No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 72, Part II, 11 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "Akayev "Rotates" Kyrgyzstan's Media Heads," by Lowell Bezanis
- "A Serbian Opposition Party in Trouble?," by Sharon Fisher
- "Albania's Rocky Road to Europe," by Fabian Schmidt
- "Britain Recognizes Rump Yugoslavia," by Stan Markotich
- "Russia Fails to Budge Poland on NATO Expansion," by Scott Parrish
- "Belarusian Opposition Leaders in Exile," by Ustina Markus

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER IN CZECH REPUBLIC. Zyanon Paznyak, leader
of the Belarusian Popular Front, held a press conference at RFE/RL in
Prague on 10 April, RFE/RL reported. One day earlier, he paid a visit to
OMRI. Paznyak and an opposition colleague, Syarhei Naumchyk, were unable
to return to Belarus from Ukraine after President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
issued a warrant for their arrest for their part in organizing
demonstrations against the Russian-Belarusian integration agreement.
Paznyak accused Lukashenka of imposing "authoritarian and dictatorial"
rule in Belarus, adding that the country was experiencing an
"informational blockade." He called for solidarity among opposition
forces, saying he has long been planning a trip abroad to muster support
for the national democratic movement in Belarus. -- Ustina Markus
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN INDONESIA. Leonid Kuchma arrived in Jakarta on 10
April for a four-day official visit, Ukrainian Radio and international
agencies reported. He will hold talks with his Indonesian counterpart,
Suharto. The purpose of the visit is to boost economic cooperation. Last
year Ukraine's trade with Indonesia totaled $65 million. -- Ustina
Markus

EU ON BALTIC STATES' MEMBERSHIP. European Parliament President Klaus
Hensch has said the EU is interested in admitting all the Baltic states
into the EU simultaneously, BNS reported on 10 April. He said the
organization preferred to admit groups of states with similar
geostrategic positions at the same time. Talks with the Baltic States on
admission will not begin before 1998, Hensch underlined. -- Ustina
Markus

LATVIA ISSUES REGULATION ON CONTROLLING FISHING WATERS. The Latvian
cabinet has issued a regulation on controlling fishing waters on its
side of the provisional fishing borderline with Estonia, Latvijas
vestnesis reported on 10 April. The Latvian Navy is required to monitor
the fishing borderline, prevent conflict situations, and implement
international conventions on navigation. It has also been instructed not
to interfere with Estonian fishing vessels between the fishing
borderline and the maritime borderline. Naval Commander Gaidis Zeibots
did not say how the regulation was to be implemented. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH PRESIDENT OFFERS DIALOGUE ON NATO EXPANSION. Aleksander
Kwasniewski, at a press conference closing his visit to Moscow, pledged
that Poland will closely consult with its eastern neighbors before
joining NATO, Russian and Western agencies reported. ITAR-TASS quoted
Kwasniewski as saying that such discussions might "dispel suspicions
about our plans" and avert "unpleasant surprises." But he did not
suggest that Poland will be willing to moderate its desire for full
membership in NATO, which Russia rejects. The Polish president offered
an upbeat assessment of his visit, terming it "important, necessary, and
essential." But some Russian and Polish commentators have expressed
disappointment with its relatively meager results. -- Scott Parrish

