Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 125, Part II, 27 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 DECREES REFERENDUM ON DRAFT CONSTITUTION. In an
apparent effort to end months of wrangling among lawmakers, Leonid
Kuchma signed a decree on 25 June calling for a 25 September national
referendum on a draft Ukrainian constitution, Reuters and NTV reported
on 26 June. The president's chief of staff, Dmytro Tabachnyk, said
Kuchma went ahead with the decision after winning the support of the
country's National Security Council. He said delays in adopting the new
constitution by the divided parliament posed a threat to national
security and stability. The decree will put to a nationwide vote the
draft approved in March by the Constitutional Commission, without any of
the changes adopted by deputies over the past two months. That version
gives the president stronger powers, provides for a bicameral
legislature, and limits Crimean autonomy. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

POLITICAL FIGURES REACT TO KUCHMA'S DECREE. Parliamentary Speaker
Oleksander Moroz called the decision to hold a referendum on the draft
constitution socially divisive, while leftist forces vowed to campaign
for a "no" vote. Although some national democrats, such as Rukh leader
Vyacheslav Chornovil, hailed the move, others said it would split the
country and deepen the economic crisis. They also claimed the choice of
the unamended draft undermined Kuchma's supporters in parliament and
would turn the poll into a vote of confidence in the president. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

KUCHMA ON SECURITY. Speaking at a news conference in Warsaw (see below)
the Ukrainian president once again warned against creating a new border
between East and West in Europe, international agencies reported on 26
June. Kuchma reiterated Ukraine's interest in integrating with Western
political and economic structures and said that Kyiv is seeking
associate membership in the EU and Western European Union, the EU's
defense arm. He also touted his previous proposal to make Central Europe
a nuclear-arms-free zone. -- Ustina Markus

DEFENSE FACTORY STRIKE IN BELARUS. The largest strike in Belarus so far
this year took place at a defense factory in Minsk, NTV reported on 26
June. Some 5,000 workers rallied, demanding wages that had not been paid
since April. The factory formerly employed 12,000 workers and produced
precision instruments for missiles and submarines. Now it works only
four days a week, producing mixers and other appliances, and employs
only 5,000. Unsold goods worth 30 billion Belarusian rubles ($1.9
million) lie about the premises. Workers say the only section of the
plant that still functions normally is that producing medals, such as
the medal of "Mother Heroine" (for women who have multiple children), or
the "Medal for Valiant Labor." The spontaneous strike is the first since
last August, when organizers of a transport-worker strike were arrested
and picketers forcibly broken up by security forces. -- Ustina Markus

ALTERNATIVES TO LITHUANIAN POLITICAL PARTIES. The founding congress of a
new public organization, Lietuvos Samburis (Gathering of Lithuania), was
held in Vilnius on 22 June, Radio Lithuania reported. The congress
elected a 27-member council including independent Seimas deputies
Kazimieras Antanavicius and Antanas Baskas. The main address at the
congress was given by Valdas Adamkus, a U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency official whom polls indicate is among the leading presidential
candidates in Lithuania. Seimas deputy Julius Veselka announced on 25
June that another new group, Rinkimai '96 (Elections '96), will hold its
founding congress on 6 July. Both groups present themselves as
alternatives to the leftist ruling party and the conservative
opposition. While not planning to compete in party-list voting, both
groups intend to run candidates for the 71 single-mandate seats in this
fall's parliamentary
elections. -- Saulius Girnius

SOLIDARITY CONGRESS MEETS IN POZNAN. Some 400 delegates started a three-
day discussion of Solidarity's strategy and political alliances for the
1997 parliamentary elections at the trade union's eighth national
congress in Poznan on 26 June. A recent Public Opinion Research Center
poll showed Solidarity with 14% of voters' support, while the co-ruling
Democratic Left Alliance has 18%, former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski's
new party Movement for Poland's Reconstruction (ROP) has 16%, the co-
ruling Polish Peasant Party 14%, the Freedom Union 11%, and the Labor
Union 4%. Former President Lech Walesa, also the former Solidarity
chairman, is attending the congress, but no other politicians were
invited. The ROP signed an agreement on 26 June on collaboration with
Rural Solidarity and has asked the Solidarity trade union to join on. --
Jakub Karpinski

