No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 111, Part II, 5 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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* BELARUS FREES ORT JOURNALIST

* NATO COMMANDER WARNS MILOSEVIC

* TIRANA POLICE CHIEFS CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTING ARMS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS FREES ORT JOURNALIST. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
on 4 September confirmed reports that one of the two Russian Public
Television (ORT) journalists detained since the end of July has been
freed. Lukashenka told journalists in Vilnius that cameraman Dimitri
Zavadsky has been released but that his colleague, Pavel Sheremet,
remains in prison. According to Lukashenka, Zavadsky asked for his
release whereas Sheremet has not. The president commented that
Sheremet "must like it in his cell." The two journalists are both
Belarusian citizens and were arrested after filming near the border
with Lithuania. They were accused of illegally crossing the border
but denied the charges. Zavadsky reportedly sent a petition to the
Belarusian authorities expressing his regret over the incident.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin has appealed to Lukashenka to
release the two journalists before Lukashenka's trip to Moscow on 6
September.

BID TO DISMISS UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT. Igor Koliuchko, the
secretary of the parliamentary Legal Committee, told journalists on 4
September that the committee has moved to dismiss President
Leonid Kuchma, whom it accuses of "abuse of power" following his
vetos of the law on local administrations. The parliament overruled
both of the president's vetos, but the law was never signed because
Kuchma claimed the deputies had violated the voting procedure and
had not examined all his proposals. Koliuchko said the committee's
motion to dismiss Kuchma will be submitted to the parliament soon.
Kuchma on 4 September dismissed the move as "bluff and comedy."
He said the decision has "no meaning for those who understand the
Ukrainian Constitution," UNIAN reported.

EU-UKRAINE SUMMIT STARTS IN KYIV. A spokeswoman for Hans
van den Broek, the EU commissioner responsible for relations with
Eastern Europe, told journalists on 4 September that the EU wants to
help Ukraine integrate as rapidly as possible into the world economy.
Speaking on the eve of a EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, she said
Brussels fully supports Ukraine's entry into the World Trade
Organization (WTO). EU President and Luxembourg Prime Minister
Jean-Claude Juncker, Executive Commission President Jacques Santer,
and Van den Broek are to meet with President Kuchma to discuss
Kyiv's entry into the WTO, safety measures at the Chornobyl nuclear
power plant, and the implementation of a partnership and
cooperation agreement between the EU and Ukraine. That agreement
is expected to be fully ratified later this year by the EU's parliament.

UKRAINE ANNOUNCES PRIVATIZATION PLANS . The State Property
Fund has said shares in 58 state-owned companies will be sold this
month on the nation's "over-the-counter" stock market, Bloomberg
Business News reported on 4 September. A fund said the initial
package of shares has an estimated value of some $2.1 million. It also
pledged to sell shares in 139 companies, valued at $27 million, in
October. Plans are currently being drawn up to sell some of the
country's largest companies, including firms in the energy,
petrochemical, and metallurgy sectors.

ESTONIAN UPDATE. Tiit Vahi, the chairman of the ruling Coalition
Party and former prime minister, has announced he is quitting
politics, ETA reported on 4 September. Vahi said he will submit his
resignation as party chairman and parliamentary deputy but will
remain a member of the Coalition Party. Meanwhile, President
Lennart Meri promised in a speech in Helsinki to improve the
situation of the Russian minority in Estonia and simplify the process
for gaining citizenship, ETA reported, citing the daily "Helsingen
Sanomat." He also expressed the hope that non-Estonians living in
Estonia would show greater interest in acquiring Estonian citizenship
now that Tallinn's admission to the EU seems likely.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS CHERNOMYRDIN... On the eve of the
Vilnius summit on security and cooperation, Algirdas Brazauskas met
with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in the Lithuanian
capital, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 September. Chernomyrdin told
reporters later that talks focused on stepping up the work of the
intergovernmental Russian-Lithuanian commission, which, he
stressed, is "capable of solving many trade and economic problems in
a routine way." He said that the issue of cargo transiting Lithuania en
route to Kaliningrad Oblast was also discussed. Refuting allegations
that Russia is opposed to a readmission accord between Belarus and
Lithuania, Chernomyrdin said the two countries will sign such an
agreement "and then we shall join it." In an interview with the daily
"Lietuvos Rytas" published the same day, the Russian premier spoke
out in favor of improving relations with Vilnius. He commented that
Moscow does not intend either to "conflict with Lithuania or smother
her in a loving embrace," BNS reported.

...AND LUKASHENKA. Brazauskas also met with Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka to discuss bilateral relations, the signing of
the readmission agreement, and progress toward delimiting the
Lithuanian-Belarusian border. They confirmed the "existence of
normal and good-neighborly relations between the two countries,"
ITAR-TASS reported on 4 September. In addition to Brazauskas,
Lukashenka, and Chernomyrdin, the presidents of Bulgaria, Estonia,
Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine are
attending the two-day conference. Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari
is taking part as a guest.

