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

Vol. 1, No. 42, Part II, 30 May1997


Vol. 1, No. 42, Part II, 30 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/

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Headlines, Part II

* ALBRIGHT ON POTENTIAL NEW NATO MEMBERS

* UKRAINE SIGNS ACCORD WITH NATO

* ALBANIAN PARTY THREATENS TO LEAVE GOVERNMENT

End Note
CROATIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

ALBRIGHT ON POTENTIAL NEW NATO MEMBERS. At the meeting of NATO foreign
ministers in Sintra, Portugal, on 29 May, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said candidates to join NATO expansion would have to "meet the
highest possible standards before they are invited to join" and that NATO's
enlargement was "not a scholarship program." Observers interpret this
statement as meaning the U.S. wants the first invitations to join the alliance
to be restricted to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The statement is
also seen as a rebuff to attempts by France, Italy, and Spain to have Romania
and Slovenia included in the first wave of enlargement. Diplomatic sources
said French President Jacques Chirac may be unwilling to compromise on the
demand that a European country be put in charge of NATO's southern European
command if Paris fails to secure Romania's admittance to the organization. The
report also said the U.S. views Slovenia as being militarily too weak to join
NATO now, though it is strongly backed by Italy. Consultations on new NATO
members will continue until the July Madrid summit.

UKRAINE SIGNS ACCORD WITH NATO. Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko and NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana on 29 May initialed an accord in Portugal that
sets up mechanisms for strengthening Ukraine's contacts with NATO. The accord,
which will be signed at NATO's July summit in Madrid, gives Ukraine the right
to call for "consultations" with NATO if it feels under external threat. A
NATO-Ukrainian commission will provide a vehicle for the consultations. There
will also be an exchange of military missions, with NATO establishing an
office in Kyiv. Udovenko told journalists after the signing ceremony that the
accord is a "very important document" and the result of three years'
discussion. Solana said it gives expression to the special importance NATO
attaches to Ukraine "as a democratic, independent state at the heart of
Europe."

COMMANDER OF BLACK SEA FLEET ON RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN DEAL. Admiral Viktor
Kravchenko, the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet, told Interfax on 29 May
that he is satisfied with agreements on the division of the former Soviet
Black Sea fleet concluded the previous day by Russia and Ukraine. Kravchenko
said both sides benefit from the compromise accord. According to Kravchenko,
the deal's key benefit for Russia is that "the Black Sea fleet is kept and is
based in Sevastopol" and that "finally, after more than five years, the issue
has been clarified."

CRIME IN ESTONIA HIGHEST AMONG BALTIC STATES.
Estonia has the highest per capita crime rate among the Baltic States,
according to a recent ETA report. Nonetheless, the number of registered crimes
fell by 10.4% in 1996 and is now at 1994 levels. Justice Minister Paul Varul
and Interior Minister Robert Lepikson, speaking after a national conference
organized by the Crime Prevention Council, said they are optimistic that crime
will continue to fall in the country. Varul said there are insufficient funds
to complete the reorganization of the police force but stressed the process
has started. Lepikson pointed out that both drug-related crimes and criminal
actions among youths are increasing.

LATVIA SIGNS EUROPEAN SOCIAL CHARTER. Welfare Minister Vladimirs Makarovs
signed the European Social Charter and its first two protocols in Strasbourg
on 29 May, BNS reported. Signing the charter is a condition for admission to
the Council of Europe. The document guarantees 19 fundamental social and
economic rights, including the rights to employment, labor protection, health
care, and social security. Before it ratifies the charter, Riga has to bring
its legislation into line with Council of Europe standards. Latvia is the
first Baltic State to sign the charter.

U.S. ENVIRONMENTALIST HEADS POLL ON PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN LITHUANIA. Valdas
Adamkus, a U.S. environmental official of Lithuanian descent, has topped a
poll of six potential presidential candidates conducted by Baltic Studies and
published on 29 May in Respublica.. Adamkus won the support of 27% of
respondents and was followed by incumbent President Algirdas Brazauskas (24%),
former Prosecutor-General Arturas Paulauskas (17%), and parliamentary speaker
Vitautas Landsbergis (12%). Adamkus is currently barred from running for the
presidency by legislation stipulating that candidates must have lived in
Lithuania for at least three years before the election. The parliament
recently rejected for the second time a bill that would have abolished that
requirement (see RFE/RL Newsline, 26 May 1997). Meanwhile, presidential
adviser Vladimiras Beriozovas has announced his resignation, BNS reported on
29 May. A former high-ranking communist, he cited fatigue for his decision but
admitted he did not want to spoil Brazauskas's chances of re-election.

POLISH PRIMATE CRITICIZES LEFTISTS. Cardinal Jozef Glemp on 29 May strongly
attacked leftists who are now in the government, despite, he said, having been
reared on Marxism. He noted that although Marxism has disappeared as a system,
leftists remain "in high places." Glemp was speaking to some 20,000
worshippers at an outdoor Corpus Christi procession. He was particularly
critical of the Education Ministry for publishing sex education textbooks
that, according to him, had "pornographic overtones." He also blasted the
government for attempting to remove religious instruction from kindergartens.

CZECH PRESIDENT ACCEPTS GOVERNMENT CHANGES, BUT EXPRESSES DOUBTS. Vaclav Havel
agreed on 29 May to name four new government ministers proposed as part of the
coalition government's effort to deal with the country's economic turmoil. At
the same time, he expressed doubts about the new economic stabilization plan.
Speaking to journalists after meeting with the heads of the three ruling
parties, Havel said he would like to believe that the reshuffled government is
able to carry out its program. He criticized the total absence of long-term
objectives in the new plan, which foresees budget cuts in 1997, state support
for a tight central bank policy, sharp cuts in publicly financed imports, and
a freeze on public-sector salaries.

EU COMMISSIONER WARNS SLOVAKIA. Hans van den Broek told a press conference in
Bratislava on 29 May that by the year's end, Slovakia needs to send out
"positive signals" and to take "practical steps" toward redressing
shortcomings in fulfilling EU political criteria if it wants to be invited to
expansion talks. Van den Broek said that the European Council is likely to
decide in December when those talks will begin. He said the EU expects clear
and unambiguous signals from the Slovak government about its intention to
strengthen the rule of law and democratization and to follow them up with the
necessary practical steps. Earlier the same day, Van den Broek met President
Michal Kovac and Premier Vladimir Meciar.

SLOVAK, SERBIAN NATIONALIST LEADERS SIGN PACT. Slovak National Party (SNS)
Chairman Jan Slota and Serbian Radical Party Chairman Vojislav Seselj signed a
declaration on friendly relations in the Slovak town of Zilina on 29 May,
Slovak TV reported. The document guarantees all human rights to ethnic Slovaks
living in Serbia. It also says that the protection of ethnic rights is vital
for Slovaks and Serbs. The SNS, a minor government coalition member, maintains
contacts with European radical nationalists. Earlier this year, Slota
announced a visit by Jean-Marie Le Pen to Bratislava. He is also preparing a
meeting with Austrian nationalist Joerg Haider.

HUNGARY TO ALLOW LAND SALES TO COMPANIES. Prime Minister Gyula Horn said a
draft bill approved by the government on 29 May will allow companies to buy
land, overturning a 1994 law stipulating that only private individuals can
purchase land, Hungarian media report. The draft would not allow direct
foreign land ownership but would permit Hungarian-based firms that are
part-owned by foreigners to purchase land. Horn said that the draft was in
accordance with EU membership requirements, a key foreign-policy objective for
Hungary. Opposition members and farmers' associations accuse the government of
intending "to sell off" Hungarian territory to foreigners. Meanwhile,
high-ranking EU official Michael Bursich announced in Nyiregyhaza that the
union is granting ECU 40 million for regional development in Hungary.


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN PARTY THREATENS TO LEAVE GOVERNMENT. Democratic Alliance Party leader
Neritan Ceka on 29 May threatened to withdraw from the coalition government
unless the state of emergency is lifted by the next day. Talking to the
Albanian Daily News in Tirana, Ceka also accused Prime Minister Bashkim Fino
of "playing [President Sali] Berisha's game" by not insisting strongly enough
that the president meet the opposition's list of demands aimed at ensuring a
fair election. Ceka added that the government has failed to reorganize the
police and the secret service.

