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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 105, Part II, 30 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

U.S. OFFERS ADDITIONAL AID TO UKRAINE. An unidentified U.S. defense
official on 29 May said that the U.S. will provide an additional $43.1
million to Ukraine for its disarmament efforts, Reuters reported. The
money would bring U.S. aid to Ukraine under a "Cooperative Threat
Reduction" program to $400 million. The money is earmarked for
dismantling strategic weapons, cleaning up the missile bases at
Pervomaisk and Khmelnitsky, and providing housing for the retired
strategic rocket forces. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES OPENING MOSCOW EMBASSY. Crimea's parliament
added to its agenda the issue of opening an embassy in Moscow due to the
peninsula's increasing trade with Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 May.
According to Crimea's Trade Ministry, exports to Russia account for
almost half of all Crimean exports to CIS countries, while imports from
Russia make up 41% of Crimea's total imports. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES BANKING DECREE. Alyaksandr Lukashenka issued
a decree entitled, "Measures to Regulate Banking Activities in the
Republic of Belarus," stating that the country's National Bank will set
all salaries in the banking sector, Belarusian radio reported on 29 May.
Lukashenka had threatened to nationalize all banks in the country which
the decree does not do, although it appears to have increased government
control over the banking sector. -- Ustina Markus

NORDIC, BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. The defense ministers of Denmark,
Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic states had their third annual
meeting in Trakai, Lithuania on 28-29 May, BNS reported. The Nordic
ministers expressed their strong support for Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania's NATO and EU membership. Norwegian Defense Minister Joergen
Kosmo said Russia cannot veto NATO expansion, but should not be left out
of the security equation. The defense ministers also held talks with the
three Baltic presidents, who thanked the Nordic countries for their
assistance in the establishment and training of the Baltic Peacekeeping
Battalion. The defense ministers' next meeting is scheduled for May 1997
in Saaremaa, Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA, SLOVAKIA SIGN FREE TRADE ACCORD. Estonian and Slovak Foreign
Ministers Siim Kallas and Juraj Schenk signed a free trade agreement in
Tallinn on 29 May, BNS reported. Schenk's one-day trip was the first
official visit between the two states. He also held talks with Estonian
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi. Schenk invited Estonia to join the Central
European Free Trade Association (CEFTA) whose current members are
Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia. He noted
that European integration does not only mean EU expansion but also
regional cooperation. He predicted that CEFTA will grow into a vast
liberal market uniting 150 million people. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER ON SECURITY SERVICES . . . Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz
in a TV speech on 29 May criticized the State Security Office (UOP) for
the way it handled investigations into allegations that his predecessor,
Jozef Oleksy, spied for Russia, Polish dailies reported the next day. A
confidential report from a special internal UOP commission charged with
determining whether there had been irregularities in the inquiry against
Oleksy prompted Cimoszewicz's reaction. Cimoszewicz said irregularities
did occur, pointing out that "some of the original recordings have
disappeared and the officers ... are unable to recall what happened to
these tapes. The files now contain only copies pieced together." He
added that there is suspicion that some of the evidence was manipulated
to fit pre-formulated theories. -- Jakub Karpinski

. . . AND NEW NOMINATIONS IN THE SERVICES. Cimoszewicz appointed Col.
Andrzej Kapkowski as the new UOP chief. Kapkowski had been the acting
UOP chief since February of this year. The Internal Affairs Minister
Zbigniew Siemiatkowski nominated the new directorate chiefs in the
ministry--Col. Wojciech Czerniak for intelligence, Col. Wlodzimierz
Orlowski for counter-intelligence, Col. Jerzy Kucharenko for
investigation-- to replace the officers fired on 27 May (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 28 May 1996). Siemiatkowski is considering requesting the
Prosecutor-General's Office to investigate the sources of the recent
leaks of state secrets, Rzeczpospolita reported on 30 May. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH PRESIDENT PETITIONED TO DISSOLVE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR ANTI-ROMANI
TV SPOT. The Independents movement on 28 May requested Vaclav Havel to
dissolve or suspend the Republic-Czechoslovak Republican Party (SPR-RSC)
after Miroslav Sladek, head of the extreme-right party, placed an anti-
Romani election ad on Czech TV. Sladek says in the TV spot, "The Gypsies
will either behave as we do, or they can go. We don't care where, how,
and who pays for it." The ad alleges that Premier Vaclav Klaus courted
the Romani vote by "sending his wife to a Gypsy ball," and that "Sladek
would not even let his dog there," CTK reported the previous day. Havel
is still considering the petition that states the TV ad is in violation
of the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms and the
constitution. Emil Scuka, Chairman of the Romani Civic Initiative, will
also file suit against Sladek and Czech TV. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SUES PRIME MINISTER. Michal Kovac on 29 May filed
charges against Vladimir Meciar for slander and defamation of the head
of state, Slovak media reported. Kovac was reacting to Meciar's radio
interview of 24 May when Meciar accused the president of involvement in
the $2.3 million fraud surrounding the Slovak firm Technopol (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 27 May 1996). Besides denying involvement in the fraud,
Kovac rejected Meciar's claims that Kovac influenced the investigation
of the Technopol case and knew about preparations for his son's
kidnapping but failed to intervene. Meciar, who missed the last two
cabinet meetings and has not appeared in public since the broadcast of a
controversial telephone conversation between two top officials,
reportedly has "a very bad case of the flu." An April FOCUS poll
published on 30 May showed that if a referendum were held, 41.4% would
be against Kovac's dismissal and 28.7% for it. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK JEWS CRITICIZE DEPUTY'S STATEMENTS. The Central Union of Jewish
Religious Communities on 28 May issued a protest against statements made
early this month by Slovak National Party deputy Bartolomej Kunc on a
program on the Czech TV station Nova, Slovak and international media
reported the following day. Kunc said the deportation of Slovak Jews
during World War II was an attempt to fix "a bad situation," in which
"too much of the national wealth was owned by only a few people... There
was a concentration of property in Jewish hands." He also blamed "the
exploitation and impoverishment of the Slovak people" on Jews. Leaders
of Slovakia's Jewish community, which now has only about 3,000 members,
called Kunc's remarks, "the incarnation of the whole spectrum of anti-
Semitic stereotypes formerly spread by fascist and Nazi propaganda and
repeated today by sympathizers of Slovak fascism." -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FINAL RESULTS IN FIRST ROUND OF ALBANIAN ELECTIONS PUBLISHED . . .
According to the Central Electoral Commission, the Democratic Party won
95 out of 115 direct seats in parliament, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on
30 May. The Socialist Party received 5 seats, and the ethnic Greek Party
for the Defense of Human Rights (PBDNJ) two in Gjirokastra and Saranda.
The elections will be repeated in two districts in Fier and one in Puke
due to irregularities. The second round of the elections on 2 June will
determine 10 more seats. The Socialist Party, the Social Democrats, the
Democratic Alliance, the Party of National Unity, and the Party of the
Democratic Right have announced their boycott of the elections and
demand new elections. Meanwhile, the two PBDNJ deputies opposed their
party leadership's decision and said they would not boycott parliament.
-- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

. . . OPPOSITION CONTINUES WITH PROTEST RALLIES. After police violently
broke up an opposition rally the previous day in Tirana, the Socialist
Party continued to hold demonstrations on 29 May in Tepelena, Vlora,
Fier, Kucova, and Korca. In Fier, the police surrounded the Socialist
Party headquarters in an attempt to arrest local party leader Petro Koci
but failed when a large number of his supporters blocked the building's
entrance. Gazeta Shqiptare said many people "among whom a majority
[were] women and elderly," were injured during the clashes there. No
incidents were reported elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Socialist Party blamed
the secret police for the mysterious 28 May killing of a Eurosocialist
(member of the Socialist's youth organization) in Tirana. The Interior
Ministry, however, announced that they arrested a suspect, who is a
known criminal. -- Fabian Schmidt in Tirana

BRIDGE EXPLODES IN NORTHEASTERN BOSNIA. Unknown persons blew up a bridge
connecting the Republika Srpska with federal territory in an area where
Russian IFOR troops are located. The bridge links the settlement of
Teocak with the Bijeljina-Tuzla road and was the site of numerous
prisoner exchanges during the war. IFOR and the international police are
investigating, Nasa Borba reported on 30 May. Meanwhile, hard-line Serbs
have expelled at least 100 Muslims from Teslic in central Bosnia in what
UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski called "the worst wave of attacks on
Muslims since the Dayton agreement was signed." Bombings, other acts of
violence, and threats have been used to drive Muslims out of an area
where they made up 21% of the prewar population, Reuters said on 29 May.
-- Patrick Moore

DID THE FRENCH PRESIDENT PLAY THE KEY ROLE IN SREBRENICA'S FALL? A
British TV documentary has produced new evidence suggesting that Jacques
Chirac held up air strikes against Bosnian Serbs who were attacking
Srebrenica last July. British commander Gen. Rupert Smith requested the
raids that were to protect the "safe area" and had the backing of UN
officials in New York. Chirac reportedly told French Gen. Bernard
Janvier to hold off on the raids. The documentary indicated that the
French made a deal with Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic to end air
strikes in return for freeing UN hostages held by the Serbs. The UN's
chief official for Bosnia, Yasushi Akashi, supported Janvier against
Smith, AFP reported on 29 May. The fall of Srebrenica led to the worst
atrocity in Europe since World War II, in which up to 7,000 mainly
Muslim males are presumed to have been murdered. Until now the blame has
been laid chiefly on the Dutch UNPROFOR troops stationed in Srebrenica
or on British elite SAS units operating nearby. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN WRAPUP. The UN has resumed efforts at exploring sites of
possible mass graves in eastern Bosnia, where many of the victims of the
Srebrenica massacre are believed to be buried. In The Hague, the war
crimes tribunal said it will hear testimony from Drazen Erdemovic--a
Croatian veteran of the Bosnian Serb forces--who has admitted to
complicity in the killings, AFP reported on 29 May. In Sarajevo, federal
President Kresimir Zubak announced that the U.S. firm Military
Professional Resources will train and help equip federal troops. The
organization is based near Washington D.C. and is staffed by retired
U.S. military personnel. The program outlined in the Dayton agreement is
estimated to cost $800 million, but only the U.S. and Turkey have made
any firm pledges of money so far. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POLICY RESETTLES MUSLIM REFUGEES IN SARAJEVO.
While Bosnian Serbs who fled the Sarajevo suburb of Vogosca before it
reverted to the Bosnian Federation are applying to return to their
homes, the Bosnian government has decided to resettle about 8,000
Muslims displaced from the Serb-held town of Doboj in northern Bosnia in
abandoned Serbian houses in Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje reported on 29-30
May. The decision was made at a secret meeting of the Ministry for
Refugees in the first half of May. The refugees from Doboj have been
contacted and invited to come and live in Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje quoted
Doboj's former municipal authorities as saying. Ekrem Ajanovic, an MP
from the town of Tesanj, south of Doboj, at the parliamentary meeting on
28 May criticized the government decision, which he said runs counter to
official policy and the right of refugees to return to their homes. --
Daria Sito Sucic

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Yevgenii Primakov met on 29 May
with his rump Yugoslav counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, for talks on the
status of the Dayton peace process. Primakov did not confirm that the
fates of Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic
were discussed, but both ministers agreed rump Yugoslavia "fully
respected and fulfilled all its duties in accordance with the Dayton-
Paris agreement," Tanjug reported. Primakov's visit is roughly a week
after Washington officials said they would lobby for the re-imposition
of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia should Belgrade continue to fail to
honor commitments concerning the extradition of accused war criminals.
Primakov was to conclude his Belgrade visit after meetings with Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic,
Nasa Borba reported on 30 May. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV PREMIER SLAMS IMF. Radoje Kontic on 29 May dubbed as
"black mail" the "political conditions" the IMF has made contingent for
the continuation of discussions with Belgrade. Reuters quoted the
premier as adding "[rump] Yugoslavia wants to see political issues dealt
with by competent international political bodies and not the IMF and the
World Bank." Talks between Belgrade and the financial institutions broke
down in 1996, owing to rump Yugoslavia's refusal to back away from its
demand to be recognized as the successor state to Tito's Yugoslavia as a
precondition for accepting membership in the IMF and World bank.
Kontic's latest set of remarks and Belgrade's continuing refusal to step
away formally from the demand suggest that relations with the
international bodies are likely to be strained through the foreseeable
future. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA DEMANDS EXTRADITION OF TAIWANESE SAILORS. Romania's Prosecutor-
General's Office and the Supreme Court demanded the extradition from
Canada of the captain and six officers of a Taiwanese ship, Romanian and
western media reported. The demand came in connection with the case of
three Romanian stowaways reportedly dumped overboard on the high seas in
what has been described as an "abominable crime." According to press
reports, the Taiwanese captain of the "Maersk Dubai" container ship
ordered his Filipino crew to force two of the Romanians into a makeshift
raft on 12 March. A third Romanian stowaway disappeared six day later,
while a fourth eventually reached the Canadian port of Halifax after
crew members hid him. Romania announced it will dispatch two prosecutors
and a police officer to Canada to investigate the case. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS DNIESTER LEADER. Andrei Sangheli on 28 May
met Igor Smirnov, president of the self-proclaimed "Dniester republic,"
BASA-press reported the next day. As part of the negotiations aimed to
solve the Dniester conflict, the two sides discussed financial and
economic ties between Chisinau and Tiraspol, including the possibility
to increase electricity production at the Cuciurgan and Dubasari power
plants. Also on the agenda were the need to speed up the electrification
of some railway segments, relations between the Moldovan and Dniester
Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the repayment of Russia's credit
granted to the breakaway Dniester region in 1993-94. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCES AUSTERITY MEASURES. Zhan Videnov on
29 May announced new austerity measures agreed on with the IMF, Reuters
reported. In an address to the parliament, he said the agreement gives
Bulgaria the chance "to weather successfully the hardest period in our
transition," adding that the alternative is "the collapse of the
country." The measures include closing down 64 unprofitable state
enterprises, cutting off credits to 70 more companies, and shutting down
up to five insolvent banks. The government will also raise the VAT in
June, reportedly from 18% to 22%, increase excise duties on alcohol, and
introduce an import tax on all goods. Videnov said the government hopes
this way to collect 140 billion leva ($920 million) in 1996. He urged
all political parties, the trade unions, and citizens to back the
measures. -- Stefan Krause

BREAD SHORTAGE IN BULGARIA. As the grain and bread shortage in Bulgaria
continues, local authorities started to introduce measures to secure a
basic supply, Trud and Demokratsiya reported on 30 May. The mayors of
Asenovgrad and Chiprovtsi introduced bread rationing in their towns. In
other places, supplies are expected to run out within days, and 13
villages in the Rhodope mountains reportedly have not had bread for a
week. In Plovdiv, Mayor Spas Garnevski ordered that only two loaves of
bread be sold per customer. The country's biggest private mill in Mezdra
stopped production a few days ago. Meanwhile, Socialist deputies
continue to demand the resignation of several ministers, including
Agriculture Minister Svetoslav Shivarov, Kontinent reported. But Premier
Videnov, during a Socialist parliamentary faction meeting on 28 May,
ruled out any personnel changes in the government. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

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