You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 162 Part II, 24 August 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 162 Part II, 24 August 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

* YUSHCHENKO SAYS NO FURTHER DEVALUATION OF HRYVNYA

* ALBANIAN POLICE ARREST FORMER GOVERNMENT MINISTERS

* SERBS LAUNCH DRIVE ACROSS SOUTHWEST KOSOVA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

YUSHCHENKO SAYS NO FURTHER DEVALUATION OF HRYVNYA. Ukrainian
National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has said last week's
devaluation of the hryvnya to 2.243 to $1 was a "sufficient
reaction to the decline of the Russian ruble," Ukrainian News
reported on 22 August. He pledged to keep the official
exchange rate of the hryvnya below the previously announced
upper limit of 2.250 to $1. He also stressed that Ukraine's
banks are solvent, despite the fact that most banks curtailed
financial operations last week. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime
Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko called for urgent talks with
CIS government heads to work out a "common position" on the
financial crisis in Russia, Interfax reported on 21 August.
JM

KUCHMA SPEAKS WITH U.S. SENATOR LUGAR ON DISARMAMENT...
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with U.S. Senator
Richard Lugar in Kyiv on 23 August to discuss U.S. assistance
to Ukraine's nuclear disarmament program. Kuchma noted that
U.S. funds to assist Ukraine in destroying missile silos are
being transferred "on time," but he complained that the money
allocated for recultivating the land around the former silos
is not, AP reported. Lugar, who along with Senator Sam Nunn,
initiated a U.S. aid program to former Soviet republics to
eliminate their nuclear arsenals, pledged continued economic
aid to Ukraine and praised Kyiv for its support of the recent
U.S. attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan. JM

...WITH IMF HEAD CAMDESSUS ON $2.2 BILLION LOAN. IMF Managing
Director Michel Camdessus told Kuchma in a telephone
conversation on 22 August that he expects the IMF to soon
approve a $2.2 billion loan to Ukraine, AP reported.
Camdessus assured the Ukrainian president that the fund
supports Ukraine's economic reforms. The IMF loan is widely
expected to stabilize Ukraine's financial market in the wake
of Russia's financial crisis. JM

BELARUS SAYS U.S. ANTI-TERRORIST STRIKES MAY ESCALATE
VIOLENCE. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has said that U.S.
strikes against terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Sudan "may
escalate violence, bring new victims, and spiral new
terrorist actions," ITAR-TASS reported on 22 August. The
statement stresses that Belarus has condemned the recent
terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. At the same time,
the statement reads, Belarus "deems it inadmissible to
unilaterally use military force in combating terrorism
without appropriate authorization by the United Nations." JM

LUKASHENKA TO SKIP UN SESSION, NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT FORUM.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has announced that
he is too busy to attend the 53rd session of the UN General
Assembly in New York, which will open on 9 September, ITAR-
TASS reported on 22 August. He also said he will not
participate in a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement
Countries scheduled for Durban from 29 August-3 September.
Previously, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry announced that
Lukashenka will deliver a "fundamental report" at the UN
session (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 1998). JM

LATVIAN WAR CRIMES SUSPECT INDICTED. Prosecutors on 21 August
indicted 75-year-old Vasily Kononov for killing one man and
issuing orders to kill eight other persons suspected of
cooperating with the Nazi occupying forces during World War
II. Kononov was the leader of a Red Army partisan unit in
1944 when he allegedly committed the crimes. He was arrested
earlier this month and faces a maximum sentence of life
imprisonment if convicted. JC

RIGA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER RUSSIA'S FAILURE TO INFORM ABOUT
MANEUVERS... Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs told BNS
on 22 August that Russia's failure to inform Estonia and
Latvia of a paratroops training exercise in Pskov Oblast,
which borders on the two Baltic States, is "not in keeping
with the spirit of mutual trust proposed by Russia." He added
that "Russian President Boris Yeltsin some time ago made a
proposal that Russia would inform the Baltic states of major
military maneuvers staged near their borders." At the same
time, Birkavs said he understands the necessity of such
exercises in principle. "Latvians are a peaceful nation.
We're just keeping an eye on developments," he commented. JC

