The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 146 Part II, 31 July 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 146 Part II, 31 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

* MECIAR SAYS ETHNIC HUNGARIANS HAVE ENOUGH RIGHTS IN
SLOVAKIA

* SEARCH UNDER WAY FOR REFUGEES IN KOSOVA

* KINKEL WARNS UCK

End Note: KLAUS-ZEMAN PACT COULD END CZECH INSTABILITY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

PENTAGON TO PROLONG SUBSIDIES FOR UKRAINIAN DISARMAMENT. The
U.S. Defense Department will continue to provide financial
assistance to Ukraine to destroy its mass destruction
weapons, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 July. Ukraine will receive
$76.7 million to destroy SS-19 missiles, some 40 strategic
bombers, and some 1,000 cruise missiles. The Pentagon will
also allocate $630,000 to help tighten Ukraine's control
over nonproliferation of arms outside its borders and $73
million for conversion of defense enterprises. Over the past
six years, Ukraine has received $520 million in such aid. JM

MINISTER SAYS IMF TO APPROVE $2.5 BILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE.
Economy Minister Vasyl Rohovyy has said the IMF is expected
to approve a $2.5 billion loan to Ukraine, Interfax and AP
reported on 30 July. According to Rohovyy, an IMF mission
currently in Kyiv agrees that Ukraine has met most
preliminary conditions for the loan. IMF experts welcomed
the government's steps to draft a realistic budget, increase
budget revenues, and reduce tax breaks. If their
recommendation is positive, the IMF board will make a final
decision on the loan in late August or early September,
Rohovyy told Interfax. Two days earlier, the IMF mission
chief said there are "significant successes" in Ukraine's
economic reform but several issues must still be resolved.
JM

DIRECTOR OF BELARUSIAN-LANGUAGE LYCEE SACKED. The Belarusian
Education Ministry has replaced Uladzimir Kolas, the
director of the Belarusian Lycee for the Humanities, with a
ministry appointee, RFE/RL Belarusian Service informed on 30
July. The lycee is the only high school in Minsk in which
all subjects are taught in Belarusian. Over the past two
years, students and their parents have protested the
government's plan to merge the lycee with another high
school. They suspect the government's real intent is to
abolish the school. On 14 July, the government changed the
status of the school but pledged to leave its staff intact.
The lycee's deputy director, Lyavon Barscheuski, who is also
acting chairman of the opposition Belarusian Popular Front,
said Kolas's replacement by someone "more obedient to the
government" is a step toward closing down the school. JM

BELARUS TO ENCOURAGE BEST HARVEST WORKERS... The Belarusian
government will hold a competition this year aimed at
rewarding the best harvest workers, ITAR-TASS reported. A 31
July resolution says 12 automobiles, 24 motorcycles, 24
refrigerators, and 138 television sets will be awarded to
the best harvester operators and truck drivers. The
government will also give medals, diplomas, and money awards
to outstanding kolkhoz workers. The Finance Ministry is to
allocate 16 billion Belarusian rubles ($380,000) in
incentives for harvest workers. JM

...TO ADOPT 'SPECIAL OPERATION MODE' FOR HARVEST TIME.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told a televised
nationwide conference on 31 July that beginning 3 August,
the country will switch over to a "special operation mode."
"All forces will be thrown into the battle for harvesting
crops," ITAR-TASS quoted Lukashenka as saying. According to
the president, the battle will continue until 1 September,
when "basic agricultural crops" are expected to be
harvested. Lukashenka said "it's is necessary to have bread"
in order to preserve the country's sovereignty. "We know
what is going on around the republic: we are being
perpetually kicked everywhere; everybody is trying to
suppress Belarus," he commented. Lukashenka announced that
his special representatives will be sent to Belarusian
regions on 3 August to directly oversee the harvest. JM

BIRKAVS SAYS RUSSIA CANNOT OBJECT TO BORDER DEMARCATION.
Speaking to BNS on 30 July, Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs said Russia can have no objections to Riga's
decision to begin the unilateral demarcation of their joint
border (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1998). He stressed
the demarcation will go ahead along those parts of the
border that are not contested by either country. In
addition, he said, the "strengthening of the border" will be
advantageous to both Latvia and Russia as the main goals of
that move are to eliminate smuggling and illegal
immigration. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry officials
declined to comment on Birkavs's statement, saying they do
not have "full or accurate" information. The ministry has
asked the Russian embassy in Riga to make a detailed report
on the Latvian minister's remarks. JC

