The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become, different- to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses. - John Fischer
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 197, Part II, 12 October 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 197, Part II, 12 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

* UKRAINIAN BANK CHIEF TO BE FIRED?

* HOLBROOKE REACHES IMPASSE?

* OSCE BLASTS SERBIAN MEDIA POLICY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN BANK CHIEF TO BE FIRED? Following President
Leonid Kuchma's criticism of National Bank policies (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 9 October 1998), some Ukrainian
newspapers have suggested that National Bank Chairman
Viktor Yushchenko may be dismissed as a scapegoat for
the current financial crisis. Those rumors appear to be
corroborated by Supreme Council Chairman Oleksandr
Tkachenko's proposal that Yushchenko explain to the
parliament "why the hryvnya exchange rate is still
changing with regard to that damned dollar," "Segodnya"
reported on 10 October. "I think it is enough for the
National Bank to work without supervision," Tkachenko
added. "Den" suggested on 10 October that if Yushchenko
were dismissed, the parliament would likely order the
printing presses switched on to deal with the current
lack of cash in Ukraine. JM

UNICEF HEAD URGES UKRAINE TO ADDRESS AIDS ISSUE. Carol
Bellamy has said Ukraine must pay urgent attention to
the growing AIDS problem before it gets out of control,
Reuters reported on 10 October. The Ukrainian government
reports that the number of HIV cases grew from less than
500 in 1994 to 36,000 by mid-1998. Bellamy also added
that UNICEF is concerned about the fate of Ukraine's
estimated 160,000 children in state orphanages. UNICEF
pledges to raise $500,000 to improve conditions for
children in institutional care and another $500,000 for
children and mothers affected by the 1986 Chornobyl
nuclear disaster. JM

LUKASHENKA SAYS WEST WILL FIND IT 'VERY HOT' IN
YUGOSLAVIA. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has repeated his pledge to provide military assistance
to Yugoslavia if NATO uses force against it, Belarusian
Television reported on 9 October. "We have sufficient
capabilities to provide the Yugoslavs with most modern
arms to fight both missiles and aircraft," he said.
Lukashenka added, however, that he does not think "it
will go as far as a war" in Yugoslavia. In his opinion,
the West realizes that Yugoslavs will "desperately"
defend their country and that Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic cannot be intimidated. "It will be
very hot for the entire West," Lukashenka commented. He
added that NATO's next move may be directed against
Belarus. "Those gentlemen have become completely
unrestrained since the Soviet Union disappeared," he
said. JM

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS SERBS SEE LUKASHENKA AS
HERO. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry on 9 October
published a report saying that Serbs see the Belarusian
president as their hero, Interfax reported on 9 October.
According to the report, Lukashenka's pledge of military
help is viewed in Yugoslavia as a powerful psychological
boost. The ministry said hundreds of people have called
the Belarusian Embassy in Belgrade to praise "the nation
and the president who were the first to support their
Slavic brethren wholeheartedly." JM

ESTONIA TO WEATHER RUSSIAN CRISIS WITHOUT IMF LOAN.
Peeter Lohmus, vice president of the Bank of Estonia,
told the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank,
that Estonia will survive the financial crisis in Russia
without drawing on a $14 million support loan from the
IMF, ETA reported on 12 October. Lohmus stressed that
Estonia has not requested a loan from the fund for a
long time and there will be no need for one in the near
future. In other financial news, ERA Pank announced that
it has found an Estonian investor willing to put up some
80 million kroons (some $6.2 million). Last week, the
Central Bank suspended ERA Pank's license at the request
of the latter (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October 1998).
JC

LATVIA'S WAY TO STAND BY ITS CANDIDATE FOR PREMIER.
Transport Minister Vilis Kristopans has said that
Latvia's Way does not intend to give up its insistence
that he become prime minister of the next government,
BNS reported on 9 October. Speaking after talks between
his party, the Fatherland and Freedom party, the New
Party, and the People's Party, Kristopans said that
Latvia's Way can change its stance only if a party
congress decides to support another candidate. The
chairman of the Fatherland and Freedom party, Maris
Grinblats, has suggested that Latvia's Way find a
candidate who could win the support of a parliamentary
majority. Meanwhile, People's Party leader Andris Skele
told reporters on 9 October that coalition negotiations
should take place without "ultimatums about
personalities and posts." The next round of talks are
scheduled for 13 October. JC

