Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 190, Part II, 1 October 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 190, Part II, 1 October 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* LUKASHENKA, PRIMAKOV CALL FOR STRONGER BELARUS-RUSSIA UNION

* MORE REPORTS OF ATROCITIES IN KOSOVA

* BERISHA BLASTS MAJKO
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

LUKASHENKA, PRIMAKOV CALL FOR STRONGER BELARUS-RUSSIA UNION.
On his first trip abroad as Russian prime minister, Yevgenii
Primakov met with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
in Minsk on 30 September and proposed strengthening the two
countries' strategic partnership. "It is time to move from
words to deeds," Interfax cited Primakov as saying. The two
leaders agreed to convene the Belarusian-Russian Union
Executive Committee on 16 October. The meeting will focus "on
reaching concrete results instead of exhibitionism," Primakov
commented. Lukashenka commented that Belarus "has always been
and [always] will be with Russia" and that other former USSR
republics are bound to join the Belarusian-Russian Union.
"The people will make it happen," he added. For his part,
Primakov said "the number of supporters willing to join the
union will grow as its economic efficiency becomes evident."
JM

LUKASHENKA PRAISES PRIMAKOV'S GOVERNMENT. After his meeting
with Primakov, Lukashenka said he is 'highly satisfied with
the work of Yevgenii Primakov's government," Interfax
reported. He said he is confident that Primakov's government
will stabilize the situation in Russia. And he noted that
Belarus will do its best to help Russia overcome its economic
problems. Primakov said Russia faces no political crisis,
only "social and economic tension." He added that Russia is
"on the threshold of economic reforms and changes that must
benefit the people." But he commented that the government
needs to have a tighter grip on regulating the economy. "This
is not a step back but rather forward towards transforming
the economy, including market-based change, but with a
strengthening of state regulation," Reuters quoted Primakov
as saying. JM

BELARUS MAY RECEIVE RUSSIAN LOAN, PAY FOR GAS BY BARTER.
Primakov and Lukashenka agreed in Minsk to "try to prepare"
two accords for the 16 October session of the Belarusian-
Russian Union Executive Committee, Interfax reported. Citing
an unnamed official from Primakov's delegation, the agency
reported that one accord will grant a loan to Belarus with
which it can buy Russian engines for Belarusian trucks. The
other will permit Belarus to pay off its gas debt to Russia
with goods. Belarus's debt for Russian gas deliveries
currently stands at some $220 million. JM

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS 1999 DRAFT BUDGET. The Supreme
Council on 30 September rejected the government's 1999 draft
budget as "unacceptable," Ukrainian Television and Ukrainian
News reported. Lawmakers instructed the cabinet to draft a
new budget that would take into account the recent fall of
the hryvnya exchange rate and higher inflation. Finance
Minister Ihor Mityukov agreed that the budget was unrealistic
because it was prepared on the basis of economic indicators
in June and July, well before the current crisis hit the
country. In particular, the document provided for 19.2
billion hryvni ($5.7 billion) in revenues and 22.9 billion
hryvni in expenditures, with a budget deficit equal to 0.6
percent of GDP. Mityukov said the cabinet will seek to submit
a new draft budget by mid-October. JM

UKRAINE TO BUY MORE GAS FROM RUSSIA. Ukraine plans to buy an
additional 5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia this
year, Ukrainian Television reported on 30 September. Ihor
Bakay, head of Ukraine's gas and oil monopoly Naftohaz
Ukrayiny, said a number of Ukrainian enterprises will have no
gas supplies in the last quarter of 1998 unless the purchase
is made. According to AP, the government wants to pay for
half of the gas in cash, while the form of payment for the
other half is under consideration. JM

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT ON ILVES'S RESIGNATION. Lennart Meri has
issued a statement saying that he regrets the resignation of
Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves in the current
situation, ETA reported on 30 September. "Estonia [currently]
needs consistency in foreign politics, on the one hand, in
the constructive creation of relations with Russia, which is
in the middle of an economic and political crisis, and on the
other hand in developing relations with the EU," Meri
commented. At the same time, he acknowledged that Ilves and
his People's Party had appeared to be "in a rather ambiguous
situation as it is impossible to be in opposition and in
government at the same time." Ilves submitted his resignation
on 30 September explaining that he did not have the full
support of the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Mart Siimann
must decide whether to accept Ilves's resignation within one
month. JC

CAR EXPLODES IN RIGA. A car exploded in downtown Riga in the
early hours of 1 October, BNS reported. One person was
injured in the blast. Criminal police chief Aloizs Blonskis
is quoted by the news agency as saying the cause of the
incident is not yet known. He added that there were no traces
under the vehicle that are usually left from explosives.
General elections and a referendum on amendments to the
controversial citizenship law are scheduled to take place in
Latvia on 3 October. JC

LITHUANIAN CONSERVATIVES OPPOSE BUTKEVICIUS'S IMPEACHMENT.
The Conservative parliamentary group has said it will not
support launching impeachment proceedings against
parliamentary deputy Audrius Butkevicius, who is currently in
jail awaiting trial on charges of attempted large-scale
fraud, BNS reported on 30 September. The faction argues that
under parliamentary statutes, such proceedings cannot be
launched if criminal charges are being brought against the
defendant. In this connection, it cites a clause in the
statutes stating that parliamentary deputies can either give
permission for the arrest of a deputy suspected of committing
a crime or launch impeachment proceedings in the parliament.
The Conservatives say they will seek other ways to speed up
Butkevicius's trial. JC

EU PUBLISHES 'GLOOMY' REPORT ON POLISH FARMING. Two weeks
before starting preliminary negotiations on agricultural
issues with Poland, the EU has published a "gloomy" report on
the Polish agricultural sector, "Gazeta Wyborcza" reported on
1 October. According to the EU study, Poland has 2.04 million
farms, but only 300,000 of them are larger than 10 hectares
and yield enough money for further development. The average
yearly income of a family farm in Poland is 2,500 ecus
($2,137) compared with some 17,500 ecus in the EU. The
agricultural sector accounts for only 6 percent of Poland's
GDP, despite the fact that it involves 26.7 percent of the
population. The EU report, however, concludes optimistically
that Poland's farming will conform with EU standards, but
"gradually, without rapid changes." JM

POLISH COURT ORDERS RETRIAL FOR 1981 MARTIAL LAW KILLINGS.
The Polish Supreme Court on 30 September ordered the retrial
of 22 riot policemen charged with killing nine miners who
took part in sit-in strikes under martial law in December
1981. In November 1997, the Provincial Court in Katowice said
the evidence was inadequate and acquitted 11 policemen; the
other 11 were found guilty of using weapons but went
unpunished under the statute of limitations. Prosecutors
appealed the verdict, which caused widespread public
discontent in Poland. The Supreme Court cited procedural
mistakes in the original trial as a reason for relaunching
legal proceedings. JM

ALBRIGHT REJECTS SUGGESTION TO SUCCEED HAVEL. The daily
"Mlada Fronta" on 30 September quoted State Department
spokesman Lee McClenny as saying Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright was "very pleased" that Vaclav Havel had suggested
that she succeed him as Czech president (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 September 1998). But McClenny added that
Albright "already has a job she likes very much and she is
not looking for another job," AP reported. MS

MECIAR SAYS HE WILL RESIGN. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar,
in an interview on Slovak television on 30 September,
conceded defeat in last week's general elections and said he
will resign as premier on 27 October. He also said he will
not be seeking any post in a future cabinet, which, he said,
would be formed by a coalition of the parties now in
opposition, RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau reported. Earlier on
30 September, Foreign Minister Zdenka Kramplova submitted her
resignation, Reuters reported, citing TASR. No reason for her
decision was mentioned, and Kramplova was unavailable for
comment. MS

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTIES END INITIAL TALKS. The two leading
opposition parties have completed the first round of talks on
forming a new government, Reuters reported on 30 September.
The right-leaning Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) and the
Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) said they are determined
to cooperate in forming the new coalition and will continue
talks, but no concrete results will be announced before 6
October. SDK leader Mikulas Dzurinda said the two parties
have "decided to work together on a government program and a
program for coalition cooperation." SDL chairman Jozef Migas
said his party is ready to talk with Vladimir Meciar's
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia "only about the transfer
of power." He said the next Slovak government is going to be
one of "truth, safety, and normal relations for the citizens
of Slovakia." MS

U.S., EU ON SLOVAK ELECTION RESULTS. Commenting that the
recent Slovak elections reflect "a clear desire" for change,
State Department Spokesman James Foley on 30 September urged
all concerned to make the transfer of power "orderly and
expeditious," an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported.
Also on 30 September, European Commission spokeswoman
Lousewies van der Laan said the commission is "pleased" with
the strong showing by the opposition in the recent elections
but cannot reward Slovakia by accelerating talks for its
membership in the EU. Van der Laan said that the commission
"will be looking for concrete steps from Slovakia to improve
its human rights record," and she singled out Hungarian
minority rights as well as general democratic rights. MS

