|Ум - око души, но не сила ее; сила души - в сердце. - Вовенарг|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 83 Part II, 30 April 1998
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 83 Part II, 30 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Note to readers: RFE/RL Newsline will not appear tomorrow, 1 May, a public holiday in the Czech Republic. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * UKRAINE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR U.S. FINANCIAL AID * CONTACT GROUP SLAPS FRESH SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE * ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER WANTS NATO SUPPORT End Note: KUCHMA FACES HARD TIMES AFTER ELECTIONS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx REGIONAL AFFAIRS CIS SUMMIT SIGNS OFF ON PERSONNEL APPOINTMENTS... In addition to appointing Berezovskii as CIS executive secretary, the CIS summit participants decided that Yeltsin will remain chairman of the CIS Heads-of-State Council until 2000. They also appointed Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov chairman of the CIS Council of Heads of Government and Aueznur Kazhenov as chairman of the CIS Economic Court. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told Interfax on 29 April that by re-electing Yeltsin as chairman of the CIS Council of Heads of State, CIS leaders have stressed "there is no alternative" to the commonwealth. He added the Moscow summit showed that reform has begun in the CIS. Commenting on Berezovskii's appointment as CIS executive secretary, Kuchma said "I like intelligent people." LF/JM ...BUT FAILS TO ADOPT KEY DOCUMENTS. Participants at the 29 April CIS summit failed to adopt proposals drafted by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev on creating a single economic space and a free trade zone within the CIS. They did agree, however, to discuss proposals for its reform at a CIS interstate forum in July. The presidents also failed to adopt a draft Declaration on Further Equal Partnership and Cooperation, which, according to a Ukrainian official quoted by Interfax, was rejected by unspecified participants because it did not explicitly affirm the territorial integrity of CIS member states. But Caucasus Press quoted a member of the Georgian delegation as saying that the draft affirms support for the territorial integrity of member states and that Armenia has therefore refused to sign it. At a session of the CIS Foreign Ministers' Council on 28 April, the representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, and Moldova refused to sign the draft, Noyan Tapan reported. LF CIS PRESIDENTS NOT UNANIMOUS IN SUPPORTING BEREZOVSKII? It is still unclear from Russian media reports how Berezovskii's candidacy for the post of CIS executive secretary was decided on. Yeltsin said that Berezovskii was proposed by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, but "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30 April quoted Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroev as claiming that Kuchma and Shevardnadze jointly suggested Kuchma after a lengthy argument between the presidents. Acting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Rybkin, rumored to have been instrumental in proposing Berezovskii's candidacy, said that a total of seven possible candidates were discussed, including Yabloko faction leader Grigorii Yavlinskii and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tyhypko. Russian Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii said that Berezovskii's candidacy was approved by all CIS presidents except for Armenia's Robert Kocharian, who canceled a scheduled post-summit press conference, Interfax reported. LF BEREZOVSKII OUTLINES CIS PRIORITIES. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 29 April, Berezovskii said his most immediate task as CIS executive secretary will be preparing for the planned July forum to discuss reforming the CIS. He declined, however, to comment on how the CIS might be transformed into a "real commonwealth." Berezovskii said that the CIS's main achievements include the fact that it has not fallen apart and that relations between its members have been maintained at a level that "exceeds the mundane." LF PARTICIPANTS GIVE DIFFERENT POST-SUMMIT ASSESSMENTS. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told journalists that the summit proved the CIS is needed "and will continue to exist and develop," although he admitted that it needs radical restructuring, ITAR-TASS reported. His Turkmen colleague, Saparmurat Niyazov, commented that for the first time, "we took into account...the experience and specifics of independent development" of the CIS member states. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, however, said the CIS heads of state summit was as fruitless as the previous day's CIS Customs Union meeting was profitable. He deplored the lack of progress toward reform. LF LUKASHENKA CRITICAL ABOUT CIS SUMMIT. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in Moscow on 29 April that the CIS summit has failed to agree on meaningful reform and restructuring of the commonwealth, adding that those issues will be discussed at the CIS interstate forum in July. Lukashenka argued that as long as there are no mechanisms for implementing CIS decisions, the commonwealth will remain a "talking shop." He also expressed satisfaction over the appointment of Boris Berezovskii as CIS executive secretary. "Berezovskii is able to fulfill his functions with our support," Interfax quoted the Belarusian leader as saying. JM EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE UKRAINE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR U.S. FINANCIAL AID. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is currently on a tour of Asia, said on 29 April that Ukraine remains eligible for U.S. financial aid, Reuters reported. The U.S. Congress suspended aid worth $100 million after U.S. firms investing in Ukraine complained of unfair treatment and an unfavorable business climate in Ukraine. According to State Department spokesman James Rubin, Kyiv has "made significant progress toward resolving U.S. investor complaints." Albright agreed to releasing $80 million and withholding $20 million until the remaining problems faced by U.S. investors in Ukraine are resolved. JM NEW CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER. The new parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea began its first session on 29 April, Ukrainian Television reported. Communist pickets outside the parliament building called on deputies to elect Communist leader Leonid Hrach as speaker. However, in the vote for the parliamentary speaker, neither Hrach nor former speaker Anatoliy Hrytsenko won the required 51 votes to be elected. The following day, the Communists refused to participate in the session, ITAR-TASS reported. Hrach told journalists that his faction will paralyze the work of the parliament unless a "normal, democratic situation" is created within it. He said that the elections of the parliamentary speaker are taking place under pressure from the government. JM OFFICIAL SAYS PRESS ENJOYS FREEDOM IN BELARUS. Mikhail Padhayny, head of the Belarusian State Committee for the Press, told journalists in Minsk on 29 April that the press enjoys full freedom in Belarus, Reuters reported. "There is no censorship.... Out of the 44 newspapers in the republic, only five are state-controlled," he asserted. Padhayny said the government is opposed to an alleged directive forbidding officials to give information to or buy advertisement space in the independent media (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April 1998). "This directive came from one official and was not supported by the authorities," Padhayny said. JM ESTONIAN PREMIER DISCUSSES EARLY ELECTIONS. Prime Minister Mart Siimann met with the opposition Reform, Fatherland, and Moderate Parties on 30 April to discuss the possibility of early elections, ETA reported. The previous day, the Coalition Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, authorized Siimann to begin such discussions. The opposition parties are to decide by next week whether to support an early ballot. Siimann has said early elections are necessary because his minority government has failed to increase its support in the parliament. However, the junior coalition members--the Country People's Party, the Rural Union, and the Pensioners and Families League--are opposed to early elections and want Siimann to continue as premier. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Estonia next March. JC NEW GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN LATVIA. Prime Minister Guntars Krasts on 29 April made several changes to his government, one day before the cabinet is to face a vote of confidence in the parliament. The most important changes are the appointments of Andrej Krastins (National Reform Party) and Laimonis Strujevich (Farmers' Union) as interior and economy ministers, respectively. They replace members of the Democratic Party Saimnieks, which recently quit the ruling coalition. The National Reform Party and the Green Party, both centrist formations, have been included in the coalition to replace the leftist Saimnieks. Krasts said the support of the coalition parties will give him 47 votes in the 100-seat parliament and that he is counting on the backing of up to eight independent deputies to give him a majority, Reuters reported. JC POLAND'S ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW. The Main Statistical Office (GUS) has released data showing that in the first quarter of 1998, the economy continued to grow, "Rzeczpospolita" reported on 30 April. Growth rates in the industrial and construction sectors were higher than in the past two years, while investments rose by 25 percent compared with the same period last year. The average monthly real wage in the national economic sector increased by 6.8 percent. JM POLAND TO RECEIVE 50 MILLION ECU FOR REFORM IN MINING, METALLURGY. Ryszard Czarnecki, chairman of the Committee for European Integration, said on 29 April that the European Commission will earmark 50 million ecus to support Poland's restructuring of the coal mining and metallurgy sectors, "Rzeczpospolita" reported. Restructuring will entail considerable layoffs, and the EU funds will be spent on creating new jobs for dismissed employees. Meanwhile, South Korean automobile manufacturer Daewoo has said it will invest $450 million in a new factory in Lublin to produce light industrial vehicles, AFP reported on 30 April. The company plans to provide 30,000 new jobs. JM HAVEL'S HEATH IMPROVING. Doctors at the University Clinic in Innsbruck on 29 April said that one day earlier, Czech President Vaclav Havel was able to speak for the first time in almost 10 days and tried to walk. They added that Havel has recovered from the effects of his week-long sedation, CTK reported. MS CZECH GOVERNMENT PANEL REJECTS U.S. OBJECTIONS TO LIBYA-OWNED FIRM. A special panel set up by the government on 29 April issued a report rejecting U.S. criticism over investments by the Malta-based Corinthia Group in the country's hotel industry. The U.S. last month warned its nationals not to stay in several hotels owned by the group because of partial Libyan ownership. The report says the