POLES VOTE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS. Poles on 11
October voted to elect 63,676 deputies to provincial,
district, and communal councils in what is viewed as the
consolidation of the new local government system
introduced this summer. The number of provinces have
been cut from 49 to 16 and the powiat, a middle tier of
local administration, has been introduced, thereby
decentralizing power. Reuters reported that turnout was
rather small, with many Poles deterred from voting by
complicated voting rules (each voter had to cast five
ballots), confusion over the new powers given to local
government, and chilly weather. Final election results
are expected within one week. A survey in "Zycie" on 10
October suggested that the opposition ex-communist
Democratic Left Alliance will win control over nine of
the country's 16 regions. JM

POLAND MOVES CLOSER TO OPENING SECRET POLICE FILES? The
Senate, the upper house of the parliament, voted 60 to
23 with one abstention on 9 October to approve a bill on
access to communist-era secret service files (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 1998). At the same time,
the Senate rejected an amendment by President Aleksander
Kwasniewski to allow universal access to the files. The
bill stipulates that only those who have been harmed by
the files be granted access. Former secret service
officers will therefore be unable to view the files. PAP
on 9 October reported that Kwasniewski's lawyer said the
president is unlikely to sign the bill into law. JM

CZECHS, HUNGARIANS LOOK TO BRING SLOVAKIA BACK INTO
FOLD. During talks on 9 October, Czech President Vaclav
Havel and Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi
agreed of the need to help get Slovakia included into
the first group of European integration, CTK reported.
Havel and Martonyi said closer cooperation among the
Visegrad Four--Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and
Slovakia--should resume. Czech Premier Milos Zeman also
promoted the idea of upgrading Bratislava's status in
the eyes of Western institutions during meetings with
Martonyi the same day. And he proposed that Slovenia be
added to the group. PB

HAVEL OPENS FORUM 2000 IN PRAGUE. Havel on 11 October
opened Forum 2000, the conference that he founded, with
a speech that focused on the globalization of the
world's economy, culture, and politics, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng,
former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Israeli
chief rabbi Meir Lau, former Polish dissident Adam
Michnik, and U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton are
scheduled to attend the second annual conference. PB

SLOVAK DAILY CALLS RULING PARTY'S EFFORTS A 'WASTE.'
After being snubbed by all but one of the political
parties elected to the new Slovak parliament, the
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has been
unsuccessful in its attempts to form a cabinet, "Pravda"
wrote on 12 October. HZDS party head and outgoing
Premier Vladimir Meciar entrusted Jan Smerek to
negotiate with other parties in an attempt to form a
coalition. But all parties, except the chauvinist Slovak
National Party, have turned down overtures from the
HZDS. "Pravda" commented that Meciar's efforts to drag
out the process of forming a new government is a last-
ditch attempt to have a strong showing in local
elections next month. PB

NATO ASKS HUNGARY FOR USE OF AIR SPACE. NATO has
formally asked Hungary to make its air space available
in the event of a military operation against Yugoslavia,
Hungarian media reported on 12 October. Prime Minister
Viktor Orban said he discussed the issue with both U.S.
President Bill Clinton and Defense Secretary William
Cohen during his trip to the U.S. last week. Orban said
he made it clear that granting such a request is
conditional on NATO guaranteeing Hungary's security in
the event of Yugoslav retaliation. An extraordinary
session of the parliament on 13 October will vote on
NATO's request. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HOLBROOKE REACHES IMPASSE? U.S. special envoy Richard
Holbrooke said in Belgrade on 12 October that four days
of "very difficult...and at times very heated" talks
with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic have led to
"no change" and that the "situation is still extremely
serious." Holbrooke stressed that the key problem is how
to set up a "fully verifiable compliance system."
Observers suggested that Holbrooke, Milosevic, and
Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova, with whom
Holbrooke met briefly in Prishtina on 10 October, have
reached fundamental agreement on restoring broad
autonomy to Kosova and on a three-year transition
period, after which the parties concerned will decide
the province's final status. The central issue
reportedly is that Holbrooke and the Kosovars insist on
the presence of international monitors, possibly
including NATO troops, to verify that Serbian
paramilitary police have left the province and ensure
that they do not return. Milosevic rejects that demand.
PM

NATO AMBASSADORS TO MEET. NATO officials are scheduled
to meet in Brussels on 12 October to decide on whether
to issue an "activation order" for military intervention
against Serbia. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
told CNN previous day that Milosevic should have no
doubt that NATO is united in purpose and ready to use
force and that it is "not dithering." Holbrooke
originally wanted NATO to agree on issuing the
"activation order" before 10 October in order to
increase his diplomatic leverage over Milosevic, Reuters
reported. The government crisis in Italy and the need to
coordinate policies between Germany's outgoing and
incoming governments led to a delay in a decision by the
alliance until two days later. PM

