We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 82, Part II, 28 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

*DEMONSTRATIONS IN BELARUS TO COMMEMORATE INDEPENDENCE
ANNIVERSARY

*VIOLENCE CONTINUES UNABATED IN ALBANIA


*SHUTDOWN OF SERBIA'S INDEPENDENT MEDIA SUSPENDED


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

DEMONSTRATIONS IN BELARUS TO COMMEMORATE INDEPENDENCE
ANNIVERSARY. Thousands of people demonstrated in Minsk on 27
July to mark the seventh anniversary of the country's declaration of
sovereignty, AFP reported. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
changed Belarus's official independence day to 3 July -- the day
Soviet forces expelled Nazi troops during World War II. Protesters
chanted anti-Lukashenka slogans criticizing his efforts to promote
greater integration with Russia. No violence was reported. But a
spokesman for the Belarusian Popular Front said the party's deputy
chairman, Stanislav Gusak, and 14 members of the group's youth
wing were detained.

LUKASHENKA OPPONENTS CONVENE IN MINSK. The Second World
Congress of Belarusians, which took place in Minsk on 26 July,
accused Lukashenka of trying to destroy the Belarusian language and
culture. Some 70 ethnic Belarusian representatives from 15 countries
attended the congress, but Belarusians from the U.S. boycotted it. The
congress condemned Lukashenka for recent actions, including closing
Belarusian-language schools, and said the language is in danger of
dying out. Vasil Bykov, Belarus's most famous writer, commented
that "the leader of the state is not the leader of the nation."
Lukashenka is using all his strength to destroy "the nation, its
national consciousness, its culture, and language," Bykov added.

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES DETAIN RUSSIAN TV CREW. A three-
person crew from Russia's ORT television is in the custody of
Belarusian authorities, AFP reported. An ORT administrator in Minsk
said he had been informed that reporter Pavel Sheremet and his
driver were arrested at Minsk airport on 26 July, while cameraman
Dmitry Zavadsky was arrested at his home. They are reportedly
being held near the Lithuanian border. A border guard official told
AFP that the three have been detained, but he said only that they
are witnesses in a border violation case. Other reports have indicated
that three may face criminal charges of attempting to cross the
Belarusian border illegally. Sheremet and his crew were recently
detained at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border while shooting a film
about Belarusian border guards (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 July
1997).

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REORGANIZES GOVERNMENT. Leonid Kuchma
on 25 July replaced the ministers of economy, agriculture, energy,
coal mining and industry, UNIAN reported. The ministers of defense,
interior, and finance and the deputy prime minister in charge of
economic reforms all retained their posts. Earlier this month, Kuchma
appointed Valery Pustovoitenko as prime minister after accepting
the resignation of Pavlo Lazarenko. Under the constitution, Kuchma is
obliged to form a new cabinet following the appointment of a new
prime minister. Among the new ministers are Viktor Suslov
(economy) and Yuri Karasyk (agriculture).

CHORNOBYL REACTOR REPAIRS POSTPONED. Chornobyl nuclear power
plant director Sergei Parashin told journalists on 25 July that repairs
to the third reactor at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant have been
postponed until 1 October.The third reactor is the only one at the
facility still in operation. He said the plant has received only 25
percent of the equipment it needs. Meanwhile, work on the
sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor and on the first
and second reactors has received almost no financing since the
beginning of this year. The first reactor was halted last year in
accordance with a memorandum signed by Kiev and the G-7.
Parashin said he hopes the halt of all power units will not result in
the plant's closure. But he said the lack of control over the power
plant may have "dreadful consequences."

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ESTONIA. Hennady Udovenko and
his Estonian counterpart, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, signed a joint
declaration in Tallinn on 25 July on boosting bilateral relations, BNS
and ETA reported. Estonia and Ukraine pledged to step up
cooperation between their governments and parliaments and to
encourage trade between small and medium-sized companies . The
declaration also states that each country has the right to choose its
own method of ensuring security. The previous day, Udovenko met
with President Lennart Meri at the presidential summer residence in
Paslepa, northwestern Estonia. Udovenko told Meri that relations
with Tallinn were a foreign-policy priority for Kyiv, noting that
Estonian had been a "supporter" of Ukraine's independence.

LATVIAN PREMIER RESIGNS. Andris Skele on 28 July submitted his
resignation to President Guntis Ulmanis. Announcing his intention to
resign several days earlier, Skele noted that his opinion of democracy
differed from that of the coalition parties. He also rejected criticism
that he has impaired parliamentary democracy. Skele, who does not
belong to any political party, was appointed prime minister in
December 1995 and is credited with boosting reforms. However, he
increasingly came into conflict with the seven parties that form the
ruling coalition. Recently, five ministers were forced to resign, four of
them amid allegations of violating the anti-corruption law. Also on
28 July, the seven ruling parties announced they have nominated
Economics Minister Guntars Krasts of the Fatherland and Freedom
party as new premier, RFE/RL's Latvian Service reported.

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH IN LITHUANIA. Patriarch of
Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II and Lithuania's Roman Catholic
Archbishop Audrys Juozas Backis took part in an Orthodox-Catholic
ceremony in Vilnius on 26 July. The two Church leaders offered a
benediction at the Gate of the Sunrise Chapel to some 4,000 people,
including Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas. In his address,
Backis urged Aleksii to ensure freedom of worship in Russia and
noted that no restrictions are placed on the Orthodox Church in
Lithuania, whose population is overwhelmingly Catholic. Aleksii
recently criticized President Boris Yeltsin for vetoing a controversial
bill that declares only Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and
Judaism to be Russia's "traditional" religions. The Russian patriarch
was on a three-day visit to Lithuania to participate in celebrations
for the 400th anniversary of the Holy Spirit Monastery and the
650th anniversary of the martyrdom of three Orthodox saints. It was
the first-ever visit to Lithuania by a Russian patriarch.

FURTHER EVACUATIONS IN POLAND, GERMANY. Further evacuations
were ordered in both Poland and Germany on 27 July as flood waters
moved down the Oder River, PAP and dpa reported. Some 1,000
residents have been asked to leave in Frankfurt an der Oder, in
eastern Germany, as river waters there reached record highs. Some
19,000 others have been told to prepare to depart because of an
"acute danger" of more breaks in dikes holding back the river. In the
Polish border town of Slubice, at least 2,000 people have been asked
to evacuate as officials said flooding was imminent. Meanwhile,
Polish officials announced on 26 July that some 15 tons of freon --
the gas used in refrigerators -- had escaped from a flooded plant in
Raczibor. Freon is known to damage the earth's ozone layer.

POLISH SENATE REJECTS LAWS LINKED TO CONCORDAT WITH
VATICAN. The upper house of the parliament on 26 July rejected
bills to bring the country's legislation into line with a Concordat
signed with the Vatican in 1994 but still awaiting ratification, PAP
reported. Conservatives and former Communists joined forces to vote
against the bills. The lower house of parliament, which has already
approved the measures, is unlikely to achieve the two-thirds
majority required to overrule the upper house's veto. President
Aleksander Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz publicly backed the Concordat when Pope John Paul II
recently visited Poland.

CZECH, SLOVAK TOWNS EXCHANGED. The former Slovak village of
Sidonie, with just 31 residents, has become part of the Czech
Republic, while U Sabotu, with a population of 120, is now on Slovak
territory, Czech and Slovak media reported. The swap was set out in
the new border law, which altered previous legislation and went into
effect on 25 July. The law also included the exchange of some 452
hectares of land to satisfy claims from people on either side of the
border.

SLOVAK PREMIER OPPOSES CZECH DECISION ON GOLD. Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar said on Slovak Radio on 25 July that the
Czech Republic "has no right to decide on Slovak assets." He was
referring to the Czech government's decision to pay some $580,000
to a Jewish foundation to settle a claim on gold held by the Czech
National Bank. The gold, confiscated during World War II from
Slovak Jews, was transferred to the Czechoslovak National Bank in
Prague after the war. The amount of $580,000 represents two-thirds
of the gold's value and is based on the 2:1 ratio used in dividing
former federal assets. Meciar argues that all the gold belongs to
Slovakia. A U.S. State Department statement on 25 July praised the
Czech government's decision as recognizing the country's moral
responsibility.

HUNGARIAN, US EXTRADITION TREATY TAKES EFFECT. An extradition
agreement signed by Hungary and the U.S. in December 1994 went
into effect on 25 July, Hungarian media reported. The agreement
provides for the mutual extradition of those who committed fraud,
embezzlers, and counterfeiters in cases where the authorities of
either country suspect someone of, or have sentenced a person for, a
crime punishable by more than one year in prison, a Justice Ministry
official said. The treaty does not apply to persons accused of political
and military crimes.


