Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 129, Part II, 3 July 1996

                               *   *   *
Note to readers:
Due to American and Czech holidays, the OMRI Daily Digest will not appear
on 4 and 5 July, 1996. OMRI Special Reports on the Russian presidential
election will, however, be published on both of these days.
                               *   *   *

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

MAJOR TRAM ACCIDENT IN UKRAINE. A crowded tram overturned in
Dniprodzerzhynsk on 2 July killing 32 passengers and injuring 65,
ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported. The tram was going down a
hill when its brakes failed. An investigation is under way.
Meanwhile, President Leonid Kuchma postponed celebrations marking
the adoption of the constitution and declared 3 July a day of
mourning for victims of the accident. -- Ustina Markus

NEW APPOINTMENTS, DISMISSALS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid
Kuchma has issued a decree relieving Roman Shpek of his duties as
deputy prime minister for economic issues and appointing him head
of the Agency for Reconstruction and Development of Ukraine,
Ukrainian Radio reported on 2 July. One day earlier, Vasyl
Durdynets was dismissed from the post of head of the Coordinating
Committee against Corruption and Organized Crime. He was replaced
by Oleh Lytvaka, an assistant to the president on legal issues.
Yurii Bochkarov was appointed energy minister and Anatolii
Kuryzhka agriculture minister. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament
passed a resolution stating that any deputies who do not give up
posts in the government or commercial structures by 4 July will
lose their parliamentary seats. Under the new constitution,
deputies may neither hold a government post nor work in commercial
enterprises while serving in the legislature. This affects some 70
legislators, about 30 of whom hold government offices, including
Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE, IRAQ DRAW UP BARTER DEAL. A Ukrainian delegation
headed by Chairman of the State Committee for Oil and Gas Yevhen
Dovzhok was in Baghdad on 2 July to draw up a barter agreement
with Iraq, AFP reported. Iraq signed an agreement with the UN on
20 May allowing it to exchange limited amounts of crude oil for
emergency food and medical supplies despite the embargo against
it. That deal has not yet been approved by the UN because it is
believed Baghdad is trying to use the humanitarian clause to
effect a broader suspension of sanctions. Ukraine plans to offer
iron and other goods in exchange for some 4 million tons of oil.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT SETS OUT NEW CURRENCY POLICY.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has taken further measures to institute a
command economy, NTV reported on 2 July. It is now impossible to
legally buy hard currency either from banks or currency exchanges.
A member of the parliamentary Commission for Economic Reform,
Paval Daneika, said this will force successful companies to take
their profits out of the country, contributing toward capital
flight. Lukashenka defended the move by saying the country was
chronically short of hard currency. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA, FRANCE SIGN DEFENSE COOPERATION PLAN. Gen. Alain
Faupin, deputy head of the French general staff's international
relations department, and Estonian Defense Minister Andrus Oovel,
meeting in Tallinn on 2 July, signed a defense cooperation plan
for 1996-1997, ETA reported. The plan foresees 13 joint projects,
including having Estonian officers and NCOs who can speak French
spend one month in a French infantry regiment Faupin said France,
together with other countries, will propose that the Conventional
Forces in Europe treaty be revised to eliminate the concept of
blocs and to minimize the number of troops and armaments stationed
in border regions. He added that France understood the Baltic
states' concern about the proposal to allow Russia to station more
tanks in Pskov Oblast. -- Saulius Girnius

