The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 134, Part II, 8 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 RELEASES ORT JOURNALIST


*WESTENDORP, KRAJISNIK DISCUSS RESTRUCTURING TV


*EASTERN SLAVONIA NOT READY FOR RETURN TO CROATIA


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS RELEASES ORT JOURNALIST. Belarusian Radio announced on
8 October that Minsk has released Russian Public Television
journalist Pavel Sheremet from the Hrodna detention center.
Sheremet's arrest and detention had soured relations between
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Moscow. Sheremet
still faces trial on charges that he illegally crossed the Belarusian-
Lithuanian border. Until his trial takes place, he is not permitted to
leave the country.

LUKASHENKA THREATENS LOCAL BUSINESSMEN. President
Lukashenka has blamed local businessmen for the 6 October
explosion that killed Mohilev State Control Committee chairman
Yevhenii Mikolutsky (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October 1997),
Interfax-West reported . Speaking at Mikolutsky's funeral,
Lukashenka said that "if in one week, commercial structures do not
hand over the names of those who organized the murder..., his killers
will face tougher steps than anyone can imagine." He added that "we
will not look for a lot of evidence--your every misdemeanor, even
the smallest one, will lead to inevitable demands from our side."
Lukashenka's comments may set the stage for increased
authoritarian rule. On 6 October, Lukashenka had said on Belarusian
Television that he completely agrees with the policies of the local
communist party.

UKRAINE PROTESTS TO MOSCOW OVER CHURCH INCIDENT. The
Ukrainian Foreign ministry on 7 October presented the Russian
embassy in Kyiv with a diplomatic note protesting the seizure of a
pro-Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral in Noginsk on 29 September,
according to Ukrainian media. Local police are reported to have
seized several church buildings in that Russian city after a Russian
court ruled that the new Russian law on religion meant the cathedral
there should belong to the Moscow Patriarchate. Ukrainian priests
and believers had protested Kyiv's failure to lodge a protest.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officials said the Russian action could lead
to the "polarization of believers in Russia and Ukraine."

MOSCOW SAYS NO POLICY CHANGE TOWARD BALTIC RUSSIAN-
SPEAKERS. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov on
7 October denied reports in the Latvian media that Moscow is about
to change its policy toward the rights of Russian-speakers in the
Baltic States, BNS and ITAR-TASS reported. Calling the reports
"groundless," Tarasov said that the "protection of the rights of the
Russian-speaking population has always been and will remain a
priority of Russian foreign policy." He added that progress in
relations between Russia and the Baltic States depends on steps
taken by the latter to improve the situation of their Russian-
speakers.

ADAMKUS APPEALS BAN ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY. Valdas
Adamkus, a 71-year-old U.S. citizen of Lithuanian origin, has
appealed the Lithuanian Supreme Electoral Commission's decision
barring him from running in the December presidential elections,
BNS reported on 7 October. The commission ruled that Adamkus does
not meet the requirement, stipulated in Article 78 of the constitution,
whereby a candidate for the presidency must have lived in Lithuania
for at least three years before registering for the elections. In a
September opinion poll, Adamkus led the field of potential
candidates with 29.7 percent support. Incumbent President Algirdas
Brazauskas polled 26.7 percent and former Deputy Prosecutor-
General Arturas Paulauskas 21 percent, according to dpa.

COALITION TALKS CONTINUE IN POLAND. Talks between Solidarity
Electoral Action and the Freedom Union continue to make progress.
Polish reported on 7 October that the two sides have agreed on a
declaration of principles and on candidates for some positions. But
they will not announce those candidates until shortly before the
current government leaves office on 17 October.

CANADA REINTRODUCES VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR CZECHS. Canada
has announced it is reimposing visa requirements for Czech citizens
following an influx of Roma asylum seekers from the Czech Republic.
Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Ministry spokesman Rene
Mercier told CTK on 7 October that the ministry sees no change in the
trend and that measures taken so far seem to have had no effect. Of
the 1,285 asylum seekers who arrived from the Czech Republic this
year, more than half came in the last two months, she said. Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said he regrets the move but he added
that he understands that countries need to protect themselves from
migrants. The decision gives the Czech Republic an idea of how it
could protect its own borders, Klaus said.

