If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 140, Part I, 22 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

KYIV MAYOR RESIGNS. Leonid Kosakivsky on 19 July resigned as Kyiv mayor
following months of allegations of mismanagement, ITAR-TASS and AFP
reported. President Leonid Kuchma had called upon him to resign in May
because of his poor performance, but Kosakivsky then became ill. Under
Ukrainian law, officials cannot be dismissed while they are sick.
Kosakivsky was accused of blocking foreign investment, and lavishly
spending funds on self-promotion. Of the 68 city councilors, 40 asked
Kuchma to remove him. Koskaivsky's successor has not been named. --
Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REPLACES DONETSK GOVERNOR. Leonid Kuchma on 18 July
issued a decree dismissing Donetsk governor Volodymyr Shcherban,
Ukrainian and international agencies reported. Coal Minister Serhii
Polyakov has been appointed as Shcherban's replacement. The dismissal
came after a government commission investigating the coal industry urged
Kuchma to replace Shcherban for having lost control of the situation in
the region. Coal miners in the Donbas recently went on strike over back
wages, also demanding that Polyakov be dismissed as coal minister. The
Donbas prosecutor's office has filed charges against strikers for
impeding public transport. On 19 July, workers at only 14 mines remained
on strike. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE OFFERS REWARD FOR BOMB ATTACKER. Ukrainian authorities have
offered a 15 billion karbovantsy ($86,000) reward for information on
leading to the arrest of those responsible for the 16 July bomb attack
on Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, AFP reported on 19 July. A limited
state of emergency was introduced and paramilitary groups banned
following the attempt on Lazarenko's life. UNIAN on 18 July reported
Volodymyr Chernyak, deputy leader of the national-democratic Rukh party,
as saying the assassination attempt was the result of a mafia struggle
between the Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk mafia clans. -- Ustina Markus

U.S.-BELARUSIAN RELATIONS. Belarusian Defense Minister Leanid Maltseu
met with his U.S. counterpart, William Perry, in Washington on 19 July,
ITAR-TASS reported. Talks focused on regional stability in East-Central
Europe, embracing issues such as Belarus's participation in NATO's
Partnership for Peace program (which Belarus joined in January 1995),
NATO expansion, and nuclear security in Belarus. The previous day,
Belapan reported that U.S. special envoy for CIS Affairs James Collins
told Belarusian parliamentary speaker Syamyon Sharetsky he was not fully
satisfied with U.S.-Belarusian relations. U.S. Ambassador to Belarus
Kenneth Yalowitz signed an agreement legally defining the mechanism for
providing American aid to Belarus. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH, UKRAINIAN, BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Dariusz Rosati,
Hennadii Udovenko, and Uladzimir Slenko, meeting on 20 July in the
Belarusian city of Brest, discussed prospects for regional cooperation,
Rzeczpospolita reported. The possible inclusion of Brest Oblast in the
"Bug" Euroregion--which currently consists of Polish and Ukrainian
territories--was discussed, as were border controls and illegal
immigration. Rosati's use of the phrase "Brest Triangle" and his
promises that Poland would search for Western funding to finance
Belarusian participation in the Bug Euroregion both highlight Poland's
attempts at slowing Belarus's integration with Russia. -- Ben Slay

ESTONIA MAY BE AMONG FIRST NEW EU MEMBERS. Minister of State at the
British Foreign Office Sir Nicholas Bonsor told reporters in Tallinn on
19 July that it will be natural for Estonia to be among the first new
members joining the EU, ETA reported on 19 July. He called the
republic's advances to a market economy "remarkable," adding that the
country already most of the requirements for membership. But he added
that it will take longer for Estonia to join NATO. During his two-day
visit, Bonsor met with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, Foreign Minister Siim
Kallas, and European Affairs Minister Endel Lippmaa. -- Saulius Girnius

