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

No. 148, Part II, 1 August 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

*******************************************************************
Available soon -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the
Former Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy."
Published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a
systematic and comprehensive review of the most pivotal events in
the 27 countries of the former Communist bloc and former Soviet
Union during 1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a special price
of $25 each (plus postage and handling). To order, please email
your request to: annual@omri.cz
*******************************************************************

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES DENOUNCE ASYLUM SEEKERS. Mikhail Podhany,
head of the political information department of the president's
administration, has denied that Belarusian authorities are seeking
opposition leaders Zyanon Paznyak or Syarhei Naumchyk, ITAR-TASS
reported on 31 July. Paznyak and Naumchyk both applied for
political asylum in the U.S. on 30 July, claiming they feared for
their safety if they returned to Belarus because President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka had issued a warrant for their arrest.
Podhany said no death sentences have been passed on the two and
that their request for asylum was motivated only by their desire to
enjoy a comfortable life in the West as political refugees. Neither
Paznyak nor Naumchyk has said an official death sentence was
issued. Rather, they have maintained that the president would like
to have them "neutralized." -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT AGREES TO PRISONER SWAP. President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has given his preliminary approval to exchanging seven
members of the Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) currently detained
in a Belarusian prison for 14 Russian border guards held prisoner
by Chechens, Belarusian radio reported on 31 July. The UNA members
were arrested for participating in the 26 April Chornobyl Day
demonstrations in Belarus, which turned into an anti-Lukashenka
rally. They have still been neither tried nor sentenced. Deputy
head of UNA Dmytro Korchynsky was critical of Ukrainian officials
for failing to secure the prisoners release, Ukrainian radio
reported on 31 July. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry takes the official
line that Ukrainians abroad must respect the laws of their host
country. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN SPACE COMMANDER. Leonid
Kuchma met with Russian commander of cosmic and armed forces
Vladimir Ivanov in Crimea on 31 July, Ukrainian radio reported.
Kuchma is currently vacationing on the peninsula. The meeting took
place at the Russian's request. The two men discussed cooperation
on space projects, particularly creating an area in space for
peaceful purposes, joint testing of space equipment, and joint
training. The same day, Ukrainian ministers and the president's
administration met to discuss space issues, including the financing
of the country's space industry. With some 80% of the state budget
spent on social programs, only limited funds are available for
subsidizing scientific research and development projects. -- Ustina
Markus

UKRAINE SIGNS TANK DEAL WITH PAKISTAN. Ukraine has signed a deal to
sell more than 300 Ukrainian-built T-80 tanks to Pakistan, Reuters
reported on 31 July. The deal is worth $550 million, and the tanks
are to be delivered to Pakistan over a three-year period. The U.S.
had stopped all military supplies to Pakistan in 1990, but the deal
was made possible under the Pressler Amendment, which allows
Islambalad a one-time exemption for weapons purchases, excluding F-
16 aircraft. Ukraine developed the tank at its plant in Kharkiv and
first displayed it at an arms fair in Abu-Dhabi in March 1995. --
Ustina Markus

