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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 153, Part II, 5 November 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

* UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SUSPENDS PRIVATIZATION

* DID NANO, MILOSEVIC STRIKE DEAL OVER KOSOVO?

* US PURCHASES MOLDOVAN FIGHTER PLANES

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SUSPENDS PRIVATIZATION. The
parliament on 4 November passed a resolution suspending
privatization and demanding that President Leonid Kuchma appoint a
new privatization chief, Interfax reported. The legal impact of that
decision is unclear, but it is another indication that the Ukrainian
legislators include many opponents of reform, against whom Kuchma
has repeatedly warned. In another largely symbolic move, the
parliament refused to approve Kuchma's proposal to rename 7
November as a "Day of Memory and Reconciliation." pg

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES CIS'S PAST ROLE. Kuchma said in
Kharkov on 4 November that the CIS had "helped start building
interstate relations" and allowed a "mostly civilized" divorce of the
former Soviet republics, ITAR-TASS reported. But he discussed its
positive role only in the past tense and suggested that "now almost
all member-states agree" that the organization must be reformed if it
is to have a future.  In other comments, Kuchma said that there will
be no forced "Ukrainization" of the country's ethnic Russians and that
Russia will "long remain a leading partner of Ukraine." pg

BELARUS, TURKEY SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION ACCORD. Belarusian
Defense Minister General Aleksandr Chumakov and Turkish chief of
staff Ismail Hakki Karadayi signed an agreement in Ankara on 4
November to cooperate in military training as well as defense
industries and technology, Belarusian media reported. Minsk sought
to portray the accord as a breakthrough, even though Ankara has
signed numerous such agreements with other countries. pg

WORLD BANK FAULTS BELARUS FOR FAILURE TO REFORM. A World
Bank delegation in Minsk said on 4 November that the Belarusian
authorities have failed to follow up on any of the points the Bank and
Belarus had agreed to in June 1997. Until Minsk does so, the
delegation warned, the Bank will not release any more funds to that
country. pg

SANTER SAYS NO WEDGE INTENDED BETWEEN BALTICS. European
Commission President Jacques Santer said in Tallinn on 4 November
that the commission's recommendation to begin EU entry talks with
Estonia was not intended to drive a wedge between the Baltics, BNS
and ETA reported. Rather, its aim was to "inspire the other Baltic
States to carry out as successful reforms as Estonia's." At their
meetings with Santer, President Lennart Meri and Prime Minister
Mart Siimann both reaffirmed Estonia's support for the early
inclusion of Latvia and Lithuania in membership talks. jc

LATVIA, TOO, SAYS "NO" TO RUSSIAN SECURITY OFFER. As expected,
Latvia has followed Lithuania and Estonia in officially declining
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's offer of security guarantees. The
Foreign Ministry in Riga issued a statement on 4 November that was
almost identical to the one released the previous day by Tallinn (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 4 November 1997),  BNS reported. Meanwhile in
Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov said
that Russia hopes the Baltics' responses to Yeltsin's offer are not their
"final word" on the subject, while the State Duma held a closed
session on relations with the Baltic States, Interfax reported on 4
November. jc

LATVIAN ELECTORAL COMMITTEE HEAD FOUND DEAD. Atis Kramins
was found dead in his apartment on 4 November with a bullet
wound in the head, BNS reported. Police say Kramins took his life
using his own handgun and left a suicide note citing personal
problems. Kramins, 50, was appointed chairman of the nine-member
committee in 1992, according to "Diena" on 5 November. jc

VILNIUS REOPENS PROBE INTO POSSIBLE LINKS WITH ARMS
DEALERS. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry has reopened an
investigation into possible links between ministry officials and two
Lithuanian emigres arrested in the U.S. on charges of illegal arms
dealing, BNS reported. The ministry closed the investigation in the
summer, saying allegations of such links could not be substantiated.
But it has decided to reopen the probe after receiving new
documents  from the U.S. The Lithuanian emigres, who were arrested
in Miami in June for seeking to sell weapons to U.S. agents disguised
as Colombian drug dealers, claim that Lithuanian defense officials
were involved in the deal. jc

DOCTORS SAY CZECH PRESIDENT CAN RUN AGAIN.  The team of
physicians treating Czech President Vaclav Havel for pneumonia
released a statement on 4 November saying there is "no medical
reason" why Havel could not run for another term in January 1998,
CTK reported. Havel's spokesman also announced that Havel will
leave the hospital briefly in a few days to swear in three new
ministers. Both announcements follow speculation in the media that
Havel would not run again because of his health. pg

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT WON'T PASS NEW LANGUAGE LAW. Foreign
Minister Zdenka Kramlovca told reporters on 4 November that the
Slovak government has decided existing legislation gives sufficient
protection to minority languages and that as a result it will not
recommend a new language law, TASR reported. That decision puts
Slovakia at odds with various European institutions that have
sharply criticized Bratislava's failure to protect the rights of linguistic
minorities. pg

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES HOLDING NATO REFERENDUM.
By a vote of 312 to 26, the parliament on 4 November voted to hold
a binding referendum on NATO accession on 16 November,
Hungarian media reported. The two questions on foreign ownership
of land, which were proposed by the opposition, have been removed
from the ballot. The parliament also approved a draft resolution
proposed by the opposition Democratic People's Party saying the
parliamentary parties uniformly declare their support for Hungary's
NATO membership as the most effective guarantee of the country's
sovereignty. msz

RUSSIA TO PAY OFF HUNGARIAN DEBT THROUGH MILITARY
TECHNOLOGY. An unnamed Russian government source said in
Moscow on 4 November that Russia intends to pay off its $700
million debt to Hungary through military and civil technology,
Hungarian media reported, citing Interfax. msz

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

DID NANO, MILOSEVIC STRIKE DEAL OVER KOSOVO? Diplomats told
Reuters at the Crete Balkan summit on 4 November that Albanian
Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic agreed Milosevic will grant the Kosovo Albanians basic
human rights but not autonomy (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 and 4
November 1997). Observers note that if the report is true, it means
that Tirana's new Socialist-led government has effectively washed its
hands of the Kosovo question by accepting that Kosovo is Serbia's
internal affair. The previous Albanian government actively
campaigned internationally for autonomy for Serbia's mainly ethnic
Albanian-inhabited province. pm

KOSOVARS, BERISHA CHARGE NANO WITH SELL-OUT. Adem Demaci,
the head of Kosovo's Parliamentary Party, said in Pristina on 4
November that Nano sold out Kosovo's interests by meeting with
Milosevic and by what he called consigning the Kosovars to
Milosevic's tender mercies. Demaci added that it is particularly
disgraceful for Nano to have met with the Serbian leader at a time of
increased repression in Kosovo, BETA news agency reported. In
Tirana, former Albanian President Sali Berisha said  the summit
marked the culmination of Greek efforts to make Milosevic
internationally respectable. Berisha added that Nano had no business
talking to Milosevic without the approval of the Kosovar leadership.
pm

MACEDONIA INVITES ALBANIAN STUDENTS TO GO... At a meeting on
Crete on 4 November, Nano failed to convince Macedonian President
Kiro Gligorov to give legal status to the banned Albanian-language
university in Tetovo (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 November 1997).
Gligorov said Macedonia's ethnic Albanian students should go to
Tirana University if they want a higher education in their mother
tongue. Macedonian law provides for only basic schooling and a
teacher-training college in the Albanian language. Police have
repeatedly broken up attempts by faculty and students at the illegal
university to hold classes. Just over 20 percent of Macedonia's
population is ethnic Albanian. pm

...BUT WANTS PEACEKEEPERS TO STAY. Foreign Minister Blagoje
Handziski wrote UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan from Skopje on 4
November that UN peacekeepers should stay on in Macedonia after
their mandate runs out on 1 December. Handziski argued that
instability in Kosovo makes a continued UN presence in Macedonia
imperative. Some 1,000 peacekeepers are stationed in Macedonia.
The operation is the first in UN history aimed at preventing the
spread of a conflict rather than at separating hostile forces. pm

BOSNIAN SERBS WARNED OVER BRCKO. Carlos Westendorp, the
international community's chief representative in Bosnia, has told
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian representative on the Bosnian joint
presidency,  that the Bosnian Serbs will be committing "political
suicide" if they continue to prevent a multi-ethnic administration
from taking office in the strategic town. The two men met in Pale on
4 November. Muslim and Croatian refugees elected 26 out of 56
members of the town council in the local elections in September.
Elsewhere in Bosnia, 34 out of 136 municipal councils took office.
International election officials expect 80 more to do so in the course
of the week. pm

LOYALIST SAYS KARADZIC STILL IN CHARGE. Aleksa Buha, who
replaced Radovan Karadzic as head of the Serbian Democratic Party
last year, told Banja Luka's "Reporter" of 4 November that Karadzic is
still in control in Pale. Buha argued that Karadzic's "work and
personality...cannot be annulled by any decree.... The influence [he
has] is therefore still indisputable." The 1995 Dayton agreement and
a 1996 pact between the international community and the Bosnian
Serbs require Karadzic to leave politics. pm

CROATIAN INDEPENDENT RADIO GETS LICENSE. The Croatian
authorities on 4 November granted Zagreb's Radio 101 a five-year
license. Government officials had argued that the permit was held up
by disputes over claims to the ownership of the station, but Radio
101 spokesmen said that the independent broadcaster was a victim
of political harassment, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Zagreb. Some 100,000 people turned out to demonstrate in support
of the station's right to a license in November 1996. pm

