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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 91, Part II, 10 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

MORE CLASHES IN BELARUS . . . OMON forces clashed with veterans in
Minsk when the latter displayed the red-and-white Belarusian flag
instead of the Soviet-style flag that replaced it following last year's
referendum, Ekho Moskvy and Russian TV reported on 9 May. The veterans
were laying flowers at the city's war memorial. The OMON command
justified the action by saying that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
issued a decree allowing only the Soviet-type flag to be used in Victory
Day celebrations. -- Ustina Markus

. . . WHILE U.S. CRITICIZES MINSK. U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns said that Washington has repeatedly raised the issue of
human rights violations in Belarus with the Belarusian government and
its embassy in Washington, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 10 May.
He said the case of opposition leader Yuriy Khadyka, who was arrested
during the 26 April demonstrations and has been on a hunger strike since
28 April, has been raised several times. Belarus was criticized for
human rights violations in almost every category included in the latest
annual global human rights report compiled by the U.S. The report
pointed, among other things, to the accumulation of power in the
president's hands, his refusal to work with the parliament, and his use
of KGB and Interior Ministry troops against the opposition. -- Ustina
Markus

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT PROMISES TO SETTLE WAGE DEBT. Ukrainian Finance
Minister Petro Hermanchuk announced earlier this week that the
government will settle its wage debt by the end of May, UNIAN reported.
The official said the National Bank of Ukraine will be forced to print
unbacked currency to cover some of the wage arrears, which stood at 42
trillion karbovantsi ($227 million) as of 28 April. He said the
government would issue securities and use some foreign aid to cover the
rest. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament voted to form an ad hoc
commission to examine the government debt for back wages, pensions, and
stipends, which now totals 124 trillion karbovantsi, Holos Ukrainy
reported on 8 May. The regions where the debt crisis is most severe are
Vinnytsia, Kyiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Rivne. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

NEW PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid Kuchma has
appointed Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy as commander of the
Ukrainian navy and deputy defense minister, Ukrainian TV reported on 8
May. He named Gen. Volodymyr Mykhtiuk deputy defense minister and
appointed a well-known reformer, Volodymyr Lanovy, as his adviser on
economic policy. The president also selected Oleh Dyomin, deputy speaker
of the Ukrainian parliament, to head the Kharkiv region administration.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN DEMOCRATS SET UP INFORMAL CAUCUS. Sixty-eight lawmakers,
primarily national democrats, have formed a new informal caucus called
Nuremberg-2, UNIAR reported on 6 May. Their aim is to organize a
symbolic international trial on crimes committed by the former Communist
Party of the Soviet Union and Communist Party of Ukraine. The
legislators plan to use the caucus to collect evidence, hold public
hearings and conferences, and maintain links with parliaments of other
former Soviet republics. The group is headed by former political
prisoners Lev Lukianenko and Yevhen Proniuk as well as the well-known
cultural activist Les Taniuk. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE, RUSSIA APPROVE DRAFT ON MISSILE HAND-OVER. Ukraine and Russia
have approved a draft agreement on the hand-over to Russia of strategic
missiles and launchers stored in Ukraine's arsenals, Rossiiskiye vesti
reported on 7 May. Under the agreement, Ukraine will transfer to Russia
by the end of June ten SS-19 missiles as well as all the equipment
required to launch them. For its part, Russia will finance warranty
inspections and pay for servicing at strategic missile facilities in
Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus

MORE INFORMATION RELEASED ON RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT EXPELLED FROM ESTONIA.
Estonian officials on 9 May revealed that the police had gathered
evidence that Sergei Andreev, economic adviser to the Russian embassy in
Tallinn, was involved in spy activities, BNS reported. They filmed him
paying Tonu Randla, former adviser to the parliament's Foreign Affairs
Committee, $1,000 for documents. Randla had informed the Defense Police
about Andreev's requests for the documents, which did not contain
anything classified. It was also revealed that Andreev had been expelled
from Finland in 1990 for similar spy activities. Meanwhile, the Estonian
Foreign Ministry has protested continued claims by the Russia's Federal
Security Service that Estonia's volunteer defense force, Kaitseliit,
sold weapons to the Irish Republican Army and Russian criminals. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES NOT TO SEND CONDOLENCES FOR DUDAEV . . . The
Saeima on 9 May  decided not to consider the draft resolution on sending
condolences to the Chechen people on the death of their president
Dzhokhar Dudaev, BNS reported. National Harmony Party Chairman Janis
Jurkans said although he was "emotionally indignant" about the death,
sending condolences would hinder Latvia's relations with Russia. A total
of 33 deputies, nevertheless, signed a document addressed to the Chechen
people expressing their sadness at his death and expressing their
readiness to aid "those who fight for the freedom and independence of
their motherland." Deputies who voted against the resolution were not
asked to sign this document. -- Saulius Girnius

