If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings--including this one. - Heywood Broun
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 232, Part II, 3 December 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 OMRI 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 JUSTICE MINISTER, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL DENOUNCE EXECUTIONS.
Justice Minister Serhii Holovaty revealed that Ukraine has violated its
pledge to the Council of Europe (CE) to uphold a moratorium on the death
penalty, Ukrainian agencies reported on 29 November. He said more than
100 people on death row had been executed so far this year with 89
executions taking place in the first six months, in "shameful" violation
of its promise to suspend executions as a condition for CE membership.
The CE and Amnesty International condemned the news, with the latter
claiming only China had carried out more executions this year, RFE/RL
and AFP reported on 3 December. A 1993 Ukrainian law makes information
on capital punishment a state secret. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DENIES CHANGING POSITION ON BLACK SEA FLEET.
Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin said some
Russian media misinterpreted President Kuchma's 30 November interview to
Russian Public Television, ITAR-TASS and Ukrainian Radio reported on 2
December (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 December 1996). Horbulin said Kuchma
did not propose to stop dividing the fleet and return it to joint
control. The Ukrainian president believes the main task now is to sign a
comprehensive treaty on friendship and cooperation with Russia and then
return to the Black Sea fleet issue, according to Horbulin. -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

SECOND CHORNOBYL REACTOR CLEARED FOR RESTART. Ukraine's State Committee
for the Use of Nuclear Power has agreed to allow the restarting of
reactor No. 2 at the Chornobyl nuclear plant, UNIAN reported on 2
December. The reactor, shut down following a fire in 1991, will be
switched on between October and December 1997. Reactor No. 1 was closed
on 30 November this year, leaving only reactor No. 3 in operation. A
committee spokesman said the decision was prompted by the severe
economic situation and does not contradict the agreement between Ukraine
and the G-7 under which Chornobyl must be closed by 2000. Ukraine's
State Committee for Nuclear and Radiation safety had already given its
approval for the restart. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT FACES CRITICISM IN LISBON. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
was subjected to harsh criticism at the opening of the OSCE summit in
Lisbon, RFE/RL reported on 2 December. The more than 50-nation summit
said the 24 November referendum was neither free nor fair. In response,
Lukashenka defended the way the referendum was handled, arguing that it
was held in full compliance with the constitution and legislation of the
country. He denied that there is any political crisis or division in
Belarus society, and warned other countries against interference in the
internal affairs of his country. Lukashenka also condemned NATO plans to
expand east, saying that it would cause a new split in Europe with the
dividing line along the western border of Belarus. Meanwhile, the
Vienna-based Helsinki Federation for Human Rights sent a letter to OSCE
Chairman Flavio Cotti urging the OSCE to suspend Belarus of its
membership in the organization. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

NEW ESTONIAN EUROMINISTER NOMINATED. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi on 2
December proposed Andra Veidemann, the chairwoman of the Progress Party,
for the post of Eurominister, which had become vacant when Riivo
Sinijarv became interior minister, ETA reported. President Lennart Meri
is expected to approve the nomination when he returns from the OSCE
summit in Lisbon. Vahi noted that her inclusion as a minister would not
result in the expansion of the government coalition that consists of the
Coalition Party and three rural parties. -- Saulius Girnius

FINNISH PRIME MINISTER VISITS LATVIA. Paavo Lipponen met with his
Latvian counterpart Andris Skele during his one-day visit to Riga on 2
December, BNS reported. Lipponen expressed support for Latvia's efforts
to join the EU but noted that the common European security system should
also include Russia. Skele repeated that Latvia saw NATO membership as
the only real guarantee for its security and would favor NATO and Russia
signing an agreement as long as its contents were made public. --
Saulius Girnius

