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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 115 Part II, 17 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 115 Part II, 17 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

* HAVEL CALLS FOR YOUNGER GENERATION OF POLITICIANS

* MILOSEVIC HEDGES ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL

* ALBRIGHT SAYS MILOSEVIC MUST END VIOLENCE

End Note: KOSOVA FROM TIRANA'S PERSPECTIVE

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

DIPLOMATS REMAIN AT DRAZDY AS EVICTION DEADLINE LOOMS.
Foreign diplomats were sitting tight in their residences at
the Drazdy compound on 16 June as a government deadline for
vacating the site drew closer, Reuters reported. Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said the diplomats must
leave Drazdy by 17 June so that planned repairs can be
carried out (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1998). The
Italian ambassador told Reuters that as long as he is "under
an ultimatum," he will continue to live at Drazdy. He added
that "all the diplomats are taking the same line." The
German ambassador has also said he will not move into the
new building proposed by the government, although some of
his belongings have already been moved there for "temporary
storage." JM

GAZPROM TO RESUME FULL GAS SUPPLY AFTER BELARUS PAYS DEBT.
Gazprom's gas supplies to Belarus will remain reduced by 40
percent until 1 July, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 June.
Following talks between the Gazprom leadership and
Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Valeryy Kokarau, a Gazprom
representative told the agency that gas deliveries will
resumed in full only after Belarus "takes specific steps to
reduce its current gas debt" in the next two weeks.
According to a deal reached in the talks, Belarus is to pay
some $1 million a day to Gazprom in order to "improve the
existing situation." If Belarus fails to do so, Gazprom may
reduce its supplies to Belarus even further. JM

BELARUSIAN-LANGUAGE HIGH SCHOOL PROTESTS MERGER PLAN.
Several hundred students of the Belarusian-language
Humanities Lycee--the only high school in Minsk in which all
subjects are taught in Belarusian--staged a protest in Minsk
on 16 June to oppose the government's plan to merge it with
a Russian-language high school, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service
reported. Parents and students gathered signatures from
passers-by also opposed to the planned merger. Deputy Prime
Minister Uladzimir Zamyatalin is widely believed to be the
main force behind the merger plan. JM

WORLD BANK DEFERS GRANTING LOANS TO UKRAINE. Paul
Siegelbaum, the World Bank's director for Ukraine and
Belarus, has said the bank will defer granting loans to
Ukraine until the country resumes cooperation with the IMF,
the Ukrainian News agency reported. In February, Ukraine
requested a $150 million loan to promote entrepreneurship
and some $500 million to restructure the financial sector.
Earlier, the IMF discontinued financing to Ukraine under a
stand-by program owing to the country's lack of progress
toward economic reform. Both the World Bank and the IMF are
now working with Ukraine on possible new credits. JM

ILVES DENIES MAKING CONTEMPTUOUS REMARKS ABOUT RUSSIA TO
CANADIAN DAILY. Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik
Ilves has said that a Canadian daily misinterpreted his
remarks in a recent interview, BNS and ETA reported on 16
June. Earlier the same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry
expressed "incomprehension" over Ilves's alleged comments to
the "The Ottawa Citizen," which had quoted him as saying
that "Russians are unable to overcome post-colonial stress"
and are suffering from the same woes as Britain in the 1950s
and France in 1960s, after their colonial empires collapsed.
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said those and
other comments were "full of open contempt for Russia." It
expressed the hope that Ilves's remarks do not reflect the
official position of the Estonian authorities. JC

IMF SAYS ESTONIA'S BIGGEST PROBLEM IS CURRENT ACCOUNT
DEFICIT. IMF representative in Estonia Dimitri Demekas told
BNS on 16 June that economic data for the first quarter of
this year show that the current account deficit remains the
principal problem of the Estonian economy. The previous day,
the Bank of Estonia announced that the current account
deficit from January to March totaled 11 percent of GDP.
"This remains a grave problem," Demekas commented. He urged
the government and the Bank of Estonia to continue tight
fiscal policies, in particular slowing down the growth of
credit. JC

