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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 154, Part II, 6 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 GOVERNMENT STANDS FIRM ON PRIVATIZATION


*NANO DENIES SELLING OUT KOSOVARS


*CROATIA UNVEILS PLAN FOR IMPROVING BOSNIAN LINKS

End Note
THE BALKAN ARC OF INSTABILITY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT STANDS FIRM ON PRIVATIZATION.
Volodymyr Lanoviy, the acting head of the Ukrainian State Property
Fund, told a Kyiv press conference on 5 November that the
government does not consider the parliament's decision suspending
privatization to be law, Ukrainian media reported. "We will never
change our privatization plans," he said, "and we have all the laws
needed for that in place." In an indication that President Leonid
Kuchma fully backs Lanoviy, the president's spokesman told
reporters that Kuchma will quickly asks the parliament to confirm
Lanoviy in his current position. PG

ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN SCHOOLS TO GET "STATE-LANGUAGE TEACHERS."
By a vote of 44 to zero with no abstentions, the parliament has
approved an amendment to the education law whereby "state-
language teachers" will be introduced into schools in which Russian is
the language of instruction, BNS and ETA reported on 4 November.
The stated aim of the amendment is to improve Estonian-language
instruction in those schools and thereby facilitate the transition to
secondary and higher education in Estonian. An Education Ministry
legal adviser said the present level of Estonian-language instruction
in Russian-language schools is insufficient to ensure that the
transition is made. State-language teachers must have a degree in
Estonian and a minimum of three years' experience in teaching non-
Estonians. JC

LATVIA RELEASES FORMER COMMUNIST PARTY CHIEF. Alfred
Rubiks, the former leader of the Latvian Communist Party, was
released from prison on 5 November. Rubiks, aged 62, was serving
an eight-year sentence for supporting the January 1991 Soviet
crackdown on the Latvian drive for independence and for having
backed the failed coup in Moscow some eight months later. An
Interior Ministry spokesman said Rubiks was released because he
had served three-quarters of his sentence and his behavior had been
good. JC

POLISH PRESIDENT OPTIMISTIC ON NATO, EU. President Aleksander
Kwasniewski told the American Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw on
5 November that he expects Poland to be a full member of NATO "at
the beginning of 1999" and to join the EU "early in the next
millennium, Polish media reported. Kwasniewski also said that the
new government will do everything possible to meet those goals. PG

POLISH, GERMAN NAVIES STAGE EXERCISES. German and Polish
naval vessels began a joint mine-sweeping exercise in the Baltic Sea
on 5 November, the Polish media reported. The exercise is to
conclude on 6 November. PG

CZECH REPUBLIC SENDS LETTER OF INTENT TO NATO. The Czech
government on 5 November sent a letter of its intent to join the
Western alliance and make the required financial contribution, CTK
reported. That is the final step in the application process. Meanwhile,
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus has announced he will visit the U.S.
from 10-15 November to generate additional support for Prague's
application. PG

MORE DETAILS ON RUSSIAN REPAYMENT DEBT TO HUNGARY. Visiting
Hungarian Industry, Trade, and Tourism Minister Szabolcs Fazakas
said in Moscow on 5 November that Russia has agreed to store on its
territory for 20 years some 3,500 spent fuel rods from Hungary's
Paks nuclear power plant in partial repayment of Moscow's
outstanding debt, Hungarian media reported. Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Bulgak said large-scale plans for the
transportation of Russian gas via Hungary and Austria to Italy have
been completed. Russia intends to participate in the joint production
of Hungarian Ikarus buses as well as in a tender to develop
Hungary's electricity system, he added. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NANO DENIES SELLING OUT KOSOVARS. Albanian Prime Minister
Fatos Nano said in Tirana on 5 November that he did not attempt to
speak in the name of the Kosovars during his meetings with Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic at the Crete Balkan summit. Nano
added that he urged Milosevic to enter into a dialogue with Kosovar
leader Ibrahim Rugova, BETA news agency reported. Meanwhile in
Pristina, spokesmen for Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo
stressed that only the "legitimate representatives of the Kosovo
Albanians" have the right to discuss Kosovar affairs with Milosevic
(see also "End Note" below). PM