WALESA AT CENTER OF PROBE. Warsaw prosecutors are probing security
service allegations that former President Lech Walesa illegally kept
secret documents he should have returned at the end of his term, Ryszard
Kucinski, spokesman of the Warsaw prosecutors' office, said on 2
December. He said the investigation was launched on 28 November.
Rzeczpospolita wrote on 3 December that Walesa received "Bolek" files
from the State Security Bureau but did not return all of the files.
"Bolek" was a code name the communist secret services used for Walesa.
Among the missing documents is an alleged written statement from Walesa
in which he states that he will not speak about the conversations he had
with communist secret police officers and receipts for money he
allegedly received from them. Copies of those documents were reprinted
by the Polish press abroad three years ago. Walesa denied the
allegations, saying they were cooked up by the ruling ex-communists to
discredit him before next year's parliamentary elections. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH PRESIDENT OPERATED ON FOR LUNG CANCER. Vaclav Havel underwent
surgery on 2 December, during which half of his right lung was removed,
Czech media reported. Havel's physician said this step was necessary
after doctors found a cancerous tumor in Havel's lung. According to
experts, chances that the cancer will not spread are good. The president
is to stay in the hospital for one week and will need another six weeks
to fully recover. -- Jiri Pehe

MECIAR CAUSES STIR OVER NATO REFERENDUM PLANS. Opposition Democratic
Union Chairman Jozef Moravcik on 2 December called on Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar to resign since his government is unable to
fulfill its declared goal of joining NATO and the EU, Slovak media
reported. According to Moravcik--a former prime minister--Meciar has
started to lead "a clearly organized campaign against NATO." Also on 2
December, Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky said
Meciar is using the same trick with NATO as he used three years ago when
he promised a referendum on the split of Czechoslovakia, offering five
alternatives for relations with the Czechs. "Meciar is now offering ...
four possible variants on how the links between Slovakia and European
structures should look," Carnogursky said. -- Anna Siskova

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. A bomb exploded shortly after midnight on 28 November in
the courtyard of the home of Jan Smerek, president of the east Slovak
ironworks VSZ, Slovak media reported. Smerek's firm has close ties to
the government. In other news, a Bratislava court ruled on 27 November
that Slovak TV (STV) must broadcast a correction to a story it ran about
President Michal Kovac's son and pay him 500,000 crowns ($16,129) plus
court costs. The station aired reports on 2 September 1995 alleging that
Kovac Jr. owned casinos and gambling machines. This is the second suit
STV has lost in a month. Also on 27 November, opposition Democratic
Union Chairman Jozef Moravcik attacked the cabinet's new version of the
penal code amendment on the protection of the republic, Reuters
reported. Moravcik said the government made only cosmetic changes from
the previous draft, which was vetoed by the president after gaining
parliamentary approval in March. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO, RUSSIA. Hungarian Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs asserted that differences between Russia and the West
regarding NATO expansion are no longer irreconcilable, Hungarian media
reported on 3 December. Kovacs was attending the OSCE summit in Lisbon.
He observed that while Moscow had strongly opposed the expansion of the
alliance at the OSCE's 1994 Budapest summit, this year Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin devoted only a little time to the issue in
his summit speech, and adopted a tone that was in no way threatening.
Meanwhile, Hungary's Ambassador to NATO, Andras Simonyi, noted that it
is hard to get accustomed to the fact that Russian officials contradict
each other on the issue. He was referring to Russian Defense Minister
Igor Rodionov's recent speech which envisaged the targeting of nuclear
missiles on Eastern Europe if NATO expansion takes place. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BELGRADE DEMONSTRATIONS SHOW NO SIGN OF WANING . . . Serbia-wide mass
protests against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic are now entering a
third week, showing no signs of waning. Demands center on the
authorities' recognizing the outcome of 17 November run-off municipal
elections in which the opposition Zajedno coalition won majorities in
Serbia's 12 largest urban areas. Vuk Draskovic, a key opposition leader,
has said the protests will dry up when the regime recognizes the results
of those elections, CNN reported on 2 December. The Milosevic regime has
nullified most of those returns, claiming victory in a third round. But
signs are emerging that suggest the protesters are having a significant
impact. Police presence, notably that of riot forces, has been stepped
up, especially in Belgrade. Moreover, the regime has intensified its
state-media campaign against the demonstrators. On 2 December Vecernje
novosti dubbed Zajedno a "terrorist" organization bent on "seizing power
violently." -- Stan Markotich

. . . WHILE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY URGES REGIME TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT.
A growing wave of international condemnation is mounting against the
Belgrade authorities, and primarily Milosevic. Many Western leaders are
on record deploring the cancellation of the 17 November election results
and are urging the government to refrain from reacting violently to the
peaceful protests. For his part, U.S. State Department Spokesman
Nicholas Burns has said "the results of the municipal elections ought to
be respected. Some way must be found by the government to walk back from
its decision to stifle those elections," Reuters reported on 3 December.
Washington officials have also said an "outer wall of sanctions" will be
maintained against Belgrade, as well as efforts at blocking the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia's integration into institutions in the
international financial community, partly because of the nullification
of those elections. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN REACTIONS. While hard-line members of Milosevic's Socialist
Party of Serbia are reportedly urging the president to deal forcefully
with the demonstrators, at least some Montenegrin leaders are on record
advocating restraint. Montena-fax on 2 December quoted Svetozar Marovic,
speaker of the Montenegrin republican legislature and member of the
ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, delivering an oblique criticism
of those authorities in Serbia inclined to deal with the demonstrators
with force. "No one has the right to change the foundation of democracy,
the will of the people, irrespective of whether it's done by the
authorities or the opposition," he said. "It is critical in the most
difficult of situations that those who take care of the people and the
state keep a cool and rational head," he added. -- Stan Markotich

SERBS LEAVE BRCKO TALKS. The Bosnian Serbs have pulled out of
arbitration talks regarding Brcko and said they will not recognize the
outcome of those talks. The northern Bosnian town and its surrounding
"corridor" are the land link between the eastern and western halves of
the Republika Srpska, and hence of vital importance to that "entity."
The area had a Muslim and Croat majority before the war, however, and
the Sarajevo government refuses to accept the results of "ethnic
cleansing." It was the only territorial question that was not at least
formally settled by the Dayton agreement and was left to be decided by
international arbitration by 14 December. The ball now seems to be in
the court of the international mediator, Roberts Owen, whom the Serbs
charge made decisions without consulting them or the Muslims. The State
Department said on 2 December, however, that the talks will go ahead
with or without the Serbs, Reuters noted. -- Patrick Moore

