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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 105, Part II, 28 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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELARUS

* SFOR CONFRONTS POLICE LOYAL TO KARADZIC

* STRUGGLE FOR BOSNIAN SERB TV CONTINUES

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx






EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELARUS. On arriving in the
Belarusian capital on 27 August, Yevgenii Primakov told reporters
that he will discuss development of the Russian-Belarusian union as
well as the recent detentions of Russian Public Television (ORT)
staffers in Belarus. Two ORT journalists --both Belarusian citizens --
remain in jail, while five others have been released under pressure
from Russia. Primakov said he has not come to Belarus as the
journalists' "defender" and did not want to interfere in the country's
internal affairs. But he added that "there is something to be
discussed." Earlier, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told
reporters that Primakov had been sent to Minsk by Russian
President Boris Yeltsin under pressure from Primakov's political
rivals, who know that his mission "was doomed to failure."
Lukashenka suggested that Primakov's failure in Belarus will be used
against him.

UKRAINE TO INCREASE MILITARY BUDGET? Security and Defense
Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin told reporters in Kyiv on 27
August that President Leonid Kuchma and the government will urge
the parliament to more than double defense spending in 1998,
UNIAN reported. The government will also appeal to the parliament
to allot funds to reform the military. Horbulin proposed that 3.5
percent of the projected gross domestic product, the equivalent of
about $1.9 billion be spent on the military next year. The 1997
budget allots 1.5 percent of GDP for defense spending ($811 million).
Horbulin also said Kyiv wants to reduce the number of generals from
386 to 280 and that it will watch the progress of Russian military
reforms for tips on how to improve its own army amid staff cuts.
Some 350,000 people now serve in the Ukrainian military.

KYIV WANTS CLOSER TIES WITH JAPAN. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Valery Pustovoitenko on 27 August told a visiting Japanese
parliamentary delegation that Kyiv wants closer links with Japan,
AFP reported. Pustovoitenko said Ukraine is particularly eager to
encourage the creation of joint enterprises between the two countries
in electronics, construction, and oil exploitation. Juro Saito -- the
speaker of Japanese House of Councilors (the upper house of
parliament), who is currently in Kyiv with seven other Japanese
members of parliament -- said Tokyo intends to help Ukraine with
its economic and political reforms. He added that Japan would like to
set up a joint Ukrainian-Japanese research center to study the effects
of the explosion at the Chornobyl nuclear power station.

ARE ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS WARMING? Estonian Foreign
Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves has said that relations between his
country and Russia appear to be warming, even though Russian
officials continue to accuse Estonia of human rights violations. Ilves,
who attended the recent Nordic Council security conference in
Helsinki, made the comment in an interview published in the Finnish
daily "Helsingin Sanomat" on 27 August. The previous day, Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev had accused the Baltic
States, and particularly Estonia, of discriminating against its Russian-
speaking minorities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 August 1997). Ilves
denied that Estonia discriminates against its Russian speakers. At the
same time, he said the government will not give Estonian citizenship
to children born in Estonia whose parents are both of Russian
nationality.

FINNISH PRESIDENT TO HAVE GUEST STATUS AT VILNIUS SUMMIT.
Martti Ahtisaari has asked the organizers of the Vilnius summit in
early September to be allowed to take part as a guest to "stress the
difference between his status and that of Belarusian President
Lukashenka," BNS reported on 27 August. "This is a very official and
very significant wish," a Lithuanian presidential adviser responsible
for the Vilnius conference told the news agency. According to BNS, it
will be stressed both in conference reports and in participants'
conversations with Lukashenka that Belarus must respect its
commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe and the Council of Europe in the areas of human rights,
democracy, press freedom, and dialogue with the opposition. In
addition to Ahtisaari, the presidents of 10 East European countries
will be taking part in the summit, together with Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

