The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. - George Bernard Shaw
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 240, Part II, 13 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

UKRAINE'S PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW PRIVATIZATION LAW. The Ukrainian
parliament passed a new version of an enterprise privatization law on 11
December, UNIAN reported. According to the law, all Ukrainian citizens
can purchase state property, but employees enjoy preferential treatment
in acquiring shares in enterprises where they work. The law bans
privatization of the property of the armed forces, underground mineral
deposits, water resources, radio and TV transmitters and channels,
pipelines, distilleries and weapons producing enterprises. The law
allows Ukrainian citizens, foreigners, and persons without citizenship,
along with Ukrainian and foreign corporate bodies, to purchase shares in
privatized companies. Armed forces property will be subject to
corporatization, with the state retaining 51% of the shares. -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

UKRAINE TO SET UP COMMISSION ON LIBYAN ARMS DEAL. Ukraine's parliament
set up a special commission to look into The Washington Times report
alleging Ukraine was selling missiles and arms to Libya, ITAR-TASS and
Ukrainian agencies reported on 12 December. The commission is to
investigate the source of the allegations and dispel doubts over
Ukraine's adherence to international embargoes. National Security
Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin said a special investigation had proven the
charges were groundless, and a document to that effect was signed by all
relevant Ukrainian military chiefs. In a meeting with the U.S. State
Department director for CIS affairs, James Collins, Horbulin said no
documentary evidence concerning the Libyan deal was produced. He said
the White House would soon publish its own findings over the charges,
and hoped it would not affect the U.S. Congress in dispersing aid to
Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT CUTS EDUCATION SPENDING. Education Minister
Mykhailo Zhurovskii told the parliament that the country's education
system is facing "total ruin," Ukrainian media reported on 10 December.
The 1997 draft state budget covers only 55% of teachers' wages and 70%
of students' stipends. Zhurovskii said the government will reduce
spending on education by introducing partial payment for textbooks and
cutting other benefits, as well as reducing the number of teachers by
23%. The Ukrainian government also decided to abolish stipends for
university students from 1 January, Ukrainian television reported on 12
December. Stipends will be paid only to the best students and to those
from poor families. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL RESIGNS; ELECTIONS SET. Prosecutor General
Vasyl Kapitan resigned on 12 December citing health reasons,
international agencies reported. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
accepted his resignation and appointed Aleh Bozhelko as his replacement.
Reuters reported that the real reason for Kapitan's replacement was not
his health, but his disloyalty to the president. In other news, ITAR-
TASS reported that Lukashenka signed a decree setting 26 December as the
election date for the parliament's upper house. Lukashenka will appoint
eight members, and the remaining 56 will be elected by secret ballot by
deputies of local soviets in the country's six regions and Minsk. The
110 member lower house consists of deputies who recognized the 24
November constitutional referendum results. Meanwhile, Lukashenka
appointed Ivan Luakh Minister of Labor, Belarusian radio reported on 11
December. -- Ustina Markus

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT URGES EU TO CUT BELARUS AID. The European Parliament
(EP) condemned Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as
authoritarian and autocratic on 12 December, and urged the European
Union to suspend financial aid to Belarus until "the Belarusian
authorities have clearly indicated their intention to fully respect
democratic and human rights," AFP reported. The European deputies also
warned that they will not ratify the EU-Belarus partnership accord. The
resolution issued by the parliament condemned the introduction of a new
lower house of parliament that is completely under the president's
control. It also observed that it recognizes only the previous
democratically-elected parliament as the sole representative body in
Belarus. The EP insisted on suspension of all aid programs except the
two pro-democracy and press freedom initiatives. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRUSSELS. Toomas Ilves noted in his speech
to the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council on 11
December that his country wants to join NATO not because it fears
Russia, but to contribute to peace and stability in Europe, BNS
reported. He and his Russian counterpart Yevgenii Primakov later
discussed the signing of a border agreement and increasing cooperation
between their ministries. The next day Ilves had talks with NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana on NATO expansion. European Union
Commissioner Hans van den Broek Ilves that Estonia's responses to an EU
questionnaire completed during the summer suggest that trade tariffs
were the key problem in the country's efforts to join the EU. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIA'S LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO BE ELECTED FOR THREE YEARS. The Seimas
voted unanimously (118 votes) on 12 December to amend article 119 of the
constitution and changing the term of office for local government
councils from two to three years, Radio Lithuania reported. The
requirement of obtaining at least 94 votes in two separate votes at
least three months apart has thus been fulfilled. The next elections are
to be held in the spring of 1997, probably on 23 March since by-
elections for the four Seimas seats are scheduled for this day. --
Saulius Girnius

