Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. - Karl Menninger
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 143, Part I, 25 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 EASTERN EUROPE

CZECH GOVERNMENT WINS CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Czech parliament approved on
25 July a new minority coalition government led by Vaclav Klaus after
the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) walked out, enabling the
coalition deputies to pass the vote of confidence. The vote in the 200-
member parliament was 98-40. During a three-day parliamentary debate
preceding the vote, the CSSD did not reveal whether it would support the
government. President Vaclav Havel, in a speech to the parliament on 23
July, asked for support from the opposition parties. CSSD chairman Milos
Zeman told the parliament on 23 July that he wanted to vote against the
government but changed his mind after hearing a speech by the leader of
the extreme-right Republican Party, Miroslav Sladek. Sladek attacked the
Roma minority; Zeman noted that Sladek's speech united moderate parties.
-- Jiri Pehe

UKRAINIAN ULTRANATIONALIST GROUP DISBANDS PARAMILITARY WING. The
Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) said it disbanded its paramilitary
wing, the Ukrainian National Self-defense Organization, and now
renounces violence, Ukrainian agencies reported on 23-24 July. Leaders
of the right-wing group said the decision was made in line with their
bid to regain official political party status. They said they would no
longer oppose the government and they would use only constitutional
means to pursue their goals. The UNA was stripped of its formal party
status last summer after it was accused of inciting violence. More
recently, President Leonid Kuchma named the UNA as one of several
suspected groups behind the assassination attempt on Prime Minister
Pavlo Lazarenko. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN RELATIONS. Russian deputy Prime Minister Aleksei
Bolshakov reached agreements with Minsk on a mechanism for repaying
Belarus's $1.2 billion debt to Russia, Belarusian and Russian agencies
reported on 24 July. Bolshakov said the debt arrangement was similar to
the "zero option," under which Russia would cancel Belarus's energy debt
in exchange for Belarus's free stationing of Russian troops in Belarus.
Belarus's request that Russia raise import duties will be discussed in
the future. -- Ustina Markus

LITHUANIA ADDS MORE ENTERPRISES TO LIST. The administration on 24 July
named another 259 enterprises to be privatized this year, raising the
total to 454 enterprises, BNS reported. The additions raise the
estimated value of the property to be privatized by 82.2 million litai
($20.55 million) to 374 million litai. Many enterprises on the list have
already been privatized, but the State Stock Fund still retains small
shares of stocks to be sold. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN SECURITY POLICE HEAD FIRED. The Cabinet on 23 July decided to
unanimously fire Raimonds Rozkalns, on the recommendation of Interior
Minister Dainis Turlais, LETA reported. Rozkalns was implicated in a
scandal in which Russian and Latvian security forces allegedly conspired
to create a corridor for transiting illegal immigrants through Latvia.
Angered by the suicide of a drunken border guard on 23 July and 12 other
deaths in the armed forces this year, Prime Minister Andris Skele on 24
July instructed Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins to fire National
Defense Commander-in-Chief Juris Dalbins, BNS reported. President Guntis
Ulmanis appointed Navy Commander and Deputy Army Commander Gaidis
Zeibots as Dalbins's acting replacement until the parliament approves
the dismissal. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH TRADE DEFICIT GROWING RAPIDLY. The foreign trade deficit at the
end of May reached $2.6 billion, the National Bank of Poland reported on
24 July. That figure is eight times larger than the deficit recorded in
May 1995. The deficit for all of 1995 was only $1.8 billion, Zycie
Warszawy reported on 24-25 July. The combination of rapid import growth
(up 33.7% since January 1996) and slowing export growth of 8.6% (due
largely to the EU's economic slowdown) apparently is reducing Poland's
foreign exchange reserves. The capital inflows that fueled Polish
economic growth during 1994-1995 could be diminishing. -- Ben Slay

