|You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw|
No. 206, Part II, 23 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 *********************************************************************** Available now -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy." Published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a systematic and comprehensive review of the most pivotal events in the 27 countries of the former Communist bloc and former Soviet Union during 1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a special price of $25 each (plus postage and handling). To order, please email your request to: email@example.com *********************************************************************** CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CLINTON CALLS FOR NATO ENLARGEMENT BY 1999. U.S. President Bill Clinton has set 1999 as the target date for admitting the "first group" of new members to NATO, international media reported on 22 October. Speaking in Detroit, Michigan, Clinton scrupulously avoided naming any candidate countries, but he emphasized that "NATO's doors will not close behind its first new members." He asserted that enlargement will "advance the security of everyone," adding that Russia could be an "equal and respected partner" in building a new undivided Europe. Clinton also voiced support for the negotiation of a NATO-Russia cooperation agreement. A NATO summit in mid-1997 is scheduled to choose the first candidate countries to begin acession negotiations. -- Scott Parrish A FOURTH ORTHODOX CHURCH IN UKRAINE? The conflict among hierarchs of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church may result in the establishment of a fourth Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Den reported on 22 October. The paper reported that five hierarchs had long been seeking to remove Patriarch Dymytrii Yarema, who was ousted last week after threatening to dissolve the Church. The patriarch had accused those hierarchs of trying to usurp power and had allegedly threatened to split away to form another church. Patriarch Filaret of the rival Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate said the split within the UAOC is bound to lead to its demise. -- Chrystyna Lapychak MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN UKRAINE. Mircea Snegur, in Kyiv for a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, has said relations with Ukraine are a priority for Moldova, Infotag reported. Ukraine is Moldova's second-largest trading partner after Russia. Moldova also relies on Ukraine for its energy supplies. Snegur expressed his gratitude to Kyiv for acting as mediator in the Transdniester conflict, while Kuchma reaffirmed his support for Moldova's territorial integrity. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CRITICIZES ALL BELARUSIAN CONGRESS. Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Valeryi Tsikhinya has said the court does not approve of several resolutions adopted by the All Belarusian Congress, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October. Tsikhinya said the court continues to support the "zero option" solution, whereby both the president and the parliament refrain from holding referendums on their proposed constitutions. He noted that the president's draft constitution is based on a "philosophy contravening the principle of division of powers." He added that if that version is approved in the referendum "Belarus will become a totalitarian state." Tsikhinya also stressed that the court has ruled on 19 decrees issued by the president and found 17 to be in contravention of the constitution. -- Ustina Markus RUN-OFF ELECTIONS FOR LITHUANIA. Although all the votes have still not been counted, it is clear that only two candidates, President Vytautas Landsbergis and Gediminas Vagnorius, chairman of the Homeland Union (Conservatives of Lithuania) [TS(LK)], have been elected to the parliament, Radio Lithuania reported. New elections will have to be held within six months in four single-mandate districts where voter participation was less than the required 40%. The two top candidates in the 65 districts where no one gained a majority will compete in run-off elections on 10 November. -- Saulius Girnius TRIAL OVER MURDER OF FORMER POLISH PRIME MINISTER GETS UNDER WAY. The trial of four men charged with murdering Piotr Jaroszewicz has begun in Warsaw, Polish dailies reported on 22 and 23 October. Jaroszewicz was prime minister in the 1970s. He and his wife were brutally murdered in their villa near Warsaw in September 1992. The house was ransacked, but only a small sum of money, a gold watch, and two guns were taken. According to the prosecutor, the motive behind the murder was financial gain. He also said that the assailants found out the identity of their victims only the next day while watching television. The defendants, all of whom have previous convictions for robbery, are pleading not guilty. -- Beata Pasek CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON ELECTIONS. The Czech Constitutional Court on 22 October decided that another four candidates can compete in the Senate elections, Czech media reported. Almost 600 candidates submitted registration forms, but the Central Electoral Committee disqualified some 100 candidates for making mistakes in the application forms. Both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court ruled before the 16 October registration deadline that most of the disqualified candidates can compete. In its latest ruling, the Constitutional Court explained it is not bound by the registration deadline. It ordered the relevant electoral district committees to register the four candidates. -- Jiri Pehe U.S., EU CALL FOR MORE DEMOCRACY IN SLOVAKIA. In separate statements, the U.S. and EU ambassadors to Slovakia, Ralph Johnson and Georgios Zavvos, have warned that Slovakia must demonstrate democratic values if it hopes to join NATO and the EU, international media reported on 22 October. Johnson told the Slovak Foreign Policy Association in Presov that the failure to resolve criminal cases related to the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's son will harm Slovakia's chances for Western integration. Slovakia must be democratic "not only in its electoral process, but also in its laws, their implementation, and its preservation of individual rights, including the right to disagree without being considered an enemy of the state," Johnson emphasized. Zavvos told a conference on non-government organizations in Banska Bystrica that "much work [remains] to be done" before Slovakia can join the EU. "The clock is ticking...; Slovakia must seize the messages and act," Zavvos commented. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK OPPOSITION FAILS TO OUST EDUCATION MINISTER. The new parliamentary session opened on 22 October with a failed no-confidence vote in Eva Slavkovska, Slovak media reported. Opposition deputies accused Slavkovska of professional incompetence, limiting universities' academic freedom, implementing massive political purges, and intervening in minority education. Only 60 deputies, however, supported her dismissal. At the opposition's request, the agenda was amended to include a bill on the handling of National Property Fund privatization bonds and a report on the state budget for the defense and interior ministries as well as the secret service during the first half of 1996. -- Sharon Fisher WAS BRITISH INTELLIGENCE INVOLVED IN 1956 HUNGARIAN UPRISING? On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, The Independent, citing a British book about to be published, reported that some of those who took part in the uprising were trained by British military intelligence. A British agent is quoted as saying that Hungarian rebels were taken to the British-occupied zone of Austria in 1954 for a "crash course" in explosives and weapons training and were then returned to Hungary with the "intention to cause an uprising." -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERB LEADER SIGNS OATH TO BOSNIA. The Serbian member of the three-man presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, on 22 October signed a "solemn declaration" promising to "uphold and defend" the Bosnian constitution, international and local media reported. The Bosnian constitution, which was contained in the Dayton agreement, defines Bosnia-Herzegovina as a unitary state consisting of two "entities." By taking this oath, Krajisnik appears to have abandoned formal claims to independence for the Republika Srpska, which is, however, still a major policy goal of his party. It seems that Bosnian Serb leaders have decided at least to pay lip service to the Dayton system while still seeking independence and unity with other Serbian lands in the long run. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY ON TRACK? Krajisnik was attending the second full meeting of the presidency, which took place in Sarajevo's National Museum under the auspices of U.S. envoy John Kornblum. The next session of that body has been set for 25 October in a Serb-held school in nearby Lukavica, while the fourth meeting will take place on 29 October back in the museum, Oslobodjenje noted on 23 October. A six-month deadline has been set to draw up "a long-term arrangement dealing with the goals, meeting places, and functioning" of the various joint institutions, Dnevni avaz added. This marks a breakthrough in that the parties have agreed to a concrete timetable. -- Patrick Moore MORE THAN 700 BODIES EXHUMED BY CROATIAN AUTHORITIES. The Croatian authorities have exhumed more than 700 bodies from mass graves in the formerly Serb-controlled regions of western Slavonia and Krajina, AFP reported on 21 October. Ivan Gruic, head of the Croatian commission for prisoners and displaced people, said 80% of those exhumed were civilians; six were children. International organizations have not confirmed these figures. Gruic also said that 90% of the bodies have been identified. Meanwhile, the Croatian government has announced that its experts will begin on 1 December identifying bodies exhumed by international experts from a mass grave near the town of Vukovar, in eastern Slavonia. Gruic said he expected mass graves there to yield several thousand more bodies than had been unearthed so far. -- Daria Sito Sucic UN PREPARES FOR POSSIBLE SERB EXODUS FROM EASTERN SLAVONIA. UN intelligence services in eastern Slavonia are preparing contingency plans to cope with a possible exodus of Serbs from this last Serb-held region of Croatia, AFP reported on 22 October, citing Le Monde. According to the French daily, a confidential UN document says the return of Croats next spring to the area from which they were forcibly expelled in 1991 could prompt the 130,000 Serbs now living there to leave for Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. UN officials in New York said there was "nothing secret" about making contingency plans for such a scenario and that it was customary to prepare for all eventualities in such cases, AFP reported. A UN spokesman in eastern Slavonia said he did not believe that a massive exodus would take place. In other news, Serbs in eastern Slavonia have called again for a "special status," AFP reported. The UN dismissed the request when it was first made in June. -- Daria Sito Sucic TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA TO CONTINUE INTO 1997. The last session of the U.S. congress has passed legislation extending into 1997 trade sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, despite a recent UN resolution providing for the embargo to be lifted. Nasa Borba on 23 October said Washington's action amounted to enforcing the "outer wall" of sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. It reported that the extension of the embargo is linked to an improvement in internal conditions in Serbia's predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo, including the renewal of autonomy, improved human rights, and the return of international observers. -- Stan Markotich SLOVENIAN CLAIM ON FORMER YUGOSLAV ASSETS NOW IN COURT. Hearings to determine the status of assets held by the Cyprus branch of Belgrade's Beobanka resumed in a Nicosia court on 21 October, Radio Slovenija reported. Ljubljana has laid claim to a portion of those assets. Borka Vucic, the director of the Cyprus branch, says, however, that Slovenian officials have no proof that between 1978 and 1988, any Slovenian commercial bank made deposits with the former National Bank of Yugoslavia. Thus, he argues, they cannot prove that any assets have come to be held by Beobanka. Vucic also alleged that Slovenia owes Beobanka some $2 billion withheld since the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia. Earlier this year, Slovenia succeeded in having Beobanka's assets in Cyprus frozen by court order. -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF PLANNING ELECTION FRAUD. Romania's opposition parties have accused the government of planning to falsify the results of the 3 November presidential elections, AFP and Romanian dailies reported on 22-23 October. They say the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) has violated the election law by appointing several hundreds of its members as chairmen of polling stations. Meanwhile, President Ion Iliescu has added to the anti-Semitic statements against his rival, Petre Roman, who is partly of Jewish descent. Iliescu told a meeting in Olt County that Roman "does not really have roots in our people." Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the presidential candidate of the Greater Romania Party and a notorious anti-Semite, told Jurnalul national that if there is a presidential runoff, he will ask his electorate to vote for Romania's wartime Hitler ally, Marshal Ion Antonescu. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVA RATIFIES CONVENTION ON PROTECTION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES. The parliament on 22 October ratified the Council of Europe's Convention on the Protection of Ethnic Minorities, Infotag reported the same day. Heated debates preceded the passage of the law ratifying the convention, primarily because of an article aimed at defining what constitutes an "ethnic minority." Deputies decided to avoid interpreting the term, allowing the convention to be ratified. -- Zsolt Mato DNIESTER AUTHORITIES TO BUILD AMMUNITION RECYCLING PLANT. The leaders of the breakaway Dniester republic have reached an agreement with an unspecified "foreign country" on building a plant to recycle ammunition belonging to the former Russian 14th Army, Infotag reported on 22 October, citing Prosecutor General Victor Zakharov. Thousands of tons of ammunition have been kept for decades in Russian depots in the region. -- Zsolt Mato BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Constitutional Court has decided that a minimum turnout is not required in the first round of the 27 October presidential elections, RFE/RL reported on 22 October. The court noted that under the constitution, a president is elected in the first round if he receives more than half of the valid votes cast and if turnout is more than 50%. The court ruled that if one or both conditions are not met, the vote is valid but the two best-seeded candidates are to take part in a second round. It explicitly stated that a second round must take place if turnout is less than 50% in the first round. There had been speculation that the election would be postponed in the event of low voter turnout. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS UPDATE. Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Deputy Chairman Vasil Gotsev and SDS caucus leader Yordan Sokolov have said that the EU has turned down a Bulgarian government request for financial and humanitarian aid to help alleviate the ongoing grain crisis, Demokratsiya reported on 23 October. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov reportedly asked last month to import grain from EU countries. But the government denied those reports, saying Videnov received a private letter from EU Commission President Jacques Santer that, according the government press office, promised Bulgaria 40 million ECU ($30 million). The office did not specify, however, whether this sum was a credit for grain imports. Gotsev claimed that Videnov had deliberately hidden the letter because of the impending presidential elections. In other news, Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development Minister Rumen Gechev said Bulgaria will barely be able to service half its foreign and domestic debt in 1997. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN HIGH OFFICIALS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION. Union of Democratic Forces deputy Edvin Sugarev on 22 October published an open letter to Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev claiming that high officials close to the government and to Prime Minister Zhan Videnov are involved in shady banking, privatization, and telecommunications deals, Bulgarian media reported. Sugarev said the National Security Service and Central Office for Fighting Organized Crime launched separate anti-corruption investigations that were halted. He also alleged that former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov was murdered because he had gathered similar information. Meanwhile, government Committee for Post and Telecommunications Chairman Lyubomir Kolarov has asked Parliamentary Chairman Blagovest Sendov to lift Sugarev's parliamentary immunity because he wants to take the UDF deputy to the court for "lies and slanders" against both the Bulgarian Socialist Party and him personally. -- Maria Koinova EUROPEAN, U.S. INSTITUTES CALL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS "FREE AND FAIR." The International Republican Institute has concluded that in the 20 October local elections "none [of the incidents] appears to have threatened the legitimacy of the election." The U.S. National Democratic Institute on International Affairs called the vote "a significant improvement from the May elections." The Council of Europe said it was "satisfied with the way the vote was carried out, but regrets a few cases of irregularities serious enough to warrant careful examination by the Central Electoral Commission," AFP reported. A Socialist Party spokesman, however, called the ballot "another farce following the legislative elections of 26 May." He pointed out that monitoring missions had visited only 263 of the 4,665 polling stations. -- Fabian Schmidt TWO ALBANIAN PRISON OFFICIALS ARRESTED IN ALLEGED TERRORIST CONSPIRACY. A Tirana court has arraigned two high-ranking Tepelena prison officials on charges of abuse of office, ATSH reported on 22 October. Gribes Licaj is accused of allowing illegal meetings between late communist dictator Enver Hoxha's son-in-law Klement Koloneci and communist secret police chief Hajredin Shyti, who is serving an 18-year-prison term in Tepelena for involvement in the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Shkoder in April 1991. Licaj is also accused of allowing letters by Shyti containing instructions for the Revenge of Justice terrorist group to leave the jail. Those letters were found in the possession of Shyti's son. Robert Kazanxhiu is accused of falsifying Koloneci's name so that he could enter the jail. So far, 20 people have been arrested in connection with the alleged conspiracy. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU 2) To subscribe, write: SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name) To unsubscribe, write: UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L 3) Send the message BACK ISSUES Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail. 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