He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 84, Part II, 29 April 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 82: "Tensions Rise Between Belgrade and Montenegro," by Stan Markotich
No. 83: "Tensions Rise in Kosovo," by Fabian Schmidt
No. 84: "Slovak Television and the Michal Kovac Jr. Kidnapping," by Sharon
        Fisher
No. 85: "The China Summits:  Old Games with New Rules," by Roger Kangas
No. 86: "Tenth Anniversary of the Chornobyl Accident," by Ustina Markus
No. 87: "Slovak Opposition Party Holds Congress," by Sharon Fisher
No. 88: "Opposition Demonstrates Against Lukashenka Again," 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

DEMONSTRATIONS, ARRESTS IN BELARUS. On the tenth anniversary of the
Chornobyl disaster, 50,000 people demonstrated in an unsanctioned rally
in Minsk, international agencies reported on 26-27 April. Protestors
demanded that Ukrainian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka resign after
"betraying the country by belittling the Chornobyl accident." The
demonstrators clashed with police and several were later admitted to the
local hospital with injuries. About 200 people were arrested including
several leaders of the nationalist Belarusian Popular Front and 17
Ukrainians belonging to the Rukh and UNA-UNSO parties. Lukashenka called
the rally a "riot," and said he plans to ban all demonstrations in the
future. The Belarusian opposition leaders Vyatsuk Vyachorka and Yurii
Chodyka began a hunger strike to protest their arrest. They have been
charged with organizing group activities to disturb the peace. -- Ustina
Markus

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER RETURNS. The leader of the Belarusian
Popular Front, Zyanon Paznyak, returned to Minsk on the tenth
anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
on 26 April. Paznyak had been in the Czech Republic and Poland after
Belarusian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest due to his role
in helping organize protest demonstrations against the 2 April agreement
on Russian-Belarusian integration. Just before Paznyak's return, Belapan
reported that the Belarusian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 24
April saying that countries that officially support Paznyak risk
damaging their relations with Belarus. -- Ustina Markus

CANADA, U.S. PROMISE AID TO UKRAINE. On the tenth anniversary of the
Chornobyl disaster, Canada promised $3.5 million in aid to help upgrade
the Kryvii Rih thermonuclear plant in Ukraine, AFP reported on 26 April.
The upgrade is meant to help Kryvii Rih substitute for lost energy
production when the Chornobyl closes. The same day, the U.S. signed an
agreement pledging $3 million to open a research center in Kyiv to study
problems related to the Chornobyl accident. France and Germany have also
signed preliminary agreements to provide financing. -- Ustina Markus

NEW ESTONIAN PARTY FORMED. The Estonian Rural Center Party and the
Social Democratic Party held a joint congress in Tallinn on 28 April
that voted to approve the by-laws of their new joint party, the
Moderates Party, ETA reported. Former Prime Minister Andres Tarand, who
suggested the merger in December, was elected Chairman. The former
Chairmen of the two respective parties Vambo Kaal and Eiki Nestor will
act as his deputies. The two parties cooperated in March 1995
parliamentary elections, winning six seats. -- Saulius Girnius

DOUBTS ON LATVIAN, ESTONIAN FISHING AGREEMENT. Latvian Prime Minister
Andris Skele said on 26 April that Estonia does not yet seem ready to
observe the verbal agreements on fishing and sea borders that he made
with his Estonian counterpart, Tiit Vahi, on 14 April, BNS reported.
Skele said that they had agreed to sign during the upcoming meeting of
Council of Baltic Sea Countries in Visby an agreement that would allow
Latvian trawlers to fish in Estonian waters around the island of Ruhnu
until 1 August. Raul Malk, Estonian Foreign Ministry Deputy Chancellor,
denies that such an agreement was made. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON OLEKSY AFFAIR. Former Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski
said on 28 April that former President Lech Walesa ordered former
Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski last year to submit to
prosecutors intelligence information that suggested that former Prime
Minister Jozef Oleksy had spied for the Soviet and Russian secret
services. Walesa said on Radio Zet that he acted in accordance with the
law. Oleksy maintained that charges against him were instigated by
Walesa for political reasons. On 22 April, the military prosecutor
closed a three-month investigation into the affair saying he found no
direct proof of any crime. The Chief Military Prosecutor Gen. Ryszard
Michalowski said, however, that he will review the decision and Justice
Minister Leszek Kubicki has decided to publish the investigation files,
Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

NUMBER OF PARTIES IN CZECH ELECTIONS DROPS. The Central Electoral
Commission on 27 April decided that the four parties that have not paid
the required election deposits will not have their candidates listed on
official ballot papers for the 31 May-1 June parliamentary elections,
Czech media reported. The Nationwide Citizens' Activity and Party of
Czechoslovak Communists failed to deposit 200,000 crowns ($7,400) in any
of the electoral districts where they intended to stand, while the Right
Bloc paid only part of the sum. The Greens refused to pay deposits in
protest against the decision of the district electoral commission in
northern Bohemia not to register the party's candidates because the list
was improperly submitted. There are now 16 parties standing in the
elections, although those excluded still have the rights to campaign and
to free state TV and radio airtime. The commission also ruled that the
presence of members of the Entrepreneurs Party on the lists of the Free
Democrats-Liberal Social National Party makes it a coalition, which
requires 7% of the vote to win parliamentary seats rather than the 5%
needed for individual parties. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH ROMA FILE RACIAL SUIT AGAINST EXTREMIST PARTY. Ivan Vesely,
Secretary of the Romani Democratic Congress (RDK) in the Czech Republic,
filed a case against the extremist Assembly of the Republic-Czechoslovak
Republican Party (SPR-RSC) on 24 April for alleged racial crimes, CTK
reported the same day. Vesely said that SPR-RSC owns, prints, and
circulates the newspaper Republika that has been publishing anti-Romani
items for the past three years. The RDK, which unites several Romani
parties and societies in the country, is pursuing a legal ban on SPR-
RSC. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN. Jozef Migas was elected
Chairman of the Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) during the party's
congress on 27-28 April, Slovak media reported. A virtual political
unknown, Migas has served as ambassador to Ukraine since 1994. Migas was
a compromise candidate between the two factions of the party, which
differ over the need to join the current government. Migas said the SDL
will will not enter the government before 1998 elections. In other news,
speaking at the SDL congress on 27 April, the Party of European
Socialists' Secretary-General Jean-Francois Vallin called Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar "an obstacle to Slovakia's future membership in
the EU." Meciar admitted in a Slovak Radio interview on 26 April that
domestic political conditions could delay Slovakia's admission into
NATO. -- Sharon Fisher

FIVE SLOVAK SOLDIERS DIE FROM BURNS. Five soldiers had died by 28 April
as a result of burns suffered when their truck caught fire five days
earlier in the army training grounds at Zalubica in eastern Slovakia,
Slovak media reported. A cigarette caused the truck, loaded with paints
and paint-thinners, to explode. A total of 18 soldiers were affected by
burns. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky on 25
April blamed the accident on the government and the Defense Ministry. --
Sharon Fisher

CENTRAL EUROPEAN FORUM HOLDS INAUGURAL CONFERENCE IN HUNGARY. Several
hundred diplomats, government officials, and academics attended in
Budapest on 27-28 April the first conference of the Central European
Forum (CEF). Poland proposed the forum in December 1995 to provide a
framework for dialogue about EU enlargement. Hungarian President Arpad
Goncz and Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs argued that the EU must expand
to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy. Former German
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former French Prime Minister Raymond Barre
reassured the Central Europeans that in the long term their EU
membership is certain. The CEF took place just one day after the
European Commission sent a 200-page questionnaire to the nine East-
Central European countries applying for EU membership, which they must
complete in the next three months.-- Peter Rutland in Budapest

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN UN AMBASSADOR BLASTS IRANIAN "REVELATIONS." Muhamed Sacirbey
sharply denied an election-year spate of "leaks" in the U.S. press over
alleged past and present links between Sarajevo and Tehran. He suggested
European powers that resent America's role in the Balkans are trying to
sabotage U.S. plans to "train and equip" the Bosnian army. "I think the
issue in Bosnia is not so much age-old ethnic rivalries as it is
European imperial rivalries that have now lasted for over a
century...Why are these stories being spread? The primary U.S.
relationship in the Balkans is with Bosnia, [which] upsets some other
political relationships that have existed since before World War I,"
Onasa quoted him as saying on 28 April. -- Patrick Moore

SERBS, IFOR BLOCK REFUGEES' RETURN. Mass visits by Muslim refugees to
pray at family gravesites now under Serbian control were expected on 28
April, the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bairam, the Czech daily Mlada fronta
Dnes reported the next day. Oslobodjenje noted that some 200 Serbs near
Doboj pelted refugees with stones and prevented them from crossing the
border, despite provisions in the Dayton agreement assuring both the
freedom of movement and the right of refugees to go home. IFOR troops
kept the Muslims out of Serb territory elsewhere, such as by blocking
three busloads of refugees who wanted to go to Teslic. U.S. soldiers
turned back cars carrying Muslims, who sought to go to Mahala, near
Tuzla. Serbs stoned and wounded a dozen Croat refugees wanting to visit
their home village near Gradacac, Onasa said. IFOR's Gen. Michael Walker
added that IFOR cannot guarantee freedom of movement for "larger
civilian groups." -- Patrick Moore

THREE SERBS CONVICTED IN MURDER TRIALS OF ETHNIC CROATS. Three
individuals have been convicted on charges relating to the killings of
four ethnic Croats in Serbia's Vojvodina province, Vecernje novosti
reported on 28 April. A regional court in Sremska Mitrovica sentenced
Goran Vukovic to 15 years imprisonment for shooting three Croats in June
1993, while Pavle Draskovic was sentenced to ten years in prison for
murdering one Croat in April 1993. Meanwhile, Milan Nikolic received a
prison sentence of three and one-half years for instigating "national
and religious animosity" in the province. All three men are believed to
have been volunteer-paramilitaries during Belgrade's war with Croatia.
-- Stan Markotich

CHILD DIES IN BOMB EXPLOSION IN KOSOVO . . . One child was killed and
three others injured in a bomb explosion in Velika Reka on 28 April,
Reuters reported. The Democratic League of Kosovo said unidentified
culprits threw the explosive from a driving car and the bomb exploded as
the youngsters, aged nine-12, examined the device. Serbian police,
however, said the explosion was an accident, AFP reported. They claimed
the boys found the bomb in a field near a local agricultural co-
operative. Another bomb reportedly exploded outside a house in Dusanovo
the previous day, causing damage but no casualties. Serbian Deputy
administrator Milan Nesovic claimed that "the incidents are a desperate
move by extremist elements to destroy the increasingly favorable climate
created for talks on resolving the Kosovo issue," but did not say how
the long-standing deadlock on negotiations could be broken in a
foreseeable future. -- Fabian Schmidt

. . . AND MORE ARRESTS REPORTED FOLLOWING RECENT SHOOT-OUTS. Three more
Albanians were arrested following a wave of shoot-outs in Kosovo early
last week on 26 April, AFP reported. Altogether more than 100 Albanians
have been arrested all over Kosovo since the recent shoot-outs. The
Democratic League of Kosovo has again claimed that Albanians in custody
are being tortured by police. It also reported an increase in arbitrary
police raids into private houses. -- Fabian Schmidt

