Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 18, Part II, 27 January 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 18, Part II, 27 January 1999

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

* POLISH CABINET PLEDGES HELP TO FARMERS

* TWO OPPOSITIONISTS TO BE CHARGED IN KOVAC KIDNAPPING

* UCK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO SHADOW STATE
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

IMF MISSION LEAVES KYIV WITHOUT RECOMMENDING LOAN
RESUMPTION. An IMF mission wrapped up its visit to Kyiv
on 26 January without recommending the resumption of a
$2.2 billion loan program, AP and Interfax reported.
"The mission has not made any final conclusion, but I
can say that we have laid the foundations for a positive
conclusion," President Leonid Kuchma's aide Valeriy
Lytvytskyy commented. Lytvytskyy added that the IMF
mission noted positive developments in Ukraine,
including the timely adoption of the 1999 budget,
improved tax collection, a stable exchange rate for the
hryvnya, and macroeconomic stability. At the same time,
the mission was dissatisfied with the pace of structural
and administrative reforms as well as of reforms in the
energy and agricultural sectors. Lytvytskyy said the
IMF-Ukraine consultations "may continue after the
mission's return or after a government delegation's
brief visit to the IMF headquarters." JM

LUHANSK MINERS CONTINUE PROTEST OVER BACK WAGES.
Seventy-five miners at three mines in Luhansk Oblast are
continuing underground strikes over unpaid wages (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 1999), while four mines
have halted operations, Ukrainian Television reported on
26 January. Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko
instructed the Coal Mining Ministry to pay the mines by
the end of January for all coal mined last month. Coal
Mining Minister Serhiy Tulub said the payment will
amount to 200 million hryvni ($58 million) and is
"doable." The government owes more than $2 billion
hryvni to the mining sector. Also on 26 January, workers
at the Ukrnafta and Ukrhazprom companies held "warning
strikes for the first time ever in Ukraine," according
to Ukrainian Television. The report did not specify the
reason for those protests. JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION PREDICTS ECONOMIC COLLAPSE IN
2000... The National Executive Committee, Belarus's
shadow cabinet headed by Henadz Karpenka, has concluded
that Belarus faces an economic collapse in 2000,
RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 26 January. A
special report prepared by Karpenka for the Congress of
Democratic Forces on 29-30 January states that
optimistic official data on Belarus's economic
performance are a result of the government's "deliberate
manipulation of figures." The shadow cabinet says that
economic growth, officially reported over the past two
years at 10 percent, in fact declined, by 2 percent in
1997 and 4 percent in 1998. JM

...SAYS DEMOCRATS READY TO CONSOLIDATE AT THIS WEEK'S
CONGRESS. At a news conference on 26 January, Karpenka
said the upcoming Congress of Democratic Forces will
adopt resolutions on Belarusian statehood, the
consolidation of democratic forces, the government's
socioeconomic policies, human rights, and the Belarusian
language. He added that the parties participating in the
congress have coordinated their positions on the
proposed resolutions, giving "eloquent proof of their
readiness and ability to unite." The organizers expect
that delegations from 30 countries will attend the
congress. JM

DEPUTIES SUBMIT NEW EESTI TELEKOM BILL. One day after
the privatization of Eesti Telekom was launched (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January 1999), 23 parliamentary
deputies of all political stripes submitted a bill
urging that the privatization plans for the
telecommunications company be revised, ETA reported on
26 January. Under the bill, the company would be listed
as a strategic enterprise, meaning that the state would
retain a 51 percent share. The current plan foresees the
state having a 27 percent share and the Finnish and
Swedish concerns Sonera and Telia becoming the majority
shareholders. Opponents of the current privatization
plans argue that the company is being sold too cheaply
and are opposed to foreign investors' having majority
shares in strategically important companies.
Communications and Transport Minister Raivo Vare called
the move a "catastrophe," saying the harm done is
"impossible to determine because it may undermine
Estonia's image among investors." JC

