If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 174, Part II, 9 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

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WARNS OF TRADE WAR WITH RUSSIA. Leonid Kuchma warned
that Russia's proposed tax on Ukrainian imports could lead to a trade
war, Reuters reported on 7 September. Last month Moscow said it would
impose a 20% value added tax on imports from Ukraine to curb Kyiv's mass
dumping on the Russian market. A one million ton quota on Ukrainian
sugar was also to be introduced. Kuchma said the moves violated a free
trade agreement signed within the context of the CIS. Moscow has
postponed imposing the tax and quota until October. According to Kuchma,
since the measures apply only to Ukraine, they are not motivated by
economic considerations, but political ones, and must be resolved
politically. Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko was more upbeat about
relations. During a visit to Stockholm on 6 September, he said relations
with Russia were developing successfully, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Ustina
Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT SETS REFERENDUM DATE. The parliament set 24
November as the date of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's referendum and
parliamentary by-elections, international agencies reported on 6 and 7
September. The parliament also decided to place its own questions on the
referendum. Lukashenka proposed asking the electorate if they agreed
with extending his term of office and his powers. He confidently told
reporters he expected to remain president for 12 more years. Parliament
added two of its own referendum questions, including asking the people
whether they preferred the pre-sident's or the parliament's version of
the constitution. The parliament's version abolishes the presidency. --
Ustina Markus

MORE DEMONSTRATIONS IN BELARUS. Over 3,000 people gathered on 8
September in Minsk to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Orsha in
1514, when Lithuanian and Belarusian forces defeated Moscow, ITAR-TASS
and NTV reported. The rally turned into a protest against Lukashenka and
his pro-Russian orientation. Speakers denounced Lukashenka for trying to
impose dictatorial rule, violating the constitution, and selling the
country out to Russia. The demonstration ended peacefully. -- Ustina
Markus

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES LAYOFFS. Finance Ministry official Ingrid
Preeks on 6 September announced the government's plans to lay off 963
officials and dissolve 36 executive agencies and inspectorates in the
course of administrative reform, BNS reported. The dismissals, beginning
as early as October, should result in salary increases of about 10% for
the some 62,000 remaining employees financed from the state budget.
According to the Public Service Act, dismissed employees must be paid
six months salary. -- Saulius Girnius

FOLLOW UP TO BUCHACZ'S DISMISSAL. Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz on 7 September explained his recent decision to dismiss
Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz, Polish media reported. Cimoszewicz
accused Buchacz -- a member of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) -- of
badly managing state funds. He said the chemical trade corporation
Ciech's president wrote to him that he was pressured by Buchacz to sign
documents conflicting with the Ciech board's resolutions. Ciech's
president questioned a plan to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars
of state funds to a private bank in Ukraine. The PSL had threatened to
quit the coalition with the Cimoszewicz's Democratic Left Alliance,
arguing that the unexpected dismissal was a breach of the coalition
contract; however, meeting on 6 September, PSL leaders failed to decide
on the matter. President Aleksander Kwasniewski said the ruling
coalition should continue until the end of the parliament's term, in
fall next year. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK ACADEMICS PROTEST UNIVERSITY BILL. Slovak university
representatives gathered in Bratislava on 6 September to protest a draft
law that restricts academic freedom, Slovak and international media
reported. The controversial bill was approved by the government last
month (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 August) and is expected to be placed on
the parliament session beginning on 11 September. The academic community
asked the parliament to confirm academic rights and freedoms and the
autonomous position of university bodies and asked that the new
university law respect the Rectors' Conference's recommendations.
Meanwhile, on 5 September, some 700 cultural figures gathered to demand
the dismissal of Culture Minister Ivan Hudec based on his interference
in the operation of theaters, museums, and other cultural institutions.
Although the opposition hopes to discuss Hudec's dismissal during the
upcoming parliament session, both Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and
Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota have supported him. -- Sharon
Fisher

POPE ENCOURAGES HUNGARIANS. Pope John Paul II, appearing frail and
exhausted, visited Hungary on 6-7 September for the first time since
1991, Hungarian and international media reported. On the second day of
his visit, the pope celebrated mass in the western Hungarian city of
Gyor, drawing some 150,000 people despite bad weather. He asked
Hungarians not to be discouraged by economic and social difficulties,
including unemployment, impoverishment, and declining moral values. The
pope also held talks with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and Prime
Minister Gyula Horn. Horn and the pope approved three agreements between
the Vatican and Hungary concerning state financing of churches,
restitution of church property, and the financing of church schools. It
was the pope's second visit to Hungary. -- Sharon Fisher and Petronella
Gaal

NEW HUNGARIAN INDUSTRY MINISTER APPOINTED. President Arpad Goncz on 6
September appointed Tamas Suchman as Industry and Trade Minister, AFP
reported. Suchman, 42, replaced Imre Dunai, a non-party technocrat who
resigned in mid-August (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 August). In his new
post, Suchman -- a Socialist Party member who had overseen privatization
as minister without portfolio -- said he aims to promote exports and to
serve businesses rather than control them. Although the cabinet scrapped
the privatization portfolio, Suchman will continue to control
privatization. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OSCE WARNS BOSNIAN SERBS NOT TO VIOLATE ELECTORAL RULES... Judge Finn
Lynhgjem of the OSCE announced that "public statements that undermine or
deny the sovereignty and territorial integrity of ... Bosnia-Herzegovina
constitute serious violations of the [Dayton] agreement," and he called
on those who have made such statements "to retract them," AFP reported
on 6 September. This declaration comes after weeks of Bosnian Serb
leaders openly campaigning for the division of Bosnia. Senior officials
of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) publicly declare that
Republika Srpska (RS) has the right to secede from Bosnia and join
Serbia. The OSCE has done nothing to punish the parties violating the
electoral process, arguing that it can only act when receiving a
complaint. The main Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has lodged a
complaint on the Serb campaigning, and is waiting for the OSCE's ruling.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

...BUT SERBS INTENSIFY SEPARATIST RHETORIC. Despite the SDS spokesman's
denials of violating the electoral rules while campaigning, party
officials have continued their campaign tour in the same tone. On 7
September SDS head Aleksa Buha said in the northern Bosnian town of
Bosanski Brod that Bosnia will disintegrate into separate states, AFP
reported. The next day in Trebinje, southeastern Bosnia, acting RS
President Biljana Plavsic said Serbs who decide to live with Muslims
"will no longer be Serbs, but Turks or Catholics (Croats)," AFP
reported. Also on 8 September, in the northern Bosnian town of Kotor-
Varos, Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serb candidate for Bosnia's new rotating
presidency, promised to lead his supporters into a union of Serb states.
He devoted much of his speech to the strategic town of Brcko, claimed by
both the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serbs, saying it was "alpha and
omega of the RS," AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

IZETBEGOVIC FOCUSES CAMPAIGN ON RETURN TO BRCKO. During an 8 September
SDA rally held in a village near this northern town, Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic underscored the importance of Muslim refugees' return
to Brcko, Oslobodjenje reported. Otherwise, he warned of serious trouble
but did not clarify. Bosnian federation Prime Minister Izudin
Kapetanovic told the crowd "a big battle for Brcko is ahead of us," AFP
reported. The town is vitally important for Serbs because its narrow
corridor links the western and eastern parts of the RS. It also controls
a major communication route between the Muslim-Croat federation and
Croatia. If international arbitration on Brcko fails, the issue could
result in renewed fighting. In other news, a Ukrainian peacekeeper was
shot dead on 8 September early morning by an unknown assailant. The
soldier was guarding a warehouse where voter ballots were stored. --
Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIANS LOOK AT HERZE-GOVINIAN NEIGHBORS. A survey conducted by the
pro-government weekly Odbor showed that some 58% of Croatians surveyed
think parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled by Croats will eventually
join with Croatia, AFP reported on 8 September. The Bosnian Croat mini-
state of Herceg-Bosna was to have been dissolved on 31 August, with its
powers devolving to the Muslim-Croat federation, but so far this has not
taken place. In addition, only 19% of the 450 respondents said they feel
14 September elections in Bosnia will have the effect of reinforcing
Bosnia as a multiethnic state made up of Muslims, Serbs, and Croats.
Nearly 61%, however, said they feel the elections will divide Bosnia's
ethnic communities. -- Stan Markotich

VOJVODINA HUNGARIAN PARTY'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT COALITION POLITICS. The
Democratic Community of Hungarians in Voj-vodina (DZVM), during its
annual general meeting in Subotica on 7 September, resolved to stay out
of any coalitions heading into federal rump Yugoslav general elections
on 3 November. According to party leader Andras Agoston, joining a
coalition, which may include parties not advocating regional autonomy
for Vojvodina, may compromise the DZVM in its aim of promoting this
objective, Nasa Borba reported on 9 September. Agoston, however, did not
rule out coalition politics in local balloting to be held that same
date. In related news, Sandor Pal, in behind closed-door plenary
sessions that Nasa Borba reported went "late into the night," lost his
post as deputy head of the DZVM. -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN UPDATE. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek on 6 September
announced his country's candidacy for membership in the UN Security
Council. "Membership in the Security Council would give Slovenia a much
better chance to gain international recognition," he said. In other
news, Reuters on 6 September reported that a section of border tunnel
between Slovenia and Austria crashed that day, injuring one Slovene and
two Slovaks. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN MILITARY TREATY. Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca and
his Hungarian counterpart Gyorgy Kelety on 6 September signed in Arad,
western Romania, a treaty providing for enhanced mutual trust and
security. The treaty, which expands on the measures provided for by the
1994 Vienna OSCE document, stipulates that the two states will notify
each other 42 days in advance on troop movements larger than one
battalion within a radius of 80 kilometers at their common border,
exchange information, and raise the frequency of mutual military
inspections while at the same time reducing early notification of
intended inspections. They are also to exchange observers at military
exercises and conduct two yearly joint maneuvers. The treaty is not
limited in time, and Radio Bucharest said it provides a proper
background for the signing of the basic treaty on 16 September. --
Michael Shafir

COURT REJECTS OBJECTIONS TO ILIESCU'S CANDIDACY. The Constitutional
Court has unanimously rejected objections raised to President Ion
Iliescu's candidacy in the presidential elections scheduled for 3
November, Radio Bucharest reported on 8 September. The court said the
objections lacked foundation and that its decision was "final." It ruled
that the number of mandates, limited by the constitution to two, counted
only from the time of the basic document's adoption, and that
consequently Iliescu's service as president before 1992 was not to be
taken into consideration for this purpose. -- Michael Shafir

GREATER ROMANIA PARTY "SWALLOWS" ALLY. The extremist Greater Romania
Party (PRM) on 6 September merged with the small non-parliamentary
Romanian Party for a New Society (PRNS). The latter formation had been
part of the National Bloc, an alliance with non-parliamentary formations
established by the PRM. The PRNS's leader, retired Gen. Victor Voichita,
became a vice-chairman of the PRM. In other news, Titus Raveica, a
former senator representing the Party of Social Democracy in Romania and
later chairman of the Audio-Visual Council, announced his intention to
run for parliament on the PRM lists, Curierul national reported on 7
September. Finally, PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor demanded that the
U.S. withdraw Ambassador Alfred Moses, whom Tudor accused of interfering
in internal Romanian politics for having stated that Romania's post-
electoral government should be "centrist." Calling him "an obscure
provincial lawyer" and "an old man with dictatorial inclinations," Tudor
said Moses displayed "political primitivism." -- Michael Shafir

