Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 100, Part II, 23 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

KUCHMA, CHERNOMYRDIN TO MEET IN KYIV. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma,
speaking before his meeting today with Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, said his ability to get along personally with Chernomyrdin
may help to "reach an understanding" between the two countries
international media reported. He added that he was confident that Boris
Yeltsin would be re-elected in the upcoming Russian presidential
election. Chernomyrdin's one-day working visit will focus on resolving
differences over the basing of the still-disputed Black Sea fleet, which
has been a major stumbling block in the two sides signing a bilateral
treaty on friendship and cooperation. -- Roger Kangas

UKRAINE, IRAN SIGN ECONOMIC ACCORD. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Kinakh and Iranian Economic and Finance minister Morteza
Mohammed Khan signed an agreement on 22 May that will promote bilateral
economic relations, ITAR-TASS reported. The accord focuses on banking
and financial cooperation and calls for protection against double
taxation. The two sides also agreed to exchange undisclosed amounts of
Ukrainian wheat for Iranian oil. The IRNA news agency also reported that
Ukraine will invest in Iran's aircraft, ship, and auto production
industries. Iran is currently seeking to improve relations with CIS
states. -- Roger Kangas

CONSTANTINOPLE WANTS ORTHODOX BISHOP IN ESTONIA REMOVED. Metropolitan
Meliton, secretary-general of the Synod of the Patriarchate of
Constantinople, has sent a letter to the Foreign Relations Department of
the Moscow Patriarchate asking for the dismissal of Archbishop Kornilii
of Tallinn, BNS reported on 22 May. The letter asserted that Kornilii
was hindering the process of finding a settlement to the disagreement
between the two Patriarchates. Kornilii has insisted on maintaining his
ban on priests from the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church presiding
over church services, despite an agreement that they be allowed to serve
under Constantinople. Kornilii is also accused of attempting to persuade
parishes that have voted in favor of coming under Constantinople's
jurisdiction to shift their loyalties to Moscow. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S UNITY PARTY DECIDES TO REMAIN IN RULING COALITION. Chairman of
Latvia's Unity Party (LVP) Alberts Kauls on 22 May said the party has
reached an agreement with Prime Minister Andris Skele "on all key
issues" and will remain a member of the ruling coalition, BNS reported.
After Skele had fired Kauls as agriculture minister earlier this month,
the LVP voted to quit the alliance. The LVP asked Skele to name party
member Roberts Dilba as the new agriculture minister and to allow the
party's two state ministers to keep their posts. At the same time, Kauls
repeated his prognosis that the government will have to step down within
two months. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. Linas Linkevicius held talks
in Washington on 22 May with U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry,
RFE/RL reported. Spokesman Lt. Col. Rick Scott said the two officials
discussed NATO enlargement, Lithuanian participation in Bosnian
peacekeeping forces, and military education for Lithuanian officers at
U.S. schools. Scott said the "highlight of the talks" was Lithuania's
decision to upgrade its contribution to the Bosnian implementation
forces from a platoon to a company of soldiers. Linkevicius is scheduled
to meet with other senior U.S. officials and members of Congress before
returning to Lithuania on 25 May. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH-LITHUANIAN RELATIONS. Lithuanian Ambassador to Poland Antanas
Valionis told journalists on 22 May that relations between two countries
are "normal," despite misunderstandings over recent administrative
changes in the Vilnius region and the introduction of a new education
program to promote Lithuanian as the state language. Vallonis argued
that administrative changes will not hamper the restitution process in
the Vilnius region. He also explained that the reason for introducing
the new education program was that many Russians and Poles in Lithuania
do not know Lithuanian. Meanwhile, the Polish Education Ministry noted
that in northern Poland, 230 children attend schools where all lessons
taught in Lithuanian, Polish dailies reported on 23 May. -- Jakub
Karpinski

