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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 89 Part II, 12 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 89  Part II, 12 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

* HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS HOPE TO STAY IN POWER

* NATO TO REVIEW ALL OPTIONS ON KOSOVA

* WESTENDORP WARNS THAT CONFLICT MAY SPREAD
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

PUSTOVOYTENKO GIVES UP PARLIAMENTARY SEAT. Ukrainian Prime
Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko, elected as a parliamentary
deputy on the Popular Democratic Party ticket, announced on
11 May that he is giving up his parliamentary seat and
remaining in the government, ITAR-TASS reported. Ukraine's
law forbids officials from holding posts simultaneously in
the government and parliament. Environment and Nuclear
Safety Minister Yuriy Kostenko, elected on the Popular Rukh
ticket, has resigned his post to take up his parliamentary
seat. On 12 May, the new parliament convened for the first
time. To date, the Central Electoral Commission has
registered 430 deputies and ordered elections to be repeated
in nine single-mandate constituencies. JM

UKRAINE RECEIVES EBRD AID TO SHUT DOWN CHORNOBYL. Ukraine
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD) have signed agreements granting Kyiv $120 million to
help reinforce the crumbling concrete sarcophagus around
Chornobyl's fourth reactor, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported
on 11 May. Meanwhile, Premier Pustovoytenko and Volodymyr
Horbulin, secretary of the Security and Defense Council,
have stressed Kyiv's stance that Ukraine will not close the
Chornobyl plant until the G-8 releases the funds necessary
for the closure. Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Yevgenii
Adamov has said those demands "can be qualified as nuclear
blackmail." Reuters quoted Adamov as saying that "Chornobyl
is not absolutely safe but is roughly on the same level as
other similar atomic stations on the CIS territory." . JM

BELARUS PLEDGES TO LIBERALIZE PRICES, EXCHANGE RATE. Pyotr
Prakapovich, chairman of the Belarusian National Bank, told
the EBRD annual meeting in Kyiv on 11 May that Belarus plans
to liberalize prices and lift controls on the exchange rate
by the end of this year, Reuters reported. Prakapovich
stressed that the most complicated task will be to
liberalize exchange rate policies. He said the bank's
priority is to maintain current economic growth, which
Belarus claims reached 10 percent last year. JM

ESTONIA, U.S. START ECONOMIC TALKS. Estonian and U.S.
delegations have launched so-called economic consultations
within the framework of the U.S.-Baltic partnership charter,
BNS and ETA reported on 11 May. Included on the agenda are
Estonia's negotiations with the World Trade Organization and
its bid to become a full member of the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development. Estonia is the first
of the three Baltic States to begin economic consultations
with the U.S. JC

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO KEEP DEATH PENALTY. Ignoring
calls by President Guntis Ulmanis to abolish the death
penalty, lawmakers on 11 May voted in the third and final
reading of a new criminal code against doing away with
capital punishment. Ulmanis had placed a moratorium on the
death penalty in September 1996, and more recently the
parliamentary Legal Commission had proposed banning capital
punishment altogether. Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs was quoted by BNS as criticizing the vote. He said
it meant that his country is not taking "pragmatic steps" to
gain EU entry. The EU does not demand an end to the death
penalty to qualify for entry, but Latvia promised to scrap
the law when it joined the Council of Europe in 1995. JC

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DEFENDS LILEIKIS. Shifra Grodnikaite, one
of the witnesses requested to testify in the case of alleged
Lithuanian war criminal Aleksandras Lileikis, has told
"Lietuvos rytas" that Lileikis was not a murderer, Reuters
reported on 11 May. "Aleksandras Lileikis saved me at the
risk of his own life," said Grodnikaite, who was arrested in
Vilnius at the start of the Nazi occupation and now lives in
Denver, Colorado. According to Grodnikaite, Lileikis
knowingly overlooked her Jewish origins and subscribed to a
fake story that she was the illegitimate daughter of a
priest. The trial of Lileikis, who is accused of having
handed over Jews to Nazi death squads during World War II,
was postponed in March to allow the testimony of Grodnikaite
and another defense witness to be gathered. It is expected
to begin next month. JC