CHISINAU-TIRASPOL NEGOTIATIONS TO BE RESUMED? Infotag reported on 6
September that the leadership of the breakaway Dniester region will
"consider" Moldovan President Mircea Snegur's recent proposal to resume
negotiations on drafting a special status for the region. The region's
leaders, President Igor Smirnov and Supreme Soviet chairman Grigorii
Markutsa, stated their intent to resume negotiations following a meeting
with the Russian ambassador to Moldova, Alexander Papkin, and the
special representative of the Ukrainian president, Yevhen Levitsky.
Levitsky said after the meeting that there was now hope that the process
may break out of its present standstill. -- Michael Shafir

IMPRISONED MOLDOVAN LEA-DER QUITS PARTY. Ilie Ilascu, who is imprisoned
in the breakaway Dniester region where he has been accused of terrorist
actions and condemned to death, has resigned from the Popular Front
Christian Democratic Party (FPCD). In a letter addressed to the FPCD
leadership and published in Saptamana, Ilascu, who earlier announced his
intention to run for president, said he considers the party's decision
to back President Mircea Snegur in the 17 November electoral contest
"unwise," BASA-press reported on 6 September. Ilascu said he fails to
understand why a party that is pro-Romanian unionist should help people
who are "generally unfriendly to our national ideals." -- Michael Shafir

IMF DELAYS LOAN TO BULGARIA. The IMF decided to withhold further loan
disbursement to Bulgaria until the government speeds up promised
economic reforms, RFE/RL and The Wall Street Journal reported on 7
September. IMF officials said Bulgaria is ineligible for the second
installment of a $580 million standby loan because it did not get a
favorable review during an IMF mission's recent visit. It is unclear
when the installment of $116.7 million will be disbursed. The IMF
mission said the government failed to implement structural reforms in
the banking system and to close down 64 unprofitable state firms as
agreed on with the IMF. Only five of those companies were closed down.
The Bulgarian government had agreed with the IMF to implement a
comprehensive reform package but after announcing it and receiving the
first installment of the loan took no further action. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS GOVERNMENT. In a state TV address on 7
September, Zhelyu Zhelev accused the Socialist government of Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov of leading Bulgaria to a "catastrophic state " and
to economic collapse, Reuters reported. He blamed the Socialists in
particular for the ongoing grain crisis and the rapid decline of the
standard of living of large parts of the population. Zhelev said that if
the situation does not improve, "responsibility will be sought not only
through resignations but probably also through the courts." Zhelev
accused Videnov of using rhetoric reminiscent of the "darkest years of
Stalinism" in order to lay the blame on other people. The government in
turn issued a statement the following day accusing Zhelev of delaying
reform by vetoing legislation and of being irresponsible. The statement
said Zhelev "relies on rude demagogy to force society to work against
its own interests." -- Stefan Krause

BIGGEST BALKAN SYNAGOGUE REOPENS IN SOFIA. The Sofia synagogue reopened
on 8 September after major renovation, Reuters reported. More than 1,000
Jews from all over the world gathered for the ceremony that was attended
by Zhelev and Israeli Knesset Speaker Dan Tihon. The synagogue was first
inaugurated in 1909. It was hit by a bomb during World War Two and
restoration was forbidden by the Communist regime. The renovation so far
cost $370,000, mostly donations by the international Jewish community.
Tihon said the synagogue was "a house of Jewish culture...not just a
religious center." He noted that tens of thousands of Bulgarian Jews
were "saved by the Bulgarian people" from Nazi concentration camps.
Around 5,000 Jews still live in Bulgaria, mostly in Sofia. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIA REJECTS MACEDONIAN ACCUSATIONS OF INTERFERENCE. The Albanian
government on 7 September rejected Macedonian accusations that it
interfered with Skopje's domestic affairs, international media reported.
The Macedonian government over the past week repeatedly accused Tirana
of supporting the right of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia to higher
education in their mother tongue in an attempt to divert attention from
domestic political problems. A statement by the Albanian Foreign
Ministry said Albania wanted good relations with Macedonia but added
that it would continue to demand those rights because they are "based on
international norms and documents." -- Stefan Krause

As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Sharon Fisher

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