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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 81 Part II, 28 April 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 81  Part II, 28 April 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

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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE POSTPONES RESTARTING CHORNOBYL REACTOR

* U.S. MAY 'GO IT ALONE' ON KOSOVA

* OSCE DISPUTES SERBIAN VERSION OF CLASHES

End Note: BENEFITING FROM NATO EXPANSION
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE POSTPONES RESTARTING CHORNOBYL REACTOR. Chornobyl
nuclear plant director Serhiy Parashyn has announced that
the restarting of the plant's third reactor following
repairs will be postponed until mid-May, Ukrainian
Television reported on 27 April. According to Parashyn, the
European Bank For Reconstruction and Development requested
the postponement on behalf of the 3,000 delegates who are to
attend an EBRD annual conference in Kyiv in 8-12 May and
fear for their safety. French experts have found cracks in
the reactor's circulation system, Western news agencies
reported last week. JM

BELARUSIAN PRISONERS' ASSOCIATION SET UP IN MINSK.
Opposition politicians, journalists, and writers have set up
a Belarusian Association of Prisoners of the Lukashenka
Regime in Minsk, Belapan reported on 26 April. The
association unites people who have been imprisoned for
political activities under the regime of Alyaksandr
Lukashenka. It includes poet Slavamir Adamovich, journalist
Pavel Sharamet, and Belarusian Popular Front Deputy Chairman
Yury Khadyka. The organization has adopted a statement
demanding that trials of current political prisoners be
fully open. JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITIONIST REJECTED KGB RECRUITMENT BID. Pavel
Karnazytski, the 22-year-old former chairman of the
opposition Social Democratic Party youth organization,
disclosed at a news conference in Minsk on 24 April that he
had rejected an attempt by the Belarusian KGB to recruit
him, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported. Karnazytski said
he resigned his party post after he was approached by a man
who identified himself as KGB Captain "Uhulanitsa" and
showed him a document bearing Karnazytski's signature under
an alleged agreement to work for the KGB. He claims he never
agreed to work for the organization but recalls that he was
abducted last summer by Uhulanitsa and several other men in
civilian clothes, who interrogated and sought to intimidate
him. Karnazytski said he passed out and regained
consciousness on a park bench in the city center. JM

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES EU TO SUPPORT LATVIA. Toomas
Hendrik Ilves told visiting Irish Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern on 27 April that the EU should come out in support of
Latvia, ETA reported. Ilves said that in the current
situation, Latvia needs the firm backing of the EU, which
last week advised Russia not to use trade and economic
sanctions against Latvia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 April
1998). According to the Estonian foreign minister, since
Tallinn began accession talks with the EU, Estonian-Russian
relations have started to improve. JC

RUSSIAN, LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS BILATERAL RELATIONS.
In their first direct contact, Boris Yeltsin and Valdas
Adamkus discussed bilateral relations by telephone on 27
April, BNS and ITAR-TASS reported. According to the
Lithuanian presidential office, the two leaders expressed
the desire to further develop those relations in the spirit
of good neighborliness, stressing the need for political
dialogue, expanding trade links, and boosting cooperation
between Lithuania and Kaliningrad Oblast. The Kremlin press
office reported that they also focused on Lithuanian Prime
Minister Gediminas Vagnorius's visit to Moscow in June. With
regard to Russian-Latvian relations, the Baltic news agency
quoted Adamkus as telling Yeltsin that he believes Riga will
take the necessary steps to ensure the rights of ethnic
minorities, while Yeltsin expressed the hope that Latvia
will follow Lithuania's example. JC

RIGHTIST TRADE UNION PROTESTS MINING RESTRUCTURING PLAN.
Some 100 members of the right-wing August 80 Free Trade
Union have protested the government's plan to cut jobs and
streamline production in the coal mining sector (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 15 and 21 April 1998), "Zycie Warszawy" reported.
Gathering in Katowice, the protesters burned the EU flag and
threw eggs at a building where an international conference
attended by EU officials was taking place. They then stormed
the Solidarity regional headquarters and broke into
Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski's office. The trade
unionists fear the restructuring announced by the
Solidarity-led government will "liquidate the Polish coal
mining industry." JM

POLISH SUPERSPY VISITS HOMELAND AFTER 17 YEARS. Ryszard
Kuklinski, Poland's most famous spy for the CIA during the
communist era, visited his homeland on 27 April after 17
years in exile. Kuklinski fled Poland in 1981 after
informing the CIA about the communist regime's plan to
impose martial law. A Polish military court sentenced him to
death on charges of treason and desertion. He was fully
rehabilitated only in September 1997. A recent opinion poll
in Poland showed that more than 25 percent of Poles still
think Kuklinski committed treason. On his arrival, Kuklinski
was welcomed by Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek. He is to tour
six Polish cities. JM

