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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 86, Part II, 02 May 1996

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

MAY DAY DEMONSTRATIONS IN UKRAINE. Several thousand communists and
democrats demonstrated at separate gatherings on May Day in Kyiv,
Russian Public TV reported on 1 May. Authorities gave seven political
parties permission to rally in Kyiv, designating their rallies to
different sections of the city to avoid conflict. Both leftists and
democrats criticized the government at their respective demonstrations,
but there were no outbreaks of violence. Radio Mayak reported that 8,000
people in Simfereopol also demonstrated. -- Ustina Markus

MINSK COURTS TRY OPPOSITIONISTS. Judges sentenced participants in the 26
April demonstrations in Minsk to five to 10-day prison terms, Reuters
and Belapan reported on 30 April. In all, 204 people were detained. Some
reports stated that authorities mistreated the prisoners by not giving
them food or water and by keeping lights on at night so they could not
sleep. Seventeen Ukrainians were among those arrested, and Belarusian
Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko sent a memorandum to Ukraine's Foreign
Ministry charging the demonstrators with participating in destabilizing
actions, ITAR-TASS reported. Opposition parties signed a statement
denouncing the dictatorial regime in the country and calling upon all
democratic forces to unite against the country's leadership. The
Belarusian Helsinki Committee appealed to Russian President Boris
Yeltsin to exert his influence to stop "flagrant human rights violations
in Belarus." -- Ustina Markus

MAYDAY DEMONSTRATIONS IN MINSK. Up to 50,000 people demonstrated in
Minsk on 1 May, the majority protesting President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's leadership, international agencies reported. Communists and
the official Federation of Trade Unions were also present to celebrate
Labor Day. Security forces were stationed around Independence Square,
and the rally did not turn violent. The demonstration was the fourth
mass action since 24 March condemning Lukashenka's policies. -- Ustina
Markus

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS LAND REFORM LAW. The parliament adopted on 30
April a law aimed at speeding up land reform, BNS and ETA reported. The
law, which makes amendments to 15 laws and other acts, was debated for
four months with more than a thousand changes proposed. The law grants
land users privileged rights of purchase and limits bidding. Permanent
residents of Estonia can buy the plots where their houses and summer
cottages are located at half the established market price. Buyers can
purchase land in installments over a five-year period for purchases
exceeding 25,000 kroons ($2,000), up to a 15-year period for purchases
exceeding 5 million kroons. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT PROLONGS RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR 76 RUSSIAN MILITARY
RETIREES. The government on 30 April prolonged the residence permits of
76 Russian military retirees from 1 May until 1 September, BNS reported.
In 1994, officers who retired after 28 January 1992 and their families
were originally required to depart along with the Russian army, but
because no housing was available for the retirees in Russia, the Latvian
government allowed them to remain. As many as 22,320 Russian military
retirees have the right to stay in Latvia, but 3,200 of them have chosen
to leave the country. -- Saulius Girnius

OPINION POLL IN LITHUANIA. A poll taken in April by the Lithuanian-
British joint venture Baltic Surveys revealed that the share of
respondents expressing trust in emigre Valdas Adamkus, a potential
presidential candidate, rose to 54%, a 5% increase since March, Radio
Lithuania reported on 30 April. Seimas Deputy Chairman Egidijus
Bickauskas, who formerly led popularity polls, is trusted by 51% of the
respondents. Trust in President Algirdas Brazauskas declined by 4%, to
39%. When asked which party they would vote for if parliament elections
were held that day, 19.9% of respondents said they would not vote and
26.6% said that they did not know. The most popular party remained the
Christian Democrats with 13.6% of the support, a 2.2% increase since
March. The popularity of the Conservatives declined by 1.3%, while the
ruling Democratic Labor Party fell to fifth place with 5.3%, falling
behind the Center Union (7.5%) and the Women's Party (5.7%). -- Saulius
Girnius

YOUNG RIGHTISTS DISRUPT MAY DAY EVENTS IN POLAND. Young rightists flung
fireworks and eggs during a May Day march in Warsaw sponsored by
Poland's leftist parties (the Social Democracy of Poland (SdRP), the
All-Poland Trade Union Alliance (OPZZ) and the Polish Socialist Party),
international media reported on 1 May. Several thousand people gathered
for the march. The demonstrators broke through police ranks, shouting
"Poland's shame" and "Commies out." Police detained several of the
demonstrators. Similar clashes occurred in Poznan and Krakow. Ex-
communist leader Jozef Oleksy, who heads the SdRP, accused rightist
politicians of kindling historical animosities and hatred during the
celebrations. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLAND TO DECIDE ON WEAPONS DEPLOYMENT IN TALKS WITH NATO. Polish
Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati on 1 May said at a meeting with his
Danish counterpart, Niels Helveg Petersen, that Poland will not make any
promises on nuclear weapons deployment prior to talks with NATO,
international media reported the same day. Rosati said it is now
unnecessary for Poland to have nuclear weapons within its borders as he
'sees no threat,' however, he reaffirmed Poland's commitment to joining
NATO. The talks were held just before a major forum of the Council of
Baltic States scheduled to begin later in the week. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

MAN TIED TO KIDNAPPING CASE OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON KILLED IN
EXPLOSION. Interior Ministry spokesman Peter Ondera told TASR on 30
April that Robert Remias died when his BMW exploded the previous night
on the outskirts of Bratislava. Ondera said the explosion probably
resulted from a breakdown in the car's propane-fueled engine. Jaroslav
Simunic, a former police investigator who was fired from the Kovac Jr.
case last September after announcing his suspicions of involvement by
the Slovak Information Service, claims that Remias was murdered. An
editor of the daily Sme, Peter Toth, told the RFE/RL Slovak Service that
Remias, a former policeman, was a close friend of Oskar F., a key
witness in the Kovac Jr. case who is now in hiding. Remias was Oskar
F.'s intermediary with the outside world, Toth said. Toth added that he
and Remias were being followed by the same cars. -- Sharon Fisher

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL ON SLOVAKIA'S POTENTIAL MEMBERSHIP. Javier Solana
said during his 30 April visit to Slovakia that the country is still a
candidate for NATO membership, international media reported. He added
that "the alliance consists of countries that share the values of
democracy, of respect of human rights, [and] of the protection of
minorities," and that Slovakia must uphold these values to become a
member. He told President Kovac that it is too early to "classify"
countries; however, consideration of individual candidates will be
completed at the end of the year. After meeting with Solana, Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar emphasized that there are no obstacles to
Slovakia's membership. However, visiting Slovakia on 30 April, former
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke warned Meciar that
completing the Slovak-Hungarian treaty's ratification process is an
essential condition for further discussions on Slovakia's NATO
membership. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER, GOVERNMENT'S POPULARITY RISE IN POLLS. Gyula
Horn's popularity rose nine points in April while his government's
rating reached its highest point since the introduction of austerity
measures more than a year ago, Hungarian media reported on 2 May. In a
poll conducted by the Sonda-Ipsos agency, Horn rose to 55% from 46% a
month earlier, gaining personal support even from people who said they
would not vote for his Socialist Party. The government as a whole
received a 53.4% rating, up from 51.1% in March. Officials of the
polling organization said the rise in the government's popularity was
likely influenced by the recent change of finance ministers and
antipathy created when the leader of the opposition Smallholders' Party
made a controversial speech in mid-March. -- Steve Kettle

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN REFUGEE INCIDENT TO BE INVESTIGATED. Bosnian Prime Minister
Hasan Muratovic and the speaker of the Bosnian Assembly Momcilo
Krajisnik agreed to begin a criminal investigation into the killing of
two Muslim refugees, who were killed after entering Serbian held
territory on 29 April. The meeting was mediated by the international
community's High Representative Carl Bildt, Onasa reported on 1 May.
Bildt's office and the international police deployed in Bosnia will meet
with interior ministers from both sides. Muratovic and Krajisnik also
agreed to give the UNHCR full support to organize visits of refugees to
their respective hometowns. IFOR, meanwhile, said that freedom of
movement is one of the crucial segments in the Dayton peace accord and
its obstruction constitutes a violation of human rights. -- Fabian
Schmidt

ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED FOR MOSTAR. The EU administrator for Mostar Ricardo
Perez Casado announced that town elections will be held 31 May, Onasa
reported on 1 May. Lists of candidates are to be finalized by 10 May.
Elsewhere, the International Federation of Journalists has pledged
financial aid to the independent media in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina
to ensure accurate information during the pre-election period later this
year. The federation's General Manger Aidan White said that the
elections will be the best test of the quality of Bosnian journalism.
Aid will consist of technical equipment and seminars. Meanwhile, the
Reporters Without Borders has protested an incident in late April when
two journalists from Austria and Novi Sad were restricted in the
Republika Srpska. -- Fabian Schmidt

BELGRADE RELEASES MUSLIM PRISONERS. Belgrade authorities finally
released five Muslim refugees on 1 May, following a series of protests
from the international community, Reuters reported the same day. The
five were among some 800 refugees who fled to Serbia from Bosnia after
Bosnian Serb forces captured the Bosnian Muslim "safe havens" of
Srebrenica and Zepa in the summer of 1995. According to rump Yugoslav
authorities, the refugees were war crimes suspects, and thus were
incarcerated. With the release of the five, rump Yugoslavia reportedly
no longer detains any Bosnian Muslims who fled to Serbia following the
collapse of Srebrenica and Zepa. Reuters also noted that the UN High
Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) chartered the plane that flew the five
freed refugees home. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN UN AMBASSADOR SAYS BOSNIAN SERB GENERAL PROVIDES LINK TO
BELGRADE. Muhamed Sacirbey said before the International Court of
Justice on 1 May that Bosnian Serb logistics General Djorde Djukic is a
"smoking gun" between Belgrade and its involvement in Serb genocide
campaigns conducted in Bosnia, Reuters reported the same day. According
to Sacirbey, Djukic, who was held at The Hague on war crimes charges but
released because of ill-health, is "the connection between the Belgrade
regime and the so-called Bosnian Serb army." Belgrade continues to
assert that it was never involved in the Bosnian conflict, and that the
court should drop Bosnia's case against Belgrade. The Bosnian
government, however, asserts that Belgrade violated the 1948 Genocide
Convention by arming and encouraging Bosnian Serbs' efforts. -- Stan
Markotich

MONTENEGRIN PREMIER ON RELATIONS WITH BELGRADE. After his visit to the
U.S., Milo Djukanovic gave an interview to Montenegrin state radio and
TV in which he indicated a desire to mend relations between his republic
and Belgrade. Montena-fax on 30 April reported that Djukanovic approved
of, what he dubbed, a change in Belgrade's position vis-a-vis the IMF.
Relations with the IMF has been one issue of public disagreement between
Djukanovic and the federal authorities under Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic's control. -- Stan Markotich

U.S. OFFERS MEDIATION IN KOSOVO ESCALATION. A U.S. State Department
delegation visited Kosovo on 1 May offering to mediate in the Kosovo
conflict, ATSH reported. The delegation was headed by Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for former Yugoslavia Rudolph Perina and met with
Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova. Perina expressed concern
about recent shoot-outs in which six people died and five were injured
and stressed the need for a non-violent solution. He added that since
the Dayton agreement was signed, Kosovo has priority on the U.S.
diplomatic agenda in the Balkans. Negotiations between Belgrade and the
shadow-state remain in a deadlock due to the Serbs' rejection to
negotiate under international mediation. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIA, RUMP-YUGOSLAVIA SIGN AIR TRAFFIC ACCORD. Rump Yugoslav
Minister of Transport Zoran Vujovic and his Macedonian counterpart,
Dimitar Buzlevski, signed and agreement resuming air traffic between
both countries beginning this month. Following both countries' mutual
recognition on 8 April, Macedonia will take full control of the air
space above its territory from 7 November this year. The agreement will
be finalized in Belgrade on 20 May. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIA WARNS AGAINST IMPORTED TERRORISM. A senior security force
official warned that Romania is being increasingly used as a channel for
"terrorists" from the Middle East and Asia, Reuters reported on 30
April. Gen. Gheorghe Aradavoaice, deputy head of the Protection and
Guard Service (SPP), told journalists that "Romania has become a bridge
between terrorist organizations in Asia and the Arab world and their
branches in some western European countries." The statement, made on
SPP's sixth anniversary, echoes warnings from the annual report of the
Romanian Intelligence Service that Kurdish and Islamic extremists are
based in Romania. However, Reuters quoted Western diplomats as saying
that the country has a plethora of security services that suffer from
inter-agency competition and are striving to justify their existence. --
Dan Ionescu

BULGARIANS RALLY FOR, AGAINST GOVERNMENT ON MAY DAY. Around 12,000
supporters of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on 1 May
rallied in support of the government, Bulgarian and Western media
reported. Prime Minister and BSP Chairman Zhan Videnov at the rally
accused President Zhelyu Zhelev, the opposition, and the trade unions of
destabilizing the country and leading it into a new economic crisis.
Also in central Sofia, several thousand people attended an anti-
government rally organized by the Confederation of Independent Trade
Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) and the Confederation of Labor "Podkrepa."
KNSB Chairman Krastyo Petkov called on the cabinet to "stop the anti-
social policy" and resign. Podkrepa leader Konstantin Trenchev at a
rally in Kazanlak said Bulgaria "is facing a national catastrophe." --
Stefan Krause

PREMIER ADMITS BULGARIA NEEDS IMF CREDITS TO REPAY DEBTS. Zhan Videnov
on 30 April said Bulgaria needs a new debt agreement with the IMF in
order to meet foreign debt payments due in three months, RFE/RL and AFP
reported. Following a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
in Vienna, Videnov said Bulgaria "will be able to meet its repayments
this year" but added that it needs an agreement on stand-by credits from
the IMF. Bulgaria and the IMF have failed to reach an agreement so far
this year, mainly because of Sofia's failure to resolve the problems of
unprofitable state enterprises and insolvent state and private banks.
Videnov conceded that Bulgaria will have to "drastically reduce the
number of unprofitable state enterprises." Bulgaria's external debt
totals nearly $11 billion. More than $1 billion is due this year, but
Bulgaria's foreign currency reserves only hold $720 million. -- Stefan
Krause

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS ALBANIA. Javier Solana called Albania a
"very important" part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, after
arriving in Tirana for a two-day visit on 1 May, AFP reported. Solana
discussed deepening Albanian NATO cooperation with President Sali
Berisha, who repeated his country's determination to become a full NATO
member. Berisha said Albania was a small but determined and
strategically important ally. Both men expressed concern over
developments in Kosovo, and Berisha called this "the most serious crisis
facing the Balkans." Solana stressed the need for OSCE monitors in the
region, who were expelled by Belgrade in summer 1993. Berisha, after the
meeting announced that some 40 Albanian soldiers will join German IFOR
units in Croatia. Albanians have trained in the U.S. for peacekeeping
missions since summer 1995. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN ELECTION CAMPAIGN UPDATE. A dispute has developed between the
opposition and the ruling Democrats about TV broadcasting time given to
the respective parties before the 26 May elections. The electoral
commission has allotted the the ruling Democrats with as much
broadcasting time as all other opposition parties received together. The
opposition complained that state TV covered the Democrats' election
rallies in-depth for 30 minutes, while a comparable Socialist rally only
received 30 seconds of air-time. Earlier this week, police broke into a
Socialist party office in Tepelena removed the party's flag from the
balcony and tore down posters. Elsewhere, police detained two people in
Cerrik for writing Socialist slogans inside their shop, Koha Jone
reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS SAY THEY HAD WARNED WESTERN LEADERS. The Socialist
Party published a letter its imprisoned leader Fatos Nano wrote to world
leaders in October 1995. In the letter, Nano claims that "the
government's arbitrary actions against the opposition and the
independence of the courts have increased so much that they actually
threaten the process of the free, democratic elections." In other news,
German former President Richard von Weizsaecker during a visit to
Albania praised the country's success in developing democracy and market
reforms, Reuters reported on 1 May. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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