GRENADE ATTACK IN KOSOVO. Unknown persons threw two grenades
at the town hall in Podujevo on 5 November. No one was injured in
the attack. A meeting of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia was
taking place in the building at the time. No one claimed responsibility
for the attack, but the clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) has
frequently attacked symbols of Serbian rule in the mainly ethnic
Albanian province. Some 20 alleged UCK members are currently on
trial in Pristina (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 November 1997). PM

MACEDONIA'S GLIGOROV SAYS GREEK TIES IMPROVING. President
Kiro Gligorov said in Skopje on 5 November that at the Crete summit,
he and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis made more progress in
improving relations than Gligorov had expected. The Macedonian
leader called Simitis a "realistic and modern politician." But Gligorov
added that Athens' refusal to recognize his country's name as
Macedonia is still a major source of tension that affects the whole
Balkan region. Greece argues that the name Macedonia implies a
territorial claim to the northern Greek province of the same name,
but Skopje denies the charge. Macedonia has already changed its flag
to accommodate the Greeks. PM

ALBRIGHT SAYS U.S. LIKELY TO KEEP FORCE IN BOSNIA. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright said in Washington on 5 November that a
"consensus is developing that there will be or should be some form of
U.S. military presence" in Bosnia after SFOR's mandate runs out in
June 1998. This is the most explicit statement to date from a top
government official that Washington is moving toward a new
military commitment to Bosnia. Other NATO states have said they
will not remain in Bosnia without the U.S. Elsewhere in Washington, a
White House spokesman was more cautious than Albright, saying
that a consensus still needs to be built. President Bill Clinton opened
talks with congressional leaders on a variety of key foreign policy
issues on 4 November. PM

KLEIN SAYS TROOPS MUST STAY IN BOSNIA. U.S. General Jacques
Klein, the international community's second most important
representative in Bosnia, said in Strasbourg on 5 November that an
international peacekeeping force must remain in Bosnia for at least
two to three more years. "This country is like a patient getting a
transfusion. If we take away the medical assistance, the patient will
die," Klein argued. He also blasted the leaders of the three main
ethnic groups in Bosnia for failing to agree on creating joint
institutions and state symbols. Meanwhile in Brussels, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported that the EU will call for expanding the
powers of Carlos Westendorp, Klein's boss, if the three sides remain
deadlocked. PM

CROATIA UNVEILS PLAN FOR IMPROVING BOSNIAN LINKS. President
Franjo Tudjman's office said in a statement on 5 November that
Croatia has submitted to Sarajevo its proposals for improving links to
the mainly Croatian and Muslim Bosnian federation. The plan calls
for a common market, a monetary and customs union, military and
security cooperation, a joint command in time of war, and combined
efforts against terrorism. The U.S.-sponsored Croatian-Muslim peace
agreement of 1994 commits Zagreb and Sarajevo to seek close links.
PM

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS DEMAND INDEPENDENT TV. A group of 20
prominent radio and television journalists said in a statement in
Zagreb on 5 November that the state should end its control over
Croatian Radio and Television (HRT). The journalists added that HRT
should become an independent public corporation along the lines of
similar institutions in many European countries. The statement called
for instituting more professional standards and pluralism at HRT as
well as for reducing its size by privatizing at least television's third
channel. PM

SERBIAN CIVILIANS "LIQUIDATED" IN 1991. Josip Manolic,
Tudjman's former top security official, told "Globus" of 5 November
that a Croatian military gang "liquidated" an unspecified number of
ethnic Serb civilians in the Gospic area in 1991. Manolic added that
the killers also attacked some ethnic Croats who had returned to
Croatia from abroad. Tudjman tried to fire the officers responsible
but dropped the matter when the war intensified. Manolic was in
charge of security from1991-1993 but then fell out with Tudjman.
He now heads the small left-of-center Independent Democrats. PM

ALBANIAN PYRAMID INVESTIGATOR INDICTS VEFA CHIEF. Pyramid
investigator Farudin Arapi filed charges against VEFA chief Vehbi
Alimucaj for refusing government officials access to his company
offices (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 November 1997). Alimucaj, for his
part, claims that the three officials never showed up. If found guilty
of denying them access to his offices, Alimucaj may face up to six
months in prison. He told "Gazeta Shqiptare" that he will receive the
officials on condition they "do not touch anything" before the
Constitutional Court has ruled on a law regulating the government's
right to investigate and administer suspected pyramid schemes. FS