SOLIDARITY ELECTORAL ACTION WEIGHS ITS VOTES. Solidarity leader Marian
Krzaklewski established a draft allocation of votes that the member
organizations will have in the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), a
Solidarity-led alliance of some two dozen parties and organizations,
Polish dailies reported. The AWS will prepare common lists of candidates
in next year's parliamentary elections. Solidarity will have half of the
votes in the AWS. The numbers of votes allocated to other organizations
depends on the membership, financial possibilities and other abilities.
The draft allocations are valid and "AWS can start to work as a
shareholder company," Krzaklewski said. But three months are left for
complaints and verification of data used as the base for the vote
allocation. -- Jakub Karpinski

EU CALLS ON SLOVAKIA TO RESTORE DEPUTY'S MANDATE. The European
parliament approved a resolution on 12 December asking Slovakia to
restore the mandate of Deputy Frantisek Gaulieder, Slovak media
reported. Gaulieder quit the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia's
parliamentary caucus in November. Although he said he wanted to retain
his post, serving as an independent, the parliament stripped him of his
mandate. The European Parliament pointed to Slovakia's EU Association
Agreement, in which it pledged respect for human and minority rights,
democracy, and the rule of law. The private Bratislava-based Radio Twist
on 12 December reported that Western diplomats warned Bratislava that
the Association Agreement could be canceled and visa requirements
renewed if the cabinet does not follow general democratic standards.
Ruling coalition representatives denied the news, Sme reported. Also on
12 December, 37 opposition deputies lodged a complaint with the
Constitutional Court regarding Gaulieder's replacement. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN UPDATE. The Hungarian government on 12 December accepted a
draft of a new pension system which should take effect in January 1998,
Hungarian media reported. Before putting the bill up for parliamentary
debate, the cabinet wants to hold consultations with parliamentary
parties and interest groups . The cabinet also decided to increase the
equity of national broadcaster Antenna Hungaria by 2.5 billion forints
($15.8 million). In other news, Viktor Orban, Chairman of the opposition
Young Democrats said "March 1997 is the final date for [achieving]
opposition cohesion," adding that the opposition will lose the 1998
general elections if it doesn't unite. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BELGRADE PROTESTERS PRESS ON. On 12 December, the 23rd day of peaceful
mass protests, an estimated 30,000 students attempted to march to the
Belgrade residence of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, but were
halted by a cordon of well-armed riot police. The march was aimed at
putting pressure on Milosevic to resign, but Reuters reported that the
police managed to stop "the students under the windows of the U.S.
embassy." Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini met with
Milosevic and leaders of the opposition Zajedno coalition. Dini stated
that the opposition should drop demands to have the results of 17
November local elections validated, which gave Zajedno victories in
Serbia's twelve largest municipalities. "Reinstatement of results seems
to me to be something that is not in the cards," said Dini. Opposition
leaders, however, say they will not compromise the election victory,
Nasa Borba reported. -- Stan Markotich