POLISH PRESIDENT WRAPS UP PORTUGAL VISIT. Aleksander
Kwasniewski, speaking at the end of his three-day visit to Portugal,
said on 4 September he is satisfied with Portuguese support for
Poland's eventual membership in NATO and the EU. Kwasniewski told
reporters in Lisbon that Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres
had expressed confidence that Poland will soon become a member of
both organizations. The two met in the northern Portuguese city of
Porto.

FORUM 2000 CONTINUES IN PRAGUE. Czech President Vaclav Havel,
former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and Russian human
rights advocate Sergei Kovalyov were among those who addressed
the Forum 2000 conference in Prague on 4 September, RFE/RL's
correspondents reported. RFE/RL is a media partner of the four-day
conference. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is also
attending the conference told journalists he is optimistic about future
relations between Tibet and China because of the changes taking
place inside Chinese society. He said that there are many intellectuals
and thinkers in China who are realizing what is at stake for Tibet. He
said he was aiming for a solution that would be acceptable to both
sides and that he is "definitely not seeking independence" for Tibet.

CZECH GOVERNMENT PRIVATIZES BECHEROVKA DISTILLERY. The
Czech government on 3 September announced it has agreed to sell
state-owned Jan Becher-Karlovarska Becherovka -- the distillery that
produces the famous "Becherovka" herbal liqueur. The purchaser of
the 89 percent stake in the distillery is Value Bill, a firm that is
owned 40 percent by the Czech investment bank Patria Finance, 40
percent by the French distillery Pernod Ricard, and 20 percent by
Karel Schwarzenberg, former head of the Czech President's Office.
Value Bill was selected by the government from among six bidders.
On 4 September, opposition deputies demanded that the government
explain how it reached its decision, alleging that the government
might have acted improperly. The parliament, however, rejected the
motion to discuss the sale.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION AGAINST EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
Ludovit Cernak, deputy chairman of the opposition Democratic Union,
told journalists in Bratislava on 4 September that in order to hold
presidential elections before 1 January 1998, the constitution would
have to be changed. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said on 3
September that the election of the new president will take place in
December and that his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) is
conducting talks with other parties on the issue. The constitution
stipulates that the election of the new president take place during
the last 60 days of the term of the incumbent president or within
thirty days of his leaving office prematurely. Kovac was elected on
15 February 1993, but he was not sworn in until 2 March. According
to opposition lawyers, the parliament can elect the new president on
1 January 1998 at the earliest. Meciar and the HZDS's legal experts
say, however, that Kovac's term ends fours years after he was
elected.

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES FOREIGN TRAVEL
REGULATIONS. The government has passed a bill stating that people
who owe more than 10 million forints (some $50,000) to tax, social
insurance, or customs authorities will be barred from leaving the
country, Hungarian media reported. Government spokesman Elemer
Kiss told reporters on 4 September that the same rule will apply to
those against whom criminal proceedings are under way for offenses
punishable by at least five years in prison. The bill also provides for
the reintroduction of diplomatic passports. It is expected to be
approved by the parliament in November and to take effect within
six months of that date.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO COMMANDER WARNS MILOSEVIC. Gen. Wesley Clark told
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Yugoslav Army Chief of
Staff Gen. Momcilo Perisic in Belgrade on 4 September that SFOR has
the right to use force if deemed necessary. Milosevic and Perisic
denied charges that Yugoslav special police participated in recent
Bosnian Serb mob violence against NATO troops. Meanwhile, a
Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. will transfer six F-16 aircraft
from Germany to Italy to support SFOR in preparation for the 14
September Bosnian local elections. And in Brussels, U.S. envoy Robert
Gelbard said on 5 September that those elections will go ahead even
if the Bosnian Serbs decide to boycott them. Gelbard also urged
European states to be tougher on Milosevic and insist that he stop
backing Bosnian Serb hard-liners.

CROATIA, ISRAEL ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES. Croatian and Israeli
diplomats signed documents in New York on 4 September to set up
diplomatic relations. Israeli press reports have suggested that
Jerusalem agreed to recognize Zagreb in the hope of selling arms to
Croatia and despite some Israeli misgivings about Croatia's fascist
legacy from World War II (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August 1997).
Meanwhile in Split, former Interior Minister Ivan Vekic denied
charges by former special police agent Miro Bajramovic that Croatian
police committed atrocities against Serbs when Vekic was in office
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 1997). Vekic called Bajramovic
a "liar" and added that "the thing to know is whether his lies are the
consequence of his psychological state...or whether he has been asked
to take this role by world powers in order to discredit Croatia."

MONTENEGRO TO KEEP OWN SECRET POLICE. Montenegrin Interior
Minister Filip Vujanovic said in Podgorica on 5 September that he
hopes the federal Interior Ministry will abandon plans to abolish the
republican secret services. Vujanovic said he will ask Montenegrin
deputies in the federal parliament to vote down the measure if the
Interior Ministry goes ahead with it. Vujanovic insisted that
Montenegro must maintain its own intelligence service independent
of Belgrade. Also in Podgorica, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said
on 4 September that the 5 October presidential elections will be a
referendum on whether Montenegrins want to retain their autonomy
vis-a-vis Belgrade.

