Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 28, Part II, 12 May 1997


Vol. 1, No. 28, Part II, 12 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

* UKRAINE, U.S. DISAGREE OVER SHORT-RANGE
MISSILES

* REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN SLOVAKIA

* FATE OF ALBANIAN ELECTION PACT UNCERTAIN

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE, U.S. DISAGREE OVER SHORT-RANGE
MISSILES. Volodymir Horbulin, the secretary of the
Ukrainian Security Council, told reporters in Kyiv on 10 May
that Ukraine cannot accept new U.S. demands that would
restrict the production and use of tactical missiles in the
country. The demands were made as a condition for
Ukraine's joining a 25-state nuclear nonproliferation treaty
called the Multilateral Missile Technology Control Regime.
Horbulin argued that Ukraine, as a space technology
country, cannot give up the right to produce and use
missiles that are not linked to the agreement on medium-
range missiles. He said the issue will be discussed during
President Leonid Kuchma's visit to Washington next week.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES UNION CHARTER
WITH RUSSIA. Alyaksandr Lukashenka says a committee
revising the union charter with Russia has resolved several
complicated issues but still has to deal with two
unspecified matters. Lukashenka spoke to journalists in
Minsk yesterday. The previous day, he said on Russian TV
that he was displeased with the latest version of the
charter, adding that Russia is not prepared for union with
Belarus. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Lukashenka are
expected to sign the final charter agreement on 23 May.
Meanwhile, at a Victory Day ceremony in Minsk on 9 May,
Lukashenka said Belarus does not need anyone else's
assessments or instructions.

ESTONIA CRACKS DOWN ON RUSSIAN-SPEAKING
OFFICIALS WITH POOR KNOWLEDGE OF ESTONIAN. The
Justice Ministry on 9 May called for criminal proceedings
to be launched against two Russian-speaking judges from
the northeastern towns of Narva and Kohtla-Jarve, BNS
reported. The move came two days after the state
prosecutor dismissed four Russian-speaking district
attorneys in the northeast of the country for inadequate
knowledge of Estonian and for possessing false Estonian-
language proficiency certificates. Under Estonian law, state
officials must have Estonian citizenship, for which the most
important requirement is elementary Estonian. Also on 9
May, a second list of former KGB informers was published in
the government's official journal, Riigi Teataja.. The secret
police is required to reveal the names of those informers
who failed to report their role by 1 April 1996.

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER TO RUN FOR
PRESIDENT. Vytautas Landsbergis has been named as the
presidential candidate of the ruling Homeland Union, BNS
reported on 10 May. A former music professor who played
a key role in Lithuania's drive for independence from the
Soviet Union, Landsbergis was nominated by unanimous
vote at a party conference in Vilnius. Last year, he helped
the party remove the former communists from power in
the December parliamentary elections. Incumbent
President Algirdas Brazauskas, the former head of the
communist party, has said he will not decide whether to run
until the fall, when the presidential election campaign is
due to begin. Meanwhile, Brazauskas today begins a four-
day official visit to Japan, Interfax reported.

POLISH PRESIDENT UNDER FIRE OVER DRAFT
CONSTITUTION. Former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski
claims that Aleksander Kwasniewski is deceiving the nation
over the constitutional referendum scheduled for later this
month, PAP reported. Olszewski, who is the leader of the
Reconstruction of Poland movement (ROP), told a news
conference yesterday that a letter from Kwasniewski that
is being sent to citizens along with the new draft
constitution is "manipulative propaganda designed to
mislead citizens." In that letter, the draft is called the
"Constitution of the Republic of Poland." But, as Olszewski
pointed out, it will become law only if approved in the 25
May referendum. Olszewski said Kwasniewski was
misleading the public by failing to state that the document
was only a draft. Meanwhile, Kwasniewski has expressed
dismay at the Catholic bishops' statement that the draft
constitution raises "serious moral objections."

POLISH PREMIER APPOINTS EU INTEGRATION
ADVISORY COUNCIL. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz on 9 May
appointed a council to advise the government during
preparations for accession talks with the EU, Polish media
reported. The 68-member council includes chiefs of all
caucuses, heads of employers' groups, business
executives, economists, academics, well-known
journalists, and cultural experts.

CZECH PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING U.S. TRIP. Vaclav Havel
said in his regular radio address yesterday that his
working visit to the U.S., which begins tomorrow, takes
place at a time when there is significant opposition to
NATO expansion among U.S. senators and congressmen.
Noting that NATO will decide at its Madrid summit in July
about admitting new members, he said the issue is of key
importance for the Czech Republic. Havel remarked that
another reason for his trip is to receive the European
Statesman Award, together with German President Roman
Herzog. The award is being given to the two leaders in
connection with the approval of the Czech-German
declaration, which is regarded as a step toward
reconciliation between the two states.

REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN SLOVAKIA. A 10-
day campaign leading up to the 23-24 May referendum on
Slovakia's NATO membership and direct presidential
elections began yesterday. Slovak TV and Radio began
broadcasting campaign slots by various political parties
the same day. Slovak President Michal Kovac, speaking on
Slovak Radio on 10 May, urged citizens to vote in favor of
NATO membership. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar said on Slovak Radio the previous day that the
referendum question on direct presidential elections will
be unnecessary if the Constitutional Court rules that the
constitution cannot be changed through a plebiscite. He
also noted that U.S. criticism of the pace of democratic
reform in his country is based on a "misunderstanding."

UPDATE ON SCANDALS INVOLVING HUNGARIAN
SOCIALIST DEPUTIES. Judit Csehak, deputy prime
minister in Hungary's last communist government, has
admitted that, as a member of the former Hungarian
Socialist Worker's Party's politburo, she had access to
state security reports, Hungarian dailies report today.
Csehak, who spoke after the results of an investigation
carried out by a screening panel were made public, said
"there is no fact I should be ashamed of and which I could
not make public." Those subject to the screening process
may either resign or face public scrutiny in the courts, but
Csehak has not resigned her position as deputy. In other
news, Socialist deputy Gabor Kiss, who has been implicated
in a recent intelligence office scandal (see RFE/RL
Newsline, 18 April 1997), pledged to quit public life at the
end of the current legislature, Vilaggazdasag reports. He
said the scandal has put him in a "morally untenable"
position.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FATE OF ALBANIAN ELECTION PACT UNCERTAIN.
Leaders of Albania's Salvation Committees met in Vlora
yesterday and praised the election agreement brokered by
OSCE envoy Franz Vranitzky on 9 May. But they said that
only a larger meeting scheduled for the end of this week
can decide whether to disband the committees. Under the 9
May agreement, the committees must dissolve themselves
by 14 May and the parliament must pass a new election law
today enabling President Sali Berisha to sign a decree by
15 May that confirms elections will be held on 29 June. The
opposition wants the law to increase the number of seats
elected by proportional representation so that smaller
parties will have chance to enter the parliament. Meanwhile
in Tirana yesterday, some 10 assailants beat up Social
Democratic leader Skender Gjinushi.

ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. Bashkim
Fino arrived in the U.S. capital yesterday to discuss the
situation in Albania with Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. En route to Washington, Fino met in Rome with his
Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi. The ministers of foreign
affairs, defense, and justice also make up the Albanian
delegation. Meanwhile in Tirana, Italian Defense Minister
Beniamino Andreatta on Friday repeated his opposition to
expanding the mandate of Operation Alba, which, he said,
would lead to clashes with armed gangs.

BALKAN PYRAMID SCHEME UPDATE. The Albanian
parliament on 9 May passed legislation regulating pyramid
investment schemes, ATA reported. The collapse of five
such scams in January led to anarchy across much of the
country. Four other pyramid investment companies are
still operating but have stopped paying interest. Meanwhile
in neighboring Macedonia, some 5,000 people
demonstrated in Bitola on 9 May to demand government
reimbursement for money lost in the collapse of the local
TAT pyramid scheme. The authorities have promised
partial reimbursement and started legal proceedings
against key figures in the scam.

CAN KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY UNDERMINE SERBIAN
CONTROL? The clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK)
has the potential to disrupt Belgrade's grip on its mainly
ethnic Albanian province, the New York Times wrote on 11
May, quoting U.S. intelligence officials. In his first-ever
interview to Western journalists, the group's leader, who
called himself "Alban," told the newspaper that the UCK is
not a terrorist organization and is carrying out "attacks
only against the representatives of the Serbian regime."
Alban added that Serbian control of Kosovo will collapse in
three years. In recent months, the UCK has increased the
frequency and professionalism of its killings and is
targeting primarily ethnic Albanians whom it considers to
be collaborators.

CROATIAN PRESIDENT NAMES ETHNIC SERBS TO
PARLIAMENT. Franjo Tudjman on 10 May appointed ethnic
Serbian political leaders Vojislav Stanimirovic and Jovan
Bamburaca to the upper house, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Zagreb. He also named writer Ivan Aralica,
former central banker Pero Jurkovic, and presidential
advisor Slobodan Lang among the five appointments he
makes to the 68-seat body. Also in Zagreb, a team of
foreign and Croatian doctors said yesterday that Tudjman
is in "excellent health" and that his medical treatment is
nearly over. The Croatian president visited a U.S. military
hospital last November, which touched off speculation at
home and abroad that he has terminal cancer. Meanwhile,
the Croatian authorities announced today that direct
presidential elections will take place on 15 June.

CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADER DENIES TREASON
CHARGES. Pro-government dailies reported on 9 May that
Stipe Mesic, an opposition politician and former confidant
of Tudjman, has given extensive evidence to the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal in which he betrayed both
Tudjman and Croatia. The newspapers accused Mesic of
telling the court that Tudjman and Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic met frequently in the early 1990s to
partition Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mesic told RFE/RL that he
has never testified before the court but that he did speak
to its representatives. He called the media campaign a
"political lynching" that constitutes a threat against his
life.

BOSNIAN SERB, CROAT LEADERS MEET. Leading Bosnian
Serb and Croat politicians met in Banja Luka on Saturday, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from there. Bozo Rajic
represented the Croatian Democratic Community, while
Aleksa Buha spoke for the Serbian Democratic Party.
Neither the meeting nor its contents have been officially
confirmed. Muslim leaders and international
representatives have repeatedly warned the Serbs and
Croats not to make any private deals. Meanwhile in The
Hague, EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek told Dutch TV
on 10 May that Bosnian refugees should not be sent home
until indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic is caught.

ROMANIAN PREMIER IN LUXEMBOURG, DEFENSE
MINISTER IN NORWAY. Premier Victor Ciorbea met with
his Belgian counterpart, Jean Claude Juncker, and bank
officials during his visit to Luxembourg on 10 May. Minister
for European Integration Alexandru Herlea, who
accompanied Ciorbea, said in an interview with RFE/RL that
Juncker fully endorsed Romania's bid for early NATO
membership. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Victor Babiuc,
who ended a two-day visit to Norway on 11 May, was unable
to enroll Oslo's support for Romania's membership bid. He
told Radio Bucharest that Norway has not yet "made up its
mind" on which countries should be invited to join the
enlarged NATO at the July Madrid summit.

ROMANIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. World Bank President
James Wolfensohn on 11 May began a two-day visit to
Romania, where he will meet with President Emil
Constantinescu, Premier Victor Ciorbea, and members of
the government, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. On
arriving, he said his visit is intended to "demonstrate the
[bank's] support" for the Ciorbea cabinet. He said the loans
the bank will grant "have not yet been decided on" but will
now be "discussed in detail." In other news, the National
Statistics Commission said on 9 May that inflation dropped
from nearly 31% in March to 6.9% in April. But the annual
rate of inflation has already reached 88.7% and is expected
to be higher than the 90% forecast by the government.

MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT TO RESTORE CEMETERY FOR
ROMANIA'S WWII SOLDIERS. A commemorative plaque
has been put up at a site in Moldova where some 12,000
Romanian and Russian soldiers who fell during World War II
are buried, BASA-press and Radio Bucharest reported on 9
May. The former cemetery was leveled by Soviet
bulldozers in 1944 and a cattle farm was set up on the site.
The ceremony was attended by the Romanian and Russian
military attaches in Chisinau, Gen. Gheorghe Secu and Gen.
Sergei Buturev. BASA-Press said Moldovan Premier Ion
Ciubuc and Romanian ambassador Gheorghe Dinu will visit
the site this week, when Ciubuc will be traveling by car to
Romania for an official visit.

WORLD BANK APPROVES HUMANITARIAN LOAN FOR
BULGARIA. The World Bank on 9 May approved a $40
million loan to Bulgaria for the immediate purchase of
goods in short supply, such as medicine, wheat, and fuels.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported that the
bank said the loan will support the first phase of the new
government's program and is crucial for stopping and
reversing the country's economic crisis. In other news,
outgoing interim Premier Stefan Sofiyanski announced on 9
May that the country's telecommunications company and
its cement industries are to be privatized. He said he
hoped the telecommunications company will bring
revenues of more than $ 1 billion.

BULGARIA TO SEEK CHEAPER RUSSIAN GAS. The
director-general of the state monopoly Bulgargas says the
company will try to get Russian gas at cheaper prices.
Vasil Filipov told a press conference in Sofia yesterday
that the prices charged by Russia's Gazprom company rose
"an unrealistic 24%" last year and that Bulgargas will try to
obtain gas at cheaper prices from foreign firms that have
loaned money to Gazprom and are accepting repayment in
the form of gas deliveries. He said "Gazprom creditors
offer us favorable prices and we will swing to such
suppliers."




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