Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. - Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 130, Part II, 2 October 1997



A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern Europe,
Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the staff of Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe.  Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed simultaneously as a
second document.  Back issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI
Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUS TO RELEASE ORT JOURNALIST?

* WESTENDORP SAYS PALE TV BROADCASTS MIGHT RESUME

* MORE UNREST IN BELGRADE AND KOSOVO

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS TO RELEASE ORT JOURNALIST? President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka says the police have completed their investigation into
Russian Public Television (ORT) journalist Pavel Sheremet, Interfax
reported on 1 October. Lukashenka indicated that Sheremet may be
allowed to leave the Hrodna detention center, where he has been
held since August, pending trial. But the same day, the Justice
Ministry revoke the license of one of Sheremet's lawyers, prompting
ORT's other legal adviser to resign from the case.

YELTSIN BLOCKS LUKASHENKA'S VISIT TO RUSSIAN REGIONS. The
Russian authorities have in effect blocked Belarusian President
Lukashenka's plans to visit Lipetsk and other Russian regional
capitals by denying clearance for his plane, Russian media reported 2
October. The orders reportedly came from President Boris Yeltsin
himself. Yeltsin said in Nizhnii Novgorod the same day that "I am
warning governors about one thing. They are forbidden to invite
heads of other states without the president's permission." This is the
second time Moscow has moved to block a Lukashenka visit to a
Russian regional capital. Last summer, Moscow pressured Kaliningrad
leaders to put off a visit by the Belarusian president.

LUKASHENKA CALLS FOR BETTER CIS COOPERATION. Addressing the
opening session of the CIS Inter-State Economic Committee in Minsk
on 1 October, Belarusian President Lukashenka predicted that the CIS
may "fall apart" within two or three years unless its policies become
more effective, according to Interfax. Specifically, Lukashenka
advocated more systematic implementation of decisions adopted by
the CIS and the creation of new forms of economic integration such
as transnational corporations, financial-industrial groups, and joint
ventures. He said that the harmonious development of economic
relations within the CIS is impossible without measures to ensure the
smooth functioning of the four-country Customs Union and to
promote free trade and a common market for goods, services, and
capital.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT READY TO SIGN ELECTION LAW, PAY
PENSIONS. Leonid Kuchma will sign the new election law as soon as it
reaches his desk, one of his senior aides told ITAR-TASS on 1
October. The same day, the president himself told pensioners that his
government will pay all pension arrears within the next few months,
Ukrainian media reported.

NEARLY HALF OF ALL UKRAINIANS HAVE NO MONEY FOR FOOD.
Forty-five percent of all residents of Ukraine do not have enough
money to purchase basic food stuffs, according to a poll of 4,500
people carried out by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.
Forty-nine percent said they have no problems buying enough food
but lack the funds for clothing. Only one Ukrainian resident in 20
said his financial situation is stable, ITAR-TASS reported on 1
October

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS DEFENSE MINISTRY OVER MILITARY
TRAGEDY. At a 1 October session of the State Defense Council, Lennart
Meri criticized the Defense Ministry in connection with the tragic
accident in mid-September in which 14 members of the Baltic
Peacekeeping Battalion (BALTBAT) perished, ETA and BNS reported.
Meri said the ministry has failed to draft legislation in accordance
with government schedules, pointing out there is still no legislative
framework for BALTBAT. He also criticized the government's decision
to order the security police to consider bringing charges against
several officers, including Major-General Johannes Kert, the
commander of the defense forces. Meri has so far refused to accept
Kert's resignation over the tragedy. Meanwhile, Premier Mart
Siimann has threatened to step down if Meri continues to defend
Kert, RFE/RL's Estonian service reported.

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN DENIES KGB TIES.
Vytautas Landsbergis on 1 October categorically denied having
collaborated with the Soviet-era KGB, BNS reported. He was
responding to press reports about a session of a parliamentary
commission investigating deputies' possible ties with secret services
abroad. According to the daily "Respublika," four former KGB agents
told the commission they will testify in court that Landsbergis
willingly cooperated with the Soviet secret service during the 1950s.
"The second oldest profession of mankind, after prostitution, is false
testimony," Landsbergis said in a letter from Iceland, where he is
currently on an official visit. The parliamentary chairman intends to
run in the December presidential elections.

