History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 76, Part II, 20 April 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 76, Part II, 20 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

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Headlines, Part II

* EBRD POSTPONES DECISION ON NUCLEAR INDUSTRY LOANS TO
UKRAINE

* VEDRINE: BELGRADE'S PERMISSION NOT NEEDED FOR KOSOVA
FORCE

* HAS YUGOSLAV ARMY STARTED ETHNIC CLEANSING IN
MONTENEGRO?
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

EBRD POSTPONES DECISION ON NUCLEAR INDUSTRY LOANS TO
UKRAINE. The European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) has postponed a decision on whether
to finance the completion of two nuclear reactors in
Ukraine to compensate Kyiv for energy loss following the
expected closure of the Chornobyl power plant. EBRD
Deputy Chairman Charles Frank said that while the cost
of finishing the two reactors, located in Khmelnytskyy
and Rivne, meets bank criteria, Ukraine must also meet
international nuclear safety requirements and reduce
barter payments for electricity before receiving an EBRD
loan, an RFE/RL correspondent in London reported. Frank
added that other criteria include the "real
privatization" of energy distribution firms and the
availability of financing from other institutions. JM

PUSTOVOYTENKO PREDICTS FINANCIAL STABILITY FOR 1999.
Ukrainian Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko told journalists
on 19 April that the hryvnya exchange rate will remain
stable at some 4 hryvni to $1 this year, the "Eastern
Economist Daily" reported. Pustovoytenko confirmed that
Ukraine will meet its 1999 macroeconomic targets. He
added that inflation in the first quarter of 1999 stood
at 3.5 percent, while the budget deficit and credit
rates were also kept within projected limits. However,
Pustovoytenko also noted that from January to March, the
state budget was able to collect only 15.9 percent of
planned revenues. JM

UKRAINE, SWITZERLAND TO COOPERATE IN COMBATING CRIME.
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Mykhaylo Potebenko and his
Swiss counterpart, Carla del Ponte, met in Kyiv on 19
April to sign an agreement on fighting organized crime
and money-laundering. "We have prepared this agreement
in a fairly short time, thanks to the joint
investigation we're already conducting," Del Ponte
commented, referring to the Ukrainian-Swiss probe into
former Premier Pavlo Lazarenko. "Switzerland has a
developed banking system which certain scoundrels from
Ukraine use to hide their illegal revenues," AP quoted
Potebenko as saying. JM

BELARUSIAN GAYS HOLD FIRST EVER PUBLIC PROTEST. One
dozen gay and lesbian rights activists demonstrated in
Minsk on 19 April to protest the authorities' refusal to
register their organization, the Belarusian League of
Sexual Minorities, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported.
This was the first ever public demonstration by sexual
minorities in Belarus. Gay movement leader Edvard
Tarletski told RFE/RL that the Belarusian authorities
are guided by Soviet stereotypes in their unwillingness
to recognize the existence of a "nontraditional sexual
orientation" in Belarus. Tarletski added that the
demonstrators also wanted to protest a recent seminar
organized by the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian
Orthodox Church at which some participants called
homosexuals "servants of the devil" and proposed
punishing them by electrocution. JM

EBRD GRANTS ESTONIA LOANS FOR AIRPORT, RAIL DEVELOPMENT.
The EBRD has granted Estonia a $7 million loan aimed at
helping Tallinn Airport modernize its passenger
terminal. The 14-year-loan, guaranteed by the Estonian
government, complements a $9 million loan from the
European Investment Bank and a grant of some $2 million
from the EU's PHARE program. Another EBRD loan worth
nearly $15 million is aimed at creating a more efficient
railway network. A similar loan was granted by the
European Investment Bank for track renewal, while
Estonia has already received a $5 million grant from the
PHARE program for rail projects, an RFE/RL correspondent
in London reported on 19 April. JC

ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN PARTIES TO FORM ELECTORAL ALLIANCE. In
an interview published in the 20 April issue of
"Postimees," Sergei Ivanov of the United People's Party
spoke about the intention of the country's Russian
parties to form an alliance for this fall's local
elections, ETA reported. According to Ivanov, the
People's Trust alliance will first set up a branch in
Tallinn, followed by others throughout the country. A 17
April meeting in the capital was attended by
representatives of a dozen or so political parties and
organizations. The Russian Party in Estonia, which
failed to agree with the United People's Party about
running on a joint list for last month's parliamentary
elections, was not among the dozen. Whereas only
citizens can vote in Estonia's parliamentary elections,
all permanent residents can take part in elections to
local government agencies. According to "Postimees,"
some 240,000 non-citizens are eligible to vote in the
fall ballot. JC

LATVIAN PREMIER CALLS FOR CHANGES TO DRAFT LANGUAGE LAW.
Vilis Kristopans has called for changes to the bill on
the state language, whose third and final reading is
scheduled for next month, LETA and BNS reported on 19
April. Stressing that the legislation must be compatible
with Latvia's international obligations, the premier
addressed the provision regulating the use of the state
language in the private sector. According to Kristopans,
state interference in the private sector is permissible
only if the interests of society, such as the national
security, territorial integrity, or public safety,
demand it. He added that the regulations on language use
must not affect free enterprise and argued that stricter
provisions should apply only to those companies in which
the state has at least a 50 percent stake. Kristopans's
proposals come on the heels of a letter from OSCE High
Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel
("RFE/RL Newsline," 19 April 1999). JC

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT EXPRESSES NO CONFIDENCE IN PREMIER.
In a speech broadcast simultaneously by all six
Lithuanian television stations on 19 April, President
Valdas Adamkus announced that he has no confidence in
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius and urged the ruling
parliamentary majority to debate forming a new
government, ELTA reported. Strongly criticizing
Vagnorius's approach toward government, Adamkus
suggested that the premier is returning the country to
Soviet-style rule. He reproached Vagnorius for failing
to work in a constructive manner and implement the
government program. And he also accused him of seeking
to limit the authority and prerogatives of the head of
state. Earlier the same day, the government issued a
statement calling Adamkus a "usurper," as evidenced by
his "aspiration to assume part of the government's
duties and functions," BNS reported. The statement noted
that the cabinet is currently holding discussions on
what powers could be handed to the president, along with
the concomitant responsibilities. JC

GAZPROM HALVES SUPPLIES TO LITHUANIA. According to an
official of the gas company Lietuvos Dujos, Russia's
Gazprom has cut Lithuania's natural gas supplies by 50
percent owing to unpaid bills, an RFE/RL correspondent
in Vilnius reported. The outstanding debts were due to
have been paid on 1 April. Lietuvos Dujos lost some $5
million last year and expects to continue to lose money
in 1999. JC

POLAND ACCEPTS KOSOVA REFUGEES, REJECTS CRITICISM.
Poland took in some 380 Kosova refugees on 19 April in a
continued effort to fulfill its pledge to receive 1,000
Kosovars. Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz rejected
recent criticism by a U.S. newspaper and a U.S.
congressman that NATO's new members--Poland, the Czech
Republic, and Hungary--do not show involvement in NATO's
military campaign in Yugoslavia. Onyszkiewicz said
Warsaw has offered to open Polish airports for NATO
refueling planes and set aside its remaining budget
reserves for Kosova-related spending. Onyszkiewicz added
that Poland is unlikely to be able to participate in a
possible NATO ground campaign. "I am afraid [the cost of
our participation] would surpass our financial
abilities," Reuters quoted Onyszkiewicz as saying. JM

CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES NATO REQUEST TO USE AIRPORTS.
The government said on 19 April that NATO planes are
free to use the country's airports during its bombing
campaign of Yugoslavia, CTK reported. The decision still
must gain parliamentary approval. A spokeswoman for the
country's airport authority said a NATO delegation
visited Prague's Ruzyne airport the same day and is to
visit Ostrava's Mosnov airport on 20 April. She said
these two civilian airports must be used because Czech
military airfields are too small to accommodate NATO
refueling aircraft. PB

