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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 109, Part II, 3 September1997



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

* UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES FORMER PREMIER

* U.S. TROOPS IN BOSNIA RECEIVE NON-LETHAL GRENADES

* FEUD INTENSIFIES IN MONTENEGRIN RULING PARTY

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES FORMER PREMIER. Leonid
Kuchma on 2 September criticized Pavlo Lazarenko for returning to
the political center stage, Interfax reported. Lazarenko was removed
as premier in July amid stalled reforms and corruption allegations,
but he kept his parliamentary seat. He was recently elected to lead
the Yednist (Unity) faction in the 450-seat parliament. Eleven
members of the faction have since quit, and now the faction consists
of only 20 lawmakers. Interfax quoted Kuchma as saying Lazarenko
should analyze his year as prime minister. Lazarenko, meanwhile,
has said the lawmakers who quit the faction were pressured to do so
by members of the group who also held posts in the Kuchma
administration or the government.

UKRAINE TO PRIVATIZE OKEAN SHIPBUILDER. The State Property
Fund on 2 September announced its plans to sell off more than two-
thirds of the state-owned Okean shipbuilding company. Okean is
currently building vessels for Ukraine's Black Sea steam ship fleet. In
a statement issued in Kyiv, the Property Fund said the privatization
plan calls for two share blocs of 26 percent each to be sold in
commercial tenders. Purchasers will be able to use cash,
compensation certificates, or the tradable vouchers that were issued
to Ukrainians who lost savings as the result of hyperinflation.
Okean's managers and plant workers will have the first chance to
purchase another 10 percent of the shares. The state plans to hold a
26 percent stake, and the remainder of shares will be sold on
Ukraine's stock markets or in auctions involving compensation and
privatization certificates.

LATVIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION UPDATE. The Prosecutor-General's
Office has submitted to the parliamentary Mandate and Applications
Committee its conclusions on whether 48 parliamentary deputies are
abiding by the anti-corruption law, BNS reported on 2 September.
The committee will present its report to the parliament within the
next week. The Prosecutor-General's Office launched an investigation
into the deputies at the request of the committee, which had found
their names listed in the Enterprise Register in connection with
various companies. Under Latvian law, parliamentary deputies and
states officials are barred from holding business posts.

LITHUANIA TO PRESSURE BELARUS ON READMISSION TREATY.
Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas has said he will put
pressure on his Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, to
have a readmission treaty signed as soon as possible, BNS reported
on 2 September. Brazauskas said he will discuss the issue during the
summit of heads of state that begins in Vilnius on 5 September.
Minister of Internal Affairs Vidmantas Ziemelis informed the
president that the Belarusian border authorities are prepared to sign
a readmission treaty. But according to Brazauskas, Lukashenka is
under pressure from Moscow not to do so. There are currently more
than 900 illegal refugees in Lithuania, most of whom are citizens of
Asian and African countries.

NATO TO MOVE REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS TO POLAND. NATO
officials on 2 September announced that the alliance's regional
headquarters responsible for northern Germany's Schleswig-Holstein
state and Denmark's Jutland peninsula will be moved to Poland after
Warsaw joins the Atlantic alliance. NATO press officer Thomas
Schuster, speaking at the alliance's Landjut headquarters in
Rendsburg, Germany, said the facilities there will be disbanded and
moved to Szczecin, in northwestern Poland, in 1999. He said 84
soldiers and 11 civilians from Landjut will be affected by the
transfer.

POLISH DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES. President Aleksander
Kwasniewski arrived in Portugal on 2 September for a three-day
visit to include talks on Poland's bid to join the EU. Kwasniewski, who
is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati, will meet with
Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio and Premier Antonio Guterres.
Meanwhile, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Topik on 2
September met in Copenhagen with representatives of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from Denmark
and Switzerland. A Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman told RFE/RL
that the discussions will include the situation in Bosnia, Chechnya,
and what he called other trouble spots on the European continent.
Poland is due to take over OSCE's chairmanship from Denmark in
1998. Switzerland chaired the OSCE last year.

CZECH GOVERNMENT TO RAISE TAXES? Following a cabinet meeting
on 2 September, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told journalists that a
temporary special tax or "flood tax" may be introduced. The state
budget is threatened with a deficit due to the widespread flooding in
Moravia in July. A final decision on introducing special taxes has not
yet been made. The 1998 draft budget is to be drawn up by the end
of September. Klaus said that such a tax could be a partial solution
"but certainly not the whole solution." Klaus ruled out a loan to
finance the budget deficit. The cabinet has not voted on whether the
1998 budget should be drafted with a deficit or be balanced, "but the
prevailing view was that it should be balanced," Klaus said. Damage
caused by the flooding amount to some 60 billion crowns (around
$1.8 billion).

