If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 181, Part II, 17 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

* NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS SIGN ACCESSION PROTOCOLS

* HAVEL APPOINTS CENTRAL BANK CHIEF AS PRIME
MINISTER

* WESTENDORP IMPOSES LAW ON BOSNIAN CITIZENSHIP

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS SIGN ACCESSION PROTOCOLS.
NATO foreign ministers met in  Brussels on 16 December to sign
accession protocols with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.
Before the signing ceremony, Czech Foreign Minister Jiri Sedivy said
the event was not only a crucial moment in his nation's modern
history but also proof of NATO's readiness for the tasks of the 21st
century. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told his NATO
colleagues that Hungary considers the enlargement a historic step
that will expand the zone of stability of the entire Euro-Atlantic
region. Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek said NATO's
expansion is a unique event in the history of mankind and a source
of joy, pride, and hope for Poles. He said Poland hoped to help build
an undivided, free Europe. MS

HAVEL APPOINTS CENTRAL BANK CHIEF AS PRIME
MINISTER. Czech President Vaclav Havel has announced he will
appoint National Bank governor Josef Tosovsky as prime minister,
CTK reported. Tosovsky will be sworn in on 17 December. Havel
explained his choice by saying that Tosovsky enjoys the support of
all three parties that make up the outgoing coalition government as
well as that of the opposition Social Democrats. He said the new
government is likely to ask the parliament for a vote of confidence
in January. Outgoing Premier Vaclav Klaus expressed surprise at the
speed of the announcement, saying he was informed only hours
before the media. He did not indicate whether he backed the
appointment but said "we are ready to negotiate." MS

WINDS OF CHANGE IN KLAUS'S PARTY? Former Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) deputy leader Jan Cerny has been elected to
replace Jiri Honajzer as leader of the party faction in the Chamber of
Deputies, CTK reported on 16 December. Honajzer recently resigned
from that post. In his new capacity, Cerny becomes a member of the
ODS top leadership, which will decide on the party's future course.
He has recently voiced different views from those of Klaus and does
not support Klaus's position that the ODS should go into "constructive
opposition." Meanwhile, an opinion poll released by STEM on 16
December shows that 69 percent of Czechs have confidence in Havel
but only 21 percent trust the outgoing cabinet, down 16 percentage
points since April. Confidence in the Chamber of Deputies has also
fallen over the past eight months, from 40 percent to 25 percent. MS

UKRAINIAN COOPERATION ON THREE FRONTS.  The Ukrainian
and German defense ministers on 16 December signed a five-year
military cooperation agreement, ITAR-TASS reported. The same day,
Greek President Konstantinos Stephanopoulos told the Ukrainian
parliament that Athens will help Ukraine join the EU and other
European institutions. And NATO and Ukraine signed an accord on
responding to natural disasters. PG

BELARUSIAN POLICE APOLOGIZES TO JOURNALIST. One day
after a Minsk court cleared Belarusian Popular Front deputy
chairman Yury Khadyka, Minsk police on 16 December apologized to
journalist Valeriy Shchukin for his mistreatment during a
demonstration in April 1997 against the Belarus-Russia integration
pact, RFE/RL's Belarusian service reported. The police acknowledged
they had treated Shchukin "unlawfully." PG

DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS IN MINSK OR ELSE!  Minsk Mayor
Uladzimir Yarmoshin has issued a directive to all shop owners in the
center of the city to illuminate their windows with Christmas lights
or face fines or even closure, RFE/RL's Belarusian service reported
on 16 December.   Several shops have already been closed down as a
result of the directive. That step will cost the government millions of
Belarusian rubles in tax revenue. PG

ESTONIA LIKELY TO HAVE 50-STRONG EURO-TEAM. Prime
Minister Mart Siimann told reporters on 16 December that some 50
people are likely to form the delegation that will hold accession
talks with the EU beginning April 1998, ETA reported. Foreign
Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves will head that delegation, and
preparatory work groups will be set up in all ministries except for
defense. JC

LATVIA'S ULMANIS FAVORS DIRECT PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS. President Guntis Ulmanis has said he agrees with those
political parties that want the president to be elected by popular
vote, BNS reported on 16 December. Under current law, the head of
state is elected by the parliament. Ulmanis argued that a direct vote
would increase the president's responsibilities and benefit both the
population and the state. He also argued in favor of a mixed system
(single-member constituencies and party lists) of parliamentary
elections instead of the current system of party lists only. JC

RIGA EASES REGULATIONS FOR NATURALIZATION EXAM.
The government on 16 December reduced the waiting period for re-
sitting the naturalization examination, BNS reported. Candidates who
are unsuccessful first time round will now have to wait only three
months to repeat the Latvian language test and only one month for
the test on the country's history and constitution. Previously, six
months had to elapse before unsuccessful candidates could re-take
either test. The move follows a government decision earlier this
month to cut the 30 lats ($60) naturalization fee by half for some
applicants and to waive it altogether for others. JC

