Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 36, Part II, 20 February 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

***********************************************************************
OMRI, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Announcement:

Due to a restructuring of operations at the Open Media Research
Institute, OMRI will cease publication of the OMRI Daily Digest with the
issue dated 28 March 1997. For more information on the restructuring of
the Institute, please access the 21 November 1996 Press Release at:
http://www.omri.cz/about/PressRelease.html

On 2 April, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will launch a daily news
report, RFE/RL Newsline, on the countries of Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union. A successor to the RFE/RL Daily Report and the
OMRI Daily Digest, the new daily will nonetheless represent a major
departure from its predecessors. In addition to analytic materials,
RFE/RL Newsline will carry news gathered by the correspondents,
bureaus, and broadcast services of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
RFE/RL will disseminate this new publication both electronically and via
fax to all those now receiving the OMRI Daily Digest and for the time
being under the same terms.

OMRI will continue to publish the periodical Transition, for more
information on Transition please access
http://www.omri.cz/publications/transition/index.html or send a
request for information to: transition-DD@omri.cz

*********************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER CONFIRMED. Syarhei Ling on 19 February was
confirmed as prime minister in a lower-house vote of 97 to 8, with one
spoiled ballot, international agencies reported. Ling had been acting
prime minister since the resignation of Mikhail Chyhir in November.
Chyhir resigned in the runup to the November constitutional referendum
because he disapproved of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's policies.
Ling set out three key tasks for the government: reigning in inflation,
paying off wage arrears, and firing incompetent officials. Ling had been
deputy prime minister in charge of the economy after the USSR broke up,
and he was appointed economy minister in 1994. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO RATIFY ZERO AGREEMENT. After a lengthy,
heated debate, Ukraine's parliament failed to ratify an agreement
renouncing Ukraine's share of Soviet assets in return for Russia
assuming Ukraine's share of the Soviet Union's foreign debt,
international agencies reported on 19 February. Instead, deputies voted
233 to 70 to present Russia with a list of conditions for ratification.
The main condition was Russia's release of detailed information on the
Soviet debt and money held in the central Soviet banking system when the
USSR broke apart. Ukraine's share of Soviet assets includes claims to
gold, diamonds, hard currency, and property. Under an agreement signed
by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and former Ukrainian Prime
Minister Vitalii Masol in 1994, Ukraine was to give up its share of
16.37% of Soviet assets in exchange for Moscow picking up Kyiv's 16.37%
share of the $81 billion Soviet debt. The agreement has proved highly
controversial in Ukraine's parliament, but Russia is unwilling to
renegotiate. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE DELIVERING FIRST SHIPMENT OF TANKS TO PAKISTAN. Pakistani
Defense Minister Masar Rafi arrived in Kyiv on 18 February in connection
with the shipment of the first 15 Ukrainian T-80 UD tanks to Pakistan,
Ukrainian radio reported. Last year, Ukraine concluded a deal to deliver
320 tanks worth $550 million with Islamabad. The country's largest arms
sale to date, it was criticized by Russian arms producers. On 19
February, ITAR-TASS reported Russian Foreign Trade Minister Oleg Davydov
said he is opposed to the arms deal because Ukraine negotiated it
without consulting Russia and it threatens India, Russia's strategic
partner in the region. Davydov said his ministry will not issue licenses
for the delivery of any components for the tanks from Russia. Russia has
been concerned over Ukraine's efforts to develop its arms industry for
foreign export because it views Ukraine as a possible competitor for its
own arms sales. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTRY OFFICIALS SACKED FOR CORRUPTION. Justice
Minister Serhii Holovaty announced an investigation has found evidence
of corruption and abuse of office by several Justice Ministry officials,
Ukrainian radio reported on 18 February. First Deputy Justice Minister
Volodymyr Chernysh and several heads of the ministry's departments were
fired. Holovaty said the evidence has been sent to law-enforcement
bodies to initiate criminal proceedings against Chernysh. Earlier this
month, President Leonid Kuchma launched a campaign against corruption in
state bodies, sacking several governmental officials. -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

