We are always the same age inside. - Gertrude Stein
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 185, Part II, 23 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

* New Czech Premier Does Not Count on Klaus

* Clinton Puts Pressure on Bosnian Leaders

* Milosevic Declares Milutinovic Serbian President

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

ESTONIAN RUSSIANS SAY MOSCOW DISCRIMINATES
AGAINST THEM. Nikolai Maspanov, the leader of the
Russian Party in Estonia, told BNS 22 December, that he
believed Moscow is discriminating against all residents in
Estonia -- including ethnic Russians -- by imposing a double
customs barrier on Estonian exports. Maspanov said that he
would tell visiting Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Aleksandr Avdeyev that "it is time to free" Estonia and
Estonia's Russians from such discrimination.  PG

MERI: ESTONIA MOVING TOWARD LAW-GOVERNED
STATE.  In an interview published in Luup magazine, BNS
reported 22 December, Estonian President Lennart Meri says
that Estonia is moving toward becoming a law-governed
state but is not there yet. He said that the country's future
depended on the extent to which the constitution was
observed in all its details.  PG

ESTONIA CONCERNED ABOUT BORDER WITH LATVIA.
Estonian interior minister Robert Lepikson told BNS 22
December that the lack of tight control over Estonia's
southern border with Latvia was limiting its ability to
abolish visa requirements with the Schengen countries. He
said: "We can apparently be satisfied with our eastern
border, but we can certainly not be content with our
southern border."  Lepikson indicated that the Estonian
government currently lacks the 50 million kroons ($4
million dollars) needed to bring the the Estonian-Latvian
border up to international standards.   PG

MANEUVERING BEGINS IN ADVANCE OF SECOND
LITHUANIAN VOTE. Immediately after the Election
Commission announced the results of the first round of
voting for a new president, Lithuanian politicians began to
maneuver to support or block one of the two remaining
candidates.  In the first round, Arturas Paulauskas won
45.35 percent of the vote while Valdas Adamkus won 27.89
percent. Conservative party leader Vytautas Landsbergis,
who finished third with 15.85 percent of the vote, on 22
December threw his support behind Adamkus, as did several
other parties. As a result, some polls suggested that
Adamkus might overtake Paulauskas in the second round,
but Paulauskas remained confident in his public statements
that he would win on 4 January. He even suggested that he
might name a new prime minister sometime after that date.
PG

LUKASHENKA TO RUN FOR REELECTION AS BELARUS
PRESIDENT. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told
Interfax 22 December that Minsk would conduct elections
"exactly on time" as defined by the constitution adopted in
November 1996 -- the year 2001 for the presidential vote
and the year 2000 for the parliamentary tally. And he
added that he would be a candidate for reelection.
Lukashenka also said that at present he has no intention of
dissolving the parliament, arguing that it has been working
efficiently. And he added that the opposition in Belarus was
now "scared to death of elections" because it enjoyed so little
popular support.  PG

UKRAINE, CHINA SEEK TO BOOST TRADE. Ukrainian
Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko and Chinese Prime
Minister Li Peng on 22 December signed a series of
agreements and declarations anticipating the expansion of
trade between the two countries, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
The Ukrainian leader stressed that he wanted to diversify
his country's trading partners, while the Chinese leader for
his part praised Kyiv for not establishing ties with Taiwan,
Xinhua reported. The two sides agreed among other things to
establish joint enterprises in the machine building and
fertilizer sectors.  PG

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES ON MANY FRONTS.
The Verkhovna Rada announced 22 December that later this
week it would discuss how to respond to the Council of
Europe's insistence on prohibiting the death penalty, ITAR-
TASS reported. It said, too, that it would consider ratifying
the Russian-Ukrainian treaty. The parliament is also
considering a possible no confidence vote on the current
government, parliament Chairman Aleksandr Moroz said. He
indicated that the Verkhovna Rada will not reconsider a
1989 law defining Ukrainian as the country's state language.
PG

POLISH PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT TO
STREAMLINE FOREIGN POLICY. President Aleksander
Kwasniewski and Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek on 22
December in Warsaw pledged to coordinate their foreign
policy. The move comes ahead of EU entry talks, due to start
in spring 1998. Even though the reform-communist
Kwasniewski and the right-wing coalition government agree
in principle on EU and NATO membership, both sides
expressed concerns that they might clash over issues of
shared responsibility during the negotiations. Kwasniewski
and Geremek proposed to put the government's European
Integration Committee under joint control of Prime Minister
Jerzy Buzek and the Foreign Ministry. The government and
president face four years of cohabitation. Meanwhile, they
agreed to replace a controversial ambassador to Belarus.  FS

POLISH UNEMPLOYMENT STABLE AT 10 PERCENT. The
Central Statistical Office said on 22 December that just over
1.8 million Poles were unemployed at the end of November.
Unemployment thus was the same at 10.3 percent as in
October. The office said that unemployment may rise, since
about 700 enterprises are expected to fire a total of 11,000
employees. Another 19,000 are expected to lose jobs in the
public sector in 1998. FS

NEW CZECH PREMIER DOES NOT COUNT ON KLAUS.
Josef Tosovsky on 22 December said he was not counting on
the participation of his predecessor Vaclav Klaus in the new
government, "Mlada Fronta Dnes" reported. He received Jan
Cerny, head of the parliamentary club of Klaus' Civic
Democratic Party (ODS), for negotiations. Tosovsky said he
would not announce the new government until the new
year. Others participating in the negotiations were outgoing
finance, foreign and trade ministers Ivan Pilip, Jaroslav
Sedivy and Karel Kuhnl as well as Deputy Foreign Minister
Cyril Svoboda and the head of the State Auditing Board
Lubomir Volenik. Pilip, former ODS vice-chairman and a
Klaus critic, said he would take his old job if the ODS
supported him. FS

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS INSIST ON NEW
ELECTIONS. The Social Democratic Party (CSSD) insisted on
22 December that new elections take place in June 1998.
Party leader Milos Zeman said that the new interior
minister, who will be in charge of organizing new elections,
should not be a representative of a political party, "Lidove
noviny" reported. Tosovsky is likely to need CSSD backing to
achieve majority support in parliament after refusing to
cooperate with Klaus. FS

DEPOSITORS FEARING BANKRUPTCY RUN ON SLOVAK
BANK. Thousands of depositors have taken their money out
of Slovakia's Investment and Development Bank (IRB) since
20 December fearing the bank's imminent collapse. The run
started after Central Bank Governor Vladimir Masar
announced on 19 December that he put IRB under the
Central Banks direct administration after discovering a
deficit of about $12 million. Officials are still trying to
determine the actual size of losses that Slovakia's third
largest bank suffered after taking over a steel mill in Kosice
earlier the year. Masar ordered IRB to keep its branches
open throughout Slovakia and pledged to make sure the
bank could pay small investors. FS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CLINTON PUTS PRESSURE ON BOSNIAN LEADERS... U.S.
President Bill Clinton stressed in his individual meetings
with the three members of the joint presidency in Sarajevo
on 22 December that they must do more to implement the
Dayton agreement and rebuild their country (see "RFE/RL
Newsline, 22 December 1997). He made similar points before
a larger audience made up of Bosnia's political and cultural
elite. Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the joint
presidency, met Clinton privately in the morning but
boycotted the larger session. Republika Srpska President
Biljana Plavsic told Clinton that building peace will take
time. She stressed that prosperity is the key to peace. PM

...AND VISITS TROOPS. Clinton went on to Tuzla on 22
December and addressed some of the 8,000 U.S. soldiers
stationed in Bosnia. The president, who recently announced
that the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Bosnia after
SFOR's mandate expires in June, said: "In spite of all you
have done, I think it is imperative that we not stop until the
peace here has a life of its own, until it can endure without
us. We have worked too hard to let this go." (See "RFE/RL
Newsline," 19 December 1997). Clinton, who was
accompanied by former Republican presidential candidate,
former Senator Bob Dole, thanked Congress for supporting
his policies in Bosnia. PM

GERMANY'S KOHL STRESSES PEACEKEEPING. Bosnian
joint presidency Chairman Alija Izetbegovic and Foreign
Minister Jadranko Prlic met Chancellor Helmut Kohl and
Defense Minister Volker Ruehe when the German visitors
arrived at Sarajevo airport on 23 December. Kohl and Ruehe
plan to meet with each of the three members of the joint
presidency, as well as with Bosnian political and religious
leaders. The main purpose of his trip, however, is to talk for
several hours with some of the 2,700 German peacekeepers
stationed around Sarajevo. The "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote that Kohl wants to use his last trip abroad of
1997 to underscore the German army's role in international
peacekeeping. PM

CANADA TO HELP WAR CRIMES WITNESSES. A  Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman said in Ottawa on 22 December that
Canada is negotiating with the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal about enabling witnesses to emigrate to Canada
under special, favorable conditions. The program is designed
to encourage witnesses to speak out by offering them a new
home away from possible threats of retaliation in the former
Yugoslavia,  the Vienna daily "Die Presse" reported. PM

MILOSEVIC DECLARES MILUTINOVIC SERBIAN
PRESIDENT... Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
announced in Belgrade on 22 December that his own
candidate, Milan Milutinovic, won the Serbian presidential
election the previous day, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from the Serbian capital (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22
December 1997). Serbian Election Commission officials said
that Milutinovic took 58.66 percent of the vote, as against
38.14 percent for his challenger, Vojislav Seselj of the
ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The commission
also stated that 50.53 percent of registered voters turned
out to cast their ballots, thereby making the vote valid. PM

...WHILE SESELJ CLAIMS FRAUD. Dragan Todorovic, the
SRS campaign chairman, said in Belgrade on 22 December
that the real turnout had been only 49.33 percent, which
would make the vote invalid. He said that the SRS will
demand that the government set up a special commission to
investigate possible election fraud. Todorovic charged that
there were widespread irregularities at some polling stations
in Kosovo, where the ethnic Albanian majority boycotted the
elections. Spokesmen for Serbian opposition leader Zoran
Djindjic told the Vienna daily "Die Presse" of 23 December
that Djindjic and his supporters feared electoral fraud all
along and hence boycotted the campaign and the vote. PM