ESTONIA TO EXPEL PEOPLE DENIED RESIDENCE PERMITS. Andres Kollist,
head of the Citizenship and Migration Department, said on 31 July
that his department will ask about 100 people to leave Estonia, BNS
reported. Their applications for residence permits have been turned
down because they supplied false information about themselves or
because they had a criminal record. He said he hoped that they
would the country peacefully and in a civilized manner. But he
added that they would be forcibly expelled if they did not do so.
Kollist said that a far greater problem was posed by the tens of
thousands of illegal immigrants living in the country who have not
applied for residence permits. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN UPDATE. A proposal by Latvia's Way to discuss "as an urgent
matter" the transfer of the border guards from the jurisdiction of
the Defense Ministry to that of the Interior Ministry has been
rejected, BNS reported on 31 July. The issue will be considered, as
scheduled, at the Saeima's fall session, BNS reported. The main
reason for rejecting the proposal was the two ministries' failure
to draft a program for an efficient transfer of jurisdiction.
Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins favored the rapid transfer,
arguing that the government will face difficulties in drafting next
year's budget if the issue of the transfer is not resolved. --
Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PROGRAM FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT TO BE AMENDED.
Agriculture Minister Vytautas Einoris has said that Lithuania's
national agricultural development program will have to be changed
to reflect more accurately changes that have occurred, BNS reported
on 31 July. The program was approved by the government in 1993 and
was to apply until 2005. Over the past three years, the number of
land owners has increased while the area of farm land in use
declined. The original program called for the production of 3.64
million tons of grain in 1995, but only 1.95 million tons were
harvested. The production of 208,000 tons of meat and 2.3 million
tons of milk in 1995 was far below the planned 319,000 tons and 2.3
million tons, respectively, Einoris said the revised program would
reflect the real situation and that emphasis will be placed on
increasing the competitiveness of food products, expanding exports,
and creating new jobs in the agricultural sector. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH-U.S. AGREEMENT ON FIGHTING ORGANIZED CRIME. Leszek Miller,
chief of the Polish Government's Office, signed an agreement on
collaboration in fighting organized crime during his recent visit
to the U.S., Polish dailies reported on 1 August. The agreement--
which provides for the exchange of information between the
countries' police forces, treasuries, customs, border guards, and
judiciaries--aims at preventing the smuggling of drugs, arms, and
people as well as money-laundering. Miller noted that Poland is
particularly threatened by drug smuggling and drug trafficking
since it is on the crossroads of major communication routes. The
FBI is to open a bureau in Warsaw this fall--its second in the
former East bloc, after Moscow. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
bureau is also to be opened in Warsaw. -- Jakub Karpinski

MOCK TV CREW FILMED DEMONSTRATION IN POLAND. Polish dailies
reported on 1 August that a march in Gdansk last month to protest
government policy in the region (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 July
1996) was filmed by a mock TV crew. While the fakeTV reporters used
a camera with TV Gdansk logo, the equipment was different from
cameras used by the TV station, the press noted. The Gdansk daily
Dziennik Baltycki suggested members of the Government Protection
Office had imitated TV reporters, but a spokesman for the office
denied that had been the case. The mock TV crew was filmed by real
TV reporters whose superiors gave the order not to show the tape to
anyone and not to talk with other media outlets. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT RAISES ENERGY PRICES. As of 1 August, Slovak
citizens will have to pay more for electricity, water, and fuel.
Electricity prices are increasing by 5% for businesses and 10% for
households, the cost of household water is rising from 4 to 5
crowns per cubic meter, and maximum prices for gasoline and diesel
fuel are growing by 1.30 crowns per liter. Revenues from the
electricity price increase will be used for investment in firms
producing and distributing energy. Slovak Confederation of Trade
Unions President Alojz Englis stressed on 31 July that the price
increases are a violation of the social partnership between the
government, unions, and employers, Praca reported. Englis said the
government succumbed to the pressure of industry, transferring
firms' problems to the population, "which is least able to defend
itself." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION CALLS FOR DEMOCRATIZATION. Party of the
Democratic Left Deputy Chairman Peter Weiss told Narodna obroda on
1 August that his party is initiating talks with other opposition
parties to coordinate foreign policy aimed at boosting Slovakia's
NATO and the EU integration efforts. "If Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar does not want to go down in history as a man who damaged
Slovakia's long-term interests, he has to take unavoidable
democratic steps," Weiss stressed. In other news, police official
Ondrej Laciak told TASR that it remains unclear whether the car
explosion that killed former police officer Robert Remias was
caused by someone or was a technical failure. The opposition called
the death of Remias, who was connected to the kidnapping case of
the president's son, the first political murder in Slovakia since
1989. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK CULTURE MINISTRY OFFICIAL CRITICIZES THEATER POLICY.
Speaking on Radio Twist on 31 July, Olga Salagova, state secretary
at the Culture Ministry, distanced herself from Culture Minister
Ivan Hudec's controversial steps to merge Slovak's theaters and
make personnel changes. Although Salagova recognized the need for
change, she stressed that "we certainly could have found an easier
path than that chosen by Hudec. I do not agree with it, and I
distance myself from such actions. It is necessary to speak with
our artists." She noted that despite her high ministerial position,
she is "not allowed" to deal with the issue. Hudec told Slovenska
Republika that the actors at the Slovak National Theater--several
of whom have announced their resignations as a result of recent
personnel changes--are behaving like "privileged children of the
revolution." -- Sharon Fisher

