The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 60, Part II, 26 March 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 60, Part II, 26 March 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

* RUKH LEADER KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT

* NATO LAUNCHES SECOND NIGHT OF AIR STRIKES

* OSCE FEARS NEW MASSACRE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA COMPARES NATO STRIKES TO FASCIST AGGRESSION.
Meeting with villagers in a flood-hit area of Brest Oblast on
25 March, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said "the Americans
along with NATO and their allies--as the Fascists in their
own time--have committed an act of aggression" against
Yugoslavia. Lukashenka explained that NATO and the U.S. are
forcing their way into Yugoslavia because it is one of the
"richest regions [where] people mine gold and other precious
metals." He added that NATO has been "punched fairly well in
the jaw" by the Serbs and will hardly dare launch warfare on
the ground. Lukashenka said he opposes sending "our boys,
even volunteers," to help Yugoslavia, which, he noted, needs
"not soldiers, but good, modern weapons to defend itself,"
Belarusian Television quoted Lukashenka as saying. JM

NATO STRIKES DRAW MORE CRITICISM IN UKRAINE. Following the
Supreme Council resolutions on 24 March denouncing NATO
strikes on Yugoslavia as aggression and urging the cabinet to
reconsider Ukraine's nuclear status (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
25 March 1999), left-wing deputies have demanded more actions
over the Kosova crisis. Borys Oliynyk, head of the Foreign
Affairs Committee, demanded the following day that Ukraine
recall its ambassador from Washington and the cabinet step
down for promoting cooperation with the U.S. and NATO. Petro
Symonenko, head of the Communist Party, said the parliament
should immediately reconsider Ukraine's relations with NATO.
After an emergency cabinet session devoted to the Kosova
crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Chaliy called the use
of force in Yugoslavia "inadmissible" without the consent of
the UN Security Council. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO STOP COOPERATION WITH IMF. The
Supreme Council on 25 March voted four times to renounce the
1998 memorandum on cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF
but failed by a margin of 21 votes to pass an appropriate
resolution. Communist leader Symonenko told the parliament
that policies outlined in the memorandum amount to the
Ukrainian government's "genocide against its own people."
National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko argued that World
Bank and IMF loans are the only means of replenishing state
reserves and financing the budget deficit, other than
printing money. The parliament on 26 March voted by 231 votes
to 44 to adopt a compromise resolution saying that the 1998
memorandum should be revised to correspond with Ukrainian
law. JM

RUKH LEADER KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT. Vyacheslav Chornovil,
leader of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine, was killed on 25 March
in a car crash near Kyiv, ITAR-TASS reported. Chornovil had
led Rukh since its formation in the late 1980s and became
well known as a staunch advocate of Ukrainian independence.
JM

BALTIC STATES REMEMBER VICTIMS OF 1949 DEPORTATIONS. Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania on 25 March remembered the victims of
mass deportations that took place 50 years ago on the orders
of the Soviet authorities, Baltic news agencies reported. In
March 1949, 20,702 people from Estonia, 47,322 from Latvia,
and 29,180 from Lithuania were taken under armed guard to
cattle trains bound for Siberia. Some victims died on the
journey, many others fell victim in Siberia to hunger and
illnesses. In Estonia, two former KGB employees have been
convicted in connection with their involvement in the
deportations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January and 11 March
1999). Both men were given suspended prison sentences. JC

TALLINN SAYS NATO ACTION 'UNAVOIDABLE.' Following the
swearing in of the new Estonian cabinet, the Foreign Ministry
issued a statement on 25 March saying that it regrets that
negotiations failed to find a peaceful solution to the
situation in Kosova but arguing that NATO action was
"unavoidable." Estonian President Lennart Meri had told
journalists the previous day after his return from France
that NATO, its partner states, and Russia did "everything
to avoid that war." He added that he "regrets deeply that the
world was left with no choice" but to use force to bring
peace to Kosova. JC

