Science and art have that in common that everyday things seem to them new and attractive. - Friedrich Nietzsche
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 89, Part II, 6 August1997



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

*BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA


*POLISH GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF KEEPING SECRET ACCOUNTS


*ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AGREES ON RESTRUCTURED BUDGET


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka told Interfax on 5 August that integration with Russia
would go ahead despite a row with Russia over the arrest of a
Russian television crew in Belarus. Lukashenka argued that
influential political critics in Russia would not distract him or Russian
President Boris Yeltsin from their plans for unity enshrined in a
treaty signed in May. "Neither he nor I will abandon the politics of
integration," Lukashenka said. Yeltsin had threatened to review the
union treaty if the two-man crew, charged with illegally crossing the
border from Lithuania, were not released. Two of the three face a
possible five-year sentence. Lukashenka said he was ready to meet
Yeltsin to discuss problems relating to integration, though he added
that it was not he who had started the argument.

CRIMEAN ORGANIZATIONS APPEAL TO UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S
WIFE. Several public associations in the Crimean city of Sevastopol,
grouped under the umbrella of the so-called Bastion Bloc, have
released an open letter calling on Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma's wife to use her influence so as not to allow the Sea Breeze-
97 exercise to be held in Crimea, Interfax reported on 4 August. The
exercise is scheduled to be held off Crimea's cost at the end of August
in the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. It would
involve Ukrainian, U.S. and other countries' naval ships. Sevastopol
Bastion also has called on Lyudmila Kuchma "to take the
rapprochement of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus under her patronage."
The League of Crimean Women has sent a similar letter to Kuchma's
wife.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT MEETS UZBEKISTANI COUNTERPART. Leonid
Kuchma on 5 August met Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, who
is vacationing in Crimea, UNIAN reported. The Presidential Press
Service said that a "wide specter of issues in relations between the
two countries was discussed" during the meeting. Both presidents
said they are satisfied with relations between Ukraine and
Uzbekistan.

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT IN FINLAND. Lennart Meri finished a visit to
Denmark on 5 August and arrived in Finland for a private visit, BNS
reported. A presidential aide declined to say whom the president will
meet during his visit. Meri is scheduled to return to Tallinn on 6
August. Meri spent five days in Denmark where he addressed Danish
politicians about Estonian views on NATO and EU enlargement.

ESTONIAN EXPERTS SAY RUSSIA DELAYING BORDER AGREEMENT.
Chief topographer of the Estonian Border Guard Department Tonu
Raid, who heads the Estonian team of experts at the border talks
with Russia, told journalists on 5 August that Russia is inventing
reasons to delay an agreement on border maps which is necessary
for the signing of a border treaty between the countries. He said that
while the parties have reached agreement on the borderline and its
marking on the map, Russia keeps arguing about technical
parameters. Meanwhile, the next round of border talks between
Russia and Latvia are scheduled to begin on 6 August in Riga. The
Latvian Foreign Ministry said the delegations have agreed on a draft
border treaty and are now working on maps and other technical
aspects.

LATVIAN AIR FORCE COMMANDER KILLED IN CAR CRASH. Karlis Kins,
the commander of the Latvian air force, was killed on 4 August when
his car collided with a truck on a highway outside Riga, BNS reported
on 5 August. Kins was declared dead at the scene of the accident. An
unidentified passenger in his car also was killed. Four other
passengers, including Kins' wife, were hospitalized with injuries. Kins
was on vacation and driving a personal car.

FOUR LATVIAN FACTIONS TO SIGN DRAFT GOVERNMENT
DECLARATION. Latvia's four largest parliament factions are set to
sign on 6 August a draft government declaration and an agreement
on cooperation, BNS reported. The signing will make it possible for
the government formed by Guntars Krasts to start working. The draft
documents were finalized on 5 August. Unlike the previous
government, the new coalition does not include the National Reform
Party and the Green Party faction. However, Indulis Emsis of the
Green Party will keep a post in the new government. Krasts has
described integration into Europe, economic development and
continued reforms as the main tasks of his government.

