|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 74, Part II, 15 April 1996
New OMRI Analytical Briefs: - "Amnesty International on Turkmenistan: Words for Deaf Ears?," by Lowell Bezanis - "Improving Czech-Polish Relations," by Jiri Pehe 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BOSNIAN AID CONFERENCE CLOSES. Representatives of 55 countries and 26 international organizations ended a two-day session in Brussels on 13 April, having secured the necessary $1.2 billion in additional reconstruction aid pledges, Onasa reported. Bosnian Serb representatives were not present because they refused to join a Bosnian delegation that included federal officials. The international community's High Representative Carl Bildt said the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic should be arrested because it is "not acceptable" that indicted war criminals continue to move about freely, Western news agencies noted. The Bosnian Serbs will receive a share of the aid, but it will be linked to their support for the Dayton agreement, Nasa Borba reported on 15 April. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINE PLEAS FOR MORE CASH FOR CHORNOBYL. Ukrainian Finance Minister Petro Hermanchuk on 14 April appealed to the EBRD board meeting in Sofia to lend more money to Ukraine for the expansion of its energy sector, RFE/RL reported. Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors produce 40% of the nation's electricity, and the country is currently completing an additional five reactors. The EBRD is considering granting $1 billion to Ukraine to enable the completion of the Khmelnitski and Rivne reactors. -- Peter Rutland BLACK SEA FLEET MANEUVERS. For the first time in two years, ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet put to sea to conduct a large-scale exercise, NTV reported on 13 April. Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Kravchenko told a press conference that the exercise will involve 46 ships in mine clearing and live firing drills. It is to culminate on 19 April with a marine landing. Ukrainian observers were present, but vessels from the Ukrainian fleet were not involved. The maneuvers coincide with the arrival in Kyiv on 15 April of NATO Secretary-General Javier de Solana at the beginning of his 12-nation tour of Eastern Europe. -- Peter Rutland BELARUS DEFENDS FINANCIAL POLICY. Valyantsin Vasilevich, deputy head of the Belarus National Bank, said on 13 April that Belarus may introduce a fixed exchange rate within several months, RFE/RL reported. Valentin was speaking at a meeting of the EBRD board in Sofia. The IMF has suspended lending to Belarus, partly because it accuses the National Bank of preventing the Belarusian ruble from depreciating. Meanwhile, the head of the Belarus parliament, Syamyon Sharetsky, told a press conference that preparations are under way for the creation of an interparliamentary assembly between Belarus and Russia, Russian Television reported on 14 April. A document should be ready for ratification by the two parliaments by the end of the month. -- Peter Rutland LITHUANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER WANTS TO QUIT RULING PARTY. Linas Linkevicius is planning to quit the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDPP), Lithuanian Radio and Reuters reported. No reason has been given for his decision, which comes only two days before NATO Secretary- General Javier de Solana's visit to Lithuania. If he leaves the party, Linkevicius will also have to vacate his ministerial post, a government source told Reuters. The LDPP, the successor to the Lithuanian Communist Party, recently survived a government crisis that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius. It is expected to suffer a defeat in the October general elections. -- Jiri Pehe CZECH PRESIDENT VISITS BALTIC STATES. Vaclav Havel departed for a visit to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia on the weekend. The heads of those three states all visited Prague in late 1994 to meet with Havel. Before his departure, Havel told journalists that "all states should have the right to decide where their place is [internationally]. This should no longer be decided by the army headquarters of big powers." In an interview with the Latvian daily Diena on 13 April, Havel said the aim of his visit is "to express our solidarity with the three Baltic States and to contribute to a further deepening of bilateral relations." Havel arrived in Riga on 14 April where he was met by Prime Minister Andris Skele. -- Jiri Pehe PRESIDENT OF POLISH PUBLIC TV APPOINTED. The Supervisory Council of Polish Public TV on 12 April appointed Ryszard Miazek as TVP president, Polish dailies reported. Miazek is supported by the coalition Polish Peasant Party. Since two other board members are supported by the ruling Democratic Left Alliance, the coalition now has a majority on the 5- member board. TVP management recently experienced a crisis when TVP1 director Maciej Pawlicki was dismissed and former TVP President Wieslaw Walendziak resigned. Both men were accused by the ruling coalition of opposition sympathies. The opposition saw them as guaranteeing the independence of TVP. -- Jakub Karpinski SOLIDARITY GAINS SUPPORT. In an opinion poll conducted in March by the Sopot Social Research Bureau, the trade union Solidarity received 17% of the vote, up one percentage point on the previous month. The Movement for Poland's Reconstruction, the Christian-National Alliance, the Non- Party Bloc of Support for Reforms (created to back former President Lech Walesa), the Freedom Union, and even the Labor Union -- which is opposed to Solidarity's anti-communist stance -- have declared their wish to establish an alliance with Solidarity for the 1997 parliamentary elections. But the leaders of those parties have stressed they would have difficulties forging an alliance with the other right-wing parties, Rzeczpospolita reported on 15 April. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND TO JOINTLY MODERNIZE AIR FORCES. The Czech and Polish defense and foreign ministers, meeting in the Czech town of Vyskov on 13 April, agreed to create a Czech-Polish commission tasked with recommending how to jointly modernize the two countries' air forces, Czech media reported. Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec said after the meeting that the commission will focus on the possible joint purchases of airplanes and weapons as well as cooperation in the aircraft industry and air traffic control. International media last week reported that the Czech Republic and Poland are considering buying jointly Western-made fighter jets. -- Jiri Pehe DELEGATION FROM EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION IN SLOVAKIA. A delegation from the European Journalists Association (EJA), led by Chairman Athanase Papandropoulos and Secretary-General Miguel Angel Aguilar, concluded a three-day visit to Slovakia on 14 April, TASR reported. The press office of the Slovak cabinet invited the EJA to come on a fact-finding mission after the association passed a resolution critical of Slovakia at its congress in Malta last fall. The delegation was received by Deputy Prime Minister Katharina Tothova, other government officials, and the heads of various media organizations. Slovak journalist and EJA representative in Slovakia Juraj Alner, however, was excluded from meetings with Slovak officials. The EJA delegation refused to attend a gathering, headed by Culture Minister Ivan Hudec, to which Alner had not been invited. It later issued an open letter saying, "We came to learn about relations between authorities and the media. The first impression was not very good." -- Jiri Pehe ROMANI-SLOVAK DICTIONARY LAUNCHED. Slovak Culture Minister Ivan Hudec and Archbishop of Bratislava Jan Sokol attended a reception introducing what has been called a "unique" Romani-Slovak dictionary, TASR reported on 11 April. Also present were other state and Church officials as well as Romani representatives. The dictionary contains the 15,000 words most frequently used by Roma in Slovakia, detailing from which of the several Slovensko-Romani and Vlax-Romani dialects they originate. -- Alaina Lemon HUNGARY, POLAND SAY RUSSIA CANNOT VETO THEIR NATO PLANS. Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn and his visiting Polish counterpart, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, have said they will not let Russia interfere with their plans to join NATO, Hungarian and international media reported. "We have to take into account Russia's position, but we agreed that Russia cannot veto our NATO membership," Horn said. He added that expansion of the military alliance will strengthen rather than weaken security in Eastern Europe. Cimoszewicz, who was on his first official visit to Budapest, noted that Moscow's problem is "not NATO's expansion but NATO itself." The two premiers nonetheless stressed the importance of further dialogue with Russia. -- Zsofia Szilagyi BUDAPEST STOCK EXCHANGE ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT. Zsigmond Jarai, head of the Hungarian Credit Bank, was elected president of the Exchange Council of the Budapest Stock Exchange (BSE) on 12 April, Hungarian media reported. Jarai plans to reorganize the BSE, have Hungarian shares listed on international exchanges, and introduce foreign securities on the Budapest market. Jarai defeated former Finance Minister Lajos Bokros by a small margin. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN MUSLIM ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEGINS. President Alija Izetbegovic on 13 April kicked off his election campaign and made his first major public appearance since his hospitalization earlier this year, Oslobodjenje reported on 15 April. Speaking at a stadium at Zenica, he lashed out at former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, who on 13 April formally launched his non-nationalist Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina. A recent poll suggested that Silajdzic would defeat the president in an election among urban Muslims, and Izetbegovic has warned that the new party could split the Muslim vote in the elections due by this fall. At Zenica, Izetbegovic said his critics refuse to give him and his party credit for what are really massive achievements. Bosnian Croat leader and federal President Kresimir Zubak said the same day that Izetbegovic must be brought into talks aimed at shoring up the shaky Croat-Muslim federation, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on 15 April. -- Patrick Moore BRCKO REFUGEES WANT TO GO HOME. Up to 15,000 mainly Muslim refugees from the strategic northern Bosnian town of Brcko held a protest on federal territory to the south on 15 April, Western news agencies reported. Brcko controls the narrow corridor linking Serbia with Bosnian Serb territories around Banja Luka. Its fate will be decided later by international arbitration. Pale has settled many Serbs from Sarajevo there this year in the hope of influencing the mediators' decision. Mayor Munib Jusufovic said arbitration will be feasible only when the people of Brcko have been allowed to go home, a message echoed by Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic. Meanwhile in Tuzla, the first phase of on-site inquiries into atrocities was concluded on 14 April, Onasa reported. The UN experts returned to The Hague but declined to comment on their findings. -- Patrick Moore INTERNATIONAL HELSINKI FEDERATION ACCUSES SERBIA OF VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) on 12 April urged the EU and the OSCE to "consider the current state of human rights for Kosovo Albanians who continue to live under repression that is utterly at variance with European and OSCE standards." The EU has stated that its requirements for recognition of rump Yugoslavia include "full respect for human [and] minority rights [and] the granting of a large degree of autonomy for ...Kosovo." The IHF pointed out that these requirements have not been met, saying there were 2,666 reported cases of "severe mistreatment and torture in Serbian police custody" in 1995. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi urged the U.S. to "continue not to recognize rump Yugoslavia." Bukoshi arrived in the U.S. on 15 April, AFP reported. -- Fabian Schmidt MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN CROATIA. Kiro Gligorov met with his Croatian counterpart, Franjo Tudjman, in Zagreb on 12 April, Reuters reported. Both presidents ruled out a new union of former Yugoslav republics but stressed the need for political and economic ties. "We oppose pre-set formulas of a union, federation or confederation of former Yugoslav republics," Gligorov said. He pointed out that the Balkans have had "bitter experience with such political formations." Gligorov said all partners should be equal and should build political, economic, and cultural relations among themselves on a voluntary basis. Gligorov was making his first trip abroad since he was injured in a car bomb attack last fall. Unlike Macedonia, Croatia has not recognized rump Yugoslavia owing to the continued dispute over the division of Yugoslav-era assets and debts among the successor states as well as other issues. -- Fabian Schmidt CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER IN MACEDONIA. Qian Qichen and Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov on 14 April agreed to promote economic exchanges between their two countries, AFP reported. Qian also met with Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski. The two sides agreed to establish a joint committee to develop exchanges. They also plan to sign soon accords on protecting investments and avoiding double taxation. In October 1993, China was one of the first countries to recognize Macedonia under the name of Republic of Macedonia, despite Greek objections. -- Fabian Schmidt GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER CONCLUDES VISIT TO ROMANIA. Volker Ruehe on 12 April said it is only "natural" that the 12 states that have applied for NATO membership cannot be accepted at the same time, Romanian media reported. Asked what Romania should do to advance its chances, Ruehe replied "more of the same." During his visit, he met with President Ion Iliescu, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, and his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca. In Sibiu, he expressed satisfaction at the situation of Romania's German minority. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA, HUNGARY MAKE PROGRESS ON BASIC TREATY? Hungarian Ambassador to Bucharest Ferenc Szocs on 12 April said he is optimistic that the basic treaty between Romania and Hungary will soon be concluded, Adevarul reported. Szocs said Romania has now agreed to the inclusion of Recommendation 1201 in the treaty but that agreement still has to be reached on how to include it. Szocs also said that other unresolved issues are the Magyar minority's right to use its own language in official contexts and setting up a joint commission to supervise the implementation of the treaty. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN DELEGATION AT CIS SUMMIT. The Moldovan delegation to the CIS summit meeting in Moscow on 12 April took part in discussions on cooperation in 1996, particularly on setting up a customs and payments union, Infotag reported. The group, however, was not present at talks on military and border defense issues. Premier Andrei Sangheli headed the delegation. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN SUPREME COURT REVOKES SENTENCES OF PRE-COMMUNIST LEGISLATORS. The Bulgarian Supreme Court has rehabilitated legislators who were sentenced by the communist-era People's Court for high treason and cooperation with foreign powers during the war. Of the 124 legislators sentenced, 67 were given the death penalty, Demokratsija reported on 13 April. Bulgaria was an ally of Nazi Germany from 1941-1944 before the Communists took power. In 1994, the Supreme Court rehabilitated nine journalists, publishers, and lawyers sentenced by the People's Court. -- Fabian Schmidt EBRD MEETING IN SOFIA. At a meeting of the board of governors of the EBRD beginning in Sofia on 15 April, the 57 shareholding governments are expected to double the ERBD's annual capital from $12.7 million to $25.4 million. Hans-Peter Lankes, a EBRD chief economist, said prior to the meeting that Bulgaria "is one of the riskiest foreign investment sites" in Eastern Europe, RFE/RL reported. EBRD Bulgarian director Oliver Descamps said the country has the legal framework to attract foreign investment, but he pointed out that the government has "obviously not been able to reach any form of mutual agreement" with major potential foreign investors. Nonetheless, he praised Sofia's policy of learning from the experience of the Czech Republic in drawing up regulations for its mass privatization program based on coupons. -- Fabian Schmidt POLISH PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA. Aleksander Kwasniewski and his Bulgarian counterpart, Zhelyu Zhelev, meeting in Sofia on 13 April, said they both oppose a "new edition of the Soviet Union, whatever its form," AFP reported. They called for NATO enlargement, despite Russian objections. Bulgaria has been highly critical of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's invitation to join a union of former Soviet states that includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Kwasniewski pointed out that "no other state, great or small, can impose conditions for joining NATO." While Zhelev supports Bulgaria's speedy membership in NATO, the socialist government has not yet applied. Bulgaria is a member of the Partnership for Peace program. -- Fabian Schmidt ALBANIAN ELECTION COMMISSION BANS ANOTHER 35 CANDIDATES. The government commission vetting candidates for the parliamentary elections has banned 35 Socialists--including deputy leader Servet Pellumbi and Secretary- General Gramoz Ruci--from taking part. The commission last week prohibited the participation of six members of the Democratic Alliance. The ruling Democratic Party daily Rilindja Demokratike on 13 April published the names of the banned candidates under the title "The Red Front, the Front of Spies." Seven of the Socialist candidates have been banned because they were ministers in communist-era governments, while 27 are allegedly former secret police members or informers. The writer Dritero Agolli has been banned from participating because he is a former member of the Central Committee of the Albanian Labor Party. Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka charged that President Sali Berisha is using the commission to weaken his opponents in the elections. -- 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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