YUGOSLAV UNIONS WARN OF HIGH INFLATION. Spokesmen for the
League of Independent Unions of Yugoslavia said in Belgrade on 4
November that government policies could prompt a return of hyper-
inflation. The unions noted that the authorities have printed large
quantities of money in an election year. "Nasa Borba" on 5 November
wrote that the rate of exchange on the black market is now more
than 4.5 dinars to the German mark. pm

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT MOVES AGAINST PYRAMID. VEFA
investment company owner Vehbi Alimucaj failed to show up for
talks in Tirana on 4 November with  Finance Minister Arben Malaj,
Justice Minister Thimio Kondi, and pyramid investigator Farudin
Arapi, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. Arapi said after the meeting that
the government will begin bankruptcy proceedings against VEFA and
force the company to grant government officials access to its offices
immediately.  For months, Alimucaj has refused government
administrators access to his records  and has delayed formal
investigations by challenging a pyramid-scheme transparency law in
court (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 September 1997). A constitutional
court decision on the transparency law is still pending. fs

ALBANIAN SOCIALIST DEPUTIES FIGHT PARTY DISCIPLINE. Several
Socialist Party legislators are challenging a proposed code of conduct
for their parliamentary group, "Koha Jone" reported on 5 November.
The code provides for penalties against individual deputies who vote
against the recommendation of the Socialist leadership on any given
issue.  An unnamed Socialist deputy charged the  leadership with
trying to introduce a "dictatorship like in the times of [communist
dictator] Enver Hoxha." The rebel deputies stress that the proposed
code threatens democracy and pluralism in the parliament because
the Socialists hold more than two-thirds of the parliamentary seats.
Enforcing the code would lead to large, uniform blocs on every vote,
they argue. fs

U.S. PURCHASES MOLDOVAN FIGHTER PLANES. U.S. Defense Secretary
William Cohen told journalists that the US has purchased 21 Russian-
built MiG-29C jets from Moldova in order to keep them out of the
hands of "rogue nations." Cohen noted that in October, Iran had tried
to purchase the jets, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
He said the purchase was made within the framework of the
Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement, signed with Moldova in
June,  RFE/RL correspondents in Washington reported. Cohen said
Russia was informed in advance of the purchase. "The New York
Times" said on 5 November that the costs of the deal are secret but
noted that the U.S. has agreed to give Moldova, in addition to a cash
payment, surplus military equipment such as trucks and food and
relief supplies. ms

NEW ELECTORAL ALLIANCE IN MOLDOVA. The National Peasant
Party, the Liberal Party, and the National Liberal Party have set up a
new electoral alliance, Infotag reported on 4 November. They said
the alliance, called the Peasant-Liberal Bloc, will be open to other
right-wing parties. In other news, Infotag reported on 4 November
that 80 percent of the country's population lives below the poverty
level.  The news agency cited figures released at  a recent conference
on living standards. ms

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT TO BE RESHUFFLED IN NOVEMBER. Meeting
on 4 November, the leaders of the ruling coalition and President Emil
Constantinescu agreed that the reorganization of the executive must
take place this month. They also agreed that the reshuffle will be
"extensive" and will affect mainly the economic ministries, Mediafax
reported on 5 November. The agency said a new Ministry of
Privatization will be set up, and it quoted Senate Chairman Petre
Roman as saying the size of the government may be reduced. ms

CLUJ MAYOR EXPELLED FROM PARTY. The Standing Bureau of the
Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) on 4 November expelled
Gheorghe Funar from the party. Funar, who was party chairman until
1996, had ignored the bureau's warning two weeks earlier to
withdraw law suits against other party members, the prefect of Cluj,
and several journalists, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The
bureau had cited the negative impact of that legal action on the
party's image. Funar responded that the bureau's decision
contravenes the party's statutes, adding that he does not recognize
the PUNR's "treacherous leadership." ms

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS LAUNCHED AGAINST ROMANIAN GENERALS.
The Military Prosecutors' Office in Timisoara has begun legal
proceedings against Generals Victor Stanculescu, Mihai Chitac (both
former members of the government set up after dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu's ouster), and Stefan Guse, who was chief of the general
staff during the 1989 uprising and who subsequently died (when?).
All three were sent by Ceausescu to Timisoara and are suspected of
overseeing the attempt to put down the uprising. They are to be
charged with complicity in and instigation to murder. Also charged is
Ceausescu's last prosecutor-general, Gheorghe Diaconescu. A military
investigation commission set up in 1990 concluded that charges must
be brought against Stanculescu and Chitac. The investigation was
nonetheless halted, Romanian media reported on 5 November. ms

BULGARIA TO RESTORE CITIZENSHIP OF EMIGRES. In a bid to
encourage investments, Sofia intends to restore the citizenship of
those who fled the country after the communist takeover. Justice
Minister Vassil Gotsev on 4 November said the move will be
extended to the descendants of those who left Bulgaria, including
non-ethnic Bulgarians. Israeli Ambassador to Sofia David Levy said
he believes the decision will be welcome in his country, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. ms




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