Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong. - A Course in Miracles
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 84, Part II, 30 April 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 84, Part II, 30 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

* BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LAYS DOWN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PROCEDURE

* 'ETHNIC CLEANSING' UNDER WAY IN MONTENEGRO

* EU OIL BAN GOES INTO EFFECT
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LAYS DOWN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PROCEDURE. Belarus's opposition Central Electoral Commission,
which is organizing presidential elections in accordance with
the 1994 constitution, has adopted procedures for that
ballot, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 29 April.
Since the authorities have refused to provide polling
stations for the elections, the central commission ordered
local electoral commission representatives to visit voters'
homes with ballot boxes. Voting will take place from 6-16
May. In adopting such a resolution, the commission said it
took into account Article 32 of the presidential election
law, which allows ballots to be cast at voters' homes if
voters cannot visit polling stations because of "health
reasons or other valid causes." Commission secretary Barys
Hyunter commented to RFE/RL that the voting procedure is
"irreproachably" in accordance with the country's
legislation. JM

KUCHMA CONFIDENT OF ELECTION VICTORY. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma said in Khmelnytskyy on 29 April that he is
convinced of his victory in the presidential elections on 31
October, Ukrainian Television reported. He added that his
main election rival is the economic situation in Ukraine but
noted that he knows what measures to take. According to the
president, Ukraine's economic troubles are due to the fact
that the country "has not renounced Communist ideology."
Kuchma said Ukraine's power structure determined by the
constitution is ineffectual and should be changed "with the
help of the people." Kuchma also criticized the parliament
for its inefficiency, saying that lawmakers lack the
"political will to take resolute steps" and continue to
"battle with the executive." JM

UKRAINIAN BANKS PROTEST DISCLOSING CUSTOMER DATA. Along with
eight business organizations and trade unions, the
Association of Ukrainian Banks have issued a statement
protesting a new regulation whereby commercial banks are to
provide information to the tax authorities about some of
their accounts, AP reported on 29 April. Under that
regulation, Ukrainian banks will be asked to disclose
transaction records and other information on the accounts of
individuals and companies suspected of tax evasion. The
protest statement says that tax officials want information
that has "nothing to do with taxation" and that this violates
"citizens' legal rights to conduct business." JM

ESTONIA'S INTERIOR MINISTER CALLS CITIZENSHIP POLICY 'TOO
INFLEXIBLE.' Writing in "Eesti Paevaleht" on 29 April, Juri
Mois of the coalition Fatherland Union argued that Estonian
policy vis-a-vis its non-citizens has been "too inflexible"
and should be changed, ETA reported. "The state should be
braver in making exceptions in the granting of citizenship
and at the same time make the status of alien in Estonia more
attractive," he commented. Pointing to the country's low
birth rate, Mois argued that it would be expedient from the
point of view of national interests, including with regard to
foreign investment, to ease legislation on restricting
immigration. And he stressed that Estonia's national
interests also require that non-citizens "be given a clear
message that they are in every way personae gratae in our
country." JC

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT RE-ELECTS KAMALDINS... Lawmakers on 29
April voted to re-elect Lainis Kamaldins as director of the
Office for the Protection of the Constitution, LETA reported.
In the secret ballot, 68 of the 91 deputies present voted for
him to continue in office. Kamaldins was at the center of a
controversy last month when he suggested that Latvian Jews
may have been involved in the 1998 bombing of the Riga
synagogue (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 March 1999). JC

...SACKS TELECOMMUNICATIONS TARIFFS COUNCIL. Also on 29
April, the parliament voted to dismiss the Telecommunications
Tariffs Council and appoint a new council within one month,
according to LETA. A parliamentary commission had argued in
favor of such a move saying that the council's work is
"incompatible" with the interests of the state and taxpayers.
In January, the council had approved increased telephone
charges that were later revoked by Transportation Minister
Anatolijs Gorbunovs (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January and 7
April 1999). Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans, meanwhile, has
said he will ask legal experts to determine whether the
parliament's move is in keeping with the constitution. JC

LANDSBERGIS AT ODDS WITH CONSERVATIVES OVER STATEMENT BACKING
PREMIER. Lithuanian parliamentary chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis, speaking to journalists on 29 April, said he has
informed President Valdas Adamkus that he does not concur
with all points of the Conservatives' statement backing
Premier Gediminas Vagnorius amid his ongoing dispute with the
president, ELTA reported. The previous day, the parliamentary
group of the Conservative Party had issued that statement, in
which the deputies also made clear that they will not take
part in a new government if the president is involved in its
formation. Such a minority government, the Conservatives
argued, would be the "president's government." Landsbergis
had been in Sofia on 28 April attending a meeting of
parliamentary chairmen of EU associate member countries.
Meanwhile, Vagnorius is expected to make a statement on 30
April in response to Adamkus's expression of no confidence in
him. JC

