The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

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

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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
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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

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