SLOVAK FINANCE MINISTER REPLACED. Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar announced on Slovak state radio on 16 December
that Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik will leave that post in order  to
have more time "for political work before the [September 1988]
elections," TASR reported. Kozlik will continue in his posts as deputy
premier and deputy leader of Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia. Miroslav Maxon, head of the parliament's Budget
Commission, replaces Kozlik at the Finance Ministry. MS

BLAIR TO LAUNCH EU EXPANSION PROCESS IN MARCH. In a
16 December letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn, British
Premier Tony Blair said that the United Kingdom, in its capacity as
chair of the EU beginning January, will launch the expansion process
on 30 March by hosting a conference attended by officials from
applicant countries, "Nepszabadsag" reported. He said official talks
will open with Hungary after the conference and expressed the hope
that he can meet with Horn in January. In other news, the London-
based Economist Intelligence Unit has said Hungary heads the list of
the seven most developed East-Central European countries. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WESTENDORP IMPOSES LAW ON BOSNIAN CITIZENSHIP.
Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia, announced in Sarajevo on 16 December
that a proposed law on Bosnian citizenship will go into force on 1
January. This is the first time that he used the powers the
international community recently gave him to impose settlements
when the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims cannot agree on issues of key
importance for the implementation of the Dayton agreement (see
"RFE/RL Newsline, 16 December 1997). Westendorp said that his
decision to impose a settlement was reluctant and that he expects
the Bosnian parliament to eventually pass the law. The Serbs
blocked passage because the law contains no reference to dual
Yugoslav and Bosnian citizenship for Bosnian Serbs. PM

ALBRIGHT PLEDGES BACKING FOR HAGUE COURT. U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in Brussels on 16
December that Washington will donate $1 million to the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal so that it can build a second court room
and hence speed up its work. Albright noted that NATO officials are
currently discussing various options  regarding a possible extension
of the mandate of the Bosnian peacekeeping force beyond its
expiration date in June 1998. She added that Serbia and Belarus
threaten European stability because they oppose democratic
principles and regional integration, "Nasa Borba" reported.
Meanwhile in Washington, Clinton administration officials said that
the U.S. is preparing proposals for an aid package to help rebuild
basic infrastructure in parts of the Republika Srpska controlled by
President Biljana Plavsic. It would be the first major international
development package for the Bosnian Serbs. PM

CROATIA HAS PROBLEMS WITH BOSNIA... Alija Izetbegovic,
the Muslim member of the Bosnian joint presidency, said in Sarajevo
on 16 December that interethnic relations in Bosnia could suffer
following Croatia's failure to list Muslims among the ethnic
minorities explicitly named in its new constitutional amendments
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 December 1997). Izetbegovic added that
he fears Croatia's "unjustified and regrettable" move will lead to a
loss of rights for the thousands of Muslims in Croatia, many of whom
have lived there for decades. PM

...BUT TRIES TO REASSURE SLOVENIA. Slovenia had earlier
protested the exclusion of Slovenes from the list of ethnic minorities
and also warned that the exclusion could affect bilateral relations.
But the Croatian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 16
December in which it sought to reassure Ljubljana: "The Croatian
government wants to stress that the implementation of the stated
constitutional regulations will have no negative influence on the
status of the Slovene minority in Croatia. The government continues
to firmly support all kinds of assistance to Slovene minority bodies
for the purpose of preserving their identity and the protection of
their minority rights." PM

CROATIAN CHURCH LEADER BLASTS INEQUALITY. In his
Christmas message on 16 December, Archbishop Josip Bozanic
criticized government officials who get rich at the public's expense.
He said that it is evident that a few citizens are rapidly becoming
very rich while the great majority of Croats are becoming poorer, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb. PM

BLACK MARKET GASOLINE RETURNS TO BELGRADE. Private
gasoline sellers have returned to the streets of the Serbian capital
after having disappeared following the easing of wartime sanctions
in 1996. The latest gasoline shortage is the result of China's decision
to cut off supplies following Yugoslavia's failure to pay for previous
deliveries, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade. PM

MACEDONIA'S GLIGOROV CALLS BORDERS "REALITY."
President Kiro Gligorov said in Skopje on 16 December that any
attempt to challenge Macedonia's territorial integrity would be
adventurism. He warned that there are still unnamed forces in the
Balkans that seek to promote instability and threaten peace.
Gligorov added that Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Greece have failed to
act on recent Macedonian proposals aimed at defusing regional
tensions. Earlier this year, he criticized ethnic Albanians for wanting
to secede from Macedonia and join Albania. Skopje has also had
difficulties with Belgrade over delimiting the border between
Macedonia and Yugoslavia. PM

SHOOT-TO-KILL ORDERS AGAINST ALBANIAN THUGS. An
Interior Ministry spokesman said in Tirana on 17 December that
Interior Minister Neritan Ceka has given police shoot-to-kill orders
against what the spokesman called masked bandits and criminals.
The spokesman added that "the bodies of criminals killed by police
will be left lying on the ground for two or three days as an example
to other thugs." The move follows the killing of three police officers
this week and a series of highway robberies.  Previously, police
were obliged to fire a warning shot before taking aim at robbers. PM

ANOTHER BOMB EXPLODES IN GJIROKASTER. A bomb
destroyed the car of a local drug dealer in Gjirokaster on 16
December, police spokesmen said. It was the fourth bomb explosion
in the southern city within four days and took place shortly after
the arrival of special police forces. Police said they have no
indication as to who may have planted the bombs, one of which
destroyed the house of late communist dictator Enver Hoxha (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 December 1997), "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported.
Meanwhile, seven Italian anti-Mafia investigators arrived in Tirana
to  look into the smuggling of immigrants across the Adriatic. FS

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN GERMANY. At the start of a three-
day visit to Bonn, Emil Constantinescu on 16 December met with his
German counterpart, Roman Herzog, and with Chancellor Helmut
Kohl, an RFE/RL correspondent in Germany reported. The talks
focused on bilateral relations and on Romanian efforts to join Euro-
Atlantic structures. Kohl said Germany's "official policy" is that
Romania should join the EU "as rapidly as possible." Constantinescu
also met with German businessmen and asked them to increase
their investments in his country. He also announced that 1998 will
be "German year" in Romania. MS

ROMANIAN SENATE APPROVES AMENDED EDUCATION LAW
REGULATIONS...  By a vote of 82 to 49, the Senate on 16 December
approved the "Pruteanu version" of government regulations
amending the education law. That version makes the teaching of
history and geography in the Romanian language compulsory in all
schools, permits teaching of Romanian from special manuals for
minorities in grades one to four only, and forbids separate
universities in the languages of ethnic minorities. Bela Marko, the
chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania,
expressed the hope that the Chamber of Deputies will approve a
different version. He also repeated the appeal that the National
Peasant Party Christian Democratic replace George Pruteanu as
chairman of the Senate's Education Commission, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. MS

...WHILE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES REJECTS OPPOSITION
MOTION. By a vote of 136 to 99 with one abstention, the Chamber
of Deputies on 16 December rejected a motion by the opposition
Party of Social Democracy in Romania criticizing the sharp drop in
living standards, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The same
day, however, the ruling coalition again experienced inner turmoil
when Democratic Party deputies joined the opposition to vote
against allowing the government to introduce regulations that take
effect immediately during parliamentary recesses. The resolution
passed by a margin of just one vote. Democratic Party deputies
called for a halt to the practice of ruling by regulation instead of
parliamentary legislation. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT DEFIES IMF. Lawmakers on 16
December amended the 1998 budget to allow a deficit of 600 million
lei (some $128.5 million), which is the equivalent of 6 percent of
GDP. That figure is double the one approved by the legislature on 25
November and violates agreements with the IMF, RFE/RL's Chisinau
bureau reported. Also on 16 December, the parliament approved a
resolution whereby the country's six largest state-owned industrial
enterprises will defer until 2002 payments of debts to the National
Bank and interest on those debts,   Infotag and BASA-press
reported. The resolution was backed by Minister of Finance Valeriu
Chitan. MS

NEW SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC BLOC IN MOLDOVA. The Social
Democratic Party, the Party of Socio-Economic Justice, and the
Radical Youth Organization have set up a joint electoral bloc called
the Union of Justice, Infotag reported on 16 December. They said the
decision was taken "out of concern about the aggravating socio-
economic crisis in the republic [and about] the consolidation of anti-
reform extremist forces and against the background of the general
impoverishment of the population."  The previous day, the
Moldovan Socialist Party set up an electoral alliance with Socialist
Unity-Edinstvo and the Communist Union. MS

IMF RELEASES FOURTH TRANCHE FOR BULGARIA. The IMF on
16 December approved the release to Sofia of a fourth $80 million
installment of a stand-by loan approved in April. Some $160 million
remain to be released,  an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington
reported. The loan agreement is valid until June 1998. MS




xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SUBSCRIBING:
1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName

UNSUBSCRIBING:
1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L

Current and Back Issues
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online
at:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Listen to news for 13 countries
RFE/RL programs for countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus,
Central Asia, Russia and the South Slavic region are online daily at
RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE Broadcast
Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html

Reprint Policy
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address:  RFE/RL,  1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036  USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Laurie Belin, BelinL@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org

Freelance And Occasional Contributors
* Fabian Schmidt
* Matyas Szabo
* Jeremy Bransten
* Jolyon Naegele
* Anthony Wesolowsky
* Julia Guechakov

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole