Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 209, Part II, 29 October 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 209, Part II, 29 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

* SLOVAK PARTIES SIGN COALITION AGREEMENT

* KOSOVARS RETURN AS SERBS LEAVE

* PARTY QUITS RULING ROMANIAN COALITION, ALLIANCE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KYIV ORDERS DEBT PAYMENTS FROM DEBTORS' BANK ACCOUNTS.
The Ukrainian National Bank has ordered commercial banks
to transfer money from foreign currency accounts of the
companies that owe money to the government, AP reported
on 28 October, citing the "Fakty" daily. The banks were
told to pass on the money to the state budget and the
pension fund as soon as tax authorities notify them
which companies are debtors. The order applies to both
state-run and private companies. According to the daily,
banks refusing to obey the order will face sanctions
from the National Bank. As of August, there were more
than 100,000 debtor companies in Ukraine, owing more
than 8 billion hryvni ($2.3 billion) to the central and
regional budgets and 3 billion hryvni to the pension
fund. JM

BELARUS READY TO ALLOW EVICTED AMBASSADORS BACK AT
DRAZDY? Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich told
national television on 27 October that Belarus is ready
to discuss the return of Western ambassadors to their
residences at Drazdy, near Minsk, from where they were
evicted in June. Antanovich was commenting on Belarus's
invitation to Turkish Ambassador Shule Soysal to return
to her fully renovated residence at Drazdy (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 23 October 1998). "If other ambassadors came
and asked questions now, then we would be able to hold
talks with them as well," Reuters quoted Antanovich as
saying. Japan's charge d'affaires in Belarus told
Reuters that the offer is "absolutely unclear" and that
the evicted diplomats still demand that "Drazdy's
previous status" be restored. JM

BELARUS WANTS TO BROADEN TIES WITH RUSSIAN REGIONS.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Tomsk
Oblast Governor Viktor Kress in Minsk on 28 October that
Belarus would like to broaden cooperation with the
Russian regions by establishing contacts with regional
groups, in particular with the Siberian Agreement group,
headed by Kress, Interfax reported. Lukashenka added
that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had "at last
reacted very positively" to Belarus's contacts with
Russian regions. Belarusian Television suggested that
Yeltsin's response may have been prompted by
Lukashenka's support to Yeltsin during the Belarusian
president's recent visit to Kemerovo and Omsk Oblasts
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1998). JM

BELARUSIAN LAWYER WARNED AGAINST SPREADING INFORMATION.
The Minsk City Collegium of Lawyers has warned Vera
Stremkouskaya about the "undesirability of disseminating
professional information through international
organizations" and has advised her "to be correct while
giving interviews," Belapan reported on 28 October. The
Justice Ministry has threatened to disbar Stremkouskaya,
who is a prominent lawyer and human right activist in
Belarus, for what it called her distorted briefing on
the human rights situation in Belarus during her recent
trip to the U.S. (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October
1998). Stremkouskaya told Belapan that following the
warning her activity will now be "under special control"
and that "any trivial reason may be used for her
disbarment." JM

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS 1999 DRAFT BUDGET...
Lawmakers on 27 October voted by 38 to 36 to reject the
government's draft budget for 1999, ETA reported. Many
parliamentary deputies had criticized the draft, which
provided for a budget volume of 18.451 billion kroons
($1.4 billion), as overly optimistic, particularly with
regard to revenues. The government must now revise the
draft and resubmit it to the parliament. JC

...VOTES TO COMPENSATE FARMERS FROM STABILIZATION FUND.
The previous day, lawmakers proposed to the government
that some 250 million kroons ($19.2 million) be borrowed
from the country's stabilization fund to compensate
farmers for losses incurred this year owing to bad
weather, ETA reported. At the same time, deputies said
they are prepared to accept alternatives suggested by
the government. Both Prime Minister Mart Siimann and the
Bank of Estonia responded that they do not consider it
advisable to use money from the stabilization fund for
this purpose. By taking such a step, "we would weaken
the trustworthiness of the economic policy that has been
the basis for Estonia's success," Siimann said. JC

LATVIAN PREMIER REQUESTS DEFENSE MINISTER'S RESIGNATION.
Guntars Krasts on 27 October requested the resignation
of Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis, citing "numerous
irregularities" within the leadership of the armed
forces, BNS reported. Krasts said that the recent
resignation of armed forces commander Juris Eihmanis
over the widely publicized acquisition and furnishing of
an apartment was only one factor behind his decision.
The premier is to consider punishing several top
military leaders in connection with the apartment
scandal. Noting that the outgoing government will not
have enough time to improve the situation in the defense
sector, Krasts pointed out that the new defense minister
will have his work cut out for him. JC

