|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 71, Part II, 10 April 1996
New OMRI Analytical Briefs: - "Belgrade, Skopje Establish Diplomatic Ties," by Stan Markotich and Stefan Krause - "Quotes from Slovak Ruling Party's Congress," by Sharon Fisher - "Both Past and Present are Important to Polish President's Visit to Russia," by Jakub Karpinski Available on 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ IFOR WARNS BOSNIAN FACTIONS ABOUT WEAPONS VIOLATIONS. Brigadier Andrew Cumming on 9 April said that IFOR has sent a letter to all three sides in Bosnia warning them that they are not complying with rules on heavy weapons, Onasa news agency reported. At issue is the storage of air defense weapons. Cumming said that "nobody is going to start flying back into Bosnia if there are a number of air defense systems loose in the country." Meanwhile in Pale, the Bosnian Serbs freed three out of the 19 or 20 prisoners they are keeping. The government side also continues to hold a number of Serbs, some of whom they have officially declared and some not. Meanwhile, war crimes tribunal authorities in The Hague took custody of Zdravko Mucic, who was delivered to Schiphol airport by Austrian police. Mucic, a Croat, is charged with war crimes against Bosnian Serbs while he was the commander of the Celebici prison camp in central Bosnia, Nasa Borba reported on 10 April. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE IMF, UKRAINE NEGOTIATE NEW CREDIT. The IMF and Ukraine are negotiating a new stand-by credit worth $900 million, AFP reported on 9 April. The loan is intended to replace a $1.6 billion credit that expired on 6 April. Ukraine made use of only $700 million of that loan. Since it is now too late to extend and increase that credit, agreement is to be reached on a new loan. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN, UKRAINIAN LEADERS ATTEND CHORNOBYL CONFERENCE. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk arrived in Vienna on 9 April to participate in a four-day conference on Chornobyl, international agencies reported. Marchuk told delegates that Ukraine intends to close down Chornobyl by 2000 but can do so only if it receives financial support. He said that support has not materialized to date. Lukashenka stressed that Belarus must use 20- 25% of its annual budget to deal with the consequences of the Chornobyl accident. He appealed to foreign countries to contribute $125 billion to help in that effort. More than 700 participants are attending the conference. -- Ustina Markus ESTONIAN PREMIER DENIES OWING RUSSIA RUBLES. Tiit Vahi has denied there is any need for Estonia to repay Russian rubles it withdrew from circulation when the country switched to its own currency, BNS reported on 9 April. Vahi was responding to Russian demands for compensation for the missing rubles. He proposed instead that Russia compensate Estonia for money frozen in accounts in the Russian Vnesheconombank and for damage caused by Russian troops in Estonia. The Estonian Foreign Ministry has not yet given an official reply to the demands. -- Ustina Markus LITHUANIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas has appointed Antanas Zenonas as Economy Minister, BNS reported on 6 April. He has also scheduled parliamentary elections for 20 October. The last such elections were held in October 1992. -- Ustina Markus FORMER FIRST SECRETARY ON MARTIAL LAW IN POLAND. Stanislaw Kania, first secretary of the Polish United Workers Party from 1980-1981, on 9 April gave testimony at the trial of former Internal Affairs Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak, Polish dailies reported. Kiszczak, who held office from 1981- 1990, is accused of authorizing police units to shoot at miners from Wujek and Manifest Lipcowy collieries in December 1991, when martial law was declared in Poland. Kania said he had been against martial law, although preparations for its proclamation began during his term in office under heavy Soviet pressure. Kania was replaced as first secretary in October 1981 by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. -- Jakub Karpinski SLOVAK CABINET TO TAKE PRESIDENT TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The Slovak government on 9 April decided to turn to the Constitutional Court over President Michal Kovac's refusal to appoint Labor and Social Affairs Minister Olga Keltosova as ambassador to the UN, Narodna obroda reported. The cabinet argued that although the president has the constitutional right to approve or reject ambassadorial candidates, the constitution does not allow him to make an appointment conditional on certain demands being met. Kovac said he would approve Keltosova's appointment if she distanced herself from a cabinet statement issued in September calling for his resignation. She has refused to comply. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES LAW ON PROTECTION OF REPUBLIC. Meanwhile, Kovac on 4 April rejected the law on the protection of the republic, asking the parliament to eliminate those provisions that "violate freedom of expression, information, and assembly," Slovak media reported on 10 April. The parliament can override Kovac by voting again for the law, but opposition parties have promised to take it to the Constitutional Court. Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec published a statement in Praca on 9 April stressing that, "To damage the nation, the state, and Slovakia is immoral; however, to restrict citizens' freedom of expression can be even more immoral." -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ISLAMIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN SARAJEVO. The foreign ministers of Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia, Pakistan, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey held a closed session in the Bosnian capital on 9 April to discuss offering mainly economic rather than military assistance. The eight countries constitute the Islamic Contact Group for Bosnia. The Malaysian defense minister was also in Sarajevo, where he met with his Bosnian counterpart to review the security situation. Meanwhile in Manama, UN Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey told businessmen, officials, and bankers from six Gulf Arab states that Bosnia needs private investment to repair war damage totaling $80-$100 billion, Onasa reported. Sacirbey stressed that investment, not aid, is the key to Bosnia's future. -- Patrick Moore BRITAIN TO RECOGNIZE RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. A representative of the Foreign Office on 9 April said Britain will recognize the rump Yugoslavia as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He added that bilateral relations are to be upgraded to the ambassadorial level. Reuters quoted the spokesman as saying that "this is a welcome development which reflects the changed circumstances in the region following signature of the Bosnia Peace Agreement." -- Stan Markotich CROATIAN UPDATE. President Franjo Tudjman told visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy that Croatia favors normalization of relations in the region but is opposed to any kind of integration or new Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 10 April. The Croatian PEN club has protested the new press law as a curb on freedom of expression, Politika noted. The PEN club, which is regarded as a highly prestigious institution among residents of the former Yugoslavia, also "disassociated itself" from its member Vladimir Seks, who is vice president of parliament, for his role in promoting the legislation. The parliament's president, Vlatko Pavletic, warned that the proposed law on cooperation with the tribunal in The Hague must be passed if Croatia wants to ensure its admission to the Council of Europe, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote. Finally, Czech President Vaclav Havel told Globus that democracy and the civil society need to be strengthened in Croatia. -- Patrick Moore MONTENEGRIN OPPOSITION PARTY ON RECOGNITION OF MACEDONIA. The opposition Liberal Party of Montenegro has said that Belgrade's recognition of Macedonia is likely to pave the way for improved relations between Belgrade and other states of the former Yugoslavia. But it added that the recognition of Macedonia was "overdue" and prompted by the "urging of the international community." Nada Bukilich, a Liberal Party representative, was quoted by Montena-fax on 9 April as saying that recognition is likely to smooth over outstanding differences over the question of succession. -- Stan Markotich SLOVENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER FALLS OUT OF FAVOR? Lojze Peterle, head of the Slovenian Christian Democratic Party, which supports the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has said his party has no choice but to urge that Zoran Thaler be removed from the post of foreign minister. Peterle maintains that Thaler, a Liberal Democrat, has failed to mend fences with neighboring Italy, which, he said, is a necessary step for Slovenia's entry into the EU. According to the Serbian news agency Beta, Peterle has argued that Thaler's failure to improve relations with Rome has contributed to Slovenia's tarnished image within the international community. -- Stan Markotich U.S. CONGRESSMAN TIES SUPPORT FOR ROMANIA TO EXCLUSION OF EXTREMISTS FROM GOVERNMENT...Tom Lantos, in Bucharest on 9 April, said he is ready to help Romania obtain most-favored-nation status and join NATO--on condition that "no extremist party" is included in Romania's government after the fall elections, Reuters and Romanian media reported. Lantos was speaking after meetings with Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, President Ion Iliescu, and Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca. Radio Bucharest cited Lantos as saying he is ready to offer help to Budapest and Bucharest to reach an agreement on the basic treaty, but he added that he is sure this will not be necessary since the two sides will reach an agreement by themselves. He also said Romania has to improve its record of treating national minorities and singled out the issue of the Hungarian-language university in Cluj. -- Michael Shafir ...WHILE FUNAR CALLS HIM "ENVOY OF HUNGARIAN IRREDENTISM." Gheorghe Funar, chairman of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), said in a declaration broadcast by Radio Bucharest that Lantos's visit was aimed at pressuring Romania into signing the basic agreement with Hungary under conditions advantageous to Budapest. He called Lantos, who is of Hungarian origin, "an envoy of Hungarian irredentism." The PUNR is still a member of the ruling coalition, although the main coalition partner, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, has said it intends to end its alliance with Funar's group. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER FORESEES "ARMS RACE IN REGION." If Hungary were granted NATO membership before Romania, there could be an arms race in the region, Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca said in an interview with the Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap on 9 April. Tinca also suggested that instead of competing for NATO membership, the two countries should accelerate talks on the pending basic treaty, improve bilateral relations, and promote the so-called historic reconciliation. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs responded that Hungary is neither in a race to improve its military arsenal nor competing for NATO membership with any country. He added that Hungary would like to see its neighbors join NATO as soon as possible because that would improve bilateral relations and the situation of ethnic Hungarian minorities. -- Zsofia Szilagyi ROMANIAN PREMIER OPPOSES DEBATE ON RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY. Nicolae Vacaroiu is opposed to a parliamentary debate on a draft law allowing the restitution of Jewish property confiscated between 1938 and 1989, Evenimentul zilei and Cotidianul reported on 10 April. The bill was proposed by Adrian Severin of the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front. Vacaroiu says anti-Semitic legislation of the 1930s and early 1940s has been corrected by laws passed in the late 1940s by the communists. Any new laws, he argued, should deal with all confiscated property, not just that belonging to Jews. He also noted that the bill would place impossible burdens on the state budget. -- Michael Shafir GUARDS BAR MOLDOVAN DEFENSE MINISTER FROM ENTERING OFFICE. Guards barred Gen. Pavel Creanga from entering his office on 9 April, Reuters reported. Creanga told the agency that the army's actions were in defiance of a recent Constitutional Court ruling, adding that the army is still under the direct command of President Mircea Snegur. Infotag reported that Snegur has asked the parliament to appoint Chief of Staff Col. Pavel Chirau as Creanga's replacement. Parliamentary sources told the agency that the legislature is unlikely to consider the request without first hearing the opinion of Premier Andrei Sangheli, who has refused to approve Creanga's dismissal. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN OPPOSITION SIGNS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS AGREEMENT. Bulgaria's major opposition forces on 9 April agreed to support a joint candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, Standart reported. The agreement provides for primary elections on 1 June in which members of the opposition will choose between incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev and Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Deputy Chairman Petar Stoyanov. Zhelev is supported by the People's Union and several smaller parties. The mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom is part of the united opposition but is to take a neutral stand in the primaries. Zhelev and Stoyanov signed the agreement in the presence of all opposition leaders. Zhelev had announced earlier that he will withdraw his candidacy for a second term if he loses to Stoyanov in the primaries. -- Stefan Krause FORMER BULGARIAN TSAR TO VISIT SOFIA IN MAY. Simeon II has announced he will visit Bulgaria for two weeks beginning 25 May, Bulgarian dailies reported on 10 April, citing an interview with Le Figaro. Simeon said he will travel "on a one-way ticket" but will return to Madrid if he "cannot do anything useful." He said he wants to hold talks in Sofia to find out "what the reality is there." Simeon left Bulgaria after a communist referendum abolished the monarchy in 1946, but he has retained his Bulgarian citizenship. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov on 6 April said that the government sees Simeon as an unwelcome guest but added that he can nonetheless visit the country, RFE/RL reported. The government has repeatedly called on Simeon to renounce any idea of reclaiming the throne or restoring the monarchy. -- Stefan Krause COUNCIL OF EUROPE CHAIRWOMAN IN ALBANIA. Lenny Fischer, chairwoman of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, visited Albania on 9 April, Gazeta Shqiptare reported. Albanian President Sali Berisha told Fischer that Albania is committed to respecting all its obligations as a council member. Recently, the rapporteur of the council's Legal Affairs Committee criticized the Albanian government for not keeping promises it had given when admitted to the council last summer, including guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary, Koha Jone reported. Albania has also not yet abolished capital punishment; and in several cases, judges have handed down the death sentence. Another disputed issue is the continued imprisonment of Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, whose conviction for misappropriation of funds has not yet been reviewed. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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