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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 43, Part II, 2 June 1997


Vol. 1, No. 43, Part II, 2 June 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

* UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN POLITICAL TREATY

* ALBANIA GETS NEW SECRET POLICE CHIEF

* ALBRIGHT IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN POLITICAL TREATY. Leonid Kuchma and Boris
Yeltsin signed a wide-ranging political treaty on 31 May in Kyiv. The 10-year
treaty, which will automatically be extended for 10-year periods if neither
side cancels it, states that Russia accepts Ukraine's territorial integrity
and its sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula. It also confirms that Russia
will assume all foreign debts accrued by Soviet-era Ukraine in exchange for
all foreign assets accumulated by Kyiv under communism. Kuchma hailed the
signing of the treaty as an "event of huge importance" that opened "a new
stage" in bilateral relations. Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii said
the agreement solved all outstanding problems between Russia and Ukraine and
ended a cycle of "distrust" and "suspicion," Interfax reported. Yastrzhembskii
had said on 30 May that Yeltsin was concerned about discrimination against the
Russian language and culture in Ukraine.

SECURITY ASPECTS OF RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN TREATY. Under the new treaty, Russia and
Ukraine have pledged not to enter into agreements with third countries aimed
against each other and not to allow their territories to be used to the
detriment of each other's security. Yeltsin and Kuchma also signed a
declaration on the division of the Black Sea fleet, formalizing a deal reached
during Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's recent visit (see RFE/RL Newsline,
29 May 1997). In addition, the two presidents called for reinforcing the role
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and issued a
statement against stationing NATO troops and nuclear weapons in countries that
are not yet members of the alliance. But Yeltsin's spokesman Yastrzhembskii
told reporters on 30 May that Russia remains opposed to the NATO-led "Sea
Breeze" naval exercises scheduled for August off the coast of Crimea, Reuters
reported.

KYIV REJECTS YELTSIN'S OFFER OF DEFENSE "IN EXTREME SITUATIONS." Ukrainian
Security and Defense Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin says Kyiv has not
asked Russia to help defend Ukraine, Reuters reported on 30 May. In a TV
interview broadcast before he left for Kyiv, Yeltsin said that under the
Russian-Ukrainian agreements to be signed, the two countries would
"participate together to defend Ukraine" if it became necessary and would help
each other "in extreme situations." Horbulin commented, "I think President
Yeltsin was guided by his best intentions but there were no [such] requests
from the Ukrainian side."

WORLD BANK APPROVES GUARANTEES FOR UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN COMPANIES INVOLVED IN SEA
LAUNCH VENTURE. The World Bank has approved partial risk guarantees worth $200
million to cover Russian and Ukrainian enterprises involved in the Sea Launch
joint venture, RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported on 3O May. The
companies involved in that venture, which is aimed at launching commercial
satellites from a converted oil platform, are the U.S. Boeing Commercial space
company, Russia's RSC Energia, Ukraine's Yuzhnoye, and Norway's Kvaerner
Maritime. Russian and Ukrainian rockets and launch systems will be transported
to the U.S. to be assembled with Boeing satellites and taken to a remote area
of the Pacific for launching. The guarantees cover only political risks and
are a complex arrangement involving the companies as well as the governments
of Russia and Ukraine. World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said the
project should foster economic benefits for Russia and Ukraine totaling some
$2 billion and help maintain up to 30,000 high-paying jobs in both countries.

BELARUSIAN ROUNDUP. Niels Helveg, Denmark's foreign minister and acting
president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told
journalists in Vienna on 30 May that Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan
Antonovich agreed the previous day to allow the OSCE to set up a mission in
Belarus. The mission will advise the authorities on ways to promote democracy.
Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian began an official visit to
Belarus on 1 June. He is scheduled to visit military installations and meet
with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Interfax reported that Chi will also
meet with Prime Minister Sergei Ling and Defense Minister Alexander Chumakov.
The two defense ministers are expected to sign a military accord.

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING. Estonia's Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Latvia's
Valdis Birkavs, and Lithuania's Algirdas Saudargas met on the Estonian island
of Saaremaa on 1 June and urged the EU and NATO to accept all three countries
as new members, ETA reported. They reiterated their stand that EU expansion
negotiations should be started simultaneously for the three Baltic applicants
and that the first round of NATO expansion should not be the last. The
ministers also proposed that the Via Baltica highway become a regional
project, which, they said, would pave the way for financing under the EU's
PHARE program. The meeting was the last within the framework of the Baltic
Council of Ministers under Estonia's chairmanship. Latvia takes over the
chairmanship on 1 July.

ESTONIAN POLICE CHIEF RESIGNS. Police Department Director-General Ain Seppik
resigned on 30 May, BNS and ETA reported. He cited disagreements with Interior
Minister Robert Lepikson over proposed personnel changes in the police
leadership as well as insufficient funding for the police force. Seppik also
pointed to recent attempts by the Coalition Party to "politicize" the police
leadership and "worsening cooperation" between the Police Department and the
Interior Ministry. Lepikson, who attended the press conference at which Seppik
announced his resignation, confirmed that he would proceed with the proposed
personnel changes. The same day, the minister approved a new leadership
structure for the Police Department, according to RFE/RL's Estonian service.

LITHUANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES TV, RADIO CHIEF'S DISMISSAL ILLEGAL. The
Constitutional Court has ruled that the dismissal of Vytautas Kveitkauskas as
radio and television chief was illegal, BNS reported on 30 May. The parliament
in December passed a resolution setting up a new council of National Radio and
Television (LRTV), which subsequently fired Kveitkauskas from his post. The
Constitutional Court ruled that the parliament had contravened two articles of
the basic law in setting up the new governing body. Kvietkauskas is seeking to
be reinstated as LRTV chief and receive compensation for lost wages.

POPE STARTS 11-DAY VISIT TO POLAND. Pope John Paul is currently in Poland for
an 11-day visit. Upon his arrival at Wroclaw airport on 31 May, the pontiff
said he has noted an "infusion of optimism" in Poland but added he is
concerned about "at times very painful" problems and tensions. He later met
with President Alexander Kwasniewski, who told reporters after the meeting
that the Pope understands Poland's strengths but also its weaknesses and will
give both warnings and encouragement during his trip. Kwasniewski, a former
Communist, said Poles should "accept those observations" and "ponder their
meaning." On 1 June, the Pope celebrated mass in Wroclaw. This is his seventh
visit to his native Poland since he was elected in 1978.

CZECH PRESIDENT WELCOMES GOVERNMENT'S DECISIVENESS. Vaclav Havel said on 1
June, in his regular radio address, that he welcomes the "new resoluteness" of
the government of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. He said he considered the
announced government changes, which affect only two ministries, to be less
important than the ruling coalition's consensus on a program to stabilize and
reinvigorate the economy. A day earlier, Havel welcomed Klaus's announcement
that he would ask the parliament for a vote of confidence in the government at
the legislature's next session.

SLOVAK PREMIER ATTACKS OPPOSITION. Vladimir Meciar said on national radio on
30 May that the Slovak opposition's calls for his and Interior Minister Gustav
Krajci's dismissal were an attempt to "disrupt society." He added that the
opposition is incapable of compromise. The right-of-center opposition parties
have said they will propose a vote of no confidence in the two politicians
over their role in the failed referendum on Slovakia's NATO membership and
direct presidential elections. Meanwhile, leaders of the opposition Democratic
Left Party (SDL) told journalists on 31 May that the SDL will reject any
proposal for a no confidence vote in the government, although it considers the
cabinet's conduct "unacceptable." The SDL said the "thwarting of the
referendum by the Meciar government amounted to a direct attack on citizens'
basic constitutional rights and harmed Slovakia's international position." At
the same time, the SDL said President Michal Kovac and the right-wing
opposition shared responsibility for the chaos preceding the referendum.

HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST LEADER WARNS OF RIGHT-WING THREAT. Socialist Party
parliamentary faction leader Imre Szekeres says the Left has the
responsibility to prevent a surge in popularity of the right-wing Hungarian
Justice and Life Party, Independent Smallholders' Party, and Christian
Democratic People's Party, Hungarian media reported. At a meeting of the
Socialist Party's Left-Wing Group on 31 May, Szekeres said that since they
came to power in 1994, the Socialists have been unable to pursue a traditional
left-wing policy. He stressed that a left-wing party must represent the values
of democratic socialism rather than build capitalism. He also noted that the
three right-wing parties represent a threat to democracy and expressed the
hope that Socialist leaders would recognize that threat and present a united
front ahead of the 1998 elections.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SECURITY SITUATION IN ALBANIA STILL TENSE. An explosion rocked downtown Tirana
near Socialist Party headquarters. No details are yet available. Rebels in
Vlora shot at an Italian helicopter on 30 May as it was taking an injured
child to an Italian hospital, Gazeta Shqiptare reported . The rebels were
reported to have thought that Berisha had sent the helicopter to attack them.
A spokesman of Vlora's insurgent committee told a press conference in Tirana
that election preparations are proceeding apace and all parties are
participating, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Albanian capital. But
another committee representative told Dita Informacion on 1 June that "a blood
bath" could result if Berisha tries to campaign in Vlora. And in Gjirokaster,
the local insurgent committee rejected charges that it was responsible for
blocking the car of a team from the European Community Monitoring Mission in
the area last week, Koha Jone wrote on 1 June. Finally, the government in
Tirana protested to the Macedonian ambassador on 30 May about an incident on
25 May during which Macedonian troops allegedly fired into an Albanian village
on the two countries' tense border.

ALBANIA GETS NEW SECRET POLICE CHIEF. President Sali Berisha named Arben
Karkini from the Republican Party as the new head of SHIK on 30 May in Tirana.
The coalition government also nominated the Socialist Arben Rakipi to be
Karkini's deputy, but Berisha has not agreed. Namik Dokle, a top Socialist
politician, charged Berisha with delaying Rakipi's appointment for political
reasons, Dita Informacion wrote. Democratic Alliance leader Meritan Ceka said
Karkini will not make any difference in the structure of SHIK, which the
opposition and the independent media regard as a tool of Berisha. Karkini is
currently prosecutor in Kavaja.

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS OFFER BALLOT PLACES TO SMALLER PARTIES. The Socialist
Party offered in Tirana on 30 May to nominate joint candidates from smaller
parties and organizations in over 25 of the 115 electoral districts. The move
came at a meeting of the Forum for Democracy, which is an umbrella
organization composed of several small political groups. Forum leader Fatos
Lubonja nonetheless refused such a ballot place for himself, Koha Jone
reported on 1 June. Meanwhile, Democratic Party spokesman Vili Minarolli said
in Tirana that his party is willing to continue the coalition government after
the elections, Indipendent wrote on 1 June. The Socialists did not respond to
his offer.

ALBRIGHT IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
visited Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Brcko, and Banja Luka over the weekend. In
all those places, she delivered a tough message: war criminals must be brought
to justice, refugees must be able to go home, and the Dayton agreement must be
enforced. The U.S., she stressed, is eager to work with those parties to
Dayton who want to put the treaty into practice. But those who do not meet
their obligations, she warned, will find themselves isolated. Albright and
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman differed openly over the return of Serbian
refugees. She publicly told Croatian Development Minister Jure Radic that he
was "lying" and that he "should be ashamed of himself" because of the
destruction of Croatian Serbs' property. Her spokesman said that her meeting
with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was the toughest one she has had
with a foreign leader since becoming secretary of state early this year.
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic, by contrast, stressed her
willingness to cooperate with the U.S.. Albright promised Plavsic generous
housing reconstruction aid if the Republika Srpska allows Muslim and Croat
refugees to go back to their homes on Bosnian Serb territory.

MONTENEGRO UNDERSCORES DIFFERENCES WITH BELGRADE. Blagota Mitric, the
president of Montenegro's Constitutional Court, said on 1 June that federal
Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic's recent remarks against the Kosovo Albanians
were "unconstitutional." Lilic had said that if the Kosovars want their own
state, they could go to Albania. Mitric replied that it is unheard of for a
head of state to tell his fellow citizens to leave the country, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital. Also in Podgorica, the
Montenegrin Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said the Montenegrin
government's recent dispatch of a delegation to the Hague-based tribunal was
"significant and positive" (see RFE/RL Newsline, 30 May 1997).

KLEIN WARNS CROATS OVER VUKOVAR POWER PLAY. Jacques Klein, the UN's chief
administrator for eastern Slavonia, said in Vukovar on 1 June that Croatia
will "pay a high price" for the governing Croatian Democratic Community's
recent attempt to set up a municipal government in Vukovar without the
participation of the Serbs or of the UN (see RFE/RL Newsline, 29 May 1997). He
nonetheless denied Croatian and international press reports that the UN plans
to prolong its mandate in eastern Slavonia, BETA news agency reported. In
other news from the former Yugoslavia, trains are running again in Slovenia,
but union leaders said in Ljubljana on 31 May that the strike will resume on 5
June if pay demands are not met. And in Pristina, a court sentenced 20 ethnic
Albanians on 30 May to sentences totaling up to 106 years on charges of
terrorism.