WILL POLAND BUY SUKHOI JETS? Polish Defense Minister Stanislaw
Dobrzanski was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 27 August as saying he can
neither confirm nor deny press reports that Russia has proposed
Poland purchase 100 Sukhoi-39 fighter jets worth $1billion. He said
that Warsaw has not yet started talks on the purchase of the planes
and that no official proposals have been made by Moscow. However,
enterprises, including from Russia, have already begun making
informal proposals, Dobrzanski said. He added it would be possible to
speak about a tender for purchasing the aircraft only after the 15-
year plan for modernizing the Polish army is approved.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN POLAND. The National Agency for Foreign
Investment (PAIZ) on 27 August announced that direct foreign
investment in Poland over the last five years totaled more than $16
billion. Nearly $14 billion came from 535 large foreign companies,
each of which has invested at least $1 million in Poland. Foreign
companies are expected to invest a further $2-3 billion dollars by the
end of 1997, PAIZ President Waldemar Dabrowski told journalists.
The U.S. and Germany top the list of foreign investors, with $3.2
billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. They are followed by multi-
nationals ($1.6 billion), Italy ($1.4 billion), and France ($1.2 billion).
Italian auto-maker FIAT heads the list of individual foreign
investors; it has already committed $1 billion and plans to invest a
further $814 million.

CZECH GOVERNMENT TO PRIVATIZE RAILROADS. The Czech
government on 27 August announced it will privatize or abolish 37
percent of the railroad network in the Czech Republic by 2,000, Czech
Television reported. The government also said that some 17,000
railroad workers will be laid off in an effort to reform the inefficient
system. Meanwhile, the electricity distribution company Prazska
Energetika on 27 August cut off power to the headquarters of the
Czech Railroads company. The state railroad owes the power
distribution company 304 million crowns ($9 million). Railroad
officials told Czech Radio that the blackout at headquarters has not
yet affected railroad operations.

SLOVAK COALITION AGAIN BOYCOTTS PARLIAMENTARY SESSION.
For the second consecutive day, the three-party ruling coalition
boycotted a special parliamentary session called to discuss the
expulsion of deputy Frantisek Gaulieder from the chamber. The
parliamentary session was attended only by opposition deputies and
had to be canceled because of the lack of a necessary quorum. The
parliament stripped Gaulieder of his mandate in December 1996, one
month after he left Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia. Gaulieder argues that his mandate was removed
on the basis of a forged letter of resignation. The Constitutional Court
ruled in July that the parliament acted unconstitutionally, while the
U.S. and Western European officials have criticized the decision to
expel Gaulieder from the legislature.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SFOR CONFRONTS POLICE LOYAL TO KARADZIC. There were at least
six incidents on 27 and 28 August involving SFOR troops and police
loyal to the hard-line Bosnian Serbs under Radovan Karadzic, CNN
reported. In Brcko, SFOR troops took up positions around a police
station when police loyal to President Biljana Plavsic sought to enter
the building, which Karadzic's police control. SFOR troops fired shots
into the air to disperse hostile crowds, BETA reported. The town
council then asked for a meeting with Robert Farrand, the
international community's chief representative there. In Bijeljina,
SFOR troops allegedly entered the police station.

STRUGGLE FOR BOSNIAN SERB TV CONTINUES. In Doboj, Karadzic's
police on 27 August retook control of a television relay tower that
Plavsic's backers had seized the previous day. Karadzic's men also
arrested Milovan Stankovic, a pro-Plavsic member of the Bosnian
Serb parliament. SFOR spokesmen denied Serbian media reports
suggesting that peacekeepers helped Plavsic's police and that shots
were fired during the confrontation. TV Banja Luka and TV Pale are
engaged in a fierce competition to dominate the air waves (see
"RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 27 August 1997). Since the Bosnian Serbs
are largely spread out across rural areas, television is the most
effective means of influencing public opinion in the Republika
Srpska.

MILOSEVIC WANTS TO GO TO BOSNIA. Spokesmen for SFOR said in
Sarajevo on 27 August that peacekeepers are studying a request
from Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to fly to Bosnian Serb
territory. Some observers said he wants to go to Banja Luka, where
Plavsic has her headquarters, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Sarajevo. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently
warned Milosevic that he should "get off the fence" and
unambiguously support Plavsic if he wants an end to Yugoslavia's
international isolation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 1997). In
Washington, the State Department announced it will make available
$9 million in reconstruction aid for Bosnian Serb towns that back
Plavsic.

