[America,] it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time. - Thomas Wolfe
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 17, Part II, 27 January 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 17, Part II, 27 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


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* EU TO OPEN ENLARGEMENT TALKS ON 31 MARCH

* MAJOR PERSONNEL CHANGES IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA

* ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS TO END BOYCOTT OF PARLIAMENT

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

EU TO OPEN ENLARGEMENT TALKS ON 31 MARCH. British Foreign Secretary Robin
Cook announced in Brussels on 26 January that the EU enlargement process
is to begin in London on 12 March with a European Conference attended by
premiers and heads of state of the 11 countries invited to open membership
negotiations. The talks will then shift to Brussels on 30 March, where the
11 will again present their EU credentials. The enlargement process will
begin on 31 March, when negotiations will open with the six main
candidates--the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and
Slovenia. MS

COUNCIL OF EUROPE "SHOCKED" ABOUT EXECUTIONS IN UKRAINE. The parliamentary
assembly of the Council of Europe is to decide on 27 January whether to
suspend Ukraine from participating in the assembly because of its failure
to halt executions, an RFE/RL correspondent in Strasbourg reported. Kyiv's
membership in the council will not be debated. Ukraine agreed to a
moratorium on the death penalty when it joined the council in 1995, but it
has  admitted that at least 13 people were executed last year.
Parliamentary Assembly chairwoman Leni Fischer said the assembly is
"shocked" that the moratorium has been violated. With parliamentary
elections scheduled for March, Ukrainian politicians are reluctant to
declare support for a ban on capital punishment. Opinion polls show most
Ukrainians opposing such a ban. PB

UKRAINIAN MINE WORKERS DEMAND UNPAID WAGES. Some 200 construction workers
from coal mines in eastern Ukraine have demonstrated in Kyiv for the
payment of back wages, AFP reported on 26 January. Some of the workers have
not been paid for more than a year. Government wage arrears at the end of
1997 totaled some 5 billion hryvnas ($2.6 billion). PB

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES TIGHTER CONTROL OVER ECONOMY. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka said on 26 January that state regulations are needed to protect
the country's industry. He called on the government to implement a state
monopoly on oil, tobacco, and car businesses, Reuters reported. Lukashenka,
who  was speaking after a six-hour meeting with the cabinet, said the
economy has "preserved many good old forms of management, including state
control." Prime Minister Sergei Ling recently said the state will not go
back to "totalitarian planning" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 January 1998).
Meanwhile, Minsk announced on 26 January that average monthly inflation was
4.2 percent last year, AFP reported. The budget had allowed for a 2 percent
monthly increase. PB

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS BEGUN IN ESTONIAN KIDNEY TRANSPLANT CASE. Estonian
police have launched criminal proceedings following kidney transplants
performed and undergone by Israeli citizens at the Tallinn Central Hospital
earlier this month, ETA reported. The police say that the two Israeli
doctors who carried out the surgery, the six Israeli patients, and the
donors--who were from Russia, Romania, and Moldova--concealed the aim of
their visit in their visa applications. The chief surgeon of the Tallinn
hospital told the Estonian news agency that the kidney transplants took
place in Estonia because "it is cheaper here." Meanwhile, the daily "Eesti
Paevaleht" reports that Social Affairs Minister Tiiu Aro will address the
government on the issue on 27 January. JC

INFLATION IN ESTONIA OVER 11 PERCENT LAST YEAR. The consumer price index
rose by 11.2 percent in 1997, compared with the previous year, ETA reported
on 26 January. Foodstuffs increased 2.2 percent, consumer products 3.8
percent, and services 1.8 percent. JC

RIGA PREPARES RESPONSE TO MOSCOW OVER OCCUPATION DENIAL. The Latvian
Foreign Ministry is preparing a response to a letter sent by  the Russian
Foreign Ministry to the State Duma arguing that the Soviet Union neither
occupied nor annexed the Baltic States in 1940 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20
January 1998).  A spokesman for the Latvian Foreign Ministry told BNS on 26
January that the "position of Russian officials is being assessed, and we
will draw up a statement and send it to Russia soon. " Both President
Guntis Ulmanis and the Fatherland and Freedom party have urged the ministry
to respond officially to the Russian statement. JC

