The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 129 Part II, 8 July 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 129 Part II, 8 July 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

* BELARUS ORDERS BELONGINGS REMOVED FROM DIPLOMATIC
RESIDENCES

* ZEMAN TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT

* NANO CALLS FOR KOSOVAR UNITY

End Note
PREPARING FOR NATO: POLAND PROFITS FROM PEACEKEEPING
EXPERIENCE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS ORDERS BELONGINGS REMOVED FROM DIPLOMATIC
RESIDENCES. Belarus has told the U.S. and other countries to
remove furnishings from their ambassadors' residences at
Drazdy by 11.00 a.m. on 8 July, Reuters reported. Otherwise,
the Belarusian authorities said, they will remove
furnishings and take control of the buildings. "This is the
ultimate act of rudeness," U.S. State Department spokesman
James Rubin commented. He added that the U.S. has not yet
decided what "appropriate and proportional responses" should
be made to meet the situation. A senior official told
Reuters that the U.S. will likely take joint action with
other countries involved. JM

LUKASHENKA STRESSES NEED FOR 'MODERN, MOBILE' ARMY. Speaking
at a meeting with the first graduates from the National
Military Academy on 7 July, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
said Belarus needs "modern and mobile armed forces." He
pledged to create such forces, despite "considerable
financial and material outlays," ITAR-TASS reported.
Lukashenka deplored the "disintegration of the bipolar
[global security] system" that had existed before the
collapse of the Soviet Union. He also denounced NATO's
"demonstrative military deterrence." JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS SPEAKER... Following 19 rounds
of voting since its opening session in May, the Ukrainian
Supreme Council has chosen its speaker. The parliament on 7
July voted by 232 to 37 to appoint Oleksandr Tkachenko, a
member of the Peasants/Socialists parliamentary group, as
its head. A majority of 226 votes was required for his
election. According to Ukrainian Television, Tkachenko's
election was possible owing to votes from the center-right
parliamentary groups, which until now had blocked all
attempts to elect a leftist speaker. Tkachenko, 59, was a
deputy speaker of the former Supreme Council and was
Ukrainian agriculture minister before the collapse of the
Soviet Union. He is widely believed to strongly support
collective farms and oppose private land ownership. JM

...WHO RECEIVES MIXED RECEPTION. President Leonid Kuchma
expressed the hope that Tkachenko's election will put an end
to the protracted parliamentary crisis and give a boost to
the legislative process necessary for continuing economic
reform, Ukrainian Television reported. Kuchma's aide
Anatoliy Halchynskyy told Reuters that the election of the
leftist speaker provides "no reason for panic." But
nationalist Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil told the agency
that Tkachenko is a "mortal enemy" of privatization and land
reform. "He is an orthodox," Chornovil commented to
Ukrainian Television. Artur Bilous, a deputy from the pro-
government Popular Democratic Party, downplayed the
importance of the speaker in the current parliament, saying
that the "key parts in this orchestra will now be played by
parliamentary groups." JM

ESTONIA'S ECONOMY MINISTER PLANS TO QUIT. Jaak Leimann has
said he plans to quit his post as economy minister this fall
in order to take up a teaching position at Tallinn Technical
University, ETA reported on 7 July. Leimann said the reason
for his decision was that he is the only unaffiliated
minister in the cabinet, which is bracing itself for
elections in spring 1999. Prime Minister Mart Siimann has
proposed that Leimann continue in his government post until
the elections, which the economy minister says he has not
ruled out "if everything goes well this autumn." He also
noted that he always considered the minister's post as
temporary and teaching as his true vocation. Leimann was
appointed to the cabinet in late 1996, when the Reform Party
quit the ruling alliance. JC

POLISH PRESIDENT OFFERS TO MEDIATE RUSSIAN-LATVIAN DISPUTE.
Aleksander Kwasniewski told Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis
during a visit to Riga on 7 July that he is prepared to act
as a mediator "not just for Latvians, but for the sake of
the entire Baltic region." He said that Poland, which
currently chairs the OSCE, would apply every possible effort
for Latvia and Russia to resume dialogue. Last week in
Moscow, Kwasniewski had suggested to Russian President Boris
Yeltsin that meetings could be arranged between the Russian
and Latvian foreign ministers. Ulmanis, who met with the
Polish president, said he endorsed Kwasniewski's viewpoint,
stressing that Latvia has fulfilled all OSCE recommendations
on its citizenship law. JC

