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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 23, Part II, 3 February 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 23, Part II, 3 February 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

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Headlines, Part II

* TALKS WITH POLISH FARMERS STALLED

* HILL SAYS BELGRADE MUST ACCEPT SELF-RULE FOR KOSOVA

* ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ORDERS NEW INQUIRY INTO
MINERS' MARCH

End Note: MILOSEVIC'S CRACKDOWN ON UNIVERSITIES
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PRAISES EU, NATO ENLARGEMENT.
Borys Tarasyuk said in London on 2 February that the
expansion of NATO and the EU to embrace Eastern European
countries--including Ukraine--would create a "double
bulwark" of democracy and freedom in Europe, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. Tarasyuk, on a three-day visit
to Britain, made his comments at the Royal Institute of
International Affairs. He said Kyiv's long-term goal is
to attain EU membership and that enlargement of the
union is a positive process toward creating a "common
European home." Tarasyuk said NATO will continue to play
a pivotal role in maintaining security and stability in
Europe and that Kyiv regards the alliance's enlargement
as an expansion of democracy and stability in Europe. He
said there is popular support in Ukraine for closer ties
with the West. PB

UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON FOR LOAN TALKS. Valeriy
Pustovoytenko held talks with U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright on 2 February to discuss bilateral
issues, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported.
Albright reportedly told Pustovoytenko that Kyiv must
quickly step up economic reforms in order to continue
receiving loans from the IMF. She also discussed
outstanding disputes in Ukraine involving aggrieved U.S.
businesses and warned that failure to resolve them could
result in a drastic cut in U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
Pustovoytenko met later with IMF Managing Director
Michel Camdessus to review the continuation of the next
tranche of Ukraine's three-year loan. Pustovoytenko also
held talks with World Bank President James Wolfensohn on
loan programs for 14 projects. PB

IMF DELEGATION ARRIVES IN MINSK. Members of an IMF
delegation began arriving in Minsk on 2 February to
review the financial situation in Belarus, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. A spokesman for the IMF said the
group will monitor the country's progress in initiating
measures necessary for Belarus to request an emergency
loan from the IMF following losses sustained as a result
of reduced exports to Russia. The IMF has refrained from
granting Minsk any loans for many years because of the
government's lack of interest in reform. In other news,
the Belarusian Ministry of Statistics and Analysis
reported that consumer prices increased by 17.4 percent
in the first three weeks of January. PB

GOVERNMENT'S CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION SAYS PARALLEL
BODY ILLEGAL. Lidiya Yermoshina, the chairman of the
government's Central Election Commission, said on 2
February that any such commission formed by the banned
13th Supreme Soviet is illegal, Belapan reported.
Yermoshina said that since "this agency was set up
illegally, no documents it may publish can be regarded
as...having any legal effect." She added that according
to the law on presidential elections, no commission can
be set up specifically for a presidential election.
Viktor Gonchar, a deputy of the 13th Supreme Soviet,
which has been banned by the government but is
recognized as the legitimate parliament by Western
countries, is the head of the parallel commission. PB

RUSSIA TO ABOLISH DOUBLE CUSTOMS DUTIES ON ESTONIAN
IMPORTS? "Aripaev" on 2 February reported that Russia
may soon abolish the double customs duties imposed on
imports from Estonia, according to ETA. The daily
asserted that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vadim Gustov
wants to scrap those duties in order to boost trade
between Estonia and neighboring Russian regions. It also
quotes him as saying that the situation of ethnic
Russians living in Estonia will improve only when Moscow
and Tallinn have "normal economic relations." JC

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTS REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING
CITIZENSHIP LAW. The cabinet on 2 February adopted
regulations required for the implementation of
amendments to the citizenship law that went into force
on 1 January, BNS and "Diena" reported. The regulations
govern the process whereby parents of stateless children
born in Latvia after 21 August 1991 can apply for those
children to be granted Latvian citizenship. The
government also adopted regulations governing the
process of dealing with naturalization applications. The
Naturalization Department reports that since the removal
of the "naturalization windows" last fall, it has
received 3,337 applications from citizens wishing to be
naturalized, according to "Diena." JC

MOSCOW, LUKOIL DENY HALTING OIL SUPPLIES TO LITHUANIA.
Russian government spokesman Igor Schegolev, speaking to
ITAR-TASS on 2 February, denied that Moscow has ordered
any cuts in crude oil deliveries to Lithuania. He added
that neither the Russian government nor the Fuel
Ministry could take such a move because oil supplies are
"strictly stipulated by agreements between [Lithuania's
Mazeikiai Nafta] refinery and Russian oil companies."
The same day, a LUKoil representative told the news
agency that the Lithuanian authorities' accusations
against the Russian oil company are "groundless." He
said that according to his information, all the Russian
oil intended for delivery to Mazeikiai Nafta in the
first quarter of this year--a total of 150,000 tons--has
been "fully pumped." Earlier, the Lithuanian Foreign
Ministry had requested an explanation as to why Russian
supplies of crude have been halted (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 February 1999). JC

BALTIC WAVES RADIO RECEIVES FIRST FUNDING. The founders
of the independent radio station Baltic Waves have
received some 200,000 litas ($50,000) in funding from
the British Westminster Foundation for Democracy, ELTA
and BNS reported on 2 February. Based in Lithuania, the
station is a non-governmental non-profit institution
that intends to broadcast news programs for the
Belarusian and Russian minorities in Lithuania. It will
be heard on short-wave frequencies in Kaliningrad
Oblast, Belarus, and all three Baltic States. JC

TALKS WITH POLISH FARMERS STALLED. The Polish government
on 3 February appealed to protesting farmers to end
their blockades of roads so that negotiations on ending
the strike can resume, AP reported. Andrzej Lepper, the
leader of the striking farmers, halted negotiations with
Labor Minister Longin Komolowski and Agriculture
Minister Jacek Janiszewski the previous day when
government officials refused to guarantee immunity from
prosecution for protesting farmers. Police said some 20
major roads and 60 local ones are still blockaded.
Farmers also want their debts written off and higher
prices for agricultural products. PB

BRITAIN TELLS POLAND TO HALT COAL EXPORTS. The British
Department of Trade and Industry asked the Polish
government to stop exporting subsidized coal to the
U.K., PAP reported on 2 February. British Energy
Minister John Battle said the previous day that
"unsubsidized mining jobs in the UK must not be
threatened by coal exports from the massively indebted
industry of another country." A spokesman for the
department said coal exports to Britain have increased
in recent months because of increased subsidies by the
Polish government. PB

HAVEL CONCERNED OVER INTELLIGENCE AFFAIR... Czech
President Vaclav Havel told a news conference in Prague
on 2 February that he is concerned about the
government's recent sudden dismissal of the head of the
counter-intelligence service (BIS), Karel Vulterin (see
RFE/RL Newsline," 28 January 1999). Havel called the
sacking "very serious" and "a terrible blow" to the
Czech Republic's reputation at a time when the country
is about to join NATO. He said that the Czech
intelligence services have enjoyed considerable prestige
in the West because, as he put it, "they have a position
in areas where the secret services of large democracies
do not have access." This recognition, Havel says, has
resulted in political benefits for the Czech Republic
and was a factor in its being invited to join NATO in
the first wave of expansion. The circumstances
surrounding Vulterin's dismissal have become a topic of
heated debate among politicians and in the media. JN/PM

...CRITICIZES POLITICIANS. Havel told the same press
conference, which marked the first anniversary of his
current term in office, that the former conservative
government of Vaclav Klaus is to blame for many problems
because of its "ideological fundamentalism." Havel
suggested that the current Social Democratic government
is more flexible. He nonetheless criticized the
government for its handling of relations with the Roman
Catholic Church (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 February
1999). Havel said he would prefer a majority government
to the present minority one, and he suggested that all
parties except the Communists should consider playing a
role in forming a broader-based cabinet, "Lidove noviny"
reported. Elsewhere, the daily "Slovo" wrote that Havel
has become too involved in domestic politics "and no
longer stands above political parties." PM

DZURINDA OUTLINES HOPES FOR CZECH-SLOVAK TIES. Slovak
Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda told "Mlada fronta Dnes"
in Davos on 2 February that he not only expects but
counts on support from Prague to promote Slovakia's
integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. He regretted
that Slovakia has fallen far behind Poland, Hungary, and
the Czech Republic in their common quest for membership
in the EU and NATO. The prime minister stressed that
Slovak membership in the EU would work to the advantage
of the Czech Republic. He commented that "Slovak-Czech
relations can be as close as our history and way of life
are close." Illegal immigration and drug-trafficking are
problems the two countries can work on solving together,
he said, adding that student exchanges should be
increased and the question of dual citizenship solved in
the near future. PM