NO RUSSIAN ANSWER YET TO LATVIA'S PROPOSAL ON RETURNING
REFUGEES. Latvian Foreign Ministry press secretary Rihards Mucins
told BNS on 2 July that Russia has not yet responded to Latvia's
draft agreement on the return of refugees. The agreement,
submitted in February 1995, stipulates that Russia take back all
illegal refugees who arrive in Latvia from Russia. Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had promised his Latvian counterpart,
Andris Skele, at the 4 May summit meeting of the Council of Baltic
Sea States that he would receive a reply by 1 June. The premiers
also agreed to meet again after the Russian presidential
elections. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN SEIMAS PASSES MASS MEDIA LAW. The Seimas on 2
July adopted the much-discussed mass media law, BNS reported.
Until January 2002, state-owned Lithuanian Radio and TV is to be
financed by budget allocations, subscription payments, sales of
its programs, sponsorship, charity funds, and advertising
revenues. The law establishes a National Radio and TV Board, which
will appoint the LRTV director-general and approve programming.
The Seimas also ratified the Lithuanian-Polish treaty on their
common border. -- Saulius Girnius

TWO LADIES IN POLAND. U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
arrived in Poland on 2 July on the second leg of her East European
tour aimed at demonstrating U.S. support for new democracies in
the region, Polish media reported. She visited the former Nazi
death camp at Auschwitz to pay tribute to victims of the
Holocaust. On 3 July, she will meet with members of Polish
feminist organizations and visit a children's hospital before
traveling to the Czech Republic. Over the next few days, Ms.
Rodham Clinton is also to visit Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, and
Finland. The same day, former British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher
also arrived in Poland for a three-day visit. She met with former
Prime Ministers Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Hanna Suchocka, both now in
opposition, and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. On 3
July, she is scheduled to receive an honorary degree from the
Economics University in Poznan, which receives funding from, among
others, the Know-How Fund established by Thatcher. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER PRESENTS NEW GOVERNMENT. Vaclav Klaus on 2
July presented a proposed list of his new minority government to
President Vaclav Havel, Czech media reported. Havel said he
expected to approve the list and swear in the 16 ministers on 4
July. Nine members of Klaus's previous government retain their
posts, ensuring continuity in key areas such as finance, foreign
affairs, internal affairs, and economic policy. Two other previous
ministers switch posts, and there are five new ministers. The
cabinet is a coalition of Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, the
Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party, and the
Civic Democratic Alliance. Once it has been sworn in, the
government has 30 days to prepare a declaration of its policy
program and put it to a vote of confidence in the parliament. --
Steve Kettle

EU OFFICIAL WARNS SLOVAKIA'S RULING COALITION. Herbert
Bosch, an Austrian who chairs a joint committee of European and
Slovak parliamentary deputies, said on 2 July that the increased
participation of opposition parties in exerting control over
public life is "a crucial point" in Slovakia's relations with the
EU, Slovak and international media reported. Bosch's statement,
delivered at the end of a four-day visit, came one day after EU
officials from France and Germany criticized certain aspects of
the Slovak government's policy. Bosch said he has received
assurances from Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and parliamentary
chairman Ivan Gasparovic that the opposition will gain greater
access to controlling organs by this fall. If this does not occur,
it will be a "negative signal to the EU," Bosch warned. Also on 2
July, the Slovak parliament approved laws on lotteries and
advertising. The latter prohibits advertising tobacco products and
alcohol, with the exception of beer. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK RADIO LICENSE GRANTED TO COALITION SUPPORTER.
Board for Radio and Television Broadcasting chairman Peter Juras
on 2 July announced that Radio Koliba will be granted a license to
broadcast in Bratislava and Banska Bystrica, CTK reported. The new
station's co-owner is Fedor Flasik, director of the Donar
advertising agency, which has close ties with the ruling Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). Flasik was among the main
organizers of the HZDS's 1994 election campaign, and he composed
the party's election song "Vivat Slovakia." Juras said that by
granting the license "we have used all free frequencies for the
next six years." -- Sharon Fisher

