Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 72, Part II, 14 July1997



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

* FLOODS IN POLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC CONTINUE TO CLAIM LIVES

* EXPLOSION ROCKS OSCE HOTEL IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA

* ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS, ALLIES PLAN TO ESTABLISH
PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLIC

End Note
UNDERMINING NATO'S TIMETABLE

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN UKRAINE. William Cohen, meeting with
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Kyiv on 12 July, said the
special partnership charter with NATO "illustrates Ukraine's
commitment to integration into the West." Cohen also praised
Ukraine for its contributions to European security. At the same time,
he urged the country's leaders to press ahead with economic reforms.
Cohen told reporters after his meeting with the president that the
relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine is strong and enduring. He
said the two countries will share information, technology, and
expertise on setting up female units in the armed forces. Kuchma
offered the use of a training ground in western Ukraine for
international exercises for military peace missions. Cohen also met
with Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexander Kuzmuk. After their talks,
he told a news conference that Ukraine needed to spend more to
modernize its armed forces.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON NATO EXPANSION. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka told aircraft factory workers in northern Belarus on 13
July that Belarus needs tougher discipline and order in the face of
NATO's eastward expansion. Lukashenka's remarks were broadcast
by state television. He warned that neighboring Poland's invitation to
join NATO means Belarus must pay more attention to facilities with
potential military purposes. Lukashenka said factory managers do
not have enough control to impose discipline on their workers. He
said he is preparing a decree to change that situation. change
Responsibility will flow "from the top to the bottom, from the
president to the workers and peasants," he commented.

ALBRIGHT MEETS WITH BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS. U.S. Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, meeting with the foreign ministers of
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in Vilnius on 13 July, told them that
NATO recognizes their countries as serious candidates for
membership in the alliance. She did not say, however, when they
might be admitted. Albright informed the ministers of her talks in St.
Petersburg (see item in Part 1). She also made it clear that the U.S.-
Baltic charter, which is expected to be signed in Washington in
September, "will not be a security guarantee but a document
enabling us to cooperate on the basis of common aims and qualities."
Albright later told reporters she had raised the issue of the
treatment of Russian minorities--which are sizable in Estonia and
Latvia--with the Baltic leaders.

NATO-LED EXERCISE BEGINS IN ESTONIA. Some 2,600 troops from
eight countries are taking part in a NATO-backed exercise called
Baltic Challenge '97, which begins in northwestern Estonia on 14 July,
ETA and BNS reported. The exercise, which is part of NATO's
Partnership for Peace program, involves some 1,500 troops from the
U.S. and more than 1,000 troops from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The participants will
simulate providing humanitarian aid to a disaster zone, mine-
sweeping, and dealing with refugees. According to BNS, Baltic
Challenge '97 is the largest military exercise in Estonia in 10 years.

ANOTHER LATVIAN MINISTER FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED ANTI-
CORRUPTION LAW. The Prosecutor-General's Office has found that
Transport Minister Vilis Kristopans violated the anti-corruption law,
BNS reported on 11 July. Kristopans had continued to hold posts in
two companies and serve as president of the Latvian Basketball
League after the law barring states officials from holding other posts
went into effect in August 1996. He is also reported to have failed to
include shares he owned when filling out an income declaration The
Prosecutor-General's Office said that charges will not be brought
against Kristopans because he has not committed any crime
punishable under Latvian law.

FLOODS IN POLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC CONTINUE TO CLAIM LIVES.
Floods in Poland and the Czech Republic have killed at least 58
people, international media reported. Flood waters rose to first-floor
levels in the medieval city of Wroclaw on 13 July, requiring
thousands of people to be evacuated. The Polish cabinet met in an
emergency session the same day to discuss measures to cope with
the floods. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said the
government will seek to amend this year's budget to allow more
central bank financing and foreign borrowing. Damage in Poland is
estimated at more than $1 billion. In the Czech Republic, flood waters
moving downstream along the Morava River inundated the town of
Uherske Hradiste and threatened Hodonin, where 7,000 people have
been evacuated. Six bodies were found by rescuers in the Moravian
village of Troubky nad Becvou, which was almost entirely destroyed..
Damage in the Czech Republic is estimated at $2-3 billion.

POLAND SETS UP NATO NEGOTIATING TEAM. Poland on 11 July set
up a group of negotiators tasked with deciding precisely how the
country will meet the criteria for NATO membership following its
invitation to begin accession talks with the alliance, AFP reported.
Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati told reporters that Poland is
waiting for a formal letter of invitation to take part in the
negotiations from NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. He added
that Warsaw hopes the letter will contain more precise information
on the procedures to follow. Headed by Deputy Foreign Minister
Andrzej Towpik, the team of negotiators comprises eight people who
will represent the Polish president, the defense and finance
ministers, and the army.

CZECH PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR ANOTHER TERM.
Vaclav Havel told a press conference on 12 July he will seek re-
election by the parliament when his current five-year presidential
mandate expires in February. He noted that if he is re-elected, he
will do everything in his power to ensure that the Czech Republic
becomes firmly established in Europe's democratic structures
through full NATO and EU membership. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus welcomed Havel's decision to run. Klaus said he is confident
that his Civic Democratic Party, the largest party in the parliament,
will support Havel's candidacy. The leaders of the two junior coalition
parties and the opposition Social Democrats also said they will
support Havel.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ON NATO, EU. Michal Kovac told reporters on 11
July at the East European Economic Summit in Salzburg that
Slovakia's internal domestic problems led to the country's failed bid
for NATO membership, RFE/RL's correspondent in Salzburg reported.
Kovac said Slovakia lacked democratic principles and the rule of law.
He noted that those problems, among others, were responsible for
Slovakia's failure to receive an invitation. Kovac also said Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar had not demonstrated "clearly and
unambiguously" Slovakia's genuine interest in NATO membership.
Kovac said Slovakia's problems could best be resolved by its citizens
in the next round of parliamentary elections. In an interview with
Reuters the same day, Kovac said he hopes the member countries of
the EU and NATO will not turn their backs on Slovakia. Kovac said he
hopes both NATO and the EU will more actively support democratic
forces in Slovakia that wish for the country's integration into the
Western alliances.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LEADS IN OPINION POLL. An opinion poll
conducted earlier this month by the Factum agency and published on
13 July shows that overall support for the government coalition
parties is lower than for the opposition. Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia gained 27 percent of
the vote, while its coalition partners, the Slovak National Party and
the Slovak Workers' Party, won 8.2 and 4 percent, respectively. The
opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) was supported by
12.1 percent of the respondents, the Democratic Union by 11.8
percent, the three-party ethnic Hungarian alliance by 11.6 percent,
and the post-Communist Democratic Left Party by 10.5 percent.

DEFENSE MINISTERS OF NATO CANDIDATE COUNTRIES MEET IN
BUDAPEST. The Polish, Hungarian, and Czech Defense Ministers met
in Budapest on 12 July to discuss coordination of their policies
following the Madrid summit's invitation to join NATO. Hungarian
Defense Minister Gyoergy Keleti told a press conference that they
reached an agreement on close cooperation in developing their
armed forces, adding that special attention will be paid to acquiring
fighter aircraft. Czech Defense Minister Miloslav Vyborny said no
decision has been reached on the type of aircraft the three states will
purchase, Reuters reported. He said the decision was one involving
not only the ministers of defense but also the three countries'
governments and parliaments. Keleti, Vyborny, and Polish Defense
Minister Stanisalw Dobrzanski agreed to maintain cooperation with
other East European states that were not included in the first wave of
NATO expansion.

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON NATO. Keleti on 11 July told
Hungarian state television that Hungary will not join NATO if the
move is voted down in the planned referendum. But he noted he was
confident that voters will back membership in the alliance since
opinion polls show some 60 percent of the population supporting the
idea. .The previous day, the seven parliamentary parties agreed that
the referendum should be held after talks with NATO begin in
September, in order to be certain of the conditions for joining, AFP
reported.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY OUTLAWS INTERNAL FACTION. The
leadership of the Christian Democratic Party has banned the so-called
Barankovics Platform Group from operating within the party. The
group was formed on 6 July by those opposed to the election the
previous month of Gyoergy Giczy as party chairman. It includes a
large number of the party's representatives in the legislature (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1997). Karoly Czako, chairman of the
party's disciplinary committee, said the group includes former top
party officials who intended to "worm their way back" into the
leadership. But one of the group's leaders, deputy Laszlo Varga, said
the group will "continue to function in some form or another,"
Hungarian media reported on 13 July.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EXPLOSION ROCKS OSCE HOTEL IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. An explosive
device went off in the night of 13-14 July in the eastern Bosnian
town of Zvornik and damaged a building and cars used by
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors and the
UN. One OSCE truck was destroyed, but there were no casualties. No
one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast. Western press
reports from the area, however, suggested the explosion reflected
Bosnian Serb anger at the international community following
Operation Tango, in which one Bosnian Serb suspected of war crimes
was killed and another taken to The Hague (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
11 July 1997). On 11 July, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a
statement denouncing Operation Tango as a "cowboy raid." The
Serbian government in Belgrade also condemned SFOR's actions.
Politically-charged memorial services for Simo Drljaca, the former
concentration camp commander killed by NATO troops, took place in
Prijedor, Banja Luka, and elsewhere in the Republika Srpska on 12-
13 July.