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS ISSUE APPEAL FOR NUCLEAR-FREE HUNGARY. More
than 40 Hungarian civic organizations have issued a statement
expressing concern that the country's politicians have not
dissociated themselves from a possible deployment of nuclear
weapons on Hungarian soil, Hungarian radio reported on 30 July. The
statement says that the deployment of nuclear weapons in Hungary
would be tantamount to the country becoming a potential target for
nuclear attack. Istvan Gyarmati, state secretary at the Ministry of
Defense, responded by saying it is very important to hold a
dialogue with civil organizations opposed to his government's
plans. He added that Hungary is not interested in and cannot have
partial NATO membership. "We want to be a member of NATO as soon as
possible, for that would best guarantee the country's security.
Stationing more and more nuclear weapons does not seem to be the
current tendency in Europe, just the opposite. NATO's expansion is
unlikely to change that," he commented. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KORNBLUM MEETS WITH BOSNIAN SERBS. U.S. assistant Secretary of
State for Canadian and European affairs John Kornblum on 31 July
met with top Bosnian Serbs to remind them that indicted war
criminal Radovan Karadzic must stay out of politics, AFP reported.
A U.S. official said the talks focused on the need for the Bosnian
Serb leadership to respect an agreement with U.S. envoy for Bosnia
Richard Holbrooke on Karadzic's withdrawal from all political
activities. However, Karadzic's photographs still appear in the
Republika Srpska media, and he is reported to have attended closed
meetings of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party. Last week
Holbrooke announced that Kornblum would attempt to force Karadzic
to leave his base in Pale, but press reports did not specify
whether the issue was raised at the 31 July meeting. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

WORLD BANK APPROVES $75.6 MILLION FOR BOSNIA'S RECONSTRUCTION. The
World Bank has agreed to grant Bosnia-Herzegovina $75.6 million in
credits to finance five reconstruction programs, AFP reported on 31
July. The projects involve de-mining, housing reconstruction,
electricity production, employment, and the demobilization and
reintegration of 425,000 Bosnian army soldiers. The loans are
interest-free and will mature in 35 years. In other news, Biljana
Plavsic, acting president of the Republika Srpska, on 30 July began
her campaign for the September general elections by touring Serb-
held towns in northwestern Bosnia, Onasa reported. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

WILL SEPARATIST BOSNIAN CROATS GIVE UP THEIR STATE? Separatist
Bosnian Croats have agreed to transform their mini-state, Herceg-
Bosna, into a "political community," Croatian radio reported,
citing a comminqué adopted by the Bosnian Croat leadership. But
Croatian leaders in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia were
unavailable to clear up ambiguities in the comminqué, AFP reported
on 31 July. Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic, speaking in Zagreb
on 31 July, remarked that Zagreb's position on Herceg-Bosna remains
unclear, adding that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has "not
promised to agree to the dissolution of Herceg-Bosna, but we will
see [what happens] in the next five to six days." Meanwhile,
Tudjman is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on 1 August for what
local media describe as " a working visit" and meetings with
President Bill Clinton. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN PREMIER IN KOSOVO. Mirko Marjanovic, addressing ethnic
Serbian "business leaders and political officials" in the
predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo on 30 July,
described Kosovo as an "integral and inalienable" part of Serbia.
Marjanovic said his government's priority was to advocate policies
promoting "peace, the rule of law, economic prosperity and the
fight against crime,...[and] equality for all citizens." The
premier also said that the leadership of the Kosovar shadow state
"has put [ethnic Albanians] in a very difficult situation by
implementing polices of self-imposed isolation," Tanjug reported.
-- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA, BRITAIN SIGN DEFENSE AGREEMENT. Visiting British Defense
Secretary Michael Portillo and Macedonian Defense Minister Blagoj
Handziski on 31 July signed a defense cooperation agreement, AFP
reported. Portillo said Britain will help Macedonia remain
independent and sovereign. An official Macedonian statement said
the agreement "aims at integration of Macedonia into Europe's
collective defense and security system." -- Stefan Krause