LATVIAN CABINET APPROVES AMENDING NATURALIZATION
DEPARTMENT'S STATUTES. The government on 26 January
approved amendments to the statutes of the
Naturalization Department that will allow the department
to deal with applications for granting citizenship to
stateless citizens in accordance with the recently
amended citizenship law, BNS reported. Under the amended
citizenship law, stateless children born in Latvia after
21 August 1991 can be granted citizenship if their
parents request it. "Diena" on 26 January reported that
since the beginning of the year, when the amendments to
the law went into force, 67 such applications have been
received. JC

BIRKAVS SAYS EUROPEAN SECURITY, RUSSIA AS IMPORTANT NOW
AS 78 YEARS AGO. Speaking on Latvian Radio on 26
January, the 78th anniversary of the de jure recognition
of Latvia's independence, Foreign Minister Valdis
Birkavs said that today "collective security and the
Russian issue" are just as important as in 1921, when
Latvia was fighting for international recognition, "only
this time we are independent both de jure and de facto."
Birkavs pointed out that Latvia must use the opportunity
to move toward NATO membership "as there is no European
security without NATO," and he argued that Latvia should
work hard to integrate into the EU. The foreign minister
also noted that relations with Russia are "not as good
as we would like them to be" but stressed that the
political dialogue with Moscow will resume when State
Secretary Maris Riekstins meets with his Russian
counterpart on 5 February, BNS reported. JC

LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR GUNNED DOWN. Thirty-year-old
Gintautas Sereika, chief prosecutor at the organized
crime and corruption department in the district of
Panevezys, was killed by gunmen outside his home on 25
January, BNS reported. Prosecutor-General Kazys
Pednycias said the assassination was undoubtedly related
to Sereika's work, since the department he headed deals
with the "most shady" crimes committed in Panevezys,
Lithuania's fifth-largest city. The next day, Prime
Minister Gediminas Vagnorius convened an emergency
meeting of law-enforcement chiefs to discuss new ways of
combating organized crime. JC

POLISH CABINET PLEDGES HELP TO FARMERS. The Polish
government on 26 January promised help for the
agricultural sector in an attempt to end road blockades
by farmers protesting cheap food imports and low prices
for domestic agricultural products (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 January 1999), Reuters reported. "We are
working out extraordinary measures...to unblock farm
produce sales in Poland and abroad," cabinet chief-of-
staff Wieslaw Walendziak said but gave no further
details. According to police reports, some 6,000 farmers
continued to block 130 roads and obstruct traffic at
four border crossings in Poland on 26 January.
Negotiations have been held up by the government's
unwillingness to meet with radical farmers' leader
Andrzej Lepper, whom the authorities accuse of pursuing
political goals during the ongoing protest action. Two
other farmers' organizations, the Farmers' Solidarity
and the Agricultural Circles refuse to negotiate with
the government unless Lepper is present. JM

POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. Janusz
Onyszkiewicz met with U.S. Defense Secretary William
Cohen in Washington on 26 January to discuss Poland's
NATO entry and the possible leasing of U.S. F-16 and/or
F-18 aircraft, PAP reported. Onyszkiewicz said Poland's
NATO entry does not require the purchase of modern
military aircraft, but he noted that Poland's "national
needs suggest that the matter be moved forward." He said
Poland will first lease the aircraft and then buy them
at a later date, adding that they need not be
"necessarily brand new, but of advanced types." JM

CZECH, SLOVAK ROMA NOT ALLOWED TO CROSS GERMAN BORDER.
German border guards refused entry to two separate
groups of Czech and Slovak Roma because they did not
have the requisite amount of money to stay in Germany,
CTK reported on 26 January. Although they all had valid
passports, the German embassy in Prague said anyone
entering Germany must have at least DM 50 ($29) for
every day they plan on spending in the country. The
majority of people crossing German borders are not asked
to show how much money they have. In other news, two
Roma in north Bohemia were put on probation for two
years for a racially motivated attack on policemen last
March. PB

