A tablecloth restaurant is still one of the great rewards of civilization. - Harry Golden
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 178, Part II, 13 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

UKRAINE'S DRAFT 1997 BUDGET FORESEES ECONOMIC GROWTH. The Ukrainian
government's 1997 draft state budget predicts economic growth (of 1.7%)
for the first time since independence, Ukrainian agencies reported on 12
September. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk said the budget
foresees a record low deficit of 4% of GDP, or by IMF calculations 2.4%
of GDP. Over half of the planned shortfall is to be financed by the sale
of treasury bills with the rest to be covered by foreign loans. The
government predicts an annual inflation rate of just under 25%. Pynzenyk
said the satisfactory progress of monetary reform will result in no
extension of the 16 September deadline to exchange karbovantsi for the
new hryvni and the lifting of the nationwide price freeze on 11
September. He said 74% of all karbovantsi in circulation had already
been exchanged with the rate of the new hryvya remaining steady at 1.76
to the US dollar. Pynzenyk said he expects September inflation to remain
at its August level of 5.7%. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE TO OPEN REPRESENTATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA. Ukraine's parliament
decided to open a series of diplomatic consulates and representative
offices in Central and South American countries, ITAR-TASS reported on
12 September. The countries include Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia,
and Colombia. Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohy said the
countries could become economic partners for Ukraine, and are potential
markets for Ukrainian goods such as machinery, chemical products,
military hardware, airplanes, equipment for port facilities, and energy
storage and transport facilities. Ukrainian radio reported that
parliament also ratified an agreement on friendship and cooperation with
Brazil. -- Ustina Markus

EU TO OFFER $700 MILLION TO UKRAINE. EU Commissioner in charge of
relations with the former Soviet Union, Hans van den Broek, was in
Ukraine on 12 September, Ukrainian radio and international agencies
reported. Van den Broek and Head of Ukraine's National Agency for
Reconstruction and Development Roman Shpek signed two agreements. Under
the TACIS program, Ukraine is to receive some $700 million between 1996-
99 for various economic projects. A memorandum was also signed, under
which Ukraine is to receive an additional $50 million for restructuring
its energy sector and closing the Chornobyl nuclear power station. Van
den Broek said there were currently no obstacles for ratifying a
partnership and cooperation agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
Although he called the long and complicated process of individual
ratification by each of the 15 EU countries the biggest problem he told
President Leonid Kuchma that it would not hinder developing ties between
Ukraine and the EU. -- Ustina Markus

U.S. DIPLOMATS PRESENT BALTIC ACTION PLAN. Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State Marshall Adair and National Security Council's department head Dan
Fried began a tour of the Baltic states in Tallinn on 10 September by
talking with President Lennart Meri. Their visits are intended to
acquaint with and get reaction from Baltic leaders on the Baltic Action
Plan, drafted in August by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe
Talbott. After meetings with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and Foreign
Minister Siim Kallas, the officials traveled to Riga where they met with
President Guntis Ulmanis on 12 September. Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs presented them with 11 proposals to be worked into the plan, but
stressed that it will not be accepted as a substitute for NATO
membership, BNS reported. The U.S. officials are scheduled to hold talks
in Vilnius on 14 September with Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER'S SENTENCE NOT EXTENDED. The Riga Latgale
District Court on 11 September found former Latvian Communist Party
First Secretary Alfreds Rubiks guilty of not informing the Central
Election Commission that he had been a member of Communist Party after
13 January 1991, BNS reported. The court, however, did not impose the
six month sentence asked by the prosecution saying that his crime was no
longer publicly dangerous. Rubiks, who has already completed half of his
eight year prison sentence for attempting to overthrow the government in
1991, plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court since it might
influence his possible pre-term release. -- Saulius Girnius

CZECH POLITICIANS ON CZECH-GERMAN DECLARATION. Czech Foreign Minister
Josef Zieleniec told reporters on 12 September that the Czech-German
declaration the two countries' parliaments are planning to adopt will
not change any of the laws under which some three million Sudeten
Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II, Czech
media reported. For more than a year, the two countries have been
engaged in difficult negotiations on the declaration, which they hope
will settle controversial historical issues and improve bilateral
relations. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told the German parliament on
11 September that he wanted the declaration to be adopted by the end of
this year. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, however, announced that no
talks between him and Kohl on the declaration are scheduled in the
foreseeable future. Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, who has been
so far critical of the declaration, on 12 September expressed
satisfaction with the declaration, saying it will describe the expulsion
of Germans as "injustice." -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER IN PRAGUE. Pavol Hamzik told Czech officials on
12 September that he sees no reason why Slovakia should be excluded from
[the European] integration processes, Czech media reported. "We should
not be viewed only through the prism of the Slovak opposition," argued
Hamzik. After meetings with his Czech counterpart, Josef Zieleniec, as
well as President Vaclav Havel and Parliament Chairman Milos Zeman,
Zieleniec told reporters that "it is our vital interest that Slovakia
become a member of the same organizations, that is NATO and the European
Union." Hamzik expressed objections when Zeman repeated his recent
criticism of some political developments in Slovakia. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKIA SETS UP COMMITTEE ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION. The Slovak
parliament on 12 September approved the creation of a 17-member
parliamentary committee that will deal with issues of European
integration, Slovak media reported. Parliament deputy chairman Marian
Huska proposed the creation of the committee, which will tackle a broad
range of questions related to European integration, including studying
documents drafted by the European Commission and evaluating the
feasibility of incorporating various laws into Slovakia's legislation.
Huska was elected chairman of the committee, in which all the coalition
and opposition parties are represented. -- Jiri Pehe

