Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 33, Part II, 19 May1997


Vol. 1, No. 33, Part II, 19 May1997

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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S.

* POLITICAL BRINKMANSHIP IN ALBANIA

* TENSE WEEKEND IN KOSOVO

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S. U.S. President Bill Clinton,
speaking before his meeting with Leonid Kuchma in the
White House on 17 May, reiterated his belief that a
successful, democratic Europe requires a successful,
democratic, and progressive Ukraine, RFE/RL's Washington
correspondent reported. Earlier, Kuchma and U.S. Vice
President Al Gore co-chaired the first session of the U.S.-
Ukraine Bi-national Commission. The two leaders told a
press conference afterward that Ukraine and the U.S. have
agreed to begin negotiating an agreement on peaceful
nuclear cooperation. Kuchma also told reporters he hopes
Ukraine's charter agreement with NATO will be ready for
initialing by 30 May. Meanwhile, the U.S. space agency NASA
announced on 17 May that a Ukrainian cosmonaut, Col.
Leonid Kadenyuk, is scheduled to be aboard the space
shuttle Columbia when it lifts off in November.

TATARS DEMONSTRATE IN CRIMEAN CAPITAL. Some
10,000 ethnic Tatars demonstrated yesterday in
Simferopol to mark the 53rd anniversary of the mass
deportation of the Crimean Tatars, dpa reported. The
demonstrators gathered in Lenin Square to demand
assistance for the 250,000 Crimean Tatars who have
returned to Crimea in the past five years. The Tatars were
deported to Soviet Central Asia in 1944 under communist
leader Joseph Stalin for alleged cooperation with the
German occupation forces during World War II. The
demonstrators said some 100,000 returnees still have no
flats, and tens of thousands of them are unable to find jobs.

BELARUS SECURITY COUNCIL CHIEF MEETS WITH LEBED.
Belarusian Security Council Secretary Viktor Sheiman met
with former Russian national security chief Aleksandr
Lebed on 17 May, ITAR-TASS reported. Lebed was quoted
as saying that the proposed Russian-Belarus union is
"necessary" and "just" because it meets the interests of
both countries. The previous day, a spokesperson for
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said the
president opposes Belarus joining the Russian Federation.
Moscow has reportedly proposed Belarus become part of
the Russian Federation in recent talks, while Russian
President Boris Yeltsin recently suggested that the two
countries' planned union may result in their merger.

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER ON PROTECTIVE TARIFFS.
Mart Siimann told Postimees in its 17 May issue that his
minority government will resign if the parliament rejects
the government's draft law on protective tariffs, ETA
reported. The introduction of such tariffs is a prerequisite
for accession to the World Trade Organization. It is also
stipulated in the coalition agreement between the
Coalition Party and the Rural Union. Opposition deputies
say they will oppose the draft law because they fear it will
harm Estonia's reputation abroad as a tariff-free economy
and reduce Estonian products' competitiveness on markets
abroad. They also point out that while the bill is intended
to protect local farmers, it provides for tariffs on 1,700
categories of commodities, some of which are not
produced in Estonia. The parliament is due to continue with
its first reading of the bill today.

LATVIA ATTRACTS MORE PER CAPITA FOREIGN
INVESTMENT THAN ESTONIA, LITHUANIA. According to
a recent EBRD report on the economic situation in the
Baltic States, Latvia was ahead of Estonia and Lithuania in
terms of per capita direct foreign investments last year,
BNS reported yesterday. The report states that in 1996,
such investments reached $68 in Latvia, $45 in Estonia, and
$21 in Lithuania. Latvia lags behind Hungary ($184), the
Czech Republic ($117), and Slovenia ($80). EBRD experts
also predict that Latvia will have the lowest inflation rate
among the Baltic States in 1997. They forecast that
inflation in Latvia will not exceed 10% this year and that in
Estonia and Lithuania, it could reach 12% and 13%,
respectively.

