There is no love sincerer than the love of food. - George Bernard Shaw
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 15, Part II, 22 January 1997

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

LUZHKOV MAY BE BANNED FROM ENTERING UKRAINE. Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Hennadii Udovenko said Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov could be declared a
persona non grata in Ukraine, Ukrainian and international agencies
reported on 21 January. Udovenko said Ukrainian law defines Luzhkov's
"territorial claims" on Sevastopol as criminal, and suggested the
parliament could act on the recommendation of its commission on
international and CIS affairs and ban Luzhkov from entering the country.
Udovenko said Ukraine's relations with Russia will not worsen despite
Luzhkov's statements in Sevastopol on 17 January claiming that city
legally belongs to Russia. He said Ukraine will continue to seek
equality and neighborly relations with Russia, and expressed hope that
when Russian President Boris Yeltsin recovers from his illness and
returns to the Kremlin, "everything will return to its place." -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

UKRAINIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS OBJECT TO OIL TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION. A group
of Ukrainian environmentalists has panned a project to construct an oil
terminal in Kherson Bay, at the mouth of the Dnieper River on the Black
Sea, calling it economically absurd and dangerous to nature, ITAR-TASS
reported on 21 January. The environmentalists said reconstructing
existing oil pipelines would cost $300 million less and allow the
existing terminal and refinery in Kherson Bay to work at full capacity.
Another terminal is located in Odesa, several hundred kilometers to the
west. The planned new terminal, with a projected annual capacity of 6-8
million tons of oil, has already attracted some $26 million of
investment, 20% of that from the national budget. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

RUSSIAN MINISTER CLAIMS BELARUS AND RUSSIA WILL UNITE BY 2000. Russian
Minister of CIS Affairs Aman Tuleev said on 21 January that Russia and
Belarus would formally unite by the year 2000, AFP reported. Despite the
concerns that Belarus would be an economic burden for Russia, Tuleev
said that Russia would gain both politically and economically from such
a union, as it would reduce the cost of shipping Russian oil and gas
across Belarus to the West. Tuleev, who is the lone member of the
Russian government drawn from opposition ranks and its strongest
proponent of reintegration among former Soviet republics, said Russo-
Belarusian integration will go ahead despite what Tuleev claimed is
staunch U.S. opposition. The same day, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka said his country could only unify with another state as an
equal partner and would not become merely a region in another state. --
Sergei Solodovnikov

LATVIAN PRESIDENT HOLDS TALKS ON NEW PRIME MINISTER. President Guntis
Ulmanis held talks with the For the Fatherland and Freedom parliamentary
faction on 21 January on its proposal that he nominate Economics
Minister Guntars Krasts as the next prime minister, BNS reported. It
appeared likely that that faction, together with Latvia's Way and the
Democratic Party Saimnieks, with whom Ulmanis has not yet met, will form
the basis of the new government. The Latvian Free Trade Union
Association and Bank of Latvia President Einars Repse expressed support
for renominating Andris Skele, who resigned the previous day. -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH REPORT ON NATO ENTRY COSTS. A group of Polish experts working
under the auspices of the Euroatlantic Association has estimated the
cost of Poland's accession to NATO at around $1.5 billion, Polish media
reported on 21 January. Through 2010, when planned restructuring of the
country's military should be finished, annual costs associated with
joining NATO will be about 4% of the 1995 defense ministry budget. Costs
were calculated based on the costs of participating in the alliance and
did not include the costs of modernization. According to Janusz
Onyszkiewicz, former defense minister and the Association's chairman,
Poland will modernize its military whether or not it is admitted to
NATO. The report stresses that the estimation is very general and a more
detailed evaluation will be possible only after entry negotiations are
completed. Deputy Defense Minister Andrzej Karkoszka agreed that Poland
can afford to enter NATO. Experts commissioned by the U.S. Congress
estimated the costs of NATO entry for all four Visegrad countries at
around $61 billion. -- Beata Pasek

