The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 189, Part II, 6 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

* UKRAINE'S KUCHMA ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO CUT
SPENDING

* PLAVSIC STANDS BY PRIME MINISTER

* KOSOVO STUDENTS URGE PEACEFUL SOLUTION

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE'S KUCHMA ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO CUT
SPENDING. President Leonid Kuchma has told the cabinet
that it must cut spending rather than seek new revenues in
order to lower the budget deficit in 1998 and thus reduce
the need for foreign borrowing, Interfax reported on 5
January, quoting Kuchma's adviser Anatoliy Galchinskiy.  In
the past, Kyiv has stressed improving tax collection, rather
than cutting expenditures, as the best way to reduce the
budget deficit. PG

UKRAINE INSISTS BRITAIN YIELD EMBASSY
BUILDING.  The Ukrainian government is insisting that the
United Kingdom give up an embassy building in Kyiv
because of concerns that embassy officials may overhear
conversations of President Kuchma, who lives next door, the
newspaper "Vseukrayinskiye vedomosti" reported on 5
January. Questions of compensation have not yet been
resolved, the newspaper said. PG

BELARUSIAN COURT AGAIN POSTPONES ORT
JOURNALISTS' TRIAL. A Belarusian court on 5 January
again postponed the trial of Russian Public Television
journalist Pavel Sheremet and his cameraman Dmitriy
Zavadskiy, RFE/RL's Belarusian service reported. The reason
for this further delay is that Zavadskiy's lawyer is ill, The
trial is now scheduled to begin on 8 January. The two men
are charged with illegally crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian
border. Their case has strained relations between Minsk and
Moscow. PG

ESTONIA'S COALITION PARTY TO GO IT ALONE IN
NEXT ELECTIONS? Prime Minister and Coalition Party
Chairman Mart Siimann has said that his party and one of its
coalition partners, the Country's People's Party, are prepared
to run separately in the next elections, BNS reported on 5
January. At the same time, Siimann did not rule out an
electoral alliance between the Coalition Party and its present
partners, since, he stressed, cooperation between those
groups has "passed the test of time." In a December poll, the
Country People's Party won the most support (12 percent),
while the Coalition Party gained 7 percent backing. JC

LITHUANIA'S PAULAUSKAS WANTS BALLOT
RECOUNT. Arturas Paulauskas, who was defeated in the
run-off of the presidential elections, has said he wants a
recount of ballots in a number of constituencies. Paulauskas
lost by less than one percentage point (or some 11,000
votes) to the Lithuanian-American Valdas Adamkus (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 1998). Paulauskas told a news
conference in Vilnius on 5 January that because the outcome
was so close, ballots must be carefully recounted. He also
noted that violations of the election law were reported in
Kaunas and some western districts, according to BNS. JC

POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY CAUSES CZECH CROWN TO
FALL. The Czech crown dropped from 19.37 to 19.51
against the German mark on 5 January , following former
Premier Vaclav Klaus' statement that his party will not
support Josef Tosovsky's cabinet unless four rebel members
of his Civic Democratic Party (ODS) quit their government
posts (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1998). Quoting local
currency dealers, Reuters reported that the crown is likely
to remain volatile at least until the parliament confirms the
new cabinet. In related news, minister without portfolio and
government spokesman Vladimir Mlynar has said the
cabinet wants to face a parliamentary vote of confidence
only after legislators meet to elect the country's president on
20 January. MS

CZECH 'REBEL' MINISTERS REFUSE TO EXPLAIN
PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT. The ODS Executive
Council on 5 December demanded that Finance Minister Ivan
Pilip, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Stanislav Volak, and
Defense Minister Michal Lobkowicz leave a council meeting
at which their participation in the government was to be
discussed, Reuters reported. The council had demanded that
the three ministers explain their acceptance of portfolios in
Tosovsky's cabinet, but the ministers refused to do and
walked out. Regional Development Minister Jan Cerny was
allowed to attend the council meeting in his capacity as
chairman of the ODS parliamentary faction. Asked whether
he would quit the ODS, Pilip said he is still considering his
options. MS

