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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

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


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