If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 91 Part II, 14 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 91  Part II, 14 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSPECIAL REPORTxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

COMMUNIST HOUSING: A FLAW IN THE DESIGN
More than 170 million people in Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union live in decaying housing complexes. This
five-part series examines the issues, compares East Berlin's
rehabilitation success story with Prague's less than
successful efforts, and describes the state of U.S. public
housing.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/housing/

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Headlines, Part II

* BUDAPEST BOURSE SLUMPS AFTER FIRST ROUND OF ELECTIONS

* CLINTON PRAISES MILOSEVIC-RUGOVA AGREEMENT

* KOSOVARS COOL TO RUGOVA'S CHOICE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER OPPOSES 'POLITICIZING' CIS...
Borys Tarasyuk told a news conference in Kyiv on 13 May that
Ukraine opposes "the transformation of the CIS into a supra-
state structure," ITAR-TASS reported. "If the process of
reorganizing the CIS takes on a politicized character...,
the commonwealth will be doomed," the minister commented. He
also stressed that Russia "has been, is, and will remain a
priority in Ukraine's foreign policy." In Tarasyuk's
opinion, Ukraine has managed to create a "belt of good-
neighborliness and stability" with its neighbors and is now
going to take a "more pragmatic course" toward seeking new
markets. JM

...STRESSES CLOSE COOPERATION WITH NATO, EU. The foreign
minister also announced that Ukraine will seek close
cooperation with NATO. In his opinion, the Ukrainian
Constitution does not rule out joining the alliance but
"certain conditions should emerge" toward this step. The
foreign minister expressed the hope that Ukraine will be
able to sign an agreement on associated membership in the EU
this year. According to Tarasyuk, Ukraine's relations with
the EU are "constructive." JM

CHORNOBYL REACTOR TO BE OPERATIONAL SOON. Operators at the
Chornobyl nuclear plant have begun restarting the plant's
only functioning reactor, Reuters reported on 13 May. The
reactor was switched off last year for nine months to repair
more than 300 cracks in its cooling system pipes. The
plant's chief engineer told the news agency that the reactor
currently has no defects and will be brought to its full
operational capacity by 18 May. JM

BELARUS REPORTS 12 PERCENT ECONOMIC GROWTH. The Belarusian
Ministry of Statistics and Analysis has reported that GDP
increased by 12 percent from January through April compared
with the same period last year. Investments in fixed assets
grew by 39.5 percent, while consumer prices rose by 14.8
percent compared with 28.8 percent last year. JM

MINSK TO INTRODUCE LICENSES FOR DISSEMINATING GOVERNMENT
INFORMATION. The Justice Ministry has approved the procedure
for the introduction of licenses for disseminating official
government information, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported
on 13 May. Such information is defined as any presidential
or ministerial law, decree, or directive issued in print or
electronic form. Theoretically, any citizen or legal entity
is eligible to obtain the license, but this step requires
voluminous supporting documentation. Those exempt from such
licenses include publications with a circulation of fewer
than 300 copies or those whom the Justice Ministry describes
as "acknowledged as official in accordance with an
established procedure." JM

ESTONIA ANNOUNCES COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE NAZI, SOVIET
CRIMES. President Lennart Meri told journalists on 13 May
that Tallinn will form a commission to investigate crimes
against humanity committed in the country between 1939 and
1991. That announcement follows the summit in Riga at which
the three Baltic presidents agreed to set up such
commissions in each country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 May
1998). Meri said that the decision was prompted by recent
events in Latvia: "Certain forces that are not interested in
the Baltic States' stability are manipulating some tragic
incidents in our past and are using [them] against us." The
commission will aim to bring to justice any war criminals
living in Estonia. Representatives of the American Jewish
Committee have advised Meri on the setting up of the
commission. JC

BALTIC COUNCIL HEAD URGES LATVIA TO AMEND CITIZENSHIP LAW.
Ole Espersen, commissioner of the Council of the Baltic Sea
States, has urged the Latvian parliament to approve by July
government-proposed amendments to the citizenship law, BNS
reported. Speaking to reporters in Riga on 13 May, Espersen
said that lawmakers should also bring the labor code and the
state language bill into line with international norms. The
same day, presidential press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembskii
told ITAR-TASS that Moscow expects from Riga "tangible
steps" toward legislative guarantees of the rights of ethnic
Russians, adding that "we shall continue with our steps."
Yastrzhembskii was commenting on the Riga summit of the
three Baltic presidents. JC