POLISH-FRENCH-GERMAN RELATIONS. French President Jacques Chirac during a
visit to Poland on 11-12 September gave the year 2000 as the date of
Poland's possible EU entry. He also proposed that a conference of NATO
nations, those seeking to join, and potential NATO partners (suggesting
that Russia should be included) be held. Poland's President Aleksander
Kwasniewski, after a telephone conversation with German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl, announced on 12 September that he will host a Franco-
German-Polish summit early next year in Poland, Polish media reported.
Kohl told Kwasniewski that the final decision on NATO expansion will be
made in June or July 1997. -- Jakub Karpinski

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC NEWS ROUNDUP. According to the Central Statistical
Office, consumer prices in Hungary increased by 0.3% in July, the lowest
monthly figure in three years, Hungarian dailies reported on 13
September. Hungary's inflation rate since July 1995 is now 22% which,
while down from last year's 28%, is still more than twice the rates in
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The good news about the
declining inflation seems to have been lost on the American credit
rating agency Moody's, whose recent study decided not to upgrade
Hungary's Ba1 international credit rating. Hungarian officials had been
hoping for a better rating, since this would both serve as a
recommendation to investors and allow the government to borrow abroad at
lower interest rates. Moody's cited Hungary's trade and budget deficits
as key concerns, while exports and foreign investment were seen as the
country's strong points. -- Ben Slay

POLL SHOWS ETHNIC HUNGARIANS IN ROMANIA SUPPORT BASIC TREATY. Some 74%
of ethnic Hungarians in Romania recently polled by the Romanian Public
Opinion Research Institute believe that the Hungarian-Romanian basic
treaty to be signed in Timisoara on Monday is equally beneficial for
ethnic Hungarians and Romanians, Magyar Hirlap reported on 12 September.
These sentiments, if correctly gauged, would seem to take the wind out
of the nationalist opposition in Hungary, which claims that the treaty
will worsen conditions for Hungarians living in Romania. The poll was
jointly commissioned by the Bucharest-based daily Curierul National and
the Budapest-based Magyar Hirlap, and was based on interviews conducted
during 4-9 September with 1,300 adults. In other treaty-related news,
the Hungarian cabinet on 12 September unanimously authorized Prime
Minister Gyula Horn to sign the treaty in Timisoara on Monday. -- Ben
Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN OFFICIAL ON REFUGEE ISSUES. Ivica Vrkic, the head of the
Croatian government's office for the UN administered area of Eastern
Slavonia was quoted by Hina on 11 September as saying that all citizens
had legal and constitutional rights to return to their homes. In what
appeared to be a direct observation relating to ethnic Serb refugees
from western Slavonia now in Eastern Slavonia, Vrkic said that any mass
return of displaced persons and refugees was "not possible" and that the
issue had to be resolved "gradually." Vrkic added that "What
[is]...needed first is the establishment of an open dialogue, regardless
of differences in views, so that we can solve problems of all people
affected by war." Vrkic, along with UN officials, visited with local
authorities the Serb-held town of Bilje, in eastern Croatia. -- Stan
Markotich

SERBIA ON THE DOMESTIC, MONTENEGRO ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT. Strikers
at the Kragujevac arms plant continue their job action, Nasa Borba
reported on 13 September. The previous day, the daily noted strikers
were being joined by their children in this latest round, quoting one
participant that "we are [including] our children not because we have
anything to fear [or] want them to shield us, but because they should
learn how to struggle." Montena-fax reported that Montene-grin President
Momir Bula-tovic met with UN Secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali on
11 September. He urged that sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro be fully
lifted and that Belgrade move towards integration into international
organizations. "It's high time that [rump] Yugoslavia be able to
continue its work in international organizations, and particularly the
United Nations," said Bulatovic. -- Stan Markotich

