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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 67, Part II, 7 July1997


Vol. 1, No. 67, Part II, 7 July1997

Note to readers: the RFE/RL Web Site will be providing detailed coverage of
NATO's Madrid Summit from 8-9 July. News updates, analysis, and RealAudio will
be posted on the following page:

http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/madrid-nato/index.html

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
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Back  issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through OMRI's
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Headlines, Part II

*SLOVAK ROUND-TABLE TALKS COLLAPSE

*ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS HOPE FOR TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY IN RUN-OFF ELECTIONS

*REPUBLIKA SRPSKA PRESIDENT REFUSES TO MEET WITH RIVALS

End Note
WHY ONLY THREE COUNTRIES WILL LIKELY BE INCLUDED IN FIRST WAVE OF NATO
ENLARGEMENT

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY. At the start of official celebrations of
Belarusian Independence Day, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in a 3 July
televised address that Minsk will not allow the international community to
exert pressure on the country. Lukashenka, who opposes NATO's planned eastward
expansion, said he advocates "a new global security system." Belarus had
previously celebrated Independence Day on 27 July, which marks the day in 1991
on which Belarus broke from the former Soviet Union. The new date coincides
with Belarus's liberation from the Nazis. Opposition groups, meanwhile, plan
to celebrate Independence Day on 27 July. The date was switched after a
controversial referendum last November that broadened the powers of
Lukashenka.

U.S. ORGANIZATION PROTESTS RUSSIAN REPORTER'S TREATMENT IN BELARUS. The New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has sent a letter to Belarusian
President Lukashenka protesting official harassment of Russian television
journalist Pavel Sheremet. The letter was made available to RFE/RL on 4 July.
The group said that Sheremet, who is the Minsk bureau chief of Russian Public
Television (ORT), has abeen stripped of special events accreditation and
threatened with the loss of his general accreditation. It added that the
action was in retaliation for Sheremet's 28 June broadcast in which he
characterized the planned Independence Day celebration in Belarus as
"President Lukashenka's idea." The committee said Sheremet was informed he had
insulted the president and the nation of Belarus. It urged Lukashenka to cease
harassing Sheremet. and pointed out that removal of credentials for such
reasons violates international standards guaranteeing the right of the news
media to freely gather and disseminate information.

UKRAINE, MOLDOVA, ROMANIA SIGN CRIME-FIGHTING AGREEMENTS. Presidents Leonid
Kuchma (Ukraine), Petru Lucinschi (Moldova), and Emil Constantinescu (Romania)
met in the Ukrainian border town of Izmail on 3 July, Interfax reported. They
signed an agreement on cooperation against crime, weapons, and drug smuggling
as well as a document setting up a free economic zone in the border area
between the three countries, in the basin of the Danube River. A customs union
agreement is expected to be concluded in September as the first concrete step
toward establishing a free economic zone. The presidents told reporters after
the meeting that the documents they signed will create favorable conditions
for the three countries' integration into European institutions.

MULTINATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISE IN UKRAINE. A multinational military exercise
codenamed "Cooperative Neighbor-97" began in Ukraine's western Lviv region on
5 July. The maneuver is taking place within the framework of NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. Interfax reported that some 1,200 servicemen
from Ukraine, the U.S., Greece, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Macedonia,
Romania, Slovakia, and Georgia are participating. Italy, Bulgaria, Germany,
and the Netherlands have sent observers. At a ceremony at the start of the
exercises, Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexander Kuzmuk stressed the importance
of Ukraine's participation in the Partnership for Peace program. At the NATO
summit in Madrid on 8-9 July, Ukraine will sign a special partnership charter
with the alliance. U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen is expected to attend
the closing of the exercise on 14 July.

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES GERMANY'S STANCE ON EU ENLARGEMENT. Valdis
Birkavs has criticized a statement by his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel,
saying that EU accession negotiations should start with the "most advanced"
candidates, BNS reported on 4 July. Kinkel made the comment during the recent
meeting of foreign ministers of the Baltic Sea States in Riga (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 July 1997). Speaking on Latvian Television, Birkavs said he
"negatively" evaluates Kinkel's comment. He noted that the European Commission
will publish reports in mid-July highlighting the issues that candidate states
have to deal with. "Each state should be given time to tackle those problems,"
the foreign minister urged.

