The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 87 Part II, 7 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 87 Part II, 7 May 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 SIGNS NUCLEAR COOPERATION ACCORD WITH U.S.

* HORN ATTACKS RIGHTIST PARTIES AS CAMPAIGN HEATS UP

* PARIS, BONN WEIGH OPTIONS ON KOSOVA
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***
Note to readers: RFE/RL Newsline will not appear on Friday,
8 May, a holiday in the Czech Republic.
***

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE SIGNS NUCLEAR COOPERATION ACCORD WITH U.S. Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and U.S. Ambassador to
Ukraine Steven Pifer signed in Kyiv on 6 May a cooperation
agreement on atomic energy, ITAR-TASS reported. Under the
agreement, the United States will allot $30 million for
working out technical documentation regarding the creation
of a nuclear fuel cycle for VVER-1000 reactors in Ukraine.
The United States has stipulated that Ukraine should not
supply nuclear turbines for the construction of the Bushehr
nuclear plant in Iran. "This accord will allow the
development of the strategic partnership between the United
States and Ukraine," AFP quoted Tarasyuk as saying. JM

LEONID KUCHMA TO REPLACE 90 PERCENT OF REGIONAL LEADERS...
The Ukrainian president said at a meeting with
administration chiefs of Chernihiv Oblast on 6 May that he
intends to replace 90 percent of Ukraine's regional leaders,
Interfax reported. "The governors' promises have nothing to
do with what they actually do," Kuchma commented. JM

... TO ANNOUNCE 'UNPOPULAR DECISIONS' AT PARLIAMENT'S
OPENING. The president also said he is going to address the
nation at the parliament's opening on 12 May. His address
will mostly deal with what he called "unpopular decisions"
regarding the budget deficit and other budget figures,
Interfax reported. JM

STRIKING MINERS THREATEN TO LAUNCH RIOTS. Striking coal
miners in Ukraine threatened on 6 May to take to the
streets. "Miners from the Luhansk region say they are ready
to seize trains and move to Kyiv to beat people who do not
want to pay their wages," Mykhaylo Volynets, head of the
Ukrainian Independent Miners Trade Union, told Reuters.
Volynets also said the strike over wage arrears has involved
130,000 miners from 57 mines on its fourth day. JM

COMMUNISTS TO HAVE LARGEST PARLIAMENTARY FACTION. The
Communist Party will have the largest faction in the
Ukrainian Supreme Council with 125 members, Ukrainian
Television reported on 6 May. The Communists are followed by
factions of the Popular Democratic Party (77 deputies), the
Popular Rukh (51), and the Hromada party (41). JM

BELARUSIAN WOMEN ASK HILLARY CLINTON FOR HELP. Six
Belarusian women, mothers or wives of persecuted opposition
activists, presented U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Daniel
Speckhard on 6 May with a letter to Hillary Clinton asking
her for support for political prisoners and human rights
activists in Belarus, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported.
The letter protests against political repression in Belarus
and "the transformation of all of us into Lukashenka's
voiceless slaves." It also states that since the beginning
of 1997 the Belarusian authorities have subjected more than
1,500 people to different kinds of political repression. JM

PLANS DROPPED FOR EARLY ESTONIAN ELECTIONS. Estonia's ruling
minority coalition government on 6 May decided not to call
for early general elections, BNS reported. At the same time,
Prime Minister Mart Siimann's party asked him to remain its
leader, thus quashing speculation that he would resign in
favor of someone else. PG

LATVIAN BOMBING DRAWS RUSSIAN PROTEST, LATVIAN PROMISES. The
4 May bombing of a World War II monument in Dobele, a
Latvian city 70 kilometers south of Riga, prompted a sharp
response from the Russian Foreign Ministry and a Latvian
promise to bring those responsible to justice, Interfax and
BNS reported. The Russian foreign ministry said that this
act of vandalism was only a further link "in the same chain"
of events that have marred Latvian-Russian relations so far
this year. The Latvian government responded by saying that
it would work to restore the monument before 9 May, the day
Russians mark as the anniversary of the end of World War II.
In a related development, 120 public organizations in the
Kuzbas region denounced Latvia's policies toward its ethnic
Russian residents, Itar-Tass reported on 6 May. PG

