Science and art have that in common that everyday things seem to them new and attractive. - Friedrich Nietzsche
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 189, Part II, 30 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

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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN RUSSIA. Leonid Kuchma emerged from a closed-door
meeting with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on 28 September
saying that the two had agreed on the division of the Black Sea Fleet,
Ukrainian and Russian agencies reported. Kuchma had arrived in Moscow
the previous day on an unofficial visit. The two reportedly also
discussed the issues of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and the levying
of a 20% VAT on Ukrainian imports. Kuchma said Chernomyrdin would visit
Kyiv in October. Few other details of the meeting were made public, and
the Russian side made no statements about the visit. -- Ustina Markus

ROW OVER TV BROADCAST LICENSES IN UKRAINE. The Ukrainian government has
set up a committee to monitor the distribution of broadcast licenses in
response to the parliament's recent declaration of a moratorium on
licensing by the National Broadcasting Council, Intelnews and UNIAN
reported on 24 September. The government appointed Deputy Communications
Minister Oleksander Hneletsky to chair the body, which will oversee the
ministry's licensing of air time on the country's three national
channels. Viktor Petrenko, chairman of the National Broadcasting
Council, said the decision was an illegal attempt by the legislature and
government to regain control of the airwaves from his presidentially
appointed body. He said the 230 licenses his council has issued thus far
to television companies would remain valid. Petrenko said the council
had once again given Ukrainian State TV exclusive rights to air time on
Channel 1, which has the most powerful signal. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

WORLD BANK ASSESSES UKRAINE, BELARUS. Basil Kowalski, head of the World
Bank department dealing with the western countries of the former USSR,
said all those countries except Belarus are entering the second phase of
their economic transition, RFE/RL reported on 30 September. Kowalski
said the first phase was at the macroeconomic level while the more
difficult second phase focuses on the microeconomic level, including
privatization and working with market economies. Kowalski said Belarus
had been going in a counterreform direction over the last nine months,
and that the World Bank had shelved its plans to lend the country $170
million until it sees real commitment to market reforms. Kowalski
praised Ukraine for its progress in reforms, and said a number of
recently agreed-upon projects could open $1.3 billion in credits from
the bank to Kyiv. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT STRIPS STATE TELEVISION OF ACCREDITATION. The
Belarusian parliament voted on 27 September to bar state television from
covering parliamentary sessions because of bias in its reporting,
Russian and Belarusian media reported. Parliamentary speaker Syamyon
Sharetsky also instructed mass media to increase their coverage of
parliament. Immediately after the resolution was passed, state radio and
television were forced to leave the premises. Head of state television
and radio Hryhor Kisel said parliament would have to work in a vacuum
because of its decision. Last week Kisel was accused of denying
parliament and opponents of the president, including Sharetsky, air time
to express their views, although the law demands that the speaker be
given unlimited air time. Kisel argued that under law only individual
journalists are accredited, not the whole state television and radio
company. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC PRESIDENTS REACT TO U.S. STATEMENT ON NATO. Presidents Lennart
Meri (Estonia), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas
(Lithuania) issued a joint statement on 28 September asking for full
NATO membership as soon as possible, Western agencies reported. This was
a clear reaction to the remarks by U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry
the previous day that the Baltic states would not be among the first new
NATO members because their armed forces do not yet have sufficient
military capability. The presidents said they were "launching an
intensified diplomatic effort to gain the support of all countries for
our security via NATO membership and bilateral security arrangements
with Western countries." They also asserted that their countries are
prepared to make needed sacrifices "to develop our defense in order to
be able to defend ourselves and other European countries." -- Saulius
Girnius