KUKAN SAYS SLOVAKIA MUST CATCH UP. Slovak Foreign
Minister Eduard Kukan said in Bonn on 2 February that
the only reason why his country was not included in the
first wave of NATO membership was political. By this, he
meant that Western countries did not regard the regime
of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar sufficiently
democratic for membership in Euro-Atlantic structures.
Kukan argued that the Slovak army is just as good as its
Polish, Czech, or Hungarian counterparts but that
Slovakia must now make extra efforts to overcome the
negative image abroad bequeathed by Meciar. Kukan
stressed that the task of catching up has often proved
"frustrating," the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
quoted him as saying. German Foreign Minister Joschka
Fischer told Kukan that Slovak citizens' claims against
Germany dating from World War II will be considered on
an individual rather than collective basis, "Sme"
reported. PM

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY MINISTER VISITS HUNGARY. Nabil Ali
Saat, minister of planning and cooperation for the
Palestinian Authority, met with Hungarian Foreign
Minister Janos Martonyi and Economic Minister Attila
Chikan on 2 February in Budapest to discuss boosting
ties. Martonyi told Hungarian media that Hungary wants
to become one of the Palestinian Authority's donor
countries. Saat expressed the hope that the two
countries will represent a bridge between the EU and the
Arab world. He added that Palestinian Authority
President Yasser Arafat would like to visit Hungary. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HILL SAYS BELGRADE MUST ACCEPT SELF-RULE FOR KOSOVA.
U.S. envoy Chris Hill told the BBC on 3 February that
the Serbian authorities "have got to accept the idea
that there will be self-rule [in Kosova].... They've
tried to rule it directly from Belgrade. It doesn't
work. They're going to have to accept [autonomy]." Hill
added: "We do not have independence on the table. What
this is, is an interim accord.... It talks about a
status for...the next three years. It talks about
building institutions that are essential to people's
lives and it doesn't prejudice what might be
done...after the three years.... Frankly speaking we
would be giving [the people of Kosova] a lot of autonomy
and a lot of ability to run their own lives," which
would include broad rights for all ethnic minorities.
Observers noted that the ethnic Albanians are unlikely
to approve any agreement that does not include the
option of independence at some point in the future. PM

REFUGEE WAVE IN KOSOVA. Some 45,000 persons fled their
homes in the troubled province during January 1999, a
spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees said in Geneva on 2 February. He added that all
together there are 210,000 displaced persons within
Kosova, 60,000 refugees from Kosova in neighboring
regions including Albania, and 100,000 in Western
Europe. The spokesman added that some 20 percent of
Kosova's prewar population have become displaced persons
or refugees since Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
launched a crackdown in early 1998. PM

UCK AGREES TO TALKS? Jakup Krasniqi, who is a spokesman
for the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), said in Prishtina
on 2 February that the guerrillas are "certainly ready
to go to [peace talks at] Rambouillet" on 6 February, as
demanded by the international community (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 February 1999). He stressed, however, that
only the UCK has the right to speak for the Kosovars
because the guerrillas "fight and make sacrifices for
Kosova." Elsewhere, Adem Demaci, who is the political
spokesman for the UCK, said that he will not attend the
talks and advised the UCK general staff to do likewise.
He stressed that the talks will amount to "capitulation"
because independence will not be on the agenda. Demaci
added, however, that this is his personal opinion and
that others should go if they wish, "Shekulli" quoted
him as saying. PM/FS

ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS ON UCK TO JOIN TALKS. At
a meeting in Tirana on 2 February with his Belgian
counterpart, Eric Deryche, Paskal Milo called on the UCK
to attend talks at Rambouillet. Milo stressed that "all
ethnic Albanian [political groups] must take part in the
meeting...not only to express their views, but also to
show that the Albanians are not against dialogue."
Deryche argued that any failure of UCK representatives
to attend the talks would be a "fatal mistake." He
stressed that Milosevic would exploit such a mistake at
the negotiations, "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. FS

