|A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson|
No. 114, Part II, 12 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 AGRICULTURE MINISTER DISMISSED. President Leonid Kuchma fired Agriculture Minister Pavlo Haidutsky on 11 June, one day after the minister came under heavy criticism from Ukraine's new prime minister for causing great losses in the troubled sector, Reuters reported. Ukrainian agencies reported that Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko blamed Haidutsky for the financial crisis in the chiefly state-controlled agricultural sector, including failing to pay back wages of 38 trillion karbovantsi ($200 million). The premier said Haidutsky's ministry had failed to implement 12 policy orders, including one providing for total price liberalization. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ON RUSSIA, SECURITY. Oleksandr Moroz said he does not believe the outcome of elections in Russia will affect the constitutional process or political situation in Ukraine, Ukrainian radio reported on 10 June. He said Russian Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov is a "mature politician and a realist." Moroz also called for creating greater zones of non-alignment, rather than expanding NATO. Others in Ukraine are not so optimistic about a possible Zyuganov victory. Ukrainian TV ran a commentary on 11 June reminding viewers that Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's proposal to return the eastern oblasts of Ukraine, Crimea, and northern Kazkahstan "under the wings of the Russian two-headed eagle" was only 24 votes short of passage as a resolution. The commentary warned that imperialist forces in Russia are prepared to redraw borders. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINE DENIES SELLING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY TO LIBYA. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has denied selling nuclear technology to Libya in contravention of UN sanctions, NTV reported on 11 June. The denial was in response to a 10 June article in the Washington Times that claimed that Ukraine was maintaining contacts with Libya and planning to form a special committee for bilateral relations. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT ELECTS ACTING LEADER. The Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) has elected Leanid Barshcheusky as acting head of the party and movement, Belarusian radio reported on 10 June. BPF leader Zyanon Paznyak is currently in Poland and cannot return because there is a warrant out for his arrest. Yuryi Belenki was chosen to be acting chairman for organizational questions. In May, Belapan reported that Belenky had been appointed acting leader of the BPF. The BPF also decided to set up a headquarters to run Paznyak's election campaign for the fall parliamentary by-elections. -- Ustina Markus LATVIAN BORDER GUARD COMMANDER FIRED. Latvian Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins on 11 June dismissed Lt. Col. Leonids Leskalns as border guard commander, BNS reported. President Guntis Ulmanis had demanded the resignation the previous day on learning of the theft of 13 Kalashnikov rifles from the border guard battalion stationed in Liepaja on 8 June. Ulmanis also asked Krastins to determine the involvement of other officers in the affair and to make an immediate audit and accounting of all weapons in Latvia's defense forces. Arijs Jansons, the head of the headquarters of the border guards, was named acting commander. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIAN DEPUTY RETRACTS CHARGES AGAINST FORMER AMBASSADOR. Kazys Bobelis, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said on 11 June that he would retract his charges that deceased ambassador and unsuccessful 1993 presidential candidate Stasys Lozoratis had collaborated with the KGB to restore "calm and peace in Lithuania," Radio Lithuania reported. Bobelis backed his charges with a collection of documents titled Uzkulisiai (Backstage). The book's publishers charged that Bobelis quoted out of context and spread "tendentious information" and they threatened to sue him for "misinterpreting the book's contents and injuring the publishers' dignity." -- Saulius Girnius GDANSK SHIPYARD WORKERS STRIKE. Workers at the bankrupt Gdansk shipyard started a two-day sit-in strike on 12 June demanding an effective restructuring plan from the government. The government has decided to close the shipyard and initiate bankruptcy proceedings because the shipyard's high debt, bad contracts, and bloated employment (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June 1996). The Gdansk shipyard is often nicknamed the "cradle of Solidarity," the trade union movement that was born there in 1980. Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek said on 11 June that the bankruptcy was caused by the Solidarity "super-government," while Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski blamed the government for the bankruptcy. -- Jakub Karpinski TALKS ON FORMING CZECH GOVERNMENT CONTINUE. The leaders of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Civic Democratic Alliance, and the Christian Democratic Union on 11 June continued their talks on forming a minority government, Czech media reported. The three parties focused on the distribution of ministries in the new government; it appears that several ministries will be abolished, and the distribution of ministries will be more even than in the outgoing government, where the ODS had a majority of seats. Vaclav Klaus, the ODS leader and incumbent prime minister, told Czech Radio on 11 June that the government will not ask the opposition Social Democrats to approve the government's program before it is discussed in the parliament. Klaus argued that Czech voters in last week's elections did not reject his economic reforms but rather showed impatience they had not benefited more. "Too many people think that everything can already be like in Switzerland or the Netherlands or Germany and don't realize this is not possible," noted Klaus. -- Jiri Pehe PAPER WARNS OF COLLAPSE OF CZECH ARMS INDUSTRY. Czech arms builders face collapse unless cooperation between the government and the defense industry improves substantially, Zemske noviny warned on 11 June, CTK reported. The daily said that the arms sector relied more on research and development than other sectors, and the privatized arms companies lacked the funds to carry that out. -- Doug Clarke JUNIOR PARTNER CALLS FOR CONTINUATION OF SLOVAKIA'S COALITION. Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota on 11 June said the ruling coalition should continue "at any cost" in the interest of preserving peace and preventing a wave of dissatisfaction, Slovak media reported. Slota added that the ruling parties agree that privatization needs to be finished quickly since it is a source of tension between parties. The case of the state insurance firm Slovenska poistovna remains "quite problematic," but Slota refused to say whether he will demand the resignation of Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik, who was allegedly behind the recent management changes at the firm. Stefan Gavornik, president of the National Property Fund's presidium, on 11 June criticized a recent statement by Kozlik regarding the insurance firm (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 June). -- Sharon Fisher COUNCIL OF EUROPE HEAD CONCERNED OVER PREMIER'S STATEMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. Council of Europe (CE) Secretary General Peter Leuprecht during a two-day meeting of European Ministers of Justice in Budapest expressed concern over Prime Minister Gyula Horn's recent statement that a referendum should be held on reinstating the death penalty in Hungary, domestic media reported on 12 June. Horn embarrassed his justice minister, Pal Vastagh, who is chairing the meeting, by saying he would vote yes in such a referendum (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June1996). Leuprecht also criticized Russia and Ukraine for continuing to implement capital punishment despite their acceptance into the CE, Reuters reported. All CE countries must sign the European Convention on Human Rights, which condemns the death sentence. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN DISARMAMENT TALKS STILL STALLED. The disarmament treaty slated to have been signed last week remains on hold as diplomats seek a way out of the latest impasse. The Bosnian Serbs insist on signing separately as a de facto independent state, while the Bosnian government demands that they sign as part of the Bosnian delegation. Since the constitutional status of the Republika Srpska is at stake, neither party is likely to back down quickly, Nasa Borba noted on 12 June. Signatories to the regional arms control agreement required by the Dayton treaty are also to include Croatia, rump Yugoslavia, and the Croat-Muslim federation. IFOR will be obliged to enforce the pact, which will require massive cuts in the Bosnian Serbs' arsenal. Reports from Sarajevo suggest, however, that the extra tanks and guns will simply be sent to Montenegro for storage. -- Patrick Moore IFOR LIKELY TO STAY ON INTO 1997. Many important people are suggesting that NATO peacekeepers will stay on in Bosnia into the new year, in contrast to original plans. AFP quoted U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on 12 June as saying: "NATO will not want to give up on the investment they've made in Bosnia. If they feel some further action [to prevent a new war] is necessary, they may very well want to maintain a NATO force to do that. If they make that decision it will be my recommendation that the United States participate... in any force so designated, including ground troops." The statement is significant because the U.S. generally follows the "[Gen. Colin] Powell Doctrine" of avoiding overseas commitments with ground troops and, once committed, striving primarily to minimize casualties. The U.S. envoy to the region, John Kornblum, also indicated that the troops will stay on in Bosnia, Nasa Borba added. In Washington, however, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. "has no plans" to extend the withdrawal deadline despite heavy European pressure to do so. -- Patrick Moore EU ASKS IFOR TO GUARANTEE SECURITY BEFORE MOSTAR ELECTIONS. A senior EU official in Mostar, Klaus Metscher, said the European Union has asked IFOR to reinforce security before the 30 June elections in Mostar, as voters fear for their safety, AFP reported on 11 June. Meanwhile, the NATO Ambassador's Council on 12 June will discuss new ways for IFOR to help international officials during Bosnia's first postwar election, AFP reported. In another development, five Bosnian political parties have registered for the Mostar elections, Hina reported on 11 June. Another coalition of five opposition parties was rejected by the electoral commission for registering late, Oslobodjenje reported on 12 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic CONFUSION OVER EXPULSIONS OF CROATS FROM TRAVNIK AREA. Muslim Bosnian government authorities recently evicted some 11 Croat families from villages near Travnik that Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak called "purely Croat," Onasa reported on 11 June. Vecernji list on 12 June put the number of families involved at 20, but Hina later said that four families had been allowed to return. The Muslims argued that the Croats were not legally registered in the houses to which they had returned after being expelled during the Croat-Muslim war of 1993. Travnik is part of a pilot project of four towns--Muslim-controlled Travnik and Bugojno and Croat-controlled Jajce and Stolac--to which Croat and Muslim refugees are slated to return. This is one more example of tensions between the nominal allies. -- Patrick Moore SOROS CHARITY REOPENS IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The humanitarian New York- based Soros Foundation was reregistered with Serbia's Culture Ministry on 11 June under the name Foundation for an Open Society and will now be able to resume its charitable work, Nasa Borba reported on 12 June. The Soros Foundation was closed in February 1996, following a local court ruling that its incorporation in 1991 was unlawful. -- Stan Markotich UN FORESEES EXTENSION OF MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. Jacques Klein, the UN temporary administrator for Eastern Slavonia, said on 11 June that the mandate of the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) should be extended at least six months beyond the expiration date of 15 January 1997, AFP reported. One of the parties must officially request an extension of the 12-month mission of the 5,000- strong UNTAES forces. Klein also said that local Serbs' demands for autonomy--which include having their own government , flag, anthem, symbol, and regional citizenship--were unrealistic. In another development, 16 prisoners escaped to Serbia from a jail in Eastern Slavonia. A UN helicopter was involved in the search for the fugitives, AFP reported. Eastern Slavonia is the last Serb-held part of Croatia due to return to the Croatian government. -- Daria Sito Sucic SERBIAN PRESIDENT UPSET BY HIS OWN RHETORIC. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had attempted to have an interview published 10 June in Der Spiegel pulled from publication, Nasa Borba reported on 11 June. Milosevic went so far as to contact the German Foreign Ministry "shortly before press time" to have "the authorized [status] of the interviewdowngraded." The president probably objected not to what was said but rather to how his remarks were portrayed. The rapport between Milosevic and the two Der Spiegel reporters was said to be "icy." But on 12 June Nasa Borba reported that Milosevic's statement in the interview about "radical changes at the top [leadership] of the Republika Srpska" is prompting speculation and perhaps concern among prominent leaders of the Bosnian Serb republic. -- Stan Markotich Defense Minister ON PROBLEMS WITH ROMANIAN MILITARY. Gheorghe Tinca told the Defense Ministry's staff that the situation of the army was "discouraging," the daily Cotidianul reported on 12 June. Tinca said the government's austerity program has made the army "insufficiently prepared to face critical situations." Cotidianul and Reuters on 11 June quoted Tinca as saying that Romania wants to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter planes and that discussions with Lockheed Martin will begin as part of the aviation reforms. Reforms will also include the upgrading of aging Russian-made MiG-21s and the purchase of U.S.-made Cobra and Lockheed Hercules C-130 transport aircraft. The purchase of American-made equipment is part of efforts to integrate with NATO. However, Tinca was cited as saying there were difficulties with "identifying the funds necessary for the project." -- Michael Shafir PART OF RUSSIAN TROOPS IN MOLDOVA REASSIGNED. The Joint Control Commission on 11 June approved the placement of former 14th Army subunits in the security zone in the breakaway Transdniester republic, on condition that the troops be pulled out of the composition of Russian troops, BASA-Press reported. The approval meets halfway the Moldovan position that Russian troops must be withdrawn in accordance with the 1992 agreement and cannot be transformed into peacekeeping forces. The agency also reported that a rotation of regular troops in the Russian forces was not carried out as scheduled on 7 June because two trains carrying the troops were detained. A military adviser to Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov denied reports that the Tiraspol authorities had forbidden the departure of the trains in order to prevent the evacuation of military equipment. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE AS PROTESTS CONTINUE. The parliament on 11 June debated a motion of nonconfidence in the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov because of its economic and social policies, Trud reported. During the 10-hour debate, Videnov said the new austerity measures and structural reform program are "painful[but] unavoidable." Aleksandar Yordanov of the Union of Democratic Forces addressed Videnov in Russian, saying that is "the language [the premier] understands best" and because Videnov "rules on the principles of Soviet totalitarianism." The vote is scheduled for 13 June, and the government is expected to win it. Meanwhile, some 5,000 people protested in Sofia, demanding the government's resignation and early elections, RFE/RL reported. Opposition and trade unions called for a "united front" for the "salvation of Bulgaria." -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. A Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) commission on 11 June recommended Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski as BSP presidential candidate, Kontinent reported. Other candidates who were named at regional conferences declined to run, with the exception of Parliament President Blagovest Sendov, who is not a party member. He and Pirinski have not yet declared candidacies, but Standart quoted an unnamed BSP deputy as saying that Pirinski "does not want to be a tool in the party's hands." The BSP candidate is to be nominated on 15 June. In other news, Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev invalidated Sendov's recent decision to designate a guarded zone around the parliament building. Finally, the government announced that it will not pay for a national meeting of breakaway Orthodox clerics under Metropolitan Pimen. At the meeting, scheduled for 1 July, the clerics might declare independence from the official church, which is headed by Patriarch Maksim. -- Stefan Krause SANTER AND DINI ON BALKAN TOUR President of the EC Jacques Santer and the current chairman of the EU Council of Ministers, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini met Bosnian, Croatian, rump-Yugoslav, and Macedonian leaders in those countries' capitals during 7-10 June. The EU is preparing a broader Balkan conference next week, Reuters reported. In Belgrade, Santer said, "it is very important that we normalize our relations in this region," adding that "we see very positive prospects for [rump] Yugoslavia for the near future." Concerning Bosnia, Dini said that "the holding of elections not later than 14 September [is] essential for the peace process." He added: "We are aware that [basic] conditions are not fulfilled [but] in three months a lot can be done." -- Fabian Schmidt SAY MACEDONIA IS NEAR AN AGREEMENT WITH EU. Dini pointed out that Macedonia is quite close to a trade and cooperation agreement with the EU, which is "a very important move in the establishment of closer relations with the EU." Meanwhile, Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov on 10 June met special adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Richard Clarke, to discuss the role of UNPREDEP. Clarke stressed U.S. support for "strong military ties and for the territorial integrity of Macedonia," AFP reported. No decisions have, however, been made so far. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry will hold talks in Skopje on 12 June on that issue. The U.S. has 550 troops in the 1,000-strong UNPREDEP force. In other news, Nova Makedonija reported that a new round of Greek-Macedonian talks on the name issue started in New York on 11 June but that no breakthrough is expected. -- Fabian Schmidt and Stefan Krause ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS SET CONDITIONS FOR DIALOGUE WITH DEMOCRATS. Following a proposal by Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu for round- table talks between the government and the opposition, the Socialists demanded that the Democrats acknowledge massive irregularities in the elections. A socialist spokesman said that "our only precondition [for talks] is that [the Democrats] move away from the coup d'etat." The Socialists demand an annulment of the election results and investigations into the irregularities. Meanwhile ATSH reported that Parliamentary Speaker Pjeter Arbnori called the Albanian parliament a "temple of democracy." The Central Electoral Commission has so far received over 100 complaints of irregularities. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Susan Caskie ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU 2) To subscribe, write: SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name) To unsubscribe, write: UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L 3) Send the message REPRINT POLICY To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ or see the Web page at http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS TRANSITION OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. 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