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SETS DATE OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The parliament has
announced that presidential elections will be held on 21 December, BNS
reported on 3 July. Under the constitution, elections for the presidency are
to take place two months before the current term expires. In a poll conducted
by the Lithuanian-British company Baltic Surveys in mid-June and published in
"Respublika" on 4 July, Valdas Adamkus, a U.S. citizen of Lithuanian origin,
won 32.7 percent of the vote, up 5.6 percentage points over May, and incumbent
President Algirdas Brazauskas 23.6 percent (down 0.1 percentage point). It is
unclear whether Adamkus will be able to run owing to legal hurdles, while
Brazauskas has not yet announced if he will seek a second term. Meanwhile,
Rimantas Smetona, the founder of the Lithuanian Euroskeptics movement and
chairman of the Nationalist Democratic Movement For Independent Lithuania, has
announced he will run for the presidency.

POLISH PRESIDENT SIGNS BAN ON DEATH PENALTY. Aleksander Kwasniewski has signed
into law a new criminal code abolishing the death penalty, PAP reported on 3
July. He signed the bill, despite widespread calls last month to restore
capital punishment after several murder cases in the country. The last
execution in Poland was carried out in 1988. The death penalty was suspended
shortly before the fall of communism in 1989 and was scrapped in the new
criminal code approved by the parliament in June. The new code carries a
maximum penalty of 25 years in jail and is to take effect on 1 January.

POLISH RESPONSE TO RUSSIA'S SUGGESTIONS ON OSCE. Polish President Kwasniewski,
speaking at the opening of the annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Warsaw on 5 July, rejected
suggestions by Russia that the role of OSCE would be weakened by NATO's
planned enlargement, Reuters reported. Kwasniewski stressed the OSCE's unique
importance but said his countrymen favor joining NATO. The Russian delegation,
led by Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev, reiterated Moscow's opposition to NATO
expansion. The Russians say they will propose amendments to a document on
European security in the 21st century, which was endorsed by the OSCE's Lisbon
summit in December.

BLOCKADE OF CZECH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Some 500 young people from the Czech
Republic and elsewhere started a blockade of the Czech nuclear power plant in
Temelin on 6 July, Czech Television reported. The demonstrators were
responding to a call by the Citizens against Temelin association, which says
the plant is expensive, unnecessary, and dangerous. Jakub Patocka from the
Duha [Rainbow] environmental movement said participants in the blockade, which
is to last several days, are exercising their right to life without nuclear
energy. Demonstrators were able to enter the Temelin construction site without
encountering resistance from guards. They later told journalists this meant
the plant was poorly protected. The management of the plant later requested
police to protect the plant.

SLOVAK ROUND-TABLE TALKS COLLAPSE. Talks on 4 July between Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar and all but one of the Slovak opposition parties
collapsed, RFE/RL's Bratislava correspondent reported. The participants failed
to reach agreement on taking steps toward democratization or fulfilling EU and
NATO conditions. One of Meciar's chief opponents, Democratic Party leader Jan
Langos, was not invited to participate. The premier said after the meeting
that he wants to continue with formal talks. But the opposition is strongly
against further discussions because of the lack of results in the 4 July
meeting. Meanwhile, the ruling coalition parties in the parliament refused on
4 July to appove any changes recently suggested by the EU as a condition for
Slovakia to be included in the first round of union enlargement talks.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CALLS FOR CAMPAIGN AGAINST SLOVAKIA. Democratic
Forum chairman Sandor Lezsak has called on the government to appeal to the
OSCE and the EU to deal with the grievances of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia,
Hungarian media reported on 7 July. He said failure to do so would be to
abandon the interests of ethnic Hungarians. He also called upon European
Democratic Union leader Alois Mock to take steps to resolve the matter, and he
criticized the governing parties for having concluded an "unacceptable" basic
treaty with Slovakia in 1995.