POLISH MINERS PROTEST PLANNED JOB CUTS. Some 1,000 miners on
11 May protested the government's plans for restructuring
the coal mining industry, "Zycie Warszawy" reported. The
protest took place outside the building where a
parliamentary commission was discussing the restructuring
plan. The government intends to cut nearly 130,000 jobs over
the next four years. The protesters demanded the resignation
of Deputy Premier Leszek Balcerowicz and Deputy Economy
Minister Janusz Szlazak, who are seen as the main advocates
of the restructuring plan. JM

HAVEL UNDERGOES SURGERY TO CLOSE TRACHEOTOMY APERTURE.
Surgeons on 11 May successfully closed an aperture in the
throat of Czech President Vaclav Havel, which had been made
during a tracheotomy performed on the president last month
in Innsbruck to help him breathe more easily, AFP reported.
CTK said doctors hope Havel can be released from hospital
later this week. Also on 11 May, Havel pardoned the two Roma
who attacked the far-right Republican Party leader Miroslav
Sladek at a recent rally in Novy Bor. Presidential spokesman
Ladislav Spacek said the president "cannot agree" with the
form of the Romas' protest but "can understand their
motives." He also said the president "appreciated" the fact
that the Roma were protesting Sladek's insults not only
against the Romani community but also against Havel and his
wife. MS

MECIAR ON POSSIBLE POST-ELECTION CRISIS. Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar on 11 May said he will seek an
amendment to the constitution aimed at preventing a crisis
after the September parliamentary elections. Parliamentary
chairman Ivan Gasparovic told journalists that the amendment
would grant the parliament or its chairman the power to
designate the new prime minister. Under the constitution in
its current form, the premier must be appointed by the
president. Since March, however, the legislature has
repeatedly failed to elect a successor to Michal Kovac,
RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau reported. MS

HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS HOPE TO STAY IN POWER... Gyula Horn,
chairman of the ruling Socialist Party, said on 11 May that
his party has good chances in the second round of elections
since its candidates are leading in 113 out of the 175
single-mandate constituencies where a second ballot is to be
held. He asked the Socialists' coalition partner, the Free
Democrats (SZDSZ), to withdraw their candidates in all
constituencies, except for the two in which the SZDSZ is
leading. Asked about the possibility of a "grand coalition,"
Horn said "in politics nothing can be ruled out," but
emphasized that the Socialists will not make any advances to
their main center-right challenger, the Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP). MSZ

...WHILE OPPOSITION DETERMINED TO OUST GOVERNMENT. FIDESZ-
MPP deputy chairman Janos Ader said on 11 May that his
party's candidates will step down in the second round in
favor of the Independent Smallholders (FKGP) candidates who
fared better in the single-mandate constituencies. He added,
however, that "there is nothing else to discuss with the
FKGP." Smallholders' chairman Jozsef Torgyan said the
FIDESZ-MPP can form a government only with the FKGP, adding
that his party is ready to withdraw its candidates in favor
of the FIDESZ-MPP only if it has a role in a new government.
Both FIDESZ-MPP and the FKGP have ruled out involving the
far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP) in
opposition consultations. The MIEP seems set to enter the
parliament for the first time. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO TO REVIEW ALL OPTIONS ON KOSOVA. NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana said at a meeting of the West European Union
on Rhodes on 11 May that representatives of the Atlantic
alliance will decide on 13 May whether to take a more active
role in containing the crisis in Kosova. He added that "we
have not ruled out any possibility." Solana said that so far
"the only thing we have done is to ask our military
authorities to do preliminary planning of potential help to
[Macedonia] and Albania in order to help them control their
borders and... prevent any spillover" of the low-intensity
conflict. German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe added that
possible options include establishing a no-fly zone over
Kosova and sending observers to the area. Ruehe said that
there is no need to send a large force to patrol the Kosova-
Albania border because there is no evidence of major arms
smuggling. PM