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER VISITING CZECH REPUBLIC. Eduard
Kukan praised Czech support for Bratislava's efforts to
join NATO during a one-day visit to Prague on 19 April,
CTK reported. Kukan said after talks with Czech
President Vaclav Havel that he hopes NATO participants
at the upcoming summit in Washington will "evaluate
objectively the new political reality that has emerged
in Slovakia." Kukan also held talks with Defense
Minister Vladimir Vetchy and Foreign Minister Jan Kavan.
In other news, Vladimir Zelezny, the head of the Czech
Republic's leading television station, TV NOVA, has been
fired by shareholders who accused him of abusing his
position. PB

DZURINDA IN VIENNA. Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas
Dzurinda held talks in Vienna on 19 April with Austrian
President Thomas Klestil, TASR reported. Their talks
focused on bilateral relations, the crisis in Kosova,
and the sending of humanitarian aid to the refugees
there. Klestil said he is "pleased" with the progress
made by the Slovak government in preparing the country
for integration into Western European structures.
Dzurinda said Bratislava will speed up privatization and
will have to amend the privatization law so that it does
not violate various provisions of the constitution. PB

HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS OPPOSE USE OF GROUND FORCES IN
KOSOVO. The opposition Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)
supports the government's NATO commitments but opposes
the participation of Hungarian troops in any ground
operation against Yugoslavia, party chairman Laszlo
Kovacs told Hungarian media on 19 April. The MSZP also
insists that no troops be sent into Yugoslavia from
Hungarian territory, he said. Kovacs accused the
government of failing to respond to concerns expressed
by the public and said that Prime Minister Viktor
Orban's recent statement supporting an increase in NATO
attacks endangered the situation of ethnic Hungarians in
Vojvodina. In other news, the Defense Ministry has
received reports that support for Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic has grown among ethnic Hungarians in
Vojvodina since last week's bombing in Subotica, "Magyar
Hirlap" reported. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VEDRINE: BELGRADE'S PERMISSION NOT NEEDED FOR KOSOVA
FORCE. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine told the
"International Herald Tribune" of 20 April that the "UN
Security Council has powers to impose solutions, even
against the will of a sovereign state." He added that
the international community will deploy ground forces to
Kosova only within the context of a political
settlement. Vedrine noted that "our general goal, shared
by all the Western countries, including the
Russians...is to see ex-Yugoslavia come into line with
European norms and become democratic. That means a
change of regime in Serbia.... Someday, the people of
Serbia will have a place in Europe, but right now they
have developed a mood of paranoia, which existed before
the [NATO] airstrikes but has worsened," the foreign
minister concluded. PM

COOK: SERBIA TO LOSE CONTROL OF KOSOVA. British Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook said in London on 19 April that
"the sheer scale of the brutality directed from Belgrade
against the Kosovar Albanians" makes an international
administration of Kosova necessary once the Serbian
forces leave. Cook suggested that the UN or EU could
take over the administration of Kosova from the Serbian
authorities, dpa reported. He added that he is making
information on "multiple atrocities" and their
perpetrators available to the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal. PM

HAS YUGOSLAV ARMY STARTED ETHNIC CLEANSING IN
MONTENEGRO? Deputy Prime Minister Dragisa Burzan said on
19 April that the government is investigating reports
that the previous night members of the Yugoslav army
forced ethnic Albanians to abandon between one and three
villages near Rozaje, along the border with Kosova.
Burzan told Reuters that the government does not want
"people to move out of the area," which is home to many
ethnic Albanians and Muslims. More than 400 people from
three villages told AP in Rozaje that Yugoslav soldiers
expelled them from their villages amid great physical
and verbal abuse. Also in that area, unidentified gunmen
recently killed six Kosovar refugees, including a 70-
year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy, Reuters added. And
in Podgorica, Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic warned the
army not to arrest Deputy Prime Minister Novak Kilibarda
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 April 1999). PM

YUGOSLAVIA CLOSES ALBANIAN BORDER. The renewed influx of
almost 40,000 refugees into northern Albania over the
weekend ended when Serbian forces suddenly closed the
border on 19 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 19 April
1999). Only 30 or so refugees arrived in Kukes that day,
VOA's Albanian Service reported. Nearby, Serbian
soldiers and Albanian border guards exchanged gunfire on
19 April at Dobruna, Reuters added. FS