SAIMNIEKS COLLECTS SIGNATURES FOR EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF
PARLIAMENT. The parliamentary group of the opposition
Democratic Party Saimnieks has collected enough signatures
to call an extraordinary session of the parliament on 22
June to consider amendments to the citizenship law in the
third and final reading, BNS reported on 16 June. Prime
Minister Guntars Krasts, however, told the news agency that
he has not "rushed" to convene an extraordinary session
since the parliamentary legal commission stopped accepting
proposals for the third reading only the previous day. He
also stressed that the issue concerns not only the
parliamentary parties but society as a whole. He did not say
whether he would attend the 22 June session. JC

POLISH TRAIN DRIVERS LAUNCH INDEFINITE STRIKE. The Trade
Union of Train Drivers launched an indefinite strike on 17
June. The decision was announced by Jan Zaborowski, head of
the trade union, which represents some 14,000 out of
Poland's 20,000 train drivers. The previous day, the trade
union broke off negotiations with the government after a
government spokesman had said the planned strike is illegal
and has political goals. The trade union is demanding a 300
zloty ($88) increase rise in the average monthly wage (some
$300) and the lowering of the retirement age to 55 (from 65
for men and 60 for women). According to Jan Janik, president
of the Polish State Railroads, the strike will not paralyze
his company. "We know which train drivers are likely to go
on strike, so we have assigned them to [less important]
routes," "Gazeta Wyborcza" quoted him as saying. Reuters
reported on 17 June that the strike has halted some 30
percent of trains in Poland. JM

HAVEL CALLS FOR YOUNGER GENERATION OF POLITICIANS. In his
last television interview before the 19-20 June general
elections, President Vaclav Havel told Nova TV that the time
has come for "a younger generation...that is, one not as
tired and worn out as we [are]" to take over leading
political positions, Reuters reported. Havel also said he
was offended by suggestions that he would choose "the wrong
person" as premier after the elections and would therefore
not speak about it, "although I am more or less clear on how
I shall proceed." The Social Democratic Party (CSSD) has
suggested that Havel might ignore their expected ballot
victory and appoint as premier someone other than CSSD
leader Milos Zeman, whom he allegedly dislikes, CTK
reported. MS

CZECH CONSERVATIVE PARTIES TO MERGE? Leading members of the
Freedom Union and the Christian Democratic Party are
unofficially discussing the possible merger of their parties
after the elections, "Lidove noviny" reported on 17 June.
The daily says former Foreign Minister Jozef Zieleniec is
the main force behind the possible merger. His disclosures
on the financing of Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
(ODS) caused the downfall of the ODS government in November
1997. Freedom Union chairman Jan Ruml said that a post-
election merger cannot be ruled out, in order to forge "an
equivalent counter-balance to Klaus's ODS," but added that
for the time being "no official talks" are under way. MS

CZECH COMMUNISTS WILL SUPPORT ZEMAN IN EXCHANGE FOR NATO
REFERENDUM. Vojtech Filip, chairman of the Communist Party
of Bohemia and Moravia, says his formation will support a
minority government formed by the CSSD and the Pensioners
for Secure Life Party only if a referendum on accession to
NATO is held, "Lidove noviny" reported on 16 June. CSSD
chairman Milos Zeman said his party has always wanted a
referendum on NATO membership but added that he doubts
legislation on the referendum can be passed by the
parliament before next March or April, when the process of
NATO accession is to end, CTK reported. Zeman said the issue
will be "discussed after the elections." MS

HUNGARY COMMEMORATES HERO OF 1956 UPRISING. President Arpad
Goncz on 16 June laid a wreath at the grave of former Prime
Minister Imre Nagy, who led the 1956 uprising against Soviet
rule, Hungarian media reported. Some 5,000 Budapest
residents gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of Nagy's
execution. Nagy, who was appointed prime minister after the
uprising broke out, announced the country's withdrawal from
the Warsaw Pact and proclaimed Hungary's neutrality. In
November 1956, he was arrested and sent to Romania, where he
was put under house arrest, before being returned to Hungary
and executed in 1958. In 1989, Nagy was reburied with
honors. Goncz said Nagy's sacrifice should be viewed by
Hungarians as a "source of pride." MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MILOSEVIC HEDGES ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic said in a joint declaration with his
Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, in Moscow on 16 June
that Serbian "security forces will cut back their presence
outside bases [in Kosova] in accordance with the cessation
of terrorist activities." He also pledged to allow the
return of refugees and freedom of movement for diplomats and
humanitarian organizations. Milosevic added that he is
willing to negotiate with Kosovar leaders and agreed not to
use repression against civilians. At a press conference
following his meeting with Yeltsin, Milosevic denied that
his forces are conducting ethnic cleansing or have carried
out attacks on civilians. Yeltsin described his talks with
the Yugoslav leader, which lasted longer than scheduled, as
"not easy." He also told Milosevic that "we do not forget
that we are Slavic states and friends." PM

