If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 121, Part II, 21 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

NEW ARTICLES IN DRAFT UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION. Mykhailo Syrota, chairman
of a special parliamentary arbitration commission, on 19 June presented
amendments to and new articles of the draft Ukrainian constitution that
have been drawn up by his commission, Ukrainian TV and UNIAN reported.
The draft includes a clause stating that the right to change the
constitution and constitutional system in Ukraine "is the exclusive
privilege of the people." Although the draft still does not name Russian
as a second state language, it has been amended to include guarantees
for "ethnic minorities...to use their ethnic minority language alongside
the state language [Ukrainian] within areas of their community
residence." Other new articles guarantee gender equality and make it
obligatory for parents to support their children until adulthood and for
adult children to care for their elderly parents. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN PARTIES DEMAND CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF AUTONOMY. Six
Crimean political parties and civic organizations have issued a joint
statement demanding Kyiv provide firm guarantees of their region's
autonomy within the draft Ukrainian constitution, UNIAN reported on 19
June, as cited by the BBC. The parties want guarantees that Crimea will
have its own constitution and parliament. They also seek control over
mineral resources, safeguards for the peninsula's territorial integrity,
including Sevastopol, and the use of Russian as a second state language.
The appeal states that the parties will resort to acts of civil
disobedience if their demands are not met. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

EU WARNS BELARUS AGAINST NATIONALIZING BANKS. The EU has recommended
that the Belarusian government stop nationalizing the country's
commercial banks, Belarusian Radio reported on 20 June. The EU warned
that increasing the role of the state in the banking system would lead
to the "ineffective allocation of resources" because the state would
give priority to its own needs. It also noted that as state banks tend
to be tied to specific industries, they would continue to issue credits
to those industries, regardless of whether they were profitable. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN UPDATE. The parliament on 19 July adopted a decree giving the
president, parliamentary speaker, and prime minister unlimited air time
on national radio and television, according to Belarusian Radio. The
following day, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that as of 1
July, Belarusian citizens will not be allowed to travel abroad without
registering with the appropriate authorities, Radio Rossii reported. He
also told a meeting of regional leaders that he wanted to hold a
nationwide referendum on the question of NATO expansion and the right to
private property. He lashed out at the parliament for not passing a
single law implementing the results of last year's referendum. Voters
then approved, among other things, closer economic ties with Russia. In
a non-binding consultative question, they also granted the president the
right to dissolve the parliament. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN COURT POSTPONES TRIAL OF FORMER SOVIET SECURITY HEAD. A court
on the western island of Saaremaa on 20 June postponed the trial of 85-
year-old Vasilli Riis because of the defendant's poor health, BNS
reported. Riis, who was head of the NKVD Soviet security police in
Saaremaa in summer 1941, is accused of signing arrest warrants for 340
Estonians who were later executed. The same day, the Lithuanian
Prosecutor's Office in Vilnius postponed until July the questioning of
89-year-old Aleksandras Lileikis after doctors insisted that he be
hospitalized. Lileikis, who was recently stripped of his U.S.
citizenship, is accused of signing orders handing Jews over to Nazi
executioners while heading a secret police force in Vilnius during the
Nazi occupation. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES EU ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT. The Seimas on
20 June ratified the EU association agreement, which was signed one year
ago, Radio Lithuania reported. The legislature had delayed ratification
so that Article 47 of the Constitution, which prohibited the sale of
land to foreigners and thus violated EU regulations, could be amended.
Earlier the same day, deputies voted to amend the article to allow the
sale of non-agricultural land to citizens of OSCE and G-24 states as
well as countries with an association agreement with the EU. The
amendment had been passed on 19 March but had to be approved again,
since the constitution requires that approval be reconfirmed by a two-
thirds majority after three months. -- Saulius Girnius

NATO CONFERENCE IN WARSAW. Senior officials from more than 30 countries
belonging to NATO and the Partnership for Peace met in Warsaw on 20 June
for a four-day conference, the 13th NATO Workshop. NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana, European NATO forces military chief General
George Joulwan, and the presidents of some Central and East European
countries, including Poland's Aleksander Kwasniewski, are attending the
conference. In his opening speech, Kwasniewski said that "Central
European states have regained the capacity to determine their own
affairs and acquired a significant standing in the overall framework of
European politics." He added that Poland is ready to join NATO "at the
earliest possible date." -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH POLITICAL UPDATE. The leaders of the three parties trying to form
a minority government met on 20 June for the sixth time since the
parliamentary elections but remained divided over the makeup of the
proposed cabinet, Czech media reported. The Civic Democratic Party of
Prime Minister-designate Vaclav Klaus, which won more than twice the
number of votes than the other prospective coalition parties combined,
insists on having a majority of ministerial posts. The Christian-
Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party and the Civic Democratic
Alliance maintain that, together, they should have parity with the ODS.
A further meeting is scheduled for 21 June. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER PUSHES JUNIOR COALITION PARTNERS ASIDE... Vladimir
Meciar on 20 June announced that although his government is "still
functioning," his coalition is not, Slovak media reported. While the
Slovak National Party (SNS) and Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS)
have not withdrawn from the coalition agreement, they have stopped
adhering to it, Meciar alleged. He added that the national pride of the
SNS and the workers' honor of the ZRS "stopped at" the insurance firm
Slovenska poistovna, which has been the main subject of coalition
conflict (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 June 1996). SNS and ZRS chairmen Jan
Slota and Jan Luptak denied that they violated the coalition agreement
because of their interest in controlling financial institutions. --
Sharon Fisher