BELGRADE INDEPENDENT RADIO SIGNS TEN YEAR DEAL. Independent Radio B92
announced on 12 December that it had signed a ten-year contract with
Radio and Television Serbia, allowing it to broadcast over a state-owned
transmitter, Reuters reported. The station, shut down by Milosevic on 3
December for two days for its coverage and reporting of ongoing mass
demonstrations in Serbia, says it will continue efforts to obtain its
own frequency. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN AUTHORITIES URGE AN END TO DEMONSTRATIONS IN SERBIA. A
representative for Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic has contacted
the Serbian government requesting that the issue of ongoing mass
demonstrations in Serbia be addressed, Nasa Borba reported. According to
the Montenegrin government, it is incumbent upon Serbia's authorities to
"sort out its internal problems at the earliest opportunity" because the
political situation throughout Serbia may have "unpredictable
repercussions" for Montenegro. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
however, has so far failed to respond to the Montenegrins' request, AFP
reported on 12 December. -- Stan Markotich

MAN DIES AFTER TORTURE IN KOSOVO. According to the Democratic League of
Kosovo (LDK), Feriz Blakcori, 34, died in a hospital in Pristina on 12
December after allegedly being tortured by police, Reuters reported.
Blakcori was arrested at his home on 9 December by a 40-strong police
unit on suspicion of possessing firearms. Blakcori was a member of LDK's
information commission and a teacher in a local elementary school. The
LDK says Blakcori was the 14th victim of Serbian police violence in
Kosovo this year. Meanwhile, the Kosovar shadow-state government issued
a first official statement welcoming the Belgrade protests. However, it
added that the Serbian opposition "still remains anti-Albanian" and
"does not as yet deserve our full support." -- Fabian Schmidt

COLLECTIVE BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED. The three-man joint presidency
named the first ministers for the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
on 12 December, after three months of haggling, Oslobodjenje reported.
The appointments reflect a careful balance of Muslims, Serbs and Croats
on the model of the "nationality key" established under Tito, which had,
however, eventually led to a gridlock. The co-prime ministers are the
Muslim Haris Silajdzic and the Serb Boro Bosic, who will take turns in
chairing weekly cabinet meetings. A Croat will be deputy prime minister,
and each nationality will get one of the three ministries: foreign
affairs (a Croat), foreign trade (a Muslim), and communications (a
Serb). Each minister will have two deputies from the other two
nationalities, and final appointments are expected on 17 December. --
Patrick Moore

ARMS FOR BOSNIA. The U.S. "train and equip" program to arm the mainly
Croat and Muslim Federation is now complete, Oslobodjenje reported.
Special envoy James Pardew said: "This equipment will allow the
federation to defend its people and their territory. Never again will
people of Bosnia be unable to effectively respond to military
aggression." Pardew also criticized the Serbs for not reducing their
weapons stockpile, which is part of the overall program to level the two
armies. Meanwhile, at Ploce on the Adriatic, two ships (one from Egypt,
one from the United Arab Emirates) arrived with weapons for the federal
army. -- Patrick Moore

SFOR GETS ITS MANDATE. The UN Security Council approved the new 30,000-
strong Stabilization Force (SFOR), which takes over from IFOR when the
latter's mandate expires on 20 December. The resolution gave SFOR an 18-
month mandate and also stressed civilian reconstruction tasks, Reuters
wrote. Bosnian Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey said, however, that one must
not "substitute superficiality for substance" and that real efforts must
be made to ensure freedom of movement, freedom of the media, and the
right of refugees to go home. It is not clear whether SFOR's mandate
will be any tougher than IFOR's was, particularly regarding the matter
of catching war criminals. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SACKED; MORE OFFICIALS RESIGN IN PROTEST.
Ivan Jarnjak's departure (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 December 1996) was
announced on 12 December by the ruling Croatian Democratic Community's
Secretary Ivan Valent--not by the prime minister or the president as
required by the constitution--international and local media reported.
Valent said Jarnjak was moving to another senior government position,
"which will enable him to concentrate more on party activities,"
Vecernji List reported on 13 December. According to Valent, Jarnjak will
be replaced by former privatization minister Ivan Penic. Local media
reported that more members of Jarnjak's team had resigned as a sign of
solidarity with their minister, but it was not officially confirmed.
Analysts say Jarnjak was sacked for allowing the demonstration against
the governments attempt to silence independent Radio 101 to proceed
without police intervention. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN CUSTOMS CONFISCATE SOROS FOUNDATION MONEY. Croatian customs on
12 December confiscated $65,000 from Croatian Open Society foundation
officials, international agencies reported. State television said border
police at the Bregana border crossing with Slovenia will most probably
confiscate the money that was not reported to the customs. But a Finance
Ministry source told Reuters on 12 December that it was not necessary to
report foreign currency upon entry to the country. The incident followed
recent vows by President Franjo Tudjman to crack down on dissenters, in
which he particularly named George Soros's Open Society Institute as the
organization that has infiltrated the whole society in order to
undermine the government. Zarko Puhovski of the Open Society foundation
said the authorities were taking the issue "very seriously" this time,
Reuters quoted him as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NEW ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT SWORN IN. Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea's
cabinet on 12 December took the oath in the presence of President Emil
Constantinescu, Radio Bucharest reported. Ciorbea stressed that his
government differed from the preceding ones in the fact that it had "the
knowledge, the possibility, and the will to change the country's fate."
Constantinescu said he thoroughly trusted Ciorbea and his cabinet.
Almost six weeks after the 3 November elections, the new government
finally started implementing its program. However, negotiations on
distributing second-level ministerial and county prefect posts within
the governing coalition will continue. -- Zsolt Mato

DID BULGARIAN COMMUNISTS ILLEGALLY TRANSFER $2 BILLION ABROAD?
Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev on 12 December said he has documents
proving the existence of a financial network of the former Bulgarian
Communist Party (BKP), reportedly used by nomenklatura groups to obtain
start-up capital for their business empires, RFE/RL reported. Tatarchev
said the money was transferred abroad before 1989 as aid to Third World
revolutionary organizations but was never included in the state budget.
In 1994, Financial Times reported that nomenklatura business groups with
alleged links to organized crime had embezzled huge sums of state funds
from secret BKP accounts in Austria and Switzerland. In November, former
Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov told RFE/RL that $2 billion were
transferred abroad during the term of then-Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov
in 1990. This sum equals Bulgaria's debt to the Paris Club of lenders.
-- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSED REVISED BUDGET. The National Assembly on 12
December passed the second "actualization" of the 1996 state budget,
Pari and Demokratsiya reported. The new revision puts the budget deficit
at 125.3 billion leva ($762 million at the average exchange rate for
1996 so far). Expenditures for interest payments on domestic debt were
increased by 125.3 billion leva to 356.3 billion leva. Some 308.5
billion leva will go for interest payments on domestic debt, and 47.8
billion for interest on foreign debt. The draft 1997 budget envisages an
exchange rate of 350 leva for one dollar and a 40% annual inflation
rate. In other news, the National Statistical Institute announced that
unemployment stood at 12% in November, up from 11.3% in October. The
number of unemployed went up from 425,419 to 460,061. Among them are
20,382 former employees from 64 state-owned firms slated for closure. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN STUDENTS THREATEN STRIKE. The Independent Albanian Students'
Union has issued a list with 11 demands and threatened to hold a strike
unless the government meets the demands by 30 December, Koha Jone
reported on 13 December. The demands include better working and living
conditions in the university and dormitories, a 100% increase in
stipends, the legalization of a student radio and newspaper, the setting
up of a freedom monument in the Student City of Tirana and the official
recognition of dissident Azem Hajdari's Union of Independent Trade
Unions (BSPSH). The students also demand the resignation of the director
of Albanian Radio and TV, arguing that the public media misrepresented
the recent dispute between Hajdari and his competitor, trade union
leader Valer Xheka over the BSPSH leadership (see the OMRI Daily Digest,
26 November). -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Sava Tatic

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