We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 27, Part II, 9 May 1997


Vol. 1, No. 27, Part II, 9 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/

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Headlines, Part II

* CHISINAU, TIRASPOL SIGN MEMORANDUM IN MOSCOW

* NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN UKRAINE

* INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE SEEKS TO BREAK
ALBANIAN ELECTION DEADL0CK

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN UKRAINE. Javier Solana
on 7 May handed Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma a draft
document on future relations between NATO and Ukraine.
Solana expressed hope that it will be ready for signing at
the July NATO summit in Madrid. A Ukrainian Foreign
Ministry official said the document will need to be
amended. But he added that the two sides will sign a "good
document" regardless of disagreements. Interfax reported
that Solana also expressed the hope that Ukraine will
ratify the CFE flank limitations before the 15 May
conclusion of ongoing negotiations in Vienna. An
Azerbaijani presidential adviser said in Baku on 7 May that
it would be "difficult" for Azerbaijan to agree to the CFE
flank agreements, but he did not specify Azerbaijan's
precise objections, according to TURAN. The 1990 CFE
treaty must be endorsed by all signatory states. Georgia
and Moldova have also expressed reservations.

GERMANY BACKS BALTICS' BID FOR NATO
MEMBERSHIP. German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe says
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are likely to become NATO
members within "a foreseeable time frame," Reuters and
BNS reported. Ruehe was speaking yesterday at Skagen,
Denmark, at the conclusion of a biannual meeting of the
German, Danish, and Polish defense ministers, which was
also attended by their counterparts from Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania. Ruehe said the Baltic states should
cooperate closely so as not to lose time in their efforts to
join NATO. He also agreed with his Danish and Polish
colleagues to invite the Baltic ministers to annual, informal
talks beginning in Germany next February.

LATVIAN PRESIDENT AGREES WITH CRITICISM OF
DEFENSE MINISTRY. Guntis Ulmanis says he supports
Prime Minister Andris Skele in his criticism of the Defense
Ministry, Interfax reported yesterday. Skele demanded
Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins's resignation on 7 May.
The ministry has allegedly concluded large fuel purchase
deals at prices disadvantageous to the state. Those deals
create the impression of corruption, Skele suggested,
adding that more details will be made public only after an
investigation has been conducted. Krastins, who was in
Denmark to attend the Baltic defense ministers' meeting,
returned to Riga on 7 May. He told a news conference in the
Latvian capital that he has to comply with Skele's demand
for his resignation "in line with the law." But he denied his
involvement in dubious deals, saying he did not discount
the possibility that "incorrect" information was passed
onto Skele to discredit him.

U.S. REPLACES GERMANY AS LITHUANIA'S TOP
FOREIGN INVESTOR. Lithuania's statistics office says the
U.S. has overtaken Germany as the country's top foreign
investor, BNS reported yesterday. As of 1 January 1997,
the U.S. had invested in Lithuania $166 million while
Germany's total investment in that country reached $75
million. Sweden is the third-largest investor with $69
million dollars. The statistics office says foreigners tend
to invest in food, alcohol and tobacco production,
communications, and financial services.

TURKISH PRESIDENT IN WARSAW. Suleyman Demirel
says his country will not block Poland's membership in
NATO. Following talks in Warsaw on 7 May with his Polish
counterpart, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Demirel told
journalists that Poland will be a member of NATO and that
its biggest supporter will be Turkey. Yesterday, Demirel
met with Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz. He is
also scheduled to meet with parliamentary leaders and
former President Lech Walesa.

BOEING, MCDONNELL BUY INTO CZECH AIRCRAFT
MAKER. A consortium consisting of the U.S. companies
Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp. and the Czech
airline CSA has agreed to buy a minority stake in the
biggest military aircraft maker in the Czech Republic, Aero
Vodochody, for an undisclosed price. The contract is
scheduled to be signed by the end of September, Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus told journalists on 7 May. The Czech
government issued a tender in January for a 34-40% stake
in the indebted Czech aircraft maker for a minimum price
of 950 million koruny ($32.4 million).The winners said they
will use Aero to make more parts for Boeing's commercial
carriers and assemble McDonnell's fighter jets, using some
local suppliers.

