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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 101 Part II, 28 May 1998


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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

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Headlines, Part II

* MECIAR IN MOSCOW

* NATO ADOPTS KOSOVA STRATEGY

* RUGOVA SAYS AUTONOMY NOT ENOUGH
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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

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