ALBRIGHT SAYS MILOSEVIC MUST END VIOLENCE... Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright said in Washington on 16 June that
Milosevic's promises in Moscow constitute "some progress"
but "do not meet the primary points that the Contact Group"
has repeatedly raised. She stressed that the international
community still insists that Milosevic end the violence in
Kosova and withdraw his security forces, but, she said,
"that has not happened." She commented that "what is going
on there is unacceptable," adding that "action needs to be
taken." Albright stressed that the international community
is united in its views and that NATO will go ahead preparing
contingency plans for intervention. She noted that
Washington "condemns acts of violence by all sides,
including the Kosova Liberation Army." PM

...AS DOES PENTAGON. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said
in Washington on 16 June that "if there is a continuation of
the killing [in Kosova], I think there will be a very strong
tendency to reach a consensus [within NATO] quickly, rather
than engaging in an endless debate." A Pentagon spokesman
said that the issues of terrorist activity and the
withdrawal of Serbian forces should not be linked and that
Milosevic was trying to create "a loophole" by doing so in
the Moscow declaration. A White House spokesman said that
"there is no justification for continuation of the brutal
campaign of violence by Serbian security forces, and the
withdrawal of Serbian security forces is fundamental." He
added that Milosevic's promises nonetheless constitute a
"step in the right direction." PM

KOSOVARS UNIMPRESSED WITH MOSCOW DECLARATION. Kosovar
spokesmen said in Prishtina on 16 June that Milosevic is
"trying to buy time" by making promises in Moscow. They
added that his offer of talks is without significance
because the Kosovars refuse to meet with Serbian negotiators
as long as the repression continues. A spokesman for shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova said the following day that
"before Milosevic makes easy promises that he is for
dialogue...he has to withdraw special units from Kosova
and stop the ethnic cleansing." The spokesman added that the
Kosovars are "very interested" in dialogue but added that
they believe "that only NATO intervention can create
conditions for serious talks between Prishtina and
Belgrade." Elsewhere, "The Guardian" reported on 16 June
that elite British SAS units have arrived in Macedonia to
help guide NATO aircraft to their targets should the
Atlantic alliance intervene against Serbia. PM

UCK CALLS RUGOVA "AN OBSTACLE." A spokesman for the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) told BBC Television on 17 June
that Rugova, who rejects violence, is a "defeatist" and "an
obstacle to Kosova's independence." He added that Belgrade
must withdraw its troops from Kosova and release political
prisoners as a precondition for talks. The spokesman added
that the UCK is fighting for a "pluralistic and democratic
Kosova." FS

ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CHARGES SERBIA WITH GENOCIDE.
Paskal Milo told a UN conference in Rome on 16 June that
Serbia is conducting "genocidal massacres" and pursuing "an
institutionalized policy of genocide [and] of state
terrorism realized through the military, paramilitary, and
police machinery against [Kosovar] Albanians." He added that
Kosovars are "becoming the victims of a policy of ethnic
cleansing" and stressed that armed resistance by the
Albanian population against this policy "can never be
identified with so-called terrorism." The Rome conference
focused on plans to establish a permanent International
Criminal Court to try war crimes. FS

ATTACKS ON KOSOVAR REFUGEES. Serbian forces in the border
area between Kosova and Albania fired on refugees trying to
flee to Albania, killing at least one person, CNN reported
on 17 June. A spokesman for the OSCE added that his
organization is concerned that many refugees may be trapped
inside Kosova because few people arrived in Albania on the
morning of 17 June. The previous day, Serbian troops shot
and killed an Albanian citizen inside Albanian territory,
the Albanian Interior Ministry said in a statement. Refugees
crossing into northeastern Albania said that Serbian
military helicopters on 15 June opened fire on them with
heavy machine guns and grenades. The Kosovars added that one
of the helicopters bore the insignia of the Red Cross and
attacked a group of refugees in the mountains of Kosova,
killing at least two people. Meanwhile in Tirana, spokesmen
for the Albanian Air Force said that maneuvers will take
place on 19 June at the capital's airport. FS