KALININGRAD SEEKS CLOSER TIES TO LITHUANIA. Leonid
Gorbenko, the governor of Kaliningrad Oblast, visited
Vilnius on 26-27 October to seek to boost relations with
Lithuania, Russian agencies reported. It was Gorbenko's
first essay into foreign relations since the central
Russian government criticized him for acting too
independently during the country's economic crisis. PG

POLAND PLEDGES TO HELP MOLDOVA RESOLVE TRANSDNIESTER
PROBLEM. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told
his Moldovan counterpart, Petru Lucinschi, in Warsaw on
27 October that Poland will contribute to a peaceful
resolution of the ethnic conflict between the
secessionist Transdniester region and Chisinau, PAP
reported. Kwasniewski said foreign ministers from
Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Poland plan to meet before
the end of the year to discuss the Transdniester
problem. He offered to hold preparatory talks in Warsaw
before the meeting. Both presidents also agreed to boost
Polish-Moldovan economic cooperation, which, they said,
are lagging behind political ties. JM

POLISH OPPOSITION CRITICIZES 1999 DRAFT BUDGET. The
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) has criticized the 1999
draft budget adopted by the cabinet on 24 October (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1998), PAP reported on 27
October. SLD leader Leszek Miller said the draft budget
shows that Poland's economic situation has deteriorated,
arguing that the government's proposed measures will
lead to a further economic slowdown. Miller accused the
government of cutting wages, pensions, and expenditures
on agriculture. Marek Borowski, another SLD leader, said
Poland's main problem is its foreign trade deficit. The
government, Borowski argued, has taken no measures to
reduce imports and stimulate exports. JM

MUNICH DAILY DENIES BLACKMAILING HAVEL. "Sueddeutsche
Zeitung" journalist Peter Brod has denied "blackmailing"
president Vaclav Havel into withdrawing an award to
former Vienna Mayor Helmut Zilk (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
26 October 1998). Brod told CTK that he talked to Ivan
Medek, head of the president's office, on 23 October and
informed him of his newspaper's intention to publish
documents allegedly demonstrating Zilk's collaboration
with the Czechoslovak secret police. Medek confirmed to
the newspaper that the presidential office was not
blackmailed and that Brod's behavior was "perfectly
objective from the journalistic and human point of
view," according to the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" on 28
October. Medek reportedly told Brod that the
presidential office had similar information from "an
absolutely reliable source." MS

SLOVAK PARTIES SIGN COALITION AGREEMENT... The chairmen
of the four opposition parties that defeated outgoing
Premier Vladimir Meciar in the September parliamentary
elections have signed a coalition agreement. RFE/RL's
Bratislava bureau on 28 October reported that Slovak
Democratic Coalition (SDK) leader Mikulas Dzurinda is to
head the new cabinet, in which the SDK will have nine
seats. Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) chairman
Rudolf Schuster is likely to be the coalition's
candidate for president, and the SOP will have two
ministers. Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) chairman
Jozef Migas will be parliamentary chairman, and six SDL
members will be in the cabinet, including Brigitta
Schmognerova as finance minister. The Hungarian
Coalition will have three portfolios, including one
deputy premiership in charge of human rights and
minority problems. MS

...AS MECIAR DISMISSES INTELLIGENCE CHIEF. Meciar's
outgoing cabinet on 27 October dismissed Ivan Lexa as
director of the Slovak Intelligence Service, CTK
reported. No reason was given for the move. Last week,
the Slovak press speculated that Meciar would give up
his mandate as a deputy in order to make room for Lexa,
a close ally, and thereby ensure Lexa's parliamentary
immunity. Lexa is widely suspected by the opposition to
have been involved in the 1995 abduction of the son of
former President Michal Kovac. MS

HUNGARY, UKRAINE STRENGTHEN BILATERAL TIES. Ukraine
hopes that once Hungary is admitted into the EU and
NATO, it will be more effective in helping Ukraine's
quest for Euro-Atlantic integration, visiting Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma told his Hungarian counterpart,
Arpad Goncz, on 27 October. At a joint news conference
Kuchma accused the EU of discriminating against his
country by barring it from associate membership.
Ukrainian and Hungarian officials signed documents on,
among others, confidence-building measures in the
military sphere and developing the Hungarian-Ukrainian
border region. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVARS RETURN AS SERBS LEAVE. Kosovars returned to
their homes on 28 and 29 October following the
withdrawal of most Serbian forces (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 27 October 1998). Individual Kosovars told
journalists on 28 October that they are happy to be
going home before the winter sets in. They added,
however, that they are concerned that the Serbs will
return and harass them. In Prishtina, the pro-shadow
state Kosova Information Center reported that Serbian
forces have not withdrawn from several areas of Kosova,
including Klina and Suhareka. There has been no
independent confirmation of KIC's report. Elsewhere,
spokesmen for the EU and U.S. warned the fighters of the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) not to occupy checkpoints
and fortified positions that the Serbs have abandoned.
In Washington, a State Department spokesman added that
the U.S. has told the UCK "very clearly that they have
to abide by the cease-fire and meet their obligations."
PM