CORRECTION: "RFE/RL Newsline" of 30 September incorrectly
identified Jan Langos as deputy chairman of the Party of the
Democratic Left. Langos is the former chairman of the
Democratic Party and currently deputy chairman of the Slovak
Democratic Coalition.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ENDS U.S. VISIT. "Hungary is not
seeking to bring forward the date of NATO expansion but
welcomes all moves that point in that direction," Janos
Martonyi told Hungarian media on 30 September after returning
from New York. He said he agreed with U.S. Under Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott that "the normal pace of events" will be
followed in NATO expansion, which, he added, is "more of a
technical issue than a political one." Martonyi also welcomed
the outcome of the Slovak election, saying that if the
opposition succeeds in setting up a new government, it will
be "a decisive development" both domestically and for
Slovakia's Euro-Atlantic integration. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MORE REPORTS OF ATROCITIES IN KOSOVA. Foreign diplomats are
investigating reports of a recent massacre of Kosovar males
at Golubovac, "The New York Times" wrote on 1 October. "The
Guardian" reported that Serbian police and Yugoslav armed
forces tricked refugees into returning to Vraniq on 27
September. The Serbs then killed some of the refugees,
arrested some 300 males, and looted and destroyed the
refugees' vehicles, the London daily wrote. The reports of
atrocities emerged one day after eye-witness accounts of the
killing of 18 Kosovar civilians at Obrinje (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 30 September 1998). PM

SERBS DENY KILLINGS TOOK PLACE. Referring to the reports
about Obrinje, a Serbian police spokesman said in Prishtina
on 30 September that the massacres "could not have happened."
He added that this is because paramilitary police officials
send him reports on their activities and he has no record of
such killings. In Belgrade, the state-run Tanjug news agency
called the Obrinje story a "foreign media farce." PM

BRITAIN 'READY TO ACT' ON KOSOVA. In Blackpool on 1 October,
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the BBC that "Britain is
ready to act [militarily].... It's beginning to look like the
only language [Yugoslav] President [Slobodan] Milosevic will
listen to is the threat of force." The previous day, he said
of the Obrinje killings: "this was not an act of war. It was
plain cold murder.... NATO is now ready to act. Milosevic
would be making a big mistake if he did not recognize the
revulsion across Europe at this latest atrocity." PM

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS KOSOVA. Cook telephoned his U.S.
and EU counterparts on 30 September and then announced that
the UN Security Council will meet on 1 October to discuss
Kosova. That body is unlikely to take any firm steps for at
least one week, however, until Secretary-General Kofi Annan
issues a report evaluating whether Milosevic has met demands
by the international community regarding the Serbian
offensive in Kosova. "The New York Times" suggested on 1
October that France as well as Russia may oppose any calls
for NATO military intervention. In Moscow, State Duma Speaker
Gennadii Seleznev said that any NATO intervention could lead
to a "real war" between the alliance and Yugoslavia and to a
crisis in NATO-Russian relations. PM

BROAD CONDEMNATION OF OBRINJE KILLINGS. Top officials of the
U.S. State Department and its counterparts in Canada,
Austria, France, and Italy have condemned the murders. A
State Department spokesman on 30 September said that the
Obrinje reports indicate the "brutality" that the Serbian
authorities are capable of using against their own citizens,
while Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy noted that the
"Serbian police...are decimating the civilian population."
Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a
Foreign Ministry statement that in view of the "bestial
situation of this massacre, certainly the killing of women
and children, a delegation of international experts must
conduct an investigation." The French Foreign Ministry noted
in a statement that Paris "again stresses the seriousness of
the situation and confirms that all options, including
military ones, remain open." An Italian Foreign Ministry
statement said that "there can be no justification" for the
murders. PM

NATO STILL 'MAKING PREPARATIONS.' In Bonn, the outgoing
cabinet on 30 September agreed that Germany will supply 14
aircraft and 500 military personnel for any NATO intervention
in Kosova. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said the "the
clock is ticking" for possible NATO strikes against Serbian
military targets. But other unnamed Pentagon officials told
AP that military intervention is not imminent. One source
argued that, after NATO aircraft attack Serbian anti-aircraft
batteries, "you can go after the tanks, but then the Serb
forces can hide in the mountains." The official also warned
that NATO intervention could endanger the lives of displaced
persons in Kosova. In Brussels, an unnamed NATO official told
Reuters that any decision to intervene will first require a
"good, objective assessment of the situation on the ground."
PM

