One must learn by doing the thing; though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 126, Part II, 28 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 PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTION. Ukraine's parliament voted 315
to 36 in favor of a new constitution on 28 June, international agencies
reported. The vote was taken after a 23 hour, all-night session.
President Leonid Kuchma said the vote automatically cancelled his decree
on a September referendum over the document which he had passed two days
earlier. Kuchma apologized for calling the plebiscite, saying it was
"not an entirely correct way to prompt approval for the constitution."
The new constitution provides for a powerful presidency and a single
chamber parliament. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE WANTS MORE THAN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Kyiv wants an agreement
with NATO that goes beyond the Partnership for Peace program, Ukraine's
Ambassador to Brussels and Special Envoy to NATO Borys Tarasyuk told
RFE/RL on 27 June. President Leonid Kuchma and Foreign Minister Hennadii
Udovenko also recently said they want a special relationship with the
alliance. In the run-up to Russian presidential elections, Moscow has
not officially reacted to the statements. Kommersant-Daily pointed out
that the recent vote to ban the stationing of foreign troops on
Ukraine's territory would complicate Ukraine's relationship with NATO
and deprive Ukraine of income, since sites in Lviv and Mykolaiv oblasts
could not be used in NATO Partnership for Peace Programs. However, Kyiv
could get around this complication by defining "stationing" to not
include hosting short-duration military exercises. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN-IRANIAN-TURKMEN MEETING IN UKRAINE. A meeting between
representatives of Ukraine, Iran, and Turkmenistan over trade and
economic issues took place on 27 June in Kyiv, Ukrainian radio reported.
The session was attended by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Foreign
Minister Hennadii Udovenko, and his Iranian and Turkmen counterparts,
Ali Akbar Velyatti and Boris Shakhuradov. Talks focused on natural gas
supplies, Ukraine's debt to Turkmenistan, Ukraine's machinery exports to
Iran and Turkmenistan, and the maintenance and repair of gas pipelines
and oil facilities. Several agreements were signed on trilateral
cooperation, cooperation in investment, and an agreement between the
national banks of the three countries. Shakhuradov said the agreements
were not any type of integration process, and any country could join the
cooperation trio as long as it was mutually beneficial for all involved.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON PROPERTY. The Belarusian parliament
adopted a law on property ownership on 26 June, Belarusian television
reported. The law was passed in its second reading after lengthy
debates. The communists and other left-wing factions compromised and
accepted articles allowing leases of private property and property
inheritance. Other details were not reported. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC PRESIDENTS GET U.S. SUPPORT FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP. U.S. Defense
Secretary William Perry told Presidents Lennart Meri (Estonia), Guntis
Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania) on 26 June that
the U.S. plans to increase cooperation with their countries in defense
and thus promote their membership in NATO, BNS reported. The presidents
later held talks with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott, and other Republicans who expressed support for their
countries' accession to NATO. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA TO INTRODUCE MINIMUM PRICES FOR IMPORTED FARM GOODS. Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi has instructed the Agriculture Ministry to prepare
decrees introducing minimum prices on farming products from 1 August,
BNS reported on 28 January. Vahi added that Estonia should not be afraid
to follow Latvia's example by requiring an EU certificate for imported
beef and pork and introducing certification of imported foods. In the
same 27 June vote that enabled the government action, the parliament
instructed the government to establish rules setting the minimum taxable
value of imported second-hand motor vehicles. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA RAISES ELECTORAL BARRIER FOR PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS. The Seimas
voted adopted a new Parliamentary Election Law on 27 June raising the
minimum share of votes needed to win seats in party-list voting from 4%
to 5%, and to 7% for coalitions, BNS reported. A lower barrier for
national-minority parties was also abolished. Also, a rating system was
introduced enabling voters to express a positive or negative opinion on
each candidate in a party list. These ratings will be weighed by the
Chief Electoral Commission against the rankings submitted by the parties
to determine which candidates gain seats in parliament. Out of 141
Seimas seats, 70 are distributed in party-list voting. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLAND INVITED TO JOIN OECD. Poland has been invited to join the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris-
based OECD announced on 27 June. Poland will be the OECD's 28th member
and the third Central European country after Hungary and the Czech
Republic. Its accession agreement would be signed in Paris on 11 July.
-- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH PRIVATIZATION MINISTER SURVIVES A NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Sejm on
28 June rejected a no-confidence motion against Wieslaw Kaczmarek,
accused of intentionally neglecting opportunities to save the Gdansk
shipyard, where the Solidarity trade union was born in 1980s. The motion
against the privatization minister, a member of the ex-communist
Democratic Left Alliance, was brought by a group of deputies including
some from the co-ruling Polish Peasant Party (PSL). The embattled
privatization minister was supported by a vote of 187 to 124 with 95
abstentions. It was the third no-confidence vote on Kaczmarek since he
took office in the fall of 1993. -- Jakub Karpinski