POLLING STATIONS OPEN FOR BOSNIA'S MILITARY VOTING. The OSCE ruled that
the soldiers in the mainly Muslim Bosnian army, the Bosnian Serb army,
and the Bosnian Croat forces, the HVO, will vote on 13 September, a day
ahead of the Bosnia's general elections, AFP reported. The decision will
keep the armies in their barracks on the day of the voting. The Bosnian
Serb army has also protested plans to hand over its command and assets
to the Bosnian Serb political leadership, AFP reported the previous day
quoteng Tanjug. The Bosnian Serb parliament is due to discuss a defense
law that would transfer total control of the army and the armament
industry to the civilian authorities. The protests reflect the long
standoff between the Bosnian Serb military and political hierarchies,
which started with a conflict between Gen. Ratko Mladic and civilian
leader Radovan Karadzic in summer 1995. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIA'S NATIONALIST PARTIES END CAMPAIGN WITH GIANT RALLIES. The ruling
Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) held a rally with some 60,000
supporters in Sarajevo on 12 September, AFP reported. Bosnian President
and the SDA President Alija Izetbegovic appealed to the crowd for calm
elections, asking voters to avoid any sort of incidents. That same day,
Momcilo Krajisnik, a Bosnian Serb candidate for Bosnia's new-style
rotating presidency, at the rally in Pale told Serbs to let Muslims who
would come over to the Republika Srpska to vote to "do so with dignity,"
promising that "they will leave as they came," AFP reported. The
previous day in Banja Luka, another Bosnian Serb leader, Biljana
Plavsic, told a crowd of 20,000 that Bosnian Serbs were chosen by God to
fulfill the centuries-long Serb dream of creation of a united Serb
state. Plavsic repeated the statement at a Pale rally the next day,
neglecting for a second time the OSCE's warning to avoid secessionist
rhetoric. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MULTIETHNIC OPPOSITION COALITION SPOKE TO 20,000 PEOPLE IN TUZLA. Joint
List, the opposition coalition consisting of five parties --the
Socialist Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina (SDP), the Muslim
Bosniak Organization (MBO), the Union of Bosnian Social-Democrats
(UBSD), the Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS) and the Republican Party
(RS)-- held a big rally on 12 September in Tuzla in support of a
multiethnic and multicultural Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP reported. "We have
only one homeland and all its nations are part of it," Tatjana Ljuic-
Mijatovic, a Serb member of the Bosnian presidency, was quoted as
saying. That same day, the two main Serb opposition parties, the left-
leaning Alliance for Peace and Progress, led by Zivko Radisic, and the
Democratic Patriotic Bloc, led by former Banja Luka mayor Predrag Radic,
announced they will form a coalition after elections in the Republika
Srpska. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ROMANIA CALLS EPIDEMIC ALERT. Health Minister Daniela Bartos declared an
epidemic alert on 12 September after the death toll from viral
meningitis reached 24 with 417 people infected, Radio Bucharest and
Reuters reported. She admitted that the authorities have been "unable
yet to say what kind of virus caused the disease," and added that
samples were sent for analysis to the Paris-based Pasteur Institute.
Meanwhile, the political row over the epidemic has continued.
Bucharest's Prefect Grigore Simion, a member of the ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania, expressed "surprise" over the announcement
by mayor Victor Ciorbea from the opposition Democratic Convention
postponing the start of the school year. Such a decision, Simion added,
can only be taken in conjunction with the health and education
ministries. -- Dan Ionescu

SOME FORMER ROMANIANS MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. The Romanian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs has recently instructed consulates abroad to issue visas
to former Romanian citizens without a fee. OMRI has, however, learned
from first-hand sources that the tax-free visa is obtainable only when
the applicant produces proof that his parents had held Romanian
citizenship and were of "ethnic Romanian origin." In other words, the
fee exemption does not apply to Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and people of
other nationalities, even if they meet all other requirements. --
Michael Shafir

COUNCIL OF EUROPE FACT-FINDING MISSION IN CHISINAU. A group of
rapporteurs for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Strasbourg-based
Council of Europe (CE) started a visit in the Republic of Moldova on 12
September, Infotag reported. The delegation, headed by Lord Finsberg,
was received by Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi, one of the
candidates in the presidential election scheduled for 14 November.
Lucinschi assured his guests that the parliament would remain a factor
of stability during the rather stormy presidential run-up. The CE
delegation will report on the way Moldova complies with the commitment
taken upon its admission to the Council in June 1995. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE, SLAMS
SOCIALISTS. Asserting that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)
was polarizing society ahead of the presidential elections, Union of
Democratic Forces Chairman (SDS) Ivan Kostov on 11 September announced
that the SDS will ask for a no-confidence vote against the government of
Prime Minister Zhan Videnov after the elections, Pari reported. Kostov
said that by instigating mistrust and inspiring nostalgia toward
communist times, the Socialists want to politically polarize the
elections. He said hardline BSP voters would not accept a defeat of the
Socialist candidate, Culture Minister Ivan Marazov, and that they would
be ready to provoke unrest and turmoil. Kostov said the SDS will not ask
for a no-confidence vote before the elections because it would
consolidate the BSP. But he announced that a vote of no-confidence in
the entire government policy will be called immediately following the
elections. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN UPDATE. Bulgaria, anticipating problems with energy supply
throughout the upcoming winter, is planning to import by air nuclear
fuel from Russia for the country's Soviet-made Kozloduy power plant,
Reuters reported on 12 September. One Bulgarian official, declining to
be named, remarked "We are in the process of negotiating consignments of
nuclear fuel by land from Russia with Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania as
we need their agreement." In other news, the US-based Human Rights Watch
has criticized Bulgarian authorities for their treatment of street
children. According to the report, police employ intimidation, harsh
physical violence, and arbitrary arrest against the children, who are
also, if deemed incorrigible, punished by being sent to workhouses. --
Stan Markotich

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Saulius Girnius

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