NATO AMBASSADORS CRITICIZE MOSCOW'S PRESSURE ON LATVIA. The
ambassadors of NATO countries resident in Riga criticized on
6 May the Russian Federation's use of economic pressure on
Latvia, BNS reported. They said that such pressure was
inappropriate in the context of a search for solutions to
any bilateral problems. Meanwhile, on the same day, U.S. and
Latvian defense officials met to discuss how Riga can
implement an American Defense Department plan to upgrade the
Latvian military. PG

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES CITIZENSHIP LAW CHANGES. Acting
on the advice of the OSCE High Commissioner for National
Minorities, Max van der Stoel, the Latvian cabinet approved
a change to the country's citizenship legislation that would
grant citizenship to all children born in Latvian after 21
August 1991 regardless of the citizenship of their parents,
the Riga newspaper "Diena" reported on 6 May. The only
restriction is that the parents must have been living
legally in Latvia for at least five years. The Latvian
authorities had earlier proposed allowing such children to
apply for citizenship at age 16 but Van der Stoel suggested
that such an arrangement was inconsistent with international
standards and would provoke a negative response in Europe.
PG

NEW LITHUANIAN LAW TO BRING ARMY UP TO NATO STANDARDS. The
Lithuanian parliament on 5 May passed a new national defense
law intended to bring the country's military arrangements up
to NATO standards, BNS reported. In another move with
possible NATO implications, the leaders of Lithuania's
Klaipeda region have signed a broad cooperation agreement
with Poland's Olsztyn region that will increase contacts
between Lithuania and a country that appears set to become a
NATO country in the current round of expansion. PG

ROW ABOUT CONTROL OVER POLISH TELEVISION. The recent
appointment of a new director of the Polish Television First
Program has incited a harsh squabble between Polish right-
and left-wing politicians, "Zycie Warszawy" reported on 7
April. The Polish Television Supervisory Board, which was
formed under the former, left-wing government, is widely
believed to be dominated by leftists. The ruling coalition
accuses them of making politically biased appointments to
key television posts. Jan Litynski, a parliamentarian from
the coalition Freedom Union, told "Zycie Warszawy" that the
leftists treat television as their "private farm," and
called for "taking into account the existence of different
political forces." JM

HAVEL RETURNS TO PRAGUE. Czech President Vaclav Havel flew
back to Prague on 6 May from Austria. Havel walked from the
ambulance plane and was greeted by Prime Minister Josef
Tosovsky and other officials. Havel, who underwent emergency
abdominal surgery on 14 April and had two successive
operations while in hospital, will spend at least the next
10 days in a military hospital. He will need another
operation, once he has recuperated, to remove an artificial
bowel. The head of Havel's medical council, Miroslav Cerbak,
said that the operation would probably not take place until
after the parliamentary elections scheduled for 19 and 20
June. PB

FREEDOM HOUSE DEFENDS LOW RATING OF SLOVAKIA'S PRESS.
Leonard Sussman, the director of the U.S.-based organization
Freedom House, said that an evaluation of the Slovak media
as being "partially free" is justified, TASR reported on 7
May. Sussman said a "fundamental change of relations between
government and media must take place" before the rating
would be upgraded. Sussman did say that there is "lively"
media in Slovakia, but added that many journalists in
Slovakia complain of not being completely free. Several
media organizations had complained about the designation
when it was released on 1 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 May
1998). PB

HORN ATTACKS RIGHTIST PARTIES AS CAMPAIGN HEATS UP.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn told voters that they
have a choice in the upcoming elections between a "European
left" and an "outdated, hateful, shifting alliance of the
right," Reuters reported on 6 May. Horn, speaking to a crowd
of about 1,000 trade union supporters, said he was "afraid
for this country" if right-wing parties such as the
Independent Smallholders Party and the nationalist Hungarian
Justice and Life Party (MIEP) were to join a governing
coalition. The Federation of Young Democrats, which is
running second behind Horn's Socialists in opinion polls,
distanced itself from the MIEP by issuing a statement saying
it had nothing to do with the extremist party or its
ideology. Former Polish President Lech Walesa was in Hungary
over the weekend campaigning with Viktor Orban and the Young
Democrats. Some 1,602 candidates and 26 parties will contest
the election, which will be decided in two rounds, the first
one on 10 May and the second round two weeks later. At stake
are the 386 seats in the unicameral parliament. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO SAYS NO TROOPS TO ALBANIA... NATO ambassadors agreed at
their weekly meeting in Brussels on 6 May to reject again
Albania's calls for the alliance to establish a presence on
that country's border with Kosova. An unnamed spokesman
nonetheless told AFP that the alliance will try to help
Albania help itself within the framework of the Partnership
for Peace program. The spokesman added that NATO is "taking
a second look" at an Italian proposal to hold maneuvers in
Albania. Europe's poorest country wants a NATO presence
because it is in no position to defend itself; its military
has not recovered from the ravages of last year's anarchy.
Albania's border with Kosova is mountainous and difficult to
control completely. Tirana also feels that a NATO presence
would deprive Belgrade of the excuse that its crackdown in
the border region is a response to provocations from the
Albanian side of the frontier. PM

...BUT PARIS, BONN WEIGH OPTIONS. Unnamed German government
officials told Reuters at the Franco-German summit in
Avignon on 7 May that the defense and foreign ministers of
the two countries are considering forms of military as well
as political and economic pressure to end clashes in Kosova.
The spokesmen added that France and Germany are seeking ways
to pressure Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's
government in particular. The officials stated that German
Defense Minister Volker Ruehe believes that there are more
ways of bringing military pressure to bear than just by
helping Albania in the context of Partnership for Peace. PM

CLINTON WILL NOT RULE OUT GROUND TROOPS FOR KOSOVA. U.S.
President Bill Clinton told a joint press conference with
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in Washington on 6 May
that he does not rule out any options to help quell fighting
in Kosova. "I don't think we can rule out any options
because we don't want another Bosnia to happen," the
president said. He added that the Serbs and Kosovars
"obviously need to sit down and talk through how the
legitimate aspirations of the Kosova Albanians can somehow
be manifest in giving them some measure of self-government
and decision-making authority over their lives within the
framework of Serbia." Clinton stated that Italy should not
be put in a position of having to "send troops to every one
of its neighboring countries, [nor should] the United States
[have] to send troops every time there's a dispute in that
part of the world." PM

GELBARD WARNS ON KOSOVA. Robert Gelbard, who is U.S. special
envoy to the former Yugoslavia, told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in Washington on 6 May that Belgrade has
totally mishandled the Kosova question and helped turn it
into an international issue. He added that the United
States. and its allies will not just watch as repression
continues and violence escalates, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. Gelbard stressed that delays in starting a
dialogue will only benefit the extremists on both sides and
hurt ordinary people. The envoy did not rule out new
sanctions against Serbia, but said that Montenegro might be
exempted from the measures. PM

UCK TO TAKE WAR TO BELGRADE? Spokesmen for the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) told the BBC on 6 May that they would
consider it an honor "to die for Kosova." When the reporter
asked them if they plan to take the war to Belgrade in the
manner in which the IRA took its campaign of violence to the
British mainland, the spokesmen said that they rule out
nothing in order to achieve their goal of an independent
Kosova. In Kosova itself, low-level violence continues to
claim several lives daily across the province. PM

DJUKANOVIC: SANCTIONS NOT THE WAY. Montenegrin President
Milo Djukanovic told a press conference in Vienna on 6 May
that blanket sanctions against Yugoslavia hurt the reformers
and innocent people as well as the regime, "Die Presse"
wrote. Sanctions, he continued, enable Milosevic to blame
the international community for Yugoslavia's problems and to
increase repressive measures at home, the "Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung" added. Djukanovic urged the
international community instead to actively support the
democratic forces in Yugoslavia. He said that he has no
intention of taking Montenegro out of the Yugoslav
federation but only of changing Milosevic's policies, which,
he continued, are the root of Yugoslavia's problems.
Djukanovic stated that Milosevic has tried hard to defeat
the reformers in Montenegro, but that Djukanovic and team
have prevailed. The Montenegrin leader stressed that his
people will resist Serbian efforts to whip up popular
support for a conflict in Kosova. PM

PLAVSIC DETAINED AT VIENNA AIRPORT. Border police held
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic for one hour at
Schwechat airport on 6 May because of a 1995 arrest warrant
that they believed the Hague-based war crimes tribunal had
issued for complicity in genocide, Radio Austria
International reported. The police allowed her to continue
on her way to London after judges at the tribunal told
Austrian Interpol in a phone call that the court had never
issued such a warrant. At Schwechat, Plavsic's staff also
secured the intervention of Carlos Westendorp, the
international community's chief representative in Bosnia, to
help free Plavsic, "Nasa Borba" wrote. Plavsic subsequently
expressed her displeasure over the incident. She visited
Austria in February as the official guest of Foreign
Minister Wolfgang Schuessel. PM

NANO FREEZES BUDGET OVER KOSOVA. Prime Minister Fatos Nano
ordered stiff budget cuts on 6 May so that Albania will have
some extra cash reserves because of the deteriorating
situation in Kosova. Nano argued that "assistance for
northern Albania, [which includes] transport and lodging and
feeding [refugees], requires extra budget expenses." He
added that "in case of a growing influx [of refugees], many
ministries will need to considerably reduce their daily
expenses and to limit their new investments." Immediate
measure include cuts on foreign travel for government
officials, personnel reductions, a ban on buying new
official cars, and limitations on government use of electric
energy, telephone and fuel. In addition, Nano ordered budget
reviews for every four months to reassess the financial
situation, "Koha Jone" reported. Customs revenues have
proven lower than anticipated in the original budget, partly
due to smuggling. Tax evasion also places a heavy burden on
the budget. FS

GUNMEN HIJACK NANO'S CAR. Unidentified gunmen stole the
official car of Fatos Nano on 5 May in Tirana. The large
black Mercedes limousine is easily identifiable as the prime
minister's car by its license plate. The driver was alone in
the vehicle at the moment of the carjacking. Despite
increased police controls, robbers continue to steal luxury
cars regularly. Earlier this year, robbers shot and injured
a EU monitor and two British diplomats in separate
carjacking attempts in and around Tirana (see "RFE/RL
Newsline" 14 April 1998). FS

MOLDOVA'S PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE SEEKS HUGE GROWTH. Ion
Ciubuc said on 6 May that his proposed government will aim
to expand the economy by 8 percent this year, Reuters
reported. Ciubuc was addressing parliament after being
formally nominated as prime minister by President Petru
Lucinschi, who said the incumbent should "act more
resolutely...maintain tough discipline, and pay more
attention to solving macroeconomic problems." Ciubuc has two
weeks to present a government for parliament's approval.
Ciubuc pledged that relations with international financial
institutions would "become more clear and definite." An
envoy from the International Monetary Fund arrived in
Chisinau on 7 May to discuss reopening a credit that was
suspended last year after the parliament blocked proposed
reforms in agriculture and industry. PB

BULGARIA PREMIER REFUSES EU REQUEST TO CLOSE NUCLEAR PLANT.
Ivan Kostov rejected a European Union proposal to close
certain sections of the controversial Kozloduy nuclear power
plant due to safety concerns, AFP reported on 6 May. Kostov,
who recently returned from Germany, claimed that German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl supports his decision not to shut
down the plant's two oldest reactors. Bulgaria has spent
over $100 million in repairs on the plant and claims the
plant no longer poses a danger, despite its Soviet design.
Kostov said he has requested that the EU perform a new
inspection of the plant, claiming the proposal that it be
closed is based on outdated information. PB

RULING WOULD LEAD TO RESTORATION OF BULGARIAN ROYALS'
PROPERTY. Public prosecutor Ivan Tatartchev has ruled that a
1947 law that nationalized the property of the Bulgarian
royal family is unconstitutional, AFP reported on 5 May.
Bulgaria's former monarch, King Simeon II, said from his
exiled home in Madrid that he was pleased that the
restitution process could begin. Simeon has repeatedly
called for property to be returned and the monarchy to be
restored, but received no support from previous governments.
Simeon was forced to leave Bulgaria by the Communists at age
six. He returned for the first time in 1996. PB

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