|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 69, Part II, 9 July1997
Note to readers: the RFE/RL Web Site is providing detailed coverage of NATO's Madrid Summit from 8-9 July. News updates, analysis, and RealAudio are 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 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/ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II *NATO INVITES CZECH REPUBLIC, HUNGARY, POLAND TO JOIN *OSCE SAYS ALBANIAN ELECTIONS VALID *NATO WARNS AGAINST ATTEMPT TO OUST PLAVSIC xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE NATO INVITES CZECH REPUBLIC, HUNGARY, POLAND TO JOIN. NATO leaders invited the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the Western alliance at a historic summit in Madrid on 8 July. NATO leaders rejected a strong appeal from France, Italy, and other states to also extend invitations to Romania and Slovenia. But a communique said NATO will review the enlargement process in 1999 and that the door remains open for former Communist states to join in the future. The statement specifically mentioned Romania and Slovenia and also praised the "progress achieved towards greater stability and cooperation" by the Baltic States. U.S. President Bill Clinton hailed NATO's decision as the "dawn of a new Europe" that is undivided, democratic, and peaceful. U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said NATO will send officials to the three states to devise plans for upgrading their infrastructures, communications, and other systems to enable them to become full members of the alliance. CZECH, HUNGARIAN, POLISH LEADERS WELCOME NATO DECISION. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland welcomed with "deepest satisfaction" the invitation to become members of NATO. Czech President Vaclav Havel, flanked by Polish President Aleksandr Kwasniewski and Hungarian Premier Guyla Horn, read a statement to reporters in Madrid just minutes after NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana announced the 16 NATO countries had decided to take in the three new members. The Central European statement said the move is in recognition of the "tremendous efforts" undertaken by their societies following the collapse of communism in 1989. The leaders said they are very proud that the transformations of their political and economic systems have made them eligible for NATO membership. Havel also said the three hope that the parliaments of the 16 NATO countries will ratify their accession in time for them to become full members by April 1999, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the alliance. ROMANIA, SLOVENIA LOOK TO FUTURE MEMBERSHIP. Romanian President Emil Constantinescu said the Madrid communique "acknowledges the exceptional efforts" made by Romania over the last seven months. He added that Bucharest must now "continue with the reforms and the democratization process." Romanian Premier Victor Ciorbea noted that "everything humanely possible" was done to join in the first wave but noted that the gap left by the previous government between Romania and the other contenders was too large to bridge in seven months. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek said in Ljubljana that his country "hopes the process of enlarging NATO will continue and that Slovenia as a candidate will be treated independently, on its own merits, and not as part of a group." He added that he fears that "a further enlargement will be delayed if troubles with other countries arise." BALTIC REACTION TO NATO DECISION. Estonian Ambassador to NATO Juri Luik expressed satisfaction over the mention of the Baltic States in the communique, according to ETA. "This is just what we needed," he commented. RFE/RL's Latvian service reported that Janis Jurkans, the former Latvian foreign minister and a current member of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, said the decision to invite just three countries to join came as no surprise to Latvia, which, he stressed, is still not prepared for such a step either military or economically. BNS reported that Lithuanian diplomats expressed cautious optimism, saying that "in theory, a stronger declaration could have been expected, but even such a compromise is not bad." Presidents Lennart Meri (Estonia), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania) are due to meet with their Czech, Hungarian, and Polish counterparts in Madrid on 9 July. NEW NATO-SPONSORED SECURITY ORGANIZATION INAUGURATED. Leaders of NATO and its 28 partnership countries have inaugurated the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, RFE/RL's correspondents in Madrid reported on 9 July. The new group includes countries seeking alliance membership, several neutral countries, and former Soviet republics. Russia is also a member but, as a protest against NATO's expansion, decided to send only a deputy prime minister to head its delegation at the inaugural ceremony. NATO Secretary-General Solana said the new council "can open a new chapter in