...AS DOES VILNIUS. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry on 21
August protested the fact that it had not received advance
warning of Russian Baltic Fleet maneuvers in which new anti-
aircraft missiles were used, BNS reported. The Foreign
Ministry said it was "regrettable" that the Russian navy had
not informed the Lithuanian authorities about a practice
launch the previous day of its S-300 PS missiles. Russian
military experts believe the new weapon closely resembles the
U.S. Patriot missile but is less expensive to manufacture.
The Russian Baltic Fleet is based in the exclave Kaliningrad.
JC

POLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC BACK U.S. ATTACKS ON TERRORIST BASES.
During their meeting in Warsaw on 21 August, Polish Foreign
Minister Bronislaw Geremek and his Czech counterpart, Jan
Kavan, expressed "understanding" for U.S. attacks on
terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Sudan, PAP reported on 21
August. Geremek said the attacks are an "expression of the
will not to leave terrorism unpunished." Kavan added that the
U.S. reaction is "understandable" in view of the recent
terrorists attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. The ministers, who
met on the 30th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion of
Czechoslovakia, discussed the issues of joining NATO, seeking
EU membership, regional cooperation, and bilateral relations.
JM

POLAND 'ASTONISHED' AT KOHL'S REMARKS ON RETURN OF EXPELLEES.
Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Pawel Dobrowoski has said
his ministry is astonished at German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's
remarks on German expellees, Polish Radio reported on 21
August. In a statement following talks with Expellees' Union
leader Erika Steinbach on 21 August, Kohl said that as part
of joining the EU, Poland and the Czech Republic will have to
follow the letter and spirit of EU treaties and allow the
return of ethnic Germans expelled after World War II, dpa
reported. "Poland supports the principles the chancellor
spoke about--that is, freedom to move within the united
Europe and the right to settle--but it cannot accept a
proposal of return," Polish Radio quoted Dobrowolski as
saying. According to dpa, German opinion polls show that only
a "tiny minority" of the 12 million expellees would consider
returning to their former homes. JM

CZECHS MARK 1968 INVASION ANNIVERSARY... Prime Minister Milos
Zeman on 21 August condemned the leaders of the 1968 reform
movement, who, he said, embarked on "the slippery path of
collaboration and betrayal" following the Soviet-led invasion
of Czechoslovakia. Zeman and Dagmar Havlova, who represented
her ailing husband, laid wreathes in memory of those who died
while trying to defend the building of the Czechoslovak
Radio. In other news, the doctors treating President Vaclav
Havel said he is to remain in hospital for at least one more
week, CTK reported on 21 August. MS

...AS DO SLOVAKS. A commemorative ceremony was held in
Bratislava on 21 August at the grave of Alexander Dubcek, the
leader of the Czechoslovak Communist Party at the time of the
1968 Soviet-led invasion, CTK reported. The ceremony was
attended by Dubcek's son Pavol, opposition politicians,
Russian diplomats, and the deputy speaker of the Czech
parliament, Petra Buzkova. Buzkova described Dubcek as a
"symbol of the struggle for human rights and democracy."
Slovak government officials boycotted the gathering. MS

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTRY 'CONCERNED' ABOUT DAM DISPUTE.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Milan Tokar on 20 August said
Bratislava is interested in improving its relations with
Hungary but that such improvement depends on respect for
"obligations stemming from The Hague International Court of
Justice ruling" on the dam dispute between the two
countries." Tokar said that the Slovak government had a
"fruitful dialogue" with the previous Hungarian government
and that experts representing the two sides reached
"agreement" on the implementation of the court's ruling.
Tokar expressed concern that "recent statements" by Hungarian
Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi offer "a different
interpretation of the ruling." He added that "it looks as if
somebody wants to fabricate problems and complicate matters,
and this is not the Slovak side." MS

