To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 183, Part II, 22 September 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 183, Part II, 22 September 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

* UKRAINIAN NATIONAL BANK NOT TO USE RESERVES TO SUPPORT
HRYVNYA

* KOSOVAR MILITARY LEADER SLAIN IN TIRANA

* PLAVSIC CONCEDES ELECTION DEFEAT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN NATIONAL BANK NOT TO USE RESERVES TO SUPPORT
HRYVNYA. Ukrainian National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko
said at a cabinet meeting on 21 September that the bank has
no plans to use its hard-currency reserves to support the
hryvnya, Ukrainian Television reported. "Support for the
hryvnya is provided through limiting hard-currency operations
on the market and closing the interbank market," the station
quoted him as saying. Citing Russia's futile attempts to
support the ruble, Yushchenko added that the government has
not ruled out "administrative methods" to stave off the
financial crisis. He also announced that Ukrainian banks will
soon be ordered to make payments to a special compensation
fund for victims of possible bank bankruptcies. Ukrainian
Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko told the same cabinet meeting
that the government "should preserve the banking system, not
individual banks." JM

PUSTOVOYTENKO THREATENS CRACKDOWN ON DEBTORS. The Ukrainian
premier has said his government will crack down on
enterprises that delay paying off state credits, despite
having money on their accounts, Ukrainian Television reported
on 21 September. According to Pustovoytenko, some $150
million in state credits is due to be paid back by the end of
this year. He instructed the Prosecutor-General's Office and
the Interior Ministry "to work out measures oriented toward
repaying credits by enterprises." JM

MOROZ TO RUN FOR UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY IN 1999. Oleksandr
Moroz, leader of the Ukrainian Socialist Party and former
speaker of the Ukrainian Supreme Council, has announced that
he will run in the 1999 presidential elections, Ukrainian
Television reported on 21 September. The Socialist Party
Political Council has appealed to the left-wing, left-of-
center, and democratic forces to support Moroz as the "only
realistic alternative" to President Leonid Kuchma. UNIAN
reported that Moroz may be nominated by the Socialist Party
as its official presidential candidate at a party congress in
October. JM

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN TRADE DEFICIT NEARS $1 BILLION. According
to the Belarusian Ministry of Statistics and Analysis,
foreign trade in the first seven months of this year
increased by 11 percent, compared with the same period last
year, Belapan reported on 21 September. The foreign trade
deficit stood at $988.8 million. Belarus's main trade
partners are Russia (60.4 percent of total foreign trade),
Ukraine (7.4 percent), Germany (5.5 percent), and Poland (2.9
percent). JM

NO OMBUDSMAN FOR ESTONIA. Justice Minister Paul Varul told
journalists on 18 September that setting up the institution
of ombudsman cannot be justified economically because those
functions can be performed by the Office of the Chancellor of
Justice. Varul said that the chancellor of justice will
perform those functions after the government submits the
relevant bill to the parliament expanding the chancellor's
powers. He added that the bill has already been drawn up and
will be presented to legislators in the near future, ETA
reported. JC

LATVIAN WELFARE MINISTER TO CONTINUE WORK, FOR TIME BEING.
Vladimirs Makarovs has said he is prepared to continue his
work as welfare minister in order to ensure that the recently
adopted amendments to the pension law cause "minimum damage
to the Latvian public," BNS reported on 21 September. But he
noted that his decision whether to remain in office will
depend on what happens to the amendments, which if
implemented, he estimated, will result in a 31.5 million lats
($63 million) deficit in the social insurance budget.
Makarovs tendered his resignation last week, saying the
amendments are "unfeasible" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18
September 1998). Meanwhile, President Guntis Ulmanis has
returned the amendments to the parliament for further debate.
JC

LITHUANIA, GAZPROM TALKS POSTPONED. Talks between the
Lithuanian government and the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom on
constructing a natural gas pipeline have been postponed until
6 October, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 September, quoting an
official at the Lithuanian embassy in Moscow. Those
discussions had been scheduled for the start of this week
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 September 1998). The news agency
did not state the reason for the delay. The proposed pipeline
is to run from Minsk to Kaliningrad Oblast via Lithuania. JC

POLISH PREMIER SAYS GOVERNMENT KEEPS ELECTION PROMISES. In a
21 September television and radio address summing up the
first year of the Solidarity-led government, Jerzy Buzek said
his cabinet has built "the foundations of an efficient,
modern state." The Polish premier underscored that his
government has kept its election promises by undertaking
reforms in health care, pensions, education, and local
government. According to Buzek, nearly half of taxpayers'
money will remain in the hands of local governments after the
introduction of a new administrative system in 1999. He added
that the government wants to keep society informed about the
reform process through the media and leaflets. But he noted
that the government's television campaign promoting the
reform process is to be suspended until after the 11 October
local elections. "We do not want to sink [the government's
campaign] in the flood of political and party electoral
campaigning," he commented. JM

POLISH OFFICIAL URGES 'MASSIVE REDUCTION' IN RURAL WORK
FORCE. Agricultural Minister Jacek Janiszewski has urged a
"massive reduction" in the rural work force in order to
integrate its agricultural sector into that of the EU, PAP
reported on 21 September. He added that the people's
mentality is the main obstacle toward European integration
and that changing this mentality must involve journalists and
politicians who write and speak about agriculture. According
to Janiszewski, the introduction of a modern farming sector
in Poland requires cutting the rural work force from 27
percent to 5-7 percent of the total number of employees
nationwide. JM

ZEMAN MEETS KLIMA. During his first visit abroad as premier,
Milos Zeman, met with Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima in
Vienna on 21 September, AP reported. Klima expressed his
support for the Czech Republic's membership in EU, adding
that the issue of the Sudeten Germans should not be linked to
EU membership but rather should be resolved by bilateral
negotiations. The two premiers agreed to set up a joint
historical commission to examine issues of the past,
including the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans and
compensation for Czech forced laborers who worked for German
companies in Austria during World War II. Klima welcomed the
Czech initiative to set up an international commission to
examine the Czech nuclear power plant at Temelin, near the
Austrian border. Zeman also met with President Thomas Klestil
and National Assembly chairman Heinz Fischer. MS

SLOVAK TENSION MOUNTS BEFORE ELECTIONS. Interior Minister
Gustav Krajci told CTK on 21 August that the government has
taken measures to prevent provocations by the opposition,
adding that those measures include beefing up police patrols
with soldiers. Krajci said that he does "not rule out that
provocative actions could be launched by the opposition,
either at polling stations or in a different way," AP
reported. Opposition leaders say that the authorities may
launch a phony coup attempt or even an assassination attempt
against Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and then blame it on
the opposition in order to justify calling off the 25-26
September ballot, the agency said. The opposition daily "Sme"
wrote on 21 September that officials from the ruling Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia are pondering "whether to proceed
with regular elections or foil the polls under a fabricated
excuse" in view of the likelihood of an opposition victory.
MS

STARS' INVOLVEMENT IN ELECTION CAMPAIGN TRIGGERS CONTROVERSY.
As was to be expected, the Slovak press has taken a mixed
stand on the involvement of movie stars Gerard Depardieu and
Claudia Cardinale in the Slovak electoral campaign. The pro-
government "Slovenska Republika" on 21 September published a
photograph of Meciar and Depardieu waving to a crowd of
Meciar supporters at a rally in Kosice on 20 September.
Another photo showed Meciar laughing with Cardinale on a
Slovak television show the same day. The opposition daily
"Sme," meanwhile, carried several stories on the two actors'
visit, one of which was head-lined "Immorality and Wasted
Money for Stars." The tabloid "Novy Cas" slammed Cardinale
under the headline "Supposedly She Did Not Come for Political
Reasons," Reuters reported. The two stars' weekend visit
follows the controversial appearance with Meciar of German
photo model Claudia Schiffer on 10 September. MS

THREE NATO APPLICANTS MEET IN BUDAPEST. The defense ministers
of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary met in 21
September in Budapest and agreed to submit their NATO
membership ratification documents in Washington at the same
time, Hungarian media report. Vladimir Vetchy, Janusz
Onyszkiewicz, and Janos Szabo said their countries want to
join NATO ahead of next April's expected entry, pointing to
the "smooth progress of the ratification of NATO protocols."
They added that they want to see Kosova granted autonomy and
called for increasing international pressure on Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVAR MILITARY LEADER SLAIN IN TIRANA... Ahmet Krasniqi, a
top official in the self-styled Kosovar government in exile,
was murdered on 21 September, Reuters reported. Interior
Ministry spokesman Artan Bizhga said he was killed by
unidentified gunmen outside his home. Krasniqi was a top
military official in the Armed Forces of the Republic of
Kosova, the paramilitary organization loyal to "government-
in-exile premier" Bujar Bukoshi. PB

...WHILE TWO EXPLOSIONS SHAKE CAPITAL. The Albanian
Prosecutor-General's Office blamed opposition leader Sali
Berisha for a 21 September grenade attack at the Tirana home
of the prosecutor investigating last week's violence in the
capital, Reuters reported. In a statement, the office said
"chief terrorist Sali Berisha dare not think that we
prosecutors...will withdraw from the path of justice in
Albania." No one was injured in the attack. Also on 21
September, Albanian Television reported that an explosion
rocked the home of Vasil Melo, the chairman of the Albanian
Human Rights Protection Party, which serves the ethnic Greek
minority in Albania. There were no injuries in the blast. PB

ALBANIAN PREMIER PROMISES CHANGES. Fatos Nano said on 21
September that he will make changes in his government after
order is reestablished in the country in the wake of what he
called last week's "coup d'etat," AFP reported. Nano,
speaking on Albanian Television, failed to give details of
the changes to come but said they are "necessary." He added
that the authorities are working on restoring stability,
fighting crime, and improving the economy. PB

OPPOSITION RALLY CANCELED. A planned rally against the
government of Fatos Nano was called off on 21 September when
only a few hundred people showed up, Reuters reported. Former
President Berisha had promised to stage peaceful rallies
every day until Nano resigned. Berisha began talks the same
day with right-wing parties in an effort to get them to
boycott the parliament, as Berisha's Democratic Party has
done for the past three months. Fourteen parties announced
they have joined the "front against dictatorship." Teodor
Laco, head of the Social Democrat Union, said the only way to
force a change in government is to boycott parliamentary
sessions. The Albanian news agency ATA reported that Alfons
Zeneli, director of Radio Kontakt, and Ilir Zhilla, former
director of ATA, have been arrested on charges of aiding the
"armed uprising of 14 September." PB

UN ENVOY, MILOSEVIC DISAGREE ON DISPLACED REFUGEES. Jiri
Dienstbier, UN special envoy for human rights, said in
Belgrade on 21 September that he saw tens of thousands of
displaced ethnic Albanians during a 10-day tour of Kosova,
AFP reported. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, however,
said after meeting with U.S. envoy Christopher Hill the same
day that the "humanitarian catastrophe that we have been
hearing about is not based on reality." He insisted that
Serbian officials are providing tens of thousands of
displaced ethnic Albanians with food and shelter. Dienstbier
said he witnessed a "disproportional use of force" and that
Belgrade's goal appeared "not only to get the fighters of the
[Kosova Liberation Army] but to prevent the return of the
population to these areas." Dienstbier called for Belgrade to
declare an amnesty for ethnic Albanians not suspected of
committing war crimes. PB

UCK POLITICAL LEADER RESIGNS. Adem Demaci, the political
spokesman of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), said on 21
September that he is withdrawing from politics for health
reasons, Reuters reported. A statement said Demaci's health
has deteriorated, and doctors recommend that he "disengage
from all political activities for as long as possible."
Demaci, 68, spent 28 years in Yugoslav prisons as a political
prisoner. He has repeatedly voiced his opposition to a
negotiated settlement with Belgrade over the status of
Kosova. He is also the main political opponent of Kosovar
"shadow state" President Ibrahim Rugova. PB

PLAVSIC CONCEDES ELECTION DEFEAT. Bosnian Serb President
Biljana Plavsic has acknowledged losing her bid for
reelection to ultranationalist Nikola Poplasen, AP reported
on 21 September. Although final results of the 12-13
September vote are to be released later this week, many
Western officials involved in the election have indicated
that Poplasen is far ahead. Poplasen, leader of the
chauvinist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and an ally of
indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, said he will follow
the Dayton agreement "to the letter, nothing more and nothing
less." The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo warned Americans not to
travel through Serbian-controlled parts of Bosnia because the
"emotional tone of the political rhetoric" may "heighten
tensions in the area." The OSCE's Election Appeals
Subcommission issued a warning to Poplasen and Bosnian Serb
Premier Milorad Dodik for violating a pre-election media
blackout. The subcommission also disqualified nine SRS
candidates standing for the parliament. PB

SLOVENIAN OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT FARMERS. Emil Erjavec, a
member of the Slovenian EU negotiating team who is charge of
agriculture, said on 21 September that Slovenian farmers will
have a hard time competing as members of the EU, Reuters
reported. Slovenia began negotiations on joining the EU in
March and hopes to join by 2003. The Agriculture Ministry
said it will cost some $120-150 million in just the next two
years to bring Slovenian agriculture up to EU standards.
Erjavec said the parliament is expected to appropriate money
by the end of the year to finance improvements in the
agriculture sector. PB

ACCUSED CROATIAN WAR CRIMINALS GO ON TRIAL. Three Croats
alleged to have committed atrocities against Serbs in 1991
declined to enter a plea at their trial in Zagreb on 21
September, AP reported. It is the first time that Croats are
being tried in Croatia for atrocities against Serbs. The
three are charged--along with six others being tried in
absentia--with the abduction, extortion, and murder of
hundreds of ethnic Serbs in the Pakracka Poljana region,
southeast of Zagreb. PB

KAZAKH PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is on
a two-day visit to Romania, met with President Emil
Constantinescu, Prime Minister Radu Vasile and other
officials on 21 September, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. They discussed the TRACECA transport corridor and
the possibility of transporting Caspian oil to Europe via the
Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Last month, Kazakhstan
granted concessions to Romania for the exploitation of two
oil fields. Constantinescu and Nazarbayev signed an accord on
avoiding double taxation, a consular agreement, as well as
agreements on cultural collaboration and on consultation
between the two countries' Foreign Ministries. Nazarbayev
said that the two countries can learn from each other's
experience on reform. He emphasized that his country is
"neither part of the Soviet Union nor of Russia" and has not
been affected by the current Russian crisis. MS

TUDOR SAYS ETHNIC HUNGARIANS TO DECLARE TRANSYLVANIA
AUTONOMOUS. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist
Greater Romania Party (PRM), told the Senate on 21 September
that a report prepared by "one of [Romania's] secret
services" demonstrates that the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania (UDMR) will soon declare Transylvania's
territorial autonomy. He said similar reports in the past
were ignored by the presidential office and by the
government, according to Mediafax. The media recently carried
reports on a document signed by an ethnic Romanian from Cluj,
who called for Transylvania's autonomy and said he is "fed up
with Romania." He said he was making that call on behalf of
the Pro Transylvania foundation, but it later transpired that
the foundation has not been registered. Opposition parties,
including the PRM, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania,
and the Party of Romanian National Unity accused the
government of condoning plans aimed at the country's
"federalization." MS

FORMER BULGARIAN KING CALLS FOR NATIONAL UNITY. In an address
carried by BTA, former King Simeon II urged Bulgarians to
drop political and ethnic differences and work together to
establish democracy and a market economy as well as to fight
corruption and crime, AP reported. The address was delivered
on the occasion of the anniversary marking 90 years of
Bulgarian independence from Turkey, which had been declared
by Simeon's grandfather, Ferdinand. The anniversary was
recently restored as a public holiday by Bulgaria's
government, having been banned after the communist take over
in 1944. MS

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