TALBOTT IN VILNIUS. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe
Talbott said in the Lithuanian capital on 7 July that
Vilnius's improving relations with Moscow bode well for NATO
expansion, dpa reported. "If the Russian-Lithuanian
relationship is good, this is good for the whole region," he
commented, adding that NATO's eastward expansion is not a
matter of "working against any enemy-state but of peaceful
cooperation and stability." Talbott also said that Vilnius
should seek to exert a positive influence on neighboring
Belarus. Referring to the stand-off over the eviction of
diplomats from their residences in the Drazdy compound,
Talbott said "it is absolutely unacceptable how Belarus is
behaving. We think that if Lithuania has some influence,
this would be good influence." JC

POLISH PREMIER UPBEAT ABOUT EU ENLARGEMENT. Jerzy Buzek has
said he does not believe that the EU's smaller member
countries will try to block EU enlargement for fear of
losing union funding, Reuters reported on 7 July. Buzek is
visiting Lisbon to seek backing for Poland's bid to begin EU
entry negotiations on several issues this year. "Having
spoken to [Portuguese] Prime Minister [Antonio] Guterres, we
reached the conclusion that we are on the same side," the
Polish visitor commented. Premier Guterres said Portugal
"does not aim in any way" to delay the EU enlargement
process. JM

ZEMAN TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT. Social Democratic Party
(CSSD) leader Milos Zeman told journalists on 7 July after
meeting with Civic Democratic Party (ODS) leader Vaclav
Klaus that the ODS will support a minority government headed
by Zeman. Klaus said the agreement will be submitted to the
two parties' leaderships for approval within 24 hours.
Earlier on 7 July Klaus told Czech state radio that the ODS
will not form a minority government supported by the Freedom
Union and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) because such a
cabinet "will not guarantee the country's long-term
stability," AP and Reuters reported. MS

U.S. AMBASSADOR CRITICIZES SLOVAK ELECTION LAW AGAIN. U.S.
Ambassador to Bratislava Ralph Johnson on 7 July again
called on Slovakia to change its election law before the
ballot scheduled for September, CTK reported. Johnson told a
group of businessmen in Nitra that the law as it now stands
impedes free and fair elections. The Slovak parliament
passed an amendment to the law in May. MS

HUNGARY'S ORBAN VOWS TO CRACK DOWN ON CRIME. Prime Minister
Viktor Orban on 7 July told journalists in Budapest that
cracking down on violence and organized crime is a priority
for his cabinet. He said order can be restored only through
a larger police force, more efficient anti-mafia
legislation, and tighter control over foreigners. Amendments
to the existing immigration law and tightening the criminal
code rank high on the agenda of the new cabinet's first
meeting, he said. Orban also explained that former police
chief Sandor Pinter has been appointed interior minister
owing to his thorough knowledge of and experience in police
affairs as well as his ideas on how to improve public
security. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NANO CALLS FOR KOSOVAR UNITY. Albanian Prime Minister Fatos
Nano said in Tirana on 7 July that the shadow state of
President Ibrahim Rugova, the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)
and other political groups should form a joint National
Council. Such a body, Nano continued, would enable the
Kosovars to work out a joint position and speak with one
voice, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Senior U.S.
and Russian envoys recently said that the failure of the
Kosovars to develop a joint program is hampering
international efforts aimed at ending the crisis (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1998). PM

RUGOVA AIDE BLAMES FOREIGNERS FOR KOSOVAR DISUNITY. Rugova's
top adviser, Alush Gashi, said in Prishtina on 7 July that
the international Contact Group--the U.S., Russia, France,
U.K., Italy and Germany--lacks a coherent strategy for
Kosova. He added that this confusion has in turn led to a
widening of divisions in ethnic Albanian ranks, AP reported.
Gashi said that "the international community blames their
failures to bring peace on natural divisions in Albanian
politics. The Contact Group keeps demanding the Serbs
withdraw their forces, but [the demands] are ignored.
Without a doubt, the biggest problem for us is that there's
no international agenda." In Bonn, senior diplomats from the
Contact Group countries began a new round of discussions on
Kosova on 8 July. PM

GREECE WARNS AGAINST INTERVENTION. Greek Defense Minister
Akis Tsochatzopoulos said in Washington on 7 July that NATO
intervention in Kosova could lead to a regional "explosion."
Reuters wrote. He added that "the [UCK] aims at
independence, and perhaps even unification with Albania, via
conflict. This cannot be tolerated because it would lead to
a change in borders, which is extremely dangerous as an idea
for the whole area. By participating militarily, NATO
therefore [would be encouraging] secession and impelling the
[UCK to choose] armed conflict in the hope that NATO would
intervene against Serbia. If you once open the window to
violent changes of borders, then you will have an explosion
in the Balkans." PM

GEREMEK SAYS PEACEFUL MEANS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH. Speaking in
his capacity as OSCE chairman, Polish Foreign Minister
Bronislaw Geremek told the OSCE parliamentary assembly in
Copenhagen on 7 July that "sometimes the peace process
cannot be [fostered] by peaceful means. We should look for a
peaceful solution, but we cannot accept the impotence of the
international community." In Washington, State Department
spokesman James Rubin said that both sides in Kosova must
realize that they cannot attain their respective goals
through violence. In Blois, France, Foreign Minister Hubert
Vedrine told Reuters that the UCK may be included in
negotiations only if they do not undermine Rugova's moderate
position. Vedrine added that the UCK might cause any talks
to fail by taking hard-line positions. PM

HAGUE COURT CLAIMS AUTHORITY FOR KOSOVA. The office of
Louise Arbour, who is the Hague-based war crimes tribunal's
chief prosecutor, issued a statement on 7 July in which she
argued that the court has the authority to investigate
alleged atrocities in Kosova. The text said that "the nature
and scale of the fighting indicate that an 'armed conflict,'
within the meaning of international law, exists in [the
province]. As a consequence, she intends to bring charges
for crimes against humanity or war crimes, if evidence of
such crimes is established." PM

MOSTAR AIRPORT REOPENS. The international community's Carlos
Westendorp and U.S. special envoy Robert Gelbard led
ceremonies on 7 July to reopen Mostar airport to civilian
traffic after a break of more than six years. Airplanes from
Croatian Airlines and Air Bosna were the first to arrive.
Elsewhere in Mostar, Gelbard told Ante Jelavic, the leader
of the Herzegovinian branch of the Croatian Democratic
Community, that the Croats are not observing several
provisions the Dayton agreement. Gelbard charged the Croats
with rebroadcasting only programs of Croatian television,
maintaining their own telephone system, and failing to
cooperate with the joint police force. He reminded Jelavic
that the Dayton agreement specifies that Bosnia is a
unified, multi-ethnic country. PM

UN SLAMS GERMANY OVER REFUGEE REPATRIATION. Ariane Quentier,
who is a spokeswoman for the UN's High Commissioner for
Refugees, said in Sarajevo on 7 July that Germany's policy
of strongly encouraging Bosnian refugees to go home is
"premature," Reuters reported. She stressed that the German
authorities are virtually forcing people to return to areas
where there are no homes or jobs for them. "The UNHCR is
very concerned [because] the latest wave of refugees
aggravates an already difficult refugee situation in Tuzla.
The [German] authorities are using take-it-or-leave-it
tactics: 'If you don't take the [$4,700 resettlement
payment] and leave now, you will be deported from Germany in
few months.'" The federal Interior Ministry and the state
governments of Bavaria and Berlin have been particularly
outspoken in encouraging refugees to leave. German critics
charge the authorities with seeking to exploit anti-
foreigner sentiments in an election year. PM

