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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 95 Part II, 20 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 95 Part II, 20 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SPECIAL REPORT xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: MAKING IT WORK FOR HUMANITY Next
month, work will begin on the creation of a permanent
International Criminal Court. This four-part series explores
the ramifications of a new criminal court and how the
current war crimes tribunals are handling cases related to
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/courts/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* CZECH DOCTORS POSTPONE SURGERY ON HAVEL TILL JULY

* MILOSEVIC PICKS BULATOVIC

* NATO PREPARES OPTIONS ON KOSOVA
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REGIONAL AFFAIRS

BEREZOVSKII ADVOCATES POSTPONING CIS INTERSTATE FORUM.
Addressing a meeting convened in Minsk on 19 May to prepare
for the CIS interstate forum tentatively scheduled for July,
CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii proposed
postponing that forum until the fall, Interfax reported. The
forum is to debate reforming the CIS. Berezovskii said that
he concluded from his meetings earlier this month with the
presidents of Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, and
Georgia that it is "unrealistic" to hold the forum in July,
given that "no hasty moves will bring a radical
improvement," according to ITAR-TASS. Almost all
participants at the April CIS summit in Moscow expressed
dissatisfaction with the way the CIS operates. Berezovskii
positively assessed the role of the CIS in containing
conflicts between its members. And he warned against blindly
copying the experience of other international bodies such as
the EU. LF

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN STRIKING MINERS CONVERGE ON DNIPROPETROVSK. Some
3,500 coal miners who have taken part in marches over the
past few days arrived in Dnipropetrovsk on 19 May and
gathered outside the oblast administration building to
demand the payment of wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reported. They
reacted angrily when acting Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr
Radchenko pledged to pay only their wages for this month,
saying the state has no funds to pay the miners for previous
months. As of mid-May, the state debt to the coal mining
sector totaled 2.1 billion hryvni (more than $1 billion). JM

BELARUSIAN STUDENTS PROTEST DISCRIMINATION. Some 1,800
students from the non-state Institute of Business and
Management in Minsk have signed an open letter of protest to
Deputy Premier Uladzimir Zamyatalin over a recent government
ruling that only graduates from state universities will be
issued state diplomas, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service and
Belapan reported. The students say that the ruling "casts
doubt on the future of 30,000 young people and their
possibility of finding employment." They also urge the
government to reconsider its decision. JM

LATVIAN PREMIER URGES CRACKDOWN ON COMMUNISTS, FASCISTS.
Guntars Krasts has blamed the recent spate of bomb attacks
in Riga and Moscow on extremist groups and called for a
crackdown on the public display of Communist and Fascist
symbols. In a statement, the Latvian premier said the
explosions in Dobele, at the Russian embassy in Riga, and at
synagogues in the Russian and Latvian capitals show that
Communist and Fascist organizations are stepping up their
activities. He added that he will ask the Latvian National
Security Council to consider a law increasing fines for
displaying Communist and Fascist insignia. Krasts's
statement comes after a demonstration in a Riga park in
which some participants were dressed in black and wore
armbands with the hammer and sickle symbol. JC

ECONOMICS MINISTER SAYS LATVIA'S IMAGE AS TRANSIT STATE
DAMAGED. Laimonis Strujevich on 19 May said that Russia has
harmed Latvia's image as a key transit state by threatening
to impose economic sanctions, Reuters reported. At a cabinet
meeting in which he reported on the country's transit
sector, Strujevich said Latvian ports have handled roughly
the same amount of cargo so far this year, compared with
1997, but added that officials will have to work hard to
keep the custom of international shippers and companies.
Transit trade accounted for some 17.2 percent of Latvia's
GDP last year. JC

POLAND OFFERS RUSSIA TRANSIT TO KALININGRAD. Foreign
Minister Bronislaw Geremek, who is currently on a state
visit with President Aleksander Kwasniewski in Finland, told
journalists on 19 May that Poland may offer "normal European
transit conditions" to Russia to access the Kaliningrad
exclave by highway, Reuters reported. Russia has a link to
Kaliningrad through Lithuania but wants guaranteed passage
to Kaliningrad through Belarus and Poland. Geremek added
that Poland opposes giving any special status to the route,
as suggested by Russia two years ago. He called for European
assistance to develop Kaliningrad's economy but also
expressed concern about Russia's heavy military presence in
the exclave. JM

POLAND DENIES DIVIDING SCHOOLS INTO CATHOLIC, LAY. Education
Minister Miroslaw Handke has denied that his ministry will
divide public schools into Catholic and lay ones, "Zycie
Warszawy" reported on 20 May. Handke's statement follows a
report published in the 19 May "Gazeta Wyborcza" on the
ministry's plan to introduce a dual education system (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 19 May 1998). The minister stressed that
the authorities will not "impose any world view upon
anybody, either directly or indirectly." JM

CZECH SUPPORT FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP INCREASES. Almost two-
thirds of Czechs support the parliament's recent decision to
ratify accession to NATO, an opinion poll conducted by the
STEM agency shows. Sixty percent of the respondents said
NATO membership is the best solution to the country's
security problems, CTK reported on 19 May. Last month,
support for joining the alliance was some 50 percent. In
other news, four skinheads have been charged and detained in
Orlova in connection with the racially motivated attack that
left a Rom dead last weekend. A Prague court has ruled that
nine people detained after a 16 May protest that turned
violent will remain in custody pending an investigation. A
police spokeswoman said another 16 people were released but
will face trial on charges of hooliganism and attacking a
public official (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 May 1998). MS

CZECH DOCTORS POSTPONE SURGERY ON HAVEL TILL JULY. President
Vaclav Havel will have surgery to remove a colostomy bag in
late July. Havel was given the colostomy by Austrian
surgeons when he underwent emergency surgery for a
perforated colon in mid-April. Miroslav Cerbak, the
coordinator of Havel's medical team, said on 19 May that
delaying the operation until July will allow Havel more time
to recover from that operation. Doctors had originally
planned to remove the bag at the end of this month, CTK
reported. MS

LEADERS OF HUNGARY'S MAIN PARTIES RECEIVE THREATS. Socialist
Party chairman Gyula Horn and Federation of Young Democrats-
Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP) leader Viktor Orban have
both received threats ahead of their public debate scheduled
for 21 May. That debate is the first of its kind before an
election in Hungary. The two leaders have received threats
that their participation in the debate "will be prevented,"
Hungarian media reported. Other politicians have also
received threats in recent weeks, and increased public
security has become a major issue in the election campaigns
of all political parties against the background of bomb
attacks on private businesses and political party offices as
well as a number of assassinations earlier this year. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MILOSEVIC PICKS BULATOVIC... Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic on 19 May nominated as prime minister former
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic to succeed Radoje
Kontic, whom the parliament had ousted the previous day (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 19 May 1998). Milosevic praised
Bulatovic's "patriotic orientation" and called him "the most
prestigious personality in Montenegro [who] enjoys great
support from the Montenegrin people." The parliament on 20
May confirmed Bulatovic's appointment. Observers noted that
Milosevic's choice of Bulatovic, who is the foremost
political enemy of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic,
indicates that Milosevic is determined to step up his
confrontation with the reformist leadership in Podgorica in
the runup to the 31 May parliamentary elections in the
mountainous republic. PM

...WHILE MONTENEGRO REJECTS HIM. Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic,
who is the president of Djukanovic's Democratic Socialist
Party, told Milosevic in Belgrade on 19 May that by
replacing Kontic with Bulatovic "he was bringing into
question the survival of Yugoslavia." She said in an open
letter to Bulatovic that "nobody in Montenegro recognizes
the validity" of his nomination and that he "is
participating in the dismantling of the Montenegrin state."
In Podgorica, the parliament voted in an emergency session
not to recognize Kontic's ouster and called the vote against
him illegal. The Podgorica legislature passed a resolution
saying that Kontic's removal was made possible by the vote
of six Montenegrin deputies, whose mandates the Montenegrin
parliament had invalidated on 15 May. Also in Podgorica,
Richard Miles, who is the U.S. chief of mission in Belgrade,
handed over to Djukanovic a letter from Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright and discussed with him the current
political situation. PM