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT CANCELS VISIT TO POLAND. Hungarian President Arpad
Goncz has canceled a planned 28 June visit to Poland at which Goncz
intended to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1956 anti-communist
uprising in Poznan. Goncz's spokesman said the Hungarian president
decided to postpone the trip because of political tensions in Poland; at
least three opposition groups planned to protest Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski's presence at the ceremonies. But his spokesman
said Kwasniewski also will not attend the ceremonies, Polish dailies
reported on 28 June. Kwasniewski was a minister in communist governments
before 1989. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH OPPOSITION LEADER ELECTED PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN. Social Democratic
leader Milos Zeman was elected chairman of the Czech parliament's lower
chamber on 27 June, Czech media reported. Zeman's election was part of a
deal under which, in return for Zeman's election, the Social Democratic
Party (CSSD) will support a minority government formed by three right-
of-center parties (the Civic Democratic Party, the Civic Democratic
Alliance, and the Christian Democrats) and led by Vaclav Klaus. Also on
27 June, the three parties officially signed a coalition agreement that
appears to have incorporated many of the CSSD's policy demands. -- Jiri
Pehe

SLOVAK POLITICAL NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE. Amidst an ongoing coalition
crisis, the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia continued talks
with opposition parties, meeting on 27 June with representatives of the
Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Slovak media reported. KDH deputy
Frantisek Miklosko called for a change in coalition-opposition
relations, giving opposition parties the ability to share all areas of
control. The KDH also insisted on the return of all powers taken from
the president and demanded the dismissal of Interior Minister Ludovit
Hudek and Slovak Information Service director Ivan Lexa. Also on 27
June, Hungarian Civic Party chairman Laszlo Nagy accused Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar of lying when he told the Council of Europe the previous
day that Hungarians can use their native language during wedding
ceremonies, Sme reported. Nagy pointed out that this is true only in
churches, not in state institutions. -- Sharon Fisher

UPDATE ON SLOVAK DAILY TAKEOVER. Narodna obroda published a statement by
editor-in-chief Tatiana Repkova on 28 June that she remains responsible
for the daily and is currently negotiating with the paper's new owners.
In an interview with the RFE/RL Slovak Service the previous day, Repkova
said she recently handed in her resignation to the paper's publisher,
NOFRA, in which the east Slovak steel giant VSZ recently gained a nearly
100% share (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 June). Interference in her work by
NOFRA representatives was the reason for her decision, she said. Several
commentators who are critical of the current government have reportedly
been dismissed. VSZ reportedly also now owns about half of the most
popular private radio station in Slovakia, Fun Radio. After VSZ
purchased the opposition east Slovak daily Slovensky vychod last fall,
it merged it with the pro-government daily Luc. -- Sharon Fisher

