The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 70, Part II, 12 April 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 70, Part II, 12 April 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

* MECIAR TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT

* RUSSIAN CONVOY TO YUGOSLAVIA BLOCKED AT HUNGARIAN
BORDER

* SERBIA SHELLS ALBANIA

END NOTE: MOSCOW AND MINSK VIRTUALLY ALONE IN SUPPORT OF
MILOSEVIC
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

VEGETABLES RATIONED IN BELARUSIAN CITY. The city
authorities in Hrodna, northwestern Belarus, have
introduced the rationed sale of vegetables, Belarusian
Television reported on 10 April. According to the new
regulation, one customer is not allowed to buy more than
5 kilograms of potatoes and/or 2 kg of cabbages, beets,
or carrots in a city shop. According to the television
report, the authorities were forced to introduce
rationing because a "considerable part of [Hrodna
Oblast] vegetable stocks" had already been sold to
"commercial structures" (a term usually applied to non-
state firms) without coordination with local
authorities. JM

LUKASHENKA TO PUNISH FARMERS NOT MEETING QUOTAS.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has signed a
decree "on responsibility for [those] failing to fulfill
supplies of agricultural products to the state,"
Belarusian Television reported on 8 April. Under the
decree, collective farm managers who refuse to sign
contracts with the state on agricultural supplies or
fail to fulfill such contracts may be disciplined for a
"gross violation of labor obligations." In particular,
those avoiding to sign such contracts may be fined up to
200 minimum wages. Pre-paid state contracts for
agricultural supplies--which usually set prices for
agricultural products below their production cost--are
the principal method of running the state-sponsored
agricultural sector in Belarus. JM

KUCHMA SAYS BELARUS-RUSSIA-YUGOSLAVIA UNION UNREALISTIC.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 10 April in
Odessa that a proposal by Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic for Belgrade to join the Belarusian-Russian
Union is unrealistic. He added that Milosevic's request
can be regarded as a "political measure for settling the
Kosova crisis," Interfax reported. The previous day,
Kuchma said Ukraine will not be drawn into the military
conflict in the Balkans. "It is enough for Ukraine to
have 12,000 boys killed in Afghanistan," he added. JM

PUSTOVOYTENKO PUNISHES TAX INSPECTORS FOR POOR
PERFORMANCE. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy
Pustovoytenko on 9 April ordered a cut in the salaries
of tax inspectors after he was told they had failed to
meet their tax collection target this year, AP reported.
Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov reported that the state
collected 3.4 billion hryvni ($865 million) in revenues
in the first three months of 1999, or 82 percent of the
target. The overall tax debt to the government has risen
to 13.9 billion hryvni. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO INVESTIGATE CHORNOVIL'S DEATH.
The Supreme Council on 9 April set up a commission to
investigate the death of Vyacheslav Chornovil, leader of
the Popular Rukh of Ukraine and a former Soviet
political prisoner and dissident (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
26 March 1999). Both parliamentary caucuses of the
internally divided Rukh have demanded that Chornovil's
death in a car crash be investigated, even though
Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko has said the crash
was accidental. JM

JUSTICE MINISTRY DECLARES LATTELEKOM RATES VOID. The
Justice Ministry on 9 April issued a statement
confirming the validity of Minister of Transport
Anatolijs Gorbunovs's 31 March decree revoking the
Lattelekom phone rate approved by the Telecommunications
Tariffs Council in January, LETA reported. The council
had appealed to the Justice Ministry to rule on the
legality of Gorbunovs's decree, which had argued that
the higher phone rates are not in accordance with the
law on telecommunications. Later on 9 April, the
council's chairman, Raimonds Jonitis, told reporters
that the council has adopted a decision reversing its
approval of the new rates. He added that Lattelekom must
comply with that decision. JC

LATVIAN, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Valdis
Birkivs and Algirdas Saudargas met in the Lithuanian
coastal resort of Palanga on 9 April to discuss
bilateral relations and international issues, LETA
reported. After the meeting, Birkivs told journalists
that negotiations between Latvian and Lithuanian
delegations on the common maritime border will continue
at the end of the month. He said he hopes that an
agreement will be signed before the end of this century
but noted that he could give no guarantee. Bilateral
talks on the Lithuanian-Latvian maritime border began
some five years ago, with the main bone of contention
being offshore oil deposits. JC

POLISH PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON FORMER NAZI
CONCENTRATION CAMPS. The parliament on 10 April passed a
law setting "100-meter conservation zones" around former
Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz,
Treblinka, and Majdanek. The law prohibits pursuing any
activity within those zones. It is expected that the law
will enable the government to resolve the Catholic-
Jewish controversy around 240 crosses erected so far by
radical Catholic groups near Auschwitz. Government
officials hope the law will give them the right to
terminate the lease on the land outside the camp--now
held by the Association of War Veterans--and open the
way for removing the crosses, as demanded by Jewish
organizations. However, Catholic self-styled leader
Kazimierz Switon--who has lived in a tent for a year
near the controversial crosses--said he "will not be
taken from here alive." A new cross was erected at the
site on 11 April. JM

RIGHTIST COALITION PARTY CRITICIZES POLISH CABINET. The
Christian National Union (ZChN), a component of the
coalition Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), has
criticized Jerzy Buzek's cabinet for not implementing
the policies of the ZChN and the AWS as promised during
the election campaign in 1997. The ZChN has set five
conditions for its further support to and participation
in the government. The ZChN demands that the government
implement a "more family-oriented policy," protect
domestic enterprises, support agriculture with
preferential credits, make the penal code more
restrictive, and--upon EU entry--gain access to the EU
labor market for Polish workers and obtain subsidies
equivalent to those in other EU countries. JM

ZEMAN RE-ELECTED PARTY CHAIRMAN. The ruling Social
Democratic Party's (CSSD) three-day National Congress on
10 April re-elected Prime Minister Milos Zeman as its
chairman and Vladimir Spidla as "statutory deputy
chairman," CTK reported. Spidla is widely tipped to be
Zeman's "crown prince." The congress later re-elected
Petra Buzkova, Zdenek Skromach, and Petr Lachnit deputy
CSSD chairpersons, while Karel Kobes replaced Finance
Minister Ivo Svoboda as deputy CSSD chairman in charge
of the party's finances. A total of 341 (out of 620)
delegates to the congress signed a letter to the
Yugoslav embassy condemning NATO's "aggression" against
Yugoslavia. Addressing the congress on 11 April, Foreign
Minister Jan Kavan said that Prague was "not in favor"
of ground operations in Yugoslavia. He praised the role
of "Russian diplomacy" and said he hopes that Russian
units will become part of an international peacekeeping
force in Kosova. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES KOSOVA CONFLICT. At what CTK
called an "impromptu meeting" held during the congress,
the cabinet reached a unanimous position ahead of the
NATO meeting of 12 April on the continuation of
operations in Yugoslavia, CTK reported. Kavan declined
to give other details, saying the meeting was called at
his request "so I can represent the united position of
the government." At another, special cabinet meeting
held on 11 April, the government decided to allocate one
billion crowns ($28.4 million) in humanitarian aid to
Kosova. MS

MECIAR TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. The Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 9 April announced that its
chairman, former Premier Vladimir Meciar has "accepted
the request" of "party organs and HZDS members" to run
for president in the elections scheduled for 15 May,
Reuters and AP reported. Analysts said Meciar stands a
good chance to reach a runoff on 29 May, which will take
place if no candidate scores more than 50 percent on 15
May. Before the HZDS announcement, polls showed that the
strongest backing is registered by the ruling
coalition's candidate, Kosice Mayor Rudolf Schuster,
followed by former actress and ambassador to Austria,
Magda Vasaryova. AP said eleven candidates had
registered by midnight 9 April, when the registration
deadline expired. Among them are former President Michal
Kovac and Jan Slota, leader of the extremist Slovak
National Party. MS

SLOVAKIA TO ACCEPT 500 KOSOVA REFUGEES. The government
on 9 April decided to allocate 80 million crowns ($2
million) for aid to Kosova refugees, including the
possible setting up of a refugee camp for 500 people in
Slovakia, CTK reported citing Interior Minister Ladislav
Pittner. In other news, Interior Minister spokesman
Jozef Sitar on 9 April said that four former members of
the Slovak Counter-Intelligence (SIS) Service were
arrested on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping
of Kovac's son in 1995, CTK reported. MS