WASHINGTON WARNS BELGRADE. State Department spokesman
James Rubin on 2 February welcomed Krasniqi's
announcement that the UCK will go to Rambouillet. Rubin
added that "we are awaiting the decision of the Serb
side as to whether to attend these talks. NATO has
indicated there will be swift and serious consequences
if the Serbs do not make that decision." Elsewhere, CIA
chief George Tenet said that the situation on the ground
in Kosova is "near collapse." He added that "a NATO
force would be an indispensable component in trying to
bring some solution" in the troubled province. He
cautioned, however, that the task of peacekeeping would
be more difficult than in Bosnia. "There's a real threat
out there and we'll have to be very careful," he
commented. PM

MONTENEGRO TO BACK NATO. President Milo Djukanovic said
in Podgorica on 2 February that his republic will
"provide support" for NATO should it eventually station
troops in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. He added that Montenegro will not take part in
the Rambouillet meetings unless its interests become
adversely affected by the course of the discussions. In
that case, he added, Montenegro would be ready to "go to
New York and claim its seat in the United Nations."
Djukanovic has repeatedly said that Montenegro favors
broad autonomy for Kosova but cannot accept that it
become a third republic equal to Montenegro within the
Yugoslav federation. PM

CHINA TO BLOCK PEACE-KEEPING MISSION? A Chinese diplomat
told the UN Security Council on 2 February that Beijing
"cannot be responsible" for any diplomatic consequences
if Macedonia goes ahead with plans to establish full
relations with Taiwan (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 3
February 1999). Observers suggested that Beijing may be
planning to block the continuation of the UN peace-
keeping mission in Macedonia, known as UNPREDEP, AP
reported. PM

WIESENTHAL CENTER CALLS FOR PROSECUTION OF NADA SAKIC.
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem
office told RFE/RL on 2 February that Belgrade should
press charges against Nada Sakic for atrocities she
allegedly committed at a Croatian concentration camp
during World War II. He criticized a Croatian decision
to drop charges against Sakic and free her from prison
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 February 1999). PM

OSCE, COUNCIL OF EUROPE CAUTION ALBANIA OVER HAJDARI
LAW. Legal experts of the OSCE and the Council of Europe
issued a joint declaration in Tirana on 2 February
warning that a draft law providing for an "independent
investigation" into the killing of opposition legislator
Azem Hajdari violates Albania's constitution and penal
code (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January 1999). The OSCE
offered to send a group of foreign prosecutors to
Albania to assist current Albanian investigators and
monitor their work, "Shekulli" reported on 3 February.
Democratic Party experts prepared the draft in January
following an earlier agreement between Prime Minister
Pandeli Majko and Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha.
Meanwhile, Berisha said that the government must stop
what he called "violations of democracy..., political
killings, and cooperation with organized crime" before
the Democrats agree to end their boycott of the
parliament. FS

ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ORDERS NEW INQUIRY INTO
MINERS' MARCH. At his first press conference since
taking office, newly appointed Interior Minister
Constantin Dudu Ionescu said he has ordered another
inquiry to determine who was responsible for the failure
of police to halt the coal miners' march last month.
According to Romanian Radio, Ionescu described a
preliminary report on the events as "insufficient." He
also said that there is no evidence so far to
substantiate claims that the five-day march constituted
an "attempted coup." Ionescu replaced Gavril Dejeu, who
resigned over his failure to prevent the march from
taking place. DI

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ASKS FOR MORE POWERS TO RESOLVE
GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Addressing the opening of the
parliament's spring session, Petru Lucinschi on 3
February asked that his prerogatives be extended to
enable him to resolve the current government crisis, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Chisinau reported. Lucinschi
criticized the idea of another coalition cabinet based
on the loose Alliance for Democracy and Reforms (ADR).
The same day, the parliament unanimously accepted the
resignation of Premier Ion Ciubuc and his government,
and the ADR failed to agree on designating Nicolae
Andronic to take over from Ciubuc. Andronic's
candidature was proposed by the Democratic Convention of
Moldova (CDM), despite the opposition of one of its
members, the pro-Romanian Christian Democratic Popular
Front. CDM co-chairman Mircea Snegur responded by
announcing his resignation as ADR leader. DI

BULGARIAN MINORITIES CALL FOR RATIFICATION OF FRAMEWORK
CONVENTION. Some 40 NGOs have addressed an appeal to
Bulgarian parliament speaker Yordan Sokolov calling for
the National Assembly to ratify the Framework Convention
for the Protection of National Minorities, Groong
reported on 2 February. The appeal was issued on 28
January and signed by representatives of Bulgaria's
Roma, Armenian, Macedonian, and Wallachian minorities as
well as religious organizations and civic NGOs. LF