SOLIDARITY DECIDES ON CANDIDATE FOR PREMIER. Solidarity
Electoral Action (AWS) has decided on a candidate for the post of
prime minister but has not released his name to the press, PAP
reported on 1 October. AWS leader Marian Krzaklewski, who has
repeatedly said he does not want the job, commented that his party
would "prefer an arrangement that does not involve party leaders in
the government lineup." But he added that the AWS wants to control
the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Treasury, and Finance and that it
would like the deputy prime minister's slot to go to whichever
coalition party does not have the premiership.

POLAND SEEKS VOICE ON NATO NUCLEAR STRATEGY. Deputy Defense
Minister Andrzej Karkoszka was quoted by "Trybuna" as saying that
Poland wants to participate fully in NATO's nuclear planning
committee after Poland becomes a member of the alliance. While
Karkoszka repeated Polish support for NATO's current policy of not
deploying nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, his
remarks are likely to alarm many Russians who oppose NATO's
eastward expansion.

CZECH AIR FORCE HAS LOW COMBAT ABILITY. The combat ability of
the Czech air force has fallen below 50 percent and the ability of its
aircraft to serve for training purposes is under 45 percent, according
to documents that the army's Supreme Command provided to the
parliamentary Defense and Security Committee, CTK reported on 1
October. Air force commander General Ladislav Klima conceded that
austerity measures in the air force, implemented since 1 September
due to the lack of fuel , have been unprecedented in the history of
Czechoslovak and Czech aviation. In related testimony to the
committee, chief of staff Jiri Nekvasil told deputies that Soviet-era
MiG 23 fighters are to be phased out of the air force and replaced by
12 Czech-made L-39 ZA aircraft. He said the air force will keep its
MiG-21 fighters, which have a longer life-span than the MiG-23s.

KLAUS FAVORS ABOLITION OF LAW BANNING NOMADIC LIFESTYLE.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told CTK on 1. October he favors a
Communist Party proposal to repeal a 1958 law banning people from
leading a nomadic way of life. The law, when passed was aimed
primarily at the country's Roma population to ensure that they could
no longer travel about the country in caravans. He says this is the
first time the government had unconditionally agreed with a
proposal from the Communists. Meanwhile, a member of the
Canadian Council for Immigration and Refugees is in the Czech
Republic on a two week fact-finding mission on the situation of
Roma.

MECIAR RULES OUT FOREIGN MONITORING OF SLOVAK ELECTIONS.
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on 1 October rejected opposition
demands that international observers be invited to monitor next
year's parliamentary elections. Speaking on Slovak Television, Meciar
said "Slovakia is not in the position of Albania, where international
monitors are required for elections." He pledged that government
and state institutions will not interfere in the elections. He also
conceded that his party does not have sufficient support from other
parties to change the law to enable elections to be held by majority
vote in a single round.

HUNGARY HANDS OVER MINORITY REPORT TO SLOVAKIA. Hungarian
Ambassador to Slovakia Jeno Bors on 1 October presented Slovak
Foreign Minister Zdenka Kramplova with a Hungarian government
report comparing the status of the Slovak minority in Hungary with
that of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, TASR reported. Slovakia
has repeatedly requested that Hungary draw up the comparative
study. Kramplova said that although she is prepared to reschedule
her postponed discussions in Hungary, originally to be held on 18
September, "the Slovak side is still waiting for adequate, matching
steps by the Hungarian side that would help restore the atmosphere
of mutual trust [and] enable the dialogue to continue at the level of
foreign ministers."