AGREED-ON AMENDMENTS TO HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTION DEFEATED. The parliament
narrowly rejected proposals for amending the constitution on 27 June,
Hungarian media reported. The vote was five short of the necessary two-
thirds majority, mainly due to lack of support from the ruling Socialist
Party. Opposition Young Democrats deputy Janos Ader accused the
Socialists of breaking a six-party agreement concluded eight months ago.
Free Democrats (SZDSZ) President Ivan Peto said his party must draw far-
reaching conclusions from the Socialists' behavior. Asked by MTI if the
SZDSZ's confidence in its senior coalition partner had been shaken, Peto
responded: "it would do no good to say no." -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UNLESS GRANTED "GUARANTEES," KARADZIC WILL RUN IN ELECTIONS. Unless the
Republika Srpska's (RS) international recognition is guaranteed, Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will run in the forthcoming elections and
win, he said at the 27 June session of the Serb Democratic Party's (SDS)
steering committee, Nasa Borba reported. The daily also reported that
posters of Karadzic as the SDS candidate appeared in the Bosnian Serb
stronghold of Pale as a part of the SDS's pre-election campaign.
However, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum said in
Sarajevo the same day that the U.S. will accept no conditions on
Karadzic's resignation. "He must now quickly bow to the pressure of the
international community, ... leave office and go to The Hague," AFP
quoted him as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN RADICALS BACK KARADZIC. The Serbian Radical Party (SRS), led by
accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj, remains Karadzic's most vocal
supporter within rump Yugoslavia. Nasa Borba reported on 28 June that
Seselj has almost unconditionally backed a Karadzic run for the Bosnian
Serb presidency. According to the daily, Seselj has said that the SRS in
the Republika Srpska would "[even] endorse Karadzic and ... withdraw
their own candidate." -- Stan Markotich

UPDATE ON THE HAGUE HEARINGS ON KARADZIC, MLADIC. Week-long hearings on
the cases against Karadzic and his military counterpart Gen. Ratko
Mladic, both of whom are charged with genocide and crimes against
humanity (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 June 1996), started on 27 June in
The Hague. Karadzic's Belgrade lawyer, Igor Pantelic, appeared before
the court and requested to listen to proceedings and be given access to
the documents prepared by the prosecutor's office, Nasa Borba reported.
The latter request was rejected as contradicting tribunal rules. After
the proceedings, Pantelic said he was quitting because he found the
court's treatment unfair. Meanwhile, the tribunal's prosecution office
presented evidence against the Republika Srpska and rump Yugoslavia for
not arresting the two accused despite having had "numerous chances," and
called for the tribunal president to officially inform the UN Security
Council of the two countries' non-cooperation. -- Daria Sito Sucic

WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL INDICTS RAPE SUSPECTS. Seventeen more people,
including nine ethnic Croats accused of taking part in attacks against
Muslim settlements and massacres against Muslim civilians and eight
ethnic Serbs accused of taking part in mass rapes of Muslim women, have
been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 28 June. According to various
reports, the indicted Serbs took prisoners, some as young as twelve
years old, near the southeast Bosnian town of Foca between April 1992
and February 1993, where they were enslaved, beaten, and forced to work
in make-shift brothels. The indictments represent the The Hague
tribunal's first attempt to deal with rapes as war crimes. -- Stan
Markotich

BOSNIAN FEDERATION AND REPUBLIKA SRPSKA SIGN PAYMENT SYSTEM AGREE-MENT.
Representatives of Bosnia-Herzegovina's two entities signed an agreement
on 26 June on connecting their two existing payment systems, Nasa Borba
reported. Radio Sarajevo reported that the payment system will use
German marks, and will be operational at the beginning of the next week.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERB GENERAL SEES POSSIBILITY FOR RENEWED FIGHTING. Bosnian Serb
Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic, speaking to local radio in Pale on 26 June,
did not rule out the possibility for renewed conflicts in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Dubbing the existing peace in the country "unstable,"
Milovanovic said the Bosnian Serb military's priorities include
"maintaining and equipping the army ... [and] the welfare of our
soldiers," allegedly because "the very survival of the Republika Srpska
depends [on such factors]." The general timed his remarks to coincide
with his message for Vidovdan, the 28 June Serb holiday marking the loss
to Ottoman invaders in 1389. In an unrelated development, John Kornblum
said in Sarajevo on 27 June that the U.S. will not give military aid to
the Bosnian Federation until a controversial draft bill uniting the
Muslim and Croat armed forces in Bosnia is made law, AFP reported. --
Stan Markotich and Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN UPDATE. The Justice Ministry has published the names of over
800 ethnic Serbs alleged to have committed war crimes between the time
of the rebel Serb uprising in Croatia in 1991 and 1995, AFP reported on
27 June. Cases have been opened against some 299 of those named; the
report also observed that the list is not "exhaustive." Those named will
be exempted from an amnesty recently offered to rebel Serbs by President
Franjo Tudjman. In another development, UN Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros Ghali recommended on 27 June that the UN peacekeeping mission in
Slavonia be extended until 15 January, Reuters reported. The mandate for
the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, headed by U.S.
diplomat Jacques Klein, expires on 30 July. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER LAUNCHES PRESIDENTIAL PROGRAM. The leader of
the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), Emil Constantinescu,
launched his platform on 27 June for the upcoming presidential
elections, Radio Bucharest reported. According to Constantinescu, the
key ideas of the program are that the next president should be a
president for all Romanians, and able to lead the country to a top
position among East European states. The president, he added, should be
the guarantor of law and order and stay in permanent touch with the
government without interfering with its authority. Constantinescu vowed
to speed up privatization and encourage both domestic capital and
foreign investment. The formal presidential campaign will not begin for
another three months. -- Dan Ionescu

RUSSIAN, MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTS WANT DNIESTER ACCORD SIGNED SOON. Boris
Yeltsin hopes a memorandum on the settlement of the Dniester conflict
can be signed in Moscow in early July, a Russian presidential adviser
said in Chisinau on 27 June. The foreign-policy adviser, Dmitrii
Ryurikov, is accompanying Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris
Pastukhov on a visit in Moldova, Infotag and BASA-press reported. At a
meeting with the two officials, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur
stressed the importance of having the accord signed without delay. But
he warned that a majority of Moldovans "do not accept confederalization
and are against Moldova's [territorial] division." Snegur urged experts
to draft a less ambiguous definition of the Dniester region's future
legal status. -- Dan Ionescu

NEW PRICE HIKES IN BULGARIA. The government on 27 June announced a new
round of price hikes effective on 1 July, Trud reported. Fuel prices
will go up by 15%, after a 79.5% hike just one month ago. Cigarettes
prices are expected to rise by 30%-300%, while alcohol will be subject
to an excise duty of up to 50%. A new import tax of 5% also becomes
effective on 1 July, as does a VAT hike from 18% to 22%. The new taxes
and duties are part of an austerity package worked out in cooperation
with the IMF. The fuel-price hike is expected to result in an increase
of virtually all other prices. Electricity prices will also go up on 1
July. According to Kontinent, they will at least double. -- Stefan
Krause

CONTROVERSY OVER APPOINTMENT OF TOP BULGARIAN JUDGES. The Socialist
daily Duma blasted President Zhelyu Zhelev's 27 June appointments to two
top Bulgarian courts as "scandalous and anti-constitutional."
Demokratsiya stressed that Zhelev's appointments of Rumen Yankov to head
the Supreme Court of Appeals and Vladislav Stankov to head the Supreme
Administrative Court followed the proposal of the Supreme Judicial
Council and conforms with the Law on the Judiciary. But Duma called the
two appointees "bosses of phantom courts" because neither court has
begun to function. Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov said the
appointments were politically motivated. Yankov and Stankov were
appointed to seven-year terms and under present laws cannot be dismissed
earlier. According to press reports, the Socialist parliamentary faction
will propose a law to invalidate Zhelev's decision. -- Stefan Krause

GREECE BRUSHES ASIDE BULGARIAN CONCERNS OVER POMAKS. Replying to a
Bulgarian request for clarification of Greece's position on the
Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks of Western Thrace (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27
June 1996), the Greek government said on 27 June that its Muslim
minorities are free to use any language they choose, Reuters reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kostas Bikas said research and publications
are free and the government "is not allowed to intervene." He stressed
Athens' interest in good relations with Sofia and said "those who
attempt to undermine [the relationship] with unsubstantiated rumors or
nonexistent issues are catering to other interests and suspect third-
party ambitions." But Demokratsiya noted that the Greek Defense Ministry
financed the publication of a textbook in the "Pomak language" for the
army and that "Pomak" grammars and dictionaries were recently published
in Greece. The Bulgarian government regards the Pomaks as ethnic
Bulgarians. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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