UPDATE ON AUSCHWITZ DEMONSTRATION. Marek Trombski, governor of the
Bielsko-Biala district, offered his resignation on 10 April, Polish
media reported. Trombski authorized the 6 April demonstration outside
the main entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp, at which banners
were raised protesting against NATO, the EU, and Jews. He had argued
that the camp site had not been desecrated because the demonstrators
marched silently and with rolled-up banners. He had also said he was
blackmailed by the organizers of the demonstration, who threatened that
if they were not given permission to rally, they would disrupt a march
commemorating Holocaust victims scheduled for 16 April. The government
condemned the demonstration and asked the justice and internal affairs
ministers to present a report on the activities of extremist groups in
Poland. It also announced its intention to amend the law on public
gatherings to reduce the possibility of similar demonstrations. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH GOVERNMENT WILL NOT SEEK BAN ON RADICAL COMMUNISTS. The Czech
government on 10 April decided not to ask the country's Supreme Court to
ban the neo-Stalinist Party of Czechoslovak Communists, Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus said at a press conference in Prague. The party was formed
in 1995 by Miroslav Stepan, a former politburo member of the Communist
Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC). It sees itself as the KSC's successor and
seeks the "the renewal of socialism and the Czechoslovak state."
Internal Affairs Minister Jan Ruml announced last month that he will
seek a ban on the party, arguing that its goals contravened the 1993 Law
on the Illegality of the Communist System. A number of other communist
and post-communist groups exist in the Czech Republic; some have
parliamentary representation, but their programs do not appear to
violate the anti-communist law. Klaus explained his government's
decision not to ban Stepan's party by saying that the government is
formed through free competition among political parties and that
democracy in the Czech Republic is not endangered. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES TERRITORIAL ADMINISTRATION BILL. Michal Kovac on
9 April refused to sign the law on Slovakia's territorial
administration, which would divide the country into eight regions and 79
districts, Slovak media reported two days later. The opposition has
sharply criticized the law, particularly Hungarian minority deputies,
who fear that together with anticipated changes in the electoral law, it
could negatively affect their parliamentary representation. Hungarian
officials have said the bill contravenes the Slovak-Hungarian treaty.
Kovac was mainly concerned about the provision that Bratislava would no
longer have the status of an independent region. He asked that the law's
implementation be delayed from 1 July 1996 to 1 January 1997. -- Sharon
Fisher

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR IN SLOVAKIA. Franz Vranitzky visited Slovakia on 10
April to receive an honorary doctorate from Bratislava's Economic
University, Sme reported. "I consider politics the antithesis to slogans
of populism and nationalism..., which arouse fear and uncertainty,"
Vranitzky said. He added that "as long as political reforms are
concentrated only on introducing legal norms, the application of
technical know-how in the economy, and the administration and management
of modern political parties, there is a danger that democracy and the
fundamental needs of citizens will be overlooked." Vranitzky told Slovak
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar that he considers it "very important"
that Slovakia is among the first group of countries admitted to the EU.
Vranitzky and Meciar also discussed a trilateral meeting--to include
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn--scheduled for July in Slovakia. --
Sharon Fisher

GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN HUNGARY TO DISCUSS NATO. Volker Ruhe has said
that NATO membership is not conditional on the deployment of nuclear
weapons or the stationing of foreign troops on the territory of future
member states, Hungarian media reported on 11 April. Following talks
with his Hungarian counterpart, Gyorgy Keleti, in Budapest, Ruhe also
said that NATO plans to reduce its defense capability in the near future
and thus it may be the case that no nuclear weapons will be deployed in
states that prefer to remain nuclear-free. Commenting on Romanian
Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca's concerns about NATO expansion (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 10 April 1996), Ruhe said neither the EU nor NATO is
capable of admitting all Eastern European states at the same time. He
said he would ask Tinca to clarify his position. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIA CHARGES SIX MUSLIMS WITH TERRORISM. Croatia has formally
indicted six Bosnian Muslims on charges of planning to murder Bihac
kingpin Fikret Abdic in Rijeka, Reuters reported on 10 April. "There is
a founded suspicion that the accused intended to commit a criminal act
of killing Fikret Abdic," Rijeka county public prosecutor Drago Marincel
told Croatian TV. Four men and one woman have been arrested, while
another man is still at large. Two of those arrested worked for the
Bihac police, while the man still being sought was employed by Bosnia's
security department. They reportedly had a large number of weapons
stored in Croatia. Bosnia's ambassador Kasim Trnka told Onasa news
agency, however, that Bosnia has no reason to send terrorists to
Croatia. His embassy spokesman said those arrested were in fact Abdic's
own agents trying to sabotage Zagreb-Sarajevo relations, Slobodna
Dalmacija wrote on 11 April. The Croatian government has since delivered
a formal protest note to the embassy over the incident, Nasa Borba
reported. Meanwhile in Zagreb, eight Croatian citizens have gone on
trial for killing 18 elderly Serbs after Croatian forces defeated
Serbian forces last year, Hina said on 10 April. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS NOT TO ATTEND AID CONFERENCE. The international
community's High Representative Carl Bildt has rejected demands by Pale
that the Republika Srpska's delegation to the Brussels conference on
reconstruction be separate from the federation's. Bildt said the Serbs
had earlier agreed to a joint representation, in keeping with the Dayton
agreement's principle that Bosnia-Herzegovina is a single state
consisting of two entities. He added that he could not now invite the
Serbs to come to Brussels on 12 April, the BBC reported. Speculation
about the Serbs' decision centers on the theory that there is fierce
infighting between hard-liners around civilian leader Radovan Karadzic
based in Pale and the supposedly more moderate Banja Luka group headed
by Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic. A cornerstone of the Dayton package was
the hope that the promise of international aid and reconstruction money
would prompt all sides to observe the terms of the treaty and be
cooperative. -- Patrick Moore