WESTENDORP WARNS THAT CONFLICT MAY SPREAD. Carlos
Westendorp, who is the international community's chief
representative in Bosnia, said at the UN in New York on 11
May that the conflict in Kosova could spread elsewhere in
the region, which, he added, "may have a very negative
influence on Bosnia." Westendorp suggested that any
intensification of the fighting could lead to an exodus of
refugees, many of whom might head for Bosnia. The Spanish
diplomat added that NATO troops in Bosnia and elsewhere may
find themselves involved in the fighting if a full-fledged
war breaks out in Kosova. Westendorp noted that Bosnia
itself is entering "a turbulent period" because of efforts
by the international community to help refugees return to
their homes in areas under the control of another ethnic
group. PM

HOLBROOKE STILL EMPTY-HANDED. Richard Holbrooke, the
previous U.S. special envoy to the former Yugoslavia, and
his successor, Robert Gelbard obtained no results from their
talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade
on 11 May, which was their second meeting with him in three
days (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 May 1998). Holbrooke noted
that "the distance between the two sides is very great" but
added that "we will continue on the instructions and with
the encouragement of Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright
and President Bill Clinton to try to fill in the gaps." In a
statement, Milosevic slammed the outside "interference" and
"pressure" being applied to his country. PM

ILIESCU BACKS MILOSEVIC. Romanian former President Ion
Iliescu said in Belgrade on 11 May that Milosevic's policy
toward Kosova is "fair." The Romanian opposition leader
added that Kosova is "an internal problem for Serbia and
Yugoslavia," and that the international community has no
right to intervene unless Belgrade asks it to do so. In
recent months, Romanian businessmen have gone on trial for
smuggling gasoline to Serbia during the time that Iliescu
was president and sanctions were in force against Belgrade.
It has emerged at the trials that the government knew about
the smuggling. PM

KOSOVAR KILLED IN PRISHTINA. Police deliberately shot an
elderly Kosovar onlooker during an early morning raid on a
neighboring house on 12 May, Reuters reported, quoting the
man's family. Serbian police refused to comment on the
story. The previous day, the key road linking Prishtina and
Peja remained closed for the fourth straight day because of
fighting in the area, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. In Mitrovica, police spokesmen said that the
police have arrested seven Kosovars wanted for "terrorism"
in conjunction with recent clashes between the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) and the paramilitary police. In Peja,
the prosecutor's office launched proceedings against 13
Kosovars on similar charges in conjunction with an attack on
the police station in Ponoshec. PM

MONTENEGRO TO TRY TO UNSEAT MILOSEVIC. Svetozar Marovic, who
is speaker of the Montenegrin parliament and a member of the
governing Democratic Socialist Party, said in Budva on 11
May that Montenegrin deputies to the federal parliament will
lodge a motion after the 31 May Montenegrin parliamentary
elections to remove Milosevic from office. Marovic stressed
that Milosevic treats the army like "his private property"
and is ruining Yugoslavia internationally through his
"xenophobic policies." The speaker added that Montenegrins
"will not go to war for Kosova" but also that Montenegro
"will not give it up," the Belgrade daily "Novosti"
reported. In Podgorica, election officials announced that 10
parties have qualified for a place on the ballot and that
458,340 voters are registered, which is 3,000 voters fewer
than in the second round of last year's presidential vote,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

CROATIAN DIPLOMAT BLASTS RULING IDEOLOGY. Davor Bekic, who
is ambassador to the UN in Geneva and one of Croatia's
leading diplomats, told "Vecernji list" of 9 May that
Croatia must adopt a clear policy toward Bosnia and support
the unity of that country if Zagreb hopes to avoid problems
with the Muslims and with the international community.
Without mentioning President Franjo Tudjman or the governing
Croatian Democratic Community by name, Bekic charged that
the country's political culture is backward and that
prominent politicians whitewash Croatia's fascist past. He
added that such politicians follow an ideology that attempts
to be both socially radical and staunchly nationalist "and
that, in other words, is national-socialist, or Nazi." PM

NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE AGAINST CROATIAN GOVERNOR. The
legislature of Dubrovnik-Neretva county approved a vote of
no confidence in Governor Jure Buric in Dubrovnik on 11 May
in connection with his role in the ongoing scandal
surrounding the Dubrovacka Banka. In the Sarengradska Ada
area near Ilok, Yugoslav soldiers briefly detained two
Croatian citizens. The area is one of several pockets
belonging to Croatia but now on the northern, or Serbian,
side of the Danube following a change in the river's course.
Serbia treats the pockets as disputed territory and has
periodically sent army patrols into the areas, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. And in Osijek, Croatian
police arrested a Serb suspected of involvement in three
murders in Vukovar following the fall of that town to
Serbian forces in November 1991. PM

BOMB ATTACK ON ALBANIAN JOURNALIST. A bomb slightly injured
four children on 10 May at the Vlora home of "Koha Jone"
correspondent Zenepe Luka. Local police Chief Rebani Memsuhi
said that the 5 kilogram bomb was the largest explosive
device used in the southern city since the unrest ended in
the second half of 1997. He added that "the attack, which
aimed at physically eliminating Zenepe Luka's family, was
also directed at the free press." The explosion occurred
just hours after the Democratic Party officials had refused
to admit her to a party rally but had relented following an
appeal by Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe ambassador Daan Everts. Addressing the rally,
Democratic legislator Azem Hajdari called Luka a "slut" and
an associate of gang leader Zani Caushi. Luka became well
known during the 1997 revolt, when she was one of only a
handful of reporters in the city. FS

ROMANIA DECRIMINALIZES HOMOSEXUALITY. The government on 7
May approved a draft law decriminalizing homosexual
relations. The draft, which has yet to be approved by the
parliament, states that homosexual relations are punishable
only if minors under the age of 14 are involved or if rape
takes place. Under the existing penal code, homosexual
relations are punishable if they constitute a "public
offense" and can carry a sentence of up to seven years.
Romania has been repeatedly criticized by international
human rights organizations and the Council of Europe for
classifying homosexuality as a criminal offense. The
Romanian Orthodox Church and extreme nationalists parties
and public organizations are opposed to decriminalizing
homosexual relations. MS

MOLDOVAN SECRET SERVICES PREVENTED MIG DEAL LEAK. Moldova's
secret services have prevented an attempt by a former
Defense Ministry official to smuggle classified documents
out of the country. The documents contained details of
contracts to sell MiG fighters to the U.S. and South Yemen.
Last year, Moldova sold 21 MiG-29 fighters to the U.S; in
1994, it sold four fighters to South Yemen. The official
tried to get the documents to a country whose name has not
been revealed "in the interests of the investigation," ITAR-
TASS reported on 11 May, citing the press service of the
Moldovan Ministry for State Security. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN CHINA. President Petar Stoyanov and
his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, met in Beijing on 11
May and signed a declaration on strengthening bilateral
relations, dpa reported. They also signed agreements on
cooperation in telecommunications, culture, science, and
education. Stoyanov said Bulgaria will remain faithful to
its "one China policy" and will not establish formal
relations with Taiwan. Accompanied by a large delegation of
businessmen, Stoyanov is scheduled to meet with Premier Zhu
Rongji and parliamentary chairman Li Peng on 12 May. MS

'OPEN WAR' BETWEEN CRIME-FIGHTING CHIEFS IN BULGARIA. The
shooting of a policeman in Sofia last weekend has
exacerbated what the Bulgarian media call an "open war"
between Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev and Prosecutor-
General Ivan Tatarchev. Tatarchev recently released a
special report criticizing widespread police brutality
toward suspects in detention. The ministry said the report
was "exaggerated" and Bonev demanded Tatarchev's
resignation, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported.
Meanwhile on 11 May, a journalist for "Trud" who specializes
in investigating organized crime was seriously hurt when
acid was thrown in her face at a bus stop in Sofia. Ana
Zaharova was hospitalized, while the attacker managed to
escape in a car that was waiting for him, Bulgarian Radio
reported. MS

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