INTERIOR MINISTRY TO CHARGE TWO OPPOSITIONISTS IN KOVAC
KIDNAPPING. Slovak Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner on
26 January said that police will charge two opposition
deputies in connection with the 1995 kidnapping of
Michal Kovac Jr., the son of former President Michal
Kovac, Reuters reported. Pittner refused to name the
deputies but said police will request that their
diplomatic immunity be lifted. Pittner said "the circle
of people who will be charged with the case is wider"
than just the two deputies. In other news, Slovak police
said on 26 January that they may summon former Premier
Vladimir Meciar to explain his behavior at the funeral
of former Industry Minister Jan Ducky on 15 January.
Meciar verbally and physically attacked Czech journalist
Vladimir Misauer at the funeral. PB

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRITAIN. Eduard Kukan on 26
January met with Donald Anderson, the chairman of the
House of Commons' Foreign Committee, to discuss
Bratislava's chances for joining the EU, TASR reported.
Anderson said British parliamentary deputies will
support Slovak efforts to join NATO and the EU. Kukan
later met with 30 financial and business leaders to
discuss foreign investment in Slovakia. Kukan said he
can give British investors a guarantee of "consistency
and coherence." Britain was the leading foreign investor
in Slovakia last year. Kukan will meet with his British
counterpart, Robin Cook, and Defense Minister George
Robertson on 27 January. PB

HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK, AUSTRIAN LEADERS MEET. Hungarian
Premier Viktor Orban hosted his Slovak counterpart,
Mikulas Dzurinda, and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima
for a one-day summit in Sopron, Hungary, AP reported on
26 January. Orban said the focus of the talks was
regional cooperation, specifically, the creation of a
development zone within the Bratislava-Vienna-Gyoer
triangle. He said a meeting will be held in Gyoer in
September at which business leaders will also take part.
Dzurinda said Slovakia "must prove capable of
cooperation in the trilateral community if we want to
become a part of the EU." Klima expressed Vienna's
interest in tightening borders to prevent cross-border
crime and the flight of illegal aliens to the West. PB

MORE THAN 100 ILLEGAL ALIENS CAUGHT IN HUNGARY. Border
guards and police have caught more than 100 illegal
aliens in two separate incidents in Hungary, AP reported
on 26 January. Sixty Bangladeshis were found hiding in a
truck in Budapest. The previous day, a group of more
than 40 Albanians were found in a truck on the highway
to Budapest. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UCK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO SHADOW STATE. U.S. special envoy
Chris Hill discussed the political future of Kosova with
representatives of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) at
an undisclosed location in that province on 27January.
The previous day, the guerrillas issued a statement in
Prishtina calling on all Kosovar parties to help set up
a "constituent assembly" for Kosova by 10 February. The
statement also urged Kosovar politicians to transfer to
the UCK money contributed to the shadow state by
Kosovars abroad or face unspecified "measures...in the
interests of the [ethnic] Albanian people." A spokesman
for the UCK told "RFE/RL Newsline" that the guerrillas
have already set up their own administrative structures
in areas of Kosova under their control. Observers noted
that the UCK statement is the guerrillas' strongest
public challenge so far to the shadow state of President
Ibrahim Rugova. The shadow state has its own elected
legislature and maintains an extensive network of
schools and health care facilities, which are financed
by Kosovars abroad. PM

U.S. WANTS KOSOVA AGREEMENT IN 'WEEKS.' State Department
spokesman James Rubin said in Cairo on 27 January that
Washington "expects to be able to develop a series of
coordinated and parallel military and political measures
to bring [Yugoslav] President [Slobodan] Milosevic into
compliance [with pledges he has already made] and move
both sides toward acceptance of a political settlement"
for Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1999).
Rubin added that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,
who arrived in Cairo from Moscow, wants Milosevic to
implement the pact he made with U.S. special envoy
Richard Holbrooke in October, which includes a cease-
fire and the withdrawal of Serbian security forces. She
also wants an agreement "within weeks" on a plan that
will give the Kosovars broad autonomy within Yugoslavia
for an interim period of three years. Meanwhile in
Geneva on 26 January, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
said that use of force in Kosova by NATO may prove
"unavoidable." PM

YUGOSLAV MINISTER CALLS RAKOVINA DEATHS 'TRAFFIC
ACCIDENT.' Federal Minister for Health, Labor, and
Social Policy Miodrag Kovac said in Prishtina on 26
January that the recent deaths of five Kosovars whose
bodies were found on a tractor near Rakovina were the
result of "a traffic accident. The people who were on
the tractor were unfortunately killed" (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 January 1999), Beta news agency reported.
Foreign journalists had reported that the five were shot
at close range. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbian Deputy
Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj said that the only way to
end the crisis in Kosova is through "the final
destruction of Albanian terrorist gangs, which get
massive support from their American mentors." His
Serbian Radical Party called for "the use of the most
brutal force" to end the crisis if the Kosovars refuse
to negotiate with the Serbs. Yugoslav Deputy Prime
Minister Vuk Draskovic urged the international community
to stress that Kosova is an "internal part of Serbia."
PM

KOSOVARS INSIST ON PEACE BEFORE TALKS. Rugova's
spokesman said in Prishtina on 26 January that Rugova
will take part in talks aimed at obtaining a political
settlement only if Milosevic first respects the cease-
fire, withdraws his troops, and frees political
prisoners. A spokesman for the UCK's Adem Demaci made
similar remarks in describing the guerrillas' position.
Reuters quoted Demaci's spokesman as adding that "there
is no autonomy of any kind that will provide safety for
Kosovars. Only in an independent Kosova can there be
safety." PM

U.S. PLEDGES $25 MILLION AID FOR KOSOVA. National
Security Council spokesman David Leavy said in
Washington on 26 January that President Bill Clinton has
authorized up to $25 million "to meet the urgent and
unexpected needs of refugees and migrants" displaced by
the conflict in Kosova. The money will go to non-
governmental organizations that are working to end the
humanitarian crisis in the province. PM

FINNS SAY TRUTH ABOUT RECAK MAY NEVER BE KNOWN. Helena
Ranta, who heads a team of Finnish forensic experts
investigating the killings of 45 Kosovars at Recak, said
in Prishtina on 26 January that "there is a possibility
of contamination and a possibility of fabrication of
evidence" regarding the corpses. She added that these
problems stem from a "chain of custody." Observers said
this is a reference to the fact that the bodies were in
the sole custody of the Serbian authorities for almost
one week before the Finns arrived (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 19 January 1999). PM

U.S., ITALY TO HELP MONTENEGRIN AVIATION. A group of air
traffic and airport experts from the U.S. is expected to
arrive in Montenegro shortly to help the Montenegrin
authorities prepare the airports at Podgorica and Tivat
for international jet traffic, AP reported on 26
January. Montenegro Airlines will soon begin flights to
the U.S. On 25 January, that airline and Alitalia signed
a cooperation agreement calling for technical aid for
the two airports and the opening of Rome-Podgorica and
Milan-Tivat flights. Officials of the Belgrade-based
Jugoslavenski Aerotransport (JAT), which built the
Podgorica and Tivat facilities, said that the airports
belong to JAT, which will not give them up to the
Montenegrin authorities, "Danas" reported on 27 January.
PM

MACEDONIA RECOGNIZES TAIWAN. Macedonian Foreign Minister
Aleksandar Dimitrov and his Taiwanese counterpart, Jason
Hu, established diplomatic relations in Taipei on 27
January. Dimitrov said that Macedonia regards Taiwan as
a role model for economic development. Both ministers
suggested that Taiwan will provide assistance to
Macedonia in trade, agriculture, and technical fields.
Macedonia's move brings to 28 the number of countries
that recognize the island republic. The only other
European state to do so is the Vatican. PM