Libyan firm's co- ownership does not violate UN resolutions or Czech law. It also points out that the Libyan company--which has had a 48 percent stake in the Corinthia Group since 1974--is not considered a Libyan subject under UN regulations. MS LAST POLLS BEFORE HUNGARIAN ELECTIONS. In the last polls to be published before the 10 May elections, there is agreement that the main race will be between the governing Hungarian Socialist Party and the opposition Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP). Most pollsters give the Socialists a slight lead, but analysts believe the matter is likely to be decided by the size of the turnout and second-round voting. Szonda Ipsos says a turnout of 65 percent or less would favor the Socialists, while a high turnout and/or a second-round ballot appear to favor FIDESZ- MPP. MSZ SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CONTACT GROUP SLAPS FRESH SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE. Diplomats representing the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy agreed in Rome on 29 April to freeze Yugoslav assets abroad in response to President Slobodan Milosevic's failure to withdraw special police forces from Kosova and begin talks with the Kosovar leadership. If Belgrade fails to launch negotiations with the Kosovars by 9 May, the Contact Group will block any new foreign investment in Serbia. If Belgrade does start talks, it will be welcomed back into international institutions. Russia did not agree to the sanctions but joined the other five countries in urging an end to the "unacceptable status-quo in Kosova." Representatives of the six countries also warned that "the risk of an escalating conflict requires immediate action.... If unresolved, the situation in Kosova threatens to spill over to other parts of the region." The six also slammed the "excessive use of force by the Yugoslav army and the proliferation of arms in the territory." PM MIXED REACTIONS TO SANCTIONS. A State Department spokesman said in Washington on 29 April that the Contact Group's sanctions package is a "good one" that will offer Milosevic a "stark choice." In Belgrade, Serbian bankers expressed fears that the ban on investments will cripple the government's privatization plans, which are based on the assumption that large amounts of foreign capital will be available. Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said on 30 April that the sanctions will hit ordinary Serbs more than they will affect the government. In Bonn, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi expressed similar views. He said the elite around Milosevic has its money deposited in secret accounts on Cyprus and that this elite knows from its experiences during the wars of 1991-1995 how to profit personally from sanctions. Bukoshi called instead for tougher measures that will directly affect Belgrade's power centers. PM MORE DEATHS IN KOSOVA... Unidentified gunmen attacked a police car near Duha on 29 April, killing one of the occupants and injuring another. Near Decan, police killed a man at the funeral of three Kosovars whom Serbian forces recently shot. Some mourners at the funeral said that police physically abused some of those present and fired into the crowd. A police spokesman said that armed members of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) fired first at the police and that the dead man was one of the uniformed guerrillas present. Elsewhere in the Decan area, Kosovar sources said there was gunfire in some villages, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM ...AND CHARGES OF RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Brother Sava Janjatic, who is a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Kosova, said in Decan on 29 April that ethnic Albanians continue to intimidate and physically abuse local Serbs. For several weeks, dozens of Serbs have fled their homes in mainly Albanian areas and sought shelter near the medieval Serbian monastery in Decan. Brother Sava called for a dialogue between Serbs and Albanians. He is close to Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic, who opposes Milosevic and urges reconciliation between Kosova's ethnic communities. In Prishtina, "Koha Ditore" wrote that Hafir Shala, an ethnic Albanian physician, has been held incommunicado by the police since 10 April. The police refuse to provide any information about his whereabouts or health, and his family fears he may be dead. PM KOSOVAR ESTABLISHMENT SLAMS UCK. The Prishtina daily "Bujku," which is close to the shadow-state government, said in a commentary on 27 April that "the existence of an armed wing [of the ethnic Albanian national movement] leaves much to be desired." The editorial chided the guerrillas for having limited their operations "to the murder of a few forest rangers" and noted that "there was not a single sign [of the UCK] giving the slightest help" to innocent civilians when the Serbian forces launched their crackdown at the end of February. The UCK has frequently criticized the mainstream civilian leadership as weak and ineffective (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 April 1998). PM ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER WANTS NATO SUPPORT. Fatos Nano told the parliament on 29 April that the "worsening of the situation in Kosova and the risk of an expanding armed conflict leaves us no alternative but to call for the deployment of an armed NATO force on our border." He added that unspecified people "both from within [Albania] and from the other side" of the frontier have recently caused provocations along the border. He said "these individuals and groups, by issuing declarations and