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

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No.108, Part II, 3 June 1999


________________________________________________________ 
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No.108, Part II, 3 June 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 
 
* FORMER BELARUSIAN PREMIER TO REMAIN IN JAIL 
 
* BELGRADE TALKS RESUME 
 
* SERBIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR SETTLEMENT 
 
End Note: THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE NATO CAMPAIGN 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
 
EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE 
 
FORMER BELARUSIAN PREMIER TO REMAIN IN JAIL. A district 
court in Minsk on 2 June rejected an appeal by Yuliya 
Chyhir to have her husband released from jail, Belapan 
reported. Former Premier Mikhail Chyhir was arrested at 
the end of March on charges of issuing a dubious bank 
loan in 1994 when he was a bank director. The court 
explained its refusal by saying that if released, 
Mikhail Chyhir might disappear in order to avoid 
investigation. According to Yuliya Chyhir, her husband's 
release would ensure that within a few day, everything 
would "fall into place" as regards his criminal case. 
She noted that the authorities, however, do not desire 
such an outcome. JM 
 
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES RESOLUTION ON MEDIA. The 
Supreme Council on 1 June adopted a resolution on the 
country's information policy, UNIAN reported. The 
resolution stipulates that investigations must be 
carried out into all complaints about the persecution or 
harassment of non-state media by the State Tax 
Administration, the Prosecutor General's Office, or the 
presidential administration. The document requires that 
by 1 September the cabinet submit draft laws on freedom 
of speech and on information-related activities. The 
parliament also requests that the cabinet "create 
mechanisms" that will ensure the Supreme Council, as a 
co-founder of national television and radio companies, 
has a say equal to that of the government as well as the 
right to appoint the directors of those bodies. JM 
 
UKRAINIAN ECONOMY PREDICTED TO DECLINE FURTHER. The 
International Center for Policy Studies on 2 June 
released a report forecasting a 4 percent decrease in 
Ukraine's GDP in 1999 and a 1 percent decrease in 2000, 
InfoBank reported. The center predicts that the hryvnya 
will devalue by 31 percent this year and 11 percent in 
2000. "State policy does not stimulate economic growth," 
center analyst Hlib Vyshlynskyy commented. Ukraine's 
main problem next year will be to pay off its foreign 
debt which may reach $3 billion, he commented, adding 
that "the best way to pay is rapid privatization for 
cash." The report estimates that real incomes of 
Ukrainians will drop by 2.5 percent in 1999 and by 3 
percent the following year. JM 
 
ESTONIA TO LINK OIL SHALE, POWER GENERATION. The 
government on 2 June announced it will link the oil 
shale sector to power generation. As planned, the 
government will sell off a 49 percent share of the joint 
venture Narva Power Plants, the company formed by the 
two large oil shale-firing power plants that generate 
most of Estonia's electricity. The government is 
currently negotiating with the U.S. firm NRG over the 
sale. The cabinet decision also called for the sale of 
51 percent of Estonian Oil Shale to Narva Power Plants. 
The state will thus retain 49 percent of Estonian Oil 
Shale as well as 51 percent of Narva Power Plants. MH 
 
CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ESTONIA. Mate Granic met 
with his Estonian counterpart, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, 
Culture Minister Signe Kivi, and top parliamentary 
officials during his visit to Estonia on 2-3 June. He 
signed agreements on economic and trade relations as 
well as on cultural cooperation. After meeting with 
deputy parliamentary chairman Tunne Kelam, the two sides 
said that after the possible deployment of peacekeepers 
in Kosova, economic revival and democratization in the 
Balkan region is vital. MH 
 
SPY DETAINED IN LATVIA. Latvian officials have announced 
the detention on 25 May of a suspected spy. While giving 
few details, officials said that the individual 
attempted to sell secret information to an undercover 
agent in the city of Daugavpils. The suspect is a 
Latvian resident, but officials revealed no "country of 
employment," saying only that he was motivated by both 
economic gain and political conviction. BNS said its 
sources revealed that the suspect sold confidential 
material to Russia ranging from labor studies to air 
surveillance reports. However, at a news conference, the 
head of the Security Police, Janis Apelis, said none of 
the documents contained state secrets. MH 
 
