It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 177, Part II, 11 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

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Headlines, Part II

* HAVEL ACCEPTS NOMINATION FOR RE-ELECTION

* ROW OVER ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER'S CALL FOR
"ITALIAN PROTECTORATE"

* WESTENDORP THREATENS TO SACK KRAJISNIK

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

OFFICIALS DISAGREE ON STATE OF UKRAINE'S
ECONOMY. Anatoliy Galchinskiy, an advisor to President
Leonid Kuchma, gave an upbeat assessment of Ukraine's
economy, Interfax reported on 10 December. He said Ukraine
had come very close to economic stabilization in 1997.  He
predicted that inflation for the year would be under 10
percent.  But Serhiy Tyhypko, the deputy prime minister in
charge of economic reform, was less optimistic. Speaking to
journalists in Kyiv on the same day, he suggested that
Ukraine's economic situation was now so desperate that the
country might finally become serious about reform.   PG

COUNCIL OF EUROPE MAY SUSPEND UKRAINE FOR
EXECUTIONS.  Tunne Kelam, an Estonian member of the
Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, said in Kyiv on 10
December that the council might be forced to suspend Kyiv
because Ukraine had executed people after President Leonid
Kuchma had promised that there would not be any more
executions, Ukrainian media reported. But Kelam added that his
group would be "very unhappy" if that happened because
Ukraine has made significant progress on a variety of other
human rights questions.  PG

BELARUSIANS PROTEST CLOSING OF INDEPENDENT
NEWSPAPER. More than 1,000 Belarusians assembled in
Minsk 10 December to protest the closing of "Svaboda" by the
authorities and new laws limiting freedom of assembly and the
press, Interfax and RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported.  They
carried signs reading "No to Dictatorship." The demonstration
was sanctioned by the police, and there was no official
interference. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Minsk released a
statement in Russian noting that "normalization of relations
with other nations for Belarus must begin with a return to a
full observance of human rights."  Also on 10 December,
coordinated  press conferences were held in Warsaw, Kyiv,
Moscow and Vilnius to publicize the Belarusian opposition
movement Khartia 97, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported.
PG

LUKASHENKA DECREES TIGHTER WORK DISCIPLINE.
Beginning in January 1998, Belarusian workers and employers
will be subject to special fines if they do not meet the
requirements of workplace discipline, President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka announced on10 December, Interfax reported.  But
the Belarusian leader suggested that the system would not be
applied in a draconian fashion: "People must not be punished
for a trifling incorrect action. There must be no reverting to the
1930s when people were jailed for a spike stolen from a
collective farm."   PG

PREMIER CLAIMS BELARUS HAS "OPEN ECONOMY." At a
10 December ceremony for the signing of a joint venture with a
German truck manufacturer, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei
Ling said that Belarus has an open economy and cannot do
without reform, Interfax-West reported. But he said that his
government has "its own approach to reforms" and that it must
guarantee social security." Meanwhile, Belarusian officials
announced that the 1998 government budget deficit had been
set at 3.5 percent of GDP.  PG

BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS SIGN BALTBAT, BALTRON
PACTS.  The defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
on 10 December signed the agreements formally creating the
joint Baltic peacekeeping battalion, Baltbat, and a joint naval
squadron, Baltron, BNS reported.  The accords call for a
common command subject to supervision by the three defense
ministers and the three Baltic governments.  PG

MOSCOW CONDEMNS LITHUANIAN'S VIEW ON
KALININGRAD.  The Russian embassy in Vilnius issued a
press release on 10 December criticizing as interference in
Russia's internal affairs a statement by the deputy speaker of
the Lithuanian parliament that Kaliningrad is now the fourth
Baltic republic, BNS reported.  Romualdas Ozolas had made that
suggestion in an interview with the Baltic News Service. The
embassy said that "Kaliningrad is an indivisible part of Russia
and can have no other political fate."   PG

