A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 185, Part II, 24 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

U.S. DEMANDS EXPLANATION FROM BELARUS. The U.S. embassy in Minsk has
announced it is asking the Belarusian Foreign Ministry to clarify
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's televised statements that the U.S. and
other Western embassies are trying to destabilize Belarus, international
agencies reported on 23 September. U.S. State Department spokesman Glyn
Davies called the statements "outrageous and provocative." Lukashenka
the previous day had appeared on Belarusian TV claiming that U.S. and
British diplomats were offering cash to Belarusian politicians who
stymied his initiatives. Meanwhile, Belarusian Defense Minister Leanid
Maltseu met with his Chinese counterpart, Chi Haotian, in Beijing on 23
September, international agencies reported. Chi said China's armed
forces were ready to develop "all-round and all-faceted friendship and
cooperation" with the Belarusian military. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT COMPLETES FORMATION OF NEW GOVERNMENT. Leonid Kuchma
has completed forming the new government, Ukrainian and Western agencies
reported on 23 September. He appointed Viktor Pynzenyk as deputy prime
minister for the economy and Anatolii Minchenko as minister for
industrial policy and the energy complex. Pynzenyk, a prominent
reformer, is unpopular with the large leftist contingent in the
parliament. He is due to present the government's economic program to
lawmakers on 25 September. Minchenko is an academic and former head of
the Ukrainian Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE TO SEEK FULL CONVERTIBILITY OF HRYVNYA. National Bank of Ukraine
Governor Viktor Yushchenko has said Ukraine will soon take steps to make
its new currency, the hryvnya, fully convertible on international
markets, Radio Ukraine reported on 23 September. Yushchenko said the
move is aimed at boosting the new tender. The government will consider
such measures as pegging the hryvnya to another currency and introducing
a narrow currency exchange band similar to Russia's. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN NEWS ROUNDUP. The World Bank has approved a $2.6
million loan to Ukraine to finance the installation of an automated data
processing system for its Housing and Municipal Service program, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported on 23 September. Ronald Freeman, vice
president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, met
with Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko in Kyiv last week to discuss
exploration projects for oil and gas in the Black Sea shelf and the
completion of two reactors at the Khmelnitsky and Rivne nuclear power
stations, Ukrainian radio reported. Lazarenko said there could be no
delay in completing the reactors because 103 coal mines were to be
closed by the end of 1997. Meanwhile, Croatian Defense Minister Gojko
Susak arrived in Kyiv on 24 September. The two countries signed an
agreement on military cooperation. -- Ustina Markus

U.S. DAILY QUERIES UKRAINE'S ENTRY INTO MISSILE PACT. The Washington
Times on 23 September criticized proposed U.S. policy changes allowing
Ukraine to join the 28-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
while continuing to produce missiles. The MTCR restricts members from
exporting missiles whose range exceeds 186 miles and warheads heavier
than 1,100 pounds. It also facilitates sharing missile technology among
members. Argentina and South Africa both gave up their missile programs
to join the MTCR, but in 1993, the U.S. redefined the MTCR restriction
as covering only "offensive" missiles. This created a loophole for MTCR
members to build space launchers, which are virtually identical to
warhead-carrying missiles. It is unlikely Ukraine would be willing to
give up it missile programs to join the MTCR, but several unnamed U.S.
officials are afraid that if an exception is made for Ukraine, the MTCR
would be dealt a "mortal blow." -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA, RUSSIA AGREE TO EXCHANGE LAKESIDE REGIONS. Delegations to the
Estonian-Russian border talks in St. Petersburg on 19 and 20 September,
while failing to reach a final solution, did agree on the exchange of
territory bordering Lake Peipus, BNS reported on 21 September. Estonia
is to give Russia 4.9 square kilometers of land to the north of the
lake, receiving in exchange an equal-sized area near the island of
Piirissaar and the Varska area to the south. The next round of talks is
tentatively scheduled for the end of October in Tallinn. -- Saulius
Girnius