PALE THREATENS PLAVSIC SUPPORTERS. Gojko Klickovic, the prime
minister of the pro-Karadzic government, said in Pale on 27 August
that his authorities will "not tolerate" Plavsic and will "use all means"
to limit the movements of her supporters on territory under Pale's
control. In Banja Luka, Col. Mihajlo Mitrovic of the General Staff said
that most top-ranking officers in the Bosnian Serb military support
Plavsic and that those who do not will be replaced "very soon." In
Sarajevo, spokesmen for the OSCE rejected a recent call by the Pale
parliament to postpone the local elections slated for 14 September.

BELGRADE COURT BACKS BULATOVIC CANDIDACY. The Yugoslav
Federal Constitutional Court on 27 August "temporarily suspended" a
decision by the Montenegrin election commission blocking the
reelection bid of Momir Bulatovic, Montenegro's pro-Milosevic
president. The Belgrade court gave the authorities in Podgorica 10
days to appeal the decision (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August 1997).
Blagota Mitric, the president of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court,
said in Podgorica that the Belgrade court's decision is a violation of
Montenegrin and Yugoslav law. Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic, who is Bulatovic's main rival in the ongoing power
struggle, argued that the Belgrade court's decision threatens not only
the legal system but also the very principles of Montenegrin and
Yugoslav statehood.

CROATIAN SERBS GO HOME. UN administrators for eastern Slavonia
said in Zagreb that 200 Serbian families left eastern Slavonia on 27
August to return to their original homes elsewhere in Croatia. The UN
expects that as many as 10,000 Croatian Serbs could follow suit by
the end of September. Also in Zagreb, the Foreign Ministry
announced that Foreign Minister Mate Granic and his Yugoslav
counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, will sign six agreements in Belgrade
in September dealing with frontier, economic, and legal issues. In
Jerusalem, the Simon Wiesenthal Center appealed to the Israeli
government not to go ahead with plans to establish diplomatic
relations with Croatia. The Center charged that the Croatian
government has yet to repudiate that country's fascist legacy from
World War II.

FORMER ALBANIAN LEADER SETS CONDITION FOR RETURN. Eduard
Selami said he will return to the Democratic Party if its current
leadership leaves, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported on 28 August. Selami
was sacked as party leader in 1995 after opposing President Sali
Berisha over the question of a constitutional referendum. Meanwhile,
Leni Fischer, the chair of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary
Assembly, has sent a letter to the Democrats to express solidarity
with the hunger strike by former parliamentary speaker Pjeter
Arbnori (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 1997). "Rilindja
Demokratike" quotes Fischer as saying that "Arbnori's decision is an
indicator that the rights of the opposition are not fully respected in
Albania." Arbnori is demanding that the opposition receive one-third
of television news air time.

ALBANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT VALIDATES REFERENDUM. The
Constitutional Court on 27 August declared valid the results of the 29
June referendum, in which more than 60 percent of the voters opted
for a republic, "Koha Jone" reported. The monarchists had challenged
the results and charged the Central Election Commission with fraud.
Leka Zogu, the claimant to the throne, is now wanted by police after
being involved in a violent demonstration after the referendum (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 1997).

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DISMISSES HIGH-RANKING OFFICIAL. The
government on 27 August dismissed Valerian Stan as head of the
government's Control Department for repeatedly displaying a lack of
discipline. Earlier the same day, Stan had called a press conference at
which he again accused leaders of the Democratic Party of having
illegally purchased apartments from the state in 1991-92 at prices
below market value (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 July 1997). Stan said
he intended to resubmit the case when the new prosecutor-general is
appointed, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The government
accused Stan of undermining Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea's
authority by bring up the case again without seeking the premier's
approval. In an interview with Radio Bucharest on 28 August, Stan
said his dismissal was "arbitrary and unjustified."