ABUSES POSSIBLY BANKRUPTING POLAND'S UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM. Polish Labor
Minister Andrzej Baczkowski asked the unemployment offices to take
"extraordinary actions" to offset an estimated 800 million zloty ($300
million) shortfall in the state labor fund that finances unemployment
benefits, Rzeczpospolita reported 25 July. Despite a series of
amendments tightening eligibility requirements--only 47% of those listed
as unemployed in June actually received unemployment compensation--the
labor fund will be unable to pay benefits in November and December if
the trend continues. The labor fund's shortfall suggests that the common
practice of giving benefits to nominally "unemployed" workers who are
working illegally has gotten out of hand. Other problems with the
unemployment system were highlighted in a report issued on 24 July by
the Supreme Auditing Chamber, which uncovered widespread fraud by local
governments when providing public-works jobs for unemployed workers. --
Ben Slay

POLISH STEEL MILL TARGET OF TAIWANESE ANTI-DUMPING CHARGE. Taiwan's Tung
Ho Steel Enterprise named Poland's Huta Katowice as one of four steel
firms allegedly "dumping" steel on the Taiwanese market, Rzeczpospolita
reported 24 July. This charge represents the latest in a series of
dumping allegations against Polish steel exporters. It also highlights
the difficulties Polish firms face in expanding sales to booming Asian
markets, which purchase less than 5% of Poland's exports. The Taiwanese
government has not taken an official position on the charge. -- Ben Slay

SLOVAKIA COMPLAINS TO EU ABOUT HUNGARY. Slovak Foreign Ministry State
Secretary Jozef Sestak on 24 July handed a diplomatic note to EU
ambassadors, responding to calls from Budapest for autonomy for ethnic
Hungarians living in neighboring states, Reuters reported. Sestak
delivered an "aide memoire" to the ambassadors of Germany, Italy,
Britain, France, and the European Commission's representative to
Slovakia, informing them about the current relationship between Slovakia
and Hungary following the communique issued earlier this month by the
Budapest summit on ethnic Hungarian minorities. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKS RESPOND TO NATO EXPANSION BILL. Slovak officials on 24 July
responded to the U.S. House of Representatives' bill offering financial
assistance to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to help them gain
NATO membership, Slovak media reported. During a special meeting of the
parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, members called for "additional
lobbying" in the U.S. Congress and appeals to the parliaments of EU
member countries. Roman Kovac of the opposition Democratic Union said he
considers Slovakia's omission from the list "one of the last warning
signals." -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT DOMINATES STATE-RUN MEDIA. A survey of state TV and
radio newscasts from April-June showed an overall ratio of 66.1%
coverage for the governing parties versus 33.9% for the opposition,
Hungarian media reported on 25 July. Coverage of the ruling parties on
Duna TV and Hungarian Radio slightly surpassed their parliamentary
representation, while Hungarian TV (MTV) gave somewhat more exposure to
the opposition. The ruling Socialists received the most media coverage,
with 45.6%, while the Free Democrats--the junior coalition partner--
captured 20.5%. Next came the opposition Hungarian Democratic Forum
(8.4%), the Smallholders (7.6%), the Christian Democrats (6.8%), the
Young Democrats (6.3%), and the People's Party (4.8%). -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS TO GO TO HAGUE. Pale said it will send a delegation next
week to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,
the BBC reported on 25 July. It is seen as a propaganda effort--the
Bosnian Serbs apparently have no intention of cooperating with the court
to extradite indicted war criminals such as Radovan Karadzic and Gen.
Ratko Mladic, and continue to regard the tribunal as an anti-Serb
political instrument. Their hope is rather to gain publicity for their
demand that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and other Muslims be
indicted for war crimes. In early July, Pale issued such indictments.
Meanwhile, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, former
Ambassador to the UN Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and others have called for
action against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in conjunction with
war crimes, the VOA reported. -- Patrick Moore

UN PATROLS TO PROTECT SARAJEVO SERBS. The International Police Task
Force (IPTF) will begin patrolling this week in the suburbs of Ilidza
and Osjek to prevent further harassment of Serbs there, Onasa reported
on 24 July. The Serbs who survived intimidation by Serbian nationalists
earlier this year and stayed on in their homes are now being bullied by
Muslims. The Democratic Initiative of Sarajevo Serbs said 70 people have
left Vogosca in recent weeks, while another 20 departed Blazuj. IPTF
spokesman Alexander Ivanko said while he can not confirm these figures,
the UN continues to receive reports of Serbs being harassed. Meanwhile,
in Belgrade, Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic said Serbs must hold full
rights under the Bosnian constitution, Nasa Borba reported on 25 July.
-- Patrick Moore