HAVEL ACCEPTS NOMINATION FOR RE-ELECTION.
President Vaclav Havel on 10 December accepted the backing
of the country's four mainstream parties for a second five-year
term, CTK reported. The vote in parliament is to take place on
20 January 1998. Earlier, Havel said he would run only if
backed by all the parliamentary formations he considers
democratic, namely the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the
Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the Civic Democratic Alliance
and the Social Democrats. In another development, Reuters
reported on 10 December that KDU-CSL leader Josef Lux, after
talks with Social Democrat opposition leader Milos Zeman, said
it was "pretty clear" that early elections will be held as soon as
Zeman and  ODS leader Vaclav Klaus wanted them. Lux said the
Social Democrats would not participate in a new government
coalition but would tolerate one formed by the outgoing
coalition if it pledged early elections. MS

BLAST AT COMMUNIST PARTY HEADQUARTERS IN
PRAGUE.  An explosive device was thrown into the building of
the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) in
Prague on 10 December, CTK reported citing a party
spokesman. KSCM deputy Vojtech Filip told the Chamber of
Deputies that the device was thrown from a car and said he
believed the attack was a "provocation." The incident comes
four days after a bomb went off outside Finance Minister Ivan
Pilip's house (See "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 December 1997). In a
separate development, Karlovy Vary deputy mayor Zdenek
Musil said on 10 December that the town does not intend to
remove Adolf Hitler from the lists of its honorary citizens.
Hitler was made one in 1938, after the annexation of the
Sudetenland. Musil says the town's honorary citizens "are part
of the history of Karlovy Vary in the 20th century," AFP
reported. MS

HUNGARY ACHIEVES TRADE SURPLUS WITH EU. In the
first 10 months of 1997, Hungary's exports to European Union
countries totaled $10.754 billion, while imports from the EU
were $10.616 billion, Peter Balas, deputy state secretary at the
Industry, Trade and Tourism Ministry told Hungarian media on
10 December. He said this trade surplus is unprecedented.  He
explained the increase in exports is a result of  foreign
investments in Hungary, adding that exports to Germany
represent 37 percent of Hungary's total exports. In other news,
Hungary agreed to send secret service files to Paris on the
notorious terrorist known as Carlos "the Jackal," who used
Budapest as a base in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carlos is
awaiting trial in Paris for the murder of two French secret
agents in 1975. MSZ


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NANO'S CALL FOR MORE ITALIAN INVOLVEMENT IN
ALBANIA... Prime Minister Fatos Nano told the Italian daily
"La Repubblica" on 10 December that the Albanian government
welcomes the presence of Italian specialists in the Albanian
ministries to help promote reforms. Nano was quoted by "Koha
Jone" as saying that "we would be ready to return to being an
Italian protectorate if that would guarantee us a faster
integration into Europe." He added, however, that "our position
is that of partners, not of a colony."  FS

...BRINGS DEMAND FOR HIS RESIGNATION. Democratic
Party spokesman Genc Pollo responded on 11 December to
Nano's statement by calling him "an abnormal prime minister"
and demanding his immediate resignation. Parliament's Foreign
Affairs Committee chief Sabri Godo said there will never be "an
Italian protectorate for Albania as long as there are honest
Albanians." Tirana, he added, wants "intensive relations" with
Italy, but he warned against "any violation of the sovereignty
of our country." Parts of Albania were an Italian protectorate
from the time of formal independence in 1912 until just after
World War I. Mussolini occupied Albania in 1939 after several
years of a de facto protectorate over King Zog's Albania. PM

FRESH WESTERN INTEREST IN KOSOVO. U.S. envoy Robert
Gelbard said at the international conference on Bosnia in Bonn
on 10 December that the Serb walkout to protest references to
Kosovo in the final declaration only served to draw foreign
attention to the Kosovo question (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10
December 1997). German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel pointed
out that the Kosovo issue involves the repression of an
Albanian majority by a Serbian minority. He added that
Germany has a strong interest in Kosovo because it has 140,000
asylum seekers from there. Kinkel also said that the
international Contact Group, including Russia, supports the
conference's final document, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote. In Paris, a Foreign Ministry spokesman stated
that it is not clear why the Serbs walked out because the final
text is not directed against Belgrade but is rather aimed at
helping it overcome its isolation.     PM

WESTENDORP THREATENS TO SACK KRAJISNIK. The Bonn
conference agreed on 10 December to expand the powers of
Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia. The Spanish diplomat will now be
able to impose agreements on the three Bosnian parties and
punish individuals who boycott sessions of joint institutions or
who violate the Dayton agreements. Westendorp called the
change in his mandate "a turning point" and threatened to sack
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the joint presidency,
unless Krajisnik stops blocking the functioning of joint
institutions. PM

