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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 111 Part II, 11 June 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 111 Part II, 11 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

* UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT POSTPONES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN GOVERNMENT

* CONTACT GROUP AGREES ON PROPOSALS

* LATVIA DRAWS UP PLAN FOR NATO INTEGRATION

End Note: VATICAN'S "OSTPOLITIK" ARCHITECT DIES
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

AMBASSADORS TO MINSK WANT TO REMAIN AT DRAZDY... The
Belarusian government's 10 June decision to postpone for one
week the eviction of diplomats from their residences at
Drazdy has averted a mass diplomatic protest. France,
Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. said they will keep their
ambassadors in Minsk for the time being, RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service reported. U.S. Ambassador Daniel Speckhard told an
RFE/RL correspondent that Western governments have offered
to help with necessary repairs to the compound "in a way
that would not require the eviction of resident diplomats."
The British Foreign Office expressed the hope that the
postponement "gives a period for Belarus to reconsider [its
decision] and to find a mutually satisfactory solution,"
Reuters reported. France and Germany said they reserve the
right to take tough action if Belarus continues to insist on
the eviction. JM

...WHILE LUKASHENKA SAYS THEY MUST MOVE OUT NEXT WEEK. At a
10 June news conference, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
stressed that he has given the ambassadors only a temporary
reprieve. "Ambassador Speckhard, in the name of 12 or 14
embassies, asked me to give them three to four days to
collect their belongings; I gave them a week," RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service quoted Lukashenka as saying. The
president also hinted that the real reason for the eviction
may be his own uneasiness about living in close proximity to
Western diplomats. "Drazdy is the residence of the leader of
the government. Today, only 50 meters away from this
residence, are the diplomatic residences of the U.S.,
France, Italy, and India," he said. ITAR-TASS reported that
the Belarusian authorities intend to cut off water and
electricity supplies to Drazdy next week. JM

KIRIENKO URGES 'SOLID ECONOMIC FOUNDATION' IN RUSSIA-BELARUS
RELATIONS. During his 9-10 June visit to Belarus, Russian
Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko, who is also head of the
Executive Committee of the Russian-Belarusian Union, called
for a "solid economic foundation" and "broad production
cooperation" between the two countries, ITAR-TASS reported.
While visiting the Kazlovichy border checkpoint, near Brest,
Kirienko said transit shipments to Russia should be cleared
at the Belarusian border in accordance with Russian
legislation. At a news conference following his meeting with
Lukashenka, the Russian premier said that Belarus should pay
its debt for Russian deliveries of oil, gas, and
electricity, which now amounts to $430 million. At the same
time, he expressed his satisfaction with the growing trade
turnover and the pace of integration between the two
countries. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT POSTPONES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN
GOVERNMENT. The Supreme Council on 10 June passed a
resolution whereby it will postpone for one month debating a
motion of no confidence in the government (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 June 1998), Ukrainian Television reported.
Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko, who attended the
parliamentary session, thanked the deputies for their
"manifested confidence" in his cabinet and pledged that he
does not want to be "entangled in the problem of electing a
parliamentary speaker." "I have made no agreement on the
candidacy for speaker with any parliamentary caucus leader,"
he asserted. Later the same day, the parliament made another
futile attempt to elect its head. Former speaker Oleksandr
Moroz was the only candidate and failed to obtain the
necessary number of votes.. JM

KUCHMA DECREES HARSH SPENDING CUTS. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma has issued an edict introducing strict limits
on budget expenditures and other state outlays in a bid to
avert a financial crisis, Ukrainian Television reported on
10 June. The government has been given two months to work
out a plan to find additional funds to pay wage arrears. The
edict prohibits the Cabinet of Ministers from granting tax
exemptions or postponing budget payments to any ministries,
social organizations, local authority bodies, and
enterprises, among others. Political observers view the move
as another attempt by Kuchma to introduce order into
Ukraine's economy while the country negotiates a $2.5
billion loan from the IMF. JM