. . . WHILE POLISH SEJM PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIM. Polish deputies paid
tribute to Dzhokhar Dudaev on 8 May as Speaker Jozef Zych was reading
out a motion from the opposition Confederation for an Independent Poland
to hold a minute of silence to honor "the heroic death of the president
of the Chechen Republic." Rather than wait for Zych to finish reading
out the justification for the motion and call a vote, some deputies rose
to their feet and most others followed suit, including the speaker. Zych
commented that "further justification is pointless" and moved on to the
next point. Some members of the coalition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
remained seated, Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER ON EU. Vaclav Klaus, speaking at an election rally in
Neratovice on 9 May, said he wanted the Czech Republic to enter the EU
but "not like a sugar cube thrown into coffee, where it dissolves," Rude
pravo reported. Klaus noted he did not wish to be a citizen of Europe 10
or 20 years from now. "I want to remain a Czech citizen and pay Czech
taxes," said Klaus. He added that he is opposed to a common European
currency because "Czech citizens would wind up paying common taxes not
in Prague, but in Brussels." -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH PRESIDENT THREATENED WITH ASSASSINATION LAST YEAR. Vaclav Havel's
office received a letter in 1995 threatening an assassination attempt on
the president in revenge for his stance on the Bosnian conflict, Czech
TV reported on 9 May. The authors of the letter claimed to belong to the
fundamentalist Islamic Jihaad. A spokesman for the Ministry of Internal
Affairs told Czech TV that the police regularly gather information on
"people of Arab origin and firms with Arab participation" based in the
Czech Republic. According to the spokesman, some of these firms are
helping people from Algeria to settle in the Czech Republic, "many of
whom could be members of fundamentalist organizations." -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKS DROP DISPUTED ADDITIONS TO HUNGARIAN TREATY. The Slovak Foreign
Ministry on 9 May said the Slovak-Hungarian friendship treaty will be
ratified without an appendix added by Slovak nationalists, Reuters
reported the same day. The Slovak parliament approved the treaty in
March, one year after Prime Ministers Vladimir Meciar and Gyula Horn had
signed it. But it also added a statement that it did not recognize
collective rights for Slovakia's Hungarian minority. President Michal
Kovac signed the treaty on 6 May following further diplomatic
consultations between the two countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman
Juraj Matejovsky said the final exchange of documents will consist only
of the original treaty and Kovac's approval of it. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK OFFICIAL ACCUSES BUDAPEST OF "SMEAR CAMPAIGN." Slovak Foreign
Ministry spokesman Juraj Matejovsky on 9 May claimed that Hungary is
conducting a "smear campaign" against Slovakia over the nomination of
the OSCE secretary-general, Hungarian dailies reported. Matejovsky was
responding to Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs's statement that
the Slovak candidate for the post was named after the official deadline
for nominations expired. Matejovsky commented that neither an official
nor unofficial deadline existed. He also noted that Hungarian
politicians are deliberately remaining silent about the fact that Istvan
Gyarmati, who was named for the post, had a Polish rival in addition to
the Slovak one. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry last month withdrew
Gyarmati's nomination following Slovak protests. Most other OSCE
countries supported his nomination. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S COALITION PARTNERS STILL AT ODDS OVER INVESTIGATIVE OFFICE.
The Hungarian cabinet on 9 May put off a decision on establishing a
central investigative office, Hungarian dailies reported. Prime Minister
Gyula Horn has proposed such an office, which is expected to cost up to
800 million forints ($5.3 million). Junior coalition partner Alliance of
Free Democrats (SZDSZ) ministers continued to express opposition, while
Socialist ministers voted in favor of the project. Following the vote,
the cabinet instructed Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze (SZDSZ) to come up
with a new proposal. The SZDSZ is against further enlarging the state
apparatus and says the office--which would come under the jurisdiction
of the Prime Minister's Office--would resemble the former state security
service. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UNHCR REJECTS DEADLINE FOR RETURN OF REFUGEES. UN High Commissioner for
Refugees Sadako Ogata, at the end of her visit to Bosnia on 9 May, said
that it is unrealistic to set dates for the return of refugees. At best,
she expects that about 500,000 people can go home this year, most of
whom are currently in the region. The UNHCR earlier wanted to resettle
in 1996 about 900,000 of the 2.4 million refugees and displaced persons.
Germany, Slovenia, and some other countries have set down timetables for
the refugees' return based on the schedules envisioned in the Dayton
agreement. The civilian portions of that treaty have been so unevenly
implemented, however, that resettlement plans based on it are less than
realistic. Austria has extended the deadline for refugees to leave there
from June 1996 to August 1997, Reuters noted. -- Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES UPDATE. The OSCE has said that the continued presence of
indicted war criminals on Bosnian territory is a great potential danger
to the elections, which the Dayton treaty says must be held by mid-
September. The OSCE's current chairman, Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio
Cotti, argued that "the fact that [indicted war criminals] remain
complicates the process of creating a climate without violence and
intimidation, which is a pre-requisite for the holding of elections in
Bosnia-Herzegovina," Reuters reported on 9 May. In The Hague, some
charges have been dropped against Dusan Tadic, the Bosnian Serb who is
the first indicted war criminal to stand trial. Potential witnesses have
been intimidated into not testifying, international media noted. Tadic
will soon have company in his prison, however, because Zejnil Delalic
was handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia on 8 May, Onasa reported the next day. He was arrested in
Munich in March and is the first Muslim to be sent to The Hague. His
lawyer is Edina Residovic, who was the public attorney at the 1983
Bosnian trial of "Islamic fundamentalists." -- Patrick Moore

U.S. WARNS SERBIA OVER KOSOVO. Secretary of State Warren Christopher
warned Serbia on 9 May that the U.S. will maintain an "outer wall" of
sanctions until the situation in Kosovo markedly improved. This could
mean blocking Belgrade's membership in the UN, the World Bank, the IMF,
and the OSCE. At a meeting with Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi
in Washington, Christopher expressed concern over the rising violence in
the region. He also noted that the U.S. wants to proceed rapidly with
the opening of a U.S. Information Agency office in Pristina. -- Fabian
Schmidt

MAJOR STRIKES IN SERBIAN INDUSTRIAL CENTER. Up to 15, 000 workers took
to the streets in Nis on 9 May for the second consecutive day in what is
the most serious workers' protest in Serbia for at least three years,
Nasa Borba reported. Employees from the electronics group El-Nis
(consisting of 42 companies) have said they will continue to strike
until their demands for wage payments and a share in the companies are
met. According to Reuters, some workers have received no pay since
December 1995. National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic has said he
supports the workers' protest, adding that the government likely faces
prolonged labor unrest if the demands are not met. * Stan Markotich

CROATIAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS SUES VJESNIK FOR LIBEL. Ivan Zvonimir Cicak,
head of the Croatian branch of the Helsinki Committee human rights
group, on 9 May filed a libel suit against the country's main state-run
paper over accusations that he worked for the former Yugoslav secret
police (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 May 1996), Reuters reported. Cicak also
met with visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Jose Ayala-Lasso
to report on alleged abuses in Croatia, which is expected to gain
membership in the Council of Europe at its ministerial meeting on 15
May, Novi list reported. One condition for its acceptance into that body
is freedom of the media. Reporters Without Borders noted in a recent
letter to the Council of Europe "a toughening of pressure against
independent media since Croatia's admission into the Council of Europe,"
Reuters reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN FRANCE. Kiro Gligorov and Macedonian Foreign
Minister Ljubomir Frckovski have met with their French counterparts,
Jacques Chirac and Herve de Charette, in Paris, Reuters reported on 9
May. Chirac said he supported both a rapprochement between the EU and
Skopje and an EU association agreement with Macedonia. He also supported
NATO membership of Macedonia Talks focused on a cooperation and trade
agreement. Gligorov signed the Paris Charter for a new Europe, which
includes a commitment by signatory states that they will not use force
to change their international borders. The charter was adopted in 1989
by 34 member countries of the CSCE. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN PREMIER'S DUTCH VISIT. Nicolae Vacaroiu, during a two-day
official visit to Holland earlier this week, met with his Dutch
counterpart, Wim Kok, and the chairmen of the two chambers of
parliament. He was also received by Queen Beatrix. Vacaroiu discussed
improving bilateral economic relations, including boosting Dutch
investments in Romania, and opened a Romanian information office in
Amsterdam. He told Radio Bucharest that Dutch investments are the fifth
largest in Romania and that trade between the two countries grew by 60%
last year, reaching about $500 million. He added that he hoped overall
trade will reach $1 billion by the end of 1996. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA RECEIVES WORLD BANK LOAN FOR AGRICULTURE. The World Bank on 8
May announced it has approved a $10 million loan to support Moldova's
efforts to boost agricultural exports and increase farmer's incomes,
RFE/RL reported. The funds will be used mainly to help develop higher-
quality grape varieties, improve wine-making procedures, and create more
efficient management structures for future projects. An estimated total
of $18.5 million is required for this first project, with additional
funding coming from the Moldovan government. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN NATIONAL BANK RAISES INTEREST RATE AMID DEEPENING FINANCIAL
CRISIS. The Bulgarian National Bank on 9 May raised its basic lending
rate from 67% to 108%, Bulgarian and international media reported. At
the same time, it increased its fixing of the lev from 112.84 to 122.56
to $1, while foreign exchange bureaus quoted the lev at 150-160. Savers
responded by withdrawing their deposits from banks, and shops stated
prices in dollars. Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov noted that the
government would soon announce the liquidation of firms whose combined
losses account for 25% of total enterprise losses. Bulgaria also wants
to sell 25% of the national telecommunications company. An IMF mission
is currently in Sofia to determine whether progress on structural reform
merits awarding a standby credit to support the lev. IMF Bulgaria
mission chief Ann McGirk noted that progress was being made at the
negotiations, but local observers fear that the government's
indecisiveness will cause hyperinflation. -- Michael Wyzan

MONARCH TO BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO BULGARIA. Bulgaria's former King
Simeon II will be allowed to return to Bulgaria some 50 years after
leaving the country, Bulgarian media reported on 9 May. The 58-year-old
Simeon abdicated in 1946 and now lives in Spain. Authorities have
renewed the ex-monarch's passport, and he plans to return to his native
Bulgaria for "a private visit." A spokesperson for Simeon said recent
reports in Bulgarian papers alleging that the king wants to return to
power are false. -- Stan Markotich

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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