U.S. MILITARY INSTRUCTORS TO ARRIVE IN BOSNIA. James Pardew, the U.S.
official responsible for military aid to Bosnia, said about 170 U.S.
instructors will begin arriving in Bosnia soon to help train the Muslim-
Croat Federation forces, AFP reported on 24 July. The first arms
shipments under the U.S. "Equip and Train Program" will not arrive for
several weeks. Pardew said U.S. officials would establish a logistics
center to ensure the weapons are properly stored. In other news, an
unmanned IFOR plane on reconnaissance over northern Bosnia crashed on 23
July; there were no injuries, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

U.S. GENERAL: WESTERN FORCE NEEDED FOR BOSNIAN STABILITY. Ltn. Gen.
Patrick Hughes, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, said
the former warring parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina would return to
violence unless the NATO-led forces remain, AFP reported on 24 July.
Hughes said the prospect for maintaining a viable international force on
the ground is not feasible without full U.S. participation. Meanwhile,
NATO is preparing to send to Bosnia a new command post, which will
oversee the withdrawal of its peacekeeping force, AFP reported. The
pull-out is expected to begin the day after the Bosnian elections,
scheduled for 14 September, and to end by February 1997. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

EU THREATENS MOSTAR CROATS WITH WITHDRAWAL. The EU will pull out of
Mostar on 4 August unless the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) ends
its boycott of the city council, AFP reported. EU ambassadors decided on
24 July on that ultimatum, which was to be ratified by the 15 member
states on 25 July. The Croats lost the elections in Mostar and since
then have refused to accept the election results. The EU apparently
wants to pressure Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to resolve the
crisis. The Bosnian Croats have appealed the election results to the
Bosnian federal constitutional court. -- Fabian Schmidt

SERBIA, BOSNIA TO RESTORE COMMUNICATIONS LINKS. Serbia and Bosnia on 24
July reached an agreement to restore telephone, rail, bus, and air
links. Bosnian Vice-President Ejup Ganic, heading a 15-member delegation
visiting Belgrade, described the agreement as "a new chapter between the
two countries," Onasa reported. Alija Behmen, delegation member and
vice-president of Bosnian state railways, said the technical work of
reconstructing the railway between Serbia and Bosnia likely will be
completed in 10-15 days, Beta reported. Also, Nasa Borba on 25 July
reported that a second protocol was signed, between Foreign Minister of
the Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation Jadranko Prlic and his rump Yugoslav
counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, which aims to abolish visa restrictions
on cross-border travel for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and rump
Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

SERB OPPOSITION LEADERS CRITICIZE AGREEMENT. Among the most critical of
Ganic's visit were some of Serbia's opposition parties. The Democratic
Party (DS) said while the party welcomed any normalization of relations
between states of the former Yugoslavia, Ganic's visit--met with much
fanfare--contrasted with how politicians from the Republika Srpska,
meeting "in secret," were treated, Beta reported on 23 July. The DS said
the courtesy given Ganic revealed "a double standard." The Democratic
Party of Serbia (DSS) was more blunt, dubbing Ganic "a war criminal
[whose] place is at The Hague" and calling Milosevic's invitation to
Ganic a "humiliation and complete capitulation." They said renewing
relations with the Muslim-Croat Federation prior to squaring ties with
the Republika Srpska was unacceptable. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT RETRACTS ANTI-OPPOSITION ACCUSATIONS. President Ion
Iliescu retracted a statement made on 18 July, which had accused the
opposition of acting against the U.S.'s extension of permanent MFN
status for Romania, Romanian television reported on 24 July. A joint
statement released after a meeting with the chairmen of the Democratic
Convention of Romania and the Social Democratic Union, Emil
Constantinescu and Petre Roman, said the extension of the status was the
result of equal efforts by "official bodies and the opposition." --
Michael Shafir

NEW ROMANIAN AUDIO-VISUAL COUNCIL HEAD. Television filmmaker Mircea
Moldovan was elected on 24 July by the National Audio Visual Council to
replace outgoing chairman Titus Raveica, local media reported.
Moldovan's mandate runs for four years. -- Michael Shafir

RUSSIAN GENERAL IN MOLDOVA DENIES RUMORS. The commander of the Dniester-
based Russian troops, Gen. Valerii Yevnevich, denied rumors in the
Chisinau media that he has been dismissed from his post, BASA-Press
reported on 24 July. Yevnevich said rumors that he was appointed Russian
military attache in China were untrue. He said he had done nothing to
warrant being dismissed. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN ENERGY CRISIS POSTPONED. Following a visit to Moscow, Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli told Moldova suverana that he reached an
agreement to postpone for seven years the repayment of the $140 million
Moldovan debt to Russia for fuel delivery arrears in 1994-1995. Sangheli
said that energy used in 1996, however, must be paid for. He said the
Dniester region's debts were separated from Chisinau's, and that
cooperation was underway with Ukraine and Russia to restore Moldovan
membership into the Common Energy System, BASA-Press reported on 23
July. Sangheli met in Crimea with Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma to
discuss ensuring normal coal deliveries to Moldova for the winter, as
well as other issues of cooperation, Infotag reported on 24 July. --
Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS INSIST ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) continues to defy a Constitutional Court ruling
effectively barring the BSP candidate, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski,
from seeking the presidency. The court ruled he is not a Bulgarian
citizen by birth as required by the constitution (see OMRI Daily Digest,
24 July 1996). The BSP daily Duma on 25 July reported that the BSP
Supreme Council will back Pirinski, and that Pirinski pledged to stay
on. According to 24 chasa, Pirinski is the only BSP candidate who can
win the presidential elections, and the BSP hopes for a more favorable
outcome if the Constitutional Court should rule on the concrete case of
Pirinski's citizenship. But Standart reported that the BSP is
considering an alternative candidate, probably Parliament Chairman
Blagovest Sendov. Pirinski has not commented. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA, UKRAINE SIGN ACCORDS. Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko
promised to sell wheat, coal, and natural gas to Bulgaria during an
official two-day visit concluded on 24 July, Bulgarian and Western media
reported. Bulgaria is suffering from a grain crisis and is short on
energy. The supplies of wheat and coal are to be negotiated, while
Lazarenko and his Bulgarian counterpart, Zhan Videnov, in principle
agreed on a natural gas shipment of 2 million cubic tons in exchange for
Ukrainian debts to Bulgaria. The two sides signed eight bilateral
agreements, including a consular treaty and an accord on military
production, research, and marketing to other countries. Lazarenko asked
Videnov to liberalize Bulgaria's trade regime and work toward free trade
and double taxation agreements between Ukraine and Bulgaria. He said he
hopes Bulgaria and Ukraine will reach their 1992 trade level of $500
million by the end of this year. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN COURT REVOKES DEATH SENTENCES. The Court of Appeal dropped the
death sentences of former communist deputy Interior Minister Zylyftar
Ramizi, General Prosecutor Mino Rrapi, and Supreme Court head Aranit
Cela. The three had been sentenced on 24 May for crimes against
humanity. The appeals court, led by Prel Martini, reduced the sentences
to life imprisonment for Ramizi and 25-year terms for the others. For
former Parliamentary President Haxhi Lleshi and deputy Prime Minister
Manush Myftiu, their life sentences were reduced to five years each. --
Fabian Schmidt

DATE SET FOR ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. After Albanian president Sali
Berisha decreed that local elections will be held on 20 October,
opposition parties tried to ensure successful talks with the ruling
Democratic Party. On 22 July, the Socialists met with six other
opposition parties to discuss how to ensure free elections. Another
issue was the significance of round-table talks between the Democrats
and the Socialists. The Center Pole coalition criticized the Socialists
for holding isolated talks, Republika reported on 25 July. ButKoha Jone
reported that the Center Pole supported the Socialists after a meeting
with the Socialist's leadership committee on 24 July. They decided new
general elections should be the opposition's main objective. -- Fabian
Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Maura Griffin Solovar

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