To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 159, Part II, 16 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

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR ON MONETARY REFORM. Viktor Yushchenko
said that he believes the hryvna, the country's new currency, may be
introduced by the end of the year, Ukrainian agencies reported on 15
August. He noted that his bank is close to completing a package of
bills outlining the principles and parameters of monetary reform in
Ukraine. Yushchenko has been meeting with an IMF delegation in Kyiv
to negotiate a $1.5 billion stabilization fund for the hryvna. IMF
officials said their biggest concern is the size of Ukraine's budget
deficit. In other news, Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Kinakh has
noted that consumer debt for energy has continued to rise, despite
the fact the government earlier this month cut off electricity to
thousands of delinquent customers. He said the total debt now amounts
to 226 trillion karbovantsi ($1.2 billion). -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. President Leonid Kuchma has
accepted the resignation of Oleksander Yemets, the deputy prime
minister for political and legal issues, Ukrainian TV reported on 14
August. Yemets resigned in order to keep his seat in the national
legislature. Under the new Ukrainian Constitution, government
officials cannot serve simultaneously as lawmakers. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO RUN-OFF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, speaking in Hrodna on 15 August, announced
elections will not be held in the upcoming months to fill the 61
vacant seats in the 260-member parliament, Reuters reported. He also
declared that he was adding a fifth question to the 7 November
referendum "to ask for a vote of confidence in the president." The
referendum will also include questions on increasing the powers of
the president and creating a new parliament with a second chamber. He
said that his new proposed constitution will be published in a
national newspaper early next month. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA RATIFIES BALTIC AGREEMENT ON AGRICULTURAL FREE TRADE. The
Estonian parliament on 15 August ratified a free trade agreement with
Latvia and Lithuania on agricultural products, ETA reported. The
three countries' prime ministers signed the agreement in Vilnius in
June. Lithuania has already ratified the agreement, and the Latvian
parliament will probably do so later this month. Estonian lawmakers
also discussed the Estonian-Latvian sea border agreement, signed on
12 July. Foreign Minister Siim Kallas said the failure to ratify the
agreement would result in the loss of credibility in the West and
would be a serious obstacle to EU and NATO membership. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN MINISTER REJECTS LATVIAN ACCUSATIONS OVER OIL TERMINAL.
Environmental Protection Minister Bronius Bradauskas issued a
statement on 14 August rejecting charges by his Latvian counterpart,
Indulis Emsis, on the location and safety of the Butinge oil terminal
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 August 1996), BNS reported. Bradauskas
noted that Norwegian and local experts had found it to be reliable.
Bradauskas said Emsis's statement was an attempt to resolve political
and economic problems that have nothing in common with environmental
protection. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH CARDINAL ON POST-COMMUNISM. Polish Primate Jozef Glemp, in a
homily on 15 August at the Jasna Gora monastery celebrating the
ascension of the Virgin Mary, described Poland's existing political
system as a transitional "post-communist" mixture of communism and
liberalism, Polish dailies reported. According to Glemp, this system
has replaced the persecution of the Church with a "superficially
Western" morality that emphasizes freedom but also downplays the role
of God, the Church, and spirituality. Poland's true rebirth, Glemp
declared, requires a more thorough "settling of scores" with Poland's
communist past. Glemp was giving expression to the views of a
significant portion of Poland's political forces, especially the
right-of-center parties not represented in the parliament. -- Ben
Slay

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS BEGIN CAMPAIGNING FOR SENATE. The opposition
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) on 15 August launched its
campaign for the November Senate elections, Czech media reported.
Beginning in the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov, CSSD
Chairman Milos Zeman plans to tour the country in the "Zemak" bus, as
he did before the May-June parliamentary elections. Zeman did not
exclude the possibility of trade union sponsorship for CSSD
candidates. Christian Democratic leader Josef Lux on 15 August said
tensions within Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
should not affect the government and relations within the ruling
coalition. But Mlada fronta Dnes the following day commented that the
CSSD "could hardly have imagined better conditions for starting the
Senate campaign." -- Sharon Fisher

GERMAN, CZECH PRESIDENTS TO MEET. German President Roman Herzog will
visit the Czech Republic on 4 September to meet with his Czech
counterpart, Vaclav Havel, CTK reported on 15 August. The two
presidents will take part in meeting of German and Czech young people
in Policka, in eastern Bohemia. German opposition parties--
particularly the Greens--have been urging German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl to complete the Czech-German parliamentary declaration as soon
as possible. That document has been blocked by the Christian Social
Union of Bavaria, which supports the interests of the Sudeten
Germans, who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. In
an interview with RTL TV last week, Kohl said he is "not under any
time pressure." He noted that he has "great understanding for the
Czech side" but added that, as the German chancellor, he must
"represent German interests." -- Sharon Fisher

RUSSIA HELPS SLOVAKIA LAUNCH NATIONAL AIRLINE. Igor Dula, director of
Slovakia's Airport Authority, announced on 15 August that
representatives of Russia's Aeroflot are helping to start a national
carrier in Slovakia, RFE/RL reported. Since the Czech-Slovak split,
Slovakia has been left without a national airline, although a number
of small carriers do exist. Aeroflot official Yevgenii Shaposhnikov
met in Bratislava earlier this month with Slovak government
officials, including Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. The Russians are
reportedly prepared to provide four to six planes for the new
airline. Dula said it is too early to say when the airline will begin
operations. Nearly 200,000 passengers used Bratislava's airport in
1995, a 33% increase over the previous year. Because of Bratislava's
proximity to Vienna, many Slovaks fly from that city's airport. --
Sharon Fisher

CONFLICT BREWING AMONG PRO-GOVERNMENT JOURNALISTS IN SLOVAKIA. Peter
Strelinger, deputy editor in chief of Slovenska Republika, on 15
August rejected the Ludovit Stur prize for journalism, Narodna obroda
reported. In a letter to Slovak TV director Jozef Darmo, Strelinger
said the reason for his refusal was the "personal and moral
situation" at Slovenska Republika. The prize was awarded by the
Association of Slovak Journalists in cooperation with the government.
It recipients to date have been only pro-government journalists and
newspapers. Slovenska Republika reported on 15 August that besides
Strelinger, the winners include the weekly Literarny tyzdennik and
the state press agency TASR. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. The Academic Senate of Bratislava's Comenius
University on 15 August made clear its opposition to the government's
draft law on universities, TASR reported. Particular concern was
expressed over limitations of academic freedom by jeopardizing the
universities' autonomy. Also on 15 August, Meciar attended ceremonies
in Zilina, the first of Slovakia's eight new administrative regions
to be inaugurated. In other news, the opposition Democratic Union
called for the dismissal of Slovak TV (STV) Director Jozef Darmo and
Prosecutor-General Michal Valo. The former has been accused of
illegal labor practices, such as the firing of STV staff, while the
latter has come under attack for violating the constitution (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 9 August 1996). -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN INDUSTRY MINISTER RESIGNS. Imre Dunai, a non-party
technocrat, resigned from his post on 15 August, Hungarian dailies
reported. Dunai seems likely to be replaced by current Privatization
Minister Tamas Suchman of the Hungarian Socialist Party, the
coalition government's senior partner. Dunai, in his resignation
letter to Prime Minister Gyula Horn, cited ill health as the reason
for his departure. However, he has been at odds with other ministers
over several economic policy measures. For example, he has been a
leading proponent of energy price increases scheduled for this fall,
which the government decided to scale back for "social" reasons.
Dunai has promised to refrain from public comment for at least six
months after his resignation, and he is not expected to leave the
government until the fall. -- Ben Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WILL KEY PLAYERS BOYCOTT BOSNIAN ELECTIONS? U.S. officials said that
Haris Silajdzic, former Bosnian prime minister and leader of the
Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, plans to boycott the 14 September
vote. He fears that the ballot will be manipulated by the dominant
nationalist parties of the Muslims, Serbs, and Croats and will serve
to legitimize the partition of the country along ethnic lines.
Silajdzic called it "ratification of genocide," AFP reported on 15
August. The previous day, parliamentary speaker Miro Lazovic said his
Social Democratic Party and its anti-nationalist coalition of five
parties is also considering a boycott. Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, the
International Crisis Group, composed of former prime ministers,
foreign ministers, and other public figures, called for the elections
to be postponed and for a new Dayton-style agreement to be worked
out, Oslobodjenje wrote on 16 August. President Alija Izetbegovic
condemned attacks by his supporters on opposition rallies, Dnevni
avaz said. Belgrade's Vreme added that the most recent such incident,
in Gradacac, could trigger a mass boycott of the vote by the
opposition. -- Patrick Moore