PLAVSIC PRAISES BRITAIN ON EVE OF LONDON CONFERENCE. Republika Srpska
President Biljana Plavsic commended the British government for treating
the two Bosnian entities on an equal basis in preparations for the talks
slated to open on 4 December, AFP reported on 2 December. Trouble seems
likely at that Dayton review conference, however, because the Serbs have
announced that Aleksa Buha will participate in his capacity as foreign
minister, Oslobodjenje wrote on 3 December. According to the rules set
down by the international mediators, only the joint foreign minister for
the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina may attend with that title. In
any event, Plavsic said that in London she will raise the issue of
Muslim refugees returning to their homes in Serb-held border areas
because she claims they are soldiers is disguise. It is not clear
whether Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who is believed to be
suffering from cancer, or Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who is
under political siege at home, will attend. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN POLICE QUESTION EDITOR ON TUDJMAN ARTICLE. Croatian police
questioned Vesna Jankovic, the editor of the independent bi-weekly
Arkzin, about an article giving foreign analysts' reports on assets
acquired by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's family, Reuters reported
on 29 November. Jankovic said she believed the questioning was linked to
an earlier Tudjman announcement that he would clamp down "on false
prophets ... who preach human rights and media freedom." A public
prosecutor launched the investigation under a libel law protecting the
country's top five officials, the same one under which the editor and a
journalist from the weekly Feral Tribune were tried and eventually
acquitted. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN RAIL WORKERS VOW TO CONTINUE STRIKE. Some 11,000 workers of the
Croatian state railways (HZ) vowed on 2 December to continue a general
strike that began on 28 November, Slobodna Dalmacija reported. The
strike halted nearly 80% of services. Workers are demanding higher wages
and better working conditions. International services and some cargo
trains continued to operate. Strikers insist that a collective accord on
substantial pay raises be concluded, and that arrears be paid. The
minimum salary for a railway employee is about 1,890 kunas ($380). The
Croatian government says the demands have no basis. But Zlatko Pavletic,
the railway union leader, said HZ has internal reserves to increase
workers' wages. The HZ said it was suffering daily losses of some 1.6
million kunas ($300,000) because of the strike. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS WIN MOST MAYORALTIES IN LOCAL POLL. The
governing Social Democratic Alliance (SDSM) was the overall winner in 17
November's municipal elections, AFP reported on 3 December. First
unofficial results after 1 December's second run-off give the SDSM 500
of the 1,903 council seats at stake, compared with 321 for the right-
wing opposition coalition made up of the Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization, the Movement for All-Macedonian
Action/Conservative Party, and the Democratic Party (DP). The Socialist
Party gained 140 seats and the Liberal Party 110. The ethnic Albanian
Party of Democratic Prosperity and the Party of Democratic Prosperity of
the Albanians gained 156 and 107 seats respectively. Of the 123 mayors'
posts, voted on separately, the SDSM took 52, compared with 27 for the
right-wing coalition. Risto Popov of the DP was elected mayor of Skopje.
-- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT IN THE OFFING. One month after general elections,
negotiations over the new Romanian government have reached a final
phase, Romanian media reported on 3 December. Designated Prime Minister
Victor Ciorbea is to announce the cabinet later this week, while
Parliament is expected to start hearings on the new ministers today. The
three parties that will make up the government also convened to discuss
the governing program, which is to be perfected by a group of apolitical
experts. In other news, President Emil Constantinescu, at the OSCE
summit in Lisbon, is due today to meet Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn. --
Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVA'S NEW PRESIDENT PLEDGES PEACE, PROSPERITY. President-elect Petru
Lucinschi on 2 December told journalists that his four-year term would
bring stability and prosperity to Moldova. Lucinschi made the statement
at the first press conference after his victory in the 1 December
presidential runoff. Final results show him beating incumbent Mircea
Snegur by an 8% margin. Lucinschi, who is generally seen as pro-Russian,
was quoted as saying that "I have good personal contacts with the
Russian leadership and intend to use them for the good of our country."
Lucinschi will officially take office on 15 January. Meanwhile, the
cabinet headed by Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli tendered its
resignation "in order not to hamper president-elect Lucinschi to form a
new cabinet." Parliament is expected to accept the resignation today.
Lucinschi suggested that he would favor a cabinet of "national trust,"
made up of technocrats -- Dan Ionescu

FLOODS IN BULGARIA FORCE EVACUATIONS. Torrential rains caused floods in
southern Bulgaria that have led to three deaths since 1 December and
roads, rail links and power have all been cut off in the Rhodopi
mountains region, international and national media reported on 2
December. The Civil Defense Service declared a state of emergency in
Zlatograd and Devin, where two thirds of all houses were flooded.
Emergency crews are working to repair the damage in Devin, Kardzhali and
other towns. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIAN POLITICAL ROUNDUP. The mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for
Rights and Freedom (DPS) held its third National Conference in Kardzhali
on 1 December, RFE/RL reported. DPS Chairman Ahmed Dogan said early
parliamentary elections must be provoked by all legal means "no later
than April or May." Dogan was reelected DPS chair for three years.
Meanwhile, the Liberal-Democratic Alternative was formed on 30 November
with outgoing President Zhelyu Zhelev's backing and in his presence. The
new party seeks to replace the present parliamentary republic with a
presidential republic. The delegates decided to press for early
elections for an assembly which will alter the existing constitution. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIA SUSPENDED FROM FIFA. Following Albania's suspension from the
international soccer governing body FIFA on 27 November, the Albanian
government on 2 December annulled the previous suspension of Albanian
Football Association General Secretary Eduard Dervishi and reinstated
its executive committee, Reuters reported. The suspension had put a 14
December World Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland in
jeopardy. Albanian Sports Secretary Marjeta Pronjari had suspended
Dervishi for consistently postponing executive committee elections. --
Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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