ESTONIAN RULING COALITION WANTS CENTRAL BANK HEAD TO STEP
DOWN. Members of the ruling coalition have said they expect
the resignation of Bank of Estonia President Vahur Kraft
over the collapse of the Rural Bank (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
9 June 1998), ETA reported. There has been no direct call
from the coalition parties for Kraft to step down, but
representatives of those parties believe the bank's collapse
resulted from the passivity of the Central Bank. Reform
Party Secretary-General Heiki Kranich argued, however, that
the rural parties' influence over the Rural Bank, which had
been used to finance a number of agricultural projects, had
prevented the central bank from effectively controlling what
was Estonia's sixth largest bank. JC

LATVIA DRAWS UP PLAN FOR NATO INTEGRATION. The Latvian
Foreign and Defense Ministries have drawn up a plan for the
integration of Latvia into NATO, Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs told reporters on 10 June. That plan outlines the
sequence of tasks to be performed in order to attain the
goal of joining the Atlantic alliance. "Essentially, we want
to raise the issue of accession to NATO to the same current
level as [that of] integration into the EU," Birkavs said.
The draft is to be submitted to the government for
consideration next week. Also next week, NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana is due to visit Latvia. Military
experts have criticized Latvia for its small defense budget.
JC

POLAND, WORLD BANK DISCUSS LOAN FOR RESTRUCTURING COAL
INDUSTRY. Polish Deputy Prime Minister Leszek Balcerowicz
has said Poland may borrow some $1 billion from the World
Bank over several years to finance the restructuring of the
country's coal mining sector. That statement followed a two-
week visit by a World Bank mission to Poland. The bank gave
the Polish government two weeks to present a detailed plan
for improving the sector, whose debts total almost $4
billion. In a restructuring plan published in April, the
government intended to cut nearly 130,000 jobs in coal
mining over the next four years. JM

HUNGARY CONCERNED ABOUT ETHNIC HUNGARIANS IN ROMANIA. The
Hungarian government's Office for Hungarians Abroad released
a report on 10 June that expresses concern about the
situation of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Romanian state
radio reported the next day. The report says the
participation of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania (UDMR) in the ruling Romanian coalition provides an
"organizational framework" for respecting the rights of the
Hungarian minority there. But it adds that UDMR leaders are
"worried" by the wide-spread anti-Hungarian campaign in the
media, which, the report said, presents the UDMR as a
"revisionist, separatist...and destabilizing" organization.
The report also says the problem of setting up a separate
Hungarian-language university in Transylvania "is turning
into a key-issue" in relations between the ethnic Hungarian
minority and the Romanian majority. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONTACT GROUP AGREES ON PROPOSALS. Officials from the six-
country Contact Group on the former Yugoslavia, meeting in
Paris on 10 June, have agreed on a package of proposals to
deal with the crisis in Kosova, Reuters reported. The
officials met ahead of the Contact Group's foreign
ministers, due to meet in London on 12 June. AFP reports
that the package includes the threat of force if Yugoslav
officials fail to implement the measures outlined in the
package by a stipulated date. British Defense Secretary
George Robertson said in Brussels that "days rather than
weeks is the timetable" because, he added, lessons from
Bosnia have been learned. No other details are available. In
Rome, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen and his Italian
counterpart, Beniamino Andreatta, agreed that when NATO
defense ministers meet in Brussels on 11 June, force will
not be ruled out as a way to help bring an end to the
violence in Kosova. Cohen said the ministers will seek a
"unified political position." PB

U.S. SEEKS TO SECURE "CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES." State
Department spokesman James Rubin said the U.S. is trying to
ensure some guarantees that will allow Yugoslav officials
and ethnic Albanian Kosovar leaders to resume talks, Reuters
reported on 10 June. Rubin said such measures could include
security guarantees for ethnic Albanians, the return of
refugees, and an agreement to deploy observers in Kosova.
Also on 10 June, Canada announced that it will join the EU
and the U.S. in freezing Yugoslav assets on its territory
and banning investments in Serbia. PB

HOLBROOKE SAYS KOSOVA NOT YET ANOTHER BOSNIA. U.S. envoy
Richard Holbrooke said in New York on 10 June that the
violence in Kosova is serious but not yet at a "general war
level," as was the case in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Reuters
reported. Holbrooke added that the situation in Kosova is
different because while the components of former Yugoslavia
became independent countries, Kosova is a Serbian province
and the international community does not back independence
for it. PB