WHY HAVE YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES CLOSED THE BORDERS? Kris
Janowski, who is spokesman for the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR), said in Geneva on 19 April that
the Yugoslav authorities have closed most, if not all,
of the border crossings out of Kosova and forced the
displaced persons back into the interior of the
province. He added that "it all sounds fairly ominous
and we don't know to what end they're doing it."
Janowski stressed that the refugees "are being forcibly
prevented from leaving." In Brussels, a NATO spokesman
said that up to 250,000 displaced persons may be on the
road inside Kosova, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
reported. PM

ALBANIA MOVES REFUGEES OUT OF BORDER REGION. Relief
workers in Kukes have speeded up the transfer of
refugees to other parts of Albania to the rate of 10,000
a day, Reuters reported on 19 April. More than 130,000
refugees remained in generally squalid conditions in the
northern town. Officials in Tirana said they have drawn
up plans for a military helicopter airlift of refugees
to central and southern Albania. Many refugees have
resisted moving out of Kukes in the hope of returning to
Kosova soon. A UNHCR official there noted that an
estimated total of 15,000 families fled in tractor-drawn
carts. He added that "these people are especially
attached to their tractors [and] will never leave them
behind." He added that the UNHCR plans to create a
special camp for them near Kukes. FS

UCK CAPTURES RUSSIAN IN KOSOVA. Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK) fighters captured three Yugoslav army soldiers,
including one Russian citizen, inside Kosova last week,
an UCK spokesman told AP in Tirana on 19 April. He said
that the UCK plans to turn them over to NATO officials.
The three apparently belonged to the same unit as
another Yugoslav army officer, whom the rebels captured
last week near Junik. The UCK turned the officer over to
the Albanian authorities, which transferred him to U.S.
custody. U.S. officials have declared the officer a
prisoner of war. Yugoslav forces continue to hold three
U.S. soldiers whom they captured on 31 March near the
Yugoslav-Macedonian border. FS

KOSOVAR AIDE: MILOSEVIC USED RUGOVA. Adnan Merovci, who
is Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova's chief of protocol,
said in Skopje on 19 April that Rugova held his two
recent meetings with Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic under duress (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 14
April 1999). Merovci, whom the Yugoslav authorities
recently allowed to leave Prishtina for Macedonia,
stressed that Rugova believes that air strikes against
Serbian targets should end only after Serbian forces
leave Kosova and the refugees return home under
international protection, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

U.S. SEEKING OIL CUT-OFF FOR YUGOSLAVIA. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright has recently appealed to
foreign ministers of several unnamed European
governments to support a "cut-off" of shipments of
refined oil to Yugoslavia in order to deny oil to the
army, AP reported on 20 April. She noted in Washington
the previous day that Croatia has already closed its
pipeline to Yugoslavia. A State Department spokesman
said that Albright hopes that ships en route to Yugoslav
ports could be stopped and searched at sea, but the
spokesman did not use the term "blockade." Elsewhere,
U.S. diplomats called on foreign governments not to
allow the shipment of oil to Yugoslavia. Meanwhile in
Paris, unnamed French officials said they doubt whether
an oil cut-off is possible under international law
without a declaration of war. They added that the EU and
countries bordering Yugoslavia should "find a formula"
to regulate the flow of oil supplies to Yugoslavia. PM

CLINTON WANTS $6 BILLION FOR KOSOVA. President Bill
Clinton asked Congress on 19 April to approve $6 billion
to support the U.S. military involvement in the Kosova
crisis and to increase aid to Kosovar refugees. He
stressed that "there are literally lives hanging in the
balance." PM

MACEDONIA ON VERGE OF 'CATASTROPHE.' Foreign Minister
Aleksandar Dimitrov said in Vienna on 19 April that "our
economy, society, and state are on the brink of a
catastrophe," "Die Presse" reported. He noted that
Macedonia has already admitted 140,000 refugees even
though it is willing to allow only 20,000 to stay. He
warned that the massive influx of Kosovars threatens to
upset the balance between the Slavic Macedonian majority
and the 23 percent ethnic Albanian minority. Dimitrov
argued that Macedonian authorities have been admitting
refugees only slowly because the authorities must be
certain that the people in question, most of whom have
no documents, are really refugees. PM