OSCE BLASTS SERBIAN MEDIA POLICY. The OSCE issued a
statement in Vienna on 9 October sharply criticizing the
Serbian government's decision to ban domestic stations
from rebroadcasting foreign programs in Serbo-Croatian,
including those of RFE/RL (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9
October 1998). The statement noted that the banned
programs include those of broadcasters who "objectively
inform millions of people around the world." The next
day, Serbian government officials told the staff of
Belgrade's independent Radio Index to cease broadcasting
immediately. News Editor Katarina Spasic said that "we
will find a way to resume broadcasting, even if we have
to use a mobile van." She added that the authorities are
trying to exert "political pressure" against independent
media. Elsewhere, Sandzak Muslim spokesmen told Reuters
on 11 October that many Muslims fear attacks by Seselj's
paramilitaries and have begun to flee to Bosnia. PM

MONTENEGRO URGES CAUTION ON NATO. Montenegrin President
Milo Djukanovic told U.S. special envoy Robert Gelbard
in Podgorica that NATO should not launch air strikes
against Serbia lest innocent people be killed, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported on 9 October. Montenegrin
officials and Serbian independent media have recently
urged NATO not to intervene militarily, saying that they
fear there would be civilian casualties and Milosevic
would have an excuse to crack down on his domestic
political enemies (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October
1998). In other news, Montenegrin delegates boycotted
talks between Yugoslavia and Croatia in Belgrade on 9
October because the Yugoslav authorities refused to
include on the agenda the opening of a border crossing
between Montenegro and Croatia at Debeli Brijeg (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 October 1998). Croatian spokesmen
in Belgrade said that they regretted the absence of the
Montenegrins. PM

ALBANIA OFFERS NATO AIR SPACE, TERRITORIAL WATERS.
Albania's government issued a statement on 11 October
putting its air space and territorial waters at the
disposal of NATO through the end of 1998 for any
military operations against Serbia. Albania had
previously offered only its military infrastructure--
including military bases, airports and ports--for NATO
operations. In other news, the Foreign Ministry the
previous day issued a statement saying that federal
Yugoslav troops penetrated 50 meters into Albanian
territory on 8 October at Dobrun, near Kukes. FS

POPLASEN DEFIES WEST. Republika Srpska President Nikola
Poplasen said in a letter to Gelbard on 10 October that
it is not necessary for Bosnian Serbs to distance
themselves from Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav
Seselj remarks implicitly threatening NATO troops in
Bosnia if the alliance launches air strikes against
Serbia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 9 October 1998).
Poplasen added that Seselj's remarks are a matter for
only Serbia and the U.S. to discuss. Poplasen's party is
the Bosnian branch of Seselj's Serbian Radical Party.
Poplasen added that he will ask the international
community's Carlos Westendorp to reverse his recent
decision to lift the parliamentary mandate of Dragan
Cavic, who had said that NATO air strikes against Serbia
would be an attack on Serbs everywhere and that Serbs
should react accordingly. Poplasen argued that
Westendorp does not have the authority to oust Cavic. PM

WESTENDORP AGAIN WARNS BOSNIANS. On 9 October in
Sarajevo, Westendorp said in a statement that Bosnian
officials of all ethnic groups should avoid
"inflammatory statements" in conjunction with possible
NATO air strikes against Serbia. He added that
"statements or reactions by any official [aimed at]
inciting citizens to violence will not be tolerated by
the international community. [Bosnian officials']
primary concern should be to respect the letter and the
spirit of the Dayton agreement and to ensure that a
climate of peace and stability is maintained." Elsewhere
in the Bosnian capital, a spokesman for SFOR warned that
the peacekeepers "will not hesitate to take any
appropriate measures to deter or prevent a resumption of
hostilities." The previous day, an SFOR spokesman said
that peacekeepers made Bosnian Serb air defense systems
inoperative long ago in keeping with the terms of the
Dayton agreement, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

UN POLICE DEMAND SACKING OF HERZEGOVINIAN. A spokeswoman
for the UN-sponsored International Police Task Force
said in Sarajevo on 9 October that IPTF Commissioner
Richard Monk has written to Herzegovinian police
official Valentin Coric to insist that he fire Stanislav
Buntic as police commissioner of Capljina. Monk also
called for Buntic to face criminal charges. The IPTF
holds Buntic responsible for recent violence by Croatian
police against three Muslims, including two policemen,
who tried to intervene when Croatian extremists attacked
returning Muslim refugees (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5
October 1998). PM