VATICAN DOCUMENT LEAKED TO POLISH PRESS. The Polish weeklies Nie and
Przeglad Tygodniowy have published a confidential letter from the
Vatican explaining that the Holy See has no objection to the Polish
government or Foreign Ministry including a declaration clarifying
ambigous formualtions in the Concordat, which still has not been
ratified. Nie is known for its anti-clerical and anti-religious stance,
and the commentators regard the leak and publication of the letter as an
effort to disrupt Polish-Vatican relations. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz told the Sejm on 22 May that the Polish government is ready
to apologize for the leak. The Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman added
that President Aleksander Kwasniewski is sending a letter of apology,
Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK INFORMATION SERVICE CHIEF ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT. SIS director Ivan
Lexa, addressing the parliament on 22 May, strongly attacked President
Michal Kovac, the opposition, and various media organizations, Slovak
media reported. Lexa denied SIS involvement in the kidnapping of Michal
Kovac Jr. last August and rejected the findings of the independent
investigative commission headed by Christian Democratic Movement (KDH)
deputy Ladislav Pittner. Lexa was repeatedly interrupted by jeers and
calls for his resignation, while opposition Democratic Union deputies
held up banners calling to an end to "banditry" and the "policy of
crime." Democratic Party chairman Jan Langos said Lexa misused his
position by delivering a political speech rather than a report, while
other opposition deputies noted that Lexa did not even mention how the
SIS has used its substantial budgetary allocations. Government coalition
deputies expressed full support for Lexa. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES FOUNDATION LAW. The parliament on 22 May
approved the law on foundations despite the Third Sector Association's
ongoing campaign against it, Slovak media reported. Of 154 proposed
amendments to the draft law, only 13 were accepted. Members of the
ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia said the law was needed to
stop "foreign subversion," pointing in particular to Hungarian-born U.S.
financier, George Soros, who publicly criticized Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar last year. The law states that foundations must register
with the Interior Ministry and have start-up capital of 10,000 crowns
($323), increasing to 100,000 crowns after half a year. Critics fear the
law will put an end to many small foundations and threaten the
development of a civil society. While the president has the right to
veto the law, the parliament can simply pass it again. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER OFFERS RESIGNATION. Gyorgy Keleti on 22 May
has offered to resign following a dispute over the Hungarian armed
forces' decision to send eight MiG-29 aircraft to Poland for military
exercises without either his or the parliament's approval. Despite the
opposition's sharp criticism of Keleti, Prime Minister Gyula Horn said
he would not accept the resignation, Hungarian and Reuters reported.
"The defense minister is doing a good job and is a valuable member of
the government," Horn stressed. Keleti said an investigative commission
headed by Defense Ministry political state secretary Istvan Fodor has
been established to determine who authorized the flights. All five
opposition parties have insisted on Keleti's resignation, noting that he
is politically responsible for the consequences of decisions made by his
subordinates. * Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

YET ANOTHER GENEVA SUMMIT. Faced with numerous and flagrant violations
of the civilian provisions of the Dayton accord, the "international
community" has decided to summon the presidents of Serbia, Croatia, and
Bosnia-Herzegovina to Geneva, Reuters reported on 23 May. The summit,
slated for 2 June, will include representatives of the Contact Group
countries. The shuttle diplomacy and high-level meetings that the major
powers use in the former Yugoslavia have in the past led generally only
to paper promises. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. WAVERS ON ARRESTING KARADZIC. The "international community"
continues to waffle on the fate of indicted war criminal Radovan
Karadzic, AFP reported. Since last week negotiators have said they hope
he will "disappear from the political scene," adding that they will not
insist that he be sent to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, as the
Dayton agreement requires. U.S. State Department Nicholas Burns on 22
May said that "as long as [Karadzic] has been effectively
marginalized..., he won't be a candidate in the elections and he won't
prevent the elections from occurring." He noted that if this is the
case, "I think the elections can go forward and will go forward with him
sitting in his bitter isolation in Pale." Bosnian government officials
have insisted that Karadzic be ousted and sent to the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia if the elections are to go
ahead. -- Patrick Moore

BRCKO SERBS WILLING TO ACCEPT ARBITRATION. The Serbs of the strategic
northern Bosnian town of Brcko, however, seem ready to stand up to
Karadzic. The Bosnian Serb leader insisted as recently as last week that
the area remain under the control of the Republika Srpska, even though
the Dayton agreement states that arbitration later this year will
determine the future of the "Brcko corridor" connecting Serbia with
western Bosnia. Zarko Cosic, Brcko's security chief and chief local
negotiator, told Reuters on 22 May that "those who have NATO and the
world behind them should work this [arbitration] out in such a way that
we can all respect it.... If we had been able to solve it on a local
level, we wouldn't have waged the war in the first place." But
Karadzic's new prime minister, Gojko Klickovic, visited the town and
said that keeping it for the Serbs is a "priority strategic interest"
for his government, AFP noted. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERB GENERAL MAKES PUBLIC APPEARANCE IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Gen.
Ratko Mladic, an indicted war criminal who spends most of his time
hidden from public view at his Bosnian command post, was in Belgrade on
21 May to attend the funeral of Bosnian Serb army Gen. Djordje Djukic,
international media reported. Mladic, who was accompanied by members of
his general staff, stood next to Djukic's family during the ceremony.
Djukic was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia but released on compassionate grounds following
doctors' reports that the cancer affecting his health had reached an
advanced stage. Meanwhile, observers noted that Serbian President
Milosevic has effectively failed to enforce the Dayton peace agreement
by not having the Bosnian Serb general arrested. U.S. State Department
Nicholas Burns said that, at least for the time being, Washington will
not "react emotionally just because we've seen...the video of Mladic in
Belgrade," Reuters reported. -- Stan Markotich

NO MUSLIM REFUGEES GO HOME TO REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. UNHCR spokesman Kris
Janowski said that no Muslims have moved back to their old homes in
Bosnian Serb territory. Many attempts even to visit their native
villages have been blocked by angry Serbs wielding sticks and rocks, but
other trips have been carefully organized by the UNHCR and passed
without incident. Janowski added that the UN is not attempting to
enforce the Dayton provisions on freedom of movement and the right of
refugees to go home by withholding reconstruction aid, Onasa reported.
An exception was made for the Croats in Stolac, who were successfully
threatened with an aid cut-off if they did not let in a certain number
of Muslim refugees. -- Patrick Moore

UN SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIA TO CHANGE AMNESTY LAW. The highest
body of the UN on 22 May appealed to Zagreb to modify its new amnesty
legislation so as to cover all Serbs in eastern Slavonia not wanted for
war crimes as defined by international law. The current law applies only
to Serbs who lived there at the outbreak of the war but not to more
recent arrivals such as refugees from Krajina. The UN also fears that
Croatia could set standards on what constitutes a war criminal that are
tougher than the international ones, Reuters said. Eastern Slavonia is
slated to revert to Croatian control by the end of 1997 under an
agreement last fall between the Serbian and Croatian presidents. Local
journalists told OMRI that many Serbs have already begun preparations to
move to Serbia proper. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN UPDATE. President Kiro Gligorov, visiting the headquarters of
UNPREDEP on 22 May, said he favors the extending UNPREDEP's mandate,
Nova Makedonija reported. Gligorov said its presence contributes to
stability and peace in the country and the region. In other news,
Parliamentary Chairman Tito Petkovski announced that on 4 June, the
assembly will vote on a petition drive for early general elections, the
news agency MILS reported on 22 May. The petition carries more than
170,000 valid signatures. Meanwhile, Nova Makedonija on 23 May noted
that four months before local elections are scheduled to take place, the
relevant election law has yet to be drawn up, debated, and passed. --
Stefan Krause

