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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 157, Part II, 11 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

News from the Armenian Service's Yerevan bureau is posted to
RFE/RL's  Armenia Report each weekday.

RFE/RL ARMENIA REPORT
http://www.rferl.org/bd/ar/index.html
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Headlines, Part II

*BALTIC PRESIDENTS SAY "NO" TO RUSSIA


*POLISH PREMIER OUTLINES PROGRAM, WINS CONFIDENCE VOTE


*BOSNIA'S IZETBEGOVIC REJECTS CROATIAN OFFER


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BALTIC PRESIDENTS SAY "NO" TO MOSCOW... The presidents of the
three Baltic States have formally rejected Russia's offer of security
guarantees in a statement echoing the position already expressed by
the countries' Foreign Ministries. "Unilateral security guarantees do
not correspond to the spirit of the new Europe," they declared after
their semi-annual summit in the Lithuanian resort of Palanga on 10
November . At the same time, the three leaders welcomed Russia's
intention to improve relations with the Baltics. They also stressed
that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are equally ready to begin EU
membership talks in 1998. JC

..WHILE BALTIC PREMIERS PRESS FOR EU ENTRY IN HELSINKI.
Meanwhile in the Finnish capital, the Latvian and Lithuanian
premiers were lobbing hard in a bid to persuade their Nordic
counterparts to support the simultaneous start of EU entry talks with
the Baltics, BNS reported on 10 November. Guntars Krasts stressed
the Latvian position that Baltic unity will be endangered if only
Estonia is admitted to such talks. His Estonian colleague, Mart
Siimann, supported simultaneous negotiations but added that the
Baltics still believe "one is better than none." Finland continues to
support the European Commission's recommendation that only
Estonia begin entry talks, while Sweden and Denmark say they will
propose that Latvia and Lithuania be included in the first wave. JC

BIGGEST DROP TO DATE ON TALLINN STOCK EXCHANGE. The TALSE
index plummeted nearly 20 percent on 10 November, the biggest
drop in its 18-month history, ETA reported. During the turbulence of
the past few weeks, the index has lost more than half of its value.
Analysts say the most recent slump was caused by continued panic
selling among investors. Shares in the Tallinn Pharmaceuticals Plant
fell 35.5 percent within the first hour of trading, following claims in a
local newspaper that the company lied about its ventures in Russia.
Stocks in the banking sector followed the trend, with Hoiupank
suffering the biggest loss (28 percent). JC

GERMAN EXPERT SEES HOPE FOR UKRAINIAN PRIVATIZATION. A
senior analyst at Deutsche Bank Research told RFE/RL on 10
November that despite the apparent impasse between President
Leonid Kuchma and the parliament over privatization, there may still
be some forward movement, even though large-scale privatization is
likely to remain stalled until after the March 1998 elections. Jurgen
Conrad said that Kuchma and lawmakers may reach a compromise
about the pace of privatization either through the president's
sacrificing privatization chief Volodymyr Lanoviy or through a
compromise on some other issue. PG

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LAUNCHES CHARTER-97. Some 100
prominent Belarusian political, cultural, and academic figures have
signed a new manifesto, Charter-97, to promote democracy in their
country, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 10 November.
Modeled on the Czechoslovak Charter-77, issued 20 years ago in
Prague, the new group seeks to unite opposition to President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka and to seek the establishment of democracy
in Belarus. PG

POLISH PREMIER OUTLINES PROGRAM, WINS CONFIDENCE VOTE.
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek outlined his program to the parliament
on 10 November and won a 260 to 173 vote of confidence in his new
government, PAP reported. Buzek said his government will pursue
four major goals: improving living standards, reforming government
structures, increasing national security, and reinforcing moral values
in society. He said that his government is committed to "make up for
time lost" during the previous left-of-center government and to
make sure that 1997 will be "remembered as the year when we
began to repair the country and made a final break with a bad past."
PG

OFFICIALS SAY IRAQ CAN'T USE POLISH PLANE FOR GERM WARFARE.
Officials at the WSK Mielec factory in Poland told PAP on 10
November that reports in the London "Sunday Times" suggesting the
Iraqi government has adapted a Polish crop-dusting plane in order to
engage in germ warfare are implausible. The officials said the plane
is noisy, slow, and easily detected, rendering it unsuitable for that
purpose. PG

CZECH PREMIER SAYS ECONOMY IS GROWING. Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus told a Washington press conference on 10 November that the
Czech Republic's economy is growing, albeit at a slower rate that he
expected. He said that the trade union demonstration against his
government on 8 November reflects disappointment about the
country's economic situation but does not represent a crisis or a
threat to his leadership or his party. Klaus said he expects to lead his
Civic Democratic Party in the next elections, which he said will not
take place before the year 2000. PG