SLOVENIAN NAVY ACQUIRES VESSEL. A 29-meter military patrol boat,
equipped with two 20-millimeter canons, arrived in the port of
Koper on 31 July, STA reported that same day. The vessel--the
independent Slovenian Navy's first-ever ship--was purchased from an
Israeli firm in 1993 but could not be delivered until recently
owing to the internationally imposed arms embargo on all republics
of the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ROUNDUP. Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu described his
one-day official visit to France on 31 July as part of a lobbying
drive for Romanian membership in European and Euro-Atlantic
structures, Radio Bucharest reported. Melescanu was received by
French Premier Alain Juppe, and his French counterpart, Herve de
Charette, with whom he agreed to set up a working group on
bilateral economic cooperation. Meanwhile, an accord on the use of
Western European Union (WEU) documents enters into force on 1
August, Radio Bucharest reported. The new accord allows Romania to
use confidential information from the WEU, the military arm of the
EU. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN MEETS COMMUNISTS. Petru Lucinschi on
31 July met with the leadership of the Communist Party of Moldova
(PCM), BASA-press reported. PCM Chairman Vladimir Voronin said
after the meeting that Lucinschi was clearly seeking the
Communists' support in the run-up to the presidential elections,
though he did not say as much. Voronin added that Lucinschi, who
was a Central Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union in its final days, should first clarify his own
"contribution to the collapse of the party and, implicitly, of the
Soviet Union" before counting on the PCM's support. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN UPDATE. The Bulgarian Socialist Party and its two tiny
coalition partners--the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union
"Aleksandar Stamboliyski" and the Political Club "Ekoglasnost"--
have signed an agreement endorsing Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski
and Culture Minister Ivan Marazov as their joint presidential and
vice presidential candidates, Duma reported on 1 August. In other
news, Social Minister Mincho Koralski has announced that the
minimum wage will rise from 4,000 leva ($21.40) to 5,500 leva on 1
October, 24 chasa reported. The minimum pension will be increase
from 2160 to 2760 leva and the maximum pension from 6480 to 8250
leva. Subsidies for the socially needy will also be raised.
Meanwhile, prices for electricity, fuel, and heating went up by 22-
23% on 1 August (just one month after the last hike), while average
bread prices increased by 51.8% over the past two weeks. -- Stefan
Krause

U.S. EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER ALBANIA'S "AUTHORITARIAN TENDENCIES."
U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 31 July expressed
disappointment with developments in Albania, RFE/RL reported.
Christopher told the U.S. House of Representatives' International
Affairs Committee that Albania is not moving toward democracy as
vigorously as it should. He added that he is "profoundly disturbed"
by recent authoritarian tendencies there. Congressman Tom Lantos
questioned whether the U.S. should continue to provide Albania with
economic assistance, saying Albania should be pressed to establish
an independent judiciary, a free press, and equal rights for the
Greek minority. Meanwhile, the Albanian parliament has invited the
Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the OSCE to send
observers to monitor the 20 October local elections, AFP reported.
It also ratified the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Convention
on the Ban of Tortures. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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