ACTING MINISTERS APPOINTED IN LATVIA. Prime Minister Andris Skele has
appointed acting replacements for three ministers who recently resigned,
BNS reported on 19 July. Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs will serve as
culture minister from 22 July. Economics Minister Guntars Krasts will
serve as environmental protection and regional development minister
until 30 July, when he will be replaced by Agriculture Minister Roberts
Dilba. Krasts will also serve as acting industry state minister from 27
July. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, LATVIA SEA BORDER TALKS POSTPONED. The fifth round of sea
border talks, scheduled to take place in Vilnius on 22 July, have been
postponed owing to the reshuffle in the Latvian government, BNS reported
on 19 July. Lithuanian delegation head Foreign Ministry Secretary
Rimantas Sidlauskas pointed out that the Latvian delegation head,
Foreign Ministry State Minister Juris Sinka, held one of the three
ministerial posts that are to be eliminated. He said that while there
were no disagreements in principle between the two delegations, he
doubted the next round of talks would lead to the signing of a sea
border treaty. The main problem remains possible off-shore oil deposits
for which Latvia has signed licensing agreements with U.S. and Swedish
companies. -- Saulius Girnius

VATICAN MARKS THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF UNRATIFIED CONCORDAT WITH POLAND. The
Vatican pointed out in a statement released on 21 July that the
concordat on Polish Church-state relations has gone unratifed for nearly
three years, Rzeczpospolita reported. The concordat was approved by the
post-Solidarity government of Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka in July
1993, but the left-of-center parliament formed after the September 1993
elections has thus far failed to ratify the treaty. While the Vatican
charged that the concordat is "often the subject of political games and
electoral declarations," a spokesman for the governing post-communist
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) told Zycie Warszawy that "the SLD is only
articulating the unease that the concordat evokes in much of society."
-- Ben Slay

POLISH OPPOSITION PARTIES NO CLOSER TO ELECTORAL COALITION. The anti-
communist Movement to Reconstruct Poland (ROP) has rejected an open
letter from Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski asking the ROP to
participate in an election dialogue with Solidarity's opposition
coalition in preparation for the 1997 parliamentary elections, Polish
media reported on 22 July. Krzaklewski's letter to ROP leader Jan
Olszewski did not ask the ROP to join Solidarity's electoral coalition
and requested only a "dialog without aggression" between the two
opposition organizations. According to recent public opinion polls,
Solidarity and the ROP each have the support of about 10-15% of the
Polish electorate and are lagging well behind the Democratic Left
Alliance. -- Ben Slay

SLOVAKIA SUBMITS EU QUESTIONNAIRE. Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk
on 19 July handed over his country's completed questionnaire to EU
Ambassador to Slovakia, Georgios Zavvos, Slovak and international media
reported. Aske about German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's recent remarks
questioning Slovakia's readiness for speedy EU integration (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 18 July 1996), Schenk stressed that "Slovakia's problems
have so far not been resolved through undemocratic or unconstitutional
means." He added that he believed the problems will soon be overcome.
Slovakia applied for EU membership in June 1995, but both the EU and the
U.S. have made private and public statements expressing concern about
developments in the country. -- Sharon Fisher

NATO EXERCISES IN HUNGARY. NATO on 20 July began its first air maneuvers
in Hungary within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program,
international media reported. The exercises involve some 50 planes and
1,100 troops from eight NATO-member countries, Austria, Poland, Hungary,
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Some 300
people representing the communist Workers' Party, which has demanded a
referendum on whether Hungary should join NATO, protested the maneuvers.
Worker's Party President Gyula Thurmer said the demonstration was aimed
at those who want Hungary to be involved in military ventures and costly
arms purchases and to surrender its independence. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS CLOSE RANKS BEHIND KARADZIC. Radovan Karadzic may have
agreed to give up his party and state offices (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19
July 1996), but his supporters still clearly regard him as their leader,
AFP reported on 22 July. Biljana Plavsic, his hard-line deputy who took
over the presidency of the Republika Srpska, told Bosnian Serb radio on
20 July that "there will be no essential changes because the state and
party policies were designed in a broader circle that is still in
place." Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha, who replaces Karadzic as head of
the governing Serbian Democratic Party, told Der Spiegel that "no one
can destroy Karadzic's authority.... There are examples of men without
any official function who determine the fate of their country." --
Patrick Moore

IS KARADZIC ANY CLOSER TO THE HAGUE? Those who have defended the step-
by-step approach to dealing with Karadzic have said that each move
brings him closer to the war crimes tribunal. In any event, Karadzic
probably will not have to worry about U.S. troops coming to arrest him.
Vice President Al Gore on 21 July said "We don't believe that U.S.
troops should be assigned the mission of going door-to-door hunting a
single individual in circumstances where it would be very difficult to
complete that mission." But the tribunal's chief justice, Richard
Goldstone asked: "With regard to the tens of thousands of lives that
[Karadzic] may have been responsible for, is it too much to ask for some
risk to be taken to bring him to justice?" Nasa Borba and Onasa carried
the report on 22 July. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. FIGHTER ACCIDENTALLY DROPS BOMB IN BOSNIA. During a routine
simulated attack on practice targets over the weekend, a U.S. Navy
fighter plane accidentally dropped
a 225 kg bomb over Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP reported. The bomb exploded
and narrowly missed a base occupied by 600 NATO peace keepers, some 5 km
from the strategic Serb-held town of Brcko. No military or civilian
casualties were reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CONTRACT FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF MOSTAR BRIDGE SIGNED. Eastern Mostar
Mayor Safet Orucevic has signed a contract with a Sarajevo-based company
for the reconstruction of Mostar's historical bridge, Onasa reported on
20 July. Built by the Ottoman architect Hajrudin in 1596 and destroyed
by Bosnian Croat forces in November 1993, the bridge is a registered
UNESCO cultural monument. A Mostar-based institute for the preservation
of monuments will assist in the reconstruction. Fragments of the
original bridge that fell into the river are to be used. Meanwhile, EU
Administrator Ricardo Perez Casado is scheduled to quit his post on 22
July. He will be replaced by Britain's Sir Martin Garrod. -- Fabian
Schmidt

BOSNIAN FEDERATION VICE PRESIDENT RISKS ARREST IN BELGRADE? Ejup Ganic,
who is scheduled to head a Bosnian economic delegation to Belgrade on 25
July, could be arrested on war crimes charges when he arrives, AFP
reported citing the Belgrade-based Politika Ekspres. Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic invited Ganic to Belgrade to demonstrate that Serbia
is determinate to re-establish relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina. But an
arrest warrant for Ganic--issued in July 1994 for his alleged
responsibility for the death of Yugoslav People's Army troops in
Sarajevo in 1992--is still in force. Nasa Borba on 22 July cited Ganic
as saying that he will be heading a team of people able to step up
relations between the two countries. -- Daria Sito Sucic

U.S. CONGRESS DELEGATION IN KOSOVO. Six members of the U.S. congress,
headed by Democrat Eliot Engel, paid a visit to Kosovo on 20 July, ATSH
reported. They attended the inauguration of the electronic library of
the recently opened USIA office in Pristina. Shadow-state President
Ibrahim Rugova and Serbian administrator Aleksa Jokic were also present.
Engel had met earlier with Serbian President Milosevic in Belgrade. --
Fabian Schmidt

SLOVENIAN COURT NOT TO DETAIN SERBIAN GENERAL. A Ljubljana district
court on 19 July decided not to detain Gen. Milan Aksentijevic, an ex-
Yugoslav officer accused of seeking to undermine Slovenian independence
during the 1991 war (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 July 1996). Aksentijevic
is awaiting trial in Slovenia. The court observed that he had twice
applied to visit relatives in Slovenia and that "therefore there seems
to be no danger that the defendant will escape and avoid the trial,"
Reuters reported. In other news, Davorin Kracun, a 45-year-old economics
professor in Maribor, is to replace Zoran Thaler as foreign minister,
Thaler was defeated in a no confidence motion earlier this year. -- Stan
Markotich

