What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 195, Part II, 8 October 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 195, Part II, 8 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

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Headlines, Part II

* U.K. IMPOSES VISA REGIME ON SLOVAKS

* CLINTON WARNS MILOSEVIC

* SERBIAN AUTHORITIES BAN REBROADCASTING
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

TKACHENKO PLEDGES SUPPORT TO YUGOSLAVIA IN KOSOVA CRISIS.
Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko told the
Yugoslav ambassador to Ukraine on 7 October that Ukraine will
give Yugoslavia "material and moral support" in the Kosova
crisis, Interfax reported. "If the Yugoslav government
appeals to us with such a request, we will offer help,
despite our difficulties," Tkachenko said. He added that
Ukrainians oppose the use of military force in Yugoslavia,
irrespective of any decisions by NATO or the UN Security
Council. He added that the recent statement by a Foreign
Ministry official that Ukraine "unconditionally supports" the
UN decision on Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October 1998)
does not reflect the Foreign Ministry's stance. Ukrainian
Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko, who is currently in
Washington, has said his government sides with Russia in
opposing the use of force in Yugoslavia, dpa reported on 7
October. JM

UKRAINIAN WORKERS SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH RUSSIAN PROTESTERS.
Thousands of Ukrainian workers and hard-liners demonstrated
on 7 October to show support for protests in neighboring
Russia and to demand the resignation of President Leonid
Kuchma, AP reported. The largest demonstrations were in Kyiv
(1,000 people), Donetsk (6,000), and Kharkiv (1,000). The
Independent Trade Union Federation sent a letter to Russian
President Boris Yeltsin and Russian labor activists saying
that Ukrainians have been hit hard by the Russian economic
crisis and can understand the demands of the Russian
protesters. Meanwhile, at a meeting with Justice Ministry
officials on 7 October, Kuchma said Ukraine will overcome the
current crisis. He accused various political groups of
exploiting the country's difficulties and called upon them
"to sit down at the negotiating table" with the executive,
Interfax reported. JM

POLL SAYS HALF OF BELARUSIANS 'BARELY MAKE ENDS MEET.' A poll
conducted by the Scientific Research Economic Institute under
the Belarusian Ministry of Economy from 15 August to 15
September shows that 49 percent of Belarusians "barely make
ends meet," Belapan reported on 7 October. Of the
respondents, 7 percent said they have "incurred debts," 9
percent "are forced to use their savings," while 29 percent
are able to save "a little bit" of money. Price hikes are
expected by 87 percent of the respondents, and 47 percent
believe that prices will increase even more steeply than to
date. JM

ESTONIAN CENTRAL BANK HAS SPECIAL RESERVE TO HELP SMALL
BANKS. Chairman of the Central Bank Council Mart Sorg said on
7 October that the Central Bank has 2 billion kroons ($154
million) in reserve that could be lent to small banks to
improve their liquidity, ETA reported. At the same time, Sorg
noted that granting such a subsidy is a "political decision
that may or may not happen." Recently, the Central Bank has
intervened to help several commercial banks (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 5 and 7 October). Justice Minister Paul Varul, who
is currently standing in for ailing Prime Minister Mart
Siimann, said on 7 October that the Central Bank's "decisive
actions" are in line with the government's conservative
economic policy. JC

THREE PARTIES REACH PRELIMINARY COALITION AGREEMENT...
Latvia's Way, the Fatherland and Freedom party, and the New
Party have agreed on the intention to form a new government
headed by Transport Minister Vilis Kristopans of Latvia's
Way, BNS reported on 7 October. Latvia's Way Chairman Andrejs
Pantelejevs told reporters a verbal accord had been reached
that could form the basis for further talks on a government
coalition. The combined number of the three parties' mandates
in the 100-strong parliament would be 46. Fatherland and
Freedom party Chairman Maris Grinblats said his party would
like to see the People's Party, which won the recent general
elections, participate in the new government. Pantelejevs
noted that Latvia's Way could cooperate with the Social
Democrats if latter does not make demands inconsistent with
his party's liberal economic policy. JC