NATO TO CUT BOSNIA FORCE. Clinton's national security
adviser Sandy Berger said in Washington on 26 January
that the peace process in Bosnia is making progress and
that the Atlantic alliance will reduce the number of its
peacekeepers there by 10 percent within two months. The
U.S. contingent will be cut from 6,900 to 6,200 troops.
PM

WARNING TO BOSNIAN SERB LEADER. A spokeswoman for the
international community's Carlos Westendorp said in
Sarajevo on 26 January that time has come for Republika
Srpska nationalist President Nikola Poplasen to stop
"playing games and wasting time." She called on him to
nominate a prime minister who can win the approval of
the parliament, in which his fellow hard-liners are in a
minority, an RFE/RL correspondent reported (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 January 1999). PM

CROATIAN OPPOSITION SHUNS TUDJMAN OFFER. Social Liberal
Party leader Drazen Budisa said in Zagreb on 26 January
that President Franjo Tudjman offered to give his party
seats in a proposed multi-party government but that he
refused that offer. Budisa argued that to accept would
have been "political suicide." Social Democratic leader
Ivica Racan also spoke with Tudjman about the country's
political future but noted that Tudjman did not offer
him any seats in the cabinet. Racan suggested this was
because Tudjman knew that any offer would be refused.
Parliamentary elections are due by January 2000.
Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community has fared poorly
in recent polls. PM

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION SUBMITS DRAFT LAW ON HAJDARI
INVESTIGATION. The Democratic Party on 26 January
submitted a draft law to Prime Minister Pandeli Majko
providing for the creation of an "independent body" to
investigate the killing of Democratic legislator Azem
Hajdari in September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 January
1999). After meeting with Democratic Party leader Sali
Berisha, Majko pledged to study the proposal and pass it
on to the parliament, "Albanian Daily News" reported. He
also said that "the government is determined to promote
dialogue with the opposition and welcomes every
legitimate step or initiative that helps solve the
Hajdari case." He urged opposition supporters to assist
state officials who are investigating the murder.
Witnesses from the opposition have repeatedly refused to
talk to state prosecutors investigating the case. FS

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT INVESTIGATING SECURITY FORCES
FAILURE. Emil Constantinescu on 26 January said that he
will analyze the "inadequate performance" of security
forces who failed to prevent striking coal miners from
marching toward Bucharest, AP reported. Constantinescu
summoned the Supreme Defense Council to review the
incident and determine why the security forces failed.
Constantinescu said a review will be made of some
officers "who had [been ordered] to organize the troops'
strategy and actually blocked the troops' efforts to
carry out their mission." The Supreme Defense Council is
made up of the president, prime minister, interior and
defense ministers, and the heads of Romanian
intelligence services. Some reports suggest that
officers fled their positions during the clashes with
miners, leaving the troops in disarray. PB

MOLDOVAN, TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADERS MEET IN TIRASPOL.
Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and Transdniestrian
leader Igor Smirnov met in Tiraspol on 26 January to
discuss economic and political issues, Infotag reported.
Talks focused, among other things, on a draft law
defining Transdniester's "special status." Lucinschi
said there is a need to "better clarify" the term
"common state," which was mentioned in the Moscow
Memorandum signed last year. He said the two sides
interpret the term differently. Lucinschi also noted
that "a necessity certainly exists" for a large-scale
meeting on the Transdniestrian issue that would also be
attended by Ukrainian and Russian officials. PB.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES TO COOPERATE FOR ELECTIONS.
The Euro-Left and the Liberal Democratic Union on 26
January signed a political agreement pledging to
coordinate activities during the local election campaign
this year, BTA reported. Euro-Left leader Aleksandur
Tomov said the agreement "has implications for future
general elections." The agreement urges that an
alternative government program be drawn up promoting
Bulgaria as an "independent, prosperous nation-state in
the European tradition of a socially-orientated market
economy." Former President Zhelyu Zhelev is the honorary
chairman of the Liberal Democratic Union. PB

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 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