LITHUANIAN SECURITY CHIEF RESIGNS. ITAR-TASS reported on 13
May that Jurgis Jurgelis, the director-general of
Lithuania's State Security Department, submitted his
resignation during a meeting that day with President Valdas
Adamkus. The meeting was initiated by the president, who
accepted Jurgelis's resignation, Adamkus's press service
said in a statement. Observers link the security chief's
departure to the failure to find those responsible for the
series of explosions in Lithuania over the past six months.
JC

POLISH PRESIDENT REFUSES TO CONDEMN COMMUNIST PAST. In an
interview published in "Rzeczpospolita" on 14 May,
Aleksander Kwasniewski refused to condemn Poland's Communist
era. In his opinion, the Communist past was too complex to
be described in "one [condemning] sentence or one
paragraph.... It was a period when some people were loving
one another, some were being held in prison, some were
working, and some were wasting their talents because they
had no possibilities for self-development." Kwasniewski
added that the collapse of the Communist system was the best
assessment of the Communist era. Current attempts to pass a
bill condemning the Communist past are aimed at dividing
the Polish society "into good and bad people," he argued. JM

HAVEL RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL. President Vaclav Havel was
released from Prague's military hospital on 13 May, CTK
reported. His spokesman said Havel will rest for a week to
10 days at the presidential residence at Lany, outside
Prague. MS

AUDIT SHOWS KLAUS'S PARTY BROKE FUNDING LAWS. The Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) of former Premier Vaclav Klaus failed
to abide by donation disclosure laws and rigged its own
accounts, according to an international external audit
carried out by Deloitte & Touche at the ODS's request. ODS
representatives told journalists on 13 May that the party
had altered accounts, concealed donations from companies and
individuals by using false names, and had employed poor
accounting methods. At the same time, the auditors found no
evidence of the foreign bank accounts that were alleged to
exist and led to Klaus' resignation in November 1997. The
ODS said in reaction that it would improve the internal
financial control and "pay anything due to the public
coffer," Reuters reported. It also said it has already been
punished by losing control of the government and a
significant share of popular support. MS

SLOVAK SPEAKER REFUSES TO ACCEPT PETITION. Ivan Gasparovic
on 13 May refused for the second consecutive day to accept
petitions collected by the opposition in favor of direct
presidential elections. A spokesman for the Slovak
legislature told RFE/RL that the petitions are stacked in
numerous boxes and must be first handed to a parliamentary
committee to determine their authenticity. Some 400,000
Slovaks are reported to have backed the drive for direct
presidential elections. On 12 May the parliament began
debating the amendment of the electoral law proposed by the
ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. The opposition
says the modified law discriminates against it. MS

BUDAPEST BOURSE SLUMPS AFTER FIRST ROUND OF ELECTIONS.
Prices at the Budapest stock exchange fell sharply on 13 May
for the third day in a row in what analysts say is a nervous
reaction to the strong showing of right-wing parties in the
first round of the elections, AFP reported. The BUX has lost
729 points (almost 8.5 percent) since 8 May, the last day of
trading before the ballot. Experts say the market is likely
to remain unstable until after the 24 May run-off. Prime
Minister Gyula Horn on 13 May said his Socialist party
cannot and will not change its electoral program. He also
said that he was surprised by the low turnout in the first
ballot and that his party will concentrate much of its
effort in the two counties where the 10 May ballot will have
to be repeated owing to a turnout of less than 50 percent.
MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CLINTON PRAISES MILOSEVIC-RUGOVA AGREEMENT. U.S. President
Bill Clinton said in Berlin on 13 May that the decision by
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovar shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova to meet in Belgrade on 15 May
is a "sober first step" toward a resolution of the Kosova
question (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 May 1998). In
Washington, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised
Milosevic's "personal engagement" and Rugova's "flexibility"
in agreeing to the talks. In Moscow, Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov called the agreement "a significant
achievement for which Russian, U.S., French, and German
diplomats and the entire Contact Group have worked,"
Interfax reported. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel
stressed that Germany has a "special interest" in obtaining
a quick end to the crisis because it is host to 150,000
Kosovar asylum seekers, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
wrote. The Foreign Ministries of the U.K., France, Italy,
and Albania issued statements welcoming the two leaders'
decision to meet. PM