SLOVENIA'S REFUGEES TO BE RETURNED. The Slovenian government has decided
to repatriate approximately 18,500 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina,
some 90% of whom are Muslims, by the end of 1997, Nasa Borba reported on
29 April. Representatives of the Slovenian refugee community reported
that some 60% of the refugees have already indicated that they would opt
to stay in Slovenia if given the chance. Nasa Borba reported that the
refugees fear their homes "have been destroyed and that [their]
territory, in accordance with the Dayton agreement, is now under the
jurisdiction of the Republika Srpska or the the Croats." The
resettlement process is scheduled to begin on 1 July 1995. -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIAN MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH ITALY. Slovenian Foreign Minister
Zoran Thaler said on 26 April during a visit to Portugal that the
center-left's 21 April victory in Italian elections has positive
implications for bilateral Slovenian-Italian relations. Thaler remarked
that the political mood in Rome has changed since the Olive Tree
coalition emerged with a victory. Thaler also said that Slovenia's
chances of obtaining an association agreement with the EU, as a step
towards full EU integration, have improved markedly. Reuters quoted
Thaler as saying,"We believe that there is a realistic chance to have
our association agreement signed in the near future." -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA, RUSSIA POSTPONE INITIALING BASIC TREATY. Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov and his Romanian counterpart, Teodor
Melescanu, on 27 April failed to initial a much-delayed basic treaty,
Western media reported. Primakov was quoted as saying that he saw no
"visible dissension with the Romanian side," but he questioned Romania's
wish to have Moscow publicly condemn the 1939 secret Ribbentrop-Molotov
pact that stripped Romania of the Bessarabia and North Bukovina
Provinces. Melescanu, on the other hand, suggested that Romania was
ready to drop its demand that the treaty include the pact's
condemnation, but wanted the issue settled in a supplementary
declaration with no legal ramifications. Primakov, who came to Bucharest
to attend the meeting of the Business Forum of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation, also met Romanian President Ion Iliescu on the same day. --
Dan Ionescu

SENIOR NATO OFFICIAL IN ROMANIA. General John Sheehan, Supreme Allied
Commander Atlantic (SACLANT), on 26 April met with President Ion
Iliescu, Romanian media reported. The two discussed Romania's
participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program and in exercises
staged by SACLANT last year. Meanwhile, Romania on 26 April started
individual discussions on possible membership in the alliance at NATO
headquarters in Brussels. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN, ROMANIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on
26 April in Bucharest met with his Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu,
Radio Bucharest reported. They discussed bilateral cooperation and
mutual support. Snegur, who was attending the Business Forum of the
Black Sea Economic Cooperation group, had addressed the conference with
a plea for more political and economic stability, as well as military
security in the region. The four-day conference, which was attended by
more than 2,000 politicians and business people, closed on 28 April. --
Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PREMIER PLAYS DOWN BUDGETARY PROBLEMS . . . Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov on 28 April said that the government will not amend or
adjust the 1996 state budget in order to compensate for rising interest
rates, Pari reported. He said the government will pressure the Bulgarian
National Bank to lower the prime interest rate instead, which had been
raised from 49% to 67% on 25 April. Videnov said raising the interest
rate is no way of solving the state's fundamental financial problems and
is detrimental to investments. He also blamed the trade unions for the
situation. Trud cited Videnov as saying there is no need for ministers
to resign because of the economic and financial situation. He said that
"In the U.S., there is also a budget deficit, but no one resigns because
of that." -- Stefan Krause

. . . WHILE SOCIALIST PARTY DEPUTY LEADER CALLS FOR CABINET RESHUFFLE.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Deputy Chairman Yanaki
Stoilov on 28 April demanded that several key ministers be replaced,
Standart reported. He singled out Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Economic Development Rumen Gechev and Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov,
who are blamed for failing to deal with the financial and economic
crisis, and Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev, who failed to cope with
rising crime. Stoilov said "the changes have to be made now" because
"trust in the government is waning." He predicted that without personnel
changes, the BSP will be unable to fulfill its election platform. In
other news, Reuters on 26 April cited a top police official as saying
that financial losses from white-collar crime rose by 300% in the first
three months of 1996 compared to the same period last year. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS HOST ELECTION SPECTACLE. The Democratic Party held a
huge music spectacle, for 30,000 people in Tirana on 27 April, Reuters
reported. President Sali Berisha said his agenda include "rapidly
improving living standards and ensuring fast economic growth." He also
promised to speed up the privatization of state industries, banks,
telecommunications and mines and to invest in infrastructure projects
and hospitals. Meanwhile, the number of candidates banned from elections
for their past Communist-ties has reached 139. The Socialists thus lost
45 candidates, the Social Democrats 22, the Democratic Alliance 11, the
Republican Party 13, while other smaller parties lost 45 candidates.
Only three Democratic Party candidates were effected by the ban. --
Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

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