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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 85, Part II, 31 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

*BELARUS PROTESTS RUSSIAN PRESSURE OVER ARRESTED
JOURNALISTS

*ALBANIAN PREMIER GIVES PRIORITY TO CREATING JOBS


*KARADZIC TO TALK TO WAR CRIMES TEAM?


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS RESISTS RUSSIAN PRESSURE OVER ARRESTED JOURNALISTS.
In a statement issued on 30 July, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's office expressed "surprise" at remarks the previous
day by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin had said he was
indignant over the arrests of Russian journalists Pavel Sheremet and
Dmitrii Zavadskii, who, Belarus says, illegally crossed the country's
border from Lithuania while preparing a report. Sheremet and
Zavadskii both work for the Russian Public Television (ORT) network.
The statement says it is unacceptable that the current and future
union of Russia and Belarus be put in doubt by the "banal
provocation of one man." Lukashenka claimed the same day that
Sheremet is in the pay of foreign intelligence services. Belarusian
Foreign Minister Ivan Antonovich called on Russia not to let the row
worsen the countries' relations. Meanwhile, Amnesty International
has called for the journalists' immediate release. If convicted, the two
journalists could receive up to five years in prison.

MORE GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid
Kuchma on 30 July appointed former Economics Minister Yuri
Yekhanurov to head the newly created committee on promoting
business, Reuters reported. Oleksander Osaulenko was named as
head of the state statistics committee. Kuchma reappointed Serhiy
Osyka as minister of foreign economic relations and trade and Valery
Kalchenko as emergency situations minister.

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS UKRAINE CRUCIAL FOR EUROPEAN
STABILITY. Klaus Kinkel said at the close of his visit to Kyiv on 30
July that Ukraine plays a key role in European stability. Speaking to
reporters, Kinkel praised the recent diplomatic achievements of
Ukraine, notably the conclusion of friendship treaties with Poland
and Romania and a border agreement with Belarus as well as
Ukraine's participation in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. Kinkel
said Ukraine "is now much stronger than several years ago" and is
becoming an increasingly important member of the international
community. He said that "Germany supports Ukraine on its way to
Europe, democracy, and a market economy." He also commented
Europe recognizes the sensitivity of Ukraine's relations with Russia
and will strive to prevent Ukraine from becoming a buffer zone
between East and West.

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. Toomas Hendrick
Ilves told journalists in the U.S. capital on 30 July that he expects
"long and somewhat tough negotiations" before his country becomes
a member of the EU. He said that Tallinn expects to join the union
within seven to 10 years. The European Commission recently named
Estonia among six countries recommended to begin talks on EU
membership. Asked about Russia's objections to the Baltic States
joining NATO, Ilves said that Moscow has no right to interfere in the
security arrangements of other nations. He added that Russian
opposition to Baltic membership in NATO is one reason why Estonia
wants to join the alliance. Ilves, a former ambassador to the U.S., is in
Washington to mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations
between the U.S. and Estonia.

LATVIAN PRESIDENT ON LINEUP OF NEXT GOVERNMENT. Guntis
Ulmanis on 30 July urged political parties not to include in the new
government those ministers who resigned amid the recent corruption
scandal, BNS reported. He said he shares the opinion of the
Fatherland and Freedom party (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1997)
that cabinet members who were found to have violated the anti-
corruption law should not be reappointed. Ulmanis was speaking
before his departure to the U.S., where he is to receive the American
Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative prize for
his contribution toward building a state based on the rule of law.
Premier-designate Guntars Krasts, meanwhile, has said he will
demand written verification from his ministers that they will comply
with the anti-corruption law. He added that he hoped the new
cabinet could be approved during an extraordinary session of the
parliament on 7 August.

POLISH FINANCE MINISTER ON REBUILDING AFTER FLOODS. Marek
Belka told journalists on 30 July he will propose spending cuts in
many areas in 1998 to raise funds to rebuild areas devastated by the
recent floods. "This will be a budget of modest spending in many
areas...and real wage increases will be limited next year," he said. He
declined to give more details. The cabinet is scheduled to debate the
budget in September. Belka also said Poland may be forced to
introduce a "flood tax" to meet the costs of repairing flood damage.
He said the imposition of a 1 percent tax on incomes "would be a
better solution" than the issue of a government bond. Meanwhile, the
central bank has unveiled plans to increase official interest rates
within the next several weeks to prevent credit action and domestic
spending from accelerating even more because of the flood.

U.S. AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH SLOVAK DEPUTY PARLIAMENTARY
CHAIRMAN. Ambassador to Slovakia Ralph Johnson on 30 July met
with Slovak parliamentary deputy chairman Marian Andel, CTK
reported. Andel said Johnson had initiated the meeting in order to
discuss two lectures he gave in Bratislava on 14 July in which he
explained why the U.S. could not support Slovakia as a candidate for
the first round of NATO expansion. The lectures caused an angry
reaction from Slovak government officials. Johnson and Andel also
discussed the case of former deputy Frantisek Gaulieder, who was
stripped by the parliament of his deputy's mandate after he quit
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia. The Constitutional Court ruled on 25 July that the
parliament had acted unconstitutionally. Johnson commented that
the U.S. State Department would make an official statement on the
case only after the parliament had make known its position.

HUNGARIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS APPEAL TO PREMIER. Nineteen
environmentalist groups concerned with the outcome of the
Gabcikovo dam trial at the International Court of Justice in The
Hague on 30 July wrote to Prime Minister Gyula Horn, asking him not
to make a separate deal with his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir
Meciar, at their meeting scheduled for 15 August, Hungarian media
reported. The letter says that Hungary's aspirations toward European
integration justify the "consistent pursuit" of the lawsuit at the
International Court of Justice. Since State Secretary Janos Nemcsok's
appointment as commissioner for Danube matters, suspicion has been
growing that the two countries' leaders are preparing an agreement
behind the scenes. Gyoergy Szenasi, Hungary's legal representative in
The Hague, said he was not aware of any such deals.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN PREMIER GIVES PRIORITY TO CREATING JOBS. Bashkim
Fino and six cabinet ministers held talks with top Italian officials in
Rome on 30 July. Fino said the purpose of his trip, which includes
attending an international donors' conference on 31 July, is to set
priorities for the reconstruction of Albania's economy. He stressed
that Tirana is not interested in simply attracting large sums of
money from abroad but rather in setting up sound programs that
will create jobs. Fino stated that the best thing his government can
do is to create an economic environment in which citizens can save,
invest, and prosper. He refused, however, to reimburse directly
persons who lost their savings in collapsed pyramid schemes earlier
this year. His Socialist Party had led people to believe during the
recent election campaign that they would indeed be reimbursed for
their losses.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT DEALS WITH PYRAMID IMBROGLIO. The
legislature on 30 July approved a measure aimed at controlling the
four pyramid investment schemes still functioning. The government
now has the power to appoint an administrator for each of the four
and to publish lists of the companies' assets. Anastas Angjeli, who
heads the parliament's finance committee, said that another law will
soon be passed to control how the four disburse money. The 30 July
measure also permits investigations of collapsed pyramids to see if
any lost investments can still be returned. Meanwhile, the Defense
Ministry appealed on television to draft-age men who have not yet
served in the military to report for duty and to recent veterans to
return to active service. The new government is trying to revive the
armed forces, which disintegrated in the anarchy following the
collapse of the pyramids.

MONTENEGRINS BLOCK ROAD TO ALBANIAN TRUCKS. Local people set
up barricades on the main highway near Virpazar in Montenegro in
the night of 28-29 July, BETA reported on 30 July. Police intervened
to secure passage for a convoy of about 100 trucks carrying scrap
metal from Albania, but no further trucks crossed into Montenegro at
an illegal border crossing near Ulcinj. The residents of Virpazar are
angry about the effects on their environment and infrastructure
from the constant stream of trucks. Meanwhile in Tetovo, Macedonia,
a local court delayed until October the sentencing of top ethnic
Albanian local officials in conjunction with recent unrest over the
hoisting of the Albanian flag. And in Novi Pazar in Sandzak, Muslim
leaders protested against what they called a systematic campaign by
Belgrade to deny the Muslims basic democratic rights. Muslim
leaders from Kosovo came to Novi Pazar to express solidarity.

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY TALKS TOUGH ON DAYTON. Robin Cook
said after meeting with President Franjo Tudjman on 30 July in
Zagreb that "the patience of the international community is running
out over the slow progress in implementing the Dayton agreement."
Cook added that the international community has "set deadlines" for
the return of refugees to their homes and for handing over indicted
war criminals to The Hague. In recent days, Cook delivered a
similarly tough message to Serbian and Muslim officials in his tour of
the region. Cook also said in Zagreb that Croatia can join European
institutions "only if it embraces standards of a modern European
state." He added that "there is no plot, no conspiracy by the
international community to create a south-eastern political union.
Former Yugoslavia is finished, nobody is attempting to rebuild it."

KARADZIC TO TALK TO WAR CRIMES TEAM? Momcilo Krajisnik, the
Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency, has urged the
Hague-based war crimes tribunal to send representatives to Pale to
question Radovan Karadzic, BETA reported from Belgrade on 30 July.
Krajisnik added that he was sure Karadzic would cooperate with the
investigators to clear his name and that "all of [the Bosnian Serbs']
documents and institutions" would be at the investigators' disposal.
Krajisnik said Karadzic could easily clear up the war crimes charges
against him and that Karadzic's testimony would put an end to what
Krajisnik called an international campaign to ascribe to all Serbs a
collective guilt for war crimes. Meanwhile in The Hague, the indicted
Bosnian Serb Milan Kovacevic appeared before the court for the first
time and denied he is guilty of war crimes.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Foreign Minister Mate Granic said in Zagreb on
30 July that "a group" of Bosnian Croats is willing to go the war
crimes tribunal in The Hague if they have assurance that their cases
will be processed within three months, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from the Croatian capital. Granic's ministry, meanwhile,
issued a statement accusing Yugoslavia of trying to force its Croatian
minority out of cities, especially Zemun. But Zagreb's soccer club
Croatia defeated by a score of 5:0 Belgrade's Partizan, which had won
a politically charged match the previous week (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 July 1997). Both matches took place without any
serious incidents. And on the island of Hvar, more than 1,000
firemen and numerous volunteers fought a losing battle with a fire
that has swept over 3,000 acres.

NEW FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF IN ROMANIA. Presidential
counselor Catalin Harnagea on 30 July was appointed director of the
Foreign Intelligence Service, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. His
predecessor, Ioan Talpes, recently resigned from that post (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 25 July 1997). Harnagea, aged 39, has no
experience in intelligence work and no party affiliation. He is an
engineer by training and worked as a journalist after 1989. In 1997,
he graduated from the National Defense College, having written a
thesis on "Crisis Management and the Secret Services." Harnagea was
Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea's campaign manager when Ciorbea ran
for and won the Bucharest mayoralty in the 1996 local elections.

ROMANIAN REFORM MINISTER CRITICIZES ECONOMIC SITUATION.
Ulm Spineanu told journalists on 30 July that a list of 12 state-owned
enterprises slated for immediate liquidation is to be submitted to the
government. He said that paying the debts of those companies would
require some nine years. Spineanu criticized the general economic
situation, saying that although production is steadily decreasing,
supply still far exceeds demand on the domestic market. He added
that there is a demand for some of those products on foreign markets
but that those managers who are incapable of responding must be
replaced, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. In other news, the
World Bank on 30 July announced that it is lending Romania $70
million to promote educational reform. The project will cost $130
million. The remainder of the costs will be covered by the Council of
Europe ($14 million) and the Romanian government ($46 million).

UNFOLDING SAGA OF HUNGARIAN FLAG IN CLUJ. Gheorghe Funar,
the nationalist Cluj mayor, on 30 July again ordered the Hungarian
national flag hoisted at Budapest's Cluj consulate to be taken down.
The same day, he went to the consulate at a head of a team that
included the three persons who recently stole the flag (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 28 July 1997). The deputy head of the local police ordered
the group to leave. The mayor claimed that the hoisted flag was not
that of Hungary but one that bore the Hungarian symbols of
Transylvania. That allegation was denied by the Hungarian consul in
Cluj, RFE/RL's correspondent there reported.

TIRASPOL REFUSES TO ALLOW CHISINAU OFFICIAL TO VISIT
ALLEGED TERRORIST. The authorities in Tiraspol refused to allow
Moldovan presidential counselor Anatol Taranu to visit Ilie Ilascu,
who has been sentenced to death for alleged acts of terrorism in
December 1993 after being arrested by the Tiraspol authorities in
June 1992. Ilascu, who on 30 July celebrated his 45th birthday, is
being detained in the Hlinoaia prison. Three other members of the
so-called "Ilascu group" are also in prison. The leader of the
breakaway region, Igor Smirnov, said he had received no "official
request" from Chisinau for the visit, while the chairman of the
breakaway region's Supreme Soviet, Grigore Markutsa, said Ilascu is
regularly visited by members of his family but other people "may be
denied permission" to visit him. Romanian President Emil
Constantinescu, the extreme nationalist mayor of Cluj Gheorghe
Funar, and the Bucharest Mayor Viorel Lis sent birthday messages to
Ilascu, whom many Romanians view as a national hero.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON OPENING
COMMUNIST POLICE FILES. The parliament on 30 July approved a
bill allowing communist secret police files to be opened (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 July 1997). The opposition Socialist Party deputies
walked out of the chamber in protest, saying the bill harmed national
security and was anti-constitutional. They said they will contest it in
the Constitutional Court, Reuters reported. Deputies representing the
third-largest faction in the parliament, the Union for National
Salvation, abstained. Under the new law, the files of all members of
the parliament, senior government officials, and high-ranking judges
will be immediately opened and screened to find out whether they
worked for the communist secret services. Within a year, all
Bulgarian citizens will have access to their own files.



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