HUNGARY'S ARMED FORCES SUSPEND FIGHTER JET PURCHASE. Prime
Minister Viktor Orban told journalists on 22 August that the
current economic situation will not allow Hungary to purchase
new combat jets. Chief of Staff General Ferenc Vegh said
Hungary is postponing the announcement of a tender for the
purchase of new military aircraft until 2003, when the army
intends to buy 30 new fighters for some $1 billion.
Meanwhile, meeting with leaders of ethnic Hungarian
organizations beyond Hungary's borders on 20 August, Zsolt
Nemeth, state secretary at the Foreign Ministry, announced
that a summit of the leaders and representatives of those
organizations will take place later this year. Orban said at
that meeting that he "cannot comprehend" the termination of
Hungarian-language broadcasts on Slovak Television. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN POLICE ARREST FORMER GOVERNMENT MINISTERS...
Albanian police arrested six officials appointed by former
President Sali Berisha on 23 August: Defense Minister Safet
Zhulali, Interior Minister Halit Shamata, the head of the
anti-corruption agency Blerim Cela, the deputy head of the
secret service Bujar Rama, Vlora police chief Sokol
Mulosmanaj, and army General Kreshnik Lusha. Prosecutor-
General Arben Rakipi's office issued a statement charging the
six with crimes against humanity in conjunction with their
alleged roles in suppressing unrest in spring 1997. The
statement added that the Prosecutor-General's office accuses
them of ordering the use of chemical weapons, airplanes, and
helicopters against civilians. If found guilty, the six could
face life sentences in prison. All are members of the
opposition Democratic Party. Berisha said on 23 August that
the arrests are politically motivated and aimed at
intimidating the opposition. FS

...AND ISLAMISTS. In Tirana on 21 August, police arrested 10
foreigners, at least some of whom are Arabs, in a round-up of
suspected Islamist terrorists. Police seized communications
equipment, bullet-proof vests, weapons, and forged documents.
Albanian authorities also launched an investigation of the
Arab-Albanian Islamic Bank in Tirana last week as part of a
broader investigation of suspected Islamist terrorist
activities, dpa reported on 22 August. The measures followed
the arrests of suspected Egyptian terrorists the previous
month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 August 1998). Meanwhile,
U.S. embassy guards on 23 August shot and killed an Albanian
policeman after the man tried to climb over the wall
surrounding the ambassador's residence. An Interior Ministry
spokesman told Reuters that the policeman had fired shots at
the guards when they tried to stop him. FS

MACEDONIAN, ALBANIAN PREMIERS WORK FOR STABILITY. Macedonian
Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and his Albanian
counterpart, Fatos Nano, agreed in Skopje on 23 August to
work to maintain peace within each country as well as between
them. About 23 percent of Macedonia's population consists of
ethnic Albanians, many of whom consider themselves oppressed.
Crvenkovski and Nano also discussed the situation in Kosova
with U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill.
Crvenkovski told AP that the crisis in Kosova has caused
widespread concern and that Macedonia and Albania have "most
reasons [of any countries] to worry." Nano said: "We are here
to defend the stability of...Macedonia and...Albania,
and...we have support from Europe and the U.S.." The previous
day, at the close of NATO maneuvers in Tirana, Nano said that
Belgrade is conducting a "scorched-earth" policy in Kosova.
He added that Albania wants NATO to intervene there to stop
the "Serbian war machine." FS

SCHUESSEL SAYS PROSPECTS FOR INTERVENTION DIM. Austrian
Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, who is the current EU
chairman, said in Vienna on 23 August that the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) "has not been smashed. They simply ran
away [in the face of the Serbian offensive] and will return."
Schuessel added that international "military intervention at
the moment is not very probable." Austria is neither a member
of NATO nor a candidate to join. PM

KOHL WEIGHS POSSIBLE INTERVENTION. In Bonn, German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl said on 23 August that "winter [in the Balkans]
can start as early as mid-October, while maybe more than
100,000 people are still seeking refuge in the forests and
mountains and a humanitarian catastrophe looms. We must
therefore act as quickly as possible--first and foremost the
UN Security Council" must take action. Kohl spoke by
telephone with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 22 August
but failed to persuade the Russian leader to end his
opposition to intervention. In view of Russia's attitude,
Kohl said the question of NATO intervention without UN
approval is "open to review...if it means saving hundreds of
thousands of lives," Reuters reported. PM

SERBS LAUNCH DRIVE ACROSS SOUTHWEST KOSOVA. Serbian forces on
23 August began a massive artillery attack on several towns
and villages controlled by the UCK on the road to Prizren,
southwest of Prishtina. The paramilitary police directed
their main assaults against the regions of Suhareka and
Shtime, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported.
Artillery fire could be heard in Prishtina, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Meanwhile near Rahovec, a Serbian
journalist and his driver "disappeared" on 21 August, the
Belgrade daily "Danas" wrote three days later. And in
Prishtina, the Kosova Information Center, which is close to
shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's moderate Democratic
League of Kosova, reported on 23 August that UCK members
"captured" two high-ranking League officials in the Malisheva
region. PM

'REPUBLIKA SRPSKA MODEL' FOR KOSOVA? Zarko Rakcevic, who is
president of the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro, said
in Podgorica that the Kosovars should receive the same degree
of autonomy within Yugoslavia as the Republika Srpska enjoys
within Bosnia-Herzegovina. He stressed that, for Social
Democrats, no one people is "worth more than the others, and
all peoples must enjoy equality before the law," "Danas"
wrote on 24 August. Rakcevic added that his party opposes
"ethno-centric projects," including Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic's call for "all Serbs in one state" as
well as Albanian nationalist demands for a greater Albania.
The Social Democratic leader said that Milosevic is
responsible for preventing a negotiated solution because his
policies have led to political polarization in Kosova. PM

PLAVSIC SAYS BELGRADE PROTECTS CRIMINALS. Republika Srpska
President Biljana Plavsic said in an interview that the
Yugoslav authorities refuse to hand over any suspected
criminals living in Serbia or Montenegro to officials of the
Republika Srpska, "Oslobodjenje" wrote on 24 August. She
added that the recent murder of a Bosnian Serb police
official loyal to her was an attempt by hard-liners to
obstruct her crackdown on crime (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10
August 1998). PM

MUSLIMS RETURN HOME TO HERZEGOVINA. Some 500 Muslims returned
to their pre-war homes in Capljina on 22 August as part of a
pilot project sponsored by the international community to
enable Muslims, Serbs, and Croats alike to retake possession
of their homes in the ethnically tense region. No incidents
were reported. In previous attempts by Muslims to go back to
their homes in the area, some Croats attacked returning
Muslims and damaged the Muslims' property. PM

ANOTHER ROMANIAN JOURNALIST IMPRISONED. A journalist from the
northwestern town of Baia Mare has begun serving a 10-month
jail sentence for libel, AP reported, citing Mediafax. Cornel
Sabou was convicted in April, fined 500,000 lei ($57), and
ordered to pay 300 million lei in damages for a series of
articles accusing a local judge of forgery and of using her
position to peddle influence at local level. Sabou did not
attend the trial because he was convinced that the case would
be dismissed. The lawyer representing Sabou said on 22 April
that he intends to take his case to the European Commission
for Human Rights. Earlier this month, a similar case was
reported from the northeastern town of Iasi (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 6 August 1998). MS

ROMANIAN ROMA PROTEST THREATS BY TUDOR. An umbrella
organization representing Romania's Romani communities have
protested statements made on 16 August by Senator Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist Greater Romania Party,
Mediafax reported on 22 August. The Convention of Cooperation
of Romani Associations said that if the authorities do not
condemn Tudor's declarations, the Roma will "undertake self-
defense actions." It also said Tudor's declarations are an
"incitement to racial and ethnic hatred." Tudor had
threatened to "deport and isolate" those members of the Roma
community who "refuse integration..., do not want to work,
and live from stealing." MS

MOLDOVAN PREMIER TELLS CITIZENS TO 'AVOID POLITICS.' Ion
Ciubuc, speaking on a live radio program on 22 August, called
on Moldovans not to "join any political movement" but to
"concentrate instead on your regular work" and "let the
government solve the most pressing questions" facing the
country, BASA-press reported. Ciubuc said the government
plans to pay off 1 billion lei (about $ 21 million) in
pension arrears, of which 32 million lei will be paid in cash
and the rest in foodstuff and goods. Contradicting earlier
statements by Moldovan officials, Ciubuc said the ruble
devaluation in Russia has so far resulted in a loss of 100
million lei for Moldova. The official rate of the Moldovan
leu has dropped from 4.75 to $1 on 1 August to 4.77 on 22
August. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT STILL INTENDS TO VISIT MOSCOW.
Presidential spokeswoman Neri Terezieva on 23 August told
ITAR-TASS that President Peter Stoyanov is not planning to
postpone his visit to Russia scheduled for 27-29 August,
despite the dismissal of the Russian cabinet. Stoyanov on 19
August told Reuters that he hopes the visit will "at last put
uneasy relations...on a new footing." Stoyanov said that he
does not see Russia "as only a huge market for Bulgarian
goods" but as a country with which Sofia "can develop ties in
every walk of life." While Bulgaria's "irreversible choice"
is to adhere to NATO and the EU, this "should not stand in
the way of improved relations" with Moscow, he said. MS

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