Большинство людей счастливы ровно на столько, насколько они к этому приспособлены. - Авраам Линкольн
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 145, Part I, 29 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 PRIME MINISTER WRAPS UP U.S. VISIT. Pavlo Lazarenko ended a
two-day working visit to the U.S. on 27 July, Ukrainian radio reported.
Lazarenko met there with IMF representatives to discuss the
organization's stand-by credit program for Ukraine and the release of a
$1.5 billion stabilization loan at the end of the year to support the
introduction of Ukraine's national currency, the hryvna. They discussed
another credit program whereby some $3 billion would be released to
Ukraine over the next three years. Lazarenko also met with World Bank
President James Wolfenson. The two men agreed that further economic
reforms in Ukraine would be possible only through macroeconomic
stabilization and that such stabilization could be achieved only with
international financing. -- Ustina Markus

INDEPENDENCE DAY ANNIVERSARY IN BELARUS. Some 15,000 peopled rallied on
27 July to mark the fifth anniversary of Belarus's declaration of
independence, Russian and international agencies reported. The
authorized rally ended peacefully, despite the presence of some 10,000
fully armed security troops. Demonstrators shouted slogans against
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and carried the former national red-and-
white flags, instead of the new Soviet-style flags, as a sign of protest
against the president's policies. Lukashenka the previous day said that
Belarus was building an independent state "while preserving valuable
links." He said the "Community of Russia and Belarus" was an expression
of the people's protest "against the artificial break-up of a great
country." -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN DEPUTIES CALL FOR IMPEACHING PRESIDENT. At the Independence
Day rally, representatives of the United Civic Party, the Social-
Democratic Hramada, the Belarusian Popular Front, and other liberal
parties called for a campaign to collect the signatures of those
deputies in favor of impeaching President Lukashenka, ITAR-TASS
reported. Article 104 of the Belarusian Constitution, adopted in March
1994, states that the president can be impeached for violating the
constitution by a vote of at least two-thirds of the parliament. The
issue of impeachment can be raised if at least 70 deputies sign a
petition to that effect. -- Ustina Markus

FORMER ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER NOT TO BE STRIPPED OF IMMUNITY. State
Prosecutor Indrek Meelak on 26 July said he was closing the case the
security police had opened against Edgar Savisaar because he find
nothing criminal in his conduct, ETA reported. Meelak added he would not
try to strip him of immunity as a parliament deputy. Savisaar was forced
to resign as interior minister and Center Party chairman last fall in a
scandal over the illegal taping of private conversations with other
Estonian politicians. Savisaar subsequently regained the leadership of
the Center Party, but some members withdrew from it in protest and
formed the Progress Party. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MERGE WITH DEMOCRATIC PARTY SAIMNIEKS.
Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS) Chairman Ziedonis Cevers and Republican
Party head Andris Plotnieks on 26 July signed an agreement whereby their
parties will merge, BNS reported. The parties also issued a joint
statement stating that they "both represent centrist views" and that
they believe their merger will help create a stable and transparent
political party system. Republican Party members are to be registered as
DPS members by 1 September, and the party will cease to exist after the
next DPS congress amends its statutes and adopts a new party program. --
Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, GERMANY AGREE ON NAZI COMPENSATION. The German Foreign
Ministry on 26 July announced that Germany will pay 2 million German
marks ($1.5 million) in compensation to Lithuania for atrocities
committed during the Nazi occupation, BNS reported. The money will be
used to fund an old people's home, a nursing home, and two hospitals for
surviving Nazi victims. Lithuania, in turn, agreed not to demand further
compensation from Germany. Ignatz Bubis, head of the Central Council of
Jews in Germany, said the compensation was "peanuts" and "extremely
unsatisfactory for the roughly 300 survivors in Lithuania." Germany has
reached a similar accord with Estonia and is negotiating one with
Latvia. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH "WHITE BOOK" FOR EU MEMBERSHIP SUBMITTED TO BRUSSELS. Foreign
Minister Dariusz Rosati has handed over Poland's "white book" on full EU
membership to EU Ambassador in Warsaw Rolf Timmans, Zycie Warszawy
reported on 29 July. The white book is Poland's answer to the
questionnaire submitted by the European Commission to Poland, Hungary,
the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It consists of 2,664 pages and
provides concrete details of Poland's application for full membership.
According to Rosati, the material submitted by Poland will allow the
Commission to assess Poland's progress in the protection of minority and
civil rights, the development of a market economy, and the harmonization
of Polish law with the EU's legal and regulatory framework. Poland is
the last of the four Central European countries to hand in its "white
book." -- Ben Slay