KRAJISNIK SEEKS TO GOAD PLAVSIC BACK INTO LINE. Momcilo
Krajisnik, the hard-line Serbian member of the Bosnian joint
presidency, on 13 July called on Biljana Plavsic, who opposes
Krajisnik and others loyal to Radovan Karadzic, to resume talks by
noon on 14 July. The two spoke in Banja Luka on 12 July, but Plavsic
said she was "too ill" to attend a follow-up session slated for the next
day, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Banja Luka. Plavsic has
said she fears that the pro-Karadzic faction will take advantage of
Bosnian Serb opposition to Operation Tango in order to force her into
submission under the pretext of promoting Serbian unity in the face
of a NATO threat. Krajisnik, indeed, said at memorial services for
Drljaca on 13 July that the Serbs must close ranks.

WESTERN LEADERS SAY WAR CRIMINALS MUST BE BROUGHT TO
TRIAL. British Defense Secretary George Robertson said on 13 July
that Operation Tango will not be the last NATO action aimed at
bringing indicted war criminals to justice. The previous day. U.S.
President Bill Clinton said Bucharest that war criminals must go
before the tribunal if the Dayton peace treaty is to survive. In The
Hague, the court on 14 July sentenced Bosnian Serb prison guard
Dusan Tadic to 20 years in prison for atrocities he committed against
Muslims and Croats while serving as a concentration camp guard.
And in Podgorica, Montenegrin Interior Minister Filip Vujanovic on
12 July denied press reports that Gen. Ratko Mladic is vacationing on
the Montenegrin coast.

MILOSEVIC CRACKS DOWN IN SANDZAK. Police on 12 July prevented
protests in Novi Pazar against the Serbian government's decision on
10 July to dissolve the local Muslim-dominated government, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sandzak's main town. In
Pristina, a Serbian court sent 15 ethnic Albanian defendants to jail on
terrorism charges for the maximum sentences possible under the
law. In Podgorica, the steering committee of the governing
Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) voted on 11 July to remove
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic as party president and to
replace him with Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic of the anti-Milosevic
faction. Bulatovic rejected the decisions and said that only a party
congress can oust him, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the
Montenegrin capital. The following night, the Podgorica DPS
organization voted to oust 15 reformers from its ranks, including
Pejanovic-Djurisic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS, ALLIES PLAN TO ESTABLISH
PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLIC... The Socialists, Social Democrats, and
Democratic Alliance agreed on 12 July to change the constitution to
establish a parliamentary republic. Executive power will be
concentrated in the hands of the prime minister, rather than the
president; the premier will responsible to the parliament. A joint
statement, published in "Koha Jone," said "the president will have a
non-party and non-executive role as a symbol of national unity." It
added that the priorities of the new government are restoring public
order, reorganizing and depoliticizing the police, carrying out judicial
reform, licensing private radio stations, privatizing large and
medium-sized enterprises, further liberalizing the economy, and
establishing private banks. The parties also pledged to compensate
cheated pyramid scheme investors as fully as possible and to bring
in foreign auditors to investigate pyramid schemes.

...BUT ALBANIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL
CHANGES. Sali Berisha said on 13 July that the future government
lacks the mandate to make constitutional changes. He argued that
"the future of democracy will be put seriously in doubt by a
parliament, one-half of which is represented by deputies controlled
by armed bandits." Berisha added that plans by Socialist leader Fatos
Nano to increase the powers of the prime minister "constitute a grave
violation of the constitution and could have potentially destabilizing
consequences for the country." He repeated that he will not remain
president under a Socialist government but did not specify when he
will step down. The Socialists and their coalition allies hold more
than two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. Elections were repeated
on 13 July in two districts because of earlier irregularities.

LEKA ZOGU LEAVES ALBANIA. The claimant to the throne left
Albania for South Africa on 12 July without responding to two court
summons for questioning over violence at a monarchist rally in
Tirana on 3 July, which left one dead and two wounded. Zogu had
attended the rally wearing fatigues and armed with two guns and
some hand grenades. On leaving the country, Zogu announced that he
was going "temporarily" to prevent unnamed provocateurs from
using his presence to aggravate an already tense political situation.
Abedin Mulosmani, the "royal court minister," said that "very soon
[Leka] will be back because the Albanian people will call him back."

PROTESTS IN ALBANIA OVER GOSTIVAR RIOTS. Several hundred
persons demonstrated in Tirana on 12 July, burning a Macedonian
flag to protest police treatment of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia.
Most of the protesters were students from Macedonia or Kosovo. Two
Albanians were shot dead, more than 50 seriously injured, and some
400 detained in rioting on 9 July in Gostivar, after police removed
the Albanian national flag from the town hall. On 8 July, the
parliament had passed a new law limiting the flying of national flags,
other than the Macedonian one, to national and religious holidays
and to private functions. Albanian President Berisha and the leaders
of Albania's main political parties condemned the police action. Prime
Minister Bashkim Fino blamed "Macedonian extremists" for the
violence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 July 1997).

U.S. PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Addressing an estimated crowd of
some 100,000 in Bucharest's University Square on 11 July, Bill
Clinton urged Romanians to "stay the course" in implementing
economic reforms and democratization and told them their country
would be one of the "strongest candidates" to join NATO in the near
future if they did so. President Emil Constantinescu told the crowd
that Romania wanted to build together with the U.S. a "solid
partnership, based on the joint values of liberty, prosperity, free
initiative and tolerance." Also on 11 July, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright and her Romanian counterpart, Adrian Severin,
discussed the envisaged U.S.-Romanian strategic partnership. Severin
told Radio Bucharest that they agreed to "talk less and do more" on
the partnership.

RUSSIAN DEPUTY PREMIER ON RELATIONS WITH ROMANIA. Valerii
Serov told the independent PRO-TV Romanian channel on 11 July
that following the decision of the Madrid summit, "time was ripe for
intensifying relations with Romania, particularly in the economic
realm." He said it was "deplorable" that economic relations between
the two states "had deteriorated" in the last years, adding that one of
the chief reasons for the wish of East European countries to join
NATO was "economic interest." In an interview with the independent
Romanian news agency Mediafax the same day, Serov said that "if
economic relations looked different, perhaps the political relations
between Romania and Russia would look different as well."

MOLDOVAN, TRANSDNIESTER DEFENSE OFFICIALS MEET. Moldovan
Defense Minister Valeriu Pasat and his counterpart in the
Transdniestrian breakaway region, Stanislav Hadjeyev, met in
Chisinau on 11 July, BASA-press and Infotag reported. This was their
first meeting since the signing of the memorandum on ways to settle
the conflict in early May in Moscow. An official press release in
Chisinau said the main purpose of the encounter was to strengthen
mutual confidence. The two officials agreed to inform each other on
military training programs and set up a coordination team for this
purpose. Special attention was paid to "the strict observance of the
regime established in the security zone" as well as to "joint actions
with the Joint Control Commission." They also agreed to set up a
coordinating body for action in case of natural calamities.

U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN BULGARIA. William Cohen held talks in
Sofia on 13 July with his Bulgarian counterpart, Georgi Ananiev,
which he described as "very productive." Cohen noted it is important
for Bulgaria to cut the size of its armed forces before joining NATO
while maintaining "an effective capability" to both "defend Bulgaria
and provide assistance to other NATO countries" in line with Article 5
of the NATO charter, Reuters reported. Cohen said he and Ananiev
also discussed ways in which the U.S. can help Bulgaria restructure
its military forces. Cohen said continuation of the reform process and
military reform could lead to NATO membership "sometime in the
future." Cohen also met with President Petar Stoyanov.

BULGARIA WILL NOT BUY RUSSIAN PLANES. Chief of Staff Gen. Miho
Mihov told Radio Sofia on 12 July that he saw no possibility of a deal
with Russia to purchase Russian-made fighter planes. An RFE/RL
Sofia correspondent said Russia offered preferential prices and a
$450 million credit to facilitate the purchase. Russia is insisting that
Bulgaria also purchase equipment for a plant to repair Russian-made
planes, a condition that Bulgaria rejects. In other news, Col. Seraphim
Stoikov, the head of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry archives, told
RFE/RL on 13 July that documents recording cooperation between
the Soviet KGB and the Bulgarian communist Secret Service will be
open to the public once the parliament passes the necessary
legislation.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT REPLACES CHIEF OF NEWS AGENCY. Milen
Valkov has been replaced as head of the official news agency by
Panayot Denev, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported on 11 July. Denev is a
BTA veteran and was its deputy chief for a short period following the
collapse of communism in 1989. He later became an editor of
"Demokratsiya," which supported the Union of Democratic Forces in
the recent elections.

