Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 100 Part II, 27 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 100 Part II, 27 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

* IMPASSE IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT OVER ELECTION OF SPEAKER

* KOSOVAR-SERBIAN TALKS CANCELED

* SERBIA ENDS UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

IMPASSE IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT OVER ELECTION OF SPEAKER.
The Ukrainian Supreme Council on 26 May failed to elect a
new speaker for the second time, ITAR-TASS reported. Only
220 deputies took part in the second vote; a valid ballot
requires 294 deputies to participate. Communist Party leader
Petro Symonenko gained 151 votes, 50 fewer than he received
in the first vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 1998). Four
center-right parliamentary groups abstained from the vote to
prevent the election of a leftist parliamentary leader. They
propose the election of a centrist speaker, a leftist first
deputy speaker, and a rightist deputy speaker. Dmytro
Tabachnyk, former head of the presidential administration,
said former parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz "has every
chance" to head the Supreme Council if the third round,
scheduled to take place next week, also proves fruitless. JM

TARASYUK, PRIMAKOV REACH 'COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING.' Borys
Tarasyuk and Yevgenii Primakov, the foreign ministers of
Russia and Ukraine, told ITAR-TASS on 26 May that they
reached "complete understanding" during their talks in Kyiv
earlier that day. Tarasyuk said the sides managed to agree
"even on those issues that had earlier been a stumbling
block in relations." The thorniest issue in bilateral
relations is currently the ratification of the Russian-
Ukrainian friendship treaty by the Russian State Duma.
Deputies in the Russian lower house postponed voting on the
treaty following Tarasyuk's statement earlier this month
that NATO expansion eastward "fully suits Ukraine's
interests." Other outstanding issues include delimiting the
Ukrainian-Russian maritime border in the Azov Sea and the
signing of additional documents on the stationing in Crimea
of Russia's part of the Black Sea Fleet. JM

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT. The Crimean
Supreme Council on 27 May approved a new government for the
autonomous republic, ITAR-TASS reported. By a vote of 71 to
eight, the parliament appointed Serhiy Kunitsyn as prime
minister and approved a new cabinet composed mainly of
representatives of the Crimean Communist Party, the Popular
Democratic Party, and the "Union" Party. Kunitsyn, who heads
the regional branch of the Popular Democratic Party of
Ukraine, is considered to have strong support in Kyiv. JM

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DENOUNCES EU, U.S. FOR DEMOCRACY
AWARDS. Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich has said
the EU and the U.S. committed an "unfriendly act" toward
Belarus by bestowing Democracy and Civil Society Awards on
two human rights organizations and one opposition figure in
the country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 May 1998), Belapan
reported on 26 May. According to Antanovich, the EU is
pursuing a policy of "double standards" in refusing to
maintain contacts with official Minsk and giving monetary
awards to the opposition. Antanovich added that the opening
of offices of Belarus's Charter-97 human rights group in
Washington and Brussels should also be viewed as an
unfriendly step vis-a-vis Minsk. JM

ESTONIAN PREMIER SAYS MINISTERS WILL REMAIN IN OFFICE. Mart
Siimann on 26 May announced that Foreign Minister Toomas
Hendrik Ilves and Ethnic Affairs Minister Andra Veidemann
will remain in office, ETA reported. Both ministers were
warned by the ruling coalition last week that they would be
dismissed if their parties--the People's Party and the
Progressive Party, respectively--did not share political
responsibility for the government's actions (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 21 and 26 May 1998). Siimann and Ilves signed an
agreement following a board meeting of the People's Party,
which said it would support the ruling coalition to ensure
the country's stability. At a meeting the same day, the
leadership of the Progressive Party was more critical of the
government but opted eventually to work with the cabinet on
terms similar to those accepted by Ilves's party. JC

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES STEP TO BAN DEATH PENALTY. Latvian
Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs has said the government will
sign a human rights document banning capital punishment and
will seek to persuade parliamentary deputies to ratify it,
Reuters and BNS reported on 26 May. Birkavs said the cabinet
has decided to sign the sixth protocol of the European
Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adding
that this decision is a "very, very important step." The
parliament recently passed a new criminal code that retains
the death penalty. President Guntis Ulmanis has called on
lawmakers to review that code. Latvia promised to abolish
the death penalty when it joined the Council of Europe in
1995. JC

SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS DEMAND PRO-FAMILY POLICY. Some 2,000
Solidarity trade unionists from the Silesia coal mining
region, together with their family members, took part in a
rally at the parliament building in Warsaw on 26 May to
demand that the legislature and government promote a pro-
family policy, "Zycie Warszawy" reported. The protesters
demanded a five-day work week, tax exemptions, and more
benefits for families with a large number of children. A
pro-family policy was one of the ruling Solidarity
coalition's pledges in last year's election campaign. JM

