The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 183, Part II, 20 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

NATO PLANNING "SUPER-PFP" FOR THOSE NOT ACCEPTED AS MEMBERS. NATO is
developing a "super" Partnership for Peace (PfP) program for countries
that are not invited to join the alliance in the first wave of
expansion, Reuters reported on 19 September. The new "PfP Plus" would
aim to boost non-members' military cooperation and political contacts
with NATO. U.S. Ambassador to Finland Derek Shearer estimated that 15 to
20 of the current 27 participants in the PfP, including Russia, could
join the new group. -- Doug Clarke

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT MEETS RUSSIAN COMMUNIST LEADER. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka met with Russian Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov on
19 September, Russian and international agencies reported the following
day. Zyuganov, in Minsk at the invitation of the Belarusian parliament,
offered to mediate in the power dispute between parliament and
president. He called upon both sides to withdraw their competing draft
constitutions from the upcoming referendum, and he voiced concern that
the CIA was engaged in subversive activities against Belarus. In other
news, ITAR-TASS reported Lukashenka awarded Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov
the honorary Belarusian medal of Frantsys Skaryna for his part in
strengthening Russian-Belarusian ties. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN RADIO PROGRAM UPSETS BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT. Ukraine's
prosecutor general filed a case against the nationalist radio program
Zhurnal UNSO because it insulted the Belarusian president, ITAR-TASS
reported on 19 September. Serhii Kolomyets, a member of the radical
nationalist group Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian Self Defense
Organization (UNA-UNSO), said Belarusian President Lukashenka called his
Ukrainian counterpart demanding an explanation for the show's portrayal
of him and insisting that the journalists who insulted him be penalized.
Ukraine's security service explained that journalists have the right to
freedom of speech in Ukraine. The recent sentencing of seven Ukrainians
who are allegedly members of UNA-UNSO to 1230 months in jail in Belarus
for their part in anti-Lukashenka demonstrations has made Lukashenka the
target of criticism by the organization. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN NEWS. Ukraine's parliament refused for the second time
to ratify an international agreement on free skies, ITAR-TASS reported
on 19 September. Sixteen of the 25 countries that signed the agreement
are NATO states, and as neither Russia nor Belarus is party to the
treaty, parliament argued that allowing NATO members to freely fly
across Ukraine would jeopardize the country's neutral status. The same
day, U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
agreed to create an intergovernmental commission for enhancing
cooperation between their countries. The commission will have committees
for foreign policy, security, trade and investment, and economic
cooperation. Ukraine is the third largest recipient of U.S. aid, with
$330 million in aid and $675 million in credits this year. -- Ustina
Markus

ESTONIA'S ALIENS NOT EAGER TO VOTE IN ELECTIONS. Although only Estonian
citizens can vote in parliamentary elections, non-citizens can vote in
local elections if they meet certain criteria: they must be 18 or older,
have applied for a residence permit, have lived in their respective
territory for at least five years, and have registered by 10 September.
For the local elections on 20 October, 70,696 non-citizens (less than
half of those eligible) registered to vote, BNS reported on 19
September. Most registered in Tallinn and the surrounding Harjumaa
region (34,912) and the northeast Ida-Virumaa region (31,563). Not one
non-citizen was registered in nearly half of the 255 local self-
government territories. Non-citizens will be allowed to register until
18 October if they have a good reason for missing the deadline. --
Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ALONG WITH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. The
Seimas on 19 September voted 62 to 25 with 14 abstentions to hold a
referendum on amending the constitution at the time of the parliamentary
elections on 20 October, Radio Lithuania reported. The proposed
amendments would reduce the number of Seimas deputies from 141 to 111;
fix the date of regular parliamentary elections as the second Sunday in
April every fourth year; and guarantee that at least half of the
national budget be spent on social care, medicine, education, science,
culture, and other social needs. Social Democratic Party Deputy Chairman
Rimantas Dagys said that the governing Democratic Labor Party is calling
the referendum to attract more votes and thus ensure that it passes the
5% barrier needed to get into the Seimas. -- Saulius Girnius