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN THE POLISH PARLIAMENT. Quoting Polish interwar
leader Jozef Pilsudski, Leonid Kuchma told the Polish parliament on 26
June that there is no independent Poland without an independent Ukraine,
Polish dailies reported. Wrapping up a two-day visit in Warsaw, Kuchma
did not rule out expansion of NATO to former East Bloc countries but
said the security of all countries had to be considered. Kuchma asked
Warsaw for its support in admitting Ukraine into the Central European
Free Trade Agreement, and proposed Kyiv be admitted to the Weimar
Triangle, a special understanding between Poland, Germany, and France.
His Polish hosts proposed granting Ukraine $25 million in credits to
stimulate its economy. On 25 June, Kuchma and Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski signed a joint declaration on forming a
"strategic partnership" and signed accords on visa-free traffic and the
return of cultural treasures "lost and illegally moved during World War
II." -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH RULING COALITION AGREED ON. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of
Vaclav Klaus, the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) of Jan Kalvoda, and
the Christian Democratic Union (KDU) of Josef Lux on 26 June reached an
agreement on the division of posts in a new minority government and the
text of their coalition agreement, Czech media reported. The future
government, led by Klaus, will have 16 members; the ODS will hold 8
portfolios, including the finance, foreign affairs, and internal affairs
ministries. The KDU will get, among others, defense and regional
development ministries, while the ODA will be responsible for justice,
trade and industry. The coalition agreement is to be officially signed
on 27 June. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK POLICE CONFISCATE PASSPORT OF PRESIDENT'S SON. Border police
seized Michal Kovac Jr.'s passport as he attempted to travel to Munich
via Austria on 26 June, Slovak media reported. Kovac Jr. intended to
testify in Germany concerning the $2.3 million fraud case involving the
Slovak trade firm Technopol. His passport was confiscated on the orders
of an investigator at the Bratislava City Office of Investigation.
Although fraud charges were brought against Kovac Jr. in Slovakia in
December, Sme reported on 20 June that his passport was not blocked
until 6 June, after he announced his intention to travel to Germany.
Kovac Jr.'s lawyer, Jan Havlat, had the German arrest warrant suspended
until 20 July so that his client can go to Germany; however, it now
seems unlikely that Kovac Jr. will be able to travel by that date. Kovac
Jr. said the police action shows that the authorities do not want the
case resolved. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S INTEGRATION COMMITTEE ANGRY OVER EU QUESTIONNAIRE SECRECY.
Members of the Hungarian parliament's European Integration Committee are
complaining about secrecy surrounding the government's responses to the
EU's questionnaire on potential membership, Hungarian dailies reported
on 27 June. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Ferenc Somogyi--who has
been coordinating the work in the respective ministries--said on 26 June
that parliamentary deputies will only be able to see the finalized
version of the EU questionnaire responses and that Integration Committee
members would be given only a verbal briefing by the prime minister. The
forms are due to Brussels by 26 July. The various bodies involved in
coordinating Hungary's EU integration have been battling over turf for
the past year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOROS: HUNGARIAN INTERNET CENTER PROMOTES OPEN SOCIETY. A new Internet
and computer-arts center set up by his foundation in Hungary will
promote the free flow of ideas and information in post-communist Eastern
Europe, Hungarian-born U.S. financier George Soros said on 26 June. The
center will "facilitate a horizontal, non-hierarchical network of
communication which fits in with our concept of an open society," Soros
told Reuters at the opening of the Center for Culture & Communications.
The equipment, including advanced computer-imaging equipment and 14
Internet terminals, is valued at $1.5 million. Soros is a leading
advocate of communications technology as a means of promoting democracy.
In May he announced a five-year, $100 million program to install
Internet connections at universities across Russia. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. SAYS ISLAMIC FIGHTERS ARE GONE FROM BOSNIA. Bosnia-Herzegovina has
ended its "military and intelligence relationship" with Iran and there
are no "organized" foreign fighters left on government-controlled
territory, the White House announced on 26 June. This opens the way for
a $70 million American program to train and equip the mainly Muslim and
Croatian armed forces. The statement was issued in Lyon, France, in
conjunction with the G-7 conference there, news agencies reported.
National Security Council spokesman Brian Cullin said some former
Iranian fighters remain "in civilian roles, but we see no evidence of
any remaining organized mujahedin units, nor do we believe that any of
the individuals remaining are engaged in military or intelligence
activity." Lingering Iranians were a point of contention between
Washington and Sarajevo, which had agreed that all foreign fighters were
to leave Bosnia by January. -- Patrick Moore

