|Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -|
No. 76, Part I, 17 April 1996
New OMRI Analytical Briefs: - "Leading Candidates in Russian Presidential Elections Seek to Identify Themselves with Orthodoxy," by Penny Morvant - "Turkey's Prime Minister in Baku," by Lowell Bezanis and Liz Fuller 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ INTERPOL ISSUES WARRANTS FOR BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS. Interpol has issued international warrants for the Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart Gen. Ratko Mladic, Onasa reported on 16 April. Interpol's 176 member states are obliged to provide Interpol with any information they have regarding such persons, and may be called on to assist in their apprehension. Bosnian Serb Vice President Nikola Koljevic told Reuters, however, that his people will not hand over their leaders to the war-crimes tribunal "for money," an apparent reference to the international community's growing view that the Serbs will not get much foreign reconstruction aid as long as they have indicted war criminals for leaders. Denmark's Foreign Minister Neils Helveg Petersen said flatly that there will be no Danish money for the Bosnian Serbs as long as the two men are in power, Onasa added. Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic noted that there can be no progress in reintegrating the two halves of Bosnia as long as Karadzic is in office, Oslobodjenje reported on 17 April. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BAN ON CIGARETTE AND ALCOHOL ADS STIRS CONTROVERSY. President Leonid Kuchma has sent a law banning tobacco and alcohol advertising back to parliament for revision, after the law met with extreme opposition, Ukrainian TV reported on 15 April. Opponents of the law argue that the ban is detrimental to Ukraine's economy and will not decrease alcohol and cigarette consumption. Under the constitutional arrangement between the president and parliament, Kuchma has the right to return legislation to parliament. -- Ustina Markus NATO SECRETARY GENERAL ENDS VISIT TO UKRAINE . . . President Leonid Kuchma told NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana that Ukraine will not oppose NATO expansion as long as nuclear weapons are not deployed in new members' territories, Ukrainian and international agencies reported on 15 April. Kuchma maintained that any expansion of the alliance should be gradual and take Ukrainian and Russian interests into account. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov told Solana that Ukraine may eventually change its non-aligned status, but not anytime soon, while Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko ruled out Ukraine's participation in NATO. Solana recognized Ukraine's strategic importance for NATO and European security. -- Ustina Markus . . . AND ARRIVES IN BALTICS. After concluding his visit to Ukraine, Solana flew to Vilnius and met with Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas, BNS and international agencies reported on 17 April. Solana refuted suggestions that East European countries may be offered political, not military membership, saying he did not know what "political membership" meant. From Vilnius, Solana flew to Latvia and Estonia. He said by the end of the year, all countries participating in the Partnership for Peace Program will be evaluated for full membership. -- Ustina Markus LATVIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DRAFT BILL. The Latvian government approved on 16 April a bill on obligatory military service and passed it on to the Saeima for consideration, BNS reported. The bill had been under consideration by the government for some time, but the cabinet had been unable to agree on draft rules. The new bill enlarges the pool of people eligible for the draft including all able-bodied 19-27 year-olds, but excludes clergymen and Latvian citizens in ecclesiastical schools. Under current legislation, some 87% of conscription-age people are exempt from serving in the armed forces. -- Ustina Markus RED CROSS OPENS OFFICES IN BELARUS. The Red Cross and Red Crescent opened offices in Minsk in an official ceremony on 15 April, Belarusian TV reported. The office will deal mainly with treating victims of the Chornobyl nuclear accident. To date, the Red Cross has helped 12.5 million people affected by the Chornobyl disaster. Belarus has been allocating 15-20% of its annual state budget to coping with the Chornobyl aftermath, but due to economic difficulties, has relied heavily on foreign aid. In 1994, Red Cross aid to Belarus amounted to $4 million, and a further $2 million was spent in 1995. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka was to meet with Secretary General of the Red Cross and Red Crescent George Beber on 16 April. -- Ustina Markus BUDGET LAW DECISION BY POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION. The Polish parliament's Constitutional Commission accepted 26 articles on state budgetary issues for the country's future constitution on 16 April, Polish dailies reported the next day. The commission proposed to strip the president of his current veto right on the budget law. The president would instead be allowed to send budget laws to the Constitutional Tribunal for a final ruling. The commission will vote on the constitution articles concerning the national bank on 17 April. Meanwhile, the Polish government approved on 16 April Deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz Kolodko's macroeconomic program, which lists the following aims: 5-7% annual inflation, 5% minimum GNP growth, and an 8- 10% annual export growth. -- Jakub Karpinski MEMORIAL MARCH ON AUSCHWITZ. About 5,000 young Jews from 38 countries took part in a 3.5 kilometer Holocaust memorial march on 16 April from Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camp, Polish media reported. The march was in memory of more than a million people, mostly Jews, murdered by German Nazis in the camps. Marek Siwiec, aide to Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski, and Israeli Minister of Environment Yossi Sarid represented their respective governments. Some participants in the march will fly from Poland to Israel to take part in Israel's Independence Day celebrations on 24 April. -- Jakub Karpinski FRANCE TO SUPPORT POLAND IN OECD. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski has invited French President Jacques Chirac to Poland, Polish media reported on 17 April. Kwasniewski visited France in January of this year. A Polish presidential spokesman said that Chirac promised to support Poland in its efforts to join OECD and the EU. The presidents discussed over the phone Kwasniewski's recent visit to Moscow, deeming it a success. Kwasniewski also plans to discuss the results of his Moscow visit with U.S. President Bill Clinton and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Polish dailies reported on 17 April. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH PARLIAMENT SESSION ENDS BEFORE IT BEGINS. The last scheduled session of the Czech parliament before the general elections to be held at the end of May, failed to get underway on 16 April due to disagreement among deputies over the session's agenda, Czech media reported. The leader of the Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party, Josef Lux, said the proposed order of business did not correspond with the one agreed upon by the three coalition parties. Only 65 deputies, 15 short of the number needed, voted to approve the agenda; 47 voted against and 40 abstained. Among the 153 points on the agenda were proposals to redefine the country's local administrative districts, and to reduce income and corporation tax. Parliament Speaker Milan Uhde said another session could be called for 18 April. -- Steve Kettle DEAL SIGNED FOR SLOVAK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. The head of Slovenske elektrarny and representatives of a consortium of foreign firms on 16 April signed contracts to complete building the first two blocks at the Mochovce nuclear power plant, Slovak media reported. The project will cost 26 billion crowns ($850 million) and is being financed by Slovak, Russian, French, German and Czech banks. The EBRD pulled out of an earlier funding project. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, who attended the signing ceremony in Bratislava, said that Slovakia's nuclear power program will be completed when the third and fourth blocks at Mochovce are built. -- Steve Kettle HUNGARIAN PREMIER REASSERTS NEED FOR OFFICE TO INVESTIGATE WHITE-COLLAR CRIME. Gyula Horn reconfirmed his intention to establish a national investigation office to curb the black economy, Hungarian media reported on 17 April. Horn emphasized the need for the office given the relative ineffectiveness of government efforts in this area. He added that the office would not undermine the jurisdiction of existing state authorities with investigative duties, such as the police and the Tax and Customs Office, and predicted that his party would succeed in "reaching a consensus" with the coalition partner, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) on the matter. The SZDSZ is presently opposed to the idea (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 April 1996). -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARY STEPS UP SECURITY AFTER TWO JEWS STABBED. The Hungarian police announced on 16 April that they would step up security in the Israeli embassy, Jewish community buildings, and the Israeli airlines after two Jews were stabbed in Budapest last week, Hungarian media reported. The Israeli ambassador to Hungary had requested security to be tightened after an Afghan stabbed and wounded two staff members at a Budapest Jewish school in response to the Israeli bombing of southern Lebanon. The suspect, identified as Wahab Abdul Bashkir, is a 40-year-old from Afghanistan, who settled in Hungary 10 years ago. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE TUZLA AS MODEL FOR BOSNIA? The leader of the ex-communist Union of Bosnian Social Democrats (UBSD), Sejfudin Tokic, stressed that his party is in the best position to overcome the ethnic divide in the war-torn republic, Nasa Borba reported on 16 April. The next day, the same paper carried an interview with leading UBSD politician and mayor of Tuzla, Selim Besagic, who also backed Tokic's opinion, pointing out that multi- ethnic Tuzla could serve as a model for the rest of Bosnia. Both men claimed that the UBSD has already begun to attract much attention from Serbs in the Republika Srpska (RS). Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has apparently organized his own party bloc to compete with Karadzic's group in the RS elections due to be held across Bosnia by mid-September. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN AID UPDATE. The EU is looking into a case of corruption surrounding its administration in Mostar, AFP reported on 16 April. An EU spokesman said, however, that it was simply a case of "irregularities" amid difficult circumstances and apparently not one of widespread graft. Former EU Adminstrator Hans Koschnick defended his record and told the Berliner Zeitung that it was simply a question of "technical accounting matters" and that "there is no suggestion of any misappropriation of funds." Elsewhere, the OSCE expressed concern that there might be insufficient funding to promote independent media amid Bosnia's nationalist-dominated media landscape, Reuters noted. Although a number of potential financial sources have expressed interest, few have commited specific sums (see OMRI Special Report, 16 April 1996). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has signed a $3 million agreement to repair Bosnia's railways, Onasa said. The governor of Bosnia's Central Bank, Kasim Omicevic, added that he is anxious that the international community's monetary pledges be translated into deeds. -- Patrick Moore U.S WITHHOLDS RECOGNITION OF RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. State Department officials assured Kosovar shadow state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi that the U.S. will withhold recognition of rump Yugoslavia, AFP reported on 15 April. The officials told Bukoshi that Washington wants Belgrade to deliver on the Bosnian peace agreement before making such a decision, but gave no assurance that a solution to the Kosovo conflict would be a precondition for recognition. Nonetheless, U.S. officials said that Kosovo "is very high on our agenda." Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rudolph Perina "reconfirmed the U.S. desire to be helpful in finding a peaceful solution." Bukoshi said he was satisfied with the U.S. assurances. Austria recognized rump Yugoslavia on 16 April, Nasa Borba reported. -- Fabian Schmidt BOMB ATTACK ON BELGRADE MOSQUE. A powerful bomb severely damaged Belgrade's Bajrakli Mosque and shattered windows of surrounding buildings on 16 April, Onasa and Reuters reported. Although there were no casualties, Mufti Hamdija Jusufspahic called it "the most powerful attack on the mosque and on the Islamic community in Belgrade ever." He said the explosion caused substantial damage outside and inside the building. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was the third attack on the mosque since 1992. Mayor Nebojsa Covic visited the scene soon after the attack and promised Mufti full cooperation. The opposition Reform Democratic Party in Vojvodina called on authorities to seize and punish the terrorists, while Democratic Party President Vojislav Kostunica commented that the act harmed the country's international relations. -- Fabian Schmidt CROATIAN POLITICAL CONFRONTATION ENTERS NEW PHASE. President Franjo Tudjman has vetoed for the fourth time in a row the opposition's candidate for mayor of Zagreb, Novi list reported on 17 April. A loose opposition coalition won a majority in the city council in last October's elections, but Tudjman has thus far blocked every candidate for mayor proposed. He claims that he will not hand the capital over to "enemies of state policy." Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community Party (HDZ) candidate is presently acting-mayor despite a vote of no- confidence from the council. There is widespread suspicion that the HDZ's real aim is to hide evidence of its own past corruption. New elections seem inevitable, and the polls suggest that the voters are angry with Tudjman's behavior. Seven parties ranging from the right to the left have formally reaffirmed their alliance. -- Patrick Moore ROMANIA INAUGURATES CANADIAN-DESIGNED NUCLEAR POWER PLANT . . . At a ceremony scheduled to take place on 17 April, visiting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and President Ion Iliescu will officially inaugurate Romania's first nuclear power plant. The plant, located in Cernavoda and built with Canadian Candu technology, will eventually have five units. The first unit, already completed, has a production capacity of 705 megawatts, Romanian and international media reported. It is scheduled to begin functioning in May and will reach its full production capacity in August, meeting some 10% of the country's electricity needs. -- Michael Shafir . . . AS ROMANIAN-CANADIAN ECONOMIC COOPERATION INTENSIFIES. The Canadian Bombardier Company President, Laurent Beadoin, will deliver on 17 April the first of 24 planes ordered by the Romanian airline Dac Air, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest reported on 16 April. Dac Air is buying a fleet of 24 planes of the 8-3000 model. The first plane will be presented at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu. On 16 April, President Ion Iliescu visited the Bucharest Turbomecanica factory, which specializes in producing plane engines. He said the Canadian Pratten Whitney Company is interested in acquiring 51% of Turbomecanica shares, Romanian TV reported on the same day. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA SETS DATE FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS. Local elections in Romania will be held on 2 June, Radio Bucharest announced on 16 April. Octav Cosmanca, who is in charge of local government affairs, said on Radio Bucharest that the electoral campaign for local elections will start on 19 April. No date has yet been set for the autumn parliamentary and presidential elections. Cosmanca added that due to a recently-passed new law on local administration, prefects will no longer be able to dismiss mayors without prior judicial approval. International bodies had harshly criticized earlier practices, which allowed for the dismissal of mayors. -- Michael Shafir NINE ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS TO STAND TRIAL. Nine defendants stood trial on 16 April under charges of committing crimes against humanity, Reuters reported. In a series of trials, a total of 38 defendants are accused of conducting mass deportations and executions of fugitives and political prisoners. The charges also include exiling dissidents. The nine defendants who appeared in the first trial include ex-Defense Minister Prokop Murra, head of Tirana's secret police Zef Loka, National Police Chief Dilaver Bengasi, former President Ramiz Alia's chief ideologist Foto Cami, and five former local party secretaries. Another trial against five other former senior officials, including a parliamentary speaker and an ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will open on 24 April. No trial date has yet been set for the remaining 24 accused, including Alia. -- 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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