LITHUANIA'S RULING CONSERVATIVES REJECT PRESIDENTIAL
AMENDMENTS. The ruling Conservatives, meeting late on 25
March, rejected amendments to the law on privatization
submitted to the parliament by President Valdas Adamkus, ELTA
reported the next day, citing "Lietuvos Rytas." Under those
amendments, the government's right to decide on the
distribution of money from the Privatization Fund would be
transferred to the parliament. The Christian Democrats, which
form the ruling alliance with the Conservatives, have said
they will support the amendments, as have other factions in
the parliament. The news agency noted that in previous
controversies between the president and the ruling
Conservatives, the Christian Democrats supported the
presidential candidate to the post of State Controller and
voted in favor of the presidential amendments to the
competition law. JC

POLISH PREMIER COMPLETES GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. Jerzy Buzek
carried out a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle on 25 March by
appointing Maciej Srebro, Franciszka Cegielska, Artur Balazs,
and Andrzej Zakrzewski as new ministers of
telecommunications, health, agriculture, and culture. All the
appointees are affiliated with Solidarity Electoral Action
(AWS). Government spokesman Krzysztof Luft commented that the
"reconstruction of the government" has been completed. The
Freedom Union (UW), the AWS's coalition partner, said Buzek
nominated Srebro and Zakrzewski without the UW's approval.
Zakrzewski replaced Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa of the UW. Andrzej
Potocki of the UW commented that the coalition will survive,
but "it will continue in conditions considerably more
difficult than so far." JM

CZECH GOVERNMENT 'ACCEPTS' NATO DECISION. The government on
25 March said that while the Czech Republic, as a member of
NATO, accepts the decision to launch air strikes on
Yugoslavia, that decision was taken "before the Czech
Republic became a member," CTK reported. Premier Milos Zeman
told "Mlada fronta Dnes" that it is "superfluous" to
speculate on whether Prague would have had any effect on the
decision if the Czech Republic had been a NATO member when it
was made. Foreign Minister Jan Kavan on 25 March told Nova TV
that the Czech Republic "is not at war with Yugoslavia." He
said NATO has not formally declared war on Yugoslavia and the
Czech Republic "takes no part in the NATO operations." MS

SLOVAK NATIONALISTS TO MOVE NO CONFIDENCE VOTE OVER
GOVERNMENT'S NATO SUPPORT. The extreme right Slovak National
Party (SNS) on 25 March said it will move in the parliament a
no confidence vote in Mikulas Dzurinda's cabinet, CTK
reported, quoting SNS chairman Jan Slota. Slota said the
government "has lost the moral right to stay in office" by
allowing "the aggressor" to use Slovak air space. Yugoslav
ambassador to Bratislava Veljko Curic said Slovakia's
decision was "an enormous shock" and that those who made it
"without consent from the parliament must answer before their
own people." Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said on Slovak
television that the ambassador's remarks were
"inappropriate," and he denied Slovakia intended to dispatch
to Kosova an engineering platoon composed of 30-40 troops,
CTK reported. MS

HOLBROOKE IN HUNGARY. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke on 25
March attended a closed session of the Hungarian parliament's
Foreign Affairs Committee and discussed the Kosova crisis
with Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, Hungarian media
reported. Holbrooke said that while "there is no guaranteed
way" to protect ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina from extremist
Serbs, "it would not be in Milosevic's interest to open new
front lines." Prime Minister Viktor Orban on 25 March told
journalists that "Yugoslavia has enough problems already,
even without considering any military operations against
Hungary." He said consultations between the cabinet and NATO
are "continuous" and that NATO had "accurately informed"
Budapest twelve hours in advance of the operations it
undertook. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO LAUNCHES SECOND NIGHT OF AIR STRIKES. NATO aircraft
attacked up to 20 military targets in Serbia and Montenegro
during the night of 25-26 March, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. Targets included army and air bases as
well as military communications centers. U.S. Secretary of
Defense William Cohen told CNN that all planes returned to
base safely. During the previous night's raids, NATO aircraft
destroyed three Yugoslav MiG fighters, the BBC reported. The
correspondent added that "there is not one shred of evidence"
to substantiate Belgrade's claims that its forces shot down
at least one NATO aircraft. Observers noted that NATO
officials are surprised that the Yugoslav military has fired
only one missile from its Soviet SAM air defense system at
NATO aircraft. Retired Croatian General Martin Spegelj, who
is one of the region's senior military commentators, told
"Novi List" that he expects NATO attacks will become "even
more intense" in the coming days. PM

