The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 81, Part II, 24 April 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 76: "A New Opposition Movement is Launched in Kazakhstan," by Bhavna Dave
No. 77: "NATO Enlargement and Slovakia," by Sharon Fisher
No. 78: "Yeltsin and the Myth of the China Market," by Scott Parrish
No. 79: "Former Polish Prime Minister Cleared from Spy Allegations," by
        Jakub Karpinski
No. 80: "The Constitutional Debate in Ukraine," by Ustina Markus

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
MAJOR FIRE NEAR CHORNOBYL. Five deserted villages near Chornobyl caught
fire on 23 April, releasing radioactive particles into the air,
international agencies reported. The villages are located in some of the
most contaminated areas around the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The
fire blazed for more than seven hours. Officials at the power plant said
the fire had no effect on radiation levels or operations at the plant
itself. No casualties were reported, and it is unknown how much
radiation was released into the air. The fire, believed to have been
caused by an unextinguished cigarette, spread quickly because of winds.
Some 150 hectares were engulfed by the flames. The blaze occurred three
days before the 10th anniversary of the Chornobyl accident. -- Ustina
Markus
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Leonid Kuchma,
addressing the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on
23 April, said Ukraine aims to become a full-fledged member of the EU,
ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. He also reiterated his position that
NATO should not be enlarged without taking Russia's interests into
account, but he added he was not opposed to the alliance's expansion.
Kuchma noted that creating a nuclear-free zone in Eastern Europe would
have a stabilizing effect on European developments. He called upon the
international community to help finance the resettlement of minority
groups who were deported by Stalin and now want to returning to their
former homelands in Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus

JAPAN PLEDGES $25 MILLION TO UKRAINE. According to Ukrainian Deputy
Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro
Hashimoto has promised President Kuchma $25 million to help ensure
safety standards at Ukraine's nuclear reactors, Reuters reported on 23
April. Hashimoto made the pledge at the G-7 summit meeting in Moscow.
Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors at five power stations, which provide
40% of the country's electricity. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN GERMANY. Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived in
Germany on 24 April for a three-day visit, ITAR-TASS reported.
Lukashenka will visit Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Berlin. He is also
scheduled to meet with German President Roman Herzog to sign an
agreement on cooperation over liquidating Belarus's nuclear weapons. --
Ustina Markus

ESTONIA'S RUSSIANS OPPOSE LOCAL ELECTIONS LAW. The Estonian United
People's Party on 23 April appealed to President Lennart Meri not to
sign the local elections law passed by the parliament last week, BNS
reported. A majority of the Narva city councilors made a similar appeal
to Meri the previous day. Both the United People's Party and the
councilors oppose the provisions requiring candidates to be highly
proficient in the Estonian language and stipulating that voters have a
permanent residence permit. Chairman of the Narva Russian Citizens'
League Yuri Mishin warned that alternative bodies of power would be
formed in Narva if non-citizens were not allowed to vote in the
municipal elections on 20 October. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, SLOVENIA SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT. Latvian and Slovenian
Foreign Ministers Valdis Birkavs and Zoran Thaler, meeting in Riga on 22
Monday, signed a free trade agreement and a cooperation protocol between
the two countries' Foreign Ministries. Thaler also met with President
Guntis Ulmanis, Prime Minister Andris Skele, and parliamentary
chairwoman Ilga Kreituse. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS EARLY ELECTIONS. The Seimas on 23 April
voted to reject a proposal to bring parliamentary elections forward from
20 October to 30 June or 6 July, Radio Lithuania reported. It also
ratified three agreements with Belarus signed by the countries'
presidents on 6 February 1995. Meanwhile, President Algirdas Brazauskas
signed a decree appointing Albertas Valys, the 43-year old director of
the Seimas's Secretariat, as minister of justice. His appointment means
that all posts in Mindaugas Stankevicius's cabinet have been filled. --
Saulius Girnius