BIGGEST MASS GRAVE TO DATE UNEARTHED. Forensic experts
said in Glumina near Zvornik in eastern Bosnia on 9
October that they have uncovered the largest known mass
grave of the Bosnian war. The grave may hold up to 300
bodies of Muslim civilians, which are well preserved in
plastic bags bearing the markings of the Yugoslav army.
The victims are most likely those of local Muslim
civilians killed during the 1992 Serbian ethnic
cleansing campaign. Forensic experts will soon begin
trying to identify some of the bodies on the basis of
fingerprints. PM

CROATIAN PUBLISHER DROPS CONTROVERSIAL BOOK. The
government-funded Matica Hrvatska cultural foundation
stopped plans "at the last minute" to publish Branko
Matan's "Homeland is a Difficult Question," Reuters
reported from Zagreb on 11 October. Matan charged that
Matica is afraid of losing financial support from the
authorities if it publishes his book, which paints an
unflattering portrait of Croatia's role in the 1992-1995
Bosnian war. In other news, Croatia and the Vatican
signed an agreement on 9 October according to which the
government will seek to return or provide compensation
for Church properties confiscated by the Communists. PM

ALBANIA GETS NUDGE FROM U.S. The State Department on 11
October issued a statement warmly congratulating newly
elected Prime Minister Pandeli Majko. The statement
stressed that the new government has "an important
opportunity for tangible achievements on the serious
political and economic problems facing Albania,
including public order, corruption, and developing a
fuller political dialogue among all constructive
Albanian political parties." It also urged the
"Democratic Party and...others continuing to
pursue...destructive practices to renounce once and for
all calls for violence and instability." FS

SERBS IN ROMANIA THREATEN VIOLENCE FOR NATO COOPERATION.
Romanian President Emil Constantinescu announced on 11
October that Romania has agreed to allow NATO limited
access to the country's air space in the event of air
strikes against Yugoslavia, Reuters reported.
Constantinescu said NATO planes can fly over Romania
"for emergency and unforeseen situations." He said the
decision will be submitted to parliament the following
day for approval. Constantinescu said that while
Bucharest supports the "steps envisaged" by NATO,
Romania cannot "take any direct part in military
action." On 9 October, Glisic Gioca, the vice president
of the Serb Union of Romania, was quoted as saying that
the Serbian community in Romania will take it upon
itself to "blow up the airport [in Timisoara]" if the
government allows NATO planes to land there, Rompres
reported. PB

ROMANIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER PRAISES HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN
TIES. Andrei Plesu praised the strong relationship
between Bucharest and Budapest, saying it is recognized
internationally as an exemplary model of bilateral
cooperation, MTI reported on 11 October. Plesu was
interviewed by the Hungarian news agency ahead of a
Hungarian-Romanian intergovernmental committee meeting
in Budapest on 13-14 October. Plesu said he is pleased
that the Hungarian government allowed the Hungarian
Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to make its own
decisions about participating in the Romanian
government. He added that the UDMR's role in governing
the country serves as a bridge in relations between the
two countries. PB

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT OPPOSES NATO INTERVENTION. Petru
Lucinschi said on 10 October that the crisis in Kosova
should be solved peacefully and without military action
on the part of NATO forces, AP reported. Lucinschi, in
Bucharest for a one-day visit, made his comments after a
meeting with his Romanian counterpart Emil
Constantinescu. PB

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS APPROVAL OF NATO REQUEST.
Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov said on 11
October that a government decision approving NATO's
overflight request violates the Bulgarian Constitution,
dpa reported. The decision to allow NATO forces to use
Bulgarian air space in the event of military action
against Yugoslavia came at an emergency cabinet meeting
on the night of 10-11 October. Parvanov argues that such
a decision can be made only by the parliament. Bulgaria
will ask NATO to guarantee its national security in the
event of Yugoslav retaliation. PB

U.S. FIRST LADY ANNOUNCES GRANT SUPPORT IN SOFIA.
Hillary Clinton announced on 11 October that $15 million
will be given to support the development of civil
society in the Balkans, AP reported. Clinton made the
announcement in a speech on the role of women in the
next century. About $6 million of that sum is earmarked
for Bulgaria. PB

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