Blazhen tot, komu povezet s vernym drugom. - Menandr
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 172, Part II, 5 September 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

COMPLICATIONS IN HRYVNYA INTRODUCTION. Some complications have emerged
involving the introduction of the hryvnya, Ukrainian Radio reported on 2
September. Although the old karbovantsi are to be exchanged for the new
currency without restriction at a rate of 100,000 for one hryvnya, some
banks ran out of the new currency by midday. In Crimea, ITAR-TASS
reported on 4 September, the new currency is practically nonexistent
because Kyiv failed to provide the peninsula with a sufficient supply.
Most Crimeans have only seen the hryvnya on TV. In addition, Crimeans
are confused as to whether the new currency should be called by its
Ukrainian name, "hryvnya," or its Russian name, "gryvna." -- Ustina
Markus

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING. The Russian-Belarusian
Executive Committee held its fourth meeting in Moscow on 4 September,
ITAR-TASS and Russian Public TV reported. Russian Minister for CIS
Cooperation Aman Tuleev said it was decided that Russia and Belarus
should synchronize their tax systems by January 1997. The committee also
decided to set up a joint customs union. The committee will discuss the
establishment of a joint border guard in the next session. Tuleev said
the future of the integration process depended on Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Any change in the Belarusian leadership could
nullify all previous agreements. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. The controversy over President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's referendum has heated up. While most deputies oppose it and
back parliamentary speaker Syamyon Sharetsky, a group of 60 legislators
met with the president on 4 September and signed a statement supporting
the president and his referendum, Russian Public TV reported. Lukashenka
has been dipping into the state treasury to gain support. He issued a
series of decrees increasing pensions, student stipends, aid to families
with many children, and child support. Enterprises were also ordered to
pay workers all back wages owed, and prices on energy, transport,
medicine, and several consumer goods, including milk and bread, are to
remain regulated until the end of the year. -- Ustina Markus

HEARING FOR RUSSIAN ACTIVIST DEPORTED FROM ESTONIA POSTPONED. A district
court in Tallinn on 4 September postponed the hearing of the appeal by
Petr Rozhok that his deportation from Estonia in March 1995 was illegal,
BNS reported. Rozhok, who was the representative of Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party in Estonia, unsuccessfully
appealed the deportation twice before and both times was forcibly
expelled again after the visa given to him for the hearings expired. The
hearing this time was postponed until 4 October at the request of the
Estonian immigration officials after Rozhok's new lawyer, Boris
Kuznetsov, reportedly one of highest paid defense lawyers in Russia,
filed a 19-page supplement to the appeal. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, NETHERLANDS SIGN AGREEMENT ON MARITIME TRANSPORT. Dutch
Transport Minister Annamari Jorritsma-Lebbink and Latvian Communications
Minister Vilis Kristopans signed a bilateral agreement on maritime
transport in Riga on 4 September, BNS reported. They also signed a
memorandum on the introduction of the information system Eucaris to
Latvia. The system, currently operating in the Benelux countries, Great
Britain, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, provides for data exchange on
cars and their drivers, thus making transit of stolen cars through
Latvia more difficult. -- Saulius Girnius

CRISIS IN THE POLISH RULING COALITION: FOREIGN TRADE MINISTER FIRED.
President Aleksander Kwasniewski, on Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz's motion, on 4 September dismissed Jacek Buchacz, foreign
trade minister since early 1995. Buchacz, is a member of the Polish
Peasant Party (PSL), the ruling coalition's junior partner. The
government said the grounds for Buchacz's dismissal were "insufficiently
clear links between public and private capital in export insurance."
Buchacz said his dismissal is "a clear breaking of the coalition
agreement" and he accused the senior coalition partner, the Democratic
Left Alliance (SLD), of using methods reminiscent of the communist
regime. Tensions in the ruling coalition have been provoked by the
current government reform. The PSL has demanded the government's
resignation, the SLD only changes in ministerial posts. The PSL is
expected to decide on 6 September whether to continue coalition talks.
-- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON POLITICAL PARTIES. According to a poll by the
Public Opinion Research Center published earlier this week, if the
parliamentary elections had been held in August, the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) would have received 21% of the votes; Solidarity
Electoral Action (AWS), also 21%; former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski's
Movement for Poland's Reconstruction, 14%; the Polish Peasant Party
(PSL), 10%; the Freedom Union (UW), 6%; the Labor Union (UP), 4%; and
the Union of Real Politics (UPR), 3%. Only four of those--the SLD, PSL,
UW, and UP--are now represented in the Sejm. The latter two parties may
lose their Sejm positions in the next election because of the 5%
threshold. Recently, the SLD proposed an alliance with the UP, while the
UW is negotiating an alliance with the AWS. -- Jakub Karpinski