CLINTON URGES 'NO ILLUSION' OVER BALKAN PEACE. U.S.
President Bill Clinton said in Washington on 27 October
that the withdrawal of Serbian forces provides a
"hopeful moment" for peace in Kosova. He added: "We
should be under no illusion. There is still a lot of
hard road to walk before hope can triumph over hatred in
the Balkans." The next day, special envoy Richard
Holbrooke said that there was a "60 percent chance ...
of an air war" between NATO and Serbia before Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic withdrew his troops at the
beginning of the week. Holbrooke cautioned that
"fighting could break out at any time [as the refugees
return and that] is one of our main concerns." He
maintained that the OSCE will be free to carry out its
verification mission in Kosova with 2,000 unarmed
civilians and with flights by unarmed aircraft. "We will
fly there, when and where we want," Holbrooke added. PM

NATO SUSPENDS THREAT TO BOMB SERBIA. NATO officials
agreed in Brussels on 27 October that Milosevic had
sufficiently complied with UN demands for him to
withdraw his forces from Kosova. The alliance
consequently agreed to "suspend indefinitely its threat
to launch air strikes" against Serbia, the
"International Herald Tribune" wrote. NATO had given
Milosevic a deadline of 7 p.m. local time on 27 October
to pull back his army and paramilitary police forces or
face the possibility of air strikes. In Washington,
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the following
day that "we are maintaining our threat of force and not
letting our guard down." She noted that 400 NATO
aircraft will remain on indefinite alert for possible
air strikes if the alliance concludes that Milosevic has
sent his forces back into Kosova. Albright added that
the allies are preparing to station a rapid-reaction
force in Macedonia to assist the unarmed verification
mission if those monitors find themselves in danger. PM

'SERBIAN ADOLF' PLEADS GUILTY TO 12 MURDERS. Goran
Jelisic, who called himself "the Serbian Adolf" during
the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, told the Hague-based war
crime tribunal on 29 October that he killed 12 Muslims
and Croats near Brcko during a two-week period in 1992.
He added: "It was my good will that I admitted the crime
and cleanse my soul. There is no reason for me to keep
it within myself." In January, he said that the murder
charges and an additional charge of genocide are "all
lies and fabrications." He must now face trial for
genocide. PM

THREE BOSNIAN SIDES UNITE AGAINST NATO. Muslim, Croatian
and Serbian civilian and military leaders said that they
cannot accept a recent ruling by NATO-led peacekeepers
that all generals on each of the three sides must be
approved by SFOR before they take up their appointments,
Reuters reported from Sarajevo on 28 October. Leaders
from all three sides added that the peacekeepers' ruling
violates the Bosnian Constitution. A SFOR spokesman
argued that vetting by the international community of
all top military appointments is an essential step
toward depoliticizing the three armies. PM

GRANIC HAILS AGREEMENT WITH BOSNIA... Croatian Foreign
Minister Mate Granic said in Zagreb on 28 October that
the new agreement between Croatia and Bosnia's mainly
Muslim and Croatian federation will enable Zagreb to
provide funds for Croats in the neighboring republic in
a legal and transparent manner. This, he added, will
mean that Croatia will "get support...[instead of]
pressure" from the international community, which has
been critical of Croatia's hitherto secret funding for
the Croats in the neighboring republic. The agreement is
part of a package that includes a document governing
Bosnia's use of Croatia's Adriatic port at Ploce, which
is Bosnia's natural outlet to the sea. Croatia wants the
package in order to reaffirm its legal links to the
Croats in the neighboring republic. Bosnia seeks
affirmation of its right to use Ploce. PM

...BUT REGRETS 'MISS CROATIA' SCANDAL. Granic also said
in Zagreb on 28 October that he regrets the recent
public dispute over the winner of the Miss Croatia
contest (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1998). He
denied that the government had played any role in the
controversy and blamed the organizers of the contest for
the negative publicity that Croatia received as a
result. The dispute over whether to award the crown to
an ethnic Muslim or an ethnic Croat ended on 28 October,
when contest organizers ruled that the Muslim will
represent Croatia in the Miss World pageant later this
year and that the Croat will fill that role in 1999. PM

