Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. - William James
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 123, Part II, 24 June 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 123, Part II, 24 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

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Headlines, Part II

* SLOVAK GOVERNMENT APPROVES MINORITY LANGUAGE DRAFT
BILL

* THREE SERBS KILLED IN PRISHTINA

* MACEDONIA ARRESTS SERBIAN 'TERRORISTS'

END NOTE: NATO INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA IMPACTS CROATIAN
POLITICAL SCENE
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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

EAST EUROPEANS PUSH FOR NATO EXPANSION. At the end of a
three-day meeting in Budapest, senior officials from the
East European and Baltic countries that were left out of
NATO's first wave of expansion said on 23 June that the
alliance must expand further, Hungarian and
international media reported. Estonian Defense Minister
Juri Luik said that NATO should ignore Russian warnings
against further expansion, and added that "countries
committed to defend common values should join together."
Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said that aspiring
NATO candidates "are ready and willing to assume their
share of responsibility in ensuring the continent's
stability." MSZ

HEAVY FLOODS AFFECT LIVES IN EASTERN EUROPE. Fifteen
people died in rainstorms in Romania, while severe
weather also hit Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.
In Romania, seven villagers died in the eastern province
of Buzau after torrents from surrounding hills flooded
their homes. In the northeastern region of Maramures
three farm laborers were killed by lightning, while in
the northeastern province of Bacau lightning killed one
man. Four others died in separate incidents. Romanian
officials said that some 170 bridges were swept away by
the floods and nearly 1,700 homes were damaged around
the country. In Hungary, roads and railway lines were
closed after rainstorms and gales caused heavy damage
over the last two days. Storms also hit Ukraine and
Moldova, and rivers arose sharply in Poland and
Slovakia, AFP, Reuters, and dpa reported. MS

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEGISLATURE HOLDS SESSION ON THE
STREET. Thirty-eight deputies of the opposition Supreme
Soviet gathered on 23 June in a Minsk restaurant to hold
a session, but were driven out by a special-purpose
police detachment that claimed that a bomb had been
planted in the restaurant. "The story with the bomb has
been planned much earlier, and it is characteristic of
the regime [of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka],"
Supreme Soviet chairman Syamyon Sharetski told an RFE/RL
correspondent. The session continued on the street near
the restaurant. The Supreme Soviet adopted an appeal to
Lukashenka for political dialogue in Belarus. According
to the 1994 constitution, to which the Supreme Soviet
remains loyal, Lukashenka's presidential term expires on
20 July. The Belarusian opposition expects that U.S. and
European countries will cease to recognize Lukashenka as
the legitimate leader after that date. JM

BELARUSIAN GOVERNMENT REPORTS AVERAGE WAGE INCREASE IN
MAY. According to the Ministry of Statistics and
Analysis, the average monthly gross wage of blue-collar
and white-collar workers in May amounted to 18.5 million
Belarusian rubles ($42 according to the unofficial
exchange rate), up from $33 in April. The rise is due to
the government's decision to double the minimum wage
last month. One year ago the average amounted to $72. JM

UKRAINE WANTS TO SEND 1,400 TROOPS TO KOSOVA. Defense
Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk on 23 June said the government
will ask the parliament in one week to approve the
deployment of a Ukrainian peacekeeping force in Kosova.
The Ukrainian detachment will include a group of bridge
builders, a helicopter squadron, a mobile hospital, and
troops from the 760-strong Ukrainian-Polish battalion
deployed along the countries' border. According to
Ukrainian defense officials, Ukraine could send a total
of 1,400 troops to Kosova. JM

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT AT BUDAPEST NATO SEMINAR.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus made a two-day visit
to Budapest on 22-23 June to take part in a NATO
seminar. In delivering his report, Adamkus said: "Our
impression is that all NATO member countries support the
membership of Lithuania in [NATO], but only a few of
them speak for [its] membership now," ELTA reported.
Praising NATO's efforts in Kosova, Adamkus said that
"soon countries will start speaking of a post-Kosovo
Europe as a community with [an] effective mechanism of
deterrence and conflict prevention." He also reiterated
Lithuanian support for the KFOR deployment. Adamkus also
held meetings with top officials such as NATO Supreme
Commander General Wesley Clark. Clark told Adamkus that
Lithuania's foreign policy is "a stability-increasing
factor in the region." MH

ROW IN LITHUANIA OVER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR. A political
row has broken out in Lithuania over statements made by
Israeli Ambassador Oded Ben-Hur. The press featured many
articles concerning the statement Ben-Hur made at a
Vilnius city function on 21 June, in which he accused
Lithuania of being a paradise for war criminals and
criticized the commission created by President Adamkus
to investigate both Nazi and Soviet war crimes. Center
Union leader Romualdas Ozolas sent a letter to Foreign
Minister Algirdas Saudargas suggesting that Ben-Hur be
replaced, adding that the Israeli envoy "did his best to
have Jews and Lithuanians pitted against one another,"
ELTA reported. Both the Foreign Ministry and the
President's Office decline to comment. MH

POLAND SPEAKS FOR OPEN BORDER WITH UKRAINE. Following
talks with his Ukrainian counterpart in Warsaw on 23
June, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said
Poland wants to keep an "open and friendly" border with
Ukraine even after Warsaw joins the EU. "EU standards
will bind us, but I am convinced that we shall set the
principles that will prevent the creation of a new
curtain," PAP quoted Kwasniewski as saying. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma is currently on a three-day trip
to Poland. Both sides intend to discuss a variety of
economic and political issues, including the
participation of a joint battalion in the Kosova peace
operation. JM

POLISH NURSES BLOCK WARSAW IN PROTEST OVER PAY, HEALTH
REFORM. Some 20,000 nurses blocked downtown Warsaw on 23
June to protest their poor salaries and the health
reform which they say allocates limited resources for
patient care. "It is impossible to live on 680 zlotys
($170), which is what we get [monthly] after 15 years of
work," Reuters quoted a protesting nurse as saying. The
government pledged to resume talks with the nurses trade
union on 24 June. JM

POLISH GOVERNMENT SELLS MAJORITY STAKE IN LARGEST BANK.
Treasury Minister Emil Wasacz announced on 23 June that
the government has sold 52.1 percent of some 75.7
million shares in Poland's largest commercial bank,
Pekao SA, to the Italian-German consortium of UniCredito
and Allianz for 4.2 billion zlotys ($1.1 billion).
Wasacz added that the consortium pledged to raise the
bank's capital by 1 billion zlotys and invest another 1
billion zlotys within five years. The Treasure Ministry
called the sale "the biggest transaction with a
strategic investor in the history of Polish
privatization." Pekao SA earned 521 million zlotys in
1998 and reported a net profit of 133 million in the
first quarter of 1999. Its assets are valued at 58.5
billion zlotys. UniCredito, which will hold all but 2
percent the total stake, provided 18-month employment
guarantees for the bank personnel. JM

CZECH PREMIER RESPONDS TO AUSTRIAN THREAT. Milos Zeman
said on 23 June that the Czech government is pursuing
Czech national interests. Zeman was reacting to a
statement made earlier in the day by Karl Schweitzer,
chairman of the Austrian parliament's Environmental
Commission, who said that Austria will not approve the
Czech Republic's accession to the EU unless Prague
ratifies the union's Convention on Environmental Impact,
CTK reported. Zeman said the government "does not react
to statements that are rather meaningless" and added
that there are no binding European rules for the safety
of nuclear power plants. The only recognized norms are
those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Zeman
said, and the Temelin plant is in line with those. MS

CZECH COURT RULES PREMIER MUST APOLOGIZE. A court in
Prague ruled on 23 June that Prime Minister Zeman must
apologize for a statement made on TV Nova last year, but
rejected the plaintiff's demand that Zeman pay 100,000
crowns (about $2,800) as compensation. Zeman said on
television that the privatization of the Knizni
velkoobchod book company is a clear case of "tunneling,"
meaning the illegal transfer of a state company's assets
to companies owned by its managers or their families.
Opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) deputy chairman
Miroslav Macek, who became co-owner of the company after
its privatization, sued Zeman for libel. The judge said
in her verdict that Macek failed to prove that Zeman's
statement has harmed him enough to warrant financial
compensation. Zeman will have to publish his apology in
three national newspapers, CTK reported. MS

PRO-NAZI CZECH JOURNALIST BANNED. Tomas Kebza, deputy
chairman of the nationalist Republican Youth Party and
editor of the weekly "Republika," was banned by a court
of justice in Prague on 23 June from publishing for ten
years, CTK reported. The court also sentenced Kebza to
three years in prison but suspended the sentence for
five years. The judge said he is guilty of supporting
and propagating a movement aimed at suppressing the
rights and freedoms of citizens because he wrote two
anti-Semitic articles that displayed pro-Nazi views.
Kebza appealed the sentence. MS

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT APPROVES MINORITY LANGUAGE DRAFT BILL.
Without the support of the Hungarian Coalition Party
(SMK), the government on 23 June approved the draft bill
on minority-language use in contact with official
authorities, CTK reported. The debate on the bill in the
parliament is to begin on 29 June. The bill includes the
recommendations made by the OSCE but does not meet the
SMK's demands. The SMK want minorities to be allowed to
use their mother tongue in contacts with the authorities
in localities where they make up 10 (not 20, as provided
by the bill) percent of the population and want it to be
extended to education and culture. MS

SLOVAKIA TO SEND ENGINEERING UNIT TO KFOR. Defense
Minister Pavol Kanis on 23 June told journalists that
Slovakia will send a 40-strong engineering unit to serve
with the peacekeeping forces in Kosova, ITAR-TASS
reported. The unit will stay in the region at least five
years. Kanis said this participation is "rather
symbolic" and reflects Slovakia's economic difficulties.
MS

SLOVAK OPPOSITION JOURNALIST CHARGED WITH PUBLISHING
STATE SECRETS. Jaroslav Reznik, editor in chief of the
opposition daily "Slovenska republika," which is owned
by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, was charged
on 23 June with violating the law on the press by having
published state secrets, CTK reported, citing Radio
Twist. In an article published in late January, Reznik
informed readers about the reorganization of the
Counter-Intelligence Service (SIS) and printed the names
of new SIS division directors. Chief investigator
Jaroslav Ivor said "Slovenska republika" is distributed
in ten countries, and is also available on the Internet.
If found guilty, Reznik faces a ban on publishing or up
to three years in prison. MS

HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL OUTLINES VOJVODINA PROPOSAL. Foreign
Ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath on 23 June told
reporters that the recent Cologne conference has
accepted Hungary's proposal to include the protection of
Vojvodina Hungarians in a Southeast European Stability
Pact. "The implementation of personal autonomy must take
priority now," Horvath explained, adding that the
establishment of a territorial local government and the
restoration of provincial autonomy for Vojvodina will
constitute the next steps in implementing a three-tiered
autonomy concept in the province. Meanwhile, Istvan
Csurka, chairman of the extremist Hungarian Justice and
Life Party said that "a corridor should be drawn in
Vojvodina in order to prevent Serbs fleeing from Kosova
from invading the largely Hungarian-inhabited towns."
Csurka also called for a referendum in which Vojvodina
Hungarians will decided whether they want the region to
be annexed to Hungary. MSZ/MS

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION SLAMS FIRST YEAR OF ORBAN RULE. The
opposition Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), in a
statement released on 23 June, accused Prime Minister
Viktor Orban of "pursuing an arrogant policy that seeks
conflict at any price." The statement said the first
year of the Orban government was characterized by a
"concentration of power, efforts to divide society, lack
of dialogue and interest coordination and renewal of the
media war." MSZP chairman Laszlo Kovacs said that "the
cabinet has no economic policy and there is a great
danger that the country will slip back into the debt
trap." Assessing the performance of his cabinet, Orban
said "I imagined something else, as not even the most
pessimistic person could have envisaged floods on such a
scale or that the Yugoslav conflict would become a
genuine war." MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

THREE SERBS KILLED IN PRISHTINA. KFOR peacekeepers on 24
June found the badly beaten bodies of three Serbs in the
economic faculty of Prishtina University. The three were
a professor, a guard, and the cafeteria manager.
Elsewhere, KFOR troops prevented some 40 ethnic
Albanians from breaking into the Radio-Television
Prishtina building. In Zegra to the southeast, U.S.
Marines the previous day killed one local Serb and
wounded two others who had fired on the Marines with an
automatic weapon, "The New York Times" reported. Reuters
noted that other local Serbs have organized a convoy to
leave the area. In Peja, Italian peacekeepers arrested
four ethnic Albanians whom a Serbian woman said had
raped her, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

