Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 15, Part II, 21 April 1997


Vol. 1, No. 15, Part II, 21 April 1997

This is Part II of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Newsline.
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 RFE/RL NewsLine are available through RFE/RL's WWW
pages: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Back  issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through OMRI's
WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/

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Headlines, Part II

* RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN CZECH REPUBLIC

* CENTER-RIGHT ALLIANCE WINS BULGARIAN ELECTIONS

* DRASKOVIC TO RUN FOR SERBIAN PRESIDENCY

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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BLOCKS CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT
MOVE. Leonid Kuchma on 18 April vetoed the Crimean
parliament's ouster earlier this month of Crimean Premier
Arkadiy Demydenko (see RFE/RL Newsline, 10 April 1997),
RFE/RL's Kyiv correspondent reported. Kuchma said the
dismissal contravened the Ukrainian Constitution because the
Ukrainian president had not been consulted. Meanwhile,
several pro-Russian parties and organizations in Crimea have
said they will support anti-NATO protests on the peninsula.
Raisa Teliatnikova, chairwoman of the Russian Community
organization in Sevastopol, was quoted by dpa on 18 April as
saying the Ukrainian-NATO military maneuvers planned for
August are an "unfriendly gesture" aimed at "scaring" pro-
Russian Crimeans.

U.S. ECONOMIST URGES UKRAINE TO PASS REFORMS.
Jeffrey Sachs says Ukraine must adopt a 1997 budget and an
economic reform plan within weeks or risk deepening its
economic troubles and alienating foreign investors. Sachs,
whose Harvard-based Institute for International Development
advises the Ukrainian government, was speaking to journalists
in Kyiv on 19 April. He said that more foreign firms appear to
be leaving Ukraine's market than entering it, and he blamed
that trend on current tax and regulation systems as well as
widespread corruption. Ukraine's government and parliament
have been deadlocked over budget and reform plans since last
November. The IMF has conditioned a loan worth at least $2.5
billion on the passage of the budget.

UKRAINE, UZBEKISTAN FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT ON
TATARS. Meeting in Kyiv on 18 April, Uzbek Prime Minister
Utkir Sultanov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro
Lazarenko, failed to reach an agreement on the return of
Crimean Tatars deported to Central Asia by Soviet dictator
Josef Stalin during World War II. Refat Chubarov, leader of the
250,000-strong Crimean Tatar community, told Reuters after
the meeting that some "difficulties" remained on how to
finance the Tatars' return. Uzbekistan wants only those who
were actually deported to be given deportee status, while
Crimean Tatars and Ukraine insist that all their relatives and
descendants be included. Under Stalin, some 190,000
Crimean Tatars accused of collaborating with the Nazis were
deported to Central Asia. While many have since returned to
Ukraine, there is still a sizable Tatar population in Central
Asia.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN ASIA. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
left for an eight-day tour of Asia yesterday. He will visit South
Korea, Vietnam, and China in a bid to expand trade relations,
attract foreign investment, and strengthen political bonds with
those countries. ITAR-TASS quoted a member of Lukashenka's
staff as saying the president will meet with both political and
business leaders. Lukashenka is expected to make a brief
stopover in Novosibirsk for trade talks with regional leaders.

THIRTY-EIGHT DEATH SENTENCES IN BELARUS LAST
YEAR. Vladimir Samusev, head of the Justice Ministry
department dealing with applications for a stay of execution,
says 38 people were sentenced to death in Belarus last year,
Interfax reported yesterday. He said appeals were lodged in 32
cases and that President Lukashenka rejected all of them
because of the "seriousness of the offenses" and because of the
"increased danger" the perpetrators posed for society. He said
that seven of those sentenced last year were aged between 21
and 25.

INVESTIGATOR'S LETTER RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT
ESTONIA FERRY PROBE. The Swedish daily Svenska
Dagbladet has published excerpts from a letter by an
investigator of the Estonia ferry disaster that raises questions
about the work of the Swedish-Finnish-Estonian commission
looking into the incident, RFE/RL reported on 19 April. The
Estonia sunk in 1994 en route to Stockholm from Tallinn
when heavy seas tore off its bow door, killing 852 people. A key
question in the investigation is why the locks of the door
failed. Boerje Stenstroem, the commission's Swedish technical
expert who died last month, wrote to the ferry's German
builder in 1995 saying that in an interim report, he mentions
"by necessity" that the locks were of insufficient strength but
has "endeavored to dress this in general wording rather than
clear figures." Olof Forssberg, head of the Swedish commission
team, denies that the commission intended to tone down
information about the locks in the interim report. The
commission's final report is expected to be published soon.

LITHUANIAN LEADER URGES SECURITY FOR SMALL
EUROPEAN STATES. Parliamentary Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis says the key to peace in Europe is the security of
small states "because there are no threats to the security of
large countries." Speaking at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters
on 18 April, Landsbergis said that while he had received
assurances from Western leaders about safeguarding
Lithuanian security, there was a "lack of logic" in increasing
the security of European states that are less "endangered"
than others. He also pointed to what he called "childish
contradictions" made by Western leaders who insist that
Russia will not be given veto rights over new NATO members
but who say it is hoped Moscow will not oppose expansion.