conducting [illicit] trade, want to give the Serbs a pretext to cause bloodshed," "Zeri i Popullit" reported. He did not elaborate but stressed that Albania is opposed to terrorism and arms trafficking. NATO turned down Tirana's previous request for NATO troops to patrol its own border with Yugoslavia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 1998). NATO nonetheless recently sent a succession of small teams to inspect the area. FS ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT. Lawmakers on 29 April endorsed the new cabinet, despite criticism from both the opposition and within the governing Socialist Party (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 27 April 1998). Socialist deputy Halil Lalaj doubted whether the new cabinet will be able to tackle the country's problems better than the previous one, "Koha Jone" reported. He also objected that no northern Albanian is included in the cabinet. Opposition leader Sali Berisha attacked the previous government for raising taxes and failing to reduce poverty, and he demanded new elections. After Berisha's speech, most Socialist deputies who had previously criticized the government gave their support to Nano. FS ROMANIAN SECURITY AND GUARD CHIEF RESIGNS. President Emil Constantinescu has accepted the 29 April resignation of Nicu Anghel, the chief of the Security and Guard Service, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Anghel had approved the leave of absence of Colonel Gheorghe Trutulescu, who has been missing since the uncovering the so-called "cigarette affair." Media reports say the two were friends since the 1970s, when both served in the communist secret police's army intelligence. Also on 29 April, deputy Adrian Moroinanu of the opposition Alliance for Romania said he has his own sources confirming media reports that the plane that unloaded cigarettes at Bucharest's military airport on 16 April smuggled military equipment out of Romania when it took off. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's Office has extended to 30 days the detention of both the military commander of the airport and the owner of the warehouse to which the cigarettes were transported. MS ROMANI PARTY CHIEF ON ROMA HOLOCAUST IN ROMANIA. At least 250,000 Roma were deported to concentration camps in the Transdniester under the regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu, of whom only 10,000 survived, Romani Party leader Nicolae Paun said on 29 April. He added that the figure could be as high as 400,000. Paun's party was recently given access to the archives of the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Interior, where documents providing evidence of the Roma holocaust are stored. Paun said the Roma will demand compensation from the government, but he added that, given the country's poor economic situation, the Roma realize that for the time being, compensation can be "moral" only, in the form of a "public apology" from the authorities, Mediafax reported. AFP reported that the Romani might ask for compensation from the German government as well. MS MOLDOVAN GOVERNING PARTY CHOOSES PREMIER-DESIGNATE. The Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM) on 29 April chose Valentin Dolganciuc, a member of the Christian Democratic Popular Front (FPCD), as premier-designate. President Petru Lucinschi has yet to agree to that appointment, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The FPCD is one of the two main components of the CDM, and observers say Dolganciuc's selection may meet with resistance from the president, as the FPCD is in favor of union with Romania. Dolganciuc said after his election that he no longer considers himself to be a member of any political formation, but rather to represent the center-right Alliance for Democracy as a whole. That alliance includes the CDM and the pro-presidential For a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova Bloc and was set up on 21 April by the two formations. MS WORLD BANK APPROVES LOAN TO MOLDOVA. The World Bank has approved a $15.9 million loan to promote land privatization in Moldova, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported on 28 April. The loan is to help set up a land property registration system. An additional $4.7 million is to be granted to the project by international donors, including Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. Chisinau will contribute $ 4 million to the project. MS BULGARIA RECEIVES POSITIVE SIGNALS FROM GERMANY, WORLD BANK. In a letter to Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl says Bonn strongly supports Bulgaria's Western integration and wants to help create the necessary political, economic, and legal conditions for a stronger German involvement in Bulgaria's privatization process, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported on 29 April. The same day, Finance Minster Muravei Radev announced that the World Bank has endorsed a program of "aggressive strategy" in support of Bulgarian economic reforms over the next three years, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Sofia anticipates that the bank will soon approve a $700 million loan for Bulgaria. MS BULGARIA TO PARTLY PRIVATIZE GAS COMPANY. Ivan Shilyashki, the chief of Bulgaria's State Energy Committee, told an international conference in Sofia on 29 April that the government plans to begin partly privatizing the state-owned Bulgargas monopoly after 2001. He said the state will keep a majority stake in the enterprise and added that the selling of shares in Bulgargas is intended to adapt the company to free market conditions and bring in new technologies, Reuters reported. MS END NOTE KUCHMA