U.S. RECONSIDERS POLICY TOWARD BELARUS. U.S. representatives at the OSCE
said the U.S. is reconsidering relations with Belarus until the
Belarusian government brings its policy into line with internationally
accepted standards, Belapan reported on 18 February. U.S. government
contacts with Belarus's government and parliament will be reduced. The
U.S. also supports suspension of international lending institutions'
programs in Belarus. American trade and development agencies will
suspend their activities except to protect U.S. investments and support
development of the private sector. At the same time, the U.S. government
will continue to support democratization, defense of human rights, and
independent media, and it will continue humanitarian aid to Chornobyl
victims. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS GERMANY. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, at the
European Commission office in Bonn on 18 February, urged the EU to
consider Estonia's successful reforms and not its geopolitical position
when enlarging. The next day, German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe told
Ilves that it will not necessarily be the same countries that join the
EU and NATO initially, BNS reported. He said Germany will tighten
security and political ties with Partnership for Peace countries that
are not included in the first round of NATO expansion. Ilves also
discussed security questions with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel,
who just returned from a visit to Moscow. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, TURKEY SIGN ECONOMIC AND MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENTS.
President Guntis Ulmanis, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Valdis
Birkavs and Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins, began a four-day official
visit to Turkey on 18 February. Birkavs signed agreements on protection
of investments and on economic and trade cooperation and agreed to work
on a free-trade agreement. The next day, Krastins and Chief of the
Turkish General Staff Ismail Hakki Karadayi signed a military agreement
on boosting cooperation in the technical, scientific, and training
sectors, BNS reported. Krastins said the accord was important since it
improved cooperation with another NATO country. Ulmanis also discussed
the expansion of the EU and NATO with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
and Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW CHIEF OF POLISH NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICE. President Aleksander
Kwasniewski on 19 February appointed Marek Siwiec as head of the
National Security Office (BBN), Polish dailies reported. Siwiec replaces
Jerzy Milewski, a former Solidarity activist, who died last week.
Siwiec, 41 years old, remains presidential adviser in the rank of state
secretary. Siwiec said he will try to establish a National Security
Council and continue the BBN's work on a law providing for additional
funds for the modernization of the army. He added that the referendum on
NATO membership, proposed recently by the post-communist Social
Democratic Party, is a bad idea. The BBN will also identify extra-
military dangers to the state, such as crime or financial scheming.
Kwasniewski will himself head the Committee on Political Strategy,
headed until now by Siwiec. -- Jakub Karpinski

HUNGARIAN, POLISH FOREIGN MINISTERS ON NATO. Laszlo Kovacs visited
Poland and met his Polish counterpart Dariusz Rosati on 19 February,
international media reported. The two ministers applauded "the timetable
and philosophy for NATO's enlargement" set recently by U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright. They said Polish and Hungarian aims and views
relating to NATO enlargement are identical. They added that the process
of establishing NATO-Russia relations should not slow down the process
of NATO enlargement. The ministers welcomed Albright's reassurance to
countries that might not be in the first group of new NATO members that
enlargement is an open process and will be continued. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER IN ICELAND. Vaclav Klaus and Iceland's prime minister,
David Oddsson, discussed the Czech Republic's admission to NATO at a
meeting in Reykjavik on 19 February, international media reported. After
the meeting, Oddsson said he believes the Czech Republic will be among
the first countries invited by NATO for talks on membership in June.
Klaus said that NATO expansion must be prepared in a way that does not
harm relations between NATO and Russia. Klaus made a one-day visit to
Iceland on his way to Canada. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK NATIONAL THEATER CANCELS STRIKE ALERT. Actors at the Slovak
National Theater (SND) on 19 February canceled their strike alert after
"constructive" talks with SND General Director Miroslav Fischer, Slovak
media reported. All theaters across Slovakia were to join the strike,
protesting government interference in cultural affairs. The situation at
the SND has been tense since July, when Culture Minister Ivan Hudec
fired the SND stage director, Peter Mikulik. Tensions reemerged on 8
February, when Fischer appointed Leopold Haverl as SND stage director
even though Haverl did not participate in the public competition for
that post, held in December. During the talks on 19 February, Fischer
and the actors agreed on a compromise candidate for stage director,
Juraj Slezacek, who placed second in the December competition. Actor
Emil Horvath won that competition but is "unacceptable" to Fischer.
Another controversial move involving Slovak theaters was the recent
firing of Karol Spisak, director of the Nitra puppet theater. -- Sharon
Fisher

