|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 131, Part I, 9 July 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 DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS. President Leonid Kuchma released Valerii Shmarov from the post of defense minister after Shmarov resigned, Ukrainian and international agencies reported on 8 July. Shmarov, a civilian, was appointed a year ago. He also served as deputy prime minister in charge of the military-industrial complex. Many military personnel did not have confidence in him, and the poor condition of Ukraine's armed forces contributed to his unpopularity. There is speculation that Kuchma accepted his resignation to appease right-wingers, who disapproved of Shmarov's support for Ukraine's non- nuclear status. In exchange, the right might support Pavlo Lazarenko for prime minister. Left-wing politicians were also unhappy with Shmarov because of his moves toward NATO. -- Ustina Markus NEW ROUND OF COAL STRIKES IN UKRAINE. Tens of thousands of coal miners in Donbas and western Ukraine are on strike, demanding payment of back wages owed by the Ukrainian government, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported on 7 July. Some 10,000 miners in Chervonohrad joined the strike, which began on 2 July in the Donetsk region, blocking roads and railroad tracks. Up to 140,000 miners at 63 coal pits in eastern Ukraine reportedly have taken part in the picketing. The government said it plans to reduce its total wage debt, which amounts to 106 trillion karbovantsi ($580 million), to one-and-a-half months' worth of back wages by the end of July. Meanwhile, 129 maintenance workers at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant are holding a two-week strike to protest the government's wage arrears. The employees reportedly have not been paid since February. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINE, INDONESIA SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. The Ukrainian and Indonesian defense ministries signed an agreement on military cooperation in Kyiv on 8 July, Ukrainian radio reported. The agreement calls for training Indonesian military personnel in Ukraine, and cooperation in repairing military equipment. Indonesian Defense Minister Edi Sudradjat said he hoped the cooperation would be mutually beneficial. Sudradjat lamented the low level of trade, which has not surpassed $55 million in the last two years. Ukrainian acting Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko said the most productive areas of cooperation between the two countries is in space technology and oil and energy projects. -- Ustina Markus MEDIA IN BELARUS. The re-registration of newspapers and periodicals is nearly complete, the head of the State Publishing Committee, Uladzimir Belsky, told Belarusian television on 7 July. There had been 897 registered papers and journals, but more than 200 of those did not re- register because of financial difficulties. He said several papers, including Kultura, Nasha slova, Holas radzimy, and Spadchyna would merge so the state would not have to support duplicate publications. The paper Litaratura i mastatstva will continue to receive subsidies, and there are plans to market it abroad. A new paper, Belaruskaya presa, will be published in Russian, Belarusian, and English, and sold abroad to end an "informational blockade" about Belarus. Belsky said the measures should save the state 70 billion Belarusian rubles ($4.5 million) a year. -- Ustina Markus GERMAN MP SEEKS VISA FREEDOM FOR BALTS. German Bundestag Deputy Wolfgang von Stetten on 8 July called for the introduction of visa-free travel between Germany and the Baltic states, BNS reported. Von Stetten, who heads the German-Baltic parliamentary group, said there are no legal reasons against such a policy and the Baltic states are ready to sign agreements on the readmission of illegal immigrants and would accept German help to improve border control. He said it is not fair that Poles can travel to Germany without visas, but Balts cannot. At a 4 July meeting, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas that in principle he agreed with the visa abolition, but noted that some preparatory work first must be completed. A German delegation will travel to Lithuania in September for that purpose. -- Saulius Girnius HILLARY CLINTON IN ESTONIA. Estonian President Lennart Meri met the U.S. first lady on her arrival in Tallinn on 8 July, Reuters reported. She held talks with Meri and Foreign Minister Siim Kallas and met with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and parliament chairman Toomas Savi. She is scheduled to visit on 9 July a hospital in Tallinn and an open-air museum of traditional Estonian culture as well as address the people of Estonia, Latvia. and Lithuania before flying to Finland. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIA'S POPULAR CONCORD PARTY SPLITS. Protesting the failure of the Popular Concord Party (TSP) congress on 6 July to support a merger with the Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS), some party members applied to join the DPS, BNS reported. The DPS leadership accepted 74 of those applications, including those of Saeima deputies Andris Ameriks and Ludmila Kuprijanova. The departure of those two ended the TSP faction because only four members remained (a minimum of five deputies is required for a faction.) The Fatherland and Freedom faction, which had requested that one of its members join the Saeima presidium, noted that Ameriks should leave his post of deputy chairman of the Saeima because the DPS would have three of the five presidium seats. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH, U.S. PRESIDENTS MEET. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski met with U.S. President Bill Clinton on 8 July. Clinton assured his host that NATO will expand into Eastern Europe despite Moscow's opposition. Clinton did not give any details on the timing. He said that NATO's expansion, under the Partnership for Peace plan, "has been a disciplined, open process since 1994." Kwasniewski said he is convinced that Clinton will be president who makes the decision on NATO enlargement. After the meeting, Kwasniewski spoke at the Atlantic Council of the United States. Commenting on Russian perceptions of NATO he said, "the more that Russian society breathes the air of democracy, the more it will know about the alliance and its objectives, and fear it less." -- Jakub Karpinski HUNGARIAN MINORITY SUMMIT UPSETS SLOVAK AND ROMANIAN LEADERS. Slovak and Romanian government officials on 8 July expressed anger about the outcome of an ethnic Hungarian minority summit in Budapest, Hungarian media reported. Representatives of the Hungarian government, all parliamentary parties, and 11 ethnic Hungarian organizations from neighboring countries called for establishing local governments and autonomy in line with Western European practices. Romanian President Ion Iliescu said Bucharest would not accept ethnic-based autonomy because that would be tantamount to separatism, APA reported on 8 July. Slovak State Secretary Josef Sestak said mentioning the word "autonomy" in the conference's final document could be a violation of the Slovak-Hungarian basic treaty. The deputy speaker of the Slovak parliament said Hungary breached its international obligations and its pledge not to support irredentism. Meanwhile,Magyar Hirlap reported that Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn proposed an informal meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE OSCE MAY BAN BOSNIAN SERB PARTY FROM ELECTIONS. The OSCE head of mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Robert Frowick, said he will use his authority as supervisor of the September elections to bar the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) from the vote if Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic remains its chairman, Onasa reported on 8 July. There is a growing consensus among international officials in Bosnia that the Dayton treaty's ban on indicted war criminals holding public office also extends to holding any role in public life. The international community's High Representative Carl Bildt is the odd-man-out because he accepts Karadzic's withdrawal from the presidential race as sufficient. Bildt said Frowick would have to overturn a 28 June decision by the OSCE on the elections if he intends to ban the SDS from the race, AFP reported. Frowick said he is willing to risk the collapse of the elections to exclude the SDS. -- Patrick Moore HAGUE TRIBUNAL WANTS ARREST OF KARADZIC, MLADIC. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia are concluding hearings designed to keep pressure on the two most-important indicted war criminals, Karadzic and his military counterpart Gen. Ratko Mladic. Prosecutor Mark Harmon criticized the international community for failing to arrest the two and demanded international arrest warrants, the BBC reported on 8 July. The current warrants apply only to a handful of countries, including Serbia, where authorities have turned a blind eye to Karadzic's and Mladic's presence. Harmon said rump Yugoslavia should be reported to the UN Security Council for its failure to arrest the men, Reuters reported. Nasa Borba quoted Harmon stressing that the tribunal was not condemning "the Serbian people." -- Patrick Moore DID THE ALLIES KNOW ABOUT SREBRENICA ALL ALONG? International experts from the Hague-based tribunal exhumed the first body from a mass grave at Cerska near Srebrenica on 8 July, the BBC reported. The 20-strong team hopes to determine whether those buried there and elsewhere were victims of a massacre after the town fell on 11 July 1995. U.S. spy satellite and U-2 photos showed a massacre of Muslim males by Serbs-- those pictures were available to NATO allies on 13 July, AFP quoted the French daily La Croix . The first photos showed "men standing, surrounded by other men with weapons. The following image showed them lying dead on the ground." The U.S. and its allies claim that the little they know about the deaths came from testimony and photos taken later. -- Patrick Moore SPANISH PRIME MINISTER VISITS MOSTAR. Jose Maria Aznar met on 8 July with the EU administrator Ricardo Perez Casado and the Muslim and Croat mayors Safet Orucevic and Mijo Brajkovic, Onasa reported. He discussed the recent elections with the Croats and Muslims and praised Perez Casado for his role in the elections. Aznar, who was accompanied by Defense Minister Eduardo Serra and Chief of Staff Jose Rodrigo Rodrigo, also visited the 1,600-man Spanish IFOR contingent in Medjugorje and Trebinje. Meanwhile, Zdravko Misic, son of a commander in the Bosnian Croat army HVO, has expelled a Muslim family from their home in west Mostar, threatening to kill them, Onasa reported. -- Fabian Schmidt SERBIAN COURT CONVICTS WAR CRIMINAL. Dusko Vuckovic was sentenced on 8 July in a Sabac court to seven years in prison on several war crimes charges, including 16 counts of murder and one count of rape, Tanjug reported. Vuckovic, a member of a paramilitary outfit led by his brother Vojin, was involved in a series of raids against Bosnian Muslim civilians throughout eastern Bosnia in spring 1992. He was arrested by Serbian police in November 1993 for crimes committed in Celopek. Vuckovic's trial and conviction in rump Yugoslavia instead of The Hague also underscores Belgrade's unwillingness to compel accused war criminals to face charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich BELGRADE, ZAGREB WORK TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS. Croatia and rump Yugoslavia have agreed to exchange information on those missing, detained, or killed during the 1991 war. Pavle Todorovic, head of the Yugoslav commission for humanitarian issues and missing persons, said this is "a significant step forward. We are speeding up the solution to these burning issues now that peace has been restored," Reuters reported on 8 July. Todorovic said Croatia has accepted Belgrade's claim that there are no prisoners of war in rump Yugoslavia, adding "the only people we have in our custody are those who are accused of spying and conspiring against the state." Croatia has agreed to release all its prisoners of war, perhaps by as early as 20 August. -- Stan Markotich BULGARIAN BREAD CRISIS CROSSES THE DRINA? The price of a loaf of bread in Serbia is likely to jump, as grain stocks are running low. Nasa Borba on 9 July called the situation "alarming"--shopkeepers are verging on panic with grain supplies nearly out. There is neither wheat nor flour on sale in the markets, the report said. The looming crisis, at least on the surface, parallels conditions in Bulgaria. In mid-May, Bulgarian bakeries were forced to either close or severely limit supplies to cope with depleting wheat and flour stocks. (See OMRI Daily Digest, 15 May 1995.) -- Stan Markotich LIBERAL ALLIANCE SET UP IN ROMANIA. The creation of the National Liberal Alliance on 7 July is "a significant realignment of the Romanian political scene" ahead of this fall's presidential and parliamentary elections, local media reported. The birth certificate of the new alliance was signed by the Party of Civic Alliance (PAC) and the Liberal Party '93 (PL '93); several other parties reportedly expressed interest. PL '93 leader Dinu Zamfirescu said on 8 July that the parties in the alliance intend to nominate a common candidate for president, to run common lists in parliamentary elections, and to present a joint ruling program. They will, however, preserve their distinct identities and structures. Romania has a plethora of liberal parties or those claiming to be. -- Dan Ionescu UPDATE ON BULGARIAN VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. The united opposition on 9 July is expected to nominate a running mate for its presidential candidate Petar Stoyanov, Demokratsiya reported. Todor Kavaldzhiev, who was nominated by the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union, is likely to be officially approved by the other opposition parties. Kavaldzhiev told Novinar that there should be no conflicts with the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom over his candidacy because he defended Turks' rights during the communist regime. Demokratsiya also reported that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party is considering nominating a general as the running mate of Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, who has not served in the army. Meanwhile, the Union of Democratic Forces said it will ask the Defense Ministry if Pirinski failed to serve in the Bulgarian army for health reasons or because he also held U.S. citizenship at the time, Standart reported. -- Stefan Krause NO RUSSIAN MILITARY IN BULGARIA, GOVERNMENT SAYS. There are no military installations on Bulgarian territory run by Russian personnel, said the Defense Ministry, General Staff, and several high-ranking officers on 8 July. They denied such allegations made by former Yugoslav Army General Todor Atanasovski in Nova Makedonija, Duma reported. The Russian military attache to Bulgaria, Gen. Anatolii Kiselev, called Atanasovski's claims "delirious and utterly stupid." Bulgarian Chief of General Staff Tsvetan Totomirov told Trud that Macedonia made the story up to justify its allowance of U.S. and NATO installations and troops on its territory. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY LEADER WANTS NEW PROGRAM. Fatos Nano sent a memorandum to the Socialist Party calling for reforms, Zeri I Popullit reported on 6 July. Nano wants changes in the party's statute and program, including the elimination of all references to Marxism. Nano sent his demands from prison, where he is serving a four-year term for misappropriation of funds. The party will consider his proposals at a congress on 27 July. The newspaper suggested removing communist-era officials from the party leadership. Acting party leader Servet Pellumbi said he supported Nano, but indicated he might step down before the changes took place, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Tirana's chief prosecutor denied media reports he was reviewing Nano's case. -- Fabian Schmidt SOCIALIST PARTY SECRETARY-GENERAL RESIGNS. Gramoz Ruci on 8 July resigned in reaction to Nano's initiative, Reuters reported. Ruci was one of the party's most controversial leaders, because he was the last communist-era Interior Minister from February to June 1991 and head of the secret police Sigurimi for a short period after that. Ruci said he hoped his resignation would ease party reforms. His resignation is regarded as a victory by the party's reformers. -- Fabian Schmidt NINE SENTENCED TO DEATH IN TIRANA IN 1996. In the first six months of 1996, the Tirana court sentenced nine people to death, Albania reported on 7 July. The court's chief judge said six are murderers and three are former communist officials convicted of crimes against humanity. The sentences have not been carried out. Albanian law stipulates that every death sentence is automatically appealed to the president. The Albanian Helsinki Committee is calling for the death penalty's abolition. Parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori committed the country to abolishing the death penalty after Albania's admission to the Council of Europe in summer 1995. The parliament has so far failed to issue such legislation. Twenty people have been executed in Albania since 1990 and 12 have been pardoned. -- Fabian Schmidt ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN GREECE. Theodor Melescanu on 8 July arrived in Greece for a two-day official visit, Greek and Romanian media reported. Meeting with his Greek counterpart, Theodoros Pangalos, Melescanu stressed Greece's role in the region as the only Balkan country in the EU. Pangalos said Greece will support Romania's bid for EU and NATO membership. Both sides agreed to further consolidate relations. Pangalos and Melescanu also discussed ways to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Melescanu will meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, and other officials before returning to Bucharest. -- Stefan Krause [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Maura Griffin Solovar ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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