|As courage endagers life even so fear preserves it. - Leonardo Da Vinci|
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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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. For subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ ECONOMIC DIGEST The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription available; for more information, write ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the Economic Digest Web page at http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html RUSSIAN DAILY DIGEST The OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and distributed the following day. 1) Compose a message to MAJORDOMO@DEMOS.SU 2) In the body of the message, write SUBSCRIBE OMRI
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.