In the effort to give good and comforting answers to the young questioners whom we love, we very often arrive at good and comforting answers for ourselves. - Ruth Goode
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 110, Part II, 6 June 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

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON NATO. Leonid Kuchma told the Assembly of the
Western European Union (WEU) in Paris that Ukraine is not opposed to
NATO's gradual expansion but is against the deployment of nuclear
weapons in neighboring countries that might join the alliance, ITAR-TASS
reported on 5 June. Kuchma reiterated that Ukraine's neutral status
precludes it from joining any alliances but said that Ukraine should
have the right to join any "military-political structure that seeks to
become an element of European and trans-Atlantic security." He added
that Ukraine will seek associate membership in the WEU and develop ties
with the EU. -- Ustina Markus

ADMINISTRATION REACTS TO VOTE ON DRAFT UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION. President
Leonid Kuchma's Chief of Staff Dmytro Tabachnyk hailed the Ukrainian
legislature's initial approval on 4 June of a draft post-Soviet
constitution as a victory for reformist forces in Ukraine, Ukrainian TV
reported on 5 June. Tabachnyk said the vote in favor of the draft
revealed the beginnings of the formation of a constructive centrist and
center-right wing majority in the 450-seat parliament. He said the
failure of leftist forces to obstruct the vote showed that the
Communists and Socialists were clearly a minority, not only numerically
but intellectually. However, the official said he fears the draft will
not garner the two-thirds majority vote it requires for adoption and a
national referendum may be needed to pass the new constitution. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

ESTONIA ALLOWS SECOND POLLING PLACE IN TALLINN FOR RUSSIAN ELECTIONS.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry granted permission to Russia to open an
additional polling station in the Tallinn suburb of Pirita for the
upcoming Russian presidential elections, BNS reported on 5 June.
Permission was allegedly given because of room shortage in the embassy,
which is being refurbished. The ministry said other polling stations
could be opened in addition to the consulates in Narva and Tartu if
Russia gives Estonia a list of its citizens residing in Estonia,
estimated to number more than 90,000. The Russian Foreign Ministry has
refused to do so but said it might protest to the Council of Europe that
the lack of sufficient polling places violates the human rights of its
citizens in Estonia. In December 1995 about 15,500 of the estimated
82,000 Russian citizens voted in the Russian Duma elections. -- Saulius
Girnius

HIGH-LEVEL CHINESE DELEGATION VISITS BALTIC STATES. A delegation of top
Chinese government officials and businessmen, headed by National Council
Vice Chairman Li Lanqing, flew to Vilnius from Palanga on 3 June, BNS
reported. The delegation visited Klaipeda and the resorts of Juodkrante
and Nida. Li Lanqing met with Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, Prime
Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius, and Seimas Chairman Ceslovas Jursenas
and signed a series of cooperation documents, including one on foreign
trade and economic cooperation. On 4 June the delegation visited Kaunas
and Tallinn. The next day it met with President Lennart Meri, Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi, and other high officials to discuss ways to build
closer ties. On 6 June the delegation will be in Riga for a similar
three-day visit. -- Saulius Girnius

ITALIAN PRESIDENT IN POLAND. Oscar Luigi Scalfaro arrived in Poland on 5
June for a five-day official visit. After meeting with Aleksander
Kwasniewski, his Polish counterpart, Scalfaro said that Poland's efforts
to join NATO and the EU have full Italian backing. During his meeting
with Kwasniewski, Scalfaro stressed the importance of having a secular
state but one based on Christian values. Kwasniewski praised cultural
ties and economic cooperation between the two countries. Italy ranks
among Poland's top five foreign investors. Scalfaro will travel on 7
June to the southeastern city of Lancut for a two-day meeting of Central
European presidents. -- Jakub Karpinski

