|A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran|
No. 120, Part II, 20 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 LAWMAKERS FAIL TO AGREE ON PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING NEW CONSTITUTION. Ukrainian legislators have postponed a debate over the draft Ukrainian constitution until 21 June after failing to agree on the procedure for its adoption, Ukrainian TV reported on 19 June. Communist deputies had insisted that the debate be delayed until 9 July and that each article be reviewed, while center-right lawmakers had wanted an immediate vote on the draft as a whole and a third reading. Both proposals were rejected. The stalemate prompted Serhii Teleshun, a top presidential adviser, to claim that if the legislature fails to make a decision soon, a large group of deputies might simply appeal to President Leonid Kuchma to call a national referendum on the draft. -- Chrystyna Lapychak KYRGYZSTAN, UKRAINE SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev signed a treaty on friendship and cooperation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, in Kyiv on 19 June, Ukrainian Radio reported. The two presidents also signed a number of other agreements on economic cooperation and academic exchanges. In a meeting with Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, Akayev discussed problems facing the 90,000-strong Ukrainian diaspora in Kyrgyzstan. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINE TO RECEIVE MORE CREDITS. The IMF will allow Ukraine to draw the second monthly installment, worth some $100 million, from its $867 million stand-by loan at the end of the month, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 19 June. The same day, AFP reported that the European Commission will lend Ukraine 200 million ECUs ($246 million) for economic reforms. The credit will be released in two tranches if Ukraine continues with its economic reforms, and the shutdown of the Chornobyl nuclear power station. ITAR-TASS reported that the World Bank will also give Ukraine a $250 million credit to reconstruct its coal industry. -- Ustina Markus KYIV MAYOR TO BUILD MEMORIAL FOR ORTHODOX PATRIARCH. Acting Kyiv Mayor Oleksander Omelchenko has pledged to build a memorial on the sidewalk outside the walls of St. Sophia's Cathedral where Patriarch Volodymyr of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate was buried nearly a year ago, Reuters reported on 18 June. Omelchenko has ordered city funds to be used for a marble monument with a cross and columns on the late patriarch's makeshift grave in the pavement. Mourners and Church activists failed to receive government permission last year to lay the patriarch to rest inside the cathedral grounds. Omelchenko said the cash-strapped city would allocate the equivalent of $71,000 "to correct this wrong." -- Chrystyna Lapychak PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN BELARUS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has issued a decree making personnel changes in the Security Council Commission for Fighting Crime and Narcotics, Belarusian TV reported on 18 June. New members appointed to the commission include deputy head of the President's Administration Alyaksandr Abramovich, Interior Minister Valyantsin Ahalets, and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Antanovich. -- Ustina Markus PROGRESS IN SETTLING ESTONIA'S BORDERS. Delegates from Estonia, Latvia, and Russia, meeting on 18 June in Aluksne, Latvia, decided that the borders of those countries would meet on the Pededze River, BNS reported the next day. An official document, probably an international agreement, will be drawn up but can be concluded only after Latvia and Estonia sign border agreements with Russia. Estonia and Finland on 19 June concluded an accord settling their sea borders. However, they still have to sign trilateral agreements with Russia and Sweden on establishing joint borders. The Finnish-Estonian agreement is expected to be ratified by the respective parliaments later this year. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA CHANGES VOTING REGULATIONS FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. The Seimas on 19 June voted 65 to 21 with seven abstentions to change the voting regulations for parliamentary elections, Radio Lithuania reported. Of the 141 deputies, 71 will continue to be elected directly and 70 from party lists. Voters, however, will now have the opportunity to influence the order of preference of the candidates on the party list they support by expressing a positive or negative opinion of each candidate on the list. They may also express no opinion, leaving the order of deputies as determined by the various parties. The ruling Democratic Labor Party supported the change, while some opposition deputies voted against it, saying it will be much more difficult to guarantee no irregularities in vote counting. -- Saulius Girnius TENSIONS IN POLISH RULING COALITION. Members of the postcommunist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), a senior partner of the coalition that has ruled Poland since 1993, have increasingly come under attack from deputies belonging to the junior partner, the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). PSL deputies recently called for the removal of Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek, a member of the SLD (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 June 1996). The weekly Nie, which supports the SLD, published on 18 June a front-page report that Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych (PSL) was imprisoned 35 years ago after accounts had failed to balance at a summer youth camp where he had been a supervisor. Leszek Miller (SLD), chief of the Government's Office, said recently that his party may also call for the removal of other PSL ministers. -- Jakub Karpinski SLOVAK JUNIOR COALITION PARTNERS STEP OUT OF LINE... The Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) sided with the opposition at the parliament session that began on 19 June, Slovak media reported. Several proposals were added to the parliament's agenda with SNS and ZRS support, despite opposition from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). These included the expansion of the board overseeing the Slovak Information Service, changes in the leadership of the National Property Fund, Supreme Supervisory Office control over the fund, and an amendment to the law on strategic firms. An opposition proposal for changes in the composition of the boards overseeing Slovak TV and Radio was rejected, however. SNS chairman Jan Slota does not consider his party's behavior a violation of the coalition agreement. -- Sharon Fisher ...AND RULING PARTY CALLS SPECIAL MEETING. Following the parliament session, HZDS Chairman and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar called a special meeting in Trencin of party representatives from around Slovakia, Slovenska Republika reported. HZDS spokesman Vladimir Hagara quoted Meciar as saying that "relations in the coalition are not as they should be; the coalition partners have [not abided by] the agreement." Hagara also noted that some local SNS and ZRS officials "are strongly inclined toward the HZDS." In other news, HZDS deputy and well-known businessman Karol Konarik has been hospitalized after being physically attacked in Banska Bystrica during the night of 17 June, Narodna obroda reported three days later. Konarik was accompanied by a high-ranking regional police official, who was also injured. -- Sharon Fisher STILL NO CONCLUSION IN HUNGARIAN "OILGATE" INVESTIGATION. Representatives of the Socialists and the Free Democrats--the two governing parties--on 19 June walked out of a meeting of the commission investigating the so-called "Oilgate" scandal, Hungarian media reported. They claimed they were protesting the regular absence of opposition members at sessions of the commission. Opposition deputies and the press previously revealed several Socialist Party members' involvement in suspicious deals related to Russian-Hungarian oil shipments, including the present trade and industry minister and his immediate predecessor. Magyar Hirlap on 20 June reported that the commission found major irregularities in the work of an inter-ministerial commission set up to assess bids for settling the Russian debt with oil shipments. Otherwise, an ominous silence has surrounded the "Oilgate" affair since the parliamentary commission began operating six months ago. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT OPENS DEBATE ON NEW CONSTITUTION. The parliament on 19 June began debating the new constitution and appeared most divided over whether to include social rights in that document, Hungarian dailies reported. The junior coalition party Alliance of Free Democrats and the opposition Young Democrats are generally opposed to the idea, while most other parties are in favor. A leading SZDSZ deputy said that although all parties agree that the state must undertake social commitments, no Western constitution defines such rights as individual rights. The question is especially important as the country is reforming the welfare system. Incorporating social rights could slow down such reforms, as was the case last year when the Constitutional Court struck down several provisions of the stabilization program. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE U.S. TO START FIRST MAJOR REDEPLOYMENT OUT OF BOSNIA. Soldiers of the First Armored Division Headquarters, the Division Support Command, and various liaison groups will begin IFOR's first significant move out of the war-torn republic on 23 June. They will leave Lukavica in northern Bosnia for Slavonski Brod, in Croatia, AFP reported on 19 June. There has been much discussion in Western capitals about keeping the peacekeepers in Bosnia into 1997 to deter any renewal of fighting, and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry has endorsed the idea. President Bill Clinton, however, has made election year promises that U.S. forces will leave Bosnia by December 1996. Meanwhile in the Adriatic, NATO and WEU ships suspended their arms control patrols, known as operation Sharp Guard following the end of the UN's arms embargo on the former Yugoslavia. Finally, British commander Gen. Michael Jackson said he will leave his post on 26 June with mixed feelings. He is especially concerned with the failure to enforce the Dayton agreement's civilian provisions. Britain's 8,700 troops constitute IFOR's second-largest contingent. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN SERBS SET AGENDA FOR BRCKO. The Republika Srpska's legislature, meeting in Pale on 19 June, elected Vitomir Pavlovic, a professor of international law in Banja Luka, as the Serbs' representative to the arbitration commission that will settle the fate of Brcko, as specified in the Dayton agreement. The parliament also directed the cabinet to set down the Serbian position on the future of the northern Bosnian town and the surrounding land corridor that links the western and eastern halves of the republic, Nasa Borba noted. Pavlovic said that previous international conferences had "never disputed" that Brcko will remain Serbian and that "it was agreed in Dayton that the Republika Srpska should have 20 km more in that region," Onasa reported. The Bosnian government favors making a neutral zone out of Brcko, which had a mainly Muslim population before the war. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN SERBS TO SET UP SPECIAL WAR CRIMES COURT. The Bosnian Serb parliament also adopted the proposal to establish a war crimes court to try Bosnian Serbs indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported. Parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik proposed setting up the court because the constitution of the Republika Srpska prohibits extradiction of its citizens. Officials have thus legalized their persistent refusal to meet the Hague-based criminal tribunal's demands to extradite indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. The Bosnian Serb parliament also passed a partial amnesty for people indicted or convicted for "disturbing the Republic Srpska's social order." -- Daria Sito Sucic ROW OVER NEW HERCEG-BOSNA GOVERNMENT CONTINUES. Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic told the Bosnian Federation Constituent Assembly on 19 June that the establishment of the new government of Herceg-Bosna was a "huge step backward," Onasa reported. He also deplored the "lack of political liberties" on the territory controlled by the Croatian Defense Council. Opposition parties have proposed that both Federation President Kresimir Zubak and Vice President Ganic be relieved of their duties because they have not upheld the signed agreements on the federation. Zubak said he and Ganic were unable to perform 80% of their duties because the institutional framework was lacking, Hina reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic RUMP YUGOSLAV PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON STRIKES. The rump Yugoslav parliament has adopted a law on strikes that bans members of the government administration and the police force from going on strike, Beta reported on 19 June. The new law also stipulates that those providing essential public services, such as teachers and hospital personnel, do not hold strikes that "interfere with the work process." Other strikes may be held only on the respective company's premises. -- Fabian Schmidt FINAL RESULTS OF ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Romania's Central Electoral Office on 19 June released the final results of the local elections held earlier this month, Radio Bucharest reported. The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) received 26.49% of the vote, winning 2,742 mayoralties. The opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) came second with 26.45%, followed by the Social Democratic Union (USD) with 13.15%. The PDSR won 23.8% of the local councilor posts, the USD 15%, and the CDR 13.4%. The CDR won the most county councilor posts, followed by the PDSR and USD. -- Dan Ionescu STORMY DEBATE IN ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT OVER SECRET SERVICE ACTIVITIES. At a session of the parliament's two chambers on 19 June, Senator Vasile Vacaru, head of a joint parliamentary commission supervising the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), spoke of "serious deficiencies" in the way the service functions, Radio Bucharest reported. Vacaru pointed to confidential documents having been leaked and phones tapped. SRI Director Virgil Magureanu defended his organization. He also accused Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist Greater Romania Party, of trying to bring the SRI into disrepute and of forming an illegal intelligence structure of a paramilitary nature. Tudor vehemently denied the accusations and asked for Magureanu's dismissal. Members of the democratic opposition also called for the director's removal. -- Dan Ionescu DNIESTER SENIOR OFFICIAL ON LEBED'S NEW FUNCTIONS. Grigorii Marakutsa, chairman of the Dniester Supreme Soviet, welcomed the appointment of Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed as secretary of the newly created Security Council of the Russian Federation and as presidential aide for national security issues, Infotag reported on 19 June. Marakutsa expressed the hope that the former commander of the 14th Russian Army "will promote the Dniester conflict settlement." Referring to Lebed's strong criticism of the Dniester leadership during his tenure in Tiraspol, Marakutsa said "personal ambitions must yield to state interests." Lebed has described Igor Smirnov, president of the self-proclaimed "Dniester Moldovan Republic," and his associates as "criminals." -- Dan Ionescu BULGARIAN AGREEMENT WITH IMF, WORLD BANK POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER. The World Bank's Board of Directors will not consider Bulgaria's application for a structural adjustment loan until early September, Demokratsiya reported on 20 June, citing the bank's representative in Sofia, Alberto Mussalem. The bank is waiting for progress on structural reform, including the closure of unprofitable enterprises, before it releases $60-80 million to used to launch social programs for displaced workers. Meanwhile, the IMF's Executive Board is to meet on 12 July to consider Bulgaria's application for a $400-450 million standby credit, but the newspaper notes that the board will likely postpone doing so until the World Bank decides on its loan. Since foreign debt payments before the end of September will total $499.6 million and the country's foreign reserves are below $600 million, any delay in receiving international support may be disastrous. -- Michael Wyzan BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS PART OF MEDIA LAW. The parliament on 19 June passed articles regulating the activities of a National Council for Radio and TV, which will be formed to oversee media operations, Kontinent and Standart reported. The opposition opposed a provision putting the council in charge of ensuring that the media abide by the law and their licensing agreements, saying it violated the constitution. The council can appoint and dismiss the directors-general of national TV and radio with a two-thirds majority. It will be financed by the state budget. Until now, media chiefs have been elected and dismissed by the parliament and the state media's operations controlled by a parliamentary commission. The changes become effective only after the media law is passed in its entirety. -- Stefan Krause U.S. WANTS ALBANIA TO HOLD NEW ELECTIONS... U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns has said "fairness seemed to be lacking" in the Albanian election process, AFP reported. He has asked Tirana to organize new and "totally democratic" elections in cooperation with the OSCE. Burns argued that opposition parties were given only six or seven days to prepare for the election re-run in 17 constituencies last weekend and that international monitors noted "gross irregularities" in the elections on 26 May. Meanwhile, the Tirana-based Society for Democratic Culture, a U.S.-funded non-governmental organization, has accused the state-run media of biased coverage of the ballots, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt ...BUT ALBANIAN PRESIDENT GOES AHEAD WITH HIS AGENDA. Sali Berisha has announced that the new parliament will convene on 1 July, Reuters reported. However, the Socialists, the Social Democrats, the Democratic Alliance, and other opposition parties will boycott the legislature. Socialist deputy leader Namik Dokle said "the Socialist Party does not recognize the results of the election and considers the new parliament to be illegitimate," AFP reported. The Socialists, the strongest opposition party, won five of the 115 direct seats in the 140-member parliament. -- Fabian Schmidt CROATIAN PRESIDENT IN ANKARA. Franjo Tudjman arrived in Ankara for a two-day state visit on 19 June, Western and Turkish media reported. Four cooperation agreements in defense, education, technology, and tourism were signed the same day. The long-awaited defense agreement foresees cooperation in military training, logistics, and the military industry. Turkey has already signed such agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. -- Lowell Bezanis [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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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