The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 140 Part II, 23 July 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 140  Part II, 23 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

* KUCHMA, GORE DISCUSS ECONOMIC COOPERATION

* KOSOVARS CLAIM 'MASSACRES' IN RAHOVEC

* NATO ARRESTS BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECTS

End Note: NEW STAGE IN KOSOVAR CONFLICT?

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REGIONAL AFFAIRS

UKRAINIAN REFORM PROPOSALS COULD SCUPPER CIS. The Ukrainian
delegation to the working group that is preparing proposals
for a fundamental reform of CIS structures has advocated
drastically reducing areas of cooperation between CIS member
states, "Izvestiya" reported on 23 July. It proposes
excluding from such cooperation political, military, border
protection, military-technical, humanitarian, legal, exchange
of information, ecology, and collective security issues.
Instead, the Ukrainian representation wants to transform the
CIS into a mechanism for economic cooperation, provided that
its structures do not duplicate those of other European and
international bodies and hinder the integration of CIS member
countries into those bodies. Fundamental disagreements have
also arisen between the various CIS member states over the
best approach to reforming and redefining the duties of the
CIS Inter-State Economic Committee and the Executive
Secretariat. LF

RUSSIAN REGION COOPERATES WITH BELARUS. Russia's Primorskii
Krai has formed a team to coordinate cooperation between the
region and Belarus, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 July. The
Russian region plans to supply Belarus with fish and other
sea products as well as products from its defense plants. In
return, Belarus is ready to supply agricultural machinery,
tractors and trucks, textiles, and footwear. Primorskii Krai
and Belarus are also considering introducing weekly flights
between Vladivostok and Minsk. JM

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA, GORE DISCUSS ECONOMIC COOPERATION... At a 22 July
session of the Ukrainian-U.S. Cooperation Commission chaired
by Ukrainian President Kuchma and Al Gore, the U.S. vice
president said  that economic reforms are most critical to
Ukraine now and that the U.S. will assist Kyiv in
implementing them, ITAR-TASS reported. Kuchma called on Gore
to support a Ukrainian project to transport Caspian Sea oil
to the West. He also appealed for more cooperation in
aircraft, space, and missile technologies, AP reported.  With
regard to Kyiv's appeal for financial assistance, Kuchma said
that "Ukraine's financial crisis is no less complex and [no
less] threatening than [that] in Russia." Ukraine is
negotiating a $2.5 billion loan from the IMF and hopes for
U.S. support. Gore promised that the U.S. will seek to help
Kyiv receive that loan, but he added that "bold reform is
critical for Ukraine's ability to reach a successful
conclusion in its negotiations with the IMF." JM

...AND CHORNOBYL. Kuchma and Gore also discussed the closure
of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Ukraine has pledged to
shut down Chornobyl's only working reactor by 2000 in return
for  $1.2 billion to compensate for lost energy. At a joint
news conference with Kuchma on 22 July, Gore said the U.S.
"will be able to help [Ukraine] replace that power." Kuchma
confirmed that Ukraine has decided to close the plant but
remained non-committal about the date. During their talks,
Kuchma and Gore agreed to set up a joint commission to study
the effects of radiation at Chornobyl. On 23 July, Gore will
visit the nuclear plant site and the nearby town of Prypyat,
all of whose residents were evacuated following the April
1986 accident. JM

BELARUSIAN NEWSPAPER WARNED NOT TO USE OLD-STYLE SPELLING.
The Belarusian State Press Committee has warned the
Belarusian-language biweekly "Nasha Niva" not to use the old-
style Belarusian spelling, which was banned by the Soviet
authorities in 1933. The newspaper, launched in Vilnius in
1991 by editor Syarhey Dubavets, uses that spelling, which,
Dubavets says, is less Russified than the spelling rules
introduced under Josef Stalin's orders. "The 1933 language
reform had a repressive rather than literary character,"
Dubavets told Reuters on 22 July. The press committee
maintains that "Nasha Niva" is disobeying Belarusian law by
not adopting the "common literary language." The Higher
Economic Court, which banned the opposition newspaper
"Svaboda" last year, is to consider the committee's complaint
against "Nasha Niva" on 12 August. JM

