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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 156, Part I, 13 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
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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN UPDATE. President Leonid Kuchma has appointed Mykola
Biloblotsky as labor minister and Dmytro Khudolii as minister of
communications, Ukrainian TV reported on 12 August. He also named
Oleksander Omelchenko as mayor of Kyiv. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Ministry of
Education has announced it is cutting enrollment to the country's higher
education institutions by 4,600 full-time students and laying off one-
third of teaching staff at medical schools, UNIAN reported on 10 August.
The measures are aimed at reducing the ministry's wage debt, which
nonetheless amount to 17.1 trillion karbovantsi ($92 million) after the
cuts. The ministry has also closed down 12 facilities that offered
evening and correspondence courses, saying it will cut jobs at the
country's scientific and research institutes. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS LOWERING VOTE BARRIER. The Seimas on 12
August rejected President Algirdas Brazauskas's proposal that in order
to gain a share of the proportional seats in the October parliamentary
elections, parties need to win only 4% of the vote and coalitions 5%,
Radio Lithuania reported. In accordance with the election law, parties
will have to gain 5% of the vote and coalitions 7% in the fall ballot.
While 41 deputies voted in favor of the proposal, 21 voted against and
29 abstained. The Seimas also ratified World Bank loans worth $5.9
million and $6.2 million for financing a geothermal power plant in
Klaipeda and an environmental protection project in Siauliai,
respectively. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN MINISTER URGES LITHUANIA TO STOP OIL TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION.
Environmental Protection Minister Indulis Emsis, citing environmental
reasons, has called on Lithuania to stop the construction of its
floating oil terminal at Butinge, BNS reported on 12 August. He said the
terminal should be built in a closed-port area, where it would be easier
to contain spilled oil. He also complained that Lithuania has not
informed Latvia about the environmental safety of the terminal, which,
according to Lithuanian press reports, will also be used to reload
chemical substances. Lithuanian Energy Minister Saulius Kutas told
Lietuvos rytas last week that his country had expected Latvia to protest
because the completed terminal will compete with Latvia's Ventspilis
port for the export of Russian oil. The construction of that terminal
has been suspended owing to a lack of funds. -- Saulius Girnius

IS POLAND'S ECONOMIC TSAR OUT? Zycie Warszawy reported on 13 August that
according to "unofficial plans" for the cabinet reshuffle, Deputy Prime
Minister and Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko will not have a place in
the new government. Kolodko has been responsible for economic policy
over the past two years. The daily suggests that he will become
president of the National Bank of Poland at some later date. The Polish
Peasants' Party, which is the junior member of the coalition government,
has reportedly been promised two of the new government's three deputy
premierships. The beneficiaries would be Miroslaw Pietrewicz (who would
also be the state treasury minister) and Roman Jagielinski (who would
keep his position as agricultural minister). Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the senior coalition
party, would keep his position, while SLD Labor Minister Leszek Miller
would become the third deputy prime minister and minister of
administration and internal affairs. Former Deputy Prime Minister Marek
Borowski is to head the Economics Ministry, while Foreign Minister
Dariusz Rosati is be moved to the Finance Office. If these changes were
to take place, the PSL's influence, especially in economic policy, would
be greatly increased. -- Ben Slay

POLISH TELECOM COMES UNDER ATTACK. Polish Telecom, which has a monopoly
on most telephone services in Poland, has come under strong criticism
for its apparently high-handed ways, Polish dailies reported 13 August.
In response to a complaint against PT filed by the Consumers' Federation
and the Human Rights Ombudsman, Polish Antimonopoly Office President
Andrzej Sopocko called for a recent Communications Ministry decision to
be overturned. According to that decision, PT would have been allowed to
supply network access to two cellular phone companies on terms favorable
to it. The recent unilateral withdrawal by PT's Cracow office from an
agreement with the Polish Post Office has left small towns in five
regions in southeastern Poland without any telephone or telegraph
services. An Antimonopoly Office spokesman promised that the matter
would be investigated, adding that "this is only one part of a greater
whole. Unfortunately, we have many complaints against PT." -- Ben Slay

CZECH PREMIER SAYS NO RIFT IN RULING PARTY. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
on 12 August said there is no rift -- and no need for factions -- within
the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Czech media reported. The statement
followed a meeting of his party's executive council, the first since
Foreign Minister and ODS Deputy Chairman Josef Zieleniec called for more
pluralism and political debate within the party (see OMRI Daily Digest,
7 August 1996). "I know more or less these views of Zieleniec, and I
have repeatedly discussed them with him," Klaus said. He added that they
had gained "popularity" because they were published in "the silly
season." Klaus said he and Zieleniec have "fundamentally different"
views on the problems faced by the ODS in the post-election period. --
Sharon Fisher

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRAT CHAIRMAN INSTILLS DISCIPLINE. Milos Zeman has
reprimanded three deputies from the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD)
for their recent absence from the parliament, Pravo reported on 10
August. Zeman noted that by leaving for vacation, the deputies allowed
the law on Church restitution to pass by a single vote. The opposition
was also one vote short in the ballot on the establishment of a
commission to investigate the situation of the Poldi Kladno steel firm.
"If any deputy is unable to bear the responsibility, there is only one
honorable solution: to free his post for a replacement," Zeman said.
Four other CSSD deputies--including the popular deputy chairwoman Petra
Buzkova--will reportedly also be reprimanded for violating the CSSD's
election program when they voted against holding a referendum on the
country's EU and NATO membership. One of those singled out rejected the
criticism. Kvetoslava Korinkova said she learned of the scheduling of
the session one day before leaving for vacation and could not put off
her flight. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN TENSIONS FLARE . . . The Slovak National Party (SNS) on
12 August strongly criticized Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn for
supporting autonomy for ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring
countries, Slovak media reported. The SNS--a junior partner in
Slovakia's ruling coalition--was responding to Horn's statement the
previous day that the joint declaration approved at the July Budapest
summit does not contain anything that could offend neighboring
countries. Horn had also stressed that the document is in harmony with
both the government's program and European norms and does not conflict
with the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. The SNS said it is "very dangerous"
for Hungary's official representative to openly endorse the joint
declaration, which demands territorial autonomy for Hungarians living in
neighboring countries as a condition for maintaining their identity. --
Sharon Fisher

. . . WHILE PREMIERS' MEETING IS CANCELED. A meeting between Horn and
his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar scheduled for 13 August has been
postponed indefinitely, according to Hungarian and Slovak media.
Slovakia reportedly requested that the meeting be put off until a later
date. Horn had said on Hungarian TV on 11 August that issues on the
meeting's agenda included the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in
Slovakia, the Gabcikovo dam, bilateral cooperation in privatization, and
European integration efforts. One Hungarian daily speculated that Meciar
called off the meeting because nationalists in his governing coalition
objected to the July joint declaration as well as to Hungarian
participation in Slovakia's privatization process. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES PREMIER'S STATEMENT ON TREATY WITH
ROMANIA. Hungarian opposition leaders have responded with surprise and
skepticism to Prime Minister Gyula Horn's statement on 11 August that
Hungary is about to ratify the basic treaty with Romania, Hungarian
dailies reported. Former Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky said he sees
no indication that Romania is modifying its treatment of its Hungarian
minority. Tensions have arisen between the two countries over this
issue. Meanwhile, Hungarian Foreign Ministry state secretary Ferenc
Somogyi has left for Bucharest to discuss unresolved issues in the basic
treaty. Somogyi said agreement has been reached on 95% of the basic
treaty and the outstanding issues are related to the Council of Europe
Recommendation 1201 on ethnic minorities. -- Ben Slay

HUNGARIAN MILITARY REINFORCED CROATIAN BORDER LAST SUMMER. Hungarian
Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti and Secret Services Minister Istvan
Nikolits on 12 August confirmed that Hungary's border guard troops were
substantially reinforced along the border with eastern Slavonia in
Croatia during the summer of 1995, Vilaggazdasag reported. This move
reflected the heightened threat of war related to the Croatian military
offensives to retake Serb-held western Slavonia in May 1995 and Krajina
in August 1995. Although eastern Slavonia remains the sole Croatian
region under the control of rebel Serbs, Keleti said that no such threat
exists today. -- Ben Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS GIVE IN TO NATO FIRMNESS. The Pale leadership on 12 August
agreed to allow IFOR to inspect sites at Gen. Ratko Mladic's
headquarters, located at the mountain stronghold of Han Pijesak. The
Serbs had blocked NATO inspectors two days earlier, and IFOR had
responded with the unprecedented step of pulling its liaison officers
out of Pale (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 August 1996). NATO the same day
activated "Operation Fear Naught," which placed its own forces in the
Republika Srpska on a higher state of alert, consolidated them in more
readily defendable positions, and effectively ordered civilian aid
workers to leave. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and NATO's
commander in Europe, Gen. George Joulwan, met with Republika Srpska
Acting President Biljana Plavsic and other Serbian officials, who then
said that the inspection could go ahead. On 13 August, IFOR commander
Gen. Sir Michael Walker flew his helicopter from Sarajevo to Pale to
collect Plavsic en route to Han Pijesak to ensure that all went
smoothly, international media noted. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN PRESIDENT AGREES TO 3-MONTH EXTENSION OF UN MANDATE. Franjo
Tudjman on 12 August told Jacques Klein, UN administrator of eastern
Slavonia, that Croatia will agree to have the UN's mandate extended by
three months, Hina reported. Serbs living in the region have said they
would like a one-year extension, and UN Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros Ghali has supported that view (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 August
1996), while Tudjman said that he would request that during the period
of extension, local government elections take place on the basis of the
1991 census and that the UN create the conditions for the return of
refugees. But Klein said those requests could not be met before Croatia
issued an amnesty for rebel Serbs. Meanwhile, a Croatian government team
on 12 August began excavating mass graves in the Plitvice region,
central Croatia, that are thought to contain the bodies of Croats killed
by rebel Serbs, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SUPPORTERS OF BOSNIAN MUSLIM RULING PARTY DISRUPT OPPOSITION RALLY. A
Bosnian opposition rally on 10 August in Gradacac, northern Bosnia, was
disrupted by a group of supporters of the ruling Muslim Party of
Democratic Action (SDA), Onasa reported on 12 August. Youths wearing SDA
T-shirts caused a commotion and broke up the meeting, organized by the
opposition Joint List, which consists of anti-nationalist parties and
one Croatian group. The Joint List has accused the SDA of wanting the
Muslim-Croatian federation to be controlled by ethnic Muslims. The rally
was staged in Gradacac because Muslims and Croats have never stopped
cooperating in that city and because their respective parties -- the SDA
and the Croatian Democratic Community -- have only limited support
there. Meanwhile, Sejfudin Tokic, vice president of the Union of Bosnian
Social Democrat, has said he is concerned about the lack of neutrality
among police officials at campaign rallies, Onasa and AFP reported. --
Daria Sito Sucic

