I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. - Aldous Huxley
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 110 Part II, 10 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 110 Part II, 10 June 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

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Headlines, Part II

* MINSK'S EVICTION ORDER PROVOKES INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS

* CALLS FOR INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA INCREASE

* OFFENSIVE NEAR ALBANIAN BORDER INTENSIFIES

End Note: VERDICT AGAINST UKRAINIAN NEWSPAPER THREATENS
PRESS FREEDOM
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

MINSK'S EVICTION ORDER PROVOKES INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS.
Following the U.S refusal to relocate its ambassador from
his residence at Drazdy, near Minsk, while repairs are
carried out to the compound (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June
1998), other countries are opposing Minsk's eviction order.
"These measures are unacceptable and unbearable," Reuters
quoted a French Foreign Ministry spokeswomen as saying.
France threatened to recall its ambassador for consultations
if Minsk carries through its plan to expel diplomats from
the compound. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said the
Belarusian authorities are "outrageously violating
international law," ITAR-TASS reported. Russia also
expressed concern over the dispute, saying on 9 June that
the decision should have been "taken in accordance with
international law," Reuters reported. JM

BELARUS SAYS PROTESTS ARE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. In a
statement issued on 8 June, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry
apologized for any "inconvenience" connected with the
relocation of ambassadors to other lodgings. The statement
added that the repairs are necessary because of the sharp
deterioration of the technical and sanitary conditions of
the buildings and utility systems. Speaking on national
television the next day, Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich
said the Drazdy compound may wind up "floating in its own
sewage" unless the ambassadors vacate their apartments.
Antanovich added that foreign countries are overreacting .
"There is a tendency to give political coloring to this
[incident] on the part of those who are ready to view all
events in Belarus only from a political perspective," he
said. JM

LUKASHENKA GIVES AMBASSADORS ANOTHER WEEK TO MOVE. The
Belarusian Foreign Ministry on 10 June issued a statement
saying the relocation deadline has been extended for a week
to all 22 ambassadors after the "personal intervention" of
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Reuters reported. The
previous day, Minsk notified the U.S. about that decision.
Washington says, however, that its ambassador will not be
moving under any circumstances, Reuters reported on 9 June.
U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin stressed that
the eviction order is a "fundamental violation" of the
Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and is without
precedence since the end of the Cold War. "We have tried
hard to maintain a working relationship with Belarus.... But
now the government has made that task even more difficult by
this unnecessary, foolish, and illegal provocation," he
commented. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AGAIN FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER. The
legislature's sixth attempt to elect its speaker has been
declared invalid owing to the lack of a two-thirds quorum,
Ukrainian Television reported on 9 June. Socialists/Peasants
candidate Oleksandr Moroz received 177 votes, while Hromada
candidate Oleksandr Pukhkal mustered only 30. As on previous
occasions, the Popular Democratic Party, the Popular Rukh,
the United Social Democrats, and the Greens refused to
participate in the vote. They are demanding a "package vote"
on a centrist speaker and two deputy speakers representing
the left- and right-wing parliamentary groups. Some
Ukrainian newspapers have dubbed the continued deadlock in
the Supreme Council a "farce" that is preventing deputies
from addressing the country's acute socio-economic problems.
JM

EU LUKEWARM TOWARD UKRAINE'S BID FOR ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP.
At the first session of the Ukraine-EU Cooperation Council
in Luxembourg on 9 June, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy
Pustovoytenko requested that Ukraine be granted associated
membership in order to pave the way for a full-fledged
membership in the future, Ukrainian Television reported. But
according to Reuters, the EU reacted unenthusiastically to
Ukraine's association bid, saying it is "premature" to look
further than the current accord on Ukrainian-EU cooperation
and partnership, which took effect on 1 March. "I'm sure
that in the medium term Ukraine will arrive at that point
which in our view, at the present time, it has not arrived
at yet," Reuters quoted EU Commissioner for Foreign
Relations Hans van den Broek as saying. JM