BELARUSIAN BANK TO ISSUE CREDITS FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN'S
CLOTHES. The Belarusbank will issue credits to its depositors
to buy clothes and stationery for their children attending
primary and secondary schools, Belarusian Television reported
on 21 July. Such credits will not exceed 50 minimum wages
(some $300) and will be granted for nine months at a 35
percent annual interest. The credit will be given "chiefly on
a noncash basis" by taking into account the parents'
"solvency." JM

IMF PRAISES LITHUANIAN ECONOMIC PROGRESS. Lithuania has
received strong praise from the Executive Directors of the
IMF for its implementation of economic reforms and the robust
growth of its economy, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington
reported on 23 July. The IMF noted that Lithuania's economy
grew by nearly 6 percent in 1997 and was approaching 7
percent in the first quarter of this year. Industrial
production rose by 10 percent in the first five months of
this year, while inflation fell to 6 percent for the 12
months ending 30 June. Moreover, Lithuania's budget deficit
was reduced to 1.8 percent of GDP in 1997. One problem
singled out by the IMF was the need to reform the Lithuanian
Social Security Agency. The fund urged improvements in the
tax system to secure pension revenues and the speedy raising
of the retirement age, which, it said, would strengthen the
agency's medium-term financial sustainability. JC

POLAND TO SPEND $2.3 BILLION ON NATO UPGRADE. Poland will
spend more than 8 billion zlotys ($2.3 billion) by 2003 to
upgrade its armed forces to NATO standards, Defense Minister
Janusz Onyszkiewicz told Reuters on 22 July. The sum will be
used to buy communication equipment and integrate air control
and air defense systems with NATO. Poland's 15-year military
modernization program calls for down-sizing the Polish army
and upgrading its equipment and training level. Poland's
military personnel will be cut from 240,000 to 180,000 in
five years. Poland will keep its current armory of 1,720
tanks, 1,422 armored personnel carriers, and 1,581 artillery
pieces but will reduce its fleet of 350 aging Soviet- made
aircraft. JM

GEREMEK BACKS POSSIBLE NATO INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA. Bronislaw
Geremek told a joint meeting of the parliamentary Foreign
Affairs and National Defense Commissions on 22 July that
Poland would take part in NATO intervention in Kosova if the
UN agreed to such an action. PAP reports that Geremek's
stance was shared by both commissions. Asked about the form
of Poland's participation in possible intervention, Geremek
said the main thing is to express solidarity with NATO and
that "this is a political decision." JM

HAVEL APPOINTS NEW GOVERNMENT. President Vaclav Havel on 22
July appointed the 19-member minority government headed by
Milos Zeman, CTK reported. All but one of the cabinet members
are Social Democratic Party (CSSD) members. The exception is
Justice Minister Otakar Motejl, who is an independent. Also
on 22 July, Havel appointed Eliska Wagnerova as Supreme Court
chairwoman. Wagnerova replaces Motejl, who will continue to
chair the Supreme Court till the end of July. Deputy Premier
Pavel Rychetsky will head the Justice Ministry until that
date. In other news, Vaclav Klaus, the leader of the main
opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and new chairman of
the Chamber of Deputies, said on 21 July that the ODS and the
CSSD  will examine ways of changing the present proportional
election system to a majority one. Klaus said this did not
mean that early elections are necessarily contemplated. MS

SLOVAKIA'S FLOOD TOLL INCREASING. The death toll of the 20-21
July floods in northeastern Slovakia has risen to 34, with 40
people still missing, Reuters reported on 22 July, quoting
Interior Minister Gustav Krajci. About half of the victims,
most of whom were Roma, are children. In other news, Reuters
reported on 22 July that a poll conducted by the private
MARKANT institute in the first half of July shows the four
opposition parties are likely to win a combined total of 62
percent of the vote in the 25-26 September elections. The
poll puts the main opposition party, the Slovak Democratic
Coalition (23.4 percent), ahead of Vladimir Meciar's Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (22.8 percent). MS