WESTENDORP TO REPLACE BILDT IN BOSNIA. International diplomats voted in
Sintra, Portugal, on 30 May to name Spain's former Foreign Minister Carlos
Westendorp to succeed Sweden's Carl Bildt as the international community's
high representative in Bosnia. Westendorp told the Sarajevo paper Dnevni Avaz
in New York that he fears that fighting might resume in Bosnia if the security
situation worsens. He also said that he would like to keep Bildt's deputy,
Michael Steiner, as his deputy as long as Steiner chooses to stay. The Muslim
media had wanted Steiner to replace Bildt. Critics in Bosnia and abroad
charged that Westendorp knows little about the complex region and called
instead for the appointment of a prominent politician like former British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

EXTREME NATIONALISTS MAKE THREAT ON ROMANIAN PRESIDENT'S LIFE. Prime Minister
Victor Ciorbea said in an interview with RFE/RL on 1 June that if necessary,
the "relevant authorities" will take "all appropriate measures" against
threats on the life of Romanian President Emil Constantinescu. The threats
were made in connection with the signing on 31 May of the Romanian-Ukrainian
basic treaty. The extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party's weekly Politica
on 24 May published a letter, signed by the Association of Romanian
Nationalists in the Diaspora, saying Constantinescu, Ciorbea, and other
officials will be "assassinated" because they are guilty of "high treason."
The letter also says Romania will not be admitted to an expanded NATO because
its main enemy is "international Jewry headed by the freemason Bill Clinton,
whose foreign minister is the Jewess Iana [sic] Miriam Korbel, known under the
pseudonym of Madeleine Albright."

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS WITH ALBRIGHT. Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase
told U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Sintra, Portugal, on 30 May
that his country meets all the criteria for joining NATO. He asked Albright to
send a special envoy to Romania to examine the situation at first hand. After
the meeting, he told reporters he could see "no rigid attitude" on Albright's
part. He quoted the secretary of state as saying the media had "exaggerated"
in reporting her position, adding that Albright was only trying to emphasize
that enlargement should strengthen, rather than weaken, the alliance. Severin
said he told Albright that limiting expansion to only a few states may lead to
weakening the alliance, Radio Bucharest reported. Severin also said the
Romanian-Hungarian-Austrian "trilateral group" has "officially been launched"
following meetings in Sintra with his Hungarian and Austrian counterparts.

UNREST IN ROMANIAN RULING COALITION. At a meeting of the Democratic Party (PD)
caucus in Pitesti on 31 May, Foreign Minister Severin accused the government
of "blocking" reform. He was supported by other participants, who said the
pace of reform was too slow. Some speakers said that while the PD was trying
to press for reform measures, even if those steps were unpopular, other
members of the coalition were still "adopting an electoral campaign-like
attitude." The meeting was attended by PD ministers, deputies, prefects, and
mayors. But PD leader Petre Roman said there is no substantial friction in the
coalition and added that his party will back the government in the vote of
confidence scheduled for 3 June.

CHISINAU COMPLAINS ABOUT ROMANIA'S TREATMENT OF MOLDOVAN CITIZENS. During a
meeting at the Ungheni border crossing on 31 May, Deputy Foreign Minister
Aurelian Danila told his Romanian counterpart, Dumitru Ciausu, that Moldovan
citizens are mistreated at Romanian-Moldovan border-crossings. Radio Bucharest
quoted Danila as saying that while Romania talks about "special relations"
with Moldova, it is "compromising" that concept by raising "artificial
barriers." He said border-crossing procedures must be simplified. Danila also
complained about "Medieval practices" of the Romanian custom services. Ciausu
said he did not think the situation was "that unsatisfactory." Officials from
the two countries' internal affairs, transportation, and industry ministries
also took part in the meeting. Agreement was reached to increase efforts to
simplify border-crossing procedures for both merchandise and people.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT REPLACES STATE SAVINGS BANK HEAD. The parliament on 30
May dismissed Bistra Dimitrova as head of the State Savings Bank (DKS) and
replaced her with Spas Dimitrov, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. Dimitrov, who
is a lawyer by training, told reporters he intends to put an end to the use of
the bank for political manipulation. Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev had
earlier accused Dimitrova, who was appointed DKS head by the previous,
Socialist-dominated parliament, of being responsible for money illegally lent
to state and commercial banks linked to the former ruling party.

MONEY-LOSING BULGARIAN STATE FIRMS TO BE FINED FOR RAISING SALARIES. Deputy
Prime Minister Evgeny Bakardzhiev says the directors of state-owned companies
will be fined large sums for raising salaries at a time when companies are
losing money. Bakardzhiev made the announcement in Sofia on 1 June, after a
meeting with the leaders of the largest trade unions. He said the cabinet will
decide on 2 June about the exact size of the fines. The announcement is in
line with government efforts to cut spending to meet International Monetary
Fund requirements. On 30 May, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov told managers of the
state-owned Neftochim oil refinery that they should lower wages. He admonished
them for having raised wages threefold since the end of February.




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