We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 235, Part II, 6 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 DEPUTIES FIGHT OVER RED FLAG. Scuffles broke out between
nationalist and communist legislators in the parliament after communist
deputy Volodymyr Moiseenko put a small red flag on the table in front of
him, Ukrainian TV and AFP reported on 5 December. The deputy hoisted the
flag to mark the former Constitution Day, which was celebrated every 5
December when the Soviet Union still existed. Moiseenko said he does not
recognize the constitution of the independent Ukraine, while speaker
Oleksander Moroz warned he may be sued for an anti-constitutional act.
The flag was torn up by nationalist legislators, while several communist
deputies intervened to help their colleague. Communists and their allies
hold more than half of the seats in the parliament. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL SAYS CIS SUMMIT POSTPONED. CIS Executive Secretary
Ivan Korotchenya told a news conference in Minsk on 5 December that the
CIS summit scheduled to take place in the Belarusian capital on the
commonwealth's fifth anniversary has been postponed until mid-January
owing to Russian President Boris Yeltsin's state of health, Russian
media reported. Korotchenya stressed that the CIS's five-year existence
proves it is a viable regional organization. He denied claims that the
800 treaties and agreements signed within the CIS framework remain on
paper only, saying that 365 of them have gone into effect. He said that
the other agreements have not been implemented because of the
unwillingness of individual leaders to do so. Korotchenya also pointed
out that Belarus and Russia have taken more concrete steps toward closer
integration than the other CIS member countries. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

NEW ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER GIVES REPORT. Toomas Ilves, presenting the
semi-annual report on the country's foreign policy to the parliament on
5 December, said that although EU and NATO membership are the main
objectives, it is also necessary for Estonia to have relations with
Russia as a "normal, friendly Western country" and not as a former
colony or oblast, ETA reported. The border agreement with Russia
scheduled to be signed soon is a necessary condition but not a guarantee
for EU membership. Ilves also mentioned various economic agreements with
other European countries which, he said, have improved the economy and
serve as a security guarantee. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA'S NATIONAL TV, RADIO LAW AMENDED. The Seimas on 5 December
amended the National TV and Radio Law in an effort to reduce political
influence over state media broadcasts, Radio Lithuania reported. Until
now, the National TV and Radio Board has had 13 members, three of whom
are appointed by the Seimas, four by the president, and six drawn by lot
from the nominees of nine major professional associations. Under the new
amendments, a new 15-member board is to be created by 31 December in
which there will be no political appointees. Instead, 15 professional
associations will each appoint one representative. It is unclear whether
President Algirdas Brazauskas will approve the amendments. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH COALITION THREATENED BY ADMINISTRATION REFORM. The Polish Peasant
Party (PSL) on 5 December threatened to quit Poland's ruling coalition
if the government goes ahead with the planned reform of the
administration, Polish and international media reported. The reform
would introduce a new mid-level administrative unit, called the powiat.
PSL Senate Speaker Adam Struzik made the threat, saying the PSL would
see no possibility of participating in the coalition if the reform were
implemented. The PSL's withdrawal would almost certainly result in early
elections. The party has already made several such threats during its
three-year governing coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance. --
Jakub Karpinski

ALARMING HOUSING SHORTAGE IN POLAND. One-third of city dwellers and
almost half of those residing in the countryside live in overcrowded
apartments with two or more persons in one room, Polish media reported
on 6 December, citing a report issued by the Housing Economy Institute.
More than 1 million couples share flats with their parents or other
relatives or sublet their apartments. Over the next 10-15 years, at
least 1.1 million apartments will have to be demolished. Demographers
predict that by 2005, the number of people of so-called marriageable age
will have grown substantially. The Housing Economy Institute estimates
that 3.8 million apartments will have to be built by 2010 if each family
is to have its own accommodation. -- Beata Pasek

COMPLICATIONS IN CZECH PRESIDENT'S RECOVERY. Pavel Pafko, the surgeon
who removed half of President Vaclav Havel's right lung earlier this
week, told journalists on 5 December that there "are mild complications"
following the operation, Czech media reported. The surgery was necessary
to remove a malignant tumor. Pafko said that "a light inflammation" has
started spreading in the left lung. He noted this is not unusual after
such radical lung surgery. Havel is receiving antibiotics and remains in
an intensive care unit. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ADDRESSES WEU. Vladimir Meciar, addressing the
Western European Union's parliamentary assembly in Paris on 5 December,
called for talks with Russia on security issues to be stepped up, TASR
and CTK reported. He stressed that the European security structure
cannot be built without an agreement with Russia and Ukraine, and he
warned that failure to reach agreement with Russia could push Moscow to
turn to China and Arab countries. Meciar said Slovakia has a functioning
democratic system comparable to that of other Central European
countries, adding that respect for minority rights in Slovakia is higher
than the European average. He defended Slovakia's plans to hold a
referendum on NATO integration, saying that the constitution demands
referendums on all important issues. A November opinion poll by the
Focus agency showed that of those Slovaks who would participate in such
a referendum, 64% would vote in favor and 36% would vote against NATO
membership, Narodna obroda reported on 6 December. -- Sharon Fisher

