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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 104, Part II, 27 August1997


From: SipkovaE on Wed, Aug 27, 1997 3:05 PM
Subject: RFE/RL Newsline, No. 104, Part II, 27 August 1997
To: rferl-l@listserv.buffalo.edu
Cc: wwwsitemgr

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 104, Part II, 27 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 ACCUSES ORT OF PROVOCATION

*STANDOFF BETWEEN PLAVSIC, BOSNIAN SERB ARMY COMMAND

*ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS' DEMAND FOR AIR TIME REJECTED

End Note
ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT MAKES PERSONNEL CHANGES

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS ACCUSES ORT OF PROVOCATION. Belarus on 26 August
again accused the management of Russian Public Television (ORT) of
planning what it called a "large-scale provocation" against Belarus,
Belapan reported. Two ORT crews have been detained in Belarus over
the past month and accused of violating Belarus's border with
Lithuania. Members of the second crew have been released under
pressure from the Russian government. A statement issued by
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's office. said the crew was
released to prevent the incident being used to damage Russian-
Belarusian relations. Two members of the first ORT crew that was
detained -- both Belarusian citizens --remain in jail. The authorities
have also refused to drop criminal charges against their driver, who
has been released from detention.

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN UKRAINE. Igor Sergeev was in
Ukraine on 26 August for talks on military cooperation and
implementing the Black Sea Fleet agreement between the two
countries. Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexander Kuzmuk and
Sergeev signed a military intelligence accord pledging the countries'
military forces will not spy on each other. They also discussed the
fate of 42 Soviet strategic bombers that remain on Ukrainian
territory. Russia initially wanted to buy them but has since changed
its mind. The two ministers agreed that experts from both countries
will discuss for which purposes the bombers will be used. Also on 26
August, President Leonid Kuchma said that military cooperation
between Ukraine and Russia must be "put right". Russia has criticized
the "Sea Breeze 97" naval exercises off the Crimean coast in which
Ukraine is taking part with the U.S., Turkey, Georgia, Romania, and
Bulgaria.

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL WARNS AGAINST BALTICS' JOINING NATO.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev said on 26
August that if NATO expansion includes the Baltic States, Russia will
have to revise its relations both with NATO member states and with
the states that aspire to become members," BNS and ETA reported.
Avdeev was addressing the Nordic Council security conference in
Helsinki. He also accused the Baltic States, and Estonia in particular,
of discriminating against their Russian-speaking minorities, noting
that Tallinn's citizenship examination on the Estonian language and
history is "too tough." Minority problems in the Baltic States could be
solved through a constructive dialogue with the Council of Europe,
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the
Baltic Sea States Council, he added.

TALLINN SOON TO HAVE SYNAGOGUE. BNS reported on 26 August
that the Estonian government has assigned a 1,000 square meter plot
in downtown Tallinn on which a four-story building for the local
Jewish community will be erected. The building will comprise a
synagogue, a community center, and accommodation for visiting
rabbis. David Slomka, head of Estonia's Jewish community, told the
news agency that the new building will help solve questions of care
for the elderly and religious instruction for the young. According to
Slomka, Tallinn is currently the only European capital without a
synagogue.

LATVIAN ROUNDUP. President Guntis Ulmanis has said he wants the
number of aliens in Latvia to decline considerably over the next
decade, BNS reported on 26 August. Asked about his vision of Latvia
in the future, Ulmanis said he would like the proportion of non-
citizens to fall from 30 percent to around 10 percent of the
population. In other news, the Russian Embassy in Riga has asked the
Latvian Foreign Ministry to explain why a monument to Soviet
soldiers was recently dismantled. The daily "Diena" reported that the
monument, situated in the main square in Jelgava, was dismantled
because it was in danger of collapsing. The Russian embassy noted
that press reports suggesting that it had agreed to the dismantling
were "false."

COMPROMISE SAVES POLISH COALITION. The Peasant Party (PSL) on
26 August withdrew plans to seek a vote of no confidence in Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, after reaching a compromise with
Cimoszewicz's Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), its senior coalition
partner, on farm policies. The SLD agreed that the government will
buy at least 300,000 tons of grain from farmers who were affected
by the recent disastrous floods. PSL spokesman Aleksander
Bentkowski told journalists that following the government decision to
increase state purchases of grain from farmers, a party no-
confidence motion had become "groundless." The compromise has
saved the four-year-old coalition from collapse less than one month
before general elections.

POLAND, AZERBAIJAN SIGN AGREEMENTS. Presidents Aleksander
Kwasniewski and Heidar Aliev on 26 August attended a signing
ceremony in Warsaw of six bilateral accords. An aviation agreement
paves the way for commercial flights between the two capitals. The
two countries also signed an agreement on friendly relations and
cooperation. The presidents told a news conference they had
discussed initial proposals for Poland to participate in Azerbaijani oil
and gas projects but gave no details.

SWISS FOREIGN MINISTER IN PRAGUE. Flavio Cotti said in Prague on
26 August that his country is interested in participating in the
upcoming privatization of large Czech banks. CTK quoted Cotti as
saying the Czech Republic's economic development is "exemplary"
and that Switzerland is willing to strengthen its role in investments.
Cotti's comments came after talks with his Czech counterpart, Josef
Zieleniec. Meanwhile, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude
Juncker, who was also in Prague on 26 August, told Czech President
Vaclav Havel that EU is not a "one-way street" and does not concern
only the states seeking to join but also the EU itself. Luxembourg
holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of this year.

SLOVAK COALITION BOYCOTTS PARLIAMENTARY SESSION. Members
of the ruling coalition on 26 August boycotted a parliamentary
session that was to decide the fate of deputy Frantisek Gaulieder.
Gaulieder -- who was stripped of his mandate in November 1996,
one month after he quit Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia -- says he was dismissed on the basis of a
forged letter of resignation. The Constitutional Court in July decided
that the parliament acted unconstitutionally, and U.S. and EU officials
have criticized Meciar's government repeatedly over the Gaulieder
case. Sixty-four deputies, all from the opposition, attended the
parliamentary session but were 12 short of a quorum. A statement
signed by all opposition party leaders said the ruling coalition's
attitude to the session proved its lack of respect for the constitution.
RFE/RL's Bratislava correspondent reported that the parliament has
rescheduled discussion of Gaulieder's case for 27 August.

LUXEMBOURG PREMIER IN SLOVAKIA. Jean-Claude Juncker said in
Bratislava on 26 August that it is important for Slovak leaders to
overcome "personal disputes" and begin to cooperate for the good of
Slovakia. The Luxembourg premier spoke at a press conference after
meeting with Meciar. Juncker said the European Commission did not
recommend beginning accession talks with Slovakia because of the
"different views of the EU and Bratislava on resolving political and
institutional issues in Slovakia." He argued that "the EU and Slovakia
must find a new starting point for the integration of Slovakia."
Meciar said that if "certain" concessions were made by the
parliamentary opposition and President Michal Kovac, Slovakia could
still send a "positive signal" to the EU before the December summit.

HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL CRITICIZES ANTI-ROMA MEASURES. Jeno
Kaltenbach, the ombudsman for minority rights, is to launch a
"comprehensive investigation" into a decision by the local authorities
of Satoraljaujhely, in northeastern Hungary, aimed at forcing
members of the Roma minority to leave the town. The local
authorities there recently decided that "certain people" who are
"unable to adjust to life in towns" and 'threaten public security" may
be removed, even if that requires "using illegitimate means."
Kaltenbach termed the decision "local apartheid," Hungarian media
reported. The mayor of Satoraljaujhely recently said on Hungarian
television that the decision was prompted by "hygienic reasons."
Kaltenbach said the Satoraljaujhely case was not an isolated one.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES ATTACKS ON FOREIGN
POLICY. Laszlo Kovacs on 26 August said the Alliance of Young
Democrats' (FIDESZ) recent criticism of the country's foreign policy
(See "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 August 1997) is a "bad omen" for the
1998 election campaign. He said FIDESZ aims at undermining
Budapest's relations with its neighbors and with Hungarian
minorities abroad. Also on 26 August, Victor Orban, the chairman of
FIDESZ, expressed regret that other opposition parties, excluding the
Hungarian Democratic Forum, are not willing to back FIDESZ's
proposal that the results of the planned referendum on NATO
membership be binding on the government, Hungarian media
reported.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

STANDOFF BETWEEN PLAVSIC, BOSNIAN SERB ARMY COMMAND.
Chief-of-Staff Gen. Pero Colic and other members of the General Staff
did not attend a meeting with Republika Srpska President Biljana
Plavsic in Banja Luka on 26 August. Colic refused an offer from SFOR
troops to bring him from Sarajevo to Plavsic's headquarters. About
half of the total membership of the staff met with Plavsic, but there
was no official announcement after the meeting. Observers in Banja
Luka suggested she may soon fire Colic, who recently accused Plavsic
of trying to split the Bosnian Serb state. Likely candidates to replace
him are Plavsic loyalists Generals Momir Talic and Novica Simic.
Almost all key Bosnian Serb institutions have split into two factions,
one loyal to Plavsic and the other to her rival Radovan Karadzic (see
"RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 27 August 1997).

BOSNIAN SERB PARLIAMENT REJECTS LOCAL ELECTIONS. Only 45 of
the 83 parliamentary deputies attended a 26 August session called
by hard-liners near Sarajevo. The Karadzic loyalists rejected holding
local elections in September because of what they called a lack of
security. They also declared void Plavsic's invitation for the OSCE to
monitor the vote and stripped her of her command over the army.
The parliament asked the government and Interior Ministry to
prepare a plan "for the defense of the constitutional order" within 24
hours. Another resolution called for Plavsic's loyalists to end their
independent radio and television broadcasts by 29 August. The
deputies accused SFOR of siding with Plavsic and trying to turn the
Bosnian Serb republic into a "protectorate" of the international
community. The legislature also approved a cabinet reshuffle in
which Interior Minister Dragan Kijac became deputy prime minister
and Slavko Paleksic replaced Kijac.

MILOSEVIC CALLS FOR PRESIDENTIAL, LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS FOR
BOSNIAN SERBS. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic told OSCE
envoy Robert Frowick in Belgrade on 26 August that the only way to
solve the Bosnian Serb political crisis is to hold presidential and
parliamentary elections at the same time. It is unclear how Frowick
responded. Milosevic made the same proposal on 21 August to
German diplomats, who called it "unacceptable." The international
community endorses Plavsic's call for parliamentary elections in
October but rejects demands by her rivals in Pale for a new
presidential vote. In related news, Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle
began a peace mission to the rival Bosnian Serb factions in Pale on 27
August. Meanwhile in the area of Mt. Kozara, SFOR intensified patrols
around Plavsic's TV relay station on 26 August. In Sarajevo, SFOR
commander Gen. Eric Shinseki warned Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim
generals to stay out of politics.

MORE AID FOR BOSNIA. The German government announced on 26
August that it will resume aid to the Jajce region, which was
suspended recently after local Croats chased out returning Muslim
refugees. Turkish government spokesmen said that Ankara will
provide Bosnia with an additional $10 million in reconstruction aid.
The money will help restore the historical Old Bridge in Mostar and
provide housing for displaced Muslims.

NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman on 26 August endorsed a recent British proposal to try
some indicted war criminals in Bosnia rather than in The Hague (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 1997). In Ljubljana, the Slovenian
government asked representatives of the international community to
protect Slovenian citizens' property in Serbia and Montenegro from
forcible sale under a new Yugoslav privatization law. Meanwhile in
Skopje, Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov urged NATO commander
Gen. Wesley Clark on 25 August not to reduce the number of
peacekeepers stationed in Macedonia. Observers in Skopje said that
the Macedonian operation is the first mission in UN history aimed at
preventing a conflict from spilling over into a region at peace.

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS' DEMAND FOR AIR TIME REJECTED. The
parliamentary media commission on 26 August rejected a demand
by the Democratic Party that one-third of news broadcasting time be
given to the opposition. Commission Secretary Nikolle Lesi, an
independent parliamentary deputy and owner of the daily "Koha
Jone," told "Republika" that the Democrats' proposal, if implemented,
would put journalists under pressure to create news artificially and
hence would reduce the standards of news reporting. During the run-
up to the June parliamentary elections, state television had divided
air time among the parties, which led to pressure on journalists to
broadcast party statements rather than analysis. Former
parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori has, meanwhile, begun his
eighth day of a hunger strike to support his party's demands for
guaranteed air time..

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT LAUNCHES JUDICIAL REFORM. Rexhep
Meidani presented a draft law on 26 August to increase the
independence of the nine-member High Judicial Council, which
appoints most judges and state prosecutors, "Gazeta Shqiptare"
reported. The new law was prepared by the parliamentary
commission on the courts and provides for four members to be
elected by the legislature, three by the National Association of
Jurists, and two by the National Association of Lawyers. Currently,
the nine jurists are elected jointly by the Supreme Court and the
Prosecutor-General's Office. The non-governmental organization
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki charged in a 1996 report that the
council was a vehicle by which former President Sali Berisha
controlled the judiciary.

VLORA POLICE WITHHOLDING INFORMATION ON GANGS? During the
trial in Tirana of 11 members of the Vlora-based Zani Caushi gang,
prosecutors said that special police troops in Vlora failed to provide
all evidence available about the accused. Prosecutor Blerim Tominaj
said on 26 August that "we will start legal proceedings against [some]
police officers" if they do not deliver the missing material, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported. Meanwhile, Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha
proposed a multi-party round table about disarming civilians,
"Republika" reported. The government had ordered that all weapons
looted by rebels or handed out to Democratic Party loyalists by police
be surrendered by 25 August, but so far only some 15,000 out of
several hundred thousand arms have been returned.

ROMANIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE CHIEF APPOINTED. Col. Cristian
Dumitru Bernevig has been appointed new chief of military
intelligence, Romanian media reported on 26 August. He replaces
Gen. Decebal Ilina, who recently resigned (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
July 1997). The 43-year-old Bernevig was until now deputy chief of
the Strategic Planning Directorate of the General Staff.

ROMANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL ON HIS DISMISSAL. Nicolae
Cochinescu told a press conference in Bucharest on 26 August that
his dismissal as prosecutor-general the previous day was "politically
motivated" and "unlawful." He said because he had been appointed
by former President Ion Iliescu, members of the present government
viewed him as a partisan of the former administration. He dismissed
as "inaccurate" accusations that he had blocked investigations into
the miners' rampage in Bucharest in 1990-1991 and that he had
hindered the investigation into cases of children illegally adopted by
foreigners, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He said that "out of
respect" for President Emil Constantinescu, he will not appeal the
dismissal.

WORLD BANK REJECTS CRITICISM OF FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER.
The Bucharest office of the World Bank on 26 August said former
Premier Theodor Stolojan has never been involved in negotiations
between the bank and Romania and is not familiar with details of
those talks. In an interview with the daily "National" the previous
day, Stolojan, who is now a World Bank official, harshly criticized
both Victor Ciorbea's cabinet and World Bank negotiators. He said the
latest privatization drive is based on concepts that are "outdated"
and no longer used by the World Bank in other countries. He also
accused Ciorbea's cabinet of deciding which companies to liquidate on
the basis of political criteria rather than economic performance,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.

MOLDOVAN PARTIES AGAINST POSTPONING ELECTIONS.
Parliamentary chairman Dumitru Motpan has called for postponing
the 1998 parliamentary elections and holding them at the same time
as the 1999 local elections. Motpan said holding the elections on
schedule would "further polarize society and further destabilize the
already tense social and political situation" as well as "lead to
unnecessary expenditures," Infotag reported. Dumitru Diacov, the
chairman of the pro-presidential Movement for Democratic and
Prosperous Moldova, said the proposal reflected an "Asian mode of
political behavior and contradicts the Moldovan constitution." Nicolae
Andronic, the chairman of the Party of Revival and Accord, said
Motpan somehow "'forgot'" to explain that the ruling Democratic
Agrarian Party of Moldova was responsible for the existing crisis,
Infotag and BASA-press reported on 26 August.

MOLDOVAN CABINET TO MEET WITH BESSARABIAN CHURCH
REPRESENTATIVES. Vlad Cubreacov, the lawyer who represents the
Bessarabian Metropolitan Church, told BASA-press on 26 August that
Premier Ion Ciubuc has promised him not to appeal the court
decision to register the Bessarabian Church before the government
holds talks with representatives of the Church. The Bessarabian
Church has proposed that President Petru Lucinschi mediate the
talks. Ciubuc told journalists on 24 August that the government will
appeal the decision if the registration of the Church poses any danger
for the country's stability.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY CRITICIZES TIRASPOL. Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin on 26 August responded to
the recent announcement by the leadership of the Tiraspol
breakaway region that it will begin demarcating its state borders
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 August 1997). Nesterushkin said the
announcement "complicates the process" of solving the conflict in the
region and "contradicts" the memorandum signed by Chisinau and
Tiraspol in Moscow on 8 May. He said that by signing the
memorandum, the sides undertook to build relations "within the
framework of a single state," ITAR-TASS reported.

BULGARIA TO EXTRADITE ILLEGAL KURDISH MIGRANTS. Bulgarian
police have said they will extradite 52 Kurds who were arrested at
the Romanian-Bulgarian border on 26 August, BTA reported. The
Kurds were trying to reach Germany and had paid $3,000 each to a
smugglers' ring. BTA said they were arrested when they stepped out
of a truck on the Romanian side of the border to avoid suffocation.

END NOTE

Albanian Government Makes Personnel Changes

by Fabian Schmidt

        One month since the Socialist government of Prime Minister
Fatos Nano took office, numerous new people have been appointed to
top administrative positions. It is not yet clear, however, whether the
Socialists are making appointments primarily on the basis of party
loyalty or of professional competence.
        Fundamental changes have taken place in the presidency since
the appointment of Rexhep Meidani, a professor of physics, who only
recently became a member of the Socialist Party. Meidani has
deliberately adopted a mainly ceremonial role as president in
keeping with the Socialists' campaign promise to change the form of
government from a presidential republic to a parliamentary one. The
staff of the presidency has been reduced by one-quarter since
Berisha was in office. Meidani's chief advisers, Mentor Nazarko and
Prec Zogaj, both worked for the independent daily "Dita Informacion."
Nazarko does not belong to any political party, while Zogaj is a
member of the small civic-oriented Democratic Alliance party.
        Interior Minister Neritan Ceka probably has the most difficult
task. Regarded by many local observers as a man of democratic
principles, Ceka advocated civil liberties, human rights, and rule of
law while serving as chairman of the Democratic Alliance before
joining the cabinet. As interior minister, he has shown a commitment
to crack down on crime. Within a few days of his appointment, he
strengthened police control over the south of the country, which has
been plagued by lawlessness since March. Moreover, police have
collected more than 15,000 weapons looted from army stores and
arrested a large number of wanted criminals, including more than 20
members of a particularly notorious gang in the south.
        Ceka has achieved those successes without major personnel
changes in the police force. Observers suggest that he knows he
needs the support of a loyal police force to stop the crime wave and
that he cannot risk losing support from his employees by carrying
out political purges.
        Major changes, however, seem likely in the secret service.
Arben Karkini, a Republican, was replaced as head of the service on
21 August by Fatos Klosi, a professor of pedagogy who does not
belong to any party. Karkini was appointed on 30 May by the interim
multi-party government, but the new government accused him of
failing to reform and depoliticize the service, which had used
violence against opposition figures in the past.
        House-cleaning is already under way in the army. General Chief
of Staff Adem Copani was sacked by Socialist Defense Minister Sabit
Brokaj, who, in turn, pledged to fire another 25 generals. In an
interview with the magazine "Klan," Brokaj argued that Albania's
relatively small army does not need as many generals as it currently
has. But this appeared to be a justification for political purges, since
he had previously criticized unspecified generals for having "violated
the constitution" by sending the army against anti-government
protesters. The army, however, was primarily involved in protecting
government buildings and roads during the unrest and did not move
against the rebels in the south until toward the end of the unrest.
        Other leading appointments at the Defense Ministry include
Brokaj's new state secretary and adviser. Perikli Teta is a former
defense minister in a 1991 transition government who later joined
the Democratic Alliance as a parliamentary deputy. He has a sound
reputation as a politician who worked hard to bring the army under
civilian control and modernize its structure.
        Similarly, appointments in the state media indicate that the
Socialists have not installed only loyalists in leading positions. The
director-general of state radio and television is Albert Minga, a
former film director and head of a cultural television program. The
heads of the radio and television divisions, respectively, are Eduard
Mazi, an experienced radio producer, and Martin Leka, a journalist
from the daily "Koha Jone." The state news agency is run by Frrok
Cupi from the same daily.
        Thus the signals are mixed as to whether the Socialists are
making appointments on political rather than professional grounds.
Government spokesman Vladimir Prela claims that the new
government "respects the professionalism of state employees." But in
anticipation of possible political purges, the Democratic Party has
already opened an office to give legal advice to those dismissed.

The author is a Tirana-based Balkan specialist focusing on Albanian,
Kosovar, and Macedonian affairs.






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