged the town council to
reconsider the decision to grant permission for the project, while
Culture Minister Zdzislaw Podkanski asked the authorities to immediately
suspend construction of a mini-mall near the former Nazi camp. The
government had said it could not interfere because local authorities had
already given the go-ahead for the store. The Culture Ministry is to set
up a special commission to examine the legality of the planned
supermarket. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH PRESIDENT WARNS OF "NEW MUNICH." Vaclav Havel on 12 March called
on the West to reject Russian threats and expand NATO, international
agencies reported. "The internal transformation of NATO and its
enlargement is a matter that concerns us, the whole of Europe, and
indirectly the entire world, to the same extent," he said in a speech to
the outgoing Czech parliament. U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher is due to discuss European security with Central and East
European foreign ministers in Prague next week. Havel said Czechs had
already experienced the limits of European democracy and its concessions
to evil and warned: "This 'Munich' danger is again hovering over
Europe." Czech media largely ignored this part of Havel's 40-minute
speech, concentrating on his evaluation of the work of the parliament
and political parties over the past four years. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRESIDENT EXPLAINS REJECTION OF AMBASSADOR. Michal Kovac on 12
March issued a statement explaining his rejection of Labor and Social
Affairs Minister Olga Keltosova as ambassador to the UN (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 8 March 1995). He noted that in "democratic countries with
normally functioning relations between constitutional institutions,"
such a proposal would be discussed with the head of state before being
publicized. He criticized the cabinet's view that Keltosova is "the only
possible candidate" and that Slovakia's success or failure in gaining
the position of U.N. chair is linked with her appointment. "This view
deeply underestimates the level of other qualified citizens of this
country," Kovac stressed. The cabinet responded to Kovac's statement by
saying it "confirms [his] inability to be guided in his decisions by the
political interests of Slovakia." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA SEEKS TO BOOST TRADE WITH RUSSIA. Economy Minister Jan Ducky on
12 March announced the cabinet's approval of measures aimed at expanding
exports to Russia, Slovak media reported. He noted that Slovakia's
annual trade deficit with Russia is more than $1 billion because of
reliance on the country's raw materials. Proposed measures include the
establishment of a free trade zone and the creation of a special export-
import bank. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SARAJEVO BECOMES CANTON, DESPITE CROATIAN DISAPPROVAL. Sarajevo
authorities on 11 March set up the Transitional Assembly of the Sarajevo
Canton without the consent of Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
councilors Oslobodjenje reported. The HDZ councilors said they did not
want the Sarajevo canton to be established without consultations at the
federal level, Hina reported on 12 March. Sarajevo Mayor Tarik Kupusovic
adjourned the council session when he realized the federal partners were
opposed to setting up the canton, but 37 councilors went ahead and set
it up in his absence. Kupusovic said that he could not accept such a
canton neither as mayor nor as a Sarajevo citizen. The new canton
governor argued that it had been necessary to set up a functioning city
structure in time for the elections. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NATO CONCERNED ABOUT RISING CROAT-MUSLIM TENSIONS... NATO spokesman
Brigadier Andrew Cuming has warned of serious problems in the valleys of
central Bosnia. He noted that a situation is emerging there similar to
that which preceded the internecine conflict of 1993. Muslims and Croats
are setting up checkpoints in places like Jajce, Vitez, and Kiseljak,
AFP reported on 12 March. Such controls violate both the letter of the
Dayton treaty and the spirit of the federation. Cuming added that IFOR
commander Admiral Leighton Smith "read out the riot act" to Croatian
leader and Federation President Kresimir Zubak and to Federation Vice
President Ejup Ganic to urge them to defuse the tensions. -- Patrick
Moore