LITHUANIAN PREMIER PRESENTS GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. Rolandas 
Paksas presented his program to the parliament on 2 
June. Paksas stated that the program is based on GDP 
growth forecast at 4 percent this year and 5 percent in 
2000, while inflation should remain at 3-5 percent. The 
program calls for the re-pegging of the litas to a 
dollar/euro basket later this year or in early 2000. 
Paksas vowed to combat unemployment by creating a better 
job market. Other priorities announced include the 
streamlining of government institutions to cut down on 
task duplication, reinforcing local governments, and 
promoting a liberal business environment. And Paksas 
also said he will abide by the decisions taken 
concerning the sale of Mazeikiai Oil to the U.S firm 
Williams International, according to BNS. The parliament 
is to vote on the program next week. MH 
 
POLES HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF POPE'S VISIT. According 
to a poll conducted by the Center for Studying Public 
Opinion (CBOS) from 6-12 May, 82 percent of Poles regard 
Pope John Paul II's visit to his homeland from 5-17 June 
as a "very important" event. Almost 75 percent intend to 
follow the pontiff's trip in the media, while more than 
25 percent say they will attend a mass in one of the 24 
cities the pope plans to visit. Of those polled, 23 
percent expect the visit to bring about a moral revival 
in the country, 18 percent think it will improve human 
relations, and 17 percent believe it will unite Poles 
and quell social unrest. According to CBOS, a growing 
number of Poles are showing a lack of interest in the 
pope's pilgrimages: the figure stood at 9 percent in 
1991, 11 percent in 1997, and 15 percent now. JM 
 
FORMER CZECH DISSIDENT DIES. Senator Vaclav Benda, a 
mathematician and philosopher as well as a former 
dissident under the communist regime, died on 1 June, 
parliamentary chairman and leader of the Civic 
Democratic Party (ODS) Vaclav Klaus announced the next 
day. Klaus called Benda, a member of the ODS, "one of 
the most significant personalities" of both the 
communist and the post-communist times, CTK reported. 
Benda, aged 52, had been in hospital for the past month. 
After 1989, he headed an office investigating the crimes 
of the former nomenklatura. In April of this year, the 
Senate refused to strip him of his parliamentary 
immunity, thereby preventing him from being prosecuted 
in connection with his allegations that former Vienna 
Mayor Helmut Zilk collaborated with the Czechoslovak 
secret police in the 1960s. MS 
 
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES SENDING BATTALION TO ALBANIA. 
The parliament on 1 June voted by 98 to 68 with 10 
abstentions to send a 40-strong battalion to Albania 
under NATO command. The Slovak soldiers will assist in 
road construction, highway maintenance, and preparing 
landing sites for helicopters, the BBC reported, citing 
SITA. In other news, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine 
Albright said in a letter to the Slovak government she 
regrets she was unable to visit Bratislava on 10-11 May 
owing to a busy schedule in connection with the conflict 
in Kosova. Albright said that as a result of last week's 
Slovak presidential elections, Slovakia has turned into 
"a unique case of positive changes" and has taken 
"another step on the road to democracy and the rule of 
law," CTK reported. MS 
 
HUNGARIAN PARTIES AGREE ON KOSOVA PARTICIPATION. All six 
parliamentary parties on 2 June agreed that Hungarian 
armed forces should take part in a Kosova peacekeeping 
force if a peace agreement is concluded, Foreign 
Minister Janos Martonyi told Hungarian media. He said 
the government earlier was against sending armed troops 
to Kosova, but he noted that now a new situation has 
developed, offering a "real opportunity" for concluding 
a peace agreement in the region. In related news, the 
parliament assented the same day to the participation of 
five Hungarians in a possible NATO peacekeeping force in 
Kosova. MSZ 
 
HUNGARIAN EXTREMIST LEADER PRESENTS ANNEXATION MAP. 
Istvan Csurka, chairman of the extreme-right Hungarian 
Justice and Life Party, presented a map on 2 June 
showing a part of Vojvodina that, he said, must be 
annexed to Hungary after the end of the war in 
Yugoslavia. "The party's goal is to see the Hungarian- 
inhabited region restored to Hungary, not the entire 
province," Csurka explained. He said a referendum should 
precede a one- or two-year annexation process supervised 
by the UN. Jozsef Kasza, chairman of the Federation of 
Vojvodina Hungarians, said that Csurka's "irresponsible 
remarks" put ethnic Hungarians in the province in "an 
even more difficult situation." Hungarian Foreign 
Ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath said Csurka's proposal 
is "unacceptable to the cabinet and contradicts the 
country's foreign policy." MSZ 
 
SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE 
 
BELGRADE TALKS RESUME. Russian special envoy to 
Yugoslavia Viktor Chernomyrdin and his EU counterpart, 
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, arrived in Belgrade 
on 2 June after finalizing a joint position with U.S. 
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in Bonn (see 
"RFE/RL Newsline," 2 June 1999). Ahtisaari said before 
leaving Bonn that the envoys have made "good progress" 
in developing a common position. He added, however, that 
he does not think any documents will be signed during 
this round of talks in Belgrade. Talbott was also 
cautious, saying only that the West and Russia have 
moved closer together. He did not elaborate, Reuters 
reported. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in 
Cologne that "there is a substantial measure of progress 
between NATO and Russia. What is not clear yet is 
whether [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic is 
prepared to agree to the essential demands." The 
following day, Milosevic began talks with the two envoys 
in Belgrade. FS 
 
CHERNOMYRDIN SUGGESTS SEPARATE KFOR COMMANDS. 
Confusion remains, however, over the command structure 
of a proposed peacekeeping force for Kosova, known as 
KFOR, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 2 
June. Before leaving Bonn for Belgrade, Chernomyrdin 
told journalists that it will be possible to send 
Russian troops into Kosova under Russian command and 
NATO troops under a separate NATO command. He also 
said that the envoys have agreed to form a Russian- 
Western commission that will monitor the withdrawal of 
Serbian troops. He did not elaborate. After meeting 
with Milosevic, Chernomyrdin said Belgrade's "choice 
is difficult but the choice must be made." FS 
 
SHEA, COOK REJECT PARTITION. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea, 
speaking in Brussels on 2 June, noted that units of a 
Kosova peacekeeping force could have "various areas of 
command," but he insisted there will be no distinct 
Russian occupation zone, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL 
Newsline," 27 May 1999). In London, British Foreign 
Secretary Robin Cook said any deployment of Russian 
troops in northern Kosova and NATO in the southern part 
of the country would constitute a de facto partition of 
the region, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Cook 
stressed that "any settlement must be acceptable to the 
refugees and not just to NATO. I want to stress that 
point in case President Milosevic hasn't got it yet." 
Cook added: "I want him to know that we will not be 
fooled by tricks or ploys. This is not a time for 
playing games with the international community." FS 
 
KOSOVA'S BUKOSHI, THACI WARN AGAINST COMPROMISES WITH 
MILOSEVIC... Kosovar shadow state Prime Minister Bujar 
Bukoshi told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service from Bonn on 
2 June that his exile government is "absolutely 
concerned that the international community does not make 
any concession to Milosevic [and] does not move away 
even a little bit from the five key [demands] of NATO." 
Bukoshi stressed that a "partition of Kosova would be 
absolutely unacceptable [and] fatal not only for the 
Albanians but also for the policy [and] values of the 
West." Meanwhile, his rival Hashim Thaci from the 
provisional government, which is backed by the Kosova 
Liberation Army (UCK), said in Brussels that peace and 
democracy can come to the Balkans only if Milosevic 
"capitulates," the "Berliner Zeitung" reported on 3 
June. FS 
 
...AS DOES ALBANIA'S MAJKO. Albanian Prime Minister 
Pandeli Majko said in a televised address on 2 June 
said that the government has "reservations about 
any [possible] move away from the non-negotiable 
conditions of NATO." Majko warned the international 
community not to be taken in by "Milosevic's 
ploys," adding that "one can talk to Milosevic only 
at a Nuremberg [trial]." He also said, "We do not 
consider possible mistakes by NATO in its bombing 
campaign as a problem. We think that this is the 
price that we have to pay because the price for 
peace is war." Majko called on Albania's and 
Kosova's politicians to unite, stressing that "we 
share responsibility in these difficult historical 
moments that our nation is going through.... 
Albania is ready and willing to face up to its 
responsibilities because it wants to create a new 
Balkans [without] religious, ethnic, historical, 
and cultural hatred." FS 
 
SERBIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR SETTLEMENT. The Serbian 
Civic League's Vesna Pesic said in Belgrade on 2 June 
that she hopes the Belgrade talks will bring an end to 
NATO bombings, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. 
The Social Democratic Party's Vuk Obradovic added: 
"Nobody has the right to play with the fate of our state 
and people. If the international community guarantees 
the territorial integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia, we 
must accept its conditions. That does not mean 
capitulating but rather taking a reasonable and rational 
step. If someone wants to fight the entire world, let 
him do that, but not at the expense of someone else and 
under no conditions with the children of someone else." 
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic said that the 
views of NATO and Russia have never been closer: 
"Milosevic has always manipulated the international 
community and is doing so now.... Every day that the war 
continues there are new victims. Now we have a historic 
chance to put an end to this bloody war." PM 
 
BLAIR FIRM ON AIR STRIKES. Blair said in Cologne on 3 
June that NATO must continue its bombing campaign until 
Milosevic accepts the G-8's "essential demands." He 
added that diplomacy has been effective in dealing with 
Milosevic in the past only when it was combined with 
military force. The "Financial Times" reported from 
London, however, that NATO governments are anxious to 
put an end to the conflict. In order to do so, the daily 
continued, the alliance may be willing to accept a de 
facto partition of the province. PM 
 
CLARK SAYS MILOSEVIC 'IN TROUBLE.' General Wesley Clark, 
who is NATO's chief commander, said in Skopje on 2 June 
that the Serbian military has sustained "great losses in 
the last few days...on the Albanian border," where NATO 
aircraft bombed Serbian forces that were fighting units 
of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK). Clark stressed that 
the air strikes have cost Milosevic not only men and 
equipment but also "logistics, command, and control." 
The general noted that desertions and discontent are on 
the rise within the Serbian forces. PM 
 
CLINTON URGES MILOSEVIC TO 'CUT LOSSES.' President Bill 
Clinton told an audience at the U.S. Air Force Academy 
in Colorado Springs on 2 June that the U.S. will 
contribute 7,000 troops to the proposed 50,000-strong 
NATO-led peacekeeping force for Kosova. The president 
added: "There is a clear choice before [Milosevic]. He 
can cut his losses now and accept the basic requirements 
of a just peace, or he can continue to force military 
failure and economic ruin on his people. In the end the 
outcome will be the same," he concluded. The president 
stressed that "some things are worth fighting for," 
arguing that Milosevic is the "last gasp of aggressive 
nationalism." On 3 June, Clinton is slated to discuss 
policy options for Kosova with the joint chiefs of 
staff. Several leading Pentagon officials want to send 
in ground troops in order to end the conflict before the 
harsh Balkan winter sets in, Reuters reported. PM 
 
TIRANA: SERBS MASSACRED 130 KOSOVARS. Albanian 
Ambassador to NATO Artur Kuko said in Brussels on 3 June 
that Serbian forces in Kosova recently killed 130 
Kosovar males and buried them in another village in 
order to hide evidence of the atrocity. Kuko said: 
"Yesterday morning the Serbian army transported with 
trucks the corpses of 130 men they had massacred in the 
village of Staradran, a couple of days ago. [The 
Kosovars] were buried separately in the village of 
Rakosh," AP reported. PM 
 
MACEDONIA APPROVES ADDITIONAL NATO FORCE. Prime Minister 
Ljubco Georgievski said in Washington on 2 June that his 
government will allow the Atlantic alliance to station 
another 14,000 troops in Macedonia, bringing the total 
there to 30,000 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 June 1999). He 
made the announcement after meeting with Secretary of 
State Madeleine Albright, who promised Macedonia 
additional economic assistance. It is unclear how much 
assistance she pledged or what form it will take. PM 
 
KOSOVARS WANT TO LEAVE BOSNIA. Ibrahim Sala, who is a 
spokesman for the 1,100 Kosovar refugees in a camp near 
Sarajevo, told the UNHCR's Sadako Ogata in Sarajevo on 2 
June that those ethnic Albanians want to leave for a 
third country, as many refugees in Macedonia and Albania 
have done. She replied that she will look into the 
matter but added that refugees in Macedonia and Albania 
have priority for resettlement. Some 75,000 refugees 
from Serbia, Kosova, and Sandzak are currently in 
Bosnia, which is still struggling to overcome the 
devastation and impoverishment brought on by the 1992- 
1995 war. PM 
 
