The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 98 Part II, 25 May 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 98 Part II, 25 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
CRISIS ON UKRAINIAN FARMS
The decline of Ukraine's agriculture sector has been
continuous since Kyiv declared independence from the Soviet
Union in 1991. This report includes articles and photos.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/ukraine-farms/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* OPPOSITION WINS ELECTIONS IN HUNGARY

* SERBS CONTINUE OFFENSIVE IN KOSOVA

* WESTENDORP WANTS NATO TO CATCH KARADZIC
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REGIONAL AFFAIRS

LUKASHENKA SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIAN
REGIONS... Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 23
May signed an agreement on boosting economic cooperation
between Belarus and the Central Russia association, which is
composed of 12 oblasts, ITAR-TASS reported. Lukashenka, on a
visit to Russia's Yaroslavl Oblast, said at a meeting with
Russian regional leaders that direct contacts with Russian
regions will increase the economic integration of the two
states. But he commented that the "subjective will of
certain officials in Moscow" is an obstacle to integration
within the Russia-Belarus Union, Interfax reported. The
Belarusian leader added that he does not intend to create a
single state with Russia and denied rumors that he wants to
run for the Russian presidency in 2000. JM

...CALLS FOR "EASTERN SLAVS" TO UNITE. Speaking at a
conference entitled "The Slav World: Unity and Variety" in
Yaroslavl on 23 May, Lukashenka called for the consolidation
of "Eastern Slavs" and warned against Western attempts "to
impair the creation of any civilized association" on former
USSR territory. He said the Russia-Belarus union is "not a
closed society but the core of a multi-faceted and equal
unity of Slavs and other peoples." Belarus has now taken on
the role of a "unifier of Slavic territories," he commented.
At the same time, he said that Belarus wants to develop
"cooperation [with the West] in all spheres" but stressed
that this should be "equal cooperation rather than one-way
traffic," Interfax reported. JM

DUMA FAILS TO RATIFY ACCORD ON MILITARY WITHDRAWAL FROM
BELARUS. The Russian State Duma has voted by 209 to 51 with
three abstentions against ratifying the 1993 agreement
between the Belarusian and Russian governments on the
withdrawal of Russian troops from Belarus, ITAR-TASS
reported on 22 May. Duma Committee for CIS Affairs Chairman
Georgii Tikhonov said the pullout was illegal without the
Duma's ratification of the agreement. Duma deputies have
appealed to the Prosecutor-General's Office "to instigate
criminal proceedings regarding the illegitimate pullout of
Russian troops from the territory of Belarus." JM

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

STRIKING MINERS MARCH TO KYIV. Some 1,000 miners have begun
to march from Dnipropetrovsk to Kyiv to demand wage arrears
for the last 10 months, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 May. Some
3,000 miners from the Pavlovhrad mining basin have remained
in Dnipropetrovsk to picket the regional administration
building. They threaten to travel by bus to Kyiv on 26 May
unless the directors of Pavlovhrad mines resume hot food
supplies to protesters. Those supplies were suspended
following the directors' claim that they have no money for
transportation expenses. Following a 100-kilometer march,
some 1,000 miners from Pervomaysk arrived at Luhansk to
demand back wages from the oblast administration. On 22 May,
the government released a statement saying that the miners'
strikes are a "planned political action" and accusing the
miners of an "unwillingness to seek a reasonable compromise"
with the government. JM

UKRAINIAN SUPREME COUNCIL FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER. With only
214 out of 437 deputies taking part in the vote, the
parliament on 22 May failed to elect a speaker, Ukrainian
Television reported. The caucuses of the Popular Rukh, the
Social Democrats, the Popular Democratic Parties, and the
Greens refused to pick up ballots, and thus the necessary
two-thirds majority of deputies present at the session was
not achieved. Of the five candidates for the post, Communist
Party leader Petro Symonenko obtained 191 votes. JM

ODESSA MAYOR WANTS REFERENDUM ON HIS MAYORALTY. Eduard
Hurvits says he wants a referendum on his mayoralty after
the Supreme Court upheld the decision of an Odessa district
court annulling his election in March, Ukrainian Television
reported. The district court ruled in favor of Hurvits's
rival Ruslan Bodelan, saying that the city electoral
commission, which is mostly made up of Hurvits appointees,
violated the electoral law. Last week, a 200-strong
commission, headed by Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko,
was in Odessa to investigate Hurvits's election.
Pustovoytenko sharply criticized Hurvits for the way he was
running his office and called Odessa the most crime-infested
city in Ukraine. Observers say President Leonid Kuchma may
introduce direct presidential rule in Odessa to end the
standoff. JM