ALBANIAN ELECTION UPDATE. In Tirana, the Socialist and Democratic Parties
announced their candidates for the largest municipalities on 29 May. Socialist
Party leader Fatos Nano will run in Vlora, while his Democratic Party
counterpart, Tritan Shehu, will run in Kavaja, Dita Informacion reported .
Meanwhile, the newly-formed United Albanian Right--a coalition made up of the
Republicans, the National Front, the Party of the Democratic Right, and other
small rightist parties--has named World War II anti-communist National Front
leader Abaz Ermenji as its leader. The formation of the coalition has
frustrated Berisha's attempt to unite all conservative parties behind the
Democrats.

ALBANIAN LEK STABILIZES. The lek recovered some of its value on 29 May after
the central bank intervened against the previous day's rapid fall by selling
some of its hard currency reserves. The lek sold on Tirana money markets for
as high as 195 to the dollar on 28 May but firmed up at 170 after the bank's
move, Dita Informacion reported. Meanwhile, the statistical office at the
Agriculture Ministry said that food prices rose by 17% during May. In other
news, armed gunmen near Gjirokaster blocked the way of an OSCE election team
on 29 May and forced the mainly Italian group to go back to that southern
town. In Berat, two people were killed and seven wounded on 28 May in a fight
between rival gangs. And in Sauk, near Tirana, unidentified assailants shot
three people.

CLINTON PLEDGES HARD WORK ON BOSNIA. U.S. President Bill Clinton said in
London on 29 May that the international community will have to "work like
crazy for the next 13 months" to bring stability to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He
added that the only important issue in Bosnia is implementing the Dayton
agreement immediately. Clinton's remarks were the latest in a series of
statements by high U.S. officials on the need to enforce the civilian
provisions of the Dayton agreement. Press reaction in Europe has generally
been skeptical, and many editorials say that Washington has offered no new
concrete ideas.

NATO MINISTERS ALSO CALL FOR ACTION ON BOSNIA. The foreign ministers of the
Atlantic alliance, meeting in Sintra, Portugal, on 29 May, said that
violations of the Dayton agreement will not be tolerated. U.S. Secretary of
State Albright said the goal is to establish a lasting peace that will not
depend on the presence of foreign troops. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
stressed the need to catch war criminals and bring them to justice. Diplomats
said that NATO ministers will bring fresh pressure to bear on all three
Bosnian sides on 30 May, when the ministers meet with the three members of the
joint presidency--Alija Izetbegovic, Kresimir Zubak, and Momcilo Krajisnik.

ITALY WANTS "INFORMED" PERSON TO REPLACE BILDT. Also in Sintra, Italian
Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini stated on 29 May that his country opposes the
candidacy of Spanish diplomat Carlos Westendorp to succeed the international
community's Carl Bildt in Bosnia. Dini charged that the U.S. and France
monopolized the widely reported decision to pick Westendorp and argued that
the new high representative should instead be someone with a considerable
knowledge of Bosnian affairs. In Sarajevo, U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard announced
on 29 May that the three members of the presidency finally agreed on a draft
law to establish a central bank and common currency. The breakthrough came
when the Croats and Muslims granted the Serbs the right to continue to use the
Yugoslav dinar on their own territory. The Council of Ministers, for their
part, approved a group of economic measures known as the Quick Start Package.

MILOSEVIC NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION? Mirjana Markovic said on a visit to
Salonika, Greece, on 29 May that her husband will not run for a third term as
Serbian president. She added, however, that it is "too early" to discuss
whether Slobodan Milosevic will seek the federal Yugoslav Presidency. A
spokesman for Milosevic's Socialists said Serbia will not hand over any
indicted war criminals to the Hague-based tribunal but will try them in
Yugoslavia. The federal government, for its part, issued a statement that
"Croatia is showing insufficient cooperation and readiness for consistent
implementation of the Dayton-Paris agreement." And in The Hague, chief
prosecutor Louise Arbour met with representatives of the Montenegrin
Prosecutor's Office and Foreign Ministry, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from that Dutch city.