HUNGARIAN SMALLHOLDERS CALL FOR OPPOSITION
UNITY. In a 5 January statement signed by party chairman
Jozsef Torgyan, the Independent Smallholders called for
setting up a "united front of nationalist parties" in the
second round of the spring 1998 elections, Hungarian media
reported. The party proposes that opposition candidates who
fare worst in the first round step down in favor of those who
do better. It also urges that "nationally minded forces" unite
to remove the "liberal-bolshevik" government from power.
Democratic Forum spokesman Karoly Herenyi welcomed the
initiative, saying the cohesion of opposition forces in the
second round is a "rational idea." Young Democrat national
board chairman Attila Varhegyi said his party also wants
the  removal of the current coalition. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PLAVSIC STANDS BY PRIME MINISTER. Republika
Srpska President Biljana Plavsic expressed her full
confidence in Mladen Ivanic, her prime minister-designate,
following their meeting in Banja Luka on 5 January. Plavsic
said she believes that Ivanic will succeed in forming a
government of national unity, despite the hard-liners' recent
rejection of his proposal that a cabinet be formed consisting
of both politicians and experts, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from Banja Luka (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January
1998). PM

BOSNIAN CROAT LEADER CALLS SERBS "NATURAL
ALLIES." Kresimir Zubak, the Croatian member of the
Bosnian joint presidency, told the Zagreb weekly "Globus"
that the Bosnian Croats' problem is that they are joined in a
federation with the Muslims, who seek to dominate the
alliance, "Oslobodjenje" reported on 5 January. Zubak said
that the Muslims are preventing tens of thousands of Croats
from returning to their homes in central Bosnia. He added
that it is often easier for him to negotiate with his Serbian
counterpart, Momcilo Krajisnik, than with the Muslims' Alija
Izetbegovic. Zubak accused the Muslims of trying to make
Sarajevo, which the Dayton agreement regards as
multiethnic, into a purely Muslim area. He added that the
Serbs and Croats have a common interest in blocking
"Muslim attempts" at dominating Bosnia's joint institutions,
such as the diplomatic corps. PM

MUSLIMS SAY ZUBAK WANTS PARTITION. On 6
January, the Sarajevo Muslim daily "Dnevni avaz" quoted
Izetbegovic's adviser Mirza Hajric as saying that Zubak's
ideas reflect "long standing plans" by Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman and his Yugoslav counterpart, Slobodan
Milosevic, to partition Bosnia between their two countries.
Hajric also denied Zubak's charges that the Muslims want
special territorial advantages. PM

IZETBEGOVIC CALLS "NEW YUGOSLAVIA"
IMPOSSIBLE. The Muslim leader believes that it is no
longer possible to recreate a multi-ethnic Yugoslavia on the
model of Josip Broz Tito's former state, "Dnevni avaz"
reported on 5 January. Izetbegovic called for strengthening
Bosnia's joint institutions as the best means of opposing
Serbian and Croatian nationalist plans to partition Bosnia. He
added that a strong Bosnia is ultimately in the interest of
Croatia, since both countries face a common rival in Serbia.
Izetbegovic said he would also welcome good relations
between Bosnia and Montenegro. He noted that there will be
a role for foreign peacekeepers in Bosnia well beyond the
year 2000. PM

SPANISH KING PRAISES PEACEKEEPERS.  King Juan
Carlos spent his 60th birthday on 5 January among the
1,300 Spanish troops in Mostar and Medjugorje in
Herzegovina. He was joined by two top Spanish diplomats--
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia. The king praised the peacekeepers'
work and said they should stay "until there is a triumph of
understanding and tolerance between communities, based
on a durable peace in the former Yugoslavia." Some 18
Spanish soldiers have died since Madrid first sent troops to
the former Yugoslavia in 1992. PM

MULTIETHNIC POLICE IN ACTION. Robert Farrand, the
international community's chief representative for the
disputed northeast Bosnian town of Brcko, said in Sarajevo
on 5 January that the multi-ethnic Brcko police force is
working well and without serious incident. The 230-strong
force consisting of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims took up its
duties on 3 January. Japan and the UN donated $250,000
worth of equipment to the police force. PM

CROATIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS SLAM VAT.
Spokesmen for the Social Democrats, Croatia's largest
opposition party, said in Zagreb on 5 January that the new
value-added tax hits the poorest Croats the hardest. Party
leaders added that the tax could lead to a dramatic rise in
unemployment and to a profound worsening of social
conditions, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb.
The 22 percent VAT went into effect on 1 January and is
currently the most discussed domestic political issue. PM

ANNAN WANTS FRESH MANDATE IN CROATIA. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in New York on 5 January
that the UN observers' mission on Croatia's Prevlaka
peninsula should be extended for another six months. Annan
said the extension is necessary because Yugoslavia and
Croatia are still far from an agreement on the future of the
strategic peninsula, which controls access to Yugoslavia's
only major naval base. PM

CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER UNDERGOES SURGERY.
A team of medical consultants announced in Zagreb on 6
January that Gojko Susak underwent an unspecified
successful emergency operation two days earlier after
experiencing sudden pains in the region of his appendix. The
powerful hard-line leader has a history of health problems
and underwent lung cancer surgery in the U.S. in 1995. PM