ALBRIGHT CONTINUES PRIVATE CZECH VISIT. U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright met with her Czech cousin Dagmar Simova and
her husband in Prague on 2 September, CTK reported. The news
agency also reported that while strolling in the center of Prague,
Albright met--reportedly by chance--her Czech counterpart, Josef
Zieleniec, who was drinking Coca Cola at McDonalds in the historical
neighborhood of Mala Strana. The two are to meet again at the U.N
General Assembly in New York in September.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT AGAIN FAILS TO DECIDE ON GAULIEDER.
Government coalition deputies on 2 September again boycotted a
parliamentary session that was to debate the case of deputy
Frantisek Gaulieder, who was stripped of his mandate in December
1996 after he quit Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), RFE/RL's Bratislava correspondent
reported. Parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic postponed
indefinitely the special parliamentary session on Gaulieder's case. He
said will send a letter to the members of the parliamentary
Constitutional and Legal Committee, who are to decide how to cancel
the session. The Constitutional Court recently ruled that Gaulieder's
expulsion from the parliament was unconstitutional. Meciar on 29
August claimed Gaulieder had asked the HZDS to pay him a massive
fine for leaving the parliament. Gaulieder called the accusation "a
vicious lie."

HUNGARIAN, FOREIGN OFFICIALS ON NATO REFERENDUM. Socialist
Prime Minister Gyula Horn and Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs asked
Socialist deputies on 2 September to persuade voters to participate in
the 16 November referendum on NATO membership, Hungarian
media reported. "The government has no fears of a negative result
but of a potentially low turnout at the referendum," Kovacs said.
Horn emphasized that there is no reasonable alternative to Euro-
Atlantic integration.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. TROOPS IN BOSNIA RECEIVE NON-LETHAL GRENADES. A Defense
Department spokesman said in Washington on 2 September that U.S.
SFOR troops in northern Bosnia have been issued 40mm "sponge"
grenades, which are designed to knock people down but not kill
them. The move came in response to recent well-organized and
violent attacks on peacekeepers by Serbian civilians. The spokesman
also confirmed that U.S. troops returned a transmitter near Bijeljina
to Radovan Karadzic's supporters after Karadzic's spokesmen
promised not to broadcast inflammatory material (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 September 1997). A State Department official said,
however, that one cannot necessarily trust promises made by the
Bosnian Serb hard-liners. Meanwhile in Pale, SFOR troops inspected
Serbian special police barracks for illegal weapons.

OSCE TO GO AHEAD WITH BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Officials of the
Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe said in
Copenhagen on 2 September that the Bosnian local vote will go ahead
as planned on 13 and 14 September, despite attempts by Bosnian
Serb hard-liners to delay the elections. In Sarajevo, Haris Silajdzic,
the Muslim co-prime minister of the joint government, criticized the
failure of the Serbs to attend the latest session of the joint cabinet.
He said that the Serbs have repeatedly obstructed the work of joint
institutions, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sarajevo.
Silajdzic added that the international community has been too
tolerant of the Serbs' behavior.

MILOSEVIC LIEUTENANT LAMBASTS PLAVSIC. Zoran Lilic, a former
Yugoslav president and one of current Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic's closest aides, said in Belgrade on 2 September that
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic was "at the very least not
serious and even irresponsible." Lilic, who is Milosevic's Socialist
Party of Serbia's candidate in the upcoming Serbian presidential
elections, also blasted NATO for backing Plavsic. In making such
remarks about Plavsic, Lilic has come closer than anyone else around
Milosevic to openly taking sides in the Bosnian Serb power struggle.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has urged Milosevic to "get
off the fence" and support Plavsic. But mafia-like structures in Serbia
close to Milosevic are closely linked to similar Bosnian Serb
structures run by Plavsic's opponents.

FEUD INTENSIFIES IN MONTENEGRIN RULING PARTY. Some 17 out of
45 parliamentary deputies in Podgorica belonging to the governing
Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) have formed their own
parliamentary club independent of the other DPS legislators, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital on 2
September. The 17 are loyal to pro-Milosevic President Momir
Bulatovic, while most of the DPS backs reform-minded Prime
Minister Milo Djukanovic. The DPS has yet to split officially, but the
emergence of a separate parliamentary club of Bulatovic loyalists
suggests that a formal division of the DPS might not be far off. In the
parliament, Bulatovic said the government is in crisis and that new
legislative elections should be held as soon as possible. Djukanovic
replied that there is no crisis in Montenegro and that the republic's
current political problems were caused in Belgrade, not in Podgorica.

CROATIAN POLICE ARREST THREE MORE SUSPECTED WAR
CRIMINALS. Police officials said in Zagreb on 2 September that they
have arrested Munib Suljic, Igor Mikula, and Nebojsa Hodak for war
crimes. Police had earlier arrested Miro Bajramovic, who told "Feral
Tribune" that he and the other three had killed dozens of innocent
Serbian civilians (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 September 1997).
Bajramovic told the Split-based weekly that he decided to reveal his
story because he did not enrich himself during the war and hence
has nothing to lose. The Zagreb daily "Vjesnik," which is close to the
government, suggested on 3 September that Bajramovic may be
lying. Meanwhile in eastern Slavonia, trains ran between Osijek and
the Hungarian city of Pecs via Beli Manastir for the first time since
1991.