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VIOLENCE CONTINUES UNABATED IN ALBANIA. Some ten people
died in gunfire in Berat on 25 July. Open warfare between rival
gangs has become so acute there that business activity has slowed
and some residents have fled the town. On 26 July, four gunmen and
one policeman were killed in Lezha when police tried to stop the car
in which the gunmen were riding. Gang war raged in Vlora, but there
are no reports on casualties. Interior Minister Neritan Ceta said in
Tirana, however, that special police killed one gunman and arrested
eight on the Tirana-Peshkopi road, where the gang had been preying
on travelers. News agencies report that about 10 people are killed
every day in Albania. Meanwhile, contingents of French, Danish, and
Austrian troops withdrew from Albania on 26-27 July. Italian troops
staged a farewell parade in Tirana on 27 July.

ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SUPPORTS KOSOVO. Paskal Milo said
in Tirana on 25 July that his country wants good relations with its
neighbors but will also defend the interests of the ethnic Albanian
majority in Kosovo. The newly inaugurated minister said that "having
new relations with neighboring countries is better than remaining in
a Cold War situation with them." He added, however, that wanting to
improve ties with Serbia "does not mean we will not support the
interests of the Albanian people outside our borders, notably in
Kosovo." Milo's most immediate challenge, however, could come in
relations with Macedonia, where there has been unrest among the
ethnic Albanian majority in Gostivar and Tetovo in recent weeks. No
major party in Albania openly supports irredentism.

SHUTDOWN OF SERBIA'S INDEPENDENT MEDIA SUSPENDED. Federal
Yugoslav Communications Minister Dojcilo Radojevic issued an order
on 26 July to suspend the threatened closure of 55 independent
radio and televisions for the duration of the election campaign.
Acting Serbian President Dragan Tomic invited the OSCE to send
observers to the 21 September presidential and legislative elections.
Two days earlier, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic promised
Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic that the vote will be "free
and fair" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 July 1997). Declared
presidential candidates include Zoran Lilic of Milosevic's Socialist
Party of Serbia and Vojislav Seselj of the ultranationalist Radicals.

HAGUE TRIBUNAL WANTS MONTENEGRIN COOPERATION. The
Prosecutor's Office in Podgorica received a request from the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal on 25 July for assistance in investigating
at least "one concrete case" of possible war crimes, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital. The court also
asked for information regarding the activities of some Montenegrin
officials during the attack on Dubrovnik in 1991 by Montenegrin-
based Yugoslav army units and by Montenegrin reservists. The
reservists looted and destroyed peaceful communities and tourist
resorts. In May, Montenegro sent a high-level delegation to The
Hague to demonstrate Podgorica's willingness to cooperate.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Defense Minister Gojko Susak arrived in
Washington on 27 July for a medical examination to follow up to his
earlier surgery there for lung cancer. He is also expected to have top-
level meetings with U.S. defense and security officials to discuss the
implementation of the Dayton agreement. In Zagreb, the National
Bank confirmed on 25 July that the IMF will withhold a planned
credit of $40 million until further notice. The U.S. had earlier urged
the IMF to hold up transferring the money until Croatia's record on
implementing the Dayton agreement improves. Croatian officials say
their country does not need the credit.

U.S. STRESSES LINK BETWEEN DAYTON, AID. Assistant Secretary of
State for Human Rights John Shattuck said in Mostar on 27 July that
"those [Bosnian Serb] authorities who are systematically violating the
Dayton agreement by harboring war criminals and preventing
freedom of movement will not receive a single penny of assistance."
Shattuck met with local Muslim officials but said he regretted that
the local Croatian leadership did not come to see him. The U.S. envoy
also stressed the need to bring indicted war criminals to justice.

GERMANY DETERMINED TO SEND BOSNIANS HOME. German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel on 27 July warned the Bosnian Serbs that they
cannot expect any international assistance if they continue to attack
the international community's representatives in Bosnia. On 26 July,
Kinkel returned from a one-day visit to Sarajevo and said that
Bosnian refugees should not expect a "deluxe return" when Germany
sends them home. He warned apprehensive refugees that those who
expect "comprehensive security" in Bosnia before they are sent back
there "are demanding the impossible." He was accompanied on his
trip by Dietmar Schlee, whom the Bonn government recently
appointed to coordinate the return of the 340,000 Bosnians. Germany
accepted the largest number of Bosnian wartime refugees of any
country except Croatia or federal Yugoslavia. It spent more than $7
billion to care for them, but cash-strapped Bonn now wants them to
go home.