TUDJMAN TO SUE FORMER AIDE FOR SLANDER. A Zagreb
district attorney asked a district court to begin an
investigation of Slaven Letica on possible charges of
slandering President Franjo Tudjman, AP reported on 28
October. If the investigation results in a trial, a jail
sentence of up to three years could be imposed. Letica
recently told the Slovenian weekly "Mladina" that
"Tudjman loves deviant types. He feels a certain
attraction to...criminals, paramilitary criminals,
prostitutes. These people fascinate him, because they
bring some fun into his boring, bureaucratic life."
Letica is a professor of medicine and a prominent
political analyst. He was Tudjman's chief aide in 1991
but subsequently broke with the president over Bosnian
policy. PM

ITALY DISPATCHES POLICE TO STOP ALBANIAN ILLEGAL
MIGRATION. Italian Interior Minister Rosa Russo
Jervolino told journalists in Tirana on 28 October that
Italy will soon dispatch a police force to Vlora to
clamp down on the smuggling of refugees. The force will
help Albanian colleagues intercept refugees before they
embark. Jervolino said that Albania and Italy "agreed to
put up greater resistance to illegal immigration on the
ground because it's easier to stop them on the ground
than at sea." She added that Italy also plans to send a
coast guard force to the island of Sazan, which
overlooks the main route speedboats use to smuggle
illegal migrants to Italy. Jervolino said she was
prompted to visit Albania by the recent drowning of five
Albanians as they attempted to cross the Otranto Straits
(see "RFE/RL Newsline" 27 October). She held talks with
Prime Minister Pandeli
Majko and Interior Minister Petro Koci. FS

PARTY QUITS RULING ROMANIAN COALITION, ALLIANCE. The
Romanian Alternative Party (PAR) on 27 October announced
it is leaving both the ruling coalition and the
Democratic Convention for Romania (CDR). RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. PAR chairman Varujan
Vosganian said the decision was prompted by the
country's worsening economic situation, the delay in
reforms, and the lack of respect for election campaign
promises. In the past few months, the PAR has sought to
turn itself into the main representative of the right.
It was also expected to lose one of its two ministerial
posts in an envisaged government shuffle. Mediafax
reported on 28 October that three of the PAR's six
parliamentary deputies have said they will not quit the
CDR. MS

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES TO MERGE. Spokesmen for the
Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the
extraparliamentary Romanian National Party have
confirmed their intention to merge. Meanwhile, the
Bucharest Municipal Tribunal on 27 October ruled in
favor of the PUNR, which had appealed against the
registration of Gheorghe Funar's new Party of Romanian
Unity Alliance. The tribunal had ruled against the
party's registration in June, but Funar had contested
that decision. Meanwhile, leader of the chauvinist
Greater Romania Party (PRM) Corneliu Vadim Tudor
repeated the invitation to Funar to join the PRM as
secretary general, saying the offer will be "open till
31 December," Mediafax reported on 28 October. MS

IMF TO EVALUATE MOLDOVAN ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. An IMF
delegation headed by Richard Haas began a two-week visit
to Moldova on 28 October aimed at evaluating the
country's economic performance and the possibility of
resuming loans to Chisinau. The same day, Finance
Minister Anatol Arapu said Moldova is on the "brink of
crisis" owing to lower than expected revenues. Deputy
Premier Ion Sturdza warned that unless the government
approves a "realistic budget," the cabinet will have to
"announce Moldova's bankruptcy," Infotag reported. For
the first time in its five-year history, the national
currency has dropped below 6 lei to $1. MS

BULGARIA HEADING TOWARD ECONOMIC STABILITY. Bulgaria
currently has a budget surplus of 326 billion leva ($200
million), whereas last year it had a substantial
deficit, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 28 October,
citing officials in Sofia. Annual inflation is below 3
percent, compared with a monthly inflation rate of 2,000
percent during the 1996-1997 crisis. The IMF says it
expects inflation this year to be about 9 percent.
National Bank foreign-currency reserves have risen from
$ 81 million in early 1997 to 2.9 billion in June 1998.
On 26 October, the Bulgarian government approved a
privatization program for 1999 envisaging $607 million
in revenues, "The Wall Street Journal Europe" reported.
MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT HEEDS PRESIDENTIAL VETO. The
parliament on 28 October announced it will reconsider
recent amendments to a law on the judicial system that
President Petar Stoyanov vetoed earlier this month. it
was the second time in a week that deputies agreed to
heed Stoyanov's veto rather than overrule it, Reuters
reported. Earlier, Stoyanov had vetoed a media law (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October 1998). The amendments
passed to the law on the judiciary aimed at making the
struggle against corruption and crime more efficient.
Stoyanov, however, opposed some of the changes, saying
they infringed on the principle of the division of
powers. MS

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