POLISH JUSTICE MINISTER REFUSES TO RULE ON POST-COMMUNIST PARTY'S DEBTS.
Polish Justice Minister Leszek Kubicki has refused to rule on the issue
of 20 million zloty ($7.4 million) in communist-era debts that judicial
officials claim are the responsibility of the Social Democracy of the
Polish Republic (SdRP), Gazeta wyborcza reported 27-28 July. The SdRP--
which forms the core of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the senior
partner in Poland's coalition government--is the legal successor of the
Communist Party (PZPR), which ruled Poland for 40 years. A number of
criminal and civil claims against the PZPR's assets have been made since
the party's liquidation in 1990. However, the SdRP, the largest
inheritor of the PZPR's assets, has managed to avoid making payments by
arguing that its coffers are empty--despite the fact that the SLD is
widely thought to have the best-developed infrastructure of Poland's
political parties. -- Ben Slay

CZECH PARLIAMENT ON CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS. By a margin of one vote, the
parliament on 26 July rejected a proposal by the Czech Social Democratic
Party (CSSD) that a special law on the restitution of Catholic Church
property be passed, Czech media reported. The CSSD objects to government
plans to issue decrees on returning a large amount of former Church
property, thereby circumventing the parliament. The minority government
coalition, however, suffered a defeat the same day when a Communist
Party proposal was approved according to which the government is to
submit to the parliament a plan for separating Church and state and a
blueprint for financing Churches before the restitution of Church
property begins. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ACCUSES U.S. OF DOUBLE STANDARDS. Vladimir Meciar
told Slovak Radio on 26 July that the U.S. Congress is "wrong" to leave
his country off the list of financial assistance recipients for NATO
integration. "If Hungary, with its government's nationalistic policies
[and] interference in the internal affairs [of neighboring
countries]...becomes a NATO member, then a strategy of double standards
is more than obvious," Meciar said. He commented that Slovakia's
omission from the list is partly in reaction to internal political
developments and geopolitical relations, stressing that "many untruths
are said about us abroad." Nonetheless, he insisted that Slovakia's
interest in NATO membership has not declined. Meanwhile, Peter Weiss,
deputy chairman of the opposition Party of the Democratic Left, accused
the ruling coalition of failing to take the U.S. Congress's decision
seriously. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK, HUNGARIAN DEPUTIES DISCUSS AUTONOMY. Slovak and Hungarian
deputies met in Bratislava on 26 July to discuss a declaration issued in
Budapest earlier this month calling for autonomy for Hungarians living
in neighboring countries, Slovak media reported. The Bratislava meeting-
-initiated by Slovak Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dusan
Slobodnik--focused on explaining the meaning of the word "autonomy,"
which was not defined in the Hungarian declaration. Slobodnik's
Hungarian counterpart, Matyas Eorsi, said the Hungarians called for
"neither territorial nor ethnic autonomy" in their declaration.
Slobodnik told CTK that he "can imagine" discussions of educational and
cultural autonomy for Slovakia's Hungarians; however, Hungarian
politicians in Slovakia would first have to "change their behavior." The
committee members agreed to continue discussions this fall. -- Sharon
Fisher

TRIAL DATE SET FOR SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN DAM CONTROVERSY. The long-standing
dispute between Slovakia and Hungary over the Gabcikovo hydroelectric
power plant could be settled by next spring, Hungarian media reported on
26 July. The International Court of Justice in The Hague will begin
considering the two sides' positions on 17 February 1997. Hungarian
Foreign Ministry official Gyorgy Szenasi said the court will pass a
ruling of principle and that the two sides will have to reach an
agreement on its implementation within six months. Szenasi noted that
experts representing Hungary are optimistic about that country's
position. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EU WARNS CROATIA OVER MOSTAR BOYCOTT. The EU on 26 July warned Croatia
that it will be responsible if Mostar's Croats continue to boycott the
Mostar City Council, AFP reported. The city council was elected last
month in Bosnia's first post-war poll. Dutch ambassador Jozef Scheffers
informed the Croatian Foreign Ministry that Croatia will face
consequences in its relations with the EU if it does not convince the
Bosnian Croats to accept the election results. Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman said he will "seriously consider" the EU ultimatum but stressed
he will not accept "solutions that are degrading or unjust for the
Croatian people," Vecernji list reported on 29 July. But Croatia's hard-
line defense minister, Gojko Susak, said he backed the Croatian boycott
because "the Bosnian Croats would have no chance in the [September]
general elections" if they accepted the results of the Mostar poll. --
Daria Sito Sucic

SERBS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA RALLY FOR AUTONOMY. An estimated several
thousand Serbs rallied in the town of Vukovar on 28 July, demanding
autonomy and the extension of the one-year mandate for the U.N.
Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) before the Serb-held
enclave comes under Croatia's jurisdiction in January 1997, Reuters
reported. Rally organizers also demanded "civil rights guarantees for
Serbs and political and economic autonomy from the central government in
Zagreb." The news agency observed that the Serbs' demands for autonomy
may be "unrealistic," particularly at this stage and particularly since
rump Yugoslavia has agreed to the Croatian army's jurisdiction over its
internationally recognized borders. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN SERBS BRING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST BELGRADE. Thirty Serbian
refugees from Croatia are to bring legal action against Belgrade on
charges of knowingly violating and ignoring internationally recognized
regulations and conventions on the treatment of refugees, Onasa
reported. Natasa Kandic, head of the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law
Foundation, said the thirty are among the some 40,000 ethnic Serbian
refugees from Croatia's Krajina region who were systematically press-
ganged by Belgrade authorities and forced to fight in front-line combat
units. According to Onasa, an estimated 4,000-6,000 ethnic Serbs from
Croatia who were forcibly conscripted by Belgrade continue to be listed
as killed, wounded, captured, or missing. -- Stan Markotich

EXPLOSIONS AT CROATIAN ARMS FACTORY INJURE 18. Two major explosions and
six minor ones rocked the arms factory in Slavonski Brod, 250 kilometers
east of Zagreb, injuring 18 people, AFP reported on 26 July, citing
Croatian radio. The factory, which produced weapons for the Croatian
army during the 1991-1992 war against the rebel Croatian Serbs, was
razed to the ground. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIA, IRAN SIGN MEMORANDUM ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION. Bosnian Prime
Minister Hasan Muratovic and First Iranian Vice President Hasan Habibi,
meeting in Sarajevo on 27 July, signed a memorandum on trade and
economic cooperation, Onasa reported. The two countries will also
cooperate in civilian air traffic. The officials discussed the
reconstruction of the Zenica steel works, with the Iranian side agreeing
to release this year a fifth of the $50 million credit pledged to
Bosnia-Herzegovina for setting up small companies and for
reconstruction. -- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Signaling that
relations between Belgrade and the current Bosnian Serb leadership in
Pale are under strain, Zoran Lilic has said that the 14 September
elections in Bosnia will "eliminate from power the illegal
regimes...[whose mandates] ran out a long time ago." He added that the
elections will pave the way for the consolidation of democratic
institutions, AFP reported on 28 July, citing local Belgrade media
reports. Lilic also praised the international community's peace efforts
in Bosnia, noting that the normalization of relations with the other
republics of the former Yugoslavia was one of Belgrade's priority. --
Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN ELECTIONS SCHEDULED. Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic
on 27 July announced that republican parliamentary elections will be
held on 3 November, Tanjug reported. Balloting is expected to take place
in accordance with recent controversial legislation dividing Montenegro
into 14 electoral districts and stipulating a proportional
representation system of voting (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 July 1996).
It is speculated that parliamentary elections in Serbia will be held on
or around the same day. -- Stan Markotich