...AND PREPARES TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT. At the initiative of the
opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL), Meciar met on 20 June
with representatives of all parliamentary parties, except the ZRS, to
garner support. Opposition leaders said they do not want early elections
and would prefer that Meciar serve his four-year term and take
responsibility for his policies. Meciar said he assumes the majority of
SNS and ZRS deputies will continue to work with the HZDS, while "most
opposition parties are also prepared to support a minority government."
He singled out the SDL, which said it might support a minority
government if its demands are met. Meciar said none of the ministers
representing the two coalition partners were expected to leave the
cabinet since they disagree with their parties' leaderships. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON FOUNDATIONS. The Slovak parliament on
20 June reapproved a law on foundations first passed in May but later
vetoed by President Michal Kovac, Slovak media reported. In doing so, it
ignored objections from Kovac, domestic non-profit organizations, and
international critics. Before the vote, Kovac appeared in the parliament
to warn that the law is not in harmony with Slovakia's obligations as an
associated country of the EU. The law takes effect on 1 September. --
Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY PREPARES SECOND PLAN TO PRIVATIZE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. The
passage last week of a nuclear energy law has paved the way for a new
privatization tender to be announced in October for the Paks nuclear
power plant, Magyar Hirlap reported on 21 June, citing top officials.
The Soviet-built nuclear plant supplies half of the country's
electricity, and experts believe it is a safer Soviet model than
Chornobyl. When the plant went on line in 1982, its life span was
estimated at 30 years. But management says that in its present
condition, the plant could be used for longer. It plans to extend the
facilities' life span by 10 to 15 years. During the privatization last
year of the country's energy sector, Paks was put up for sale in a
package with the core electricity company MVM but failed to find a
buyer. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC NOMINATED FOR BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENCY. The Pale regional group
of the governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) on 20 June nominated the
current president of the Republika Srpska (RS), Radovan Karadzic, to run
in the direct elections for the presidency expected to take place by
mid-September. He is, however, also an indicted war criminal, and the
Dayton agreement specifies that such people cannot hold political office
and must be sent to The Hague to face charges. There have recently been
orchestrated demonstrations on behalf of Karadzic and fellow indicted
war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic across the republic. The latest move by
the SDS comes amid reports that Belgrade and its loyalists in Pale are
trying to oust Karadzic before sanctions are reimposed, news agencies
reported. The nomination is yet another direct challenge to the
international community, which has repeatedly failed to enforce the
principles it itself enshrined in the Dayton agreement. The U.S. and the
Bosnian government have slammed the SDS's decision. -- Patrick Moore

DEMILITARIZATION OF EASTERN SLAVONIA COMPLETED. The UN completed the
demilitarization of eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-held part of
Croatia, by the noon deadline on 20 June, AFP reported. The UN spokesman
said that UN monitors would continue to check the area for any further
violations during the region's gradual return to Croatian government
control. Meanwhile, the eastern Slavonia Serbs' self-declared parliament
called for the mandate of the Forces of the UN Transitional Authority in
Eastern Slavonia to be extended for a second year. The Serbs have
dropped demands for outright autonomy, saying they will ask instead for
a "special status" once the area reverts to Zagreb's control, Nasa Borba
reported on 21 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WARN CROATS NOT TO TRY TO PRESERVE HERCEG-
BOSNA. The EU has warned the Bosnian Croats that efforts to preserve
their self-proclaimed state of Herceg-Bosna are a clear violation of the
Dayton peace accord and run contrary to the goal of consolidating the
Muslim-Croatian federation, AFP reported on 20 June. The Italian EU
Presidency urged the Croatian government to pressure the Bosnian Croat
leadership to cooperate in the peace process. Meanwhile, UN spokesman
Alexander Ivanko, warning of growing "separatist tendencies" in Bosnia,
said on 19 June that Bosnian Croats, in particular, are not cooperating
with peace implementation officials because of their desire to maintain
their para-state, Oslobodjenje reported. Ivanko also called on Zagreb to
force Herceg-Bosna leaders to comply with the peace agreement. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

SERBIAN LEADERS ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Vuk Draskovic, leader of the
opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, has said his party will not take
part in the upcoming elections in the Republika Srpska. Nasa Borba on 19
June quoted him as saying that "the preconditions for an open and
democratic" vote are lacking. Meanwhile, in an interview with OMRI,
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic said his party will participate
in the vote. He said that he believed that the elections would be
"relatively fair" or would at least reflect the strength of the various
parties involved. -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

MACEDONIA, EU AGREE TO COOPERATION ACCORD. Macedonia and the EU on 20
June have reached agreement on a cooperation accord, which will go into
effect on 1 January 1997, Nova Makedonija reported. Two days earlier,
Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Jane Miljovski had refused to sign the
agreement because it referred to Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia. Since no compromise between Macedonia, Greece,
and the European Commission on the name issue was reached, only letters
of intent confirming agreement had been reached were exchanged. The
agreement itself was not initialed. Under the agreement, Macedonia will
have easier access to EU markets and to European Investment Bank
credits. -- Ismije Beshiri and Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS STAGE PROTESTS. Thousands of workers and public
sector employees on 20 June marched through downtown Bucharest to press
for wage increases and protest the cabinet's economic and social
policies, Radio Bucharest reported. The rally was staged by the National
Labor Bloc (BNS), one of the country's largest trade union associations.
At the government's headquarters, BNS leaders handed over a list of
claims, including a 60% rise to keep pace with massive price hikes. A
government official promised that the claims would be carefully
examined, adding that a meeting with BNS representatives is expected to
take place in the near future. -- Dan Ionescu

IMF WITHHOLDS LOAN TO ROMANIA. The IMF has announced it will withhold a
$70 million tranche of a stand-by credit to Romania until the country's
foreign exchange market has stabilized, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
on 20 June. An IMF spokesman was quoted as saying that Bucharest will
not be able to make further use of a $480 million credit until it
removes restrictions on the foreign-currency holdings of Romanian banks.
Romania's trade deficit in the first four months of this year totaled
$335 million, and the value of the leu against foreign currencies has
plunged over the past few days. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT RENEWS CALL FOR DEFENSE MINISTER'S DISMISSAL. Mircea
Snegur on 20 June renewed his earlier demand that Gen. Pavel Creanga be
dismissed as defense minister, BASA-press and Infotag reported.
Addressing a closed-door parliamentary session, Snegur warned that if
his demand were rejected, he would be forced to "assume direct control"
over the national army. Creanga was dismissed by presidential decree on
15 March but later reinstated following a Constitutional Court ruling.
-- Dan Ionescu

RECORD LOW WHEAT HARVEST EXPECTED IN BULGARIA. Hristo Kurzhin of the
Agricultural Academy has predicted that the 1996 wheat harvest will not
exceed 2.2 tons per hectare, down from 4.5 tons in 1991, Bulgarian and
international media reported on 20 June. This would be the lowest yield
in 20 years and would result in an even more acute grain shortage than
in recent months. Kurzhin said the government should consider importing
wheat. The government allowed wheat exports last year--when world market
prices were high--although grain was already in short supply. Later, it
was forced to release emergency supplies and import grain from Romania,
Serbia, and India. Two agriculture ministers have resigned this year
over the grain crisis. -- Stefan Krause

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DEMANDS NEW ALBANIAN ELECTIONS... The European
Parliament on 20 June demanded that Albania annul the results of its
disputed elections, AFP reported. The EU legislators voted to suspend
cooperation with Albania until "a democracy worthy of the name" is
instituted there. Meanwhile, OSCE Chairman Flavio Cotti sent a personal
envoy to Albania in the hope of restoring "a minimum of confidence" in
the political system there. Cotti pointed out that the final OSCE report
on the 26 May elections was "one of the most critical we have read." --
Fabian Schmidt

...WHILE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MAY SUSPEND ALBANIA. Koha Jone on 20 June
claimed that a majority of members of the Council of Europe's
parliamentary assembly want Albania's membership suspended. Victor
Ruffy, the council's rapporteur on Albania, is quoted as writing to
Socialist Party deputy leader Namik Dokle that "Albania should be
suspended from the Council of Europe until the re-holding of new and
free elections," Reuters reported. Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg
Petersen told President Sali Berisha that Albania "must realize if they
want to be part of us, they must play by the rules, and the rules are
democratic elections." Meanwhile, the Albanian Central Election
Commission has accused some OSCE observers of collaborating with late
dictator Enver Hoxha. Similar earlier allegations in the daily Albania
have been dismissed by diplomats close to the OSCE as "completely
unfounded." -- Fabian Schmidt

SIX ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
Former communist chief ideologue Foto Cami, Defense Minister Prokop
Murra, and Politburo member Muho Asllani have been sentenced to life
imprisonment. Former communist party First-Secretary Gaqo Nesho, Tirana
police chief Dilaver Bengasi, and secret police chief Zef Loka were
jailed for 16, 18, and 20 years respectively. The court found them
guilty of crimes against humanity, including deportations of up to 500
people, AFP reported on 20 June. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave


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