LITHUANIAN OFFICIAL CRITICIZES RUSSIA-NATO
ACCORD. Parliamentary Deputy Chairman Romualdas
Ozolas says the Russian-NATO Founding Act will reduce the
possibilities of ensuring the security of Baltic countries,
BNS reported on 16 May. Ozolas issued a statement arguing
that Russia's domination of NATO has been pre-
programmed into the working procedures for a proposed
NATO-Russian Council. He added that the founding act, due
to be signed in Paris on 27 May, will "complicate NATO's
efficacy and diminish the West's support possibilities for
those countries seeking NATO membership "

POLISH PRIME MINISTER PRAISES DRAFT
CONSTITUTION. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told nationwide
TV on 17 May that Poland's new constitution is "people
friendly" and does not impose a worldview or way of life on
anyone. He said it guarantees basic rights and liberties and
contains certain new rights. Cimoszewicz also commented
he was irritated by "nonsensical arguments" against the
constitution. Some Polish opposition parties, including the
Solidarity trade union, are opposed to the draft
constitution. Pro-Catholic right-wing forces have
criticized the draft for not giving precedence to Christian
values and for failing to protect human life from the
moment of conception. A nationwide referendum on the
draft constitution is due to take place on 25 May.

CZECH PRESIDENT IN WASHINGTON. Vaclav Havel met
with U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen in the U.S. capital
on 16 May to discuss the cost of bringing the Czech
military up to NATO standards, RFE/RL's Washington
correspondent reported. The talks also focused on
cooperation between the U.S. and Czech armies as well as
the Czech Republic's willingness to invest in its defense
and to participate in the collective defense of Europe.
Havel told reporters the same day that his informal
meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington was
friendly and covered such issues as NATO expansion and
European integration. Havel met with Clinton the previous
night at a birthday party for U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright.

TOP CZECH OFFICIALS AGAINST DEVALUING CROWN.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and his main rival, opposition
Social Democratic Party Chairman Milos Zeman, said during
a TV debate yesterday that they see no reason why the
Czech crown should be devalued. Last week, the Central
Bank had to intervene to support the crown when the Czech
currency came under pressure. Central Bank Governor
Josef Tosovsky told Czech TV that the bank is ready to
intervene again, should the value of the crown start
declining again. "This is what currency reserves are for,"
said Tosovsky.

REFERENDUM IN SLOVAKIA TO POSE FOUR QUESTIONS.
The Central Referendum Commission announced on 16 May
that ballots with four questions--three on Slovak entry
into NATO and one on direct presidential elections--will be
distributed, RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau reported. The
previous day, Internal Affairs Minister Gustav Krajci
refused to print ballots that included the elections
question, arguing that the Constitutional Court had not yet
decided whether it was possible for a referendum to
change the constitution. The government had appealed to
the court to make a ruling, but the court determined that
the government was not entitled to make such an appeal.
Premier Vladimir Meciar said on nationwide radio on 16
May that he will respect the court's verdict. He added he
expects that the round table talks between all political
parties, which he initiated, will help improve Slovakia's
reputation but will not put a stop to the confrontation
between the coalition and the opposition.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

POLITICAL BRINKMANSHIP IN ALBANIA. Socialist Prime
Minister Bashkim Fino meets with representatives of other
opposition parties today to finalize their demands for
changes to the election law. Fino will then try again to
persuade President Sali Berisha to agree to the new
provisions, which deal with proportional representation,
access to the media, monitoring, and control over electoral
commissions. Berisha himself would have to decree any
changes, since on 16 May he dissolved parliament and
called elections for 29 June. It is unclear how far in advance
of the vote the law can still be amended. The opposition
over the weekend again hinted it might boycott the ballot
if current law remains unchanged. Berisha told supporters
in Lac yesterday that he will not modify the law.

PRODI DENIES THREAT TO LEAVE ALBANIA. Italian
Prime Minister Romano Prodi in Rome yesterday denied
reports that he has pledged to cut short Operation Alba
unless the elections go ahead on schedule. He said his
earlier remarks about the need for the Albanians to help
stabilize their country themselves were not meant as a
"threat, but just [as] a serious observation." In Vlora,
representatives of the Salvation Committees controlling
numerous southern towns met over the weekend and
rejected Berisha's demand that the local committees
disband. In Ulcinj in Montenegro, a local ethnic Albanian
politician told BETA news agency over the weekend that
more than 100 trucks carrying scrap iron arrive illegally
from Albania each day. And in the Albanian industrial town
of Elbasan, five men were killed in gang warfare yesterday.

TENSE WEEKEND IN KOSOVO. Posters appeared in
Pristina over the weekend calling on ethnic Albanians in the
name of the local Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) to abandon
shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's policy of non-
violence and launch an armed struggle. For his part,
Rugova's deputy Fehmi Agani said in Belgrade that he does
not know if the UCK really exists. On 16 May, unidentified
attackers shot an ethnic Albanian dead on the Prizren-
Djakovica road, while two Serbian police were wounded in
the village of Srbica. Soon after the attack on the
policemen, Serbian authorities arrested at least 30
Albanian students. The next day, students at the
underground Albanian university in Pristina protested the
arrests. Meanwhile, the trial opened in Pristina today of 18
Kosovars charged with terrorism as alleged members of
the UCK, Nasa Borba reported this morning.

DID BRITAIN'S RIFKIND OBSTRUCT WAR CRIMES
INVESTIGATION AGAINST MILOSEVIC? The Observer
wrote yesterday that former Foreign Secretary Malcolm
Rifkind blocked a U.S. request last year to turn over jointly
collected intelligence data to the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal. Court President Antonio Cassesse also appealed in
vain to Rifkind to release the telephone intercepts that
might have proven a link between Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and the Bosnian Serb leaders. The
London weekly added that Rifkind refused to change the
orders of British peacekeepers to enable them to arrest
indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko
Mladic. The paper also charged that the Milosevic regime
secretly paid $160,000 to Rifkind's Conservative Party
through a lobbying firm.

MILOSEVIC MEETS BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS. The Serbian
president met in Belgrade on Friday with Momcilo Krajisnik,
the ethnic Serb member of the Bosnian joint presidency,
and with Republika Srpska Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic
to discuss implementing the recent economic agreement
between Belgrade and Pale, Nasa Borba reported this
morning. Meanwhile in nearby Vojvodina, Romanian Foreign
Minister Adrian Severin met with his federal Yugoslav
counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, on 16 May. They signed a
protocol reaffirming the rights of each country's ethnic
minority on the other's territory, including the right of
individuals to declare their membership in an ethnic
minority group. They also noted there are no outstanding
issues between Belgrade and Bucharest but that economic
links could be stronger.

CROATIAN CURRENCY BECOMES LEGAL TENDER IN
EASTERN SLAVONIA. The kuna went into circulation today
in eastern Slavonia, which is gradually being reintegrated
into Croatia. Meanwhile, Serbian deputies for the first time
since 1991 took their seats in the government of Osijek-
Baranja county, in Osijek, on 17 May. The county leader is
once again the Croatian Democratic Community's  (HDZ)
Branimir Glavas, but his deputies are now the Independent
Democratic Serbian Party's (SDSS) Mirko Blagojevic and the
independent Anica Horvat. An RFE/RL correspondent also
reported from Osijek that the HDZ and the SDSS have
reached a power-sharing agreement for the towns of
Vukovar and Beli Manastir.

NEWS FROM AROUND FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Rail traffic
resumed yesterday on the line between Tuzla, located on
Bosnian federal territory, and Doboj, in the Republika
Srpska. In Podgorica, some leaders of the Democratic
Socialist Party (DPS) charged Montenegrin President Momir
Bulatovic with acting as if he were already the party's
presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Montenegrin
capital. The DPS' organization in Cetinje underscored the
point by nominating his rivals Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic and parliamentary speaker Svetozar Marovic
for the presidency. And in Macedonia, an exercise
sponsored by NATO and involving up to 1,000 troops ended
on 16 May.

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL AIDE NOMINATED ROMANIA'S
INTELLIGENCE CHIEF. President Emil Constantinescu
yesterday nominated Costin Georgescu as chief of the
Romanian Intelligence Service. The 55-year-old Georgescu
managed Constantinescu's election campaign in 1992 (see
RFE/RL Newsline, 6 May 1997). He is a construction
engineer by profession and a deputy of the National Liberal
Party. He will have to resign that position if the parliament
approves his nomination, as it is expected to do, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES NEW DRAFT
LAWS. The government yesterday approved amendments
to the Law on Education doing away with provisions that
were viewed as discriminatory by the Hungarian minority.
The amendments provide for instruction in the mother
tongue at all levels of education and abolish the provision
stating that national minorities must study subjects such
as history or geography in Romanian. The executive also
change the name of the ministry from Ministry of Public
Instruction to Ministry of National Education. In addition, it
approved a draft law on the National Bank giving it full
independence and responsibility for stabilizing the
national currency and prices by controlling the money
supply.

ROMANIAN PREMIER ON LABOR UNREST. Victor Ciorbea
says "obscure forces" are trying to manipulate people who
are genuinely hit by temporary hardships as a result of
economic reform. He said those who are suffering most are
not "the noisiest." In an interview with RFE/RL on 16 May,
Ciorbea said the government has no intention to "give into
force and intimidation attempts." He was responding to a
demonstration in Bucharest one day earlier protesting the
government's economic policies. The same day, some 600
heavy truck drivers drove through Bucharest and honked
their horns as they passed government headquarters. The
demonstrators were protesting the cabinet's intention to
institute a road tax.

MOLDOVAN PREMIER ON BASIC TREATY WITH
ROMANIA. Ion Ciubuc says the pending basic treaty with
Romania must reflect "today's realities [and] the interests
of both countries and their constitutions." Addressing a
news conference in Chisinau on his return from a visit to
Romania on 17 May, Ciubuc said the draft of the treaty
"should be thoroughly prepared" to avoid "leading to
tensions." He said the treaty must be "one of friendship and
cooperation and not one of fraternity, as some people
think." Earlier reports said Romania was insisting on a
document that mentioned the "special relationship" of the
two countries based on their unity of culture, history, and
language, Infotag reported.

IMF TEAM BEGINS WORKING WITH BULGARIA ON
CURRENCY BOARD. A team of IMF officials has arrived in
Sofia for two weeks to assist Bulgarian officials in setting
up the currency board of the National Bank. An RFE/RL
correspondent in Washington reported on 16 May that the
IMF views the setting up of the board as the "key" to
Bulgaria's economic reform and stabilization program. The
board will tie the lev to the German mark and will strictly
limit the amount of currency the bank can issue, making the
money supply dependent on the bank's hard-currency
reserves. The agreement with the IMF also prohibits the
National Bank from providing cheap credits to cover
budget deficits or the losses of state enterprises.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE "MACEDONIAN-
LANGUAGE ISSUE." The parliamentary National Security
Committee plans to debate the so-called "Macedonian-
language issue" at its first session. An RFE/RL Sofia bureau
correspondent says the dispute has clouded relations
between Sofia and Skopje for almost six years. Bulgaria has
insisted for more than a century that Macedonian is a
dialect of Bulgarian. Skopje say this linguistic claim is a
"thin disguise" for territorial ambitions toward Macedonia
that date back to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. In
other news, BTA reported on 16 May that the spiritual
leader of the country's 800,000 strong Muslim community,
Hadzhibasri Hadzhisherif, has died in Sofia aged 69.





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


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