our relationship" and help guarantee peace in the region. The council takes its place alongside an expanded NATO and a new Russia-NATO partnership council. It will have a permanent Secretariat at NATO's Brussels headquarters. NATO, UKRAINE SIGN PARTNERSHIP ACCORD. Ukraine and NATO signed a partnership agreement in Madrid on 9 July. Before the signing, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told a news conference he is satisfied with the agreement. He said Ukraine "obtained what it wanted" and that he discussed the content of the agreement with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. He also said the agreement was "modeled" on the Russia -NATO Founding Act, signed in May. Kuchma said that he did not expect any disagreement with Russia over the issue of relations between Ukraine and NATO. In his view, the agreement corresponds to the national interests of both Ukraine and Russia. Meanwhile, in Kyiv, a newly formed group of Ukrainian parliamentary deputies have protested the country's impending partnership with NATO. A total of 187 deputies from various political parties are reported to have joined an anti-Nato movement over the past few weeks called "Ukraine Outside of Nato." SOME BELARUSIAN, UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN DEPUTIES PROTEST NATO EXPANSION. Anti-NATO parliamentary groups in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia have issued a statement urging the three countries to join efforts in the near future to counteract the alliance's expansion, Interfax reported. The statement says that NATO expansion means the U.S. and its allies "consider force or threat of force as the main factor in international relations." NATO is "creating division lines and barriers in Europe to return to the policy of spheres of influence, expansion and dictatorship typical for the periods preceding World War I and World War II," according to the statement. The Anti-NATO group will call on the presidents and governments of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia to hold "consultations, urgently working out efficient joint programs to counteract" NATO expansion. SLOVAK PREMIER ACCUSES NATO OF DOUBLE STANDARDS. Vladimir Meciar said in Madrid on 8 July that he prefers the "smaller" version of NATO expansion rather than the option of inviting five countries other than Slovakia to join. He noted that if Romania and Slovenia had acceded now, a second wave of expansion would likely have been put off indefinitely. Meciar argued that the NATO decision shows the alliance practices double standards--one set for Slovakia and one for its neighbors. He added that the security of Slovakia will not be weakened by NATO expansion, RFE/RL's Bratislava office reported. UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTER CRITICIZES ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN. Ukrainian Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty on 8 July demanded a meeting with President Leonid Kuchma, saying he wants confirmation that market reforms and the campaign against corruption will continue. Holovaty told journalists he is concerned that reforms in Ukraine are being stalled. He described the reform process as "only show, but no concrete action." Holovaty also accused officials responsible to Acting Prime Minister Vasyl Durdinets of blocking an anti-corruption campaign. Durdinets has recently criticized Holovaty for failing to fight corruption. There was no immediate comment from Kuchma, who is in Madrid attending the NATO summit. TWO MEN CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER IN CONNECTION WITH LATVIAN TRAGEDY. The two men who operated the crane at the Talsi firefighters' celebration, at which eight children died and many others were injured, have been charged with manslaughter caused by negligence, BNS reported on 8 July. The crane was used to hoist a basket that was intended to carry only four people but was filled with some 30 children (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 June 1997). Chief prosecutor Olgerts Sabanskis said the charges were preliminary. If convicted on those charges, the two men would face up to two years in prison or a fine equivalent to 20 minimum monthly wages. FLOODS IN CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND WORSEN. A state of emergency was declared in the Moravian city of Ostrava on 8 July, Czech media reported. More than half of the city of 350,000 inhabitants is under water. Most of northern Moravia is flooded, and the floods have begun to spread to southern Moravia. Parts of the city of Olomouc have had to be evacuated. Ten people are reported to have been killed, while many more are missing. Czech officials estimate damage totaling 10 billion crowns ($300 million). Meanwhile, Polish police say that the death toll in floods in southern Poland rose to seven on 8 July. Deputy Interior Minister Zbigniew Sobotka told journalists that the situation could get worse. He said 10,000 homes have been flooded and 6,000 