SLOVENIAN UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES JOIN STRIKE WAVE. Some 80% of all
employees at Slovenia's two universities--in Ljubljana and Maribor--
staged a one-day strike on 22 May to demand a 10% salary increase.
According to Reuters, a professor currently earns a monthly gross salary
of about 210,000 tolars ($1,510). Nearly 20,000 students were affected
by the cancellation of classes. So far this year, radio and television
journalists, health-care professionals, railway workers, and teachers
have gone on strike for better pay and working conditions. -- Stan
Markotich

ROMANIAN ELECTION UPDATE. Representatives of several opposition parties,
meeting on 22 May with President Ion Iliescu, demanded that general and
presidential elections be held separately, local media reported. The
ballots are scheduled to take place in the fall. The proposal was first
advanced by the Liberal Party '93 and is now also backed by the National
Peasant Party-Christian Democratic, the National Liberal Party-
Democratic Convention, the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania,
and the Party of Romanian National Unity, which is coalition party of
the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR). Observers believe the
proposal stems from the fear that Iliescu's popularity will boost the
PDSR's performance at the polls. But the government's position is that
the elections should be held at the same time to avoid doubling expenses
and to enable the new government to concentrate on economic
restructuring. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA, TURKEY SIGN BILATERAL AGREEMENTS. Moldovan and Turkish
Presidents Mircea Snegur and Suleyman Demirel, meeting in Ankara on 22
May, signed several accords aimed at boosting bilateral relations,
Moldovan and international agencies reported. In addition to
supplementing an existing defense and cooperation agreement, the accords
provide for cooperation in science and technology, culture, the legal
sphere, trade, and sports. Demirel thanked Snegur for Moldova's policy
toward its Turcophone Christian minority, the Gagauz, which enjoys
autonomy within a unitary state. Snegur, for his part, told the Turkish
press that his country's policy was "one of the best solutions" to the
explosive issue of national minorities, the Turkish Daily News reported.
-- Matyas Szabo and Lowell Bezanis

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE. Zhelyu Zhelev, in
an interview with 24 chasa on 22 May, said Bulgaria is on the verge of
collapse. He blamed the situation on the ruling Bulgarian Socialist
Party, adding that the devaluation of the lev and the ongoing banking
crisis may lead to that situation getting out of control. Zhelev
commented that the Socialists have failed to work out and implement a
mass privatization program and are unfit to govern. Referring to the 1
June primaries for a joint opposition presidential candidate, Zhelev
said the motto must be: "from a president of the united opposition to a
government of the united opposition." He added that the opposition has a
realistic chance of retaining the Presidency, after which it would be
able to call early elections and win them. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER UNDER FIRE. After only four months in
office, Svetoslav Shivarov is facing widespread criticism for his
failure to resolve the ongoing grain and bread shortage, Bulgarian
dailies report. The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party caucus on 22 May
discussed the situation, asking to be briefed by the government. When it
did not receive the requested information, it called a second meeting at
which several deputies called for Shivarov's resignation. Boncho
Rashkov, chairman of the parliamentary agricultural commission, proposed
that war reserves of grain be unblocked. He said 250,000 tons of grain
have to be imported by the next harvest. Shivarov did not attend either
meeting. -- Stefan Krause

VIOLENCE AT ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY RALLY. A man wielding a screwdriver
tried to attack Socialist Party leader Servet Pellumbi during a
Socialist rally at the Durres sports arena on 22 May, Koha Jone
reported. The daily described the incident as an "assassination
attempt." The culprit was arrested after injuring Pellumbi's bodyguard
in the arm. Four roads leading to the city were blocked by police and
some 100 persons temporarily detained. The meeting was nonetheless
attended by some 4,000 people. However, international monitors who asked
not to be named told OMRI they could not confirm that reported similar
incidents throughout Albania suggest systematic disruption of opposition
rallies. They said that the preparations for the elections were taking
place correctly, denying allegations in the Albanian media that some
people are registered in more than one electoral district. -- Fabian
Schmidt in Tirana

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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