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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 133 Part II, 14 July 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 133 Part II, 14 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

* TEN COUNTRIES JOIN EU ON TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR BELARUS

* RUGOVA SEEKS TO REIN IN UCK

* ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER DEFIES PREMIER OVER HELICOPTER
LOAN
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

TEN COUNTRIES JOIN EU OVER TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON BELARUS...
Ten non-EU countries--Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic,
Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, and
Slovenia--have joined the EU in imposing travel restrictions
on Belarusian state officials because of a dispute over
diplomatic residences at Drazdy, near Minsk (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 July 1998). Those countries say they "will
ensure that their national policies conform to that common
position," AP reported on 13 July. The U.S. State Department
is also preparing punitive measures against Belarus similar
to the EU ban. U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin
said on 13 July that the EU and the U.S. are "reading from
the same script" in their dispute with Belarus and that an
analogous action by the U.S. can be expected shortly,
Reuters reported. JM

...WHILE POLAND, LITHUANIA REFRAIN FROM VISA BAN. In a
statement issued on 13 July, the Polish Foreign Ministry
"expressed solidarity with the EU's position" but declined
to introduce visa restrictions on Belarusian officials, PAP
reported. The statement says Poland feels responsibility for
maintaining a dialogue with Belarus and for ensuring that
the OSCE mission in Minsk continues to function. Foreign
Minister Bronislaw Geremek, who is also OSCE chairman, said
Poland has not been consulted by the EU on a common stance
over Belarus. He added that his decision was taken following
consultations with top government officials and the
president. Lithuania also has decided not to join the EU
visa restrictions against Belarus. Lithuania's decision was
made "to soften the impact of [Belarus's] isolation on
Lithuanian-Belarusian relations," Belapan quoted a
Lithuanian diplomat as saying. JM

EU SENDS GERMAN ENVOY TO REOPEN TALKS WITH BELARUS. Despite
imposing visa sanctions against Belarusian officials on 13
July, the EU has sent German Charge d'Affaires to Belarus
Hans Gnotke to negotiate the return of Western ambassadors
to Minsk. According to dpa, the EU may adopt further
sanctions if Belarus does not offer concrete action to
normalize the situation over diplomatic residences. ITAR-
TASS reported on 13 July that the EU's move to reopen talks
with Minsk followed a letter from Belarusian Foreign
Minister Ivan Antanovich to EU Council Chairman Wolfgang
Schuessel containing "concrete proposals" to end the
diplomatic crisis. According to the Russian agency,
Anatanovich pledged to respect the Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations, guarantee the inviolability of
diplomatic residences at Drazdy, and not to issue ultimatums
to the EU. JM

KUCHMA, TKACHENKO WANT 'CONSTRUCTIVE COOPERATION.' President
Leonid Kuchma and Supreme Council speaker Oleksandr
Tkachenko held a "constructive and open" meeting on 13 July
to discuss urgent tasks facing the executive and the
legislature, Ukrainian Television reported. Both officials
stressed that the two branches need to demonstrate
"constructive cooperation and concerted action" in
legislative work. Tkachenko expressed his support for
Kuchma's recent economic decrees and his appeal to the
parliament to adopt a 1998 revised budget (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 July 1998). The Supreme Council is planning to
extend its current session until the end of July in order to
pass an amended budget. JM

RUKH TO STAY IN OPPOSITION. Vyacheslav Chornovil, leader of
the Popular Rukh, has said the Supreme Council is controlled
by a "nomenklatura-leftist majority," Ukrainian Television
reported on 13 July. In his opinion, Peasant Party
representative Oleksandr Tkachenko became speaker owing to
"betrayal" among right-centrist deputies. "Thus, hopes for a
coalition government have been buried," Ukrainian Television
quoted him as saying. Chornovil announced that Rukh will
remain "in opposition to all power branches." A Communist
deputy told Ukrainian Television that Rukh "is trying to
play [being in] opposition" because it has been
"excluded...by those whom it brought to power." JM

MOSCOW TO ISSUE STATEMENT ON VETERANS' MEETING IN TALLINN.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin told
BNS on 13 July that his ministry is drafting a statement on
what he termed last weekend's rally of veterans who fought
on the German side during World War II (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 July 1998). Nesterushkin stressed that Moscow
is still not ready to comment on the event. The same day,
Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee adviser Vasilii
Pospelov told the Baltic news agency that the Duma regards
the veterans' meeting as a "gesture meant to irritate
Moscow" and an attempt to "present fascist troops in the
liberators' role." Pospelov added that the committee's
political assessment of the Tallinn meeting is
"condemnatory." On 11 July, a Church service for all those
who died fighting for Estonian independence had taken place
in the Estonian capital. It was followed by a closed meeting
of the Estonian Freedom Fighters' Union, the Estonian
Finland Volunteers, and the Estonian Disabled Soldiers'
Association. JC

POLISH FARMERS TO RECEIVE TAX BREAKS IN 1999. Deputy Prime
Minister and Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz on 13 July
announced that value-added tax on farm products and a tax on
farmers' incomes will not be imposed next year, PAP
reported. Balcerowicz added that the Finance Ministry is
currently working on taxes that "meet EU policies."
Commenting on the 10 July demonstration by farmers (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 13 July 1998), he stressed that
"accepting most of the farmers' demands translates into
higher taxes." JM

ZEMAN SAYS VETO OF CABINET APPOINTMENTS WOULD BE
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Milos Zeman, the chairman of the Social
Democrats (CSSD), said on 13 July that it would be
unconstitutional for President Vaclav Havel to try to veto
certain ministerial appointments in a proposed Zeman
cabinet. Havel reportedly objects to Jan Kavan being named
foreign minister and Vaclav Grulich as interior minister in
such a government. Grulich, however, has said he will
continue to be a candidate for the interior portfolio. PB

RUSSIAN INSPECTORS TO CHECK PRAGUE'S CFE COMPLIANCE. A team
of Russian military inspectors arrived in Prague on 13 July
to monitor the country's compliance with the Conventional
Forces in Europe treaty, ITAR-TASS reported. Nine Russian
officers are to inspect several military bases over the next
week. The CFE treaty allows the Czech Republic to have 957
tanks and 1,367 armored personnel carriers. Meanwhile, the
Czech Foreign and Defense Ministries have said the country
would be prepared to enter NATO in January 1999, three
months earlier than originally planned. The earlier date is
being considered so that Russian President Boris Yeltsin
will attend NATO's 50th anniversary celebrations in April
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 July 1998). PB

SLOVAK ENVIRONMENT MINISTER AT DISPUTED NUCLEAR PLANT. Jozef
Zlocha visited the controversial Mochovce nuclear power
plant on 13 July, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bratislava
reported. Zlocha met with the plant's director, Jozef
Valach, who said the plant is operating at 35 percent
capacity. The plant went into operation on 8 June, despite a
storm of protests from the Austrian government that it is
unsafe. Several Western companies involved in the design and
construction of the plant have said it fulfills all safety
standards. Meanwhile in Bratislava, four political parties
decided at a roundtable meeting that they will send a joint
letter to Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima expressing their
determination to secure the necessary political, economic,
and legislative criteria needed to join the EU. Austria
currently holds the post of the EU presidency. The groups at
the meeting were the Slovak Democratic Coalition, the
Hungarian Coalition Party, the Party of the Democratic Left,
and the Party of Civic Understanding. PB

POLICE CHIEFS DISMISSED IN HUNGARY. Interior Minister Sandor
Pinter on 13 July dismissed national police chief Laszlo
Forgacs, Criminal Investigations Director Istvan Ignacz, and
Public Safety Director Ferenc Banfi, Hungarian media
reported. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the dismissals
are part of an agreement between him and Pinter and are in
line with the government's intention to strengthen the
police forces. Pinter said he intends to appoint the deputy
director of public safety, General Peter Orban, as the new
national police commander. Former Interior Minister Gabor
Kuncze said he suspects political motives behind the
changes, adding that the integrity and expertise of the
dismissed officials were unquestionable. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

RUGOVA SEEKS TO REIN IN UCK. Kosovar shadow-state President
Ibrahim Rugova said in Prishtina on 13 July that within a
week he will call a session of the parliament that was
elected in March. Rugova and his Democratic League of Kosova
(LDK) will use the session to review political options open
to the Kosovars and to try to bring the Kosova Liberation
Army (UCK) under the control of the political establishment,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The Serbian
authorities declared the March vote illegal, and parties
more radical than the LDK boycotted it. UCK spokesmen have
said that the guerrillas do not accept the political
leadership of any of the established parties and have called
Rugova a "defeatist" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 July 1998).
Meanwhile in Peja, some 14 buses filled with Serbian police
arrived on 13 July, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. PM

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS ADOPT RESOLUTION ON KOSOVA. Foreign
ministers meeting in Brussels on 13 July agreed to call for
a cease-fire in Kosova and urge both sides to seek a
political settlement. The ministers said that should this
call fail, they are urging the UN Security Council to take
"further action...to bring about compliance by those who
block the process." British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
told Reuters that the resolution is "a very clear, very
blunt statement to [Yugoslav President Slobodan]
Milosevic...to comply fully with international community
demands. We also recognize that there are two sides to the
conflict...so we have called on the armed Kosovar Albanian
groups to cease the violence." The "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" reported, however, that the ministers were hard-
pressed for ideas as to how to bring about a settlement.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said the UCK is rapidly
gaining in popularity in Kosova. PM

U.S. SAYS NO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVA. State Department
spokesman James Rubin said in Washington on 13 July that the
Kosovars "need to realize that their independence goals are
not going to be achieved. The international community is not
going to support independence" for Kosova or a greater
Albanian state. "We have said for some time that the primary
responsibility for this conflict and for the fighting and
for the repression and for the dying [lies with] Slobodan
Milosevic. That doesn't mean that extremist elements on the
Kosovar Albanian side are free of responsibility.... If they
think they are going to...achieve independence, they are
fundamentally mistaken." PM

