The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 226, Part II, 23 November 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 226, Part II, 23 November 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

* OPPOSITION FARES WELL IN CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS

* CROATIAN, BOSNIAN LEADERS SIGN AGREEMENTS

* ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT CLAIMS VICTORY IN REFERENDUM
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA LAMBASTES POLICE FOR POOR RECORD IN COMBATING
CRIME... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 20
November blasted the police and the court system for
being inefficient in fighting crime, Interfax and AP
reported. He told a conference on fighting organized
crime and corruption that the three main reasons
hindering the work of law enforcement bodies are lack of
experience, low moral standards among police officers,
and inconsistent legal norms. Kuchma said "people are
losing faith in the state and the authorities" because
of the police's inability to solve many serious crimes
and combat organized crime. According to official
statistics, the police have rooted out nearly 3,000
criminal gangs that have committed some 21,700 crimes in
Ukraine over the past three years. JM

...BLAMES NATIONAL BANK FOR CAPITAL FLIGHT. Kuchma and
Prosecutor-General Mykhaylo Potebenko blamed the
National Bank for failing to prevent massive capital
flight from Ukraine. Potebenko said many banks are using
accounts with Ukrainian branches of foreign banks to
launder money and transfer it abroad. According to
Potebenko, such a practice testifies to "the lack of
control over and the lack of responsibility on the part
of the Ukrainian National Bank." JM

LUKASHENKA DROPS LEADERSHIP CLAIMS TOWARD BELARUS-RUSSIA
UNION. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
said he is ready to forgo his personal interests for the
sake of the Belarus-Russia Union, Belapan reported on 21
November. Addressing a 20 November conference in Minsk,
Lukashenka said the integration of the two countries is
being hampered by the unresolved problem of "What to do
with Lukashenka?" He commented that "If we decide that
we have such a union and Lukashenka is a problem there,
I agree to play a secondary or even tertiary role [in
the union]." The Belarusian president added that Belarus
and Russia should unite as two equal subjects of
international law, Interfax reported. According to him,
unification should be gradually implemented through the
formation of supranational bodies. JM

BELARUS FORBIDS JOURNALIST TO TRAVEL TO U.S. FOR AWARD.
The Belarusian Interior Ministry has refused to give an
exit visa to Pavel Sheremet, chief editor of
"Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta" and Russian Public
Television's Minsk bureau chief, AP reported on 20
November. Sheremet was to be among the recipients of the
International Press Freedom Award in New York on 24
November. Sheremet was arrested in 1997 and received a
suspended sentence several months later for attempting
to shoot a television feature on the Belarusian-
Lithuania border. "The fact that I wasn't allowed to go
to New York is far from being the most horrible
thing...in this country where people are detained for 15
days just for taking part in an innocent trade union
demonstration," he commented. Sheremet sent a videotape
of his award acceptance speech to the New York-based
Committee to Protect Journalists. JM

TALLINN OPPOSES RECOVERING BODIES FROM 'ESTONIA.' The
Estonian government has issued a statement saying it
opposes recovering the remaining bodies from the sunken
wreck of the "Estonia" passenger ferry, ETA and AP
reported. That statement was issued following a proposal
by a Swedish independent investigative team last week
that an effort be made to bring up as many bodies as
possible. Estonian government spokesman Daniel Vaarik
said Tallinn based its decision on "overwhelming
opposition to the idea in Estonia." And he stressed that
Tallinn wants a 1995 agreement between Sweden, Finland,
and Estonia declaring the shipwreck a sanctuary to
remain in effect. The "Estonia" sank en route from
Tallinn to Stockholm in 1994, killing 852 people. Only
95 of the bodies have been recovered. JC

LATVIA'S RIGHTIST COALITION PARTNER STANDS FIRM ON
FOREIGN PORTFOLIO. Following talks with Prime Minister-
designate Vilis Kristopans on 20 November, Fatherland
and Freedom party chairman Maris Grinblats said his
party does not intend to back down from its demand that
it be granted the Foreign Ministry, BNS reported.
Kristopans had stressed earlier that the Fatherland and
Freedom party will not receive that portfolio, citing
the need to improve relations with Russia. Grinblats
also said that his party intends to continue to insist
that the Social Democrats receive no cabinet posts. Last
week, Kristopans announced he will form a three-party
coalition composed of his Latvia's Way, the Fatherland
and Freedom party, and the New Party. That coalition is
five votes short of a parliamentary majority, and
Kristopans has been negotiating with the Social
Democrats on a deal where the latter would promise
parliamentary support in exchange for government posts.
JC