FORMER POLISH PREMIER SAYS "JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE." Jozef Oleksy on 23
April said the spy allegations were brought against him during the final
days of Lech Walesa's presidency by people who had wanted to destroy the
former communist Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland. The party
forms the core of the Democratic Left Alliance, which has been a member
of the ruling coalition in Poland since 1993. "Justice has been done,"
Oleksy said in a statement read to journalists after the Military
Prosecutor-General's Office closed the case, having found no
incriminating evidence. Meanwhile, opposition leaders, including former
Internal Affairs Minister Krzysztof Kozlowski, said they were not
convinced by the prosecutor-general's arguments, Polish dailies reported
on 24 April. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN NEW YORK. Dariusz Rosati on 23 April met with
US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright, who told him that the U.S.'s
position on Poland's admission to NATO has not changed, Rzeczpospolita
reported. Rosati had asked her to comment on reports from Moscow saying
that U.S. President Bill Clinton promised his Russian counterpart, Boris
Yeltsin, that the process of NATO enlargement will be temporarily
halted. Rosati said Albright reinforced the "hard-line standpoint" on
NATO enlargement adopted by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher
during his recent visit to Poland. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PARLIAMENT SESSION FINALLY GETS UNDER WAY. Czech deputies on 23
April voted by 94 to 47 with 36 abstentions to approve a truncated
agenda and begin a rearranged session, Czech media reported. The last
scheduled session before general elections was aborted last week when
deputies of the governing coalition failed to agree on the order of
business (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 and 18 April 1996). Members of one
coalition party, the Civic Democratic Alliance, voted against the
revised agenda. The parliament's first act was to approve a treaty
amending the Czech-Slovak border. A second vote, needing at least 120
deputies in favor, is required for ratification of the treaty as a
constitutional law. In the first round of voting, only 106 deputies were
in favor. The opposition objects to the treaty provision transferring a
village to Slovakia, making ratification unlikely. Slovakia has already
ratified the treaty. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH FUNDS EARMARKED FOR ROMANI MUSEUM. The lion's share of the 1.8
million crowns earmarked by the Czech Culture Ministry for Roma will go
to the Society of Experts and Friends of the Museum of Romani Culture,
CTK reported on 23 April. Other Romani organizations will split the
about 300,000 crowns leftover. The society, founded in 1991, has been
raising funds to renovate a Brno building for a permanent exhibit of
Romani art and cultural artifacts. Some 27 million crowns are required
for the renovations. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL BILL ON FOUNDATIONS. The Slovak
cabinet on 23 April approved a bill on foundations proposed by Justice
Minister Jozef Liscak, Slovak media reported. The bill requires that
foundations have a start-up capital of 100,000 crowns ($3,333) and
register with the Interior Ministry. They are prohibited from taking
part in political activities. The Third Sector Association, which began
its campaign against the bill in mid-January, called the new legislation
an attempt to liquidate foundations and associations dependent on them.
Liscak argued that the foundations bill is similar to those in Germany,
the Czech Republic, France, and Denmark. Meanwhile, the cabinet also
approved a draft law regulating the operations of lotteries and similar
institutions and requiring the state to have a 51% stake in companies
owning casinos. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN RADIO PREPARES FOR BELT-TIGHTENING. Hungarian Radio, currently
facing severe financial difficulties, has drawn up a plan introducing
austerity measures at the station, Hungarian dailies reported on 24
April. Broadcasting is to be reduced on one of the three channels, and
several programs will be cut on the other two. Honorariums will also be
cut by 55%. Management says Hungarian Radio's financial predicament
results from the state budget's failure to guarantee subscription
revenues since 1995. It added that advertising has not brought in the
expected revenues because of competition from commercial stations. The
cabinet is expected later this week to discuss a proposal granting an
additional 4.5 billion forints subsidy to Hungarian Radio and TV. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