OSCE PENALIZES RULING BOSNIAN SERB PARTY. The OSCE Election Appeals
Subcommittee on 13 August decided that the ruling Serb Democratic
Party (SDS) in Doboj, Republika Srpska, is guilty of having denied
humanitarian aid to refugees unless they agree to vote in their new
settlements in the upcoming Bosnian elections, Reuters reported on 15
August. The subcommittee levied a $25,000 fine against the SDS and
demanded a public apology from its list of candidates in Doboj. It
also noted that election rules had been violated in the Serb-held
town of Modrica. Meanwhile, OSCE Chairman Flavio Cotti has cast
serious doubt on how free and fair the Bosnian elections will be, AFP
reported on 14 August. Cotti expressed his "greatest concern" over
freedom of movement, the return of refugees, and prevailing attempts
to create ethnically pure states. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SARAJEVO AIRPORT REOPENS FOR COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS. U.S. Secretary of
State Warren Christopher and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic on
15 August presided over the opening of the Sarajevo airport to
commercial flights for the first time since 1992, international and
local media reported. The first such flight was to Turkey. The
airport was a major battlefield during the Bosnian war and hundreds
of lives were lost there. Christopher said he had come to Sarajevo to
witness "Bosnia's summer of hope" ahead of the September general
elections, AFP quoted him as saying. In an televised address to the
nation, he appealed to Bosnian voters to support the landmark
elections. -- Daria Sito Sucic

IS AN "OIL WAR" LOOMING BETWEEN SERBIA, MONTENEGRO? Montenegrin
police on 15 August blocked a convoy of 53 Serbian trucks
transporting oil to Montenegro, local media reported. This move
seemed to be in retaliation for an earlier incident in which Serbian
police officials blocked oil shipments from private Montenegrin
firms. At issue was likely oil prices. Montenegro has protested that
local refineries--notably at Pancevo, in Serbia--are dictating prices
higher than those demanded by facilities in other countries. The
political consequences of an "oil war" between the two republics are
difficult to predict. -- Stan Markotich

BELGRADE, BUDAPEST RESTORE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. Full diplomatic
relations have been restored between Belgrade and Budapest,
Nepszabadsag reported on 16 August. Hungarian Ambassador Janos Toth
presented his credentials to federal President Zoran Lilic on 15
August. Belgrade's ambassador, Balsha Shpadiyer, had presented his
credentials earlier this year. Hungary withdrew its ambassador
following the 1992 imposition of sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro
but had maintained contacts at the level of chargé d'affaires. --
Stan Markotich
KOSOVO LOCAL AUTHORITIES SEEK TO ENFORCE LAW BANNING SALES OF LAND TO
ALBANIANS. Tanjug reported on 13 August that the ban on the sale of
real estate to ethnic Albanians in Kosovo is widely being ignored.
This prompted local politicians in Istok to put the issue on the
agenda of the local municipal assembly and to appoint a commission to
investigate sales of land. Malisa Perovic, president of the Istok
Municipal Assembly, has now decided to publicize the names of Serbs
who have sold land to Albanians and to call on the Serbian government
to assist in enforcing the law that stipulates the ban. She also
alleged that senior military officials, former and present government
ministers, and other high ranking officials have been involved in
selling land to Albanians. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIA SAYS CANCELED MEETING WITH GREECE WAS NOT PLANNED. Sources
within the Macedonian Foreign Ministry said that a meeting between
the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Ljubomir Frckovski and
Theodoros Pangalos, in September in New York, was not planned "so
there is nothing to cancel," MIC reported on 15 August. Pangalos on
13 August had canceled what he described as a scheduled meeting after
Frckovski said Macedonia would refuse to negotiate its name. The
Macedonian source said there had been the possibility of a meeting
between Frckovski and Pangalos but "it was not formally prearranged."
Meanwhile in Greece, Antonis Samaras, leader of the small nationalist
Political Spring party, called on the government to stop all
negotiations with Macedonia. He claimed that the government was about
to reach a compromise on the name issue and was causing a fuss that
"convinces nobody." -- Stefan Krause

FURTHER REACTIONS TO AGREEMENT ON HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY
AGREEMENT. The Hungarian government, responding to the announcement
that Bucharest and Budapest is ready to sign the bilateral treaty,
said on 15 August that an improvement in Hungarian-Romanian relations
would be beneficial for Hungary. But former Hungarian Foreign
Minister Geza Jeszenszky was quoted by Reuters as describing the
treaty as "meaningless." The Hungarian Democratic Forum commented
that the treaty agreement runs counter to the interests of Hungarians
in both Hungary and Romania. Meanwhile, in an interview with
Adevarul, Romanian President Ion Iliescu said that including a
mention of Council of Europe Recommendation No. 1201 in an annex to
the treaty is not tantamount to recognizing collective rights or
territorial autonomy based on ethnicity. However, the Socialist Labor
Party, a former member of the ruling coalition, rejected any
reference to the controversial recommendation. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON INTEGRATION INTO EUROPEAN STRUCTURES. Mircea
Snegur has called again for his country's integration into European
structures, local agencies reported on 15 August, quoting an
interview with a British publication. Snegur said that joining those
structures would provide guarantees for consolidating Moldovan
statehood and implementing democratic and economic reforms. He
promised that his administration would work out a coherent program
for cooperation with the EU, the Council of Europe, and the Western
European Union. Snegur's main opponents in the fall presidential
election--Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli and Parliamentary Speaker
Petru Lucinschi--are widely seen as favoring closer relations with
the CIS and Russia rather than with Western Europe. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIANS GET INFO FROM STATE MEDIA BUT DON'T TRUST IT. According to
a poll published in Standart on 16 August, the vast majority of
Bulgarians living in Sofia and Plovdiv receive information on
domestic affairs from the state media. Some 74% of respondents said
state TV was their main source of information on events in Bulgaria
and another 10% said state radio. Only 9% get their information from
newspapers and 3% from private radio stations. At the same time, 56%
of respondents said the news coverage and commentary of the state
media is politically biased. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SOCIALIST LEADER CALLS FOR "CIVIL BOYCOTT." Fatos Nano, in
an interview with Koha Jone on 15 August, called for a "civil boycott
of President Sali Berisha's illegal regime." Nano said he hoped that
Berisha could be forced to the negotiating table, thereby increasing
the chances of a change of government. He called on other opposition
parties to continue their boycott of the parliament, adding that his
goals are to approve a new constitution and to reach agreement on a
date for early parliamentary elections. Nano also said that there are
serious disagreements within the Socialist leadership over reform of
the party's statute and program. He has demanded that all references
to Marxism be dropped from the program and that long-time communist
officials be removed from the party leadership. A Socialists party
congress is scheduled for 24 August. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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