Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 198, Part II, 11 October 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

UKRAINIAN NATIONALIST GROUP DENIED REGISTRATION. The Justice Ministry
has refused to register the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian National
Assembly (UNA) despite the group's recent efforts to temper its
radicalism, Ukrainian agencies reported on 8 October. Deputy Justice
Minister Mykola Khandurin informed the group, which was stripped of its
registration last year for allegedly provoking violence at an Orthodox
patriarch's funeral, that its application failed to comply with
Ukrainian legislation. The ministry said that despite the group's
announcement in May that it had disbanded its paramilitary wing, the
Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization (UNSO), that formation has
continued to operate under the UNA's aegis. Khandurin said the UNSO
contravenes Article 37 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which bans
paramilitary formations. In addition to announcing it was disbanding the
UNSO, the UNA publicly renounced violence and pledged to use political
means to pursue its goals. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN LEGISLATURE ELECTS NEW SPEAKER. Vasyl Kiselyov, a pro-Russian
director of an agricultural firm, was elected speaker of the Crimean
parliament, Ukrainian agencies reported on 10 October. Kiselyov, who
heads a new "anti-crime and corruption" opposition group, is the fourth
Crimean speaker in two and a half years. The former speaker, Yevhen
Supruniuk, was ousted the previous day. Eleven out of 14 members of the
parliamentary presidium tendered their resignations in connection with
Supruniuk's dismissal. In other news, Sevastopol Mayor Viktor Semyonov
was injured in an explosion in the courtyard of his home, UNIAN
reported. Semyonov and his driver, who was seriously injured, were
hospitalized. Reportedly, a radio-controlled explosive was hidden in the
asphalt at the spot where Semyonov's car was parked. -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT OFFERS COMPROMISE CONSTITUTION. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka offered some compromise changes to the version of the
constitution that he wants adopted in a national referendum, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 10 October. In return for the concessions,
Lukashenka wants parliament to withdraw its version of the constitution,
which abolishes the presidency, from a national referendum. Lukashenka's
concessions included allowing parliament to form a new upper house,
leaving deputies' terms at five years instead of reducing them to four
years, and allowing parliament to impeach him by a two-thirds vote
instead of the three-quarters he had proposed. He continued to insist
the referendum be held on the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution on
7 November. A day earlier, Lukashenka said the prospect of parliamentary
speaker Syamyon Sharetsky and Constitutional Court Chief Justice Valeryi
Tsikhinya remaining in their posts after the referendum was
"problematic," Belapan reported. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES OIL-EXPLORATION DEALS. The Saeima voted 71
to 6 to ratify exploration agreements with the Amoco and OPAB oil
companies on the first reading on 10 October, BNS reported. Further
votes are required for the treaty to be ratified. The ratification is
opposed by Lithuania, which also claims the off-shore area that would be
explored. Border talks between the two countries have been unsuccessful
for several years. Lithuania's request that the sea-border dispute be
settled before the agreements are finalized was ignored, although the
agreements include a settlement as a precondition for beginning work.
Prime ministers Mindaugas Stankevicius and Andris Skele were to discuss
the problem in confidential talks on 11 October in Palanga, Lithuania.
-- Saulius Girnius

ABORTION ISSUE DIVIDES POLISH OPPOSITION. Solidarity leader Marian
Krzaklewski has ruled out negotiations on cooperation in the 1997
parliamentary election campaign with the Freedom Union (UW), the largest
opposition party in parliament, unless the UW opposes liberalization of
Poland's restrictive abortion law, Polish dailies reported on 11
October. Krzaklewski also continued to mend fences with the Polish
Peasants' Party (PSL), one of Poland's two governing parties, whose
senators mostly voted against liberalization on 4 October following a
meeting between Krzaklewski and PSL leader Waldemar Pawlak. Krzaklewski
said that, in contrast to the UW, PSL officials have not made personal
attacks against him. The Senate's rejection of liberalization may yet be
overridden by the Sejm. -- Ben Slay

