The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 175, Part II, 9 December 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


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* EU MINISTERS ADOPT EXPANSION COMPROMISE

* MAJOR BOSNIA CONFERENCE OPENS IN BONN

* KARADZIC PARTY REJECTS BOSNIAN ELECTION
RESULTS

* End Note: MILOSEVIC STILL SHAKY AFTER SERBIAN
VOTE

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT UNLIKELY TO BAN DEATH
PENALTY.  Even though Ukraine has pledged to end capital
punishment and President Leonid Kuchma has used his
clemency powers to prevent any executions since March 1997,
the Verkhovna Rada is unlikely to vote to abolish the death
penalty prior to the March 1998 elections, parliament chairman
Oleksandr Moroz told representatives of the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly on 8 December, Interfax reported.
According to Moroz, the death penalty is simply too popular
with voters for parliamentarians to be able to vote against it.
PG

PLANS FOR BALTIC DEFENSE COLLEGE TAKE SHAPE.  An
international working group has developed plans to open a
common Baltic Defense College in the Estonian city of Tartu in
1999, BNS reported on 8 December. The new college, which
may be headed by a Danish colonel, will train eight officers
from each of the three Baltic states each year.  PG

ESTONIA SEEKS INTEGRATION, NOT ASSIMILATION OF
RUSSIAN SPEAKERS.  Prime Minister Mart Siimann said on 8
December that his government was not putting any pressure on
Russian speakers to join Estonian society, BNS reported. "That's
why we call the inclusion of non-ethnic Estonians into the life
of the society here integration and not assimilation." Siimann
made his remarks on Estonian state radio's Russian-language
channel Radio-4. He also noted that his cabinet planned to
discuss amendments to the country's citizenship law that would
among other things automatically give Estonian citizenship to
all children born in Estonia as well as to their parents if the
latter have lived in Estonia for at least five years.  PG

ESTONIA MUST CUT AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES TO JOIN
WTO. World Trade Organization officials  have suggested that
Estonia must cut its subsidies to agricultural producers in order
to join that body, BNS reported on 8 December. WTO standards
call for no more than five percent of direct subsidies; the
Estonian government has offered to cut its subsidies to eight
percent. But despite continuing disagreement on this point,
Estonia and the WTO have reached agreement on many other
issues during their three years of talks.  PG

LATVIA EXTENDS OSCE MISSION'S MANDATE.  The
Latvian government has extended the mandate to July 1998
for the mission in Latvia of the Organization on Security and
Cooperation in Europe, the Latvian foreign ministry told BNS on
8 December.  Neither the Latvian authorities nor the OSCE see
any crisis that the mission must monitor; instead, both see this
mission as a confidence building measure.  PG

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES LANDSBERGIS
BOOK. In an open letter published in "Lietuvos Rytas" on 6
December, President Algirdas Brazauskas sharply criticized a
book by parliamentary chairman Vytautas Landsbergis for
overstating the latter's contributions and minimizing those of
others, BNS reported 8 December.  "Perhaps numerous authors
of memoirs forget that many people participated in those
events, working side by side and together," Brazauskas said of
Landsbergis's volume, "Breakthrough on the Baltic."   PG

EU MINISTERS ADOPT EXPANSION COMPROMISE. The
European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels on 8
December and reached a compromise on extending the union
into Central and Eastern Europe. They agreed to hold a meeting
on 31 March 1998 to launch the expansion process. The
meeting would be attended by Cyprus and 10 prospective
members from Central and Eastern Europe. Detailed
negotiations would then follow with the six most developed
countries-the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland,
Slovenia and Cyprus. The ministers met ahead of the EU
summit on 12 December in Luxembourg. The summit will
officially adopt the decision on the union's expansion policy. MS

POLAND SETS UP CLAIM SYSTEM FOR NAZI VICTIMS.
Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz issued on 8 December
procedures for the owners and their heirs of more than
$330,000 held in Swiss banks in accounts established by Polish
citizens killed in the Holocaust and World War II, PAP
reported. Claimants will have to provide documents validated
by the courts to claim these funds. Switzerland had transferred
the funds to Poland in 1960 and 1975, but the communist
government had not refunded it at that time.  PG

