Poetry must be human. If it is not human, it is not poetry. - Vicente Aleixandre
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 75, Part II, 17 July1997


Vol. 1, No. 75, Part II, 17 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

* UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW PRIME MINISTER

* OPERATION ALBA WINDS DOWN

* SERBIAN OPPOSITION CONTESTS MILOSEVIC'S PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW PRIME MINISTER. The
parliament on 16 July confirmed Valery Pustovoitenko as prime
minister, Ukrainian media reported. A leading member of the
People's Democratic Party, the 50-year-old Pustovoitenko was
nominated by President Leonid Kuchma and was head of Kuchma's
election team in the presidential campaign in 1994. He is regarded as
one of the president's closest associates. From 1991-1993,
Pustovoitenko chaired the Dnepropetrovsk city council and executive
council. He has said that he will continue the policy of radical
economic reforms. Kuchma told reporters that the parliament will be
more involved in the formation of the new government than was the
case in the past. But he declined to say what changes he intended to
make in the cabinet.

TAX BREAKS FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS IN UKRAINE REJECTED. For the
second time in just over a month, the parliament on 16 July rejected
a presidential proposal to restore tax and tariff breaks for foreign
investors . The tax breaks were abolished this spring at the request
of the government. They applied to investors whose ventures were
registered before 1995. President Kuchma has urged the parliament
to restore the benefits for companies involved in production. After
rejecting the tax breaks, the parliament asked the government to
provide more detailed information showing how tax breaks would
help production. Ukraine has received only $1.5 billion in direct
foreign investment since 1991. The U.S. telecommunications giant
Motorola announced in April it was leaving Ukraine because of red
tape and obstacles to foreign investment.

ESTONIA, LATVIA REJECT RUSSIA'S OFFER OF SECURITY
GUARANTEES. Tallinn and Riga on 16 July firmly declined Russia's
offer to provide the Baltic States with security guarantees, BNS and
ETA reported. The offer was made the previous day in Moscow by
Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov, who commented that
Russia has a "constructive alternative" to the Baltics' possible entry to
NATO; namely, security guarantees. Estonian Premier Mart Siimann
responded by saying his country "sees international security
guarantees in unification with European structures, including NATO."
He added that the best guarantee Russia could offer would be its
"transformation into a democratic country with a well-developed
economy that we could trust." Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis
commented that "under no conditions, even on the level of a
discussion, will we speak about Russian guarantees." Although there
has been no official reaction from Vilnius, similar proposals have in
the past been rejected by Lithuania, according to RFE/RL's Lithuanian
service.

NAZI-HUNTERS DEMAND ARREST OF ALLEGED LITHUANIAN WAR
CRIMINAL. Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged the
Lithuanian government to arrest and bring to trial Kazys Gimzauskas,
a retired machinist accused of helping Nazis kill Jews during World
War II, BNS reported on 16 July. The 89-year-old Gimzauskas was
stripped of his U.S. citizenship last year for his alleged wartime
activities. The Israeli Nazi-hunting organization sent a letter to
President Algirdas Brazauskas calling on the Lithuanian authorities
to "move against Gimzauskas following a decision...to indefinitely
suspend legal proceedings on medical grounds against his superior,
Aleksandras Lileikis" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1997).
Gimzauskas and Lileikis both served during World War II in the
Lithuanian Security Police, which was subordinated to the Nazis.

POLISH PRESIDENT SIGNS NEW CONSTITUTION. Aleksander
Kwasniewski signed the country's first post-communist constitution
on 16 July. Speaking after the ceremony, which was broadcast live on
television, Kwasniewski said the signing marked the end of an eight-
year period of provisional laws. He said the new constitution ensured
a "modern state, guaranteeing all basic rights and freedoms." The
document, which was approved in a popular referendum in May,
commits Poland to a democratic system based on the rule of law and
guarantees personal freedoms and private ownership. It will become
valid in three months. The Polish Constitutional Court on 15 July
ruled that the referendum on the basic law was valid, despite low
turnout.

POLISH, CZECH PREMIERS WELCOME EU DECISION. Polish Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told journalists in Warsaw on 16
July that the EU's assessment of Poland's progress towards meeting
the requirements for membership was even more positive than
Poland had expected. He welcomed the news that the EU considers
Poland to be among the six forerunners for membership in the next
few years. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told journalists in
Prague he is glad about the developments and was prepared for
intensive preparations for the start of negotiations.

POLISH, CZECH GOVERNMENTS OFFER HELP TO FLOOD VICTIMS. The
Polish parliament convened a special session on 16 July to pass an
emergency aid program. The government is seeking authority to
double the limit on borrowing from the central bank to 5 billion zloty
($1.5 billion) and to borrow $300 million from the World Bank. Each
family whose house was affected by flooding will receive 2,000 zloty
($606) in immediate aid. The floods have killed 43 people in Poland
and damaged 40 towns and 600 villages. Meanwhile, in the Czech
Republic, where 37 people died in the floods and five are reported
missing, the government on 16 July decided that people who lost
their homes in recent floods will each receive some 150,000 koruna
($4,400) in immediate aid and preferential loans, Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus told journalists. He said those who lost their homes and
are planning to build new ones will be eligible for a low-interest loan
of at most 850,000 koruna. The loan will be due in 20 years with a
three-year grace period.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION CRITICAL OF SLOVAKIA. The European
Commission on 16 July criticized the Slovak government for its lack
of democratic reforms, saying the country's current political
problems make it ineligible for EU membership negotiations Hans
van der Broek, the EU external relations commissioner, told the
European Parliament in Strasbourg that "although the quality of
democracy could be improved in most countries" seeking to join the
EU, "only in Slovakia are political problems sufficiently severe to rule
out in themselves negotiations." Van der Broek said Slovakia could
soon meet criteria for membership negotiations on economic grounds
but that it lacks stability of political institutions.

REACTIONS IN SLOVAKIA TO EU DECISION. Parliamentary Foreign
Committee chairman Dusan Slobodnik on 16 July told journalists that
the decision by the European Commission to exclude Slovakia from
the first wave of EU expansion talks is "not definitive" and that the
"final verdict will only be announced in Luxembourg in December."
Jan Luptak, deputy parliamentary chairman and head of the far-left
junior coalition partner, the Slovak Workers' Party, rejected what he
called "EU and NATO dictates." Opposition Christian Democratic
Movement chairman Jan Carnogursky said on 16 July that "it is the
fault of Premier Vladimir Meciar's government that Slovakia finds
itself internationally isolated" and that Slovakia could enter the EU
only if there were a change of government. The Democratic Party on
16 July called on Meciar's cabinet "to resign and leave political life
forever due to the absolute bankruptcy of its policies and the serious
damage it has inflicted on Slovak citizens."

SLOVAKIA INTRODUCES IMPORT TARIFFS. A spokesman for the
Finance Ministry announced on 16 July that the government has
decided to introduce import tariffs on consumer goods and food,
Slovak radio reported. The tariffs will initially amount to 7 percent of
the goods' value and will decrease to 5 percent on 1 January 1998
and to 3 percent on 1 July 1998. They will be abolished on 31
December 1998.

SLOVAK PREMIER CRITICIZES U.S. AMBASSADOR. Meciar, speaking on
Slovak Television on 16 July, criticized the way in which U.S.
Ambassador to Slovakia Ralph Johnson explained Slovakia's failure to
be in the first wave of NATO expansion talks (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
15 and 16 July 1997). "Dialogue cannot have a form where the
ambassador of one state interferes with the political affairs of
another country without dialogue with its government," Meciar said.
He also noted he had warned U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright at the NATO summit in Madrid that she was receiving false
information on Slovak developments from Ambassador Johnson.
According to Meciar, "Slovakia has so far lost nothing by not having
been invited to join NATO in the first expansion wave in Madrid." In
his view, the Madrid summit communique indicates Slovakia was
merely given a "two-year postponement."