...WHILE PEOPLE'S PARTY MAKES OWN PROPOSAL. The People's
Party is proposing that Latvia's Way and the Fatherland and
Freedom party cooperate with it to form a new government
coalition, BNS reported on 7 October. "It's only natural that
the government should be formed by those parties that were
supported by the most Latvian citizens," the party said in a
statement. It added that the government should be formed on
the basis of "common ideological positions rather than
personal views or ultimatums." According to the official
preliminary results of the 3 October elections, the People's
Party will have 24 seats in the new government. JC

POLISH PREMIER, DEFENSE MINISTER DIFFER OVER NATO ACTION IN
KOSOVA. Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek told the commercial
Radio Zet on 7 October that Poland is ready to take part in a
NATO operation in Kosova. Polish Defense Minister Janusz
Onyszkiewicz believes, however, that NATO does not expect
Poland to send any military units. Onyszkiewicz told the
commercial Radio PLUS the same day that Poland knows the
plans for NATO's intended action in Kosova and that they
envisage using only air units from current NATO member
states. JM

ZEMAN MEETS WITH SOLANA. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman
discussed the possibility of Prague's early entry into NATO
with Secretary General Javier Solana in Brussels on 7
October, CTK reported. Zeman said Solana is happy "to
welcome...a relatively boring nation without internal
conflicts" as a future NATO member. He said no date has been
set for the country's entry into the alliance. Solana said he
is satisfied with how the Czech Republic is integrating its
structures in accordance with NATO guidelines. Foreign
Minister Jan Kavan, Defense Minister Vladimir Vetchy, and
Deputy Prime Minister Egon Lansky accompanied Zeman. PB

CZECH GOVERNMENT AGREES TO RFE/RL BROADCASTS TO IRAQ. The
Czech cabinet said on 7 October that RFE/RL can proceed with
broadcasts to Iraq, Reuters reported. A government spokesman
said that for security reasons, a "suitable location" for the
editorial offices of Radio Free Iraq will have to be found.
The government had earlier voiced opposition to plans for the
broadcasts, while President Vaclav Havel said it is up to
RFE/RL to decide in which languages and to which countries it
broadcasts. The previous Czech government approved plans for
RFE/RL to begin broadcasts to Iran. Both services are slated
to start this fall. PB

CZECH SKINHEADS SENTENCED. A district court in the city of
Tabor sentenced three skinheads convicted in the drowning
death of a Romany youth in 1993 to prison sentences ranging
from 7-8.5 years, CTK reported. PB

U.K. IMPOSES VISA REGIME ON SLOVAKS. Owing to the increased
number of Roma applying for asylum in the U.K., London on 7
October announced that from now on Slovak citizens will need
a visa to enter the U.K., TASR reported. Home Secretary Jack
Straw said the move is necessary to stop the abuse of the
asylum system. Some 1,600 Roma have entered the U.K. this
year seeking asylum. Former Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol
Hamzik said that London's decision is "wrong" and
"complicates relations" between the two countries at a time
when Slovakia is trying to remodel itself before beginning
discussions on NATO membership. Some opposition politicians
blamed Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar for failing to create
the economic conditions to keep the Roma in Slovakia. PB

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS CLINTON. After meeting with
U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House, Viktor Orban
told reporters that he is the first Hungarian prime minister
to arrive in the U.S. as an "ally," Hungarian media reported
on 8 October. Clinton said he is deeply impressed by the new
Hungarian government's program, and he praised Hungary's
"energetic economic policy." Orban emphasized that Hungary no
longer belongs to the Russian economic sphere, nor is it
affected by the Russian crisis. He also raised the issue of
the U.S. lifting visa requirements for Hungarians. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CLINTON WARNS MILOSEVIC. U.S. President Bill Clinton said in
Washington on 7 October that Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic runs the risk of NATO air strikes against Serbia
unless he fully meets the demands of the UN Security Council.
The president added: "I believe it is absolutely imperative
that there be a cease-fire, a withdrawal of troops, that the
humanitarian groups get access to these hundreds of thousands
of people who have been displaced, and that negotiations
resume.... The most important thing we can do is work with
the Russians to try to actually avoid military strikes by
securing [Milosevic's] compliance. If he does that, if he
completely complies, he doesn't have to worry about military
force.... I do not believe the United States can be in a
position, and I do not believe NATO can be in a position, of
letting tens of thousands of people starve or freeze to death
this winter because Milosevic didn't keep his word." PM

DIPLOMATIC DEAD-END ON KOSOVA? U.S. special envoy Richard
Holbrooke arrived in Brussels on 7 October to brief Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright and NATO leaders on his talks
with Serbian and Kosovar leaders during the previous two
days. He met with Milosevic three times but did not secure an
agreement to end the crisis in Kosova. The Yugoslav leader's
office issued a statement saying that "threats" against
Serbia only make the crisis worse. U.S. officials in
Washington noted that Serbian forces are "digging in for the
winter" in Kosova, despite Milosevic's repeated assertions
that they have withdrawn. Russian Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov is scheduled to meet with Milosevic in Belgrade on 8
October before the Russian diplomat travels to London for
talks with the other foreign ministers of the international
Contact Group countries. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana
told CNN on 8 October that air strikes could be only "days"
away. PM

GEREMEK SAYS OSCE NOT TO SEND MISSION TO KOSOVA. Polish
Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, who is also the OSCE
rotating chairman, said on 7 October that the OSCE will not
send its mission to Kosova, PAP reported. That statement
followed Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic's
invitation the previous day to send an OSCE mission to the
province. Geremek said Jovanovic's proposal was
"disappointing. It is hard to see a minimum of good will on
the part of the Yugoslav authorities behind this proposal,"
he added. JM

SERBIA PREPARES FOR AIR STRIKES. The Serbian air force has
begun shoring up its anti-aircraft defenses, including
Russian SAM-6 air defense systems, and has dispersed its
planes throughout the country, U.S.-based ABC Television
reported on 7 October. The air force's MiG-29s have been
placed in special hardened bunkers, and reservists have
received call-up notices. State-run television has begun
broadcasting patriotic songs and programs aimed at generating
enthusiasm for the war tax that the government recently
announced (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 1998). Shoppers
have begun stockpiling basic food stuffs, and shortages have
appeared in supermarkets for the first time since the Bosnian
war ended in late 1995, Euronews Television reported on 8
October. PM

SERBIAN AUTHORITIES BAN REBROADCASTING... Serbian Deputy
Prime Minister Milovan Bojic and Information Minister
Aleksandar Vucic told the editors-in-chief of independent
radio and television stations in Belgrade on 7 October that
"public information services in conditions of immediate war
must adapt their behavior" accordingly and not spread "fear,
panic and defeatism" (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 7 October 1998).
Bojic added that "this is not an appeal, this is an order."
He said that the authorities will soon issue a formal ban on
the rebroadcasting of programs of RFE/RL, VOA, the BBC, and
Deutsche Welle. PM

...WHILE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS PROTEST. After the meeting
in Belgrade on 7 October, the Association of Independent
Electronic Media (ANEM) issued a statement, in which it said
that "such orders represent the most dramatic form of state
censorship in Serbia and direct intolerable interference into
editorial policy of the media. Therefore, they should be
considered...unconstitutional and illegal." In a second
statement, ANEM charged that the police have recently
harassed independent journalists. Meanwhile in the Vojvodina
town of Velika Kikinda, Interior Ministry troops arrested
Zoran Milesevic, the editor-in-chief of independent Radio
Velika Kikinda, on the grounds that he is a reservist and
that the army "needs somebody to drive ammunition trucks" to
Kosova, Radio B-92 reported. PM

SERBS FIRE ON ALBANIAN TROOPS. An Albanian Interior Ministry
spokesman told the ATA news agency on 7 October that federal
Yugoslav soldiers fired at an Albanian border patrol on
Albanian territory the previous day. The Albanian forces did
not return fire and no one was injured in the incident, which
took place in the village of Borje, near Kukes. Albania
called a meeting of the joint Yugoslav-Albanian border
commission to investigate the shooting. FS