EUROPEAN UNION INSPECTS POLAND'S MEAT
INDUSTRY.  EU representatives launched an inspection of
Poland's meat industry to determine whether it conforms to EU
standards, the agricultural ministry told PAP on 8 December.
This inspection began only a week after the EU had banned the
importation of Polish dairy products. Polish officials
acknowledged that a similar threat may hang over the
country's meat exports.  PG

HAVEL OFFICIALLY DESIGNATES LUX TO FORM NEW
GOVERNMENT . . .  President Vaclav Havel on 8 December
officially named Christian Democratic Party leader Josef Lux to
lead the talks on forming a new government coalition, Reuters
reported (See "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 December 1997). After
meeting Lux, Havel told a news conference at the Prague Castle
that he hoped a new government would be formed as early as
next week, and could face a vote of confidence in parliament in
January. Havel also said he hoped a new premier would be
named soon after the extraordinary congress of the Civic
Democratic Party scheduled for 13-14 December.  MS

. . . AS KLAUS EXPRESSES SKEPTICISM. But outgoing
premier Vaclav Klaus said that "under the present
circumstances" Lux "would have a real difficult task" to build a
coalition capable of winning a confidence vote in parliament. He
said such a government had few chances of surviving in power
until the elections scheduled for 2000 on the mere promise of
the opposition Social Democratic Party to refrain from voting no
confidence. He told CTK  this was "an attempt at squaring the
circle-- some sort of a hybrid cat-dog which in our country
cannot exist."  MS


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MAJOR BOSNIA CONFERENCE OPENS IN BONN.
Representatives of 51 states and 21 international organizations
began a review of the implementation of the Dayton agreement
in Bonn on 9 December. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel
warned that the international community will help those who
observe their obligations under Dayton and punish those who
do not. He also called for broader powers for Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia. Kinkel said that Westendorp needs a
stronger mandate to make decisions that the leaderships of the
three ethnic groups have been unwilling or unable to take.
Very few of the provisions of the Dayton agreement regarding
civilian affairs have been put into practice. PM

CROATS, SERBS DO NOT WANT STRONGER MANDATE FOR
WESTENDORP. Kresimir Zubak, the Croatian representative on
the Bosnian joint presidency, told a RFE/RL correspondent by
telephone on 8 December that the Croats fear that any change
in Westendorp's mandate would constitute an inadmissible
revision of the Dayton agreement. Zubak added, moreover, that
the Croats cannot accept any measures aimed at making Bosnia
a unitary state. In Pale, Bosnian Serb hard-liners rejected any
new powers for Westendorp. And on a related theme,
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic said that Bosnia will
never be a  multi-ethnic country again, "Oslobodjenje" reported
on 9 December. PM

SILAJDZIC WARNS AGAINST DIVISION OF BOSNIA.
Muslim Co-Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said in Berlin on 8
December that the international community's policies are
helping to divide Bosnia, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
wrote. Silajdzic argued that Dayton has given too many powers
to the Republika Srpska and to the mainly Muslim and Croat
Federation. He charged that these two governments will use
their powers in areas such as privatization or refugee return to
help cement the country's division into two irreconcilable
halves. PM

KARADZIC PARTY REJECTS BOSNIAN ELECTION RESULTS.
Momcilo Krajisnik, the leading spokesman for hard-line leader
Radovan Karadzic, said in Pale on 8 December that he is
"shocked" at the official results of the parliamentary elections
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 December 1997). Krajisnik charged
that the returns are based on fraud and demanded that they be
declared invalid. The results showed that his party and its
allies have lost their absolute majority in parliament. PM

U.S. PRAISES BOSNIAN SERB "PLURALISM." A State
Department spokesman said in Washington on 8 December that
the parliamentary election returns indicate a trend toward
greater pluralism in Bosnian Serb politics. He urged the parties
to form a broadly based government and work together
constructively so that all institutions in the Republika Srpska
can function effectively. The spokesman stressed that Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic can and should play an active
role in promoting political moderation and encouraging the
implementation of the Dayton agreements. PM

SECOND ROUND FOR SERBIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE.
Election authorities in Belgrade said on 8 December that the
previous day's presidential election had a sufficiently large
turnout to be valid but that no candidate won an absolute
majority. The two leading candidates, the Socialist Milan
Milutinovic and the Radical Vojislav Seselj, will face each other
in a runoff on 21 December (see "End Note"). Milutinovic has
about 42 percent of the total number of votes counted so far,
while Seselj has 33 percent. The Serbian Renewal Movement's
Vuk Draskovic, whom the Vienna daily "Die Presse" of 9
December calls "the professional loser of Serbian politics," took
only 17 percent. Draskovic called on his backers to boycott the
runoff, BETA news agency reported from Belgrade. PM

U.S. KEEPS SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE. The U.S. embassy
announced in the Yugoslav capital on 8 December that
President Bill Clinton will recommend to Congress that
economic sanctions against Yugoslavia remain in force for
another year, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Belgrade. U.S. authorities say that the sanctions will remain in
place until Milosevic cooperates with the Hague-based war
crimes tribunal, respects human rights in Kosovo, and
negotiates seriously about dividing up the former Yugoslavia's
debts and assets among all successor states. Milosevic
maintains that his rump Yugoslavia alone is heir to the rights
and property of Tito's state. PM

PILOT ERROR CAUSED SERBIAN PLANE CRASH. A
government investigator said in Belgrade on 8 December that
pilot error caused the crash of a JAT Yugoslav Airlines trainer
at Pristina airport on 26 November. He ruled out any other
possibility, the Belgrade daily "Danas" reported. The clandestine
Kosovo Liberation Army claimed that it shot down the Cesna
310 aircraft (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 December 1997). PM

DRUGS EASY TO GET IN BELGRADE SCHOOLS. The
independent daily "Nasa Borba" wrote on 9 December in its
series on Serbian youth and drug use that drugs can be had in
all the capital's high schools. The paper's survey showed that
63 percent of students recently polled said they knew how to
obtain drugs. Only 12 percent of the respondents claimed to
have actually taken illegal substances, but psychologist Zorica
Panic said that she believes that the actual figure is much
higher because many students would not admit drug use even
in a poll. Marijuana, hashish, and to a lesser extent hard drugs
have a long history in the former Yugoslavia, but drug use has
skyrocketed amid the turmoil and dislocation of recent years.
PM

CROATIA SENTENCES SERB TO 20 YEARS. A court in Osijek
sentenced Ivica Vuletic on 8 December to 20 years in prison for
war crimes he committed in the Vukovar area in 1991,
"Vecernji list" reported. Vuletic, who is from Pancevo in Serbia,
carried out atrocities against prisoners of war, hospital patients,
and various civilians. PM

FASCISTS TAKING OVER ROMANIAN ANTI-COMMUNIST
MEMORIAL ORGANIZATION? A meeting of the newly
founded "Foundation of Anti-Communist Armed Resistance" in
Bucharest on 6 December witnessed an attempt by Iron
Guardists (the interwar Romanian fascist organization) and
their young followers to take over the foundation, the daily
"Romania libera" reported on 8 December. President Emil
Constantinescu attended the meeting and addressed a message
to the participants, but was not present when turmoil broke
out as Iron Guardists, stressing that their members had made
up "90 percent of the anti-communist resistance fighters,"
booed proposals to elect as honorary members several anti-
communist dissidents, whom they described as "anti-
Romanian." The daily reported that a portrait of Iron Guard
leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu was displayed in the hall and
Iron Guard literature was sold on the premises. Interior
Minister Gavril Dejeu was among those present and accepted
honorary membership in the foundation. MS

ROMANIAN COALITION PARTNER WANTS TO CHANGE
CONSTITUTION. Prominent leaders of the National Liberal
Party (PNL), a member of the ruling coalition, on 8 December
said the constitution should be changed. PNL leader Mircea
Ionescu-Quintus said the country should move to a
parliamentary system from the present semi-presidential one.
PNL Senator Emil Tocaci proposed that the bi-cameral system
be dropped in favor of a uni-cameral one, in order to speed up
the legislation process, Mediafax reported. They spoke on
Romania's Constitution Day. In other news, in a first
manifestation of political regionalism, the mayor of Iasi,
Constantin Simirad, on 8 December resigned as vice-chairman
of the Party of Civic Alliance, announcing he intends to set up a
political party representing the Moldavians, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported.  MS

IMF CHIEF NEGOTIATOR IN ROMANIA. Poul Thomsen on 8
December met with the new Romanian Minister of Industry
and Commerce, Mircea Ciumara, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. They discussed the further restructuring of the
economy. Thomsen is also scheduled to meet Premier Victor
Ciorbea and the new Finance Minister Daniel Daianu. In other
news, the National Commission for Statistics on 8 December
announced that the inflation rate in November was 4.3 percent.
MS

BULGARIA TO BAN EX-COMMUNISTS FROM CIVIL
SERVICE. Deputy premier Vesselin Metodiev on 8 December
told journalists that Bulgaria will ban former senior communist
officials and informers of the secret police from holding top
government and civil service positions for five years under a
draft law approved on the same day by the government,
Reuters reported. The draft  is to be approved by the
parliament. In other news, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia
reported that Vice President Todor Kavaldzhiev said his
statement on replacing monuments to the Red Army with
monuments to the victims of communism has been
"misinterpreted." (See "RFE/RL Newsline,," 2 December 1997).
Kavaldzhiev, who spoke ahead of a visit to Moscow of President
Petar Stoyanov scheduled for 18-20 December, said he was
suggesting that monuments commemorating the victims of
communism be erected alongside monuments to the Red Army.
MS

BULGARIAN PREMIER ON NEW FINANCIAL POLICE. Ivan
Kostov on 8 December said the new "financial police unit" will
be operational no later than mid-1998 (See "RFE/RL Newsline,"
19 November 1997). He said fighting corruption is the top
priority of his government, together with an administrative
reform of state agencies. Kostov said that "only after these
priorities show success, will I turn my personal attention to the
privatization process as the next strategic goal," an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. The opposition Socialist Party
strongly opposes the idea of setting up the financial police,
calling it an effort to "revive the police state." It uses the same
argument to oppose the government's plan to give permanent
status to a parliamentary anti-crime commission, widely
referred to as the "Anti-Mafia Commission."   MS

IMF, WORLD BANK ON NEW BULGARIAN BANK
LICENSES. Bulgarian National Bank governor Svetoslav
Gavriiski on 8 December said the IMF and the World Bank
recommend that no new bank licenses be issued in Bulgaria for
one year, the RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. He said the two
international financing bodies say resources from the state-
owned banks that Bulgaria plans to sell next year should not be
diverted away. Gavriiski said that despite the recommendation,
the National Bank might still consider issuing licenses.   MS


MILOSEVIC STILL SHAKY AFTER SERBIAN VOTE

    by Patrick Moore

         Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's candidate Milan
Milutinovic holds a comfortable lead in initial returns in the
Serbian presidential elections held on December 7. Problems
are far from over, however, for the wily Yugoslav leader.
        Serbian voters went to the polls to elect a president for
the third time in as many months. The first round held on
September 21 failed to yield a clear winner, while the
subsequent runoff on October 5 was invalid because less than
50 percent of the electorate turned out.
        The entire campaign was, moreover,  characterized by
two trends. The first was voter apathy, which drew on the
popular feeling that no change of government could quickly
rescue Serbia from crime, poverty, and corruption.
        The second development was that some ethnic minorities
-- most notably the Kosovar Albanians -- and most opposition
parties boycotted the electoral process. The Albanians charged
that none of the candidates took a stand on Kosovo that the
Albanians could support. The opposition, led by Zoran Djindjic
and Vesna Pesic, argued that conditions for a free and fair vote
were not present.
        The result was that the sole major opposition candidate,
the Serbian Renewal Movement's Vuk Draskovic, finished third
in the September and December ballots. The main issue,
however, was whether Milosevic's candidate -- Zoran Lilic in
the first two rounds, Milutinovic in the third -- would defeat
the ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj of the Serbian Radical Party.
        Seselj led paramilitary groups in the Croatian and Bosnian
conflicts. He supports "ethnic cleansing" and rejects the Dayton
peace treaty. Former U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia Warren
Zimmerman calls Seselj "a fascist" in his memoirs, and many
human rights activists have demanded that Seselj be indicted
for war crimes.
        Seselj nonetheless led Lilic in the October vote. Fearful
that Seselj might defeat Milutinovic and win the presidency
outright on December 7, Milosevic cranked up his powerful
propaganda machine to discredit Seselj. Milutinovic's campaign,
for its part, stressed his experience as Yugoslav foreign
minister, even if he has few successes to show.
        The contest, however, has not been decided. Latest
figures give Milutinovic about 1.6 million votes to Seselj's 1.2
million. But Milutinovic failed to win an absolute majority of
votes cast, and a runoff will be held between him and Seselj on
December 21. There is thus still a chance that Seselj could
emerge as Serbia's next president.
        That, however, may not be likely. Seselj has frequently
charged that he has been the victim of electoral fraud. It
should also be recalled that Milosevic and Seselj are both
skilled politicians who have made use of each other in the past.
It is not to be excluded that they might make yet another deal
if electoral deadlock continues.
        Meanwhile, Milosevic can continue to dominate the
Belgrade power scene. He has, however, at least an additional
three problems that could try even his well-honed political
skills.
        The first is the power struggle among the Bosnian Serbs.
This confrontation pits hard-liner Radovan Karadzic against
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic, who pays at least
lip-service to the Dayton agreements. Milosevic signed Dayton
on behalf of the Serbs and, like Plavsic, hopes to use his formal
acceptance of the treaty in order to end his international
isolation. But Milosevic and Plavsic have been openly declared
enemies for years. And the mafia-like networks that underlie
the Milosevic power structure, moreover, are closely
interlocked with those supporting Karadzic. So far, it is not
clear which side Milosevic's allies will support in the newly
elected Bosnian Serb legislature.
        The second issue is Montenegro and its relationship with
Belgrade and the Yugoslav federation. This year has seen the
rise to power in the mountainous republic of a reform-minded
leadership under President-elect Milo Djukanovic, who wants
home rule. Djukanovic and the reformers argue that Milosevic's
continuing international isolation is crippling the Montenegrin
economy, which traditionally relies on tourism and shipping to
earn hard currency. Djukanovic handily defeated Milosevic's
ally Momir Bulatovic in the 19 October presidential vote.
        Last but not least is Milosevic's hardy perennial, Kosovo.
He has kept the restive mainly ethnic Albanian province under
tight police control since he abolished its autonomy in 1989.
The moderate Albanian leadership under shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova, meanwhile, continues to advocate
non-violence and seeks to attract foreign support. Adem
Demaci of the Parliamentary Party and some other politicians,
however, argue that Rugova's tactics have gotten nowhere.
They recently set up the Democratic Forum to explore
alternative solutions.
        Meanwhile, the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) continues
to direct violence against Serbian officials, police, and ethnic
Albanians it considers collaborators. The UCK has become
increasingly bold in its tactics, and some of its members
recently appeared for the  first time in public. In the last
analysis, it is possible that the Bosnian Serbs, the Montenegrins,
or the Kosovars could present Milosevic with a far stiffer
challenge than Seselj ever could.

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