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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 134 Part II, 15 July 1998


distributed via email on 15 July. We apologize for any
inconvenience this may have caused.]

RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 134 Part II, 15 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

* LUKASHENKA SAYS EU VISA BAN 'BLACKMAIL'

* UKRAINIAN NATIONAL BANK DEVALUES HRYVNYA

* OSCE MISSION IN BELGRADE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA SAYS EU VISA BAN 'BLACKMAIL'... Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on 14 July that the EU
ban on visas for Belarusian senior officials in response to
the standoff over diplomatic residences at Drazdy is the
"usual blackmail and pressure," Reuters reported. "If it
wasn't Drazdy, it would be something else. [The West] does
not like Lukashenka," he commented while touring the
country's southeastern region, which was contaminated by the
1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster. Lukashenka added that
Belarus is not afraid of international isolation as a result
of the EU visa ban. Belarus "will not respond to savage
methods with savage methods.... We are a more civilized
nation," AP quoted him as saying. JM

...THREATENS TO REFUSE WESTERN AID FOR CHORNOBYL CHILDREN.
Lukashenka also said that Belarus may refuse Western
assistance to children affected by the Chornobyl nuclear
disaster if the West continues to discriminate against
Belarusian citizens who want to visit the EU, Interfax
reported. He expressed indignation that some Western
embassies in Belarus have created obstacles in granting
visas to children sent for treatment abroad using government
funds while issuing visas without problems "for children of
opposition leaders going abroad via private funds. Thank
you, but we do not want such help. We can do without it,"
Lukashenka commented. JM

U.S. RESTRICTS VISAS FOR BELARUSIAN LEADERS. Following the
EU ban on visas for senior Belarusian officials, the U.S.
has announced visa restrictions for President Lukashenka and
"several dozen" Belarusian officials, Reuters reported on 14
July. "Each travel request, except those to international
organizations in the United States, will be examined with
the presumption of denial," U.S. State Department spokesman
James Rubin said. Rubin added the restrictions will cover
Lukashenka, all leaders of the presidential administration,
all cabinet ministers, some deputy ministers, and the KGB
head. The U.S. is also suspending cooperation programs with
Belarus, including educational and exchange programs for
government officials and financial aid for Partnership for
Peace activities in Belarus. JM

UKRAINIAN NATIONAL BANK DEVALUES HRYVNYA. National Bank
Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has said the bank is slowly
lowering the value of the hryvnya to stop the drain of its
foreign currency reserves, Ukrainian News reported on 14
July. The exchange rate slipped from 2.06 hryvnyas to 2.11
hryvnyas to $1 at the beginning of July when foreign
investors repatriated some $130 million in government bonds.
The National Bank reserves have decreased from $2.5 billion
to $1.76 billion in the first half of this year. Yushchenko
said that Ukraine's financial situation remains under
control and that successful negotiations with the IMF in
Washington last week on a new $2.5 billion loan to Ukraine
provide hope for a rapid stabilization. JM

MOSCOW EXPRESSES 'DISSATISFACTION' OVER ESTONIAN VETERANS'
MEETING. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed
"dissatisfaction" over the decision to hold the reunion of
war veterans in Tallinn last weekend (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
13 and 14 July 1998), BNS reported on 14 July. Russian
Foreign Ministry representative Vladimir Rakhmanin told
reporters in Moscow that the ministry acknowledges that no
Estonian officials took part in the meeting. But he added
that Moscow was concerned that the annual reunion had been
transferred from the provinces to the capital. JC

ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER NOT TO RESIGN OVER DAIWA LOAN
AFFAIR. Olari Taal has said he sees no reason why he should
resign over a loan that was taken from the Japanese Daiwa
Bank last year in order to buy 6 million shares in Hoiupank,
BNS and ETA reported on 14 July. At the time of the deal,
Taal was chairman of the bank's board. According to ETA, the
transaction may cost Hoiupank, which recently merged with
Hansapank to form the largest bank in the Baltic States,
some 225 million kroons ($15 million) because stocks crashed
immediately after the deal took place. Taal, who has no
party affiliation, joined the government earlier this year.
JC

WILLIAMS PRESIDENT IN VILNIUS TO DISCUSS OIL DEAL. The
president of Williams International, John Bumgarner, was in
Vilnius on 13-14 July to discuss his company's plans to
invest in Lithuania's oil sector, BNS reported. After a
meeting between Bumgarner and Lithuanian Premier Gediminas
Vagnorius, Economy Minister Vincas Babilius said the talks
on the proposed deal have been "carried forward" but that
the main disagreements between the two sides are over the
value of the shares that Williams wants to buy. The U.S.
company has estimated those shares to be worth 600 million
litas ($150 million), while the Lithuanian government says
it will not accept less than 1-1.6 billion litas. Williams
wants a 33 percent stake in each of Lithuania's three major
oil companies: Mazeikiu Nafta, Butinges Nafta, and
Naftotiekis. JC

