The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 168, Part II, 26 November 1997



Note to Readers: "RFE/RL Newsline" will not appear on Thursday, 27
November (a public holiday in the U.S.) or on Friday, 28 November.

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

EUROPE: Has The West Embraced The East? -- a five-part series about
Europe's multilateral organizations and whether and how they've
aided the integration of Central and Eastern Europe with the West --
is online at the RFE/RL Web site.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/multilateral/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS MOUNT

* WESTENDORP WARNS OF NEW WAR

* OSCE CRITICIZES BOSNIAN SERB VOTE

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS MOUNT. President Kuchma said on
25 November that he is extremely worried about the stability of the
country's currency, the hryvna, Interfax reported. In order to cope
with Ukraine's economic problems, Kuchma has done a turnabout and
now backs Russian participation in the operation of Ukrainian oil
refineries, many of which have been working at significantly reduced
capacity. And in another indication that Ukraine faces difficulties,
ITAR-TASS reported on 25 November that 24 Ukrainian ships are
now being held in ports around the world owing to non-payment of
various fees. PG

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT. In a
sharply worded letter, President Leonid Kuchma told the Crimean
parliament that some of its recent actions--including a measure
granting the Russian language primacy on the peninsula--were
incorrect and "intentionally disruptive," Ukrainian media reported on
25 November. Kuchma urged the legislators to reverse those
decisions themselves lest they be overturned by Kyiv. PG

WARSAW MARCHERS PROTEST BELARUSIAN NEWSPAPER CLOSURE.
A small group of demonstrators gathered in front of the Belarusian
embassy in the Polish capital on 25 November to denounce
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decision to close the
"Svaboda" newspaper, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported. The
protest was organized by the Belarusian Popular Front, Solidarity,
and other groups. In a related development, editors from five East
European countries issued a joint statement denouncing
Lukashenka's decision and arguing that now virtually "anything is
possible" in Belarus, including a return to totalitarianism. PG

POLISH COURT REVISITS JARUZELSKI CASE. A court in Gdansk on 24
November asked doctors to determine whether former Polish leader
General Wojciech Jaruzelski, 74, and four of his associates are well
enough to stand trial, PAP reported. The five are charged with
organizing a bloody crackdown on a strike in 1970. PG

RUSSIA'S SERGEEV SAYS BALTICS NEED NOT FEAR MOSCOW. Russian
Defense Minister Igor Sergeev has reassured the Baltic States they
have nothing to fear from Russia even if they have rejected
President Boris Yeltsin's offer of security guarantees, BNS reported
on 25 November. Speaking upon his arrival in Norway, where he was
scheduled to meet with his Nordic counterparts, Sergeev said "Russia
will never resort to force in solving problems with the Baltic States."
He added that he cannot understand the Baltics' "lingering fear" of
Russia, given that "the Russia of the present is not the same as the
Russia of the past." Meanwhile in neighboring Sweden, Latvian
President Guntis Ulmanis told the Swedish Foreign Policy Institute
that Riga wants to see Russia involved in the "political development"
of Europe, according to BNS. JC

U.S.-BALTIC CHARTER TO BE SIGNED MID-JANUARY. Estonian
Ambassador to the U.S. Kalev Stoicescu told VOA on 25 November
that the U.S. and Baltic presidents will meet in Washington on 16
January to sign a charter setting down principles and values
recognized by the four countries. The signing of the document,
originally planned for December, was postponed after tensions arose
between the U.S. and Iraq over UN weapons inspections. The charter
is to be non-binding and will contain no security guarantees. JC

WARS CRIMES SUSPECT DIES IN LITHUANIA. Antanas Mineikis, long
suspected of war crimes during Lithuania's occupation by Nazi
Germany, has died aged 80 in a Lithuanian retirement home, BNS
reported on 25 November, citing "Respublika." Mineikis had recently
suffered a stroke. In 1992, he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and
deported to Lithuania for concealing his activities in a Nazi-led
execution squad. Lithuanian authorities launched an investigation
into his past but later announced they were unable to gather enough
evidence to indict him. JC

HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST DEPUTY URGED TO RESIGN. A screening panel
has urged Socialist parliamentary deputy Matyas Szuros to resign
after it found he had access to secret service data during the
communist era, Hungarian media reported on 26 November. The
judges' ruling says that as a member of the Secretariat of the
Socialist Workers Party's Central Committee, parliamentary speaker,
and acting Hungarian president in 1989, Szuros received reports on
internal security. According to the screening law, if he refuses to
resign within 30 days, details of his past will be made public. In his
capacity as then speaker of the parliament, Szuros had proclaimed
the Republic of Hungary on 23 October 1989. MSZ

HUNGARIAN PREMIER ON SITUATION OF ROMA. Addressing a
conference on the situation of Hungary's Romani population, Gyula
Horn said the country is "still far from seeing the position of Roma
change substantially," Hungarian media reported on 26 November.
Horn said it is unacceptable that social benefits should be the sole
source of income for a family, and he called on Gypsies to exclude
from their ranks those who want to live by crime. Labor Minister
Peter Kiss asserted that affirmative action is needed to provide jobs
for Roma. Similarly, Florian Farkas, the chairman of the National
Romani Government, said the inequality between the majority
population and the Romani minority can be done away with only if
additional funds are allocated for Roma. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WESTENDORP WARNS OF NEW WAR. Carlos Westendorp, the
international community's chief representative in Bosnia-
Herzegovina, said in London on 25 November that war could return
to the former Yugoslav republic if the peacekeepers' mandate is not
extended beyond the June 1998 expiration date. Westendorp stated
that "if [SFOR] leaves now, I am sure war, the killings, and ethnic
cleansing will come back. It will take at least two to three more years
before we no longer need the troops." PM

OSCE CRITICIZES BOSNIAN SERB VOTE. Niels Helveg Petersen, the
chairman of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe,
which supervised the 22-23 November Bosnian Serb parliamentary
elections, said in Copenhagen on 25 November that the vote "fell far
short of normal democratic standards." He added that "the political
level of this vote was not very high." In Sarajevo, an OSCE spokesman
said no official results will be published until all the votes are
counted, which will be 10 December at the earliest. In Mostar, an
OSCE spokesman denied that the delay in announcing the outcome
will allow the results to be manipulated, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Mostar. PM

EU PLEDGES $7.5 MILLION FOR SARAJEVO BUILDINGS. A spokesman
for the EU said in Sarajevo on 25 November that Brussels has
allocated $7.5 million to rebuild Sarajevo's historical city hall and
other important buildings destroyed or damaged during the Serbian
siege from 1992-1995. Rebuilding the Technical High School and the
Olympic stadium complex will also have priority, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Bosnian capital. PM

MOSTAR CROATS BAN FRIENDSHIP RACE. Croatian authorities in
Mostar on 25 November banned the Muslim-organized Bridges of
Friendship 1997 marathon race from the Croatian half of the divided
city. The Croatian police said that they could not guarantee the safety
of the runners. UN police officials, however, called the Croatian
decision "purely political." They added that the Croats had ample
time to take sufficient security precautions. Meanwhile in nearby
Serb-held Trebinje, a hand grenade exploded under a vehicle
belonging to EU monitors. PM

U.S. DEFENDS SOROS'S WORK IN CROATIA. A State Department
spokesman said on 25 November that the Croatian government was
wrong to take legal measures against George Soros's Open Society
Institute (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 November 1997). The
spokesman added that Washington "remains concerned about the
Croatian government's discussion of draft legal measures and
selective application of existing legal measures, including criminal
prosecutions and taxation policies, to intimidate prominent
opposition journalists and non-governmental organizations. We find
unacceptable the public defamation in Croatia of George Soros and
the Soros Foundation, which we believe is making a valuable
contribution...to free speech and democratization." PM

WAR BLAMED FOR RISE IN CROATIAN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Deputy
Prime Minister Ljerka Mintas-Hodak said in Zagreb on 25 November
that psychological and other problems stemming from the 1991-
1995 war are to blame for the recent growth in domestic violence.
She added that instances of wife-beating have risen by 11 percent so
far in 1997, compared with last year. She noted that many women do
not report violence to the police or are unable to defend their rights
in court because they lack the money to do so. Mintas-Hodak added
that a center for battered women in Zagreb has looked after 850
women since it opened in 1990 but had to turn away another 2,000
for lack of space. PM

YUGOSLAVIA BARS OWN CITIZENS FROM ENTRY. Several Serbian
non-governmental organizations issued a statement on 25 November
criticizing the Yugoslav authorities for holding some 50 Yugoslav
citizens with valid documents at Belgrade airport for nearly one
week and not allowing them to reenter the country. Most of the
detained citizens are ethnic Albanians or Muslims who were
returning from Germany, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Belgrade. Albanians and Muslims returning to Yugoslavia often
report harassment by the police and other authorities. PM

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE WANTS KOSOVO
RECOGNITION. The Albanian parliament's Foreign Relations
Committee has asked the government to recognize the Tirana office
of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo as an embassy, "Shekulli"
reported on 26 November. Committee Chairman Sabri Godo stressed
that "Pristina and Tirana need to find a common position on the
Kosovo question." The opposition and many Kosovars suspect that
Prime Minister Fatos Nano made a deal with Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic at the Kosovars' expense during the recent Balkan
summit on Crete (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997). On 24
November, Albanian opposition leader Sali Berisha charged Kosovar
President Rexhep Meidani with treason after Meidani had called
Milosevic's party "the lesser evil for Kosovo" in the 7 December
Serbian elections. The opposition, for their part, regard Meidani's
remarks as further evidence of a deal between Tirana and Belgrade.
FS

ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS WANT NEWSPAPER BACK. Spokesmen for
the illegal communist Party of Labor of Albania (PPSH) said in
Elbasan on 25 November that they will go to court to regain
ownership of the former party daily "Zeri i Popullit," which the
Socialists now publish, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. The PPSH was
banned after the founding of the Socialist Party in 1991. Some die-
hard communists were jailed under Berisha. The PPSH expects to be
legalized soon and plans to reclaim some of its property. FS

TIRANA STUDENTS END STRIKE. Secondary students in Tirana ended
a strike on 25 November after the authorities agreed to raise the
students' monthly allowance by $11 and to improve standards in
dormitories. It is unclear whether students outside the capital have
accepted the offer (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 November 1997). PM

ROMANIAN SENATE SAYS ROMANIAN LANGUAGE MANDATORY. The
Senate on 25 November agreed to change the education law in order
to make mandatory the study of the Romanian language in all
schools, regardless of the ethnic origins of the pupils, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Bucharest. The legislation specifies that
pupils must study Romanian because it is the official state language.
The new measures also require all pupils to complete eight years of
basic education and to remain in school until age 16. PM

ROMANIA, BULGARIA, TURKEY TO COMBAT PKK. Following his one-
day visit to Bucharest, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel said in
Ankara on 25 November that Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria will
soon sign an agreement to fight organized crime and Kurdish
separatists. The three countries' heads of state reached a basic
agreement on the issue in Varna in early October. PM

BULGARIA TO JOIN NATO IN SECOND ROUND? NATO Assistant
Secretary-General Norman Ray said in Sofia on 25 November after
meeting with Prime Minister Ivan Kostov that Bulgaria will find itself
"in a very strong position" for NATO membership if it continues with
its political and economic reforms. NATO has promised to consider
admitting more new members from Eastern Europe in 1999. Ray
noted that the Bulgarian arms industry is strong in communications,
electronics, small arms, ammunition, and anti-tank and anti-aircraft
missiles. He added, however, that Bulgaria needs to improve its
marketing because its products are little known abroad. PM

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

QUADRILATERAL TALKS IN BAKU. The deputy foreign ministers of
Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Moldova met in Baku on 25
November to discuss economic and security cooperation as well as
participation in such regional projects as the TRASECA transport
corridor, Russian and Azerbaijani agencies reported. Azerbaijani
Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov proposed that the four countries
conclude an agreement on cooperation with NATO comparable to
those Russia and Ukraine have signed with the alliance. He also
argued that strengthening quadrilateral ties should take place at the
same time as the four countries' integration into European structures.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev expressed his satisfaction at
Moldova's recent accession to the informal Azerbaijan-Georgian-
Ukraine grouping, stressing that "our union is not aimed against
anyone." LF

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