BELGRADE BREAKS DIPLOMATIC LINKS. Yugoslav authorities on 25
March announced that Belgrade has broken diplomatic relations
with Washington, London, Paris, and Bonn. The Yugoslav
authorities are considering the future of their diplomatic
ties with other countries involved in the air strikes. PM

INFORMATION BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN. Serbian
authorities on 25 March told journalists from NATO countries
that they must leave Yugoslavia because their reporting
allegedly encouraged the Atlantic alliance to launch air
strikes. It is unclear whether Greek journalists, who are
often sympathetic to Serbian views, are included in the ban.
It has become increasingly difficult to verify conflicting
Serbian and Kosovar claims as to what is happening on the
ground in that province because most foreign journalists and
all OSCE monitors have left, several international
broadcasters reported on 26 March. Observers noted that some
of the Serbian independent media have recently moved closer
to Belgrade's official line in their reporting on the
conflict, including Radio B-92 and the BETA news agency. PM

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN KOSOVA? Guerrillas of the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) have taken advantage of NATO air
strikes to attack Serbian positions, the Serbian Media Center
reported from Prishtina on 25 March. Kosovar sources reported
heavy fighting in the areas to the north and west of
Prishtina. They added that Serbian tanks have surrounded
Qirez, where 20,000 people have taken refuge. Serbian police
in several localities have detained Kosovar males "of whom
all trace is then lost," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. One Serbian soldier told a Kosovar woman to "ask
NATO where your husband is." A UCK spokesman in London said
that Serbian police have singled out middle-class persons and
especially teachers in the latest round-up. In Prishtina, a
Serbian policeman told Serbian residents of an apartment
building to put special stickers on their doors, the BBC
reported. PM

SERBIAN FORCES "ETHNICALLY CLEANSE" BORDER VILLAGE. About 200
Kosovar refugees, mostly women and children, arrived from the
remote border village of Goden in the village of Dobruna in
Albania's Kukes district on 25 March. The refugees reported
that Serbian security forces entered Goden and separated the
men from the women and children, whom they forced to march
across the border along the only mine-free route. They then
set the village ablaze, AP reported. FS

OSCE FEARS NEW MASSACRE. OSCE spokesman Andrea Angeli told
Reuters in Tirana on 25 March that "we confirm that Goden is
in flames. Our monitors [on the Albanian side of the border]
saw Serbian forces round up the [ethnic] Albanian
population...and later heard gunshots." Albanian police
reported seeing their Serbian counterparts enter Goden, round
up all the residents in front of the school, take the men
away, and then set fire to the schoolhouse. One of the 10
male eyewitnesses who managed to flee Goden said he fears the
forces killed 24 male inhabitants. He added "I am alive only
because I knew the Serbian commander." FS

TENSIONS RISE ALONG BORDER. Albanian border officials told AP
that reinforcements of Serbian forces have been deployed
along the border, adding that those troops fired at villages
in Kosova all day on 25 March. Reporters on the Albanian side
of the border saw "large numbers" of Serbian forces armed
with heavy artillery across the frontier. They also heard
mortar fire and saw houses aflame in five villages. Captain
Ramiz Tahari, who heads the border guards in the Has region,
said Yugoslav guards opened fire on his station and wounded
one of his men. Information Minister Musa Ulqini said in
Tirana that Yugoslav forces fired mortars into Albania
earlier the same day, slightly damaging three houses near
Tropoja. Army commander Kudesi Lama told AP that "we are no
longer talking about avoiding incidents but [are] preparing
for possible attacks." FS