ARE THERE CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN KOSOVA? Daan Everts, who is
the OSCE ambassador to Albania, told the Dutch TV station
"Nova" that he has received a "cruel report" from refugees
that Serbian police have put an unspecified number of
Kosovars in concentration camps, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote on 17 June. He added that the report has not
been independently confirmed but stressed that it "rang
alarm bells" and that an investigation is urgently needed.
Elsewhere, Euronews Television reported on 17 June that
Serbian police have started rounding up Kosovar males. The
broadcast likened the practice to Serbian policies during
the Bosnian conflict. FS

MUSLIM ELECTED IN BANJA LUKA. The Republika Srpska
parliament on 16 June elected Socialist Petar Djokic speaker
and Safet Bico of the Party of Democratic Action his deputy.
They replace hard-line Serbian nationalists, whom the
parliament removed from office earlier the same day (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 June 1998). Bico told the Sarajevo
daily "Oslobodjenje" that he recognizes it was difficult for
many Serbian deputies to vote for a Muslim and thanked them
for doing so. He added that his election constitutes "a step
forward for democracy and toward European standards of human
rights in the Republika Srpska." In Sarajevo, spokesmen for
the new moderate Bosnian Croat political party, led by
Kresimir Zubak, said that the organization will be called
the New Croatian Initiative, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

CROATIAN POLICE KILLED IN BORDER INCIDENT. Unidentified
persons crossing into Croatia from Serbia east of Osijek
killed two members of a regular Croatian police patrol, the
Interior Ministry said in a statement on 16 June. In Zagreb,
several thousand teachers demonstrated against the
government's education policies. The office of the Zagreb
Archbishopric said in a statement that the Roman Catholic
Church opposes both the strike and the government's decision
to end the school year early, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

TENSIONS CONTINUE OVER HUNGARIAN-LANGUAGE UNIVERSITY IN
ROMANIA. The parliamentary group of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR) on 16 June decided to submit to
the parliament on 26 June a draft law that would set up a
Hungarian language state university in Transylvania However,
also on 16 June, four members of the group presented a bill
establishing the university, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. UDMR chairman Bela Marko said the decision two
days earlier of the Cluj Babes Bolyai University Senate to
oppose the government's decision to set up a faculty for
Hungarian language and literature was "an enormous gaffe"
that strengthened the demand for a separate university for
the Hungarian minority. Marko said the UDMR will leave the
coalition if the ruling parties do not respect agreements
that were made when the coalition was formed. MS

MOLDOVAN, RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMEN WANT NEW BASIC TREATY.
Meeting in St. Petersburg on 16 June, Moldovan parliamentary
chairman Dumitru Diacov, State Duma chairman Gennadii
Seleznev, and Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroev
agreed that a new basic treaty between the two countries
must be drafted to replace the 1990 treaty, which has not
been ratified by the Duma. Seleznev and Stroev told Diacov
that the latter document is "historically outdated" and
includes provisions that are now "disputable". The
Transdniester separatists say the treaty is invalid because
it does not take into consideration the "reality" of their
statehood. Diacov proposed that the countries' Foreign
Ministries start negotiations on striking "outdated
provisions" from the document. Meanwhile, Gazprom has made
good its threat to reduce gas deliveries to Moldova by 50
percent following Moldova's failure to pay its debt,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