POLISH RIGHTISTS DEMAND FIVE DEPUTIES BE SUBJECT TO
LUSTRATION. Michal Janiszewski, a parliamentary deputy and a
member of the right-wing Confederation for an Independent
Poland--Homeland (KPN--0), has asked the lustration
prosecutor to examine the cases of five prominent
parliamentary deputies: Leszek Miller, Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, Jerzy Jaskiernia, Jacek Piechota (all members of
the Democratic Left Alliance), and Jerzy Osiatynski of the
Freedom Union. According to Janiszewski, there are grounds to
believe that they collaborated with the communist-era special
services. Miller and Cimoszewicz said on 29 April that the
charges are "groundless and false." Earlier, another KPN--O
member, Tomasz Karwowski, asked the lustration prosecutor to
examine whether Premier Jerzy Buzek had been a communist-era
collaborator. JM

POLISH TROOPS' DEPARTURE FOR ALBANIA DELAYED. The departure
of 140 Polish troops to Albania, scheduled to take place on
29 April, has been delayed, "Gazeta Wyborcza" reported. The
soldiers were due to travel to Italy by train and proceed by
ferry to Albania. Defense Ministry spokesman Leszek Laszczyk
said that it turned out "at the very last moment" that the
Polish troops must have permission from the Hungarian
parliament to transit Hungary. Poland has received such
permission from the Hungarian government, but under the
Hungarian Constitution, the transit of foreign troops through
Hungary requires parliamentary approval. JM

CZECH AMBASSADOR TO EU REJECTS CALLS FOR ABOLISHING BENES
DECREES. Josef Kreuter said in Brussels on 29 April that the
European Parliament's resolution calling for the abrogation
of the Benes decrees is "deplorable," CTK reported. Kreuter
said it is impossible to "tear things out of their concrete
historical context." He said the expulsion of ethnic groups,
including some 2.5 million Germans, from Czechoslovakia after
World War II was discussed at the Potsdam conference in 1945
and that the confiscation of property was approved by the
Paris conference one year later. Kreuter also dismissed a
statement by Germany's European Parliament deputy Hartmut
Nassauer that the issue of the Benes decrees would be
reviewed during EU accession talks. Some members of the Czech
Constitutional Court said recently advocated that the decrees
be abrogated (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 April 1999). PB

CZECH, SLOVAK PREMIERS AGREE ON DIVISION OF PROPERTY. Czech
Premier Milos Zeman and his Slovak counterpart, Mikulas
Dzurinda, said on 29 April that they have tentatively agreed
to sign an agreement on the controversial division of
Czechoslovak assets, TASR reported. The two made the
announcement after meeting in the Czech town of Uherske
Hradiste. They refused to reveal details of the possible
settlement, though Dzurinda said Zeman presented a new
alternative to the long-standing dispute. They said the
agreement could be signed in Prague on 23-24 September or 7-8
October. In other news, Czech President Vaclav Havel said in
an address to a joint session of the Canadian parliament in
Ottawa that human rights take precedence over state rights.
He said the campaign against Yugoslavia is being conducted in
defense of humanitarian values. PB

POLISH OFFICIAL WANTS SLOVAKIA IN EU'S FAST TRACK. Jan
Kulakowski, Poland's chief negotiator in EU accession talks,
said in Bratislava on 29 April that Slovakia, Latvia, and
Lithuania should definitely be added to the list of fast
track candidates for EU membership, CTK reported. Slovak
Premier Mikulas Dzurinda told Kulakowski that Slovakia is
indebted to Poland for its support at the recent NATO summit
in Washington. "Slovakia does not owe us anything. This is
our solidarity," Kulakowski responded. In other news, two
presidential candidates, front-runner Rudolf Schuster and
Magda Vasaryova were involved in separate minor traffic
accidents on 29 April. Neither was injured. The official
presidential campaign kicks off on 30 April and ends two days
before the 15 May vote. The Radio and Television Broadcasting
Council will monitor all news programs on state channels as
well as on the private stations TV Markiza and VTV to ensure
balance and fairness, TASR reported. PB

ORBAN TELLS PARLIAMENT HUNGARY IS SAFE. Prime Minister Viktor
Orban told the parliament on 29 April that Hungarians "could
not be more secure than we are now," Hungarian Television
reported. Orban said it is not surprising that "citizens of
Hungary, especially those living in the area of the southern
frontier, are worried about the NATO strikes." But he said
that when the air campaign began, "we were not lonely and
helpless but enjoyed equal membership with the strongest
military alliance in the world." Laszlo Kovacs, the chairman
of the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party, said it is
important for the government to "clearly disassociate itself
from all border modification proposals and territorial
claims." Istvan Csurka, head of the nationalist Hungarian
Justice and Life Party, has recently made several irredentist
proposals in connection with the ethnic Hungarian population
in Vojvodina. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