ALBRIGHT MEETS CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS. Radimir Cacic of
the Croatian People's Party, Liberal Party leader Vlado
Gotovac, Ivan Jakovcic of the Istrian Democratic Assembly,
Social Democrat Ivan Racan, and Zlatko Tomcic of the
Croatian Peasants Party discussed the Croatian political
situation with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in
Washington on 7 July. Gotovac told the VOA's Croatian
Service that Albright "expressed great interest" in
Croatia's playing a bigger role in regional affairs. Racan
noted that she does not wish to interfere in Croatian
politics but added that she expressed the hope that Croatia
will become a dynamic multi-party democracy. Albright
invited the opposition leaders despite objections from the
governing Croatian Democratic Community. Meanwhile in
Zagreb, several thousand pensioners demanded that the
government pay them $4.6 billion in back benefits, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. A recent court decision
endorsed the pensioners' claim, but the government says it
does not have the money. PM

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS RESUME PARLIAMENTARY BOYCOTT... The
Democratic Party on 7 July resumed its boycott of the
parliament, which it had ended four months earlier. Party
chairman and former President Sali Berisha told "Koha Jone"
that the boycott is in response to government "corruption
and violence" aimed at the Democrats. He also blasted "the
return to work of [communist-era] employees of the secret
service...and the creation of a parliamentary commission
investigating the [chaotic] events of January to March of
last year," at which time Berisha was president. The
decision to resume the boycott coincided with parliament's
approval of a report by the commission calling on the
Prosecutor-General's Office to start investigating Berisha's
role in the unrest. The report concluded that "Berisha
is...legally responsible" for the 1997 chaos. FS

...BUT BERISHA FACES OPPOSITION WITHIN HIS PARTY. Berisha's
deputy, Genc Pollo, and former Democratic Party chairman
Tritan Shehu criticized the decision to resume the boycott.
Pollo said in Tirana on 7 July that it will be difficult to
explain the walkout to the international community,
"Shekulli" reported. Just one week earlier, European
parliamentarians visiting Tirana urged Berisha to remain
closely involved in parliamentary work, especially in the
drafting of a new constitution (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 30
June 1998). Shehu said on 7 July that participation in the
parliament gives the party a valuable opportunity to make
its views known to the voters. FS

ROMANIA INVITES POPE TO VISIT. Premier Radu Vasile, during
his two-day visit to Italy, met with Pope John Paul II and
handed over a written invitation from President Emil
Constantinescu to visit Romania in May 1999. Vasile told
journalists in Bucharest he "regrets" that "for now" the
Romanian Orthodox Church has given the Pope only a "verbal
invitation" to visit. The same day, the Romanian
Patriarchate said the church's Holy Synod will discuss the
invitation at its meeting on 15-17 July. If the meeting
approves inviting the pontiff, a written invitation will be
dispatched in September. The Orthodox and the Uniate Church
(which is subordinated to Rome) have been in conflict over
the restitution of property confiscated from the Uniates by
the Communists and transferred to the Orthodox Church.
Vasile also met with Italian Premier Romano Prodi and
discussed bilateral relations as well as Romania's NATO bid.
MS

MOLDOVAN, TRANSDNIESTER PARLIAMENTARIANS MEET. The chairmen
of the Moldovan and the Transdniester parliaments, Dumitru
Diacov and Grigori Marakutsa agreed in Tiraspol on 3 July to
start negotiations on an accord between the two
legislatures, Infotag and BASA-press reported. Diacov called
the move "historic." The two sides will exchange information
on a regular basis. Transdniester Supreme Soviet Deputy
Chairman Vladimir Atamanyuk said Tiraspol is not willing to
negotiate on a "special status" for the region but does not
rule out the possibility that a joint commission will
examine the case of Ilie Ilascu, who was condemned to death
in Transdniester in 1992 and has been detained there.
Atamanyuk said a resolution of Ilascu's case may depend on
Moldova's revising its attitude toward the Cossacks who
fought on the side of the separatists six years ago. MS

TIRASPOL CLOSES DOWN ROMANIAN-LANGUAGE SCHOOL. The
authorities in Tiraspol have ordered the closing of the
city's only school in which instruction was in Romanian,
Radio Bucharest reported on 7 July citing the BBC. The
separatist government said the school curriculum does not
correspond to the agreement reached between Chisinau and
Tiraspol on teaching programs. It also noted that the school
director failed to obtain a license from the Ministry of
Education. The BBC said the main reason for the decision was
that the Latin rather than the Russified Moldovan alphabet
was used at the school. MS