HUNGARY NOT TO BUILD CONTROVERSIAL DAM. Janos Vargha, chief
adviser to the Hungarian government on environmental
protection, told Reuters on 22 July that the September 1997
verdict of the International Court of Justice in The Hague
does not oblige Hungary to continue construction work at the
controversial Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam. He said "the most
important element of the court's verdict is that nothing must
be further built, and what has already been built can only be
operated if we observe environmental protection demands."
Vargha was a founding member of the Danube Circle
environmental group and a leader of the 1989 demonstrations
that helped topple the communist regime. He was also involved
in protests against the previous government's negotiations
with Slovakia following the international court's ruling. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS SAY RAHOVEC 'SECURE.'  Serbian forces consolidated
their control over central Rahovec on 22 July as fighters of
the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) retreated northward.
Euronews Television said on 23 July that Rahovec is almost
deserted except for Serbian troops. A police official told
reporters the previous day that "security was established in
the town from Tuesday night." In Prishtina, spokesmen for
shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of
Kosova called on international humanitarian organizations to
persuade the Serbian authorities to open a corridor to
Rahovec so that the Kosovars can evacuate their wounded. PM

KOSOVARS CLAIM 'MASSACRES' IN RAHOVEC. Rugova said in
Prishtina on 22 July that the Serbian forces recently carried
out "massacres" on civilians in Rahovec, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Spokesmen for the Kosovar Committee
for the Defense of Human Rights charged that "eyewitnesses
talk of huge massacres conducted by the army, the police, and
paramilitary units.... The situation in Rahovec is
catastrophic." Two eyewitnesses said that, when they emerged
from several days of hiding, they saw 10 tractors removing
bodies, AP wrote. The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" also
reported Kosovar claims of massacres and of public executions
but noted that the charges have not been independently
confirmed.  PM

MORE INCIDENTS ON ALBANIAN-KOSOVA BORDER... Serbian soldiers
on 22 July fired on the house of the village elder of Dobrun,
which is located in the Has Mountains, on the Albanian side
of the  border. The attack was carried out with heavy machine
guns and lasted for about an hour, "Koha Jone" reported.
Meanwhile near Padesh, on the Yugoslav side of the frontier,
Serbian forces fired several mortar shells into Albanian
territory. No one was injured. The same day, the Serbian
authorities declined to attend a meeting of the bilateral
border commission that the Albanian authorities had requested
after Serbian forces recently fired shells into Albanian
territory (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 20 July 1998). Serbian
officials argued that the proposed meeting place along the
border is not safe, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. In Kukes,
Albanian border police said that Serbian forces have begun
laying anti-personnel mines along the border to prevent
refugees from entering Albania. FS

...AS SERBIA WIDENS SECURITY ZONE. Yugoslav Prime Minister
Momir Bulatovic said on 22 July in Belgrade that the
authorities have extended the border security zone from a few
hundred yards to 3 miles. Bulatovic added that "Albania must
be moved farther away" from Kosova because, he charged, the
Albanian authorities have not prevented the UCK from
infiltrating fighters and guns into Yugoslavia.  He added: "I
am sorry for the state of Albania. They have so many
economic, political and social problems that you cannot take
anything they say seriously. It sounds pretty funny when [the
Albanian authorities] say they do not know anything about
1,000 armed men crossing their territory and about the
existence of terrorist training camps, yet they managed to
calculate exactly that three shells [recently] fell on their
territory," Reuters reported. PM

OSCE WARNS OF 'HUMANITARIAN DISASTER' IN KOSOVA. German
diplomat Hans-Jorg Eiff said in Belgrade on 22 July that
major humanitarian problems could arise if the fighting does
not end soon. Eiff had just returned from leading a 12-member
OSCE delegation on a seven-day trip through Kosova. He added
that he foresees "a great risk of major problems of the
humanitarian kind and that the crisis might really escalate
in winter." Eiff stressed that the two sides "are obviously
no longer capable of finding the solution alone... [and that]
the focus of attention of international efforts must be to
alleviate the misery of the people" of all ethnic groups. PM

ALBANIAN LOCAL DEMOCRATS LIMIT TIES TO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.
Leaders of the Union for Democracy coalition, whose principal
member is the Democratic Party, announced on 22 July in
Tirana that local government leaders belonging to their
parties will communicate with the Socialist-led central
government only in writing. Democratic leader Sali Berisha
said that no party official will attend any more meetings
with appointees of the Tirana-based government, including
regional prefects. The Democrats govern 48 out of Albania's
64 municipalities. Berisha said that "this is a government of
enemies and has to be treated accordingly." He added that
those Democratic officials who do not accept the decision
should leave the party, "Shekulli" reported. FS

