|Coleridge declares that a man cannot have a good conscience who refuses apple dumplings, and I confess that I am of the same opinion. - Charles Lamb|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 188, Part II, 5 January 1998
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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * ADAMKUS WINS LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE * CZECH PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW GOVERNMENT * KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY SAYS ARMED STRUGGLE HAS BEGUN xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE ADAMKUS WINS LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY VOTE. According to unofficial returns reported by Lithuanian Radio on 5 January, Valdas Adamkus narrowly defeated Arturas Paulauskas in the runoff for the Lithuanian presidency the previous day. Some 1,914,477 votes were cast, of which 0.08 percent were declared invalid. Of the valid ballots, Adamkus received 50.29 percent, and Paulausas 49.71 percent. Because fewer than 11,000 votes separated the two candidates, a court challenge is likely. Adamkus had sharply criticized Paulauskas when the latter's campaign chief recently published an article in the Vilnius newspaper "Respublika" comparing Lithuanian Americans, of whom Adamkus is one, to Soviet occupiers. Paulauskas responded by criticizing Adamkus supporters who had pointed to his ties with the old communist nomenklatura and suggested that Paulauskas may try to return many of its members to power. PG CZECH PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW GOVERNMENT... Vaclav Havel on 2 January appointed a 16-member cabinet headed by former Central Bank governor Josef Tosovsky. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has four cabinet members, all of whom belong to the party's so-called rebel faction: Finance Minister Ivan Pilip, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Stanislav Volak, Defense Minister Michal Lobkowicz, and Regional Development Minister Jan Cerny. Other key members are Foreign Minister Jaroslav Sedivy (non-affiliated), Interior Minister Cyril Svoboda (Christian Democrats), and Justice Minister Vlasta Parkanova (Civic Democratic Alliance). There are a total of seven non- affiliated ministers. The parliament has 30 days in which to approve the new government. FS ...BUT FORMER PREMIER DEMANDS REBEL MINISTERS LEAVE HIS PARTY. Former Premier and ODS leader Vaclav Klaus on 4 January requested that the four rebel ministers either leave his party or resign their cabinet posts. Otherwise, he stressed, he will support the new government. Meanwhile, ODS Deputy Chairman Miroslav Macek has accused Havel of trying to limit the influence of political parties so that he can fill the vacuum and rule in an "elitist way." The main opposition Social Democratic Party has said that it will support the new government only if elections are scheduled for June. FS ESTONIA REJECTS PRIMAKOV'S NEUTRALITY PROPOSAL. Sulev Kannike, the director of the Estonian Foreign Ministry's department of political analysis and planning, said on 31 December that his country rejects Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's suggestion that neutrality would offer the Baltic States the greatest possible security, BNS reported. As if to underline that stance, the Estonian Foreign Ministry on 1 January announced plans to open a permanent mission at NATO headquarters later this month. PG ESTONIA'S MERI AGAIN REFUSES TO SIGN AMENDED LANGUAGE LAW. President Lennart Meri has again refused to sign a bill amending the language law, ETA and BNS reported on 2 January. Meri vetoed the bill in December, but the parliament returned it to the president unaltered. Meri argues that the amended legislation violates the constitution because it delegates too much power to the executive branch to determine the degree of proficiency of non-Estonians in the state language, particularly of parliamentary deputies and local government officials. On 30 December, Meri appealed to the Supreme Court to declare the bill unconstitutional. JC ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO INTEGRATE RUSSIAN SPEAKERS. Nationalities minister Andra Veidemann has adopted a new policy designed to integrate Russian-speaking residents into Estonian society, Interfax reported on 31 December. The new program is to focus on children, particularly on improving Estonian-language instruction in schools. Also on 31 December, however, BNS reported that the Estonian government granted citizenship to 8,132 people in 1997, down from 22,772 the previous year. At the same time, a study conducted by the Estonian Academy of Sciences found that Russian speakers in Estonia are "quite interested" in integrating into Estonian society. PG NO DEFICIT EXPECTED IN LATVIA'S 1997 BUDGET. Finance Minister Roberts Zile has forecast that there will be no deficit in the 1997 state budget, BNS reported on 4 January. He told journalists in Riga that he expects a small surplus, despite increased government spending in December. As of 18 December, annual budget revenues exceeded expenditures by 24.6 million lats (some $42 million). JC UKRAINE TO MOVE AGAINST SHADOW ECONOMY. Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko on 3 January said that Kyiv plans to step up its efforts against the shadow economy, ITAR-TASS reported. Economics Minister Viktor Suslov said this part of the economy, largely unregulated and untaxed, currently accounts for some 43 percent of the country's GDP. In other economic developments, the parliament on 30 December approved the 1998 budget, and the government announced plans to establish up to 15 free economic zones modeled on those in China, the Kyiv daily "Den" reported on 2 January. PG UKRAINIAN, POLISH PRESIDENTS VISIT JOINT BATTALION. Leonid Kuchma and his Polish counterpart, Alexander Kwasniewski, visited the Ukrainian-Polish peacekeeping battalion at its Yavorov training site on 3 January , ITAR-TASS reported. Earlier, the two men opened a new border post at Krakowiec-Korczow to handle the increasing volume of traffic between the two countries and to serve as a link between the Baltic and Black Sea regions. PG POLISH SOLIDARITY TO SUE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT OVER BUDGET... Solidarity Electoral Alliance (AWS) leader Marian Krzaklewski told "Gazeta Wyborcza" on 1 January that the AWS will take former Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Finance Minister Marek Belka to court for not submitting the 1998 budget by the end of September 1997. Krzaklewski claims the former government missed the deadline stipulated by the constitution for submitting the draft budget to the parliament. The former Social Democrat- led government left office in October, following the victory of the AWS in the 21 September elections. The constitution allows for a delay in submitting the budget under exceptional circumstances. FS ...AFTER FAILING TO OVERTURN PRESIDENTIAL VETOES. Social Democratic representative Marek Borowski on 2 January said the AWS's decision to sue the previous government was prompted by frustration over its failure to have the parliament overrule a presidential veto on 30 December. President Aleksander Kwasniewski had vetoed bills ending sex education at schools and cutting increases in army pensions (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 December 1997). The government wanted $14.5 million currently used for both programs to be channeled into the reconstruction efforts following the massive floods in July. The coalition was seven votes short of the three-fifths majority necessary to overrule Kwasniewski. FS SLOVAK PRESIDENT SLAMS GOVERNMENT. Michal Kovac said in his New Year's address on 31 December that during its five years of independence, Slovakia has failed to establish democratic standards. He blamed Vladimir Meciar's government for that state of affairs, arguing that political rather than economic reasons prevented Slovakia from being included among the first candidates for NATO and EU membership. Kovac also stressed that he will not be running in the presidential elections scheduled for later this year. FS FRANCE TO SUPPLY MISSILES TO HUNGARY. Matra BAe Dynamics, a French-British joint venture, is to deliver the first 60 of some 200 Mistral missiles to Hungary by the end of March, Hungarian Defense Ministry officials said on 3 January. The missiles will be stored in northern Hungary, while the remaining weapons will be delivered before the end of 1999. Hungary intends to integrate the missiles into its defense system in 2000, the officials said. In other news, a Hungarian army general said that NATO-led SFOR paid the Hungarian army $60 million in 1997 to use its military bases. Some 80 percent of the payments came from U.S. troops based in Taszar. MSZ SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY SAYS ARMED STRUGGLE HAS BEGUN. The clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) issued a statement in Pristina on 4 January saying it is the armed force of the Kosovo Albanians and has begun the fight for the unification of Kosovo with Albania. The text explained that armed and uniformed UCK representatives had made their first public appearance on 28 November, the Albanian national holiday, in order to underscore those points (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 December 1997). PM SERBIAN PATRIARCH CONDEMNS KOSOVO CRACKDOWN. Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church on 3 January condemned the violent breakup by Serbian police of peaceful student protests in Pristina, Djakovica, and Pec on 30 December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 December 1997). At least 82 Kosovars were injured. In a statement released to Belgrade media, Pavle said the police not only "broke the rules [regulating peaceful protest] but besmirched the honor of the country where we live." He called for an Albanian-Serbian dialogue and for compromise. Pavle said the Albanians, for their part, should recognize that Serbia is their country and not equate Serbia with the current regime. In Pristina, Vice President Fehmi Agani of the Democratic League of Kosovo welcomed Pavle's announcement but added that key differences remain between the patriarch and the Kosovars. PM KOSOVARS TO CONTINUE PROTESTS. Kosovar student spokesmen said in Pristina on 4 January that they will continue their protests, BETA news agency reported. Also in Pristina, opposition coalition leader Adem Demaci said on 1 January that the danger of a "worsening of the situation between the Kosovars and the Serbian authorities" is much greater now than it was six months ago. For this state of affairs, he partly blamed the current Kosovar leadership of shadow-state Ibrahim Rugova, who, Demaci charged, bases his policies on wishful thinking. The previous day, Rugova expressed his concern over the police action, which officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also condemned. PM TIRANA SLAMS SERBIAN REPRESSION. The Albanian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 1 January criticizing the police crackdown in Pristina. "The violence, the ill- treatment, and the arrest of students and their teachers are counter to the desire to Europeanize the Balkans, which Belgrade supported at the Balkan summit on Crete" on 3-4 November, the statement read. The Albanian ministry called for a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. PM HARD-LINERS WARNED IN MONTENEGRO. Svetozar Marovic, the speaker of the Montenegrin parliament and an ally of reformist President Milo Djukanovic, said in Podgorica on 1 January that outgoing President Momir Bulatovic is preparing his followers for an armed confrontation with the reformers and with the Albanian and Muslim minorities. On 4 January, State Prosecutor Vladimir Susovic and spokesmen for the Interior Ministry warned Bulatovic's supporters that they may be prosecuted if their rallies lead to violence. PM DJUKANOVIC SAYS BELGRADE TO BLAME FOR OWN PROBLEMS. President-elect Djukanovic told "Nasa Borba" of 1 January that Yugoslavia's isolation and poverty are largely its own fault and not the result of an international conspiracy against the Serbs. Djukanovic called Belgrade "suicidal" for having believed in the early 1990s that international sanctions would actually help Yugoslavia by forcing it to develop its own economic resources and live within its means. He said that the worst problem was that the Belgrade leadership came to believe its own propaganda and see itself as a victim of ill-willed foreigners. Meanwhile, "Nasa Borba" named Djukanovic its "man of the year" for 1997 because of his role in promoting political change in Yugoslavia. PM YUGOSLAV ARMS CACHES FOUND IN SLAVONIA. UN police, acting on an anonymous tip-off, found 100 crates of arms belonging to the former Yugoslav army hidden in a canal near Vukovar on 1 January. The containers included rocket-launchers, heavy machine-guns, and various kinds of ammunition. In other news, Croatian Deputy Interior Minister Josko Moric said in Zagreb on 30 December that three Croatian reserve policemen in eastern Slavonia have been fired following a brawl with Serbian civilians near Osijek the previous week. He also pledged to press charges against the three. PM BOSNIAN SERB HARD-LINERS REJECT PLAVSIC'S PREMIER. Aleksa Buha of the Serbian Democratic Party and Nikola Poplasen of the Serbian Radical Party said in Bijeljina on 3 January that they will not enter a government of national unity as proposed by Mladen Ivanic, the prime- minister designate of Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic. Buha and Poplasen added that they advised Ivanic to ask Plavsic to nominate someone else as premier (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 December 1997). PM WESTENDORP SETS DEADLINE ON LICENSE PLATES. Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief representative in Bosnia, said in Sarajevo on 30 December that he will use his new executive powers to decree a unified license plate design for all Bosnia if the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims do not agree on one by the end of January. An international conference in Bonn on 9-10 January gave Westendorp the authority to make decisions that the leaderships of the three ethnic groups have been unwilling or unable to take. Many observers feel there can be no freedom of movement in Bosnia as long as each ethnic group has its own license plates, which makes it easy for hard- liners to spot and intimidate people of other ethnic groups. PM ALBANIAN PREMIER PLEDGES NEW CONSTITUTION IN 1998. Fatos Nano said in his New Year's address that he is determined to give the country a new constitution in 1998. The previous government failed to adopt a new constitution by referendum in December 1994. Nano pointed out that instabililty in the country has been "provoked by the void left by having no constitution." He said that the basic law would be put to a referendum once it had been approved by the parliament. FS ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER WANTS DEATH PENALTY. Neritan Ceka said on 30 December that he favors the reintroduction of death penalty. Albania has not formally abolished capital punishment but has been banned from carrying out the death sentence since its admission to the Council of Europe in August 1995. The council has stipulated that the parliament must abolish the death penalty within a "reasonable" time frame. Ceka also noted that only 10 percent of the 1 million arms looted in 1997 have been returned to the authorities. FS GREECE TO HELP REORGANIZE ALBANIA'S NAVY. Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos has pledged to help reorganize the Albanian Navy and upgrade the ports of Saranda and Durres. During a two-day visit to Tirana on 29- 30 December, he proposed creating a common security institution for the Balkans. Athens has said it will assist Tirana with funds to build apartments for army officers and help revive Albania's military industry. Greece has already helped rebuild the military hospital in Tirana and is planing to improve the capital's military airport. FS ROYAL SUCCESSION PROVOKES CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA. President Emil Constantinescu said in a 3 January televised address that changing the form of government from a republic to a monarchy would be an "illegal and immoral act." His statement came in response to former King Michael's announcement on 30 December that he intends to designate his eldest daughter, Princess Margaret, as his successor and that he and his family will spend as much time as possible in Romania. The previous day, Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea had said that if the former monarch wants to return to the country, he must respect the existing constitution, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The Party of Social Democracy in Romania has threatened to initiate proceedings to suspend Constantinescu for allegedly encouraging the restoration of the monarchy. MS EXTREMIST ROMANIAN LEADER ATTACKS CONSTANTINESCU. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the extremist Greater Romania Party, has said that President Constantinescu is "guilty of high treason," Radio Bucharest reported on 4 January. He argued that Constantinescu is guilty of bringing about the loss of Romanian territories" by signing the basic treaty with Ukraine. He also held the president responsible for the coming to power of the "separatists' organization" representing ethnic Hungarians in Romania and accused him of "undermining the national economy." On 23 December, Prosecutor-General Sorin Moisescu asked the parliament to lift Tudor's immunity for insulting the president. The request followed Tudor's 19 December statement claiming that Constantinescu is a "secret agent" whose policies seek to reward "those who brought him to power." MS OFFICIAL CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ROMANIAN FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER. The Prosecutor-General's Office on 30 December officially charged General Victor Stanculescu with having ordered troops to fire on demonstrators in Timisoara in December 1989 , RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. No date has been set for the trial. Stanculescu was defense minister in 1990-1991. In related news, Prosecutor-General Sorin Moisescu said on 19 December that his office has not yet opened a "criminal investigation" into the role that former President Ion Iliescu played in the December 1989 events. MS MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES 1998 BUDGET. The Moldovan parliament on 29 December approved next year's budget, which, in line with IMF and World Bank recommendations, provides for a deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP. The parliament also approved freezing the debts of state companies accumulated until 1 January 1997, provided that those companies pay their debts to the state budget accumulated since that date. MS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc. 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