FBI ACADEMY OPENS IN HUNGARY. One year after it began operations, an FBI
Academy has officially opened in Budapest, Hungarian media reported on
23 April. The inauguration of the first police academy of its kind
outside the U.S. was postponed due to the Oklahoma bombing last April,
which prevented FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney-General Janet
Reno from attending. The academy's curriculum includes training to
combat international terrorism, drug smuggling, counterfeiting, and
money laundering. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BELGRADE AUTHORITIES ARREST BOMB SUSPECTS. Belgrade police on 23 April
arrested Alexander Gajic and Milan Dobrilovic on charges related to the
1992 bombing of Belgrade's central mosque, Reuters reported. The two are
also suspects in the May 1993 bombing of St. Ann's Catholic Church in
the capital city. Some media have speculated that they may have also
been involved in the 30 March 1996 attack against the Bajrakli Mosque in
Belgrade, which caused serious damage to the building but no casualties.
The suspects were apprehended carrying 1.9 kilograms of explosives,
three hand guns, and three grenades. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON. Premier Milo Djukanovic and Finance
Minister Predrag Goranovic have decided to extend their visit to the
U.S. "by a few days," Nasa Borba reported on 24 April. The two men left
Montenegro on 21 April for a working visit aimed at restoring political
relations with Washington as well as with international financial and
political institutions. Nasa Borba also reports that the rump Yugoslav
embassy in Washington claims to have no knowledge of the Montenegrins'
visit. Embassy officials told a VOA correspondent they have nothing to
do with the visit and that Djukanovic has not contacted the embassy. --
Stan Markotich

VIOLENCE ESCALATES IN KOSOVO. At least five Serbs have been killed and
four injured since a Serbian civilian killed an Albanian student on the
weekend, AFP reported on 24 April. The Serbs who died are three men who
were in a cafe in Decani when a gunman entered and sprayed the bar with
automatic gunfire; a policeman who was shot outside a police station in
Stimlje, near Urosevac; and a woman who was gunned down while sitting
inside a police car in Sipolj. Some 10,000 women on 23 April gathered at
the site where the Albanian student was killed, QIK reported the same
day. The Democratic League of Kosovo strongly condemned the killings,
adding they had added a "dangerous dimension" to the Kosovo conflict. It
also stressed its policy of non-violence. -- Fabian Schmidt

SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH KOSOVO ALBANIANS. The
spokesman for the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement has said that "if
negotiations do not take place soon with representatives of the Kosovar
Albanians, there will be no solution for Kosovo," Nasa Borba reported on
24 April. The ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, however, accused the
"separatist Albanian movement of choosing terrorism as the means for its
struggle." It warned that this could "exclude a peaceful settlement" in
Kosovo, AFP reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

TUDJMAN CALLS FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION . . . Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman, in an important interview with leading pro-government
media, said his principal aim is to urge a balanced historical view of
all major personalities and movements in modern Croatian history,
Vecernji list reported on 23 April. He accordingly condemned the World
War II ustasha leader Ante Pavelic but noted that Pavelic did meet a
popular demand for an independent Croatia. Tudjman at the same time
praised former Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito as the most
successful modern Croatian politician and traced the roots of the
current Republic of Croatia back to Tito rather than to Pavelic. Tudjman
stressed that it is wrong to continue demonizing one or another of the
major political movements, saying it is time to bring back to Croatia
from abroad the remains of Tito, Pavelic, and Dr. Vladko Macek, who led
the powerful Croatian Peasant Party in the 1930s. -- Patrick Moore

. . . AND SPARKS CONTROVERSY. The Croatian president went on to deny
that he--a former member of the communist party and a general under
Tito--was still "an old communist" at heart and that he had made the
current state apparatus a safe haven for officials of the old regime. He
noted that only 2% of the Foreign Ministry's staff are holdovers from
the former Yugoslavia, while some 22% are former emigres. But the most
controversy was generated by his attempt to present a balanced view of
Croatian history and his call for reconciliation, Croatian dailies and
Nasa Borba the next day. As was the case with calls for reconciliation
in post-dictatorship Spain and Greece, many people across the political
spectrum see his remarks as an attempt to whitewash evil deeds. His
earlier call for turning the Jasenovac concentration camp in to a
memorial for all war dead has been slammed as a move to equate murderers
with victims. -- Patrick Moore

ROMANIAN DAILY SUES SWISS FOREIGN MINISTRY OVER SPY CHARGE. Evenimentul
zilei, Romania's top-selling tabloid, has said it is suing the Swiss
Foreign Ministry for alleging one of its reporters is a spy, Reuters
reported on 23 April. The move came after Switzerland recalled its
ambassador to Bucharest because of his relationship with a 21-year-old
political reporter accused of working for the Romanian Intelligence
Service (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 April 1996). Ion Cristoiu, chief
editor of the daily, said "the Swiss statement has damaged the newspaper
by creating the impression that we have journalists who are undercover
agents for various secret services." He has asked for the Swiss Ministry
to provide "hard evidence." The newspaper is seeking token damages of 1
leu (less than 1 cent). -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOLDOVA. Teodor Melescanu, at the start of
an official visit to the Republic of Moldova, discussed bilateral
relations with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei
Sangheli, Parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi, and Foreign Minister
Mihai Popov, Radio Bucharest reported on 23 April. Melescanu told Radio
Bucharest that the long-delayed bilateral basic treaty was included on
their agenda. He is scheduled today to attend a meeting of a Romanian-
Moldovan interdepartmental commission that is expected to focus on
boosting bilateral economic and cultural cooperation. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BONN. Georgi Pirinski and his German
counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, on 23 April launched a German-Bulgarian Forum
aimed at boosting bilateral economic and political ties, international
agencies reported. Pirinski noted that Germany is Bulgaria's most
important partner in achieving the "national goal" of EU membership. --
Stefan Krause

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN-MACEDONIAN "DIPLOMATIC SCANDAL." Meanwhile, Foreign
Minister Pirinski's decision to cancel a visit to Skopje has received
wide media coverage in both countries. Macedonian Ambassador to Bulgaria
Gorgi Spasov said the decision was related to Sofia's ongoing refusal to
meet Skopje's condition that bilateral agreements be drawn up in both
the Bulgarian and Macedonian languages, Kontinent reported. Macedonian
Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski stressed his country's good will to
solve "this comical dispute," Nova Makedonija reported. Georgi Parvanov,
deputy chairman of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, said his party
did not know why the visit has been canceled. He added that the language
issue has been raised by people who do not want relations between Sofia
and Skopje to improve, according to Demokratsiya. -- Stefan Krause

GREENPEACE WANTS BULGARIA TO CLOSE DOWN KOZLODUY. Greenpeace on 23 April
called on the Bulgarian government to close down the Kozloduy nuclear
power plant, Reuters reported. The spokesman for the organization's
Greek branch said Kozloduy is one of the world's three most dangerous
nuclear plants and that "the question is not if an accident at Kozloduy
will happen; the question is when." He added that a study commissioned
by Greenpeace showed Bulgaria could close down the plant if it learned
to conserve and economize on energy. The Bulgarian government claims it
wants to phase out the reactors but that they are still necessary
because they supply 40% of the country's electricity. Greenpeace says 15
accidents at Kozloduy were made public between 1990 and 1993, including
three radiation leaks. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY DEPUTIES BANNED FROM ELECTIONS.
The Albanian Supreme Court on 23 April rejected an appeal by 13 deputies
who have been banned from running in the upcoming general elections,
Albanian media reported. A commission screening candidates for the
elections ruled that they have a communist past. The Supreme Court
rejected the deputies' request that they be given access to the
documents on which the commission based its decision. It argued that
there was enough evidence against them, since their names were included
in a file listing those who collaborated with the Sigurimi, the
communist-era secret service. Another 26 deputies have also appealed to
the court. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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