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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 101 Part II, 28 May 1998
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 101 Part II, 28 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * MECIAR IN MOSCOW * NATO ADOPTS KOSOVA STRATEGY * RUGOVA SAYS AUTONOMY NOT ENOUGH xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx REGIONAL AFFAIRS RUSSIA SAYS 'POSITIVE DYNAMICS' IN RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. In a statement released following Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's visit to Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russian-Ukrainian relations have assumed "positive dynamics." Primakov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Borys Tarasyuk, told journalists after their 27 May meeting that both sides showed "a constructive approach and good will" in discussing bilateral relations, Ukrainian Television reported. Tarasyuk said that a "zero option" was considered for dividing the property of the former USSR and that significant progress was made toward delimiting the Russian-Ukrainian maritime border in the Azov Sea. JM ..WHILE PRIMAKOV REAFFIRMS RUSSIAN OPPOSITION TO NATO EXPANSION. Primakov also stressed in Kyiv that Russia "has been, is, and will be against NATO expansion," Itar-Tass reported. The Russian foreign minister added that there is no chance that Russia will become a member of the alliance but will cooperate with it in order to reduce tensions in Europe. Primakov's remarks came on the first anniversary of the signing of the NATO-Russia partnership accord. The same day, Colonel General Leonid Ivashov told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" that Europe will become "unstable" if NATO were to make "former Soviet republics" candidates for NATO membership. And NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana wrote in "Izvestiya" that he hoped people in Moscow can maintain an open mind about the alliance. PG EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE MINERS PICKET PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION IN KYIV. Some 400 miners from the Donbas coal mining region began an "indefinite picket" of the presidential administration building in Kyiv on 27 May to demand the payment of wage arrears, Ukrainian Television reported. Miners from other regions intend to join the picket on 28 May. The action was organized by the Trade Union of Coal Mining Workers, Ukraine's largest mining trade union. Meanwhile, some 1,000 miners from Pavlovhrad are continuing their march to Kyiv and are expected to reach the capital by 3 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 1998). And another 2,000 miners are continuing to camp outside the oblast administration building in Dnipropetrovsk to protest wage arrears. JM BELARUS REQUIRES HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS TO APPLY FOR LICENSES. "Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta" reported on 27 May that Minsk will this week implement its ruling that all agencies involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid in Belarus and sending Belarusian children abroad for medical treatment must apply for a license to the Presidential Administration Department for Humanitarian Aid. That department will issue five-year licenses and is also authorized to revoke those permits. "Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta" suggests the government made the ruling to remove "competitors" from what it may consider lucrative activities and to distribute aid only to those individuals "favored by the authorities." JM LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS MOSCOW DOESN'T WANT DIALOGUE... The Latvian Foreign Ministry has reproached Russia for being reluctant to develop a dialogue with Riga and for spreading "distorted information" about Latvia's citizenship policies, BNS reported. "All Latvian proposals to strengthen confidence and understanding have been rejected or distorted," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrejs Pildegovics told journalists in Riga on 27 May. He added that Russia is also setting conditions for resuming a dialogue, although he did not elaborate. "Such a stance is unacceptable to Latvia and it does not testify to Russia's true wish to have dialogue," Pildegovics said. JC ...WHILE ECONOMICS MINISTRY SAYS MINOR IMPACT OF ECONOMIC MEASURES. The Latvian Economics Ministry says that Russian economic measures against Riga have had few repercussions for Latvia's economy, "Diena" reported on 28 May. It noted that some businesses have registered losses but stressed that many others are trying to take advantage of the situation by seeking compensation from the state for losses that have nothing do with Russian economic measures. The only considerable losses, according to the ministry, have been in the fishing industry, following the reduction in Russian imports of Latvian fish. The drop in revenues from the oil industry is related at least in part to the decline in oil prices on the world market, the ministry added. JC LANDSBERGIS DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL. Lithuanian Parliamentary Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis has categorically denied that he gave orders to have anyone put under surveillance, BNS reported on 27 May. His denial follows media allegations that the Third Department of the Interior Ministry had spied on the country's top leaders (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May 1998). Landsbergis told reporters in Vilnius that he could recall a handful of cases in which he had asked for information from the unit about various individuals who had threatened either him or the leadership in general, but he added he did not think "these types of psychos" deserve much attention. The leaders of the unit have also denied carrying out any surveillance operations. JC SOLIDARITY LEADER CALLS FOR NEW MEDIA OVERSIGHT COUNCIL. Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski has called for electing a new National Radio and Television Council, "Zycie Warszawy" reported on 28 April. His call follows a Supreme Administration Court ruling annulling licenses to two television stations; according to the court, the council committed procedural violations in granting those licenses. The opposition Democratic Left Alliance and Peasant Party strongly oppose dismissing the current council members, saying the Solidarity-led coalition wants to conduct a "political purge" in the media. The council was set up under the former leftist government and is widely believed to have strong links to the opposition. JM MECIAR IN MOSCOW. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar met with Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov in the Russian capital on 27 May and signed a cooperation agreement between the cities of Moscow and Bratislava, ITAR-TASS reported. Meciar also met with Patriarch of All Russia and Moscow Aleksei II, with whom he discussed "various aspects of modern life in Russia and Slovakia" and particularly "Slavonic unity" ahead of the celebrations of the Days of Slavic Written Language and Culture. Meciar is scheduled to hold talks with President Boris Yeltsin and Premier Sergei Kirienko on 28 May. In other news, Slovakia on 27 May rejected a call by the Austrian government to delay starting up the controversial Mochovce nuclear power station, SITA reported. The lower chamber of the Austrian parliament the same day called on the government to take steps against starting up the plant. MS SPOKESMAN SAYS ORBAN DENIES GIVING CONTROVERSIAL INTERVIEW. Andras Klein, a spokesman for the Federation of Young Democrats- Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ- MPP), told an RFE/RL correspondent in Budapest on 27 May that party chairman Victor Orban did not give an interview to the Austrian daily "Standart.". Klein said the daily published remarks that Orban made "long ago, even before the electoral campaign had started" and that even those remarks had been "misunderstood.". ""Standart" the previous day had cited Orban as saying that Hungary's bilateral treaties with neighboring countries are "inadequate" in their provisions on national minorities' rights" and must be revised. He was also quoted as saying that a new education law must be passed in Romania to safeguard Hungarian cultural identity. Also on 27 May, Romanian Prime Minister Radu Vasile said he will ask for explanations from the Hungarian ambassador to Bucharest, while Romania's opposition parties have launched a strong protest against the alleged remarks. MS HUNGARIAN SMALLHOLDERS DEMAND CABINET POSTS. Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP) chairman Jozsef Torgyan, who has been re-elected as the party's caucus leader, told Hungarian media on 27 May that the FKGP insists on running a "super- ministry" for developing the countryside and considers the Interior Ministry to be "close to its own area of operation." The caucus has authorized Torgyan to conduct coalition talks with FIDESZ-MPP. Meanwhile, Bertalan Osztroha, leader of the FKGP's Borsod County branch, said "a cult of personality prevails over democracy" in the party. He called for Torgyan's removal. MSZ SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE NATO ADOPTS KOSOVA STRATEGY. Foreign ministers of the 16 NATO member states have agreed in Luxembourg on a strategy for containing the conflict in Kosova. The package includes detailed planning for "preventive deployment" of troops from the Atlantic alliance in Albania and Macedonia, AFP reported on 28 May. More details are to be released later today. On 27 May, Russian diplomats said in Brussels that Moscow wants detailed information about NATO's plans for Kosova. One diplomat said Moscow has doubts about the legality of any NATO role in the region. PM U.S. BACKS RUGOVA'S LINE. Robert Gelbard, who is the U.S. special envoy for the former Yugoslavia, told CNN on 27 May that the administration wants Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's upcoming visit to Washington "to demonstrate that the path Dr. Rugova pursues, one of non- violence, one of support for democracy, is the right path for Kosovar Albanians to follow.... We want to show our support for that, and we have urged other governments in Europe to show the same kind of support for him." Also in Washington, a State Department spokesman said that the administration expects the Serbs and Kosovars to continue their weekly talks even though this week's session was canceled because of Rugova's trip to the U.S. PM RUGOVA SAYS AUTONOMY NOT ENOUGH. Speaking in Vienna en route to Washington, Rugova told Austrian Radio on 27 May that the Kosovars will not accept autonomy. They insist that Kosova become an "international protectorate" as a transitional stage on the road to full independence. But in Strasbourg, the Congress of European Local and Regional Governments passed a resolution calling for the restoration of Kosova's autonomous status as prescribed in the 1974 Yugoslav and Serbian constitutions as a solution to the current crisis. The congress also concluded that Belgrade must make progress in democratization and clarify the status of Vojvodina and Sandzak if Yugoslavia wants membership in the Council of Europe. The congress also ruled that Belgrade must accept Spain's Felipe Gonzalez as the sole mediator in the Kosova crisis and not allow the U.S. to play a predominant role, "Nasa Borba" reported. PM EUROPEAN CONCERN OVER SERBIAN BLOCKADE. Doris Pack, who is the European Parliament's representative for East European affairs, said in a statement in Brussels on 27 May that the ongoing Serbian blockade of Kosova has led to "alarming humanitarian conditions," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. She added that the blockade has not only cut off normal supplies of food and medicine but is also preventing 200 trucks containing European humanitarian aid from entering the region. Pack noted that available supplies in Kosova are going primarily to the Serbian troops and paramilitary police. She called for urgent international pressure on the Belgrade authorities. Meanwhile in Geneva, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that fighting in Kosova since February has led to some 34,000 persons being displaced. Some 3,000 ethnic Albanians have sought refuge in Montenegro. PM NANO SAYS BOSNIAN LESSONS APPLY TO KOSOVA. Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service in a telephone interview on 27 May that the international community has learned from the Bosnian war that it must act quickly and decisively in Kosova. He added that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic "does not have a future if he continues to behave like a warlord." Nano said that he is against calling the Kosova Liberation Army "terrorists" because "desperate people who defend their homes and their children...[in the face of] massive ethnic cleansing and violent operations" cannot be legitimately classified as terrorists. The prime minister urged that Kosova become a special entity within Yugoslavia, based on the model of the status of the Republika Srpska within Bosnia. Nano stressed that Tirana backs Rugova's non-violent line and tries to prevent arms smuggling into Kosova. PM BELGRADE RECTOR QUITS. Dragan Kuburovic, who is the rector of Belgrade University, submitted his resignation on 27 May to protest the new Serbian law that ends the autonomy of the universities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 May 1998). He said his decision becomes effective as of 29 May, when the faculty will meet to decide whether to join the students' call for a "general strike." Several thousand students protested against the new law outside the buildings of the Philosophy Faculty. PM DJUKANOVIC CALLS FOR 'OPEN DOORS.' Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic told the Belgrade daily "Novosti" of 28 May that Milosevic's government is leading Yugoslavia into ever greater isolation precisely when the country needs more democracy and more openness to the outside world. Djukanovic added that Montenegro has shown the way Yugoslavia should go by "opening all doors" to the EU, the U.S., and Russia. Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Miodrag Vukovic told "Nasa Borba" that Montenegrins will make their own decisions in the 31 May parliamentary elections and do not welcome any pressure from the outside, by which he presumably meant from Milosevic. Some 120 international observers will monitor the election process, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 27 May. PM CROATIA READY FOR 'PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE'? William Montgomery, who is U.S. ambassador to Croatia, said in Zagreb on 27 May that Croatia could become a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace Program by the end of this year if it makes sufficient progress in democratization, in allowing Serbian refugees to return, and in supporting the Dayton peace process. Elsewhere in the capital, President Franjo Tudjman received Ante Jelavic, whom the Herzegovinian Croats recently elected to head their branch of the Croatian Democratic Community despite Tudjman's support for another candidate (see "RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 20 May 1998). PM ALBANIAN ARMS-TRAFFICKING INCREASES. Police on 26 May stopped three trucks filled with arms, "Koha Jone" reported on 28 May. The haul included 500 Kalashnikov machine guns, hundreds of boxes containing ammunition cartridges, grenades, and mortars. The trucks were stopped in Fushe Kruja, in central Albania, en route from Tirana to the north. The drivers fled the scene. Also on 26 May, army officials discovered that some 100 mortars and an unspecified numbers of anti-aircraft guns have disappeared from an army storage facility near Tirana, "Shekulli" reported on 28 May. The daily noted that arms trafficking has become increasingly profitable since the recent intensification of the conflict in Kosova. FS ROMANIAN DEFENSE INDUSTRY PRESENTS NEW HELICOPTER. The new IAR Puma 330 helicopter produced in Brasov was presented to journalists on 27 May, RFE/RL's Bucharest service reported. The helicopter is jointly produced with Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. and is equipped with a modern anti-tank device aimed at bringing Romanian military forces up to NATO standards. In other news, a spokesman for the Socialist Party on 27 May denied that his formation has signed an agreement with seven parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties to back the candidate of the Party of Social Democracy (PDSR) in Romania in Bucharest mayoral elections scheduled for October. PDSR chairman Ion Iliescu had announced the signing of such an agreement the previous day. MS IMF TELLS MOLDOVA TO REDUCE DEBT. The IMF on 27 May said that Moldova's current account deficit is too large and that the government should stop accumulating external debts in order to get its economy on course, Reuters reported. The IMF praised Moldova for progress in the energy and the agricultural sectors reform but said the growing external debt and the government's increasing difficulties to service it are worrying. The fund also urged Moldova to tighten spending and borrowing controls on local authorities, restructure its health and education services, and stop granting tax amnesties and concessions. MS BULGARIAN-US ECONOMIC GROUP MEETS. At its first meeting in Washington on 27 May, a joint U.S.-Bulgarian economic group discussed ways to strengthen the Bulgarian economy. The meeting was chaired by U.S. Under Secretary of State Stuart Eisenstat and Bulgarian Deputy Premier Aleksander Bozhkov. State Department spokesman James Rubin said Bulgaria has undergone a "remarkable economic transformation" under Ivan Kostov's government. He added that the U.S. will continue to provide assistance in privatization, tax reform, and reducing the bureaucracy. MS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc. 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