When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. - John Ruskin
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 22, Part II, 3 February 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 22, Part II, 3 February 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

* CZECH PRESIDENT SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM

* NTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY URGES MUSLIMS TO LET REFUGEES RETURN

* BRITAIN SEES KOSOVO, MONTENEGRO LINK

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

CZECH PRESIDENT SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM. Vaclav Havel on 2 February was
sworn in for a second and last term as president, CTK and Reuters reported.
Deputies representing the far-right Republican Party, who argue that
Havel's election was unconstitutional, boycotted the ceremony (see "RFE/RL
Newsline,"  29 January 1998). Deputies and senators from the Communist
Party of Bohemia and Moravia were also absent. In an address after the
ceremony, Havel pledged to "strengthen civil society, spread respect for
human rights, [and] fight against nationalism, and xenophobia." He also
said he would seek to replace the current "atmosphere of intrigue, power
calculation, and mutual tripping up" with one that would offer "a fast and
effective solution to the large economic and social problems of the
country." MS

BACK WAGES FOR VOTES IN UKRAINE? Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr
Moroz says the government has increased efforts to pay arrears in an
attempt to garner political support as parliamentary elections near,
ITAR-TASS reported on 2 February. Moroz said the "influence of money sacks"
is definitely being felt in some regions of Ukraine. He charged that wage
and pension arrears are being paid with budgetary funds allocated for other
purposes. The Central Electoral Commission reported on 1 February that
nearly 7,000 candidates will compete for the 450 seats in the parliament.
Half of those seats will be filled by the winners in single-mandate
constituencies and the other half by candidates nominated by parties that
clear a 4 percent threshold. The elections are scheduled for 31 March. PB

DEATH PENALTY BAN TO BE ADDRESSED IN UKRAINE. Boris Oleynyk, the head of
the Ukrainian delegation at the Council of Europe, said his country's
parliament will decide soon on the status of capital punishment, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 February. But the next day, parliamentary speaker Moroz said
in Kyiv that legislators will address the issue later this month or in
early March. Kyiv imposed a moratorium on executions when it joined the
council in 1995, but it has repeatedly violated the ban. The Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe recently demanded that Ukraine pass
legislation banning the death penalty (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 January
1998). PB

ESTONIAN OFFICIAL URGES SPEEDY ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY. Meanwhile, Eiki
Nestor, the head of the Estonian delegation to the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly, has said that if Tallinn does not soon abolish the
death penalty, "pressure from third countries can  be expected, " ETA
reported on 2 February. Abolishing capital punishment in Estonia will be a
formality only, since the country's Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that death
sentences would no longer be carried out because "legislation is
insufficient to justify it." In what was seen as a step toward doing away
with the death penalty, the parliament last year passed a bill allowing
life imprisonment (previously, the maximum prison sentence was 15 years).
In March 1996, Estonia ratified the European human rights convention but
not the additional clause on abolishing capital punishment. JC

LATVIAN PRESIDENT BACKS PREMIER OVER NATURALIZATION. Guntis Ulmanis says he
welcomes Prime Minister Guntars Krasts's statement that the government may
call for granting citizenship to all children born in Latvia since the
country regained independence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 February 1998), BNS
reported. Krasts's Fatherland and Freedom party strongly opposes the
naturalization of non-citizens' children and other changes to the
citizenship law. Meanwhile, Krasts said at a 2 February press conference
that he had not proposed changing the citizenship law but had only agreed
that a discussion should be launched, RFE/RL's Latvian Service reported. JC

VAGNORIUS ORDERS PROBE INTO KGB ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MINISTER.  Lithuanian
Premier Gediminas Vagnorius has asked the Prosecutor-General's Office to
investigate allegations that an unspecified member of his cabinet
collaborated with the Soviet-era KGB, BNS reported on 2 February. The order
comes after Vytautas Cepas, a member of the National Security Committee,
confirmed to reporters that he has information showing a cabinet member
involved in the privatization of Lithuania's Telecom was recruited by the
KGB in 1989. A government statement issued on 2 February described the
allegations as yet another attempt of the "remnants of Soviet repressive
structures...to exert inadmissible pressure on ministers' decisions." JC