CZECHS MARCH AGAINST RACISM. Many Czech ministers and
parliamentary deputies joined some 5,000 people in a 10 November
protest against the murder of a Sudanese student by a Czech
skinhead, CTK reported. From his hospital bed, President Vaclav
Havel sent a message to the demonstrators deploring what he called
the "government's obvious deficiency in paying insufficient attention
to the problem" of racism in Czech society. PG

SLOVAK PRESS STEPS UP CAMPAIGN AGAINST NEW TAX.
Newspapers in Bratislava on 10 November published a joint protest
against a government plan to increase value-added tax on
publications. The statement said any such tax would restrict freedom
of the press by forcing many papers to close. The newspapers
indicated they will leave part of their front pages blank in the days
leading up to the parliamentary debate on this subject. That debate
is now scheduled to take place within the next few days. PG

SLOVAKIA WANTS HUNGARY TO BUILD SECOND DANUBE DAM.
Slovak Agricultural Minister Peter Baco said in Budapest on 10
November that if Hungary does not build a second dam at
Nagymaros, Slovakia will unable to ensure peak performance of the
Gabcikovo hydropower plant, Hungarian media reported. Following
bilateral talks on the implementation of the Hague International
Court of Justice's ruling on the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros project, Janos
Nemcsok, the head of the Hungarian delegation, rejected the Slovak
demand that Hungary build a second dam. He said Budapest his
country will provide three alternatives to the Slovak proposal within
two weeks. The two sides have six months to agree on how to
implement the Hague court's verdict. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA'S IZETBEGOVIC REJECTS CROATIAN OFFER. Alija Izetbegovic,
the Muslim member of the Bosnian joint presidency, said on 10
November that Croatia's proposals for closer political and economic
ties would compromise Bosnian sovereignty and hence are
unacceptable (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 7 November 1997).
State-run Radio Bosnia added that Sarajevo will draw up a counter
proposal and present it to Zagreb. Muslim leaders earlier suggested
that Croatia's proposals for a customs and monetary union are
problematic. Western diplomats suggested to Reuters that Croatia's
draft is aimed at diverting international and Muslim attention from
stalled talks on Bosnia's access to Croatia's port of Ploce. PM

SFOR TAKES OVER BOSNIAN SERB POLICE HEADQUARTERS.
International peacekeepers took control of a hard-line Bosnian Serb
elite police base in Doboj on 10 November and confiscated weapons.
The peacekeepers declared the unit of paramilitaries and bodyguards
dissolved and said any police officers wanting to keep their jobs
would have to enlist in a new program drawn up by UN police
monitors. Observers suggested that SFOR wanted to publicly
humiliate the hard-liners as the 22-23 November legislative
elections draw near. Meanwhile in Plavsic's stronghold of Banja Luka,
Canadian police officials announced a gift of $70,000 toward training
for pro-Plavsic police. PM

BRUSSELS BLEAK ON BOSNIA. EU foreign ministers meeting in
Brussels on 10 November issued a statement saying progress toward
democracy in Bosnia is "extremely slow," especially in the Republika
Srpska. The text noted an improvement in Croatia's cooperation with
the Hague-based war crimes tribunal but slammed Zagreb's and
Belgrade's poor records in facilitating the return of refugees. The
ministers charged that Yugoslavia is not living up to its obligations
under the Dayton agreement to promote human and minority rights,
particularly in Kosovo. The document added that of the countries
under review, Macedonia alone has made progress in protecting
human and minority rights. PM

MUSLIMS KILLED NEAR FRONT LINE. A UN police spokesman said in
Sarajevo on 10 November that two Muslim males were killed and
two more assaulted the previous day near the former front line at
Jelovo Brdo in the Tuzla area. Police want to question Milan
Becarevic, a Serbian former policeman, in conjunction with the
incidents. PM

TURKEY HELPS RESTORE MOSTAR BRIDGE. Turkish and Bosnian
officials signed an agreement in Ankara on 10 November whereby
Turkey pledged $1 million to help reconstruct the Mostar bridge over
the Neretva River. Hungarian engineers have begun rebuilding the
four-centuries-old structure and have found large pieces of the
original bridge still intact on the riverbed. The UNESCO-registered
bridge was a symbol of the multiethnic character of Bosnia-
Herzegovina until Croatian gunners destroyed it at the end of 1993.
PM

SLAVONIAN SERBS BOYCOTT SCHOOLS. Serbian parents prevented
their children from attending 18 out of 22 primary and secondary
schools in eastern Slavonia on 10 November to protest the
introduction of Croatian textbooks as part of the gradual
reintegration of the Serb-held enclave into Croatia. Croatian
Education Minister Liljana Vokic met with Serbian representatives
and agreed that teachers could use the Cyrillic alphabet and the
Serbian variant of Serbo-Croatian in their teaching. She also pledged
to respect a previously agreed five-year moratorium on the teaching
of the history of the former Yugoslavia since 1990, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Vukovar. PM