HUNGARIAN FLAG SAGA IN CLUJ. The Hungarian flag hoisted at the
recently opened consulate in Cluj was stolen on 25 July by three
employees of a company that works for the local mayoralty, an
RFE/RL correspondent in the city reported. The employees, who were
apprehended by the police the following day, face prison sentences
of between three and 15 years. Nationalist Cluj Mayor Gheorghe
Funar claimed he had nothing to do with the incident, but the wife of
one of the three said her husband had acted on orders received from
the mayoralty. Prefect Grigore Blaga said charges may be filed
against Funar for having instigated the theft. Funar commented that
the three are "Romanian heroes" and that the chairman of the
Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, will award them 1
million lei (some $143) and 3 million lei to anyone who burns the
Hungarian flag.

MOLDOVAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT. Wrapping
up a two-day visit to Bucharest, Valeriu Pasat on 25 July said his
country might be interested in purchasing from Romania PUMA
helicopters produced in Brasov under U.S. license, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. Pasat and his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc,
said the joint Romanian-Moldovan peace-keeping unit, which the two
countries decided to set up the previous day, will not intervene in
the breakaway Transdniester region. Pasat also met with President
Emil Constantinescu and Premier Victor Ciorbea. In other news, the
Marshal Ion Antonescu League commemorated in Cluj on 26 July the
56th anniversary of the liberation of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina,
and Herta County by Romanian troops commanded by Antonescu,
Radio Bucharest reported.

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT MAKES LAND PURCHASABLE. The
parliament on 25 July approved a law making possible the sale of
land. The passage of the law was one of the IMF conditions for
approving a standby loan to Moldova. Seven communist deputies
boycotted the vote, claiming it amounted to an act of "national
betrayal," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Under the law, land
may be purchased by both Moldovans and foreigners but farmland
may be purchased only by Moldovans. At a press conference in
Chisinau on 27 July, President Petru Lucinschi criticized the
"conservativeness" of the parliament and accused it of blocking
reforms, thereby worsening the country's economic and social crisis.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Chisinau on 25 July reported that out of
the 27 laws initiated by Lucinschi as a reform package, the
legislature has passed only two bills.

MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER RESIGNS. Mihai Popov resigned on
health grounds on 25 July, Infotag reported. He was appointed the
same day as Moldovan ambassador to France. In other news, Defense
Minister Valeriu Pasat, speaking on the eve of a two day-visit to
Moscow, expressed confidence in Bucharest on 25 July that an
agreement will be reached with Russia on the destruction of World
War II ammunition stocked in the separatist Transdniester region.
The breakaway region's leadership opposes the destruction of the
ammunition in Transdniester and claims it is entitled to a share of
the profits that could be made by selling it. The separatists say the
earnings should be used for paying off Transdniester's share of the
Moldovan debt to the Russian gas company Gazprom.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO DESTROY SOVIET-MADE
MISSILES. Responding to an interpellation from the benches of the
opposition, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on 26 July told the
parliament that his government will not order the destruction of
eight SS-23 missiles because the step "does not correspond to
Bulgaria's current interests and would lead to a serious imbalance of
armaments" between the country and its neighbors. The RFE/RL Sofia
bureau said that Bulgaria is not infringing on any arms control
agreement by refusing to destroy the missiles but that the U.S. had
pressed for their destruction. The missiles, which have a range of
some 500 km, were delivered to Bulgaria in the early 1980s.

BULGARIA BULLDOZERS PIRATE COMPACT DISCS. Customs officials on
25 July bulldozed a pile of more than 91,000 pirate compact discs
produced in the country and seized at border check points. Sofia
customs chief Boiko Ivanov said the destroyed discs are only part of
the shipments confiscated at the border. Dimitar Enchev, who is in
charge of copyright affairs in the Ministry of Culture, said Bulgarian
pirate CD producers make up to 12 million discs a year, while
domestic consumption stands at only 700,000, Reuters reported. The
European Commission has warned Sofia that rampant copyright
piracy will hinder Bulgaria from becoming a member of the EU.




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