POLISH GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF KEEPING SECRET ACCOUNTS.
Poland's central auditing office (NIK) said on 5 August it had
discovered secret government accounts in Poland and Germany
holding a million marks (540,500 dollars), PAP reported. The funds
belong to the government and lay in two separate mark accounts,
one Polish and the other in an unidentified German bank in Berlin.
Under Polish law, "the existence of these accounts is illegal and
unjustified as all government spending must appear in the state
budget and be submitted to parliament," NIK spokesman Przemyslaw
Szustakiewicz told AFP. He said some of the funds helped equip
dental surgery for government officials. Top government officials
claim they did not know of the accounts' existence.

POLISH PEASANT PARTY THREATENS COALITION PARTNER. Deputy
Premier and Agriculture Minister Jaroslaw Kalinowski of the co-
ruling Polish Peasant Party (PSL) left the cabinet meeting on 5
August in protest against Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz's
refusal to discuss Kalinowski's idea to pay in advance for cereals
bought from farmers, RFE/RL's Warsaw correspondent reported. The
agriculture ministry in May came up with the project under which
the government's Agriculture Market Agency would pay in advance
for cereals bought from farmers. The premier supported the project
but asked the ministry to present an analysis of cereals market
before the project is discussed by the government. The government's
spokesperson said Cimoszewicz refused to discuss the project because
Kalinowski did not present the requested analysis. PSL leaders said
that if Cimoszewicz does not accept the plan by 12 August, PSL will
demand the prime minister's resignation.

CZECH REPUBLIC'S MARRIAGE AND BIRTH RATES DECLINE SHARPLY.
Marriages and births have fallen dramatically in the Czech Republic
since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, according to data
released to the media from the Central Statistical Office. During the
six years between 1990 and 1996, marriages fell by 41 percent
while registered births dropped by almost a third. In 1990, there
were 90,953 recorded marriages, a figure slightly higher than the
year before, but by 1996 this level had fallen to 53,896. Similarly,
births registered in 1990 were 130,564 while six years later in 1996,
the number was just 90,446. In 1996, for a third year in a row, more
people died than were born. The country's population in 1995 was
10,321 000 while it was 10,309 000 last year.

SLOVAK PREMIER'S PARTY DISASSOCIATES ITSELF FROM LE PEN'S
VISIT. A statement released to the media by Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 5
August says French National Front Chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen has
not been invited to visit Slovakia either by the Slovak parliament,
the government or the HZDS. The ultra-right politician has been
invited by the Slovak National Party (SNS), which is an independent
and sovereign political subject, the statement says. The SNS
announced on 4 August that Le Pen is scheduled to visit Slovakia 18-
21 September at the SNS invitation (see RFE/RL Newsline, 5 August).
A spokesman for the HZDS told journalists on 5 August that the HZDS
announced "a long time ago that there will be no meeting [of HZDS
politicians] with Le Pen."

HUNGARIAN MILITARY TO BECOME PROFESSIONAL. Defense Minister
Gyoergy Keleti said on 5 August that at Prime Minister Gyula Horn's
request, his ministry will work out a long-term project to establish a
professional army, Hungarian media reported. Professional soldiers
will receive an average salary increase of 23.5 percent next year, and
mandatory military service will cease within eight to 10 years. A
decision on fighter aircraft purchases will be made after upcoming
NATO negotiations. Some 300 billion forints ($1.55 billion) have been
earmarked for buying 30 fighter jets, together with weaponry and
the necessary ground instruments.


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GREECE TO LEGALIZE ALBANIAN MIGRANTS' STATUS. Greek Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in Tirana on 5 August that his
country will help Albania restore its economy, military, and police.
Some 100 Greek troops will stay in Albania, together with a group of
military experts. Greece is anxious to curb an influx of drugs, arms,
and criminals from across the border. Pangalos added that Albanian
migrant workers in Greece will receive temporary work permits.
Many of the Albanians have been working there illegally and are
subject to immediate deportation. There are perhaps 300,000 such
migrants, who often live and work under poor conditions, but whose
presence has become essential to some branches of the Greek
economy. Their remittances home are a mainstay of the Albanian
economy.