BOUTROS GHALI BLASTS SEPARATISM IN BOSNIA. The UN has issued a report
under the name of its secretary general charging the Bosnian Serbs with
consolidating and continuing ethnic cleansing, Reuters and AFP reported
on 26 June. The study cites the resettling of Serbs from Sarajevo
suburbs in the Brcko area of northern Bosnia, the fate of which is to be
determined by international arbitration later this year. Boutros Boutros
Ghali concluded that "it appears that the Republika Srpska remains
active in its efforts aimed at separation, as publicly declared by its
present leadership and reflected by events on the ground." The report
added that UN efforts to improve police work throughout Bosnia-
Herzegovina will be meaningless if local police continue "to
discriminate against, harass, and intimidate citizens who are not of
their own ethnicity." He also condemned Croatia for the killing of
Krajina Serbs and the pillaging of their property. -- Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL TO HEAR CASE AGAINST KARADZIC, MLADIC. The
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was to begin
hearing testimony against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen.
Ratko Mladic on 27 June, AFP reported. The hearing is not a trial in
absentia, and is based on the tribunal's Rule 61, drawn up specifically
to deal with cases in which the accused is hiding behind a state's
refusal to hand him over. Two lists of charges have been drawn up for
each of the two accused. The first concerns the war in Bosnia in
general, and the other concerns the "direct responsibility" of Karadzic
and Mladic in the killings that followed the fall of Srebrenica. At the
end of the hearings, the tribunal is expected to issue an international
arrest warrant for the two accused. -- Daria Sito Sucic