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN CZECH REPUBLIC. Viktor
Chernomyrdin says the Czech Republic must decide for itself
whether NATO membership is worthwhile. The Russian
premier, who concludes a two-day visit to the Czech Republic
today, told Czech TV on 19 April that Russia does not have the
right of veto in this matter but is explaining the possible
negative consequences of NATO expansion. Chernomyrdin met
with Czech officials, including Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, to
discuss economic cooperation, international issues, and
Russia's $3 billion debt to the Czech Republic.

SLOVAKIA WILL CONTINUE TO IMPORT GAS FROM EAST.
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar says that Slovakia will
continue to receive gas supplies from the East. He was
speaking on Slovak Radio yesterday in the context of the
dispute over the planned joint venture between the Russian
company Gazprom and the SPP Slovak gasworks. Meciar said
that Slovakia has received offers from other companies but has
to carefully "weigh the technical questions and the costs." He
added that Slovakia is prepared to take part in the proposed
venture with Gazprom as long as Russia can guarantee gas
deliveries and as long as agreement can be reached on "a
certain price level."

SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY URGES SLOVAKS TO HONOR
WARTIME FASCIST LEADER. The Slovak National Party
(SNS), one of the three government coalition parties, has
appealed to all Slovaks to "honor the memory" of the country's
wartime pro-fascist leader Jozef Tiso, who was executed in
Bratislava on 18 April 1947 after being found guilty of war crimes.
The SNS statement describes Tiso as a "great son of the
church and the nation." It also said he was a "martyr to the
defense of the nation and Christianity in the face of
Bolshevism and liberalism." victory of the principle "for God,
for the nation." Cardinal Jan Korec, primate of Slovakia, held a
mass for Tiso on 18 April.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC FORUM
ESTABLISHED IN HUNGARY. Thirty-five Christian
Democratic and national-liberal parties from Central Europe
have set up a new international body called the Central
European Democratic Forum (CEDF), Hungarian media
reported yesterday. Meeting in the southern Hungarian city of
Lakitelek, the parties pledged to work together to overcome
left-wing forces in the region and elected former Polish
President Lech Walesa as honorary chairman. Walesa said the
forum has "to make society understand that the right is far
more capable of solving the problems of society than forces
which formerly were enemies of NATO, capitalism and
democracy."

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CENTER-RIGHT ALLIANCE WINS BULGARIAN ELECTIONS.
With almost all ballots counted in the 19 April parliamentary
elections, the center-right United Democratic Forces (ODS) has
won 52% of the vote and is likely to have 137 seats in the 240-
seat parliament. The outgoing ruling Socialist Party won 22%
or 57 seats, followed by the Union for National Salvation (7.8%
or 20 seats), the Euro-Left (5.5% or 14 seats), and the
Bulgarian Business Bloc (5.% or 12-13 seats). At 58%, turnout
was the lowest since the end of one-party rule in 1989. Final
results are due later today or tomorrow. ODS adviser Ivan
Krastev told RFE/RL's Sofia correspondent today that ODS
leader Ivan Kostov will be the new prime minister. Interior
Minister Bogomil Bonev and Economic Affairs Minister
Alexander Bozhkov will retain their posts, while other
appointments will be made later today.

REACTIONS TO BULGARIAN ELECTION RESULTS. ODS
leader Ivan Kostov says his alliance hopes to form a broad
government whose main task will be to solve the country's
economic problems, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. Socialist
leader Georgi Parvanov said his party will act as a
"constructive opposition," according to Reuters. Dominique
Colomberg, head of the team of Council of Europe observers
monitoring the elections, said in Sofia that the elections were
"free and fair" and had set the stage for badly needed economic
reforms.

MORE FOREIGN TROOPS ARRIVE IN ALBANIA. Some 150
Italian marines landed in the troubled southern port of Vlora
this morning. The number of soldiers taking part in the
Italian-led multinational force reached 4,000 yesterday as
French and Italian troops continued to arrive, mainly via the
port of Durres. On 19 April, the International Committee of the
Red Cross delivered aid to hospitals and orphanages in Vlora.
The UN World Food Program distributed aid for 20
orphanages, hospitals, and homes for the elderly across the
country. Also on 19 April, Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief
envoy for Albania, called for "dialogue" between the various
political forces, including the rebel committees that control
much of the south.

BERISHA OPPOSES SACKING OF ALBANIAN POLICE
CHIEF. President Sali Berisha yesterday rejected a
government decision to fire Gen. Agim Shehu, the country's
police chief. A presidential spokesman said that only Berisha,
not the government, has the legal right to sack high-ranking
officers. The spokesman said the incident could seriously hurt
relations between the president and Prime Minister Bashkim
Fino. Fino's national conciliation government voted on 19 April
to fire Shehu, who is also deputy interior minister. Shehu is
accused of suppressing opposition to Berisha when anarchy
erupted earlier this year.

ALBANIA'S ROYAL CLAIMANT ON THE STUMP. King Leka
Zogu made an emotional trip yesterday to his father's home
village in the central mountains. Leka, who has spent less
than two weeks of his life in Albania, traveled for the first time
to Burgajet, where about 5,000 cheering people greeted him.
Leka said he will travel across Albania "to spread a message of
peace and unity." Berisha has promised Leka that a
referendum will be held on restoring the monarchy. All
political parties have agreed on such a vote. Monarchist
parties have not done well in previous elections, but in the
current volatile political environment, it is difficult to predict
the outcome of the referendum.

CROATIAN PARTIES HOLD LEAD IN SLAVONIAN VOTE.
Unofficial early returns from the 13-15 April elections continue
to show ethnic Croatian parties ahead of the Serbian
Democratic Independent Party (SDSS). The Croats lead in the
cities of Vukovar and Ilok as well as in 15 districts, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Zagreb reported yesterday. The SDSS will
likely control Beli Manastir and 10 districts and will be the
largest single party in the Vukovar town council. The Croatian
vote there is split between President Franjo Tudjman's
Croatian Democratic Community and the Independent List of
local kingpin Tomislav Mercep. Most Serbs regard Mercep as a
war criminal and may seek a ruling from the Hague-based
tribunal on whether he can hold public office, the Belgrade
daily Novosti reports today.

DRASKOVIC TO RUN FOR SERBIAN PRESIDENCY. The
governing board of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) has
nominated party leader Vuk Draskovic as its presidential
candidate, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade
on 19 April. At the same meeting, Ilija Ra dulovic resigned as
party vice president following his recent public criticism of
Draskovic and Draskovic's wife. Draskovic expects to head a
united opposition slate in the elections due later this year. But
fellow opposition leader Zoran Djindjic has been publicly
calling Draskovic a "loose cannon" and questioning his
suitability for the presidency. Divisions within the opposition
have helped Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic keep his
hold on power.

MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER SCORES ANOTHER
VICTORY OVER PRESIDENT. Mile Djukanovic emerged the
winner over President Momir Bulatovic at an 18 April meeting
of the governing Democratic Socialist Party (DPS), an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Podgorica. The DPS voted that
decisions on the reorganization of the cabinet and the security
service be left to the next regular session of the parliament,
thereby rejecting Bulatovic's demand for urgent measures.
Bulatovic is close to Milosevic, while Djukanovic is a leading
critic of the Serbian president.

ROUNDUP FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman presided over ceremonies yesterday to mark
the 52nd anniversary of the liberation of the Jasenovac
concentration camp, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Zagreb. In Ljubljana, Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler says time
has come to normalize relations with Belgrade, provided the
authorities there stop claiming that their state is the sole legal
successor to the former Yugoslavia. In Sarajevo, residents are
now able to make direct-dial telephone calls abroad for the
first time since early in the recent conflict. In Washington on
18 April, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that the
U.S. may be willing to keep 500 troops in Macedonia as part of
UN forces there. Finally, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
arrived in Athens on 18 April for an unpublicized visit, Nasa
Borba reports today.

ROMANIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES APPROVES BANK
PRIVATIZATION LAW. The Chamber of Deputies on 18 April
voted in favor of the law on bank privatization, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Several days earlier, the Senate
had approved the bill (see RFE/RL Newsline, 15 April 1997).
Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea said Romania has now fulfilled
all conditions for a new IMF loan. Also on 18 April, State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns praised the Romanian
leadership's "intensified commitment to democracy, economic
reform and integration with the West," an RFE/RL
correspondent in Washington reported. Meanwhile, Foreign
Minister Adrian Severin arrived in the U.S. yesterday. He is
due to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
today.

FORMER ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER UNDER
INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD. Gen. Victor Athanasie
Stanculescu is to be questioned today by the military section
of the Prosecutor-General's office, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported on 18 April. Stanculescu, who was defense minister
in 1990-1991 and is considered one of the richest persons in
the country, is under investigation on suspicion of fraud.
Recent press reports that he had fled the country proved false
when he returned to Bucharest from a business trip to
Switzerland. During his term as defense minister, Stanculescu
is suspected of involvement in the illegal purchase abroad of
mobile phones, which resulted in Treasury losses of some $8
million in 1990. Stanculescu played a key role in the toppling
and the trial of Nicolae Ceausescu.

FORMER MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON RESOLVING
TRANSDNIESTER PROBLEM. Mircea Snegur, former
president and current leader of the Moldovan Party of Revival
and Accord, says the problem of the breakaway region of the
Transdniester should not be solved "at any price," Info-tag
reported. Transdniester leader Igor Smirnov and Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov agreed in Tiraspol on 10
April on the text of the memorandum on the normalization of
bilateral ties between Chisinau and Tiraspol. Snegur told
journalists in Chisinau last week that if the memorandum is
signed in its current form, it would mean that the
Transdniester leadership has "achieved during five hours of
negotiations what it could not achieve in five years of struggle."
Meanwhile, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and Smirnov
met in Tiraspol on the weekend and agreed to sign the
memorandum in Moscow on 8 May.

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