POLISH, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTS APPEAL FOR HELP TO UKRAINE.
Aleksander Kwasniewski and Leonid Kuchma on 24 May called
for international institutions to urgently grant Kyiv help
for vital economic reforms, Reuters reported. Together with
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Kwasniewski and Kuchma
were taking part in a two-day Polish-Ukrainian business
forum in Rzeszow, southeastern Poland. Kwasniewski rejected
arguments put forward by the IMF and the World Bank that
Ukraine should tackle reform before it receives assistance.
"Each day of delay may be impossible to catch up,"
Kwasniewski commented. Kuchma voiced fears that Poland's
intended membership in the EU may create a barrier between
Poland and Ukraine. JM

LATVIAN PREMIER COMMENTS ON RISE IN COMMUNIST ACTIVITIES.
Guntars Krasts told nationwide radio on 22 May that the
recent increase in Communist activities in Latvia can be
attributed to the upcoming general elections and the
tensions in relations between Riga and Moscow, BNS reported.
Krasts noted that there are organizations in Latvia that
tend toward "violent methods." He also urged that an
investigation be carried out into the 14 May rally in a Riga
park, which was attended by youths attired in communist and
fascist regalia. JC

NEW LITHUANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER APPOINTED. President Valdas
Adamkus on 22 May signed a decree appointing attorney Stasys
Sedbaras as minister of internal affairs, BNS and Reuters
reported. The previous day, Adamkus had accepted the
resignation from that post of Vidmantas Ziemelis, whom many
held responsible for the ministry's inability to solve the
recent wave of bomb attacks in the country (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 22 May 1998). Sedbaras is a former Constitutional
Court judge and until recently worked as a government
consultant on state and human rights issues. "My most
important task will be to strengthen the police force and to
give more autonomy to the different divisions of the
ministry," the new minister told Reuters. JC

U.S. CONCERNED ABOUT SLOVAK ELECTORAL PROCESS. Stephen
Flangan, special adviser to President Bill Clinton, told
journalists in Bratislava on 22 May that the U.S. is
concerned about Slovakia's new electoral law and warned that
irregularities in the elections scheduled for September
could hinder Bratislava's efforts to join NATO and the EU,
Reuters and CTK reported. Flangan said it is not only the
law but also possible non-compliance with Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe recommendations that
endangers Slovakia's international reputation. Slovak
parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic on 22 May rejected an
opposition demand that OSCE observers be invited to monitor
the elections, despite the fact that the government has said
such observers will not be banned. MS

AUSTRIA HANDS OVER MOCHOVCE REPORT TO SLOVAKIA. Foreign
Minister Wolfgang Schussel on 22 May handed over to the
Slovak charge d' affaires in Vienna a report drawn up by an
international commission on the controversial Mochovce
nuclear plant. Earlier the same day, Slovakia protested
against the occupation of its embassy by anti-nuclear
protesters (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 May 1998). The
protesters were evicted by the Austrian police after six
hours. Also on 22 May, the Greenpeace environmentalist
movement announced it intends to take legal action against
the Slovak state electricity company, Reuters reported. MS

OPPOSITION WINS ELECTIONS IN HUNGARY... With 148 seats in
the 386-strong parliament, the opposition Federation of
Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP) has
emerged as the largest party in the parliament following the
24 May runoff. The Socialist Party gained 134 seats,
followed by the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP) with
48 seats, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) 24, the
Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) 17, and the far-right
Hungarian Justice and Life Party 14 seats. One seat
was won by an independent candidate. At 57 percent, turnout
was higher than in the first round. Since 194 seats are
required for a simple majority in the parliament, it is
still uncertain whether the next government will be a
FIDESZ-MDF-FKGP coalition or a "grand coalition" of FIDESZ
and the Socialists. MSZ