SERBIAN MEDIA CONFERENCE POSTPONED. In Belgrade on 30
September, conference organizers announced the postponement
of a symposium on media freedoms slated for 2 October in the
Serbian capital. The reason for the decision was that the
Serbian authorities refused to issue visas to foreign
participants, independent Radio B-92 reported. Elsewhere,
Milosevic met with Republika Srpska President-elect Nikola
Poplasen and the new Serbian representative on the Bosnian
joint presidency, Zivko Radisic, to discuss future
cooperation between Belgrade and the Bosnian Serbs.
Throughout Serbia, most electricity supplies was temporarily
cut off by an earthquake that measured 5.7 on the Richter
scale. Its epicenter was in Valjevo, but it was felt as far
away as Montenegro and Banja Luka. Many Serbs mistook the
earthquake for NATO air strikes, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

GARROD WARNS HERZEGOVINIANS. In Mostar on 30 September, a
spokesman for the international community's Sir Martin Garrod
charged local Croatian authorities with having "done nothing"
to enable Serbian refugees return to their homes in Rastane.
The spokesman also said that local Croatian media are
discouraging any refugees from going back to homes in areas
controlled by other nationalities, "Oslobodjenje" wrote. In
Zagreb, a representative of the European Commission said that
Croatia can join the PHARE aid program only after it changes
its electoral law and opens up state-run television to
opposition points of view, according to "Jutarnji list."
Elsewhere, representatives of Croatia's three largest
railroad unions agreed to work together in collective
bargaining with management, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. And in Rijeka, "Novi List" called President Franjo
Tudjman's recent declaration of his assets a "farce." PM

BERISHA BLASTS MAJKO. In Tirana, Prime Minister-designate
Pandeli Majko said on 30 September that he hopes to have his
cabinet list drawn up by the end of the following day.
Opposition leader and former President Sali Berisha told
2,000 supporters that Majko is only a "puppet" of former
Prime Minister Fatos Nano and that the new cabinet will be a
"terrorist government." Berisha added that the Democrats want
President Rexhep Meidani to appoint a caretaker government in
order to organize new elections. In Washington, a State
Department spokesman called on Albanian leaders to "address
the political polarization that has characterized [political
life in Albania] over the past year." In Brussels, OSCE
officials announced that 23 countries and eight international
organizations have set up a "forum" called "Friends of
Albania" to provide political and economic assistance aimed
at promoting reform in that country. PM

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OFFERS COMPROMISE TO ETHNIC HUNGARIAN
PARTY. The government on 30 September announced it will set
up a "multicultural" university with tuition in Hungarian and
German, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The new
university is to be named "Petofi-Schiller" and supervised by
the Ministry of Education. Bela Marko, chairman of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), said the
decision shows the government's "intention to solve the
crisis." The UDMR's Operative Council said later that the
party's Council of Representatives will decide at its 5
October meeting whether to accept the compromise offer. The
council had earlier announced that the party will leave the
coalition if the university dispute is not solved by 30
September. MS

LUCINSCHI-SMIRNOV SUMMIT POSTPONED. A summit meeting between
President Petru Lucinschi and separatist leader Igor Smirnov
scheduled for 1 October in Tiraspol was canceled by the
Transdniestrian side just hours before it was due to start,
Infotag reported on 30 September. The two leaders were to
have discussed bilateral economic relations,. But the
separatist authorities said the meeting had been "poorly
prepared," and they blamed Chisinau for failing to produce
necessary documentation at the previous summit meeting in
June and at the 22 September meeting at government level. In
other news, Lucinschi and the head of the OSCE mission to
Moldova, John Evans, met on 29 September and urged that
negotiations on the status of the separatist region be
resumed, the independent Flux agency reported on 30
September. MS

ORTHODOX LEADERS TRY TO END CONFLICT WITHIN BULGARIAN CHURCH.
Heads of Orthodox Churches from several countries met in
Sofia on 30 September to discuss ways of overcoming the
schism within the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The pan-Orthodox
convention is chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I,
the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, AP reported.
Since 1991, the Bulgarian Church has been split between
supporters of Patriarch Maxim, who served as Church leader
under the communist regime, and Pymen, whose followers
seceded that year and proclaimed him patriarch in 1996.
Patriarch Maxim subsequently declared that Pymen had been
expelled from the Church. Pymen's supporters accuse Maxim of
serving the secret police under communism. MS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
listmanager@list.rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 23 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE
Broadcast Studio. http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble via
email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Jolyon Naegele, Fabian Schmidt, Matyas
Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole