|If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun|
No. 135, Part I, 15 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 LAWMAKERS TAKE OATH OF LOYALTY TO NEW CONSTITUTION. Ukrainian legislators on 12 July took an oath of loyalty to the newly adopted Ukrainian Constitution, Ukrainian Radio reported. The oath pledged the legislators to defend the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and work on behalf of the welfare and prosperity of its nation. A ceremony followed in Kyiv's Mariinsky Palace, where President Leonid Kuchma and Parliamentary Speaker Oleksander Moroz signed a law allowing the new constitution to take effect. Kuchma called the signing ceremony "historic" because it marked the moment the new constitution "turned the population into a nation and [its] territory into a state." -- Chrystyna Lapychak ISRAELI EMBASSY PROTESTS BELARUSIAN CENSORSHIP. The Israeli embassy in Minsk on 12 July accused the Mir TV network of editing Ambassador Elihu Valk's interview to delete references to a government cover-up of the mass killing of Jews during World War II, Western agencies reported. The Mir network, which is run by members of the CIS, is headquartered in Minsk and closely supervised by the Belarusian government. In the deleted part of the interview, Valk had stated that this year--for the first time ever--the Belarusian authorities had mentioned Jewish victims by name. He had also explicitly requested that this statement not be deleted. The Israeli Embassy issued a statement protesting the TV company's "blunt and rude censorship." An estimated 900,000 Jews were killed in Belarus during the war, of whom some 200,000 were Belarusian citizens and the rest transported there from other European states. -- Saulius Girnius ESTONIA EXTENDS VALIDITY OF SOVIET PASSPORTS. Estonian Interior Ministry spokesman Rein Milistver told ITAR-TASS on 12 July that Estonia has extended the validity of Soviet passports of ethnic Russians until 30 November. Milistver said that non-citizens will get a special mark in their former Soviet passports when crossing the border after their residence permits have been examined. Residence permits will be issue to all those who applied before 12 July and have not received written notice that their applications were rejected. Some 300,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia had begun calling 12 July "Black Friday," since after that date, they would have been unable to re-enter the country. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIA, ESTONIA SIGN SEA BORDER TREATY. Latvian and Estonian Prime Ministers Andres Skele and Tiit Vahi, meeting in Tallinn on 12 July, signed a treaty demarcating the countries' maritime borders, ETA reported. A border dispute broke out when Estonia unilaterally set its maritime boundaries in March 1993 and stopped Latvian boats from fishing in the territory it had claimed. The premiers also agreed to form special commissions to start negotiations on swapping border land territories. Estonia wants to give Latvia 24 hectares of land in the Moniste region east of Valga in exchange for Latvian land across the border from Koisakula and Valga. -- Saulius Girnius BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Mikhail Chyhir, during his visit to Vilnius on 12-13 July, discussed with his Lithuanian counterpart, Mindaugas Stankevicius, cooperation in transportation, including Belarusian shipments through the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, BNS reported. They also discussed ways to increase trade. Chyhir expressed regret about the failure to secure the inter-convertibility of their currencies. He also suggested that Belarus be allowed to repay its debts to Lithuania for electricity in goods, such as tractors, rather than in hard currencies. -- Saulius Girnius SOLIDARITY SEEKS TO UNIFY POLISH OPPOSITION. Warsaw Solidarity leader Maciej Jankowski on 12 July said a task force has been created to draft a political program for the coalition being formed around Solidarity. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Freedom Union (UW) Senator Krzysztof Kozlowski, and a former minister in ex-President Lech Walesa's Chancellery are part of the task force. The UW has not yet said it wants to form a coalition with Solidarity, but more than 20 smaller political groups belong to Solidarity Electoral Action, which intends to run joint candidates in the parliamentary elections scheduled in fall 1997. The increasingly influential opposition party Movement for Poland's Reconstruction, led by former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, has so far declined to join Solidarity Electoral Action. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH OPPOSITION LEADER THREATENS TO BLOCK GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. Social Democratic Party (CSSD) leader and parliamentary chairman Milos Zeman on 12 July said his party may vote against the government program when the parliament convenes on 23 July to discuss it. Together, the CSSD, the Communists and the extreme-right Republicans have a majority of seats in the parliament. Zeman was angered by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's refusal to discuss the draft government program with the CSSD before the parliamentary vote, despite an earlier deal brokered by President Vaclav Havel whereby the coalition parties agreed to do so. The parliamentary session scheduled to discuss the program was to have been held on 16 July, but Zeman postponed the session by one week in the hope that Klaus's party will share the program with the CSSD. "Support for the government depends on whether the dialogue takes place " Zeman said. -- Jiri Pehe CONTROVERSY OVER HUNGARIAN DECLARATION CONTINUES IN SLOVAKIA... Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, speaking on Slovak Radio on 12 July, rejected the recent declaration adopted by Hungarian government, opposition, and Magyar minority representatives calling for autonomy for Hungarians living in neighboring countries. He said that the declaration violates Slovakia's sovereignty and that "ethnically pure" territory does not exist in Slovakia. The following day, the republican board of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia protested the declaration's "interference" in the internal affairs of sovereign Slovakia. The board recommended that parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic as well as the parliamentary Mandate and Immunity Committee and Foreign Relations Committee "take appropriate steps against Hungary's effort at destabilization in Europe." -- Sharon Fisher ...WHILE HUNGARY SAYS SLOVAKIA MISUNDERSTOOD AUTONOMY DECLARATION. Laszlo Labody, president of the Office for Hungarians Beyond the Borders, said on 12 July that Slovaks have distorted the meaning of the word "autonomy" into a "diabolic" notion, Hungarian media reported. He added that Slovak domestic politics, rather than the declaration, is to blame for the Slovak response. Labody stressed that he does not consider it justifiable to hold a bilateral meeting "simply to clarify the text of the statement." He noted that, in contrast to the Slovaks, the Romanians have asked for an explanation of the meaning of the Hungarian declaration and warned against overheated responses. Labody's office reports directly to the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARY, AUSTRIA SIGN ANTI TERRORISM AGREEMENT. Hungarian Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze and his Austrian counterpart, Caspar Einem, signed on 12 July an intergovernmental agreement on closer cooperation in combating international terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, and organized crime, Hungarian dailies reported. Kuncze said the two countries will also implement changes in border control to prevent traffic from slowing down when the Schengen Agreement enters into force in Austria on 1 July 1997. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE HOLBROOKE RETURNS TO BALKANS. Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke leaves for Belgrade on 15 July, the BBC and Nasa Borba reported. He will seek to convince Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to remove Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic from the scene. Holbrooke was the driving force behind the Dayton agreement in 1995 but returned this year to private life. President Bill Clinton and his top security advisers decided on 12 July to ask the forceful negotiator to return to the Balkans to tell Milosevic and his counterparts in Zagreb and Sarajevo that they must comply with the agreement. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, French Defense Minister Charles Millon said France will seek a tougher mandate for IFOR from the UN Security Council and NATO. He wants IFOR to be able to hunt down and arrest indicted war criminals like Karadzic and Mladic, the VOA reported on 14 July. -- Patrick Moore U.S. EXPERT SAYS SREBRENICA MUSLIMS WERE MURDERED. William Haglund, head of the UN team examining mass graves near Srebrenica, denied Bosnian Serb claims that the Muslims in the graves had been killed in battle. Haglund noted that the Muslims were wearing civilian clothes, had in some cases their hands bound behind their backs with wire, had been killed at close range, and had been buried near a site where piles of cartridge shells were found. He suggested that the men had been lined up near a road and shot, the BBC noted on 12 July. Onasa reported two days later that the forensic experts have removed the remains of 60 men from a mass grave at Cerska. At least 3,000 Muslim males are believed to have been massacred just over a year ago in the biggest single atrocity in Europe since World War II. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT, SREBRENICA SURVIVORS DIVIDED OVER FALL OF TOWN. Ibran Mustafic, the Bosnian parliamentary member for Srebrenica, has told the independent biweekly Slobodna Bosna that the Bosnian presidency and the Bosnian army general staff betrayed Srebrenica by "consciously" sacrificing the town to the Serbs in July 1995, AFP reported. Mustafic accused the army of ordering the attacks against the Serbs to be made from within the UN safe area, thereby leading Srebrenica inhabitants "into a catastrophe." Meanwhile, army commander Gen. Rasim Delic told Dnevni Avaz that the army in Srebrenica did not carry out instructions from headquarters to link Srebrenica with the army-held territory. But Delic did not explain why 25 army officers were withdrawn from Srebrenica "for consultations" a month ahead of the enclave's fall, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic HOOF-AND-MOUTH UPDATE. Rump Yugoslav authorities have declared a state of emergency after hoof-and-mouth disease was found in the regions of Kacanik, Strpci, Kosovska Vitina, and Prizren, Reuters reported on 13 July. Meanwhile, the whole of Kosovo has been declared an "endangered zone." Veterinarians have ordered the destruction of at least 125 animals, and EU experts are expected to visit the region this week. Several Kosovo livestock markets have been closed and farmers banned from grazing cattle outside enclosed areas. The army and police have set up controls on all roads to Kosovo and Macedonia, where the number of animals slaughtered has reached at least 1,600. Elsewhere, Israel's chief veterinary officer said that Croatia has been overly cautious in banning meat products from Israel. Croatian authorities believed Albanian or Macedonian meat may have gone there. -- Fabian Schmidt BELGRADE FOREIGN MINISTER ON DIVISION OF FORMER YUGOSLAV ASSETS. Milan Milutinovic told the Macedonian newspaper Vecer on the weekend that Belgrade is not opposed to the Yugoslav successor states dividing the former federation's assets. However, he did insist that agreement on the division be reached without "outside mediation." He also stressed there would be no compromise over the use of the name "Yugoslavia," which, he said, Serbia and Montenegro "practically lent...to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Now that Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Macedonia have left, there is no reason why we should not get what belongs to us," he said. The other states have expressed fears that Belgrade's continued use of "Yugoslavia" is a ploy for controlling a greater share of the assets. -- Stan Markotich U.S. TRADE MINISTER IN CROATIA. A U.S. delegation headed by Mickey Cantor has signed three memorandums on bilateral cooperation with Croatia, Croatian media reported on 15 July. The two sides have agreed that the U.S. companies Enron and Enserch will build two thermoelectric power stations; the projects are worth a total of $1 billion. One plant is planned to be located on Croatia's Adriatic coast, but local authorities fear that tourism might be affected by the decision. Agreement was also reached on a major project to develop Ploce harbor and build a new road network that would also run through Bosnia- Herzegovina. -- Daria Sito Sucic SLOVENIAN AUTHORITIES DETAIN SERB GENERAL. Milan Aksentijevic, retired Yugoslav People's Army general and former member of the Slovenian legislature, has been detained in Slovenia, Tanjug reported on 12 July. Aksentijevic, who lives in Belgrade and was visiting relatives in Slovenia, is wanted for questioning about his role in leading Yugoslav troops in their campaign against Slovenia in the 1991 war. If convicted on charges related to attempting to undermine Slovenia's independence, Aksentijevic faces up to eight years in prison. In 1992, the general's Slovenian citizenship was revoked. Aksentijevic told Belgrade's Vecernje novosti on 14 July that he would answer all charges. He said: "I was told I would have to report to the district court in Ljubljana. I'll go because I want to resolve things myself." -- Stan Markotich PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CHOSEN IN ROMANIA... The Party Romanian of National Unity (PUNR) on 13 July chose its leader, Gheorghe Funar, as its candidate in the fall presidential elections, Romanian media reported. One day earlier, Funar, who is also the controversial nationalist mayor of Cluj, wrote to President Ion Iliescu demanding that the members of the Council of Representatives of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) be arrested for pursuing separatist policies. He also demanded that talks with Hungary on the basic treaty be suspended until Budapest clarifies its reported support of the UDMR leadership's separatist policies. Also on 13 July, the UDMR elected Senator Gyorgy Frunda as its candidate in the presidential elections. -- Michael Shafir ...AND IN MOLDOVA. The Party of Revival and Conciliation in Moldova (PRCM) has chosen incumbent President Mircea Snegur as its candidate for the presidential elections in November, BASA-Press reported on 13 July. The PRCM also called for setting up a mass organization straddling party lines to support Snegur's candidacy. Deputy PRCM chairman Nicolae Andronic said the PRCM was ready to cooperate with opposition parties "on the basis of partnership and mutual respect" and without claiming "the role of older brother." In a speech to the second PRCM congress on 13 July, Snegur accused the Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova of sliding to the extreme left and seeking to restore a totalitarian regime. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PRESIDENTIAL REPUBLIC. Zhelyu Zhelev in a televised address on 13 July said the present parliamentary system should be transformed into a presidential one, which he called a "more adequate form of management," Standart reported on 15 July. Zhelev argued that because the president's powers are now limited, Bulgaria might become the only former communist country whose transition to democracy and a market economy fails. He blamed the parliamentary system for "lawlessness, anarchy, insecurity, and corruption," saying the division of powers in Bulgaria had become a "division of irresponsibility." He also singled out Russia as a country that had made greater progress on reforms despite launching them later than Bulgaria. Politicians from all major political parties rejected Zhelev's call, which he had first made in late May. -- Stefan Krause AVERAGE WAGE IN BULGARIA TO FALL EVEN FURTHER? The average monthly salary fell from $122 in March to $60 in July, Bulgarian media reported on 15 July. The minimum wage has dropped to just under $22 and the minimum pension to $12.5. Krastyo Petkov, leader of the Union of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, said the government and the IMF have agreed to let the average wage drop to $50 to enable the government to save $1.5 billion or about half the sum recommended by the IMF to carry out structural reform. The trade unions and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce have raised concerns about the government's wage policy, proposing that wages and prices be frozen for six months instead. The unions threatened to call a general strike if the government refuses to negotiate. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS, SOCIALISTS HOLD TALKS. Following their meeting on 13 July, Democratic and Socialist leaders have paved the way for multi- party talks on problems facing the country, international agencies reported. The Socialists are boycotting the parliament in protest at alleged ballot irregularities in the May parliamentary elections. Socialist Deputy Chairman Servet Pellumbi called the meeting "constructive and useful," while Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu said the talks "expressed the desire of both forces to continue dialogue." The parties agreed to consider inviting other parties to the discussions. Meanwhile, President Sali Berisha swore in the new cabinet on 12 July. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU 2) To subscribe, write: SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name) To unsubscribe, write: UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L 3) Send the message REPRINT POLICY To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ or see the Web page at http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS TRANSITION OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ ECONOMIC DIGEST The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription available; for more information, write ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the Economic Digest Web page at http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html RUSSIAN DAILY DIGEST The OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and distributed the following day. 1) Compose a message to MAJORDOMO@DEMOS.SU 2) In the body of the message, write SUBSCRIBE OMRI
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.