ROMANIAN LABOR UNREST CONTINUES... Workers in Brasov 
continued their protest on 3 June as the government 
convened to discuss an agreement that Finance Minister 
Decebal Traian Remes and trade unions representing the 
workers had reached the previous day, Romanian Radio 
reported. Under the agreement, the government will 
provide a 1 billion lei ($ 6.3 million) credit to the 
Roman truck factory and reschedule the company's debts 
to the state budget. The agreement also provides for a 
500 million lei credit to Tractorul to enable the 
tractor plant to pay for deliveries and raw materials, 
as well as another large credit intended to facilitate 
exports. The Rulmentul ball-bearing factory is to have 
its debts to the state budget rescheduled and partly 
written off. Meanwhile, another labor protest turned 
violent when workers at the Tepro factory in Iasi threw 
stones at the prefect's office and broke windows. MS 
 
...WHILE BUCHAREST METRO WORKERS 'SUSPEND' STRIKE. 
Bucharest metro workers on 3 June returned to work 
announcing that they have "suspended" their strike. The 
decision to return to work had been taken the previous 
day, just hours ahead of a ruling by the Supreme Court 
that the strike must be suspended until 31 August and 
negotiations conducted by the Bucharest metro company 
and the unions before that date. MS 
 
BUCHAREST HAS 'PRAGMATIC RESERVATIONS' OVER NATO GROUND 
FORCE. Romanian Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu on 2 June 
told the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Senate and 
the Chamber of Deputies that Bucharest has "pragmatic 
reservations" about an intervention by NATO ground 
forces in Yugoslavia. He added that Romania has not been 
asked to deploy troops in such an operation and that any 
further speculation "lacks substance." The same day, a 
spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry announced that NATO 
Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark's 
visit to Romania planned for 4 June has been postponed 
owing to the "unpredictability" of the situation in 
Yugoslavia. MS 
 
WORLD BANK DEPUTY PRESIDENT MEETS MOLDOVAN LEADERS. 
Johannes Linn met with President Petru Lucinschi, Prime 
Minister Ion Sturza, and parliamentary chairman Dumitru 
Diacov in Chisinau on 2 June. Linn told Diacov that the 
bank is "well aware" of the problem Moldova is facing 
and "hopes" to be in a position to render help "to 
overcome the situation." He clarified that World Bank 
aid depends on "a sustained pace of implementing 
reforms." Lucinschi said Moldova will "do its utmost" to 
meet its foreign and internal debt obligations, but he 
asked for the country's debt to the World Bank to be 
rescheduled. Linn said international financial 
organizations are willing to "negotiate" the matter "in 
view of Moldova's difficult economic situation." MS 
 
BULGARIA, NATO NOT NEGOTIATING LOGISTIC SUPPORT YET. 
Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaikov told 
journalists on 2 June that his country and NATO are "not 
yet conducting negotiations" over an agreement on 
Bulgarian logistic support for a possible NATO 
peacekeeping force in Kosova, BTA reported. He was 
responding to reports in the press claiming that 
government departments are coordinating such support. 
Vlaikov acknowledged that some NATO officials are now in 
Bulgaria to familiarize themselves with the sites that 
could be used in rendering that support. He also noted 
that if an agreement with NATO is reached, it will have 
to be approved by the parliament. Meanwhile, Foreign 
Minister Nadezhda Mihailova "categorically" denied 
reports published in Bulgaria that an agreement being 
negotiated with NATO provides for the participation of 
Bulgarian ground forces in NATO ground operations. MS 
 
UNIDENTIFIED MISSILE HITS BULGARIAN VILLAGE. The 
Interior Ministry on 2 June said that an unidentified 
missile hit the village of Govezhda, in northwestern 
Bulgaria. Reuters said that no injuries or damage were 
reported. MS 
 