POLISH ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW. The government has announced that the
economy grew 7 percent in 1997, up from 6.1 percent the previous year, AFP
reported on 31 January. The country received $6.6 billion in investment
last year, the highest yearly amount for any Eastern European country since
the fall of communism. Foreign investment since 1989 now totals $20.6
billion, meaning that Poland has overtaken Hungary as the country in the
region with the largest foreign investment. The U.S. is the largest foreign
investor in Poland ($4 billion), ahead of Germany ($2.1 billion). PB

SLOVAK POLICE SEIZE 13 TONS OF CANNABIS. Police in Slovakia say they have
arrested four men, one of them a Colombian national,  after seizing almost
13 tons of marijuana in a raid in Nitra on 30 January. According to a
police statement, Slovak police cooperated with U.S., German, and Czech
law-enforcement agencies in tracking the shipment that left Columbia for
Slovakia via the Czech Republic a few months ago, RFE/RL's Bratislava
bureau reported. MS

SLOVAKIA'S HUNGARIANS SUPPORT MINORITY REPRESENTATION IN HUNGARY. Leaders
of the three political parties representing Slovakia's Hungarian minority
have urged politicians in Budapest to facilitate the  representation of
minorities in the Hungarian parliament as soon as possible, Hungarian media
reported on 2 February. The ethnic Hungarian leaders told Csaba Tabajdi,
political state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, that Hungary's
legislature must provide for the parliamentary representation of minorities
since they are unable to win such representation through the regular
electoral process owing to their small size.  Of the former communist
countries, only Romania has a constitution that provides for minority
representation in the parliament. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY URGES MUSLIMS TO LET REFUGEES RETURN. Carlos
Westendorp, who is the international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard, and other representatives of the
international community opened a conference in Sarajevo on 3 February to
encourage all three sides to let refugees go home. The draft declaration
calls on the Muslims to allow 20,000 Serbs and Croats to return to
Sarajevo, which was multi-ethnic before the war but which is now almost 90
percent Muslim. The blunt language in the text reflects the international
community's impatience with the reluctance of the Muslims to let others
return to their homes on Muslim-controlled territory. Many of the new
Muslim inhabitants of the capital are refugees from rural eastern Bosnia
whose former homes are now under Serbian control. PM

BOSNIAN AID MONEY LINKED TO REFUGEE ISSUE. J. Brian Atwood, the head of the
U.S. Agency for International Development, said in Sarajevo on 2 February
that international aid money has helped revive the economy of the mainly
Muslim and Croatian federation. He added that, with continued aid, the
federation might reach 80 percent of Bosnia's pre-war gross domestic
product by the year 2000. He praised Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad
Dodik and indicated that U.S. aid money will now be available to the
Republika Srpska. Atwood warned the Muslims, however, that they must allow
Serbs and Croats to return and quickly enact legislation to enable
non-Muslims to reclaim their former homes. PM

JOINT BOSNIAN LICENSE PLATES RELEASED. Jacques Klein, who is Westendorp's
deputy, distributed the first of the new joint Bosnian license plates in
Sarajevo on 2 February. Those plates do not identify where the car comes
from and are intended to facilitate freedom of movement across the former
front lines. Klein stated that "where previously drivers had feared that
the license plates on their car could--and did--serve as an invitation for
thuggery or worse, with the new plates drivers will be able to travel
freely around the country without parading where they come from." Drivers
who do not switch to the new plates by the end of July will be fined.
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the joint presidency, said in
Sarajevo on 2 February that the introduction of joint plates is a "bad
move," an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Bosnian capital. PM

BRITAIN SEES KOSOVO, MONTENEGRO LINK. British Junior Foreign Minister Tony
Lloyd said in Podgorica on 2 February that the same people are responsible
for the recent violence in  Kosovo and Podgorica, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from the Montenegrin capital. He did not, however, identify those
people.  Lloyd added that he hopes the new Montenegrin government will be
democratic and multi-ethnic. The same day in Belgrade, Lloyd told Yugoslav
Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic that the EU, whose presidency the U.K.
currently holds, will help reintegrate Yugoslavia back into international
institutions, provided that Belgrade "opens up the political process in
Kosovo" and implements a 1996 agreement on restoring Albanian-language
education there, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital.
PM

SERBS WARNED OF LETHAL BRANDY. Police on 2 February arrested the director
of the Zivadinovic Distillery in Nis and summoned three food inspectors for
questioning  following the death of 12 people and the poisoning of many
more in recent days from drinking a local grape brandy made with methyl
alcohol. Serbian government officials said  the Zivadinovic company
produced more than 40,000 liters of alcoholic drinks over the previous
eight months and that some of those had been sold at cut-rate prices in
various parts of Serbia. PM

SLOVENIA BACKS SECURITY COUNCIL ON IRAQ. President Milan Kucan, whose
country holds one of the non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council,
wrote his U.S. counterpart, Bill Clinton, on 2 February to say that
Ljubljana will back any Security Council decision  on Iraq.  "Slovenia...
will insist on Iraq's fully and unconditionally observing the Security
Council resolutions on the destruction of chemical and biological weapons
and others designed for mass destruction." Kucan added that the UN Special
Commission must have a free hand to carry out its mandate. The president
concluded that he hopes  the current tensions can be defused by diplomatic
means. PM

SLOVENIA SAYS NO POLITICAL STATUS FOR GERMAN MINORITY. Prime Minister Janez
Drnovsek said in Ljubljana on 30 January that Slovenia's 765 native-German
speakers will not be recognized in the constitution as a distinct ethnic
minority. He had earlier met with Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang
Schuessel. Drnovsek noted that he and Schuessel agreed that the status of
the German speakers "is a cultural question" and that "Austria does not
expect us to change our constitution." He said they agreed that the
German-speakers in Slovenia are not a homogenous group, but scattered. The
constitution recognizes an Italian and a Hungarian minority, each of which
is guaranteed one seat in parliament. The status of the German-speakers has
been a thorny issue in relations between Ljubljana and Vienna. PM

ALBANIA TO END TELECOM MONOPOLY. A spokesman for the Economy and
Privatization Ministry said on 2 February that the government has approved
a law abolishing the current monopolies on telecommunications. Only the
state company and the private company Albanian Mobile Telecommunications
are currently allowed to operate, "Koha Jone" reported. The law would also
put an end to the ban on private Internet providers. To date, the United
Nations Development Project and the Soros Foundation offer e-mail services
only to NGOs schools, universities, and government institutions. Private or
commercial users have no access to e-mail. Also in Tirana, Deputy Sports
Minister Kreshnik Tartari said that he hopes to privatize all soccer clubs
this year. FS

ALBANIAN PYRAMID AUDITORS PUBLISH REPORT. None of Albania's five largest
pyramid investment companies is able to pay back its debts, according to
the French auditing firm Deloitte & Touche. A report handed to the
government on 2 February concludes that 56 individual businesses belonging
to pyramid firms generate some income but that 273 do not. It notes that
the pyramids as a whole continue to generate losses (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
2 February 1998). Meanwhile, 200,000 creditors have reported their claims
to a government office. FS

ROMANIA'S RIVAL COALITION CAMPS HOLD TALKS... The leaderships of the
National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) and the Democratic
Party met on 2-3 February to discussed how to cooperate in the future,
Radio Bucharest reported. The new coalition protocol was not discussed, but
on 2 February agreement was reached by the PNTCD and the coalition parties
that did not withdraw from the government on the details of the protocol.
That document is to be submitted for the Democrats' approval. The five
Democrats who withdrew from the cabinet on 2 February have handed in their
written resignation and also demanded the dismissal of the management of
state television for interrupting broadcasts to air the 31 January press
conference of the PNTCD in which Wim van Velzen also participated (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 2 February 1998). MS

...WHILE CONSTANTINESCU MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADERS. President Emil
Constantinescu on 2 February met with leaders of the main opposition
parties represented in the parliament, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.
Adrian Nastase,  deputy chairman of the main opposition Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR), said he had handed the president a 10-point
letter on how to improve cooperation in the legislature between the
coalition and the opposition. He said the issue of the PDSR possible
support's in the legislature of a minority government was not raised
"because of the Democrats' still ambiguous position" on participating in
the ruling coalition. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the extremist
Greater Romania Party, said later that early elections are "unavoidable"
and that he proposed to Constantinescu that those elections be organized
either by a "government of technocrats" or by one of "national unity" in
which all parties are represented. MS

ROMANIAN AUTHORITIES RELEASE PRIVATIZATION FIGURES. Sorin Dimitriu, the
chairman of the State Privatization Fund, told journalists on 2 February
that 1,304 state companies were privatized in 1997. He said most of those
companies were small or middle-sized and that in the previous year, some
1,450 companies had been privatized. Nevertheless, revenues from
privatization last year were considerably higher than in 1996. The fund
plans privatizing 1,600 companies this year. Dimitriu said the country's
ongoing political crisis  is affecting privatization  because prospective
investors are losing confidence in Romania's political and economic
stability. MS

MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER ON ECONOMY. Ion Ciubuc on 2 February said that
since taking office one year ago, his cabinet has managed to fulfill all
its objectives. Pensions arrears, which 12 months ago amounted to 315
million lei ($70 million), have been were reduced by 90 percent, and the
government hopes to make all back payments by the end of this month.  GDP
grew 1.3 percent in 1997, marking the  end of economic decline. Ciubuc also
said Moldova reduced its debt to Gazprom by $140 million, of which $80
million was paid by means of goods. The remaining debt totals $91 million
(not including the more than $200 million that the Transdniester
authorities owe Gazprom). MS

PART OF ARMS WITHDRAWAL FROM MOLDOVA COMPLETED. Valerii Yevnevich, the
commander of Russian troops in the Transdniester, said on 2 February that a
train carrying 200 tons of dichloroethane left the region earlier that day.
Yevnevich noted that the train's departure meant "we have implemented in
full the [1993 Russian-Moldovan] agreement on withdrawing engineering
technology from the region." He added that preparations have been completed
for the withdrawal of arms and ammunition that belonged to the former
Russian 14th Army. "If the Russian government and the Defense Minister
order the withdrawal, we are ready to implement it," he commented. That
withdrawal is being obstructed by the authorities in Tiraspol, which
consider the arms to belong either partly or fully to the separatists. MS

MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS SUSPECT PLANE STOLEN IN AFRICA. Chisinau authorities
suspect that a Moldovan-registered cargo plane that disappeared after a
flight to Africa in December 1997 has either been stolen or "hidden
somewhere" by the six-member crew. Iurie Armasu, general manager of the
Civil Aviation Authority, said on 2 February that the AN-72 plane, owned by
the Moldova Renan company, was chartered by a company registered in Congo.
After delivering its cargo, the plane flew to the Ivory Coast for unknown
reasons and landed in Angola. The Moldovan media speculates that the plane
was involved in arms trafficking, but Moldovan officials are refusing to
reveal the plane's cargo, Infotag and ITAR-TASS reported. MS

BULGARIAN POLLS SUGGEST WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION. An opinion poll conducted by
the Center for Democratic Studies suggests widespread corruption among
Bulgarian officials.  Eighty-six percent of the respondents said bribes are
essential to obtain proper medical treatment. Seventy-four  percent said
bribes are readily accepted by custom officers, while 63 percent named
judges and 56 percent police as  bribe-takers, AFP reported on 2 February.
Fifty-seven percent of the respondents believe "it is a waste of time" to
report cases of corruption, while 31 percent said paying bribes was "bad,
but unavoidable." MS


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1998 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