If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 59, Part II, 22 March 1996


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provides thorough coverage of business and financial developments
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New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "The New Day", by Bruce Pannier
-  "Christopher Allays (Some) East European Fears", by Steve Kettle
-  "Albanian Political Row as Elections Loom", by Fabian Schmidt
-  "Demirel's Middle East Tour:  Turco-Israeli Relations Warm, Turco-Arab
   Relations Cold", by Lowell Bezanis
-  "Bulgarian Coal Miners Strike", by Stefan Krause
-  "Slovakia's Schizophrenic Relations with NATO", by Sharon Fisher
-  "Hungary Maintains a Firm Position on NATO Membership", by Zsofia Szilagyi

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
ALBRIGHT STONED IN VUKOVAR. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright
was jeered by Serbs yelling "you fascist" during her visit to Vukovar to
discuss the future of eastern Slavonia with Serb rebel leaders. Serbs
then pelted her motorcade with rocks, damaging the vehicles but causing
no injuries to Albright or her party, the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes
reported on 22 March. She played down the incident but reminded the
rebel leaders that all sides are expected to respect the conditions of
the agreement reached last fall in Dayton between the Serbian and
Croatian presidents, Nasa Borba noted. That pact provides for a return
of the last rebel-held part of Croatia to Zagreb's sovereignty within
two years. Local Serb leaders have been encouraging Serb refugees to
settle there and hinting that they will hold a referendum on any return
to Croatian authority, all of which is counter to the agreement. --
Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT INITIALLY APPROVES AMENDED CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION...
Ukrainian lawmakers gave their initial approval to an amended draft of a
new Crimean constitution, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported on 21 March.
However, deputies removed 20 articles of a total 136 in the draft, which
they deemed as separatist. Although most deputies reversed their
opposition to a constitution for the region, instead of a charter, they
removed all references to Crimea as a "republic." The parliament
postponed a debate on the issue of Crimean citizenship for a second
reading. Crimean legislators dropped their demand that the new regional
basic law be approved by Kyiv by 31 March, but are pressing the
Ukrainian legislature to give its final approval before a new Ukrainian
constitution is adopted. Members of both assemblies made plans to hold
talks within a week to reconcile their differences. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

...AND ENDORSES KEY POINTS OF 1996 BUDGET. The Ukrainian Parliament
voted on 21 March to approve key sections of a 1996 budget, including
targets on inflation and a deficit sanctioned by the IMF, Reuters
reported. Lawmakers endorsed a budget deficit of 6.2% of GDP and a 40%
annual inflation rate, removing the last obstacle for Ukraine to obtain
the final installment of a $1.5 billion standby loan from the IMF. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN PIPELINE TALKS BREAK DOWN. Ukraine has accused Russia
of reneging on a compromise deal and causing the latest round of talks
between the two countries over transit tariffs through the Druzhba
pipeline to collapse, Reuters reported on 21 March. The Ukrainian
delegation complained that the Russian representatives backed out of the
deal they had themselves proposed on transit fees for Russian oil being
pumped through Ukraine to Eastern Europe. The Ukrainian said they would
continue to charge Russia $5.20 per ton of oil, the price it
unilaterally set on 1 January over Russian objections. In other news,
President Leonid Kuchma and Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko arrived
in Geneva on 21 March for a two-day official visit to Switzerland. In a
speech there, Udovenko called on Russia to ratify the START II agreement
on nuclear disarmament, already ratified by the U.S. Senate. He said
Ukrainian disarmament under the START I treaty was running ahead of
schedule. However, a top Ukrainian security advisor, Volodymyr Horbulin
said on 20 March that Ukraine would be unable to complete its
dismantling of nuclear missiles by June, as the U.S. had hoped., due to
logistical reasons. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS CIS INTEGRATION. Deputies in the Belarus
parliament on 20 March voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion
proposed by the Communists to debate closer integration with other CIS
republics, Western agencies reported. The motion was prompted by the
recent Russian Duma denunciation of the Belazheva accords that formed
the CIS. The debate is scheduled for 22 March when Russian Federation
Council Chairman Yegor Stroev will be visiting Minsk. President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka is going to Moscow that day to discuss with
Russian President Boris Yeltsin the integration of Belarus into Russia.
-- Saulius Girnius

BALTIC PRESIDENTS CONDEMN RUSSIAN DUMA VOTE. Presidents Lennart Meri
(Estonia), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania)
issued a joint statement on 21 March denouncing the Russian Duma vote on
15 March repealing the agreement that formed the CIS, Reuters reported.
The statement was sent to the leaders of Russia, the U.S., and European
Union member states. The presidents stressed the need to respect
international law and supported statements by U.S. Secretary of State
Warren Christopher and Russian President Boris Yeltsin against the
decision. They noted that even though Moscow had recognized the
independence of the Baltic states before the CIS was formed, efforts to
reconstruct the Soviet Union would likely increase tensions with Russia.
-- Saulius Girnius

HEALTH CARE SPENDING TO BE REDUCED IN LITHUANIA. Lithuanian Health
Minister Antanas Vinkus said on 21 March that a variety of measures
would be taken to reduce expenses this year because his ministry has
received less than half of the funds it expected thus far from the state
budget, Radio Lithuania reported. A one litas ($0.25) fee would be
charged for visits to polyclinics and patients in hospitals would be
asked to pay 5 litai a day for so-called "hotel services." Expensive
operations such as heart transplants would no longer be allowed. Efforts
would be made to try to reduce the length of hospital stays by at least
two days. -- Saulius Girnius

NON-GUILTY VERDICT QUASHED IN PRIEST SLAYING CASE IN POLAND. The Warsaw
appeals court quashed on 21 March the acquittals of two former generals,
Wladyslaw Ciaston and Zenon Platek, accused of ordering the murder of
Father Jerzy Popieluszko by three political police officers in October
1984. Father Popieluszko had delivered pro-Solidarity and anti-violence
sermons in a Warsaw church during his "masses for the Fatherland" there
beginning in October 1981. Ciaston was deputy minister of internal
affairs (MSW) in charge of the political police. Platek was director of
department IV of the MSW in charge of the clergy. The not-guilty
verdict, citing "benefit of doubt," during the 1994 Ciaston and Platek
trial was appealed by the auxiliary prosecutors, lawyers on behalf of
the Popieluszko family. Ciaston and Platek will face a new trial, Polish
dailies reported on 22 March. -- Jakub Karpinski

MARCH IN WARSAW PROTESTS VIOLENT CRIME. Some 25,000 people marched in
silence with black flags in Warsaw on 21 March to protest rising
violence and mourn its most recent victim, a 20 year old Warsaw
Technical University student Wojciech Krol, shot by escaping criminals
on 17 March on a street near the school. Krol was in the way of two
robbers running across the street following a robbery. The Warsaw march
was the third anti-crime protest in the past month. Thousands protested
the murders of a student in Gdansk in February and of a 12-year-old boy
in Lodz in March. At the end of the Warsaw march, students handed a
petition to the government, protesting against "widespread impunity of
criminals." -- Jakub Karpinski

POLAND SETTING UP STRUCTURES TO SPEED NATO INTEGRATION. Following a
recent similar move by the Czech Republic, the Polish government has
announced plans adapt its bureaucracy to better focus its preparations
to join NATO, the U.S. Army Times news agency reported on 21 March. New
teams are to be formed with the Defense and Foreign Affairs ministries.
The former will oversee Poland's political integration into the alliance
while the latter will work on making Poland's military strategy,
structure, and technology compatible with NATO. The teams are to be in
operation by the end of April. -- Doug Clarke

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT SESSION CONTINUES. The parliament on 21 March approved
laws which raise the minimum wage to 2,750 crowns ($91.67) from 1 April
and pensions by 12% from 1 June, Narodna obroda reported. Discussions
also began on the controversial territorial arrangement bill, which
Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek said was "appreciated" by Council of
Europe experts. The previous day, the parliament passed a law providing
for protection of bank deposits equal to up to 30 times the average
monthly salary. All Slovak banks will be required to contribute annually
to the Deposit Protection Fund, while foreign banks must do so if
deposit protection in their country of origin is lower than that in
Slovakia. The opposition failed to expand the session's agenda to
include discussion of the Slovak Information Service and privatization.
Attempts to withdraw the bills on the protection of the republic and
territorial administration were also rejected. -- Sharon Fisher

UPDATE ON CASE OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON. Ladislav Pittner, a Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH) deputy and former interior minister, announced
on 21 March that his independent commission investigating the kidnapping
of Michal Kovac Jr. is ready to present its partial findings, Narodna
obroda reported. Pittner, who is assisted by former Slovak Information
Service counter-intelligence director Igor Cibula, said the findings
will be announced during a KDH meeting on 25 March and will include the
names of those who pulled Kovac Jr. from his car. Also on 21 March,
Slovak Television (STV) featured an interview with a "secret witness" in
the kidnapping case, who said he "participated in the so-called
kidnapping" and called it "a fake." Police investigator Jozef Ciz told
STV that he will check the evidence presented by the witness, saying he
has "fulfilled his civic duty." -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO FURTHER REDUCE STATE DEBT. Hungary will repay $4.5 billion in
foreign debt this year--before its deadline--thus bringing the state
debt to around $9 billion by end 1996, the lowest in more than a decade,
National Bank (MNB) Governor Gyorgy Suranyi said, Napi Gazdasag reported
on 22 March. Rather than buying back state bonds, the MNB will amortize
loans accompanied by early repayment clauses, such as those from
international financial institutions. According to Suranyi, it is the
country's high, $11 billion foreign currency reserves that allow for the
early repayment. Also, Suranyi said he is considering cutting the
monthly forint devaluation rate, which now stands at 1.2%. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WAR CRIMES HEARINGS ON VUKOVAR HOSPITAL MASSACRE BEGIN... Croatian media
reported that the war crimes hearings against three ex-Yugoslav army
officers by The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia began on 20 March. Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and
Veselin Sljivancanin are charged over ordering the deaths of 261 non-
Serb patients in a Vukovar hospital in November 1991. However, they
cannot be tried in absentia. In another development, the war crimes
tribunal announced the opening of offices in Belgrade and in the area of
Republika Srpska, to enable its prosecutors to interview victims and
witnesses in Serb areas, AFP and Onasa reported. Meanwhile, war crimes
tribunal said it would make important announcements on 22 March,
signaling new indictments, Onasa reported a day earlier. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

...AS RUMP YUGOSLAVIA STILL SHIELDS ITS WAR CRIMINALS. Despite insisting
that it intends to cooperate fully with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, mounting evidence continues to
suggest that Belgrade is providing refuge for suspected war criminals.
On 21 March Belgrade's independent Radio B92 reported that not only is
Veselin Sljivancanin, one of three Yugoslav army officers indicted in
November 1995 for allegedly playing a role in the shooting killings of
at least 260 civilians in the Croatian city of Vukovar in 1991,
sheltered by rump Yugoslav authorities, but that he has been rewarded.
According to the report, Sljivancanin was recently promoted from major
to colonel and re-posted in Belgrade. -- Stan Markotich

TUDJMAN VETOES YET ANOTHER OPPOSITION CANDIDATE IN ZAGREB. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman on 21 March blocked a third nominee for mayor
of Zagreb put forward by the opposition-dominated city council. The
council had earlier passed a vote of no-confidence in Tudjman's own
appointee, and now has nominated its fourth candidate, former Liberal
leader Drazen Budisa, Novi list reported the next day. The imbroglio is
seen as a test case for Croatian democracy, since the seven-party
opposition coalition controls 60% of the council, Nasa Borba noted.
Tudjman argues that he cannot tolerate "enemies of state policy" running
Zagreb and that he has the right to confirm the mayor in office.
Tudjman's own party has warned him to be more reasonable, however, since
the deadlock will force new elections that polls suggest will make the
opposition even stronger despite a government attempt at gerrymandering,
Reuters said. Novi list added that opposition leader and council
president Zdravko Tomac has written the Council of Europe calling for
Croatia's admission to that body, but that Tudjman's party has objected
to this letter and called for Tomac to go. -- Patrick Moore

SLOVENIAN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ON STRIKE. Slovenia's doctors and
dentists went out on strike on 21 March, demanding a 25% wage hike.
Union officials have pledged that the job action will continue until the
demand is met, Reuters reported. A specialist currently earns an average
monthly salary of 114, 000 tolars ($860). The doctors' and dentists'
strike started one day after journalists from the state-supported Radio
and Television Slovenija company ended their walk-out. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA'S DEFENSE COUNCIL ON NATO INTEGRATION. President Ion Iliescu on
21 March presided over a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council (CSAT),
Romania's main security watchdog, Radio Bucharest reported. The CSAT
examined the pace of a sweeping reform of the national army aimed at
making it more compatible with NATO standards. It also approved that a
Romanian delegation discuss the possible expansion of the alliance at
NATO's headquarters in Brussels later this year. An Iliescu spokesman on
the same day described Bucharest's efforts to join NATO as Romania's
"only strategic option." In a related development, Radu Timofte, the
chairman of the Senate's defense commission, stated that, under the
current political and economic circumstances in Europe, Romania's
failure to join NATO would amount to "a disaster." -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MAY BE IMPEACHED Infotag on 21 March quoted Nicolae
Andronic, deputy chairman of the Party of Revival and Conciliation in
Moldova, as saying that the parliamentary majority is considering the
possibility to impeach President Mircea Snegur. Andronic suggested that
the current majority, dominated by the Agrarian Democratic Party, was
posing a threat to the Moldovan society by fostering political
instability. The statement is part of a war of words triggered by the
dismissal of Defense Minister Pavel Creanga last week. Snegur's military
adviser Alexandru Gorgan denied on 20 March that a split occurred in the
army following Creanga's dismissal and accused Premier Andrei Sangheli
of instigating Creanga to disobey the president, who is also supreme
commander of the army. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT, MINERS REACH SETTLEMENT. A two-day strike in the
Maritsa Iztok coal mines ended on 21 March after the government's Energy
Committee and the Confederation of Labor "Podkrepa" agreed to higher
wages and other benefits, Duma reported. The miners in Bulgaria's
biggest mine will receive at least 35% higher wages in 1996 than in
1995. and those in other mines would obtain a 30% increase. They had
demanded a 60% raise. Earlier that day, Energy Committee Deputy Chairman
Rumen Ovcharov said electricity rationing would have to be introduced by
the end of the week if the strike continued. He called the strike
"politically motivated." Standart, citing a secret service report to
Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, alleged that the influential business
conglomerate Multigroup was behind the strikes, hoping to profit from
eventual imports of Russian electricity, but "Podkrepa" leader
Konstantin Trenchev dismissed the charges and said the strike was a
strictly unionist matter. -- Stefan Krause

GERMAN PRESIDENT ENDS VISIT TO BULGARIA. Roman Herzog on 21 March ended
a three-day official visit to Bulgaria, Western media reported. He
pledged support for Bulgaria's economic reforms, but urged Sofia to
create favorable conditions for foreign investment. Herzog also called
on Bulgaria to close down the nuclear power plant at Kozloduy, saying
"reactors which can not be modernized should be closed down as soon as
possible," while Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev stressed Bulgaria's
wish to modernize the reactors and asked for EU help. Herzog said
Germany and NATO are opposed to a new defense pact in Eastern Europe as
proposed by Russia last year. The same day in a radio address, Zhelev
said restoring the Soviet Union would be dangerous for Russia and the
rest of the former East Bloc. He said Bulgaria "must finally submit its
application for [NATO] membership." -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIA, GREECE SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Greek President Kostis
Stephanopoulos and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha signed a
friendship and cooperation treaty on 21 March, international agencies
reported. They pledged to "respect human rights and those of
minorities." Stephanopoulos, who is scheduled to visit the Greek
minority on 22 March said Athens "does not want to use it to attack
Tirana." Berisha said he had received "assurances" that Athens would
consider legalizing the status of 300,000 illegal Albanian immigrants to
Greece as soon as possible. Both sides also decided to boost their
military and economic ties and to open new border crossings. Greece will
open a consulate in Korca and Stephanopoulos inaugurated a new
department of Greek literature at the Albanian national library in
Tirana. Greece also pledged to support Albania's EU association and both
sides will cooperate in environmental protection and the fighting
organized crime. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Chrystyna Lapychak

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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