ETHNIC RUSSIAN ACTIVISTS CHARGED IN ESTONIA. Yurii Mishin,
the head of the Russian Citizens Union of Estonia, has been
charged with organizing protest rallies without obtaining
permission from the authorities, BNS reported on 9 June. The
charges are linked to demonstrations last fall that began
protesting the high cost of living and concluded by
denouncing the Estonian government. Last week, similar
charges were filed against two elderly ethnic Russian women.
Estonian police have said they realize legal proceedings
against the three could be "politically sensitive." But they
add that charges have to be brought after investigators
concluded laws were violated. JC

EU WELCOMES LATVIAN LAWMAKER'S APPROVAL OF CITIZENSHIP LAW
CHANGES. The EU on 9 June issued a statement welcoming the
Latvian parliament's decision on 4 June to approve in the
second reading amendments to the citizenship law proposed by
the Latvian government. The statement, which was made by the
current holder of the EU presidency, Britain, on behalf of
the union, added that reform of the citizenship law is a
"key criterion" for Latvia to begin EU entry talks. JC

POLAND'S COALITION SEEKS SUPPORT FOR 15 PROVINCES. Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek met with President Aleksander
Kwasniewski on 9 June to seek Kwasniewski's support for 15
provinces (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 9 June 1998),
"Rzeczpospolita" reported. Both Buzek and Kwasniewski
declined to comment after the meeting, but Kwasniewski's
lawyer said the president will veto the bill unless it
provides for 17 provinces. Later the same day, Buzek and
Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski tried to persuade
Solidarity Electoral Action senators to introduce an
amendment to the administrative reform bill that would
increase the number of provinces from 12 to 15. The ruling
coalition has 59 senators in the 100-seat upper house but is
afraid some of them may not endorse the amendment. JM

SOCIAL DEMOCRATS STILL AHEAD IN CZECH OPINION POLLS. A
public opinion poll conducted by the Institute for Public
Opinion Research shows the Social Democratic Party (CSSD)
still ahead less than two weeks before the elections. The
CSSD received 22.5 percent backing, followed by Vaclav
Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (15 percent), Pensioners for
Secure Life (9 percent), the Communist Party of Bohemia and
Moravia (7.5) percent, and the Freedom Union and the
Christian Democrats (7 percent each). The far-right
Republican Party gained only 4 percent support, which would
mean it would fail to pass the 5 percent threshold for entry
to the parliament, CTK reported. MS

HAVEL WANTS CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION INTO CSSD TO CONTINUE.
Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek on 8 June told
journalists that President Vaclav Havel will ask the
counterintelligence service to continue its investigation
into the so-called "Bamberg affair," CTK reported. After
studying a preliminary report, Havel said he believes the
case could be one of "provocation by forces that aim at
destabilizing the country," Spacek said. The investigation
focuses on allegations that CSSD leaders met with a Czech-
born entrepreneur in Switzerland three years ago and
promised him a top economic and state position in exchange
for preferential loans to finance the CSSD's 1996 election
campaign. MS

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CANCELS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ROUND. The
parliament on 9 June canceled a new round of presidential
elections after the only candidate, the independent Vladimir
Abraham, withdrew from the race, RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau
reported. Parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic said
another round will be held on 11 July. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CALLS FOR INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA INCREASE... U.S. President
Bill Clinton said on 8 June that he is determined to prevent
"a repeat of the human carnage...and ethnic cleansing" that
took place in Bosnia, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington
reported. Clinton said he has authorized "accelerated NATO
planning" to deal with the Kosova crisis. U.S. Defense
Secretary William Cohen said NATO feels "an increased sense
of urgency" to deal with the conflict. "The Guardian"
reported on 9 June that NATO planners in Brussels are
considering the use of air strikes to force Serbia to halt
its offensive in Kosova. Dutch Defense Minister Joris
Voorhoeve called for rapid NATO intervention. But his German
counterpart, Volker Ruehe, was quoted by the "Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung" as saying military action should be a
last resort. NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels on
11 June to discuss options for dealing with Kosova. A
spokeswoman for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
has called for "vigorous action" to stop the violence. PB

...WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA OPPOSE FOREIGN ACTION. Russian
President Boris Yeltsin and his defense minister, Igor
Sergeev, said in Bonn on 9 June that they oppose any NATO
involvement in Kosova, ITAR-TASS and dpa reported. Yeltsin
said at the end of a two-day visit to Germany that foreign
intervention could cause the conflict to spread to
neighboring countries. He suggested that he would meet with
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to help resolve the
crisis. Yeltsin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii said such a
meeting is "quite possible." In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign
Ministry said it also opposes foreign intervention in
Kosova. Both Russia and China could veto a UN Security
Council resolution authorizing the use of force in Kosova.
PB

OFFENSIVE NEAR ALBANIAN BORDER INTENSIFIES. Serbian forces
on 9 June continued to spray areas of western Kosova with
heavy mortar and artillery fire, Reuters reported. UN and
Western officials reported that several villages along the
Albanian border between the Kosovar villages of Djakovica
and Decan were under attack. The pro-Albanian Kosova
Information Center said armed ethnic Albanians are putting
up "strong resistance" to the attacks. The upsurge in
fighting caused the flow of refugees, which had stabilized
in recent days, to increase, a UNHCR official said, adding
that some 65,000 people have been displaced because of the
fighting over the past 10 days. "Koha Jone" reported that
only 8,500 out of an estimated 15,000 refugees in Albania
have registered with the UNHCR as of 9 June. The daily added
that most of the unregistered refugees are leaving the
northern mountainous areas for the central and southern
Albanian plains and larger cities, where many of them have
relatives. PB/FS

YUGOSLAV DEFENSE COUNCIL MEETS IN BELGRADE. Yugoslavia's
Supreme Defense Council, chaired by President Milosevic,
convened in Belgrade on 9 June to discuss the situation in
Kosova, Tanjug reported. The council announced that the army
and police are in complete control of the border and have
successfully taken "measures that guarantee the safety of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." It was the first
meeting of the council since the Kosova crisis erupted in
February. The council included Serbian President Milan
Milutinovic, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Yugoslav
Premier Momir Bulatovic, and Defense Minister Pavle
Bulatovic. In a separate statement, Yugoslav officials
denounced the new economic sanctions leveled against the
country, calling them "strange and unreasonable." PB

BALKAN FOREIGN MINISTERS ISSUE STATEMENT ON KOSOVA. Meeting
in Istanbul, the foreign ministers of six Balkan countries
issued a statement calling for the "immediate cessation of
excessive use of force," the "Turkish Daily News" reported
on 10 June. The ministers--from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece,
Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey--decided to issue a separate
statement after Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic
refused to allow any mention of Kosova in the conference's
final declaration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June 1998).
Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos, however, said he
does not think the recent economic sanctions imposed on
Serbia are the best means of resolving the crisis. He added
that third countries suffer greatly when sanctions are
imposed. PB

COURT FINDS CROATIAN JOURNALIST INNOCENT. Davor Butkovic,
the former editor of the Croatian weekly "Globus," on 8 June
was found innocent of charges that he slandered an alleged
criminal. Mladen Naletilic, currently under arrest, accused
Butkovic of slander for writing that he was "a most
notorious warlord." The judge ruled that Naletilic created
that image for himself during the Bosnian war. In other
news, the eastern Croatian town of Darda was awarded $14
million from the U.S. to rebuild homes and improve its
infrastructure. The town was chosen for the aid because it
has successfully promoted reconciliation between Croats and
Serbs and has a multi-ethnic local administration. PB

COUNCIL SAYS BOSNIAN PEACE PROCESS MUST ACCELERATE. The
Peace Implementation Council, charged with overseeing
adherence to the Dayton peace accords, has bemoaned the slow
pace of change in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Reuters reported on 9
June. The council, which was meeting in Luxembourg, is
composed of delegates from more than 60 countries and
international institutions. In a statement, it said that top
priorities for Bosnia in 1998 are an accelerated return of
refugees, police and judicial reform, economic integration,
and fair parliamentary elections in September. The council
reaffirmed the right of its high representative, Carlos
Westendorp, to decree certain reforms In Bosnia-Herzegovina.
PB