AMONG BALTS, LITHUANIANS MOST SUPPORTIVE OF NATO MEMBERSHIP.
According to a survey carried out by the Saar Poll company
in March, Lithuania is the most enthusiastic of the Baltic
States about NATO membership, Interfax reported on 30 July.
Some 55 percent of respondents in Lithuania welcomed
government efforts to join the alliance, while the
corresponding figures for Estonia and Latvia are 54 percent
and 47 percent. Andres Saar, the head of the Saar Poll
company, said Lithuania is more upbeat about joining NATO
owing to a successful campaign on clarifying the issue and
the "more homogeneous" composition of the population. In
Estonia, there is more enthusiasm for simultaneous
membership in NATO and the EU (30 percent) than in Latvia
(26 percent) and 23 percent (Lithuania). Support for a
referendum on joining NATO totaled 51 percent in Lithuania,
43 percent in Estonia, and 37 percent in Latvia. JC

LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT FIXES MINIMUM GRAIN PRICES. The
Lithuanian government has approved the minimum prices at
which processing companies can purchase grain from farmers,
BNS reported on 29 July. It also allocated 40 million litas
($10 million) from the Privatization Fund to subsidize
purchases at the new prices. Another 5 million litas in
subsidies will come from the Countryside Support Fund. Last
week, farmers had threatened nationwide protests if their
demand for minimum purchase prices were not met. JC

GDANSK SHIPYARD APPEALS COURT DECISION ON SALE. The bankrupt
Gdansk shipyard has filed an appeal against a court ruling
whereby the shipyard would be sold to a consortium that
includes the Gdynia shipyard (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 July
1998), AP reported. The court ruling said the Gdansk
shipyard board failed to prove it can pay off the shipyard's
debt of 628 million zloty ($182 million) and that the Gdynia
shipyard's offer is the "most profitable and credible." The
consortium has reportedly pledged to pay $29 million for the
Gdansk shipyard and spend $100 million by 2010 on
modernization and creating 1,500 new jobs. The decision drew
criticism from the ruling Solidarity Electoral Action, six
of whose deputies quit the parliamentary caucus to protest
the government's failure to bail out the cradle of the
Solidarity movement. JM

CZECH-GERMAN TENSIONS OVER ZEMAN REMARKS. Czech government
spokesman Libor Roucek on 30 July said Prime Minister Milos
Zeman has "no reason to apologize" over remarks made on 25
July criticizing the participation of the Sudeten German
Expellee Organization in the Czech-German Discussion Forum,
established under the 1997 Czech-German declaration. Zeman
said that the organization was not among those that
supported the declaration and that he can see "no reason"
why it should be represented in the forum, "just as there
are no representatives of the Communists or the Republicans
[who also opposed the declaration] on our side." German
Finance Minister Theo Waigel demanded an apology from Zeman,
and Foreign Minster Klaus Kinkel said in Berlin after
meeting with his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan, that he finds
Zeman's comparison "unacceptable", CTK reported. MS

MECIAR SAYS ETHNIC HUNGARIANS HAVE ENOUGH RIGHTS IN
SLOVAKIA. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said on 30
July that ethnic minorities in Slovakia, including
Hungarians, enjoy more widespread rights than the average
minority in Europe, Hungarian media reported, citing an
interview broadcast on Slovak Television. Meciar told two
British journalists that "the survival of the Hungarian
minority is guaranteed by the high birth rate of Gypsies,
who consider themselves Hungarian." In other news, visiting
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on 30 July told
journalists in Bratislava that he will support Slovakia's
bid to join the EU no matter who wins the parliamentary
elections in September. Asked whether he agreed with the
U.S. and EU concerns over the elections, Prodi said in the
presence of Meciar that during visits abroad, his main
principle is "never to interfere in the internal affairs" of
the other country. MSZ/MS

FIDESZ ELECTS BUDAPEST MAYORAL CANDIDATE. The Budapest board
of the Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party
(FIDESZ-MPP) on 30 July elected Janos Latorcai as mayoral
candidate in the fall local elections. Latorcai was
recommended by the FIDESZ-MPP national board and the party's
steering committee. Tamas Tirts, chairman of the Budapest
board, said the Hungarian Christian Democratic Alliance, the
Hungarian Democratic Forum, and the Independent
Smallholders' Party had also expressed support for Latorcai.
MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SEARCH UNDER WAY FOR REFUGEES IN KOSOVA. Teams from the
office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other
international relief workers searched remote areas of Kosova
for refugees on 30 July. Investigators found one group of
500 Kosovars, including women and children, in the hill
country near Malisheva, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Prishtina (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1998).
Another large group of civilians took refuge in a railroad
tunnel, CNN noted. Wolfgang Ischinger, who is the German
member of a EU delegation visiting the region, said that
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic promised to help the
refugees go home but Ischinger added that Milosevic will
first need to implement "additional confidence-building
measures." Ischinger said that he and his EU colleagues
found a "wasteland" in Kosova and were "shocked" at what
they saw. In Geneva, the UNHCR's Sagato Ogata told CNN that
the Kosovar refugee situation is quickly becoming
"catastrophic." PM

ANOTHER SREBRENICA IN THE MAKING? The Kosova Helsinki
Committee said in a statement issued in Prishtina and Vienna
on 31 July that it is concerned about "reports of victims
and other casualties of the Serbian offensive and reported
massacres of the [ethnic] Albanian civilian population in
the towns of Rahovec...[and] Malisheva." The text added that
"a wave of reprisals" has already taken place in Rahovec,
"with the basic message that [ethnic] Albanian civilians
will die wherever UCK guerrilla fighters achieve a
foothold." The committee and International Helsinki
Federation for Human Rights, the statement continued, fear
that the ongoing Serbian siege of Junik near the Albanian
border could lead to "a Srebrenica-like situation, with
massive killings of besieged [ethnic] Albanian civilians."
PM

RUBIN SAYS MILOSEVIC HOLDING UP KOSOVAR TALKS. U.S. State
Department Spokesman James Rubin said on 30 July that recent
negotiations between U.S. diplomats and representatives of
various Kosovar groups have resulted in an agreement that
the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) will be "directly or
indirectly" represented in any future negotiations on the
province's future. Rubin added that it is Milosevic's fault
that the Kosovars have not yet agreed on the exact
composition of their team. "We hold the Serbian authorities
responsible for the civilian casualties and the civilian
disruptions and murders...resulting from these military
operations. And we hold [Milosevic specifically]
responsible. And whether he is trying to sabotage the
negotiating process [by continuing his armed crackdown] is a
question only he can answer." Milosevic said in Belgrade on
30 July that the Serbian offensive is over, but Kosovar and
Western news media reported that it is continuing. PM

KINKEL WARNS UCK. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told
the "Berliner Zeitung" of 31 July that the UCK's continuing
military actions could cost the Kosovars the sympathy of the
international community that they currently enjoy. He warned
the UCK to drop its "three illusions," namely that it can
obtain independence, NATO support, and a military victory
over the Serbs. The minister added that NATO could help to
guarantee any future agreement on Kosovar autonomy because
"Milosevic is not in a position to restore peace and order"
to Kosova. Kinkel said that NATO is considering a possible
"preventive deployment" of forces to Albania within the
framework of the Partnership for Peace Program. He did not
elaborate. PM

ANOTHER EXPLOSION IN BOSNIA. An explosive device went off in
Muslim-controlled Travnik on 31 July across the street from
a joint Muslim and Croatian police station. The blast killed
an ethnic Croat policeman and injured a child. Police are
investigating. It is the fifth explosion in Bosnia in recent
days, AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1998).
Meanwhile in Sarajevo, spokesmen for SFOR said that a
contingent of 350 troops and 100 vehicles will arrive in the
Croatian port of Ploce on 2 August. The new forces will be
based in Sarajevo and have been trained in ensuring public
order and facilitating the return of refugees. PM

SERBS RETURN TO CROATIA. An initial group of 26 Serbs
returned on 30 July from federal Yugoslavia to the Dvor na
Uni region of Croatia near the Bosnian frontier. A Croatian
government spokesman said in Sisak that some 300 Serbs have
gone home from Yugoslavia recently and that an additional
5,300 have registered with the office of the UNHCR in
Yugoslavia to do so. The international community has
repeatedly made it clear to Croatia that its future
integration into Euro-Atlantic structures will depend on
increased democratization and on the ability of refugees to
go home. PM

CROATIA PROTESTS SLOVENIAN POWER CUT. In Zagreb, officials
of the state power company said on 30 July that the Croatian
economy will not be seriously affected by the Slovenian
authorities' move earlier that day to stop electricity
supplies to Croatia from the nuclear power facility at
Krsko. The Croatian officials called the Slovenian decision
"illegal and unauthorized," Croatian media reported.
Slovenian officials claim that Croatia owes about $15
million for previous deliveries from Krsko. Under communism,
Croatia helped finance the construction of the facility,
which is the former Yugoslavia's only nuclear power plant.
Slovenia recently recognized Croatia's right to 50 percent
co-ownership of Krsko, but tensions over its financing and
use have continued. PM

ALBANIAN PREMIER ORDERS ACTION AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME.
Fatos Nano, at a meeting of the government's National
Security Committee on 31 July in Tirana, ordered Interior
Minister Perikli Teta to prepare a detailed plan by 20
August for fighting organized crime. Nano stressed that the
government must pay special attention to corruption within
the police, which he said was in some cases "at the center
of organized crime." Nano urged the Ministries of Interior
and Defense and the secret service to cooperate more closely
in fighting crime, especially in the northeast, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported. In particular, the northeastern regions
of Tropoja, Bajram Curri, and Kukes have become notorious
for lawlessness. Armed gangs, arms smugglers, and soldiers
of the UCK operate freely there. FS

FBI TIRANA OFFICE ROBBED. Unidentified individuals broke
into the office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
and stole one passport and more than $2,500 in cash on 29
July, "Shekulli" reported on two days later. A police
spokesman said that the FBI uses the office, located in
central Tirana's Palace of Congresses, only for translating
Albanian newspapers. The FBI also helps train Albanian
police and assisted its Albanian counterpart in
investigating an influx of forged $100 bills earlier this
year. FS

ROMANIAN EDUCATION MINISTER STILL OPPOSED TO HUNGARIAN
UNIVERSITY. Andrei Marga said in a press release on 30 July
that the debate on setting up a Hungarian-language
university in Transylvania has been "regrettably transformed
into a state problem." Marga said he is still opposed to the
idea and that "multi-culturalism", as promoted by the Babes-
Bolyai Cluj university when he was its dean has proved a
"viable solution" for meeting the requirements of ethnic
minority education. In an apparent response to the Hungarian
announcement that Budapest is ready to finance the
Hungarian-language university, Marga said that higher
education in Romania is in accordance with the decisions of
the parliament. He also said that no international
institution has stated it favors "educational separatism" in
Romania. MS

MOLDOVAN DISPUTE OVER BULGARIAN NUCLEAR WASTE TRANSIT. The
Moldovan government says it supports the Bulgarian request
to approve the transit of nuclear waste from the Bulgarian
Kozloduy plant to Russia via Moldova and Ukraine, but a
majority among the parliamentary deputies are opposed to
such an arrangement, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported on 30
July. Deputy Premier Nicolae Andronic said that the nuclear
waste accumulated at Kozloduy might "lead to a nuclear
disaster" at a site located only some 600 kilometers from
Chisinau. Environment Protection Minister Arcadie Capcelea
opposes the transit, saying it would be in breach of
Moldovan legislation. In other news, the parliament on 30
July approved the resignation of Prosecutor-General Dumitru
Postovan, submitted in early July. Parliamentary chairman
Dumitru Diacov submitted the candidacy of Chisinau
Prosecutor-General Valeriu Catana, but the proposal met with
opposition from the Democratic Convention of Moldova and the
Party of Democratic Forces. MS

BULGARIA OPPOSES KOSOVA INDEPENDENCE. President Petar
Stoyanov on 3O July said in Toronto that an escalation of
the conflict in Kosova might negatively impact on Bulgarian
reform, AP reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko
Vlaikov said the previous day that Bulgaria "shares the
views of the international community" about the need to
solve the conflict in Kosova, "including the granting of a
broad autonomy" to the region. "At the same time," he added,
"we agree with the international community that there can be
no question of granting independence," BTA reported. Vlaikov
said that the Kosova Albanians' demands for independence are
"indefensible" from the point of view of international law
and a "redrawing of borders is inadmissible." MS

BULGARIA, IMF REACH LOAN ACCORD. The IMF and the Bulgarian
government on 30 July reached a "general agreement" on a
three-year loan to Bulgaria, AP reported. The amount has yet
to be announced. Chief IMF negotiator Anne McGuirk told
journalists she hopes a memorandum of understanding will be
signed on 31 July. That memorandum will have to be approved
by the IMF board at its meeting in September. In other news,
Reuters reported on 30 July that Yordan Sokolov, chairman of
a parliamentary commission on crime and corruption, has
opened an investigation into Air Sofia. Sokolov said that
the investigation was necessary because of numerous
accidents in which the company has been involved and
accusations that Air Sofia was involved in a cigarette
smuggling scandal in April. MS