END NOTE

PREPARING FOR NATO: POLAND PROFITS FROM PEACEKEEPING
EXPERIENCE

by Kitty McKinsey

	Poles are proud of the history of their army. Polish
soldiers fought repeatedly over the ages for their country's
independence and freedom as well as for the freedom of the
future United States of America during the American
Revolutionary War. They were actively involved in both the
First and the Second World Wars.
	In recent years, Polish soldiers have been proving
their mettle not on the battlefield, however, but in
peacekeeping operations from Haiti to Cambodia, from Bosnia
to Rwanda.
	Poland is the world's number-one supplier of troops to
UN peacekeeping missions in danger zones. It currently has
some1,500 soldiers serving as peacekeepers as well as UN and
OSCE military observers. This year, it celebrates 25 years
as a permanent contributor to UN peace missions. Polish
military officials say that experience will serve the
country well when it joins NATO in 1999.
	Why are Poles in such demand as peacekeepers? "We are
good soldiers," says Lieutenant-Colonel Marek Olbrycht,
commander of the Polish Army's Peacekeepers Training Center
in Kielce, southern Poland. "We have a lot of experience and
the result is that we feel [comfortable] in the
international family, and I am 100 percent sure the
international family also feels comfortable with us."
	Olbrycht adds that "the peacekeeper has to be the best
soldier in the world" because he has to inspire respect from
local people without using any weapons.
	A UN official at headquarters in New York (who spoke
on condition he not be named) agreed that "in Poland, they
have a tradition of participation in UN operations, so they
have established a very good reputation."
	At the Kielce center, Polish soldiers and officers--
from privates to generals--are trained for specific missions
immediately before going abroad. They train for exactly the
tasks they will be performing in the field. As Olbrycht
jokes, "we prepare them for everything but the climate,"
which in areas like the Golan Heights and south Lebanon can
be dramatically different from Poland's.
	Lieutenant-Colonel Marian Kolus, second in command at
the Kielce center, explains that "we prepare our soldiers
for combat, but for UN soldiers, the main task is to see and
be seen." The Kielce school aims to allow peacekeepers to
hit the ground running at their assigned destination;
there's no room for "on-the-job training" once they are out
in the field.
	All Poles who go on peacekeeping missions are
volunteers, and the army has more volunteers than it can
actually send abroad. For conscripts, the incentive is the
pay. Instead of the measly $21 per month they make in
Poland, they earn $450 a month as peacekeepers.
	Former Polish peacekeepers agree the main challenge
for a UN peacekeeper is to be seen as impartial by locals on
all sides who have recently fought a war. Olbrycht learned
this lesson when he served in Serb-occupied Krajina in
Croatia during the war there. "If for instance you give one
piece of bread to [one side], you have to give the same
kind, the same amount, the same size, and the same piece of
bread to the opposite side."
	In the experience of many Polish soldiers,
"peacekeeping" is even a misnomer. In many cases, UN
peacekeepers are sent into areas where they are expected to
impose, enforce, and build peace. But Olbrycht says only the
local people can build peace. If they don't want it, he
says, nobody can impose peace on them.
	Polish soldiers serve today as peacekeepers in the
Golan Heights and south Lebanon, and with the NATO-led peace
force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Polish officers are also UN
military observers in, among others, Angola, western Sahara,
Georgia, and Tajikistan.
	 Along with participation in NATO's Partnership for
Peace exercises, Poland's role in peacekeeping operations is
good preparation for the country's entry into NATO next
year. By serving abroad, Polish soldiers learn above all how
to communicate in English and also how to deal with soldiers
from other armies.
	Major Marek Obrusiewicz, in charge of the Polish
army's peacekeeping training, says Polish soldiers are
learning valuable lessons while serving with SFOR in Bosnia,
especially how to do things NATO's way.
	And U.S. defense officials reportedly welcomed the
recent appointment of Henryk Szumski, a young general, as
chief of the Polish general staff. The reason for that
reception was Szumski's UN field experience.

The author is an RFE/RL senior correspondent.

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