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN LITHUANIA. Leonid Kuchma, during his two-day
visit to Lithuania from 23-24 September, met with his Lithuanian
counterpart, Algirdas Brazauskas, Radio Lithuania reported. The
presidents signed a joint declaration affirming that the two countries
are prepared to contribute to the creation of a new European security
system. Foreign Ministers Povilas Gylys and Hennadii Udovenko signed an
agreement on travel by their citizens and on the return of illegal
migrants. The countries' finance ministers also signed agreements on
avoiding double taxation and financial violations. Kuchma also met with
Prime Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius and Lithuanian businessmen. --
Saulius Girnius

POLAND HAD SPIES IN VATICAN DURING COMMUNIST ERA. Poland's communist-era
Interior Ministry (MSW) had agents in the Vatican during the 1960s and
1970s, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel revealed on 21 September. The
paper quoted East German secret service (Stasi) files that included
reports on Pope Paul VI's talks with the French and British foreign
ministers as well as German Chancellor Willy Brandt. A former Polish
secret service officer told Zycie Warszawy that a clergyman close to two
popes was an MSW agent whose reports to Warsaw were forwarded to Moscow
and Berlin. But former MSW Minister Krzysztof Kozlowski said Polish
priests in the Vatican were too low-ranking for them to have access to
the kind of information included in the Stasi files. -- Jakub Karpinski

JOURNALIST ON U.S. FUNDING FOR SOLIDARITY IN 1980s. In a book due to be
published in the U.S. today, journalist Carl Bernstein says that during
the 1980s, the CIA and Western trade unions financially supported
Solidarity to the tune of some $50 million, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.
Bernstein claims his information was obtained from confidential CIA
sources and confirmed by retired CIA head Robert Gates and former
President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, William Clark.
Gates denied revealing such information, adding that the amount quoted
by Bernstein is too high and that information on CIA funding is
classified. Bernstein is known for his role in uncovering the Watergate
affair, which ended President Richard Nixon's political career in 1974.
-- Jakub Karpinski and Beata Pasek

STRIFE AMONG CZECH OPPOSITION PARTIES. Leaders of the Communist Party of
Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) have criticized the Social Democratic Party
(CSSD) for refusing to back the KSCM's demand to recall the minority
government, Czech media reported on 24 September. The KSCM intends to
propose a vote of no confidence in Vaclav Klaus's government at the next
parliamentary session. The extreme-right Republican Party has announced
it will support the KSCM, but CSSD representatives have indicated that
the two other opposition parties cannot count on its support. CSSD
deputy Pavel Dostal on 22 September called the attempts to dismiss the
right-of-center government "a populist measure." He said that dismissing
the government amid the current banking scandal would further shake
foreign investors' confidence in the country. -- Jiri Pehe

OPINION POLL SHOWS CZECH RULING COALITION AHEAD. An opinion poll
conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion Research (IVVM) in early
September--before the latest banking scandal--indicated that the ruling
coalition would gain 114 seats in the 200-strong parliament. In the June
elections, the three coalition parties gained only 99 seats and had to
form a minority government. The poll, published in the Czech press on 24
September, showed that Klaus's Civic Democratic Party would gain 25% of
the vote, the Social Democrats 24%, the Christian Democrats 11%, the
Communist Party 9%, and the Civic Democratic Alliance (8%). The extreme-
right Republicans would fail to win any seats. However, the Republicans
traditionally gain more support in elections than in opinion polls. --
Jiri Pehe

U.S.-SLOVAK MILITARY COOPERATION OFFICE OPENS IN BRATISLAVA. Slovak
Defense Minister Jan Sitek opened a Consolidated Military Assistance
Office in Bratislava on 23 September, TASR reported. U.S. Ambassador to
Slovakia Ralph Johnson and military and air force attaches accredited in
Slovakia attended the opening ceremony. The office is to coordinate all
joint military activities undertaken by the Slovak and U.S. armed
forces. -- Jiri Pehe

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES SLOVAK BAN ON FOREIGN ANTHEMS. The
Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), the junior coalition partner, and
the opposition parties on 23 September strongly criticized the Slovak
parliament's recent ban on singing foreign national anthems in public,
Hungarian media reported. They argued that the ban violates the basic
treaty between the two countries, which entered into force earlier this
year. The Foreign Ministry has already protested the issue to Slovakia.
Opposition politicians warned that there is no guarantee that Romania
will not act in a similar fashion, thereby violating the basic treaty it
signed with Hungary last week. Meanwhile, the opposition has called on
the government to clarify why both countries' media were given a
preliminary rather than final version of the text of the Romanian-
Hungarian treaty. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

DOUBTS GROW ABOUT BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. A quick recount of votes on 22
September confirmed that the three nationalist parties won the 14
September vote, but more questions are being raised about how free and
fair the ballot was. No single example of gross fraud has been given,
but various violations across Bosnia-Herzegovina led to vote totals
vastly exceeding the originally estimated 60-70% turnout, Reuters
reported on 24 September. In some cases, the results were as high as
111% in what a spokesman for the NGO International Crisis Group called
"a mathematical impossibility." Controls were lax, monitors were present
at only a third of the stations, and one monitor told OMRI that IFOR
seemed to regard his colleagues as a nuisance. The OSCE, which
supervises the elections, nonetheless appears anxious to validate the
vote. OMRI's special correspondent reports from Sarajevo that the OSCE
may well say that the various sides' "dirty tricks" canceled each other
out and that the vote was basically fair. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS GIVE MUSLIMS ULTIMATUM TO LEAVE VILLAGE. Bosnian Serb
authorities have given an ultimatum to a group of some 100 Muslims who
on 22 September returned to the village of Jusici, in eastern Bosnia,
carrying weapons that are banned in the separation zone, Reuters
reported. The Muslims were told to leave by the next day or to be thrown
out. That deadline was later extended to 25 September. AFP quoted NATO
sources as saying that moving armed people into sensitive areas was
clearly "provocative" and should have been done in "phases."
Oslobodjenje on 24 September argued that while the Dayton peace
agreement provides for the right of refugees to return to their homes,
international mechanisms were not designed to ensure their safe return.
The Muslims in Jusici were quoted as saying they will stay in the
village at the cost of death, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

FIFTY BODIES RECOVERED FROM PILICA MASS GRAVE. International experts
working at the Pilica mass grave site in eastern Bosnia have recovered
50 bodies so far, AFP reported on 23 September. The grave--the fourth
Srebrenica site to be excavated--is believed to contain some 100 bodies
of Muslim men killed after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. Some 154
bodies were recovered from the Cerska mass grave, 33 from Nova Kasaba
and at least 58 from Lazete. Meanwhile, Bosnian government experts have
been recovering bodies left in the open on the Kravice hillside, close
to Srebrenica. Finally, war invalids and dependents of soldiers killed
in the war demonstrated in Tuzla and the village of Gornji Rahici on 23
September to demand their pensions, Oslobodjenje reported. They have
received no payments in six months. -- Daria Sito Sucic

LIFTING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA TO BE POSTPONED? The
independent Serbian daily Nasa Borba on 24 September reported that a
disagreement between Moscow and Washington may mean that a UN Security
Council resolution on lifting sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia will
be postponed. Under the Dayton accords, sanctions were to be removed 10
days after elections took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russian
Ambassador to Belgrade Sergei Lavrov, argues that sanctions should be
lifted on 24 September, since the elections took place on 14 September.
Washington, however, stresses that the 10-day period cannot be
considered to commence until the election results have been validated.
-- Stan Markotich

UPDATE ON RUMP YUGOSLAV-CROATIAN RELATIONS. Veljko Knezevic, an official
at Belgrade's embassy in Zagreb, is quoted by Politika on 24 September
as saying that Belgrade is prepared to eliminate visa restrictions for
Croatian citizens. He added that owing to Croatians' "great interest" in
traveling to the rump Yugoslavia, Belgrade is considering opening
consular offices throughout Croatia, including in Osijek and Split.
Meanwhile, the Croatian parliament on 20 September ratified the 23
August accord normalizing relations with Belgrade. It also adopted
legislation granting amnesty to rebel ethnic Serbs, excluding war
criminals, who fought against Croatia in 1991. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENTERS ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Gheorghe Tinca,
speaking on the Radio Bucharest program "Election Tribune" on 23
September, praised the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania
(PDSR) for favoring Romania's integration into the EU and NATO. He said
that President Ion Iliescu was "probably the only politician who was
doing his best for Romania's [European and Euro-Atlantic] integration."
Tinca announced over the 21-22 September weekend his intention to run
for the Senate on the PDSR's ticket in Cluj-Napoca. Last week, Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu said he would join the ruling party and run
for the Senate. Both Melescanu and Tinca were senior Foreign Ministry
officials under communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. -- Dan Ionescu

MAJOR HASHISH SEIZURE IN ROMANIA. In the biggest drugs seizure in
Romania so far this year, border police on 20 September confiscated more
than 4.5 tons of hashish at a crossing point on the border with Hungary,
Jurnalul national and Reuters reported on 23 September. The drugs were
hidden in two containers filled with furniture. Romanian investigators
are cooperating with the Bulgarian and Turkish police to find out how
the drugs were smuggled into Romania. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH NEW OSCE MISSION HEAD. Mircea Snegur on 23
September received Donald Johnson, the new head of the OSCE mission in
the Republic of Moldova, BASA-press reported. Johnson told Snegur that
he will continue to uphold the OSCE's position that the breakaway
Dniester region is part of the Moldovan state. Snegur said that Moldova
will carry on seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict. Meanwhile,
Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popov and his Russian counterpart,
Yevgenii Primakov, discussed the Dniester issue in New York, where they
are participating in the 51st session of the UN General Assembly. -- Dan
Ionescu

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. The Central Election Committee
has refused to register former caretaker premier Reneta Indzhova as a
presidential candidate, Reuters reported on 23 September. It explained
its decision by noting that her vice presidential candidate, Gen. Stoyan
Tsonkov, is still a member of the armed forces and, as such, is
precluded by the election law from running in the ballot. Indzhova
announced that she will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, saying
a candidate's military status should not nullify his candidacy.
Meanwhile, the parliament has supported a presidential veto of the
country's new coat of arms (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 September 1996),
Duma reported on 21 September. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES FOR SALE, BANKS UNDER SUPERVISION. The government
has approved a list of 15 state-owned enterprises to be privatized in a
bid to gain a $116 million loan from the IMF, international media
reported. On that list are seven major chemical works, two metallurgic
plants, two shipyards, and four engineering companies. Meanwhile, the
National Bank on 23 September placed nine banks teetering on the brink
of collapse under government supervision. It also ordered the
restructuring of several others. Five banks--including the major state-
owned Mineral bank and the largest independent bank, First Private--are
currently undergoing bankruptcy procedures, AFP reported on 24
September. -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER RESIGNS. Albert Brojka has resigned in
order to be able to run as a candidate for the Tirana mayoralty in the
20 October local elections, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 24 September.
Meanwhile, Dita Informacion says that the permanent Central Electoral
Commission is not performing its work properly and that disputes between
the Democrats and the opposition are still prevalent. No consensus seems
to have been reached over the radio and TV coverage to be granted each
party during the election campaign. Zeri i Popullit has protested that
the local election law has been violated by President Sali Berisha, who
has engaged in election campaigning, and by public TV, which broadcast
four times the opening of the ruling Democrats' 22 September election
campaign. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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