NATO PREPARES OPTIONS ON KOSOVA. Members of a planning
committee have drawn up three options for stationing NATO
troops along Albania's frontier with Kosova and will present
those options to NATO's governing body on 28 May, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Brussels on 19 May. The
proposals call for sending between 7,000 and 20,000 soldiers
to secure the border and prevent the spread of the conflict.
The Albanian government has repeatedly asked NATO to send
troops. In Kukes, Albanian border control authorities issued
an invitation to their Yugoslav counterparts to discuss
security in the region on 25 May, the Belgrade daily "Danas"
wrote. PM

SERBIAN POLICE REMOVE KOSOVARS FROM TRAIN. Some 200 Serbian
police searched a passenger train at Pograxha station along
the Prishtina-Peja line on 19 May and took 30 ethnic
Albanian males from the train. The police later released 22
of the men but detained the remaining eight. The Kosovar KIC
news agency said the move is most likely aimed at deterring
Kosovars from traveling between Prishtina and Peja. KIC
added that this is the first time that police have removed
persons from a train since the conflict in Kosova began at
the end of February. Police closed the road linking the two
towns on 8 May. PM

KOSOVAR VILLAGES SHELLED. In the Drenica region, Serbian
paramilitary police killed a 95-year-old woman when they
shelled the village of Citak on 19 May. Residents of the
village said that police told them on 15 May that "we're
going to kill all of you." The Serbian authorities maintain
that the villagers harbor members of the Kosova Liberation
Army (UCK). Police also shelled a village in the Iglareva
region. In Prishtina, Serbian spokesmen said that UCK gunmen
fired on two Serbian trucks and a bus on the Prishtina-Peja
road on 19 May. The spokesmen added that gunmen kidnapped a
Serbian policeman after forcing him to stop his car. PM

KOSOVARS UNCERTAIN ABOUT FUTURE TALKS... Veton Surroi, who
is Kosova's leading journalist and a member of shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova's 15-member negotiating team, told
Reuters in Prishtina on 19 May that the G-15 group has not
yet decided whether to participate in talks with its Serbian
counterpart slated for 22 May. Surroi said that the
negotiators "have a good list of reasons why we shouldn't
attend and yet we still see a reason to attend." He did not
give details. PM

...WHILE HOLBROOKE WARNS THEM. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke
told CNN on 19 May that "it would be a mistake for the
Kosova leadership not to go to these talks because the
violence is something which neither side can fully control."
He praised Rugova as a "sincere apostle of non-violence" but
added that "to his left are some very dangerous people who
wish to use violent means instead of peaceful means.... I
think the time to try to get a peaceful settlement is now
before the situation spirals out of control." PM

UN POLICE SLAM CROATS OVER LICENSE PLATES. A UN police
spokesman said in Sarajevo on 19 May that the exchange of
old license plates for new ones is proceeding well except in
some Croatian-controlled areas of western Herzegovina. The
new license plates do not indicate in which part of Bosnia
the car is registered and were introduced by the
international community in February to facilitate freedom of
movement. The old license plates become invalid on 1 June.
The Herzegovinian Croats currently use license plates that
are nearly identical to those used in Croatia. Also in the
Bosnian capital, a spokesman for the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is organizing the
September general elections, said that 25 parties have
registered to participate in the vote. PM