ROMANIA'S ROMA WANT TO EMIGRATE TO IRELAND. Sociologist
Nicolae Gheorghe, a leading activist for the rights of Romania's Roma
community, has said some 500 Roma have left Romania for Ireland
in the last six months. Gheorghe, who is a member of that
community, says the Roma hope to be able to take advantage of
Ireland's "good welfare system and stable economy," Mediafax
reported on 26 August. Gheorghe also said intolerance in Romania
toward the Roma has increased in recent months because the media
has transformed the government's anti-corruption campaign into a
"campaign against the 'Gypsy Mafia.'"

40,000 ROMANIAN MINERS ACCEPT SEVERANCE. Marin Condeescu,
the leader of the largest miners' trade union in Romania, says some
40,000 miners have accepted the terms of a government plan
whereby they will receive compensation for volunteering to be made
unemployed, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 26 August. The
government had expected only 32,000 miners to accept the offer. But
Condeescu said the union expects some 150,000 of its 210,000
members to opt for the plan and to return to the countryside in
"Romania's largest work-force migration of the last 30 years." Under
the plan, the government is offers 850,000 lei ($120) a month over
five years, which exceeds average monthly wages at some mines. The
miners can also opt to take a $7,200 lump sum.

BULGARIAN DEPUTY PREMIER ON RESISTANCE TO REFORMS. Deputy
Premier and Industry Minister Alexander Bozhkov, in a 27 August
interview with Reuters marking 100 days in office of the new
government, said the cabinet is encountering resistance in its
attempts to overhaul the economy, boost investments, and crack
down on corruption. Bozhkov said there was "resistance from the
state administration to speed up privatization" because of reluctance
to "part with [state] ownership." In order to counter that resistance,
the government is now drawing up sell-off schemes that would
involve minimal participation of the administration. Bozhkov also
said the legal system must be revised in order to deal with organized
crime. He added that although amendments to the penal code were
passed by the parliament in July, it will take time for some of them
to become effective.

BULGARIA RECEIVES IMF LOAN INSTALLMENT. Bulgaria recently
received an $85 million installment of a $657 million standby loan
approved by the IMF in April, an RFE/RL Washington correspondent
reported on 27 August. A spokeswoman for the IMF said the
installment has been released to help Sofia implement the economic
reforms and stabilization program agreed on earlier this year with
the IMF.






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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 105, Part II, 28 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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELARUS

* SFOR CONFRONTS POLICE LOYAL TO KARADZIC

* STRUGGLE FOR BOSNIAN SERB TV CONTINUES

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx






EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELARUS. On arriving in the
Belarusian capital on 27 August, Yevgenii Primakov told reporters
that he will discuss development of the Russian-Belarusian union as
well as the recent detentions of Russian Public Television (ORT)
staffers in Belarus. Two ORT journalists --both Belarusian citizens --
remain in jail, while five others have been released under pressure
from Russia. Primakov said he has not come to Belarus as the
journalists' "defender" and did not want to interfere in the country's
internal affairs. But he added that "there is something to be
discussed." Earlier, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told
reporters that Primakov had been sent to Minsk by Russian
President Boris Yeltsin under pressure from Primakov's political
rivals, who know that his mission "was doomed to failure."
Lukashenka suggested that Primakov's failure in Belarus will be used
against him.

UKRAINE TO INCREASE MILITARY BUDGET? Security and Defense
Council Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin told reporters in Kyiv on 27
August that President Leonid Kuchma and the government will urge
the parliament to more than double defense spending in 1998,
UNIAN reported. The government will also appeal to the parliament
to allot funds to reform the military. Horbulin proposed that 3.5
percent of the projected gross domestic product, the equivalent of
about $1.9 billion be spent on the military next year. The 1997
budget allots 1.5 percent of GDP for defense spending ($811 million).
Horbulin also said Kyiv wants to reduce the number of generals from
386 to 280 and that it will watch the progress of Russian military
reforms for tips on how to improve its own army amid staff cuts.
Some 350,000 people now serve in the Ukrainian military.

KYIV WANTS CLOSER TIES WITH JAPAN. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Valery Pustovoitenko on 27 August told a visiting Japanese
parliamentary delegation that Kyiv wants closer links with Japan,
AFP reported. Pustovoitenko said Ukraine is particularly eager to
encourage the creation of joint enterprises between the two countries
in electronics, construction, and oil exploitation. Juro Saito -- the
speaker of Japanese House of Councilors (the upper house of
parliament), who is currently in Kyiv with seven other Japanese
members of parliament -- said Tokyo intends to help Ukraine with
its economic and political reforms. He added that Japan would like to
set up a joint Ukrainian-Japanese research center to study the effects
of the explosion at the Chornobyl nuclear power station.

ARE ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS WARMING? Estonian Foreign
Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves has said that relations between his
country and Russia appear to be warming, even though Russian
officials continue to accuse Estonia of human rights violations. Ilves,
who attended the recent Nordic Council security conference in
Helsinki, made the comment in an interview published in the Finnish
daily "Helsingin Sanomat" on 27 August. The previous day, Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev had accused the Baltic
States, and particularly Estonia, of discriminating against its Russian-
speaking minorities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 August 1997). Ilves
denied that Estonia discriminates against its Russian speakers. At the
same time, he said the government will not give Estonian citizenship
to children born in Estonia whose parents are both of Russian
nationality.

FINNISH PRESIDENT TO HAVE GUEST STATUS AT VILNIUS SUMMIT.
Martti Ahtisaari has asked the organizers of the Vilnius summit in
early September to be allowed to take part as a guest to "stress the
difference between his status and that of Belarusian President
Lukashenka," BNS reported on 27 August. "This is a very official and
very significant wish," a Lithuanian presidential adviser responsible
for the Vilnius conference told the news agency. According to BNS, it
will be stressed both in conference reports and in participants'
conversations with Lukashenka that Belarus must respect its
commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe and the Council of Europe in the areas of human rights,
democracy, press freedom, and dialogue with the opposition. In
addition to Ahtisaari, the presidents of 10 East European countries
will be taking part in the summit, together with Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

WILL POLAND BUY SUKHOI JETS? Polish Defense Minister Stanislaw
Dobrzanski was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 27 August as saying he can
neither confirm nor deny press reports that Russia has proposed
Poland purchase 100 Sukhoi-39 fighter jets worth $1billion. He said
that Warsaw has not yet started talks on the purchase of the planes
and that no official proposals have been made by Moscow. However,
enterprises, including from Russia, have already begun making
informal proposals, Dobrzanski said. He added it would be possible to
speak about a tender for purchasing the aircraft only after the 15-
year plan for modernizing the Polish army is approved.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN POLAND. The National Agency for Foreign
Investment (PAIZ) on 27 August announced that direct foreign
investment in Poland over the last five years totaled more than $16
billion. Nearly $14 billion came from 535 large foreign companies,
each of which has invested at least $1 million in Poland. Foreign
companies are expected to invest a further $2-3 billion dollars by the
end of 1997, PAIZ President Waldemar Dabrowski told journalists.
The U.S. and Germany top the list of foreign investors, with $3.2
billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. They are followed by multi-
nationals ($1.6 billion), Italy ($1.4 billion), and France ($1.2 billion).
Italian auto-maker FIAT heads the list of individual foreign
investors; it has already committed $1 billion and plans to invest a
further $814 million.

CZECH GOVERNMENT TO PRIVATIZE RAILROADS. The Czech
government on 27 August announced it will privatize or abolish 37
percent of the railroad network in the Czech Republic by 2,000, Czech
Television reported. The government also said that some 17,000
railroad workers will be laid off in an effort to reform the inefficient
system. Meanwhile, the electricity distribution company Prazska
Energetika on 27 August cut off power to the headquarters of the
Czech Railroads company. The state railroad owes the power
distribution company 304 million crowns ($9 million). Railroad
officials told Czech Radio that the blackout at headquarters has not
yet affected railroad operations.

