The last of the human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way. - Victor Frankl
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 104, Part II, 29 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

NEW UKRAINIAN PREMIER OUTLINES ECONOMIC PRIORITIES. In an official
statement, the country's newly appointed Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko
pledged his support for President Leonid Kuchma's economic policies,
Ukrainian and Western agencies reported on 28 May. Lazarenko said his
economic priorities include speeding up privatization and structural
changes in the economy, attracting more foreign investment, overcoming the
payments and wage debt crises, reorganizing the government, and pushing a
recently submitted package of reform-related bills through parliament.
Meanwhile, Yevhen Marchuk, fired as prime minister on 27 May, rejected the
Kuchma administration's reasons for his dismissal, Ukrainian TV reported.
He said it was easy to blame a single prime minister for all of the
country's economic woes, but the "roots are much deeper" and that although
it was the president's right to oust him, "history and time will put
everything in its place." -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS BEGIN DEBATE OVER DRAFT CONSTITUTION. After six weeks
of resolving differences between various factions, the chairman of a
special parliamentary commission, Mykhailo Syrota, presented a finalized
draft of a new post-Soviet Ukrainian Constitution for debate in parliament
on 28 May, Ukrainian TV reported. Syrota said the draft included changes
and additional articles on human and civil rights, the justice system,
Crimea, local self-government, and the structure of the legislature. Serhii
Hmyria of the Communist caucus presented an alternative draft authored by
the Communists. During the evening session, leftist deputies refused to
register, demanding the debate over the drafts be postponed until June so
they could "consult with their constituencies." Reformers accused the
deputies of delay tactics as the leftists pin their own political hopes on
a Communist victory in the Russian presidential race next month. In the
end, however, a quorum was reached and the debate continued. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

UKRAINE DEMANDS BELARUS RELEASE DETAINED UKRAINIANS. Ukrainian first deputy
Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko met with his Belarusian counterpart
Valeryi Tsapkala and later with Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko in Minsk
on 27 May to discuss problems in Ukrainian-Belarusian relations, border
demarcation, trade and economic cooperation, Belarusian TV reported the
next day. Hryshchenko demanded that the seven Ukrainians being held in
Belarus for their part in the 26 April demonstrations be released, Reuters
reported on 28 May. He warned that their continued detention would have a
negative effect on Ukrainian-Belarusian relations. Most of the seven are
members of the radical nationalist Ukrainian Self Defense Organization,
which supports the former Soviet republics' independence from Moscow as
well as Chechnya's independence movement. -- Ustina Markus

NEW BELARUSIAN POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
issued a decree making several new ministerial appointments, Belarusian TV
reported on 27 May. Appointments included Anatol Kharlap as Minister of
Industry, Viktar Hroshau as first deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism,
Col. Valeryi Basavets as deputy Defense Minister and head of Rear Forces,
and Ivan Dyrman as Chief of Armaments. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC PRESIDENTS TO ASK FOR JOINT ENTRY INTO NATO. Presidents Lennart Meri
(Estonia), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania)
issued a joint communique on 28 May in Vilnius asserting that their
countries will apply together for NATO and EU membership, Western agencies
reported. They noted that they share the same viewpoint toward all major
current international issues, including the upcoming Russian presidential
elections. Estonian Social Affairs Minister Toomas Vilosius signed treaties
on cooperation in social security guarantees with his Latvian and
Lithuanian counterparts. These countries signed a similar agreement in 1993
that went into effect in January 1995. -- Saulius Girnius

BALTIC FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IN FARM GOODS INITIALED. At a meeting of the
Baltic Council of Ministers in Vilnius on 27 May, trade committee experts
initialed a free trade agreement on farm goods, BNS reported the next day.
The agreement will probably be signed during a meeting of Baltic prime
ministers on 14 June and come into effect after ratification by the
respective parliaments. It was drafted taking into account the three
states' common goals to join the EU and implement trade policies that would
meet requirements of the World Trade Organization. The Latvian government
formally approved the agreement on 28 May. -- Saulius Girnius

WEIMAR TRIANGLE'S PARLIAMENTARY MEETING IN WARSAW. German, French, and
Polish members of the three parliaments' foreign commissions met on 28 May
in Warsaw. President of the French commission, former French President
Valery Giscard d'Estagne, and Bundestag's President Rita Suessmuth
attended. Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said the three
countries' collaboration "is the most effective form of confirming Poland's
ties with Europe." Polish politicians supported German and French ideas of
closer European integration. The Weimar triangle was named after a 1991
meeting of German, French, and Polish foreign ministers. Since then, the
three countries' foreign ministers have met annually. Giscard d'Estagne
invited Polish and German parliamentarians to a similar meeting next year
in Paris. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH ELECTORAL COMMISSION'S DECISION OVERRULED. The Czech Constitutional
Court ruled on 28 May that the Free Democrats-Liberal Social National Party
(SD-LSNS) can compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections as a party,
rather than as a coalition, Czech media reported. The group, led by former
Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier, came into existence last
year when its two constituent members--the SD and the LSNS--merged. SD-LSNS
registered for the elections as a party. While parties have to gain 5% of
the popular vote to win seats in the parliament, coalitions must gain 7%.
The Czech Electoral Commission ruled in April that the SD-LSNS was a
coalition, prompting protests not only from the party's leaders but also
from President Vaclav Havel. Despite the court's decision, the chances of
the SD-LSNS winning seats in the next parliament appear to be minimal; the
party currently commands about 2% of the popular support in various opinion
polls. -- Jiri Pehe

PUBLIC TENDER FOR SLOVAK MOBILE PHONE LICENSES. Slovakia's Ministry of
Transport, Post, and Telecommunications will grant two licenses for the
mobile telephone network in August, Praca reported on 29 May. Eurotel,
which has operated in Slovakia for several years since winning an exclusive
license in the former Czechoslovakia, will be given one of the licenses if
it meets the requirements. Two international consortia are competing for
the second license: SlovTel, which includes France Telecom and top Slovak
energy firms, and Telenor comprised of Norwegian telecommunications, the
Slovak iron and steel giant VSZ Kosice, and Slovak Railroad. Stanislav
Vanek, a ministry official, said the main criteria include quality, variety
of services, tariff policy, and prices. Vanek said Slovak
Telecommunications will be transformed into a joint stock company with 100%
state ownership. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER CLEARS DEFENSE MINISTER OF CHARGES. Following a two-day
investigation, Gyula Horn exempted Gyorgy Keleti from responsibility in the
MiG fighter affair, Hungarian media reported. Horn blamed the
constitutional violation on the air defense division of the Hungarian Armed
Forces and a deputy state secretary at the Defense Ministry (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 22 May 1996). Horn also proposed that the Constitutional Court
reinterpret the constitution regarding which military transports require
the preliminary assent of parliament. He urged an investigation into
similar affairs that occurred under the previous government and were not
regarded as constitutional violations. Opposition parties that demanded
Keleti's dismissal said the Socialists should not draw a distinction
between minor and major violations of the constitution. According to
Nepszabadsag, the junior coalition partner Alliance of Free Democrats
believes that Keleti is not personally responsible for the constitutional
violation but should be held politically responsible. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