PEASANT PARTY COMES OUT ON TOP IN POLISH COALITION TUS-
SLE. Weeks of sparring between the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and
the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) over a government reorganization
apparently ended on 28 September in the smaller party's favor, Polish
dailies reported. The two parties of Poland's ruling coalition agreed
that the PSL's Miroslaw Pietrewicz, currently a deputy prime minister
and director of the Central Planning Office, would become treasury
minister, instead of the SLD's Wieslaw Kaczmarek, the current minister
of privatization. Pietrewicz's appointment would give the PSL direct
control over privatization and the management of thousands of state
enterprises. The coalition also agreed to support the SLD's Marek
Borowski as economics minister. This would imply a demotion for Grzegorz
Kolodko, the current deputy prime minister in charge of economic
affairs. However, Kolodko insisted in a 30 September interview in
Rzeczpospolita that he would remain in the government, presumably as
finance minister. -- Ben Slay

POLISH GAS SHORTAGE WORSENING. In the face of a worsening gasoline
shortage that has left many of Poland's smaller private service stations
without adequate fuel supplies, Deputy Minister of Industry Roman
Czerwinski announced on 28 September that an additional 200,000 tons of
fuel would be sold at auction from state reserves, Zycie Warszawy
reported. Despite rising prices on the world oil market, the Polish
government has not permitted the domestic price of gasoline to rise
since late June. Rising demand fueled by Poland's booming economy has
caused some municipalities to curtail public transport, and resulted in
surreptitious increases in gasoline prices. This auction will be the
largest of three conducted by the Polish government in the past two
weeks. -- Ben Slay

CZECH CENTRAL BANK REPORTS ON BANKING SECTOR. A report released to the
media by the Czech National Bank on 28 September says the government has
spent some 90 billion crowns ($3.3 billion) on stabilizing the banking
sector. Most of the money was spent writing off bad loans and taking
over as guarantor of deposits in the 12 banks that have collapsed in the
last two years. The report states that high-risk loans constituted one-
third of all loans provided by the failed banks and that most of their
bad loans were made before 1994. According to the report, the main
danger for the banking sector is that "nontransparent financial groups"
are involved in banking operations. Such groups have attempted to
channel money out of the banking sector into their own business
operations. The report also criticizes auditing firms for generally
failing to uncover serious problems. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTIES PLAN 'BLUE' COALITION. Democratic Party
Chairman Jan Langos told CTK on 27 September that his party is preparing
a permanent alliance with the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), with
the Democratic Union (DU) as a possible third partner in the "blue
coalition." The name, based partly on the blue EU flag, is designed to
stress the three center-right parties' pro-European orientation. DU
Chairman Jozef Moravcik responded that although close cooperation among
all opposition parties is needed, his party will most likely run
independently in the next elections. He added that he sees no need to
create such a group so early before the next parliamentary elections,
scheduled for fall 1998. In other news, the KDH's council on 28
September expressed its support for party chairman Jan Carnogursky. The
party's economic expert Mikulas Dzurinda had announced that he would run
for Carnogursky's position at the party's November congress. -- Sharon
Fisher

NEW TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER UNDER FIRE IN HUNGARY. The opposition
Young Democrats on 29 September demanded that Tamas Suchman be dismissed
over an allegedly unjustified payment of fees by the State Privatization
and Holding Company (APV) to a legal representative earlier this month,
Hungarian media reported. Until his recent appointment as trade and
industry minister, Suchman oversaw privatization as a minister without
portfolio. Press reports revealed last week that the APV paid nearly 300
million forints ($1.9 million) to a representative that was not a
qualified lawyer. The daily Magyar Nemzet quoted the minister as saying
he accepts "political and ministerial responsibility" in the matter, and
will launch an investigation. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OSCE VALIDATES BOSNIAN ELECTION RESULTS. The OSCE has declared the
results of the 14 September Bosnian vote valid, the BBC reported on 29
September. On 27 September, following widespread criticism of
irregularities including vote totals from individual polling places that
exceeded the number of registered voters, the OSCE's own legal advisory
body had called for a recount. But the OSCE said the isolated
irregularities did not add up to massive fraud; election supervisor
Robert Frowick told Reuters that "it was a reasonably democratic process
and a reasonably democratic result which reflects the will of the
people." Critics have accused the OSCE of yielding to U.S. pressure so
that President Bill Clinton can claim the Dayton agreement is being
carried out on schedule. The decision cleared the way for a meeting of
the three-man Bosnian presidency and for sanctions against Belgrade and
Pale to be lifted. -- Patrick Moore

SCATTERED VIOLENCE IN BOSNIA. Oslobodjenje on 30 September reported the
killing in Sarajevo two days earlier of Nedzad Ugljen, the deputy head
of the controversial Bosnian Agency for Research and Documentation. In
Mostar, a hand grenade landed on the apartment balcony of Josip Jole
Musa of the opposition Joint List, causing material damage. He was
recently elected to the Bosnian Federal Assembly. Along the busy but
dangerous Route Arizona in northern Bosnia, a Muslim was shot and
wounded on 27 September when his car was hijacked on Bosnian Serb
territory, Onasa reported. Meanwhile, officials of more than 30
countries met in Dublin, Ireland, on 28 September to discuss plans for a
modern and democratic police force for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The UN-
sponsored conference sought to raise $99 million, but few countries made
firm commitments. The largest was a $17 million package from the U.S. --
Patrick Moore

GERMANY RESOLVED TO SEND BOSNIAN REFUGEES HOME. German Interior Minister
Manfred Kanther warned that Bosnian refugees who refuse to repatriate to
Bosnia-Herzegovina "will not end up in the Bosnian winter but in court,"
AFP reported on 30 September. The interior ministers of Germany's
federal states agreed in September that repatriation of the 320,000
Bosnian refugees currently in Germany should start on 1 October, but
they left it up to each state to decide on timing and procedure.
Repatriation is to start with unmarried people and couples with no
children, and refugees may only be sent back to "safe" regions, with
each case to be dealt with on an individual basis. Vehid Sehic, head of
the Tuzla-based Alternative Citizens' Parliament, said on 28 September
that repatriation of refugees is a higher priority than a civic society
and democracy, Nasa Borba reported on 30 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic

FORMER CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO LEAD OPPOSITION COALITION IN YUGOSLAV
ELECTIONS. Former Central Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic announced he
would lead the joint list of the Zajedno coalition in rump Yugoslavia's
3 November parliamentary elections. Avramovic successfully halted
hyperinflation two years ago but was sacked in May after a dispute with
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic about economic and political
reforms. Avramovic said his coalition wants to liberalize the state-run
economy, to enact Western-style democratic reforms and reduce the size
of the federal government. Observers suggest Avramovic's coalition could
cost the ruling Socialists their two-thirds majority. Zajedno is made up
of Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement, Vojislav Kostunica's
Serbian Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic's Democratic Party, Vesna
Pesic's Citizens Union, and the Independent Trade Unions. -- Fabian
Schmidt

BOMB ATTACKS ON ARMY BARRACKS IN KOSOVO. Unknown assailants attacked
army barracks near Vucitrn with two bombs on 27 September, AFP reported.
No one was hurt in the incident, but shots were reportedly exchanged
between soldiers and the attackers. The same day, police stations on the
Belgrade-Podujevo road were sprayed with machine gun fire. -- Fabian
Schmidt

CROATIA PASSES RESOLUTION ON UN MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. The
Croatian parliament on 27 September passed a resolution saying the
mandate of the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES)
"must end on 15 January 1997," AFP reported. Zagreb is stepping up
pressure to prevent the renewal of UNTAES's one-year mandate, as
requested by rebel Serbs who still hold the area of eastern Slavonia.
But UN spokesman Philip Arnold responded that renewal of the UN mandate
will "be only a UN Security Council decision." Meanwhile, the state-run
newspaper Vjesnik reported on 30 September that the UN mandate in
eastern Slavonia would most probably end by 15 April 1997, while the UN
forces would withdraw from Croatia by 15 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

WORLD BANK GRANTS MACEDONIA $45 MILLION LOAN. A Macedonian delegation to
the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Washington agreed with
the bank on 28 September on a $45 million structural adjustment loan,
Nova Makedonija reported. The money will provide balance-of-payments
support. The government agreed to further liberalize its foreign trade
regime and privatize agricultural estates. The credit follows a 1994
economic renewal loan ($40 million) and a 1995 financial and enterprise
sector adjustment credit ($20 million). -- Michael Wyzan

ROMANIA OPENS OVER THE COUNTER STOCK EXCHANGE. Romania on 27 September
inaugurated a long-awaited over-the-counter stock exchange that would
help Romanians trade their shares in state-owned enterprises slated for
privatization, Radio Bucharest reported. The ceremony, which took place
at Bucharest's World Trade Center, was attended by President Ion
Iliescu; Minister of State Mircea Cosea, who heads the government's
Council for Economic Coordination, Strategy, and Reform; and other
senior Romanian officials. The event is seen as the final stage in
Romania's large-scale privatization scheme and a major step forward for
the country's fledgling capital market. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS TREATY. Romanian Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu and his Ukrainian counterpart Hennadii
Udovenko on 28 September discussed ways of overcoming the current
impasse in negotiations over a basic treaty, Radio Bucharest reported.
The meeting took place in New York, where the two were attending the
51st session of the UN General Assembly. The ministers agreed that talks
over the draft document be resumed at legal experts' level in the second
half of October. The two countries have been unable so far to complete
the negotiations, mainly due to Romania's insistence that the document
include a formal denunciation of the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that
resulted in Romania losing Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and the Herta
region to the former Soviet Union. The last two territories, as well as
southern Bessarabia and the Serpents' Islands, are currently part of
Ukraine. -- Zsolt Mato

IMF, WORLD BANK URGE REFORMS IN BULGARIA. IMF and World Bank sources
said the two organizations will do everything possible to help Bulgaria
get out of its present crisis but urged Sofia to take strong measures to
get reforms back on track, RFE/RL reported on 28 September. They said
Sofia must reform its banking system and speed up privatization.
Bulgarian top officials and the IMF and World Bank held talks in recent
days, but no side commented on them. IMF and World Bank sources said
both organizations are working to put aid programs together, but such
programs must await an agreement between the IMF and Bulgaria about the
disbursement of the second installment of a $580 million standby loan.
President Zhelyu Zhelev said he had sent a letter to IMF Managing
Director Michel Camdessus "with a personal plea for financial and moral
support for reforms in Bulgaria." -- Stefan Krause

NINE ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS SENTENCED. Tirana Judge Mehdi Bici
on 28 September sentenced nine senior communist-era officials to prison
terms of up to 20 years, Reuters reported. The defendants were charged
with sending dissidents into internal exile. They included Llambi
Gegprifti, Lenka Cuko, and Irakli Vero, the former party leaders in
Tirana, Lushnja, and Fier, respectively; former Kruja party chairman and
local judge Idajet Beqiri, who currently heads the National Unity Party;
Agron Tafa, Sulejmani Abazi, and Veiz Haderi, the secret police chairmen
in Kruja, Tropoja, and Saranda, respectively; and former Interior
Ministry department directors Nazmi Domi and Shkelzen Bajraktari. --
Fabian Schmidt

CENTER POLE TO TAKE PART IN ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The Social
Democrats and the Democratic Alliance said they would take part in 20
October's local elections, Reuters reported on 26 September. The two
members of the Center Pole coalition thus abandoned earlier threats of a
boycott. "Our fight should be held at the voting centers," Social
Democrat leader Skender Gjinushi said. Democratic Alliance leader
Neritan Ceka will run for mayor of Tirana. In other news, the Central
Election Commission agreed on the division of TV broadcasting time for
all parties in the election campaign. The governing coalition and the
opposition will each receive 50 percent of the time, Rilindja
Demokratike reported on 27 September. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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