NATO ARRESTS BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECTS. NATO
peacekeepers arrested the brothers Predrag and Nenad Banovic
in Prijedor on 22 July, a spokeswoman for SFOR said in
Sarajevo the next day. She declined to identify the
nationality of the soldiers, BBC Television noted. The two
men were flown immediately to the war crimes tribunal in The
Hague, where they are wanted for grave breaches of the Geneva
Convention, torture or inhumane treatment, unlawful
confinement, and  other crimes at the Keraterm concentration
camp near Prijedor, where they were guards during the 1992-
1995 Bosnian war. PM

WESTENDORP DECREES PRIVATIZATION LAW. Carlos Westendorp, who
is the international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, announced in Sarajevo on 22 July that the law on
privatization prepared by his office has taken effect. The
move came shortly after the joint parliament rejected the
draft. Bosnian Serb legislators boycotted the vote, saying
that privatization is a prerogative of each of the two
entities and not of joint institutions. Elsewhere, city
authorities have processed only 600 out of 7,000 requests by
former residents of Sarajevo to return to their old homes,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

ALBRIGHT GIVES CROATIA TERMS FOR PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Croatian Foreign
Minister Mate Granic in Washington on 22 July that his
country could be admitted to NATO's Partnership for Peace
program by the end of 1998 if it carries out a series of
measures aimed at promoting democratization in a multi-ethnic
society. These include allowing the return of refugees,
ensuring the freedom of electronic and other media, promoting
the rule of law and a civil society, and guaranteeing free
elections, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the U.S.
capital. She also insisted that Zagreb meet its obligations
under the Dayton agreement. PM

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN ON ROMANIA'S NATO BID. White House
spokesman Michael McCurry on 22 July said the U.S. "judges
very optimistically" Romania's "potential" for NATO
membership but added that "we have not reached the stage
where we can move towards granting membership at this point,"
an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. McCurry said
that during recent meetings with President Emil
Constantinescu,  U.S. officials said that Washington is
prepared to do "everything we can" to "help prepare Romania
for membership" and that the door "is open" to Romania's
eventual membership.  MS

FORMER ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER INDICTED FOR FRAUD. George
Danielescu,  who was finance minister and represented the
national Liberal Party (PNL) in Theodor Stolojan's cabinet in
1991-1992, has been indicted for fraud and embezzlement,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 21 July. The
Prosecutor-General's Office said Danielescu used money from
an investment fund that he managed in order to promote his
own interests or the interests of companies in which he had a
stake. The SAFI investment fund was closed down in March 1996
and investors suffered large losses. Meanwhile, PNL deputy
chairman Valeriu Stoica on 22 July said after a meeting of
the party's Steering Bureau that the PNL opposes incumbent
Finance Minister Daniel Daianu's intention to raise taxes in
August and  his plans to raise property taxes next year.
Stoica said the bureau has not discussed Daianu's threat to
resign "since we do not discuss intentions." MS

MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PREMIER ON GAZPROM DEBT. Ion Sturdza on 21
July said Moldova will pay its share of the country's debt to
Gazprom by means of government bonds and shares in a joint
venture to be set up with the Russian gas company, ITAR-TASS
reported. The debt for the past five years exceeds $600
million, of which Chisinau owes $209 million and Tiraspol the
remainder. Sturdza said the bonds, which have a nominal value
of $80-90 million, will carry a 7.5 percent interest rate. In
1995, Moldova paid off part of its debt to Gazprom by
transferring 50 percent of its shares in the Gaztranzit joint
venture (which transports Russian gas to the Balkans) and
through bonds worth $140 with a 7.5 percent interest rate.
Sturdza was speaking on his return from Moscow, where he held
talks with the Gazprom management. MS

MOLDOVA TO APPOINT NEW CHIEF NEGOTIATOR WITH TIRASPOL. Ion
Lesan, who is currently ambassador to Belarus, will be
appointed chief Moldovan negotiator in the parleys under way
with Tiraspol over a settlement of the conflict between
Moldova and the Transdniester, Infotag reported on 22 July.
The appointment was agreed to by the separatists during the
meeting between President Petru Lucinschi and Transdniester
leader Igor Smirnov earlier this week. Anatol Taranu, who
formerly headed the Moldovan delegation at the negotiations,
unsuccessfully ran for a parliamentary seat in the March
elections. MS

NEW STAGE IN KOSOVAR CONFLICT?

by Patrick Moore

	International media frequently portrayed then Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic's wars in Croatia from 1991-1995
and in Bosnia from 1992-1995 as the "inevitable result of
ancient ethnic hatreds" and as a continuation of World War
II. Experts on Balkan affairs subsequently debunked both of
those ideas, showing that Serbs, Croats, and Muslims have
lived together in relative harmony throughout the centuries
and frequently intermarried. They also noted that the battle
lines in World War II were not neatly drawn and that members
of the three ethnic groups fought on all sides at various
times and places during the conflict.
	Kosova, however, is a different matter, although
international media rarely report on its long history of
inter-ethnic conflict. While the three Slavic peoples of
Bosnia-Herzegovina are of the same ethnic stock and share a
common language, the Serbs and ethnic Albanians of Kosova are
of different origins and literally--as well as figuratively--
do not speak the same language. Historically, the two
communities have tended to live apart rather than intermix,
as is often the case in Bosnia.
	Atrocities and counter-atrocities were committed by
Serbs and Albanians alike during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913
as well as World Wars I and II. Tensions ran high between the
two groups even in  peacetime, during the short life of the
Yugoslav kingdom from 1918-1941, when the Serbs sought to
tighten control over the  Albanian population. In Marshal
Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia, the Serbs held sway in Kosova
until 1966; after that, the Albanians enjoyed a wide measure
of home rule until Milosevic put an end to it in 1990.
	The legacy of mutual atrocities has reemerged in the
course of the current conflict. In June, Western dailies
reported that the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) had ended its
policy of attacking only Serbian officials and Kosovars whom
it regarded as collaborators and had begun targeting villages
of innocent Serbian civilians as well. The Serbs of Kosova
are a frightened minority, many of whom believe  Milosevic
has already sold them out, much as he did the Serbs of
Croatia and Bosnia in 1995. By attacking Serbian peasant
villages, the UCK lost its claim to be a purely defensive
organization.
	In recent weeks, the "New York Times" and some other
Western dailies have written that the Serbian forces in
Kosova have introduced a  policy of reprisal killings and
abductions in response to UCK violence against Serbian
paramilitary police. That development has accompanied the
introduction of ethnic-cleansing techniques that Milosevic's
forces honed in Croatia and Bosnia.
	Three other developments also give ground for concern
that the Kosovar conflict has possibly entered a new stage--
one that might herald the spread of the war to Macedonia and
Albania.
	First, the UCK has shown new self-confidence by
launching an attack on the Serbian-held but mainly ethnic
Albanian town of Rahovec (Orahovac in Serbo-Croatian) from
17-19 July. This is the first time that the UCK has departed
from hit-and-run guerrilla tactics in mainly rural areas and
has taken on the more heavily-armed Serbs in a conventional
battle for a town. A UCK spokesman said bluntly that Rahovec
was the "beginning of a war that will end in Prishtina."
	Second, three powerful explosions took place in three
different places in Macedonia in the early hours of 21 July.
The blasts shook the capital Skopje as well as Kumanovo and
Tabanovce, near the Yugoslav border. No one immediately
claimed responsibility, but journalists were quick to suggest
that the UCK were behind the attacks. Although UCK spokesmen
have denied that they want to extend the conflict to
Macedonia, many observers have long feared that militant UCK
supporters among Macedonia's Albanian minority could turn to
violence. Relations are tense between the Macedonians and the
local Albanians, who make up some 25 percent of the
population and who live primarily in western Macedonia.
 	Third, the war of words between Belgrade and Tirana has
heated up since early July. The Serbian authorities continue
to say that the Albanian authorities allow the UCK to train
and arm "terrorists" on Albanian territory. Recently, they
have begun to claim that as many as 300 uniformed Albanian
soldiers have entered Kosova to fight on the side of the UCK.
	Tirana denied the charge, just as Belgrade rebuffed a
claim made by Albania and confirmed by representatives of the
OSCE that Serbian forces shelled Albanian territory on 18
July. But Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano went one step
further on 21 July, when he openly called for international
air strikes on Serbia in order to halt "Milosevic's war
machine." Albania has not recovered from the anarchy that
erupted in spring 1997 and its army is in no state of
readiness to defend its borders against the more numerous as
well as better-equipped and -trained Serbs. Nano's blunt
public statement may reflect a real fear that his country
will soon face an attack that it will be unable to fight off
alone.

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