ALBANIA CLOSES AIRPORT. Albania shut down its only
international airport, which is near Tirana, on 25 March for
an indefinite period owing to security reasons. Ferries to
Italy are still in operation, Reuters reported. FS

ALBRIGHT WARNS MILOSEVIC OVER MONTENEGRO. Speaking in
Washington on 25 March, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
warned President Slobodan Milosevic not to "attempt to use
this crisis to broaden the conflict or spread violence and
instability elsewhere in the region. Nor should he attack the
democratically elected government of Montenegro, whose
approach to the crisis has been rational and constructive, in
stark contrast to that of President Milosevic." She added
that "any attempt to either overthrow the democratically
elected government [of Montenegro] or to create instability
would lead to deeper isolation for the Serbs, for Yugoslavia,
and escalate the conflict with NATO." Elsewhere in
Washington, Montenegrin representative Zorica Maric warned
that continuing NATO attacks on targets in her republic could
"undermine support among the people for the democratically
elected government" of President Milo Djukanovic, who blames
Milosevic for the current crisis (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25
March 1999). PM

BULATOVIC CALLS FOR MONTENEGRIN PARLIAMENT SESSION. Yugoslav
Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic called for an emergency
meeting of the Montenegrin parliament to "decide whether to
stand with Serbia," AP reported on 26 March. He added that
"it's most vital to maintain peace and then the people of
Montenegro can decide later" whether they wish to remain
part of Yugoslavia. Bulatovic is the arch-rival of
Djukanovic, who does not recognize the Bulatovic government.
Djukanovic says he wants Montenegro to remain in Yugoslavia
but demands that Milosevic change his policies on a variety
of issues, including Kosova. PM

CLINTON APPEALS TO SERBS. President Bill Clinton, in a 25
March televised address broadcast via satellite to the
Serbian people, appealed to "all Serbs and all persons of
good will to join with us in ending this conflict." Clinton
noted that Washington and its allies "have no quarrel with
the Serbian people." He stressed that Milosevic and his
policies are to blame for the crisis. Milosevic, he
continued, "has your sons fighting a senseless conflict you
did not ask for that he could have prevented.... Hopefully,
he will realize that his present course is unsustainable The
sooner we find a peaceful resolution of this dispute..., the
sooner Serbia can join the rest of Europe and build a nation
that gives all its citizens a choice and a chance for
prosperity," Clinton said. He noted that the Milosevic regime
has offered its citizens "too much propaganda and too little
plain truth." PM

SERBS STAGE VIOLENT PROTEST IN SKOPJE. Some 2,000 members of
Macedonia's small Serbian minority, along with some
Macedonian nationalists, fire-bombed the U.S. embassy and
also damaged the German and British embassies on 25 March.
U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Chris Hill said none of his
staff was injured. Protesters threw rocks and other objects
at cars belonging to the OSCE and international agencies and
at the hotel where most foreign personnel are staying. The
attacks appeared "orchestrated," the BBC reported. Some
protesters physically attacked German journalists, Deutsche
Welle added. PM

TAIWAN TO HELP MACEDONIA WITH REFUGEES. Officials of Republic
of China's Foreign Ministry said in Taipei on 26 March that
Taiwan will provide $2 million to help Macedonia deal with an
influx of refugees from Kosova. The officials added that
Skopje requested the assistance. Some 20,000 Kosovar refugees
are currently in Macedonia, but the total could eventually
reach 200,000, Reuters reported from Taipei (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 March 1999). PM

CROATIA WANTS ASSURANCES FROM NATO. Prime Minister Zlatko
Matesa told the government on 25 March that Croatia supports
the NATO air strikes but wants guarantees for its security
from NATO and the U.S., "Jutarnji list" reported. He added
that Croatia supports Western policies in the region and
should receive the same assurances that the Atlantic alliance
recently gave to members of the Partnership for Peace
program, even though Croatia is not yet a member of that
program (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 23 March 1999). PM

MOST CROATIAN AIRPORTS REOPEN. A spokesman for Croatian
Airlines said in Zagreb on 26 March that Croatia has reopened
its airspace, which it closed two days earlier. He said that
only the airport at Pula, which is near NATO's key air base
at Aviano, Italy, will remain closed, Reuters reported. PM

U.S. PROTESTS BOSNIAN SERB ATTACK. The U.S. embassy in
Sarajevo issued a statement on 26 March condemning an attack
on its office by violent protesters in Banja Luka the
previous day. One staff member was seriously injured, Reuters
reported. "The U.S. expects local authorities to aggressively
investigate and prosecute those responsible for the attack,"
the text added. "We hold responsible all those officials who
recently made statements suggesting that violence against the
U.S. and the international community might be acceptable
under any circumstances," the statement noted. Serbian Deputy
Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj recently called on Serbs to
attack U.S. interests everywhere. PM

ROMANIAN CLOSES AIRPORTS NEAR YUGOSLAV BORDER. Transportation
Minister Traian Basescu told journalists on 25 March that he
has ordered the airports in Timisoara, Arad, and Caransebes
closed "in response to a NATO request to set up an "air
traffic safety zone" in the vicinity of the Yugoslav border.
The Foreign Ministry the same day expressed "concern" over
the consequences of the Kosova crisis for the region and said
that Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu, rotating chairman of the
South East European Cooperation (SEEC), which includes
Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, and Romania, has
convened a meeting in Bucharest of the monitoring group,
formed by an SEES gathering in Bucharest on 19 March, to
discuss the "humanitarian" consequences of the crisis. The
Romanian Red Cross announced it is ready to extend aid
"without discrimination" to either side in the conflict. MS

FITCH IBCA DOWNGRADES ROMANIA'S RATING. The Fitch IBCA
international rating agency on 24 March downgraded Romania's
rating for the service of its long-term external debt from B
to B minus and for the servicing of the country's internal
debt from BB minus to B minus, Mediafax reported. The agency
downgraded the rating for external debt servicing from BB
minus to B last December. MS

MOLDOVA, TIRASPOL ON NATO STRIKES. The Moldovan Foreign
Ministry on 25 March said it is "worried" about the failure
of the negotiating process in Yugoslavia and "takes note"
that the NATO decision to use force has been "to a large
extent imposed by the irreconcilable position" of one of the
sides involved in the Kosova conflict. The ministry said any
use of force "carries with it inherent risks" and that
Moldova will continue to support and participate in "efforts
of the international community to restore peace and the
respect of human rights in Kosova," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported. The communist parliamentary group expressed
"indignation" over the strikes. Vladimir Atamanyuk, chairman
of the separatist Supreme Soviet, said on 25 March that
"Tiraspol will grant Russian armed forces the right to use
its military or civilian airfields" and supports "blocking
NATO-launched aggression and NATO's eastward expansion." MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ALLOWS DEPUTIES TO RUN IN LOCAL
ELECTIONS. The parliament on 25 March voted to allow deputies
to run for mayor in the local elections scheduled for 23 May
but requires them to resign from the legislature if elected,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Christian Democratic
Popular Front leader Iurie Rosca and communist deputy Vasili
Ivov were denied registration by the Chisinau Electoral
Council on 19 March. Five days later, the Central Electoral
Commission rejected Rosca's appeal against that decision. MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT URGES YUGOSLAVIA TO SIGN KOSOVA DEAL.
The parliament on 25 March passed a resolution calling on
Yugoslavia to "sign the peace agreement in order to avert new
human casualties and destruction." At the same time, it
called on NATO to accept Bulgaria as a member. Both President
Petar Stoyanov and Premier Ivan Kostov told the special
session of the legislature that Bulgaria faces no immediate
political or military danger from the conflict. The
opposition, led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, voted
against the resolution. Kostov told legislators that he and
Stoyanov received a message from President Bill Clinton
saying the U.S. will guarantee Bulgaria's security if the war
spills over the border, BTA and Reuters reported. BTA
reported that some 120 Albanians from Macedonia and
Yugoslavia have fled to Bulgaria. MS

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