OSCE SLAMS SERBIAN VOTE... Representatives of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in
Belgrade on 22 December that Serbian authorities had failed
to implement OSCE recommendations for improving the
electoral process. The OSCE officials noted that some polling
stations in Kosovo that did not open eventually reported a
voter turnout of 100 percent. PM

...BUT ALBANIA, RUSSIA PRAISE IT. Albanian Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo said on state-run television in Tirana
on 22 December that Milutinovic's election shows that Serbia
has distanced itself from its "warmongering policies of the
past," Belgrade's BETA news agency reported. Milo added
that regional stability will depend on Serbia's respecting "the
legitimate rights of the Kosovars" and observing agreements
it has concluded regarding Kosovo. Milo said that
Milutinovic's election shows that Serbia is "serious" about
meeting its obligations. And in Moscow, the Russian news
agency Interfax reported that an unnamed Foreign Ministry
source hailed Milutinovic's election as a victory for a "sober-
minded approach to the difficult problems the republic
faces." The source added that a Radical victory "could have
had the most unpredictable consequences both for Serbia
itself and for the region as a whole." PM

MORE BOMBS IN VUKOVAR. A Serbian Orthodox church
building was slightly damaged and a UN policeman wounded
in separate hand grenade attacks in Vukovar on 22
December. Croatian police said they are holding seven people
in connection with the attacks, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Zagreb. The grenade attacks are the latest in a
series of incidents in the runup to 15 January, when eastern
Slavonia returns to full Croatian sovereignty. The last Serb-
held enclave in Croatia is currently under a temporary UN
administration, although elements of Croatian rule have
been gradually reintroduced under the terms of the 1995
Erdut agreement between Serbia and Croatia. PM

CROATIAN MEDIA TRIAL ADJOURNED. A Zagreb judge
on 22 December adjourned a trial of two independent
journalists charged with slandering President Franjo
Tudjman (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 December 1997). The
judge said that he needs more historical background
information to decide whether the journalists' comparison of
certain of Tudjman's policies to those of the late Spanish
dictator Gen. Francisco Franco was indeed slanderous. PM

ALBANIAN JUDGES STAGE HUNGER STRIKE. Twelve
Albanian judges, who were trained in six months courses in
1993 staged a hunger strike in Tirana's district court on 22
December. Police broke up the protest. They were protesting
against a law that requires judges and prosecutors to hold
university degrees. The law would disqualify over 400
prosecutors and judges who went through the controversial
courses. Justice Minister Thimio Kondi told VOA's Albanian
service on 23 December that the strike was illegal and the
protests politically motivated. Most of the students of the
courses were hand selected by the then governing
Democratic Party. Former President Sali Berisha, meanwhile,
accused the government of "attacking the independence of
the courts." FS

ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA PRESIDENT RETURNS
HOME. Ramiz Alia, Albania's last communist president
returned to Tirana on 22 December, border officials at the
airport told "Koha Jone." The 72 year old Alia fled from jail
in March, during a popular revolt in which prisons were
opened. He took refuge to France and Sweden. Alia, two
former interior ministers and a chief prosecutor were
acquitted in October of killing 58 people who tried to flee
the country between 1990 and 1992. The Supreme Court
earlier ruled that 32 other communists officials could not be
sentenced for acts that were not considered a crime at the
time. FS

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS BOYCOTT CONSTITUTIONAL
COMMISSION. The Democratic Party refused to participate
in a meeting of a parliament commission that is preparing a
constitution, ATSH reported. All political parties were
invited to the meeting on 22 December in Tirana. The
Council of Europe had urged the Democrats to participate in
the drafting process in order to achieve a broad political
consensus over the new constitution. FS


ROMANIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS BOYCOTT
PARLIAMENT'S SESSION. Ex-president Ion Iliescu's Social
Democratic Party (PDSR), boycotted a special parliamentary
session on 22 December, commemorating the Romanian
revolution. Iliescu argued with prosecutors' plans to
question him over his role during the 1989 uprising which
brought his party to power. Prosecutors are also
investigating post-communist defense and interior ministers
Victor Stanculescu and Mihai Chitac over their role as army
generals in the shooting of 72 demonstrators in Timisoara.
More than 1,000 people were killed throughout the country
during the revolt. Iliescu's successor, Emil Constantinescu,
pledged to reveal the truth about the role of the communist
secret service in the events. FS

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF
FOREIGN MINISTER. Emil Constantinescu on 22 December
said that Foreign Minister Adrian Severin should resign. He
made the remarks after two intelligence agencies reported
to the Supreme Defense Council that they found no evidence
supporting allegations by Severin that several party leaders
and newspaper editors were foreign agents. Severin's
allegations had sparked rows within the government
coalition three months ago. At the time Constantinescu tried
to defuse the conflict by ordering an investigation into the
matter. Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea also said that he
would ask the foreign minister to resign should his
allegations prove false. FS

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