POLL SHOWS CZECH SUPPORT FOR NATO DWINDLING. According to an
opinion poll conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion
Research, support for joining NATO in the Czech Republic
dropped from 54 percent in March to 50 percent this month.
Of those who support membership in the alliance, 22 percent
said the government should "definitely try to join the
alliance" and 28 percent said it "should try to join" it,
CTK reported. MS

MECIAR ORDERS STOP OF NUCLEAR FUEL LOADING. Slovakia's
state-owned electricity company on 27 April started loading
nuclear fuel into a reactor at the Mochovce power plant,
Reuters reported. But after meeting with Austrian Chancellor
Viktor Klima in Vienna the same day, Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar told journalists he has ordered the loading to stop.
An Austrian team of experts is to check the safety of the
plant on 5-7 May. Meciar did not say whether Slovakia would
take any action if the team found the plant to be unsafe.
The Soviet-designed nuclear plant, which is due to begin
operating this summer, is close to the Austrian border and
has been the target of protests by anti-nuclear activists
from both countries. MS

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN HUNGARY. In his first trip
abroad as Ukrainian foreign minister, Boris Tarasyuk said in
Budapest on 27 April that his country supports a pro-
European foreign policy, Hungarian media reported.
Tarasyuk's Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs, said
Hungary has a vested interest in seeing a democratic,
independent, and stable Ukraine and seeks to expand
bilateral trade, border cooperation, and joint efforts
toward fighting organized crime. He told Tarasyuk that
Hungary will support Ukraine's integration into
international bodies such as the EU and NATO and asked him
to continue pursuing minority policies that are in line with
European norms. MSZ

VOTER PREFERENCES IN HUNGARY. The governing Socialists are
considered the most suitable party to head a government, but
the public is more sympathetic to the Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP), according to
the results of a poll published in the 28 April "Nepszava."
FIDESZ-MPP is the favored party of intellectuals,
entrepreneurs, and young people, while older people and
pensioners tend to prefer the Socialists. "Magyar Nemzet"
reports that the Socialists' support outweighs that of
FIDESZ-MPP in Budapest and in villages, while FIDESZ-MPP
leads in medium-sized towns. The two parties are leading all
opinion polls ahead of the 10 May general elections. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. MAY 'GO IT ALONE' ON KOSOVA. An unnamed top U.S.
official said in Washington on 27 April that the U.S. will
propose a package of both positive and negative incentives
at the international Contact Group meeting in Rome on 29
April. The aim of the measures is to persuade Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic to end the violence in Kosova
and launch talks with representatives of the ethnic Albanian
majority there about the province's future. The official
said that Washington is prepared "to show much more
leadership" on the political and diplomatic fronts if the
Contact Group does not accept the package unaltered. The
official stressed that "consensus is not [Washington's]
goal; a strong substantive package is the goal. We will not
settle for an agreement just for the sake of an agreement.
We will not settle for a lowest common denominator
solution." PM

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS TAKE MEASURES AGAINST SERBIA. The
foreign ministers of the EU member countries agreed in
Luxembourg on 27 April to ban the export of police equipment
and armored vehicles to Serbia and to deny visas to Serbian
officials. The ministers turned down a proposal to freeze
export credits already approved for Belgrade, the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" wrote. They took no
decision on a proposed freeze of Serbian assets abroad. The
ministers praised Macedonia as a "stabilizing factor" in the
Balkans and approved an emergency credit of $3.3 million for
Montenegro. They agreed that there has been no improvement
in relations between the EU on the one hand and Bosnia,
Croatia, and Yugoslavia on the other. Meanwhile in
Thessaloniki, Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos
said that Kosova is "a hand grenade, and if we pull the pin
just a little bit more, it will explode." PM

OSCE DISPUTES SERBIAN VERSION OF CLASHES... Daan Everts, who
is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's
ambassador to Albania, said in Tirana on 27 April that he
calls into question Serbian charges that large numbers of
fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) recently
crossed into Yugoslavia from Albania (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
27 April 1998). Everts added that "that must have been an
incident much deeper [within Kosova]. I haven't even seen
proper confirmation there, and it's been all Serb sources.
There is reason to be suspicious of this reporting out of
that area unless it is really documented properly." The
ambassador argued that Albania does not support hostile acts
against Yugoslavia and has shown "great restraint" in the
Kosovar crisis. Everts suggested that Belgrade wants world
opinion to think that Albania is partly responsible for the
crisis in order to reduce pressures for new sanctions
against Yugoslavia. PM

...AS DO KOSOVARS. In Prishtina, Kosovar spokesmen said on
27 April that some of the bodies of Kosovars killed in
recent days by the Serbian paramilitary police and the
Yugoslav army have no bullet wounds. The spokesmen charged
that the authorities executed the ethnic Albanians well
inside Yugoslav territory after capturing them in recent
raids on villages. Also in the Kosovar capital, the leading
Democratic League of Kosova said in a statement that the
Serbian campaign of violence and "psychological warfare" is
aimed at promoting "ethnic cleansing" by forcing Kosovars to
flee the province. Meanwhile in Moscow, Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov stated on 28 April that his ministry
"possesses information that there are camps for training
terrorists in Albania" and that this information is known to
all the Contact Group countries, ITAR-TASS reported. PM

DID SERBIAN COMMANDOS ENTER ALBANIA? Albanian Interior
Ministry officials told "Koha Jone" and "Gazeta Shqiptare"
on 27 April that approximately 10 soldiers entered the
village of Pogaj in the Has Mountains from Kosova in the
night of 25 April. Villagers told police that the soldiers
wore masks, spoke broken Albanian and claimed to be from the
UCK. The men asked the villagers about where to make contact
with UCK fighters in Albania, to which the villagers did not
reply. The intruders then asked some locals to guide them
back into Kosova, which the villagers refused to do. The
villagers, suspecting that the visitors were Serbian
soldiers on an intelligence mission, alerted the Albanian
police. FS

MONTENEGRO BARS YUGOSLAV TV CHANNEL. Montenegrin Information
Minister Bozidar Jaredic said in a 27 April letter to his
Yugoslav counterpart, Goran Matic, that Montenegro will not
relay the signals of the federal station RTJ, which went on
the air the same day. Jaredic said Podgorica has no
objection to creating a federal television station, but he
added that it must be independent and its activities
transparent. He noted that Montenegro has no say in the
activities of RTJ, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Podgorica. PM

KINKEL WARNS TUDJMAN ON BOSNIA. German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel said in a letter to Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman on 27 April that he expects Croatia to help end
attacks by Croats in Drvar against recently returned Serbian
refugees. "I ask you to urgently help to put an immediate
end to the violence against Serbs.... This recalls the time
of ethnic cleansing [which] must not be repeated." Kinkel
added that it is "not acceptable that Serbian apartments be
ransacked and possessions torched" (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
27 April 1998). Meanwhile in Tuzla, a UN police spokesman
said on 28 April that peacekeepers removed the Serbian
roadblock on the Doboj-Tuzla highway during the night and
that Muslims took down their own roadblock at the same time.
PM

TIRANA ROUNDTABLE ON KOSOVA FAILS TO PRODUCE RESOLUTION. A
roundtable that included representatives of Albania's main
political parties failed to draft a joint resolution on
Kosova in time for the 29 April Contact Group meeting. The
session broke up after Democratic Party General Secretary
Ridvan Bode demanded the resignation of the current
government and the setting up of a new government of experts
to "defend pan-national interests." Government
representatives at the roundtable declined to discuss that
demand, BETA news agency reported. FS

ALBANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ELECTS NEW CHIEF JUSTICE. The
Constitutional Court on 27 April elected Socialist
legislator Fehmi Abdiu as chief justice, Albanian state-run
television reported. Abdiu, who is currently head of the
parliament's legal commission, replaces Rustem Gjata.
Legislators voted to sack Gjata last month after the
parliamentary lustration committee charged him with having
cooperated with the communist-era secret service (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 March 1998). FS

IMF CHIEF NEGOTIATOR IN ROMANIA. Poul Thompsen, who is on a
three-day visit to Romania, met with Premier Radu Vasile and
Finance Minister Daniel Daianu on 27 April, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Daianu told journalists that
Thompsen's visit was aimed not at negotiating the terms of a
new stand-by loan but at "getting acquainted" with the new
government and its program. He added that a team of IMF
negotiators will come to Bucharest at a later date to
discuss the terms of a new stand-by agreement. Vasile said
last week that Romania would like the IMF to agree to an
increase in the budget deficit from 3.5 percent of GDP to
about 4.5 percent. He also said Bucharest would like to
negotiate a three-year stand-by accord. An existing
agreement expires next month. MS