HUNGARY WANTS TO JOIN EU IN 2000. Premier Gyula Horn,
addressing a meeting of Foreign Ministry staff in Budapest on 16
July, said the EU should accept Hungary as a full member in 2000,
following two years of accession negotiations. EU officials had said
earlier that the process of enlargement could last until 2002, but
Horn voiced the opinion that accession should be decided by
reviewing each country's performance. "Hungary's achievements are
truly outstanding," he commented.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OPERATION ALBA WINDS DOWN. The 7,000 foreign troops who began
arriving in Albania in April started to return home on 16 July. Some
390 Romanian soldiers left Gjirokaster for the port of Durres, and
some Italian contingents will also depart shortly. Many leading
Albanian politicians and Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief envoy to
Albania, want the force to stay on, however. They argue that it has
provided a basic degree of security and stability that could break
down without the foreigners' presence.

WHAT FUTURE FOR ALBANIA'S BERISHA? A meeting of the
leadership of the Democratic Party decided in Tirana on 14 July that
Secretary-General Genc Pollo will act as interim party leader. He
replaces Tritan Shehu, who resigned in the wake of the party's
crushing defeat in the 29 June elections. News agencies report there
is opposition to making President Sali Berisha party chief, since many
Democratic Party members blame him for the defeat. Some leaders
prefer Eduard Selami, whom Berisha purged from the party in 1995
and who then left for the U.S.. Some members of the Central Election
Commission have meanwhile called on Berisha either to resign the
presidency--as he said he would do if the DP lost the elections--or
give up his claim to the parliamentary seat he won in the 29 June
vote. They argue that he cannot legally hold both offices at the same
time.

SERBIAN OPPOSITION CONTESTS MILOSEVIC'S PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION. Federal Yugoslav parliament speaker Dragan Tomic said in
Belgrade on 16 July that he will cease to be acting federal president
on 23 July. On that day, Slobodan Milosevic is expected to assume the
federal presidency and resign that of Serbia, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Serbian capital. But opposition
leaders on 16 July lodged an appeal with the courts against
Milosevic's election by the parliament the previous day. The
complaint alleges that under the law, the vote should not have taken
place before 23 July. Observers charge that Milosevic sought to get
the election out of the way quickly before the Montenegrin
parliament held a scheduled meeting on 22 July. Milosevic's backers
have been losing ground in Montenegro's governing party recently
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1997).

POWER STRUGGLE CONTINUES IN MONTENEGRO. President Momir
Bulatovic held a meeting with his closest supporters near Podgorica
on 16 July to launch a petition drive for his reelection to the
presidency. His recent ouster as president of the governing
Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) has cast his political future in doubt.
Meanwhile in Podgorica, the members of the DPS Steering Committee
that ousted Bulatovic reconstituted themselves under the name of
Coordinating Committee, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the
Montenegrin capital.

EXPLOSIONS AT BRITISH BASE IN BOSNIA. Western officials said in
Banja Luka on 17 July that four hand grenades were tossed into a
British base during the night. British troops detained several
suspects, but the extent of damage or injuries is unclear. This is the
latest in a series of attacks against Western personnel in the
Republika Srpska following NATO's recent direct intervention against
indicted war criminals (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1997). SFOR
spokesmen said in Sarajevo on 16 July that they have no evidence
that the incidents against Western personnel are related, but media
in the former Yugoslavia suggest they are part of a Serbian campaign
to discourage further arrests of war criminals. Meanwhile in Pale,
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint
presidency, urged Serbs not to act against foreign personnel.

MORE ARRESTS OF WAR CRIMINALS IN THE OFFING? U.S. and French
officials in their respective capitals have denied press reports that
France is opposed to apprehending war criminals (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 16 July 1997). In Zagreb, the weekly "Globus" suggested
that NATO may be planning to catch Croatian war criminals soon.
Many individuals linked to atrocities against Muslims and Serbs are
living openly in Herzegovina, and some have moved to Croatia. In
Vienna, the daily "Die Presse" reported from Banja Luka that many
Serbs would like to see war criminals arrested but are afraid to say
so publicly. The newspaper quoted a Bosnian Serb professor as
saying that Croats and Muslims should be arrested as well as Serbs to
counter the Serbian view that the Hague-based tribunal is anti-Serb.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. In Zenica, a court on 16 July sentenced two French
citizens to 20 years in prison for murder in connection with a
robbery attempt. The two were former Islamic fighters in the
Bosnian army. In Mostar, representatives of Muslim, Croatian, and
Serbian refugees met for the first time. They will meet again soon to
discuss a joint proposal for the return of refugees to their homes now
under the control of another nationality or to provide for
compensation for lost homes and property.

