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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 100, Part II, 21 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

* BELARUS WANTS TO SUSPEND ORT ACCREDITATION

* NATO TROOPS PREVENT COUP IN BANJA LUKA

* ALBANIA ASKS ITALY TO DELAY REPATRIATING REFUGEES

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS WANTS TO SUSPEND ORT ACCREDITATION. Ivan
Pashkevich, deputy head of the Belarusian presidential
administration, told journalists in Minsk on 20 August that the
Foreign Ministry has asked the government to suspend the
accreditation of Russian Public Television (ORT). Pashkevich accused
the ORT management of "political provocation" against the Belarus
leadership. He also said he was bewildered by the position of the
Russian authorities, which have so far failed to give an assessment of
the ORT management's actions. According to Pashkevich, Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is to meet on 21 August with
Russian ambassador to Minsk Valerii Loshchinin at the ambassador's
request. A four-man ORT crew was detained near the Lithuanian
border on 15 August following the arrest of another ORT crew in late
July. The Belarusian KGB recently called in several other journalists
for questioning. Pashkevich said that one of them, ORT special
correspondent Vladimir Foshenko, would be expelled.

DID LITHUANIA GIVE PRETEXT FOR JOURNALISTS' ARREST? The
Lithuanian Interior Ministry on 2O August announced that
Lithuanian border guards sent a document to Belarus in late July
saying that Russian television journalists may have violated the
Lithuanian-Belarusian border, BNS and Interfax reported. It added
that the document may have served as a "pretext" for the arrest of
the Russian Public Television (ORT) journalist Pavel Sheremet and
two of his colleagues. Belarusian border guards had requested such a
document following a meeting between Belarusian and Lithuanian
border officials at which video footage of an alleged illegal frontier
crossing was shown. The Lithuanian authorities, however, were not
informed about the alleged border violation. Both the head and the
chief of staff of the Vilnius Border Police have been demoted and
another official severely reprimanded over the incident. Lithuania
had previously denied giving any pretext for the journalists' arrest,
according to BNS.

UKRAINE SUPPORTS U.S. PROPOSALS FOR UN REFORM. In a meeting
with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson in Kyiv on 20 August,
Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko and Foreign Minister
Hennady Udovenko supported U.S. plans to reform the UN, UNIAN
reported. Richardson is on a 10-day trip to the Far East, Central Asia,
and Europe to promote the U.S.'s reform proposals for the UN,
including expansion of the Security Council to include Japan and
Germany and lowering U.S. financial support to the world body.
Udovenko said the U.S. and Ukraine have the same positions on the
issue. Ukraine's support is significant because Udovenko is slated to
be elected president of the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly
in September. Later on 20 August, Richardson met with Russian
Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak in Moscow. ITAR-TASS
reported that their talks focused on cooperation between Moscow
and Washington in reforming the UN.

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT IN VILNIUS. Lennart Meri met with his
Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Brazauskas, in Vilnius on 20
August, BNS and ETA reported. Following the meeting, Meri stressed
that Estonia is in favor of all Baltic States being included in expansion
talks with the EU as soon as possible. He added that the fact that only
Estonia has been recommended to start such talks will not "drive a
wedge" between the Baltic States. "We are all striving to make it to
Europe. The Baltic States never left Europe, it is Europe that left the
Baltic States," he commented. Meri is scheduled to meet with Foreign
Minister Algirdas Saudargas and parliamentary chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis on 21 August. It is his first state visit to Lithuania.

POLISH RULING COALITION DISINTEGRATES. Prime Minister
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz on 20 August told reporters he regarded
the no-confidence motion submitted against him by the coalition
Peasant Party as the "formal end" of the coalition, Polish Radio
reported. He said the cabinet was still in office and that he would not
dismiss the seven ministers from the Peasant Party until after the
no-confidence vote. "It is theoretically possible that the [Peasant
Party] deputies will vote against their own motion," he said. The
Peasant Party has been the coalition partner of Cimoszewicz's post-
communist Democratic Left Alliance for the past four years. It
recently submitted a motion asking the parliament to dismiss the
prime minister after he blocked advance payments to farmers for
the 1997 grain harvest.

POLISH PRESIDENT ON PRIVATIZATION. Aleksander Kwasniewski
told economists in Bratislava on 20 August that the scope of the
privatization process in Poland guarantees the irreversibility of the
country's switch to a market economy. Some 27 million Polish
citizens have taken part in that process. Kwasniewski noted that as
the 21 September parliamentary elections approach, some "economic
experimenters" in Poland are calling for "a third way." He said
Poland's priority was to come closer to meeting EU criteria on
unemployment, inflation, and the growth of GDP. Kwasniewski also
said that "from the Polish point of view, we can see no reason for
Slovakia to remain outside the European integration process."

POLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC TO JOINTLY APPEAL TO EU FOR FLOOD
RELIEF. The chairmen of the lower chambers of the Czech and Polish
parliaments on 20 August agreed that their countries, together with
Germany, would jointly appeal to the EU for money to repair the
extensive damage caused by the recent floods, Czech Television
reported. Meeting in Prague, Milos Zeman, chairman of the Czech
Chamber of Deputies, and his Polish counterpart, Josef Zych, also
proposed talks with German Bundestag chairwoman Rita Suessmuth
and Austrian lower house speaker Heinz Fischer on measures to
avoid flood damage in the future.

CZECH REPUBLIC ABOLISHES IMPORT DEPOSITS. The government on
20 August abolished import deposits, which were introduced in May
in an effort to stem the country's skyrocketing trade deficit, CTK
reported. The EU demanded that Prague do away with the deposits,
which, in the EU's opinion, violated the Czech Republic's association
agreement with the union. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told
journalists that favorable foreign trade developments prompted by a
weaker crown made possible the government's decision. Meanwhile,
Harvard Holding's shareholders voted on 20 August to abolish the
company. The Harvard Investment Fund, one of the largest funds in
the country, was established by Viktor Kozeny in 1991 and
transformed into a holding in 1995. Harvard Holding is comprised
almost entirely of shares in Daventree, which Kozeny runs from the
Bahamas.

REPORT ON SLOVAK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT CAUSES STIR. An
international study on the nuclear power plant in Mochovce, western
Slovakia, warns of serious safety problems at the station, Austrian
Television reported. The 400-page report was made public in Vienna
on 20 August after having been kept secret for two years. It was
written by independent experts from the U.S., Germany, Italy,
Switzerland, and Austria on the orders of the Austrian chancellor's
office. They came to the conclusion that "Mochovce would not even
measure up to the latest Russian regulations." It would therefore be
"economically practical to scrap its construction and instead build a
new, better power station." Austrian environmental groups and the
right-wing opposition immediately called on the Austrian
government to pressure Slovakia into closing down the Mochovce
facility.

TECHNICAL FAULT AT HUNGARIAN NUCLEAR PLANT. A technical
fault on 20 August caused the shutdown of one of the four units at
the Paks nuclear plant, some 100 kilometers south of Budapest. A
spokesman for the plant said the fault was a "technical glitch" only.
The unit generates some 20 percent of Hungary's electricity and will
probably be off-line for several days. Although the reactor is Soviet-
designed, it is not of the same type as the ill-fated Chornobyl plant in
Ukraine.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO TROOPS PREVENT COUP IN BANJA LUKA. British and Czech
SFOR soldiers found huge caches of weapons on 20 August after they
occupied police stations previously held by police loyal to Radovan
Karadzic and the hard-line Bosnian Serb government in Pale (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 20 August 1997). The discovery confirmed the
suspicions of Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic and of NATO
that Karadzic's police were about to stage a coup against her. NATO
officials added that they had saved Plavsic from a previous coup
attempt in June, the "Financial Times" reported on 21 August.
Interior Minister Dragan Kijac's troops had planned to take her from
the Belgrade airport back to Bosnian Serb territory "for psychiatric
treatment," but they chose a border crossing where SFOR was waiting
for them.

SFOR MOVES TO BREAK PALE'S POLICE POWER. Peacekeepers helped
Plavsic's newly appointed police officials to take over Banja Luka's
police stations on 20 August. One pro-Plavsic officer said on local
radio that Karadzic's forces nonetheless remain a danger in that
town. SFOR officials stated that the peacekeepers are determined to
break Kijac's control over the police. A NATO spokesman added that
the raids on Kijac's police stations yielded evidence of "criminal
activity." Some observers said that SFOR's actions in Banja Luka
constitute the international community's strongest show of support
for Plavsic against Karadzic to date. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, U.S.
envoy Robert Gelbard said that the Bosnian Serb military are
resisting attempts by Momcilo Krajisnik, the pro-Karadzic Serbian
representative on the Bosnian joint presidency, to assert authority
over the army.

KARADZIC LOYALISTS CALL PLAVSIC TRAITOR. Following the SFOR
raid, the Pale-based government issued a statement calling Plavsic a
traitor and charging that she is working with foreign occupiers
against the Serbs. The statement added that the raids in Banja Luka
constitute a coup against the Bosnian Serb government. Meanwhile at
a rally in Banja Luka, Plavsic called for free media throughout the
Republika Srpska, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the
northwestern Bosnian town. Representatives of opposition parties
demanded that the two top executives in pro-Karadzic TV Pale resign
within three days.

SANDZAK LEADER WARNS OF VIOLENCE. Sulejman Ugljanin, a leader
of the Sandzak Muslims, said it is likely that his people will boycott
the 21 September Serbian elections, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote on 21 August. Ugljanin said that any hopes that Serbia
might become a more democratic country have proven futile. Europe,
he argued, must exert pressure on Belgrade to end its dictatorial
methods lest some Sandzak youth turn to political violence out of
frustration. Sandzak links Kosovo and Bosnia and is divided between
Serbia and Montenegro. Muslims make up just more than half of its
population and have political links to the Party of Democratic Action
of Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic.

BELGRADE POLICE BLOCK STUDENT PROTEST. Police cordoned off the
parliament building on 20 August to prevent a group of some 100
students from reaching Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The
students wanted to present him with a banana on his birthday
because, student spokesmen said, he has turned Serbia into a banana
republic. The protest was a parody of an annual student relay race
staged on Josip Broz Tito's birthday during his lifetime. At the end of
the race, a student would present Tito with the baton.

KOSOVO LEADER SAYS ALBANIANS STILL HAVE NO PARTNERS IN
SERBIA. Parliamentary Party leader Adem Demaci said that there are
no political forces in Serbia who are prepared to treat the Albanians
as equals and work for a solution to the Kosovo problem, the
Belgrade daily "Danas" reported on 21 August. Demaci added that he
is interested in a solution that will benefit everybody and will not be
to the detriment of the Serbs or Montenegrins. He said that the
Albanians would certainly take part in the Serbian elections if a
Serbian party offers a platform on Kosovo that the Albanians can
accept. All Albanian parties plan to boycott the September ballot.

ALBANIA ASKS ITALY TO DELAY REPATRIATING REFUGEES.
President Rexhep Mejdani urged the Italian government on 20
August not to carry out its plans to repatriate 10,000 Albanian
refugees by the end of August. Mejdani asked the Italians to wait
"until there is a more suitable time for all." Foreign Minister Paskal
Milo told "Gazeta Shqiptare" that the Albanian government "asks
good understanding and maturity from Rome. This is not the time to
send back refugees." Some of the refugees had appealed to Tirana to
urge Rome to give them visas so they can stay on. The Albanian
government wants to restore law and order and create new jobs
before having to deal with a large influx of returnees. The Italian
authorities, however, may have difficulty finding and deporting some
7,000 refugees whose whereabouts are not known.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY
SESSION. The Party of Social Democracy in Romania, the Party of
Romanian National Unity, and the Greater Romania Party have called
for a special session of both houses of the parliament at the end of
August, Romanian media reported. Lawmakers are currently on
vacation. The three parties want to debate the government's
amended memorandum with the IMF, its decision to liquidate loss-
making enterprises, and the ordinances amending the Education Law
and allowing bilingual signs in localities where national minorities
make up at least 20 percent of the population.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT RELEASES EDIBLE OIL RESERVES. The
government on 20 August has placed 10,000 tons of edible oil
reserves on the market in an attempt to end a crisis caused by an 80
percent rise in the price of edible oil, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. The government said the steep hike was unjustified and
due to speculation. It warned retail traders that inspections will be
carried out to ensure profits from the sale of edible oil are registered
on tax forms because compensation for the needy is to come from
budget revenues. Finance Minister Mircea Ciumara said the
government intends to temporarily freeze the prices of edible oil and
other basic foods.

ROMANIAN CONTACTS WITH U.S. INVESTORS. A delegation of U.S.
businessmen headed by Bell Helicopters' chairman of the board met
with Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea in Bucharest on 20 August to
discuss the possible production of the "Dracula" version of the Cobra
helicopter at the IAR-Ghimbav factory, in which Bell Helicopters has
a 70 percent stake. The government pulled out of a plan to purchase
those helicopters for the Romanian army after the plan was vetoed
by the IMF. In other news, the U.S. Shapiro Investment Bank has
announced it is interested in purchasing parts of the Ploiesti-based
Vega refinery, one of the state-owned enterprises slated for
liquidation. The number of those enterprises was recently reduced
from 17 to 16 because one enterprise turned out to be profitable.
Assuming personal responsibility for the error, Deputy Trade and
Industry Minister Sebastian Vladescu resigned on 16 August.

MOLDOVAN CHURCH LEADER WARNS AGAINST RELIGIOUS WAR.
Metropolitan Vladimir, who heads the Moscow-subordinated
Moldovan Orthodox Church, says there is a danger of a "war among
Orthodox Christians" if the Chisinau Court of Appeal's decision to
recognize the Bucharest-subordinated Bessarabian Metropolitan
Church is not overturned (see "RFE/RL Newsline", 20 August 1997).
Vladimir told RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau that if the decision remains
in force " the loser will not be the Church alone but also the State."
Also on 20 August, Gheorghe Armasu, director of the government
office in charge of religious affairs, said the government will appeal
the decision at the Supreme Court. Armasu said the Bessarabian
Church declares itself to be the successor of a Church that had existed
"under foreign occupation," BASA-press reported.

TIRASPOL SETS UP COMMISSION ON "BORDER DELIMITATION." Igor
Smirnov, the leader of the breakaway Transdniester region, issued a
decree on 20 August setting up a 10-member government
commission "on the delimitation of the borders of the Transdniester
Republic." The commission is headed by Smirnov's deputy, Aleksandr
Karaman, and includes representatives of the breakaway's region
five districts that are on the left bank of River Dniester. The
commission does not include a representative of the town of
Bendery-Tighina, which, though under separatist control, is on the
right bank of the river.





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