POLICE STATION ATTACKED IN KOSOVO. Police spokesmen said in
Pristina on 4 September that unidentified persons attacked a police
station in a nearby town with a hand grenade and automatic rifles
the previous night. No one has claimed responsibility for the act, but
observers say it has the hallmarks of the clandestine Kosovo
Liberation Army. Meanwhile in Nis, Serbian presidential candidate
Vuk Draskovic said on 4 September that his victory in the 21
September elections "will put an end to the [ethnic Albanians'] dream
of an independent Kosovo." He urged "our dear Albanian neighbors"
to accept that Kosovo will always be part of Serbia. Ethnic Albanian
political parties are boycotting the election. Their spokesmen say that
no Serbian party has a platform on Kosovo that the Albanians can
accept. Meanwhile in Novi Pazar, the Muslim-led List for Sandzak
coalition announced that Sulejman Ugljanin will head its slate in the
legislative elections.

TIRANA POLICE CHIEFS CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTING ARMS. Most
Tirana district police chiefs face charges for distributing about 300
arms to civilian supporters of the Democratic Party during the unrest
in March, "Dita Informacion" reported on 5 September. The State
Prosecutor's Office said that handing out the weapons constituted a
violation of police regulations and that only one district chief did not
take part in arming Democrats. In some cases, police failed to register
the addresses of those who received the weapons. Those civilians
who kept their arms after the 31 August deadline will also face
charges.

SHAKEUP IN ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY. Six of the seven
directors of Foreign Ministry departments were replaced on 4
September, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. Foreign Minister Paskal Milo
asked all Albanian ambassadors abroad to resign because, he said, an
ambassador's job is essentially political in nature and the new
government wants its own appointees to represent it. The Socialist
Bashkim Zeneli, the deputy head of parliament's Foreign Relations
Committee, will resign his legislative seat to become ambassador to
Germany. His colleague in Paris will be Luan Rama, who was sacked
two years ago as press attache to France. Servet Pellumbi, a former
Socialist Party secretary-general from the party's conservative wing,
will go to Russia. It is unclear who will serve in Washington. In other
news, the government on 3 September invalidated most diplomatic
passports. Spokesmen said the former government issued some 700
such documents to political favorites.

ALBANIAN DOCTORS SAY LEGISLATOR'S LIFE IS IN DANGER. Doctors
in Tirana on 4 September urged Democratic Party member and
former parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori to end his hunger
strike, which he launched two weeks ago to protest the allegedly
biased reporting of state television news. It is unclear whether he
has taken the doctors' advice. French President Jacques Chirac and
other top French officials have expressed their concern for Arbnori's
health. Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha earlier asked Arbnori to
stop his hunger strike, but Arbnori refused. In Durres, prosecutors on
5 September concluded their investigations into the 4 June
assassination attempt against Berisha (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June
1997). The trial of assailant Ilir Ceta will begin shortly.

OPENING OF ROMANIAN SECRET POLICE FILES DISCUSSED. The
National Peasant Party (PNTCD), the senior ruling coalition party, is
debating whether communist-era secret police files should be opened
to the public, RFE/RL's Romanian service reported on 5 September.
Ion Diaconescu, president of the PNTCD and chairman of the lower
house of the parliament, said access to secret police files should be
controlled by a parliamentary commission. Otherwise, he said, a
national controversy is likely to result. But PNTCD member Tichu
Dumitrescu is demanding that all secret police files be opened for
public review, RFE/RL reported. Discussion of the bill, drafted by
Dumitrescu, has been repeatedly postponed for three years. Both
Diaconescu and Dumitrescu spent years in communist jails as political
prisoners.

BULGARIAN BUSINESS BLOC DISBANDS PARLIAMENTARY GROUP.
The Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB), the smallest party in the National
Assembly, was forced to disband its parliamentary group on 5
September, RFE/RL's Sofia Bureau reported. The departure of Georgy
Agofonov had reduced the size of the group to nine deputies (a
minimum of 10 deputies are needed for a parliamentary group to
exist). Twelve BBB candidates were elected to the parliament in
April. Agofonov's resignation from the party comes after BBB leader
George Ganchev on 4 September expelled two other deputies who
had publicly criticized Ganchev.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SUBSCRIBING:
1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName
3) Send the message

UNSUBSCRIBING:
1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L
3) Send the message

Current and Back Issues of RFE/RL Newsline
RFE/RL Newsline is available online via:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

Back Issues of OMRI Daily Digest
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available online via:
http://www.omri.cz/publications/dd/
ftp://ftp.omri.cz/pub/dailydigest/

Reprint Policy
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address:  RFE/RL,  1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036  USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Acting Editor (Transcaucasia) CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Acting Deputy Editor (West Balkans)  MooreP@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir (East Balkans) ShafirM@rferl.org
* Laura Belin (Russia) BelinL@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier (Central Asia) PannierB@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Mike Gallant, GallantM@rferl.org

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole