|A friend is a gift you give yourself. - Robert Louis Stevenson|
No. 64, Part II, 29 March 1996
New OMRI Analytical Briefs: - "Romania to Apply for Full NATO Membership," by Dan Ionescu - "Russo-Belarusian Union: New Beginning, or Dead End?," by Peter Rutland - "Hungary's OECD Membership is Now Official," by Zsofia Szilagyi 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ WASHINGTON MAY BE "HIDING EVIDENCE" OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMES. Bosnia's UN Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey said that the US is concealing evidence linking Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic -- a signatory to the U.S.- sponsored Dayton agreement -- to indicted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, known as "Arkan." Sacirbey claimed that former U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke gave Milosevic a whole file of evidence on Arkan, Nasa Borba reported on 29 March. Sacirbey added that the U.S. has not made the evidence public or brought charges against Milosevic for his ties to the man widely believed responsible for some of the most grisly war crimes. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov met with his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, in Tysovets, Ukraine on 28 March, Western and Ukrainian media reported. The ministers finalized 10 documents on expanding military-technical cooperation between their countries and fixed a schedule for the transfer of Ukraine's dismantled nuclear arms to Russia. They also agreed to a timetable for the second phase of the division of the Black Sea Fleet, but offered no details. However, the ministers decided the issue of sharing Crimean naval facilities -- the last unresolved matter in the dispute -- was political and should be handled by the countries' prime ministers. Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he would cancel his scheduled visit to Kyiv on 4-5 April if a final agreement on division of the fleet is not included in the overall bilateral treaty, Russian agencies reported. -- Chrystyna Lapychak TEXT OF RUSSO-BELARUSIAN UNION TREATY REVEALED. Russia and Belarus are due to sign a new treaty on 2 April, called "On deepening integration and comprehensive drawing together." The treaty has not yet been publicly released and the Belarusian parliament debated the issue on 27 March without having the text before them. OMRI has obtained a copy of the treaty draft in Minsk, and its 26 articles suggest that the two countries seriously intend to merge many of their economic and legal policies. They will form a "Union (Community)" with a set of supranational institutions including a Union Council (Sovet Soyuza), consisting of the two presidents and the heads of the governments and parliaments. The two states will retain their independence, and decision-making in the supranational bodies will be by consensus. Thus the main thrust of the treaty lies in the voluntary harmonization of economic and social legislation. The two sides commit to joint protection of their common outside border, but there is no specific pledge to introduce a common currency. -- Peter Rutland BELARUS OPPOSITION SENDS LETTER TO YELTSIN. Fifteen opposition parties and organizations in Belarus, including the Belarusian Popular Front, sent an open letter to Yeltsin on 27 March urging him not to sign the union treaty with Belarus on 2 April, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported the next day. By signing the treaty, Yeltsin would share responsibility with Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the betrayal of the interests of the Belarusian people, the letter noted. The signers stated the treaty would hinder the good neighborly relations between the two countries and reserved the right to defend the independence of Belarus by all available means. -- Saulius Girnius NO PROGRESS IN ESTONIA, RUSSIA BORDER TALKS. Estonian and Russian delegations in Tallinn on 27-28 March failed to move closer to an agreement on a border treaty, BNS reported. Although admitting the question of recognizing the validity of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty remained unresolved, Russian delegation deputy head Sergei Lazarev said that "the negotiations were not in a deadlock" The next round of talks are scheduled for 22-23 May in Pskov. There are no disputes on the sea border and it should be settled after a meeting on 3 April with Finnish experts that is to establish the point where the three borders meet in the Gulf of Finland. -- Saulius Girnius GDANSK COURT BEGINS TRIAL ON 1970 MASSACRE. Court proceedings began on 28 March in the Gdansk provincial court against former President Wojciech Jaruzelski and 11 former communist leaders for their alleged role in the 1970 deaths of 44 workers during violent protests in coastal towns, Polish and international media reported. More than 1,000 protesters were also injured in the violence. The former officials are charged with ordering fire on demonstrators who were protesting food price increases. Jaruzelski, who at that time was defense minister, pleaded not guilty, while expressing his "regret and feelings of compassion" to the families of the victims in the courtroom. The trial, which may last into the next century, comes after a five-year investigation that did not begin until the former opposition took power in 1989. The Gdansk court decided to reconvene on 13 June. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz CONTROVERSY OVER POLISH PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO BELARUS. Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski will meet with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 30 March, Polish dailies reported. The opposition had earlier said Kwasniewski's planned Saturday visit to Belarus could be seen as a sign of support for Lukashenka's policy of trying to unite his country with Russia. The Freedom Union (UW) and Movement for Restoration of Poland (ROP) headed by former Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski have opposed the visit and there have also been appeals from the opposition in Belarus for Kwasniewski to stay away. Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati and Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych, consulted by Kwasniewski, both urged him to make the long-projected visit. Rzeczpospolita on 29 March quoted Rosati as saying that "the basis for resolving all difficult problems and reaching any agreements is to maintain dialogue." -- Dagmar Mroziewicz BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY MEETS WITH CZECH REPRESENTATIVES. Malcolm Rifkind on 28 March met with top Czech officials to discuss EU and NATO enlargement, CTK reported. As British Queen Elizabeth II spent the day in the Moravian capital of Brno, Rifkind told Czech President Vaclav Havel that her visit to the Czech Republic is not only of symbolic importance but also reflects the two countries' effort to strengthen ties. Rifkind said he believes in closer relations between Britain and the Czech Republic in the framework of European and other Western institutions. Before his visit to Prague, Rifkind stressed that more access to EU markets should be given to Central and East European countries. -- Sharon Fisher UPDATE ON CASE OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON. Police investigator Jozef Ciz on 28 March said he has written proof that a suspect identified by Michal Kovac Jr. as one of his kidnappers was somewhere else at the time of the abduction, Narodna obroda reported. Appointed to the case after two previous investigators found evidence of involvement by the Slovak Information Service, Ciz also confirmed that he has questioned Peter Krylov, an ethnic Slovak who made accusations against Kovac Jr. from his German prison cell. Also on 28 March, Ladislav Pittner, a Christian Democratic Movement deputy who heads an independent investigation group, demanded that Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek explain why Jan Kostov was named director of the police investigation department despite suspicion of his involvement in serious criminal activities. A 28 March headline in the pro-government Slovenska Republika read: "Opposition efforts to cripple the SIS are directed at the destabilization of the state." -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT SIGNS WAGE DEAL WITH PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. The Hungarian government on 28 March signed a three-year wage agreement with public sector unions, Hungarian dailies reported. The deal guarantees that real wages will not decrease by more than 2% this year and will not fall after 1997. Prime Minister Gyula Horn, speaking at the signing ceremony, described the agreement as a political milestone. The long- debated deal was sealed ahead of the ruling Socialist Party's annual congress this weekend. Ways of protecting the population from sinking living standards will be high on the agenda of the congress. Real wages fell by an average of 14% in the public sector in 1995, prompting a number of unions to hold protest rallies. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE UN FINDS MASS GRAVES IN SARAJEVO SUBURB. International police confirmed on 29 March that five graves in Hadzici contain at least 20 bodies, AFP reported. The return of the area to Bosnian government control and the arrival of spring weather has enabled investigators to look for evidence of atrocities by Serbs against their Muslim and Croat neighbors at the start of the war four years ago. Police spokesman Alexander Ivanko said that this was not the first, but certainly the largest of such finds. The biggest single grave held at least ten corpses. -- Patrick Moore "WAR AGAINST CROATIA PLANNED IN BELGRADE." Testimony continues before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague regarding three officers of the rump Yugoslav army. They are charged in connection with the massacre of Croats, including hospital patients, after Vukovar fell to the Serbs in November 1991. The hearings clearly indicate that that war was planned and directed from Belgrade, Novi list reported on 29 March. In Washington, the State Department said it would protest plans by President Franjo Tudjman to re-bury Croatian soldiers from World War II at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp, news agencies noted on 28 March. A spokesman likened this to honoring murderers along with their victims. -- Patrick Moore CROATIA'S SERBS ORGANIZE. The mass exodus of Serbs from formerly Serb- held Croatian territories in 1995 reduced the republic's Serbian minority from about 12% of the population to only perhaps 2-3%. Those remaining Serbs insist nonetheless that the government guarantee their rights. The Supreme Council of the Community of Serbs of Croatia (ZSH) met and called upon the government to guarantee funds to ensure the Serbs' "civil, cultural, and national rights," including cultural autonomy, Slobodna Dalmacija said on 29 March. In Zagreb, representatives of the Serbian Democratic Forum, the Prosveta cultural society, and some regional Serbian groups founded the League of Serbian Organizations (SSO). Spokesmen said that no political parties have been included at this stage to underscore the SSO's non-party character. Its chairman is nonetheless likely to be the prominent Serbian political figure Milorad Pupovac, Novi list reported on 29 March. The SSO stresses the traditional Austro-Hungarian concept of "personal ethnic autonomy" as opposed to group territorial autonomy, which is realistic given that the remaining Croatian Serbs live widely dispersed. -- Patrick Moore FORMER CROATIAN MINISTER KILLED. Anton Marcelo Popovic was shot dead outside his home in Vrsar, Istria, on the night of 27 March, Hina reported the next day. He had been minister of tourism in 1991-1992 and most recently was director of the Anita-Vrsar hotel chain. Interior Minister Ivan Jarnjak said that the killing had been planned and that "there are indications that it was the work of a professional killer." An investigation has been launched, but persons close to Popovic ruled out any political motive for the killing, Vjesnik noted on 29 March. Popovic belonged to the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) and was active in sports as well as in politics and business, Vecernji list said. -- Patrick Moore WAR CRIMES PROSECUTOR CALLS BELGRADE A CRIMINAL REGIME. Prosecutor Clint Williamson concluded before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that the rump Yugoslav authorities are a "criminal" government, AFP reported on 28 March. Prompting the justice's remark was the fact that Belgrade has refused to extradite the three officers of the Yugoslav army (JNA) involved in the Vukovar massacre(see above). "When a government gives refuge and support to criminals in the eyes of the world that government then too becomes criminal.... And that is exactly what the Belgrade government has done in this case, "Williamson said. Not only has Belgrade failed to extradite the accused war criminals, but the independent Radio B92 on 21 March reported that one of the suspects, Veselin Sljivancanin, was even promoted recently from major to colonel. -- Stan Markotich SERBIAN PRESIDENT HONORED ON "NATIONAL DAY." Most high-ranking political and military officials in rump Yugoslavia extended Serbian President Milosevic "congratulations" on the occasion of the 28 March national day, Tanjug reported the previous day. On that date in 1989, the Serbian legislature passed amendments to the republic's constitution that revoked the political autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo. What characterized this year's "national day" was the somewhat toned-down, albeit far from absent, nationalistic rhetoric. Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic's message to Milosevic observed that "owing to a persistent policy of peace, Serbia's people have secured a place in the international community... [something] to which Serbia's unity and stability had contributed." -- Stan Markotich MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW, BLOCKS PETITION DRIVE FOR EARLY ELECTIONS. The Macedonian parliament on 28 March voted in favor of a law governing citizens' petition drives for parliamentary elections. The law carried with 53 deputies for, 15 against, and one abstention, according to Nova Makedonija. It invalidated a four-day petition drive for early parliamentary elections mounted by the largest opposition bloc, made up of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity and the Democratic Party. The bloc was able to garner a reported 162,000 signatures from voters seeking early parliamentary elections, according to Dnevnik and Nova Makedonija. A Liberal Party initiative to have the law exclude the current petition drive failed. The law seems to guarantee the continuation of the seated parliament in office through the conclusion of its term in 1998. -- Duncan Perry in Skopje ROMANIAN ARMS INDUSTRY WORKERS PROTEST DEFENSE BUDGET. Five trade union organizations on 28 March staged a rally in Bucharest to protest what they described as insufficient budgetary allotments for their industry, Radio Bucharest reported. The protesters asked that their demand for increases be discussed with cabinet members in the presence of President Ion Iliescu. They threatened to stage a further rally on 3 April in case negotiations failed. Romania's arms industry has been in a deep crisis in recent years. -- Dan Ionescu ROMANIANS, ITALIANS DISCUSS ORGANIZED CRIME. An Italian delegation of experts in Mafia-style organizations visited Romania between 27 and 29 March, Radio Bucharest reported. The delegation discussed ways to step up the exchange of information on organized crime with senior Romanian officials from the Interior Ministry. Romanian Interior Minister Doru Ioan Taracila said that the two countries plan joint actions in combating trans-border crime. -- Dan Ionescu MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT TO FIGHT CRIME, CORRUPTION. The Moldovan government on 28 March ordered the Interior Ministry to form a department to fight crime and corruption, Moldovan agencies reported. It also announced that inspections at some 100 financial institutions revealed hard-currency revenues totaling $18 million and DM 6.3 million that have illegally been kept abroad. Foreign Affairs Minister Mihai Popov noted that almost half of the diplomatic passports issued since 1993 have gone to people not entitled to such documents. Justice Minister Vasile Sturza said that despite decentralization, many state organs and civil servants still have the authority to issue permits. The government also decided that within three months, all civil servants will have declare revenues, bank accounts, and other assets. -- Matyas Szabo BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES WATER, BORDER TREATIES WITH GREECE. The Bulgarian parliament on 28 March ratified an accord with Greece on the use of water reserves, ending a long-standing dispute between Sofia and Athens, Reuters reported. Under the accord, Greece is guaranteed 29% of the average annual water flow of the River Mesta/Nestos, totaling 1.5 billion cubic meters, over the next 35 years. The opposition refused to vote on the agreement and accused the government of betraying national interest by agreeing to deprive some Bulgarian communities in the area of needed water. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Officials from nine Balkan countries agreed on 28 March to hold a conference on regional security and cooperation in Sofia, AFP reported. The conference is likely to take place in June and will be attended by the foreign ministers of Albania, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, and rump Yugoslavia. In other news, 24 chasa reported that the Bulgarian government called on former Tsar Simeon II to renounce all claims to the throne before visiting Bulgaria. Government spokesman Nikola Baltov said Simeon is expected to "make a clear public statement that he is a loyal citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria who obeys...the constitution and laws of the country." The government also said it will ask President Zhelyu Zhelev to recall the ambassador to Spain, Mihail Petkov, for inviting Simeon to a National Day reception at the embassy on 3 March. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS PERISH IN ADRIATIC. Some 29 illegal emigrants perished in the southern Adriatic Sea in an attempt to reach the Italian coast, international media reported on 28 March, citing Albanian state radio. The emigrants, among them women and children, had left the Albanian port of Vlora in one of several boats. Italian coast guards found the bodies of two Albanians. Illegal traffic to Italy is in the hands of the local Albanian mafia, which reportedly asks up to $600 for the passage. -- Stefan Krause [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Chrystyna Lapychak The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.