HOLBROOKE STARTS BALKAN MISSION TO SAVE DAYTON
AGREEMENT. U.S. envoys Richard Holbrooke and Robert Gelbard
arrive in Split on 6 August for meetings with Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman and his Bosnian counterpart Alija Izetbegovic. The
diplomats want the two leaders to put into effect long-standing
agreements regarding the Croat-Muslim Federation in Bosnia. On 8
August Holbrooke is expected to tell Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic in Belgrade that his country could face new sanctions if it
does not observe its obligations under the Dayton agreement and
"ideally" send Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal. In Novi Pazar, Sandzak Muslim leader
Sulejman Ugljanin said on 5 August that he wants to tell Holbrooke
personally about Serbia's persecution of its Muslim minority.
Ugljanin also appealed to Bosnian Co-Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic to
make the Sandzak Muslims' plight known, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Novi Pazar.

RIFT GROWS BETWEEN U.S., WESTENDORP. Carlos Westendorp, the
international community's chief representative in Bosnia, has refused
to meet Holbrooke, news agencies reported from Sarajevo on 5
August. Westendorp's spokesman said in the Bosnian capital that
Westendorp "is in Spain. He is on holiday. He'll be back at the end of
the week." The former Spanish foreign minister's apparent decision
not to meet the U.S. envoy comes in response to recent negative
remarks about Westendorp made by an unnamed U.S. diplomat (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August 1997). Westendorp's spokesman added
that "some of the statements which I've seen attributed to various
diplomats are extraordinary. Anonymous briefings to the press are
unhelpful in this context." Among the criticisms of Westendorp is
that he spends too much time away from Bosnia.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. Westendorp's office announced in Sarajevo on 5
August that Muslim and Croat representatives have agreed that
Muslim villagers may soon return to their homes near Jajce (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 1997). German officials said in Bonn
that Germany has suspended all aid to the Croat-held Jajce region
until the Muslims are allowed to go home. Elsewhere, Switzerland
and Russia have joined at least 12 other countries in following
Westendorp's call for a freeze on contacts with Bosnian diplomats
until the three Bosnian sides agree on new ambassadorial
appointments.

U.N. POLICE FREE TWO ILLEGALLY HELD SERBS. Members of the
International Police Task Force (IPTF) on 5 August found and
obtained freedom for two Serbs whom the Bosnian authorities were
holding in a prison in Zenica in violation of the Dayton agreement.
The IPTF paid an unannounced visit to the facility and found Nenad
and Dusan Skrbic, whom the police had not seen on previous,
announced visits. The two were on the list of missing persons of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, but the Bosnian authorities
at first refused to free them. The men were taken to Banja Luka and
reunited with their families, who had alerted the IPTF to their plight.

OSCE SAYS IT WILL NOT MONITOR SERBIAN VOTE. A spokesman for
the OSCE said in Vienna on 5 August that his organization will turn
down Serbia's invitation to monitor the September local elections
there unless Belgrade removes some conditions it wants to place on
the operation. The Serbian authorities seek to determine which
countries may send monitors, which the OSCE calls "unacceptable."
The spokesman added that Belgrade has failed to implement
recommendations that the OSCE made late last year to improve the
democratic process in Serbia.

SLOVENIA LOSES KEY COURT BATTLE. A court in Nicosia, Cyprus,
ruled on 5 August that Slovenia has no claim to money deposited in
Beogradska Banka Cyprus for the former Yugoslav National Bank
(NBJ). The court lifted an injunction that Slovenia obtained last year
against the Serbian offshore bank and charged Slovenia for costs.
Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia object to federal
Yugoslavia's claim to be the sole legal successor to Tito's state and
hence entitled to its assets. Acting on the principle that former
Yugoslav property should be divided equitably among all the
successor states, Slovenia charged that some of the NBJ's money on
deposit in Cyprus actually belongs to Slovenian citizens.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AGREES ON RESTRUCTURED BUDGET. At a
meeting that ended in the early morning hours of 6 August, the
government agreed on the details of the restructured budget, Radio
Bucharest reported. Details will be presented by Prime Minister
Victor Ciorbea at a press conference later on 6 August. Deputy
Minister of Finance Dan Rusanu said the restructured budget
continues to be one of "austerity" and that it reflects the priority
given to social protection, health and education. He said the 4.5%
deficit agreed on with the IMF will be respected and predicted that
in 1998 the deficit will be between 2.2 and 2.5 percent of the GDP.
Earlier, Ciorbea met leaders of the main trade unions, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. After the meeting, they said it was
agreed that salaries will be indexed by 17 percent in the third
quarter of 1997 and by 6 percent in the last quarter.

ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ENDS TRANSYLVANIAN TOUR.
Ending a tour of Transylvania on 5 August, Minister of Interior Gavril
Dejeu told a press conference that he found inter-ethnic Romanian-
Hungarian relations to be "reasonable." But he complained that
Romanian ethnics living in the countryside in counties with a
Hungarian majority are being subjected to "inadmissible efforts" of
assimilation, Radio Bucharest reported on 6 August.

EUROPEAN UNION URGES IMPROVEMENT OF TREATMENT OF ROMAS
IN ROMANIA. A European Commission official on 5 August urged
Romania and other Central and Eastern European countries to crack
down on discrimination and violence against their Roma minorities,
the media reported on the same day. Steffen Skovmand, a member of
the European Commission's delegation in Romania, said in a news
conference that the situation of the Roma is "still a weak point" in
Romania's record of respect of human rights and in the rest of the
region. Roma rights activist Nicolae Gheorghe told reporters that
Roma are subject to harassment and aggression in Central and
Eastern Europe. He cited violence against Roma by "skinhead" youth
gangs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, police brutality against
them in Romania and Bulgaria, and labor and education
discrimination in Hungary.

FIVE DIE IN ROMANIAN FLOODS. Two men trying to cross a small
Romanian river in a horse-drawn cart drowned when they were
swept away by a sudden torrent of water. A police spokesman said
on 5 August that the accident occurred in the town of Zarnesti, 50
kilometers southwest of Brasov. Police in the eastern Danube river
port of Tulcea said the bodies of three men were found in one of the
tributaries of the Danube. The three were washed away by
floodwater following heavy rains late last month.

EVACUATION OF RUSSIAN MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM
TRANSDNIESTER POSTPONED. The evacuation of the first dispatch of
Russian military equipment from the breakaway Transdniester
region, scheduled for August 3, has been postponed, BASA-press
reported on 4 August, citing "reliable sources" close to the Tiraspol
authorities. No new date for the beginning of the evacuation was
mentioned. The military convoy carrying the equipment should have
transited the Moldovan territory. The breakaway region's leadership
opposes the evacuation and claims ownership of the equipment.
Stefan Chitac, a military adviser of Transdniester leader Igor
Smirnov, told BASA-press that he knows nothing about the
evacuation but noted that the problem of ownership of the assets
will be the subject of separate negotiations between Transdniester
and Russia.

TRANSDNIESTER DECLARES ITSELF "CUSTOMS CONTROL ZONE." A
decree signed on 5 August by the leader of the breakaway
Transdniester region, Igor Smirnov, stipulates that the region is
setting up a separate "custom control zone" on all its territory. The
decree says the measure "corresponds to custom legislation and
similar practice in the CIS," BASA-press reported on 5 August. The
Transdniestrian custom service is headed by Igor Smirnov's son,
Vladimir Smirnov. In other news, in the wake of the "motorcade
incident" during which Moldovan Defense Minster Valeriu Pasat was
barred from entering the territory under the separatists' control (see
RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 1997), the Joint Control Commission
which oversees the truce between Chisinau and Tiraspol has ordered
the commandment of the three peace-keeping forces (OSCE, Russia
and Ukraine) to work out within two weeks a mechanism aimed at
removing obstacles for crossing the security zone dividing the two
conflicting sides.



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               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
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