LANDSBERGIS SEES BETTER MOSCOW-VILNIUS TIES IF LITHUANIA
JOINS NATO. In an interview published in Russia's
"Kommersant-Daily" on 20 November, Lithuanian
parliamentary speaker Vytautas Landsbergis said he
believes his country's ties with Russia will improve if
Lithuania joins NATO, BNS reported. Lithuania "will no
longer be afraid of its bigger neighbor" if it enters
the alliance, he commented, adding that only NATO
membership can "grant absolute guarantees to foreign
investments." Landsbergis also commented that the issue
of joining NATO and EU is not splitting the "Baltic
front." "Perhaps it is even [a good thing] that we are
not taken as a bloc, but as individual countries," he
argued, noting that Estonia's possible membership in the
EU will benefit both Lithuania and Latvia. JC

POLISH PEASANT PARTY WANTS AID FOR FARMERS BEFORE EU
ENTRY. At its congress on 21 November, the opposition
Polish Peasant Party (PSL) adopted a resolution saying
the party will use "all constitutional means" to oppose
"reforms carried out at the expense of agriculture and
farmers," PAP reported the next day. The PSL criticized
the ruling Solidarity Electoral Action and the Freedom
Union for hindering economic development, hasty
privatization, and an "unwise agricultural policy."
While congress did not object to Polish integration into
the EU, delegates stressed that Poland should be
"offered considerable pre-accession assistance to help
modernize the Polish countryside." JM

OPPOSITION FARES WELL IN CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS. A four-
party opposition coalition won the largest number of
seats in the runoff election for one-third of the seats
in the Czech Senate, CTK reported on 21 November. The
center-right coalition won 13 of the 27 seats that were
being contested. Premier Milos Zeman, whose Social
Democrats (CSSD) won just three seats, called the
results a "failure for the CSSD" and "a healthy scare,"
but not a verdict on his government, which he pointed
out has only been in office for four months. Within the
four-party coalition, the Christian Democratic
Union/Czechoslovak People's Party won seven seats. The
Communists secured two seats and former Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS) won nine.
The ODS and the Social Democrats maintain a three-fifths
majority in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies (the
lower house) needed to make constitutional changes.
Turnout was a post-1989 low of just over 20 percent. PB

CZECH INTERIOR MINISTER ENCOURAGES ROMANI POLICE. Vaclav
Grulich on 20 November said that he promises there will
soon be more Roma in the Czech police force, CTK
reported. Grulich said 14 Roma have recently completed a
preparatory police course in eastern Bohemia and will
now attend a secondary police school. Four of the Romani
trainees are female. In other news, CTK reported on 22
November that Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife
Dagmar are suing the country's leading television
station, TV Nova, and two dailies, "Blesk" and "Lidove
noviny," for publishing articles alleging that Dagmar
had had an extra-marital affair. PB

HUNGARIAN PREMIER MEETS WITH DZURINDA... Slovak Prime
Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and his Hungarian counterpart,
Viktor Orban, held talks on 21 November within the
framework of the Central European Initiative summit in
Zagreb, Slovak 1 Radio reported. Orban said the two
countries are at the "beginning of a new era" in
relations. He added that "NATO enlargement will really
be complete--from the political as well a historical
point of view--only if Slovakia is involved." Dzurinda
said the new Slovak government will "do its best to
improve Slovakia's image abroad." Dzurinda also met with
the premiers of Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and
Ukraine. PB

...ENDS VISIT TO GERMANY. Orban said upon his return
from Germany the previous day that German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder avoided naming any date for Hungary's
EU accession but said "there will be no delay at all"
when Hungary is ready. Orban said in an interview with
the daily "Die Welt" that Budapest will meet EU
requirements by 2002. Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl told
Orban that "he will throw his political and moral weight
behind efforts to get Hungary admitted to the EU at the
earliest possible date." Orban also met with Wolfgang
Schaeuble, chairman of the opposition Christian
Democratic Union (CDU), and discussed possible
cooperation between Orban's Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party and the CDU. Also on 20
November, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev met with his
Hungarian counterpart, Arpad Goencz, in Budapest. Akayev
led a delegation aimed at increasing trade and bilateral
cooperation. MSZ/PB