DRAFT LEGISLATION ON RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY IN POLAND. A Sejm
committee has approved a draft law regulating the return of property
related to religious and charitable activities belonging to Jewish
congregations prior to the end of the World War II, Polish media
reported on 22 January. A commission made up of government and
representatives of local Jewish communities will decide on the return of
properties on a case-by-case basis. Pawel Wildstein, chairman of the
Polish Association of Jewish Communities, said Jews are "moderately
pleased" with the draft. Representatives of Polish Jews abroad -- who
number about 1 million -- criticized the law for excluding them from
reclaiming property. Poland had a population of 3.5 million Jews before
the war; now some 1,500 Jews belong to nine communities. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH AND GERMAN PREMIERS SIGN DECLARATION. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed a joint declaration in
Prague on 21 January that addresses mutual historical grievances and
paves the way for better relations, Czech media reported. The Germans
"recognize their responsibility and express sorrow for" the 1938-1945
Nazi occupation of the Czech lands, while the Czechs "express regrets"
that the expulsion of some three million Sudeten Germans after World War
II "caused much suffering and injustices to innocent people." In return,
Germany states unequivocal support for the Czech Republic's membership
in the EU and NATO. Both sides also agree to ignore all future political
and legal claims against each other arising from the past. In a speech
at the signing ceremony, Kohl said: "We are asking for forgiveness and,
at the same time, want to forgive." Klaus said the Czechs regret the
expulsions took place but suggested the return of Sudeten Germans was no
longer possible. Several hundred right-wing and leftist radicals staged
a demonstration against Kohl's visit and the declaration. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH PRESIDENT'S RECOVERY ON THE RIGHT TRACK. A group of Czech and
foreign physicians assembled to determine what kind of medical care
Vaclav Havel needs following his recent lung cancer surgery announced on
21 January that the president is recovering quickly. The physicians
decided that Havel does not need chemotherapy or radiation. The
president will, however, need to undergo regular checkups. -- Jiri Pehe

HUNGARIAN COALITION PARTIES DENY INVOLVEMENT IN CORRUPTION. Following
revelations that large sums of state money were transferred to bank
accounts of companies closely linked with the two coalition parties (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 20 January 1997), Prime Minister Gyula Horn rejected
all allegations connecting his Socialist Party to corruption, Hungarian
dailies reported on 22 January. Reacting to the opposition Democratic
Forum's plans to initiate a no-confidence vote against the government in
parliament, Horn said the opposition was merely making desperate efforts
to bring down the cabinet. Both the Socialist Party and the Alliance of
Free Democrats denied receiving money from the implicated companies. The
investigation into the privatization scandal -- involving an unusually
large payment to a consultant, allegedly on conditions that part of the
money go to the two companies -- suggests the money was destined for
election coffers, but the scandal erupted before it actually reached the
parties' treasuries. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IS THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT PLOTTING A NEW STRATEGY? Serbia's Supreme
Court ruled on 21 January that yet another town won by the opposition in
17 November municipal runoffs -- Smederevska Palanka, some 80 kilometers
from Belgrade -- was in fact won by the ruling Socialists. It was the
second such decision by a judicial organ in as many days. Meanwhile, the
Justice Ministry issued a statement on 21 January saying there was no
evidence of fraud or electoral improprieties in eight municipalities
where the opposition Zajedno coalition scored victories but the
Socialists claimed victory, Reuters reported. The eight centers are
Kraljevo, Pancevo, Sabac, Jagodina, Vrsac, Soko Banja, Smederevska
Palanka, and Pirot. While opposition leaders and supporters remain
somewhat divided over just what the latest Justice Ministry statement
means, it may represent another government effort to dishearten
opposition demonstrations. Meanwhile, street demonstrations against the
regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and calls for recognition
of opposition wins in local elections continued. Nasa Borba reported on
22 January that students remained at the forefront of the protests and
were standing "eye to eye" with a cordon of police officers who have
prevented students from marching on Belgrade's main streets since 19
January. -- Stan Markotich

FRENCH FAR RIGHT TREKS TO BELGRADE. Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the
French far-right National Front, met in Belgrade on 21 January with
Vojislav Seselj, leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party,
international media reported. Le Pen, who was invited by Seselj and is
on a whirlwind Balkan tour, said Seselj's party protects and defends
"near enough the same things that we defend," AFP reported. But some
reports suggest Le Pen and Seselj may not have had a complete meeting of
the minds. Le Pen expressed sympathy for the ongoing mass public
demonstrations, while Seselj blasted the protesters, dubbing them dupes
of the United States and Germany, Tanjug reported. -- Stan Markotich

REHN WARNS OF 'CIVIL WAR' IN KOSOVO. The UN's special reporter for human
rights, Elisabeth Rehn, said after a visit to the former Yugoslavia that
Serbian-controlled Kosovo province is heading for "a real explosion, a
fire. We can fear anything, even civil war," Reuters reported on 21
January. She said Washington is aware of the possibilities of "a new
conflict," but Europe has been caught napping. Rehn was referring to the
new campaign of assassinations by the shadowy Kosovo Liberation Army
(UCK) against prominent Serbs and Albanians regarded as collaborators
(see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 21 January 1997). Controversy persists among
Albanians, Serbs, and outside observers alike as to what the UCK
actually is and who is behind it, AIM news service added. The Serbian
authorities have tried to link the Serbian opposition to the UCK, while
some opposition leaders have suggested the group is a fictional cover
for regime provocateurs. -- Patrick Moore

MORE MUSLIMS EVICTED FROM MOSTAR. Croatian gangs evicted two more
Muslims from their apartments in west Mostar on 21 January, bringing the
total of such illegal moves to 82, AFP reported. Muslim and
international officials have protested the often brutal evictions, but
threats and cajoling by international representatives have come to
nothing (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 21 January 1997). Muslims control
east Mostar, which is sandwiched between the traditional Serbian
stronghold of eastern Herzegovina and the long-time Croatian bastion of
western Herzegovina. The internecine war of 1993 generated bitter
animosities between the Muslims and Croats, who had often been historic
allies. The Muslims now charge the Croats with trying to expel remaining
Muslims from western Herzegovina, while the Croats say the Muslims have
destroyed Croatian communities in central Bosnia that date back to the
Middle Ages. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN PARTY TO BOYCOTT BOSNIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The governing body
of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) announced that its officials
in the federal legislature and government will not carry out their
functions pending a clarification or renegotiation of power-sharing
arrangements with the governing Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA),
Vjesnik reported on 21 January. The HDZ is an extension of the governing
party in Croatia of the same name. It has its base among the more
nationalistic Croats of Herzegovina rather than among the Croats of
central Bosnia, who have traditionally lived integrated with Muslims and
Serbs and are more pluralistic in their outlook. The HDZ claims the
right to speak for all Croats, although the majority of Croats in
Sarajevo did not vote for it. Smaller, non-nationalist parties accuse
the SDA and HDZ of monopolizing power for themselves. In other news, the
secretary to Roman Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic said Pope John Paul II
plans to make a long-delayed visit to Sarajevo on 12-13 April. --
Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES UPDATE. Republika Srpska Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic on 22
January reaffirmed that the Serbs will not send indicted war criminals
Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic to The Hague. He charged that the
tribunal there has an "anti-Serb prejudice," news agencies reported. The
court's chief prosecutor, Louise Arbor, stated after visiting the region
that she is "exploring all options ranging from the mildest to the most
severe" to secure the extradition of dozens of indicted war criminals.
She also said that more indictments will be handed down in addition to
the current 74. -- Patrick Moore

TOP CROATIAN OFFICIALS VISIT EASTERN SLAVONIA. Defense Minister Gojko
Susak, Interior Minister Ivan Penic, and intelligence chief Miroslav
Tudjman held talks in Serb-held eastern Slavonia with the UN's chief
administrator for the region, Jacques Klein, Reuters wrote on 21
January. Susak is widely regarded as the second-most powerful man in
Croatia, while Miroslav Tudjman is the son of President Franjo Tudjman.
The three Croats made explicitly clear that the region will fully return
to Croatian control by mid-July, as is slated under current agreements,
Vjesnik reported the next day. The Serbs have sought a delay and have
complained about the memorandum Croatia submitted to the UN on its
policies for the region's future. Klein, however, praised the Croatian
document, saying it goes farther than might have been hoped for. The
Croatian delegation did not meet with local Serbs. Susak warned the
Serbs there will be no new talks and said they should concentrate on
becoming full-fledged Croatian citizens. In his annual state-of-the-
nation address on 22 January, President Tudjman urged the Serbs to vote
in the local elections scheduled for 16 March, Reuters wrote. -- Patrick
Moore

FRANCE WANTS ROMANIA IN NATO 'FIRST WAVE.' French European Affairs
Minister Michel Barnier said on 21 January that France supports
Romania's bid to join NATO in the first wave of enlargement, Reuters
reported. The French official was in Bucharest preparing for French
President Jacques Chirac's visit to Romania next month. Chirac will be
the first Western leader to visit Romania after the change of power last
November. Barnier said he was impressed by the determined and
responsible attitude of the new Romanian government toward the issue of
NATO and EU integration. He expressed his belief that Romania "will be
prepared to meet NATO requirements" for prospective members, expected to
be nominated at NATO's July summit. -- Zsolt Mato

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS OFFER APOLOGY BUT INSIST ON FORMING NEW GOVERNMENT.
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Georgy Parvanov was elected
chairman of the party's parliamentary faction on 21 January, Duma and
Trud reported. He surprised many by apologizing to the nation for the
current economic situation caused by the previous BSP government. When
former premier Zhan Videnov took the BSP's leadership in 1991 he also
apologized for the 45 years of communist rule, Trud noted. Union of
Democratic Forces Chairman Ivan Kostov described Parvanov's move as a
"step in the right direction," but said BSP's real apology would be to
refrain from forming a new government. The BSP continues to insist on
forming the next government, saying that postponement for 6 months of
the urgent measures they plan to introduce would lead to a moratorium on
payments on foreign debts. Vasil Kalinov, member of the BSP's Executive
Bureau, said BSP local leaders urged the party to take a tougher
approach toward the opposition and organize counter-rallies against the
anti-Socialist protests, Reuters reported. -- Maria Koinova

ADVICE TO NEW BULGARIAN PRESIDENT: FIX ECONOMY FIRST. Whatever the
solution is to the current political crisis, priority should be given to
solving economic problems, IMF representative Franek Rozwadowski said
after meeting with newly sworn-in President Petar Stoyanov on 21
January. Both Rozwadowski and Bulgarian economic experts meeting
Stoyanov the same day said Bulgaria's economic situation is extremely
grave, Pari and Demokratsiya reported. Rozwadowsky said that, for the
IMF to aid in the establishment of a currency board, there must be a
national consensus on the issue, a functioning parliament, and a
constitutionally established government for the IMF to negotiate with.
Opposition deputy and economic expert Alexander Bozhkov commented that a
caretaker government with a two-month mandate from the president could
negotiate with the IMF, but said the actual agreement should be signed
by the government established by the parliament established after early
elections. -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT PROMISES FAST ACTION AGAINST PYRAMID SCHEMES. Prime
Minister Aleksander Meksi announced on 21 January that he is setting up
a commission to investigate get-rich-quick projects, Reuters reported.
He said legislation will be drawn up based on its findings and sent to
parliament by 27 January. "With this law we aim at giving a global
solution for each case, so that everyone has the same compensation from
the division of the properties of these companies," Meksi concluded.
Recent days have witnessed angry protests by thousands of Albanians
affected by the collapse of various pyramid schemes. Those protests have
tended to become political as the opposition has accused the government
of using the schemes for its own purposes. The authorities are clearly
worried that protests in Albania could follow the examples of those in
Serbia and Bulgaria (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 January 1997). -- Patrick
Moore

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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