MIXED REACTIONS TO BONN DECLARATION. Krajisnik said
on 10 December that the Serbs will not accept portions of the
final declaration that they consider to be a violation of Dayton.
He added that the Kosovo question affects all Serbs. Croatian
Foreign Minister Mate Granic said that the outcome of the
conference was essentially positive. Senior Muslim leader Ejup
Ganic, however, told "The Guardian" that "these conferences
don't bring much. The fact is that we [Muslims] are getting
stronger, and the Serbs and the Croats are getting weaker.
That's the reality." PM

SESELJ FOR COALITION WITH KARADZIC PARTY. Vojislav
Seselj, the  ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party candidate for
the Serbian presidency, said in the Bosnian town of Sokolac
near Sarajevo on 10 December that the Bosnian branch of his
party will form a coalition with the Serbian Democratic Party of
Radovan Karadzic. He said that the two parties agree that it is
necessary to, as he put it, prevent Republika Srpska President
Biljana Plavsic from destroying the Bosnian Serb state. PM

U.S. SETS DOWN BOSNIAN OPTIONS. U.S. representatives to
NATO on 10 December presented other NATO delegations in
Brussels with four options regarding a continued military
presence in Bosnia. The options range from a complete
withdrawal of all NATO forces, a reduced peacekeeping
operation, keeping a presence equivalent to the current
30,000-strong SFOR, or an expanded operation with more
troops on the ground in Bosnia. The international military
presence in Bosnia in 1996 peaked at just more than 60,000
troops. Observers suggested that any NATO-led force after
SFOR's mandate expires next June will probably number about
18,000. PM

GRENADE KILLS SERB REFUGEE IN SLAVONIA. A grenade
tossed into a cafe in Grabovac in eastern Slavonia killed an
elderly Serb refugee from western Slavonia on 10 December.
Local authorities arrested but then released a Croat who was
reportedly carrying another grenade. U.N. officials said they
will ask that the man be arrested again. In another incident, a
grenade explosion damaged three cars in nearby Darda. PM

CROATIAN OPPOSITION AGAINST TUDJMAN'S
AMENDMENTS. Opposition deputies in the lower house on 10
December introduced a set of measures against President
Franjo Tudjman's proposed constitutional amendments (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 13 November 1997). The deputies want the
constitution to identify Croatia's ethnic minorities by name and
oppose any constitutional ban on Croatian membership in new
Balkan or Yugoslav federations, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Zagreb. Tudjman's amendments are nonetheless
expected to pass easily. PM

SHELL EXPANDS IN CROATIA, GOODYEAR IN SLOVENIA.
The Anglo-Dutch Shell company plans to open 40 service
stations in Croatia over the next four years at a cost of $70
million, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb on 10
December. And in Kranj, Slovenia, the Goodyear company
acquired a 60 percent interest in Slovenia's Sava rubber
company. PM

SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS ANTI-COMMUNIST
MOVE. The legislature voted 44-41 late on 10 December to
turn down a motion condemning Slovenia's communist-era
leadership. Parliament will now discuss a related measure
aimed at barring former communists from office (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 November 1997). The bills, which the
conservative opposition sponsored, are aimed at President
Milan Kucan, Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek, and several other
top leaders who held high posts in communist Yugoslavia. PM

ROMANIAN POLITICIANS SEARCH SOLUTION TO
COALITION CRISIS. The leadership of the National Peasant
Party Christian Democratic on 10 December decided that faction
discipline will be imposed when the government regulation
amending the 1995 Education Law comes to debate in the
Chamber of Deputies.  According to regulations, the different
texts approved by the two chambers would then have to come
before a mediation commission. President Emil Constantinescu
on 10 December met with leaders of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania and said he would refuse to promulgate
a law that infringed on the right of the national minorities to
set up independent universities and to have separate sections
in existing universities. The president said the coalition must
abide by the protocol signed on 3 December, but added that he
supports the stipulation which makes the teaching of history
and geography in the Romanian language obligatory in all
schools, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN MINISTERS WITHDRAW SUPPORT OF
MONARCHY.  After meeting with Prime Minister Victor
Ciorbea on 10 December, the three members of his cabinet who
earlier signed a declaration supporting the restoration of the
constitutional monarchy (See "RFE/RL Newsline", 10 December
1997) said they "regretted" the step and pledged that "in
future their statements will conform to the constitution and to
the government's line," a press release of the government cited
by RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau said. Separately,  the press office
of former King Michael in Versoix, Switzerland, released a
statement saying, among other things, that marking 50 years
since the monarch's enforced abdication should by no means
"raise constitutional questions that could damage the stability
of the country at this crucial moment in its history." The
statement said Romania's priorities are "economic
reconstruction, the consolidation of its political position and
integration into European structures." MS

ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER: "NO FREE LUNCHES."
Romania's new Minister of Finance, Daniel Daianu,  on 10
December told Reuters that 1998 is still going to be a year of
austerity and that "post-communist free lunches" are over. He
said it was unrealistic to expect any economic growth for at
least six months from now. In other news, a Soviet-made MiG-
21 fighter crashed near Bucharest on 10 December. The crew
managed to eject safely. This is the 17th crash involving a
Soviet-made military plane in the past seven years. MS

DUMA DEPUTIES AGAINST RATIFICATION OF RUSSIAN-
MOLDOVAN TREATY.  Deputies from several committees of
the Russian State Duma on 10 December recommended that the
Duma refuse to ratify the 1990 basic treaty with Moldova,
Infotag reported. They said that since 1992 two states "have
been de facto existing" in Moldova and Moldovan sovereignty
"does not apply to the Transdniester territory." They also said
that NATO's expansion eastwards makes the presence of
Russian troops in the Transdniester one that "meets the
strategic interests of Russia" in the region. They recommended
that President Boris Yeltsin work for a "redefinition of the
status of relations between Transdniester and the Moldovan
Republic" and only afterwards conclude a new treaty with
Moldova. The deputies also recommended that the government
immediately open a consulate in Tiraspol. MS

BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION PARLIAMENTARY
ASSEMBLY IN CHISINAU. Addressing the 10th session of
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation in Chisinau on 10 December, President Petru
Lucinschi called on member countries to coordinate economic
and commercial legislation and to transform the organization
into one with a "well-defined judicial status," RFE/RL's Chisinau
bureau reported. He said such steps would facilitate relations
with other regional, European and international organizations,
as well as with international financial institutions. Lucinschi
also called on member states to set up a free trade zone and
said that they could play a major role in the exploitation and
transportation of Caspian Sea oil. The Assembly concludes its
meeting on 11 December. Petre Roman, chairman of the
Romanian Senate, is to be elected assembly chairman for the
year 1998, replacing Moldova's Dumitru Motpan. MS

ETHNIC TURKISH PARTY WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FROM
BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT. The Union of National Salvation,
which is dominated by the Turkish ethnic Movements for
Rights and Freedom (DPS), on 10 December formally withdrew
its support from Prime Minister Ivan Kostov's government,
RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. The DPS, which controls 19
seats in the 240-seat parliament, accused Kostov of pursuing
"populist measures, rather than reforms." Kostov's Union of
Democratic Forces still maintains a 137-seat majority in the
legislature, where the opposition Socialist Party has 58 seats. In
recent months, tension has been growing between Kostov and
the DPS. On 9 December Kostov accused the DPS of protecting
the interests of criminal groups. DPS deputy Osman Oktai
recently accused Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev and Justice
Minister Vassil Gotsev of taking part in the forcible assimilation
of Turks in the 1980s. They denied the accusation.     MS

BULGARIA PLEDGES TO REPAY DEBT TO POLAND.
President Petar Stoyanov on 10 December said Sofia will repay
an outstanding $ 80 million debt to Poland, to clear obstacles to
its joining the Central European Trade Agreement (CEFTA),
Reuters reported. The debt dates back to 1989. One of the
conditions for CEFTA membership is the clearing of bilateral
debts. Stoyanov spoke to reporters after meeting his Polish
counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski, who arrived on a two-
day visit to Sofia. Kwasniewski pledged Polish support for
Bulgaria's quest to join CEFTA, NATO and the European Union.
MS

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