POLAND GIVEN "ROAD MAP" TO  EU.  EU Commissioner for Single Market Affairs
Mario Monti has given Poland official instructions to help facilitate
accession to the EU, AFP reported on 27 January. Monti, who held separate
talks with President Aleksander Kwasniewski,  Finance Minister Leszek
Balcerowicz and European Integration Committee chief Ryszard Czarnecki,
said the instructions are a "road map" to joining the union.  Balcerowicz
noted that Poland and the EU have adopted a political declaration on
cooperation in the areas of customs and taxes. Warsaw must approve an EU
partnership agreement by 15 March. PB

NATO SUPPORT GROWING IN CZECH REPUBLIC. Support among Czechs for the
country's membership in NATO has grown from 43 percent in October 1997 to
54 percent at present. The percentage of those opposed dropped from 29
percent to 24 percent, according to a poll conducted by the Institute of
Public Opinion Research in January and cited by CTK on 26 January. MS

BOARD OF CZECH-GERMAN FUND APPOINTED. The controversy surrounding the
establishment of the Czech-German Fund for the Future (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 19 December 1997) seems to have been solved with the appointment
of two representatives of the Sudeten Germans to the fund's board, CTK
reported on 26 January. The two are Volkmar Gabert, former chairman of the
Bavarian Social Democratic Party, and Johann Boehm, the chairman of the
Bavarian parliament.  Max Stadler, a deputy of the Liberal Party in the
German parliament, and ambassador to Prague Anton Rossbach are also on the
board. The Czech appointees are Dagmar Buresova, a former chairwoman of the
Czech National Council; Milos Pojar, former ambassador to Israel; Milos
Rejchrt, director of the Prague Jewish Museum; and historian Miroslav
Kunstat. The fund is to aid victims of the Nazi occupation during World War
II. MS

REACTIONS TO ALLEGED PLOT TO ASSASSINATE MECIAR. A spokesman on 26 January
said that last week, the Interior Ministry received further confirmation of
an alleged plot to assassinate Premier Vladimir Meciar (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 21 January 1998). The spokesman said an individual had
volunteered information that supplemented details already provided by
Slovak diplomatic sources. Vladimir Palko,  deputy chairman of the
opposition Christian Democratic Movement, told Reuters he is convinced the
alleged threat was a hoax and was "part of Meciar's pre-election tactics."
In October 1997, Meciar claimed that Palko had proposed his assassination,
and the opposition had asked the parliament to order an examination into
the premier's state of mental health. The request was turned down. MS

MECIAR ALLIES WANT HIM TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT.  The far-right Slovak National
Party (SNS), a  coalition government partner, says it has "unofficially"
proposed to Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) that the
premier run for the presidency. SNS deputy chairwoman Anna Malinkova, told
Reuters that the proposal was made last week during coalition discussions.
She added that Meciar should be nominated by his own party.  A HZDS
spokesman told the news agency that " the prime minister is the only strong
man who, if nominated, could be accepted by the [three-fifths] majority
needed in the parliament." MS

HUNGARY, SLOVAKIA AGREE TO SPEED UP DAM TALKS. Hungarian and Slovak
delegations, meeting in Budapest on 26 January, agreed to hold weekly
plenary sessions in order to end their dispute on the unfinished Danube
dam, Hungarian media reported. A joint statement released by the two
delegations said their positions have come closer on whether to put an
existing Slovak dam at Cunovo into operation and on how to make use of the
Hungarian reservoir at Dunakiliti. They agreed to set up a monitoring team
to assess the environmental effects of those facilities.  MSZ