KOSOVARS COOL TO RUGOVA'S CHOICE. Fehmi Agani, who is a
close adviser to Rugova and the head of the Kosovars' Group
of 15 negotiators, praised Rugova's decision to meet
Milosevic without any foreign mediators present. He added
that "no miracles" should be expected from the meeting. Also
in Prishtina on 13 May, Adem Demaci, the head of the
opposition Parliamentary Party of Kosova, said that Rugova's
move was "a capitulation." Demaci added that Rugova had
abandoned the Kosovar demands for independence in favor of
"cultural autonomy," the Kosova Information Agency (KIC)
reported. Social Democratic leader Luljeta Pula-Beqiri
called Rugova's decision "scandalous" and added that "the
people are against it," "Nasa Borba" wrote. The VOA's
Albanian Service reported that "The discontent of all the
[G-15] members was apparent. They did not feel like
commenting on the...meeting." Also in Prishtina, Rugova
failed to show up for a scheduled session of the executive
board of his Democratic League of Kosova. PM

MORE DEATHS IN KOSOVA. "The Guardian" on 13 May quoted an
unnamed representative of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)
as saying that "I don't trust [U.S. special envoy Richard]
Holbrooke" and that "the UCK will free the
people...[including] the Albanians in Montenegro and
Macedonia." In the main crisis regions of Kosova, some 18
people died in the past two days as a result of continued
violence, KIC reported. In one incident alone, 10 Kosovars
died when they entered a mine field near Ponoshec in order
to circumvent a Serbian police patrol. PM

CONTACT GROUP TO MEET. U.S. special envoy Robert Gelbard
said in Belgrade on 13 May that at the 15 May summit in
Birmingham, England, he will brief the G-8 nations on
Kosova. He said that "we also are seeking an urgent meeting
of the Contact Group at the beginning of next week to review
the situation and measures the Contact Group has taken in
previous meetings in view of new developments." Gelbard
noted that the U.S. is also engaged in urgent consultations
with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe, including with Spanish former Prime Minister Felipe
Gonzalez, whom the OSCE has designated as its representative
in the Kosova crisis. Gelbard added that "the United States
continues to feel that it is extremely important for the
Gonzalez mission to get under way so as to formulate the
appropriate means by which [Milosevic's Yugoslavia] will
enter the OSCE." PM

NATO TO PREPARE OPTIONS ON KOSOVA. An unnamed NATO spokesman
told Reuters in Brussels on 13 May that the ambassadors of
the member states of the Atlantic alliance welcome the
announcement of the Milosevic-Rugova meeting and the fact
that Milosevic has accepted "personal responsibility" for
resolving the Kosova question. The spokesman added that the
ambassadors asked expert committees to prepare a wide range
of contingency plans for dealing with the crisis. Issues
under consideration include ways of helping Albanian and
Macedonia, which the spokesman called "front-line states."
PM

DJUKANOVIC TO THWART MILOSEVIC'S MOVE AGAINST HIM. Milica
Pejanovic-Djurisic, who heads Montenegrin President Milo
Djukanovic's Democratic Socialist Party (DSS), said in
Podgorica on 13 May that the DSS has asked the speaker of
the Montenegrin parliament to call a special session to rule
on how to defend Montenegro's interests within the Yugoslav
federation, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Her move
is aimed at recalling Montenegrin members of the federal
legislature in Belgrade back to Podgorica for the special
session so that there will be no quorum in the federal upper
house on 18 May. On that date, the federal legislators are
slated to vote on unseating Prime Minister Radoje Kontic and
replacing him with a Milosevic supporter (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 May 1998). PM

