Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. - Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 208, Part II, 25 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

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Note to readers: The OMRI Daily Digest will not appear on 28 October
1996, a Czech national holiday.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RULE ON REFERENDUMS. The Chief
Justice of the Constitutional Court, Valeryi Tsikhinya, told Belapan on
23 October that the court will examine both President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's proposed constitution and the parliament's. Under the
current constitution, amendments may be put to a national referendum but
not new constitutions. If the court finds the two drafts are equivalent
to new constitutions, then a referendum would be illegal. The same day,
Belarusian TV reported Justice Minister Valentin Sukala (a Lukashenka
appointee who was also a member of the All Belarusian Congress) as
saying it was not within the Constitutional Court's purview to judge
whether the draft constitution proposed by the president was actually a
new constitution or amendments to the basic law. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT'S APPOINTEE TAKES OVER PARLIAMENT'S NEWSPAPER. The
conflict over two editors-in-chief of Narodnaya Hazeta--Leanid Yunchyk
and Mikhail Shymanski, who were appointed by the parliament and
president, respectively--has reached the boiling point, Belarusian Radio
reported on 24 October. President Lukashenka has ordered that his
decrees on the appointment of Shymanski be implemented, assuring the
editorial staff of his support and confidence in their "ability to
withstand...all provocations from political bankrupts." The Main
Directorate of Sociopolitical Information of the presidential
administration has put the blame for the conflict on political forces
that are trying to play out a "scandalous farce" around Narodnaya
Hazeta. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

CANADA TO OFFER SOME $550 MILLION IN CREDITS TO UKRAINE. Canadian
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy concluded agreements worth almost $550
million with Ukraine, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 25 October.
Axworthy was in Kyiv on an official visit with some 40 Canadian
businessmen who concluded investment deals amounting to around $425
million. In addition, the Canadian government has agreed to offer $100
million to Ukraine in credits and project grants. -- Ustina Markus

GERMAN NAVAL ASSISTANCE TO ESTONIA. Nine German minesweepers and a
supply ship carrying 20 tons of donated medical supplies arrived in
Tallinn on 24 October, ETA reported. Commander Manfred Nielson said
Germany will soon give Estonia two used minesweepers with special
equipment worth some $26 million and provide training for ten officers
and forty seamen. The ships would form the core of the Estonian navy and
help clear mines remaining from World War II that are still found in
gulfs along Estonia's coast. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, SOUTH KOREA SIGN INVESTMENT AGREEMENT. Latvian and South Korean
Foreign Ministers Valdis Birkavs and Gong Ro Myung, meeting in Seoul on
23 October, signed an agreement on the protection and promotion of
mutual investments, BNS reported. Latvia is hoping to receive South
Korean investments in heavy industry, textiles, shipbuilding, forestry,
and computer software. The two ministers also discussed increasing
bilateral trade, which totaled almost $16 million in 1995. Birkavs and a
delegation of businessmen will leave Seoul on 28 October to visit
Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT IN GREAT BRITAIN. Aleksander Kwasniewski, during his
two-day visit to London from 23-24 October, met with British Foreign
Secretary Malcolm Rifkind to discuss issues such as NATO and EU
enlargement as well as technical details related to achieving that
foreign-policy goal. In an interview with the Financial Times,
Kwasniewski said that for the Polish side it is unacceptable that NATO
enlargement should be preceded by the reform of the organization and a
special treaty between NATO and Russia. Kwasniewski also met with Queen
Elizabeth II and Prime Minister John Major. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH SEJM ON 1997 TAX RATES. In a surprise vote on the 1997 income tax
rates, the Sejm has lowered the 21% rate to 20% and introduced an
additional rate of 17% for those in the lowest income bracket, Polish
dailies reported on 25 October. Both measures had been proposed by the
opposition Labor Union (UP). The Sejm also decided that tax rates will
range from 17% to 45%. The government's proposal to lower rates for all
taxpayers was rejected. The co-ruling Polish Peasant Party's (PSL)
motion to vote on UP's proposal was supported by all parliamentary
parties except for the PSL's coalition partner, the Democratic Left
Alliance. After the vote, Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said
the outcome of the vote is the "result of political game" before the
1997 parliamentary elections. He called it a "shame for the Sejm's
majority." -- Beata Pasek