...WHILE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS OF CROATIAN-RUMP YUGOSLAV CLASH.
Boutros Boutros Ghali on 12 March said he is worried about a possible
military clash between Croatia and the rump Yugoslavia over the Prevlaka
peninsula, Nasa Borba reported. The two countries have been disputing
ownership of the peninsula. Boutros Ghali said it was important for both
sides to strengthen their cooperation with UN Military Observers (UNMOP)
on the ground to enable the latter to monitor the demilitarization of
Prevlaka. He added that many violations of the Prevlaka agreement have
been reported and are threatening to increase tension. Boutros-Ghali
underscored the need to have UNMOP remain on the peninsula until the two
sides are cooperating better or some other organization takes over
monitoring the demilitarization operation. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERB GENERAL SLAMS KARADZIC. General Milan Gvero, deputy
commander of the Bosnian Serb army (VRS), has sharply attacked the
civilian chief, Radovan Karadzic, Nasa Borba reported on 13 March. In
the latest installment of public in-fighting between Pale and its
generals based at Han Pijesak, Gvero claimed that Karadzic tried "to
undermine" the VRS command structure but did not succeed. Karadzic was
allegedly preparing for the eventuality that his party would lose in the
upcoming Bosnian elections. The general also accused Pale of a series of
grave mistakes, such as courting the political opposition in Belgrade at
a time when the Bosnian Serbs were financially dependent on the Belgrade
government. Gvero argued that Pale neglected the financial needs of the
military and favored the civilian police at the army's expense. --
Patrick Moore

BELGRADE TO COOPERATE ON WAR CRIMES ISSUE? U.S. war crimes investigator
John Shattuck on 12 March met with Radoslav Kremenovic and Drazen
Erdemovic, the accused war criminals who were arrested by Serbian police
in Novi Sad on 3 March (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 March 1995), Nasa Borba
reported. Shattuck, who also met with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic, said he believed that rump Yugoslavia was growing more
cooperative on the war crimes issues and that Kremenovic and Erdemovic
would be turned over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Justice
Richard Goldstone, told Reuters Television that "We seem to be getting
assistance [from Belgrade] more than obstruction at the moment." -- Stan
Markotich

SERBIA OPPOSES SLOVENIA'S DEAL WITH CREDITORS. Belgrade has said it is
fully prepared to launch a legal challenge to a recent deal between
Slovenia and its private creditors, Reuters reported on 12 March. Under
the terms of the deal, Slovenia has agreed to pay 18% of the $4 billion
commercial debt incurred by Yugoslavia prior to its breakup. Serbia's
objections center on the allegation that the deal excludes rump Yugoslav
creditors. Reuters quoted one banker involved in negotiating with
Slovenia as saying that "If Serbia pursues this challenge, I think they
can say good-bye to relations with the international financial community
for a very, very long time." -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA CONTINUES TO CLAIM YUGOSLAV INHERITANCE. Macedonian Foreign
Minister Ljubomir Frckovski has said it is "unacceptable" that Belgrade
is trying to secure Macedonian agreement that the two states have no
financial claims on each other, AFP reported on 12 March. Frckovski
noted "that would mean Macedonia renouncing its share of the heritage of
the previous (Yugoslav) state which is its by right." He added that the
problem of succession rights was complicating mutual recognition and
normalization of relations between Belgrade and Skopje. Belgrade has
recognized Slovenia and Bosnia but still refuses to recognize Croatia
and Macedonia. In January, it adopted a tentative outline agreement on
recognizing Macedonia but said it would fix a later date for signing an
accord. -- Fabian Schmidt

UPDATE ON BUCHAREST SUBWAY STRIKE. The Romanian government has begun
firing those Bucharest subway employees who have not signed a
declaration of intent to return to work, Romanian media reported on 12
March. More than 800 workers have signed the government ultimatum, but
the rest are intent on continuing the strike and continue to block
tunnels. The government said the dismissed personnel will be replaced by
trained railroad workers who lost their jobs earlier. It has also taken
measures to improve the Bucharest bus transportation system. -- Michael
Shafir