MINORITY WIRETAPPING INVESTIGATION CONCLUDED. Hungary's Secret Services
Minister Istvan Nikolits on 28 May gave an account of the national security
surveillance of ethnic minorities in southern Hungary, noting that the
local office of the National Security Office ordered measures to be taken
for the protection of minorities in the summer of 1992, Hungarian media
reported. He added that the office proceeded in accordance with legal
regulations because it used no secret service methods and gathered no
information on minority leaders. Meanwhile, the Hungarian parliament on 28
May rejected the opposition's proposal to call on the Slovak legislature to
repeal the Benes decrees, which declared the collective guilt of ethnic
Hungarians in World War II. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OSCE CRITICIZES ALBANIAN ELECTIONS. A preliminary statement issued by the
OSCE in Vienna on 29 May criticized legal shortcomings and insufficient
government cooperation in the 26 May Albanian parliamentary elections,
Reuters reported. The OSCE noted a number of serious violations of the
Albanian election law but stopped short of calling the elections unfree or
unfair. "In many instances the implementation of the law failed to meet its
own criteria," the statement said, adding that "the level of official
cooperation offered to [OSCE monitors] was of a limited nature." The OSCE
observed manipulations of ballot sheets, counting irregularities, and
intimidation of voters. "In direct violation to the law, observers noted
that decisions of the polling station commissions were not made by majority
vote but by the arbitrary decisions of the government-appointed chairman
and secretary," according to the OSCE. On 28 May, a group of British and
Norwegian OSCE monitors had issued an unofficial statement that "the
elections did not meet international standards for free and fair elections,
and they did not conform with the requirements of the election law." --
Fabian Schmidt in Tirana and Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN POLICE VIOLENTLY BREAK UP OPPOSITION RALLY . . . On 28 May at noon
the police broke up an opposition rally on Tirana's Skanderbeg Square,
arresting an unspecified number of people. The police beat and severely
injured several individuals, including party leaders, parliamentarians,
parliamentary candidates, and journalists. After the incident, the police
surrounded the Socialist Party headquarters, where injured people were
being treated and to which some 100 Socialist supporters fled. During the
siege, the electricity was shut off and telephone lines cut. The
headquarters remained blocked until 20:00 local time when, after a press
conference of the Socialists and visits by international diplomats, the
police agreed to let the Socialist supporters leave the building. At the
press conference, the Socialists demanded new elections and the resignation
of the prime minister, interior minister, and a TV director whom they
accused of spreading false information. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

. . . GOVERNMENT CHARGES SOCIALISTS WITH PREPARING CIVIL WAR. ATSH issued
reports, claiming that the Socialists are building up terrorist groups and
preparing to take up arms. Unspecified Socialist supporters were quoted as
saying they will "fight until the last drop of blood." Socialist leader
Kastriot Islami, however, said these reports were designed to justify
further violence. He added that he expects police raids of the Socialist
headquarters under the pretext of arms searches and stressed that his party
is committed to a policy following the principles of democracy and
non-violence. The Socialists, however, told OMRI they will begin to hold
rallies all over the country protesting alleged election manipulations by
the government. Albanian TV, meanwhile, warned the public not to
participate in any "illegal" demonstrations, implying that opposition
rallies will not be tolerated. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS VISIT SERBIAN PRESIDENT . . . Bosnian Serb civilian
leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, Gen. Ratko Mladic,
were in Serbia on 28 May for secret talks with Slobodan Milosevic. The BBC
reported that while no details of the discussions are known, topping the
agenda was the issue of the two Bosnian Serb leaders' continuing political
influence in Republika Srpska (RS) despite intensifying demands from the
international community for them to stand trial for war crimes. Meanwhile,
RS acting President Biljana Plavsic and RS parliamentary speaker Momcilo
Krajisnik were also in Belgrade for talks with Milosevic but declined to
comment on the substance of their meetings, Nasa Borba reported on 29 May.
-- Stan Markotich

. . . WHILE UN "DEPLORES" MILOSEVIC. In a related development, Reuters on
28 May reported that the UN Security Council that same day "deplored"
Belgrade's "continued failure" to cooperate with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Most recently, Belgrade authorities did
not execute arrest warrants against Mladic, who attended the 21 May
Belgrade funeral of his colleague and fellow accused war criminal, Gen.
Djordje Djukic. Some reports now say Karadzic himself may also have been
present at Djukic's funeral. -- Stan Markotich