CZECH-GERMAN DECLARATION NEEDS MORE WORK. Czech President Vaclav Havel
told leaders of the three governing coalition parties and the Social
Democratic Party on 10 October that further negotiations will be needed
to finalize a Czech-German declaration designed to promote
reconciliation, Czech media reported. Talks on the declaration, which is
to address mutual historical grievances, have proved more difficult than
expected. The president said that the text of the declaration should
first be accepted by the two countries' governments and later approved
by the parliaments. CTK quotes Czech diplomats saying the declaration
could be issued in late November. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER REJECTS ROLE OF 'BRIDGE TO THE EAST.' Pavol
Hamzik, addressing the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 10 October,
argued for Slovakia's inclusion in the first wave of NATO's eastward
expansion, Slovak media reported. He said such a step is crucial for the
stability of Central Europe and stressed that through its history,
culture, and Christian ideals, Slovakia is a natural part of Western
civilization. "We do not want to be a bridge to the East or a fictive
mediator between East and West," Hamzik said. He admitted that Slovakia
needs more political dialogue between the opposition and government and
a higher level of political culture. "We know what our problems are, but
they should not be dramatized," Hamzik said. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTIES CALL FOR COOPERATION. Hungarian minority
parties will submit a proposal for pre-electoral cooperation with the
recently created "blue coalition" of liberal-conservative opposition
parties, CTK reported on 10 October. "Hungarian minority parties have to
offer the Slovak opposition an acceptable solution to minority problems,
then strictly adhere to it, while at the same time abandoning the
autonomy rhetoric that is unacceptable for Slovak society," Hungarian
Civic Party Chairman Laszlo Nagy said. Nagy said the agreement will be
submitted before the November congress of the Christian Democratic
Movement, which of the three "blue coalition" partners has kept the
greatest distance from Hungarian minority parties. -- Anna Siskova

EXPLOSION NEAR BUDAPEST SYNAGOGUE. The explosion of a small, homemade
bomb near Europe's biggest synagogue on the evening of 9 October caused
concern among Hungary's Jewish community, Reuters reported the following
day. The bomb exploded in a trash can near the Dohanyi Utca Synagogue
and across the street from the smaller Heroes' Synagogue. The blast
caused no injuries or other damage. A letter was found in the trash can
near the bomb, specifying the date of the next explosion, Hungarian
media reported on 11 October. Another bomb exploded in late August near
a kosher restaurant in the center of the former Jewish quarter, but no
one claimed responsibility. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HARASSMENT OF MUSLIM RETURNEES IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. There were numerous
explosions of unidentified origin in houses in three formerly Muslim
villages now on Bosnian Serb territory on 10 October, BBC reported. The
villages are Mumbasic and Stanic Rijeka near Tuzla, and Kordoni near
Zvornik, all in northern Bosnia, Reuters added. No injuries or
casualties were reported. Tensions have risen along Bosnia's inter-
entity border in recent weeks as Muslim refugees seek to return to their
homes in the Republika Srpska. They have received a less than warm
welcome from the Serbs as well as from IFOR, which views the Muslims as
troublemakers. Some 223 Muslims have gone back to Jusici near Zvornik,
Onasa stated. They burned a Serbian flag after Bosnian Serb and UN
police confiscated weapons from them, Nasa Borba reported on 11 October.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Party of Democratic Action in Sarajevo promised to
help the residents of Jusici rebuild their homes, Onasa reported on 10
October. The Muslim governing party also plans to open branch offices in
the Republika Srpska, where it is the second-largest party in
parliament. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN ROUNDUP. The international community's High Representative Carl
Bildt said an international military presence will be required in Bosnia
for another two years to consolidate peace and deter any new fighting,
BBC reported on 10 October. Also in London, the International Contact
Group warned the Serbs to stop boycotting the joint presidency lest they
lose their share of reconstruction aid. In New York, the UN Security
Council protested the lack of progress in investigating the fate of
missing persons and singled out the Bosnian Serb authorities as
obstructing efforts. At the Laniste cave near Kljuc in western Bosnia,
government officials have removed 70 bodies of Muslims believed to have
been killed by Serbs on 1 June 1992. Among the gruesome discoveries have
been severed heads pierced with nails, news agencies noted. -- Patrick
Moore

