A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson

No. 182, Part II, 19 September 1996

                         CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ZYUGANOV IN BELARUS. Gennadii Zyuganov, leader of Russia's Communist Party,
was in Minsk on 18 September at the invitation of the Belarusian parliament,
Belapan and Radio Rossii reported. Zyuganov met with Parliament Speaker
Syamyon Sharetsky and addressed the Belarusian legislature. He urged
restraint in the political power struggle and said the Russian leadership
did not want events in Belarus to "overstep civilized limits." Zyuganov also
met with Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir and is scheduled to meet President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka banned funding
for the 24 November by-elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 September.
According to Finance Minister Paval Dik, Lukashenka said that his promises
to the Belarusian people prevented him from allowing the by-elections to be
financed from the country's budget. Meanwhile, head of the Belarusian
Liberal Democratic Party Syarhei Haidukevich voiced support for Lukashenka's
referendum on changing the constitution to enhance the president's powers.
Head of the Party of Communists of Belarus Syarhei Kalyakin denied there
were rifts in the party and said that he would not allow an extraordinary
session of the party to take place. Kalyakin had come under criticism from
some party leaders for having joined forces with the "round-table" group
that included nationalists, centrists, and market reformers. -- Ustina

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES CRIME DECREE. Leonid Kuchma outlined a four-year
program to combat crime in Ukraine, Ukrainian TV reported on 17 September.
The program provides the legal, technical, and organizational conditions to
carry out his administration's crime-fighting plan. Meanwhile, Ukrainian
agencies reported on 18 September that bombs exploded in two shops owned by
Akar Ltd. in downtown Sevastopol. There were no reported injuries. In
another development, a popular correspondent for the weekly TV current
affairs show, Pisliamova, was beaten and robbed on 14 September. Volodymyr
Skachko, the program's chief political reporter, suffered bruises and cuts
when several youths forced their way into his apartment, tied and gagged
him, and ransacked his flat. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

Moroz has threatened to appeal to the Kyiv City Court to strip lawmakers who
have failed to give up their government or private sector jobs of their
seats, Ukrainian TV reported on 17 September. Moroz said he will take the
action if the legislators fail to quit their second jobs by the end of the
week. He said he had warned the employers of 32 deputies of the move.
Meanwhile, a new faction calling itself the Constitutional Center was
registered within the legislature, Ukrainian agencies reported. The new
group, headed by Mykhailo Syrota, calls itself "progressive and reformist"
and plans to work on legislation aimed at implementing the new constitution.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN NEWS. Japan said on 18 September that it had extended its
system of trade and business investment guarantees to Ukraine and
Azerbaijan, as those countries' economies are considered to have normalized.
Previously, only Russia, Kazakstan, and Turkmenistan had such guarantees
from Tokyo. On 17 September, UNIAN reported Ukrainian National Security
Council chief Volodymyr Horbulin was in Washington for talks with the U.S.
State Department and National Security Council. Discussions focused on
security, NATO expansion, and prospects for a peace settlement in the
Balkans. -- Ustina Markus

and Lithuanian Prime Ministers Andres Skele and Mindaugas Stankevicius have
complied with the agreement not to discuss the current negotiations on the
sea border, other officials have made contradictory statements. Latvian
negotiating delegation head Maris Riekstins repeatedly asserted that Latvia
is waiting for Lithuania to respond to its new proposal. His Lithuanian
counterpart, Rimantas Sidlauskas, said on 18 September by saying that Latvia
had not proposed anything new, BNS reported. He said that Latvia had at
first agreed to the Lithuanian proposal that the border be determined using
the 1982 UN Sea Law Convention but reverted to its former position that "the
border proposed by Latvia be recognized and that the countries cooperate in
the disputed territory." Lithuania stands by its position that the sea
border must be settled before talks on disputed oil deposits can begin. --
Saulius Girnius

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL PREAMBLE. The Constitutional Commission of the Polish
Parliament decided on 18 September to discuss a preamble to the new
constitution, revoking its January decision that no preamble is needed.
Former Prime Minister and a Freedom Union leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki proposed
a compromise text that refers to "citizens of Poland who believe in God, the
source of truth, good, and beauty" and to citizens "who do not share this
belief but recognize a need to aspire to those supreme values." The
episcopate's secretary, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, approved Mazowiecki's draft
and said it is consistent with the Vatican II Council's Declaration on
Religious Freedom. Nine drafts of the preamble have been deposited with the
commission. The rest of the draft constitution is ready and the text awaits
final approval of the parliament and citizens by referendum. -- Jakub

SEJM COMMISSIONS ON TAXES. Polish Sejm commissions responsible for budget
and finance decided to maintain the existing tax rates of 21%, 33%, and 45%
for 1997. The rates were introduced in 1994 as an increase from 20%, 30%,
and 40% and were initially intended to be a temporary measure for one year,
but later "budget considerations" prevailed. The decision of the commissions
has to approved by the Sejm and the Senate, and the bill has to be signed by
the president. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH BANKING DEVELOPMENTS. Pavel Tykac, the head of the financial group
Motoinvest, who on 17 September left the Czech Republic because he "was
afraid for his life" after announcing that he knows the people responsible
for the collapse of Kreditni Banka, resurfaced in Prague on 18 September. He
said that he is still afraid but that he has to put the interests of his
company and his friends, who are being prosecuted in connection with the
bank's collapse, above his personal interests. Tykac announced that his
company is likely to give up its activities in the Czech banking sector. A
company official is currently abroad trying to sell Motoinvest's share in
another bank, Ceska Sporitelna. Motoinvest's 13% share in Agrobanka has
been, in effect, frozen since the National Bank appointed its own
administrator to take over Agrobanka on 17 September. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES STATE BUDGET. The Czech government on 18 September
approved the state budget for 1997, Czech media reported. The budget, which
must still be approved by parliament, is balanced; state income and
expenditures should each reach 549.1 billion crowns ($20.3 billion). The
government agreed to discuss allocations for housing and construction and
for defense in greater detail. Defense Minister Miloslav Vyborny threatened
in August to drastically reduce the army unless it receives more money. The
opposition Social Democrats have said they are not opposed to the budget's
structure or the fact that it is balanced, but they questioned the
government's ability to effectively collect taxes. The budget for 1996 had
to be reduced by 9 billion crowns in August because the government was
unable to collect bad debts and had overestimated its income from taxes. --
Jiri Pehe

Budapest on 18 September that his talks with Hungarian officials during his
one-day visit to Hungary were "very open and valuable," Slovak and Hungarian
media reported. Hamzik and his Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs,
discussed European integration in light of bilateral relations. "Both sides
are interested in settling controversial issues. ...we know very well that
the European Union welcomes any mutual progress," said Hamzik. He also said
Slovakia will consider setting up a Slovak-Hungarian intergovernmental
committee to oversee the two countries' basic treaty signed in 1995. The
creation of the committee, proposed by Hungary, "would further the
implementation of the treaty...which is expected to be a long process,"
Kovacs said. -- Jiri Pehe

...BUT FACES CRITICISM. Foreign Ministers Kovacs and Hamzik continued to
differ over the recent introduction of the Slovak law restricting the use of
foreign national anthems, Hungarian media reported on 19 September. To
Hamzik's remark that Slovakia's treatment of flags and national anthems is
in keeping with international customs, Kovacs responded that there are no
plans to restrict foreign national anthems or flags in Hungary. Kovacs also
criticized the virtual termination of state subsidies for minority papers
and pressed for passage of a Slovak law governing the use of minority
languages. Meanwhile, Hungarian Culture Minister Balint Magyar charged that
existing Slovak legislation on the state language discriminates against
minority languages and that cuts in state subsidies have caused major
problems for Hungarian cultural activities in Slovakia, Hungarian media
reported. -- Ben Slay

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN TRADE BOOMING. Hungary's exports and imports in current
prices increased by 30.3% and 24.3% respectively during the first seven
months of 1996, the Central Statistical Office announced on 17 September.
The value of exports came to 1.1 trillion forints ($7.2 billion), while
imports totaled 1.3 trillion forints. Hungary's export performance contrasts
with most of its Central European neighbors, for whom import growth is
generally running well ahead of export growth. While this news is likely to
please the IMF delegation now discussing Hungary's economic prospects in
Budapest, it is less likely to help Hungary's case with the World Trade
Organization, which has called for an 85% reduction in Hungarian
agricultural subsidies by 2000. -- Ben Slay

    [ Russia | Transcaucasia/Central Asia | Central and Eastern Europe ]

                             SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

elections, Robert Frowick, announced on 18 September that Alija Izetbegovic
of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won both the Muslim seat on the
three-man presidency and the most votes of any of those three winners.
Izetbegovic took 729,034 votes, while the Serb Momcilo Krajisnik had 690,373
and the Croat Kresimir Zubak won 342,007, Oslobodjenje reported. As to their
respective challengers, Haris Silajdzic finished with 123,784 votes, Mladen
Ivanic with 305,803, and Ivo Kosmic with 38,261. As the top vote-getter,
Izetbegovic will be the first to hold the rotating chair of the presidency,
although some legal confusion remains as to whether he will have the
position for two years or for a shorter term. -- Patrick Moore

WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENCY? Getting the three nationalist leaders to work
together will be no easy task. Krajisnik and his Serbian Democratic Party
(SDS) are on record as wanting the destruction of the Bosnian state and the
unification of all Serbs in a greater Serbia. Krajisnik nonetheless said on
18 September that "the fact that we sought posts in the joint institutions
of Bosnia-Herzegovina shows that we are ready to work there and think that
we can secure the rights of the Serb people," AFP reported, quoting SRNA.
Zubak, whose party formally acknowledges the Bosnian state but openly favors
union with Croatia, said he will work "for the full implementation of
Dayton." Izetbegovic's SDA is the most unambiguous of the three leading
parties in its support for a united Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the party has a
strong Islamic wing that would prefer a small "pure" state to a multi-ethnic
one. In any event, Izetbegovic said: "I want to repeat my political goal. In
short, it is the reunification of the country and justice in it." -- Patrick

Joulwan, NATO's supreme commander, said on 18 September he would recommend
only a limited reduction of the NATO Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in
Bosnia-Herzegovina until municipal elections are held, AFP reported. The
exact date for the elections has yet to be decided, but Joulwan said they
may be held in November. NATO had previously planned to significantly reduce
the 50,000-strong force after Bosnia's landmark September elections. Joulwan
said it is "premature" to say whether a NATO force will be needed in Bosnia
next year to prevent a new war breaking out. That same day NATO decided to
send a new military command to oversee IFOR's withdrawal from Bosnia. --
Daria Sito Sucic

international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia rejected on 17
September the request by defense lawyers to abandon 21 out of 31 charges
against Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Tadic
has been charged with killing 13 Muslims and torturing 18 others in
detention camps and during ethnic cleansing in northwestern Bosnia. In a
request filed in August, Tadic's lawyers argued the prosecution had failed
to prove the charges despite summoning 75 witnesses, and they asked that the
majority of the accusations be dismissed. The court ruled that only in the
final stages of the trial will it be decided whether the charges have been
proved. -- Daria Sito Sucic

Republika Srpska Deputy Prime Minister Velibor Ostojic said on 18 September
that Izetbegovic's election as president of Bosnia's collective presidency
was "the result of manipulation," AFP reported. Ostojic said the Serbs had
had a "realistic expectation" that their candidate, Momcilo Krajisnik, would
win the most votes, but he added that the Republika Srpska would stand by
the result. Bosnian Serb television waited more than six hours to announce
that Izetbegovic will be Bosnia's president again. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIA CHASES ASSETS. Slovenia has petitioned authorities to freeze assets
held by nine French banks registered under the name of the former
Yugoslavia. French authorities are expected to rule sometime "next week" on
whether the assets, totaling an estimated $593 million, will be frozen, AFP
reported on 18 September. The report also noted that Ljubljana "fears that
the accounts ... could be seized by rump Yugoslavia" and demands that the
banks "be required to account for movements of capital since the collapse of
the former Yugoslavia." In a similar development earlier this summer,
Ljubljana succeeded in winning a court order freezing Belgrade's assets in
Cyprus, Nasa Borba reported back on 22 July. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN STRIKE NEAR AN IMPASSE? The strike by arms and auto workers in
Kragujevac continued to grab headlines on 19 September. Nasa Borba reported
that while the job action continues, the arms facility has secured a
preliminary agreement with the rump Yugoslav army on a deal valued at nearly
10 million dinars ($2 million). But protesters vow their strike will go on
until all grievances are met. Whether Serbia's labor movement will support
the strikers, however, is a question. Aleksandar Ivovic, president of the
Union of Metalworkers of Serbia, has publicly criticized their efforts,
saying the Kragujevac protesters are jeopardizing the company's future and
well-being. He added that because many of their demands, including calls for
back pay, have been met, the purpose of continued action is unclear, Tanjug
reported on 17 September. -- Stan Markotich

WWII MASS GRAVE IN MONTENEGRO? A group of historians working with Kosovar
Albanian historian Zekiria Cana claims to have found a mass grave containing
the bodies of about 2,000 ethnic Albanians near Tivar, international media
reported on 19 September. The men were allegedly killed by Serbs and
Montenegrins at the end of World War II. The historians had been searching
for many years for the victims, who allegedly were among about 5,000 ethnic
Albanian members of partisan groups who were ordered to leave Kosovo in
March 1945 on the pretext that they could join Yugoslav partisan groups.
Albanian historians claim that most of them were killed by Serbian guards
during their march from Kosovo through northern Albania to Montenegro. Cana
claims that about 50,000 Albanians in Kosovo were killed by the Serbian
military administration after the war. -- Fabian Schmidt

on 18 September started ratification procedures for the basic treaty with
Hungary signed two days before, Radio Bucharest reported. The cabinet
discussed the draft law on the treaty's ratification, which will be
forwarded to parliament soon. Meanwhile, deputies from the ultra-nationalist
Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) continued criticizing the document.
On 17 September, PUNR Deputy Chairman Ioan Gavra described the absence of
Hungarian President Arpad Goncz from the signing ceremony as "another slap
in Romania's face." While the treaty was being signed in Romania, Gavra
said, Goncz was at "NATO headquarters [in Brussels], bringing the news that
Hungary now has free access" to the organization. PUNR Chairman Gheorghe
Funar on 18 September formally registered with the authorities as a
candidate in the presidential election scheduled for 3 November. -- Dan

Chairman Petru Lucinschi said a law on the future legal status of the
breakaway Dniester region has a good chance of being completed and approved
in the first half of 1997, Infotag reported, quoting the London Sunday
Telegraph. According to Lucinschi, the law will require one to two years for
implementation. He added that Moldova "is doomed to conduct a well-balanced
[foreign] policy, since any unilateral orientation to either Romania or
Russia may trigger tension in society." -- Dan Ionescu

BOMB BLAST IN CENTRAL SOFIA. A homemade bomb exploded near the Rodina Hotel
in central Sofia early on 18 September, injuring one person, Bulgarian media
reported on 19 September. The bomb went off in front of a truck loaded with
construction materials, propelling the truck into a tree. This is the second
bombing in Sofia's city center, coming after the explosion near the Palace
of Culture two months ago. Standart suggests underworld feuding may be
behind the bombings. -- Maria Koinova

has expressed concern over a recent outbreak of polio in Albania that has
killed seven and infected 59 people, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 19
September. There are now more polio cases in Albania than were recorded in
all the rest of Europe during 1996. Local media have connected the outbreak
to the vaccination of 350,000 children in April and May, but according to
the WHO, tests have proved that the vaccine was not the cause of the
epidemic. The WHO estimates that about 3.2 million vaccinations are needed
to prevent a further spread of the disease. Currently Albania has only about
300,000 doses available. -- Fabian Schmidt

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