SLOVAK DEMOCRATIC LEFT SEEKS DISCUSSION WITH OPPOSITION PARTIES. Party
of the Democratic Left (SDL) Chairman Jozef Migas on 19 February said
his party insists on the bill banning the privatization of Slovakia's
four largest banks even if the vote on the law is connected with a
confidence vote in the government, CTK reported. The SDL wants to hold a
meeting of the leaders of all parliamentary parties to discuss possible
steps if the government loses a confidence vote. SDL Deputy Chairwoman
Brigita Schmoegnerova said Premier Vladimir Meciar is pressing for quick
bank privatization to provoke early elections. "By actually completing
the connection of political and economic power, Meciar and his movement
would take control of the whole society politically and economically,"
Schmoegnerova said. Also on 19 February, Transport Minister Alexander
Rezes announced he is leaving his post in March. Rezes said he will
publicly, economically, and politically stay with Meciar, adding that
Slovakia would need "ten Meciars." -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN FARMERS TO STAGE ROAD BLOCKADE. The National Federation of
Hungarian Farmers on 19 February announced a warning demonstration
blocking state roads, Hungarian media reported. The blockade, scheduled
for 24 February, will affect the Bacs-Kiskun and Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen
roads. The federation is demanding the revocation of tax and social
insurance laws that took effect on 1 January. If the previous
legislation is not restored by 5 March, the farmers plan to organize
state-wide action on 10 March. A meeting on 19 February between farmers
and representatives of the ministries of agriculture and finance failed
to break the deadlock. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. PROPOSES 'SPECIAL' POLICE FORCE IN BRCKO. Washington will back an
initiative to create a UN-mandated police force to help an international
supervisor in the disputed Bosnian town until March 1998, when a final
decision on Brcko will be made, AFP reported on 19 February. Arbitrators
decided on 14 February to postpone for another year the decision on who
should control the town claimed by both Serbs and Muslims. The U.S. is
ready to contribute personnel to the police force, which would be
separate from the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) but--in contrast
to the existing UN police force--would be armed and authorized to use
force. The existing UN police could not cope with incidents that might
occur if thousands of Muslims and Croats try to return to Brcko. In
other news, James Pardew, a senior U.S. envoy in charge of the military
aid program for Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation, said that efforts to
merge the Bosnian Muslim and Croat armies are in danger due to the
inter-ethnic clash in Mostar, Reuters reported on 19 February. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

BOSNIANS GAVE WORLD BANK MONEY TO TOWN ON AID BLACK LIST. The World Bank
said on 19 February that Bosnian Muslim authorities illegally allocated
some $200,000 to Bugojno, a town in central Bosnia that is under an aid
embargo by the World Bank and the high representative for Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Carl Bildt, AFP reported. Bugojno is embargoed for all but
humanitarian aid because its Muslim authorities refuse to allow the
minority Croat population representation on the local council. The money
came from a $100 million loan from the Dutch government and the World
Bank. The Dutch ambassador to Bosnia, Valerei Sluyter, said she did not
know what the money was used for or whether the Bosnian government has
fulfilled its promise to take the money back from Bugojno. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Mate Granic and his Yugoslav
counterpart Milan Milutinovic met on 19 February to push ahead with
normalizing relations between their countries, international and local
media reported. While peaceful reintegration of the last Serb-held
region of eastern Slavonia into the rest of Croatia dominated their
agenda, they reached agreement on nearly 18 other issues, including
citizenship, frontier trade and traffic, border crossings, cooperation
between interior ministries, and the rights of Croats in Yugoslavia and
of Serbs in Croatia. The two are expected to sign agreements in a few
months on transportation, succession talks, missing persons, and
refugees and property issues. Meanwhile, Serb leaders in eastern
Slavonia warned that 50% of Serbs in the area will leave by the end of
the spring as they are being treated unfairly, AFP reported. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