RUSSIAN CONVOY TO YUGOSLAVIA BLOCKED AT HUNGARIAN
BORDER. A convoy of 73 trucks carrying "humanitarian
aid" to Yugoslavia from Russia and Belarus was held up
at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border on 10 April, after
custom officials found that some of the vehicles and
their cargo violate the UN embargo against Yugoslavia,
Hungarian media reported. The officials said that five
lorries had armored cabins equipped with embrasures,
while eight other were carrying nearly 57 tons of fuel.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath said that if
the Russians withdraw these parts, the convoy can move
on. Russian Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in
Budapest on 12 April. Before leaving Moscow, he said
that Budapest was breaking international agreements by
stopping the convoy and that President Boris Yeltsin and
the government were "extremely disturbed by Hungary's
position." Yeltsin and Premier Yevgenii Primakov on 12
April discussed the blocking of the convoy, ITAR-TASS
reported. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that
"if there is not a solution in the coming hours, it will
have the most serious results for Russian-Hungarian
relations," Reuters reported. MSZ/MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIA SHELLS ALBANIA. Serbian forces and guerrillas of
the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) exchanged fire in the
Tropoja area of the border between 9 and 11 April.
Yugoslav military authorities warned Tirana in a
statement on 10 April not to harbor "terrorists." The
text added that "Albania and its terrorist proteges will
be responsible for the consequences of a possible flare-
up of the war in the Balkans." The next day, Serbian
forces shelled Albanian territory, killing three and
wounding 12, some of whom were civilians, dpa reported.
It was the first killing of Albanian civilians in the
conflict. On 12 April, Serbian forces seriously wounded
three UCK fighters and an unidentified foreign
journalist in the Padesh area. FS

ALBANIA WARNS SERBIA. On 12 April, Interior Minister
Petro Koci said in Tirana that "NATO needs to intervene
to neutralize the Serbian artillery near the border with
Albania, because it has been firing in the direction of
Albanian territory in the last few days," Reuters
reported. Earlier, the government issued a statement in
which it condemned the killings as "an unprecedented act
and a grave violation of the territorial integrity" of
Albania. The text added that the government sharply
condemns "the dangerous escalation of military
activities of Yugoslavia against Albanian territory."
The government said that citizens will resist aggression
and that the authorities are working "to guarantee
security and inviolability of the territory of the
country." FS

TIRANA GIVES 'FULL AUTHORITY' TO NATO. The Albanian
parliament passed a law on 9 April in which it gave the
Atlantic alliance "full authority" over the country's
air space, ports and military infrastructure. Two days
later, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo said that Albania
urges NATO to send more troops to its territory. Some
8,000 NATO troops are due in Albania soon as part of the
humanitarian relief effort known as "Operation Allied
Harbor." FS

WHERE ARE THE 'MISSING 100,000'? Unnamed British
officials said in London on 11 April that some 100,000
Kosovar males remain unaccounted for, AP reported. The
officials said that typical calculations for such
population movements suggest that some 35 percent of the
refugees arriving in neighboring countries should be
males, but in fact at some border crossings the figure
has been as low as 10 percent. The males may have been
taken hostage by Serbian forces, may have taken to the
hills to fight, or may have been massacred by the
Serbian forces, "The Independent" wrote on 12 April. Two
days earlier, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
suggested that the Pentagon has released very little of
its intelligence regarding massacres in Kosova, even to
NATO allies. PM

COOK: 400,000 DISPLACED PERSONS. British Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook said in London on 11 April that he
spoke by telephone to UCK leader Hashim Thaci, who told
him that some 400,000 Kosovars are living rough in snowy
weather. Cook stressed that Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic is responsible for making these people
"victims of ethnic cleansing." Cook added that Milosevic
has turned Kosova into a "place of terror." In Brussels
on 10 April, NATO spokesmen said that Serbian forces
have destroyed some 200 towns and villages in the
province. Meanwhile, Serbian forces selectively opened
and closed Morina and other border crossing points over
the weekend. There was no clearly discernible pattern
behind the openings and closures, the BBC noted.
Refugees uniformly told the same story of eviction,
humiliation, robbery, and expulsion. PM

RAMBOUILLET AS HISTORY? Cook said in London on 9 April
that he does "not expect many of the refugees who have
been expelled from the country to be willing to return
in circumstances in which the people who carried out
their expulsion are still in posts" of influence in
Kosova. He stressed that "we should be looking for
something further than we envisaged in [the]
Rambouillet" accords. Two days later, Cook added that
Kosova will need "a period...under the protection of an
international military force." PM

