Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 137, Part II, 13 October1997



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

* DEMONSTRATORS DENOUNCE BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT

* BOSNIAN SERBS REFUSE TO SACK MEDIA CHIEFS

* KOSOVO TALKS COLLAPSE

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

DEMONSTRATORS DENOUNCE BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT... Some 3,500
people marched in Minsk on 12 October to protest the policies of
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarusian media reported.
Twenty of the demonstrators were arrested. The march was
organized by the Belarusian Popular Front, the independent trade
unions, and other anti-Lukashenka groups. One of the speakers,
Tatyana Sharetsky, told the demonstrators that they must continue
to march "if we don't want our state to be on the outskirts of
civilization, if we don't want a new Gulag."

...BUT LUKASHENKA REMAINS UNREPENTANT. Speaking to a joint
session of the parliament on 10 October, President Lukashenka said
there is no danger that Belarus will be isolated from the rest of the
world. "Seventy percent of resources from Russia move across
Belarusian territory," he noted. He promised not to dissolve the
current parliament, as demanded by international organizations. He
also rejected calls for privatization, pointing out that the economy
grew by more than 10 percent over the last year. Lukashenka went
on to say that Russian President Boris Yeltsin has personally invited
him to a meeting in Moscow on 22 October, according to Interfax.

UKRAINIAN BUDGET REJECTED, ELECTION CAMPAIGN DELAYED. The
parliament on 10 October refused to approve President Leonid
Kuchma's state budget, ITAR-TASS reported. Many Ukrainian
commentators suggested that lawmakers had withheld their
approval to pressure Kuchma into signing the recently passed
election law. As a result of Kuchma's refusal to sign that legislation,
the campaign for the parliamentary elections, which was scheduled
to begin on 11 October, has been delayed. (According to the bill
awaiting Kuchma's signature, the campaign can begin only 170 days
before the vote.) The Communists, the Progressive Socialist Party, the
Reform and Order Party, and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists
nevertheless went ahead with their campaign meetings on 11-12
October.

ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINSTER WITHDRAWS RESIGNATION. Andrus
Oovel on 10 October announced he is withdrawing his resignation
letter, submitted to Prime Minister Mart Siimann following the
September military training accident, ETA reported. Oovel's
announcement followed a decision by the Coalition Party board that
since President Lennart Meri has refused to accept the resignation of
commander-in-chief of the defense forces Johannes Kert, Oovel
cannot be held solely responsible for the tragedy. Meanwhile, the
parliamentary State Defense Committee has demanded that Siimann
release Oovel from his duties, BNS and ETA reported on 13 October.
The committee has frequently criticized the Defense Ministry for its
poor record in drawing legislation.

PRIMAKOV AGAIN WARNS TALLINN AGAINST INVOKING TARTU
TREATY. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov has again
warned Tallinn against mentioning the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty in
connection with a border agreement between Russia and Estonia, BNS
reported on 10 October. Primakov made the remarks to the news
agency while attending the Council of Europe summit in Strasbourg.
He said Estonia must guarantee that its parliament will no make
mention of the Tartu treaty in the ratification or other related
documents. He also stressed that Russia is interested in developing
relations with Estonia.

IMF APPROVES STAND-BY LOAN FOR LATVIA. The IMF on 10
October approved a $45 million loan agreement with Latvia, Reuters
reported The fund said that the18-month stand-by credit would be
used to support the government's 1997-1999 economic program,
which calls for trade liberalization and tariff reductions. It also
praised Latvia's efforts to stabilize economic conditions and promote
economic growth. Latvian officials have said they do not intend to
draw on the new loan, which replaces a credit that recently expired.

LITHUANIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. Algirdas Brazauskas and
Boris Yeltsin met briefly in Strasbourg on 10 October on the sidelines
of the Council of Europe summit, BNS reported. The two leaders
agreed that it is "necessary" to finalize and sign several important
agreements, including a border treaty, during Brazauskas's visit to
Moscow from 23-25 October. Also on 10 October, the Vilnius Regional
Court ruled that Valdas Adamkus can register for the December
presidential elections, according to BNS. Adamkus, a U.S. citizen of
Lithuanian origin, had appealed a Supreme Electoral Commission
decision that barred him from running in the elections (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 October 1997).

CZECHS, HUNGARIANS, POLES TO COOPERATE ON JOINING NATO.
Meeting in the Czech city of Komormi Hradek on 11 October, Czech
Defense Minister Miloslav Vyborny, Hungarian Defense Minister
Gyorgy Keliki, and Polish First Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej
Karkoszka agreed to coordinate military policies and purchases in
their bid to join the Western alliance, PAP reported. The three said
they are not yet ready to make joint purchases but will explore that
option in the future. In other news, France, Germany, and Poland
have agreed to upgrade their annual meetings from the ministerial to
the presidential level, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 October.

HAVEL SAYS GERMAN-CZECH FUND SHOULD PAY NAZI VICTIMS. In
his weekly radio address on 12 October, Czech President Vaclav
Havel said that part of the German-Czech Fund should be used to pay
victims of Nazi atrocities, Czech media reported. He suggested that
there are "very complex legal reasons" why those victims should not
be paid directly by the German government.

CZECHS, SLOVAKS AGREE ON DEBT SETTLEMENT. Czech Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus and his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, met in the
Slovak city of Piestany on 10 October and agreed to an exchange of
bank shares as part of a plan to settle bilateral debts, TASR reported.
A Prague bank holds gold that Slovakia claims, and Slovakia owes
some $7.3 million to the Czech Republic. The two sides will continue
talks on the issue in Prague in December.

MOSCOW TO PAY OFF DEBT TO SLOVAKIA WITH ARMS. Following
meetings with a visiting Slovak delegation on 9-10 October, the
Russian government agreed to supply Slovakia with an S-300 PMU
anti-aircraft system and other military equipment to pay off more of
its $1.7 billion debt to Bratislava, Interfax and TASR reported on 11
October. The two sides also agreed to enter into longer term
arrangements of this type through the year 2003. But Slovak Deputy
Defense Minister Jan Gajdos, who headed the delegation to Moscow,
stressed to TASR that no one should regard those arrangements as
meaning "we are returning to the East." Over the past two years,
Moscow has provided some $560 million in goods to reduce its debt.

HUNGARIAN PREMIER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST NATIONALISM. Gyula
Horn on 10 October told the Council of Europe summit in Strasbourg
that the countries of East Central Europe must "turn their back on
destructive nationalism," Hungarian media reported. Horn stressed
that democracy and welfare go hand in hand and that the latter
cannot be achieved without the former. Meeting with Horn in
Strasbourg on 11 October, Romanian President Emil Constantinescu
said some Hungarian opposition parties at times use rhetoric that
serves to encourage nationalist forces in Romania.

HUNGARIAN ROW OVER SALE OF LAND TO FOREIGNERS. Istvan Szent-
Ivanyi, the chairman of the Free Democrats' parliamentary faction,
has called on Alliance of Young Democrats head Viktor Orban to
apologize for his 9 October statement saying the Young Democrats
have worked out an "emergency scenario" for the situation created
by the decision to hold the referenda on NATO and land sale to
foreign companies. Orban had also argued that such a situation was
not covered by the constitution. Szent-Ivanyi said there is no
constitutional crisis in Hungary and accused Orban of seeking to
cause "chaos and anarchy."

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS REFUSE TO SACK MEDIA CHIEFS. Republika Srpska
Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic said in Pale on 11 October that his
government rejects the "unreasonable demands" of the international
community to fire the directors of hard-line Pale Radio and
Television. Klickovic added that he hopes a negotiated solution can be
found soon. Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia, says that Pale's media chiefs must go as a
precondition for the return to Pale's control of four television
transmitters under NATO control since 1 October. NATO took over the
transmitters after Pale TV ignored repeated warnings not to air
programs that depict the peacekeepers as an occupation force or the
Hague-based war crimes tribunal as anti-Serbian.