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN HUNGARY. William Perry, visiting
the Taszar air base on 2 July, said two IFOR armored battalions
will be withdrawn from Bosnia and replaced by U.S. military police
units, Hungarian and international media reported on 3 July. The
defense secretary said NATO has more than enough tanks and other
heavy armor in Bosnia to complete the peacekeeping mission.
According to other U.S. officials, the switch is designed to give
the NATO-led force more mobility and flexibility as it
increasingly focuses on overseeing the resettlement of refugees
and preparations for the September elections. Perry also said he
was confident the NATO-led military mission in Bosnia will end on
schedule in December. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UPDATE ON MOSTAR ELECTION RESULTS. According to Onasa, the
Muslim-dominated List of Citizens for a United Mostar won the
Mostar municipal elections with 28,505 votes. The Croatian
Democratic Community came second with 26,680 votes, while the
third largest force, a list of anti-nationalist parties, received
1,937 votes. Two Croatian right-wing radical parties received 619
and 386 votes, respectively. The two main parties each gained the
three districts located on their respective side of the divided
city. The figures include the ballots from Oslo, Stockholm, Bonn
and Bern, but official results are not expected until 3 July. EU
officials said the results of the Mostar municipal elections
indicate that the deep ethnic division in Bosnia is likely to
remain after the September nationwide ballot, AFP reported on 2
July. -- Fabian Schmidt

EU WANTS MOSTAR MANDATE PROLONGED. Meanwhile, EU spokesman
Dragan Gasic said Mostar administrator Ricardo Perez Casado will
ask Brussels to extend the EU mandate beyond 23 July, Onasa
reported on 2 July. An EU official, who asked not to be named,
told AFP that "the vote did not give a fair choice to the
different candidates." He added: "I don't know why the September
elections are likely to be any better. This is a fake success....
The result is that the division of the town has been legitimized."
Opposition parties had almost no access to the mass media, which
was controlled by the two nationalist parties. French Foreign
Ministry spokesman Jacques Rummelhardt said that "prolonging the
EU action in Mostar remains subordinate to pursuing the
reunification process in the city." -- Fabian Schmidt

STANDOFF BETWEEN PALE, WASHINGTON OVER KARADZIC. Bosnian
Serb Vice President Biljana Plavsic on 2 July said that Radovan
Karadzic has not resigned as president of the Republika Srpska,
Nasa Borba noted. While she did not spell out her own precise
function now that he has formally handed over his duties to her,
she added that he will not be sent to The Hague because that would
be against the republic's law, the BBC reported. Plavsic also
firmly refused to cooperate with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which the Bosnian Serbs regard
as a political instrument against them. The U.S., however,
asserted that Karadzic must leave public office or Pale will face
renewed economic sanctions. The State Department added that it may
seek to ban the Serbian Democratic Party from the September
elections if it does not dump Karadzic as its leader, news
agencies reported. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS TURN BACK WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATORS. Bosnian
Serb police on 2 July barred the way to Finnish forensic experts
who wanted to examine the remains of Muslims lying in a field near
Srebrenica, where the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II
took place last July. The Serbian authorities had earlier given
the Finns permission to enter the area. The BBC said that a
Serbian vehicle had been carting off any weapons lying about and
that the incident was yet another humiliation for the
international community at the hands of the Serbs. -- Patrick
Moore

TRIAL OF SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER BEGINS. Zoran Djindjic,
leader of the Democratic Party, went on trial on 2 July for
accusing Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic of direct involvement in
fraudulent activities, Beta reported. The charges against the
opposition leader stem from a January 1995 advertisement published
in Nedeljni Telegraf, which connected Marjanovic to a shady plot
to sell some 1 million tons of wheat for an exorbitant profit. AFP
added that Nedeljni Telegraf editor Dragoljub Belic is also
standing trial and that representatives from the British, Swiss,
French, German, and Canadian embassies are observing the
proceedings. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA, UNHCR SIGN ACCORD. Federal Deputy Minister
of Foreign Affairs Radoslav Buljajic and Margaret O'Keefe, UN High
Commissioner for Refugees mission head in rump Yugoslavia, signed
an accord on 2 July aimed at strengthening cooperation and
regulating the status of the UNHCR in rump Yugoslavia, Tanjug
reported. The official news agency commented that the signing of
the agreement represents "recognition" of Belgrade's compliance
with the Dayton peace process. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN UPDATE. The Council of Europe on 2 July invited Croatia
to join that organization, Reuters reported. But it added that
"the decision is not immediately effective as the [Council's
ministerial] committee reserved the possibility of reconsidering
it in the second half of September with reference to Croatia's
observance of the Dayton peace agreement and, in particular, its
attitude during the elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina." An
acrimonious exchange has been going on for some months between
Zagreb and the Council over Croatia's record on human rights and
media policy. Meanwhile, Novi list reported on 2 July that
Croatian TV (HTV) suddenly dropped a popular late-evening news
program. No reason was given, but the authorities later said it
would be merged with another news program as part of summer
schedule changes. HTV is tightly controlled by the governing
party, but the banned program had managed to provide some coverage
of stories the authorities would rather not publicize. -- Patrick
Moore

MACEDONIAN ROUNDUP. Macedonia and Slovenia have signed a free-
trade agreement covering both industrial and agricultural
products, Nova Makedonija and MILS reported on 3 July. Duties on
all Macedonian industrial products will be lifted as of October,
as will those on 60% of Slovenian industrial goods. Duties on the
remainder will be reduced gradually. Free trade of agricultural
products on a quota system will begin in December 1996. Goods
exceeding the quota will be subject to regular duties. In other
news, the EU has announced it will ban all meat imports from
Macedonia following the outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease among
cattle in parts of the country. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT TO COMPENSATE FOR PRICE HIKES. The
government, meeting with representatives of employers' unions and
labor confederations on 2 July, discussed measures to compensate
for massive hikes in the price of energy, fuel, and bread, Radio
Bucharest reported. It offered a compensation payment to employees
of 9,340 lei ($3) and an additional wage indexation of 4%. Prime
Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu said the sharp increases were due to the
recent devaluation of the national currency and the need to import
oil, natural gas, and electricity in order to keep the economy
afloat. Chairman of the Alfa Trade Union Cartel Bogdan Hossu was
quoted as saying that the offer was not sufficient to compensate
for the price hikes. Trade unions have threatened with massive
protests against the government's economic policies. -- Dan
Ionescu

MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION PARTY CRITICIZES PACT WITH DNIESTER
REGION. The opposition Party of Democratic Forces on 2 July
strongly criticized a draft memorandum on normalizing Moldovan-
Dniester relations, Infotag reported. It expressed concern about
"the strange haste with which the document was drafted at Moscow's
insistence." Party leaders also described the memorandum as
"capitulating to both Tiraspol and Moscow," since, they said, it
makes so many concessions to Dniester separatists that it is a de
facto acceptance of Moldova's federalization. The draft was due to
be signed in the Kremlin on 1 July, but the signing ceremony was
postponed at the last moment until after the second round of the
Russian presidential elections. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. The Union of
Democratic Forces on 2 July decided to ask the Constitutional
Court to clarify whether Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski can be
elected president, Standart reported. Pirinski is to run in the
fall elections as the candidate of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist
Party. Article 93 of the Bulgarian Constitution stipulates that
the president must be a Bulgarian by birth. Pirinski was born in
New York in 1948 into the family of a Bulgarian emigre who later
returned to Bulgaria. The opposition doubts whether this meets the
constitutional requirements, while Pirinski notes that he
relinquished his U.S. citizenship in 1974. -- Stefan Krause

U.S.-ALBANIAN UPDATE. U.S. press attaché Charles Walsh has said
that U.S. diplomats stayed away from the new parliament's opening
session to make clear they do not consider disputes about the 26
May elections to be over, Reuters reported on 2 July. He added
that "it's fairly urgent for the government to address these
[election] irregularities." Virtually all other diplomatic corps
attended the ceremony. Meanwhile, the first shipment of U.S.
military equipment pledged by Defense Secretary William Perry in
March arrived in Durres, ATSH reported. The shipment included 180
trucks, unused weapons, and other supplies mainly from German
bases. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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