ALBANIAN REPUBLICANS WANT TO BECOME "THIRD FORCE."
Republican leader Sabri Godo told a party congress in Tirana on 5
November that the Socialists made political capital out of the unrest
last spring. He added that they have benefitted from voter
resentment against the former Democratic Party government and are
determined to cling to power. Godo also blasted the Democrats and
questioned their professed commitment to seek alliances with other
anti-communist parties, such as the Republicans. He stressed that
conservatives must look for a new rallying point outside the
Democratic Party. Elsewhere in Tirana, Socialist legislators voted
down a controversial code of party discipline (see "RFE/RL Newsline
5 November 1997), "Koha Jone" reported. FS

NATO EXERCISES IN ROMANIA. Six NATO members states and six
participants in the Partnership for Peace program began a joint
peace-keeping exercise in the central Romania town of Sibiu on 5
November. The exercise, called "Cooperative Determination '97," will
end on 14 November. It involves 500 troops from the U.S., France,
Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Portugal, together with troops from
Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Macedonia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN COALITION STILL DIVIDED OVER EDUCATION LAW. A
joint commission set up by the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic (PNTCD) and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania (UDMR) has failed to find a compromise solution to the draft
on amending the education law, Radio Bucharest reported on 6
November. It has postponed making a decision until the following
week. The commission was set up after the Senate's Commission on
Education, chaired by a PNTCD senator, voted to reintroduce
obligatory history and geography instruction in the Romanian
language. If a compromise solution is not found, the UDMR may leave
the coalition. In other news, the Party of Romanian National Unity
has expelled nine Targu Mures branch members who support
Gheorghe Funar. That move comes one day after Funar was expelled
from the party. MS

SALE OF FIGHTER PLANES RAISES $40 MILLION FOR MOLDOVA.
Finance Minister Valeriu Chitan said the sale to the U.S. of 21 MiG-
29C fighters means that the "state budget will gain $40 million,"
Reuters reported on 5 November. He declined to say whether this
was the total price paid for the aircraft. Defense Minister Valeriu
Pasat said the value of the deal was a "state secret." But a high
ranking member of Moldova's parliamentary Committee on Defense
and Security revealed, on condition of anonymity, that half of the
cost of the fighters would be paid in cash and the other half in
military equipment. MS

WORLD BANK SUSPENDS LOANS TO MOLDOVA. James Parks, the
World Bank's permanent representative in Moldova, told Infotag on
5 November that the bank will postpone the second installment of a
$100 million structural adjustment loan until the IMF resumes its
financing. The IMF recently announced it was delaying the release of
a second tranche of a loan to Chisinau (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4
November 1997). Parks said the bank is concerned about the
progress of economic reforms. Noting "substantial progress" in
reforming the energy and agricultural sectors and the pension
system, he said some of the parliament's recent decisions may be
viewed as a "step backward." He singled out the decision to cancel
the debts of state-owned enterprises to the budget and the
recommendation to the cabinet to lower electricity prices. MS

BULGARIAN LAWMAKER QUITS OVER SECRET POLICE TIES. Georgi
Kolev, a deputy from the ruling Union of Democratic Forces, resigned
his parliamentary seat on 5 November, some two weeks after he was
revealed as a former collaborator of the communist secret police.
Kolev was one of the 23 top officials whom Interior Minister Bogomil
Bonev named as communist-era informants. He is the second official
to resign since the list was made public. Simeon Voinov, the deputy
chairman of the government's Post and Telecommunications
Committee, stepped down immediately after Bonev's disclosures,
RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. MS

BULGARIA OPPOSES RUSSIAN PIPELINE PROJECT. The Bulgarian
Ministry of Environment says it is opposed to a Russian project to lay
a pipeline under the Black Sea that would supply gas to Turkey
without passing through Bulgaria. In a statement released on 5
November, the ministry said the project was extremely difficult to
realize and carried ecological risks that far outweigh its advantages,
AFP reported. Gazprom director Rem Vyakhirev said the project
would go ahead. He said the pipeline was a "reserve route" in case of
political instability in Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, or Ukraine. But he
added that Gazprom wants to sign a new agreement with Sofia on
piping gas through Bulgaria. An earlier agreement expired in August.
MS

END NOTE

THE BALKAN ARC OF INSTABILITY

by Patrick Moore

        This year, instability has come to characterize the region
extending in an arc from Albania into western Macedonia and
northward into Kosovo. The summit meeting of Balkan leaders held
on Crete on 3-4 November may have served only to exacerbate an
already tense situation.
        When the Dayton agreement was concluded at the end of 1995,
many observers thought that the worst of the Balkans' problems
were over for the foreseeable future. An uneasy peace did prevail in
Bosnia throughout 1996, but 1997 saw a new period of instability
emerge in the Albanian-speaking region of the western Balkans.
        There were several reasons for that development. First, the
clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) changed its tactics from
launching occasional random attacks against Serbs to making more
frequent and more sophisticated raids against carefully targeted
Serbs, Serbian institutions, and ethnic Albanians whom the UCK
regards as collaborators. The UCK captured headlines, and perhaps
also the imagination of young Kosovars frustrated with the moderate
leadership of Ibrahim Rugova and the failure of his policy of non-
violence to achieve even the most basic of the Kosovars' goals,
namely autonomy.
        Second, law and order collapsed in Albania in the spring
following the demise of a series of pyramid schemes into which a
sizable portion of the population had put its savings and hopes.
Angry citizens, perhaps incited by President Sali Berisha's political
enemies, blamed him and his Democratic Party for their losses. They
returned the Socialist Party--the former Communists--to office with
a more than two-thirds majority in special elections in June.
        The Socialists quickly began to restore order in some major
cities, but gangs continue to hold sway in much of the south. Large
areas of the north, moreover, remain loyal to Berisha, or at least
highly suspicious of the Socialists. Thus, it cannot be said that the
elections brought real peace to Albania.
        Nor can it be said that Albania has reemerged as a factor of
stability in the Balkans, as it appeared to be during much of Berisha's
term in office. Security along Albania's borders collapsed, providing a
golden opportunity for smugglers and armed gangs. Guns stolen from
armories and police stations found their way into Kosovo and into
western Macedonia, where a mainly ethnic Albanian population
uneasily coexists with Macedonia's 70 percent Slavic majority.
        And continued ethnic tensions in Macedonia constituted the
third factor of instability in this region of the Balkans. In the
summer, demonstrations in Gostivar and Tetovo in favor of the
display of the Albanian flag--and a subsequent violent police
crackdown--prompted even the normally non-confrontational
President Kiro Gligorov to accuse the Albanians of wanting to secede.
        The fourth problem was the growing political uncertainty
surrounding Kosovo because of the possible changes in policy by its
neighbors. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was handed two
stiff electoral defeats in the early fall, one in Montenegro and the
other in Serbia. Many observers wondered whether he would try to
regain some of his political standing through some new crackdown in
Kosovo, where his security forces have been carrying out a policy of
repression for at least eight years. Recent press reports in Britain
suggest that he has begun sending elite military forces into the area.
        Across the border, moreover, Albania's new Socialist
government did not quickly set down a clear Balkan policy, which led
to much speculation that Prime Minister Fatos Nano might try to
strike a deal with Milosevic at the Kosovars' expense. Rugova had
publicly supported Berisha, who was a staunch advocate of autonomy
for Kosovo. Many Albanians believed that Nano would seek to settle
this election campaign score with the Kosovar leader.
        Press reports from Crete seemed to bear out such a prediction.
Nano met with Milosevic, despite protests from the Kosovars and
Berisha that Nano should not do so without a Kosovar present. News
agencies reported that Milosevic agreed during the discussions to
grant the Kosovars basic civil rights, in return for which Nano
accepted that the Kosovo question is Serbia's internal affair.
        Should those reports prove true, many Kosovars might
conclude that their only hope is the UCK. Some Kosovars had earlier
begun to argue that the lesson of the Bosnian war and the Dayton
agreement is that oppressed groups must go to war to obtain justice
and the attention of the international community.
        Nor did Crete seem to lead to an easing of the Macedonian
tensions. True, during the fortnight before the talks, the Macedonian
and Albanian defense ministers agreed on measures to increase
border security. And then Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem
visited the two countries in a move to bolster regional stability. But
on Crete, Gligorov and Nano could agree only to disagree. Gligorov
reportedly refused to grant legal status to an Albanian-language
university in Tetovo and added that any Albanians from Macedonia
who want a higher education in their mother tongue should go to
Tirana University.

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