TALKS ON FORMING CZECH GOVERNMENT CONTINUE. President Vaclav Havel met
with the leaders of the three right-of-center coalition parties and the
Social Democratic Party (CSSD) on 5 June to discuss ways of forming a
government. Although no agreement was reached, Czech media reported that
the Social Democrats might support a minority government led by current
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus in exchange for posts in the leadership of
the Czech parliament. CSSD chairman Milos Zeman said he might back a
minority government if it agrees, among other things, to changes in the
housing, health care, and educational policies. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK COALITION PROBLEMS RESOLVED? Slovak National Party chairman Jan
Slota told Slovak Radio that coalition talks held on 5 June between his
party and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, represented by Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar, were "successful." The parties agreed to
expand the parliamentary body that oversees the Slovak Information
Service. Talks will continue next week on other issues. Slota claimed
that Jan Luptak, chairman of the Association of Workers of Slovakia, was
unable to attend the meeting because he was "ill at home;" however,
speaking on Slovak Radio just after Slota, Luptak complained that no one
told him about the talks. Expressing opposition to the privatization of
financial institutions and criticizing the recent privatization of the
Piestany spa, Luptak said, "I think some politicians or deputies are
more interested in privatization than... in social and economic
developments." Despite the controversies, Luptak said he does not
believe the coalition will fall apart. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES FOUNDATIONS LAW. Michal Kovac on 5 June returned
the law on foundations to the parliament for reconsideration, Slovak
media reported. The president said the bill, passed on 22 May, is
restrictive and "does not correspond to the position of foundations in a
democratic society." He noted that it insufficiently respects the self-
administrative principles of foundation activities and narrows the broad
spectrum of foundations into a single type. Kovac requested that the
relevant European legislation be respected when the new law is drafted,
and he recommended that the foundations law be discussed alongside other
laws on non-profit organizations. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S WELFARE SYSTEM ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE. The Hungarian system
of health care financing could soon collapse under a sizable debt
burden, Hungarian radio reported on 4 June. By the end of the year, the
health insurance deficit could be significantly higher than the 1.5
billion forints ($10 million) set out by the parliament. The overdraft
accumulated in the first four months of 1996 has already reached some 8
billion forints. Pension funds face the same dilemma. This indicates
that the social insurance deficit, which was to be reduced by two-thirds
by end 1996, will be far from meeting government and IMF expectations.
Meanwhile, after increasing opposition in the parliament, the Welfare
Ministry decided to postpone until November the government's recent
decision to reduce the number of hospital beds by 10%, Hungarian dailies
reported on 6 June. The move has temporarily eased tensions but offers
no relief for the health care sector's financial situation. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MASS GRAVE FOUND NEAR SREBRENICA. UN investigators on 5 June dug out a
small "test trench" at Nova Kasaba that revealed at least six corpses,
with more more certainly nearby. The entire mass grave site may contain
up to 2,700 mainly Muslim males murdered by the Serbs after the fall of
Srebrenica last July, Reuters reported. U.S. satellite photos,
survivors' testimonies, and journalists' accounts had suggested that a
huge grave was located in the peaceful valley. The Serbs maintain that
any Muslims buried in the area were soldiers killed in battle, but the
latest excavations reveal civilian clothing and skeletons with their
hands tied behind their backs. Meanwhile in Jajce, the body count in the
mass grave of mainly women recently discovered there is now 63, Onasa
reported. Finally, the remains of 20 Muslims gunned down by the Serbs in
June 1992 were unearthed in Jesevo, northwest of Sarajevo, AFP noted. --
Patrick Moore

SERBS CONTINUE TO HARASS CROSS-BORDER BUS LINE. Bosnian Serb police in
Lukavica have created "certain problems" for a bus line linking that
Serb-held Sarajevo suburb with the rest of the city, UNHCR spokesman
Kris Janowski said on 5 June. Serb policemen told the bus driver: "Do
not play with your lives. We will pick you off the bus tomorrow," Onasa
reported. The UN is now considering bringing in foreign drivers, as is
already done on the Banja Luka-Zenica line where Danes drive buses with
Danish license plates. Bosnian Serb authorities seem determined to block
the few bus routes connecting the Republika Srpska with the Croat-Muslim
Federation (see OMRI Special Report, 4 June 1996). Freedom of movement
and the unity of all Bosnia-Herzegovina are two key principles of the
Dayton agreement. -- Patrick Moore

NEW INCIDENTS IN MOSTAR. During the past several days, Muslim-Croatian
tensions flared in Mostar, Oslobodjenje reported on 6 June. Croatian
police arrested three Muslims and in retaliation, fellow Muslims blocked
the main Revolution Boulevard, which is the demarcation line between the
city's Muslim and Croatian communities. The Muslims then dragged two
Croats out of their cars, taking them hostage. After the EU police
intervened, both the detained Muslims and Croats were released. Head of
the EU police Piter Lambrehtce on 5 June denied that the Muslim military
police attacked a Croatian policeman inside the joint police forces'
headquarters, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBS START DEMOBILIZING IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. In Eastern Slavonia, which
is due to be returned to the Croatian government within two years, Serbs
have started to demobilize their soldiers, AFP reported on 6 June. A UN
spokesman said Gen. Dusan Loncar, the commander of the Serb forces in
the territory, gave the order and demobilization will be completed in 10
days. Then, the 5,000 Serbs will also hand over their barracks and
training areas to the UN transitional administration. Meanwhile, Milan
Djukic, a Serb deputy in the Croatian parliament, sent an open letter to
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in which he wrote that this is the
most difficult time in history for Serbs in Croatia and asked the
Croatian president not to spread the hatred, Novi List reported on 6
June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

UN WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL CHIEF VISITS BELGRADE. During his visit to rump
Yugoslavia, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia Antonio Cassese failed to win a commitment from the
Belgrade authorities that they would pass a law on the extradition of
war criminals. Following 5 June meetings with Radovan Bozovic, speaker
of the federal parliament, Cassese said that "this [failure to adopt
legislation] is a blatant violation not only of the Dayton agreement but
also of two UN Security Council resolutions." For its part, Belgrade
defended its lack of compliance with Dayton by arguing that "the
Yugoslav criminal code is in keeping with international law and
regulates the issues of extradition of war crime suspects in an adequate
way," Tanjug reported. -- Stan Markotich

U.S OFFICIAL OPENS INFORMATION CENTER IN KOSOVO. U.S Deputy Secretary of
State John Kornblum presided over the opening of a U.S. Information
Center in Kosovo on 5 June, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Aleksa
Jokic and Milos Nesovic, representatives of the Serbian authorities in
the predominantly ethnic Albanian province, and Kosovar shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova also attended. Reuters reported that while the
center is not to have any official diplomatic role, Kornblum said it
could play a part in resolving ethnic tensions in the region. "We
believe that by allowing access to many new kinds of information
resources and by providing a center as a meeting place...we will be able
to contribute to the foundations for a democratic future," he said.
Washington has made improvement in the human rights situation in Kosovo
a precondition to the formal recognition of rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIA'S GOVERNING COALITION TO CONTINUE. The coalition agreement
uniting the Liberal Democratic party (LDS) and the Christian Democratic
Party (SKD) was to have come to an end formally on 4 June, but on 5 June
the SKD said it would stay on in accordance with the terms of the
current coalition arrangement until December elections. In a statement
reported by Radio Slovenija on 29 May, LDS Secretary General Gregor
Golobic said that terminating the agreement would amount only to
"formalizing relations to date" between the two parties. Ties appeared
to have reached their all-time low on 16 May when the SKD backed a no-
confidence motion against LDS Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler. Golobic
also said the LDS and SKD will continue to cooperate on some basis,
enabling the government to continue working. He discounted "rumors" of
an upcoming vote of no-confidence in Drnovsek. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA, SLOVENIA TO BOOST COOPERATION. During a visit of Slovenian
Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek to Skopje on 5 June both sides agree that
the "excellent political relations must be followed by increased
economic cooperation," Nova Makedonija reported. Drnovsek and his
Macedonian counterpart, Branko Crvenkovski, signed an agreement on
mutual protection of investments and announced that an agreement on free
trade will be signed in July. Drnovsek and Crvenkovski stressed their
identical views on the issue of the succession of the former Yugoslavia
and both said their countries wish to join the EU and NATO. -- Stefan
Krause