END NOTE

KLAUS-ZEMAN PACT COULD END CZECH INSTABILITY

by Juergen Herda

	The anger in some political circles over the agreement
between Milos Zeman's Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) of Vaclav Klaus is largely
unjustified. Many critics have nobody but themselves to
blame that the two rivals closed a deal allowing Zeman to
form a government with the toleration of his conservative
rival.
	As the head of the party that won the most votes in
the June elections, Zeman received a mandate from President
Vaclav Havel to form a government. The Social Democrat then
did everything in his power to try to form a workable
coalition with two smaller parties: Josef Lux's Christian
Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Freedom Union (US) of Jan Ruml
and Vladimir Mlynar. When it was clear that Lux would agree
to such a coalition, Zeman's hopes of forming a government
backed by a majority in the parliament hinged on the Freedom
Union. Ruml and Mlynar, however, turned down all his
proposals. Zeman had already gone out of his way to
accommodate the smaller parties by offering to give the
prime minister's job to Lux, four cabinet jobs to the Union
, and a veto right on all major issues to each of his two
coalition partners.
	The reason for the Freedom Union's stance was not--as
the party's leaders claimed--because of the party's
conservative ideological principles but rather because of a
miscalculation. The Union leadership expected that Zeman
would fail to form a government and that Havel would then
give Klaus the mandate to do so. That would open the way for
a revival of the former Klaus government, albeit with some
new faces around the cabinet table. But that did not happen,
and the Union leadership missed an opportunity to advance
its program through bargaining within a three-party
coalition in which Zeman had promised that all policies
would be negotiable.
	Once Zeman's efforts to cut a deal with the KDU-CSL
and the Freedom Union had failed, the leaderships of the
CSSD and ODS signed a document on 9 July, called the
Agreement on Establishing Stable Political Relationships in
the Czech Republic. The pact set down the basic rules for an
arrangement in which the CSSD would form a minority
government tolerated by the ODS.
	The deal gave Klaus's party the chairmanship of both
houses of the parliament plus a pledge that the two parties
would divide up legislative committee chairmanships among
themselves. The CSSD and ODS agreed in the interest of
political stability not to support a vote of no confidence
in the government and not to change coalition partners.
	The centerpiece of the agreement--and its most
controversial aspect--was a pledge to introduce
constitutional changes within one year. The most important
of these would be to replace the current electoral system,
which is based on proportional representation, with one
based on the principle of first-past-the-post. The leaders
of the ODS and CSSD noted that the results of the June vote
made it impossible to easily form a government backed by a
parliamentary majority and argued that the wrangling over
possible coalitions gave undue influence to the smaller
parties and to Havel. The changes, the ODS and CSSD
leaderships added, would give power only to those who win
the most votes.
	Lux and Ruml were naturally alarmed by this agreement,
which would mean that their parties could be completely shut
out of the parliament. And the new cabinet did not meet with
universal approval. Critics noted that the average age of
its members is rather high and that it contains no women.
The two most popular Social Democrats, namely Petra Buzkova
and Stanislav Gross, were not included in the government and
took prominent jobs in the parliament instead. The
president's office, in particular, raised objections to the
appointment of Jan Kavan as foreign minister on the grounds
that many suspect him of having had contacts with the former
Czechoslovak secret service during his years as a political
in exile in the U.K. Zeman, for his part, rejected all the
criticism and pointed out that there is no evidence against
Kavan that could lead to opening a court case against him.
	Supporters of the Zeman-Klaus pact, moreover, argue
that it will provide stability and hence facilitate the
processes of political and economic transformation and the
integration of the Czech Republic into Euro-Atlantic
structures. With a clear majority in the parliament, the two
ideological rivals will be able to join forces to tackle a
host of sensitive issues that no one party would want to
take on alone.
	Once they have instituted the planned constitutional
changes, the ODS and CSSD can end their agreement and call
new elections. Then the voters will be able to choose
between social democratic and conservative alternatives.
Pluralism will be served because different interest groups
will be able to advance their causes as factions within the
large parties, as is the case in the U.S. and other
countries with a two-party system. And the key to a healthy
democracy lies in a functioning arrangement of checks and
balances, not in the number of parties that sit in the
parliament.

Translated from the German by Patrick Moore.

The author is an editor of the weekly "Prager Zeitung" and a
writer on Central European political affairs.

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