...SAYS "PREMATURE" TO NAME COALITION PARTNERS. FIDESZ-MPP
leader Viktor Orban said he expects a new government to be
formed within four weeks but added that it is premature to
speak about which party will join the FIDESZ-MDF alliance in
the new coalition. Outgoing Prime Minister Gyula Horn
advised FIDESZ to "focus on stability" when forming the new
cabinet. SZDSZ party leader Gabor Kuncze, together with the
entire executive board of the party, resigned because of the
SZDS's poor performance. He said the party will remain in
opposition. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS CONTINUE OFFENSIVE IN KOSOVA. Serbian guns pounded
ethnic Albanian villages in the vicinity of Klina on 23 and
24 May. Western journalists said the attacks on the
settlements appeared to have been going on for several days
and that most local Kosovars have fled. They also said
Serbian paramilitaries as well as the police and army took
part in attacks on Kosovar villages in the Gjakova area near
the Albanian frontier on 23 May. According to Serbian
sources, forces of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) shot at
Serbian columns there. Serbian spokesmen in Prishtina
charged that armed Kosovars took a Serbian police official
off a train between Prishtina and Klina. He is the 15th Serb
to be kidnapped since the Serbian offensive began in
February, none of whom has been heard of since, Reuters
reported. Serbian and Kosovar sources say the UCK has set up
detention camps in some areas. PM

KOSOVARS SAY MILOSEVIC USING TWO-PRONGED STRATEGY. A
spokesman for the Kosovar leadership said in Prishtina on 23
May that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic continues to
conduct talks with Kosovars representatives at the same time
as his "military and paramilitary forces attack the Albanian
population" in Kosova. The spokesman called the two-pronged
policy "dangerous," because it hinders efforts to find a
peaceful, political solution to the region's problems,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The next day, Veton
Surroi, who is a leading Kosovar spokesman, told Belgrade's
Radio B-92 that progress in finding a political solution to
the Kosovar crisis would help put an end to fighting. PM

AGANI WANTS END TO BLOCKADE. Fehmi Agani, who led the
Kosovar delegation in talks with Serbian officials on 22 May
in Prishtina, said that both sides agreed to continue
discussion this week in Belgrade, despite major differences
between them. Christopher Hill, who is the U.S. ambassador
to Macedonia, was present at the talks as what U.S. sources
called "an observer." Agani stressed after the talks that
top priorities for the Kosovars are securing an end to the
Serbian blockade of Kosovar commercial traffic, which has
led to widespread food shortages, and the cessation of
hostilities by Serbian forces. In Barcelona, NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana said international mediation will be
necessary to end the crisis in Kosova and that "the only
person who has the mandate from the international community
[to negotiate] is...[Spain's] Felipe Gonzalez." PM

SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CONDEMNS KOSOVA VIOLENCE. The
Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church issued a statement
in Belgrade on 23 May calling for an end to "violence and
terrorism" in Kosova. Church leaders expressed concern over
recent clashes in the province and warned that dialogue is
the only means to a settlement. The assembly also called on
Serbian and ethnic Albanian leaders to include
representatives of Kosova's other ethnic groups in the
talks. PM

MEIDANI BLASTS ETHNIC CLEANSING, GENOCIDE. Albanian
President Rexhep Meidani said in Tirana on 22 May that "only
an international, active, and deterrent presence in Kosova
and the region that involves establishing monitoring
missions along the borders of its neighbors can guarantee
the continuity of the [Kosovar-Serbian] talks...[and
prevent] the further radicalization of the situation." He
added that "ethnic cleansing of Albanians from the cradles
of their ancestors, even genocide [of the Kosovars]...remind
us of Bosnia, which is still fresh in our collective
imagination." Albania has repeatedly called for the
stationing of NATO troops along its border with Kosova. NATO
is currently examining options to help contain the fighting
in Kosova. In Barcelona on 23 May, Kosovar shadow-state
Foreign Minister Edita Tahiri asked representatives of the
Atlantic alliance to send troops into Kosova itself. PM

BALKANS TO HAVE REGIONAL PEACEKEEPERS. President Meidani
made those remarks in Tirana on 22 May to the deputy defense
ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Macedonia,
Romania, and Turkey. Those officials signed a letter of
intent to set up a joint regional peacekeeping force that
will consist of up to 3,000 soldiers in cooperation with the
UN, the OSCE, and NATO. Officials from the U.S. and Slovenia
signed the letter as observers. A formal agreement to launch
the force is slated to be signed in Skopje on 26 September,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. It is unclear when
the contingent will be set up. PM

MONTENEGRIN POLICE CHARGE BULATOVIC BODYGUARDS. Police
spokesmen said in Podgorica on 22 May that they have filed
charges against three bodyguards of Yugoslav Prime Minister
Momir Bulatovic for possessing illegal weapons. Outside the
Montenegrin capital, police and supporters of President Milo
Djukanovic clashed with backers of Bulatovic, who is
Djukanovic's rival (see "End Note" in "RFE/RL Newsline," 22
May 1998). Some Djukanovic supporters stoned Bulatovic's
car, which prompted a Bulatovic spokesman to charge
Djukanovic with using "tyranny" against his opponents. PM

WESTENDORP WANTS NATO TO CATCH KARADZIC. Carlos Westendorp,
who is the international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, said in Barcelona on 23 May that he wants NATO to
arrest Radovan Karadzic, who heads the list of indicted war
criminals, and deliver him to the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal. "I said two months ago that Karadzic should be in
The Hague in April. He's not in The Hague and I am very
sorry for that, and I think that if he doesn't go on a
voluntary basis it is the responsibility of our [NATO]
nations to bring him to The Hague." In April, "The
Washington Post" reported that a French officer warned
Karadzic that he was about to be arrested, prompting
Washington to call off the operation. The French Defense
Ministry denied the story. PM

ALBANIAN POLICE SEIZE TON OF DYNAMITE. Police on 22 May
confiscated a ton of dynamite from the premises of a
construction company in Vora, near Tirana. The company,
which mainly produces bricks, has a license to buy
explosives from the army for professional use. Police
spokesmen said the company does not have permission to store
such large amounts of explosives and does not have the
necessary documentation to prove that it had acquired the
dynamite legally. "Koha Jone" quoted experts as saying that
the dynamite would have been sufficient to destroy large
parts of the city had it gone off by accident. FS

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT COALITION AGREES ON JOINT CANDIDATES.
The parties represented in the national government coalition
and two other parties signed a pact on 23 May for the 21
June local elections. They agreed to create the Alliance for
the State and nominate joint candidates for the seven
municipalities and nine smaller communities that will
participate in the vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 May
1998). FS

ROMANIAN SECURITY SERVICES TO BE RESTRUCTURED. At a 22 May
meeting convened to discuss the consequences of the
cigarette smuggling affair, the Supreme National Defense
Council announced it will reduce the staff of the Service
for Protection and Guard by 25 percent and disband the
intelligence service known as Military Unit 0215. That unit
was set up in 1990 and subordinated to the Ministry of
Internal Affairs. Citing the council's official communiqué,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported that Military Unit 0215
included "people who were members of the former [communist]
political police." The council also noted that 22 percent of
the staff of the Romanian Intelligence Service were
employees of the former Securitate who are now engaged in
"strictly technical activities." The Foreign Intelligence
Service is 41 percent composed of former Securitate
employees who, according to the council, were not engaged in
"political police activities" before 1989. MS

ROMANIA'S CREDIT RATING DOWNGRADED. Standard & Poor's has
downgraded Romania's credit rating from BB- to that of B+,
which means doing business in the country is now considered
to be riskier. The warning is directed primarily at
potential lenders, but is likely to discourage foreign
investors as well, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. As
reasons for the downgrading, the agency mentioned political
instability, foreign currency vulnerability, and the slow
pace of economic reforms. Finance Minister Daniel Daianu
said the decision was "hasty" and unjustified by the real
economic situation. MS

BULGARIAN PREMIER SEEKS TO APPEASE STRIKING ETHNIC TURKS.
Ivan Kostov on 23 May traveled to the southern town of
Dzhebel to seek to persuade some 1,000 tobacco farm workers,
mainly ethnic Turks, to end their strike, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. They are protesting a
German-Bulgarian joint venture's failure to pay for last
year's tobacco harvest. Kostov announced that the
Bulgartabak state enterprise will immediately start paying
the workers the money they are owed. Analysts say Kostov's
intervention is unusual since he has refused to discuss
strikers' demands in other protests. The visit took place
just days after a large rally in Dzhebel commemorated the
communist suppression of ethnic Turks. Leaders of the ethnic
Turk Movement for Rights and Freedom, including chairman
Ahmed Dogan, were booed by the rally participants, who
accused them of failing to protect minority rights. MS

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               Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
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