ROMANIAN POLITICAL LEADER CALLS FOR TALKS WITH HUNGARY TO BE SUSPENDED.
Gheorghe Funar, leader of the Party of National Unity of Romanians
(PUNR), has called for the suspension of parleys with Hungary on the
pending basic treaty, Radio Bucharest reported on 12 March. His appeal
came after a meeting between the PUNR leadership and Virgil Magureanu,
director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Magureanu told the
PUNR that the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania has made all
the necessary preparations for declaring autonomy. The meeting was
criticized by Senator Vasile Vacaru, chairman of the parliamentary
commission supervising SRI activities, who said Magureanu should report
only to the commission. -- Michael Shafir

SNEGUR, SMIRNOV MEET AGAIN. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and the
leader of the breakaway Transdniester region, Igor Smirnov, held further
talks in Tiraspol on 11 March on granting the region a special status.
Radio Bucharest, citing Chisinau TV, said Snegur accepted Smirnov's
demand for independent foreign economic relations, a separate
constitution and separate state symbols, and three state languages
(presumably Russian, "Moldovan," and Ukrainian). But the talks on the
special status of the Transdniester have not been concluded, and
Chisinau continues to demand the sole right to representation in foreign
relations. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. Zhelyu Zhelev on 11 March
accused the government of communist-era secrecy and an arrogant
disregard of other state institutions, Reuters reported the following
day. He added that Prime Minister Zhan Videnov had a Stalinist notion of
the state being identical with his Bulgarian Socialist Party. Zhelev was
responding to the closed-door plenary meeting of the BSP and its
coalition partners on 10 March (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 March 1996),
at which Zhelev was described as an "anti-state symbol." The president
noted that important economic ties with foreign countries have been
neglected because Videnov has banned his ministers from joining Zhelev's
delegation on visits abroad. Presidential advisers say the lack of
ministers in Zhelev's entourage is undermining Bulgaria's bid to
participate in the reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia. -- Stefan
Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski on 12 March
responded to Greek Development Minister Vaso Papandreou's proposal to
establish a Balkan council by saying it is "a bit premature" to talk
about institutionalizing Balkan cooperation, Bulgarian media reported.
Slovenian President Milan Kucan arrived in Sofia on 12 March for a two-
day official visit. He called on all sides in the former Yugoslavia to
work for the full implementation of the Dayton accords and to "realize
the necessity to live in peace," international agencies reported.
Bulgaria and Slovenia are preparing accords on trade cooperation, mutual
protection of investments, and avoiding double taxation. Meanwhile,
Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov on 12 March was
authorized by the SDS National Coordinating Council to sign an agreement
with other opposition forces on primary elections aimed at finding a
joint presidential candidate, Trud reported. -- Stefan Krause

GREECE TO MEDIATE IN BULGARIAN-ROMANIAN BRIDGE DISPUTE. Greece will
mediate in the dispute between Bulgaria and Romania over the location of
a second Danube bridge linking the two countries, Reuters reported.
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Construction Minister Doncho
Konakchiev on 12 March told an economic forum in the Greek city of
Thessaloniki that the foreign ministers of the three countries will meet
in the Bulgarian town of Varna on 16-17 March. Greece unsuccessfully
tried to broker a compromise in August 1995. Sofia and Bucharest so far
have failed to agree on a site for the bridge (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12
June and 10 August 1995). Konakchiev said Bulgaria has proposed to
Romania that two bridges be built, but he did not say how they would be
financed. The cost of constructing one bridge is estimated at $320-445
million. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN JOURNALIST FINED FOR INCITING TERRORISM. Populli Po journalist
Ylli Polovina has been fined 30,000 lek ($300) by a Tirana court for
inciting terrorism, Reuters reported on 12 March. Polovina was arrested
after the fatal Tirana car bombing on 26 February. Severel months
earlier, he had written an article in November 1995 saying terrorist
attacks such as that which injured Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov on
3 October, could also happen in Albania. Polovina said he will appeal
the sentence and claimed he was the "victim of a political scheme."
Three international journalists' organizations and the Association of
Professional Journalists had called for Polovina's release. -- Fabian
Schmidt

[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

----=_Wednesday, March 13, 1996 3:42 PM--
 
         

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