GERMANY WANTS NEW BOSNIA PEACEKEEPING FORCE. Defense
Minister Volker Ruhe told the latest issue of "Der Spiegel" that SFOR
should be replaced by a smaller deterrence force, or DFOR, when
SFOR's mandate runs out in June 1998. Ruhe added that "we have to
be sure that there's no falling back to war and massacres," which, he
continued, might occur if there were no peacekeepers present. Ruhe
also said it is just a matter of time before Radovan Karadzic and
other indicted war criminals are caught. Meanwhile, German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel told "Bild am Sonntag" on 12 October that
peacekeepers remaining in Bosnia after June 1998 must have a clear
mandate to catch war criminals.

EXPLOSION AT ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN SARAJEVO. Bosnian
police on 12 October said that a land mine caused an explosion the
previous day at a Catholic school in the capital. The school and
nearby flats were damaged, but there were no casualties. The police
added that the device was most likely set by the same professionals
who planted mines in other incidents earlier this year, including
during Pope John Paul II's visit in May. Muslim, Croatian, and
Sarajevo-based Serbian political leaders condemned the latest
bombing, "Oslobodjenje" reported. Observers said that Muslim
extremists most likely planted the mine.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE GIVES CROATIA MIXED REVIEW.
Representatives of the Council of Europe told President Franjo
Tudjman in Zagreb on 12 October that the council is pleased with
developments in eastern Slavonia, which Croatia is reintegrating
peacefully after six years of Serbian control. The representatives
added, however, that the council is concerned about the extent of
Croatian government control over radio and television throughout
the country, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb. On 11
October, Tudjman told the council's summit meeting in Strasbourg
that Croatia has an excellent record of implementing the Dayton
agreements and that it is "the only [Dayton signatory] that is actively
cooperating with the Hague tribunal." He blasted what he called bias
against his country in some unnamed foreign media. Tudjman
stressed that Croatia has played an important role for centuries in
Central European history and culture.

CROATIA RECEIVES $80 MILLION LOAN TRANCHE FROM IMF. IMF
representatives said in Washington on 10 October that the fund has
released $80 million of a $486 million three-year loan. The move
came after the U.S. expressed approval of Croatia's recent decision to
send 10 indicted war criminals to The Hague. Meanwhile in Zagreb,
"Vecernji list," which is close to the government, reported on 13
October that the U.S. has proposed that Croatia lease part of the
Adriatic port of Ploce to Bosnia for 30 years. Ploce is Bosnia's natural
outlet to the sea, but Sarajevo and Zagreb have been unable to reach
an agreement on the port's future despite years of talks. Many Croats
fear that any agreement on shared use of the port might lead to
Bosnia's annexation of Ploce.

KOSOVO TALKS COLLAPSE. Talks in Pristina and Belgrade between
ethnic Albanian leaders and Serbian officials ended in deadlock on
10 October. The negotiators sought to end the year-long impasse in
implementing an agreement on restoring Albanian-language
education in Kosovo. Observers in Pristina said that ethnic Albanian
students are now likely to go ahead with a protest planned for 15
October to demand use of Pristina University buildings for classes
run independently of the Serbian authorities. Serbian police broke up
a student protest in Pristina on 1 October, in which at least 50
students were injured.

GRENADE FOUND NEAR TIRANA CITY HALL. Police on 10 October
removed a grenade that a passer-by had discovered outside Tirana's
municipal building, Albanian Television reported. It is unclear who
planted the grenade, but the Democratic Party issued a statement
calling the incident "an attempt to murder" Mayor Albert Brojka, who
is a member of the Democrats. The party also accused the Socialist-
led government of planning to "physically eliminate [its] political
opponents." In other news, "Koha Jone" on 12 October quoted Tirana
police chief Pashk Tusha as saying police have evidence that Leka
Zogu, the claimant to the throne, planned to stage a coup following a
mass rally in early July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 July 1997). Tusha
added that Zogu had set up a shadow cabinet and had planned to
march to the presidential palace to proclaim a monarchy.

ITALY BACKS ALBANIA DESPITE GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Italian Prime
Minister Romano Prodi told his Albanian counterpart, Fatos Nano, by
telephone on 11 October that Rome will continue its support for
Tirana despite Italy's current government crisis. Prodi resigned on 9
October but is staying on in a caretaker capacity. Rome is expected to
host a meeting of European foreign ministers later in October to
discuss the situation in Albania.

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT, UNIONS AGREE ON NO STRIKES. Party
leaders of the ruling coalition and representatives of the country's
two largest trade unions agreed in Tirana on 11 October to ban
strikes until January 1998. The unions had threatened to strike
following the recent decision to increase value-added tax to 20
percent (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September 1997). To offset the
hike, the government promised to raise monthly welfare payments
to $4.20 and to increase pensions. The World Bank will support the
move with $25 million. One union leader also stated that the
government will create 55,000 new jobs in public works.

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER STRESSES INTENTION TO JOIN NATO.
Addressing the North Atlantic Assembly in Bucharest on 10 October,
Defense Minister Victor Babiuc said his country is "not even
considering the possibility" that it will not be admitted to NATO
either before or by 1999, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. U.S.
Senator William Roth, the chairman of the assembly's permanent
commission, told President Emil Constantinescu on 12 October that
the assembly "will not rest" until Romania is admitted into an
expanded NATO, Radio Bucharest reported. In other news, Vasile
Stan, a deputy from the opposition Party of Social Democracy in
Romania, told a press conference in Bucharest on 10 October that he
had been an informer for the Securitate. He said he had been forced
to inform but had "never incriminated anybody."

ROMANIAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS DEMONSTRATE. Some 10,000
high school students demonstrated in Bucharest on 10 October
against new regulations on matriculation examinations. Similar
demonstrations were reported in many other towns to protest the
decision to have exams in seven subjects--instead of four, as was the
case until now. Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea told demonstrators in
Arad that the government is examining the possibility of having the
1997 matriculation exams in four subjects only, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. The students are also protesting against the new
regulation providing for all oral examinations to be held on one day.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN STRASBOURG. Addressing the Council of
Europe in Strasbourg on 10 October, Petru Lucinschi asked the
council to help find a solution to the Transdniestrian conflict, Radio
Bucharest and Infotag reported. He expressed the hope that the CIS
summit in Chisinau on 23-24 October will give "new impetus" to the
search for a solution. According to RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau, it is
possible that the summit will endorse a document that the two sides
agreed to in Moscow on 9 October. Reports on the provisions of that
document are contradictory. The private station Romanian Pro-TV
reported on 10 October that the document provides for the "de facto
federalization" of Moldova. According to Infotag, the separatist region
will have its own constitution, state symbols, budget, and broad
economic prerogatives.

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS REFERENDUM PROPOSAL. The
parliament on 10 October voted to reject the referenda proposed by
the Socialist Unity-Edinstvo and the Communist faction on the sale
and purchase of land and on raising the retirement age (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 10 October 1997). Communist leader Vladimir Voronin
accused the legislature of "betraying the interests of the people." He
also rejected allegations that his party had been able to collect the
250,000 signatures in support of the referendum by linking the two
issues.

BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ON FORMER COLLABORATORS.
Bogomil Bonev told a press conference in Sofia on 11 October that
investigations have revealed that 25 high-ranking officials were
former secret police informers. Bonev said names will be made
public within two weeks if the officials do not resign before then,
RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. He added that some of the 25 whose
names appeared on the list have tried to justify their past, claiming
that they had no other choice. Bonev also said that President Petar
Stoyanov and Vice President Todor Kavaldzhiev insisted that they
themselves be screened, although such action is not required by the
law. The investigation showed they had no links with the former
secret services, the interior minister said.

RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO SOFIA AGAIN REJECTS SPY ACCUSATIONS.
At a press conference on 10 October, Leonid Kerestedzhiyants again
rejected allegations that he is involved in attempts to set up a spy
network (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 1997), according to
RFE/RL's Sofia bureau. Responding to media reports on his meetings
with pro-Russian politicians and businessmen, Kerestedzhiyants said
they are just "old friends" with whom he shares an "interest in the
arts." He added that the "anti-Russia campaign" now under way in
Bulgaria is reminiscent of "McCarthyism." Also on 10 October, ITAR-
TASS reported that the Russian State Duma has instructed a number
of its committees to prepare debates on Russian-Bulgarian relations.
The directives were issued at the suggestion of Vladimir Gusev,
chairman of the Committee on Industry, Construction, Transport, and
Energy.

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