ROMANIA SETS DEADLINE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AND GENERAL ELECTIONS. The
government on 5 June announced that presidential and general elections
will be held in Romania on 3 November, local media reported. The
announcement came after a meeting with leaders of the parliamentary
parties. In order to avoid the delay that might have resulted from
amending the electoral law, the parliamentary "hurdle" will remain at
3%, instead of a proposed 5-7%. Candidacies for the presidency will, as
in 1992, require the backing of 100,000 supporters. In a related matter,
it was announced that the final returns of the 2 June local elections
will be made public on 7 June only. -- Dan Ionescu

FORMER MOLDOVAN COMMUNIST BOSS VISITS GAGAUZ REGION. Ivan Bodiul, who
was First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Moldovan Soviet
Socialist Republic in the 1960s, paid an unofficial visit to Comrat, the
capital of Moldova's autonomous Gagauz region, BASA-press reported on 5
June. Bodiul met with Gagauz Governor Georgii Tabunshchik and other
local officials. He expressed satisfaction about the way the Gagauz
issue was eventually settled through the setting up of an autonomous
region within the framework of the Moldovan state. The 78-year-old
Bodiul, who currently lives in Moscow, had talks with the Dniester
separatist leaders in Tiraspol on 31 May. Some media in Chisinau have
speculated that Bodiul might run as a presidential candidate in the next
Moldovan elections to take place in November. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY LEADERSHIP TO RESIGN? Prime Minister and BSP
Chairman Zhan Videnov proposed that the BSP Deputy chairmen and the
Executive Bureau tender their collective resignation to the party's
Supreme Council on 8 June, Standart and Duma reported. Most of the
Executive Bureau's members agreed to this move. The last party plenum on
31 May obliged Videnov to make changes in the government and the party
leadership by 8 June. New people are expected to be elected to the BSP
top level and changes in the government approved. According to 24 chasa,
Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev, Industry Minister Kliment
Vuchev, Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov, and Agriculture Minister
Svetoslav Shivarov will be replaced. However, Shivarov and Gechev will
keep their deputy prime minister posts. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN TV BOSS TO BE SACKED. The parliamentary Commission for Radio,
TV, and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency on 5 June adopted a proposal of
its Socialist majority recommending that the parliament dismiss National
TV Director-General Ivan Granitski, Trud and Reuters reported.
Granitski, whom the Socialists voted in less than a year ago, was
accused of having allowed professional and economic problems to build up
at the state TV. The commission ruled that Granitski had undermined the
prestige of the parliament and other state institutions and shown
"disrespect for political forces." The opposition abstained and demanded
that a vote on Granitski's dismissal be postponed until all parties
discussed the issue. Valeri Zapryanov and Stefan Stoev, the directors of
the state TV's two channels, News Director Pencho Kovachev, and other
top TV managers resigned in protest over the commission's vote. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN ELECTION UPDATE. During a visit to Brussels on 5 June, leaders
of the Socialists, Social Democrats, Democratic Alliance, and the Party
of the Democratic Right tried to muster support from the EU, Western
media reported. They said opposition to President Sali Berisha and his
Democratic Party was "not a question of Left and Right but...of
democracy versus dictatorship" and demanded that the parliamentary
elections be reheld. Representatives of the Belgian Socialists and the
German Social Democrats supported this demand. The EU Commission also
stepped up pressure on the Albanian government to repeat the elections
in districts where international monitors reported irregularities. EU
Commission President Jacques Santer and Italian Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini canceled a visit to Tirana. Meanwhile, the Socialists and
Democrats said they are ready to start a dialogue. On 4 June, protests
continued in Permet, Saranda, and Tepelena, but no incidents were
reported. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels


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