SYSTEMATIC ROBBERY IN KOSOVO? Unknown persons, including one
in a police uniform, robbed passengers on two tourist busses from
Germany on 13 July outside Obilic near Pristina. The robbers' haul
totaled $90,000 in cash and $40,000 in gold. Local ethnic Albanian
journalists said the incident marked the 11th time this year that
busses bringing Kosovars home on visits from Western Europe had
been subjected to armed shakedowns. Ethnic Albanians in previous
years have reported shakedowns by Serbian police at airports as
well as on busses.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WRAPS UP JAPANESE VISIT. Emil
Constantinescu said at a press conference in Tokyo on 15 July that
Romania finds itself now in a situation similar to that of Japan in the
1950s. The successes of the Japanese economy, he said, were not due
to any "outstanding natural resources" but to its "outstanding human
resources." Like Japan at that time, Romania has highly-educated
human resources and good managers, he said. Also on 15 July,
Constantinescu was received by Emperor Akihito. He travelled the
next day to Kyoto and Osaka on a prviate trip to meet with
businessmen there. On 17 July, he begins a three-day visit to
Indonesia.

ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER ON IMF MEMORANDUM. Victor Ciorbea
said at a Bucharest press conference on 16 July that his government
has fulfilled all the conditions stipulated in the memorandum signed
with the IMF in April. A delegation from the fund recently arrived in
Bucharest to begin assessing Romania's economic performance since
the signing of the memorandum. The fund's chief negotiator for
Romania, Poul Thompsen, will arrive on 22 July. Ciorbea said the
"macrostabilization of the economy" has become "reality" and that
the budget's deficit and the inflation rate are within the limits agreed
on with the IMF. He added that the volume of foreign-currency
reserves exceeds the provisions of the agreement, RFE/RL's
Romanian service reported. Ciorbea also commented that the "de-
Sovietization" of the intelligence services and the Foreign Ministry
must be completed.

SWISS DIPLOMAT SUSPECTED OF SPYING FOR ROMANIA. A Swiss
diplomat has been detained by the police in Bern on suspicion of
spying for the Romanian intelligence service, Romanian media
reported on 17 July, citing foreign agencies. The diplomat was
arrested on 1 July and has admitted his guilt. He is accused of
passing on confidential political and economic information between
1991 and 1997 in exchange for cash and other "material rewards."

MOLDOVA RATIFIES EUROPEAN CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-
GOVERNMENT. The parliament on 16 July ratified the European
Charter of Local Self-Government. The move follows criticism of its
failure to do so in a recent report by the Council of Europe. Moldova
had signed the charter in May 1996 but failed to ratify it until now
owing to the opposition of parliamentary deputies who had
reservations about some of its articles. Moldova must now amend
legislation on local administration and local elections, Infotag
reported. In other news, the Socialist Unity-Edinstvo faction has
added its voice to those criticizing the inauguration of a private
Slavic university (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 July 1997). It called for
the opening of a state-financed Slavic university.

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BULGARIA. Mate Granic on 16 July
met with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Premier Ivan
Kostov, an RFE/RL Sofia correspondent reported. Following their
meeting, Kostov said they had discussed the creation of a free trade
zone and ways to share experience over help from international
finance institutions. The previous day, Granic held talks with his
counterpart, Nadezhda Mihailova. and with premier Ivan Kostov. He
is the highest Croatian official to visit Bulgaria since Croatia declared
its independence. In other news, Foreign Minister Mihailova told a
press conference in Sofia on 16 July that the government has the
necessary public support to implement reforms. She added that "we
are optimistic that we shall soon overcome our economic problems
and...reform delays which impeded our way into the European
Union," Reuters reported.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS INSURANCE LAW. The
parliament on 16 July amended the law regulating the activities of
insurance companies to put foreign companies on an equal footing
with local ones, an RFE/RL Sofia correspondent reported. The
amendment also bars insurance companies from engaging in other
commercial activities, such as providing security services. Private
insurance companies mushroomed after the collapse of communism
and are widely believed to serve as cover for organized crime and
money laundering. The amended law reflects the hope to attract
foreign insurance companies and break the monopoly of local firms
on the insurance market.




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