U.S. PRESSING POLAND ON TANKS FOR BOSNIA. A special U.S. envoy is
traveling to Warsaw this week to urge Poland to provide tanks to Bosnia,
Reuters reported on 4 September. U.S. Balkan envoy James Pardew is to
meet with Polish officials on 6 September to try to convince them to
sell up to 45 T-72 tanks. They would be paid $50 million by NATO for the
deal. Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati has said Poland will not sell the
tanks because it has an agreement with the EU not to supply arms to
countries in the former Yugoslavia. -- Doug Clarke

CZECH TRUCKS FOR AMERICAN JET FIGHTERS? A spokesman for the Czech Skoda
engineering group proposed on 4 September that Skoda's Tatra factory
supply trucks to the U.S. in return for American F/A-18 "Hornet" jet
fighters, Reuters reported. Skoda is the local agent for McDonnell
Douglas, maker of the F/A-18. Karel Samec said it would be "a barter
deal. They would supply the fighters, and we would supply Czech goods to
the states, namely Tatras and other things." The Czechs have been
looking for a replacement for their aging MiG-21s. Radio Prague reported
that Czech Chief of Staff Jiri Nekvasil had grounded the MiGs following
the crash of one of the Russian-built planes on 2 September. -- Doug
Clarke

SLOVAK POLICE ADMIT BOMB KILLED FORMER COLLEAGUE. Police investigation
department head Jan Kostov on 4 September announced that the car
explosion that killed police officer Robert Remias in late April was
"most probably" caused by 150 to 200 grams of explosives, Narodna obroda
reported. Remias was the close friend of Oskar Fegyveres, a key witness
in the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's son. While police
previously claimed the explosion was due to the malfunctioning of
Remias's car, opposition representatives said he was the victim of
political murder. Slovakia's new Interior Minister Gustav Krajci said on
4 September that he will not devote himself to the Kovac Jr. case,
noting that he currently has "other, more important tasks." The
investigation was adjourned for a second time on 30 August. -- Sharon
Fisher

ANOTHER BOMB IN BRATISLAVA. A bomb destroyed a car in Bratislava's
Ruzinov district on 3 September, CTK reported the following day. It was
the third explosion in the city in less than two weeks. No one was
injured, but the explosion damaged several cars and shattered the
windows of an apartment building. The motives remain unknown. Krajci and
Police President Jozef Holdos on 4 September announced the preparation
of measures to prevent the growing wave of bomb attacks. They said the
effects should be felt within a few months but refused to give details.
Krajci also warned about a drop in police discipline--a policeman is
suspected of involvement in the 26 August explosion. So far this year,
15 explosions have taken place in Slovakia, causing damage of almost 3.5
million Slovak crowns ($114,000), while 34 explosions were reported last
year. -- Sharon Fisher

DATE SET FOR SIGNING ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TREATY. A spokesman for the
Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on 4 September that the
basic treaty between the two countries will be signed on 16 September in
the western Romanian city of Timisoara, Romanian and Hungarian media
report. The news was confirmed by the office of Hungarian Premier Gyula
Horn in Budapest. Horn and Prime Minister Nicoale Vacaroiu will sign the
document in the presence of Romanian President Ion Iliescu. Reuters
reported that the choice of Timisoara was a compromise, since neither
side agreed to have the document signed in the other's capital. It was
also announced that two additional documents stemming from President Ion
Iliescu's August 1995 initiative for a "historic reconciliation" between
the two countries are to be signed later. -- Michael Shafir and Zsofia
Szilagyi.

SECOND HUNGARIAN MINORITY SUMMIT CONVENES IN WESTERN HUNGARY. A second
round of the ethnic Hungarian minority summit was held in the western
Hungarian city of Papa on 4 September, Hungarian media reported.
Discussion focused on the Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty, and its
impact on Romania's 1.6 million ethnic Hungarians. Participants strongly
objected to the choice of Timisoara as the venue for the signing of the
treaty. Bela Marko, president of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania called the two governments' choice of venue a "mockery of the
revolutionary traditions of Timisoara." -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IZETBEGOVIC: SDA WILL BOYCOTT VOTE IF HERCEG-BOSNA REMAINS. Alija
Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president and leader of the ruling Muslim Party
of Democratic Action (SDA), on 4 September said his party will boycott
the forthcoming Bosnian ballot if the Bosnian Croat para-state of
Herceg-Bosna is not dissolved, AFP reported the next day. Izetbegovic
also said he would not recognize the Serbian entity in Bosnia unless
600,000 non-Serbs expelled during the war return there. Speaking to a
meeting of 20,000 SDA supporters in the southern town of Jablanica,
Izetbegovic threatened for the second time this week that the largest
Muslim party might boycott the 14 September poll. According to a U.S.-
brokered agreement, Herceg-Bosna should have been dismantled on 31
August (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 August 1996). But as of 4 September its
government was still working, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

PLAVSIC WARNS FEDERATION DELEGATION NOT TO VISIT BRCKO. Acting Bosnian
Serb President Biljana Plavsic on 4 September informed Roberts Owen, the
Brcko arbitration group chairman, that the Republika Srpska has not
approved an announced visit by a federal delegation to this northern
Bosnian town, Nasa Borba reported. Owen had earlier said a delegation
from the Bosnian federation should come to Brcko to inspect the town's
infrastructure. But Plavsic warned that if the federal delegation tries
to enter Brcko--which both entities claim--they will be stopped, and if
incidents develop, those who authorized the arrival will bear the
responsibility. Plavsic also said Owen does not have "jurisdiction" to
give permission for inspection, and only Republika Srpska authorities
have such powers. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats agreed on
4 September to allow the exhumation of alleged mass graves in
territories they control, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

OSCE FUNDS PARTY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING. The OSCE, which is supervising the
14 September Bosnian elections, has paid $222,000 to the Party of
Serbian Unity (SSJ) out of a $3.4 million fund to help political
parties. The SSJ is headed by Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as Arkan,
who is an internationally wanted felon and a suspected war criminal. His
paramilitary gangs are generally believed to have committed some of the
worst atrocities associated with ethnic cleansing in the wars in Bosnia
and Croatia. German taxpayers provide over half the funds, AFP reported
on 5 September, quoting The Guardian. The OSCE's Jean Ouellet defended
the payment, saying, "The political campaign funding is basically for
all political parties to get their message across. We may not agree with
some of them, but we cannot censor them. There is still the right to
free speech in this particular country." -- Patrick Moore

SERB POLICE, MOB BLOCK BRITISH TROOPS. Bosnian Serb police and--in a now
familiar pattern--"a typical Balkan mob" of 300 civilians blocked
British IFOR soldiers who were attempting to remove illegal weapons near
Banja Luka. The NATO troops left only after taking shelter at a Bosnian
Serb army base, the BBC reported on 5 September. In Bihac, the trial in
absentia of local kingpin and accused war criminal Fikret Abdic began on
4 September, Oslobodjenje reported. In Sarajevo, the OSCE has confirmed
3,398 candidates for the 14 September elections. -- Patrick Moore