EXPLOSION OUTSIDE SLOVAK DISSIDENT DEPUTY'S HOUSE. An explosion took
place shortly after midnight on 6 December near the house of former
deputy Frantisek Gaulieder, CTK reported. Gaulieder was stripped of his
parliamentary mandate earlier this week. The explosion demolished the
front of his house. Gaulieder was in the house at the time with his wife
and five-year-old son, but no one was injured in the explosion.
Gaulieder is considering asking for personal protection, following
several warnings that he might share the fate of former police officer
Robert Remias, who died in a car explosion several months ago. Gaulieder
said the blast could be connected to political statements he has
recently made. In other news, the opposition on 5 December called a
special parliament session in an effort to dismiss parliament Chairman
Ivan Gasparovic for his role in the removal of Gaulieder's mandate;
however, Gasparovic survived the vote. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARY TO GET WORLD BANK LOAN FOR PUBLIC FINANCE REFORM. The World Bank
on 5 December approved a $7.75 million credit to support the country's
public finance reform, Hungarian media reported. The loan will cover 72%
of the costs of the four-year project and will be used primarily for
information technology development. Vilaggazdasag reported that the
World Bank is expected to grant two more loans worth $200-250 million
each later this year. One of those credits will be used to assist
enterprise privatization and the other to alleviate the crisis in the
country's social security system. Since gaining membership in 1982,
Hungary has received credits totaling $3.7 billion from the World Bank.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY TO EXTEND TECHNICAL UNIT'S MANDATE IN BOSNIA. The government
wants to extend for one more year the Hungarian troops' participation in
the Bosnian peace implementation force, Reuters reported on 5 December.
Hungary has a 400-strong technical unit in the former Yugoslavia and has
provided the U.S. army with logistics bases on Hungarian territory near
the Croatian border. Mandates for both commitments are due to run out at
the end of 1996. The government on 5 December said it will ask
permission from the parliament to extend the two mandates to the end of
1997. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MASS PROTESTS CONTINUE IN SERBIA . . . For the 17th consecutive day,
protesters gathered in Belgrade and other cities throughout Serbia on 5
December to protest the government decision to nullify the 17 November
local election results, local independent media reported. The opposition
Zajedno coalition had scored significant victories in those elections.
Nasa Borba estimated that 150,000 people were out in the Serbian capital
on 5 December. Some demonstrators threw paper planes at landmarks such
as the RTS broadcasting facility and the Politika publishing house.
Others lit candles to the memory of truth and freedom, which, they said,
were extinguished by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's regime. --
Stan Markotich

. . . AND BEGIN TO HAVE IMPACT. In one of several developments signaling
that the government is succumbing to public pressure, Belgrade's
election commission has requested that the Supreme Court ruling
validating the annulment of the 17 November returns be re-examined, Nasa
Borba reported on 6 December. The regime has also lifted its crackdown
on the independent media covering the demonstrations. Belgrade's Radio B
92 is back on the air after being taken off for two days. Finally,
Reuters on 6 December reported that one prominent member of the ruling
Socialist Party of Serbia who did not wish to be named said the
authorities were preparing to "ease tensions" and recognize opposition
victories in Nis, the second-largest city in Serbia. -- Stan Markotich

LONDON CONFERENCE ON BOSNIA ENDS . . . The two-day international meeting
to take stock of the implementation of the Dayton agreement ended on 5
December, international and regional media reported. Commentators noted
that one of the gathering's main accomplishments was that the Serbs sat
down with the Muslims and Croats as one delegation, but it is unclear
whether the inter-entity cooperation will go much beyond that. British
Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind warned the three parties that they are
responsible for their own future and that the international community
has neither the will nor the intent to provide open-ended military or
economic support. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said that he
expects military assistance to last up to another two years and economic
help at least another ten. -- Patrick Moore

. . . FOLLOWING ADOPTION OF NEW AGENDA. The conference heard much tough
talk about the need to catch war criminals, but Judge Louise Arbour of
the Hague-based tribunal noted that cooperation on the ground is
"severely lacking." Additional responsibilities will be given to the
international community's High Representative, Carl Bildt, but catching
war criminals will still be dependent on the cooperation of the local
authorities. The conference also adopted a new timetable to implement
concrete provisions of the Dayton agreement, many of which are overdue.
Local elections must now be completed in summer 1997 and the arms
reduction program by 31 October. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN EX-SOLDIERS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE. About 100 workers from the
construction firm GP Sarajevo went on a hunger strike to protest poor
wages and living conditions, AFP reported on 5 December. The group
includes many demobilized solders, reflecting the problem across Bosnia-
Herzegovina that tens of thousands of men on all sides have little or no
work. Fighting is the only trade that many of them know. The situation
is particularly bad in the Republika Srpska, which has received only 2%
of the international reconstruction aid to date. Aid agencies blame the
attitude of the local Serbian authorities for the problem. -- Patrick
Moore