SWISS FREEZE MILOSEVIC'S ASSETS. The Federal Police
Agency said in a statement in Bern on 23 June that "as a
precautionary measure, the...Agency today ordered that
assets of the Yugoslav head of state Slobodan Milosevic
and the four other people charged [with war crimes by
the Hague-based tribunal] be frozen." The four are
Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, Yugoslav Deputy
Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, Army Chief-of-Staff
General Dragoljub Ojdanic, and Serbian Interior Minister
Vlajko Stojiljkovic. Observers note that many of
Belgrade's leaders are widely believed to also have
substantial funds in Russian, Cypriot, and South African
banks. PM

A QUARTER MILLION REFUGEES BACK IN KOSOVA. UNHCR
officials said in Geneva on 24 June that more than
250,000 refugees have returned to Kosova since NATO
forces entered the province, AFP reported. This is
almost one-third of all refugees who fled the region. On
23 June alone, 34,500 refugees went home, including
15,200 from Macedonia, 16,500 from Albania, and 2,800
from Montenegro. An estimated 524,000 refugees are still
in neighboring countries. There are still some 294,500
refugees in Albania, 142,100 in Macedonia, 65,700 in
Montenegro, and 21,700 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. About
69,500 Serbs have recently left Kosova, of whom 19,500
fled to Montenegro and 50,000 to Serbia. On 22 June, a
UNHCR spokeswoman said in Prishtina that Kukes is almost
deserted and there are only 800 refugees left from among
the 100,000 the city sheltered in recent weeks. FS

BUKOSHI SAYS UCK MUST BECOME POLITICAL PARTY, NOT
MILITARY FORCE. Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister
Bujar Bukoshi, who is a rival of the Kosova Liberation
Army's (UCK) Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, told the
"Berliner Zeitung" in Prishtina on 23 June that the UCK
must not be allowed to take over the police forces of
Kosova or to form a National Guard. Bukoshi said that
the new police forces could nonetheless include former
UCK fighters. He stressed, however, that the UCK also
has political aspirations and is facing a conflict of
interest if it intends to be an armed force at the same
time. Bukoshi warned that using the existing UCK
structures to build up an armed force will endanger
democracy. Bukoshi said he is currently working to build
civilian structures in Kosova. He added that "we must
make our presence known lest the UCK steal the whole
show." FS

DID RUSSIAN PARATROOPERS SHIELD YUGOSLAV ARMY FROM NATO?
"Komsomolskaya Pravda" on 24 June reported that the 200
Russian paratroopers who entered Kosova before NATO on
11 June had orders to stop British forces from gaining
access to a Yugoslav military storage area with
classified equipment, including radar devices belonging
to an air force unit. The article says that the Yugoslav
forces did not have enough time to evacuate all of the
equipment in time and therefore appealed to the Russians
to block the storage area off, allowing them to withdraw
the classified hardware. Other materiel stored at the
site reportedly included air-to-air and surface-to-
surface missiles, and laser-guided bombs. FS

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS VISIT KOSOVA. France's Hubert
Vedrine, Germany's Joschka Fischer, the U.K.'s Robin
Cook, and Italy's Lamberto Dini visited Kosova on 23
June. They were the first high-ranking Western officials
to go to the province since its recent occupation by
KFOR troops. The ministers met Kosovar Albanian leaders
Hashim Thaci and Veton Surroi, as well as
representatives of the local Serbs, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. After visiting the site of the
alleged massacre of Kosovars by Serbs at Velika Krusa,
Cook called the place "a vision of hell." Fischer and
German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping appeared
visibly shaken after seeing the site. The four
countries' ministers appealed to all people in Kosova
for reconciliation and reiterated their determination to
bring war criminals to justice. On 24 June, NATO
commander General Wesley Clark and NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana arrived in Prishtina. Clark said
that the growing evidence of atrocities vindicates
NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia. PM