SWEDISH PREMIER, LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN POLAND. Swedish Prime Minister
Goran Persson arrived in Poland for a two-day visit on 19 September. He
met with his Polish counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz. Persson said
Sweden fully backs Poland's goal of joining the EU by 2000, a date
recently mentioned by French President Jacques Chirac, and added that
Sweden, with its recent experience in negotiating with the EU, could
help Poland. Also on 19 September, Polish President Aleksander
Kwasniewski and Lithuanian President Algirdas Brasauskas met in Gdynia
and signed a declaration that Lithuania and Poland will support each
other in the processes of integration into the EU and NATO. They agreed
to hold regular consultations. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH BANKING DEVELOPMENTS CAUSE POLITICAL SNIPING . . . Parliament
Chairman and opposition leader Milos Zeman said on 19 September that
Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik bears "political and professional
responsibility" for the loss of 2 billion crowns that the Czech Customs
Administration incurred in the recent collapse of Kreditni banka, Czech
media reported. Zeman's Social Democrats have demanded that Kocarnik be
removed from his post; however, Kocarnik's Civic Democratic Party
expressed support for the finance minister on 19 September. Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus also expressed support for National Bank Governor
Josef Tosovsky amid speculations that Tosovsky may be dismissed from his
post. Also on 19 September, Klaus met with the directors of the four
largest banks in the country, declaring after the meeting that the
government and major financial institutions are ready "to develop [the
banking sector] without turbulences similar to the recent ones." -- Jiri
Pehe

. . . BUT BANKING SECTOR REPORTEDLY IN GOOD SHAPE. The parliament budget
committee's chairman, Josef Wagner of the opposition CSSD, said the
committee had concluded from a recent report by National Bank Governor
Josef Tosovsky that the Czech banking sector is now stabilized, Czech
media reported on 19 September. The four largest banks--Komercni banka,
Ceska sporitelna, Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka, and Investicni a
postovni banka--have a market value of 110 billion crowns ($4.1
billion), while in 1990 they had a negative value. The four banks
represent over 70% of the banking sector. Twelve out of the country's 60
banks have collapsed in the past two years. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH PREMIER'S PARTY SECOND IN POLLS--FOR THE FIRST TIME. An opinion
poll conducted by the Center for Empirical Studies, whose results were
carried by TV Nova on 19 September, shows Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) close second behind the Social Democrats
(CSSD). This is the first time that the ODS has been surpassed by the
CSSD, or any other party, since its establishment in 1991. The ODS won
the June 1996 elections with some 29% but was unable to form a majority
government. Klaus currently heads a minority government supported by 99
coalition deputies in the 200-seat legislature. In the poll, the CSSD
received the support of 26.3% respondents, while the ODS received 26.2%.
The Communists received 9.7%, followed by the Civic Democratic Alliance
with 8.2% and the Christian Democrats with 7.4%. -- Jiri Pehe

FORMER HUNGARIAN INDUSTRY MINISTER NAMED IN OIL SCANDAL. Imre Dunai, who
resigned as Hungary's minister of industry and trade last month, has
been implicated in a report by the parliamentary commission looking into
the "Oilgate" scandal involving Russian oil imports, Hungarian dailies
reported on 20 September. The report concludes that Dunai was involved
in oil transactions that were "incompatible with his post." The report
apparently enjoys the support of the Free Democratic Party (SZDSZ), even
though the party is in the governing coalition. This support could
increase tensions between the SZDSZ and the senior coalition partner,
the Social Democratic Party. -- Ben Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ROW BUILDING UP OVER BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY . . . The three-man collective
presidency has yet to meet, but already differences have emerged among
Muslims, Serbs, and Croats that reflect the differences in the agendas
of the three leading parties. On the issue of where that body will meet,
the Serb Momcilo Krajisnik said he fears for his safety in Sarajevo and
offered Pale as an alternative, which is unacceptable to the Muslims and
Croats. The Muslims earlier rejected a Serb proposal for a meeting place
on the demarcation line, which the Muslims said would only underscore
the division rather than the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A second point
involves the length of the Muslim Alija Izetbegovic's term as chairman.
The Muslims say it should last two years, while Krajisnik wants each man
to have eight months in the office. The Croat Kresimir Zubak, a lawyer,
argues that the matter is not clear and will have to be discussed. A
third issue is Izetbegovic's demand that Krajisnik, whose party supports
a greater Serbia, take a loyalty oath to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Zubak met
separately with each of the other two men on 19 September to prepare the
groundwork for a joint meeting. -- Patrick Moore

. . . AND HURDLES REMAIN REGARDING THE ELECTIONS. The elections must be
certified by the OSCE in order to be valid, but Izetbegovic's party and
some NGOs have charged that the vote in the Republika Srpska was not
fair and democratic. OSCE election monitor Edward van Thijn suggested
that the OSCE hold off on certification--scheduled for next week--until
the Serbs bring their constitution into line with the Bosnian one set
down in the Dayton agreement. Ten days after the elections are
certified, the UN Security Council is expected to lift sanctions against
Belgrade and Pale. Meanwhile, unofficial returns show that the three
nationalist parties are sweeping the remaining five categories of
offices voted on in the 14 September election, Onasa and Oslobodjenje
reported. -- Patrick Moore

SOLANA: NATO MUST REMAIN "ENGAGED" IN BOSNIA. NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana said on 19 September that the international community,
including NATO, must remain engaged in Bosnia after the departure of the
IFOR peacekeeping force in December, AFP reported. Solana told the
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) there may have to
be a continued military presence in Bosnia, albeit smaller and for a
strictly limited term. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali that
same day also warned the international community against an early
disengagement from Bosnia. But U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry
warned that sending U.S. troops into Bosnia again next year would "pose
a very substantial problem," AFP reported on 19 September. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

CROATIA WANTS ELECTIONS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA ON 15 DECEMBER. The Croatian
National Defense and Security Council (VONS) on 18 September decided
that local elections in eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-held area,
should be held on 15 December, the Croatian Foreign Press Bureau
reported the next day. Zagreb wants the UN troops to leave Croatia on 15
January, when their mandate expires, and to have the area returned to
its control. But rebel Serbs want the UN mandate to be extended, and
they are supported by UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali. Meanwhile, the
Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) filed a complaint with Croatia's
Constitutional Court, demanding that the security council be abolished
as it is an unconstitutional body exceeding the powers of both the
government and parliament, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 20 September.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

IFOR COMMANDER DEMANDS SACKING OF SERB POLICE CHIEF. Adm. Joseph Lopez,
NATO's top commander for Bosnia, asked Biljana Plavsic, the Republika
Srpska's acting president, to immediately remove a Bosnian Serb police
chief who threatened NATO troops, Oslobodjenje reported on 20 September.
If the Serbs do not comply by noon on 20 September, "IFOR will take
remedial action to remove this threat to our troops," Lopez's spokesman
Capt. Mark Van Dyke said according to AFP. The incident occurred when
Simo Drljaca, the police chief in Prijedor, was asked by a patrol of
Czech IFOR troops to hand over a sub-machine gun found in his car, but
he cocked and pointed the weapon at the troops. More Serb police armed
arrived in reinforcements and surrounded the Czechs. Both sides fired
into the air; no injuries were reported. Lopez insisted that Drljaca be
replaced and the weapons be turned over to IFOR for destruction. --
Daria Sito Sucic

