If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 77, Part II, 18 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "Tajikistan's Grim Anniversary," by Bruce Pannier
- "Turco-Israeli Accord Aggravates Regional Tensions," by Lowell Bezanis

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
GULF STATES CONTRIBUTE $100 MILLION TO BOSNIAN ARMY. Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have pledged a total of $100 million to
help train and equip the Bosnian military, AFP reported on 18 April. The
pledges were collected by White House aide Thomas "Mack" McClarty on a
recent trip to the region, despite European objections. The Arabs had
been reluctant to provide funds lest some go to the Croats, but Bosnian
envoy Muhamed Sacirbey accompanied McClarty and told the Arabs that
there is no alternative to the Croat-Muslim alliance. U.S. President
Bill Clinton said he was "deeply gratified by the generosity and
understanding" of the Gulf states, a spokesman noted. The Dayton
agreement calls for greater military parity between the Croatian and
Muslim allies on the one hand and the Serbs on the other, as a deterrent
against future aggression. The latest move comes against the background
of a U.S. election-year imbroglio over what the White House allegedly
knew about Iranian arms deliveries to Bosnia during the war,
international media noted. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DOES NOT SIGN STATE BUDGET. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has not signed the budget passed by parliament for 1996, ITAR-TASS
reported on 17 April. A parliamentary commission for budget, taxation,
banking, and finances met to examine Lukashenka's proposed changes to
the budget. Lukashenka opposed articles that exempted collective and
state farm profits from taxation, claiming this would decrease state
budget revenues. Lukashenka also criticized the state budget for more
than doubling the parliament's budget and raising the tax rate from 10%
to 12%. He also disapproved of parliament's rejection of article 30 that
allowed the president to decide his own expenditures within the limits
of the budget deficit. The commission will now report back to the
parliament, which may still pass the original budget with a two-thirds
vote, draw up a new budget, or accept the president's recommendations.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DEMOTES FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka issued a decree demoting former Interior Minister Yurii
Zakharenka for gross financial improprieties and negligence of duties,
ITAR-TASS reported on 17 April. The decree was issued after an
investigation revealed that 8.9 billion Belarusian rubles (over
$700,000) from the ministry's budget was used to renovate interior
ministry hotels after Zakharenka became head of the organization.
Lukashenka's decree also charged Zakharenka with "not taking appropriate
actions in the fight against crime in the republic." Zakharenka was
demoted to the rank of colonel and dismissed from the Interior Ministry.
-- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES CONSTITUTION. Ukraine's parliament began
debating the draft constitution on 17 April, ITAR-TASS reported. At the
end of the session, parliament decided that the draft did not correspond
to the principles of Ukraine's 1990 Declaration of Sovereignty. Western
agencies reported that two-thirds of the draft constitution were agreed
upon by the majority of deputies, including articles on the president,
elections, and government. Communist deputies continue to oppose many
articles and to submit proposals to enhance the power of the
legislature. The deadline for adopting a new constitution is 8 June,
when the one-year constitutional treaty expires. -- Ustina Markus

STRIKES IN DONETSK. A coal miners' strike in Donetsk is expanding, ITAR-
TASS reported on 17 April. The strike, which began at the beginning of
the month, now involves 16 mines and 2,000 miners. An unsanctioned
meeting on the miners' situation in Toreze took place on 17 April with
3,000 participants. Nonpayment of wages instigated the strike; some
miners have not been paid since last September. A massive strike
involving hundreds of thousands of miners last winter led to an energy
crisis. --  Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LOCAL ELECTIONS LAW. The Estonian parliament
on 17 April passed a new law on local elections that will be held on 20
October, BNS reported. Only citizens of Estonia are allowed to run in
the elections, but non-citizens who have lived in the respective
municipality for at least five years and have a permanent residence
permit will be allowed to vote if they are not in the service of a
foreign government. -- Saulius Girnius