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT, FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO MEMBERSHIP. Ion Iliescu, in
an interview with Die Presse on 19 July, reiterated his positionthat
Romania and Hungary will either join NATO together or not at all. He
said any "discrimination" in Hungary's favor would produce a "climate of
competition, mistrust, and instability." Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu, at the end of a five-day working visit to the U.S., said that
if priority were given to some East European countries applying for
membership, a new dividing line would be created between NATO and
Eastern Europe, Reuters reported. In an apparent reference to Russia, he
said such an approach would leave Romania vulnerable to other competing
influences. Meanwhile, on 19 July, the U.S. Senate approved by "voice
vote" a bill granting Romania permanent most-favored-nation status. The
bill now needs President Bill Clinton's approval. -- Michael Shafir

NATO NAVAL EXERCISE IN ROMANIA. A week-long naval exercise involving
NATO forces and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace
program began on 22 July in Romanian territorial waters in the Black
Sea, Romanian and international media reported. The exercise is
described as the biggest of its kind staged within the framework of the
program. Some 30 ships from eight NATO countries, Romania, Bulgaria, and
Ukraine are taking part. -- Michael Shafir

IMF APPROVES $580 MILLION LOAN TO BULGARIA. The IMF on 19 July approved
a $580 million loan to Bulgaria, Pari reported. A first installment
worth $116 million is expected to arrive this week and will be used to
pay $128 million owed to the London Club by 28 July. The remaining
installments will be spread over the next two years. The IMF agreed to
grant Bulgaria a new loan after the government announced strict
austerity measures and vowed to close down unprofitable state firms. --
Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT LAMBASTES GOVERNMENT OVER NATO. Zhelyu Zhelev on 19
July accused the government of isolating Bulgaria by not applying for
full NATO membership, Reuters reported. In his annual lecture to the
Atlantic Club, Zhelev said that owing to the government's reluctance to
seek closer ties with NATO, "Bulgaria is increasingly beginning to look
like a gap in the security framework." The president claimed that the
government has failed to capitalize on Bulgaria's strategic location in
the Balkans. He also noted that by favoring Greece over Turkey, Bulgaria
has abandoned its traditional policy of Balkan equidistance. In other
news, the parliament on 19 July set the first round of the presidential
elections for 27 October. The next day, the BSP nominated Culture
Minister Ivan Marazov as its vice presidential candidate, Duma reported.
-- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN SOCIALIST FACTION WANTS VIDENOV'S HEAD. The Association for
Social Democracy (OSD), a faction within the ruling Bulgarian Socialist
Party, has demanded that Zhan Videnov resign as BSP chairman and prime
minister before the October presidential elections, Bulgarian newspapers
reported on 22 July. The OSD said Videnov has failed as prime minister
and no longer enjoys the BSP's confidence. It also adopted an
alternative program for dealing with the present crisis and called for a
dialogue with other political forces on the course of reform. The OSD
believes that changes in the government and the BSP will help the
party's candidate, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, win the
presidential elections. Pirinski is also OSD deputy chairman. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT HAS NO TIME TO MEET WITH U.S. OFFICIAL. Sali Berisha
on 19 July refused to meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Timothy
Wirth, arguing he had "no time and more important things on his agenda,"
Koha Jone reported. The daily quotes State Department sources who did
not want to be identified. Wirth undertook the visit as an initiative to
restart the dialogue between the U.S. and the Albanian government, which
stopped after the State Department sharply criticized the May elections,
alleging massive irregularities. Koha Jone wrote that Berisha is seeking
to "convert relations with the U.S. into a personal inat [spiteful
defiance]." -- Fabian Schmidt

FATOS NANO CALLS FOR REFORM OF ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY. Imprisoned
Socialist leader Fatos Nano last week sent a letter to party members
repeating calls for a comprehensive reform of the party, Koha Jone
reported on 21 July. He pointed out that the party will miss a historic
chance and become even more isolated politically if it proves unable to
implement such a reform. Meanwhile, Gazeta Shqiptare reported that the
Center Pole coalition has been excluded from round-table talks between
the Socialists and the ruling Democrats to discuss the upcoming local
elections. Social Democratic leader Skender Gjinushi called on the
Socialists to participate only in multi-party talks that include other
opposition parties, Poli i Qendres reported on 20 July. -- Fabian
Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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