FACES HARD TIMES AFTER ELECTIONS by Jan Maksymiuk One month after the 29 March parliamentary elections in Ukraine, the Central Electoral Commission is still counting votes. A flood of complaints about election fraud and irregularities has delayed the announcement of the final results. On 18 April, the commission published an incomplete list of 413 deputies, adding eight names to that list several days later. However, the lineup of the Supreme Council is more or less clear even before the final results are announced. The Communist Party scored an indisputable victory, with a total of 111 mandates gained on the nationwide party lists and single-mandate districts (nearly 25 percent of seats in the 450-strong legislature). But that victory has not strengthened the party's foothold in the legislature. Even in a coalition with the Socialists/Peasants bloc (34 seats)-- their most likely partner--they will not have a legislative majority. One Ukrainian newspaper observed that had the 1994 parliamentary elections been held under the current majority- proportional election system, the Communists would have fared much better at the time. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma seems to fear that the new parliament spells trouble for him. With the ailing economy, deep-rooted corruption, soaring wage and pension arrears, and an uncooperative legislature, he may have few opportunities to improve his ratings in the presidential elections scheduled for October 1999. Since 29 March, he has made a series of uncoordinated maneuvers--most of them strongly reminiscent of the Soviet era --in a bid to reassure both himself and his political foes that he is still in control. There were two "presidential" parties in the campaign-- the Popular Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko, and the Agrarian Party, both of which were created to secure a pro-Kuchma bloc in the legislature. The former won only 28 seats, while the latter failed even to overcome the 4 percent threshold, gaining a mere seven seats in the single-mandate districts. Kuchma reacted immediately by replacing three oblast administration heads in the regions where his parties fared badly. In a further move to reinforce his grip on local administration, he demanded that all his regional administration chiefs either decide on their party affiliation by mid-May or face dismissal. Administration executives, according to Kuchma, are allowed to join not only the "presidential" parties but also those of a "centrist and constructive orientation." The president also lashed out at his ministers for their poor performance and threatened a reshuffle at a 9 April cabinet session. At the same session, he ordered that the 1999 budget deficit be cut to 2.5 percent of GDP and 1998 budget spending trimmed in a bid to curry favor with reluctant Western creditors. Kuchma then fired the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administration and went on to deal an even heavier blow. Presenting the new administration chief, Kuchma warned Dnipropetrovsk managers that the "democracy game is over" for them. He added that unless they find a cure for economic ailments at their enterprises by the end of the year, they will also have to look for new jobs. Moreover, Kuchma has had to deal with former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, leader of the Hromada Party (which gained 23 seats in last month's elections) and chairman of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council. Lazarenko's party garnered some 700,000 votes--nearly two-thirds of the ballots cast for the party nationwide--in that oblast. This was a personal insult to Kuchma, who in the Soviet era had been a powerful party boss at Ukraine's famous Yuzhmash rocket-building plant in Dnipropetrovsk. Kuchma accused Lazarenko of exacerbating tensions in the region and the country as a whole and demanded that the Prosecutor-General's Office examine Lazarenko's "negative barter schemes." It is widely believed that Lazarenko will run against Kuchma in the 1999 presidential race. Still, Kuchma's gravest concern is Oleksandr Moroz, the leader of the Socialist Party and current parliamentary speaker, whom the left-wing camp would certainly prefer over Petro Symonenko, head of the Communist Party, as its presidential candidate. Kuchma has indicated his desire to remove Moroz from the parliamentary spotlight by replacing him--as he put it--with an "unengaged politician." Hennadiy Udovenko, who resigned his post of foreign minister and is reportedly seeking Moroz's job, may be an ideal replacement. And on 21 April, Kuchma held a meeting with newly elected deputies from business circles. More than one-third of the new legislature is composed of entrepreneurs and bankers, to whom Kuchma has appealed for support, regardless of their party affiliations and political preferences. He stressed that further confrontation between the executive and legislative branches would be "deliberate suicide" and made it clear that he categorically opposes the formation of a left-wing government. This latest move by Kuchma has reportedly had one very promising result for the president. According to some Ukrainian newspapers, the Popular Democratic Party's parliamentary faction has already managed to enlist more than 40 independent deputies to form pro-Kuchma faction in the Supreme Council. If those reports are accurate, Kuchma's chances are better than they seemed early this month. But he has only 18 months left of his presidential term to achieve what he has largely failed to do in the past four years. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc. 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