CHANGES IN SERBIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL. On 28 May the Serbian government,
headed by Premier Mirko Marjanovic, publicly announced a cabinet shuffle,
selecting a total of six new ministers, Nasa Borba reported on 29 May.
Representatives of the small New Democracy (ND) party reacted to the news
even before it was officially announced, saying their party will probably
continue to back the government. Following the "reconstruction" of the
government, Deputy Speaker and ND member Vojislav Andric said, "I am hoping
the status quo will remain, but we'll see," Beta reported. The ND has
functioned as a wing of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, giving
Milosevic's Socialists a de facto majority in the republic's legislature.
-- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO MORE DICTATES. Franjo Tudjman on the Croatian
Armed Forces Day said the country has been continuously pushed to accept
unacceptable conditions and thus must have a ready armed force to guarantee
Croatian independence, Hina reported on 28 May. He added that despite
pressure to expand amnesty for Croatian Serbs in eastern Slavonia to all
regions previously inhabited by Serbs, he has refused and will accept no
more dictates, Nasa Borba on 29 May reported. Meanwhile, the Permanent
Committee of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on 29 May will
consider the status of Croatia's application for full membership. The
Permanent Committee noted in a resolution draft of Croatia's application
that Croatia acted discordantly to its liabilities. The committee speakers
repeated their reserves and criticism regarding Croatia, Vjesnik reported
on 29 May. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MUSLIM REFUGEES PREVENTED FROM VISITING STOLAC. Bosnian Croat police on 28
May prevented some 200 Muslim refugees from visiting their homes in Stolac
in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP and Onasa reported. Radoslav Lavric, an
official of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Croat republic of Herceg-Bosna,
said the Croatian authorities have already allowed some 600 Muslim refugees
to visit the town, which was more than agreed. Later, the Croatian
authorities in Stolac said the visits were "officially completed," and
denied more visits because "it is not clear how long they will take," Onasa
reported on 28 May. Lavric said the Bosnian side had not requested
additional visits, but if it had, more would have been approved. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

DIPLOMATIC CONFLICT BETWEEN ROMANIA, CROATIA. Florin Radulescu Botica, head
of Romania's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe, said his country will not respond to Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman's criticism of Romania's democracy, Romanian media reported on 29
May. On 25 May, Tudjman commented on the council's decision to delay
Croatia's admission, ironically adding that such "democratic countries" as
Albania, Romania, Moldova, and Russia have already been admitted to the
council. Botica suggested that Romania's support of the council's decision
caused Tudjman's criticism. He added that the Parliamentary Assembly
considered the decision justified, recalling freedom of press and human
rights violations in Croatia. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN JAPAN. Teodor Melescanu on 28 May ended a
three-day official visit in Japan, Radio Bucharest reported. He discussed
on 27 May bilateral relations with his Japanese counterpart Yukihiko Ikeda
and other senior Japanese officials and was received by Emperor Akihito the
next day. Mutual trade and economic cooperation figured high on the talks'
agenda. The Japanese side pledged to support the process of privatization
and industrial restructuring in Romania through loans that will be used for
re-equipping the iron and steel combine in Galati and modernizing the
Constanta harbor and several Romanian plants. Melescanu stressed Romania's
interest in an agreement similar to the one with the EU that would remove
obstacles to Romanian exports to Japan. Japanese officials, on their part,
insisted that Romania must offer better treatment to foreign investors if
it is to attract more Japanese investment. -- Dan Ionescu

ATTACKS ON BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT CONTINUE. The Union of Democratic Forces on
28 May decided to file a no-confidence vote against the Socialist
government for its failure to deal with the aggravating economic crisis,
Demokratsiya reported. At the same time, the Bulgarian Socialist Party
(BSP) is increasing pressure on Prime Minister Zhan Videnov to reshuffle
his cabinet, Standart and Trud reported. At a meeting of the BSP
parliamentary faction, deputies asked for the dismissal of Deputy Prime
Minister and Agriculture Minister Svetoslav Shivarov, Industry Minister
Kliment Vuchev, and Culture Minister Georgi Kostov. According to
Demokratsiya, the deputies also asked for the resignation of Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev. Meanwhile, the
Confederation of Labor "Podkrepa"--one of two big Bulgarian trade
unions--announced it will organize protests against the government and
launch a campaign of civil disobedience. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

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