'ETHNIC CLEANSING' UNDER WAY IN MONTENEGRO. The Yugoslav army
has begun ordering the mainly Muslim inhabitants to leave a 5
mile (8 kilometer) wide swathe of territory between Rozaje
and the Kosovar border, "The Daily Telegraph" reported on 30
April. The ethnic cleansing operation, which is apparently
aimed at depriving the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) of places
to regroup and hide, has strained relations between the army
and the population of Rozaje. The Muslim mayor said the
"relationship between the town and the army is like a thread.
It can easily break at any time." Some Kosovar refugees, who
fled to the Rozaje area one month ago, told the London-based
daily that men in Yugoslav army uniforms recently forced
their way into some homes in the Rozaje area, robbed the
Kosovars staying there, and ordered them to leave. Some
refugees said they want the Montenegrin police to protect
them. Others charged that "there is no safe place in
Montenegro," adding that they want to go to Albania. PM

MILOSEVIC'S ALLIES BREAK UP MONTENEGRIN 'PEACE TALKS.'
Representatives of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) walked
out of talks in Podgorica on 29 April aimed at preserving
domestic peace and avoiding a civil war between supporters
and opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. SNP
deputy leader Predrag Bulatovic charged that the Montenegrin
government of President Milo Djukanovic, who opposes
Milosevic, is "obstructing the Yugoslav Army and treating
Montenegro like a separate state." It is unclear what
prompted the walk-out. Djukanovic has often said he fears
that Milosevic will use the conflict in Kosova as a pretext
to stage a putsch in Podgorica. PM

EU OIL BAN GOES INTO EFFECT. The EU's ban on oil shipments to
Yugoslavia has gone into effect, an EU spokesman said in
Brussels on 30 April. The previous day, a NATO spokesman
noted that efforts on enforcing the ban will center on
stopping ships at sea. He stressed that the Atlantic alliance
does not plan to attack oil pumping or storage facilities in
Montenegro, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The
governments of some 15 non-member countries have announced
that they will respect the ban. They are Bulgaria, Romania,
Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein,
Switzerland, and Cyprus. PM

NATO COMPLETES 600TH SORTIE AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA. A spokesman
for the Atlantic alliance said in Brussels on 30 April that
"NATO forces" struck a variety of targets in Belgrade and
elsewhere in Serbia the previous night, including two
buildings belonging to the Ministry of Defense. The spokesman
called the offices "the brains that guide the operations" in
Kosova. In Geneva, Mary Robinson, who is the UN's top
official for human rights, said that "unless diplomacy
succeeds, [Kosova] will be thoroughly cleansed of Albanians,
while Serbs will...be bombed without end. There must be a
better way." In Belgrade, U.S. civil rights leader Jesse
Jackson said that "until there's a diplomatic breakthrough,
the bombing will escalate and will expand." He met with
Orthodox Patriarch Pavle as part of a mission that Jackson
hopes will lead to the release of three U.S. soldiers, whom
Serbian forces captured just inside Macedonia on 31 March. PM

SERBIAN TELEVISON BACK ON AIR. The overnight air strike also
hit a television transmitter near Belgrade. The Serbian
authorities quickly repaired the damage, and state-run Radio-
Television Serbia (RTS) was soon back on the air with a
limited offering of news and patriotic videos. Observers
noted that several recent NATO air strikes hit either the
studios or transmitters of RTS and that the authorities
quickly resumed broadcasting. RTS is nicknamed "Milosevision"
and is the government's main mouthpiece. PM

AID ORGANIZATIONS REPORT ALBANIAN 'LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE.' A
spokesman for the aid organization Concern Worldwide told AP
on 29 April that humanitarian aid deliveries to northern
Albania are a "logistical nightmare." He said that in recent
weeks there were cases of muggings and harassment of refugees
by locals, petty theft of relief supplies, and occasional
cases of armed robbery, especially in the Tropoja region. He
stressed that aid organizations must cope with bad roads and
heavy, slow traffic, a virtually non-existent telephone
network in the north, and disputes with district officials
and landowners. UNHCR spokesman Ray Wilkinson said that
"you're in Europe but in some ways you're at the end of the
world." A spokesman for the Irish relief agency Goal
complained about police harassing truck drivers, ostensibly
because they lacked necessary documentation for their goods.
Observers, however, noted that the police controls are
intended to prevent theft of aid supplies. FS

MILO INVITES RUGOVA TO TIRANA. Albanian Foreign Minister
Paskal Milo, speaking to journalists in Tirana on 29 April,
called on the Yugoslav authorities to release Kosovar leader
Ibrahim Rugova and allow him to travel to Albania with his
family, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 April
1999). Milo said he has no means of contacting Rugova
directly, adding that the Yugoslav authorities will not allow
him to leave Kosova. Milo said the Albanian leadership wants
Rugova to come to discuss joint strategies with other
prominent political figures from Kosova and Albania. FS

ALBANIA HOPES FOR QUICK EU ASSOCIATION. Milo told Reuters in
Tirana on 29 April that in Luxembourg earlier this week, EU
officials promised him that they will sign an EU association
accord with Tirana "very soon." The foreign minister
expressed the hope that his country will become a full member
in "about 10 years." He acknowledged that Albania must first
meet numerous membership requirements and stability must be
restored in the Balkans before his country can join the EU.
In Bonn, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder encouraged
Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko to work toward
membership in both NATO and the EU. He added that Albania
deserves "generous assistance" to maintain its internal
stability following the influx of more than 350,000 refugees,
which amounts to about 15 percent of the country's total
population. Schroeder added that "Albania's political
leadership has acted in an extremely responsible manner in
this very difficult crisis situation." FS

WESTENDORP FIRES TUZLA SECURITY CHIEF. The international
community's Carlos Westendorp on 29 April removed Ferid
Hodzic as head of security in Tuzla because he "failed to
support rule of law." Hodzic reportedly tried to obstruct
investigations of charges of fraud, corruption, and
racketeering against several senior officials in Tuzla, AP
reported. Corruption linking the government, the military,
and criminal structures remains endemic throughout Bosnia-
Herzegovina. Elsewhere, a spokesman for Westendorp refused to
confirm or deny reports in the Bosnian Serb media to the
effect that Westendorp plans to leave his job and return to
Spain in June, "Oslobodjenje" reported. The spokesman added
that it is an "open secret" that his boss will leave his post
this summer, but he noted that Westendorp has not yet set a
date. PM

ROMANIA AGREES TO OIL EMBARGO. The Romanian government
announced on 29 April that it will observe an EU-approved
fuel embargo against Yugoslavia, AP reported. A government
spokeswoman said the embargo will begin next week. The
decision comes on the heels of a Bulgarian report that
Serbian tankers are carrying crude oil to Romanian refineries
and returning with fuel. Valentina Yonova, chief of customs
at Bulgaria's Danube port of Vidin, said two Serbian captains
have acknowledged that their barges were carrying crude oil
to Romania for processing. There was no immediate comment
from Romanian officials on the report. PB

FOUR KURDS IN POSSESSION OF EXPLOSIVES ARRESTED IN ROMANIA.
Four Kurdish men were arrested in Bucharest after police
found bomb-making materials and false passports in an
apartment, Rompres reported on 29 April. They were charged
with possession of explosives and illegally entering the
country. They will be detained for one month while an
investigation continues, the Interior Ministry said. Interior
Minister Dudu Ionescu said police are investigating whether
there was any connection to the visit of Pope John Paul II to
Bucharest on 7-9 May. Some 4,000 Kurds live in Romania, and
Turkey suspects that many of them are activists of the
separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party. PB

NATO ADMITS MISSILE CAME FROM ITS WARPLANE... NATO officials
in Brussels said on 29 April that a missile that destroyed a
home in a Sofia suburb was mistakenly fired by one of their
planes, AP reported. U.S. Army Major-General Henry Kievenaar
met with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov to express the
alliance's "deep regret on the missile incident." Interior
Minister Bogomil Bonev said "there hasn't been such a drastic
violation of our air space so far." Foreign Minister Nadezhda
Mihailova said that if NATO pilots are having trouble
orienting themselves when air-borne, Bulgaria could use
lights to mark its western border. Konstantin Varbenov, the
man whose home was destroyed in the incident, said that
despite his loss, "we better lend NATO our air space. You see
what happens even without our consent. I want the war to end
as soon as possible." PB

...AS AGREEMENT ON AIR SPACE IS SENT TO PARLIAMENT. The
Bulgarian government on 29 April approved a draft accord
allowing NATO planes to use a limited zone of its air space
to conduct raids against neighboring Yugoslavia, Reuters
reported. NATO and Bulgarian officials have been working out
the details of that agreement and the security guarantees
NATO will give Bulgaria in exchange for the air space rights.
The accord would allow NATO planes to fly in a 130-170
kilometer-wide strip along the border with Yugoslavia as well
as in a 20 kilometer-wide corridor along its southern border
with Turkey. The opposition Socialist Party and other
parliamentary groups are strongly opposed to the accord. PB


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
listmanager@list.rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 25 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE
Broadcast Studio. http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble via
email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Dan Ionescu, Zsolt-Istvan Mato, Jolyon
Naegele, Matyas Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole