The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 142 Part II, 27 July 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 142 Part II, 27 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

* OSCE CONCERNED ABOUT SLOVAK ELECTION CAMPAIGN

* SERBS LAUNCH MAJOR OFFENSIVE IN KOSOVA

* HAS U.S. DROPPED PLANS TO CATCH KARADZIC, MLADIC?
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

TRADE UNION CONDEMNS LUKASHENKA'S 'SLANDEROUS' STATEMENT.
The leadership of the trade union representing workers in
the automobile and agricultural-machine industries has
condemned President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's statements about
trade unions in a recent interview with the Russian
newspaper "Chest i rodina," Belapan reported on 24 July. The
televised interview was broadcast by Belarusian Television
on 17 July, two days after workers had rallied in Minsk (see
RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1998). The trade union's statement
says Lukashenka made "a number of false and slanderous
statements, gross attacks and threats against Belarusian
trade unions." Lukashenka told "Chest i rodina" that trade
union leaders have misappropriated money allotted by the
state for health care and are involved in money-laundering.
Belarus's independent trade unions are financed by the West
to be a "transmitter of Western people's interests" in
Belarus, he added. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET RESOLUTION. The Supreme
Council concluded its session on 24 July by passing a 1999
budget resolution, Ukrainian Television reported. The
legislators granted the government the right to set a budget
deficit, providing it can find funds to cover all social
programs. During its three-month session, the parliament
rejected two economic presidential decrees and failed to
consider another 12, thus allowing them to go into force
automatically. Another 17 decrees signed by President Leonid
Kuchma in June will go into force if lawmakers fail to veto
or consider them after reconvening on 1 September. JM

FRANCE PLEDGES TO EXPAND TIES WITH UKRAINE. French Foreign
Minister Hubert Vedrine said in Kyiv on 24 July that France
wants to expand ties with Ukraine both on a bilateral basis
and within the sphere of European policies, Ukrainian Radio
reported. Vedrine stressed that France "is convinced of
Ukraine's strategic role in Europe" and pledges to support
Ukraine's bid to become an EU associate member. According to
Reuters, Vedrine backed Ukrainian efforts to win a much-
needed $2 billion loan from the IMF. President Kuchma and
Vedrine agreed that during French President Jacques Chirac's
visit to Ukraine in September, the two countries will create
a new mechanism for top-level bilateral consultations. JM

BALTIC STATES TO ADOPT JOINT STANCE ON 1999 NATO SUMMIT.
Meeting in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on 25 July, the presidents
of the three Baltic States agreed to formulate a joint
stance on the 1999 NATO summit, which is expected to discuss
the second wave of the alliance's expansion, ETA reported.
They will meet again in the fall to discuss the issue. The
25 July meeting, which took place at the close of the
"Baltic Challenge" exercises, was also attended by Polish
President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Kwasniewski said that
Poland "feels responsible" for the Baltics and other NATO
aspirants and will support their bids to join the alliance.
JC

ALBRIGHT WELCOMES AMENDMENTS TO LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW. In
an interview broadcast on Latvian Television on 26 July,
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she welcomes
the recently passed amendments to the Latvian citizenship
law, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. Albright noted that
the changes are in keeping with OSCE requirements. JC

LITHUANIAN FARMERS THREATEN PROTEST ACTIONS. Farmers are
threatening to block roads throughout the country to protest
the government's failure to fix minimum prices at which they
can sell their produce to processing companies, BNS reported
on 24 July. The government had planned to determine those
prices by 1 June. Farmers' organizations say they want the
issue resolved by 28 July, when President Valdas Adamkus is
scheduled to meet with representatives of the government and
the farmers' organizations. Farmers want the government to
raise the minimal prices of milk, grain, and other products.
JC

SOLIDARITY COALITION LEFT WEAKENED FOLLOWING DEPARTURE OF
DEPUTIES. The six deputies of the Polish Family group who
left Solidarity Electoral Action's (AWS) parliamentary
caucus have issued a joint statement explaining their move
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 July 1998), PAP reported on 24
July. The deputies pointed to Poland's subjugation to the
"dictate of Brussels, the non-implementation of a universal
property enfranchisement program, and the lack of a pro-
family [government] policy." According to one of the
deputies, the sale of the Gdansk shipyard had "tipped the
scales" in taking their decision. Earlier this summer, Adam
Slomka and Jan Lopuszanski were dismissed from the AWS for
not voting with the rest of the caucus; seven other deputies
quit the group in solidarity with them (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 June 1998). Since then, the AWS caucus has
diminished from 201 to 186 deputies. JM

NEW RIGHT-WING COALITION SET UP IN POLAND. Adam Slomka,
chairman of the Confederation for an Independent Poland-
Patriotic Camp (KPN-OP), has announced the creation of a new
right-wing coalition, PAP reported on 25 July. According to
Slomka, the coalition's first task will be to participate in
local elections in Poland this fall. The coalition is to
form its own parliamentary caucus by September. Slomka said
the initiative to create a new bloc was due to the failure
of the AWS to keep its election promises. Slomka admitted
that the new coalition is a response to the AWS caucus's
decision to exclude KPN-OP deputies from its ranks. JM

POLISH PREMIER TAKES OVER EUROPEAN INTEGRATION COMMITTEE.
Jerzy Buzek has taken over the chairmanship of the Committee
for European Integration which has been plagued by internal
conflicts among its leading members, AP reported on 27 July.
Former committee chairman Ryszard Czarnecki was criticized
for incompetence after the EU cut aid to Poland by $35
million (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 July 1998). Buzek told
Polish Radio on 27 July that the committee must function
better in order to defend "Poland's vital interests" in
negotiations with the EU. JM

HAVEL UNDERGOES SURGERY. President Vaclav Havel on 26 July
underwent surgery designed to reconnect his large intestine
to the rest of his digestive tract by closing a hole left
following the emergency operation he underwent last April in
Austria for a perforated colon. The surgery was performed by
the Austrian doctor who operated on Havel in April. Dr.
Ernst Boder told journalists that the surgery "went quite
well, without any complications or surprises." Havel is
expected to spend two to three weeks in hospital, followed
by some six weeks of convalescence at home. MS

OSCE CONCERNED ABOUT SLOVAK ELECTION CAMPAIGN. The OSCE on
24 July said it has "major concerns" about the conditions
for political campaigning in Slovakia in the run-up to the
September parliamentary elections, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. A spokesman for the OSCE's Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights said the organization is
particularly concerned about restrictions imposed on
campaigning in private and local electronic media. Another
area of concern is the requirement for a 5 percent threshold
that also applies to individual parties belonging to
alliances. The spokesman said that, along with other
provisions of the amended electoral law, that threshold has
forced a substantial part of the opposition to restructure
within a very short period and "under complex and vague
administrative procedures." The OSCE will set up a
monitoring mission in Slovakia in August. MS

ORBAN HESITANT ABOUT HUNGARIAN INVOLVEMENT IN KOSOVA. Prime
Minister Viktor Orban told journalists in Brussels on 24
July that Hungary "would like to be more cautious" about the
possible involvement of its forces in Kosova than it was in
the case of Bosnia. He said the large number of ethnic
Hungarians living in Serbia, as well as the fact that some
500 ethnic Hungarian conscripts serve in the Yugoslav army
in Kosova, mean it is necessary "to make a clear
distinction" between the two conflicts. He added that
"Hungary would not like to be involved" in a possible
intervention in Kosova. Orban spoke after his first meeting
as premier with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. He
said Hungary is trying to convince the Serbian government
that ethnic Hungarian soldiers should not be involved in the
crisis. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS LAUNCH MAJOR OFFENSIVE IN KOSOVA. Serbian paramilitary
police and Yugoslav troops backed by tanks and artillery
began an offensive in several places in Kosova on 24 July.
Serbian and Kosovar sources alike reported casualties on
both sides, although there was no independent confirmation
of the number of casualties or the extent of the fighting.
The Serbian attacks appear aimed at taking control of the
Prishtina-Peja and Prishtina-Prizren roads, as well as the
region along the Albanian border. In so doing, Serbian
forces would also cut into several pieces the main swath of
territory controlled by the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK).
Observers said that the Serbian forces seek to maintain
their momentum in the wake of their victories the previous
week, when they blocked attempts by the UCK to take the town
of Rahovec and to infiltrate up to 1,000 men into Kosova
from Albania on two separate occasions. PM

ALBANIAN BORDER POST UNDER FIRE. Serbian forces fired
machine guns at the border post and village of Morina on the
Albanian side of the border along the Prizren-Kukes road on
26 July. The police chief of the Kukes region told Radio
Tirana that the attack was unprovoked. Yugoslav army
spokesmen in Nis said that security forces clashed with
groups of armed Albanians attempting to cross into Kosova.
This is the latest in a series of incidents in which Albania
has charged Yugoslavia with firing on Albanian territory
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 1998). In Skopje, spokesmen
for the Defense Ministry said on 26 July that Macedonian
border guards the previous day exchanged fire with "large
armed groups" of Albanians trying to cross into Macedonia in
the Mount Korab area, where Kosova, Albania, and Macedonia
meet. PM

KOSOVARS APPEAL TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. Kosovar shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova said on 24 July in Prishtina
that an international protectorate over Kosova is the only
way to stop what he called "the massacres by Serbian
military and police forces of the [ethnic] Albanian
population." The next day, his Democratic League of Kosova
appealed in a statement to the U.S., NATO, the UN, and the
EU to exert pressure on Belgrade to end the military
offensive. In other news, Belgrade's Tanjug news agency
reported on 26 July that Serbian forces have recaptured the
Zociste monastery, which the UCK took control of the
previous week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 July 1998). PM

ALBANIAN PREMIER AGAIN CALLS FOR POLITICAL SOLUTION. Fatos
Nano has repeated calls for a peaceful settlement of the
Kosova conflict. During a meeting with German Interior
Ministry State Secretary Kurt Schelter in Tirana on 24 July,
Nano said that "the Albanian government insists that the
crisis in Kosova be solved by political means," adding that
"it is important that [all Kosovar political forces] speak
with one voice to the international community." Nano
promised to curb arms smuggling into Kosova, while Schelter
pledged assistance for Kosovar refugees in Albania and help
in training Albanian police. Germany has provided aid in
setting up a police academy in Albania and given vehicles to
the Albanian police. The two countries recently agreed on a
three-year plan for cooperation between their police forces.
FS

ALBANIA'S BERISHA UNDER PRESSURE TO END PARLIAMENT BOYCOTT.
Former Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu in an article in
"Gazeta Shqiptare" on 25 July criticized the Democrats'
recent decision to boycott the parliament and have no
dealings with Tirana-appointed local government officials
(see "RFE/RL Newsline" 23 July 1998). Shehu stressed that
"democracy means the broad participation of everybody, and
to exclude someone from that participation is a crime. To
exclude yourself from it [brings you] misfortune." He added
that "unfortunately..., we are far from [having] a truly
democratic outlook." OSCE ambassador Daan Everts, in an
interview published the following day in "Koha Jone," said
that Democratic leader and former President Sali Berisha,
who proposed the boycott, should not ignore the advice he
has since received from the international community to
reverse his decision. FS

HAS U.S. DROPPED PLANS TO CATCH KARADZIC, MLADIC? The "New
York Times" wrote on 26 July that "after spending more than
two years and tens of millions of dollars preparing
missions, training commandos and gathering intelligence, the
U.S. has dropped its secret plans to arrest Bosnia's two
most wanted men accused of war crimes, senior administration
officials say." The daily added that the administration has
shelved the plans to capture Radovan Karadzic and General
Ratko Mladic because of French opposition and out of fears
of causing "a blood bath" and provoking fresh Serbian
aggression. Observers noted, however, that the myth of
Serbian invincibility was shattered by the Croatian-Muslim
offensive of 1995 and that a more plausible reason for
Washington's decision might be so as not to create political
difficulties for the current Bosnian Serb leadership, which
the international community supports. PM

ARBOUR BLASTS BOSNIAN SERB AUTHORITIES. Louise Arbour, who
is the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said in The Hague on 24
July that the Bosnian Serb authorities are not only avoiding
their obligations under the Dayton agreement to help bring
indicted war criminals to justice, but they have "also been
engaged in deliberately frustrating the tribunal's work by
issuing false identification papers to those persons
indicted by the tribunal in an attempt to shield them from
the tribunal's jurisdiction." She was referring to an
incident the previous week in which British SAS commandos
captured two indicted war criminals and sent them to The
Hague, only to find out soon afterward that they had
arrested the wrong men (see "RFE./RL Newsline," 24 July
1998). PM

INTERPOL ARRESTS NADA SAKIC. Officials of Interpol placed
Nada Sakic under house arrest in Santa Teresita, Argentina,
on 24 July. Spokesmen for the Croatian Justice Ministry said
in Zagreb two days later that they will seek her extradition
from the South American country, 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. Yugoslav
authorities have already said they will seek Nada Sakic's
extradition. PM

HUNGARIAN PREMIER IN ROMANIA. Viktor Orban, during a private
visit to Romania on 25 July, met with Prime Minister Radu
Vasile and President Emil Constantinescu to discuss
bilateral relations and minority problems. Orban said after
meeting with Vasile that "protocol has been replaced by
friendship and sincerity." He said he is convinced that
"both sides are ready for a dialogue" but rather than
building future relations on "illusions and hopes," they
must be forged on the basis of "concrete results." Vasile
informed Orban about the setting up of a government
commission to study the feasibility of a Hungarian-language
university in Cluj, saying the commission must be "allowed
to work without stirring up emotions." Orban also expressed
support for the ethnic Hungarians' demands to set up the
university. MS

ROMANIAN 'CIGARETTE AFFAIR' LINKED TO INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM. Nineteen people were indicted on 24 July in
connection with the cigarette smuggling affair uncovered in
April, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. A military
prosecutor in Bucharest said the smuggling affair had been
headed by Arab nationals who had managed to flee the country
and that the money derived from the smuggling operations
"was reaching certain terrorist groups." He declined to
provide further details, saying they would "affect national
security." In other news, the controversial Mayor of Cluj
Gheorghe Funar said after a meeting of his supporters in the
newly-founded Party of Romanian Unity Alliance that the
party will start a campaign for gathering signatures in
favor of requesting that its registration application be re-
examined. He added that for now, the party will not join the
Greater Romania Party. MS

BESSARABIAN METROPOLITAN CHURCH APPEALS AGAIN TO TRIBUNAL.
The Bessarabian Metropolitan Church on 24 July again
appealed to the Chisinau Court of Appeals against the
government's refusal to register it, RFE/RL's Chisinau
bureau reported. The Church was re-established six years ago
and is subordinated to the Bucharest Patriarchate. In
September 1997, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the
Church's complaint against the government, but the ruling
was later annulled by the Supreme Court on procedural
grounds. The Bessarabian Church has also complained to the
European Court for Human Rights. The Moldovan government
recognizes the Moldovan Orthodox Church, which is
subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate. MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS IMF LOAN PLAN. The parliament on
24 July approved a resolution backing the government's
efforts to obtain a three-year loan from the IMF as well as
loans from other global lenders, Reuters reported. Both the
Bulgarian government and the IMF said they hope the deal
will be approved by the IMF board in September. The IMF
wants Bulgaria to toughen economic policies, including curbs
on pay rises, hikes in energy-related prices, stricter
financial discipline and transparency, more structural
reforms and better conditions for the private sector. In
other news, Georgi Kaschiev, chairman of the Atomic Energy
Committee, told Reuters on 24 July that the committee has
ordered checks into safety qualifications of staff at the
Kozloduy nuclear plant following operational mishaps earlier
this year. Those mishaps did not affect radiation levels. MS

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