END NOTE

KOSOVA FROM TIRANA'S PERSPECTIVE

by Fabian Schmidt

	Besides facing an influx of thousands of Kosovar
refugees, Albania is confronted with a security threat from
outside that could significantly undermine its stability,
deepen internal divisions, and trigger new unrest.
	This threat is particularly acute after last year's
riots in Albania. As anarchy spread throughout the country,
large parts of the population destroyed all manner of
government property, soldiers deserted and brought the army
to near collapse, and arms depots were looted.
	When Albania's new Socialist Party-dominated
government took office in summer 1997, it had to rebuild
administrative structures, in particular the police force
and customs, and launch reforms to strengthen democratic
institutions and the rule of law. One priority was to
accelerate economic development, largely by improving ties
with Albania's Balkan neighbors.
	Part of the new strategy was to seek to develop a
dialog with then Serbian, now Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic. Before a summit of Balkan leaders in Crete last
November, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano announced he
would like to discuss with Milosevic the possibility of
closer cooperation between the two countries, adding that
the Kosova problem should be addressed in a productive
"European spirit."
	But during the summit, it became clear that Milosevic
was ready neither for a rapprochement with Albania nor to
make use of Tirana's new approach to try to solve the
"Kosova problem" in a peaceful manner. Indeed, subsequent
developments suggest that Nano made a political mistake.
Even though he was praised by Western countries for his
courage, the Crete summit backfired in three ways.
	First, the vast majority of the Kosova Albanians saw
his efforts at improving ties with Belgrade as treason and
as an attempt to sell out Kosova for minor economic
interests. Second, this perception was strengthened by the
domestic Albanian opposition, which claimed Tirana was
betraying national interests. The opposition, led by former
President Sali Berisha, also charged that it was unrealistic
for the government to think Milosevic could be regarded as a
serious negotiating partner. And third, Milosevic took
Nano's policy as a sign of Tirana's weakness and opted for
confrontation rather than reconciliation.
	Less than two months after the Crete summit, Belgrade
used force to crack down on student demonstrations in
Prishtina, sending a clear sign to Tirana that its policy of
reconciliation had failed. This accelerated the spiral of
violence that had slowly emerged over the previous eight
years. At the same time, the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)
stepped up its activities, realizing that the peaceful
policy of Kosova shadow state of President Ibrahim Rugova
was all but bankrupt and that Tirana had now officially
turned its back on Prishtina's demand for independence.
Berisha had supported that demand during his presidency from
1992 to 1997.
	Belgrade, for its part, used the UCK's increased
activities as an excuse to accelerate its policy of
confrontation and to start a campaign of ethnic cleansing in
the Drenica region in February. The following month, the
Kosova shadow state held elections, which the Kosova
Albanian opposition criticized as undemocratic, giving the
UCK another argument against Rugova's political legitimacy.
With the growing fragmentation among Kosovars, Milosevic
felt confident enough to start his latest campaign of ethnic
cleansing. As a result, there are currently about 45,000
displaced persons in Kosova, some 13,000 Kosovar refugees in
Albania, and another 9,000 or so in Montenegro.
	Tirana now finds itself in a difficult situation. On
the one hand, it is sticking to its position of favoring a
peaceful solution through dialogue between Prishtina and
Belgrade. On the other, it is faced with a conflict that has
already transformed its northern, mountainous region into a
hinterland for foreign guerrillas.
	The Albanian government knows full well that its
military will be unable to control the country's northern
border to prevent the UCK from using Albania as a base.
Similarly, it has failed to establish the rule of law in the
north. That remote region is notorious for blood feuds, and
many observers have compared it to the Wild West in 19th
century America. But armed resistance to Serbia is "self-
defense against a genocidal war," Albanian Foreign Minister
Paskal Milo commented on 16 June.
	The government is now seeking to contain the situation
in the north by establishing police controls on the roads
leading to the region and by clamping down on arms smuggling
inside Albania. At the same time, it has built large refugee
camps in the inaccessible northern region, rather than
bringing the refugees to the lowland plains, which are
easier to supply with food and temporary accommodation and
from where the refugees could head to destinations of their
own choosing.
	For the time being, that policy is keeping most
refugees outside the cities of central Albania. It also
gives many Albanians the impression that Kosova is still far
away, although Albanian citizens have been quick to respond
to appeals from a pro-Berisha radio station for donations of
food and money to help the refugees.
	But the policy could nonetheless backfire.
Concentrating Kosovars, who are already critical of Tirana's
policies toward Milosevic, in the north, whose population
tends to be pro-Berisha and anti-Socialist, could lead to a
radicalization of northern Albanians. Many of those living
in Albania's north have relatives in Kosova, including UCK
fighters.

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