It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 41, Part II, 27 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CONTINUED CABINET RESHUFFLE IN UKRAINE. President Leonid Kuchma has
named three new ministers after firing their predecessors for
unsatisfactory performance (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 February 1997),
international media reported. Former Deputy Finance Minister Ihor
Mityukov takes over the finance portfolio, while former Economy Minister
Vasyl Hureyev is the new machine-building and defense conversion
minister. Yurii Yekhanurov, head of the State Property Fund, has been
appointed economy minister. Former Donetsk Oblast Governor Volodymyr
Shcherban has been offered the post of statistics minister. President
Kuchma said the cabinet shake-up--which is the second this month--was
necessary to improve the country's economy. Volodymyr Horbulin, a close
associate of the president, said changes in the cabinet will continue,
but he stressed that Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko will remain in his
post. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC CRISIS DEEPENS. The parliament has adopted a
resolution criticizing the government's agricultural policies, Belapan
reported on 26 February. Henadz Usyukevich, head of the parliamentary
Committee for the Development of the Agro-industrial Complex, said the
country is threatened by major food shortages. He alleged that the
government is extorting money from farmers by forcing them to sell
foodstuffs to the state cheaply and that it is also withholding benefits
from those who refuse to sell their produce at state prices. The same
day, an RFE/RL correspondent reported that the IMF has compiled a
critical report on Belarus. Although the IMF has refused to comment on
the existence of the report, Belarusian newspapers published fragments
of the document, which asserts that the state has "interfered
excessively" in almost every aspect of the economy. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIA RECOGNIZES CURRENT BORDER WITH RUSSIA. Aivars Vovers, head of the
Latvian delegation discussing the Latvian-Russian border, said that at
talks in Moscow on 24-25 February, Latvia agreed to recognize the
current border, BNS reported the next day. Latvia is no longer demanding
that the border agreement include a reference to the 1920 Riga Peace
Treaty, which stated that the Abrene district belonged to Latvia. Vovers
said that the border agreement would not mention Abrene property issues,
but he added that he hoped those issues could be resolved in another
way. The next round of talks are scheduled to begin in Riga on 20 March.
-- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO GREECE. Algirdas Brazauskas, during his
three-day visit to Greece from 24-26 February, met with Greek President
Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, BNS reported.
The two presidents agreed on all major foreign-policy issues, and
Stephanopoulos confirmed Greece's support for Lithuania's admission to
NATO and the EU. Foreign Ministers Algirdas Saudargas and Theodoros
Pangolos signed an agreement on educational, cultural, and scientific
cooperation. Parliamentary chairman Apostolos Kaklamanis assured
Brazauskas on 25 February that Greece will soon ratify Lithuania's
association agreement with the EU. -- Saulius Girnius

SUSPECTED ARSON ATTACK ON WARSAW SYNAGOGUE. The entrance to Warsaw's
only synagogue was destroyed soon after midnight on 26 February in what
appears to have been an arson attack, international media reported. "Our
initial conclusions show the cause was probably arson," a Warsaw police
spokesman said, adding that the police believed some kind of
"inflammable substance was thrown in through a window over the
entrance." Jewish community leaders invited Warsaw inhabitants to attend
an evening service on 26 February in a show of solidarity. Several
hundred filled the synagogue, including the Warsaw Mayor Marcin
Swiecicki and deputies. President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Catholic
Episcopate Secretary Tadeusz Pieronek, and the Internal and Foreign
Affairs Ministries condemned the attack as "barbaric." The Lauder
Foundation, which aims to preserve Jewish culture and has its
headquarters above the synagogue, received telephone warnings of a bomb
attack two days previously. Bomb disposal experts found nothing
suspicious at that time. -- Jakub Karpinski

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN POLAND. Petar Stoyanov arrived in Poland on 26
February on the first leg of his tour of East Central European
countries. Addressing the Polish parliamentarians, he noted that in
addition to seeking NATO membership, Bulgaria wants to join the Central
European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). But Bulgaria's debt of more than
$100 million to Poland is an obstacle. Spokesman Antoni Styrczula said
that President Aleksander Kwasniewski is considering allowing Bulgaria
to settle the debt after joining CEFTA. Stoyanov is also due to visit
the Czech Republic and Hungary over the next few days. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH DEPUTIES APPROVE LEGISLATION ON BORDER WITH SLOVAKIA . . . The
lower chamber of the Czech parliament on 26 February approved a
constitutional amendment delineating the Czech-Slovak border, Czech
media reported. The amendment is based on a border agreement reached in
early 1996 by the Czech and Slovak Interior Ministries. Slovak deputies
last year approved an amendment based on that agreement. But the Czech
parliament rejected an equivalent amendment, with opposition parties
arguing that the accord was unjust because the Czech village of U Sabotu
would wind up in Slovakia. It has now approved the amendment because the
government has committed itself in an accompanying resolution to
compensate those inhabitants of U Sabotu who want to move to the Czech
Republic. Slovakia is giving up the village of Sidonie. The amendment
still has to be approved by the parliament's upper chamber. -- Jiri Pehe

. . . AND URGENTLY-NEEDED HEALTH-INSURANCE LAW. The same day, the Czech
legislature approved a bill defining which health care services are to
be paid for by health insurance companies, Czech media reported. The law
had to be adopted quickly because the Constitutional Court last year
ruled that various government decrees on the health insurance system
were unconstitutional and would become invalid on 1 April 1997. In the
absence of a new law, the Czech health care system would have had to
revert to the socialist, state-run model that existed before 1990. With
such a prospect looming, the law, which is valid only until June 1998,
received the conditional support of the opposition Social Democrats, who
otherwise are opposed to it. The government is currently drawing up a
comprehensive reform of the health care system. -- Jiri Pehe

OECD DENIES SPECIFYING CONDITIONS FOR SLOVAK MEMBERSHIP. The
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has not
specified conditions for Slovak membership in the organization, an OECD
official told CTK on 26 February. The denial follows Premier Vladimir
Meciar's claim that speedy privatization of banks is a condition for
entry into the OECD. The official noted that bank privatization is an
important issue but by no means the only one. He added that the OECD is
interested in "transparent and just" privatization and in how foreign
investors are treated. The Slovak parliament has halted the
privatization of banks till 2003, while the government asked the
president to return the law on bank privatization to the legislature. --
Anna Siskova

GERMAN PRESIDENT IN HUNGARY. Meeting with representatives of the 200,000
ethnic Germans living in Hungary, Roman Herzog on 26 February praised
that country for its "exemplary" minority policy, Hungarian media
reported. The previous day, the German president had reassured the
Hungarian parliament that Germany supports Hungary's bid for EU and NATO
integration. He warned, however, that aspiring member countries will
have to bear most of the integration costs. He also called for a
European partnership with Russia and Ukraine in order to maintain peace
in Europe. Herzog also spoke with Jewish Holocaust survivors who were
protesting Germany's delay in making compensation payments. He said an
agreement with Hungary on the issue would be signed "within a very short
period." -- Zsolt Mato

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FOUR ALBANIAN HUNGER STRIKERS IN SERIOUS CONDITION. Four students taking
part in a hunger strike in Vlora to demand the resignation of the
government are in serious condition, AFP reported on 26 February. Some
45 students have been taking part in the protest action for the past
eight days. Special police troops tried to break up the strike, but
thousands of city residents forced them back from the university
building, where the strike is taking place. Some shots were heard, and
the crowd hurled stones at the troops. No injuries were reported. In a
show of support for the students, some 120 people from Shkoder--
including rightist Mayor Bahri Borici--traveled in buses and cars to
Vlora. People from other towns also arrived in Vlora to join the
protests. Meanwhile in Gjirokastra, President Sali Berisha met with
students but was jeered when he rejected their demands. -- Fabian
Schmidt