UN RECOMMENDS ALBANIAN ARMS COLLECTION PROGRAM. A UN panel
of experts recommends setting up a pilot project in the
central Albanian district of Gramsh to retrieve some of the
estimated 650,000 weapons looted from barracks and police
stations throughout the country during last year's civil
unrest. The panel published a report in New York on 13 July
warning that cash incentives or buy-back schemes would have
an "inflationary impact" and would send out "the wrong
message to those who may consider unauthorized weapon
possession as a lucrative activity." Instead, the study
recommends linking a voluntary weapons return program with
"poverty-alleviating and job-creating development projects."
Gramsh, which has a population of about 50,000 and an
unemployment rate of more than 30 percent, is one of the
most heavily armed regions in the country. The report said
that the Kosova conflict provides "an additional reason to
retrieve weapons from the civilian population." FS

ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR ASKS PARLIAMENT TO LIFT BERISHA'S
IMMUNITY... Prosecutor-General Arben Rakipi on 13 July
formally requested legislators to lift the immunity of
former President Sali Berisha, former State Secretary for
Defense Leonard Demi, and the head of the Tirana branch of
the Democratic Party, Shaban Memia. Such a move would make
possible an investigation into Berisha's role during last
year's unrest. Rakipi told "Koha Jone" that the three might
be charged with terrorism, committing crimes against
humanity, and ordering the use of chemical weapons against
the civilian population. Rakipi said that he has documents
signed by the three that substantiate those charges. He
added that he will soon bring charges against other former
officials who do not enjoy parliamentary immunity. FS

...WHILE OSCE CALLS FOR 'CLIMATE OF RECONCILIATION.' OSCE
Ambassador to Albania Daan Everts told "Gazeta Shqiptare" on
13 July that Albania needs "a climate of reconciliation [and
that Albanians should] not look backward but forward." He
also warned against polarization between the opposition and
the governing coalition as well as against tendencies toward
political vindictiveness. Everts added that "the law must be
applied.... If there was a violation of the law, then the
due process must be carried out, but we have to be aware
that all this takes place in a highly tense [political]
climate.... Legal moves against Berisha will not help in
easing the climate. A further heightening of political
tensions is not good for Albania," he argued. FS

HERZEGOVINIAN PARTY DEMANDS OFFICIALS RESIGN. The presidency
of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), which is
dominated by ultra-nationalists from Herzegovina, issued a
statement in Mostar on 13 July calling for the resignation
of Bosnian officials who were elected on the HDZ slate but
have since left the party. The call affects primarily
Kresimir Zubak, who is the Croatian member of the Bosnian
joint presidency, as well as others who have joined his New
Croatian Initiative. That newly founded party represents the
interests of more moderate Croats from central Bosnia.
Meanwhile in Ljubljana, spokesmen for the Slovenian
government announced that it will provide $2.6 million in
Bosnian redevelopment aid. The money will help fund projects
in which Slovenian firms are involved and provide
scholarships to Bosnians studying at Slovenian universities.
PM

ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER DEFIES PREMIER OVER HELICOPTER
LOAN. Daniel Daianu said on 13 July that he will not approve
a state loan needed for a major purchase of U.S.
helicopters, AP reported. Daianu said that as head of the
Finance Ministry, he will not "validate [the loan] with my
signature." Prime Minister Radu Vasile's spokesman said that
the decision to provide the loan has been made and that "all
members of the cabinet support the project." Vasile gave
final approval to the $1.45 billion loan for the purchase of
96 helicopters two weeks ago. After the purchase, the U.S.
manufacturer Bell Helicopters Textron are to buy 70 percent
of the IAR Brasov SA aircraft plant for $50 million. The
dispute over the deal comes one day before President Emil
Constantinescu arrives in the U.S. for an official state
visit. Daianu said he opposes the deal because the military
budget will have to be increased by 20 percent over the next
nine years in order to cover the loan. PB

GAZPROM THREATENS MOLDOVA AGAIN. Aleksandr Pushkin, a deputy
chairman of the Russian gas giant Gazprom, said on 13 July
that Moldova must begin to repay its $215 million debt or
the company will cut off gas supplies, Infotag reported.
Gazprom has reduced the flow of gas to Moldova twice since
June. Pushkin said Chisinau has not begun to issue $100
million worth of state securities to Gazprom, as was earlier
agreed, and that if no action is taken by 1 August, Gazprom
will shut off the gas flow. Pushkin suggested that Chisinau
repay $7 million a month after issuing the state securities.
PB

BULGARIAN CABINET APPROVES DRUG CONTROL PROGRAM. The
Bulgarian government has approved a joint program with the
EU and the UN that will step up the fight against drug
trafficking in southeastern Europe, BTA reported on 13 July.
Romania and Macedonia are also participating in the two-
year, $7.5 million project, which will upgrade border
checkpoints and custom offices as well as establish and
train inspection teams. PB

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