SERBIA'S HARDLINERS ON THE OFFENSIVE AGAIN? Mirjana Markovic, wife and
main political ally of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, on 19
February lambasted the opposition Zajedno coalition. In the state-run
Borba, Markovic alleged that the opposition wants only to seize power
and behaves like "diseased animals." In other news, Radio Index on 19
February reported that local Socialist Party officials in Leskovac are
refusing to remove the local sacked party boss from his mayor's post,
apparently in defiance of opposition wins in the locality following 17
November municipal runoff elections. Elsewhere on 19 February, protests
by teachers and students continued and Zajedno formally agreed that
Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party, will stand as mayor of
Belgrade. -- Stan Markotich

JAIL STRIKE BROADENS IN ROMANIA. Inmates in a Craiova prison launched a
sympathy protest with fellow inmates of the Jilava prison in Bucharest
who have been on a hunger strike since 17 February, Reuters reported on
19 February. The Jilava prisoners asked authorities to improve living
conditions and speed up cases delayed in the courts. The prison holds
3,500 inmates, more than double its capacity. Chief Warden Ion Parjol
said that while most of the prisoners' complaints were justified,
conditions cannot be improved due to lack of funds. Gheorghe Lazaroiu,
warden at the Craiova prison, warned of the possibility of a chain
reaction. Romanian judicial sources reported that more than 45,000
inmates are being held in 35 prisons, about three times the acceptable
capacity. -- Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVA ATTACKS RUSSIAN DUMA'S DECISION TO SET UP DNIESTER PANEL.
Members of the Moldovan parliament denounced as "interference in
Moldova's domestic affairs" a decision of the Russian State Duma to set
up a commission to deal with the Dniester region, BASA-press reported on
19 February. The newly created panel is to tackle the political and
economic problems of Moldova's breakaway region as well as the issue of
the presence of Russian troops there, Dniester media reported on 18
February. The 12-member board is headed by Adrian Puzanovski, an active
supporter of Dniester interests in the Russian legislature. Deputies in
the Dniester legislature welcomed the Duma panel as a step from
"declarations to concrete actions." -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN ENERGY MINISTER ON DANGERS OF NUCLEAR POWER. Georgi Stoilov on
19 February became the first Bulgarian top official to discuss safety
lapses in the country's energy program, AFP reported. Stoilov, a member
of Ecoglasnost who was appointed minister with the rest of the interim
cabinet on 12 February, said on state radio that the country's
controversial Kozlodui nuclear power plant is "very dangerous" and a
serious public health threat. "In my opinion, the danger exceeds an
acceptable level of risk," he said. -- Stan Markotich

BULGARIAN TRADE MINISTER TAKES STEPS TO BOOST EXPORTS. Daniela Bobeva,
caretaker minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation, has
created an off-budget Center for Encouraging Exports and begun talks
with the EBRD for assistance in creating a facility to provide export
credits, insurance, and guarantees, Pari reported on 20 February. Bobeva
stressed the importance of signing agreements on the protection of
investment and of joining CEFTA. Meanwhile, food prices have risen by
30% in the last week, with local economists predicting 100% inflation in
February, 24 chasa wrote on 19 February. Those economists noted that the
1996 budget deficit was 11.2% of GDP--despite large cuts in spending on
defense and social welfare--due to soaring interest expenditures.
Finally, the Energy Ministry has proposed raising electricity and
heating prices by 3.5 times effective 1 March. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN UPDATE. President Sali Berisha visited stricken towns on 19
February to shore up support for his administration and for his handling
of the crisis triggered by the recent collapse of several pyramid
investment schemes. Berisha told an estimated 1,500 "hand-picked
supporters" in Elbasan: "We cannot pay their debts but we can intervene
to speed up growth and ensure the economic recovery of the people,"
Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Vehbi Alimucaj, director of VEFA Holding
(one of the investment firms), said on 19 February that his company will
reimburse investors. The company's repayment strategy will take about
three months, Alimucaj said. -- Stan Markotich

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/Index.html

FTP
ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/


                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Reprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the OMRI Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit
the Transition Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/Index.html


RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published every
Wednesday) initially focusing on the local elections taking place
throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election season is
over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to broader
social, political, and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace contains the latest news about developments in the
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other countries of Southeastern
Europe. Published every Tuesday, it contains both brief news summaries
and longer essays on specific events or issues facing the people of the
region.  To subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE TRANSLATION OF THE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI Your Name
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message
 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole