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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 113, Part II, 10 June 1999
________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 113, Part II, 10 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 * WORLD BANK CALLS FOR UKRAINE TO PRIVATIZE, PAY OLD DEBTS * NATO, SERBIA REACH MILITARY AGREEMENT ON KOSOVA * UCK PROMISES NOT TO FILL POWER VACUUM IN KOSOVA End Note: ALBRIGHT BRINGS TOGETHER KOSOVAR LEADERS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE COUNCIL OF EUROPE URGES BELARUS TO HOLD FREE ELECTIONS. The Council of Europe on 9 June called on Belarus to hold free elections under international supervision. In a statement, it commented that "internationally observed and accepted free and fair elections will be the first step toward rebuilding Belarus's relations with the Council of Europe." Belarus lost its special-guest status in the council in 1996, when President Alyaksandr Lukashenka disbanded the legitimate parliament. The council also appealed to the Belarusian government to release former Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir, whose arrest is widely seen as politically motivated. Lukashenka said the same day that Belarus's dialogue with the OSCE and other European organizations must be based on "non-interference in internal affairs." Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has not responded to an OSCE offer to hold talks with the opposition in Bucharest on 11-14 June. JM WORLD BANK CALLS FOR UKRAINE TO PRIVATIZE, PAY OLD DEBTS. Gregory Jedrzejczak, World Bank representative in Ukraine, has urged Ukraine to accelerate privatization and use the proceeds to service its foreign debt. Ukraine has to repay $1.2 billion this year and an estimated $2.3 billion next year. World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said in Kyiv on 9 June that Ukraine may receive $400 million in loans by next summer if the government moves to implement the bank's requirements, commenting that "the issue number one is to ensure that the privatization process is very transparent and clearly competitive," according to Reuters. Meanwhile, ITAR-TASS quoted Ukrainian officials as saying that the World Bank will "soon" extend to Ukraine two tranches worth $100 million each. The agency also reported that the IMF will release by late June an unspecified tranche under its loan program for Ukraine. JM UKRAINE, BULGARIA TO SEEK COMPENSATION FOR LOSSES IN BALKAN CRISIS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Bulgarian counterpart, Petar Stoyanov, said after talks in Kyiv on 9 June that their countries will seek compensation for economic losses due to NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia. Kuchma said the Balkan crisis was the main topic of discussion, adding that the two countries, along with Romania, will coordinate their efforts in the post-war restoration of Yugoslavia and the Danube waterway. Both presidents also stressed the need to boost economic cooperation. Bilateral trade turnover totaled $325 million in 1998. JM ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT HOLDS ANOTHER MARATHON SESSION OVER BUDGET. Lawmakers on 9-10 June held another all-night session over the supplementary negative budget. As expected, the second reading of the bill faced massive delays due to opposition tactics. The opposition Center Party, opposing the 1 billion kroons ($67 million) cutback, introduced 559 amendments. Parliamentary rules allow a 10-minute break between each amendment. "Postimees" predicted four consecutive 24-hour sessions will be needed to deal with the amendments. Centrist deputy Olev Raju threatened that the party could introduce 10,000 amendments, according to "Eesti Paevaleht." The lead editorial in "Postimees" ran under the heading "What's Bad for the State Is Good for the Center Party." MH LATVIAN CENTRAL BANKER URGES BUDGET CUTS. Bank of Latvia Governor Einars Repse has urged the government to quickly amend the 1999 budget. Testifying in front of the parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee, Repse stressed his concerns over the growing budget deficit problem. "Direct, bold and enterprising steps are expected from Latvia--in this case, amendments to the budget," LETA quoted him as saying. Earlier, the government announced plans for a 32 million lats ($54 million) cut in the fall, but the central bank called for faster and deeper cuts to offset the projected financial deficit of 92 million lats, according to Reuters. Repse also noted that failure to act quickly on the deficit could adversely affect Latvia's credit rating, saying that recent macroeconomic indicators constitute "a red flag for foreign investors." While Finance Minister Ivars Godmanis said amendments are "inevitable," the government appears reluctant to tackle the issue before the summer recess. MH LATVIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY. Two of the five declared candidates for Latvia's presidency hit the campaign trail on 9 June. New Party candidate and well- known composer Raimonds Pauls detailed his priorities for the presidency. " I will make sure those in power are no longer removed from the worries of the common people," LETA quoted him as saying. Pauls also stressed unity among all Latvian residents. People's Party candidate Vaira Paegle, meanwhile, called for Baltic unity in the bid to join both the EU and NATO: "The Baltic States were perceived as one during the fight for independence." The 100-member parliament elects the president by a secret majority vote. MH SOLIDARITY LEADER CRITICIZES STATE MEDIA, WANTS LEGISLATIVE CHANGES. Marian Krzaklewski, chairman of the ruling Solidarity Electoral Action, has criticized the state media for biased coverage of reforms implemented in Poland, PAP reported on 9 June. "There are no positive teints in those reports. People are depressed by concocted reports. They are not told that, for instance, there are thousands of enterprises in Poland that are doing well," Krzaklewski said. He blamed the current board of Polish Television for that state of affairs. Krzaklewski said the government will submit a draft law to the parliament on a new way of appointing the members of the state radio and television supervisory boards. According to Krzaklewski, those boards should be appointed by groups that have "moral authority." He did not elaborate. JM POLISH LUSTRATION COURT EXAMINES CASE OF OPPOSITION DEPUTY. Aleksander Bentkowski, parliamentary deputy from the opposition Polish Peasant Party (PSL), disclosed on 9 June that the Lustration Court has launched lustration proceedings regarding his case. He stressed, however, that he did not collaborate with the communist secret services. Bentkowski added that if the court rules that he is guilty of collaboration, he will quit politics. PSL parliamentary caucus head Janusz Dobosz told PAP that the party will not take any decision on Bentkowski until the court passes its verdict. Bentkowski was justice minister in a previous cabinet. JM CZECH PRESIDENT CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT OVER KOSOVA CONTINGENT... Vaclav Havel on 9 June criticized the government for its plans to provide only 150 soldiers for the envisaged peacekeeping force in Kosova, saying Czech involvement in the Yugoslav province should be "as big as possible," CTK and AP reported. One day earlier, the government decided to offer a platoon of 150 men. The parliament must still approve that decision. Speaking to journalists after meeting with Prime Minister Milos Zeman, Havel said he is "on the side of those who think the unit should be bigger," adding that "any investment we make now into our platoon...or into the postwar reconstruction will pay back a thousand times." Zeman said that if deputies are so "hypocritical" as to refuse to ensure the budget contains funds to help Kosova refugees, they should not criticize the government's decision. MS ...BUT BACKS IT ON EU INTEGRATION EFFORTS. Also on 9 June, Havel said he backs the government's efforts to take measures to speed the country's accession to the EU. He said the government-proposed amendment to the constitution rejected by the Chamber of Deputies (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June 1999) was not an attempt to "seize the right to pass laws," since it gave the parliament the right to veto legislation approved by the ministers within 30 days. "I am on the government's side" on this matter, CTK cited Havel as saying. But the president also added that it is questionable whether a minority government that encounters difficulties in pushing through legislation can remain in power till the next elections, scheduled for 2000. MS SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN WANTS BROADER POWERS. Josef Migas on 9 June told CTK that he is demanding broader powers in order to discipline deputies for absenteeism and for speaking on matters that are not on the agenda. Migas said that in September he intends to submit proposals for changes in the parliament's house regulations. He noted that the absence of many deputies of the ruling coalition from debates last week led to the failure to pass legislation proposed by ruling coalition deputies and was fully exploited by the opposition. MS CORRECTION. Based on an ambiguously worded CTK dispatch, "RFE/RL Newsline" on 9 June reported that the Slovak cabinet had approved the minority language bill. In fact, the bill was approved by the leadership of the four-party coalition. The government has yet to debate it. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE NATO, SERBIA REACH MILITARY AGREEMENT ON KOSOVA. Near Kumanovo on 9 June, military representatives of the Atlantic alliance and Serbia reached an agreement on the Serbian military's withdrawal from Kosova. NATO air strikes ceased shortly thereafter, although spokesmen for the alliance in Brussels stressed the strikes have not been officially suspended. According to the agreement, the Serbian military must leave Kosova within 11 days in stages along prescribed routes. NATO had previously demanded that the Serbian forces leave within seven days. In Kumanovo, Yugoslav General Svetozar Marjanovic said that "the war has ended." In Belgrade, crowds appeared in the streets to celebrate. State-run media reported that Yugoslavia had reached an agreement "with the UN." PM NATO WAITING FOR SERBIAN WITHDRAWAL. Spokesmen for the Atlantic alliance said in Brussels on 10 June that NATO is waiting for verification that Serbian forces have begun to leave Kosova before ordering a "suspension" of air strikes against Yugoslav targets. In Cologne, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said: "We have already seen some empty trucks and vehicles going into [Kosova] and hopefully that's a sign that they are preparing themselves to transport their troops and their equipment out. It looks as if we're in the end game." British General Richard Dannatt said in Skopje that NATO peacekeepers could begin to arrive in Kosova as early as 11 June if NATO confirms the withdrawal. PM U.S. TROOPS ARRIVE IN MACEDONIA FROM ALBANIA. "Hundreds" of U.S. troops and an unspecified number of helicopters arrived on 10 June at the NATO military camp at Petrovec, Macedonia, from Albania, Reuters reported. Some 1,700 U.S. troops are expected to arrive in Petrovec by the end of the day. Observers suggest that the troops are going into Kosova via Macedonia rather than directly from Albania because the roads are better and less likely to be mined. PM UNHCR: GET TROOPS IN QUICKLY. A spokesman for the UNHCR said in Geneva on 10 June that it is important that NATO troops enter Kosova as soon as possible to prevent further incidents. "If you look at the record of paramilitary forces elsewhere and their recent record [in Kosova], there is a major danger that they will burn and loot before leaving," he said. Other observers noted that a NATO presence is essential to prevent retreating Serbs from killing or injuring remaining Kosovars and to prevent Kosovar civilians and guerrillas from taking revenge on local Serbs. PM UCK PROMISES NOT TO FILL POWER VACUUM IN KOSOVA. The provisional Kosovar government's Deputy Defense Minister Colonel Bislim Zyrapi told Reuters on 10 June that the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) "will hold [its] positions while the Serbian forces withdraw and NATO arrives." He said it will not fan out to fill the vacuum left by retreating Serbian forces. Zyrapi stressed that protecting the local population is the UCK's first priority. He added, however, that he cannot rule out cases of revenge attacks by returning refugees. Zyrapi stressed that the UCK will not disarm until all Serbian forces leave Kosova. He also said that the UCK should continue to exist as a small military force, but he did not elaborate. FS MILOSEVIC SHORING UP POSITION? Yugoslav President Slobodan secretly met with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj and other members of the ultra- nationalist Serbian Radical Party at an undisclosed location over the weekend, the "Financial Times" reported on 10 June. Milosevic secured the Radicals' pledge to remain in the government, which they had threatened to leave after a dispute with Milosevic over the peace terms for Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 June 1999). In Belgrade on 10 June, Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic called on the opposition to launch a campaign for Milosevic to resign. Observers note that the question remains whether Milosevic can remain in power after having started and lost four wars within eight years. PM LAWYERS FILE CHARGES AGAINST NATO IN THE HAGUE. Independent lawyers from Britain, Canada, Greece, and Switzerland representing unspecified peace groups have filed formal charges at the Hague-based war crimes tribunal o against several NATO officials and other Western leaders for "violations of international criminal law in causing civilian death, injury and destruction" in NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia, AP reported on 9 June. Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour met with the lawyers to discuss the case. Tribunal spokesman Paul Risley said that "the prosecutor has asserted jurisdiction over all persons responsible for serious violations of humanitarian law or crimes of war within the territory of former Yugoslavia.... No person is excluded from the authority of the tribunal." FS DJUKANOVIC PLEDGES HELP FOR SERBIA. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said in Cologne, Germany, on 9 June that Milosevic "is a politician who belongs to the past," adding that his polices are "quarrelsome and arrogant." The Montenegrin leader noted that Montenegro "is willing to make an effort to assist Serbia to democratize and to embark upon such an avenue together with us." He added: "I think that prospects for stability in the region can only be achieved if there is a substantial autonomy [in Kosova], within Yugoslavia, which will ensure full guarantees of minority [rights] and democratization within Yugoslavia as a whole." U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called Montenegro "a shining example of what is possible" in the former Yugoslavia. PM MONTENEGRINS CHARGE ARMY RESERVISTS WITH OFFENSES. In Podgorica on 9 June, Montenegrin officials gave Colonel Miroslav Samardzic, who is the Yugoslav army's chief prosecutor in Montenegro, a list of 151 criminal charges against an unspecified number of Yugoslav army reservists for offenses they allegedly committed in the mountainous republic. The charges involved unruly behavior, assaults on Montenegrin police, endangering the environment, theft, and unlawful detention. It is unlikely that the military prosecutor will act on the charges, AP reported. PM CROATIAN JOURNALIST ESCAPES DETENTION BY YUGOSLAV ARMY. Antun Masle, who is a reporter for the independent weekly "Globus," arrived in Croatia after fleeing from a hospital in Podgorica where he had been held by the Yugoslav army on charges of espionage, "Vjesnik" reported on 10 June. Media reports in Yugoslavia and Croatia suggest that the Montenegrin police may have helped Masle escape, the Zagreb-based daily added. PM FORMER CROATIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ARRESTED... Police in Zagreb arrested Miroslav Separovic on 9 June for allegedly leaking "state secrets" and other confidential information to the press. The leaks resulted in media reports about the politically motivated fixing of soccer matches by intelligence agents (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 June 1999). Separovic resigned as director of the Croatian Intelligence Service (HIS) in January. He complained of many problems within that organization, Reuters reported. PM ...CAUSING POLITICAL CONTROVERSY. Representatives of several opposition parties and independent journalists met in Zagreb on 9 June and called for Separovic's release, "Novi List" reported. Separovic told reporters that he believes that Ivic Pasalic, who is President Franjo Tudjman's chief aide, ordered his arrest. Separovic added that Tudjman is aware that Pasalic deliberately made problems for him during his tenure at HIS. Pasalic said that Separovic is himself to blame for his difficulties there as well as for his decision to leave that organization. PM ROMANIAN PREMIER, STRIKERS FAIL TO REACH SOLUTION. Prime Minister Radu Vasile on 9 June met with leaders of unions representing striking teachers, but the two sides agreed only to continue their talks. A union leader said the strikers will not end sanctions until the government fully implements agreements reached last October. Also on 9 June, a planned meeting between Vasile and some members of his cabinet and the leadership of the opposition Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) did not take place. The PDSR leadership claimed it had not received "on time" the invitation to attend. Vasile commented that PDSR's failure to attend is a "sign of ill will." The meeting has been rescheduled for 16 June, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS HUNGARIAN ETHNIC LEADER CRITICIZES ROMANIAN PRESIDENT. Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania Chairman Bela Marko on 9 June said President Emil Constantinescu's recent comment on the significance of a document calling for the autonomy of Transylvania and the Banat and for Romania's federalization was "over-exaggerated" and "smacked of electoral campaigning" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 1999). Marko said the document may well exist and have been circulated among Transylvanian intellectual circles, but he pointed out that Romanian and ethnic Hungarian intellectuals who allegedly signed the document have denied doing so. Marko said the ruling coalition must deal with the country's real problems rather than engage in "electoral campaigning," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN IN U.S. Dumitru Diacov, who is currently on a visit to the U.S., met on 9 June in Washington with Congress members and Carlos Pascual, director-general for relations with the New Independent States in the National Security Council, Flux reported. The previous day, Diacov informed World Bank officials about legislation initiated by the government on the privatization of the energy and telecommunications sectors, of agriculture and on improving fiscal supervision. On 24 June, the bank's executive board will discuss the agreement on granting a $40 million stand-by loan to Moldova. Diacov asked the members of Congress with whom he met to help Moldova in its effort to implement reforms. In an interview with ITAR-TASS, he said Moldova wants to pursue broad-based cooperation with Russia and remove "all suspicions" that have persisted since 1990. MS BULGARIA CALLS ON YUGOSLAVIA TO RELEASE DETAINED ETHNIC LEADER. Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaykov on 9 June told journalists that the ministry has appealed to Yugoslav authorities to show "understanding" and to release from detention Marko Shukarev, leader of the Democratic Union of Bulgarians in Yugoslavia. Shukarev faces court-martial for desertion, having failed to report to the unit in which he was drafted after leave of absence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 1999). On 8 June, meeting with the leader of the Helsinki Committee for the Protection of Bulgarians in Yugoslavia, President Petar Stoyanov called Shukarev's detention "a frivolous act of ill-intent" that could "torpedo the future of joint efforts of Bulgarians, Serbs, and all Balkan people to turn the region into what they wish it to be," BTA reported. MS END NOTE ALBRIGHT BRINGS TOGETHER KOSOVAR LEADERS by Fabian Schmidt U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has taken a major step toward putting a stop to infighting between three Kosovar leaders. An 8 June meeting on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Cologne brought together Hashim Thaci of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), Ibrahim Rugova of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), and Rexhep Qosja from the United Democratic Movement of Kosova. That meeting, which received little attention in the international media, took place at Albright's urging. Since the Rambouillet talks, Albanian, French, and other European governments have all failed to achieve such a gathering, despite their persistent efforts to persuade the three rivals to overcome their differences. The secretary of state has thus demonstrated that Kosovars, like many Europeans throughout most of this century, have been unable to solve problems among themselves unless the U.S. took the initiative and forced them to agree on a basic democratic platform, thereby demonstrating its supremacy on the international scene. Albright secured a commitment from the three Kosovars to honor the pledges they made at Rambouillet on creating a democratic interim framework for Kosova. The three agreed to coordinate their efforts toward setting up a post-war civilian administration in the province supervised by "a special representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan." The draft UN Security Council resolution proposed by the G-8 countries stipulates that the UN is to establish such an administration, but it is likely that the OSCE will be charged with doing the job and will have to work closely with the Kosovars to make that administration a success. Few details of the meeting have been released, and UCK spokesman Sabri Kicmari told RFE/RL only that Albright later met with each of the three leaders separately. It is likely that during those meetings Albright was hammering out details of future cooperation. Late last month, Albright had urged the Kosovars to create a National Security Council, following a suggestion by Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 1999). That council, made up of a variety of Kosovar political groups, would serve as Kosova's interim legislature until parliamentary elections are held under international supervision and would serve as a check on the provisional government during the interim period. The council may thus bring together the two governments that currently exist--the provisional government of Prime Minister Thaci and the shadow state government of Bujar Bukoshi of the LDK. This is the second time that the rival Kosovars have agreed to form a broader platform. The first time was during the Rambouillet talks in March, when the Albanian government played a role in having the rivals sit at the negotiating table. In the end, it was the U.S. that helped them formulate a clear and credible vision for a democratic and free future in Kosova. That vision was credible because it included an international protectorate with strong foundations, including heavily armed NATO forces that would guarantee all Kosovar inhabitants the necessary security against both Serbian forces and enemies of the peace settlement within the province. The vision also provided for internationally supervised free elections, in which the rivals would have to compete openly and on equal terms. The main reason Rugova's LDK was so hesitant to join Thaci's government was that the latter had weak democratic credentials and an opaque guerrilla organization. Without assurances from the U.S. and NATO, the LDK was afraid that the UCK, with its military structure, dominant position in the province and limited democratic experience, would eventually become a stumbling block for a truly democratic post-conflict development. But fears were allayed once Western leaders made it clear that Western organizations will take the leading role in setting up Kosova's future police force, which is to be placed under civilian and democratic control. Albright stressed at a press conference after the 8 June meeting that "Kosovo's political leaders will, I hope, cooperate to make Kosova truly democratic." Therefore, a firm commitment by the UCK to disarm and transform itself into a political organization was at the center of her talks with the rival Kosovars, she added. At the same time, a new local police force will probably include former UCK fighters. The Rambouillet accord envisaged that the Kosovar police force will be trained and supervised by the international community. It is, in fact, likely that this will happen soon after the deployment of international forces. Albright explicitly told journalists after the 8 June meeting that "these representatives...told me without any ambiguity that they will meet the key commitments made at Rambouillet.... The [UCK] will demilitarize and enter into a process of transformation." Thaci added that the UCK will "transform itself into a political entity." Rugova, who has twice been elected as shadow state president and has so far refused to recognize Thaci's government, said: "We can do it together." He did not elaborate. And Albright stressed that "the leaders I have met with intend to go forward with vision and courage." Indeed, the three will very soon have to demonstrate the credibility of their vision as well as their ability to set up the necessary state institutions. The challenges facing their administration will be huge. During and after the return of the refugees, they will not be able to meet those challenges unless they unite quickly now and keep to their promises to promote democracy. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Send an email to email@example.com with the word subscribe as the subject of the message. HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message. 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