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WESTENDORP SAYS PALE TV BROADCASTS MIGHT RESUME...
International mediator for Bosnia Carlos Westendorp on 1 October
said broadcasts may still be allowed from the hard-line Bosnian Serb
stronghold of Pale. He made the remarks shortly after the NATO-led
stabilization force (SFOR) seized control of four television
transmitters in areas controlled by Bosnian Serb hard-line
supporters of indicted war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic at
Westendorp's request (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 1997).
Westendorp said international officials are still considering issues
related to television broadcasting in the Bosnian Serb entity. The
transmitters were seized after Pale broadcast allegedly altered film
footage to suggest that the war crimes tribunal at The Hague is anti-
Serbian.

...WHILE DISPUTE EMERGES OVER WHO WILL BROADCAST. NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said the transmitters will remain
under the control of Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic's faction.
Plavsic said the seizure was justified, but she appealed in a letter to
Westendorp to allow the resumption of alternating broadcasts by
Pale and Banja Luka. Her chief foe, Karadzic ally Momcilo Krajisnik,
warned that SFOR's seizure of the transmitters could lead to an
"uncontrollable response" among the Bosnian Serb public.

RUSSIA DENIES NATO'S CLAIM THAT RUSSIAN TROOPS
PARTICIPATED. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, speaking in
Maastricht on 1 October, said Russian troops were only present as
observers when SFOR troops seized the transmitters. "Observation
from two posts, and that is all the Russian peacekeepers did, can
hardly be described as participation in an operation," Sergeev told
reporters.

MORE UNREST IN BELGRADE... For the second consecutive night,
Serbian riot police on 1 October used batons to break up a peaceful
Belgrade demonstration against the ouster of Zoran Djindjic, the city's
first non-communist mayor in 50 years, and the editors of Studio B,
an independent radio and TV station. Police made arrests and injured
several people in their attack on the crowd, which was estimated at
10,000, about half the size of the crowd the previous night. Djindjic is
calling for more protests on 4 October, one day before the second
round of Serbia's presidential elections.

...AND IN KOSOVO. At least 30 Kosovar students required hospital
treatment after Serbian riot police used tear gas to stop a peaceful
march by ethnic Albanian students in Pristina on 1 October
demanding the readmission of ethnic Albanians to Pristina
University. Tanjug reported that "a number of organizers of the
alleged student protest were detained, including self-proclaimed
chancellor of the outlawed university Ejup Statovci." The Kosovo
Information service says police beat Statovci and Vice Rector Ahmet
Geca while detaining them. Police also detained the four leaders of
the student union. Elsewhere, police used force to disperse protesters
in Pec, Prizren, Gnjilane, Mitrovica, and Urosevac. They also beat and
detained protesters in Decani and Djakovica. The students have called
off further protests. Meanwhile, the U.S. and the EU issued a joint
condemnation of the use of force by Serbian riot police against the
demonstrators in Belgrade and in Kosovo (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1
October 1997).

RUGOVA CALLS FOR AN END TO PROTESTS. Kosovar leader Ibrahim
Rugova later condemned the Serbian police intervention against the
protesters. He said on Albanian Television that he will demand that
the protests be stopped, "as they may explode into dangerous
situations with serious consequences for Kosovo and the region."
Rugova added that despite the violence and continuous Serbian
repression, ethnic Albanians are "determined to realize their
independence through peaceful means." The Serbian government
later issued a statement saying the sole obstacle to implementing the
1996 agreement on reinstituting Albanian language education in
Kosovo is "separatism." "Serbia will never allow the existence of a
separate Albanian state of Kosovo with a separate education system
and university," the government commented.

