Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 29 , Part II, 12 February 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 29 , Part II, 12 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

FIVE NEW LANGUAGES ADDED TO REAL AUDIO SCHEDULE
Listen to one hour of news in Bulgarian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and
Romanian at the RFE/RL Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* POLAND TO EASE VISA REGULATIONS

* PLAVSIC DEMANDS BRCKO FOR SERBS

* VOJVODINA LEADERS ACCUSE BELGRADE OF ILLEGAL MOBILIZATION

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

CHORNOBYL CLOSURE BY 2000 IN DOUBT. The delay in the construction of two
new nuclear reactors may force Ukraine to keep Chornobyl open after 2000,
an RFE/RL correspondent in Kyiv reported on 11 February. Environment
Minister Yury Kostenko said that if the reactors at the Rivne and
Khmelnytsky nuclear power plants are not completed on time, Chornobyl will
have to remain open. Kyiv is negotiating with the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development to secure a loan that would allow it to
complete the new reactors, but probably not before 2001. President Leonid
Kuchma has pledged to close Chornobyl by 2000. The one functional reactor
at Chornobyl is currently undergoing repairs and is scheduled to go on line
again by March. PB

UKRAINE'S COMMUNIST LEADER BESIEGED ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL. Nationalists shouted
slogans and threw potatoes at Communist chief Petro Symonenko as he
campaigned in the western city of Lviv on 11 February. Police encircled the
building where Symonenko was meeting with journalists. The Communist Party
has the largest faction in the parliament, with about one-sixth of the 450
seats. But its support is concentrated mainly in eastern Ukraine.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 31 March. PB

BELARUSIAN JOURNALIST FINED FOR HITTING OFFICIAL. The editor in chief of
the weekly "Imya" has been fined 200,000 rubles ($7) for slapping a senior
investigator, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 11 February. Irina
Khalip filed charges against the police after she was allegedly beaten at a
demonstration in August. When senior investigator Valentin Maharil told her
that the police were justified in their actions, she slapped him. Maharil
then filed charges against her. Khalip said she will continue "to struggle
for justice" until the police officers who beat her are punished. PB

ESTONIAN BANK MERGER TALKS SUSPENDED. Hanspank and Hoiupank, Estonia's
largest and third-largest commercial banks, have broken off talks on their
planned merger, ETA and BNS reported on 11 February. The two sides are
reported to have felt that more time is needed to solve questions related
to the merger. They stressed, however, that they have not abandoned their
merger plans, which were announced last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15
January 1998). An independent committee, headed by a former employee of
both Hanspank and Hoiupank and composed of shareholders and management
representatives from the two banks, will examine ways of carrying out the
merger. JC

LATVIAN PRESIDENT VETOES LABOR CODE CHANGES. Guntis Ulmanis on 11 February
rejected amendments to the labor code allowing the dismissal of employees
whose knowledge of the Latvian language is deemed insufficient (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 February 1998), BNS and Reuters  reported. The president's
office issued a statement saying Ulmanis has asked the parliament to
reconsider the legislation because it is unclear what  levels of Latvian
language proficiency are required by certain jobs. He also called on
lawmakers to draw up a language law that would protect the Latvian language
and help "form a harmonious civil society." Earlier this week, several
Russian-language dailies published an open letter to Ulmanis urging him to
veto the controversial labor code amendments. And on 11 February, Russian
State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev told journalists in Moscow he hoped
that Ulmanis would reject the amendments, which he called an "ugly step
that constitutes discrimination against [Latvia's] Russian-speaking
population." JC

POLAND TO EASE VISA REGULATIONS. The Interior Ministry on 11 February said
it will introduce a simpler visa system on its eastern border. Russia and
Belarus have voiced their displeasure with the tougher visa regulations,
instituted last month, and Polish traders have complained of fewer goods
and customers at outdoor markets. The new regulations required visitors to
Poland to have an official invitation or hotel reservation and to purchase
a visa  costing the equivalent of some $20. Under the revised rules,
multiple-entry visas will be offered at approximately half that price. The
EU has been  pressuring Poland to tighten security on its eastern border. PB