THE POLITICS OF THE SERBIAN STRIKE. The strike of Kragujevac arms and
auto workers continues amid intensifying politicization. Nasa Borba on
20 September reported that the leadership of the Serbian Renewal
Movement (SPO) has denied allegations published in the pro-government
press that it fomented the strike action. In a less-than-subtle
reference to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, the SPO said that the
workers "know who the real protest organizer is. ...[Workers] have been
thrown on the streets by the same crooks who have bank accounts in
Cyprus, and by the hunger that those crooks have to be held accountable
for." -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENES TO VOTE ON ELECTORAL REFORM. The Slovenian legislature has
voted, honoring a decision by the Constitutional Court, that a
referendum be held on electoral reform on 8 December, STA reported on 19
September. The referendum and its results will not interfere with the
country's national elections on 10 November. Slovenia is divided into
eight districts, and winning candidates are apportioned seats from party
lists. In December, Slovenes will be asked to choose from three
electoral options, which include the possibility of increasing the
number of districts and implementing a first-past-the-post system of
directly electing candidates. In other news, Reuters on 19 September
reported that Slovenia and the EU have signed an interim trade accord
that will define relations until the signing of a treaty "promising"
Slovenia EU membership. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY LAUNCHES "POLITICAL OFFER." The ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania on 18 and 19 September launched a new
political platform ahead of presidential and general elections scheduled
for 3 November, Radio Bucharest reported. The platform consists of 21
separate programs for boosting political, social, and economic reforms.
It includes measures designed to improve social protection, health
conditions, and education; to combat unemployment and corruption; and to
speed up Romania's integration into European and Euro-Atlantic
structures. President Ion Iliescu, who attended the launching ceremony
on 18 September, said that his own electoral platform was closely
connected to that of the PDSR. -- Dan Ionescu

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT "SHOCKED" BY ROMANIAN ANTI-GAY LAWS. The Strasbourg-
based European Parliament (EP) on 19 September expressed "shock" over
proposed changes in the Romanian penal code that make homosexual
relations punishable by up to three years in jail, Radio Bucharest and
Western agencies reported. In a resolution condemning the 10 September
decision by Romania's Chamber of Deputies, the EP urged President
Iliescu to intervene to prevent the penal code changes and asked the
Romanian government to "abide by its commitment" to the Council of
Europe to eliminate "repression of homosexuality." A spokesman for
Iliescu said on the same day that the president "does not agree with
those parliamentarians who voted for articles in the penal code that do
not harmonize with European legislation." -- Dan Ionescu

GERMANY AND MACEDONIA SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENT. German State Secretary in
the Defense Ministry Bernd Wilz and Macedonian Defense Minister Blagoj
Handziski signed a military cooperation agreement in Skopje on 19
September, Nova Makedonija reported. The deal provides for German
training of Macedonian officers. Handziski expressed the determination
of Macedonia to quickly fulfill the conditions for full-fledged NATO
membership. Skopje has signed similar treaties with six other countries.
Wilz said that Germany has a strong interest in the development of
democratization and human rights in Macedonia. -- Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIA'S UN ENVOY BLASTS HIS GOVERNMENT. Slavi Pashovsky, who has a
record of falling out with the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)
government by accusing it of trying to restore communism, is again in
hot water with Sofia authorities. On 20 September Pashovsky sent an open
letter to his government protesting its decision to bar him from
attending the current UN General Assembly, international media reported.
Pashovsky complained the government wants "only people presenting their
views" to be appointed. "We remained silent for too long, and you went
too far," he said. The BBC noted on 20 September that it is
"unprecedented" for a UN envoy to attack his own government in a public
press conference. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIA'S STATE-OWNED BANKS FOR SALE. All state-owned banks except
Bulbank are to be offered for privatization, the Bank Consolidation
Company's (BKK) decided on 18 September, Trud reported the next day. The
government is thus no longer obligated to retain a 51% controlling
interest in the institutions. BKK is already reportedly looking for
long-term investors with a strategic business outlook. Biochim Bank is
slated to start cooperation with the Dutch AMRO, while the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development is rumored to be interested in buying
the United Bulgarian Bank. Meanwhile, South Korea's Daewoo has aimed its
sights at Balkanbank and the Dutch ING Bank has a long-standing
cooperation with the Post Bank, reported Duma. -- Maria Koinova

GREEK-ALBANIAN UPDATE. Albanian Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi on 18
September met Kostandin Prevedourakis, the newly appointed Greek
ambassador to Albania, ATSH reported. Meksi hailed the improvement of
mutual relations. Prevedourakis assured Meksi of Greece's good will to
further promote cooperation in various fields. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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