NEW ETHNIC CLEANSING IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Ethnic-related incidents
continue as the 14 September elections approach, news agencies reported
on 3 September. The common denominator seems to be the determination of
nationalists to consolidate "ethnically pure" regions as a prelude to a
possible breakup of the country along ethnic lines. In a Banja Luka
suburb, some of the town's few remaining Muslims were driven from their
homes by Serbs and had to be evacuated by the UN. In Croatian-held west
Mostar, a gang tried to throw a Muslim woman from her balcony, while
other Croats succeeded in driving an ethnically mixed couple out of
town. In the strategic Serbian-held town of Brcko, a series of incidents
has taken place against Muslim property. In Muslim-held Bugojno, former
Croat residents returning for an election meeting were pelted with
stones by Muslims, although the rally nonetheless took place, Vecernji
list reported on 4 September. -- Patrick Moore

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF SERBIA SNUBS "TOGETHERNESS." Vojislav Kostunica,
head of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), said 4 September that his
party would not accept an invitation to join several other opposition
parties in a grand coalition aimed at ousting the ruling Socialists in
the 3 November elections. Nasa Borba on 5 September reported that
Kostunica said one major point of contention with the "Zajedno"
(together) coalition agreement is that it bars signatories from joining
with non-signatories in a postelection coalition. We're going to the
polls by ourselves," Kostunica said. The leaders of the Serbian Renewal
Movement (SPO), the Democratic Party (DS), and the Serbian Civic League
(GSS)--Vuk Draskovic, Zoran Djindjic, and Vesna Pesic--on 2 September
signed the agreement, which gives the SPO 54% of allotted federal list
seats, with 41% for the DS and 5% for the GSS. -- Stan Markotich

SKOPJE, BELGRADE SIGN TRADE AGREEMENTS. Visiting Prime Minister Radoje
Kontic of rump Yugoslavia and his Macedonian counterpart Branko
Crvenkovski on 4 September signed seven trade and economic agreements
aimed at liberalizing bilateral trade, Reuters and Nova Makedonija
reported. Kontic said the agreements "envisage [a total of] $1 billion
[in bilateral trade] over the next year." The documents include
agreements on protection of investments, against double taxation, on
customs cooperation, and on the regulation of air and rail traffic. In
1989, trade between the then-Yugoslav republics of Macedonia and Serbia-
Montenegro totaled $2.5 billion. -- Stefan Krause

SNEGUR PROPOSES RESUMPTION OF TALKS ON DNIESTER STATUS. In a letter
addressed to the leader of the breakaway Dniester region, Igor Smirnov,
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur proposed the resumption of talks on the
region's special status, Moldovan agencies reported on 4 September.
Snegur said after the two sides' teams meet to discuss the negotiation
process, a summit of the two leaders should have on its agenda "the
current situation and the most urgent economic issues." He denied
accusations that a "standstill" had been reached on the special status
talks. The two leaders had agreed in June on a memorandum on normalizing
relations, but Snegur later refused to sign the document, saying it
would legitimize the separate existence of the Dniester region and
infringe on Moldovan sovereignty. The leadership in Tiraspol reacted by
calling the proposal "one more change" in Snegur's stance and said there
was "no hope for the resumption of negotiations before the Moldovan
presidential elections" scheduled for 17 November. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. The Supreme Court on 4 September
overruled the Central Electoral Commission and ordered it to register
the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the united
opposition, Petar Stoyanov and Todor Kavaldzhiev, Demokratsiya reported.
The decision of a five-member magistrate was unanimous. It is final and
cannot be appealed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister and Bulgarian Socialist
Party Chairman Zhan Videnov called on his party's followers over the
national media to support the Socialist team: Culture Minister Ivan
Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova. -- Stefan Krause

BIG BREAKTHROUGH IN ALBANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS. A round table of 13
political parties and President Sali Berisha agreed to change various
procedures to ensure fair local elections on 20 October, Koha Jone
reported on 5 September. The agreement is the first step toward ending a
political deadlock after the disputed parliamentary elections in May.
The agreement foresees that the deputy chairmen of the permanent central
election commission and all local election commissions including the
polling stations come from the Socialist Party. The only exception are
electoral zones in which the ethnic Greek Human Rights party gained a
majority before. The duties and rights of the deputy chairmen and the
Democratic Party appointed chairmen are equal. The agreement also rules
that the opposition gets equal airtime on television and that a disputed
screening law, banning former communist official from running, would be
changed. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Janet Hofmann

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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