Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 66, Part II, 2 April 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Central Asian States Sort Out Unions, Treaties, and Independence,"
   by Roger Kangas

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN TREATY SIGNING PROMPTS PLANNED DEMONSTRATIONS IN
MINSK. As Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka met in
Moscow to sign the integration treaty between Russian and Belarus,
opponents and supporters of the treaty prepared to take to the streets
to voice their opinions. There were reports overnight that police have
been raiding the offices of nationalist groups in order to forestall the
opposition demonstrations. (see related story in Russian section) --
Ustina Markus in Minsk
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE RESPONDS TO YELTSIN'S DECISION TO DELAY VISIT YET AGAIN. The
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on 1 April reacted "with understanding" to
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's decision to again postpone his
official visit to Kyiv, Ukrainian TV reported. The ministry said Ukraine
has made every effort to resolve remaining differences with Russia over
the basing of the countries' Black Sea Fleets in Crimea, which Moscow
has made a prerequisite for the visit. It added that Kyiv was ready to
continue negotiations but that the basing of Ukrainian naval forces was
strictly an internal matter and would not be influenced by Russian
objections to sharing a base in Sevastopol. The ministry stressed that
Ukraine regretted Russia's decision to link the signing of the long-
awaited friendship and cooperation treaty to the last unresolved issue
on the fleet. Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Bizhan said Ukraine could not
"agree to compromises...when Sevastopol is Ukrainian territory," ITAR-
TASS reported. Bizhan said if no agreement were reached on the sharing
of bases, the parliament might vote to remove the Russian portion of the
fleet from Ukrainian waters. (see related story in Russian section) --
Chrystyna Lapychak

ESTONIAN CENTER PARTY RE-ELECTS SAVISAAR AS CHAIRMAN. Estonia's Center
Party on 30 March overwhelmingly re-elected Edgar Savisaar as chairman,
BNS reported. Savisaar received 468 out of 607 votes. Meanwhile, Rein
Veidemann, one of Savisaar's closest former allies, announced the next
day that he was resigning from the party. Speaking to journalists,
Savisaar denied the existence of a "Veidemann wing" within the party. He
described the congress as an important step toward internal
stabilization. Savisaar last fall had announcement his retirement from
politics because of a spying scandal. -- Dan Ionescu

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WARNS AGAINST RUSSIAN EXPANSION. Siim Kallas
on 1 April told journalists in Prague that an expanded Russia could pose
a security threat to his country, CTK reported. Kallas, who is paying an
official visit to the Czech Republic, said he was worried about not only
the regional integration treaty signed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
and Kyrgyzstan but also the recent vote in the Russian State Duma
annulling the 1991 decision to dissolve the Soviet Union. He described
the trend as "very serious." Kallas and his Czech counterpart, Josef
Zielenec, discussed security in Eastern-Central Europe, prospects for
NATO enlargement and European integration, and bilateral relations. --
Dan Ionescu

LATVIAN CONSERVATIVES HOLD CONGRESS. The Latvian National Conservative
Party (LNNK) on 30 March elected Andrej Krastins as chairman to replace
Anna Seile, who had declined to run for another term, BNS reported. The
vote came at the end of the LNNK's ninth congress. Krastins, who is
defense minister in Andris Skelle's cabinet, pledged to focus on
ensuring his party's success in the next local and parliamentary
elections. The congress adopted five resolutions on social, economic,
and political issues, including one condemning the recent decision of
the Russian State Duma to denounce the Belovezh treaty, which put a
formal end to the Soviet Union. -- Dan Ionescu

FORMER POLISH PRESIDENT RETURNS TO GDANSK SHIPYARD AS ELECTRICIAN. More
than 150 reporter crews from around the world waited at the Gdansk
shipyard for Lech Walesa's return to work as an electrician on 2 April.
Walesa, who lost the November 1995 presidential elections, arrived in a
black Mercedes accompanied by two bodyguards. He has no pension as
former president, but under Polish law, he is entitled to an official
car and bodyguards. A farewell bonus of three monthly salaries ran out
at the end of March. The Sejm is expected to vote next week on a bill
allowing pensions for former presidents. Meanwhile, the Treasury is
selling its 60% share in the shipyard to save it from bankruptcy. --
Jakub Karpinski

POLISH NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE CONVENES. The first meeting of the
Polish National Defense Committee (KOK) to be headed by President
Aleksander Kwasniewski took place on 1 April, Polish media reported. On
the agenda were foreign-policy activities aimed at Poland's admission to
NATO and internal security. Internal Affairs Minister Zbigniew
Siemiatkowski addressed the meeting. KOK secretary Jerzy Milewski said
that local administrations had not fulfilled their defense obligations
last year. Kwasniewski revealed that within the next month, he wants to
create a National Security Council, which would advise the president on
security issues. -- Jakub Karpinski

FURTHER PRE-ELECTION WOES FOR CZECH CENTRIST PARTY. Martin Bursik, a
deputy chairman of the Free Democrats-Liberal Social National Party (SD-
LSNS), resigned his party post on 1 April and stepped down as a
candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Czech media reported.
Bursik said he was protesting that party co-chairman Vavrinec Bodenlos
and businessman Rudolf Baranek are still SD-LSNS candidates despite
scandals surrounding them. It was recently revealed that Bodenlos
received a suspended prison sentence four years ago for assaulting a
neighbor with an ax, while Baranek put up a sign in a hotel he owns
banning Roma from the premises. Bursik complained that the other SD-LSNS
co-chairman, former Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier,
backed Bodenlos and failed to condemn Baranek clearly. As a result of
these scandals, the liberal SD-LSNS is not expected to gain enough votes
to be represented in the next parliament. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK COALITION PARTY CRITICIZES CATHOLIC BISHOPS. The Slovak National
Party (SNS) on 1 April rejected eight Slovak bishops' protest against
the law on the protection of the republic (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26
March 1996). Accusing the bishops of promoting confrontation and
uncertainty, SNS chairman Jan Slota told TASR that his party regrets
that Church representatives could make such a statement. He added that
unlike Church representatives of the past, who led the nation in its
fight for sovereignty, these eight bishops had revealed themselves as
clearly "anti-Slovak." Signatories to the statement included Conference
of Bishops chairman Rudolf Balaz. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION KNOCKS GOVERNMENT OVER BASIC TREATY. Opposition
deputies have harshly criticized the government's reaction to the Slovak
parliament's decision to include interpretation clauses in the basic
treaty, Hungarian media reported on 2 April. Many called for the treaty
to be revised or even abrogated. Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, who was
Hungary's main negotiator on the treaty, said the cabinet had pointed
out to the Slovak Foreign Ministry on 29 March that a one-sided
interpretation of the basic treaty has no legal force. He added that
Hungary will refuse to exchange ratification documents-- thereby
preventing the treaty from going into effect--if those documents are not
identical. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC PLEDGES UNITY WITH RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Bosnian Serb civilian
leader Radovan Karadzic told the parliament in Pale that he will
continue to work for unification with Serbia and Montenegro, although
the Dayton agreement says that Bosnia must remain united, AFP reported
on 1 April. He otherwise pledged to execute the agreement faithfully,
Nasa Borba noted the following day. Karadzic called on the assembly to
pass a law making all Serbs in the former Yugoslavia eligible for
citizenship in his Republika Srpska. Social problems loomed large in his
speech, including the return of property to refugees. Speculation about
problems within the Bosnian Serb leadership was heightened by the
absence of two key figures: Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic and military
leader Gen. Ratko Mladic. -- Patrick Moore

INDICTED CROAT GIVES HIMSELF UP. Bosnian Croat Gen. Tihomir Blaskic
arrived in The Hague on 1 April, becoming the first indicted war
criminal to give himself up voluntarily to the tribunal, Slobodna
Dalmacija and Nasa Borba reported. Croatia had been under intense
pressure from Washington to comply with a request for his extradition.
In Belgrade, UN administrator for Eastern Slavonia Jacques Klein told
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that it is imperative that Serbs
there remain after the region returns to Croatian control by end of
1997. In Zagreb, Defense Minister Gojko Susak was taken to hospital,
Vecernji list wrote. He had just returned to Croatia in order to meet
his American counterpart, William Perry, following a lung operation in
the U.S. -- Patrick Moore

GRENADE ATTACK ON BELGRADE MOSQUE. One person was injured when an
unidentified man threw a hand grenade at the only existing mosque in the
rump Yugoslav capital, local Belgrade media reported on 30 March.
Reports conflict over whether there were casualties and, if so, how
many. Witnesses said the man first brandished a gun at worshippers and
then reached for the explosive. Since the outbreak of war in Bosnia-
Herzegovina in April 1992, the Bajrakli Mosque has been bombed once and
been the target of two arson attacks. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER REMAINS TARGET OF STATE-RUN MEDIA. Vuk
Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), remains the
target of a state-run media campaign, Nasa Borba reported on 2 April.
The campaign was triggered by a letter that Draskovic sent to several
foreign ministries criticizing Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
regime (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 March 1996). The state authorities
have gone so far as to label Draskovic "the number one enemy of the
state," Nova Makedonija observed on 1 April. -- Stan Markotich

NATO DELEGATION IN ROMANIA. A high-ranking NATO delegation led by Lt.
Gen. Gerrit Jan Folmer, director of International Military Staff, is in
Romania to discuss possible cooperation between the Romanian Army and
NATO structures, Romanian media reported on 1-2 April. At meetings with
Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca and Chief of Staff Gen. Dumitru
Cioflina, Folmer said that future NATO expansion should first take into
account European stability and that the "geostrategic factor" should be
of secondary importance. Meanwhile, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies has
passed a bill on the ratification of the agreement between NATO member
states and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program.
The neo-communist Socialist Labor Party voted against the bill, arguing
that the agreement would limit "the country's national sovereignty." --
Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN PREMIER IN MOSCOW. Andrei Sangheli on 31 March arrived in
Moscow for talks with the Russian government, Infotag reported on 1
April. Sangheli is scheduled to meet with Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Bolshakov and several members of the cabinet. Talks are
expected to focus on Russian excise duties on Moldovan goods, which have
significantly reduced Chisinau's exports to Russia. Other topics for
discussion are the Russian troops withdrawal from the Dniester region
and the settlement of Moldova's gas debts to Russia. -- Dan Ionescu

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY IN BULGARIA OVER YELTSIN'S REMARK. Russian
President Boris Yeltsin's recent remark about Bulgaria's possible
membership in a new political union (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 April
1996) continues to cause controversy in Sofia, Bulgarian media reported.
The government on 1 April said there is consensus among the country's
political forces that Bulgaria's main foreign-policy goal is integration
into European structures. Parliamentary President Blagovest Sendov noted
he was "surprised and bewildered" by Yeltsin's remark. Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) caucus leader Krasimir Premyanov stressed that
Bulgaria's sovereignty is not negotiable. Opposition parties argued that
government and BSP statements were insufficient and asked both to
distance themselves from Yeltsin's remark. The Union of Democratic
Forces has called a protest meeting outside the parliament building for
2 April. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN WRAPUP. Aleksandar Marinov, BSP leader in Sofia, has said that
members of his party in the capital favor Foreign Minister Georgi
Pirinski as BSP presidential candidate, Bulgarian media reported.
Marinov said Pirinski leads over former party leader Aleksandar Lilov.
In other news, Neven Kopandanova of RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service has been
chosen as editor-in-chief of the Union of Democratic Forces daily
Demokratsiya. She will take over on 15 April. Finally, the National
Commission on Prices has proposed that electricity prices for private
households increase by 47.7%, 24 chasa reported. The prices of
electricity, fuel, heating, and spirits are all expected to rise this
month, leading to an additional 2% increase in inflation, the National
Statistical Institute announced. -- Stefan Krause

BALKAN, ITALIAN, U.S. DEFENSE MINISTERS AGREE ON JOINT MANEUVERS. The
defense ministers of Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, and
the U.S., meeting in Tirana for a two-day conference, have agreed to
hold joint military exercises this year, international agencies reported
on 2 April. The exercises will focus on what to do in the case of
natural disasters. The ministers also agreed to exchange information and
opinions on military issues. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry
urged the Balkan countries to increase contacts and dialogue and to
reduce their troops along common borders as part of confidence-building
measures. He added that UNPREDEP forces may remain in Macedonia after
IFOR has withdrawn from Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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