KARADZIC MAKES HIS STEPPING DOWN CONDITIONAL ON RS STATUS. Unconfirmed
sources from the Republika Srpska (RS) say that Radovan Karadzic has
already signed his resignation from the post of RS president, but made
it conditional on the RS having a "minimum status as a state" enjoying
full sovereignty within Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nasa Borba reported on 27
June. However, Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic said on 26
June that Karadzic will not run in September elections, but will stay on
as president until elections are held, AFP reported. After the vote,
Karadzic will remain only as "president of the Serbian Democratic
Party," Nasa Borba quoted Klickovic as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT ON BOSNIAN SERB AFFAIRS. Momir Bulatovic went on
record saying that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic "may not
officially and legally enter Montenegro," Nasa Borba reported. When told
at a 26 June press conference that "some months ago Karadzic was not
apprehended during 'a walkabout of Montenegro,'" Bulatovic said he had
no "official information" about Karadzic's "sojourns in these parts."
Bulatovic described Karadzic as "a very well-protected man ... his house
is guarded by some 500 heavily armed men." He added that he did not
believe the Republika Srpska would collapse if Mladic and Karadzic were
to give up politics and, according to 26 June Montena-fax reports, felt
"that not even the international community insists on [Karadzic] being
sent to The Hague, but only on his removal from political life." -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIA BECOMES ASSOCIATE WEU MEMBER. Slovenia has become the tenth
country to gain associate partner status in the Western European Union
(WEU), the defense structure of the European Union, local Slovenian
media reported on 25 June. Full WEU membership is contingent on EU
membership. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek signed an agreement on
Slovenia's EU associate member status on 10 June. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION PROPOSES NEW MEDIA HEAD. The
parliamentary commission in charge of nominations and appointments to
state posts proposed on 26 June that Macedonian Radio and Television
(MRT) Director General Melpomeni Korneti be dismissed and Slobodan
Trajkovski be appointed in her place, Nova Makedonija reported. The
ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) officially blamed
Korneti for failing to present a report on MRT's 1995 activities, but
the real reason appears to be her affiliation with the Liberal Party
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 June 1996). The SDSM's Nako Stojanovski asked
whether in any other state the member of a party that had left the
government and joined the opposition would stay on. Liberal deputies
defended Korneti, who they argued built up a functioning state media
despite the lack of a legal framework. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AGAINST JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CONGRESS. An
international congress of Jehovah's Witnesses scheduled to take place in
Bucharest on 19-21 July has aroused a storm of protests in Romania,
Radio Bucharest and Western media reported on 25 and 26 June. The
government's General Secretariat declared on 25 June that it considers
"thoroughly inopportune the attempt to improvise such a meeting in
Bucharest in July or at any time in the future." The announcement came
in response to a strongly worded communique issued by Patriarch Teoctist
of the Romanian Orthodox Church on 21 June. Teoctist expressed concern
over the planned meeting and accused the sect of "irresponsibly
contributing to growing violence and hatred in the world." Romanian
students announced that they would stage a demonstration in downtown
Bucharest on 31 June to protest what they described as the "satanic
congress." -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT SETS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS DAY. The parliament
formally selected 17 November as the date for this year's presidential
elections, Infotag reported on 26 June. The election campaign will
officially start on 17 August, three months before the vote. If no
candidate receives a majority of the votes, a run-off between the two
best-placed rivals will be staged on 1 December. Meanwhile, Nicolae
Andronic, deputy chairman of the Party for Revival and Conciliation in
Moldova (PRCM), announced that the party's council had nominated the
incumbent President and PRCM Chairman Mircea Snegur as its candidate in
the elections. A formal announcement will be made at the PRCM's second
national congress on 13 July. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA WANTS CLARIFICATION FROM GREECE ON POMAKS. The Bulgarian
Foreign Ministry on 26 June said it had asked the Greek government to
clarify its position on the status of the 35,000 Bulgarian-speaking
Muslims of Western Thrace, Reuters reported. Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Georgi Pirinski called in Greek Ambassador Anastasios Sideris and
demanded an "unequivocal statement" on the matter. Bulgaria regards the
Muslim Pomaks, who live on both sides of the common border, as ethnic
Bulgarians. Greek media in recent months suggested Athens would like to
treat the Pomaks as a separate community, apart from the region's ethnic
Turks. Some Greek politicians suggested that this would not include
tuition in Bulgarian, but textbooks, dictionaries, and grammars of the
"Pomak language." They made it clear that this move is aimed against
Turkey, which wants to exert influence over Greece's Muslim minorities.
-- Stefan Krause

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CALLS FOR ALBANIAN ROUND TABLE. The Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly on 26 June called for roundtable talks between
all Albanian political groups, Reuters reported. The assembly issued a
resolution assigning responsibility for election irregularities on 26
May to both the opposition and the government. The resolution did not
explicitly demand new elections but said the credibility of democratic
procedures in Albania has been shaken and a new ballot should be planned
after new legislation is enacted. The resolution said "free and fair
elections ... are an essential condition for Council of Europe
membership," implying that failure to comply may lead to suspension. The
assembly added that it would send its own delegation to Tirana to
investigate fraud allegations. Meanwhile, the opposition has called for
a protest rally in Tirana on 28 June, Gazeta Shqiptare reported. --
Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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