FRENCH FIND MASS GRAVE SITE. French KFOR troops on 23
June found a mass grave in northern Kosova that may
contain the remains of up to 180 victims. David
Scheffer, who is the chief U.S. envoy dealing with war
crimes, said in Gjakova that the Serbian forces
"violated so many different laws of war that they were
almost the perfect model of how not to conduct warfare."
He added that "there's a profusion of atrocity sites
throughout [the province]. They are popping up every
day." PM

SCHROEDER NAMES AIDE TO BALKAN POST. A spokesman for
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in Bonn on 24
June that Schroeder has proposed Chancellery Minister
Bodo Hombach to be the EU's coordinator for the Balkan
stability pact. Observers noted that Hombach's departure
from the cabinet is expected to lead to Schroeder's
first significant cabinet shake-up. PM

KUCAN CALLS MILOSEVIC 'MAN OF THE PAST.' Slovenian
President Milan Kucan said in Ljubljana on 24 June that
Milosevic is "a man of the past for the international
community, definitely, and it's only a question of time
when he will become a man of the past for the Serbs.
Objectively, his policies caused the most damage to the
Serbian nation itself. The question is when will the
Serbian nation understand this," Reuters quoted him as
saying. In Belgrade the previous day, a poll showed that
Milosevic's popularity is down from as much as 40
percent to just over 15 percent. Some 70 percent of the
respondents said he is mostly or completely responsible
for Serbia's present situation. The poll also showed,
however, that there is no clearly recognized alternative
to Milosevic. PM

MACEDONIA ARRESTS SERBIAN 'TERRORISTS.' The Macedonian
authorities on 22 June arrested 10 ethnic Serbian
citizens of Macedonia in conjunction with recent attacks
on NATO forces in Macedonia. Interior Minister Pavle
Trajanov added the following day that Interpol has
issued an arrest warrant for two unnamed Yugoslav army
officers in conjunction with the "terrorist" acts. PM

PROFESSORS CALL FOR MONTENEGRIN INDEPENDENCE. Some 74
Montenegrin professors and academics signed a
declaration in Podgorica on 23 June in which they called
on the country's leadership to declare independence from
Yugoslavia. The professors argued that "Montenegro
cannot be truly equal unless it is sovereign and
internationally recognized," RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

STILL OVER ONE MILLION BOSNIAN REFUGEES. The office of
the Bosnian joint presidency issued a report in Sarajevo
on 23 June in which it said that some 1.25 million
people live in Bosnia as refugees or displaced persons.
More than half of them lived before 1992 in what is now
the Republika Srpska, to which very few Muslims or
Croats have returned since the Dayton peace agreement
was signed in 1995. PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT PRESENTS NEW SECURITY STRATEGY IN
PARLIAMENT. Emil Constantinescu on 23 June presented in
the parliament the country's new security strategy,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 21 June 1999). He said it is the first time
that security is not viewed as a concept that stems
"from the state, but from citizens and from their
fundamental interests and rights." Also on 23 June, the
coalition commission examining land restitution agreed
that up to a maximum of 50 hectares of land will be
returned to any individual former owners. A compromise
seems to be emerging on the restitution of forests, with
the upper limit for individuals being set at 10 hectares
(as demanded by the Democratic Party) and at 30 hectares
(as demanded by the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic) for churches and monasteries. MS

ROMANIAN PREMIER TO RUN FOR PNTCD CHAIRMANSHIP? Prime
Minister Radu Vasile, in an interview with the private
radio station Pro FM, said on 22 June that he "does not
rule out" the possibility that he will run for the
chairmanship of the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic (PNTCD) at its next congress in January.
Reacting to the declaration on 23 June, PNTCD chairman
Ion Diaconescu said he thought Vasile is "well placed"
to run for the post and that he will "react favorably"
to Vasile's candidacy, but added that the PNTCD has "not
yet entered the period of electoral campaign." But party
spokesman and PNTCD vice chairman Remus Opris said he
considers it "abnormal" for the premier to think of the
succession at a time when "his hands are otherwise full"
with the government's business. PNTCD vice chairman
Nicolae Ionescu-Galbeni also criticized Vasile's
declaration, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN MINORITIES' COUNCIL WARNS AGAINST XENOPHOBIA.
The Council of National Minorities on 23 June said it
must "regretfully note" that publications propagating
"xenophobic, personal, and collective aggression against
members of ethnic minorities" are "proliferating every
week." The council said the weekly "Atac la persoana,"
which propagates such views, is being increasingly
emulated by other publications, which "distort reality
and hinder the harmonization of normal interethnic
relations, as well as dangerously contribute to the
perpetuation of prejudice, hatred, and divisions,
thereby greatly harming democracy in Romania," Mediafax
reported. MS

MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT BLAMES UNIONS FOR RIOTS. A spokesman
for the government on 23 June said the trade unions must
be blamed for the riots in which two people were injured
and several detained after clashing with the police
earlier that day, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June 1999). Nicolae Cirtoaca said
that the cabinet is ready to negotiate with the National
Trade Union Federation on paying off the $85 million in
salary arrears, but the negotiators must be "realistic"
and take into consideration the poor state of the
economy. Cirtoaca accused the unions of politicizing
their demands, saying it is not a matter of chance that
the protest had taken place on the eve of Prime Minister
Ion Sturza's presentation of a report to the parliament
on the government's record after 100 days in office. MS

MOLDOVAN CABINET RESTITUTES SYNAGOGUE TO JEWISH
COMMUNITY. The government on 23 June decided to return
to the Jewish community a synagogue and two religious
schools that were confiscated by the communist
authorities in 1940, AP reported. The synagogue, built
in 1835, is one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. The
decision coincides with the end of a two-day gathering
of Jews of Moldovan origin in the capital. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WANTS END TO YUGOSLAV CONFLICT
POLARIZATION. Addressing the Consultative Council for
National Security on 23 June, President Petar Stoyanov
said the Yugoslav conflict has "polarized political
opinions in Bulgaria" and the time has come to "put an
end to disputes and concentrate on identifying national
priorities." He said Bulgaria must now concentrate on
getting a "fair share" from the process of southeast
European reconstruction. At the same meeting, Prime
Minister Ivan Kostov called on Bulgarian companies
wishing to participate in regional reconstruction
projects to "display initiative." He said that "nobody
invites bids for projects expecting governments to win
the contract," but added that this does not mean that
the cabinet will not lobby in favor of Bulgarian
interests, BTA reported. MS

BULGARIA SUBMITS DRAFT RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE
IN YUGOSLAVIA. Luchezar Toshev, head of the Bulgarian
delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council
of Europe, on 23 June submitted a draft resolution
denouncing human rights abuses in Yugoslavia, BTA
reported. The draft says the situation of the Bulgarian
minority in that country has deteriorated and condemns
the mobilization to the Yugoslav army of ethnic
Bulgarian minority leaders, the arrest and conviction of
Marko Shukarev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7, 10, 16, 18
June 1999), and the campaign against activists of the
Helsinki Committee for the Protection of the Bulgarian
Minorities' Rights and Freedoms, BTA reported. MS

WORLD BANK LOAN TO BULGARIA APPROVED. The World Bank on
23 June approved a $75.7 million loan to Bulgaria for
structural adjustments in agriculture, BTA reported. The
agreement was signed in Washington by the bank's
director for Bulgaria, Andrew Vorking, and Deputy
Premier Alexander Bozhkov. The board approved increasing
the originally envisaged loan by $25 million to
compensate Bulgarian farmers for losses suffered during
the conflict in Kosova. MS