ROMANIA ADMITS MISTAKE AT HUNGARIAN BORDER. General
Tiberiu Costache, deputy chief of staff of the Romanian
army, has acknowledged responsibility for the mistake
that caused a Romanian unit to be turned back from the
Hungarian border (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November
1998), Hungarian media reported on 21 November. He
admitted that an application for a permit was submitted
to Hungarian officials only three days before the event.
MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN, BOSNIAN LEADERS SIGN AGREEMENTS. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian leaders signed
three long-delayed agreements in Zagreb on 22 November
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 November 1998). Tudjman and
Bosnian Federal President Ejup Ganic signed a text to
set up a joint council on cooperation in 14 areas,
including military and internal affairs, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Tudjman approved the two
additional documents with Alija Izetbegovic, who is the
Muslim member of the joint presidency. Zivko Radisic,
who is the Serbian member of the presidency and current
chair, witnessed the signings. The two documents deal
with Bosnian use of Croatia's port of Ploce, which is
Bosnia's natural outlet to the Adriatic, and with
Croatian transit rights through Bosnia's Neum region,
which cuts the Croatian Dalmatian coast in half. Bosnia
receives a 30-year lease on a free zone in the port of
Ploce, while Croats will be able to transit Neum without
going through any border formalities. PM

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT CLAIMS VICTORY IN REFERENDUM...
Prime Minister Pandeli Majko congratulated his
Socialist-led government in Tirana on what he called a
victory in the 22 November referendum on a new
constitution, ATA news agency reported the next day. A
spokesman for the Central Electoral Commission said that
barely 50 percent of the electorate cast their ballots.
Officials of the OSCE, which monitored the vote, said
that voting took place without any serious incidents.
After voting, Majko told reporters that he had "cast his
vote for the future." Final results are not expected
until at least 24 November. But observers in Tirana said
that the outcome is likely to be at least 90 percent in
favor because the opposition led by Democratic Party
chairman Sali Berisha called on those opposed to the
constitution to boycott the referendum. Observers also
noted that bad weather and voter apathy may have
contributed to the relatively low turnout. PM

...AS DOES BERISHA. Berisha told his supporters in
Tirana on 23 November that only about 30 percent of the
electorate voted in the referendum and that the OSCE
based its figures of a higher turnout on the "figures of
the devil." He called the draft constitution a "corpse"
and thanked the Albanian people for "turning down the
proposal of the most corrupt government in Europe." He
added that "the sovereign people turned the government
into a minority.... The sovereign people have been wiser
and more courageous than ever in this country's
history." Observers in Tirana told "RFE/RL Newsline"
that the low turnout, which Berisha sought, together
with a likely overwhelming vote in favor of the
constitution, which the government sought, means that
political deadlock is likely to continue. PM

NATO SAYS FORCE IN MACEDONIA THREATENS NOBODY. An
unnamed NATO official said in Brussels on 20 November
that Yugoslavia has no grounds for claiming that NATO
troops stationed in Macedonia would be a source of
tension in relations between Belgrade and Skopje,
Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November
1998). "The notion that a NATO force of less than 2,000
can threaten Yugoslavia's security is ridiculous," the
source added. In Skopje, French Ambassador to Macedonia
Jacques Huntzinger said that "it is important for
Belgrade to understand that this [French-led] force is
not an imposing one.... This force is not aimed at
fighting Serbian soldiers or policemen...[It will help
extract OSCE monitors] in case of massive hostilities,"
taking of hostages, need for urgent medical help or
problems with land mines, AP quoted him as saying.
Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov added that "our
government has not taken any decision that [Belgrade
could interpret] as a hostile act," "Die Welt" reported.
PM

KOSOVARS REJECT SERBIAN ALTERNATIVE TO HILL PLAN.
Moderate Kosovar spokesman Fehmi Agani said in Belgrade
on 22 November that the latest Serbian plan for an
interim political settlement in Kosova is unacceptable
because it maintains "Serbian domination" over the
ethnic Albanian majority. The previous day, the Serbian
authorities published an 11-point plan in the Belgrade
(but not the Prishtina) edition of the pro-government
daily "Politika," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. The plan weakens potential Kosovar control
over the province by concentrating autonomy at the local
rather than at the provincial level, by granting each
ethnic group control over its own affairs, by
establishing an upper house of the parliament in which
each ethnic group has an equal number of deputies, and
by giving the "last word" in the province's affairs to
the Serbian legislature. EU spokesman Wolfgang Petritsch
said that the recent U.S. "proposal is fully supported
by the EU. This is not the time to come up with new
concepts." PM

MONTENEGRO TO BOYCOTT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The
Montenegrin government said in a statement on 21
November that it does not recognize "the illegal federal
government nor its illegitimate prime minister," who is
Momir Bulatovic, the arch-rival of Montenegrin President
Milo Djukanovic. The Montenegrin government issued the
statement in conjunction with its refusal to take part
in the federal government's celebrations to mark the
80th anniversary of the founding of Yugoslavia, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. PM

ANOTHER SERBIAN PERIODICAL FINED. A Belgrade court fined
the daily "Glas javnosti" $38,000 on 22 November for
slandering Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav
Seselj. The newspaper recently quoted a former member of
Seselj's Serbian Radical Party as telling a press
conference that Seselj is a "dictator" who works
"against the interests of the Serbian people," RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. On 12 November, a court
fined the pro-government daily "Politika" $10,000 for
libel against opposition leader Zoran Djindjic.
Meanwhile, independent dailies have received fines of up
to $120,000 under the recent draconian media law. PM

REPUBLIKA SRPSKA DENIES REPORT ABOUT DINAR. The Bosnian
Serb government on 20 November denied media reports that
it has given in to Belgrade's demands to change the
official exchange rate for the Yugoslav dinar in the
Republika Srpska (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November
1998). In a statement in Banja Luka, the government said
that the only decision it has reversed is one raising
the price of electricity, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. In other news, the Information Ministry said
in a statement that it "has no interest" in forming a
joint television station with the Sarajevo-based Radio-
Television Bosnia-Herzegovina (RTVBiH). The statement
said that Serbian Radio-Television must remain
independent and that it would be "illegal" to set up a
joint Bosnia-wide company. PM

HERZEGOVINA WANTS OWN INSTITUTIONS. Ante Jelavic, who
heads the Herzegovinian-dominated branch of Croatian
President Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community, said
in Mostar on 20 November that the Croats demand
unspecified changes in the electoral law in order to
increase their political weight as a group. He added
that the Croats also want their own "national channel"
on RTVBiH as well as a separate Croatian academy of
sciences and arts. Jelavic added that he opposes the
planned introduction of a joint curriculum in all
Bosnian schools, which he called an "attempt to destroy
the identity of the Croatian nation in Bosnia and
Herzegovina." PM

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENT. Ion Iliescu,
leader of the opposition Party of Social Democracy in
Romania (PDSR), announced on 20 November that PDSR
senators and deputies will boycott the parliament and
its institutions until the ruling coalition and the
opposition agree on a code of conduct, Romanian radio
reported. Iliescu said the code is needed owing to the
repeated violation of parliamentary principles. The
decision was made by the PDSR's Central Executive
Committee. Politicians from the Greater Romania Party
(PRM) are also on strike, PRM leader Corneliu Vadim
Tudor announced, though they will participate in limited
parliamentary activities. Tudor called for early
elections to solve the "serious situation facing the
country." Meanwhile, Ulm Spineanu, the deputy speaker of
the parliament, accused fellow deputies of manipulating
the electronic voting system to cast votes for absent
colleagues. Spineanu said legislators are using pins and
toothpicks to activate voting buttons. PB

MOLDOVA FORECASTS LARGE DECLINE IN GDP. Deputy Prime
Minister Ion Sturza said on 20 November that the
Moldovan economy will drop by 6 percent in 1998, dpa
reported. Sturza said the economic crisis is Russia has
had a devastating effect on Moldova and ruined any
chance of it attaining the 5 percent growth predicted
for this year. He added that inflation could reach 20-25
percent this year, about double earlier forecasts. On
the bright side, he predicted a 1 percent growth in GDP
next year. PB

BULGARIAN COMMISSION PROPOSES ABOLITION OF DEATH
PENALTY. A parliamentary commission agreed on 20
November to propose legislation that would eliminate
capital punishment, BTA reported. Svetoslav Luchnikov,
the chairman of the parliamentary legal commission, said
the commission will propose on 10 December that life
imprisonment with no possibility of parole replace the
death penalty. Executions have been suspended in
Bulgaria since 1990. Nineteen convicts are on death row.
In other news, the National Employment Service reported
the same day that unemployment increased last month by
0.3 percent and now stands at 11.1 percent of the work
force, down 2.3 percent on the level from one year ago.
PB

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