Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. - Winston Churchill
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 61, Part II, 29 March 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 61, Part II, 29 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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NATO ATTACKS YUGOSLAVIA: Coverage of the crisis in
Kosovo in four languages in audio and text.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/nato-kosovo/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE WON'T REARM WITH NUKES, WILL MAINTAIN NATO
TIES

* REFUGEES REPORT 'ETHNIC CLEANSING'

* MONTENEGRO STEERS OWN COURSE

End Note: TIRANA'S KIOSKS: A MIRROR OF SOCIAL CHANGE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE WON'T REARM WITH NUKES, WILL MAINTAIN NATO TIES.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 26 March that
"there is no turning back" with regard to the country's
nuclear weapon-free status, ITAR-TASS reported. He spoke
following a resolution in the parliament calling for
Kyiv to rearm with nuclear weapons in response to NATO
air strikes against Yugoslavia. Vladymyr Horbulyn, the
secretary of the National Security and Defense Council,
said the country does not have the "technological or
financial resources" to revoke its nuclear-free status.
He added that Ukraine still intends to take part in the
NATO summit in Washington next month. Ukrainian Defense
Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk had told parliament on 26
March that cooperation with NATO is in the national
interests. PB

KUCHMA TO BELGRADE? Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasyuk said on 27 March that he is awaiting word from
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on the possibility
of the latter meeting with President Leonid Kuchma,
Reuters reported. Tarasyuk and Defense Minister Kuzmuk
met with Milosevic and other Yugoslav officials the same
day. Kuchma has said he is willing to go to Belgrade in
an effort to mediate a resolution to the Kosova crisis.
PB

UKRAINE WELCOMES IMF DECISION TO RESUME AID. Ukrainian
officials welcomed the IMF's decision on 26 March to
release the next tranche of a $2.2 billion loan to the
country, AP reported. Ukraine is to receive $153 million
over the next few days. The IMF halted the loan in
November because of Ukraine's slow pace in reforms. The
government has since raised prices on utilities and
taken moves to streamline the government by reducing
ministries. It can now expect to receive World Bank
loans. PB

OPPOSITION MARKS ANNIVERSARY WITH RALLY IN MINSK.
Several thousand people held a rally in Minsk on 28
March to mark the 81st anniversary of the first
independent Belarusian state and to protest against
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, AP reported. Most of
the participants were members of opposition groups and
called for Lukashenka to resign. The short-lived
Belarusian Democratic Republic was established on 25
March 1918 but the exiled government disintegrated under
the 1921 Treaty of Riga, which created the Belarusian
SSR. PB

ETHNIC RUSSIAN YOUTHS IN TALLINN DEMONSTRATE AGAINST
NATO STRIKES. Some 50 Russian youths gathered outside
the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn on 28 March to protest NATO
strikes against Yugoslavia, ETA reported. They dispersed
peacefully, however, after police pointed out that they
did not have permission to hold a demonstration. The
youths, who were aged 14 to 24, vowed to gather again
outside the embassy later this week. JC

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO LATVIAN NEWSPAPER.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has
launched a criminal investigation into "Latvietis
Latvija" for inciting racial and ethnic hatred, BNS
reported on 26 March. The deputy director of the office,
Uldis Dzenitis, told the news agency that the move was
discussed and coordinated with the Prosecutor-General's
Office. Meanwhile, the prosecutor-general is still
examining whether the re-publication of "The Fearful
Year" constitutes incitement to racial hatred (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 January 1999). JC

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT CLAIMS ONLY ONE REMAINING
DIFFERENCE WITH PREMIER... Speaking to journalists after
meeting with the parliamentary group of the Christian
Democrats, the junior coalition party, Valdas Adamkus
said the only remaining disagreement between himself and
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius is the latter's
unwillingness to recognize the many problems confronting
the country, ELTA and BNS reported on 26 March. Adamkus
added that he does not believe that it is his job to
"prove the existence of the difficulties that all
Lithuania is talking about." Asked whether a government
that refuses to recognize existing problems should stay
in office, Adamkus suggested that the cabinet would have
to decide for itself what to do. JC

...APPOINTS NEW OMBUDSMAN. Also on 26 March, Adamkus
said he will propose Audrius Rudys, a financial
consultant and a member of the Social Democratic Party,
for the post of ombudsman, ELTA reported. Arvydas
Vidziunas, head of the ruling Conservatives'
parliamentary group, responded that his colleagues are
"astounded" that the president has proposed a "clearly
politically engaged" person for the post. He warned that
the Conservatives may oppose Rudys's candidacy. Earlier
this year, Adamkus twice nominated lawyer Kestutis
Lapinskas as ombudsman, but the Conservatives succeeded
in rejecting that nomination by a narrow majority (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January and 12 February 1999). JC