END NOTE

NATO INTERVENTION IMPACTS CROATIAN POLITICAL SCENE

By Andrej Krickovic

	The NATO intervention in Yugoslavia has had a
noticeable impact on the Croatian political scene.
Croatia's relationship with the international community
has improved and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union
(HDZ) is showing a willingness to comply with the
conditions that the international community has set for
expediting the democratization of the country.
	But the HDZ may be ready to go back to its old
intransigence now that the Kosova crisis is over, though
the West's new willingness to play the decisive role in
the region may give them no other choice but to adhere
to Western demands if the HDZ wants to bring Croatia
into Euro-Atlantic structures.
	Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's support for
Croatian separatists in Bosnia-Herzegovina and his
refusal to implement democratic reforms have often put
him at odds with the international community in the
past. But the government's unconditional support for the
NATO air campaign in Kosova has significantly improved
relations with both the U.S. and Europe. In April, U.S.
President Bill Clinton lifted an arms embargo on Croatia
and negotiations have recently begun on the purchase of
an advanced military radar system from Washington. The
postwar stability pact for southeastern Europe may also
speed up the country's integration into the EU.
	Western diplomats have let the HDZ know that there
will be no free rides towards Western integration and
Zagreb will still have to fulfill the same conditions
that have been laid out in the past. The West still
insists on a reform of the election law, increased
freedom of the press, the return of Serbian refugees,
cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal
in The Hague, and the dismantling of separate ethnic-
Croatian government institutions in the para-state of
"Herceg-Bosna."
	Thus far the HDZ has been willing to cooperate.
Serious talks with the opposition on a new election law
and media freedom are under way. The ruling party is in
desperate need of foreign loans. The country faces a
severe recession. Experts expect GDP will shrink by 1 to
2 percent this year--a troubling statistic considering
that the country is still engaged in postwar
reconstruction. Recent scandals that implicate top
members of the ruling party threaten the very collapse
of the financial system. They have also helped discredit
the HDZ's economic model, which is largely based on
patronage and political connections. The HDZ is hopeful
that now that the war in Kosova is over they will be
given access by foreign lenders to reconstruction funds
that they hope to be able to use to buy some social
peace.
	The country will hold parliamentary elections by
the end of the year and HDZ politicians have tried to
present the newfound warming with the West as a foreign
policy triumph. But voters seem unimpressed--the
popularity of the opposition has grown during the two
months of NATO bombing. Most recent polls indicate that
the HDZ will only receive around 20 percent of the vote
and will have to yield control of parliament to the
opposition.
	Croatian voters are much more concerned with
economic issues. The real buying power of citizens has
fallen by 10 percent since the beginning of the year.
There is also great anxiety about the tourist season.
According to government estimates, Croatia will lose
between $500-600 million in tourism revenues as a result
of the NATO intervention. Such economic issues and the
animosity that most people feel towards the HDZ have
overshadowed any foreign policy gains the country has
made since the NATO intervention.
	There have also been indications that the HDZ may
continue with its authoritarian ways. The opposition has
accused the HDZ of deliberately maintaining an
atmosphere of political violence and fear that could
reduce the chances that the upcoming parliamentary
elections will be free and fair. In recent speeches,
President Tudjman has railed against internal enemies
and claims that 20 percent of Croatian citizens are
against an independent Croatia. Last month, fascist
thugs led by extremist right-wing groups attacked
peaceful protesters at an antifascist rally in downtown
Zagreb. Right-wing toughs have also attacked opposition
and union leaders. Many believe rising violence is
inspired and even organized by hard-liners in the ruling
party.
	The recent arrest of former intelligence service
chief Miroslav Separovic for divulging state secrets to
the investigative weekly "Nacional" has awakened fears
about the misuse of the intelligence services. The
intelligence services routinely spy on the opposition
and independent media. There have even been allegations
that they have rigged the outcome of the national soccer
championships to ensure the victory of Tudjman's
favorite team. Opposition and independent media fear
that the intelligence services may be willing to use
similar tactics to influence the outcome of the upcoming
elections.
	Tudjman may also still be committed to his plans of
partitioning Bosnia-Herzegovina along ethnic lines.
Western diplomats politely ignored his Kosova peace
plan, which envisioned a partition of Kosova between
Serbs and Albanians. But Croatian observers believe
Tudjman's peace plan was inspired by hopes that a
partition of Kosova along ethnic lines will set a
precedent for a future solution in Bosnia.
	Tudjman may hope that the West will again divert
its attention from the Balkans once the Kosova crisis is
over. But NATO's victory in Kosova and the Southeast
European Stability Pact have sent a signal that the West
has increased its commitment in the region.
Irregularities in the upcoming elections or open support
for Bosnian Croat separatists will be met by a stiff
reaction from the U.S. and EU. In the end, Tudjman and
the HDZ may have no other choice but to abandon their
Bosnian adventures and go ahead with real democratic
reform.

The author is a free-lance journalist based in Zagreb.
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