END NOTE

MILOSEVIC'S CRACKDOWN ON UNIVERSITIES

by Andrej Krickovic

	In the past few months, Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic and his political allies have organized a
crackdown on the Serbian university system. That move
has gone hand in hand with Milosevic's campaign against
the independent media, although it has received far less
attention in the international press. Both moves are
related to Milosevic's Kosova policy and are intended to
stifle even the smallest voice of dissent in the
country. While the international community is shifting
its policy toward removing Milosevic, and while he again
faces the threat of NATO air strikes, his grip on power
in Serbia may be stronger than ever.
	The crackdown on the Serbian university system
began in June with the introduction of a new university
law giving the minister of education the power to
appoint and dismiss deans and professors as well as to
dictate faculty policy. The new law was pushed through
Serbia's legislature by the so called ruling coalition
of "national reconciliation," which brings together
Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian Socialist Party (SPS), the
ultra leftist Yugoslav United Left (JUL) of Milosevic's
wife, Mirjana Markovic, and the ultra nationalist
Serbian Radical Party (SRS) of Vojislav Seselj The law
was ostensibly designed to de-politicize academic life
at the universities. But in reality, it has stripped the
university system of any autonomy it once had.
	Professors who refuse to take a loyalty oath, which
is provided for in the new law, or who belonged to
opposition political parties have been fired and
replaced by unqualified SPS, SRS, and JUL loyalists. The
curriculum has been changed to conform with the ruling
parties' anti-Western world view. Russian is again the
chief language at the linguistics faculty, while
Croatian and Bosnian authors have been dropped from the
teaching timetables of the literature faculty.
Shakespeare has been relegated to the Germanic languages
faculty, and Albanian has been classified a Romance
language.
	Initial resistance to the new law has met with
intensified repression. Private security guards have
been hired by the administration to terrorize
recalcitrant students and faculty members. Student
protesters have been arrested, and Boris Karajic, the
leader of the student resistance organization movement
Otpor [Resistance], was badly beaten by unidentified
assailants last month after giving testimony to the
Helsinki Committee.
	In the past, university students and professors
have been in the vanguard of opposition to Milosevic's
regime. During the winter of 1996-1997, students at
Belgrade University led the protest movement that drew
hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of
Belgrade each day and threatened to shake the very
foundations of the Milosevic regime. As a result of
those protests, Milosevic was forced to hand over power
in Serbia's largest cities to the opposition.
	The crackdown on the university system has been
accompanied the draconian restrictions on the free
press. Both intensified in the wake of the Milosevic-
Holbrooke agreement on Kosova in October 1998, which
many saw as a defeat for Serbian interests and which may
have cost Milosevic his most ardent nationalist
supporters. The economy is also on the verge of
collapse, and a showdown with separatist politicians in
Montenegro looms. Faced with increasing international
pressure and with the complete economic, political, and
moral bankruptcy of his Kosova policy, Milosevic is
determined to ensure that there is no repeat of the
1996-1997 events.
	Professors are organizing an Alternative Academic
Education Network (AAOM) as an independent alternative
to the deteriorating state higher education
institutions. Otpor has also intensified its activities
in recent weeks; and a new wave of protest actions is
planned for this month.
	So far such protests have failed to draw the kind
of support that they did several years ago. Most
faculties have accepted the new law, while resistance
has been shown mainly by the Philosophy and Electrical
Engineering faculties in Belgrade. Throughout the
country there is a general apathy toward politics;
moreover, the organized opposition is weak and regarded
by many as opportunistic. Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian
Renewal Movement (SPO), a longtime Milosevic opponent
and one of the leaders of the 1996-1997 protests, has
recently formed a coalition with Milosevic's SPS in the
federal parliament and joined the federal government.
The handful of liberal parties, which are not ready to
cut deals with Milosevic, remain divided and small.
	As fighting in Kosova intensifies and as grisly
incidents such as the massacre at Recak come to light,
the international community has begun to single out the
Milosevic regime as the main obstacle to peace and
stability in the region. Working toward the overthrow of
that regime may be on the new agenda of at least some in
the international community. But with an impotent
opposition, an apathetic and disillusioned population,
and growing pressure on the most die-hard opponents of
the regime--namely the universities and the independent
press--the Milosevic regime may be able to withstand
even the most intense pressure the international
community can muster.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Zagreb.
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