U.S. SUSPENDS PROGRAM FOR BOSNIAN FEDERAL ARMY. Robert
Gelbard, who is U.S. special envoy for the former
Yugoslavia, said in Zagreb on 19 April that he is
suspending the $100 million "train-and-equip" program
for the mainly Croatian and Muslim Bosnian federal army
in the wake of recent "antagonistic...stupid and
dangerous speeches" by top Croatian generals. Gelbard
stressed that Croatian General Ljubo Cesic-Rojs and
Herzegovinian Croatian General Stanko Sopta made
"intolerable" remarks regarding Muslims at a
Herzegovinian Croatian military ceremony. Gelbard also
noted that the Muslim and Herzegovinian Croatian
military leaderships have failed to truly integrate
their forces, "Oslobodjenje" reported. He also stressed
that Croatia must respect the Dayton agreement and no
longer allow ethnic Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to vote
in Croatian elections, "Jutarnji list" noted. PM

ROMANIA TO CONSIDER GRANTING NATO AIR SPACE. Romanian
political and military leaders are to meet on 20 April
to discuss a NATO request for unlimited use of the
country's air space, Reuters reported. A spokesman for
President Emil Constantinescu said he will chair a
meeting of the country's Supreme Defense Council. The
four-party coalition government will also consider the
request, which will require parliamentary approval. The
leftist opposition Party of Social Democracy said in a
statement that it "does not want Romania to be dragged
into a dangerous military adventure" and asked that a
joint session of the parliament be convened to discuss
NATO's request. PB

ROMANIAN WORKERS PROTEST POOR CONDITIONS. Thousands of
Romanian workers went on a two-hour nationwide strike on
19 April to protest declining living standards, AP
reported. Romania's four major trade unions organized
the strike, which paralyzed public transportation in
several cities and towns. The unions warned that an all-
out strike will be called for 26 April if demands for
better social programs and lower prices for food are not
met. The government has been negotiating with the unions
and said some of the problems may be resolved if
Bucharest receives a $450 million loan from the IMF.
Christian Popa, the vice governor of the National Bank
of Romania, said in London that the government expects
the loan to be signed by 21 April at the latest, an
RFE/RL correspondent in the British capital reported. PB

NEW ROMANIAN POLITICAL PARTY ESTABLISHED. Ion Diaconescu
said on 19 April that the formation two days earlier of
the Christian Democratic National Alliance (ANCD), whose
members broke away from his National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic (PNTCD), comes at an inopportune
time for the country. Diaconescu said the new party has
been formed for personal reasons and that its aim is to
damage the PNTCD, Rompres reported. Former Premier
Victor Ciorbea is the president of the ANCD. He
previously served as vice president of the PNTCD. PB

BULGARIAN LEADERS AGREE TO NATO REQUEST FOR AIR
CORRIDOR. President Petar Stoyanov, Premier Ivan Kostov,
and parliamentary speaker Yordan Sokolov said on 19
April that they will ask the parliament to approve a
NATO request to use Bulgarian air space for strikes
against Yugoslavia, Reuters reported. After meeting with
legislative leaders, Kostov said the government will
seek a "positive response" from the parliament. He said
that refusing to grant the air corridor to the alliance
would mean prolonging the crisis and excluding Bulgaria
from European integration. Kostov is to go to Brussels
to explain the conditions and to ask for security
guarantees. Some 50,000 ethnic Bulgarians live in
Yugoslavia, and opinion polls in Bulgaria show that a
majority of the people are against NATO air strikes. PB

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES MILITARY AID TO MACEDONIA.
Bulgarian Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev said in Sofia
that the government has approved an agreement granting
military aid to Macedonia, BTA reported on 18 April. The
first shipment of aid, to be delivered one month after
the agreement is approved by the Bulgarian parliament,
would include 94 T-55 tanks, 108 M-30 howitzers, and
ammunition worth $3.5 million. PB

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