CZECH PREMIER, PRESIDENT DISCUSS CZECH-GERMAN DECLARATION. Vaclav Klaus
and Vaclav Havel met on 24 October to discuss how the Czech-German
declaration should be adopted, Czech media reported. Preparations for
the declaration, which is intended to promote reconciliation between the
two nations, began almost two years ago. The Czech and German
governments hope that their parliaments will approve the declaration by
December. Some Czech opposition parties, however, have suggested that
the parliament be given the right to either change the text of the
declaration or pass an accompanying resolution. Both Klaus and Havel
categorically reject such an option. Klaus has said any additional
resolution would "depreciate the declaration," while Havel argues that
"it is absurd that the parliament should adopt a resolution on its
resolution." -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKIA PLANS REFERENDUM ON EU, NATO. Pavol Kacic, secretary of the
ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), has announced that
Slovakia may hold a referendum next year on NATO and EU membership,
Slovak media reported on 24 October. The HZDS's junior coalition
partners--the Slovak National Party and the Association of Workers--have
frequently questioned the need for Western integration. Following
numerous signals that Slovakia has fallen from the first tier of
candidates for NATO and EU membership, Prime Minister and HZDS Chairman
Vladimir Meciar has recently begun questioning the benefits of joining
such organizations. Kacic also denied recent reports in the Russian
media that Meciar has a brain tumor and is preparing to undergo surgery
in Germany. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT WITHDRAWS PENAL CODE AMENDMENT. The parliament has
withdrawn from its current agenda the controversial amendment on the
protection of the republic, Slovak media reported on 24 October. The
legislation has drawn strong warnings from the West. But HZDS legal
expert Jan Cuper told Reuters that there is no direct relationship
between the withdrawal and recent U.S. and EU criticism. The parliament
is expected to approve the amendment in a future session after toning
down controversial points (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 October 1996). Also
on 24 October, the parliament approved the law on parliamentary
procedures, which had been vetoed by President Michal Kovac. A provision
preventing the president and other constitutional officials from
participating in closed parliamentary sessions was dropped. Meanwhile,
the Council of Europe is waiting for the Slovak government's response to
a confidential report criticizing its human rights record, Narodna
obroda reported on 25 October. -- Sharon Fisher

UPDATE ON HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL. The supervisory board of the
state privatization agency APV on 24 October submitted an investigative
report on the Marta Tocsik case (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 October
1994), Hungarian media reported. The board blames a number of top
privatization officials for the scandal and questions whether Tocsik, a
lawyer who received an 804 million forint ($5.1 million) consulting fee
for negotiating with municipalities on the APV's behalf, did any work of
substance. It also says that APV officials committed numerous
irregularities in swapping shares for land with local governments. The
board plans to send the report to the prime minister, the parliamentary
constitutional and economic committees, the special investigative
commission, and the State Auditing Office. Also on 24 October, the
government appointed eight out of eleven new members of the APV board of
directors. -- Sharon Fisher and Petronella Gaal

HUNGARIAN POLICE INTERROGATE NEO-NAZI. Budapest police are interrogating
Albert Szabo after establishing that statements made during a 23 October
rally could be interpreted as an incitement against a community,
Hungarian media reported. Szabo, head of the Hungarian People's Welfare
Federation, had called for the resettling of Hungarian Jews to Israel.
The presidium of the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party on 24
October dissociated itself from Szabo's rally and asked police to keep
both him and his associates away from their gathering outside the
parliament scheduled for 27 October. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. ARMS FOR BOSNIAN FEDERATION ARRIVE. A U.S. arms shipment for the
Bosnian Federation army arrived on 24 October in the Croatian port of
Ploce, AFP reported. In addition to tanks, helicopters, and armored
personnel carriers, the $100 million "Train and Equip" program includes
some 45,000 M16 assault rifles and ammunition, and 800 M60 machine-guns,
840 anti-tank weapons. The U.S. aid is aimed at creating a military
balance between the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian Serbs.
Meanwhile, James Pardew, U.S. envoy for military stabilization in the
Balkans, told Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic that a last shipment
of military supplies will be conditional on the resignation of Hasan
Cengic, the Muslim deputy defense minister. Cengic, a Muslim hard-liner,
is suspected of blocking the implementation of a defense law calling for
a joint command for the Muslim-Croatian forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN UPDATE. Bosnian Serb presidency member Momcilo Krajisnik has
told Roberts Owen, international arbitrator for the disputed northern
town of Brcko, that a wrong decision on Brcko would be catastrophic for
peace, relations between the two entities, and the functioning of joint
institutions, AFP reported. In other news, Bosnian Serb assembly speaker
Dragan Kalinic said the Muslim and Croatian deputies must swear an oath
of allegiance to the Republika Srpska before taking up their duties.
Muslim and Croatian deputies, together with Serbian deputies of the
opposition coalition Alliance for Peace and Progress, refused to take
the oath at the 19 October inauguration of the Bosnian Serb Assembly. --
Daria Sito Sucic

INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL SAYS MASS GRAVE BODIES ARE FROM VUKOVAR HOSPITAL.
Clint Williamson of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former
Yugoslavia confirmed on 24 October that bodies found in a mass grave in
eastern Croatia were patients from the Vukovar hospital killed by Serbs
in 1991, international and local media reported. Some 90 autopsies and
30 tentative identifications have been carried out on the 200 bodies
exhumed. Almost all those identified appear on the list of names from
the Vukovar hospital, according to Williamson. The Hague-based tribunal
has indicted three former Yugoslav army officers for the Vukovar
hospital killings. Meanwhile, Manfred Nowak, a member of the UN Human
Rights Commission, said on 22 October that some people registered as
missing in Croatia are being secretly held in concentration camps in
Serbia, Hina reported. Nowak said that documentation on the 1,400
missing persons existed but Belgrade has not submitted it to
international organizations. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN PARTY OFFICIAL ON SECRET SERVICE, CRIME FIGHTING. Radmilo
Bogdanovic, a high ranking official of the governing Socialist Party of
Serbia, told the daily Dnevni telegraf on 23 October that the government
will redouble efforts to fight crime and even abolish the state security
service. Bogdanovic added that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will
adopt a legislative system ensuring that federal Yugoslavia "will be
well rounded as a legal state." But when questioned about the activities
of war criminals--in particular the internationally wanted Zeljko
Raznatovic, alias Arkan--Bogdanovic replied that he took his hat off to
"anyone who helped the Serbian people [in Bosnia and Croatia] and fought
as a volunteer." -- Stan Markotich

YUGOSLAV, AUSTRIAN OFFICIALS MEET. Milan Milutinovic, foreign minister
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, arrived in Vienna on 23 October
for an official visit, the first by a high-ranking Belgrade official
since 1991. According to Tanjug, the main purpose of Milutinovic's trip
is to help restore bilateral ties and promote the normalization process.
Milutinovic told Austria's ORF Television that the Austro-Hungarian
empire had adopted "a more balanced approach" than Austria today, adding
that "I cannot tell you that as foreign minister but only as a private
person." Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel said that Belgrade
and Vienna were only a "few days" away from signing a bilateral economic
accord, Reuters reported on 24 October. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 25
October reported that Milutinovic will travel to Zagreb next week. --
Stan Markotich

CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY TO SUE INDEPENDENT PAPER. Croatian Defense
Minister Gojko Susak has said his ministry will sue the independent
weekly Globus over a report that a Bosnian Croat war crimes suspect is
living in the hotel in Split owned by the ministry, international
agencies reported on 24 October. According to Globus, Gen. Ivica Rajic,
who is accused by the Hague-based criminal tribunal of massacring Muslim
civilians during the Muslim-Croatian war, is living in the state-owned
hotel. Meanwhile, AFP on 24 October quoted a tribunal official as saying
that the tribunal has been informed of the alleged presence of Rajic in
Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIA REACHES AGREEMENT WITH LONDON CLUB. Following four days of
negotiations in New York, Macedonia and the London Club of commercial
banks have reached agreement on reducing and rescheduling the country's
$644 million debt to the club, Nova Makedonija reported on 25 October.
The deal reduces that debt by $364 million and stipulates Macedonia's
acceptance of 4.99% of the former Yugoslavia's debt to the club ($280
million) and the rescheduling of payments on that sum over 15 years,
with a four-year grace period. Macedonia is the third former Yugoslav
republic to reach an agreement with the club. Slovenia accepted 18% of
the debt and Croatia 29.5%. -- Michael Wyzan

SLOVENIAN UPDATE. For two hours on 24 October, most factories in
Slovenia shut down as part of a nation-wide general strike action,
Reuters reported. According to some estimates, nearly 300,000 workers
took part in the action, which is in protest of employers' plans to
reduce benefits in 1997. In other news, the European parliament on 24
October approved a partnership accord between Slovenia and the EU--a
move "which could pave the way for EU membership," AFP reported.
Finally, a poll published recently by the daily Dnevnik shows the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party (LDS) in the lead ahead of the 10 November
elections. A recent telephone survey in Delo, however, suggests that the
LDS is trailing in rural constituencies, behind the Slovenian People's
Party. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA, NATO WRAP UP LATEST ROUND OF TALKS. The third round of
"enhanced dialogue" between NATO and Romania came to an end in Brussels
on 23 October, Radio Bucharest reported. The talks ended the second
phase of evaluating candidates for NATO membership. NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana is expected to submit a report on the talks with
all prospective candidates at a NATO summit meeting in early December,
which is to set the agenda for next year's NATO summit on the alliance's
enlargement. RFE/RL reported on 24 October that while Romania and
Slovakia are still under consideration to be among the "first group" of
countries admitted to the alliance, they are unlikely to end up with an
invitation to join. Slovenia has a good chance, however, alongside the
Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary. -- Zsolt Mato and Michael Shafir

TWO CANDIDATES IN DNIESTER "PRESIDENTIAL" ELECTIONS. Only two contenders
have registered as candidates in the December "presidential" elections
in the breakaway Dniester region, BASA-Press reported on 24 October.
They are the current leader of the region, Igor Smirnov, and Vladimir
Malakhov, manager of the Tiraspol Mestprombyt Association. The deadline
for submitting supporting signatures, as required by the electoral law,
was 24 October. -- Michael Shafir

MORE ON BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. A 24 October poll shows the
united opposition presidential candidate Petar Stoyanov with an 11% lead
over Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) candidate Ivan Marazov, Reuters
reported. Bulgarian Business Bloc leader Georges Ganchev, a populist
candidate offering an alternative to those disillusioned with both the
BSP and the Union of Democratic Forces, is close behind Marazov. Sofia
University political analyst Ognian Minchev said Ganchev could become
the next president if he is backed by socialist supporters in a second
round of voting, RFE/RL reported. Today is the last day of the election
campaign. -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS. The Central Electoral Commission,
announcing on 24 October the official results of the first round of the
local elections, has confirmed that the Democratic Party scored an
overwhelming victory in 88% of the county halls, Dita Informacion
reported on 25 October. The Socialists gained only 10%. Democrats will
govern in 37 municipalities and the Socialists in four. The Greek
minority Human Rights Party--considered influential in the south of the
country--gained less than 3%. According to the commission, run-offs will
take place between Democratic and Socialist candidates in 22
municipalities. -- Dukagjin Gorani

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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