BONN AND BELGRADE AGREE ON RETURN OF REFUGEES. Germany will send back
135,000 refugees to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia over the next
three years, according to an agreement signed by the two countries'
interior ministers on 10 October, Reuters reported. Most of the refugees
are Kosovar Albanians. German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said the
agreement would send a signal to anyone contemplating coming to Germany,
adding that "Germany is not a land for immigrants." Both ministers
claimed the return would not be connected with German economic aid to
Belgrade. The agreement came one day after Bavaria deported the first of
320,000 Bosnian refugees. Also, the state of Berlin said it would start
deporting people to Bosnia this month. German human-rights groups
accused the government of sending people into unsafe situations and of
trying to win votes from the radical nationalist right. In Bonn, several
hundred Kosovar Albanian refugees protested outside the Interior
Ministry, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

SERBIA AND CROATIA FIGHT OVER ETHNIC MINORITY IDENTITY. Hido Biscevic,
an aide to the Croatian foreign minister, protested Serbian Vice Premier
Ratko Markovic's recent statement that Backa Croats, known as Bunjevci,
"are neither Croats nor Serbs, but only Bunjevci," and would receive the
status of a nation in Serbia, Vjesnik reported on 11 October. Hungarian
Croats had earlier protested Markovic's statement that the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia was the "motherland" of Bunjevci living in
Hungary. Hungarian Croats issued a statement that the Bunjevci are
Croats and of the same origin as Croats in Lika, Croatian Primorje, and
Dalmatia, Hina reported on 4 October; they speak Croatian, use the Latin
script, and belong to the Roman Catholic Church. According to Hina,
Serbian authorities first devised the new national group "Bunjevci" for
a 1991 census. -- Daria Sito Sucic

UN DOUBTFUL ABOUT DECEMBER ELECTIONS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. Croatia's
demand for early elections in the last Serb-held enclave in the country
probably cannot be met, Derek Boothby, deputy administrator of the UN
Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), told Reuters on 10
October. Although Croatian leaders and UNTAES administrator Jacques
Klein agreed the area should be reverted to Croatian control by spring
1997, Boothby said conditions for free and fair elections can't be met
by 15 December, the election date proposed by the Croatian government.
The balloting must be conducted 30 days before the UN mandate ends,
which is yet to be decided by the UN Security Council. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS' ACQUITTAL APPEALED. Croatia's state prosecutor on
10 October appealed against the acquittal of two independent journalists
from the satirical weekly Feral Tribune who were charged with defaming
President Franjo Tudjman, Reuters and Hina reported. Their acquittal was
seen as a boost for press freedom in Croatia, whose acceptance into the
Council of Europe was delayed partly due to the government's grip on
media. But the state prosecutor has requested the annulment of that
verdict, citing errors in the municipal court's proceedings. Meanwhile,
the state-run daily Vjesnik ran an article on media freedom on 11
October suggesting the media situation in Croatia is not significantly
different than in other Western countries, claiming that "nobody in
Croatia so far has suggested a discussion about serious limitations of
media freedom." -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT SAYS ALL EX-YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS SHARE SUCCESSION
EQUALLY. Milan Kucan told the Montenegrin weekly Monitor that all six
former republics have equal claim to the succession of Yugoslavia dating
from 1918, Onasa reported on 10 October. He thus challenged Serbia-
Montenegro's claim to the sole right of succession under the name
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and hence to the former federation's
wealth and assets. Kucan said Slovenia had paid huge sums of money for
the Yugoslav People's Army, which were put to "woefully wrongful,
unfortunate, and tragic purposes." -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS PROTEST MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS. Thousands of
protesters in Tetovo demanded the resignation of health minister Ilija
Filipce on 10 October in connection with alleged poisonings of Albanian
children in local schools. The demonstrators also yelled: "Down with the
government, down with (President Kiro) Gligorov," Reuters reported.
Party for Democratic Prosperity leader Abdurrahman Aliti warned that
violence may break out if the alleged culprits are not caught. Within
two weeks around 500 ethnic Albanian pupils sought treatment for
headaches, upset stomachs, and limb pains, but it remains unclear what
was causing the illnesses. Most children recovered after several days of
vitamin treatment. Filipce had visited Tetovo on 9 October and said the
Vienna Forensic Institute found no signs of poisoning. Police are,
however, investigating the possibility. The incident comes at a time of
rising tensions in the run-up to local elections on 17 November. --
Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIA'S RESPONSES TO EU QUESTIONNAIRE REVIEWED. During a 10 October
meeting of the EU-Romania Association Council, EU representatives were
critical of certain "weak points" in Romania's response to the
questionnaire given to all applicants for EU membership, Radio Bucharest
reported on 11 October. They nonetheless emphasized that "preparations
for joining the union had not been affected, despite the fact that this
is an electoral year [in Romania]." There were no signals that the EU
was moving toward abolishing visa requirements for Romanian tourists.
Also in Brussels, an agreement on setting up a Post-Privatization Fund
was signed on 10 October. The fund will be financed by the EU's PHARE
program (15 million ECU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (25 million ECU) and will operate for ten years. -- Michael
Shafir

DNIESTER FACTORIES MANUFACTURING ARMS. A newspaper in the Dniester
breakaway region has confirmed reports that factories there are
manufacturing arms, BASA-Press reported on 10 October. Pridnestrovye,
the Tiraspol leadership's official newspaper, wrote that the munitions
being produced include Grad jet-rocket equipment, claiming it is needed
to maintain the balance of forces with Moldova's army. There were
earlier reports in the Chisinau press about arms production at the
Pribor plant in Tighina, quoting Moldovan representatives to the Joint
Control Commission. Moldovan Defense Ministry officials said Pribor
produces simplified Grad equipment. -- Zsolt Mato

BULGARIAN MEDICAL WORKERS LAUNCH PROTESTS. The medical workers'
organization within the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in
Bulgaria began a petition drive demanding Health Minister Mimi Vitkova's
resignation for aggravating the impoverishment of medical staff and
hospitals in Bulgaria, Trud reported on 11 October. The union,
representing thousands of doctors and other medical personnel, also
staged protest meetings in Sofia and 11 other towns and hung black
banners from the windows of some hospitals. Most medical workers are not
paid regularly and receive less than the national average salary of
about $70 monthly. For several months patients have had to bring their
own bed sheets and food for hospital stays. The Plovdiv hospital
recently started charging patients in hard currency in an attempt to
avoid closure from lack of funds (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 October
1996). -- Maria Koinova

WORLD BANK TIES LOAN TO CLOSURES OF BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES. The World
Bank is likely to approve a major new loan to Bulgaria for balance-of-
payments support by the end of year, Pieter Stek, the World Bank's
recently appointed executive director responsible for Bulgaria, said in
Sofia on 9 October. But Stek stressed the urgency of liquidating the 64
enterprises Bulgaria promised on 15 May to close, Bulgarian media
reported. Agriculture Minister Krastyo Trendafilov said legal
proceedings were 99% complete at 18 agricultural and food-industry firms
on the list, eight of which will be bought by private interests and
another four or five of which will have their assets sold off. Industry
Minister Lyubomir Dachev said that of the 38 industrial firms on the
list, five had been privatized successfully, 10 declared bankrupt, and
14 were subject to a second judicial decision because of problems with
the initial method selected for their closure. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE. The Central Election Commission decided
at a 10 October meeting that the opposition will be allowed to
participate in the monitoring of all aspects of the election process,
Koha Jone reported. A special envoy for Italian Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini said Italy would send 150 election monitors, Albania
reported. In other news, the Party of National Unity protested the
imprisonment of its leader Idajet Beqiri, calling him a "victim of
political revenge," Poli i Qendres reported. Beqiri was sentenced on 28
September for crimes against humanity committed as a judge and communist
party leader in the town of Kruja. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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