CORRECTION: "RFE/RL Newsline" on 11 July incorrectly reported that
the parliament appointed Vyacheslav Tunev to take over from
Liljana Popovna as head of the state radio. In fact, Popovna was
appointed to replace Tunev as state radio chief.

END NOTE

UNDERMINING NATO'S TIMETABLE

by Paul Goble

        The timetable for NATO expansion announced at the Madrid
summit on 8-9 July may break down even before the alliance takes
in its first new members two years from now. The summit invited
three countries--Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic--to begin
accession talks leading to membership by 1999. The alliance leaders
indicated they will consider inviting a second group of countries in
that year and that they will keep the process of including ever more
East European countries in the alliance both open and deliberate
after that time.
        This carefully worked-out timetable reflected calculations by
some NATO leaders about how both their own populations and
Moscow would react. Many NATO leaders noted that they could not
hope to win popular support for the costs of expansion if the alliance
tried to take in too many countries too quickly. Even more NATO
leaders suggested that a slow, step-by-step expansion is the only
way to avoid offending Moscow and pushing Russia back into an
adversarial role.
        But there are already at least three indications that the
Western alliance may have a number of difficulties in holding to that
script.
        First, many of the countries that had hoped to be invited into
the alliance now or in the near future are stepping up their
campaigns for membership rather than accepting the Madrid
timetable. The countries that had hoped to make it into the first
round--Slovenia, Romania, and the three Baltic States--indicated that
they will increase their efforts to be included sooner than the Madrid
schedule. Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas, for example,
pointed out on 9 July that "a long-term cataclysm could occur in
three, four, or five years." As a result, he said, Vilnius wanted
"guarantees for the future" sooner rather than later.
        Other East European countries that were not expected to be
included took courage from the alliance's decision to expand and
indicated that they, too, might press for membership far sooner than
the NATO leaders had planned. Buoyed by their charter with the
Western alliance, several Ukrainian political figures said they hoped
Ukraine will achieve NATO membership in the not too distant future-
-something no one in the alliance now appears to be contemplating.
        Second, the three countries that were invited to join at Madrid
reportedly have agreed to press for the more rapid inclusion of the
Baltic States into the Western alliance. The presidents of Poland, the
Czech Republic, and Hungary met with their counterparts from
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on 9 July and told them they will press
for Baltic membership in the alliance as soon as possible. Latvian
President Guntis Ulmanis said he and his Baltic colleagues looked to
the three Madrid invitees "to become advocates" of the rapid
inclusion of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
        Such support for Baltic membership may be more difficult to
resist than the NATO planners expected. In addition to Polish,
Hungarian, and Czech support, the Balts received backing from
Thomas Siebert, the ambassador to Sweden. Siebert told the Swedish
newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" on 9 July that "we will not consider the
expansion of NATO to be accomplished or successful unless or before
the Baltic States' ambitions are fulfilled."
        Both the efforts of those who hope to join and the attitudes of
those already invited to do so will put pressure on the alliance to
move more quickly than it had planned, especially since those on the
outside are likely to view any delay as a sell-out of their security.
        But the third indication that the Madrid timetable may not be
kept suggests that NATO may not expand as quickly as the Madrid
summit planned. The pressure on NATO from both those included
and those not yet in inevitably raises the stakes of the first round of
alliance expansion and thus virtually guarantees increased opposition
to any growth in the alliance from both Moscow and many in the
West.
        Russian leaders, including President Boris Yeltsin, have
indicated that they can accept NATO's expansion only if it is both
limited and deliberate. Consequently, at least some in Moscow are
likely to consider the statements of those countries not invited in and
especially of those invited to join at Madrid to pose a threat--one,
moreover, that Russia is likely to respond to.
        Such a response will have an impact on the ratification debates
in the current NATO member countries and provide ammunition to
those who oppose any growth in the alliance. As a result, the
euphoria about the Madrid NATO summit could quickly evaporate, as
some countries discover that their own enthusiasms threaten their
own interests.





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