POLISH PRIVATIZATION PLAN TO YIELD $20 BILLION BY 2001. The
government privatization plan adopted on 14 July envisages
revenues totaling some 70 billion zlotys ($20 billion) by
2001, PAP reported. State Treasury Minister Emil Wasacz told
the agency that the largest firm privatized this year will
be Telekomunikacja Polska SA, the national
telecommunications company. Next year will witness the
privatization of PZU, Poland's largest insurance company, as
well as two coal mines and the country's largest steelworks.
All coal mines, along with the Ursus tractor plant, are to
be privatized by 2001. The Polish airline LOT will be
privatized either this year or in 1999. According to Wasacz,
there are still more than 1,000 state-owned companies slated
for privatization. JM

POLISH DAILY PROVOKES STIR WITH REPORT ON 'RADIO FREE
BELARUS.' "Gazeta Wyborcza" reported on 13 July that a
"Radio Free Belarus" station will start broadcasting in
several months from Bialystok, northeastern Poland.
According to the newspaper, the radio station aims at
"exporting democracy" to Belarus and is a Belarusian-U.S.-
Polish project initiated by Belarusian independent
journalists. It added that the final decision on financing
the radio station was made several weeks ago in Washington.
On 15 July, "Gazeta Wyborcza" quoted Premier Jerzy Buzek as
saying the government would welcome the station "with
sympathy." However, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw said on 14
July that "no official talks were held between the U.S.
administration and the Polish government on independent
media in Belarus." The Belarusian Foreign Ministry, for its
part, said that the decision to launch "Radio Free Belarus"
would not promote the development of Belarusian-Polish
relations. JM

CZECH 'COALITION' PARTIES PARCEL OUT PARLIAMENT POSTS.
Officials from the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) have agreed on the division of
positions in the new parliament, "Mlada fronta Dnes"
reported on 15 July. ODS chairman Vaclav Klaus, slated to be
speaker of the parliament, will have four deputies: one from
his party, two from the CSSD, and the fourth from either the
opposition Freedom Union (US) or the Christian Democrats
(KDU-CSL). Stanislav Gross and Petra Buzkova have been
designated as the CSSD's appointees to those posts. The US
has nominated Finance Minister Ivan Pilip to become a deputy
speaker if the KDU-CSL does not name a nominee for the post.
The CSSD and the ODS also announced that they will fill 10
of the 13 committee chairs. PB

CZECH POLITICIAN LEAVES PARTY OVER 'OPPOSITION' AGREEMENT.
Bohdan Dvorak, a former deputy chairman of the ODS, said on
14 July that he is resigning from the party because of its
"opposition" agreement with the Social Democrats, CTK
reported. Dvorak said that in signing the agreement, which
allows the CSSD to rule as a minority government with ODS
approval, Klaus has failed his voters and created an
unstable situation. In a letter to Klaus, Dvorak said
Klaus's "servile bow" to CSSD deputy chairman Vaclav Spidla
was reminiscent of wartime Czechoslovak leader Emil Hacha's
capitulation to the Nazis. In other news, while a private
audit of ODS finances showed instances of tax evasion,
fraud, and money laundering, the ODS has said it is
impossible to identify the people responsible for the
wrongdoing. PB

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES TRANSFER OF POWER. Lawmakers on
14 July voted to grant the parliamentary speaker the power
to dissolve and name a government, AP reported. Such powers
were previously held by the president, a post that has been
vacant in Slovakia since early March. The vote was unusual
in that it received support from members of both the
governing parties and the opposition. Observers say the move
will prevent a constitutional crisis as there would have
been no one to officially accept the current government's
resignation after the September parliamentary elections. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OSCE MISSION IN BELGRADE. A 12-member OSCE delegation led by
Hansjoerg Eiff, who is Germany's ambassador to that body,
arrived in the Serbian capital on 14 July in a bid to
persuade the Yugoslav government to allow the OSCE to send
monitors to Kosova. The diplomats also want to send
observers to the ethnically mixed Sandzak region, which lies
between Kosova and Bosnia. The delegation will later travel
to Prishtina and to Podgorica. Yugoslavia refuses to allow
the OSCE to send monitors to Kosova so long as Belgrade's
membership in that body remains suspended. The OSCE
suspended Yugoslav membership in 1992 because of Belgrade's
role in the Bosnian war. In Prishtina, members of the
Serbian opposition coalition Alliance for Change met with
representatives of both the Serbian and ethnic Albanian
communities in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

UCK SAYS INDEPENDENT KOSOVA KEY TO BALKAN PEACE. Luma
Haxhiu, who is a spokesman for the Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK), said that U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke
achieved "nothing" on his recent mission to the region
because "he talked about peace. What we need is freedom.
Peace under Serbia is occupation," the Belgrade daily
"Danas" reported on 15 July. Haxhiu added that the
international Contact Group has "encouraged" the Serbian
authorities to continue their repressive policies by
limiting the international community's pressures on Belgrade
to sanctions. The spokesman stressed that the UCK has no
desire to spread the conflict to Macedonia, whose ethnic
Albanians "have their own leadership" and a political agenda
limited to achieving additional civil rights. The UCK does
"not want to make more problems in the Balkans," he added.
Haxhiu said that the UCK is not linked to any political
party and that it has "not committed a single war crime." PM

DEMIREL BACKS ALBANIA ON KOSOVA. Turkish President Suleyman
Demirel, visiting Tirana on 14 July, assured his
counterpart, Rexhep Meidani, that Turkey supports Albania's
policy of what he called "punishing violence and [helping to
bring about] a peaceful solution for the Kosova problem."
Demirel made clear that a UN Security Council mandate would
be a precondition for any international intervention in
Kosova. He was accompanied by a delegation of 140 high-
ranking government officials and businessmen, some of whom
signed agreements with their Albanian counterparts. One
document is a cooperation agreement between the two
countries' public broadcasting institutions, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported. FS

NEW INFLUX OF KOSOVAR REFUGEES TO MONTENEGRO. A spokesman
for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in Geneva on
14 July that in recent days, the UNHCR has registered a
sharp increase in the number of Kosovar refugees fleeing to
Montenegro. He said that the total number of refugees there
is now 18,000, compared with 13,000 registered refugees in
Albania. He added that "the sharp increase may be explained
by the increase in military activity, shelling, and fighting
in the Peja area." The spokesman stressed that the UNHCR is
concerned about the safety of its staff in an area where
there are gun battles, armed rivalry between clans, and an
apparent lack of formal authority in Kosova and northern
Albania. Charles Raedersdorf, who heads the Swiss
Catastrophe Aid Corps, said the conflict has uprooted more
than 100,000 people throughout Kosova. He stressed that
finding winter accommodation for refugees will be a problem.
FS

YUGOSLAVIA TO SEEK EXTRADITION OF SAKIC'S WIFE. The Federal
Court on 14 July ruled that the Belgrade regional court has
the legal authority to proceed with the case against Nada
Luburic-Sakic for war crimes and that it should do so,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The Yugoslav
authorities will seek her extradition from Argentina, where
she has lived since the end of World War II with her
husband, Dinko Sakic, who is on trial in Zagreb for war
crimes (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 June 1998). Nada Sakic was
a commander at a concentration camp for women under the pro-
Axis Ustasha regime. Her husband was a commander at
Jasenovac, which was Croatia's largest concentration camp,
at which tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma, and
opposition Croats died. PM

GARROD URGES CROATS TO GO HOME. Sir Martin Garrod, who is
the international community's chief representative in
Mostar, urged ethnic Croats to return to their homes in
Muslim-controlled parts of the city. He added that the
international community will protect persons wanting to go
home "regardless of what anybody says," "Oslobodjenje"
reported on 15 July. Hard-line Croatian nationalists have
sought to pressure all Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to
settle in Croatian-controlled regions that border Croatia.
In Sarajevo, a spokesman for the international community's
Carlos Westendorp said that Garrod will soon leave his post.
The spokesman noted that the British official has spent "a
long time" in Bosnia. PM

SANCTIONS AGAINST REPUBLIKA SRPSKA? Hanns Schumacher, who is
Westendorp's deputy, said in Sarajevo that the international
community is preparing to impose unspecified sanctions
against the Bosnian Serb government of Prime Minister
Milorad Dodik, "Dnevni avaz" wrote on 14 July. Schumacher
cited that government's "disappointing attitude" toward the
return of Croatian and Muslim refugees. The next day, the
daily quoted Vice President Bozo Ljubic of the Croatian
Democratic Community as denying local press reports that his
party wants Kresimir Zubak to resign as Croatian member of
the Bosnian joint presidency (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July
1998). Elsewhere in Sarajevo, Italian President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro told the three members of the joint presidency that
Italy will continue to play a role in Bosnia. The Bosnians
told Scalfaro that local small and medium-sized firms need
Italian help, which would also be welcome in building a
major new highway, "Oslobodjenje" reported. PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN WASHINGTON. Emil
Constantinescu arrived in Washington on 14 July at the start
of a nine-day visit to the U.S., an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. Presidential adviser Zoe Petre said the
president's aim is to change "the image of Romania among all
U.S. officials." Constantinescu will address a joint session
of congress on 15 July, an honor accorded to few people. It
is the first official visit by a Romanian president since
Ion Iliescu met with President Bill Clinton in 1995. PB

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS FISCAL CUTS MUST NOT HURT POOR.
Petru Lucinschi said on 14 July that any proposed austerity
measures in a revamped budget should not disadvantage the
poor, Reuters reported. "The budget law should be balanced
so that it will not harm the poor," he said. In an attempt
to prevent an economic crisis, the parliament is considering
a new budget that cuts spending. Finance Minister Anatol
Arapu said the old budget included "unrealistic indicators
which cannot be fulfilled." The IMF has urged Chisinau to
revise the budget and accelerate privatization. In other
news, the EU rejected a request by Moldova to join the
European Conference, a forum that brings together 15
countries that want to join the EU. The EU said such a move
is premature. PB

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