POLISH PRESIDENT SAYS MOSCOW ALSO TO BLAME FOR YUGOSLAV
CONFLICT. Aleksander Kwasniewski said on 26 March that
Russia is "co-responsible" for the failure in the recent
peace talks, which has led to NATO strikes against
Yugoslavia, AP reported. Kwasniewski, in an interview
with Radio Zet, said "Russia could have played a
significant role by pressuring...[Yugoslav] President
[Slobodan] Milosevic and the Serbs to find a compromise
solution." But he added that "Russia's role is not
finished." In other news, Miroslaw Czech, the leader of
the Freedom Union (a ruling coalition partner), said he
is resigning from that post to protest Premier Jerzy
Buzek's failure to get the party's approval for his
cabinet reorganization (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 March
1999). PB

HAVEL CRITICIZES 'NATO CRITICS'. President Vaclav Havel
told CTK on 26 March that those who publicly denounce
NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia will be responsible for
creating an "isolationist and, in the long run,
extremely dangerous mood" in the Czech Republic.
Earlier, opposition Civic Democratic Party leader Vaclav
Klaus had expressed "disappointment" over the strikes.
Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart, Social Democratic
Party (CSSD) Senator Petr Smutny, and human rights
government commissioner Petr Uhl have all criticized the
strikes, while Stanislav Gross, CSSD parliamentary group
chairman in the Chamber of Deputies, said he cannot "in
clear conscience" vote in favor of a NATO military
operation in Yugoslavia. At a demonstration in Prague on
27 March organized by the Communists, participants threw
eggs at the U.S. Embassy and broke a window. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT SAYS UN MANDATE 'DESIRABLE BUT NOT
NECESSARY.' Jan Kavan said in a televised discussion on
28 March that the government has concluded that a
mandate from the UN Security Council and the OSCE for
NATO action in Yugoslavia would have been "desirable"
but was "not absolutely necessary," CTK reported. He
said that "in exceptional situations," NATO must be able
to intervene without a specific mandate. Foreign
Ministry spokesman Ales Pospisil told "Lidove noviny"
the next day that Kavan is dissatisfied with the
government's "too cautious" and "alibi-seeking"
statement and with the assertion that the decision on
the strikes was made before the Czech Republic
officially joined NATO (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 March
1999). Kavan admitted on Czech television on 29 March
that the government agreed to the strikes through its
NATO ambassador, Karel Kovanda. MS

SLOVAK DEFENSE MINISTRY WARNS 'VOLUNTEERS' FOR
YUGOSLAVIA. Defense Ministry spokesman Pavol Vitko on 26
March warned that a Slovak citizen can serve in a
foreign army only with the consent of the country's
president and faces up to five years in prison if he
does so without obtaining that permission, CTK reported.
Vitko was reacting to a statement by Yugoslav ambassador
to Bratislava Veljko Curic, who told journalists on 25
March that hundreds of young Slovaks have offered to
fight on the Yugoslav side. Also on 26 March, several
hundred people demonstrated in the center of the Slovak
capital to protest NATO air strikes. The demonstration
was organized by the Communist Party and the Slovak
National Party. MS

SERBIAN JEWS FLEE TO BUDAPEST. Some 80 Jews from
Yugoslavia, mainly women, elderly people, and children,
have fled to Budapest to escape the wave of NATO
bombings, Hungarian media reported, noting that the
Serbian authorities are not allowing anyone over 15 to
leave. Hungarian Workers' Party chairman Gyula Thurmer
told some 150 people demonstrating in the front of the
U.S. Embassy on 28 March that "we do not want a world
war or yet another Vietnam war, but peace, security, and
an independent Hungary free from NATO." MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

REFUGEES REPORT 'ETHNIC CLEANSING.' Consistent but
unconfirmed reports by refugees arriving in Albania and
Macedonia over the 26-28 March weekend suggest that
Serbian security forces and paramilitaries have launched
a systematic campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in much of
northern and western Kosova, including Prishtina. Many
refugees said that armed Serbs told them to leave their
homes at short notice, robbed them, and then looted and
burned the Kosovars' homes. The refugees added that many
other Kosovars are too frightened to leave their homes
to flee. The displaced persons noted that armed Serbs
have looted shops in Prishtina and in provincial towns.
Some refugees said Peja is deserted and on fire. Many
Serbian residents of Prishtina put special stickers on
their doors, Austrian Radio reported on 27 March.
Serbian forces have targeted Kosovar intellectuals for
execution and used women and children as human shields,
the BBC noted. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll as
running into the hundreds. PM

NATO SAYS 'DARK THINGS HAPPENING' IN KOSOVA. A spokesman
for the Atlantic alliance said in Brussels on 27 March
that "dark things are happening" in the Serbian
province. He added that NATO is monitoring developments
on the ground closely and passing information regarding
possible war crimes to the Hague-based tribunal. German
Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping told ZDF Television on
28 March that "genocide is starting" in Kosova. British
Defense Secretary George Robertson noted in London the
previous day that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
has sent paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan"
to Kosova, "which tells us [all we] need to know about
[Milosevic's] true intentions." Robertson added that
Serbian artillery has "obliterated" many Kosovar
villages. Prime Minister Tony Blair noted that NATO
attacks are the "only way" to stop repression in Kosova.
The BBC stressed that Serbian forces are "killing
Albanians for the sake of killing Albanians." Arkan told
German NTV on 29 March that his message to the world is:
"Don't quarrel with Serbs, ever." PM

NATO MOVES TO 'PHASE TWO.' In response to the increased
Serbian attacks on Kosovar civilians, NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana announced in Brussels on 27 March
that the alliance's aircraft will begin attacking
Serbian armor and artillery units operating in Kosova.
The first such sorties began the following night,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. On 26 March,
NATO aircraft shot down two Yugoslav MiG 29s over
northeastern Bosnia. The following day, a Yugoslav
helicopter entered Bosnian airspace "with hostile
intent," a NATO spokesman in Sarajevo said. He added
that Yugoslav violations of Bosnian airspace "are a
clear threat" to peace and stability in that republic.
Near Belgrade, a U.S. "Stealth" bomber crashed, but it
is unclear whether Serbian forces shot it down or
whether it crashed because of mechanical failure. A
special U.S. military unit rescued the downed pilot and
returned him to base in Italy. In Macedonia, NATO tanks
patrolled the border with Kosova and NATO aircraft flew
in Macedonian airspace. PM

REFUGEE CRISIS UNFOLDING IN AND AROUND KOSOVA. A NATO
spokesman said in Brussels on 28 March that the alliance
puts the number of refugees at more than 500,000, adding
that the figure is increasing rapidly. Deputy Prime
Minister Ilir Meta said in Tirana the following day that
more than 60,000 refugees fleeing the recent fighting in
Kosova have entered Albania. Serbian authorities
reopened the border crossings at Qafe Prushi and Padesh
in order to accelerate the flow of refugees, dpa
reported. Most of the refugees are exhausted women,
children, and elderly people. Many said that armed Serbs
separated them from the men, whose whereabouts they do
not know. "Several thousand refugees" from Peja and
western Kosova have arrived in Montenegro, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. Refugees in Albania told
the BBC that Serbian border guards took license plates
and passports away from them, saying "you will never be
allowed to return. " FS

ALBANIA WANTS NATO GROUND TROOPS. Meta, who heads the
government's refugee committee, told the BBC on 29 March
that "NATO ground troops...are indispensable in order to
stop this genocide." President Rexhep Meidani told
Reuters the previous day that it is imperative to step
up NATO operations and to "consider all forms of
intervention on the ground in Kosova." Meidani also said
that the government has sent 300 buses to Kukes to help
transport the refugees to various parts of Albania. The
Kukes and Has district authorities have said they will
be able to accommodate up to 3,000 people each in
transit centers. Information Minister Musa Ulqini on 28
March repeated the government's call for urgent foreign
aid, dpa reported. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pandeli
Majko said that the U.S. has promised $8.5 million in
assistance, AP reported. FS

UCK CALLS ON KOSOVARS TO STAY. Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK) leader Hashim Thaci urged ethnic Albanians on 28
March not to leave Kosova. Thaci said on Albanian public
television: "Do not fall prey to panic. Do not abandon
your ancient homes. We have no other homeland." He told
refugees to "go to the territories under the control of
the UCK," Reuters reported. Meanwhile, an OSCE spokesman
told AP that Yugoslav forces fired 20 artillery rounds
into the Albanian border police station in Kamenica,
near Tropoja, on 27 March. And near Kukes, an Albanian
border commander told Reuters that Serbian and Albanian
border guards exchanged fire for three hours on 28
March. FS