POLAND UPSET BY REDUCTION OF EU PRE-ENTRY AID. The
government met behind closed doors on 26 May to discuss the
European Commission's decision to cut 34 million ecus from
the PHARE program intended to help Poland prepare for EU
membership (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May 1998). "Gazeta
Wyborcza" reported that Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek accused
Ryszard Czarnecki, head of the Committee of European
Integration, of failing to propose "good" projects in a bid
to receive EU aid. Buzek has set up a commission to examine
the reasons for the withdrawal of EU funds. Meanwhile,
"Gazeta Wyborcza" adds that the future of another 46 million
ecus in EU aid is also in doubt. JM

EU OFFICIALS CRITICIZE CZECH REPUBLIC. EU negotiators said
in Prague on 27 May that the country is unprepared for the
process of integrating EU legislation, Reuters reported.
Nikolaus van der Pas, the EU's chief negotiator, made his
comments after talks with government officials and added
that he gave a "very strongly signal" about the country's
unpreparedness at the meeting. Another EU negotiator, David
Leigh, said the Czech Republic must increase liberalization
and deregulation in the energy and telecommunications
sectors. Van der Pas added that the EU Commission had been
concerned with the Czech handling of the Romany minority and
was particularly distressed by recent reports that two
cities are planning to build walls to separate the Romani
community from the rest of the towns' residents. PB

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER SENDS NOTE TO VIENNA OVER NUCLEAR
PLANT. Zdenka Kramplova sent a letter to the Austrian
ambassador in Bratislava on 26 May explaining the Slovak
government's position on the opening of the Mochovce nuclear
power plant, TASR reported. A Foreign Ministry spokesman
said the letter was written after careful examination of the
recently completed Austrian report on an investigation of
the power plant, in which it deemed Mochovce unsafe. The
note stresses that the Western-based companies that helped
construct the plant continue to attest to its safety. The
letter adds that the International Atomic Energy Agency was
also consulted over safety measures. Austrian Chancellor
Viktor Klima said that Austria will offer to help fix any
flaws in the plant. PB

NEW HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO OPPOSE SLOVAK NUCLEAR PLANT.
Zoltan Illes, the vice president of the Young Democrats-
Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP), said on 26 May that the
new Hungarian government will join Austria in opposing the
opening of the controversial Mochovce nuclear power plant,
Reuters reported. Illes, a leading candidate to become
environment minister in the new government, said FIDESZ-MPP
believes the plant, located just 60 kilometers from
Budapest, is unsafe. Illes also said the Young Democrats
oppose the construction of the controversial dam on the
River Danube. He said the decision by the International
Court of Justice calling for the Hungarians to complete the
unfinished project is "guiding" but not binding. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVAR-SERBIAN TALKS CANCELED. Ethnic Albanian spokesmen
have announced the cancellation of the next round of talks
between Kosovar negotiators and their Serbian counterparts,
Reuters reported on 27 May. Those talks were slated to take
place in Prishtina on 29 May. The spokesmen suggested that
the reason is that shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova and
his top advisers, some of whom belong to the negotiating
team, will be in the U.S. on that date. On 26 May, a State
Department spokesman urged the Kosovars and Serbs to make
the talks a success. Many Kosovar and Albanian leaders have
called for the talks to be canceled to protest the ongoing
Serbian offensive in Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May
1998). In Barcelona, the NATO Assembly passed a resolution
on 26 May in which it condemned the Serbian offensive.
Kosovar sources said in Prishtina that Serbs killed 20
ethnic Albanians in several places on 25-26 May. PM

ALBANIA WANTS ARMED INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA. The Foreign
Ministry issued a statement in Tirana on 26 May supporting
President Rexhep Meidani's recent calls for foreign military
intervention in Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May 1998).
The statement said "police and military violence by the
Belgrade authorities against Albanians in Kosova has
increased alarmingly in recent days.... Albania calls on the
Contact Group countries and the international community to
urgently intervene and implement decisions they have
previously [taken] on the crisis in Kosova.... All means
should be used to force Belgrade to immediately stop its
violence and terror and withdraw its police and military
troops from Kosova." PM

NO AGREEMENT AT ALBANIAN-YUGOSLAV MEETING. A 26 May meeting
of Albanian and federal Yugoslav border authorities at the
border checkpoint between Kukes and Prizren ended without
results. Albanian Commander Beqir Cena informed the
Yugoslavs of five recent border incidents, including
Yugoslav soldiers entering Albania, violations of air space,
and shootings. His Yugoslav counterpart, Momir Zdravkovic,
noted 35 cases of border violations, including entry into
Kosova of "armed groups and terrorists" from Albania as well
as cross-border shooting incidents. Each side rejected the
other's charges, saying sufficient evidence was not given,
"Koha Jone" reported. The same day, President Meidani
inspected military installations in Kukes. It was the first
visit of a president to the northern city since the fall of
communism. And in nearby Bajram Curri, the UN opened an
office to help process Kosovar refugees. FS