ARREST WARRANT FOR BOSNIAN SERB EX-LEADER. Spokesmen for the
Interior Ministry of the Republika Srpska announced in Banja
Luka on 13 May that the ministry has issued a warrant for
the arrest of Gojko Klickovic, a former prime minister and a
loyalist of Radovan Karadzic. Klickovic is wanted for
embezzlement and abuse of office. Unspecified decisions by
Prime Minister Klickovic led to the disappearance of some $4
million from the state budget. Serbian press reports suggest
that Klickovic is in Yugoslavia. PM

NANO'S STOLEN CAR TURNS UP IN MONTENEGRO. Police spokesmen
said in Tirana on 13 May that two men have been arrested in
conjunction with the recent hijacking of Prime Minister
Fatos Nano's car (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 May 1998). Tirana
dailies added that the armored Mercedes limousine, which is
readily identifiable by its license plates, was taken to
Montenegro. The press reports noted that gangs have stolen
"hundreds" of Mercedes cars in recent months and smuggled
them into Montenegro. PM

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES BUDGET. A joint session of the
two chambers of the parliament began debating the 1998
budget on 13 May, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Prime
Minister Radu Vasile said the budget aims at reducing
inflation to 45 percent (it was 151.4 percent in 1997). It
forecasts a deficit of 3.6 percent of GDP, which is expected
to register zero growth (minus 6.6 percent in 1997).
Unemployment is expected to rise to 11.2 percent, from 9.5
percent last year. The opposition parties, with the
exception of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR),
have announced they will vote against the budget. The PUNR
says it will vote in favor only if its proposed amendments
are accepted, which is unlikely. MS

FOREIGN DIPLOMATS INVOLVED IN CIGARETTE SMUGGLING AFFAIR.
Nicolae Alexandru, chairman of the Senate's Defense
Committee, on 13 May said foreign diplomats accredited in
Bucharest are involved in the "cigarette smuggling affair"
(which the Romanian media is now calling "Otopeni-gate" in
reference to Bucharest airport). Alexandru, a member of the
Democratic Party, added that people close to the "sphere of
power" are also involved in the affair. He provided no other
details but said that most of the foreigners involved in the
scandal come from "the Arab world." Meanwhile, the Bucharest
Military Tribunal has ordered the release from detention of
General Gheorghe Florica, former chief of the Financial
Guard, for "lack of evidence" on his alleged involvement in
the affair. The Prosecutor-General's Office has appealed
that decision. MS

AGREEMENT REACHED ON MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT REFORM. Premier-
designate Ion Ciubuc and the governing Alliance for
Democracy and Reform have reached agreement on reforming the
government, BASA-press and Infotag reported on 13 May. The
new government will have 13 ministers, three of whom will be
deputy premiers. The portfolios will be divided according to
the "2+2+1 formula" agreed on last month by the three
members of the coalition alliance. According to that
formula, the Party of Democratic Forces will have one
minister for every two cabinet members who belong to the
Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM) and to the For a
Democratic and Prosperous Moldova Bloc. Several ministries
will be merged. Also on 13 May, CDM co-chairman Mircea
Snegur said the alliance can "under no circumstances" agree
to President Petru Lucinschi's and Ciubuc's intention to
offer government posts to members of Ciubuc's outgoing
cabinet. MS

KOSTOV OPPOSES SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA. Prime Minister
Ivan Kostov, in an interview with Reuters on 13 May, said
the sanctions imposed earlier on Yugoslavia helped turn
Bulgaria into what he described as a "country of corporate
and oligarchic interests." Kostov said the embargo created
the background against which huge illegal fortunes could be
made through arms, oil, and other trade with Serbia. The
reintroduction of those sanctions would benefit only those
Bulgarian forces against which his government has "won its
great battle" in the struggle to combat corruption. MS

WORLD BANK APPROVES BULGARIAN LOAN. The World Bank has
approved a $16 million loan to Bulgaria for a pilot project
to clean up a copper refining plant, an RFE/RL correspondent
in Washington reported. The MDK copper smelter plant,
located in the vicinity of Plodviv and Zlatitsa, has been
pouring tons of toxic waste from its acid plant into a
lagoon for many years. It is now leaking and threatening to
overflow or break a dam. In such a case, waste would enter
the Topolnitsa reservoir, which is the main source of
drinking water for Plodviv. MS

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