LEADING ALBANIAN BUSINESSMAN KIDNAPPED. Four unidentified
gunmen kidnapped Koco Dado, the head of Albania's
Association of Businessmen, in Tirana on 8 June, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported on 10 June. Tirana deputy police chief
Ilir Cano told the daily on 9 June that the kidnappers have
not yet demanded a ransom. He added that the kidnapping may
be linked to Dado's recent appearances on television as part
of an initiative to collect aid worth some $90,000 for
Kosova refugees. FS

PREMIER SAYS FOREIGN SERVICES SEEK TO 'DESTABILIZE ROMANIA.'
Radu Vasile told Pro TV on 9 June that "some foreign
services are interested in Romania's destabilization." He
said these attempts are taking place "at key moments in the
country's evolution" and cited the unsubstantiated rumor
that a nuclear accident has taken place at the Cernavoda
power station. He said the rumor was circulated last month
at the time President Emil Constantinescu was visiting
Canada and seeking to negotiate the financing of a second
reactor at Cernavoda. Vasile said one can expect an
"intensification" of the "destabilization attempts" in the
fall, when NATO will again discuss the possibility of its
further enlargement. MS

HUNGARIAN CHURCH LEADERS DEMAND RETURN OF CONFISCATED CHURCH
ASSETS. An ecumenical gathering of representatives of the
Hungarian Reformed Church and Hungarian Roman Catholics on 9
June demanded that the authorities stop dragging their feet
over the return of Church assets confiscated by the
Communists, Mediafax reported. The gathering also backed the
demand of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
(UDMR) to set up a separate Hungarian-language university in
Cluj. UDMR leaders are meeting with coalition partners on 10
June in an attempt to find a solution to the demand.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has ruled that
government regulation No. 22 was unconstitutional. That
regulation made possible bilingual signs in localities where
minority populations exceeded 20 percent. It was rejected by
the Senate because it also allowed former Premier Victor
Ciorbea to continue in office as mayor of Bucharest. The
Chamber of Deputies has yet to debate the issue. MS

PERSONNEL CHANGES IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL STAFF. President
Petru Lucinschi on 9 June appointed former Minister of
Internal Affairs Mihai Plamadeala to the position of Supreme
Security Council secretary, BASA-press reported, citing a
press release of the presidential office. Gheorghe Carlan,
who until now held that post, has been appointed
presidential counselor and head of the negotiating team with
the Tiraspol separatists, replacing Anatol Taranu. Taranu's
replacement has been repeatedly demanded by the separatists,
who claimed he was "uncompromising." MS

MOLDOVAN COALITION'S FUTURE UNCERTAIN. The parliamentary
groups of the Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM) and the
Party of Democratic Forces (PFD) on 9 June warned in a joint
statement that the future of the ruling coalition is
uncertain. The two groups say that Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc
and parliamentary chairman Dumitru Diacov are "mishandling"
the negotiations on the appointment of deputy ministers and
directors-general of ministries and are refusing to
implement an agreement on those appointments that was
reached at the time of the coalition's formation. Under that
accord, for every two officials representing the CDM and the
For a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova Bloc (PMPD), one
official should represent the PFD. The two parties accuse
Diacov and Ciubuc of attempting to achieve a "privileged
status" for the PMDP, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

BULGARIAN, MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS BILATERAL
RELATIONS. Nadezhda Mihailova and her Macedonian counterpart
Blagoj Handziski, meeting at a Balkan conference in Istanbul
on 8 June, said they are determined to solve bilateral
problems, BTA reported. The two ministers also discussed the
situation in Kosova and pledged to contribute to solving the
conflict. They exchanged draft documents on bilateral
relations, which are to be signed during a visit by
Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov to Bulgaria at an
unspecified date. At a meeting with Albanian Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo, the two chief diplomats agreed that
Mihailova will pay an official visit to Tirana in November.
MS

END NOTE

VERDICT AGAINST UKRAINIAN NEWSPAPER THREATENS PRESS FREEDOM

by Tiffany Carlsen and Katya Gorchinskaya

	A Kyiv court last week ordered the opposition daily
"Kievskie Vedomosti" to pay libel damages totaling 5 million
hryvni (more than $2 million) to an ally of President Leonid
Kuchma. If unable to pay, the newspaper will have to close
down.
	But there has been almost no reaction from the
journalistic community. Only a few voices have been heard
about the case, which many consider to constitute yet
another assault on press freedom by the government.
	"There has been no reaction from any sort of
journalists' union and that is very surprising," said
Volodymyr Mostovy, editor of the weekly "Zerkalo Nedeli."
"This is precisely the moment that solidarity between
journalists should be manifested through a statement that
speaks out against such actions."
	Mostovy said that the Starokyivsky District Court's
ruling was a "purely political action directed at closing
the newspaper" by forcing it into "an unsustainable economic
condition."
	That echoed the comments made last week by Yevhen
Yakhunov, editor of "Kievskie Vedomosti," who also said that
the court decision was "a political action."
	But these were isolated comments. Last weekend,
several journalists were given awards by Kuchma in a
ceremony at Mariyinsky Palace marking Press Day. "Freedom of
speech helps the development of democracy," the president
said, adding that journalism is a "serious weapon" in
politics but should be used with "objectivity and
independence."
	"Kievskie Vedomosti" is standing by its series of
reports in which it alleged that Interior Minister Yuri
Kravchenko bought a luxury $115,000 Mercedes with money from
a fund for the families of slain policemen. Kravchenko filed
suit last year after the newspaper had first printed the
allegation. The daily plans to appeal the ruling.
	Four month ago, another Kyiv opposition daily,
"Vseukrainskie Vedomosti," was forced to shut down after a
court ordered it to pay 3.5 million hryvni in damages to a
pro-Kuchma businessman and politician. At that time,
however, many journalists openly argued that the government
was trying to gag the opposition in the run-up to the March
parliamentary elections.
	Now, Yakhunov is saying, newspapers have not rushed to
the defense of "Kievskie Vedomosti" for purely commercial
reasons. "Mass media are separated into different camps," he
said. "Even those on friendly terms with us might not
support us because we are competitors. However, I want to
warn them that the repression has started."
	"Kievskie Vedomosti" attorney Viktor Nikazakov sees
apathy as the main reason for silence. "Those newspapers
that might want to scream about the decision don't do it
because they know it won't accomplish anything," he said,
adding that "more and more newspapers are working for the
president in any case."
	Foreign observers say that the case highlights a
troubling pattern of opposition newspapers falling afoul of
the authorities.
	In two recent cases, the newspaper "Polityka" had its
bank accounts frozen by a local tax administrator for
failure to submit documents in time. The newspaper "Pravda
Ukrainy" faced similar close scrutiny from government
inspectors.
	Tim O'Connor, Kyiv resident adviser of ProMedia, a
U.S.-financed non-governmental organization supporting
international press reform, says that cases like the
"Kievskie Vedomosti" one are "worrisome because they show
how one-sided the libel and defamation laws are in Ukraine."
He added that loopholes in the Ukrainian press law are
partly to blame, since plaintiffs are currently not required
to prove any actual damage in court. He also said there is
no legal distinction between press scrutiny of a private
citizen and public official. "Certainly public officials
should be scrutinized closely, no matter what country you're
in," he commented.
	Irina Polykova, regional office director of the
European Institute for the Media, said that Ukraine lacks
both courts and lawyers experienced in handling press
freedom issues. And she criticized the fact that legislation
places no limit on the amount of damages a plaintiff can
seek from a media outlet.
	"Kievskie Vedomosti" attorney Nikazakov said more
public pressure should be put on lawmakers. "The media
should press the parliament to change laws so that they
defend themselves against high-ranking officials," he said.
"The parliament probably would pass this kind of law just to
spite the president."

The authors are Kyiv-based RFE/RL correspondents.

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