MUSLIM COUNTRIES DISAPPOINT BOSNIAN HOPES FOR AID. Representatives of 14
Islamic countries concluded a conference on helping the war-torn
republic rebuild its economy and shore up its defenses, but they
apparently fell short of promising a joint fixed sum for the effort.
Turkey pledged $80 million and Iran $50 million, Oslobodjenje wrote on
11 April. Ten other countries were invited but did not send
representatives. President Alija Izetbegovic appealed to the delegates
that Bosnian needs their help. Iran used the occasion to open a cultural
center, which will also coordinate reconstruction work, local media
reported. -- Patrick Moore

EU PREPARES TO RECOGNIZE BELGRADE. The EU on 10 April said that rump
Yugoslavia's recognition of Macedonia "opens the way to recognition by
(EU) member states of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as one of the
successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," AFP
reported. In a related development, a spokesman from the Belgian Foreign
Ministry said Brussels will recognize rump Yugoslavia in the near
future, while German officials said they will discuss the question of
recognition later this week. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR TO BE OUSTED? Speculation is rife in Serbia
that the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic are planning to oust National Bank Governor Dragoslav
Avramovic, who played a significant role in curbing hyperinflation and
introducing economic stability in 1994. Fueling the speculation are
local media reports quoting Avramovic as saying the SPS sabotaged his
recent efforts to secure IMF and World Bank membership by insisting
those bodies recognize rump Yugoslavia as the successor to the former
Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN OFFICIALS ON SUCCESSION ISSUE. Miran Mejak, head of the
Slovenian committee on succession to the former Yugoslavia, has
responded to Belgrade's recognition of Macedonia by saying it has "no
impact" on the succession question. Mejak, in a statement reported by
STA on 10 April, observed that all the successor countries of the former
Yugoslavia must be regarded as "equal" and that an agreement must be
reached on any decision on the division of assets belonging to the
former Yugoslavia. Belgrade's Politika on 11 April reports that
Slovenian Premier Janez Drnovsek has largely endorsed Mejak's viewpoint.
-- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ELECTIONS TO BE POSTPONED? Ioan Gavra, deputy chairman of the
Party of Romanian National Unity, has pointed out that the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania's decision to take the new law on local
elections to the Constitutional Court means local elections cannot be
held in late May or early June, Radio Bucharest reported. General and
presidential elections will also have to be postponed, since the
constitution stipulates that at least six months must separate local and
other elections. In a related development, Dinu Zamfirescu, a leader of
the Liberal Party '93, denied that his formation will join the pact
recently concluded between the Social Democratic Union and the Party of
Civic Alliance for the local elections. Meanwhile, a Romanian Senate
commission on 10 April voted in favor of lifting the parliamentary
immunity of Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extreme nationalist
Greater Romania Party. The plenum will now have to vote on the issue. --
Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN DEFENSE MINISTER REINSTATED. President Mircea Snegur has
reinstated Defense Minister Pavel Creanga following the Constitutional
Court's decision that his dismissal was illegal, Moldovan and
international agencies reported on 10 April. But at the same time,
Snegur has reduced Creanga's powers, citing unrest in the army. Creanga
remains in charge of the day-to-day running of the army, but Snegur is
to be in charge of military affairs in his capacity as commander in
chief. General Tudor Dabija, whom Snegur nominated as Creanga's
replacement, will continue to serve as deputy defense minister. --
Michael Shafir

NEW MOLDOVAN LAW ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Moldovan parliament has
passed on its first reading a new law on presidential elections, Infotag
and BASA-press reported on 10 April. The new legislation stipulates that
presidential candidates have to be backed by at least 50,000 people from
at least one-third of Moldova's electoral districts. This stipulation--
which, proportionally, is twice as high as in Russia and three times as
high as in Romania--has prompted protests from the opposition. Elections
are to be held on the fourth Saturday of October in the year when a
presidential term expires, with run-offs on the second Saturday of
November. The president is to take office on 8 December, the day the
first president of Moldova was elected in 1991. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT VETOES WATER ACCORD WITH GREECE. Zhelyu Zhelev on 10
April vetoed the Greek-Bulgarian agreement on the division of the water
of the River Mesta/Nestos (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 March 1996),
Reuters reported. He argued that the issue should be dealt with at the
same time as all other disagreements between Sofia and Athens. The
treaty was signed in December 1995 and was ratified by the Bulgarian
parliament on 28 March, ending a decade-old dispute. In other news,
Zhelev and Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas signed a friendship
and cooperation treaty and several other agreements. Brazauskas arrived
in Sofia on 10 April for a two-day visit. -- Stefan Krause

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO SOVIET MONUMENT IN SECOND-LARGEST BULGARIAN CITY?
The Plovdiv Municipal Council on 10 April decided to demolish the statue
of a Soviet soldier popularly known as "Alyosha," Duma reported.
Bulgaria's second-largest city is dominated by the anti-communist Union
of Democratic Forces. Mayor Spas Garnevski promised during his election
campaign last year to pull down the statue, which he called a "symbol of
the Soviet occupation army." He argued that the monument has no cultural
or historical value. The Russian General Consulate in Plovdiv claims
that the decision violates five international conventions on the
preservation of cultural heritage as well as agreements between
Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev and his Russian counterpart, Boris
Yeltsin. State officials have said the council's decision has no legal
force since "Alyosha" is state property and therefore cannot be pulled
down by the local authorities. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT SETS DATE FOR ELECTIONS. Sali Berisha has scheduled
Albania's third free elections for 26 May, Reuters reported on 10 April.
His announcement marks the official beginning of the election campaign,
which the Democratic Party unofficially launched at its congress on 4
April. Berisha also announced the dissolution of the parliament and
approved the establishment of the Central Election Committee, which will
be composed of nine members appointed by the government and Berisha's
Democratic Party and eight by the other opposition parties. Both main
parties, the Democrats and the Socialists, have said they are confident
that they will win a parliamentary majority. But opinion polls are still
in their infancy in Albania, making it difficult to predict the outcome.
-- Fabian Schmidt

CORRECTION: In the 9 April OMRI Daily Digest, the first sentence of the
item "UKRAINE,
VIETNAM SIGN AGREEMENT" should have read: "President Leonid Kuchma and his
Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Anh, meeting in Hanoi on 8 April, signed an
agreement on
cooperation, international agencies reported."

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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