SLOVAK COALITION AGAIN BOYCOTTS PARLIAMENTARY SESSION.
For the second consecutive day, the three-party ruling coalition
boycotted a special parliamentary session called to discuss the
expulsion of deputy Frantisek Gaulieder from the chamber. The
parliamentary session was attended only by opposition deputies and
had to be canceled because of the lack of a necessary quorum. The
parliament stripped Gaulieder of his mandate in December 1996, one
month after he left Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia. Gaulieder argues that his mandate was removed
on the basis of a forged letter of resignation. The Constitutional Court
ruled in July that the parliament acted unconstitutionally, while the
U.S. and Western European officials have criticized the decision to
expel Gaulieder from the legislature.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SFOR CONFRONTS POLICE LOYAL TO KARADZIC. There were at least
six incidents on 27 and 28 August involving SFOR troops and police
loyal to the hard-line Bosnian Serbs under Radovan Karadzic, CNN
reported. In Brcko, SFOR troops took up positions around a police
station when police loyal to President Biljana Plavsic sought to enter
the building, which Karadzic's police control. SFOR troops fired shots
into the air to disperse hostile crowds, BETA reported. The town
council then asked for a meeting with Robert Farrand, the
international community's chief representative there. In Bijeljina,
SFOR troops allegedly entered the police station.

STRUGGLE FOR BOSNIAN SERB TV CONTINUES. In Doboj, Karadzic's
police on 27 August retook control of a television relay tower that
Plavsic's backers had seized the previous day. Karadzic's men also
arrested Milovan Stankovic, a pro-Plavsic member of the Bosnian
Serb parliament. SFOR spokesmen denied Serbian media reports
suggesting that peacekeepers helped Plavsic's police and that shots
were fired during the confrontation. TV Banja Luka and TV Pale are
engaged in a fierce competition to dominate the air waves (see
"RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 27 August 1997). Since the Bosnian Serbs
are largely spread out across rural areas, television is the most
effective means of influencing public opinion in the Republika
Srpska.

MILOSEVIC WANTS TO GO TO BOSNIA. Spokesmen for SFOR said in
Sarajevo on 27 August that peacekeepers are studying a request
from Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to fly to Bosnian Serb
territory. Some observers said he wants to go to Banja Luka, where
Plavsic has her headquarters, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Sarajevo. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently
warned Milosevic that he should "get off the fence" and
unambiguously support Plavsic if he wants an end to Yugoslavia's
international isolation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 1997). In
Washington, the State Department announced it will make available
$9 million in reconstruction aid for Bosnian Serb towns that back
Plavsic.

PALE THREATENS PLAVSIC SUPPORTERS. Gojko Klickovic, the prime
minister of the pro-Karadzic government, said in Pale on 27 August
that his authorities will "not tolerate" Plavsic and will "use all means"
to limit the movements of her supporters on territory under Pale's
control. In Banja Luka, Col. Mihajlo Mitrovic of the General Staff said
that most top-ranking officers in the Bosnian Serb military support
Plavsic and that those who do not will be replaced "very soon." In
Sarajevo, spokesmen for the OSCE rejected a recent call by the Pale
parliament to postpone the local elections slated for 14 September.

BELGRADE COURT BACKS BULATOVIC CANDIDACY. The Yugoslav
Federal Constitutional Court on 27 August "temporarily suspended" a
decision by the Montenegrin election commission blocking the
reelection bid of Momir Bulatovic, Montenegro's pro-Milosevic
president. The Belgrade court gave the authorities in Podgorica 10
days to appeal the decision (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August 1997).
Blagota Mitric, the president of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court,
said in Podgorica that the Belgrade court's decision is a violation of
Montenegrin and Yugoslav law. Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic, who is Bulatovic's main rival in the ongoing power
struggle, argued that the Belgrade court's decision threatens not only
the legal system but also the very principles of Montenegrin and
Yugoslav statehood.

CROATIAN SERBS GO HOME. UN administrators for eastern Slavonia
said in Zagreb that 200 Serbian families left eastern Slavonia on 27
August to return to their original homes elsewhere in Croatia. The UN
expects that as many as 10,000 Croatian Serbs could follow suit by
the end of September. Also in Zagreb, the Foreign Ministry
announced that Foreign Minister Mate Granic and his Yugoslav
counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, will sign six agreements in Belgrade
in September dealing with frontier, economic, and legal issues. In
Jerusalem, the Simon Wiesenthal Center appealed to the Israeli
government not to go ahead with plans to establish diplomatic
relations with Croatia. The Center charged that the Croatian
government has yet to repudiate that country's fascist legacy from
World War II.

FORMER ALBANIAN LEADER SETS CONDITION FOR RETURN. Eduard
Selami said he will return to the Democratic Party if its current
leadership leaves, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported on 28 August. Selami
was sacked as party leader in 1995 after opposing President Sali
Berisha over the question of a constitutional referendum. Meanwhile,
Leni Fischer, the chair of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary
Assembly, has sent a letter to the Democrats to express solidarity
with the hunger strike by former parliamentary speaker Pjeter
Arbnori (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 1997). "Rilindja
Demokratike" quotes Fischer as saying that "Arbnori's decision is an
indicator that the rights of the opposition are not fully respected in
Albania." Arbnori is demanding that the opposition receive one-third
of television news air time.

ALBANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT VALIDATES REFERENDUM. The
Constitutional Court on 27 August declared valid the results of the 29
June referendum, in which more than 60 percent of the voters opted
for a republic, "Koha Jone" reported. The monarchists had challenged
the results and charged the Central Election Commission with fraud.
Leka Zogu, the claimant to the throne, is now wanted by police after
being involved in a violent demonstration after the referendum (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 1997).

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DISMISSES HIGH-RANKING OFFICIAL. The
government on 27 August dismissed Valerian Stan as head of the
government's Control Department for repeatedly displaying a lack of
discipline. Earlier the same day, Stan had called a press conference at
which he again accused leaders of the Democratic Party of having
illegally purchased apartments from the state in 1991-92 at prices
below market value (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 July 1997). Stan said
he intended to resubmit the case when the new prosecutor-general is
appointed, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The government
accused Stan of undermining Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea's
authority by bring up the case again without seeking the premier's
approval. In an interview with Radio Bucharest on 28 August, Stan
said his dismissal was "arbitrary and unjustified."

ROMANIA'S ROMA WANT TO EMIGRATE TO IRELAND. Sociologist
Nicolae Gheorghe, a leading activist for the rights of Romania's Roma
community, has said some 500 Roma have left Romania for Ireland
in the last six months. Gheorghe, who is a member of that
community, says the Roma hope to be able to take advantage of
Ireland's "good welfare system and stable economy," Mediafax
reported on 26 August. Gheorghe also said intolerance in Romania
toward the Roma has increased in recent months because the media
has transformed the government's anti-corruption campaign into a
"campaign against the 'Gypsy Mafia.'"

40,000 ROMANIAN MINERS ACCEPT SEVERANCE. Marin Condeescu,
the leader of the largest miners' trade union in Romania, says some
40,000 miners have accepted the terms of a government plan
whereby they will receive compensation for volunteering to be made
unemployed, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 26 August. The
government had expected only 32,000 miners to accept the offer. But
Condeescu said the union expects some 150,000 of its 210,000
members to opt for the plan and to return to the countryside in
"Romania's largest work-force migration of the last 30 years." Under
the plan, the government is offers 850,000 lei ($120) a month over
five years, which exceeds average monthly wages at some mines. The
miners can also opt to take a $7,200 lump sum.

BULGARIAN DEPUTY PREMIER ON RESISTANCE TO REFORMS. Deputy
Premier and Industry Minister Alexander Bozhkov, in a 27 August
interview with Reuters marking 100 days in office of the new
government, said the cabinet is encountering resistance in its
attempts to overhaul the economy, boost investments, and crack
down on corruption. Bozhkov said there was "resistance from the
state administration to speed up privatization" because of reluctance
to "part with [state] ownership." In order to counter that resistance,
the government is now drawing up sell-off schemes that would
involve minimal participation of the administration. Bozhkov also
said the legal system must be revised in order to deal with organized
crime. He added that although amendments to the penal code were
passed by the parliament in July, it will take time for some of them
to become effective.

BULGARIA RECEIVES IMF LOAN INSTALLMENT. Bulgaria recently
received an $85 million installment of a $657 million standby loan
approved by the IMF in April, an RFE/RL Washington correspondent
reported on 27 August. A spokeswoman for the IMF said the
installment has been released to help Sofia implement the economic
reforms and stabilization program agreed on earlier this year with
the IMF.






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