If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 73, Part II, 12 April 1996


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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN AID DONOR CONFERENCE OPENS IN BRUSSELS. The second major
international gathering to raise money for the reconstruction of Bosnia-
Herzegovina opened on 12 April in Brussels. The sponsors are the EU
Commission and the World Bank, and participants come from 55 countries
and 29 international organizations. The agenda centers on plans to
distribute $1.8 billion in pledged assistance and to raise an additional
$1.2 billion, international and local media reported. The World Bank's
James Wolfensohn said one of his priorities will be the creation of jobs
for the 250,000 soldiers being demobilized, Onasa and Nasa Borba noted.
The international community's High Representative Carl Bildt rejected
the Bosnian Serbs' demand that they form a separate delegation, so only
delegates from the federation were invited and are present. Bildt told
the BBC that few donors are interested in putting their money into the
Republika Srpska. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES SATELLITE LAUNCHES WITH INDONESIA. Leonid
Kuchma and Indonesian President Suharto have discussed the possibility
of Ukraine's launching a communications satellite from an Indonesian
site, AFP reported on 11 April. The satellite would help resolve
Indonesia's communications problems among its thousands of islands.
Kuchma told Suharto that Ukraine could launch the satellite with its
rockets but would be unable to finance the project owing to its economic
difficulties. Kuchma is in Indonesia to try to increase trade and
economic cooperation between Ukraine and the Far East. -- Ustina Markus

THREE BELARUSIAN FACTIONS APPROVE ACCORD WITH RUSSIA. Three of the five
Belarusian parliamentary factions--the Communists, the Agrarians, and
the pro-presidential "Accord"--have approved the 2 April Russian-
Belarusian agreement on integration, Belarusian TV reported on 10 April.
The three factions voiced support for President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
policies and urged the parliament's speedy ratification of the treaty.
The two other parliamentary factions--the Social-Democrats and Civic
Action--are unlikely to be as supportive, since their leaderships have
criticized Lukashenka's pro-Russian policies. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN DEPUTIES PROPOSE EASING CITIZENSHIP RULES. The Russian
caucus in the Estonian parliament has proposed amending Estonia's
citizenship law to make it easier to obtain citizenship, BNS reported on
11 April. The deputies want people who settled in Estonia before July
1990 and are over 55 to be exempt from the language examination. They
have also proposed automatically granting citizenship to people married
to Estonians, and ethnic Estonians who take up residency in the country.
Deputy Mart Nutt said the proposed amendments disregard the interests of
the Estonian state. He said most European countries do not grant
citizenship on the basis of marriage and that it is difficult to define
who is an ethnic Estonian. -- Ustina Markus

FISHERMEN URGE LATVIA TO SEPARATE BORDER, FISHING ISSUES. The Latvian
Fish Industry Association plans to propose that the Latvian and Estonian
governments seek to resolve their maritime border problems separately
from the fishing issue, BNS reported on 11 April. Chairman of the
association Mikelis Pesse said that Latvian and Estonian fishermen have
never argued over fishing and that the issue has become
"overpoliticized." The prime ministers of the two countries are
scheduled to meet on 14 April to discuss Latvia's decision to
unilaterally define a fishing area. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH PRESIDENTS TO RECEIVE PENSIONS. The Sejm on 12 April passed a law
to grant pensions to former presidents of the Republic of Poland, Polish
and international agencies reported. Three former presidents will
receive pensions worth 6,500 zlotys a month ($2,600, the amount the
current president earns): Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was president
when the country changed its name to the Republic of Poland in 1990;
Lech Walesa, who held office from 1990-1995; and Ryszard Kaczorowski,
who is the only living president of the Republic of Poland's government
in exile in London, which existed until Walesa's election. Walesa
appeared at the Gdansk shipyard on 2 April but did not start work,
choosing instead to go on a lecture tour in the U.S. -- Jakub Karpinski

TREATY SIGNED ON PROTECTION OF ODER RIVER. Environment ministers from
Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, meeting with EU representatives
in Wroclaw on 11 April, signed a treaty on protecting the Oder River
against pollution. The treaty also aims to limit pollution brought by
the Oder to the Baltic Sea. An international commission will be
established in Wroclaw to oversee the protection of the river. Polish
Environment Minister Stanislaw Zelichowski said that Poland has
bilateral arrangements with Germany and the Czech Republic on
environment issues but that a new approach was required to ensure the
Oder's protection. He added that cleaning up the river would cost around
$20 billion, Polish dailies reported on 12 April. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH VILLAGERS PROTEST PROPOSED CHANGES IN BORDER WITH SLOVAKIA. A
five-member delegation from the village of U Sabotu on 11 April
submitted to the Czech parliament a petition signed by 21 village
residents urging deputies not to approve a Czech-Slovak border agreement
signed at government level in January, Czech and Slovak media reported.
Under the agreement, the village is to be transferred from the Czech
Republic to Slovakia. The villagers point out that a local referendum on
the issue never took place. The Czech government recently decided to
offer financial compensation to those residents who want to continue
living in the Czech Republic. The petitioners, however, argue they do
not want money but just want "to live where we used to." President
Vaclav Havel unexpectedly received the delegation and commented
afterward that he sees the proposed transfer of the village to Slovakia
as "the price the village's inhabitants will have to pay for the split
of Czechoslovakia... This is a price paid by all those of us who wanted
to live in a common Czechoslovak state." -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKIA'S CREDIT RATINGS UPGRADED. Standard & Poor's on 11 April
increased its rating of Slovakia from BB+ to BBB-, international and
Slovak media reported. Slovak National Bank Chairman Vladimir Masar told
Slovak TV that the new ratings move Slovakia for the first time from the
speculative to the "investment rating grade." Slovakia now has the same
rating as Poland and is ahead of Hungary. The Czech Republic recently
received an A rating, becoming the first post-communist country to move
into that category. Standard & Poor praised macroeconomic developments
in Slovakia, where the economy grew by 7.4% last year and annual
inflation was only 7.2%--the best such indicators in Eastern Europe. It
also hailed Slovakia's foreign trade and budget policies. But at the
same time, the agency warned that further upgrading may be impeded by
the country's unstable political situation and the lack of industrial
restructuring. -- Jiri Pehe

ATTACKS ON ROMA IN SLOVAKIA. A Romani man suffered burns when three
Slovak men threw a bottle of flaming liquid into his house in Zalistie,
after having assaulted him and four other Roma, TASR reported on 10
April. According to the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, a group
of skinheads the previous week attacked Romani children from an
orphanage attending a hockey game, yelling "we will kill all Gypsies."
The orphanage head said Slovaks who were also attending the game did not
intervene but made room for the skinheads. Several callers to a
Bratislava radio show said they approved of the attacks, noting that the
Slovak state "does not protect its citizens against Gypsies." Several
children are recovering with broken bones in the hospital. -- Alaina
Lemon

BOSNIAN INMATES START RIOT IN HUNGARIAN PRISON. Some two dozen inmates
from the former Yugoslavia on 10 April staged a riot in a Hungarian
prison to demand the acceleration of their repatriation, Hungarian and
international media reported. National Prison Authority officials said
the riot was initiated by three Bosnians. Later, 20 ethnic Albanians
from Kosovo joined the protest. They threatened to commit suicide and
broke windows and furniture to press their demands for repatriation. The
riot followed the 14 March visit of a Bosnian Embassy official who had
promised the three Bosnians repatriation in a few days. The three men
were arrested for illegally entering the country. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

OPPOSITION TO HUNGARIAN PREMIER'S PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH INVESTIGATIVE
OFFICE. Opposition parties, the junior coalition Alliance of Free
Democrats (SZDSZ), and many deputies from the Socialist Party oppose
Gyula Horn's initiative to set up an office to investigate white-collar
economic crime, Hungarian media reported on 12 April. Many opposition
deputies fear that the new office would mean a still larger state
apparatus that is no more efficient. SZDSZ chairman Ivan Peto stressed
that his caucus would vote against the office, as the SZDSZ has been
advocating a less costly state structure. He suggested that in order to
fight corruption and black-marketeering, tax legislation be tightened
and the police force, the National Security Office and the prosecutor-
general's position all be strengthened. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN-MUSLIM FEDERATION NEEDS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT. Federal
President Kresimir Zubak told parliament that the federation is in its
"most critical period ever" because of "essential differences" between
the Croatian and Muslim sides. He called for greater involvement by the
international community to shore up the shaky federation, which is one
of the cornerstones of the Dayton agreement, AFP reported on 11 April.
Vice President Ejup Ganic also stressed that problems are numerous. The
legislative session has a large agenda, including adopting a new flag
and state emblem. -- Patrick Moore