ALBANIAN PREMIER UNDERLINES SUPPORT FOR NATO ACTION...
Pandeli Majko, whose government faces a formal vote of
confidence on 8 October, told the parliament the previous day
that "our government supports any actions of the
international community and NATO that would lead to a
peaceful solution of the conflict in Kosova." Majko stressed
that Albania "is threatened with [Serbia's dragging it into a
conflict], which might take on regional proportions." He
added that his government will make plans for accommodating
refugees during the coming winter. FS

...PLEDGES TO RESTORE LAW AND ORDER. Majko told the
parliament on 7 October that his government's top priority is
fighting organized crime, corruption, and smuggling. He
pledged to hold a referendum next month on a new constitution
and stressed that he seeks to work with the opposition. Majko
called on the Democratic Party to stop boycotting the
parliament. (As he spoke, the Democrats were holding a rally
outside to demand new elections.) With regard to the economic
sphere, Majko said that inflation will be below10 percent and
GDP will grow by 7-8 percent by the end of this year. He
added that the 1998 budget deficit will amount to 6.6 percent
of GDP and that the government aims to cut it to 3.2 percent
by 2001. Majko also pledged to create 35,000 new jobs by
year's end and 50,000 in 1999 as well as increase efforts to
attract international financial aid. FS

BOSNIAN JOINT PRESIDENCY MEETS. The three members of the
newly elected presidency agreed in Sarajevo on 7 October to
hold their future meetings in that city rather than alternate
the sessions between it and the Serbian-held suburb of
Lukavica. This was the first meeting of that body, which
consists of the Muslim Alija Izetbegovic, Serb Zivko Radisic,
and the Croat Ante Jelavic. Meanwhile in Banja Luka, some 500
people protested against NATO plans to launch air strikes
against Serbia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION URGES PRESIDENT TO REPORT ON NATION. A
letter has been sent to Emil Constantinescu requesting that
he deliver a state of the nation address to the parliament,
Rompres reported on 7 October. The letter, initiated by the
opposition Alliance for Romania and the Romanian National
Unity Party, was signed by some 130 parliamentary deputies.
It states that Constantinescu owes it to "the Romanian
people" to give them details and answers to the "serious
problems" the country now faces. PB

ROMANIAN EDUCATION MINISTER AGAINST HUNGARIAN-LANGUAGE
UNIVERSITY. Andrei Marga told his Hungarian counterpart,
Zoltan Pokorni, that there will be no university instruction
in Hungarian in Romania, MTI reported on 6 October. Marga
made that comment during the World Higher Education
Conference in Paris. Pokorni said further details on Marga's
position are required to determine if the opinion is that of
the minister or of the government. The Romanian government
approved a resolution last week allowing for the
establishment of a Hungarian- and German-language university,
to be called Petoefi-Schiller. PB

MOLDOVA TO REDUCE FORCES IN TRANSDNIESTER SECURITY ZONE.
Moldova has decided to unilaterally reduce the number of
peacekeepers in its contingent in the Transdniestrian
security zone, Infotag reported on 7 October. The Moldovan
delegation of the Joint Control Commission said in a
statement that the move was a "step of goodwill." It said
that over the next week, 82 soldiers and six armored vehicles
would be moved out of the zone, which is guarded by Moldovan,
Russian, and Transdniester forces. PB

STOYANOV CONCERNED ABOUT KOSOVA. Bulgarian President Petar
Stoyanov said on 7 October that Sofia must be "very careful"
in the way it reacts to the situation in Kosova, Reuters
reported. During a visit to a military unit near Sofia,
Stoyanov said that he is concerned that the events in
Yugoslavia could negatively influence "the situation in our
countries." He said Bulgarians should not "panic." Colonel-
General Mikho Mikhov, the commander of the army's General
Staff, said the Bulgarian army has not been put in an
increased state of combat readiness because of the situation
in Kosova. PB

BULGARIA TO EXPORT WHEAT TO RUSSIA. Stoyan Alexandrov, head
of Bulgaria's Central Cooperative Bank, said on 7 October
that some 500,000 tons of wheat will be exported to Russia
this year, AP reported, citing "Trud." Alexandrov said the
quantity represents Bulgaria's entire wheat surplus for 1998.
Just two years ago, Bulgaria had to import wheat, but
liberalized prices and the increased private ownership of
farms have increased production. PB

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