The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 138, Part I, 18 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

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ON EU EXPANSION. Helmut Kohl, following his meeting
with Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in Vienna on 17 July, told
journalists that the admission of Central European states--above all
Poland--to the EU "has an existential meaning" for Germany,
international agencies reported. "It would be disastrous for Germany
if the EU were to end at the Oder-Neisse border. For Germany, Cracow
is a Central European rather than an East European city," Kohl noted.
Both Kohl and Vranitzky agreed that the Czech Republic and Hungary
should also be admitted to the EU as soon as possible. Commenting on
Slovakia, Kohl said he was "not enthusiastic" about internal
developments in that country (see below). -- Jiri Pehe

UKRAINE TIGHTENS SECURITY MEASURES FOLLOWING ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON
PREMIER. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 17 July convened an
emergency session of the National Security Council to discuss the
implications of the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Pavlo
Lazarenko, Ukrainian agencies reported. Some 500 commandos and 3,000
militia have been dispatched to Kyiv to assist in the hunt for the
suspects and monitor train and bus stations as well as roads. The
council agreed to further measures to tighten security around the
country's top leaders and step up its fight against corrupt regional
officials and coal mine managers in Donetsk, whom Lazarenko believes
were behind the attempt on his life. Kuchma has said anti-reformist
organized criminals and corrupt officials, as well as radical left-
and right-wing forces, may well be responsible. Saying the incident
was "an attempt to undermine the constitutional regime," he promised
an "adequate and resolute response." -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS PRESIDENT CALLS FOR REFERENDUM. Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
proposed that a national referendum be held on 7 November, RFE/RL
reported on 16 July. The ballot would include four issues: prolonging
the term of office for the president from five to seven years;
transforming the parliament from a single to a two chamber body;
granting the president the authority to appoint all members to the
Central Election Committee; and creating a 12-member constitutional
court, half of whose members would be appointed by the president and
half by the parliament. The current court has nine members elected by
the parliament. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIANS IN ESTONIA TO FORM BROAD ELECTION COALITION. Chairman of the
Russian Party in Estonia Nikolai Maspanov told BNS on 17 July that
his party will form a broad election coalition with the Russian
Christian Union, the Russian Citizens' Union of Estonia, and a war
veterans organization. Local elections are scheduled to take place in
October. Maspanov said that lists of candidates for Tallinn and other
regions will be drawn up by mid-August, together with an election
platform and plans for the election campaign. He added that allies
will also be sought among left-wing parties representing Estonians,
but he did not specify which ones. -- Saulius Girnius

DEATH PENALTY TO BE SUSPENDED IN LITHUANIA. President Algirdas
Brazauskas has announced that he will no longer give his consent for
the execution of convicted criminals, Die Frankfurter Rundschau
reported on 17 July. The last convict to be executed was Boris
Dekanidze, who organized the murder of journalist Vitas Lingys in
July 1995. There are currently nine men on death row, whose sentences
will be converted to life imprisonment. Although the public still
supports the death penalty, Brazauskas is complying with a
recommendation of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly urging
Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to abolish the death
penalty. In Estonia, 10 people have been sentenced to death since
that country regained independence in 1991, but none of the sentences
has been carried out. In Latvia, a convicted multiple murderer was
executed last December. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON CONCORDAT. Dariusz Rosati, in an interview
with the Catholic Information Agency, said that delaying ratification
of the Concordat is harming Polish interests, Polish dailies reported
on 18 July. The agreement with the Holy See was signed in 1993 by
Hanna Suchocka's government, but the Sejm recently voted to delay the
ratification until the new constitution is adopted. Rosati commented
that not ratifying the document is undermining the credibility of the
government, which, he said, should respect its predecessors'
obligations. The Sejm majority and many of his government colleagues
belonging to the ruling Democratic Left Alliance disagree with Rosati
over this issue. Rosati argued that it was precisely the ruling left-
wing formation that should prove a reconciliation between the Left
and the Church is possible. -- Jakub Karpinski

PROTEST MARCH IN GDANSK. More than 2,000 shipyard workers marched
through the downtown Gdansk on 17 July to protest government policy
in the region. Solidarity, which organized the protest, argued that
the ruling coalition was discriminating against the Province of
Gdansk, the birthplace of the union. By way of example, Solidarity
cited the poor state of health care, the bankruptcy of the indebted
Gdansk shipyard, and the dismissal this month of the Gdansk Governor
Maciej Plazynski, who has links to Solidarity. The protesters carried
banners with the slogans "Free Gdansk of Commies" and "Abolish the
SLD--They also have debts." The police did not intervene. The same
day, the government earmarked 2 million zlotys ($740,740) to fight
unemployment in the Gdansk region, Polish dailies reported. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH GOVERNMENT PROGRAM READY. The Czech government on 17 July
approved the official version of its program, which Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus is to present to the parliament on 23 July, Czech media
reported. Klaus told journalists the same day that the government
will make the text of the program available to all six parliamentary
caucuses before that legislative session. The opposition Social
Democrats (CSSD) had threatened to vote against the government
program unless they had a chance to study it before 23 July.
Meanwhile, the government is ignoring the CSSD's opposition to a
coalition agreement on the large-scale restitution of Catholic Church
property. The agreement was signed on 17 July, prompting renewed CSSD
threats to vote against the government. -- Jiri Pehe

GERMAN CHANCELLOR CASTS DOUBT ON SLOVAKIA'S EU MEMBERSHIP. Helmut
Kohl on 16 July told Austria's ORF TV that conditions for Slovakia's
entry to the EU have not "improved but have rather worsened," Narodna
obroda reported two days later. "I deeply regret that Slovakia's
internal development is very harmful with regard to this matter,"
Kohl said. At the same time, he praised the progress being made in
Slovenia. Democratic Union deputy Eduard Kukan, noting that Slovakia
is no longer among the first group for NATO membership, told Sme that
the government must change its policies. In other news, Slovak youth
organizations allied to both coalition and opposition parties on 17
July sent a letter to the U.S. Congress asking that Slovakia be
included in the first wave of NATO expansion. A bill drafted in
January by Republicans lists only the Czech Republic, Poland, and
Hungary as the top candidates. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SIGNS TERRITORIAL ADMINISTRATION LAW. Michal Kovac
on 17 July signed a law defining the areas of competence of regions
and districts under Slovakia's new territorial reform, CTK reported.
Although he called the law "too centrist," he opted not to veto it
because, he said, this would create "serious problems" given that the
law outlining the country's new administrative division has already
been approved twice. The opposition has said it will appeal to the
Constitutional Court. In other news, a private individual called
Ladislav Babiak has established a new foundation called "Kvietok"
aimed at forcing Kovac out of office. Babiak intends to give
financial support to experts and journalists who write against Kovac.
He said he was not afraid that Kvietok would be abolished under the
new law on foundations, which does not allow foundations to support
political aims. "The foundation does not serve political goals but
the protection of human rights," Babiak told CTK. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ON SECRET SERVICE. Speaking on Slovak TV on 17
July, Vladimir Meciar said the post-revolution Czechoslovak counter-
intelligence service, the FBIS, had planned to murder him before the
1992 elections. The FBIS treated us as "extremists," Meciar said,
adding that "I was supposed to be arrested, and there even exists
evidence that they prepared my murder." He alleged that there is no
proof that the Slovak Information Service (the FBIS's successor)
participated in last August's abduction of the president's son. And
he stressed that it is not even clear whether it really was an
abduction. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN POLICE INVESTIGATES SALE OF BABIES TO U.S. COUPLES.
Hungarian police are investigating a scheme whereby Hungarian
pregnanat women traveled to the U.S. to give up their babies for
large sums of money, Hungarian media reported. Last month, U.S.
federal officials filed a criminal complaint against Marianne Gati, a
U.S. citizen living in California who is accused of running the baby
selling ring. Gati and her Hungarian associates reportedly brought 30
Hungarian women into the US over the past two years. The women
received $1,000 for dark-skinned children and $12,000 for white-
skinned ones. Gati then sold the babies for $20,000 to Americans
couples. One of her main liaisons in Hungary was the well-known
physician Endre Czeizel. While arranging adoptions for a fee is not
illegal in California, paying mothers is considered an offense.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HOLBROOKE IN BELGRADE. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke emerged from a
four-hour meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on 17
July saying their talks were "inconclusive" but giving no other
details. The talks had focused on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and Milosevic's role in removing him from public life.
Reuters quoted the U.S. envoy as saying "I cannot tell you we made
any progress today, and I will not characterize the talks except to
say they were inconclusive." Holbrooke, who later traveled to Zagreb,
is to return to Belgrade on 18 July before returning to Washington.
-- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN FEDERATION TO RECEIVE $400 MILLION IN U.S. MILITARY AID. The
Bosnian Federation signed an agreement for $400 million in U.S.
military aid to ensure a military balance between the Muslim-Croatian
federation and the Republika Srpska, Reuters reported on 16 July. The
"Equip and Train" program was scheduled to start after the Muslims
and Croats agreed on a controversial defense law merging their
armies. It will run for 13 months with the option of a one-year
extension. All equipment is to be delivered before the mandate of the
NATO-led force in Bosnia expires in December 1996. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MUSLIMS HARASS SARAJEVO SERBS. Alexander Ivanko, spokesman for the
UN's International Police Task Force, said that violence against
Serbs in the Sarajevo suburbs is getting worse, Onasa reported on 16
July. He stressed that the Bosnian government is doing nothing about
it, although it has the means to do so and claims that it still
believes in a multi-ethnic state. There are 8,000-10,000 Serbs left;
they resisted intimidation from other Serbs to force them to leave at
the beginning of the year, when the suburbs passed from Serbian to
government control. The governing Muslim Party of Democratic Action
has been accused by the opposition of trying to populate the suburbs
with Muslim refugees from eastern Bosnia and other Serb-held areas,
thereby consolidating ethnic cleansing and the division of Bosnia
into three nationalist states. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SHORTS. International forensic experts have to date exhumed
86 bodies of Muslim males from a site near Srebrenica, while 13
bodies have been removed from another mass grave near Sarajevo, news
agencies reported on 17 July. The international community's High
Representative Carl Bildt noted that 68 war criminals remain free: 50
in the Republika Srpska, 15 in the Croat-Muslim federation, and three
in rump Yugoslavia. Following a series of incidents in which
peacekeepers have caught Serbs and Muslims moving heavy weapons out
of assigned areas, a diplomat in Vienna told AFP that the Serbs are
"abusing" a clause in the Dayton treaty by claiming that some 300
tanks, 150 armored vehicles, and 800 pieces of artillery are awaiting
export. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN BORDER POLICE CONFISCATE ALBANIAN-LANGUAGE HUMAN RIGHTS
LITERATURE. Macedonian border police have confiscated 225 Albanian-
language texts on human rights, international agencies reported. The
Albanian Helsinki Human Rights Committee was trying to bring the
material into the country. The group said the confiscated texts
included documents issued by the OSCE and the Council of Europe as
well as the constitutions of West European countries. They were bound
for ethnic Albanian educational and cultural institutions in
Macedonia. Police said they confiscated the material suspecting it to
be "illegal literature." The Helsinki Committee called on the
Macedonian authorities to ensure freedom of information. -- Fabian
Schmidt

