Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 139, Part I, 19 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

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN SECURITY COUNCIL ORDERS "EMERGENCY MEASURES"... The National
Security Council ordered the government to draft by 1 October a plan
aimed at eliminating the country's gray economic market and clearing its
huge arrears in welfare and wage payments, Ukrainian agencies reported
on 18 July. The resolution was in response to the recent attempted
assassination of Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, which is believed to
have been related to his efforts to clean up the coal industry. The
council also called on the Ukrainian Security Service to begin work on
setting up a national anti-terrorism center and proposed stiffer
penalties for organized crime and stricter measures against terrorism.
Council chairman Volodymyr Horbulin added that the administration was
planning to crack down on extremist political parties, especially those
with paramilitary formations, that pose a "threat to national security."
Among them, Horbulin said, would be the right-wing ultranationalist
Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

...WHILE DEMOCRATS WARN AGAINST CRACKDOWN. Democratic lawmakers and
activists have warned that the Ukrainian government may use the 18 July
attack on Premier Pavlo Lazarenko as an excuse to crack down on its
political foes and grab more control of the economy, Ukrainian agencies
reported on 18 July. Although he believes the attempted assassination
was destabilizing, Democratic Party chief Volodymyr Yavorivsky said some
of council's emergency measures "could antagonize the whole world."
Instead of cracking down on the gray market, he commented, the
government should "give the people more economic freedom." -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

ESTONIA, BRITAIN STEP UP POLITICAL COOPERATION. Minister of State at the
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Nicholas Bonsor held talks
in Tallinn on 18 July with Estonian Premier and Foreign Minister Tiit
Vahi, BNS reported. They discussed Estonia's accession to the EU, while
Bonsor noted that the British parliament would ratify Estonia's
association agreement with the EU in its fall session. Bonsor, who
coordinates relations with Central and East European countries,
underscored that the door to NATO must be open to all applicants but
that these must give something in return. Education Minister Jaak
Aaviksoo and Bonsor signed an agreement on cooperation in education,
science, and culture. -- Saulius Girnius

TAIWAN WANTS TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH LATVIA. A delegation of 11
Taiwanese parliamentary deputies began a four-day visit to Latvia on 16
July to discuss with Saeima deputies the prospects for increasing
political and economic cooperation. One member of the Taiwanese
delegation, speaking at a press conference on 18 July, suggested that
Latvia open a representation in Taiwan because potential investors lack
information about the state. The delegation wants to sign an agreement
on avoiding double taxation with Latvia because it can be done without
government-level relations. Taiwan has such agreements with many Western
countries and is currently negotiating similar ones with Germany and
Poland. Possible areas of Taiwanese investment are tourism. paper
production, forest industry, and telecommunications as well as the
planned economic free zone in Liepaja. -- Saulius Girnius