SOME KOSOVAR STUDENT LEADERS STILL MISSING. The main
organization representing ethnic Albanian students in Kosova
issued a statement in Prishtina on 26 May informing that a
Prizren court handed down a 30-days jail sentence to the
three women who were among the student leaders recently
arrested in that city (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May 1998).
There is no information on the whereabouts of the four male
student leaders. The statement added that the student
organization understands that the four men will be charged
with "preparing for terrorism" because they organized a
public first-aid course. PM

SERBIA ENDS UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY. The Serbian parliament on
26 May passed a law empowering the government to appoint the
rectors and deacons of the universities. Under previous
legislation, faculty members elected persons to those
positions. Outside the parliament building, police used
force to break up a demonstration by some 1,000 students and
faculty against the new law. Police injured 10 students and
arrested three, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported.
Student spokesmen said more protests are slated to take
place in Belgrade, Nis, and Novi Sad on 27 March. The
demonstrators received a telegram of support from
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, who expressed his
"complete solidarity with their just and democratic
struggle," "Nasa Borba" wrote. PM

CROATIA SEEKS TO AVOID SANCTIONS. Foreign Minister Mate
Granic said in Zagreb on 26 May that the government will
draft a comprehensive plan dealing with refugee return by 20
June. The authorities hope that their plan will be
acceptable to the international community, which has
threatened Croatia with sanctions if it does not do more to
facilitate the return of Serbian refugees, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Granic denied earlier reports that
Croatia plans to repatriate some 80,000 ethnic Croats from
Germany this year. He said it would be impossible to
integrate so many people in such a short period. President
Franjo Tudjman has frequently said he wants Croats living
abroad to come home and repopulate areas where Serbs
formerly lived. The Croatian economy, however, depends to a
large extent on the remittances of emigrants. PM

ALBANIAN TEACHERS GO ON STRIKE. Elementary and secondary
school teachers throughout Albania went on strike on 26 May
to protest difficult living and working conditions. The
strike was organized by the Independent Teachers Trade
Unions and involved up to 90 percent of teachers in Tirana
and other cities. The teachers' main demand is a 15 percent
pay increase to offset inflation. Teachers receive monthly
salaries of between $45 and $65. The Education Ministry
declared the strike illegal, arguing that the teachers did
not give the ministry enough time to respond to their
demands, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. FS

ALBANIA'S CEKA PROPOSES LOTTERY TO DISARM POPULATION...
Neritan Ceka, head of the parliamentary Commission on Public
Order, proposed on 26 May that those voluntarily turning in
illegal weapons be given lottery tickets with numbers
corresponding to the weapons' serial numbers. After a fixed
date, the government would hold a draw and award prizes,
"Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. Lawmakers are currently drawing
up a draft law that is aimed at disarming the population and
will include an amnesty. There are some 500,000 illegal arms
in private hands in Albania. Meanwhile in New York, UN
spokesman Fred Eckhard said the UN will send an expert team
to Albania in early June to prepare a program aimed at
encouraging civilians to turn in illegal weapons. FS

...DEMANDS FINANCE MINISTER'S RESIGNATION. Ceka also said
that the government has lost some $100 million from untaxed
cigarette imports since the summer of 1997. Ceka argued that
Finance Minister Arben Malaj was to blame for the customs
evasion and demanded his resignation. Malaj countered that
Ceka himself was in charge of guarding Albania's coast as
interior minister until April 1998, together with former
Defense Minister Sabit Brokaj, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported.
FS

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS DRAFT BUDGET. Lawmakers on 26 May
adopted a draft 1998 budget, which was delayed by the recent
government crisis, AFP reported. The approval of the draft
will allow the IMF to release credits it has been
withholding. The proposed budget allows for 45 percent
inflation and a budget deficit of 3.6 percent of GDP. It
foresees an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent, up from 8.8
percent last year. Also on 26 May, U.S. Ambassador to
Romania James Rosapepe said that it is not a question of
"if" but "when" Bucharest will be invited to join NATO,
Reuters reported. He added that the government should be
"worrying less and reforming more." PB

DAEWOO TAKES OVER MAJORITY STAKE IN ROMANIAN CARMAKER. The
South Korean carmaker Daewoo has acquired a 51 percent stake
in Romania's Mecatim auto manufacturer for an undisclosed
sum, AFP reported on 25 May. Mecatim's chief executive said
Daewoo plans to invest $100 million in the plant, which will
produce car equipment such as air-conditioning systems and
brakes. The Korean company also plans to create 400 new jobs
at the plant. In 1994, Daewoo acquired a 51 percent stake in
the Rodae car plant. MS

TIRASPOL SHUTS DOWN PRIVATE NEWSPAPER. The State Committee
for Information in the separatist Transdniester region shut
down the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" on 26 May, Infotag
reported. Andrei Safonov, a founder of the paper and the
leader of the United Labor Party of Moldova, said the
decision is "purely a political act." He noted that the
newspaper's "rejection of political extremism" and "its
sober" commentary annoyed the Transdniester government. PB

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