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN HUNGARY.  Romanian President Emil Constantinescu  met
with his Hungarian counterpart Arpad Goncz and  Prime Minister Gyula Horn
in Budapest on 26 January. Constantinescu assured his hosts that the
government crisis in Bucharest will not affect Hungarian-Romanian
relations. Horn complained that cooperation has slowed down in a number of
areas since last fall, when the two countries' premiers signed a memorandum
in Bucharest. Constantinescu responded by vowing to speed up dialogue and
saying that three Hungarian colleges will be opened in Transylvania. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MAJOR PERSONNEL CHANGES IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. The new government led by
Prime Minister Milorad Dodik issued a statement in Banja Luka on 27 January
announcing the dismissal of 17 directors of state-owned companies. Goran
Matrak, the editor of the hard-line daily "Glas Srpski," has also been
fired. Information Minister Rajko Vasic will appoint his replacement soon,
as well as new chief editors for Bosnian Serb television, which is based in
Banja Luka. The customs and tax departments will also have new chiefs in
the near future. PM

TRANSFER OF BOSNIAN SERB POWER UNDER WAY. A spokesman for Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's chief representative in Bosnia,
said in Sarajevo on 26 January that the outgoing Bosnian Serbian government
is not moving quickly enough to hand over its powers to Dodik and his
cabinet. Dodik, for his part, told RFE/RL in Banja Luka that the transition
has been proceeding reasonably smoothly but that he does not rule out that
Radovan Karadzic's supporters in Pale may stop being cooperative in the
future. Meanwhile in Bijeljina, outgoing Interior Minister Slavko Paleksic
formally handed over control of the ministry to Milovan Stankovic. The
ceremony took place at a meeting of Bosnian Serb police chiefs, who agreed
to reunite the force and end the split between followers of Karadzic and
supporters of President Biljana Plavsic. PM

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR BOSNIAN SERBS. Representatives of the six-nation
Contact Group, which is monitoring the peace process in Bosnia, issued a
statement in Washington on 26 January calling on the outgoing Bosnian Serb
authorities to  "cooperate in ensuring a smooth transition of power to the
new government." The statement reaffirmed the international community's
support for Dodik. Meanwhile in Brussels, the EU approved a $6.5 million
aid package to help the Republika Srpska authorities pay back wages to
police, teachers, and other government employees. And in Banja Luka,
Plavsic signed an agreement with a representative of the World Bank, who
said the bank will provide a $17 million credit to the Republika Srpska
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 January 1998). PM

SERBS AGREE TO NEW TRIAL FOR MUSLIMS. A UN spokesman announced in Sarajevo
on 26 January that the Bosnian Serb authorities have agreed to re-try three
Muslims from the so-called Zvornik Seven group, all of whose members were
found guilty of murder in 1996. Meanwhile in The Hague, Goran Jelisic, the
Bosnian Serb who was arrested by U.S. peacekeepers in Bosnia and taken to
The Hague the previous week, told the war crimes tribunal that he is not
guilty of crimes against humanity. PM

WESTENDORP SETS DEADLINE ON BOSNIAN FLAG. Westendorp urged legislators in
the joint parliament in Sarajevo on 26 January to agree to one of three
proposed designs for a joint flag by 3 February. He added that should they
fail to do so,  he will chose a design for them. Westendorp recently chose
designs for the joint currency after the three sides did not meet his
deadline on that issue. All the proposed designs for the flag have the
politically neutral colors white, blue, and yellow. PM

MORE LAW SUITS AGAINST CROATIAN NEWSPAPER. Health Minister Andrija Hebrang,
the administrators of a hospital, and one doctor said in Zagreb on 26
January that they will sue the independent weekly "Feral Tribune" over a
recent story dealing with the deaths of six children in the Zagreb hospital
last year. "Feral" currently faces some 50 law suits for damages totaling
$3 million from various Croatian authorities. The newspaper's editors
charge that the government wants to bankrupt "Feral" through law suits. PM

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS TO END BOYCOTT OF PARLIAMENT. Democratic Party leader
Sali Berisha said in Tirana on 26 January that his party will soon end its
boycott of the parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1998), "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported. He noted that a "party that does not participate in
the parliament is [committing] political suicide." He also said he wants to
start a "fruitful dialogue" with the coalition about drafting a new
constitution. An RFE/RL correspondent reported from Tirana on 27 January
that a high-ranking delegation from the Council of Europe, the European
Parliament, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
recently warned Berisha that the Democrats must return to parliament or
risk international isolation. Meanwhile, Sabri Godo, the head of the
parliamentary constitutional commission , has said the commission will not
wait any longer for the Democrats, "Koha Jone" reported on 26 January. FS

ALBANIAN FORMER DICTATOR HAS HEART ATTACK. Ramiz Alia, who was president
from 1985 to 1992,  is hospitalized in Tirana after suffering a heart
attack on 24 January, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported three days later. Doctors
said the 74-year-old former communist leader is also suffering from severe
respiratory problems. FS

NO SOLUTION IN SIGHT TO ROMANIAN COALITION CRISIS. National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic (PNTCD) chairman Ion Diaconescu told journalists on 26
January that "no solution is in sight" to the coalition crisis. Diaconescu
said the Democratic Party continues to demand the dismissal of Premier
Victor Ciorbea and now wants the entire government to be reshuffled. He
said the positions of the two parties had "polarized" and that the PNTCD
rejected the Democrats' demand that their support in the parliament of a
minority government be conditional on a detailed protocol, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Diaconescu said  the PNTCD would not rule out
cooperation with any deputy willing to support a minority government.  MS

DEMOCRATS ON COALITION CRISIS. Democratic Party leader Petre Roman on 26
January said that if the reform process is not accelerated, Romania will
lose its chance of becoming integrated into the European structures. He
added that  such acceleration is not possible as long as  Ciorbea remains
premier, Radio Bucharest reported. Roman had previously said the Democrats
were undecided about whether to withdraw from the government because they
had received no reply from the PNTCD. But an RFE/RL correspondent in
Bucharest reported on 26 January that the Democrats may postpone
withdrawing to give the PNTCD more time for considering their proposals.
The correspondent said the Democratic Party is unwilling to renounce its
demand for Ciorbea's removal. MS

ISSUE OF REHABILITATING ANTONESCU MINISTERS RESURFACES.  Despite
Prosecutor-General Sorin Moisescu's decision to withdraw his initiative for
rehabilitating seven out of eight former members of the Ion Antonescu
government,  the Supreme Court may have to consider the rehabilitation of
all those ministers (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 November 1997). The
independent Pro TV and Mediafax reported on 26 January that the lawyer
representing the family of Toma Petre Ghitulescu, the only former member of
the dictator's cabinet whose rehabilitation is still on the agenda, says he
has "found an article" in the Penal Code that will force the court to
consider all eight cases.  He said the prosecutor-general had been forced
to withdraw his original initiative under "pressure from abroad," by which
he meant the U.S. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN BRUSSELS... President Petru Lucinschi on 26 January
met with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, an RFE/RL correspondent in
the Belgian capital reported. Solana  said later that they agreed to
increase Moldova's participation in the Partnership for Peace program and
in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Lucinschi emphasized that this
participation did not harm Russian interests and was mainly of a
humanitarian nature. Lucinschi is scheduled to meet European Commission
chairman Jacques Santer and Belgian premier Jean-Luc Dehaene on 27 January.
MS

...LAUNCHES WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS. In the first of what will be regular
weekly addresses to the nation, Lucinschi said on 26 January that Moldova
has opted for European integration,  but he warned that belonging to Europe
"begins with having clean streets, with civilized relations among
people,...and with learning modern spiritual values." He said that "genuine
change" depended on "changing the mentality of the people," who, he added,
must learn to "forge their own fate under conditions of freedom," RFE/RL's
Chisinau bureau reported. Parliamentary chairman Dumitru Motpan said he
hoped the president will not use his weekly addresses to engage in election
campaigning for pro-presidential parties. The president must be "above
politics,"  Motpan argued. 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
* Pete Baumgartner
* 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