TUDJMAN'S PUTS OFF ISRAELI VISIT. President Franjo Tudjman's
planned trip to Israel in December has been postponed indefinitely,
the Vienna daily "Die Presse" reported, citing Zvi Rav-Ner of the
Israeli Foreign Ministry. Two Israeli legislators criticized the planned
visit, saying that some of Tudjman's writings and statements are
anti-Semitic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 November 1997). Both Zagreb
and Jerusalem agreed to the postponement after the debate in the
legislature. Tudjman has put off a trip to Israel on two previous
occasions. PM

CROATIAN REGIME CRITIC SACKED AS PROFESSOR. Slobodan
Prosperov Novak, the president of Croatia's PEN Club and a professor
at Zagreb University, has lost his teaching job, Croatian dailies
reported on 10 November. Novak charged that the authorities sacked
him because of his outspoken criticism of President Tudjman. Dean
Stipe Botica, for his part, said Novak was let go because he neglected
his teaching obligations during his frequent speaking tours abroad.
PM

BELGRADE WILL NOT PAY REPARATIONS. Kosta Mihajlovic,
Belgrade's representative at the talks between former Yugoslav
republics on dividing the former federation's assets and debts, said
on 10 November that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia did not
wage war on Croatia or Bosnia and will not pay reparations to them.
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith suggested that
Zagreb and Sarajevo sue Belgrade for billions of dollars in damages
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 November 1997). PM

KOSOVAR LEADER WANTS "ACTIVE RESISTANCE." Parliamentary
Party leader Adem Demaci said in Pristina on 10 November that
Kosovar policies of passive resistance have failed. He called for the
formation of a joint organization of all Kosovar political parties and
for the launching of a new strategy of "active citizens' resistance," an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Pristina. He did not elaborate,
however (see also "End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997).
PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RULING COALITION.
Representatives of the ruling coalition on 10 November told Emil
Constantinescu that they support a rapid reshuffle of the government
and streamlining the cabinet in order to accelerate the privatization
process, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic leader Ion Diaconescu said his party will co-opt
Premier Victor Ciorbea in its leadership body in order to strengthen
his authority. Former President Ion Iliescu handed to Constantinescu
an open letter accusing the government of "non-democratic behavior"
and "arrogance," saying his party may refuse to participate in such
consultations in the future if there is no change of behavior.
Constantinescu also met with the leaders of the Greater Romania
Party and the Party of Romanian National Unity. MS

FORMER ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON TRIAL. The trial of
General Victor Stanculescu and seven other defendants accused of
fraud began in a Bucharest military court on 10 November, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Stanculescu is accused of having
embezzled $8 million in connection with the import of high-tech
telephones for the military in 1990, at which time he was defense
minister (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April 1997). The defense asked
the court to stop the proceedings because the crimes attributed to
Stanculescu were committed before the current constitution was
passed in 1991. MS

INFLATION SOARS IN ROMANIA. The National Statistics Commission
on 10 November said inflation in October reached 6.5 percent, nearly
double the rate registered the previous month (3.3 percent). The
annual inflation rate in October was 169.2 percent, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. MS

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Moldovan
Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc and Transdniester separatist leader Igor
Smirnov met in Chisinau on 10 November to sign an agreement "on
the organizational principles of social and economic cooperation,"
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Experts from the two sides will
devise joint "mechanisms, forms, and methods" for implementing
cooperation in those areas, a statement released by the Moldovan
cabinet said. Smirnov said it is "too bad" the two sides cannot agree
so easily on political matters, where, he said, differences "remain
significant." A spokesman for Smirnov told BASA-press that Tiraspol
will "discuss political issues with President Lucinschi and economic
problems with Premier Ciubuc." MS

COURT RULES MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT'S MANDATE ENDS IN
FEBRUARY. The Constitutional Court on 10 November ruled that the
legislature's mandate ends on 27 February 1998. The ruling came
following a request by deputy Vladimir Slonari for clarification of
Article 16 of the basic law, which stipulates elections must be held
within three months of the expiration of the parliament's mandate.
Some deputies interpreted the article to mean that the legislature's
mandate runs out on 29 March, four years after the present
parliament's first session, rather than 27 February, four years after
the elections. In other news, the Agrarian Democratic Party has
expelled 15 deputies who joined the pro-presidential Movement for
a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova, Infotag reported. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON ORGANIZED CRIME. Petar Stoyanov said
in a televised interview on 10 November Bulgaria's number one
problem is organized crime, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia
reported. Stoyanov called on Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev and
Prosecutor General Ivan Tatartchev to put aside personal differences
and unite in crime fighting. Bonev argues that corruption is
widespread among top prosecutors and judges, while Tatartchev
maintains Bonev has launched a populist, unjustified campaign
against prosecutors and judges. MS

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               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
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