ALBANIA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER KOSOVO DEVELOPMENTS. The
Albanian Foreign Ministry on 1 October said it is following with
concern the latest developments in Kosovo. "The Foreign Ministry of
Albania supports every movement to defend Albanian education in
Kosovo, which is one of the fundamental rights of every nation,"
according to a statement broadcast on Albanian Television. The
Foreign Ministry called on Belgrade to avoid the use of violence and
repressive measures against the students and the Albanian
population and to create opportunities for the free expression of
their views.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on 1 October
released the first results of the 13-14 September municipal elections.
In Tuzla, the second-largest city of the Muslim-Croatian federation,
the civic-oriented Joint List '97, led by Mayor Selim Beslagic and his
allies, won a majority of seats, beating the ruling Muslim Party of
Democratic Action (SDA). A Muslim-led coalition won in Hadzici, near
Sarajevo. In Bosanski Brod, which is held by the Bosnian Serbs, the
Serbian Democratic Party came in first, followed by the Bosnian
branch of the Croatian Democratic Alliance. In Rogatica, which is also
held by the Bosnian Serbs, a coalition of Muslim-led parties took 21
seats and three Bosnian Serbian parties won a total of 28 seats.

ROMANIAN SENATOR DISCIPLINED OVER SECRET FILES PROPOSAL.
The Disciplinary Commission of the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic (PNTCD) on 1 October suspended Senator Ticu
Dumitrescu's membership in the party for one year . On several
occasions in September, Dumitrescu criticized the party leadership
for procrastination over a draft law on accessing the files of the
former communist secret police. He insinuated that PNTCD chairman
Ion Diaconescu, deputy chairman Nicolae Ionescu-Galbeni (who also
chairs the parliament's commission supervising the Intelligence
Service), and other PNTCD deputies want to block access because of
their past. A Senate commission has approved an urgent debate on
Dumitrescu's draft law but said the debate must await the
commission's revisions to the bill. Premier Victor Ciorbea on 1
October said access to the Securitate files will be possible "within two
months," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.

CHISINAU-TIRASPOL NEGOTIATIONS TO TAKE PLACE IN MOSCOW.
Moldovan presidential adviser Anatol Taranu says that during
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Serov's visit to Chisinau on
22-23 September, it was agreed that negotiations between Chisinau
and Tiraspol will take place in Moscow in the future, RFE/RL's
Chisinau bureau reported on 1 October. Taranu told an RFE/RL
correspondent that the first round of negotiations in Moscow will be
held on 6 October.

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES AMENDMENT TO DEFENSE
LAW. The parliament on 1 October passed an amendment to the
defense law stipulating that the defense minister is appointed by the
president on the premier's recommendation, Infotag reported. Under
the former version of the law, the defense minister was appointed by
the parliament on the president's recommendation. Grigorii Bratunov,
the chairman of the parliament's Commission for National Security
and Public Order, said the amendment will avert situations such as
that in 1996, when former President Mircea Snegur dismissed
Defense Minister Pavel Creanga without the premier's consent,
triggering a constitutional crisis. In other news, Dumitru Diacov, the
leader of the pro-presidential For a Prosperous and Democratic
Moldova Bloc, said the government must be immediately reshuffled.
He threatened to make public the names of ministers allegedly
involved in corruption if there are no cabinet changes, BASA-press
reported.

BULGARIA CRITICIZES RUSSIA... Foreign Minister Nadezhda
Mihailova on 1 October said Bulgaria is "disturbed" by Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's refusal to meet with her during
the UN General Assembly session in New York. Upon her return from
the session, Mihailova said the refusal was "indicative" of Moscow's
"unwillingness or inability to use...civilized methods" in relations with
other states, BTA reported. She said that "civilized countries" conduct
"international relations through dialogue and at the negotiating
table."

...EXPLAINS RUSSIA'S ABSENCE FROM DEFENSE CONFERENCE. Deputy
Foreign Minister Stefan Tarfov on 1 October told reporters that
Russia has not been invited to participate in a conference of defense
ministers from southeastern Europe because the planned talks on
military preparations for NATO membership would be of no interest
to Moscow, Reuters reported on 1 October. He pointed out that Russia
has no plans to join the organization. BTA reported that the Russian
embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomatic note expressing concern
over what it described as the recent Bulgarian tendency to restrict
Russian participation in regional meetings. The note said that "Russia
views the Balkans and southeastern Europe...as a vital sphere of its
interests." The conference is due to begin on 3 October with the
participation of U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen.



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