FACTION LEADER EXPELLED FROM HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY. The disciplinary and
ethics committee of the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) has
expelled parliamentary faction leader Tamas Isepy for publicly questioning the
legitimacy of the party's recent leadership elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
23 June 1997), Hungarian media reported on 5 July. Despite his expulsion,
Isepy remains the party's faction leader. He said he would not leave the
parliamentary group unless he loses a confidence vote by the group. KDNP
parliamentary and local government deputies on 6 July set up the "Barankovics
Platform" (named after a Christian Democratic leader of the 1940s), whose
objective is to reintroduce what they call "genuine" Christian Democratic
values into the party. They unanimously objected to Isepy's expulsion.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS HOPE FOR TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY IN RUN-OFF ELECTIONS.
Socialist Party spokesmen said in Tirana that their party hopes to gain a
two-thirds majority in the parliament after the run-off elections in 34
districts on 6 July. That majority would allow them to change the
constitution. The Socialist and Social Democratic coalition took more than 80
of the legislature's 155 seats on 29 June. Socialist leader Fatos Nano said in
Tirana on 6 July that he will be the next prime minister. Current Prime
Minister Bashkim Fino may hold another senior position in the new cabinet,
Nano added. According to ATA, Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka defeated
a Socialist candidate in Elbasan. Meanwhile near Shkoder, a gunman killed two
members of a polling station commission and injured two more. In Mat, north of
Tirana, one person was killed in another incident at a polling station.

CONFLICT BETWEEN ALBANIAN MONARCHISTS, GOVERNMENT SHARPENS. Ongoing tensions
peaked on 3 July when Leka Zogu, the claimant to the throne, held a protest
rally in Tirana. He charged the Socialists, in particular, with what he called
the theft of the monarchists' victory in the 29 June referendum. The
demonstration included a large number of armed people who attempted to march
on the Central Election Commission, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Tirana. Leka himself wore fatigues and carried two guns and some
hand-grenades, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. Police stopped
the demonstration, but a shoot-out developed in which one monarchist was
killed and two other persons injured. Leka's policy adviser Abedin Mulosmani
charged that the police used "communist methods" and compared the incident to
the shooting of protesters by communist police in 1991, "Bota Sot" reported on
5 July.

REPUBLIKA SRPSKA PRESIDENT REFUSES TO MEET WITH RIVALS. Biljana Plavsic said
in Banja Luka on 6 July that she fears for her safety and will not meet with
Momcilo Krajisnik, the leading backer in the Bosnian Serb leadership of
Radovan Karadzic. On 3 July, she dissolved the parliament and called early
elections for 1 September. Karadzic's supporters, who have a narrow majority
in the legislature, nonetheless began meeting near Pale on 4 July. They passed
a series of measures aimed at weakening the president's powers and at
facilitating her removal from office. The next day, Plavsic told several
thousand supporters in Banja Luka that she should have informed them much
earlier of the truth about crime and corruption in the Bosnian Serb
leadership, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the area.

WILL NATO MOVE AGAINST KARADZIC? U.S. special forces are preparing to arrest
former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and take him to The Hague to be
tried for war crimes, London's "Daily Telegraph" and the "Frankfurter
Rundschau" reported on 7 July. President Bill Clinton has reportedly decided
that Karadzic must be removed from the scene if peace in Bosnia is to have a
chance. Clinton intends to discuss the question of Bosnian war criminals at
the Madrid NATO summit on 8-9 July, the two dailies add. U.S. diplomats have
been shuttling between Madrid, Belgrade, Banja Luka, and Pale in recent days,
and German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel raised the issue of Karadzic with
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade on 6 June. Gen. John
Shalikashvili, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Washington
that "it is terribly important...to apprehend these war criminals and bring
them to justice."

FORMER HERZEGOVINIAN CROAT LEADER DIES. Mate Boban (55), the former head of
the Herzegovinian-based Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, died on 7 July in
Mostar. He had suffered a brain hemorrhage three days earlier, and doctors
said at the time that his condition was too serious to attempt to move him to
a better hospital in Zagreb, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Mostar. In
the Croatian capital, Roman Catholic Church spokesmen announced on 6 July that
Pope John Paul II has appointed Bishop Josip Bozanic of Krk to succeed the
retiring Cardinal Franjo Kuharic as archbishop of Zagreb. And the Croatian
Peasants' Party voted to expel Zagreb city councilors Damir Bukovic and Josip
Sporer, who had made their own deal with the governing Croatian Democratic
Community to vote with that party in the council.

NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. In Pristina, the Council for the Defense of Human
Rights in Kosovo said on 4 July that Ali Qallopeku, an ethnic Albanian member
of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, was killed near Glogovac. Nobody
claimed responsibility for the murder, but the shadowy Kosovo Liberation Army
has recently targeted ethnic Albanians whom it regards as collaborators with
the Serbian regime. Meanwhile in Ljubljana, leaders of the parties represented
in the parliament agreed on 4 July to cooperate to change the constitution by
15 July to enable Slovenia to meet EU requirements for associate member
status. Many observers suggest, however, that Janez Jansa, the leader of the
conservative Social Democrats, may nonetheless try to bring down the
government and force new elections over the issue, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote. The proposed constitutional changes, which would enable
foreigners to buy property, are unpopular among the public.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT INVITED TO ADDRESS POST-SUMMIT NATO GATHERING. NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana has invited Emil Constantinescu to attend a
meeting of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Partnership in Madrid on 9-10 July.
The council was set up on 30 May at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in
Sintra, Portugal, and includes NATO's 16 members and the countries
participating in the Partnership for Peace program. The Romanian Presidential
Office reported on 6 July that Constantinescu will address a "working session"
of the council that will discuss "Effective Cooperation for Security in the
Euro-Atlantic Zone: Risks, Provocations, Opportunities." The office quoted
Solana as saying the first meeting of the new body marks a "historic moment"
launching "a new and comprehensive European security structure based on
cooperation."

ROMANIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Under a compromise reached on 5 July, the
Democratic Party agreed to the removal of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Gilda
Lazar, who had criticized Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea's visit to the U.S. In
exchange, the executive rebuffed Valerian Stan, the head of the Government
Control department, by placing the department under the direct supervision of
the premier. Stan is a member of the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic (PNTCD). The government said Stan's allegations that Democratic
Party leaders were involved in the illegal acquisition of apartments had
"mislead public opinion." One day earlier, Democratic Party chairman Petre
Roman said there was a "breach of trust" between his party and the PNTCD,
following a statement by PNTCD leader Ion Diaconescu mentioning the
possibility of early elections and forming a government without the Democrats.


LABOR PROTEST IN MOLDOVA. Several thousand workers and pensioners continue to
protest in Chisinau against the 60% hike in electricity prices introduced in
March and against wage arrears. The demonstration, which began on 3 July, is
organized by the Moldovan Trade Union Federation. whose leader, Ion Godonoga,
met on 4 July with members of the cabinet. BASA-press reported that although
an agreement was in sight on wage arrears, the government refuses to revoke
its decision to raise electricity prices. Finance Minister Valeriu Chitan said
the government cannot meet protesters' demand to increase wages because GDP
declined by 6 percent in 1996.

MOLDOVAN PARTY EXPELS TWO DEPUTIES. The Socialist Unity-Edinstvo faction in
the parliament on 3 July expelled Vladimir Slonari and Dimitrii Uzun and asked
parliamentary chairman Dumitru Motpan to remove Slonari from the chairmanship
of the Commission for Human Rights and Ethnic Relations, Infotag and
BASA-press reported. The decision comes after Slonari voted in favor of the
government-proposed draft law providing for the sale of land. Slonari, who
recently set up a new political party called the Civic Party of Moldova, said
the decision illustrates the growing "trend toward the Left, toward political
radicalism and against reform" that is under way in the Socialist
Unity-Edinstvo party.

BULGARIA LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON CURRENCY TRADE. The government has lifted most
restrictions on buying and selling foreign currency, an RFE/RL correspondent
in Sofia reported on 3 July. Citizens and state-owned companies no longer need
special permission from the National Bank to buy hard currency, but Finance
Minister Muravei Radev said some restrictions on the amount of hard currency
allowed to be taken abroad will remain in force until the parliament passes a
new law regulating currency trade in general. In other news, the German
publisher Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) acquired on 4 July 100 percent
of Bulgaria's biggest press group, the 168 Chasa Press, which publishes the
popular "24 Chasa" daily. In September 1996, the WAZ acquired 70 percent of
the Bulgarian group's shares. The WAZ also owns a 70 percent of Media Holding,
which publishes the country's second-largest daily, "Trud."