CZECH REPUBLIC REGISTERS RECORD HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic reached 4.8 percent in
September, the highest level since 1989. Employment Ministry
spokesman Tadeas Kokotek said on 7 October that the rise was
caused by government austerity measures as well as the ongoing
transformation of the economy, which includes businesses' efforts to
reduce labor and increase productivity, CTK reported. He predicted
unemployment will continue to rise to 7-8 percent.

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT, PARLIAMENT TWO LEAST TRUSTED
INSTITUTIONS. In a study published on 7 October, the government
Statistical Office's Institute for Public Opinion Research reported that
62 percent of citizens distrust the government and 67 percent the
parliament. In contrast, the Slovak Army came out on top with 73
percent of respondents saying they have confidence in the military.
Sixty-seven percent said they have trust in Slovak Radio and 66
percent in TV Markiza, a private television station.

SLOVAKIA REJECTS HUNGARIAN "ZERO" PROPOSAL FOLLOWING
HAGUE RULING... Spokeswoman Magda Pospisilova on 7 October said
the Slovak government will not accept the zero option that Hungarian
Prime Minister Gyula Horn proposed following the Hague Court's 25
September ruling on settling mutual claims for damages related to
the controversial Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric power project.
Pospisilova said Horn's suggestion that both countries should waive
claims is premature and propagandistic. She cited remarks by the
Slovak attorney at the hearing, who said that paying damages and
paying construction costs are two different things. Therefore,
Pospisilova said, Hungary should pay the costs of the work that
Slovakia carried out after Hungary had withdrawn from the
agreement.

...WHILE HORN ADMITS "ERROR" IN HUNGARIAN DEFENSE. Prime
Minister Gyula Horn says Hungary was wrong to cite only
environmental reasons for its withdrawal from the Gabcikovo-
Nagymaros project at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Horn said the losses to the economy and to shipping should also have
been mentioned before the court, Reuters reported on 7 October. He
said the planned bilateral talks with Slovakia must now embrace all
aspects of the issue, including Danube navigation, energy production,
and sewage purification.

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES REFERENDUM QUESTIONS. The
parliament on 7 October approved the three questions for the
planned referendum on NATO membership and land ownership by
foreign companies registered in Hungary. President Arpad Goncz
must now decide whether to endorse the referendum. Opposition
deputies, who are against holding a referendum on both issues and
oppose the formulation of the two questions on land ownership,
walked out in protest before the vote, Hungarian media reported. At
a meeting with Goncz earlier the same day, Tamas Deutsch, the
deputy chairman of the Young Democrats, and Zoltan Pokorny, the
chairman of the party's parliamentary faction, asked the president
not to call a referendum until the Constitutional Court has ruled on
an opposition appeal against the plebiscite. Goncz said he will strictly
abide by the constitution and the "interests of the people."

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WESTENDORP, KRAJISNIK DISCUSS RESTRUCTURING TV. Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's High Representative, met
in Sarajevo on 7 October with Momcilo Krajisnik, the Bosnian Serb
member of the Bosnian tripartite presidency and the chairman of the
board of Bosnian Serb Radio and Television (SRT). Westendorp set
out the criteria for restructuring SRT to enable the Pale studio to
resume broadcasting, which was halted on Westendorp's orders on 1
October. A spokesman for Westendorp said one of the main
conditions is that politicians withdraw from the SRT's board of
directors and give up their right to control the station. He added that
SRT's board is primarily made up of politicians loyal to the hard-line
Serbian Democratic Party. The spokesman also said that
Westendorp's goal is to reform all SRT programming, meaning in
Banja Luka as well as in Pale.

PALE INTERIOR MINISTER DISCUSSES POLICE REORGANIZATION
WITH UN. Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Slavko Poleksic, who is
loyal to the Pale leadership, held talks in Pale on 7 October with the
UN International Police Task Force (IPTF). Poleksic said the
Republika Srpska is interested in reorganizing the police in line with
the requirements of the IPTF and other international organizations.
But he told IPTF deputy commissioner Werner Schumm that such a
reorganization will require much time and money.

EASTERN SLAVONIA NOT READY FOR RETURN TO CROATIA. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in New York on 7 October that
conditions are not yet in place for Croatia to take over eastern
Slavonia. Annan said Croatia has failed in confidence-building and
reconciliation efforts in the region but still has time "to comply fully
with its obligations before 15 January 1998," when the UN must
decide whether to renew the mandate of its mission in eastern
Slavonia. Meanwhile in Zagreb, Croatian Foreign Minister, Mate
Granic, told ambassadors of the Contact Group that Croatia wants to
do everything necessary to ensure the successful conclusion of the
UN's mission in eastern Slavonia.

DRASKOVIC TO RUN IN NEW SERBIAN POLL. The opposition Serbian
Renewal Movement (SPO) has said party leader Vuk Draskovic, who
came third in the first round of the 21 September presidential
elections, will run again in the new vote expected to be held later
this year, "Nasa Borba" reported on 8 October. SPO spokesman
Andeljko Trpkovic said the failure of the 5 October second round
shows that an opposition candidate could win the elections in the
first round, provided he had backing from all three parties united in
the Zajedno movement. The other two Zajedno parties boycotted the
poll, but their leaders, Zoran Djindjic and Vesna Pesic, have already
declared their readiness to run in new elections (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 7 October 1997).

OSCE RULES MONTENEGRO POLLS FAIR, VOTER LISTS SUSPECT. The
mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
monitoring Montenegro's presidential elections has said that voting
in the 5 October Montenegrin elections appeared to have been fair.
But the OSCE suggested that the register of voters should be
reviewed before the 19 October run-off between incumbent
President Momir Bulatovic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

EU TO OPEN OFFICE IN PRISTINA. The EU Council of Foreign Ministers,
meeting in Luxembourg on 6 October, denounced the use of force by
the Serbian police against Albanian protesters in Pristina on 1
October. It also approved the opening of an EU bureau in Pristina.
The council stressed its concern over the dangers of a further
deterioration of the situation in Kosovo and insisted that the 1996
education accord between Serbia and Kosovo "be implemented
without delay." Rexhep Gjergji, a member of the Presidency of the
Democratic League of Kosovo and its Foreign Relations Committee,
told the Kosovo Information Service that the EU bureau will be a
"second window" in Kosovo, alongside the U.S. library, from which the
world will closely watch the situation in Kosovo.

MACEDONIAN SERBS DECLARE SUPPORT FOR BRETHREN IN KOSOVO.
The Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia announced on 7 October
that Serbs from Macedonia will help Kosovar Serbs if the situation in
Kosovo escalates, BETA reported from Skopje. Party leader Dragisa
Miletic said in a statement that "We, the Serbs from Macedonia, are
well organized for any escalation of the situation in Kosovo...and we
will not allow any foul play from the Albanians from Macedonia."
The previous day, Arben Xhaferri, leader of the Democratic Party of
Albanians in Macedonia, had said "Albanians from Macedonia will, in
the event of war in Kosovo, fight together with the people of
Kosovo.". Miletic's party has branded Xhaferri's statement as an
"immature political move."

GOSTIVAR MAYOR RELEASED FROM JAIL. Rufi Osmani was freed
from prison on 7 October, BETA reported. His release came 90 days
after he was detained in connection with the 9 July demonstrations,
in which three Albanians were killed and 100 policemen and
demonstrators sustained injuries of various degrees. Osmani was
accused of inciting religious and ethnic hatred. He was released by a
court decision noting that the 90-day deadline for a final judgment
had expired.

ALBANIA SIGNS COMMITMENT AGREEMENT WITH IMF. The
government signed a six-month commitment agreement with the
IMF in Tirana on 7 October, ahead of the upcoming donors'
conference in Rome and Brussels. IMF and other donor countries
have made further aid to Albania conditional on fiscal reform,
including raising value-added tax from 12.5 percent to 20 percent on
1 October. Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said after signing the
agreement that "economic reform...will be tough and intensive." Nano
also welcomed an offer by Daan Everst, the head of the EU's
monitoring mission in Albania, to extend the mission by six months.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE
UNREST. The parliament on 6 October set up a commission to
investigate the unrest in Albania earlier this year. Deputy Spartak
Ngjela, who formerly was interim justice minister, was appointed to
chair the 11-member commission, to be composed of representatives
of all parliamentary parties as well as two independents. The
opposition Democratic Party has not yet named its candidates, ATA
reported.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS HE WON'T RESIGN. Adrian
Severin on 7 October told the press that he has no intention to resign,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. After being questioned by the
Foreign Relations Committees of the parliament's two chambers
about his allegations on "foreign agents" among the leaderships of
several parties and in the media, Severin said that to resign now
would be an indication of "cowardice" as well as "encouragement" to
those he is seeking to expose.

MINERS' STRIKE IN ROMANIA. Members of the largest miners' trade
union staged a 24-hour strike on 8 October, despite an agreement
reached with the government the previous day (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 7 October 1997). Union leader Marin Condeescu said the
miners are demanding a 100 percent wage hike and the creation of a
national mining agency to oversee mines still in operation. The action
follows a two-hour warning strike on 5 October. The miners have
said they will launch a general strike on 14 October if their demands
have not been met by then, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nicolae Staiculescu
commented that it is "strange" to go on strike at a time when the
mining industries face a crisis of over-production. He called the
strike "blackmail."

IMF WANTS MOLDOVA TO FULFILL COMMITMENTS. Mark Horton,
the IMF's permanent representative to Moldova, has said that
further IMF loans will be closely linked to Chisinau's fulfilling
commitments undertaken by the government, in particular those on
reducing the budget deficit, RFE/RL's bureau in the Moldovan capital
reported on 6 October. Similarly, James Parks, the World Bank's
representative in Moldova, has said he hopes the parliament will
soon pass legislation that the bank regards as crucial for the
country's economic development. Parks singled out legislation on
developing the private sector, reforming education, and setting up a
national properties register. He also announced that the bank's board
of directors has approved granting Moldova a $100 million structural
adjustment loan. The first $35 million installment will be paid out
before the end of 1997.

RUSSIA REFUTES SPY ALLEGATIONS BY BULGARIAN MEDIA... In a
statement released on 7 October, Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria
Leonid Kerestedzhiyants said Bulgarian media reports alleging that
the embassy is engaged in spying are "scandalous," ITAR-TASS
reported. The previous day, Bulgarian pro-government daily
"Standard" had claimed that the Russian ambassador is involved in
recruiting spies and seeks to upset Bulgarian plans to join NATO soon.
Kerestedzhiyants said the embassy is "disturbed" that the Bulgarian
government is doing nothing to stop the "defamation" and that some
ministers, in particular Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev, have
dropped hints that the security services have exposed Russian spying
activities. The Russian ambassador commented that "over-zealous
government-close quarters" are doing a disservice "not only to
Bulgaria but also to NATO," which, he said, "does not want to strain
relations with Moscow by using the 'Bulgarian card.'"

...WHILE BULGARIA WANTS "NEW IMPETUS" IN RELATIONS WITH
RUSSIA. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova on 7 October
said that while Sofia is determined to join the EU and NATO, it also
wants to give new impetus to its traditional relations with Moscow.
She told a news conference that Bulgaria wants to "develop contacts
with Russia at every level--political and economic." She added that
she hopes to visit Russia in November to prepare a visit by President
Petar Stoyanov before year's end, Reuters reported. In other news,
Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, addressing the General Assembly of the
Atlantic Treaty Association in Sofia on 7 October, said his country
wants to introduce Western standards in its security and defense
policy. He invited foreign investors to invest in Bulgaria's defense
industries, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported.


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