BOMBINGS HAVING AN EFFECT? NATO Secretary General Javier
Solana told the BBC on 11 April that Serbian forces and
Milosevic's political entourage are "cracking up" as a
result of the bombing campaign. Observers noted that
recent footage of Milosevic and his top aides broadcast
by Serbian Television suggests that they are drawn out.
In Belgrade, Telecommunications Minister Dojcilo
Radojevic said that the telecommunications system is
functioning only "with great difficulty." Milosevic, for
his part, urged citizens "to work harder and better in
response to the aggression." PM

MASKED GUNMEN KILL SERBIAN JOURNALIST. Unidentified
gunmen shot and killed Slavko Curuvija on 11 April 11 in
Belgrade after a pro-Milosevic paper accused him of
supporting NATO air strikes, the "Washington Post"
reported. His girlfriend, who was present at the
killing, said that the men appeared to be professional
assassins. He was the publisher of the banned daily
"Telegraf" and weekly "Evropljanin." PM

TAIWAN SENDS MILITARY ENGINEERS TO MACEDONIA. A Foreign
Ministry spokesman said in Taipei on 12 April that
Taiwan is sending about $5 million worth of food,
medicine, shelter, ambulances, and jeeps to Macedonia,
in addition to the $2 million in cash that the Republic
of China's government has already donated, AP reported.
Deputy Foreign Minister David Lee is slated to depart
for Macedonia later in the day with a delegation that
includes seven doctors as well as numerous nurses,
pharmacists, and volunteers from local charities. Also
present are six soldiers from the military's engineering
corps. The news agency noted that this is the first time
that Taiwan has sent a military mission to Europe. PM

MORE REFUGEES REACH MONTENEGRO. Some 2,000 Kosovar
refugees arrived in Montenegro on 11 April. This brings
the total to reach that mountainous republic since 24
March to 43,000, Reuters reported. PM

DJUKANOVIC TO MILOSEVIC: KEEP OUT. Montenegrin President
Milo Djukanovic told "The Daily Telegraph" of 12 April
that he believes that Milosevic and his Montenegrin
allies "intend to use the war situation to manipulate
and use the army which, under the pretext of a state of
war, will engage in confrontation with the civilian
authorities and impose martial law. This would create
the conditions that, after the war, would allow
Milosevic finally to achieve his goal of reinstating the
obedient [former President Momir] Bulatovic to power in
Montenegro." Djukanovic warned Milosevic that any
attempt to stage a coup "would be a much more tragic and
much more profound conflict in Montenegro than simply
one between the army and the [pro-Djukanovic] police.
This would be a confrontation between the citizens of
Montenegro, one against the other, with all the passions
and emotions of which people in this area are capable,"
Reuters reported. PM

MONTENEGRO REJECTS ARMY ORDER AGAINST REBROADCASTING.
The Montenegrin government on 10 April turned down a
demand made by the command of the Yugoslav Second Army
the previous day that Podgorica ban the rebroadcasting
of foreign radio programs in Serbo-Croatian. The
Montenegrin Information Secretariat said in a statement
that there is "no reason" to ban the broadcasts, "which
have in no way adversely affected national defense,"
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 11 April. The
Serbian authorities banned rebroadcasting of foreign
programs, including those of RFE/RL, last October.
Elsewhere in Montenegro, Radio Panorama in the Sandzak
town of Pljevlja stopped broadcasting after the entire
staff was drafted into the army, the South Slavic
Service added. PM

U.S. CONFIRMS ASSURANCES FOR CROATIA. President Bill
Clinton recently informed Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright that he has reclassified Croatia as a "front-
line" state in the Balkan conflict. The reclassification
will entitle Zagreb to unspecified defense equipment and
services, Reuters reported on 9 April. Croatia will be
able to buy military equipment on a license-by-license
basis. Clinton noted recent moves by the Croatian
government "to increase the transparency of the military
budget and enhance civilian control of the military." A
State Department spokesman said that Washington hopes
that Zagreb will continue to make progress in these
areas. PM

CROATIA SENDS AID FOR KOSOVARS. The government approved
a $2.6 million humanitarian aid package for Kosovar
refugees in Albania and Macedonia, AP reported on 10
April. The Roman Catholic charity Caritas has collected
a further $500,000 worth of aid. Prime Minister Zlatko
Matesa said that his country already provides a home for
5,000 Kosovar refugees and can only take in an
additional "limited number." He stressed that Croatia
still houses 90,000 refugees and displaced persons from
the Croatian and Bosnian wars of 1991-1995. He did not
indicate how many more Kosovars Croatia will accept.
Kosovars have long been a part of the Croatian landscape
and predominate in certain professions, such as sweet-
shop owners. PM

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS KOSOVA COULD BE
PARTITIONED. Andrei Plesu, in an interview with state
radio on 9 April, said partitioning Kosova may satisfy
some of Belgrade's "historic and symbolic" demands,
while also "providing some satisfaction to the
Albanians, who could be concentrated in the southern
part of the region." The statement met with harsh
criticism from the opposition Party of Social Democracy
in Romania, which on 10 April called it "unacceptable
and irresponsible." Plesu also said that Romania could
host up to 6,000 Kosovar refugees and has already
prepared facilities for 1,300-1,500, but would need
international help to do so. He said that Romania's
losses as a result of the crisis amount to $50 million
weekly. MS

NEW DATE SET FOR SUMMIT ON TRANSDNIESTER. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma on 10 April announced that the
summit on resolving the Transdniester conflict, which
was postponed due to Russian Premier Yevgenii Primakov's
illness last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April 1999),
will be held on 29-30 April, Romanian radio reported
citing ITAR-TASS. On 9 April, Grigorii Marakutsa,
chairman of the separatist region's Supreme Soviet, met
in Chisinau with Moldovan parliament chairman Dumitru
Diacov, discussing the settlement of the conflict and
energy deliveries from the Transdniester to Moldova.
Marakutsa said after the talks that the proposals
advanced by the OSCE and the mediators are
"unacceptable" to the Transdniester side and "other
alternatives will probably be examined in Kyiv and
Odessa," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Romania
renewed electricity supplies after receiving assurances
from Moldovan Premier Ion Sturza that Chisinau's debt
will be paid "within the shortest possible time." MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT URGES GOVERNMENT TO ACCEPT MORE
REFUGEES. Petar Stoyanov on 9 April appealed to the
government to accept more Kosova refugees, saying
Bulgaria must "fulfill its obligations" under the
Convention on the Status of the Refugees and expressing
concern over "statements by politicians and journalists"
that "create a nourishing environment for xenophobia."
Stoyanov also said Bulgaria must not "erect internal
Balkan fences based on ethnic and religious principles,"
an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. MS

BULGARIAN PATRIARCH PYMEN DEAD. Patriarch Pymen died on
10 April of cardiac failure. He was aged 92, AP reported
citing BTA. Since 1991, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
has been split between supporters of Pymen and those who
backed Patriarch Maxim. Pymen was proclaimed patriarch
in 1996 by Maxim's opponents, who accused Maxim of
collaboration with the communist regime. MS.

END NOTE

MOSCOW AND MINSK VIRTUALLY ALONE IN SUPPORT OF MILOSEVIC

By Pete Baumgartner

	The vehement opposition by the governments of
Russia and Belarus to NATO's air campaign in Yugoslavia
has placed them in a small group of countries within
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that tend to
support Belgrade over NATO in the Kosova crisis.
	Though the three newest members of NATO--the Czech
Republic, Hungary, and Poland--obviously back the
alliance's actions in Yugoslavia, absolute support has
not been forthcoming in every case.
	The weakest link for NATO has been in Prague.
Though Czech President Vaclav Havel has spoken strongly
in support of the air strikes, the governing Social
Democrats (CSSD) have made only lukewarm statements in
favor of NATO's actions. Additionally, on 10 April 341
delegates at a CSSD conference in Prague signed a letter
condemning the NATO air campaign. Among conservatives,
parliament speaker and former Premier Vaclav Klaus said
on 8 April that the air strikes "were not the right
policy," and that since the bombing began "the suffering
in Kosova has increased manifold." The rival Freedom
Union party called for Klaus to be dismissed as speaker
for "severely damaging the Czech Republic's credibility
and prestige within NATO."
	Hungary, the only NATO country that shares a border
with Yugoslavia, has solidly endorsed NATO action. So
much so, in fact, that one ethnic Hungarian leader in
Serbia's Vojvodina region said Budapest's "extreme"
support for the air strikes could have negative
consequences for ethnic Hungarians there. Hungarian
Premier Viktor Orban even spoke favorably of NATO's
bombing of the bridges spanning the Danube River in Novi
Sad, despite the fact that Hungarian companies will
suffer substantial economic losses as a result of the
stoppage in shipping traffic the bridge debris has
caused. (Orban reasons that destruction of the bridge
will help prevent Yugoslav troops stationed in
Vojvodina, which includes many ethnic Hungarians, from
being transferred to Kosova.)
	In Warsaw, official backing for the air campaign
has been solid, and only a small group of pacifist
Catholic deputies and the Peasant Party have spoken
against the NATO operation. Polish Foreign Minister
Bronislaw Geremek gave an impassioned speech to
parliament in support of air strikes on 9 April, and
former President Lech Walesa even called for the
alliance to send in ground troops.
	Perhaps even more vocal than the fledgling NATO
members in their support for military action against
Yugoslavia are the seven countries striving to be part
of the next wave of NATO expansion: Bulgaria, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuanian, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
These countries sent a joint letter to U.S. President
Bill Clinton on 9 April expressing their full support
for action necessary to end "...the suffering and
violence in Kosova."
	In Bratislava, Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas
Dzurinda called the decision to bomb Yugoslavia the
lesser "of two evils." But the party of former Premier
Vladimir Meciar called the air strikes "modern
barbarism" in parliament on 25 March and declared its
"solidarity" with Yugoslavia.
	In Bulgaria and Romania, government backing for
NATO's actions faces harsh criticism from the major
opposition parties--criticism that resonates somewhat
within the public, who are uncomfortable with the close
proximity of the military operations and who feel for
the ethnic Romanian and ethnic Bulgarian minorities
living in Serbia. Though the government of Bulgarian
Premier Ivan Kostov supported the strikes, it was
criticized in some Western circles for closing its
borders to all Yugoslav refugees except ethnic
Bulgarians. Romania and Bulgaria also stand to lose
millions of dollars from the shutdown in shipping on the
Danube, something the threadbare economies of those
countries can ill afford.
	The Moldovan Foreign Ministry said on 25 March that
it notes that the Atlantic alliance's decision to use
force was "to a large extent imposed by the
irreconcilable position" of one side in the conflict,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported.
	Croatian officials, whose country has not yet been
accepted into NATO's Partnership for Peace program, have
publicly supported NATO. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, pledges
of official support for either Yugoslavia or NATO fall
largely, predictably, along ethnic lines. Leaders in
both countries no doubt feel a touch of schadenfreude
that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is enduring
the kind of destruction that other former Yugoslav
republics experienced during the 1991-1995 wars of
Yugoslav succession.
	In Kyiv, government officials have mixed
condemnations of NATO air strikes, with calls for
resumed negotiations. The Defense Ministry also
maintained that "strong relations with NATO are within
Ukraine's interests." And despite virulent statements by
deputies against NATO, resolutions reducing ties with
NATO as well as one calling for Ukraine to renege on its
nuclear-free status have failed to pass a largely
leftist parliament. President Leonid Kuchma has also
turned down all calls for military aid to be sent to
Belgrade and called Yugoslavia's proposal to join the
Belarusian-Russian Union "unrealistic."
	In the Caucasus, both Armenia and Georgia expressed
disappointment at the failure of negotiations to solve
the conflict and concern at the decision by the alliance
to use force against Yugoslavia. Most political groups
in Yerevan spoke against the air strikes, though the
Foreign Ministry said on 25 March that "Armenia has
always stood up for the right of peoples to self-
determination." Though on the same day, its defense
minister signed a CIS joint statement in Moscow calling
the NATO air strikes "inhuman." Meanwhile, the People's
Front of Azerbaijan Party praised NATO actions against
Yugoslavia "...which has committed genocide against
Albanians." It said that "the same policy of ethnic
cleansing has been carried out against Azerbaijanis
living in...Nagorno-Karabakh" and was hopeful that "such
[NATO] action will be carried out against Armenia..."
	The Central Asian states have been relatively quiet
and ever cautious in their official statements regarding
the Kosova conflict. Kazakhstan neither endorsed nor
condemned the air strikes but did call for Yugoslav
forces to withdraw from Kosova. The Tajik Foreign
Ministry condemned the air campaign as "destabilizing
the global situation."
	So while Belgrade knows it has little support in
the West, unequivocal support in the East is also rare.
Though in a global sense, Yugoslavia appears to be doing
alright: Yugoslav Deputy Foreign Minister Zoran
Novakovic pointed out on 9 April that Russia, China, and
India oppose the NATO military campaign, and those
countries "account for a majority of the world's
population," he said.

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