REFUGEES IN SERBIA-MONTENEGRO REGISTER TO VOTE IN BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. An
OSCE representative has said that 220,640 refugees have registered with
his organization to vote in the 14 September elections in Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Beta reported on 12 August. Of those, 97,636 have opted to
cast their ballots in Serbia-Montenegro and the remainder will vote in
Bosnia, with the majority expected to do so in the Republika Srpska.
Polling in Serbia-Montenegro will take place between 28 August and 3
September and will be supervised by OSCE monitors. Beta reported that
there are 450,000-480,000 Bosnian refugees in Serbia-Montenegro and that
633,584 refugees in a total of 28 countries have registered to vote in
the elections. -- Stan Markotich

AMMUNITION CACHE FOUND IN DNIESTER REGION. An ammunition cache has been
discovered in Colbasna, a village in Moldova's breakaway Dniester region
near the Ukrainian border, BASA-press reported on 12 August. The
discovery follows the arrest in a nearby town of several Ukrainian
teenagers who were in possession of ammunition from the former 14th
Russian army depositories. The Russian command in Tiraspol was quoted as
saying that the military of the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic
may have hidden the ammunition in 1995. The Dniester military has
insisted that it have control over the equipment and ammunition slated
for liquidation by the Russian troops. Up to 100,000 tons of ammunition
are believed to be in the Colbasna cache. -- Dan Ionescu

PEACETIME NAVAL EXERCISE OFF BULGARIAN COAST. Vessels from eight
nations--the U.S., Russia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, and
Bulgaria--gathered off the Bulgarian coast on 10 August to take part in
a six-day peacekeeping naval exercise. According to a statement issued
by the Bulgarian Defense Ministry, Bulgaria's contingent consists of
nine ships, six planes, and two helicopters. Bulgarian media reported
that the exercise would focus on communication drills and damage-control
maneuvers. -- Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN APPEALS COURT REDUCES SENTENCES OF COMMUNIST OFFICIALS. The
Tirana appeals court on 12 August reduced the life sentences of former
party chief ideologue Foto Cami, former Defense Minister Prokop Murra,
and regional party leader Muho Asllani, Reuters reported. Cami's
sentence was commuted to a five-year suspended jail term, while Murra
and Asllani received 20- and 18-year terms respectively. The court
upheld the sentences handed down to former party secretary Gaqo Nesho,
national Police Chief Dilaver Bengasi, and Tirana secret police chief
Zef Loka, who were sentenced in May to between 16 and 20 years. All were
charged with crimes against humanity and deportation of dissidents. --
Fabian Schmidt

MILITARY EXERCISES IN ALBANIA. U.S. and Albanian troops on 12 August
began a joint military exercise in Albania. Code-named "Salvation Eagle
96," the maneuvers will focus on peacekeeping and search-and-rescue
operations, ATSH reported. Over the past four years, Albanian troops
have taken part in more that 20 joint exercises with armies of NATO
countries and member states of the Partnership for Peace program. --
Fabian Schmidt

CRIME IN ALBANIA DECREASING. Deputy Interior Minister Agim Shehu has
announced that crime in Albania is down 45% compared to 1992, ATSH
reported. Shehu argued that the decrease is largely due to reforms,
adding that the per capita level of crime is now comparable to that of
major Western countries such as France, Italy, and England. Crime began
to increase in 1990 and 1991, when the transition to democracy got under
way. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP CONCERNED ABOUT PROSTITUTION ABROAD. The
Albanian Helsinki Committee has expressed concern about the increase in
prostitution among Albanian women living in neighboring states, Poli i
Qendres reported on 13 August. The group estimates that about one-third
of female prostitutes in Italy are from Albania and that the majority
were smuggled into that country by criminal gangs who then force the
women to engage in prostitution. Stranded abroad, the women become
dependent on criminal organizations and, as illegal immigrants, are
deprived of legal protection and human rights. -- Ismije Beshiri

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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