|The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881|
No. 158, Part II, 15 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: email@example.com *********************************************************************** CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ROMANIA, HUNGARY AGREE ON BASIC TREATY. Romanian and Hungarian Deputy Foreign Ministers Marcel Dinu and Ferenc Somogyi told journalists in Bucharest that the two countries have "practically finalized" the text of the bilateral basic treaty, Radio Bucharest reported on 14 August. Experts are to meet in Budapest next week to work on the "technical finalization." Radio Bucharest reported that the breakthrough came after a change in the position of Budapest, which is now agreed on a joint interpretation of Council of Europe Recommendation 1201. But Somogyi told the press conference that a compromise had been reached whereby neither side was forced to abandon its position. According to Bucharest's interpretation, the recommendation does not grant national minorities "collective rights" or territorial autonomy based on ethnicity. Previously, Bucharest had been opposed to having the recommendation mentioned in the text of the treaty. The two sides also agreed on the texts of an "accord of reconciliation and partnership" and a joint "political declaration." -- Michael Shafir RESPONSES TO TREATY AGREEMENT IN ROMANIA . . . The Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), the junior government coalition partner, said in a press release that it opposes any reference to Recommendation 1201 in the basic treaty, Radio Bucharest reported on 14 August. The PUNR said the treaty should be put to a referendum on 3 November, when presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled. Gyorgy Frunda, presidential candidate of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), expressed fears that if collective rights and autonomy based on ethnic criteria are not included in the treaty, some of the UDMR's structures could be outlawed--including its Council of Representatives, which is about to be elected on the principle of "personal autonomy." Meanwhile, the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front, which claims it has always opposed collective rights and autonomy based on ethnic criteria, commented that the signing of the treaty would facilitate the entry of both countries into NATO "on a non-discriminatory basis." -- Michael Shafir . . . AND IN HUNGARY. In one of the most vehement responses, Agnes Maczo G. Nagy, vice president of the Smallholders' Party, charged that "racial discrimination against Hungarians" and the "holocaust" of Hungarians in some parts of the Carpathian Basin will not be prevented by the basic treaty. Istvan Csurka, president of the right-wing Hungarian Justice and Life Party, called on opposition parties to take joint action to prevent the treaty from being signed. Former Foreign Minister and opposition deputy Geza Jeszenszky struck a more moderate note, calling upon the Romanian government to guarantee the language, educational, and local government rights of ethnic Hungarians and to stop promoting anti- Hungarian sentiments. Tamas Isepy, head of the Christian Democratic party's caucus, argued that Hungary should take a lesson from its basic treaty with Slovakia, which, he said, did not stop the Slovak government from introducing a series of measures against ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia. -- Ben Slay UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ALLOTS ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR MINE SAFETY. Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets has announced that the government has allotted a total of 593 billion karbovantsi ($2.8 million) to upgrade safety standards at the country's crumbling coal mines, Ukrainian Radio reported on 14 August. He said the move was spurred by deteriorating conditions at coal mines, where mining accidents have caused 227 deaths so far this year. Last year, 345 miners were killed and another 6,700 disabled in nearly 41,000 recorded accidents. Durdynets ordered coal and health ministry officials to closely monitor the use of the funds, part of which will be used to better equip medical facilities and to avoid the kind of abuses uncovered recently by his commission on restructuring the coal industry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak TRANSDNIESTER DELEGATION IN UKRAINE. A delegation from the Transdniester region in Moldova is in Kyiv for two days of consultations with Ukrainian officials and the Moldovan ambassador to Kyiv, Ukrainian agencies reported on 14 August. The delegation, headed by Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov, hopes to convince Ukrainian leaders to participate in a peacekeeping force under UN or OSCE auspices in the breakaway region. The talks are also set to focus on such issues as trade, cooperation in agriculture, industry, energy, and culture, as well as the concerns of the large Ukrainian community in Transdniester. -- Chrystyna Lapychak ESTONIANS PROPOSE SECURITY PACT FOR BALTICS. Parliamentary Deputy Chairman Arnold Ruutel, former army commander Gen. Aleksander Einseln, and former political prisoner Enn Tarto issued a joint statement on 14 August calling for a Baltic Security Pact that would ensure the security of the Baltic states before their admission into NATO, BNS reported. The statement said that the three states should form a political and security union to prevent them from becoming a "gray zone" between the EU and Russia. The U.S. and the other six states bordering the Baltic Sea would be invited to join the union. The pact would offer internationally recognized security guarantees and set deadlines for the admission of the Baltic states into the EU and NATO. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIAN PREMIER PRESENTS DRAFT COALITION AGREEMENT. Andris Skele on 14 August presented the Cooperation Council for Governing Coalitions with his draft agreement on the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the premier and the coalition caucuses, BNS reported. The agreement is reported to stipulate that caucuses vote for government resolutions in the Saeima and support Skele's recent 12-month action plan. A caucus will not be allowed to propose budget-related bills without the consent of the others. In exceptional cases, caucuses will have the right to demand the passage of resolutions by a two-thirds majority in the Cooperation Council instead of a unanimous vote. -- Saulius Girnius IS INDEPENDENT POLITICAL PROGRAMMING BEING REMOVED FROM POLISH TV? According to a decree issued on 9 August by Ryszard Miazek, president of Polish TV (TVP), political programs produced by independent studios will no longer be aired on TVP, Polish dailies reported 13-14 August. While Miazek explained that the decree is intended to prevent "professional [TVP] journalists from being pushed off the air" by independent studios, the Polish media is full of charges that the decree is a form of censorship directed at independent and frequently critical political programs. There have been frequent rumors that the decree was the result of political pressure applied to Miazek by his colleagues in the Polish Peasants' Party, one of the members of Poland's coalition government and a target of frequent criticism by the independent media. -- Ben Slay CZECH GOVERNMENT REFUSES PROPOSAL TO LOWER DEPUTIES' WAGES. The cabinet on 14 August rejected a proposal by the extreme-right opposition Assembly for the Republic-Czechoslovak Republican Party that deputies' salaries be cut, Pravo reported. The proposal called for deputies' pay to be cut from the current monthly wage of 31,200 crowns ($1,155) to just 17,800 crowns. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the proposal was "irrational." -- Sharon Fisher CZECH PREMIER'S PARTY STILL MOST POPULAR. A poll conducted by the Factum agency in late July showed that Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS) would receive 29.1% of the vote if new elections were held now, Reuters reported on 14 August. The Social Democrats came second with 24.9%, followed by the Christian Democrats (6.7%), the Communists (6.2%), the Civic Democratic Alliance (5%), and the Republican Party (3.8%). It is difficult to predict the results of the November Senate elections on the basis of these poll results, since a majority election system will be in force rather than the proportional one used in the May-June parliamentary elections. In other news, ODS ministers told CTK on 14 August that they do not envisage integration with the Civic Democratic Alliance in the near future. They were responding to Klaus's statement the previous day saying that such a merger could put the ODS's popular support at 40%. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK OPPOSITION ON FOREIGN POLICY. The Social Democratic Party (SDSS) has proposed that before the September parliamentary session, a round- table discussion take place aimed at drawing up a declaration on entry into the EU and NATO, CTK reported on 14 August. SDSS Chairman Jaroslav Volf said the second goal of the meeting will be to present to the public a document explaining the advantages and disadvantages of joining Euro-Atlantic structures. So far, only opposition parties have agreed to attend. Jan Carnogursky, chairman of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement, told Sme that he is "rather skeptical about the significance and outcome of the round-table." Meanwhile, Carnogursky said that a draft declaration drawn up by the chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee chairman was "nonfunctional." That document stresses Slovakia's continued interest in EU and NATO membership. "We do not need a memorandum, [rather] our domestic politics must change," he stressed. -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE MUSLIMS, CROATS ELECT MOSTAR MAYOR. At the first joint session of the new Mostar City Council on 14 August, Croats and Muslims elected Ivica Prskalo, a Croat, as mayor of Mostar, international media reported. Safet Orucevic, former mayor of the Muslim-held part of Mostar, was elected his deputy. The Croats had tried to postpone the session until 19 August, but Sir Martin Garrod, the EU's special envoy for Mostar, rejected that proposal. The agenda of the first session provided only for the election of a new mayor and his deputy, but the Croats also wanted to re-elect the city council president. Hamdija Jahic, a Muslim who had been elected to that post at an earlier city council session boycotted by the Croats, said electing a new president was "out of the question," Oslobodjenje reported. As a compromise, Vjekoslav Kordic, a Croat, was elected council deputy president. -- Daria Sito Sucic "IFOR LETS MLADIC OFF THE HOOK." NATO peacekeepers avoided a possible meeting with Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic rather than be forced to arrest the indicted war criminal, the Berlin daily taz reported on 15 August. IFOR admitted the previous day that its inspectors had left the Bosnian Serb military headquarters at Han Pijesak on 10 August not because the Serbs denied them access, as IFOR originally said, but because the inspectors wanted to avoid "a close encounter" with Mladic, Nasa Borba noted on 15 August (see OMRI Special Report, 13 August 1996). The Serbs had told the NATO visitors that they could see what they wanted to only with Mladic as their guide, but IFOR said it would not accept any conditions. The peacekeepers are obliged to arrest indicted war criminals if they come across them, but IFOR has turned a blind eye to Mladic and his civilian counterpart, Radovan Karadzic, on numerous occasions in the past. An IFOR spokesman said that their group of seven officers armed with pistols thought it would "not have been prudent" to risk a confrontation with Mladic's 300 heavily armed body guards. -- Patrick Moore YET ANOTHER BOSNIAN SUMMIT. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher met in Geneva on 14 August with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and his Serbian and Croatian counterparts, Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman. As was the case at similar past gatherings, all parties agreed to implement their previous promises and agreements, many of which have gone unkept. Christopher gave a pep-talk on the importance of the 14 September elections, and the three presidents agreed that they must be "successful," Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje reported. Tudjman promised that the Herzegovinian Croat para-state of Herceg-Bosna will be dissolved by 31 August, in response to U.S. and Muslim demands. That entity should have already been consigned to history under previous agreements, and it may well continue to survive in some form or other. Tudjman also said that Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic will go to Belgrade on 23 August to sign an agreement normalizing relations, the BBC added. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN SERBS BAN OSCE ELECTION RADIO PROGRAM. The Bosnian Serb Ministry of Transport and Communications on 12 August banned the Free Election Radio Network (FERN) from broadcasting its election radio program via the Lisina transmitter, Onasa reported on 14 August. FERN is sponsored by the OSCE. Explaining its decision, the ministry said an "inspection revealed the transmitter was being used without the permission of the respective Republika Srpska ministry." A Bosnian Serb official told FERN and the OSCE that they cannot file a complaint but that they can file a lawsuit with the Republika Srpska Supreme Court. The ban came amid negotiations between FERN and IFOR on the former's using its transmitters to improve reception of the program in the eastern part of the Republika Srpska. In addition to journalists from abroad, FERN employs local journalists from both Bosnia-Herzegovina entities. -- Daria Sito Sucic RUMP YUGOSLAV ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED FOR 3 NOVEMBER. Federal President Zoran Lilic has announced that elections to the 138-seat lower house will be held on 3 November, Nasa Borba reported on 15 August. Montenegrin republican elections will take place the same day. Elections to the upper house, composed of 20 Montenegrin and 20 Serbian deputies, must be held within 30 days of the ballot for the lower house. Serbian parliamentary elections have not yet been scheduled. Lilic said that "the main reason why we are scheduling elections now is to allow ample space and time for all parties and individuals...to offer our citizens the best they have in their programs," Reuters reported. Opposition parties are expected to form coalitions for the ballot. -- Fabian Schmidt MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. Kiro Gligorov has been nominated for the 1996 Nobel peace prize, Western agencies reported on 14 August, citing the Skopje daily Dnevnik. Gligorov was nominated by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Public and International Affairs Professor William N. Dunn of the University of Pittsburgh. Gligorov was elected president of newly independent Macedonia in 1991 by the parliament and was re-elected by popular vote in October 1994. He is widely credited for leading his country to independence while avoiding the conflict and bloodshed witnessed in other former Yugoslav republics. -- Stefan Krause SOFIA, BELGRADE INAUGURATE OPTIC PHONE CABLE. Bulgaria and rump Yugoslavia (SRJ) on 14 August launched an optic telecommunications link expected to boost trans-European communications, Reuters reported. The line linking Sofia and the Serbian town of Nis was opened by the prime ministers of Bulgaria and rump Yugoslavia, Zhan Videnov and Radoje Kontic, in Kalotina, on the border between Bulgaria and the SRJ. The construction of the link took six months. Officials said it is the shortest such link between Western Europe and Asia and the first between the two Balkan countries. The line can handle some 7,600 calls simultaneously and is expected to meet demands for the next 10 years. The overlay system was produced by Germany's Siemens and the cable by Greece's Telecable. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Electricity cutoffs may be introduced in September, Standart reported on 15 August, citing sources within the National Electricity Company (NEK). The reason is lack of money to buy nuclear fuel and coal and for the reconstruction of power plants. Cutoffs can be averted only if the NEK, the government, and the Bulgarian National Bank agree on a loan for the company. In other news, former Tsar Simeon's first interview since he visited Bulgaria two months ago was published in the Italian magazine Espresso on 15 August. Simeon confirmed his intention to seek an important political role in Bulgaria but did not say whether he will actively work for the restoration of the monarchy. He said his role will be "to create a climate of consensus that would allow everyone to work together." -- Stefan Krause OPPOSITION THREATENS TO BOYCOTT ALBANIAN ELECTIONS . . . Socialist deputy leader Servet Pellumbi has threatened to boycott the election commission and the 20 October local elections, arguing that the composition of the new election commission is similar to the one that oversaw Albania's disputed parliamentary elections in May. Pellumbi said "we cannot take part in a commission where the balance of power is not seven to seven but 10 to seven in favor of the ruling party," AFP reported. If the opposition fails to name its candidates for the commission by 6 October, the seats will be given to the ethnic Greek Party for Human Rights and Freedoms, the National Front, the Party for National Unity or the Legality Movement--all of whom have already been asked to name possible candidates, the publication Albania reported on 14 August. The opposition has called for new round-table talks with the Democrats. -- Fabian Schmidt . . . WHILE INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE INVITES PARTIES FOR TALKS. The International Republican Institute has invited the ruling and opposition parties as well as international experts to a working conference on the Albanian elections, ATSH reported on 14 August. The meeting will be held in Tirana from 27-29 August and attended by Council of Europe and OSCE representatives. Its aim is to discuss how free and fair elections can be ensured. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU 2) To subscribe, write: SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name) To unsubscribe, write: UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L 3) Send the message REPRINT POLICY To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ or see the Web page at http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS TRANSITION OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. 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