RUSSIAN LOAN FOR YUGOSLAVIA. The Russian
government approved a $150 million state loan to
Yugoslavia on 27 December, Interfax reported on 5 January.
The loan runs until the year 2000 and will be used to pay
for Russian supplies of gas and other products in the energy,
mining, and metallurgy sectors. PM

KOSOVO STUDENTS URGE PEACEFUL SOLUTION.
Kosovar student leaders on 5 January called for a peaceful
and democratic solution to the current tensions in Serbia's
mainly ethnic Albanian province. The students thanked
Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle for his recent criticism of
police violence but urged him to make a complete and public
break with the Serbian government and its repressive
methods (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1998). Kosovar
Social Democratic leaders, for their part, appealed in an open
letter to all Serbs to condemn Belgrade's policies in the
province, "Nasa Borba" reported. PM

EXPLOSIONS IN MACEDONIA. Police spokesmen said in
Skopje on 5 January that one bomb went off the previous
day near a police garage in Kumanovo and another in a
police car in Prilep. No injuries were reported. Police
appealed to citizens for information relating to the blasts.
PM

KURDS STOPPED AT ALBANIAN BORDER. Interior
Ministry spokesmen said in Tirana on 6 January that border
police detained 18 Kurds the previous day at a frontier
crossing with Greece near Saranda. Police said the young
males were headed for the ports of Durres and Vlora, from
where they planned to proceed to Italy with the help of
Albanian criminal organizations. The Albanian authorities
detained nine Kurds the previous week. Albania reached
agreements with Italy and with Greece in 1997 aimed at
controlling illegal migrants. PM

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA OVER ROYAL
SUCCESSION. In a 5 January statement, the opposition
Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) said President
Emil Constantinescu's position on the republican form of
government was "weak and unsatisfactory." The PDSR also
accused the government of pursuing a "two-faced" policy on
the monarchy, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Party
chairman Ion Iliescu said the government should
"unambiguously condition" the presence of the former royal
family in Romania on a "firm and clear" declaration that it
renounces any claims to a royal status or to the former
crown properties. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the
extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM), demanded, among
other things, the "immediate expulsion of Mihai von
Hohenzollern and his family" from Romania and President
Constantinescu's suspension from office. MS

EXTREMIST ROMANIAN LEADER WILL NOT LOSE
IMMUNITY. Iliescu on 5 January said his party will oppose
the prosecutor-general's initiative to lift the parliamentary
immunity of PRM leader Tudor for having insulted President
Constantinescu (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1998).
Without the support of the PDSR, the initiative will fail to
achieve the required two-thirds majority to pass. In 1996,
an similar initiative was started against Tudor for having
insulted then  President Ion Iliescu. After losing the
elections at the end of that year, and intent on promoting
collaboration with Tudor's PRM, the PDSR refused to support
an initiative of the coalition members to continue the
procedural steps undertaken by previous legislature toward
stripping Tudor of his immunity. MS

ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW AGAIN ON AGEN DA. Ion
Diaconescu, the chairman of the National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic (PNTCD), said on 5 January that the
coalition will respect agreements with the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) when the
government regulation amending the 1995 education law
comes up for debate in the Chamber of Deputies. Diaconescu
said the PNTCD will nonetheless continue to insist on the
obligatory teaching in all schools of history and geography in
Romanian. Meanwhile, UDMR executive chairman Csaba
Takacs told Mediafax on 5 January that if the chamber
adopts the version approved by the Senate, the UDMR will
"no longer discuss quitting the coalition but will implement
that step." MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES CHIEF OF STAFF.
Petru Lucinschi has dismissed army chief of staff Vladimir
Dontul, AFP reported on 5 January, citing Interfax. The
decision was taken on 2 January, following a meeting
between the president and the Defense Ministry Council,
which last month had demanded that Lucinschi sack Dontul.
The military leader is alleged to have been involved in the
illegal sale of army property, including 850 kilometers of
communication cable worth $ 300,000, and in illicit dealings
with apartments built for military staff. An investigation is
under way, and it is reported that other high-ranking
officers may have been involved in the dealings. MS

BULGARIAN POLICE SEIZE HEROIN.  Police in Sofia have
seized 30 kilograms of heroin worth some $ 3 million,  the
Ministry of Interior announced on 5 January. A Bulgarian
and a Turkish citizen have been arrested in connection with
the seizure, Reuters reported. MS