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN ESTONIA, LATVIA. Javier Solana flew from
Vilnius to Tallinn on 16 April for meetings with President Lennart Meri,
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, and other ministers. Solana stressed that the
decision on NATO's eastward expansion would not be influenced by
resistance from Russia. The next day he went to Riga where, after talks
with leading officials, he said that no decision has yet been made on
NATO accepting the Baltic states as new members. He noted, however, that
NATO did not want any "gray zones" in European security and that the
decision on granting the eleven applicant countries membership would be
made at the end of the year, Western agencies reported. -- Saulius
Girnius

CZECH PRESIDENT VISITS LITHUANIA. Vaclav Havel and Lithuanian President
Algirdas Brazauskas on 17 April witnessed the signing of a memorandum on
liberalizing bilateral trade and an agreement on cooperation in
education and science, Radio Lithuania reported. A free-trade agreement
was not signed because the Lithuanian Agriculture Ministry opposed the
Czech proposal to abolish import duties on food within two years. Havel
also met with Prime Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius and Parliament
Chairman Ceslovas Jursenas. He was granted an honorary doctorate from
the University of Vilnius. On 18 April he is scheduled to travel to
Kaunas before departing for Tallinn later in the day. -- Saulius Girnius

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN WARSAW. After visiting the Baltic states,
Javier Solana arrived in Poland on 17 April. Solana reiterated that NATO
will indeed enlarge, but no dates have been specified and no countries
named for the first round of expansion. "NATO has very good bilateral
relations with Poland, and we very much hope to expand on these
relations in the future," said Solana. Dialogues between NATO and the
countries willing to become NATO members will take place throughout
1996. Solana thanked Poland for its participation in the peace-keeping
mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Solana also met with the Polish Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, but refused to reveal any details on
the confidential meeting. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH STATE TRIBUNAL BEGINS TRIALS. The State Tribunal, a body
empowered to judge high state functionaries, began its proceedings on 17
April. The defendants are five ministers who held their posts between
1989-1990, including the then Internal Affairs Minister Czeslaw
Kiszczak. They are accused of diminishing state tax and custom revenues
by allowing the unregulated and illegal import of alcohol and alcoholic
beverages. The State Tribunal existed in pre-war Poland and was
reestablished in 1982 by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, former First
Secretary of the Communist Party. This is the first trial before the
State Tribunal since its re-establishment. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PARLIAMENT LEADERS FAIL TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCES. The leaders of the
parliamentary caucuses on 17 April failed to agree on the agenda for the
last session of the Czech legislature before the parliamentary elections
scheduled for 31 May and 1 June, Czech media reported. The session
failed to get under way on 16 April when deputies could not agree on the
agenda (see OMRI Daily Digest 17 April 1996). Some 70 draft laws and
amendments were to be approved at the session, including the
constitutional amendments on the Czech-Slovak border and on subdividing
the country into regions. A main point of contention is a draft law on
ombudsman, which virtually all parties support except Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS). ODS leaders have said that
introducing ombudsman into the Czech constitutional system would weaken
their party's power. The chances of holding the session are now minimal.
-- Jiri Pehe

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER IN PRAGUE. John Major arrived in Prague on 17
April, where he met with Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and members of his
cabinet, Czech media reported. Major expressed support for the Czech
Republic's admission into NATO and the EU. Major argued that political
and economic preparedness should be the admission criteria for all
countries applying for NATO and EU membership. In a press conference
after the meeting, Klaus denied reports which claimed Major's visit was
intended to lend support to Klaus before the upcoming parliamentary
elections. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON DENIES HE STAGED OWN KIDNAPPING. Michal Kovac jr.
on 17 April said accusations that he staged his own abduction to Austria
last August were "a deception against the public," Narodna obroda
reported. Police investigator, Jozef Ciz, told Slovak TV two days
earlier that three witnesses confirmed Kovac had planned and carried out
a fake kidnapping. Two investigators before Ciz were removed from the
case after saying they found evidence that the Slovak secret service was
involved in the kidnapping. Slovak TV officials granted Kovac his
request for airtime in order to reply to Ciz. Former Interior Minister
Ladislav Pittner, head of an independent commission investigating the
affair, said a Slovak TV report, which stated that his commission had
established that the sacked investigators had falsified testimony, was
itself "absolutely false" and he accused the company of "conscious or
unconscious disinformation." -- Steve Kettle

HUNGARIAN RADIO, TV ON BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY. The managements of Hungarian
Radio and TV are preparing for drastic austerity measures as the
institutions have reached virtual bankruptcy, Hungarian dailies reported
on 18 April. While consultations are taking place with the Prime
Minister's Office, Hungarian Radio and TV Board Chairman Mihaly Tamas
Revesz said on 17 April that a total of 4.5 billion forints ($30
million) in "fast aid" would be justifiable for Hungarian Radio,
Hungarian TV, and the TV satellite channel, Duna TV. Hungarian Radio's
financial data reveal that the institution faces a 800 million forint
debt, while its deficit could reach 3 billion forints by the end of
1996. State subsidies only cover 5% of the radio's expenditures, and not
more than half of its funds come from advertisers and sponsors. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN DEMOBILIZATION DEADLINE NEARS. NATO forces in Bosnia are
preparing for the next military deadline, which is slated to pass at
midnight on 18 April. This will be 120 days after the Dayton agreement
was signed and is the deadline for all armies to demobilize their
reserves, move their regular forces into barracks, and store their heavy
weapons, Onasa reported. IFOR officials told the BBC that they do not
expect complete compliance immediately, but feel that all sides are
showing good will. One NATO officer said that this is one of the biggest
demobilization projects in recent history. IFOR also noted that a
shipment of mine detectors is scheduled to arrive on 22 April to help
deal with the estimated three million land mines across the country,
Onasa added. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN VICE PRESIDENT URGES CROATS TO STAY. Ejup Ganic told the
Croatian daily Vecernji list on 17 April that Muslims and Croats have
the same long-term interests and no alternative but to be allies. He
urged Croats to remain in Bosnia, an apparent reference to the fact that
Croats in some central Bosnian areas under Muslim control have been
leaving for Croatian-held regions and for Croatia proper. The same daily
on 18 April drew attention to the now decimated Croatian community of
Stup near Sarajevo, which wants its Croatian identity affirmed. Croats
have lived in central Bosnia since the Middle Ages and boast historic
churches and monasteries there, but they lost much land to the Muslims
in the internecine war of 1993. They claim that Muslim authorities still
discriminate against them despite the Croat-Muslim alliance and that the
Muslims often bar Croatian refugees from going home. Bosnian Cardinal
Vinko Puljic said that equality is the key to Bosnia's survival, Onasa
on 17 April. -- Patrick Moore

GERMANY TO RECOGNIZE RUMP-YUGOSLAVIA. The German government at a meeting
on 17 April concluded that it is ready to recognize rump Yugoslavia as
one of the successor states to Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 18
April. The formal agreement on establishing full diplomatic relations
will be presented by a German representative to Belgrade on 18 April.
German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther's proposal that recognition
would come only when Belgrade agreed to take back 120,000 refugees,
including a large number of Kosovo Albanians, was rejected by the German
cabinet, the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on 18 April. --
Fabian Schmidt

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS CALL FOR PRESS FREEDOM. The Croatian Journalistic
Society and the NGO "Club of Rome" have listed eight demands to ensure
that journalists can carry out their work on a professional basis, Novi
list reported on 17 April. Their measures include a call for an early
court decision on the constitutionality of the new libel law, which is
widely seen as an attempt to muzzle criticism of top officials. Three
additional points deal with the dailies Novi list and Slobodna
Dalmacija, which the journalists say have been the victims of legal
manipulation by the governing party. They also demand that electronic
media licenses be granted on a clearly defined basis, and that state
radio and TV become a publicly owned institution. -- Patrick Moore

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES 1996 BUDGET. A joint session of Romania's
two chamber parliament on 17 April approved the 1996 state budget. The
vote was 245 in favor, 168 against. The budget includes a planned
deficit amounting to 3.45% of the Gross Domestic Product. The former
members of the ruling coalition, the Greater Romania Party and the
Socialist Labor Party, voted in favor of the budget. Had they failed to
do so, the budget law would not have passed due to votes against it from
main opposition parties, Romanian media reported on 17-18 April. --
Michael Shafir

OPINION POLL SHOWS ILIESCU, PSDR LEADING. A poll conducted from 3-10
April, with a representative sample of 1,114 persons, shows incumbent
President Ion Iliescu and the Party of Social Democracy in Romania
(PDSR) leading in presidential and parliamentary election races. The
poll was conducted by the Center of Urban and Regional Sociology and was
published in the daily Romania libera on 18 April. Iliescu leads the
presidential race with 35% of the support, followed by the Democratic
Convention of Romania's (CDR) candidate, Emil Constantinescu, who
received 19%; Petre Roman, the Social Democratic Union's (USD)
candidate, however, is rapidly closing the gap with 15%. Observers now
do not rule out the possibility of an Iliescu-Roman race in the second
round of the presidential elections. In the parliamentary race, the PDSR
is backed by 32%, the CDR by 27% and the USD by 13%. -- Michael Shafir

REPRESENTATIVE OF BULGARIAN CORPORATION COMMITS SUICIDE IN SKOPJE . Ivo
Jancev, the representative of the Bulgarian corporation Multigroup, was
found dead in a hotel in Skopje on 12 April, Nova Makedonija reported on
18 April. According to Bulgarian media, Jancev's body did not show any
signs of struggle and investigators concluded that Jancev committed
suicide. Jancev, who previously worked for the Bulgarian secret service,
was buried on 14 April. Demokratsiya on 18 April ran a story, where
former secret service colleagues allege that Janev was assassinated.
Following the assassination attempt on Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov in October 1995, unconfirmed reports in the Macedonian and
Bulgarian press drew a connection between Multigroup and the attack. No
evidence was produced and Jancev strongly denied the allegations. --
Ismije Beshiri and Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIAN TSAR MAY VISIT HIS COUNTRY. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry
said on 17 April that former Tsar Simeon II will be allowed to visit
Bulgaria, international media reported the same day. Simeon II was
forced by communist leaders to leave the country in 1946. The official
announcement requested Simeon II to pledge that he "respects the
Bulgarian constitution and the results of the 1946 referendum" which
abolished the monarchy. The Foreign Ministry denied allegations that it
was delaying an extension of the Tsar's identity card to prevent him
from entering the country. Simeon II lives in Spain. He is planning to
visit Bulgaria on 25 May. -- Fabian Schmidt

LATE ALBANIAN COMMUNIST DICTATOR'S SON RELEASED FROM PRISON. Enver
Hoxha's son Ilir was released from prison on 17 April, local media
reported. Hoxha was accused on 8 June 1995 of "inciting national hatred
and endangering public peace, by calling for hatred against parts of the
population" and "calling for vengeance." In an interview he gave to the
newspaper Modeste he had called the current Albanian leadership a "pack
of vandals" and "dark forces". He was also quoted as saying during his
trial that "The day will come when all those who have betrayed my father
will have to answer for their actions." After his release he claimed he
wanted to protect the memory of his father. Enver Hoxha ruled Albania
from 1945 until 1985. His wife, Nexhmije, is serving a jail term for
abuse of power. -- Fabian Schmidt

MORE ALBANIAN CANDIDATES BANNED FROM RUNNING IN ELECTIONS. Another ten
Socialist candidates have been banned from running in the upcoming
elections on 26 May by a government commission screening for past
communist involvement, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 18 April. The total
number of candidates excluded is now 63. The commission was created to
settle a dispute over two laws - the "verification law" and so-called
"Genocide law." The ruling Democratic Party argues that both laws are
designed to prevent former high communist officials and former secret
police spies from holding public office, but the opposition maintains
they are designed to weaken the parliamentary opposition. -- 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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