BOSNIA, CROATIA GRANTED LOANS FOR RECONSTRUCTION. The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development on 5 December signed a $32.7 million loan
with Bosnia-Herzegovina to improve the war-damaged Sarajevo airport and
roads and bridges throughout the country, Reuters reported. Officials
said it was the first loan to be signed by both Bosnia's Serb and
Muslim-Croat entities. But the international community warned that they
would not support the country's economy forever. They also stressed
future aid would depend on how the Bosnian sides comply with the Dayton
peace agreement. Meanwhile, Croatia and the World Bank on 4 December
signed a $102 million loan agreement on the reconstruction of road
networks and mine clearance in Croatia, Hina reported. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS' ASSOCIATION CRITICIZES UN. The Croatian
Journalists' Association on 5 December accused the UN of doing nothing
to protect Croatian journalists at a Serb-led demonstration the previous
day in the town of Vukovar, in eastern Slavonia (see OMRI Daily Digest,
5 December 1996), AFP reported. The journalists have sent a protest
letter to UN administrator for eastern Slavonia Jacques Klein saying
that "if the UN invites us to cover an event, their officials should
guarantee the security of journalists." In other news, the Croatian
Journalists' Union has said that pressure on and threats to journalists
have increased since Croatia was admitted to the Council of Europe,
Vecernji List reported on 6 December. Also, the Croatian official media
have begun a campaign against journalists who work for the foreign
media, accusing them of being communist agents paid to create "a poor
image of Croatia in Europe," AFP reported on 5 December. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

ROMANIA'S RULING ALLIANCE ELECTS NEW LEADER. The Democratic Convention
of Romania (CDR) on 5 December elected Ion Diaconescu as its leader,
Romanian media reported. The 78-year-old Diaconescu spent 17 years in
jail during the communist period. He is chairman of the National Peasant
Party--Christian Democratic, the leading member of the CDR. Diaconescu
replaces Emil Constantinescu, who resigned after his election as
Romania's president last month. The CDR won the November parliamentary
elections and is currently forming a coalition government with the
Social Democratic Union of former Premier Petre Roman and the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIA, IMF TO RENEGOTIATE CREDIT PROGRAM. The new Romanian government
and the IMF are to renegotiate a three-year stand-by credit program
suspended in early 1996 by the IMF, Reuters and Romanian media reported
on 5 December. IMF chief negotiator Poul Thomsen said in Bucharest that
renegotiation is necessary because of the "significant deterioration in
the [Romanian] economy." Next week, a team of IMF experts will evaluate
the state of the economy. IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus is due
to visit Romania later this month. Negotiations will start in January
1997, and an agreement is expected by March. The IMF credit program is
essential for Romania, which has a slow privatization rate and a low
level of direct foreign investment (just over $2 billion). -- Zsolt Mato

BULGARIA CLOSER TO CURRENCY BOARD ADOPTION? Ivan Kostov, chairman of the
opposition Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), has said he will present to
the 9 December extraordinary meeting of the SDS National Coordinating
Council a plan for reaching national consensus on the adoption of a
currency board, RFE/RL and Demokratsiya reported. Over the past week,
Kostov has held talks with IMF, World Bank, and U.S. government
officials. Bulgarian politicians have so far failed to agree on if and
how the board should be introduced. Kostov said he supports the idea of
a board but is against having one set up by the current government. He
added that his plan would offer the basis for a stable new program for
governing Bulgaria and could be supported even by some members of the
ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party. However, he gave no details of the
plan. In other news, a 10,000-lev bank note will go into circulation on
8 December as inflation continues to soar. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIA TIGHTENS BORDER CONTROLS. The Interior Ministry on 5 December
announced that it has tightened border controls, 24 chasa reported.
Troops, special police units, and border guards are jointly cracking
down on the illegal trafficking of drugs and people and the smuggling of
stolen cars and other goods. Special police and customs guards on 4
December seized 45.2 kilos of heroin hidden in a Bulgarian bus traveling
from Sofia to Prague. The two drivers and the owner of the bus company
were arrested. In other news, most newspapers on 6 December claimed that
the government's decision to have nine public holidays over Christmas
and New Year is aimed at diverting attention from the extraordinary
Bulgarian Socialist Party congress on 21-22 December. They noted that
since most papers will not appear during the holiday period, state TV
and radio will be the main source of information about the congress. --
Stefan Krause

ENVER HOXHA'S SON-IN-LAW TO REMAIN IN PRISON. Klement Kolaneci, son-in-
law of late communist dictator Enver Hoxha, is to remain in prison
pending trial for alleged membership in the Revenge for Justice
terrorist group, Koha Jone reported on 6 December. A Tirana court the
previous day upheld an earlier ruling. Kolaneci's lawyers said that
Prosecutor Isa Jata did not present any evidence against Kolaneci and
argued that Kolaneci should continue to be detained on charges of
"forming an armed gang." Meanwhile, the court has ruled that Robert
Kallanxhi, who is also a suspected Revenge for Justice member, is to
remain in prison pending trial for forging car documents. Lawyers claim
that the prosecutors neither questioned Kallanxhi nor produced any
evidence. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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