NATO GENERAL SAYS AIR POWER CAN END KOSOVA FIGHTING. General
Klaus Naumann, NATO's top military officer, said in Brussels
on 10 June that air power could be used in Kosova to bring a
halt to the fighting, Reuters reported. Naumann, who is in
Brussels to advise NATO defense ministers about military
options in Kosova, said the deployment of troops in Albania
and Macedonia would not stop the fighting and that air
strikes would have to be used against Serbian forces and the
Kosova Liberation Army to achieve that end. Naumann added
that if NATO takes the first step of using force, it "must
be prepared to go all the way to the very end." PB

HAGUE TRIBUNAL TO LOOK INTO POSSIBLE WAR CRIMES IN KOSOVA.
The International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague announced
on 10 June that the court has begun investigations to
determine if war crimes have been committed in Kosova,
Reuters reported. Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt said the
court will "examine the ethnic cleansing" that occurred
during the recent armed conflict to see if any crimes
against humanity were committed. PB

LULL IN FIGHTING, REFUGEE EXODUS. Reports from Kosova and
neighboring Albania on 10 June spoke of reduced fighting in
western Kosova and a decrease in the number of refugees
crossing the border into Albania. The Albanian government
said the refugee situation has improved and that only 100 or
so refugees arrived on 10 June. The UN High Commission for
Refugees said that on the same day, less than the recent
flow of 250-300 refugees per day arrived in Albania. The
UNHCR estimates a total of 15,000 Kosovar refugees are in
northern Albania. In Prishtina, organizers of daily protests
there said they are calling off future protests for the time
being. Some 20,000 people marched in the capital on 10 June
chanting support for the Kosova Liberation Army as well as
for Kosova shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova. PB

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT SAID HE MAY SEEK REVISION OF DAYTON. Alija
Izetbegovic, the chairman of the Bosnian joint presidency,
said on 10 June that he will request a revision of the
Dayton peace agreements if "obstructive forces" come to
power after the September parliamentary elections.
Izetbegovic, speaking in Luxembourg at a session of
officials overseeing the Bosnian peace accords, said there
must be either "full implementation" or a revision of those
accords. Izetbegovic said he fears that if nationalist
parties win the elections, they will not abide by Dayton.
Carlos Westendorp, the international community's high
representative in Bosnia, called the peace process a
"success" but said there have also been several
disappointments. In Sarajevo, the Bosnian Central Bank said
it will delay the introduction of the new Bosnian currency
for one week because of a printing problem. PB

ARGENTINA REJECTS YUGOSLAV EXTRADITION BID. Argetinian
President Carlos Menem on 10 June published a decree
refusing Belgrade's extradition order for Croatian
concentration camp chief Dinko Sakic, Reuters reported.
Menem refused the request because he said it "is based on
the same events for which he will be tried in Croatia."
Croatia's extradition order has been granted. Zagreb
officials have until the end of June to return Sakic to
Croatia. He is currently being detained in Buenos Aires. PB

MORE RAIDS ON TIRANA MILITARY DEPOTS. In two separate
incidents, groups of armed gunmen attacked military depots
in Mezez and Sauk, near Tirana, on 10 June, "Shekulli"
reported. A Defense Ministry spokesman said both groups
withdrew after short exchanges of fire with guards. Nobody
was injured. Since the beginning of this year, there have
been 35 attempts of armed robbery at military depots, all of
which have failed. FS

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT TO EXAMINE WAYS TO SET UP HUNGARIAN
UNIVERSITY. Prime Minister Radu Vasile, Education Minister
Andrei Marga, and the leaders of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR) have agreed to set up a
government commission to examine establishing an independent
Hungarian-language university, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported on 10 June. They also agreed to set up a Hungarian
language and literature department within the Babes-Bolyai
Cluj university. The new commission is to present its report
by the end of next month, while the government will draw up
by 25 June a document on how to modify the education law in
line with the government program and the protocols signed by
the coalition partners. This month, the executive is also to
draft legislation on the return of Church property
confiscated from the Hungarian community by the Communists.
MS

ROMANIAN "SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC POLE" IN OFFING? Traian Basescu,
deputy chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, and Adrian
Nastase, first deputy chairman of the opposition Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), have agreed that their
formations will cooperate in the parliament on pending
legislation, Romanian state radio reported on 11 June.
Nastase said that the agreement could mark the beginning of
a process leading to the setting up of a "social democratic
pole" in Romania. Basescu stressed that cooperation between
the two parties is a departure from past practices, adding
that such cooperation is both "possible and necessary." He
added that in a democracy "today's opposition is tomorrow's
government." MS

END NOTE

VATICAN'S "OSTPOLITIK" ARCHITECT DIES

by Jan de Weydenthal

	Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who was widely considered
an architect of the Holy See's policy of rapprochement with
the communist East, died earlier this week in Rome. He was
83.
	In a commemorative message to the College of
Cardinals, Pope John Paul II said that Casaroli was "a
passionate builder of peaceful relations between individuals
and nations and, by employing the utmost diplomatic
sensitivity, made brave and significant steps, especially in
improving the situation of the Church in Eastern Europe."
	Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, head of the Vatican's
Congregation for Eastern Churches, said that Casaroli
"managed to extract concrete, tangible results" in bilateral
dealings with individual communist regimes.
	Casaroli came to prominence in the early 1960s, when
Pope John XXIII initiated a policy of gradually expanding
contacts with communist countries.
	In 1964, Casaroli achieved a partial accord between
the Vatican and Hungary. Seven years later, this accord
paved the way for anti-communist Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty
to leave his "voluntary exile" in the U.S Embassy, where he
remained for 15 years following the Soviet suppression of
the 1956 popular revolt against the communist rule.
	In the late 1960s, Casaroli was appointed head of the
Council for the Public Affairs of the Church--or the
Vatican's "foreign minister." In this capacity, Casaroli
successfully negotiated in 1970 the restoration of relations
with Yugoslavia. And in 1971, he visited Moscow to conduct
religious talks with Soviet officials, becoming the first
senior Vatican official to do so.
	Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Casaroli frequently
traveled to Poland to talk with communist rulers there.
During those visits he became closely acquainted with the
future pope, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Following his election
as Pontiff in 1978, John Paul confirmed Casaroli as the
Vatican's chief diplomat and a year later appointed him as
secretary of state, the Church's top official after the
pope.
	In 1988 Casaroli visited Moscow again. He was
subsequently credited with successfully persuading the
Soviet officials to allow greater religious freedom for
Catholics in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, and Russia itself.
A year later, in December 1989, the last Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul met in the Vatican.
Less than four months later the Vatican and Moscow exchanged
ambassadors.
	In December 1990 Casaroli resigned as the Vatican's
secretary of state and was replaced by his long-time
associate, Monsignor (now Cardinal) Angelo Sodano.
	Casaroli was universally acknowledged as a consummate
diplomat and skillful negotiator who was absolutely loyal to
the Church. His role was essentially that of a facilitator--
expanding the Church's work in the ideologically hostile
communist environment, while negotiating a place for the
Church under those difficult conditions.
	The election of Pope John Paul resulted in major
changes to that approach. This became particularly
noticeable during the papal visit to Poland in 1979, the
first to a communist country.
	During his visit the pope presented an uncompromising
critique of the authoritarian government, focusing his
attention on moral issues and human rights rather than
diplomatic exchanges with the leaders and appealing directly
to the public.
	The impact of the visit on Poland was dramatic,
undermining the authority of the established leadership and
encouraging popular self-organization. Just one year
earlier, the first popular social movement, Solidarity, rose
to prominence through a popular rebellion against the power
of the state. While that movement was subsequently crushed
by force, the spirit of public independence and social
autonomy from state control survived and spread to other
countries and societies.
	The activist approach to "pastoral" issues, which
originated in the Polish visit, has characterized the pope's
subsequent visits to other communist and/or authoritarian
states.
	Casaroli, once so dedicated to gradualism and caution,
adjusted to the new situation. His appointment to the
powerful position of Secretary of State confirms that. And
Pope John Paul clearly appreciated the skill and devotion of
the veteran Vatican diplomat.
	Following Casaroli's retirement, the pope was reported
to have said that it was "providential" to have worked with
him during the times of "historic" change in European and
world politics.
	Speaking in Moscow on 9 June, Anatolii Krasikov,
former head of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's press
office, said Cardinal Casaroli was a statesman of
international stature "who like few others left his own mark
on the time in which we live."

The author is an RFE/RL senior correspondent.

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