BOSNIA LOOKS TOWARD DAYTON'S THIRD YEAR

by Patrick Moore

Two years after the Dayton peace agreement went into force,
Bosnia-Herzegovina faces problems related to the role of the
international community in implementing the treaty,
domestic political factors, and economic development.
        If there is anything on which most observers of the
Bosnian scene are agreed, it is that the military provisions of
the Dayton agreement have generally been well
implemented. The international peacekeepers--currently
known as SFOR--have taken a no-nonsense approach toward
any serious violations and have been quick to seize unlawful
arms caches or to punish any party that stages illegal
maneuvers. An immediate return to fighting would
therefore seem out of the question, at least as long as the
peacekeepers are present.
        It is less clear, however, how Dayton's civilian
provisions have been implemented. But Most observers
would say that there have been at least three serious
shortcomings in implementing the civilian provisions and
that time for enforcing them is running out.
        The first is the creation of joint Bosnian institutions,
which are clearly outlined in the peace agreement. The Serbs
have been particularly obstinate in boycotting sessions of
the joint presidency or blocking an agreement on a common
citizenship. This is because any consolidation of a unified
Bosnia works against the Serbian hard-line goal of dividing
that country and joining the Republika Srpska to Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic's state.
        In response to the Serbs' stone-walling, leaders of the
international community agreed in Bonn in early December
that Carlos Westendorp, the international community's main
representative, should have the power to set and enforce
deadlines to ensure compliance with the civilian provisions.
A key question in 1998 will be whether he uses his powers
and whether the major powers and SFOR support him.
        A second issue is freedom of movement and the right
of refugees to return to their homes. To date, Bosnia remains
divided by internal frontiers, and few if any refugees have
gone home to an area controlled by another ethnic group. In
September 1997, the international community sponsored
local elections, in which refugees were allowed to cast ballots
for governments in their home areas. The coming months
will show whether the major powers are prepared to enforce
the results of the vote so that, for example, Muslim refugees
can return to Srebrenica and take part in the affairs of the
local council.
        A third problem is posed by war criminals. Dayton
allows for the peacekeepers to arrest individuals indicted by
the Hague tribunal if the soldiers come face-to-face with
them. In July, British special forces arrived in Bosnia to
arrest two Serbs, while in December Dutch commandos
seized two Croats. But reports persist of SFOR personnel
deliberately looking the other way when well-known war
criminals drive past NATO checkpoints or even drink in the
same bars as the peacekeepers. SFOR officials argue that it is
not their job to hunt war criminals. SFOR's critics, however,
maintain that there will be no peace in Bosnia until persons
indicted by The Hague are brought to justice, and stress that
it is intolerable that major figures like Radovan Karadzic and
General Ratko Mladic remain free.
        In December, the Hague's Chief Prosecutor Louise
Arbour openly accused France of blocking the court's work.
In any event, it remains to be seen whether the British and
Dutch actions will prove to be isolated ones.
        But if the foreigners bear responsibility for many of
the post-Dayton problems, so do the former Yugoslavs. But
while the hard-line Serbs in Pale have been the main
obstructionists, since late June they have been openly
opposed by Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic and
her alternative power center in Banja Luka. Plavsic is as
nationalistic as her rivals, but she argues that the Dayton
agreement has much to offer the Serbs and is willing to
work within its framework. It is unclear, however, which
Serb faction will ultimately win out and whether Plavsic will
actually work to implement Dayton--for example, by
encouraging Muslims and Croats to return to Banja Luka.
        The Muslims and Croats have had there share of
problems, too. As RFE/RL's South Slavic service recently
pointed out, the Muslims and Croats were the darlings of the
international community at the time Dayton was signed but
are now under a cloud. In the case of the Croats, this is
because they and their patrons in Zagreb are widely seen as
dragging their feet on implementing Dayton, particularly on
reuniting Mostar.
        In the case of the Muslims, public revelations by
Westendorp in October suggested that the Muslims (and
their Croatian allies) have been guilty of corruption on a vast
scale. Both the Muslims and Croats have allegedly diverted
customs revenues and aid money to maintain structures--
such as intelligence services--that were supposed to have
been abolished under Dayton. Muslim leader Alija
Izetbegovic has promised an investigation.
        The Muslim authorities themselves, furthermore, were
forced to admit that foreign Islamic fighters remain a
security problem; in December, they launched a dragnet
against those fighters. While Izetbegovic's supporters in the
West applauded the action, the incident served to raise fresh
questions about the role of Islamic hard-liners in Bosnian
Muslim politics.
        A final issue facing Bosnia is economic development. In
the Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian areas alike, there are tens
of thousands of demobilized young men whose only trade
has been killing. The economic question is most acute in the
Republika Srpska, where some estimates put the per capita
monthly income at as low as $35. Plavsic has argued that
peace and stability require prosperity and has appealed for
investments.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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