ILIESCU NOMINATED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Party of Social Democracy
in Romania (PDSR) on 26 July nominated Ion Iliescu as its candidate in
the fall presidential elections, Romanian and Western media reported.
PDSR Executive Chairman Adrian Nastase made the announcement at a
nationwide convention. Iliescu, 66, was elected Romania's first post-
communist president in 1990 and re-elected in 1992. The PDSR fared
poorly in the June local elections, and its image has been seriously
damaged by accusations of corruption. Opinion polls suggest that Iliescu
may retain his post but is unlikely to win an outright majority in the
first round of voting, scheduled for 3 November. His main rivals are
Emil Constantinescu, leader of the Democratic Convention of Romania, and
Petre Roman, former prime minister under Iliescu and chairman of the
Democratic Party--National Salvation Front. -- Dan Ionescu

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS. EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz
Fischler on 27 July announced that the EU will help Bulgaria to deal
with its grain shortage, Reuters reported. He said specialists will
visit Bulgaria in September to help analyze its agricultural problems,
adding that the EU is ready to provide assistance but needs a clear
picture of the country's grain and land market to plan investment
credits. He urged the government to speed up agricultural reforms in
order to raise productivity. Bulgarian farmers are reluctant to
undertake extensive planting because the state-run grain purchasing
agency pays only a fraction of world market prices. Prime Minister Zhan
Videnov on 26 July told the parliament that Bulgaria must import 1.5
million metric tons of grain to secure sufficient supplies. Demokratsiya
on 27 July reported that Videnov has unblocked the military and state
grain reserves and that the opposition may ask the prosecutor-general to
investigate the case. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN CHURCH TO ANATHEMATIZE ANOTHER CHURCH'S HEAD. The official
Bulgarian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Maksim, on 26 July
announced it will anathematize Metropolitan Pimen, Reuters reported.
Pimen heads clergymen who oppose Maksim and accuse him of collaborating
with the former communist regime. Pimen's followers also claim that
Maksim was appointed rather than properly elected patriarch when he took
office in 1971. Their election of Pimen as the new patriarch on 3 July
has not been recognized by the state or the Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople. The anathematizing is expected to be carried out in
March 1997, a priest said. Declaring someone anathema is a final and
irrevocable act formally severing that person from the Church. So far,
the Holy Synod has expelled all rebel bishops from it ranks but has not
anathematized them. -- Stefan Krause

U.S. URGE NEW ELECTIONS IN ALBANIA. U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns on 27 July demanded that new elections be held in
Albania, Reuters and Gazeta Shqiptare reported. Burns said Tirana did
not respond satisfactorily to foreign observers' complaints about the
recent parliamentary elections. He also noted that re-runs in 17
constituencies in mid-June were also unsatisfactory. Until now, the U.S.
had only asked for a partial re-run to correct obvious irregularities.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rudolf Perina said the U.S. is
reviewing its ties with Albania, including financial aid. Meanwhile in
Tirana, the ruling Democratic Party blamed the Greek lobby in the U.S.
for the change in the American position. Visiting EU Commissioner for
External Affairs Hans van den Broek the previous day said the local
elections in October will be a test influencing Albania's future ties
with the EU. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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