BULGARIAN HOLY SYNOD RE-ESTABLISHES INDEPENDENCE FROM STATE. The Holy Synod of
the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on 3 July formally re-established its
independence from the state, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. The synod met for
the first time in 44 years and was headed by Patriarch Maxim, whose foes
criticize him for cooperating with the Communists. It decided to meet every
four years and annulled the regulation imposed by the Communists whereby the
patriarch had to be approved by the government. Maxim's opponents, headed by
Metropolitan Pymen, boycotted the meeting. In 1996, Pymen declared himself
patriarch and set up his own Holy Synod. He was subsequently excommunicated
and anathematized by Maxim.

END NOTE

WHY ONLY THREE COUNTRIES WILL LIKELY BE INCLUDED IN FIRST WAVE OF NATO
ENLARGEMENT

by Michael Mihalka

NATO will likely invite only three countries--the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland--to join the alliance at the Madrid summit on 8-9 July. Several NATO
members wanted to extend an invitation to Slovenia and Romania, but the United
States has made it clear that it would like the first wave of NATO enlargement
to be small. The U.S. government's decision says a great deal about the
current dynamics of European security.

First, by restricting the first wave to the three Central European countries,
the U.S. has removed the Baltic States' candidacy from the security agenda for
the time being. Both Washington and Bonn wish to avoid needlessly antagonizing
Moscow, which strongly objects to NATO enlarging to include countries from the
former Soviet Union. Russia acquiesced to the first wave of enlargement by
signing the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which states that NATO has neither plans
nor reasons to deploy nuclear weapons or foreign troops on the territory of
the new members. Russia has interpreted this to also mean that NATO will not
build any new infrastructure there either.

Second, the U.S. government is particularly concerned about how the debate on
enlargement will unfold in the Senate. To date, the NATO enlargement process
has failed to prompt a public debate in the U.S. This is surprising, since
enlargement will entail not only clear obligations but also costs that have
not yet been determined.

Third, many feel that Romanian democracy and economic reform, despite having
made significant progress in the last year, need more time to take root before
that country can be considered for NATO membership. The government of Vladimir
Meciar in Slovakia has come under fire from both the EU and U.S. for its
anti-democratic tendencies. And in Sofia, it is only recently that a
center-right government in favor of NATO membership has been reinstalled to
replace the Socialists, who had shown greater interest in siding with Moscow.

Fourth, while few observers dispute Slovenia's democratic credentials and its
economic successes (despite lagging behind other countries in the region with
regard to privatization), some point out that, with its population of some 2
million, it is unlikely to make much of a military contribution to the
alliance. That argument has also been made against the candidacy of the Baltic
States, whose prospects for NATO entry would be undercut by Slovenia's
inclusion.

Fifth, the admission of Romania and Slovenia would cause a shift in the
strategic focus of the alliance to southeastern Europe. This is one of the
reasons that countries like Italy, Turkey, and Greece have been supporting
Bucharest and Ljubljana. However, the implications of such a shift have not
yet been thought through. And in the meantime, NATO's continued participation
in Bosnia following the expiry of SFOR's mandate remains in doubt.

Sixth, the Madrid summit will cover a number of topics that will command the
attention of the alliance. These include the enlargement of NATO's integrated
military structure to include Spain and possibly France.

Finally, the alliance will also embark on an enhanced Partnership for Peace
program to promote integration with those countries that are not be invited to
join in the first wave. Planning cells will be set up in NATO headquarters in
which the military from partnership countries will be invited to participate.
The North Atlantic Cooperation Council has already been transformed into the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which has increased responsibilities.

Thus, enlargement of the alliance to include the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland will take place at a time of considerable change within the alliance.
Those three countries have sound democratic and economic credentials, and
their accession to NATO will not significantly alter the alliance's strategic
focus.

The author teaches at the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies in
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.




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