IAEA DIRECTOR IN LITHUANIA. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-
General Hans Blix met with President Algirdas Brazauskas in Vilnius on
17 July to discuss the safety and future of the atomic power plant at
Ignalina and the state of the republic's entire energy system, Radio
Lithuania reported. In talks with Prime Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius
the next day, Blix noted that Lithuania resembled France in that it
received more than 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. He
expressed satisfaction with the current safety situation at the Ignalina
plant, which he visited, but added that old-style reactors should be
replaced and not merely modernized. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN IRELAND, PRESIDENT IN U.S. Polish Foreign
Minister Dariusz Rosati arrived in Dublin for a one-day visit on 18
July, Polish media reported. Rosati met with Irish Prime Minister John
Bruton and Foreign Minister Dick Spring to discuss EU issues. Ireland
currently holds the rotating EU presidency. Rosati proposed that East
European security be based on three pillars: an expanded NATO, the OSCE,
and special relations between NATO and Russia. Meanwhile, Polish
President Aleksander Kwasniewski arrived on a private visit to the U.S
to attend the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Kwasniewski was minister for
sports during the 1980s. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK PRESIDENT PARDONS SON'S ASSOCIATES. Michal Kovac told RFE/RL's
Slovak Service on 17 July that he has pardoned two of his son's former
business associates to allow them to testify before German courts.
Munich police want to question the two men--along with Kovac's son--in
connection with the $2.3 million fraud case involving the Bratislava-
based Technopol trade firm. But charges have also been filed against the
three men in Slovakia, and Slovak border guards recently confiscated
Kovac Jr.'s passport when he tried to travel to Germany. Noting that the
Technopol case has been politicized, Kovac told RFE/RL that "it seems
that [Slovak authorities] are not interested in a quick conclusion."
Kovac decided not to pardon his son for the time being in the hope that
his passport will be returned and he will be allowed to travel to
Germany. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OFFICIALS REACT TO GERMAN CHANCELLOR'S STATEMENTS.
Representatives of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS)
on 18 July criticized Helmut Kohl's recent statements casting doubt on
Slovakia's prospects for EU membership, Narodna obroda reported.
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Dusan Slobodnik
stressed that "Kohl is not an expert on Slovakia." Jan Cuper, the HZDS's
legal expert, blamed the opposition for Kohl's remarks, adding that "we
will be acceptable to Kohl when we raise the privatization activity of
German capital to the level of the Czech Republic." Meanwhile, Austrian
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Benita Ferrero-Waldner, during a visit
to Bratislava on 18 July, stressed that Slovakia's political
shortcomings can be corrected within several months if the "political
will" exists. She said Vienna holds a "slightly different view" of
Slovakia's chances for EU membership from Kohl's. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY BANS IMPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS FROM BALKANS. The Ministry of
Agriculture has banned the import of live animals and animal-derived
products from several countries in the Balkans for an indefinite period,
Hungarian media reported on 18 July. The ban comes in the wake of the
outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in Albania, Greece, Macedonia,
Serbia, and Turkey. At the same time, customs authorities have begun
strict checks on food packages carried by tourists crossing the
Ukrainian, Romanian, and Serbian borders. They will confiscate products
that are potential carriers of viruses. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN POLICE CORRUPTION ON THE RISE. According to a recent police
report, corruption among policemen on duty is increasing, Magyar Hirlap
reported on 18 July. Policemen often fail to issue receipts or tend to
strike bargains when imposing fines for traffic violations. The
opposition has repeatedly voiced concern about worsening public
security, the growth of black market activities, and mafia operations.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HOLBROOKE GETS DEAL ON KARADZIC... U. S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke
told CNN on 19 July that he has obtained an agreement in Belgrade to
remove indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic from Bosnian Serb
politics. Following a second and unexpected round of talks between
Holbrooke and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic signed a
text saying he will withdraw "immediately and permanently [from all]
political activities," including public appearances and interviews as
well as state and party offices. Holbrooke summed up the agreement with
the words that Karadzic's "political career came to an end last night."
This opens the way for Robert Frowick, the OSCE's administrator of the
14 September elections, to authorize the participation of the Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS) in the vote. Frowick had threatened to ban the
SDS from the ballot if it continued to have an indicted war criminal as
chairman. -- Patrick Moore

...BUT WILL IT STICK? Holbrooke also told CNN on 19 July that he has "no
guarantee" that the latest agreement will work. He noted that Karadzic
could still exercise considerable power from behind the scenes in a
Bosnian version of what he called the "Pol Pot problem." He was
referring to the fact that the Cambodian mass murderer withdrew from
public life in the late 1970s but continued to control the Khmer Rouge
through hidden channels. Holbrooke might have added that the people with
whom he talked in Belgrade have made and broken agreements time and
again. On the positive side, however, the envoy pointed out that the
Serbs are fully aware of the "very serious consequences" they will face
if they break their word, which presumably means renewed economic
sanctions. He also stated that Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic will
soon lead an economic delegation to Belgrade and that this shows that
Serbia is serious about its relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina. --
Patrick Moore

SERBS DEMAND EXTENSION OF UN MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA, TUDJMAN
REFUSES. Serbs in eastern Slavonia on 18 July sent a letter to the UN
Security Council asking the UN mandate in the area to be extended by one
year, Nasa Borba reported. The mandate is due to expire in January. The
letter cited Croatia's "lack of cooperation" and claimed that Zagreb is
seeking to avoid implementing the accord with the Serbs. But Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman, meeting on 17 July with U.S. special envoy
Richard Holbrooke, said that extension of the UN mandate was out of the
question. He underscored the importance of holding elections in the area
in December and that these elections take place in accordance with
Croatian laws and the 1991 census. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BIG FIRE DAMAGES WESTERN MOSTAR RADIO. A large fire on 18 July caused
serious damage to the buildings of local Croatian radio and television,
AFP reported. No one was injured, and the fire was put out within hours.
EU officials suspected no foul play behind the incident, but a team is
investigating. A book shop and an alternative theater in the same
building were also damaged. -- Fabian Schmidt

CONTROVERSY IN MONTENEGRIN LEGISLATURE. The Montenegrin Assembly on 18
July passed a law delineating 14 electoral districts for the upcoming
ballot in the republic. Before the vote took place, deputies from three
opposition parties--the People's Party, the Liberal Alliance of
Montenegro, and the Social Democratic Party--walked out in protest,
declaring that the division of the country into electoral districts was
a ploy on the part of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists to stay
in power, Nasa Borba reported on 19 July. The three parties have vowed
to unite in a "national salvation coalition" to contest the elections.
Meanwhile, Montena-fax reported that the ballot seems likely to take
place on 17 November. -- Stan Markotich

BOMB ATTACK ON CROATIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST. A group of unidentified
persons detonated a bomb close to the island home of Ivan Zvonimir
Cicak, president of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights,
during the night from 17-18 July, Beta reported. Cicak and his family
were spending vacation on Brac. Police said the group employed explosive
materials designed for commercial use. The committee issued a statement
saying the bomb was an act of intimidation resulting from the intensive
campaign against the committee carried out by the state-controlled
media. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN GENERAL APPEARS IN SLOVENIAN COURT. Milan Aksentijevic, a former
Yugoslav army general, appeared in a Ljubljana district court on 18 July
to answer questions about his alleged role in leading troops in
campaigns against Slovenia during the 1991 war (see OMRI Daily Digest,
15 July 1996). Aksentijevic's hearing is the first of its kind in
independent Slovenia's history. STA reported the court would announce
its verdict "within 48 hours." -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT IRKED BY ROYAL VISIT. The Romanian authorities were
irritated by the warm reception extended to Anne of Bourbon-Parma,
former King Michael's spouse, and their eldest daughter, Princess
Margaret, during their visit this week to Romania, local media and
Reuters reported. President Ion Iliescu told a press conference in
Bucharest on 18 July that Romania was a republic and "has no queen." One
day earlier, the government issued a statement saying the behavior of
local officials during the visit was "in total contravention of the
country's constitutional norms." It added that it reserved "the right to
sanction, in accordance with the law, those attitudes, which run counter
to the status of civil servants." Romanian mayors, however, do not have
the status of civil servants. The daily Ziua reported on 18 July that on
the last day of their visit, Orthodox Church Patriarch Teoctist in the
southern town of Targoviste received the two visitors with ceremonies
"reserved for reigning monarchs." -- Michael Shafir

COLONEL REINSTATED AS TIRASPOL GARRISON COMMANDER. Col. Mikhail Bergman,
who was dismissed by former Russian Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev,
has been reinstated as commander of the Tiraspol garrison, BASA-Press
reported on 18 July. The agency quoted Bergman as saying that Igor
Smirnov, "the impostor leader" of the Transdniester breakaway region,
"can do no good for the people since he is held in the clutches" of
Security Minister Vadim Shevtsov, former OMON head in Latvia. Shevtsov,
Bergman added, "will never willingly renounce his powers." -- Michael
Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES MEDIA LAW. Following debates over the past
six years, the parliament on 18 July passed a controversial media law,
Bulgarian media reported. The law provides for a National Radio and TV
Council to oversee media operations and elect the directors-general of
state radio and TV. Seven members will be appointed by the parliament
and two each by the president and the government. Political parties,
trade unions, religious groups, and non-profit organizations are not
permitted to broadcast their own radio and TV programs, but political
parties in the parliament will have the right to two monthly nationwide
five-minute addresses on state media. TV and radio stations can be run
by Bulgarian citizens, legal entities registered in Bulgaria under the
commercial law, city councils, universities, or foreign broadcasters
meeting the requirements of the new media law. One such requirements is
that they incorporate themselves in Bulgaria. -- Stefan Krause

FORMER BULGARIAN PREMIER REPLACED AS "TOPENERGY" BOSS. Andrey Lukanov on
18 July was removed as chairman of the board of directors of the
Bulgaro-Russian "Topenergy" company, Pari reported. He is to be replaced
by Iliya Pavlov, head of Multigroup, the biggest private business
conglomerate in Bulgaria. Topenergy was founded in 1995 by Bulgargaz and
Russia's Gazprom to coordinate Russian gas supplies to the Balkans.
Lukanov is one of the most prominent opponents of Bulgarian Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov, and his removal is expected to improve relations
between Topenergy and the Bulgarian government. -- Stefan Krause

ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES NEW ELECTIONS IN ALBANIA... Lamberto Dini
on 18 July urged the Albanian government to repeat May's disputed
parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Dini told his visiting
Albanian counterpart, Tritan Shehu, that Italy wanted to see "a fully
democratic dynamic in Albanian politics and the opening of a dialogue
between the government and opposition." He added that such talks should
"set out the political and electoral norms to allow a return to
conditions of full democratic and constitutional normality, including
the possibility of calling new elections in a reasonably short time."
Dini also wanted to send special envoy Luigi Vittorio Ferraris to
Albania to help in the process, Koha Jone reported on 19 July. -- Fabian
Schmidt

...WHILE ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES LOCAL ELECTIONS FOR OCTOBER. Sali
Berisha, following round-table talks with the opposition on 18 July,
announced that local elections will take place on one of the last two
Sundays in October, Reuters reported. Socialist Party deputy leader
Servet Pellumbi confirmed the decision, adding that fair local elections
could help restore Albania's tarnished image. The round table will
continue to discuss possible changes in the local election law. Zeri i
Popullit on 19 July published a list of the Socialist Party's demands
with regard to the local elections. Those include a review of the law on
local administration, changes in the electoral law, the abolition of the
disputed "genocide law," guarantees by police and the secret service not
to interfere in the voting process, and sufficient logistical assistance
from the OSCE and the Council of Europe in organizing the vote. --
Fabian Schmidt


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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