SLOVENIAN UPDATE. The Slovenian government announced in
Ljubljana on 2 September that Slovenian and Italian citizens will be
able to cross their common border with only identity cards as of 8
September. It is the latest sign of a warming in relations between the
two neighbors, who have often been at odds over territorial
questions and issues regarding ethnic minority rights. In Maribor,
Slovenian police said that they have recovered $1 million in jewels
stolen in Austria in late August.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON STATE RADIO, TV. The
Socialist-led governing coalition on 2 September passed a law
defining the status of state radio and television (RTSH), "Dita
Informacion" reported. The law stipulates that "RTSH will broadcast
short news items about the president, the government, the governing
coalition, and the opposition and will give alternative opinions when
covering any given issue." The Democratic Party strongly criticized
the law as too vague and demanded that the opposition be allotted a
specific percentage of total news air time. Democratic spokesman
Genc Pollo said the air time given to each of the political parties
should be divided according to the percentage of the vote they
received in last elections. Such a policy was adopted during the
election campaign but left no time for journalists to broadcast their
own analysis. Former parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori,
meanwhile, began the 14th day of his hunger strike in support of the
Democrats' demand.

CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER ALBANIAN JUDICIAL REFORM. Chief
judges from courts at all levels told Justice Minister Thimio Kondi on
2 September that the government's recent proposals to change the
composition of the High Judicial Council are unacceptable to the
judiciary (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 August 1997), "Dita
Informacion" reported. Supreme Court Chief Judge Avni Shehu said
the proposals are not in keeping with those made by the Council of
Europe. A U.S. legal expert told RFE/RL that Kondi's proposals would
allow the legislative and executive branches to appoint most of the
High Judicial Council's members, which could endanger the
independence of the judiciary. The council appoints most of Albania's
judges.

ROMANIA TO RECEIVE $83 MILLION IMF TRANCHE? The IMF
representative in Bucharest said he expects the fund's board of
directors to approve disbursement of an $83 million tranche of a
$414 million stand-by loan later this month, RFE/RL's Washington
bureau reported on 2 September. Bloomberg Business News quoted
him as saying that Bucharest had followed through on its reform
promises. An IMF team was in Bucharest in August to review the
government's reform program. Romania has promised to cut its
budget deficit, reduce inflation, and liberalize prices for food staples
and energy. It also agreed to close many of its money-losing state
firms, which are draining the state budget.

STANDOFF BETWEEN CHISINAU, TIRASPOL. Igor Smirnov, the
president of the self-proclaimed Transdniestr Republic, marked the
seventh anniversary of Tiraspol's declaration of independence from
Moldova by vowing to stand firm on independent statehood, Infotag
reported on 2 September. Smirnov said Tiraspol intends to seek
membership in the CIS and strengthen its ties with CIS countries.
Also on 2 September, Moldovan President Petru Luchinschi said he
hopes Chisinau's dispute with Tiraspol can be resolved by the end of
this year with the mediation of Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE. But
Luchinschi said negotiations are advancing slowly because of
Tiraspol's insistence on preserving its own statehood. Talks are under
way on bringing Ukrainian peacekeepers to the breakaway region.
Some 5,000 Russian troops are currently stationed there.

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RESPONDS TO ATHENS STATEMENT.
Nadezhda Mihailova told RFE/RL on 2 September that a statement
attributed to Greek President Kostas Stephanopoulos by a Skopje
newspaper will not influence relations between Sofia and the
Republic of Macedonia. "Nova Makedonia" on 2 September quoted
Stephanopoulos as telling its Athens correspondent that "those who
inhabit the so-called state of Skopje are not Macedonians..., they are
Bulgarians." In an interview with RFE/RL's Sofia bureau, Mihailova
said the Bulgarian government continues to have common objectives
with both Athens and Skopje. She said those goals are consistent with
EU and NATO policies designed to bring peace and economic stability
to the Balkans.

TRANSPORT LINKS BETWEEN EUROPE, CENTRAL ASIA. Officials from
nine countries have moved forward with plans to implement the
TRASECA scheme for a transport corridor, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau
reported on 2 September. Following two days of talks at Bulgaria's
Black Sea port of Burgas, the officials signed a document outlining
their common interests and details of the project. Among the
signatories were the transportation ministers of the Republic of
Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia, as well as delegates from
Albania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Georgia and Bulgaria have appealed for international investors to
help fund the project, which already receives financial support from
the U.S. and the EU. The plans call for expanded ferry services
between Italy and Albania, a new ferry line between Burgas and
Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti, and new highway links across the
countries.






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