TUDJMAN ACCEPTS HERZEGOVINIAN LEADERSHIP. The steering
committee of the governing Croatian Democratic Community
(HDZ) issued a statement in Zagreb on 19 May in which it
"expressed confidence" in the new hard-line Herzegovinian
HDZ leadership of Ante Jelavic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18
May 1998). President Franjo Tudjman had openly supported
Bozo Ljubic, a moderate, for the post. Also in the Croatian
capital, teachers staged a one-day warning strike on 20 May
for more pay. Elsewhere in Zagreb, spokesmen for Croatian
Railways announced on 19 May that two daily international
trains linking the former Yugoslavia with Munich and Zurich
will begin running between Zagreb and Belgrade on 24 May.
Finally, shares of the Zagreb Bank lost over 10 percent of
their value on 18 May, "Vecernji list" reported on 20 May.
PM

CIVIC ALLIANCE MOVEMENT ATTACKS CONSTANTINESCU. Valerian
Stan, executive chairman of the Movement of Civic Alliance,
has accused President Emil Constantinescu of condoning
corruption. Stan said on 18 May that Constantinescu and his
main political counselor, Zoe Petre, have sought to "cover
up" the involvement of the main culprits in the cigarette
smuggling affair. The accusations are mainly targeted
against "one or two colonels," he noted. Stan also said that
the president had ordered his dismissal as chief of the
Government Control Department Victor Ciorbea's cabinet after
Stan had revealed corruption among leading members of the
Democratic Party. CDR chairman Ion Diaconescu said the
movement "can afford to attack" because "it does not share
the responsibility of government, where compromise is
necessary." The Movement of Civic Alliance recently quit the
ruling Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). MS

BUCHAREST MAYORAL ELECTION TO BE HELD IN OCTOBER. The
government has announced that the elections to the Bucharest
mayoralty will be held on 11 October, Mediafax reported on
19 May. The government said time is needed to amend the
local election law. MS

MOLDOVAN STALEMATE CONTINUES. The Democratic Convention of
Moldova (CDM) is threatening not to vote confidence in the
cabinet headed by Ion Ciubuc unless a compromise is reached
on its composition, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. CDM
co-chairman Mircea Snegur told journalists on 19 May that
there is a danger of a "return to the starting point," where
"President [Petru] Lucinschi will have to appoint someone
else as premier." Party of Democratic Forces (PFD) chairman
Valeriu Matei has issued a similar warning. Ciubuc, for his
part, has said that the CDM's and PFD's refusal to agree to
Nicolae Cernomaz continuing in office as minister of state
(deputy premier) stems from "animosity" dating back to 1996,
when Cernomaz headed Lucinschi's campaign against Snegur in
the presidential elections. Ciubuc has also said he needs
Mihai Plamadeala to continue as interior minister in order
to carry on the fight against corruption. MS

SUSPECT DETAINED IN ATTACK ON BULGARIAN REPORTER. Sofia
chief prosecutor Nestor Nestorov on 19 May said a suspect
has been detained in connection with the attack on "Trud"
journalist Anna Zarkova, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 12 May 1998). Doctors treating Zarkova in
the hospital said they have not lost hope of restoring
partial sight to her left eye, which was burned when acid
was thrown in her face at a Sofia bus station. In other
news, "Duma," the opposition Socialist Party daily, was not
distributed on 19 May. The state printing house refused to
print the daily because of long-standing debts. The
newspaper's editorial staff said the refusal serves
"political purposes." MS

BULGARIA FORESEES LARGE INVESTMENTS IN PRIVATIZATION. Deputy
Premier Alexander Bozhkov, speaking to a 19 May conference
in London on privatization in Bulgaria, said his country
expects investments to reach $800 million in the second wave
of privatization, Reuters reported. Bozhkov said that by the
end of this year, the government expects 80 percent of
enterprises to be in private hands. He said the cabinet
wants to abolish its privatization agency by the end of
1999. Bozhkov said Bulgaria's potential for foreign
investors is "huge," particularly in finance, tourism,
transportation, and telecommunication. In other news,
visiting Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov told an
RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia that his country is interested
in using Bulgaria as a transit route for its exports to
Europe, particularly for cotton. MS

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