SLOVENIA WANTS NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Milan
Kucan on 17 July met in Ljubljana with Dusan Mihailovic, leader of
the New Democracy party, which is a de facto wing of Milosevic's
Socialist Party of Serbia in the Serbian legislature. Nasa Borba
quoted Kucan as stressing that the normalization of bilateral
relations with Belgrade was among Ljubljana's priorities. Mihailovic
noted that this was also a priority for his party. When asked whether
his visit could be somehow linked to his earlier talks with
Milosevic, Mihailovic said that was not the case and that an earlier
visit to Belgrade had the "nature of a fact-finding" mission. -- Stan
Markotich

ROMANIA RECEIVES MOST-FAVORED-NATION STATUS. The House of
Representatives on 17 July voted to grant Romania permanent most-
favored-nation status, Romanian media reported. The Senate must also
vote on the issue before President Bill Clinton signs the bill. Until
now, Romania's status was subject to yearly revision. Former US
Ambassador to Romania David Funderburk, who was opposed to Romania's
status being upgraded, had argued that the voted should be postponed
until after the Romanian elections to avoid its being exploited by
the ruling coalition. He added that President Ion Iliescu's regime
"does not have a democratic bone in its whole body." Visiting Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu met the same day with his American
counterpart, Warren Christopher, to discuss Romania's application to
join NATO. Christopher said Bucharest has "done a great deal" to
qualify for membership but stressed that no final decision had been
made on which countries would be accepted. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN PARTY ATTACKS HUNGARY, HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY. The Party
of Social Democracy in Romania (PSDR), the major partner in the
ruling coalition, has attacked the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania's (UDMR) decision to include in its presidential election
program the declaration recently issued in Budapest in support of
autonomy for Hungarian ethnic minorities abroad (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 9 July 1996). Romanian and international agencies quoted the
PSDR as saying the UDMR's presidential campaign will be "financed by
a foreign state, thus infringing on Romanian legal norms." It
demanded that the UDMR renounce its decision and also protested the
Budapest declaration, which, it said, aimed at "transforming national
minority organizations into instruments of Hungary's policies."
-- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT EVACUATED AFTER BOMB THREAT. The parliament
building on 17 July was evacuated following a bomb threat, Pari
reported. No bomb was found in the parliament building. An anonymous
phone caller made the threat just hours after a bomb exploded in an
underpass at the Palace of Culture causing damage estimated at 10-15
million leva ($52,000-79,000). Nobody was injured, although several
hundred people were in a nearby club at the time. Police said it was
the "first major terrorist attack in Bulgaria in a decade." So far
nobody has claimed responsibility. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS THREATEN TO BOYCOTT LOCAL ELECTIONS. The
Socialist Party on 17 July said it will not participate in local
elections unless the electoral law is changed, the disputed "genocide
law" abolished, and sufficient international observation during the
ballot ensured, international agencies reported. One day earlier,
President Sali Berisha had proposed holding multi-party talks to
discuss the date of the ballot and the creation of a central election
commission. The opposition described Berisha's proposal as "hasty and
dubious" and called for a political dialogue among all parties in
order to reach a consensus on measures ensuring fair and free
elections. The opposition considers the local elections a test of the
government's credibility after alleged manipulations in the 26 May
parliamentary elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEKS PREVENT MACEDONIAN PLANE FROM TAKING OFF. Authorities on the
island of Corfu on 17 July prevented a Macedonian plane from leaving
the island because it carried the inscription "Palair Makedonija,"
international media reported. Palair Makedonija's chief executive
Vanja Bitoljanu said the Greeks insisted that the name of the carrier
be removed from the plane. The airport authorities allowed it to take
off only after the inscription had been painted over. It was the
first Palair flight to a Greek island since the signing of the
bilateral interim accord in September 1995. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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