SOLIDARITY URGES FASTER ACTION ON REFORMS. The Solidarity trade union has
issued an appeal to the government to move quicker on the reforms promised
when the center-right coalition was elected last year, Reuters reported on
11 February. Solidarity spokesman Jozef Pulkowski said a six-point letter
was sent to Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek asking him to "urgently" hold
meetings to discuss implementing the coalition agreement. Solidarity is
seeking passage of pro-family legislation, a new large-scale privatization
program, and a reform of the pension and health-care systems. Leszek
Miller, head of the Democratic Left Alliance, criticized the government as
well, saying the first 100 days of the coalition have seen only "loud words
and feeble deeds." PB

CZECH PARLIAMENT DEBATES NATO MEMBERSHIP. Opening the debate in the Chamber
of Deputies on a bill to ratify Czech membership in NATO, Prime Minister
Josef Tosovsky and Defense Minister Michal Lobkowicz both stressed the
historic significance of joining the alliance, CTK and AFP reported. Milos
Zeman, the leader of the  main opposition Social Democratic Party, said he
"unequivocally" supports NATO membership but argued that the  next
parliament, to be elected later this year, must pass a bill providing for a
referendum on entry to the alliance. Zeman said he is sure that such a
referendum would show large support for adherence, as was the case in
Hungary. He added that " I do not think the Czech nation is less
intelligent than the Hungarian nation." The debate is expected to last
several weeks. MS

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON TO BE EXTRADITED TO GERMANY. Czech Justice Minister
Vlasta Parkanova on 11 February signed documents providing for the
extradition to Germany of Michal Kovac Jr.,  CTK and AFP reported. Kovac
Jr. was extradited the following day. An international warrant has been
issued for the arrest of Kovac Jr., who is suspected of involvement in the
fictitious sale of textiles worth $2.3 million to a Slovak company in 1991.
He was charged in Germany on the basis of evidence given by a Slovak
residing in Germany, who was convicted in 1992 for his involvement in the
affair. MS

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGREE ON ELECTORAL ALLIANCE. Independent
Smallholders and Christian Democratic candidates will support one another
in the second round of the May general elections, party chairmen Jozsef
Torgyan and Gyorgy Giczy agreed on 11 February. Contrary to earlier plans,
the two parties will not field joint candidates, but the weaker of the two
parties' candidates will withdraw in favor of the other in the second
ballot. The two chairmen also agreed to form a government together if they
are successful in the elections. In other news, Hungary's media magnate
Janos Fenyo was shot dead in his car on a busy street in Budapest on 11
February. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PLAVSIC DEMANDS BRCKO FOR SERBS... Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic
told an international arbitration hearing in Vienna on 11 February that if
the strategically important town of Brcko "is not given to the [Bosnian]
Serb Republic, any other solution will mean the division of the republic
and a violation of the Dayton agreement." Plavsic warned against allowing
the re-unification of Bosnia, saying it is in the interest neither of the
Bosnian Serbs nor of peace, SRNA reported. "We can communicate on the basis
of our being separated, but if everyone returns to his home and if the
inter-entity boundary lines disappear, one might ask why so many victims
and why recreate a situation that will lead us to war in a year or two".
The 1995 Dayton peace treaty left the territorial status of Brcko to be
decided through international arbitration. After a one-year break,
hearings resumed last week. U.S. arbiter Roberts Owen, who is presiding
over the hearings, is expected to deliver a final ruling on Brcko by 15
March. JN

...WHILE MUSLIM LEADERS THREATEN TO WITHDRAW SUPPORT FOR DODIK. Alija
Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ibrahim Spahic, and Rasim Kadic, chairmen of
the political parties belonging to the Coalition for a Single and
Democratic Bosnia-Herzegovina, met in Sarajevo on 11 February to discuss
Brcko. They warned that if the arbiter ignores the principles of the Dayton
agreement and allocates Brcko to the Republika Srpska, the Muslim deputies
in the Bosnian Serb parliament, who mainly represent Muslim refugees, will
withdraw their support for Milorad Dodik's government, Sarajevo TV
reported. JN