END NOTE 
 
THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE NATO CAMPAIGN 
 
by Christopher Walker 
 
	Among the broad range of difficult issues to be 
resolved in the post-conflict period in Yugoslavia, one 
that has been largely overlooked is the environmental 
damage caused as a result of NATO bombing. 
	During Operation Allied Force, besides hitting 
military targets, NATO has consistently bombed strategic 
sites such as oil refineries, fuel storage depots, 
petrochemical and fertilizer plants, and numerous other 
industrial complexes. The destruction of these 
facilities is raising concerns about the impact of the 
war on the natural environment of Yugoslavia as well as 
neighboring Balkan countries. The media controlled by 
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, moreover, have 
devoted extensive coverage to real or imagined 
environmental damage in order to help galvanize public 
opinion against NATO. 
	Included among the targets blasted during the 
thousands of sorties flown by NATO planes are the 
petrochemical facility in Pancevo, the oil refinery in 
Novi Sad, and the pharmaceutical complex in Galenika. 
Numerous attacks on petroleum storage sites in Nis, 
Sombor, and other locations throughout Yugoslavia have 
been reported. 
	Five weeks ago, NATO planes struck the polyvinyl 
chloride (PVC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plants 
of the HIP Petrochemija facility in Pancevo, 15 
kilometers outside Belgrade. PVC, of which VCM is the 
parent compound, is a plastic resin used in a wide range 
of industrial and consumer applications. Exposure to 
certain levels of these materials, which are 
carcinogens, poses potential health threats to humans. 
Reports from Yugoslav sources indicate that there have 
been significant amounts of toxic discharge generated 
both by the bombing of the plants and as a result of the 
emptying of storage tanks at the facility by controlled 
burning. 
	Yugoslav and international authorities are now 
starting to determine what environmental damage may be 
occurring as a result of the bombings. The UN, the 
Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the EU are among 
the groups seeking to examine the situation more 
closely. For the time being, continuing hostilities are 
hampering a precise assessment of possible damage, but 
there are indications that considerable environmental 
impact may turn out to be an ugly byproduct of this 
conflict. 
	In mid-May, a UN working group arrived in 
Yugoslavia to assess possible environmental harm caused 
by NATO air strikes. The study is being conducted by the 
UN Environment Program and the UN Center for Human 
Settlements. Among other issues, the UN working group 
will investigate possible water and air contamination. 
The petrochemical plant in Pancevo was among the first 
facilities visited by the group. 
	Early last month in Weimar, Germany, EU environment 
ministers discussed environmental issues relating to the 
Kosova conflict. The ministers emphasized the importance 
of taking measures facilitating a swift assessment and 
cleaning up of any environmental contamination. 
	The WWF has warned of environmental damage to the 
River Danube ecosystem and the Black Sea. The group 
reported that one oil slick was detected last month in 
the river, but there are concerns that other toxins have 
spilled into it as a result of the bombing of the oil 
refinery in Novi Sad and the chemical and fertilizer 
plant in Pancevo. The Danube is a source of drinking 
water for some 10 million people in the region. 
	With regard to the River Danube, WWF's Danube- 
Carpathian program director Philip Weller told the 
author that the "WWF believes the potential damage could 
be significant and that an immediate assessment of the 
situation is needed with expanded monitoring of the 
river in Bulgaria and Romania and to the extent possible 
in Yugoslavia." He added that "a longer-term assessment 
and action plan to reduce environmental damage needs to 
be taken at the conclusion of hostilities." 
	There are also concerns in Bulgaria about potential 
effects on the Kozloduy nuclear plant. The facility lies 
on the southern bank of the River Danube in northern 
Bulgaria and is roughly 100 kilometers downstream from 
the Serbian border. Bulgarian officials have noted that 
oil pollution in the Danube could affect the Kozloduy 
plant, which uses river water for its cooling 
procedures. As a precaution, Bulgarian authorities have 
installed oil booms near the plant. 
	Should the conflict in Yugoslavia continue for an 
extended period, further bombing could exacerbate 
environmental harm already done. At the same time, 
ongoing hostilities will restrict independent monitoring 
and delay comprehensive remediation of any environmental 
damage. 
	The reconstruction of Serbia's infrastructure and 
social system, as well as the development of open and 
accountable public institutions, will undoubtedly take a 
very long time. Should some of the more dire predictions 
come true, lingering environmental problems may prove 
another thorny obstacle to Serbia's renewal. That is one 
reason why the international community has already begun 
planning comprehensive post-war reconstruction and 
development projects for the entire Balkan region. 
 
The author is a New York-based analyst specializing in 
East European affairs (intrel@aol.com) 
 
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