SECURITY IN TIRANA TO BE INCREASED. The Democratic Party has said it
will increase security in the capital, Reuters reported. The party's
central committee said it is imposing a "state of preparedness" to
"guarantee stability in all of Albania." It pointed to plans by
opposition parties to hold a rally in Tirana, but it was unclear what
measures would be taken or how long they would be enforced. Security
forces will likely maintain an increased presence until 8 March; if
parliament is to re-elect Berisha for a second term, it must do so by
that date. Some 300 Tirana University students have demanded a meeting
with Berisha to discuss violence against peaceful demonstrators. They
have also threatened to start a hunger strike if Berisha does not agree
to meet with them. -- Fabian Schmidt

MONTENEGRIN OFFICIAL SPEAKS OUT ON RELATIONS WITH SERBIA . . . Another
top ranking Montenegrin official on 26 February has publicly said there
are fundamental disagreements between the governments of Serbia and
Montenegro, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Montenegrin parliamentary
speaker Svetozar Marovic defended Premier Milo Djukanovic against recent
scathing criticism by the Belgrade state media. He added that the
premier's concerns about the authoritarianism of Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic's regime were by no means personal or isolated (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 24 February 1997). Marovic, however, stressed that he
did not advocate outright independence for Montenegro. If the federation
were to stay together, politicians would have to learn to "push ideology
aside," he commented. -- Stan Markotich

. . . WHILE MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WANTS TO COOPERATE WITH
BELGRADE. Meanwhile, Momir Bulatovic is seeking to ease tension between
the two republics. In a 26 February letter to the U.S. Congress, he said
he stood for working together with Milosevic. "My chief political
mandate is cooperation with Milosevic because both of us have spoken out
for democratic and economic development in Yugoslavia," he wrote. In
other news, leaders of the Serbian opposition Zajedno coalition met with
exiled Prince Alexander near his London home on 26 February, Reuters
reported. Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement and an
arch-advocate of the restoration of the monarchy, commented that
Alexander could have a profound political role in the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia. He compared the exiled monarch to Spain's King Juan
Carlos, who ushered in democratic reforms. -- Stan Markotich

UN RELEASES "SHOCKING" REPORT ON MOSTAR CLASHES . . . The UN has
released its report on the violent clashes between Muslims and Croats
earlier this month that left one dead and 34 wounded, according to AFP
on 26 February. The report includes photographs of three plain-clothes
Croatian police officers firing on an unarmed retreating Muslim crowd.
The Croatian police have been suspected of persecuting Muslims from the
western half of Mostar, which they control, but few direct accusations
have been made against them. Mostar Croatian Mayor Ivan Prskalo said the
Croatian side rejects the report as incomplete, Oslobodjenje reported on
27 February. But Deputy High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina
Michael Steiner urged the International Contact Group members to press
Croats to arrest and dismiss those singled out in the report. British
Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said the report is "shocking" and
tells an "appalling story." He called on the Croatian government to
exert influence over the Croatian authorities in Mostar to abide by the
report's recommendations, Reuters reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

. . . WHILE CROATS CRACKS DOWN ON NATIONALISTS. Meanwhile, Steiner said
he has reports that 20 people have been arrested in Mostar over the past
couple of days but not the Croatian police officers shown on the
photographs in the UN report, Oslobodjenje reported. The daily also
reported that, in the apparent crackdown on Croatian nationalists in
West Mostar, another prominent warlord--Vinko Martinovic--has escaped
arrest. In other news, the Croatian police on 27 February said they have
arrested Mladen Naletilic Tuta, the head of a crime ring in the Croat-
held part of Mostar, international agencies reported. According to Hina,
Tuta was arrested on 24 February near Split and brought to prison in
Zagreb for questioning. But no charges have been filed against him. --
Daria Sito Sucic

NEW SUPREME COURT HEAD IN CROATIA. The chief judicial screening
committee on 25 February approved the government's recommendation of
Milan Vukovic (64) to head Croatia's top judicial body, international
news agencies reported. One of Vukovic's new duties will be to supervise
the 13 April local elections. Vukovic is considered a loyalist to
President Franjo Tudjman and his Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ),
and his appointment is widely seen as yet another move to thwart the
independence of the judiciary. Last year the government began moves to
oust the independent-minded former Chief Justice Krunoslav Olujic, who
finally lost his job in January. Olujic validated the results of the
October 1995 vote in which the HDZ suffered a number of humiliating
losses. -- Patrick Moore

DONORS' CONFERENCE PROMISES MACEDONIA $65 MILLION. Delegates to the
Brussels donors conference sponsored by the EU and the World Bank have
promised Macedonia $65 million in loans for 1997, Nova Makedonija
reported on 27 February. The EU will provide $50 million of that amount
as a 15-year credit with a ten-year grace period. The loans partly cover
an expected $85 million budgetary shortfall. Kenneth Lay, director of
the World Bank's Southeast Europe Department, said that "more than any
other country in the region, Macedonia has adopted and aggressively
pursued the kind of reform we want to see," Reuters reported. Meanwhile,
Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, on a visit to Macedonia on 26
February, said he supported Macedonia's bid for full EU and NATO
membership. In addition to meeting with President Kiro Gligorov,
Scalfaro signed an agreement protecting Italian investment in Macedonia
and on cooperation between the countries' foreign ministries. -- Michael
Wyzan and Fabian Schmidt

CORRUPTION CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST BUCHAREST COUNCILOR. Ioan Itu, a
councilor in the Bucharest Mayor's Office, has been detained on bribery
charges, Radio Bucharest reported on 26 February. This is the first
arrest of a member of the ruling Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR)
since the CDR-dominated government launched a nation-wide campaign
against corruption and economic crime. Itu is accused of trying to
extort a computer from a Foreign Ministry employee in exchange for
helping obtain commercial premises. The press office of the National
Peasant Party-Christian Democratic (PNTCD), the main member of the CDR,
said that Itu is practically unknown and that the PNTCD will not
interfere with the course of justice. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVA AGREES TO LINK RUSSIAN PULLOUT TO DNIESTER ACCORD. President
Petru Lucinschi has agreed to link the withdrawal of the Russian troops
from Moldova's breakaway Dniester region to a political settlement for
that territory, Reuters reported on 26 February. Lucinschi made the
announcement at a press conference in Moscow, one day after he met with
his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin. He added that the Russian
contingent would be reduced from 6,000 to some 2,500 men, irrespective
of the final political settlement of the Dniester conflict. He was also
quoted as saying that the complete withdrawal of Russian troops without
a peace accord would create a security vacuum in that region. Lucinschi
is on his first visit abroad since he officially took office in mid-
January. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA, IMF CLOSE TO AGREEMENT ON CREDIT. IMF Bulgaria mission chief
Anne McGuirk on 26 February said the fund will probably agree on a
standby credit with the interim government, the daily Duma reported. The
government is to draw up a letter of intent on its reform intentions
before the mission leaves, by the end of next week. The IMF's executive
board will consider that letter by the end of March, and the first
tranche will be released immediately thereafter. The domestic debt will
be reduced by repurchasing "ZUNK bonds" (government paper paying below
market interest rates provided to banks in exchange for bad debts). The
foreign exchange reserves will soon be increased by $150 million from
the sale of Sodi Devnya. The IMF insists on full price liberalization
and budgetary measures for the poor. Premier Stefan Sofiyanski will
write the Paris Club of commercial creditors today requesting the
rescheduling of $40-50 million due this year. -- Michael Wyzan

TURKS RESCIND EXPULSION ORDER FOR BULGARIAN TURKS. The Turkish
government has rescinded an order to expel thousands of Bulgarian Turks
who do not have the proper documentation to reside in Turkey, Reuters
reported on 25 February. The order became public knowledge last week.
Defense Minister Turhan Tayan told the parliament that "nobody will be
sent abroad and citizenship rights will be given." The expulsion order
was opposed by both opposition and nationalist parties as well as
Turkey's sizable Balkan emigre community. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            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