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER IN CHINA. Chinese Foreign
Minister Qian Qichen says that Chinese-Slovak ties have
expanded smoothly since the two countries established
diplomatic ties in 1993, shortly after the break-up of the
former Czechoslovakia, the official Xinhua news agency
reported. Qian met with his Slovak counterpart, Pavol
Hamzik, in Beijing on 7 May. Among other things, the two
ministers discussed international issues.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR NATO
MEMBERSHIP, DIRECT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Eight
opposition parties on 7 May launched a campaign to
convince voters that they should support Slovak
membership in NATO and direct presidential elections in
the 23-24 May referendum. The eight parties argue that the
referendum will offer Slovaks the chance to show they
want to remain part of an "advanced and democratic
Europe." "We are seeking to strengthen a free society and
to reject an authoritarian establishment," a joint statement
said. The bloc comprises the Slovak Social Democratic
Party, the Christian Democratic Movement, the Democratic
Party, the Democratic Union, the Greens, and the ethnic
Hungarian parties. The opposition post-communist
Democratic Left Party declined to join the campaign.

HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS LIFT CONSTITUTIONAL
AGREEMENT. The Socialist Party's (MSzP) parliamentary
faction says it no longer considers valid a long-standing
agreement with the opposition stipulating that
constitutional amendments need the backing of at least
five parliamentary parties, Hungarian media reported
today. Deputy faction leader Laszlo Toller said the
agreement has ceased to exist because the opposition is
unwilling to agree to a compromise on proposed
amendments on judicial reform, the status of refugees,
referenda, and government appointments. The opposition
parties have protested, saying lifting the agreement is a
"serious unilateral" step.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL SIGN MEMORANDUM IN MOSCOW.
Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and Igor Smirnov, the
leader of the breakaway region of Transdniester, met
yesterday in Moscow to sign the memorandum on ways to
settle the conflict in Moldova. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and Niels
Helveg Petersen, the acting chief of the OSCE mission to
Moldova, also signed the memorandum as guarantors. The
document states that the two sides will develop ties within
a single state existing inside Moldova's January 1990
borders. A document providing for a special status of the
Transdniester region has still to be negotiated.

REACTIONS TO SIGNING OF MEMORANDUM. Lucinschi
told a press conference after the signing ceremony that
the two sides have agreed that Ukrainian peace-keeping
forces will join Russian troops in Transdniester, BASA-
Press reported. He added that Moldovan and
Transdniestrian forces would be left facing each other if
the Russians withdrew now. Yeltsin was quoted by Interfax
as saying Russia is ready to withdraw its troops but the
go-ahead must come from Moldovan and Transdniester
leaders. Observers note this means the troops will, in fact,
not be withdrawn because Tiraspol bitterly opposes the
step. Yeltsin added that although the memorandum was an
important "step forward", its conclusion had not solved all
problems. Smirnov hailed the fact that "two large
countries--Russia and Ukraine-- have become our
guarantors."

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE SEEKS TO BREAK
ALBANIAN ELECTION DEADL0CK. Albanian Prime Minister
Bashkim Fino is off to Rome this weekend to meet with
Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and other top officials. The
Albanian delegation will then go on to Washington. Franz
Vranitzky, the OSCE's top envoy to Albania, held talks in
Tirana yesterday with President Sali Berisha. The
diplomatic activity is aimed at encouraging Berisha's
Democratic Party and the Socialist-led opposition
coalition to agree on rules for the early elections,
tentatively slated for 29 June (see RFE/RL Newsline, 6 May
1997). Italian Defense Minister Beniamino Andreatta said in
Rome on 7 May that Italian troops will leave Albania if the
June vote does not take place.

ALBANIAN PREMIER WANTS BIGGER ROLE FOR
FOREIGN TROOPS. Fino said in Tirana today, however, that
he regrets "statements calling for the departure of the
foreign troops. Their presence is a necessity for Albania."
Fino stressed that Operation Alba has had a major
psychological effect in restoring calm and order after
weeks of anarchy. He added that he still wants the
foreigners to extend their mandate to include guarding
arms dumps and frontier crossings. Fino also argued that
the troops can play a key role in the elections because "the
whole population is armed, and [the authorities] are
concerned about security at polling stations."

RUGOVA PUTS OFF KOSOVO ELECTIONS. Kosovar
shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova announced in
Pristina yesterday that elections for the parliament will
take place but only by late December. He also extended by
six months the current legislature's mandate, which runs
out later this month. His move comes in the wake of
pressure from Washington not to hold elections. U.S. and
other foreign diplomats have told the Kosovars to forget
about independence and to take part in the
democratization of Serbian politics instead (see RFE/RL
Newsline, 7 May 1997). Various Kosovar politicians and
parties are increasingly objecting to the domination of the
shadow-state by Rugova and his Democratic League of
Kosovo.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. Muslim political leaders threatened in
Sarajevo yesterday to boycott the September local
elections in the disputed town of Brcko. Earlier that day
the OSCE had ruled that the Brcko vote will include only
central, Serb-held districts and not the outlying areas
controlled by the Croatian-Muslim federation, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the capital. Also in Sarajevo,
the joint cabinet representing all three nationalities
adopted a state budget after months of haggling. The vote
removes a major obstacle to holding the frequently-
postponed international aid donors' conference. In Kljuc,
Bosnian authorities exhumed the bodies of 38 Muslims
burned alive in a Serbian offensive in 1992.

ROUNDUP FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Viktor Ivancic,
the editor of the satirical weekly Feral Tribune, went on
trial for libel in Split yesterday, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from that Dalmatian city. In Trepca earlier this
week, Serbian mining company officials signed a five-year
agreement worth $517 million with a Greek company. In
Skopje, the Macedonian Constitutional Court gave the
green light for the university's Pedagogical Faculty to run
teachers' training courses in Albanian, Macedonian media
reported yesterday. And in Bitola, the Macedonian
authorities began examining the books of the failed TAT
pyramid scheme.

GREECE TO TAKE PART IN EXERCISES IN MACEDONIA.
Greek officials announced in Athens yesterday that Greece
will join Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovenia, Turkey, and
Romania in exercises in Macedonia from 11 to 17 May. The
project is part of NATO's Partnership for Peace and will
simulate providing aid following an earthquake in southern
Macedonia. The Greeks agreed to join only after the other
participants said they will refer to the host country only as
the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Greece
objects to the name Macedonia, which, Athens argues,
implies territorial claims on the northern Greek region of
the same name. The government in Skopje denies the Greek
charges.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES "NATIONAL
SALVATION" DECLARATION. Bulgaria's parliament
yesterday adopted a "National Salvation" declaration on
domestic and foreign policy priorities, RFE/RL's Sofia
Bureau reported. Each of the document's seven sections
was voted on separately. The document calls for the
establishment of a currency board that ties local money
supply to foreign currency reserves, the opening of
communist secret police files on officials and judges, and
the full privatization of agricultural land. The section on
joining the EU received unanimous endorsement. The
opposition Socialist Party voted for most parts of the
declaration but did not support the section calling for
NATO membership. President Petar Stoyanov will meet
today with leaders of the United Democratic Forces to
officially begin the process of forming the government.

RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO BULGARIA PROTESTS
MONUMENT DESECRATION. Leonid Kerestedzhiyants has
warned the mayor of Plodviv that there may be "negative
consequences" if the city authorities fail to remove Nazi
swastika signs from a monument to Russian soldiers. The
warning was issued on the eve of Victory Day celebrations
on 8 May, ITAR-TASS reported. The ambassador said the
Plodviv local authorities in the past had triggered angry
responses from Russia when they announced plans to pull
down the monument.

BELGIAN PREMIER IN ROMANIA. Jean-Luc Dehaene met
with Premier Victor Ciorbea and members of his cabinet in
Bucharest yesterday, RFE/RL's bureau in the Romanian
capital reported. Dehaene told his host that Belgium
supports Romania's bid to join an enlarged NATO. He said
Romania's integration in the EU would primarily depend on
the country's ability to fulfill the "technical, rather than
political, criteria" imposed on all states wanting to join the
union. He urged Romania to concentrate on implementing
economic reform. Dehaene is also scheduled to meet with
Senate chairman Petre Roman and President Emil
Constantinescu.

ROMANIA ACKNOWLEDGES HOLOCAUST CRIMES. For the
first time ever, a Romanian official has acknowledged the
crimes committed by his countrymen against Jews in the
1940s. The daily USA Today reported on 8 May that
President Constantinescu sent a message to participants in
a ceremony marking Holocaust Day at Bucharest's main
synagogue saying that some Romanians assisted Jews but
others committed crimes against them. He said the
"sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Jews...weighs heavily
on all our hearts. The killing of innocent people can neither
be forgiven, nor corrected, nor forgotten."

ROMANIA'S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY IN TURMOIL. At a
meeting of the Sibiu branch of the Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR), delegates urged Deputy
Chairman Teodor Melescanu to agree to replace Ion Iliescu
as party chairman. Mediafax reported that Iliescu has been
accused of failing to remove party members "with a
dubious public image." In an interview with Radio Bucharest
Melescanu said he was "honored" by the trust placed in him.
Iliescu said the proposal was "natural" in a democratic
party and demonstrated the "sympathy" within the party
toward Melescanu. Meanwhile, Adrian Nastase, another
PDSR deputy chairman, announced yesterday he will
collaborate with the Prosecutor-General's office following
press reports that the office is considering opening an
investigation against him for suspected fraud.



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