The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 26, Part II, 7 May 1997


Vol. 1, No. 26, Part II, 7 May 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/

Note for readers:
Newsline will not appear tomorrow, 8 May, a holiday in the Czech Republic.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* IS UKRAINE RETHINKING ITS POLICY OF NEUTRALITY?

* BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST ALTERING
UNION CHARTER

* UNHCR BLASTS ITALIAN DEPORTATIONS OF ALBANIAN
REFUGEES

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

IS UKRAINE RETHINKING ITS POLICY OF NEUTRALITY?
National Security Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin, a
leading adviser to President Leonid Kuchma, has signaled
Ukraine is re-thinking its official policy of neutrality.
Horbulin said in a letter to the parliamentary Foreign and
CIS Relations Committee, which was made public
yesterday, that Ukraine's "absolute neutral and non-aligned
status" can be viewed "only conditionally." He added that
Ukraine's "sensitive geopolitical position" makes full
neutrality impossible and that although Ukraine has not
officially considered applying for NATO membership, it
reserves the right as a member of the UN to join any
political or military union. NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana is in Kyiv today, following his talks with Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenni Primakov in Luxembourg. He is
scheduled to meet with Kuchma, Foreign Minister Hennady
Udovenko, and parliamentary chairman Oleksandr Moroz.

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT DISCLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
FOR GAS DEBT TO TURKMENISTAN. Prime Minister Pavel
Lazarenko says his government is not responsible for the
debt to Turkmenistan for natural gas deliveries. He told
journalists in Kyiv yesterday that the accrued debt is the
sole responsibility of private Ukrainian gas delivery firms.
He added that the government has contracted directly with
the private firms for gas deliveries. Meanwhile, Kuchma has
abolished the Power Engineering and Electrification
Ministry and the State Nuclear Power Committee and
created the Power Engineering Ministry to replace them.
Yuriy Bochkaryov, the former power engineering and
electrification minister, is head of the new ministry.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST ALTERING
UNION CHARTER. Alyaksandr Lukashenka has warned
Russian lawmakers not to alter the charter outlining steps
for further integrating the two states, Reuters reported.
Lukashenka noted that the document has already been
initialed by himself and Yeltsin. He also criticized the
Russian media for "inflicting irreparable damage" and
dampening Russian public support for the union. The
charter is accompanied by a statement, signed last month
by Lukashenka and Russian President Boris Yeltsin,
pledging to form a union between the two states. Russian
deputies opposed to the union succeeded in reducing the
original treaty to the charter, whose signing has been
delayed to allow a six-week "public debate."

WORLD BANK APPROVES LOAN TO LATVIA FOR PUBLIC
PENSION REFORM. The World Bank said yesterday that it
has approved an $18.1 million loan to Latvia to help finance
a welfare reform project, an RFE/RL Washington
correspondent reported. The bank says that Latvia will
become the first country in Central and Eastern Europe to
embark on a major reform of its public pension system. The
project, estimated to cost nearly $39 million, will allow
pensioners benefits to be calculated in just 15 minutes, as
opposed to four to 15 days under the current system.

RUSSIAN DEPUTIES URGE END TO ALLEGED
DISCRIMINATION IN LATVIA. A Russian State Duma
delegation currently in Latvia has called for an end to what
Moscow perceives as discrimination against ethnic
Russians in Latvia, RFE/RL and BNS reported. Mikhail
Vakulenko, head of the Russian delegation, met yesterday
with Latvian parliamentary speaker Alfreds Cepanis, who
said Vakulenko threatened economic sanctions against
Riga if the situation does not change. Delegates also said
the Duma may not ratify a border treaty between Russia
and Latvia if the situation of ethnic Russians does not
improve.

LITHUANIAN DEPUTIES FORM GROUP FOR TIES WITH
RUSSIA. Lithuanian lawmakers have set up a group to
establish parliamentary ties with Russia, ITAR-TASS
reported yesterday. The group will be headed by Arvidas
Vijunas of the ruling Conservative Party. Until now, the
legislature had no group for parliamentary contacts with
Russia. Meanwhile, Lithuanian President Algirdas
Brazauskas says he is ready to make an official visit to
Moscow but only on condition that the border with Russia is
delimited beforehand. The next round of talks on the
Lithuanian-Russian border are due to begin shortly.

BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET IN DENMARK. German
Defense Minister Volker Ruhe, Polish Defense Minister
Stanislaw Dobrzanski, and Danish Defense Minister Hans
Haekkerup arrived in Skagen, Denmark, yesterday for a bi-
annual meeting to discuss military cooperation, Polish
media reported. Their talks are focusing on training
exchanges and joint maneuvers. German and Danish defense
cooperation with Poland is outside the framework of
NATO's Partnership for Peace. The Estonian, Latvian, and
Lithuanian defense ministers are joining the three-day
meeting today to discuss multilateral cooperation.

EU WANTS CZECH GOVERNMENT TO RESPOND TO
CRITICISM OF IMPORT DEPOSITS. The European
Commission expects Prague to respond formally by 12 May
to the commission┘s negative stance on the recent
introduction in the Czech Republic of import deposits, a
commission spokesman told journalists in Brussels
yesterday. The Czech government decided two weeks ago
that importers of selected consumer goods and foodstuffs
must first deposit money with a Czech bank, which they will
be allowed to collect only after six months. The
commission says it does not think the trade deficit in the
Czech Republic is so critical as to warrant the introduction
of import deposits. It added that the deposits are
´incompatible└ with the association agreement between
the Czech Republic and EU.

ANOTHER CAR EXPLOSION IN SLOVAKIA. A car with
foreign license plates exploded in the central Slovak town
of Zilina yesterday, Slovak media reported. It was the 37th
car explosion in Slovakia so far this year. No one was
injured in the blast. A policeman died after a bomb planted
in his car exploded in Zilina on 28 April. Less than a week
later, another policeman was shot to death in front of his
flat in Bratislava's Petrzalka housing estate. The so-called
Slovak Secret Army has claimed responsibility for the
killings, but most observers believe the murders were
committed by criminal gangs. The Slovak government last
week offered a 1 million koruny reward for information
leading to the arrest of those responsible for the
explosions.

HUNGARIAN CABINET PROPOSES CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENTS ON REFERENDA. The government
yesterday proposed amending the constitution to double
the number of signatures needed for a referendum from
100,000 to 200,000, Hungarian media reported. But only
100,000 signatures would suffice if the initiative were
approved by the parliament. A referendum could. also take
place if proposed either by the president, the government,
or one-third of deputies and then approved by the
parliament. Referenda on obligations resulting from
international treaties, the dissolution of parliament, and
the government's program would be banned under the
proposed amendments.

CRACKDOWN ON ORGANIZED CRIME IN HUNGARY. Prime
Minister Gyula Horn and Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze say
police are currently investigating some 150 mostly
fictitious companies and some 200 individuals, Hungarian
media reported. They told journalists yesterday that it is
hoped the operation will be a turning point in the struggle
against organized crime. Horn added that some members of
the police and the customs office are suspected of links to
organized crime and that the "necessary measures" have
been taken against them.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UNHCR BLASTS ITALIAN DEPORTATIONS OF ALBANIAN
REFUGEES. A UN refugee affairs official said in Geneva
yesterday that persons fleeing Albania should not be sent
back before they have had a chance to present their case.
She added that "the UNHCR remains against interdiction on
the high seas and arbitrary return of people currently
fleeing." Meanwhile in Rome, an Italian Interior Ministry
spokesman said his country has so far deported 2,712
Albanians as "undesirables." This is about one-fifth of the
total number of Albanians who have arrived in Italy this
year.

ALBANIAN UPDATE. Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief
envoy to Albania, arrives in Tirana today to try to break
the deadlock that is holding up plans for early elections in
June (see RFE/RL Newsline, 6 May 1997). Meanwhile in
Vlora, a bomb destroyed government welfare offices
yesterday. In Elbasan, thieves stole flour from an
international aid depot. And in a town south of Tirana, three
people were killed when a drunk boarded a bus and set off a
grenade. Unofficial tallies put the death toll in violence
across Albania since early this year at about 700.

CROATIA'S TUDJMAN CALLS FOR DEMILITARIZED
FRONTIER. President Franjo Tudjman says he wants the
border area between Croatia, Hungary, and federal
Yugoslavia demilitarized, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Zagreb. Tudjman was speaking yesterday in
Zagreb with Jacques Klein, the UN's top administrator in
eastern Slavonia. Tudjman also noted that the Croatian
Constitution permits dual citizenship and that he favors an
agreement with Belgrade on cross-border traffic. Klein had
earlier called for demilitarizing the border and for other
confidence-building measures. Belgrade and Croatian Serb
leaders seek dual Croatian and Yugoslav citizenship for
Croatian Serbs. But Croatian officials have not endorsed
the idea, pointing out that Yugoslavia does not grant its
ethnic Croats or Albanians the right to dual citizenship.

BOSNIAN SERB TO APPEAL WAR CRIMES VERDICT.
Lawyers for Dusan Tadic say he will appeal his conviction
for crimes against humanity and torture. The International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found him
guilty today on 11 counts dating from 1992, when he
worked as a guard at the Prijedor concentration camp. The
court acquitted him on 13 charges of murder. This is the
first conviction of an indicted war criminal by the tribunal.
Most indicted war criminals, including all major ones, are
still free.

BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE. Many Bosnian Serb
refugees living in federal Yugoslavia are afraid they will
lose their legal rights to remain in that country if they
register to vote in the Bosnian local elections slated for
September. Some observers consequently expect that only
50,000 of the 200,000 refugees will join in the ongoing
registration process, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on
5 May from Belgrade.

U.S. SAYS NO TO KOSOVO ELECTIONS. Richard Miles, the
U.S. charge d'affaires in Belgrade, told Kosovar shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova in Pristina yesterday that
Washington "has never supported the idea of elections for
a separate parliament in Kosovo." Rugova wants to call
legislative elections with foreign monitors soon because
the underground parliament's mandate runs out later this
month. The international community has been stressing to
the Kosovars recently that their future is within Serbia and
not in an independent state or a greater Albania. Diplomats
have also been urging the Kosovars to take part in Serbian
political life as a means of promoting democracy
throughout federal Yugoslavia.

LJUBLJANA NOT READY FOR RELATIONS WITH
BELGRADE. Government spokesman Ivo Vajgl told state
radio in Ljubljana yesterday that it is unlikely Slovenia and
federal Yugoslavia will establish diplomatic relations in
the near future. Serbian opposition leader Zoran Djindjic
said in the same program that the main obstacle to setting
up formal ties between the two former Yugoslav republics
is the "stubborn Serbian bureaucracy." Belgrade insists
that federal Yugoslavia is the sole legal successor to Tito's
Yugoslavia, while the other republics want a division of
former federal assets among all six ex-Yugoslav republics.

MACEDONIA INDICTS TWO MAYORS OVER FLAG-
HOISTING. The Interior Ministry filed charges in Gostivar
on 5 May against the mayors and some other officials of the
predominantly Albanian towns of Gostivar and Tetovo,
Macedonian media reported yesterday. The accused
allegedly ordered the Albanian flag to be flown from public
buildings during recent holidays. In some areas the Turkish
flag was also hoisted in contravention of laws on displaying
foreign symbols. Macedonian media say that Radio Tirana
subsequently defended and encouraged the display of the
Albanian flag on Macedonian territory.

BULGARIA'S NEW PARLIAMENT CONVENES. The new
parliament is convening today for the first time. Earlier
this week, Ivan Kostov, the leader of the United Democratic
Forces (ODS) and the most likely candidate for premier,
held separate consultations with leaders of the other
parliamentary groups to discuss a multi-party "Declaration
of National Consensus" on the stabilization of the national
currency and proposed economic reform. The declaration,
as envisaged by the ODS, endorses the IMF
recommendation for a currency board controlling monetary
policy, supports the opening of the former secret police
files on political leaders and judges, and backs the bid to
join NATO and the EU. Georgi Parvanov, the leader of the
opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) said his
formation supports most of the declaration's points but
noted that the BSP remains opposed to NATO membership.
He said his party will make its own proposals on opening
secret police files.

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SCANDAL IN
ROMANIA. President Emil Constantinescu says he has
dismissed two deputy directors of the Foreign Intelligence
Service (SIE) for leaking information to the National
Peasant Party--Christian Democratic (PNTCD) and the
Democratic Party (PD). Both parties are members of the
ruling coalition. Constantinescu told RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau yesterday that Gen. Constantin Silinescu and Gen.
Dumitru Ciobanu leaked the information "recently" and not
during the 1996 election campaign, as was claimed last
month by the main opposition Party of Social Democracy in
Romania. Constantinescu added he sees no reason to
dismiss SIE director Ioan Talpes, who, he said, was not
involved in leaking the information and whose
"performance is good." Ion Diaconescu and Petre Roman,
the leaders of the PNTCD and the PD, had denied that SIE
information had been leaked to their parties.

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BONN. Victor Babiuc
says Romania's geo-strategic position in the Balkan region
and on the Black Sea makes it "an important communication
link" between NATO's southern and northern tiers, German
media reported. Babiuc, who is in Bonn at the invitation of
his German counterpart, Volker Ruhe, told the Friedrich
Ebert Foundation yesterday that his country's admission to
NATO would improve the organization's security and
reduce Romania's own defense costs. Babiuc is currently
touring several West European countries in a bid to
improve Romania's chances of NATO membership. His next
two stops are Norway and Holland.

FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON TREATY WITH
UKRAINE. Ion Iliescu, the former president and the current
leader of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, says
Foreign Minister Adrian Severin should attach a "letter of
clarification" to the treaty with Ukraine before it is signed
in order to prevent "some of [its] grave consequences,"
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported yesterday. Iliescu was
speaking after a meeting between President Emil
Constantinescu and opposition representatives to discuss
the treaty. Iliescu said the letter should "make explicit"
the condemnation of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
and that the signing ceremony should take place after the
Madrid July summit on NATO enlargement to avoid the
impression that the treaty is being signed under pressure.
At the same time, he stressed the PDSR will vote in favor
of the treaty.

CIS COMMISSION ON TRANSDNIESTER BEGINS WORK IN
MOLDOVA. A CIS Parliamentary Assembly commission
headed by Vasilii Likhachev, deputy chairman of the
Russian Federation Council, started its work in Moldova
yesterday, Infotag reported. Mihai Laur, the Moldovan
member of the commission, told ITAR-TASS that the
commission backs the idea of granting "large economic
powers" to the Tiraspol authorities within the framework
of the envisaged accord on a special status for the region.
But he emphasized that "political decisions" must be taken
in Chisinau alone. At Moldova's request, the commission
was set up in March 1996 to help find a settlement to the
Transdniestrian conflict. Meanwhile in Moscow, Moldovan
presidential adviser Anatol Taranu said Russia and Ukraine
must make explicit declarations guaranteeing Moldova's
territorial integrity at tomorrow's signing of the
memorandum on the settlement of the conflict between
Chisinau and Tiraspol, Mediafax reports.



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SUBSCRIBING:

1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName
3) Send the message

UNSUBSCRIBING:

1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L
3) Send the message

ON-LINE ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

On-line issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

BACK ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

BACK ISSUES OF OMRI Daily Digest:

Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, and by FTP.

WWW: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/
FTP: ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/

REPRINT POLICY:

To receive permission for reprinting, please direct
your inquires to Paul Goble, publisher.

Email: goblep@rferl.org
Phone (U.S.) : 202-457-6947
International: 001 202-457-6947
Postal Address: RFE/RL, Connecticut Ave. 1201, NW, Washington D.C.,
USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:

Paul Goble (Publisher), goblep@rferl.org
Jiri Pehe ( Editor, Central and Eastern Europe),  pehej@rferl.org
Liz Fuller (Deputy Editor, Transcaucasia), carlsone@rferl.org
Patrick Moore (West Balkans),  moorep@rferl.org
Michael Shafir (East Balkans), shafirm@rferl.org
Laura Belin (Russia), belinl@rferl.org
Bruce Pannier (Central Asia), pannierb@rferl.org
Jan Cleave, cleavej@rferl.org.

Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630.

Current and back issues are available online at:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


ę1996 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