NEWS FROM AROUND FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Slovenian railroad workers decided in
Ljubljana on 30 May to extend a strike that was originally slated to end the
previous day. In Belgrade, over 5,000 retired people protested on 29 May to
demand the payment of back pensions. In Zagreb, opposition coalition
presidential candidate Vlado Gotovac called for a televised debate between
himself, President Franjo Tudjman, and Social Democrat Zdravko Tomac, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Croatian capital.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ON NATO MEMBERSHIP. Ivan Kostov's government says
Bulgaria should be invited to join an enlarged NATO in the first wave because
this would add to the organization's "geographic balance." It also says
Bulgaria can provide "real support" for the consolidation of "regional and
Euro-Atlantic security," AFP and Reuters reported on 29 May. The declaration
said the NATO-Russian pact cleared the way for the alliance's eastward
expansion and improved Bulgaria's prospects for joining. The Kostov government
says it views Bulgaria's membership in NATO as being of "paramount national
interest."

USAID PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR BULGARIAN REFORMS. Brian Atwood, head of the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID), told RFE/RL during his visit to
Sofia that the U.S. supports Bulgaria's privatization program, which he
characterized as "aggressive and ambitious." Atwood on 29 May discussed the
development of the market economy and private business with Premier Kostov. He
also met with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Bozhkov, who is in charge of the
privatization program. Atwood said the US. is encouraged by Bulgaria's new
emphasis on market reform and stamping out crime and corruption. Speaking of
Eastern and Central Europe in general, Atwood promised U.S. support for the
development of democracy and free markets in the region.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION MOVES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION. The first no-confidence motion
in Victor Ciorbea's government was moved on 29 May. It was initiated by the
main opposition Party of Social Democracy in Romania and is supported by the
Party of Romanian National Unity and the Greater Romania Party. The motion's
140 signatories say the coalition has proved unable to govern and has
generated "economic chaos" as well as a deterioration of living standards.
According to regulations, the motion must be debated within three days after
it has been moved. Under normal circumstances, the constitution prevents a
deputy or a senator from backing more than one no-confidence motion in a
single, six-monthly legislative session. However, for the first time in the
last 60 years, the executive has also asked the legislature for a vote of
confidence. This means that the opposition can move an additional
no-confidence motion if it so wishes.

DISPUTE CONTINUES OVER EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN MOLDOVA. Dumitru
Diacov, the leader of the pro-presidential Movement for a Democratic and
Prosperous Moldova and a deputy chairman of the parliament, has again called
for early parliamentary elections (see RFE/RL Newsline, 28 May 1997). Speaking
at a press conference in Chisinau on 29 May, Diacov said the bulk of deputies
are "hostile" to President Petru Lucinschi and deliberately postpone the
passage of reform laws, an RFE/RL correspondent in Chisinau reported.
Meanwhile, parliamentary chairman Dumitru Motpan said he is opposed to early
elections. Opposition was also expressed by the Socialist Unity-Edinstvo
faction, which called for Diacov's dismissal as deputy chairman of the
legislature, and by the Moldovan Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin,
BASA-press and Infotag reported on 29-30 May.

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ACCUSES MINISTERS OF POWER ABUSE. In a resolution passed
on 29 May, the parliament accused Minister of Privatization and State Property
Administration Ceslav Ciobanu of having illegally privatized the Legkovik
sanatorium, which was sold to the private Humanitarian University. Ciobanu's
wife is one of the founders of the university. The resolution says that
Ciobanu should be dismissed. It also calls for measures to be taken against
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economics and Reform Ion Gutu for having
approved the deal, Infotag and BASA-press reported the same day. The
Prosecutor-General's Office opened an official investigation against Ciobanu
on 28 May. Meanwhile, Gheorghe Cucu, a former first deputy mayor of Chisinau,
was appointed by President Petru Lucinschi minister of industry and trade. He
replaces Grigore Triboi, who resigned two weeks ago.

CORRECTION: The Russian contingent in the Transdniester has been cut by 1,900
troops and not to 1,900 troops, as incorrectly reported by RFE/RL Newsline on
29 May 1997.

END NOTE

CROATIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF

by Patrick Moore

        President Franjo Tudjman is widely expected to easily win a third term i
 n the
15 June elections. The campaign and the vote might nonetheless provide signs
of change in the political landscape.
        The State Election Commission announced on 27 May in Zagreb that only th
 ree
candidates had managed to collect the necessary 10,000 signatures to win a
place on the presidential ballot. They are Tudjman of the Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ), Zdravko Tomac of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Vlado
Gotovac of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS). Gotovac also has the
backing of at least eight other opposition parties or groupings. All three
successful candidates kicked off their respective campaigns in Zagreb on 28
May.
        Tudjman has held office since 1990 and favors paternalistic, authoritari
 an
rule. He tends to identify his own interests and policies with those of the
state and country and keeps a tight grip on the media. Tudjman recently
celebrated his 75th birthday by attending a gala at the Croatian National
Theater, the theme of which was Tudjman's life and ideas as the culmination of
all Croatian political history.
        Few Croats would deny his merits in leading the movement for national
independence. But his authoritarianism, together with what many observers see
as the corruption and ossification of the HDZ itself, has irritated many
voters. Still, the HDZ easily remains the strongest party, and it trounced the
opposition handily in the 13 April elections for local governments and the
upper house of the parliament.
        Part of the reason for the HDZ's continued strength is the weakness of t
 he
opposition. Gotovac is a former communist-era dissident who heads a party torn
by in-fighting. Both Tomac and his party are tainted in the eyes of many
Croats by their communist past. The opposition as a whole is divided and has
failed to develop a clear ideological alternative to the center-right HDZ. Nor
has it been able to find a presidential candidate who could begin to challenge
the charismatic Tudjman.
        This lack of balance on the political scene may be changing, however. Th
 e
unexpected strong showing in the April elections of the formerly marginal SDP
suggests that the main concern of average Croats continues to be making ends
meet and that a party that addresses social issues can win votes. Gotovac
seems to have registered this point when he recently defined his campaign as
"resistance against Croatia's undemocratic development, totalitarianism and
degradation of public morality." He went on to say that, "We want to reverse
the direction of Croatia's social and economic life and return to Croatia what
was promised to it at the very beginning" of independence in 1991.
        Tomac struck a similar chord. The leader of the reformed communists said
 :
"Croatia should not have an elite that lives in high style.... Social
Democrats want to preserve private property and free enterprise, but we [also]
want to create a country that will protect the worker and his dignity, a
country that will not allow a reign of furious capitalism." He added that he
would reduce the power of the presidency and called on Gotovac to join forces
with him against Tudjman if the ballot goes into a second round.
        The president, for his part, launched his campaign with an address to ne
 wly
graduated air force pilots that was broadcast at peak time on national
television. This reflects his and the HDZ's now standard practice of seeking
maximum political advantage from the prerogatives of office and from the
government's hold on the electronic media. The theme of his campaign is
continuity of the policies that he says have proven successful since the first
free elections in 1990. But even he acknowledged the need to reduce
bureaucracy and improve the standard of living.
        His main issues, however, are nationalist ones. During the election camp
 aign,
Tudjman can be expected to portray himself as the defender of Croatian
interests in the face of increasing criticism from the U.S. Gotovac told
RFE/RL in Zagreb on 28 May that Tudjman is exploiting current tensions with
Croatia's Western allies, just as Tito sought to rally his people behind him
in the face of Soviet pressures in 1948. Tomac, for his part, suggested to
RFE/RL that the West is insisting on the immediate return of Serbian refugees
but is less interested in the fate of displaced Croats.
        Several well-known Croatian political observers told RFE/RL corresponden
 ts
that the election underlines the need for some more fundamental changes. One
is for less emphasis on personalities and more on political programs. A second
is that Croatia requires a new generation of political leaders who are not so
rooted in the past. Finally, the analysts said, the system itself must become
more democratic and less linked to one man and one party.




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