people evacuated. HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES JUDICIAL REFORM. Lawmakers on 8 July approved a bill on judicial reform and amendments to the penal code, Hungarian media reported. A new court of appeal. and a National Judicial Council guaranteeing the independence of courts from the government are to be set up. Under the penal code amendments, eligibility for parole for those serving life sentences is to be considerably more difficult; in some cases, a minimum of 30 years in prison will have to be served. In addition, car theft will be more strictly punished. Also on 8 July, the parliament approved a bill transforming the state-owned MTI news agency into a share-holding company. The chairman of MTI is to be appointed by the prime minister from among recommendations submitted by the company's Owners' Advisory Council. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE OSCE SAYS ALBANIAN ELECTIONS VALID... Officials of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe issued a report in Warsaw on 8 July, in which they called the recent Albanian parliamentary vote "acceptable." The study noted that some 73% of eligible voters turned out, despite "irregularities" that included shoot-outs at polling places. Catherine Lalumiere, the Council of Europe's representative for the elections, said the election proved that Albanians "want to get out of chaos and put an end to violence." She added that the politicians must now put their differences behind them and work together if they want Albania to receive international aid again. ...WHILE ALBANIAN POLITICIANS DISCUSS FUTURE. Election officials in Tirana reported on 8 July that there are still no results from seven electoral districts and that the final, nation-wide total may not be available for weeks. Fatos Nano, the Socialists' prime minister-designate, nonetheless said he wants to name his government by 20 July. But President Sali Berisha's Democrats have not made clear what sort of policy they will conduct as the leading opposition party. Nor has Berisha said when he will resign the presidency, although news agencies reported on 8 July that he has already begun to move his belongings out of the president's office. The previous day, the Socialists nominated Rexhep Mejdani, a little-known professor of mathematics, as their candidate to replace Berisha. The parliament elects the president, whose position the Socialists have promised to make less powerful. NATO WARNS AGAINST ATTEMPT TO OUST PLAVSIC. The Western alliance issued a statement in Madrid on 8 July saying that NATO "will not tolerate any recourse to force or violence" in Bosnia. Observers said this is a clear warning to opponents of embattled Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic not to try to oust her by force. The U.S. and its major allies had earlier expressed support for Plavsic, and SFOR has increased patrols in and around her stronghold of Banja Luka. The statement in Madrid also said there cannot be any "lasting peace without justice" in the former Yugoslavia, and called on Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia to arrest the approximately 70 indicted war criminals still at large on their respective territories. The text repeated the international community's warning that the former Yugoslavs' implementation of the Dayton agreement will be a "prerequisite for continued assistance" to the three republics. BOSNIAN SERBS STEP UP SECURITY FOR KARADZIC, MLADIC. Aleksa Buha, the head of the governing Serbian Democratic Party, told the Belgrade daily "Blic" on 8 July that protection has been increased for Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, who are the two most prominent indicted war criminals in the former Yugoslavia. Buha warned that those who guard the men "will not sit on their hands" in the face of possible moves by the U.S. or NATO to capture the two and take them to The Hague (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1997). Karadzic lives in Pale, while Mladic was last seen in public in Belgrade in June. AFP reported on 8 July, however, that Mladic is vacationing in the Montenegrin coastal village of Rezevici Rijeka, where he is allegedly accompanied by 15 bodyguards. PLAVSIC REJECTS MEETING WITH MILOSEVIC. Biljana Plavsic has turned down Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's offer to host a meeting between her and Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency. Plavsic said in Banja Luka on 8 July that "there is nothing to discuss" with Milosevic, who "has already destroyed everything of value in Serbia." Earlier that day, Plavsic met with Gen. Pero Colic, her army chief of staff, who reaffirmed the military's support for Plavsic as commander-in-chief. He also pledged to respect the decisions she makes as president. Pro-Milosevic media in Belgrade had previously carried the text of a letter, allegedly written by Colic, criticizing Plavsic's dissolution of the parliament. Colic told the pro-Milosevic Belgrade daily "Vecernje novosti" on 8 July that foreigners must not interfere in Bosnian Serb affairs. OSCE URGES PUNISHMENT OF WAR RAPES. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Warsaw on 8 July, urged that rapes committed during the war in the former Yugoslavia be prosecuted by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, Reuters reported. The assembly noted that charges of rape had been withdrawn in a number of cases as victims dared not give evidence. In a statement issued after its four-day session, the assembly requested the "OSCE and participating states ensure that war crimes in the form of rape are referred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and are given equal treatment as other grave war crimes." NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. In Podgorica, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said Serbia and Montenegro must be equal partners in the Yugoslav federation. Djukanovic charged that Milosevic has been undermining Montenegro's position, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital on 8 July. In Zagreb, Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic said his country now accepts that UN civilian administrators will stay on in eastern Slavonia until 15 January 1998. In Belgrade, Jacques Klein, the UN's chief administrator in eastern Slavonia, said that federal Yugoslav citizens will not need a visa to go to that region once it returns to Croatian control on 15 July, the Belgrade daily "Danas" reported. ROMANIAN BANKER DETAINED. Razvan Temesan, the former president of Bacncorex, was detained on 8 July by Bucharest police. He is suspected, among other things, of having approved in 1992 the payment of $1.8 million to a private company at a lower exchange rate than the official one. Temesan is known to be close to former President Ion Iliescu. The Pro TV private channel reported that Temesan says he is a "political prisoner" and has denied any wrong doing. He is also reported to have begun a hunger strike. MOLDOVAN LABOR DISPUTE SETTLED. Representatives of the government and the trade unions on 8 July signed an agreement on settling the labor dispute that began several days previously (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1997), BASA-press reported. Under the terms of the agreement, wage arrears will be paid by 27 July and compensation to cover cost-of-living increases will be paid to policemen by October. The executive will also compensate those sectors of the population hardest hit by increases in energy prices. Trade union leader Ion Godonga said the protests will resume if the government fails to honor its commitments. MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY DEPUTIES QUIT FACTION. Vladimir Slonari, Dimitrii Uzun, and Ilya Trombitskii announced on 8 July that they have quit the Socialist Unity-Edinstvo faction in the parliament, Infotag and BASA-press reported. Trombitskii was expelled from the party shortly after the expulsion of Slonari and Uzun (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1997). They said their decision was due to a "difference of principles," and they attacked the anti-reform stance of Socialist Unity-Edinstvo. The three said they support the idea of early elections if the parliament continues to block reforms. Slonari said that by failing to support President Petru Lucinschi, Socialist Unity-Edinstvo is "pushing the president to rightist postures." He also predicted that the faction will lose more deputies. Twelve out of its 28 deputies elected in 1994 have already quit. BULGARIAN PREMIER ON ORGANIZED CRIME. Ivan Kostov on 8 July said organized crime in Bulgaria is threatening to destroy the authority of the state and has already virtually replaced that authority in some regions, Reuters reported. Interior Ministry secretary Bozidar Popov told the agency that Russian mafia were also operating in the country with the help of local criminal groups, sometimes "using Bulgarian frontmen to buy estates and hotels." He said Russian criminal groups were involved in drug dealing and trafficking with women, who are sent to work as prostitutes in neighboring Greece and Turkey. Those groups, he said, also include citizens of former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Georgia as well as Chechnya. EU APPROVES MEDICAL AID PACKAGE TO BULGARIA. The EU Executive Commission on 8 July approved a $770,000 emergency aid package for medical supplies to Bulgaria, saying difficulties in delivering medical aid to Bulgaria have been exacerbated by the "chaotic political climate" there since 1989. The commission said medical supplies are among Bulgaria's most urgent needs--both in hospitals and at government-run institutions for the elderly and children. It added that although elections recently brought the anti-Communist opposition to power, there is no prospect of a quick solution to current problems, BTA reported. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc. 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