FALLOUT FROM CIGARETTE-SMUGGLING AFFAIR. The opposition
Party of Social Democracy in Romania is demanding that the
parliament set up a special commission to investigate the
"cigarette-smuggling affair," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported on 27 April. The same day, presidential counselors
Zoe Petre and Dorin Marian asked the Prosecutor-General's
Office to launch criminal proceedings against Senator
Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Both counselors say Tudor libeled them
in the letter he addressed to several Euro-Atlantic
organizations about the affair (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27
April 1998). Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's office said
it has issued a warrant for the arrest of Protection and
Guard Service Colonel Gheorghe Trutulescu in connection with
the affair. Trutulescu took leave of absence when the affair
was uncovered and has not returned to his workplace. MS

BULGARIA, RUSSIA SETTLE GAS DISPUTE. Bulgarian Deputy Prime
Minister Evgeni Bakardzhiev and visiting Gazprom chief Rem
Vyakhirev have signed an agreement on gas deliveries, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported on 27 April. The
agreement, which is valid until 2010, provides for expanding
Russian pipeline transit rights across Bulgaria to Turkey,
Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia. Vyakhirev declined to give
details about the price of Russian gas deliveries to
Bulgaria but said some of the payment will take the form of
barter trade and pipeline construction work. Gazprom
recently acquired a 100 percent stake in Topenergy--the firm
that had the monopoly in Bulgaria on gas supplies and was a
joint venture between Gazprom, state-owned Bulgargas, and
Bulgaria's private conglomerate Multigroup. MS

END NOTE

BENEFITING FROM NATO EXPANSION

by Paul Goble

	As the debate on NATO expansion intensifies, its
supporters are pointing to the benefits it offers to new
members, while its opponents are calling attention to how a
larger NATO might harm Moscow's relationship with the West.
	But neither side in this ongoing debate has
acknowledged that the expansion of the Western alliance--at
least in the way that it is now taking place--may ultimately
bring the greatest benefits not so much to the new members
but to Russia itself--the country that some people suggest
the alliance is still directed against.
	First, in managing the expansion of NATO, Western
countries have worked hard to give Moscow an unprecedented
role in alliance decision-making. The NATO-Russia Charter
signed last June certainly grants the Russian government a
voice, if not a veto, in what the alliance will do in the
future.
	Indeed, as Russian diplomats have regularly pointed
out, Moscow obtained a seat in NATO councils long before the
alliance offered membership to any of the other former
Warsaw Pact states. The new Russian presence at alliance
headquarters in Brussels means that the alliance itself has
been transformed even before it has expanded.
	Second, in the course of the often intense public
discussions about the expansion of the alliance, Western
leaders have been at pains to specify what the alliance will
and will not do in Eastern Europe. They have made
commitments about the basing of various kinds of weaponry,
the level of integration of commands, and transparency of
the alliance with respect to Russia.
	In virtually every case, those Western statements have
been intended to reassure Moscow that, as all alliance
spokesman point out, NATO is not and never will be directed
against Russia. Some have even suggested that at some future
time, Russia itself could join the alliance, which was
created to contain its Soviet predecessor.
	Consequently, even as Russian officials, politicians
and commentators have complained about the growth of NATO,
they have often welcomed, if far more quietly, those
alliance commitments as a form of Western acknowledgment of
a special Russian role in Eastern Europe and especially on
the territory of the former Soviet Union.
	Moreover, the most thoughtful of Russian commentators
have noted that the process of NATO expansion has led the
West to make commitments to Moscow that it could not have
made any other way.
	Third, the expansion of the alliance eastward benefits
Russia in ways that many Russians may not appreciate now but
will likely see in the future as a major force pushing for
the democratic reform of that country and its further
integration into Europe. By including some of the countries
of Eastern Europe into its ranks, NATO effectively removes
them as possible targets for those in Russia who would like
to reverse the events of recent years or at least project
Russian power in ways that will likely make it more
difficult for Russia to reform itself.
	On the one hand, by providing a security guarantee to
the new members, NATO will help transform the political
debate in those countries, just as it did in Western Europe
four decades ago. By taking foreign policy out of the center
of that debate, NATO will give those countries both a chance
to direct their primary energies to domestic affairs and the
confidence to deal with Russia less as a political threat
than as an economic opportunity.
	And on the other hand, by defining more precisely the
immediate international environment within which Moscow must
operate, the Western alliance will help to limit the
influence of nationalists in Russia who may be interested in
reversing the changes following the collapse of the Soviet
Union.
	But as was the case when NATO introduced forces into
Bosnia, the chief beneficiaries of the alliance's
preparations for expansion will be Russian reformers who
find a way to use the opportunities the alliance offers
rather than simply oppose it for domestic purposes.


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