AMNESTY ANNOUNCED FOR THOSE WITH COMBAT ITEMS, MINES. Bosnia's Joint
Permanent Military Committee on 11 February announced that an amnesty  for
those in possession of land mines and combat equipment will begin on 19
February, Sarajevo radio reported.  The committee meeting, the third ever,
was attended by all members of the Bosnian Presidency, the defense
ministers from both entities, and the commanders in chief of the armies of
the federation and the Republika Srpska.  Representatives of the Office of
the High Representative, NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR), and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were present as
observers. Participants also agreed on the basic principles for
establishing locations and personnel at joint military missions abroad and
agreed to announce in March the holders of those posts. JN

VOJVODINA LEADERS ACCUSE BELGRADE OF ILLEGAL MOBILIZATION. At a news
conference in Novi Sad on 11 February, the leaders of the regional
political coalition Vojvodina, Nenad Canak and Miodrag Isakov, accused
military authorities in Belgrade of illegally mobilizing reservists in the
province of Vojvodina with the assistance of local police. Canak told
reporters he has "irrefutable evidence" that the mobilization is under way
and that members of "special" units, tank units, and military police are
being called up, "Nasa Borba" reported on 12 February. He said that for
troops to be mobilized, the country would have to face a military threat,
which,  he said, is not the case. Canak said the number of Vojvodina's
reservists who were killed during the siege of Vukovar or in the fighting
in Bosnia is still not known. He does not want a repetition of such
bloodshed in Kosovo, he stressed. JN

BELGRADE REJECTS DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH BOSNIA. Bosnian Foreign Minister
Jadranko Prlic received an official note from the federal Yugoslav
government rejecting the establishment of diplomatic relations between
Belgrade and Sarajevo until further notice, Sarajevo's "Vecernje Novine"
reported on 11 February. The newspaper quotes the note as saying Belgrade
does not intend to open diplomatic relations with Sarajevo until charges of
genocide brought by Bosnia-Herzegovina against Yugoslavia before the Hague
Tribunal are dropped. JN

KOSOVAR PARTIES CONFER.  The leaderships of the two major ethnic Albanian
political parties in Kosovo, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the
Parliamentary Party of Kosovo (PPK), met in Pristina on 10 February, "Koha
Ditore" reported. The participants discussed ways of coordinating
activities in the face of increasing repression by Belgrade against the
Kosovars. JN

MONTENEGRIN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL TO PROBE EX-PRESIDENT.  Bozidar Vukcevic
has ordered an investigation of former President Momir Bulatovic and three
of his close associates for committing "a criminal act by attacking the
constitutional structure" of the state. The Prosecutor-General's Office
said on 11 February that the investigation focuses on last month's riots,
in which some 50 people, mostly police, were injured. Also under
investigation are Bulatovic's allies Bozidar Bojovic, Slobodan Vujosevic
and Zoran Zizic, all members of parliament. The prosecutor wants the
Montenegrin and Yugoslav assemblies to revoke the parliamentary immunity of
those deputies. JN

POLL SHOWS CROATS OPPOSE U.S. BASES. Some  51 percent of respondents are
against establishing U.S. military bases in Croatia, according to a poll
published in "Vecernji list" on 10 February. Some 31 percent are in favor
of the proposed military facilities, while 17  percent are undecided. A
plurality of respondents nonetheless said that they have a basically
positive view of Americans and feel that the bases would have a positive
effect on Croatian political life. After his recent visit to the U.S.,
Defense Minister Gojko Susak said that U.S. General Wesley Clark, the
supreme allied commander in Europe, asked permission to station U.S.
servicemen in Croatia in order to back up their colleagues in Bosnia. Susak
mentioned Zadar and Slavonski Brod as possible sites for bases. The
Croatian government wants to join NATO's Partnership for Peace program and
eventually the alliance itself. PM

ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS GREEK FORCE TO STAY. During a visit to the
southern city of Gjirokaster on 10 February, Sabit Brokaj said the presence
of a Greek military unit in Tirana is lawful and based on agreements
between Athens and Tirana, ANA reported on 11 February. Brokaj  made the
remark in response to opposition party criticism of the Greek military
presence in Albania. Accompanied by the Greek consul and the U.S. military
attache, he attended the inauguration of reconstructed installations of the
Liaberia army division in Gjirokaster, destroyed during the unrest one year
ago. JN

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ON IRAQI CRISIS. A Foreign Ministry spokesman on
11 February said he could "neither confirm nor deny" that the U.S. has
asked Romania to  participate in preparations for a possible military
intervention in Iraq.  Mihnea Motoc said Romania and the U.S. are "closely
consulting" within their "strategic partnership." He said he could only
repeat a statement made last week by the ministry saying that Romania
shares the "preoccupation of the international community concerning the
danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" and that the "only
means leading to lifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq is the full and
unconditional implementation by the Iraqi government of the UN Security
Council resolutions,"  RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN EXTREMISTS SIGN PROTOCOL ON ALLIANCE. Corneliu Vadim Tudor,
leader of Greater Romania Party (PRM), and Cluj mayor Gheorghe Funar, who
heads a dissenting wing of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), on
11 February signed a protocol that they called the "first step on the road
to setting up the Great Alliance for the Resurrection of the Fatherland."
The protocol, which is open to the signatures of other formations,
envisages joint actions toward bringing about the dismissal of Victor
Ciorbea's government, setting up a "government of national unity,"
outlawing the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, and "stopping the
pillaging of national assets and the national economy," RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. MS

IMF DELAYS TRANCHE TO MOLDOVA. The IMF will not disburse the next tranche
of a $185 million standby loan to Moldova, approved in 1996, until after
the 22 March parliamentary elections. The fund's chief representative in
Moldova, Mark Horton, told Infotag on 11 February that the IMF wants to
hold discussions with the next Moldovan government before deciding whether
to release the next tranche. An IMF mission has been meeting with Moldovan
officials for the last two weeks and will present its findings on Moldova's
economic development to a fund board meeting on 18 March. Only three
tranches of the loan, totaling some $52 million, have been disbursed so
far; the latest was released last July. The IMF postponed several tranches
owing to the country's unsatisfactory economic performance. MS

REGISTRATION FOR MOLDOVAN ELECTIONS ENDS. Fourteen political parties and
blocs have registered for the 22 March elections, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported on 11 February, the last day for registering. Twenty-four
independent candidates have also registered. The parliament is to decide
whether to amend the electoral law to lower the threshold  for independents
to gain representation from 4 percent to 1 percent. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON IRAQI CRISIS. Petar Stoyanov told journalists in
Washington on 11 February that he hopes Iraq will comply with UN
resolutions and that force will not have to be applied. At the same time,
he said, he understands the increasing feeling that the Iraqis will have to
be forced into compliance. Stoyanov said Bulgaria has economic reasons to
want the UN sanctions against Iraq lifted. Baghdad owes Sofia $2 billion
and Bulgaria "badly needs" that money for its reforms, he commented. He
said that the combined amount owed by Baghdad and the former Yugoslavia as
a result of the UN-imposed sanctions is "more than equal" to Bulgaria's
entire foreign debt, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. MS

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF CENSORSHIP. Following the 9 February
decision to ban a satirical television show, the government is being
accused of censorship, AFP reported. One day earlier, the show had poked
fun at the election of Stoyanov's brother to the board of the national
television, while Prime Minister Ivan Kostov was compared to a petty crook
and Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova was portrayed as a stripper.
Dimitar Koroudjiev, a member of the National Broadcasting Council,
explained in an interview with "Trud" that there is  a "limit beyond which
democracy must defend itself." He said the program had provoked "chaos and
hatred" and sought to incite the population against a "government that is
fighting to get out of a crisis." 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 18 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