FIRST MEETING OF INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS FROM BOSNIAN FEDERATION,
REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. The OSCE and OMRI on 10 April sponsored the first
meeting of independent newspapers from both the federation and the
Republika Srpska. The journalists met in Banja Luka and will hold their
next session in Sarajevo, Onasa reported. The agency also said that
David Rohde of the Christian Science Monitor won the Pulitzer Prize for
International Reporting for his work in investigating mass graves of
Muslims murdered after the fall of Srebrenica. In that same area, UN
investigators have found evidence of additional mass graves, Reuters
noted. Serbian authorities freed 211 Muslims from Srebrenica who had
been held as prisoners at Sljivovica in rump Yugoslavia, but they
continue to detain 13 others as possible war criminals. The UNHCR has
protested, saying that all 224 people should have been freed, Nasa Borba
reported on 11 April. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the young Serbian man and
his Muslim girlfriend who were killed as they tried to cross front lines
in 1993 were reburied in the main cemetery in an atheist ceremony,
international media noted on 10 April. -- Patrick Moore

INDEPENDENT CROATIAN DAILY TO FIGHT MOVE TO SHUT IT DOWN. Rijeka's Novi
list--Croatia's third-largest and only independent daily paper--will pay
a $2.5 million fine to prevent its assets from being frozen but will
also fight the charges in court. Editors said that they regard the fine
as an attempt to close the paper by bankrupting it, a technique that the
governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has already used against
the independent media. The fine allegedly stems from back taxes and from
having imported printing equipment from Italy at a low rate reserved for
publications for ethnic minorities, Reuters reported on 11 April. The
HDZ lost the October 1995 legislative elections in Rijeka and is
unpopular in nearby Istria, where it is regarded as the party of
centralized rule from Zagreb. The editors noted that the current move
against the paper comes with local elections due this summer. -- Patrick
Moore

RUMP-YUGOSLAV INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS WRAP-UP. Following visits to Croatia
and Bosnia, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy arrived in the rump
Yugoslavia on 11 April. He met with President Slobodan Milosevic and
Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic to discuss rump Yugoslavia's
cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal and bilateral
economic cooperation such as opening new airline links. Meanwhile,
Sweden and Norway gave full diplomatic recognition to rump Yugoslavia,
Nasa Borba reported on 12 April. -- Fabian Schmidt

SERBIAN NATIONAL BANK GOVERNOR WARNS OF HYPERINFLATION. Dragoslav
Avramovic has warned Serbian President Milosevic that rump Yugoslavia is
again facing hyperinflation. He has threatened to stop issuing credits.
According to Avramovic, foreign-currency reserves are currently falling
by $1 million a day, Nasa Borba reported. Avramovic clashed earlier with
Milosevic over relations with the IMF. He also urged the government to
sign an agreement on new IMF loans, warning that the country otherwise
faced "new inflationary suicide." Membership talks between rump
Yugoslavia and the IMF at the end of March in Paris failed to achieve
any results because the former insisted it is the sole legal successor
to the former Yugoslavia. -- Fabian Schmidt

POLICE DETAIN KOSOVAR WEEKLY'S MARKETING DIRECTOR. Koha editor in chief
Veton Surroi has told OMRI that Serbian police on 11 April detained
Ahmet Kurtolli, the weekly's marketing director. Kurtolli was questioned
about the latest issue of the weekly, which was originally banned by the
police but appeared in kiosks with one week delay on 10 April. Following
international protests, the Pristina prosecutor-general revoked an
earlier order stating that the paper cannot be published unless censored
by him. -- Fabian Schmidt

HIGH-LEVEL DEFENSE MEETINGS IN BUCHAREST. German Defense Minister Volker
Ruehe, speaking in Bucharest on 11 April, said that Romania and Hungary
have an equal chance of joining NATO, Romanian and international media
reported. Ruehe met with his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, and
Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu. He is scheduled to meet with President
Ion Iliescu. Meanwhile, Hungarian Chief of Staff Sandor Nemeth is also
in Bucharest. At a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart,
Gen. Dumitru Cioflina, he said Hungary will back Romania's quest for
NATO membership because it would be detrimental for security in Europe
and the region if countries belonged to different security systems.
Nemeth and Tinca also signed two military accords. -- Michael Shafir

CONTROVERSY OVER ROMANIAN CHIEF OF STAFF STATEMENTS. Meanwhile, Gen.
Cioflina denied having said that if the Russian elections are won by the
Communists and if Romania is not "co-opted by NATO," the former Warsaw
Pact countries (presumably excluding Moscow) will have to set up an
alliance "to counterbalance Soviet influence in this part of Europe."
This statement was reported by the daily Evenimentul zilei on 11 April.
Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu the same day said that the
statements reported by Romanian and international media were taken out
of context and harmed Romania's image abroad, Radio Bucharest reported.
Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca said Cioflina's comment was simply a
"reaction by a [member of the] military" to a "hypothetical scenario."
-- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN ELECTIONS TO TAKE PLACE ON SCHEDULE AFTER ALL? The
Constitutional Court on 11 April ruled that the recent laws on public
administration and local elections are constitutional, Romanian media
reported. Nicolae Manolescu, leader of the Party of Civic Alliance,
rejected the Party of Romanian National Unity's claim that elections
will have to be postponed as a result of the Constitutional Court's
examination of the legislation. He said the local election campaign will
be shortened from 45 to 30 days so that the ballot can be held on 26
May. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN FRONTIER GUARDS DETAIN BANGLADESHI CITIZENS. Moldovan frontier
guards detained 14 Bangladeshi citizens who were trying to cross the
border into Romania, BASA press reported on 11 April. The 14 had hidden
in a truck container driven by a Moldovan citizen. Last year, 3,356
Asians were detained while trying to illegally cross the Moldovan-
Romanian border, apparently on their way to the West. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES ATTACK AGAINST PRESIDENT. Bulgarian Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov has accused President Zhelyu Zhelev of trying to
"provoke a catastrophe" in the country, Reuters reported on 11 April.
Videnov said that Zhelev is blocking laws, enflaming the war between
state institutions, and "mocking our national prosperity, dignity and
security." Zhelev recently tried to block controversial tax law
amendments that, he argues, will damage small businesses and stifle the
country's fragile private sector. Zhelev can veto legislation only once.
The amendments were upheld by the parliament on 11 April and will
shortly become law. -- Fabian Schmidt

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA. Algirdas Brazauskas arrived in Sofia
on 11 April, Reuters reported. His visit was overshadowed by the long-
running feud between Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev and Premier Zhan
Videnov. Atanas Pavlov, the government's chief of protocol, criticized
Zhelev for failing to schedule a meeting with Videnov during Brazauskas'
two-day visit. Lithuanian journalists have interpreted Videnov's failure
to attend a speech given by Brazauskas in the Bulgarian parliament as a
snub against Zhelev. -- Fabian Schmidt

SIX ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATES BANNED FROM RUNNING IN ELECTIONS. An
election commission has banned six candidates from the opposition
Democratic Alliance from running in the 26 May elections, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 12 April. The controversial screening law, which
was adopted last fall, prohibits all former high-ranking communist
officials from running for public office until 2005. Among those banned
are Prec Zogaj, the editor-in-chief of Aleanca (the party mouthpiece)
and former Defense Minister Perikli Teta. Democratic Alliance leader
Neritan Ceka and Secretary General Arben Imami are both allowed to run.
The composition of the commission, which is dominated by the ruling
Democratic Party and the government, was severely criticized by the
opposition. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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