Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 75, Part II, 16 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "Azerbaijan's Former President Arrested in Moscow," by Liz Fuller
- "The Battle over Polish Public TV is Won by the Ruling Coalition:  The
  New TVP President Has Been Nominated," 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
GERMAN WEEKLY LEAKS INFORMATION ON CZECH-GERMAN DECLARATION. Der Spiegel
reported in its 15 April issue that in the Czech-German declaration
currently being drafted by both countries' government representatives,
the Czech Republic will express regrets over the fact that innocent
people suffered during the expulsions of Sudeten Germans after World War
II. Such a formulation would allow the two countries to bypass the
question of the expulsions' legality. However, Mlada fronta Dnes
reported last week that the declaration is to contain a Czech apology
for the "wild expulsions" and the excesses that occurred during the so-
called "transferals" of Sudeten Germans (see the Daily Digest of 9 April
1996). Der Spiegel claims that Germany will accept the results of World
War II in the declaration, making it difficult for any future German
government to defend Sudeten German claims. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus stressed last week that the declaration is still under discussion
and its final version will not be ready before the Czech parliamentary
elections in June. -- Jiri Pehe
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

OPINION POLL ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN AGREEMENT. An opinion poll conducted
by the Zerkadlo sociological service in Belarus showed that most Minsk
residents support the 2 April agreement forming a Community of Sovereign
States between Russia and Belarus, Belapan reported on 15 April. Out of
300 people polled, 47% said they completely supported the community's
formation, 16% voiced partial support, while 17% said they did not
support it at all. A further 20% found the question too difficult to
answer. When asked about the effect the community would have on Belarus'
sovereignty, 30% responded it would be strengthened by the community,
28% said it would be lost, 16% felt it would make no difference, and 26%
said they did not know. -- Ustina Markus

NATO SECRETARY GENERAL IN KIEV. Secretary General Javier Solana arrived
in Kiev on 15 April for an official visit, NTV and Russian Public TV
reported. Solana met with President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Yevhan
Marchuk, and Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko. Kuchma said that
Ukraine was in favor of developing political, not military, ties with
NATO. Russian media noted that as Russian elections approach, the West
is becoming more active in developing ties with the Baltics and Ukraine.
-- Ustina Markus

WORLD BANK TO OFFER AGRICULTURAL CREDITS TO UKRAINE. The World Bank
signed a conditional agreement with Ukraine on extending a $700 million
loan to support the country's agricultural sector, ITAR-TASS reported on
13 April. Among the conditions attached are that Ukraine lift its
moratorium on the sale of land for six years, and that collective farms
are stripped of their pre-emptive right to buy land. The bank also
agreed to extend a $250 million credit to support structural reforms,
and $170 million to set up an export guarantee fund. The first tranche
of a $250 million credit to reform Ukraine's coal industry should be
made available by the World Bank in May. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEA SETS UP CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE. Democratic leaders of 38
Crimean public and political organizations set up a committee for the
promotion of the constitutional process in Ukraine, UNIAR reported on 12
April. The organizations claim the current draft constitution does not
guarantee the rights of Crimean Tatars and has other shortcomings. The
committee will insist that the draft constitution be amended to
incorporate their concerns. -- Ustina Markus

PROPOSAL FOR BALTIC SECURITY CIRCULATED. In the run-up to NATO Secretary
General Javier Solana's visit to the Baltics, a Rand Corporation paper
advocating a security concept short of NATO membership has been
circulating in the Baltic foreign ministries, BNS reported on 14 April.
Western officials have acknowledged that the Baltics are too difficult
to defend, and their sizable Russian minorities do not allow for quick
NATO membership. The Rand report proposes basing Baltic security on
"five pillars": strengthening reforms, solving the minority issues,
cooperating with the Nordic countries, EU membership, and cooperation
with Moscow. The report says NATO membership should not be excluded as a
future possibility for the Baltics, but that the "five pillar" approach
would buy time and acknowledge Russian sensitivities in the region. --
Ustina Markus