CLINTON, ALLIES TO PRESS AHEAD ON KOSOVA. President Bill
Clinton issued a statement in Washington on 28 March
saying that "in the last 24 hours, I have been in close
contact with key NATO allies, including Prime Minister
Blair, [French] President [Jacques] Chirac, [German]
Chancellor [Gerhard] Schroeder, and [Italian] Prime
Minister [Massimo] D'Alema. All of them share our
determination to respond strongly to Mr. Milosevic's
continuing campaign of inhumane violence against the
Kosovar Albanian people. That is what we intend to do."
PM

ALBRIGHT APPEALS TO SERBS. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said in a broadcast in Serbo-Croatian on 26
March that "NATO's objective is not to harm innocent
Serbs but to stop the attacks [in Kosova]. We ask
Serbia's leaders to do now what they promised last fall-
-end the fighting and reduce their military presence" in
the province, she added. "The sooner a peace agreement
is reached, the sooner your isolation can end--and the
sooner our peoples can work together again to build
prosperity, democracy and, above all, peace," Albright
noted. She also told her listeners that the Serbian
government has not fully informed them about the terms
of the Rambouillet peace accords, which Belgrade refuses
to sign. PM

MILOSEVIC SLAMS NATO. Milosevic told visiting Ukrainian
officials in Belgrade on 27 March that NATO air strikes
against Serbian targets are "the worst threat to peace
since 1945." He also called the strikes "a criminal act
against peace and freedom," state-run television
reported. Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic
said on 28 March that "genocide is being carried out [in
the province] only against the Serbs," Deutsche Welle
reported. A Serbian spokesman told the BBC that the
refugees are fleeing because they are afraid of NATO air
strikes. PM

MONTENEGRO STEERS OWN COURSE. The Foreign Ministry in
Podgorica said in a statement on 27 March that the
Belgrade authorities did not consult or inform
Montenegro about the recent decision to break diplomatic
relations with several key NATO countries (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 March 1999). The statement added that
Montenegro does not consider itself bound by the
decision. The previous day, the parliament adopted a
resolution that "obliges all parties in the parliament
and state bodies to work to preserve domestic peace as
well as political, religious, and ethnic tolerance in
Montenegro," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

BOSNIAN CROAT DEPUTY MINISTER DIES. Federal Deputy
Interior Minister Jozo Leutar died in Sarajevo on 28
March as the result of injuries he sustained in a car
bomb attack on 16 March. Police are still seeking to
identify the killer (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 March
1999). PM

ROMANIAN PREMIER HOSPITALIZED AFTER HEART ATTACK. Radu
Vasile, who was hospitalized on 26 March following a
"mild heart attack," has designated Justice Minister
Valeriu Stoica, one of his two deputies, to "coordinate"
the government's activities in his absence, a government
spokesman announced the next day. President Emil
Constantinescu, who has spoken with Vasile, said the
latter's state of health "does not make it necessary to
nominate an interim premier." Vasile is likely to be
discharged at the end of the week, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER REJECTS KOSOVA CRITICISM.
Andrei Plesu told journalists on 26 March that media
reports and opposition criticism of the government's
stand on Kosova are "distorting reality," RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Plesu said it is
"incomprehensible" to claim support for Euro-Atlantic
integration and at the same time distance oneself from
the strikes, which, he said, were provoked by Yugoslav
President Milosevic's "suicidal stubbornness." Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Elena Zamfirescu said the following
day that Romania intends to ask Yugoslavia not to draft
ethnic Romanians into the army. And before he was
hospitalized, Vasile said Romania is ready to accept
some 3,000-4,000 refugees. Romanian Radio reported on 29
March that 45 people have crossed the Serbian border. MS

TRANSDNIESTER COSSACKS READY TO VOLUNTEER FOR
YUGOSLAVIA. An organization representing Cossacks who
fought on the side of the Tiraspol separatists in the
1992 clashes announced on 26 March that it is ready to
send volunteers to Yugoslavia to help in the "unequal
struggle against the aggressors," Infotag reported. In a
separate protest, the Transdniester Union of [Retired]
Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers" warned that
Moldova intends to "solve the Transdniester problem"
using NATO's "Yugoslav blueprint." On 26 March, several
dozen people took part in a demonstration outside the
U.S. embassy in Chisinau that was organized by the
Communists. Police detained six demonstrators who had
vandalized a police van. MS

KOSTOV AGAIN DENIES NATO USES BULGARIAN AIR SPACE.
Addressing the parliament on 26 March, Premier Ivan
Kostov denied NATO aircraft have been using Bulgarian
air space during the alliance's strikes against
Yugoslavia. Kostov was responding to local media reports
that NATO aircraft flew over Bulgaria on 25-26 March. He
said that two NATO planes flew "within 3-5 kilometers
from the border, inside Yugoslav air space," BTA
reported. Also on 26 March, some 10,000 people
participated in a demonstration in Sofia against the
strikes. The rally was organized by the opposition
Bulgarian Socialist Party. On 27 March, Deputy Foreign
Minister Marin Raikov conveyed "Bulgaria's concern" to
the U.S. embassy after debris from an air-to-air missile
fired by NATO airplanes landed in Bulgaria. MS

END NOTE

TIRANA'S KIOSKS: A MIRROR OF SOCIAL CHANGE

by Fabian Schmidt

	In January, the Tirana municipal authorities
launched a campaign to remove several thousand
unlicensed buildings housing small shops and cafes,
dubbed "kiosks" by the locals, from the cityís sidewalks
and parks. Most people have welcomed this step, which is
designed to win back public space from small-sized
businesses. They hope that central Tiranaís former parks
and green areas will be restored to their former
splendor, having made way for an unsightly labyrinth of
cafes, restaurants, shops, and casinos. At the same
time, many are concerned that closing down the kiosks
will have a negative impact on the economy since the
population will be denied the opportunity to ply a
trade, unless, that is, the government provides
alternatives for them to do so.
	Thousands of families are directly or indirectly
dependent on the incomes from the kiosk economy, which
developed quickly and in an unregulated manner after the
end of communism. Today's Tirana is the only European
capital without a single supermarket. The kiosks,
together with the city's open markets, provide all
manner of consumer goods. (The city's only short-lived
supermarket belonged to a pyramid investment scheme and
was forced to close after the scheme's collapse in
1997.)
	At the same time, some owners replaced their
kiosks, which were originally built of light materials
such as wood or metal, with solid concrete constructions
up to three stories high, thus mirroring Tirana's
chaotic urban development. Some of these buildings may
be architectonically unsound: observers have warned of a
possible catastrophe in the event of an earthquake,
since many of the "kiosks" do not have proper
foundations.
	The kiosks in central Tiranaís parks, however, are
only part of the problem of illegal buildings in the
capital. Since the end of communism in 1992, Tirana has
seen rapid growth, with its population soaring from an
estimated 400,000 to more than 700,000 as a result of
migration from the countryside in the face of growing
poverty. In the northwestern part of the city,
newcomers--mostly from the northern regions of Bajram
Curri and Kukes--have built virtually an entire city of
ramshackle houses, which the older citizens of the
capital call "New Kukes."
	At the same time, a large number of migrant workers
in Italy and Greece came back from those countries to
build family homes that often also house small workshops
or other enterprises. But many built their houses before
receiving a building license. The main problem of
obtaining such licenses are ongoing ownership disputes
and the slow pace of work of the judiciary, which is
widely believed to be prone to corruption.
	Many Albanians blame Tiranaís chaotic and often
unregulated urban development on the countryís lack of
effective government. But others point out that one of
the government's priorities since the collapse of
communism has been to promote free market activities and
to encourage trade. Albania, in 1992, urgently needed to
create jobs, trade, and the foundations of a functioning
economy. The development of the "kiosk economy,"
therefore, appeared beneficial, if not essential, for
the countryís recovery. Seven years later, priorities
have changed. The government is now trying to win back
the public space it has lost to the entrepreneurs, and
by doing so, it is hoping to increase the quality of
life in the city.
	However, it will be impossible to tear down all of
the more than 4,000 illegal buildings throughout the
city. Most difficult to remove will be the kiosks in the
central Youth Park, across from the Mussolini-era Dajti
Hotel, and the buildings along the tiny Lana River. The
Youth Park is Tiranaís largest single area filled with
kiosks, including several concrete buildings, many of
which belong to influential businessmen. All of them are
ordered closed by the summer.
	The municipal authorities have not yet taken a
decision regarding the buildings along the Lana River.
Almost the entire course of the river, which runs
through the city, is lined with houses that have no
proper sewerage system. The bulk of the houses belong to
poorer families, including many Roma. The municipality
has so far indicated that it will order the destruction
of some houses close to where the river crosses the
city's main boulevard. But, as in the case of most
illegal buildings in Tirana, they will likely continue
to tolerate those farther away from the city center.

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