LATVIA, ESTONIA REACH TEMPORARY DEAL ON FISHING ZONES. Latvia's Prime
Minister Andris Skele and his Estonian counterpart Tiit Vahi reached a
temporary agreement valid until 1 August on fishing in their disputed
waters, BNS reported on 15 April. According to the agreement, both sides
will have access to waters near the island of Ruhnu in the Gulf of Riga,
and agree not to hinder each other's fishing vessels. The statement was
made in Vilnius where the Baltic Assembly met on 14 April. Vahi said the
two reached an agreement on sea borders and fishing rights for this year
and next. An Estonian government spokesman said Latvia accepted
Estonia's proposals regarding the sea border, while Estonia compromised
on its fishing rights in the region. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIA, CZECH REPUBLIC SIGN FREE-TRADE AGREEMENT. Czech Industry and
Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy and Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister
Valdis Birkaus on 15 April signed an agreement establishing a free-trade
zone between the two countries, Czech and Latvian media reported. In
1995 the two countries traded goods worth $24.1 million; the new
agreement is expected to increase that volume. Dlouhy told Birkaus that
the Czech Republic will ask the World Bank to give Latvia new credits to
be used for purchasing Czech-made mass transportation vehicles.
Meanwhile, Czech President Vaclav Havel and his Latvian counterpart,
Guntis Ulmanis, agreed there was no alternative to joining NATO for
future security, but that partnership with Russia was also vital. --
Jiri Pehe

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL OPENS IN PRAGUE. A Holocaust memorial, listing all
available names of Czech Jews killed by the Nazis, was shown to
reporters in Prague on 15 April, Czech media report. The memorial is
located in the Pinkas Synagogue that recently reopened after several
decades. Some 80,000 names are listed over 170 sq. m. area of the
synagogue's wall. Prague's Rabbi Karol Sidon will unveil the memorial
officially on 16 April which is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The memorial
was first opened in 1959 but closed in 1968 as relations between
Czechoslovakia and Israel deteriorated. During the renovation, names
were removed and added on the basis of new information. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DELEGATION IN U.S. A group of Slovak
Constitutional Court judges, led by Chairman Milan Cic, arrived in
Washington on 14 April for a 12-day visit. In an interview with
Slovakia, Cic said the main goal of the visit is to find out how the
U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts function. He said the delegation
will brief American officials on Slovakia's Constitutional Court. --
Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN CHINA. Michal Kovac, on a five-day official visit to
China, met with Chinese leaders on 12 April to discuss economic
cooperation between the two countries, Slovak media report. On 13 and 14
April, Kovac visited Xi'an, one of China's greatest industrial centers.
On 15 April, Kovac and his entourage traveled to Shenzen, an economic
zone in China's Guangdong province. -- Jiri Pehe

NEW POLISH PUBLIC TV PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON HIS WORK. Ryszard Miazek,
Polish public TV's new president, spoke on 15 April on his vision of
public TV and journalism. Miazek, supported by the ruling left-wing
coalition, said in an interview with Zycie Warszawy, "TV should not
itself aspire to express opinions because that is the task of the
parliament and other state representatives." Polish journalists from
Rzeczpospolita, the left-wing Trybuna, and the satirical Nie, were
critical of Miazek's comments. A commentator from Rzeczpospolita said
"this is the end of independent TV's role as a balancing instrument."
Miazek replaced Wieslaw Walendziak who was considered too opposition-
minded by the ruling coalition. -- Jakub Karpinski

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER IN POLAND. Leader of the Belarusian Popular
Front Zyanon Paznyak and the Front's Press Secretary Syarhei Naumchyk
said on 15 April during a visit to Wroclaw that they intend to organize
support for Belarusian opposition abroad. Paznyak says he hopes Wroclaw
will become a center of support for Belarusian democracy. Paznyak was
critical of Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski's recent visit to
Belarus, adding Kwasniewski met in Minsk with individuals who do not
represent Belarusian opposition but support "constructive collaboration"
with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. He went on to say
Lukashenka is doing "dirty work" for Russia with the help of the KGB
generals in Belarus, Polish dailies reported on 16 April. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CONTROVERSY OVER ALLEGED GUARANTEES BY HUNGARY'S FORMER GOVERNMENT. The
senior coalition Socialist party is at odds with former government
representatives over guarantees to various business organizations that
the present government allegedly inherited from the Boros-government in
1994, Hungarian media reported. Prime Minister Gyula Horn's unexpected
statement two weeks ago that the present cabinet has to make good on 600
billion forints ($4 billion) sparked a heated debate. On 15 April, Horn
accused former governing parties of financial mismanagement and
falsifying files on international negotiations, and he increased the
debated amount to 900 billion forints. The statement led to an
acrimonious debate, with the former ruling parties disputing Horn's
claim. Neither side has revealed any evidence in the case. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA BEGINS FORMAL PAYMENTS TO SOLDIERS. Bosnian authorities held
official ceremonies to start paying soldiers, invalids, and families of
dead soldiers for their contributions during the war, Oslobodjenje
reported on 16 April. The problem is that the government has little or
no money to meet its obligations, so instead of paying in cash it is
issuing "bank books" that show exactly how much each man earned, Onasa
noted. The average salary for soldiers is DM 400 per month, which is
still a princely wage by Bosnian standards. The authorities expect to
distribute up to 3,000 of the bank books daily. It is not clear exactly
when and how the men or their families can convert the paper payments
into hard cash. All three sides in Bosnia face huge problems connected
with the demobilization of tens of thousands of soldiers. -- Patrick
Moore

BIHAC KINGPIN LAUNCHES NEW PARTY. Fikret Abdic, one of the country's
most controversial figures, has launched a new party, the Democratic
People's Community (DNZ), Nasa Borba reported on 16 April. The Bihac-
area kingpin has been living in Croatia since his Serb-backed empire
fell to joint Croatian and Bosnian government forces last fall. Among
his enemies are Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. However, thousands
of people from the Bihac region, refer to Abdic as "Babo," or "Daddy,"
crediting him with bringing prosperity and peace. He appears to have
exchanged Serbian for Croatian backing, and some observers have
suggested that the Croats' recent arrest of five Muslims allegedly sent
to kill Abdic was merely a publicity stunt on Abdic's behalf, Novi list
and Politika noted. The renegade Muslim politician himself said that he
"was not surprised" that assassins were sent to kill him, claiming that
Izetbegovic cannot tolerate the presence of a politican who got more
votes than he did in the 1990 elections. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIA'S EX-COMMUNISTS APPEAL FOR ANTI-NATIONALIST VOTE. The Union of
Bosnian Social Democrats (UBSD) is the successor to the former communist
and reformist party that took only 10% of the vote in the parliamentary
elections, but it held on to the mayor's seat in multi-ethnic Tuzla
throughout the war. Mayor Sejfudin Tokic has launched the UBSD's
republic-wide electoral campaign by stressing that his party seeks to
represent all Bosnians, which, he claims, Izetbegovic never did, Nasa
Borba reported on 16 April. Tokic claims that his party has 40,000
members, including some from Serb-held regions. He stated that the
Serbian and Croatian nationalist parties will fall apart under internal
pressures, but that Izetbegovic's Muslim nationalist party will be a
tougher nut to crack because of its radical populist profile. -- Patrick
Moore

PALE LEADERSHIP TEST TERMS OF PEACE TREATY. Vice President Nikola
Koljevic, whom some see as a possible successor to the indicted war
criminal and civilian leader Radovan Karadzic has publicly stated views
that are openly at variance with the Dayton peace accord. Koljevic told
Nasa Borba on 16 April that "boundaries no longer matter" between the
Bosnian Serb state and rump Yugoslavia. He also said that it is not
permissible that Muslims and Croats return to their homes on Serb-held
territory until Serbian refugees there have been settled. Koljevic noted
that the major European powers are coming to accept the Serbian view
that Bosnia has no multi-ethnic future. The Economist also said that
Europe is rejecting the American and Dayton concept of a multi-ethnic
state in favor of a more "evenhanded" approach. -- Patrick Moore

SLOVENIA AND CROATIA PLEDGE AID FOR BOSNIA. The war-torn republic's two
northern neighbors have promised financial backing for Bosnia through
the World Bank, Onasa noted on 15 April. Ljubljana is offering $3.5
million to repair the homes of 18,000 Bosnian refugees living in
Slovenia on the condition that they return to Bosnia. Zagreb will make
available a total of up to $20 million by 1999 to rebuild the port at
Ploce, reconstruct the Sava bridge at Orasje, and develop waterworks. --
Patrick Moore

SLOVENIAN--RUMP YUGOSLAV RELATIONS REMAIN STRAINED. A normalization of
mutual relations between Ljubljana and Belgrade remains unlikely. The
Slovenian foreign ministry announced that it is still waiting for a
response to its recognition of rump-Yugoslavia, pointing out that this
would be a precondition for establishing diplomatic ties. -- Fabian
Schmidt

MOLDOVA: A CROSSROADS FOR ILLEGAL MIGRATION. Moldova has detained 500
illegal migrants this year, Reuters reported on 15 April. Moldova's
border with Romania has become a crossroads for illegal migrants from
Southeast Asia, according to a National Security Ministry statement
aired on national TV on 14 April. -- Michael Shafir

UPDATE ON EBRD MEETING IN SOFIA. EBRD President Jaques de Larosiere
urged Eastern European Banks to strengthen banking regulation, Bulgarian
Economic Review reported on 16 April. He said governments should focus
on "macroeconomic stabilization, bank rehabilitation and banking
supervision." Larosiere noted bank debts and failure of private banks to
stick to basic banking principles as the main problems. Meanwhile,
Bulgarian Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Development Rumen
Gechev estimated that Bulgaria may be legislatively and economically
ready for EU membership in eight years. Gechev added that 106 state-
owned companies were listed for liquidation, but pointed out that
Bulgaria attracted $60 million in foreign investment in the first
quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov promised
tax concessions for companies, more than 66% of which are privately
owned, Demokratsiya reported. -- Fabian Schmidt and Miat Sadiku

KIRO GLIGOROV REJECTS EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. In an interview
given to the Croatian daily Vecernji List, Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov ruled out early parliamentary elections in Macedonia, Politika
reported on 16 April. Politika claims that Gligorov's ruling angered
organizers of a citizen's initiative which collected 220,000 signatures
demanding new elections. Gligorov defended his objections to early
elections arguing that "there is no [democratic] country with
regulations that allow early elections based on a citizens' initiative,"
MILS reported. Meanwhile, Gligorov said in an interview to Oslobodjenje
on 16 April that he and Bosnian President Alia Izetbegovic planned to
establish an association of the Yugoslav republics before the breakup of
the state, but were blocked by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and
his Croatian counterpart Franjo Tudjman's oppositions. -- Fabian
Schmidt

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES ELECTION COMMISSION. The Albanian
opposition has criticized the commission which approves candidates for
the upcoming May elections. The commission has banned more than 42
candidates from running, charging them with either holding high
government office in communist times or with collaboration with the
former secret police. Socialist Party Deputy Leader Namik Dokle accused
the Democratic Party government of arbitrarily changing laws in order to
keep party leader Fatos Nano in prison. He also accused the government
of changing electoral districts to increase the electoral chances of its
own party. -- Fabian Schmidt

MONTENEGRIN SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT? The
Montenegrin Helsinki Committee for Human Rights filed an appeal with the
Constitutional Court, demanding a review of a law on local self-
administration, Beta reported on 15 April. The law was decreed by the
Montenegrin government on 1 April and the Helsinki Committee argues that
it unconstitutionally increases central authorities' power to interfere
in local affairs. The new law practically suspends a number of rights
that had been guaranteed to the mainly ethnic Albanian community of
Ulcinj. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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