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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 129, Part II, 2 July 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 129, Part II, 2 July 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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Note to Readers: "RFE/RL Newsline" will not appear on 5 and 6
July, which are public holidays in the Czech Republic.
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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUSIAN OFFICIALS DISAPPOINTED WITH UNION TREATY DRAFT

* NATO TROOPS ARREST YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS

* UN CALLS FOR END TO VIOLENCE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OFFICIALS DISAPPOINTED WITH UNION TREATY DRAFT. On
1 July in Minsk, Belarusian and Russian legislators discussed
a union treaty draft prepared by expert commissions from both
countries. According to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service, the
Belarusian side was disappointed with the document. Mikhail
Sazonau, Belarusian presidential aide, said Belarus urged
Russia to introduce a union presidency and supranational
bodies with extensive powers, but Russia declined the
proposal. Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Valyantsin
Vyalichka commented that the draft treaty stipulates the
creation of a "union of two states, not a single union
state." The Minsk forum also discussed holding referendums on
the unification of the two countries. According to Russian
lawmakers, such a referendum could be held in Russia no
sooner than March 2000. Belarusian Central Electoral
Commission head Lidziya Yarmoshina declared that Belarus is
ready to hold a unification referendum at any time. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AGREES TO SEND PEACEKEEPERS TO KOSOVA...
The Supreme Council on 1 July passed a resolution on
Ukraine's participation in the peacekeeping operation in
Yugoslavia, ITAR-TASS reported. According to the resolution,
the government is obliged to submit a proposal on the issue
to the president, following consultations with the UN, the
Yugoslav government, and participants in the peacekeeping
operation. That proposal is to include information about the
responsibilities of the Ukrainian contingent, its numerical
strength, and its weaponry. The resolution says Ukrainian
peacekeepers cannot be under NATO command. It also stipulates
that the cost of their operation is to be met "by those who
unleashed the criminal war in Yugoslavia and did colossal
damage to this country and its people." JM

...URGES KUCHMA TO OUST INTERIOR MINISTER, SECURITY SERVICE
CHIEF... In a non-binding resolution the same day, the
Supreme Council urged the president to dismiss Interior
Minister Yuriy Kravchenko and Security Service chief Leonid
Derkach. Lawmakers approved the resolution by a vote of 250
to 19 after a parliamentary commission had accused the two
officials of assisting President Leonid Kuchma in his re-
election campaign. "Factory and institution chiefs, often
facing the threat of dismissal, have forced their
subordinates to collect signatures or sign in support of the
current head of state," AP quoted commission head Oleksandr
Yelyashkevych as saying. JM

...FAILS TO OVERRIDE KUCHMA'S VETO ON MINIMUM PENSION RISE.
The parliament on 1 July failed to override Kuchma's veto of
the bill increasing the minimum pension from 16.6 hryvni
($4.2) to 55 hryvni, which was passed in May. Kuchma argued
that the Pension Fund can muster only half of the some 26
billion hryvni needed annually to finance the increase. JM

KUCHMA QUESTIONS EU STRATEGY FOR UKRAINE. At the Central and
Eastern Europe Economic Forum in Salzburg on 1 July, Leonid
Kuchma criticized the EU for failing to adequately support
reform in Ukraine, the "Eastern Economic Daily" reported.
Asked about Western assistance to Ukraine, Kuchma replied:
"In fact there is none.... Could you explain the strategy of
the EU toward Ukraine? When we ask such a question, we don't
understand the answer." Kuchma also complained that the EU
advises him to emulate Poland's reform effort without
providing "massive debt relief" to Ukraine, as it did to
Poland. JM

TALLINN APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL LOAN. The Tallinn City Council
on 1 July approved a supplementary budget that includes a 130
million kroons ($8.6 million) loan. The supplementary budget,
passed by a 33 to 15 vote, totals 100.8 million kroons. The
opposition in Tallinn, which forms the governing majority in
the national parliament, accused the coalition running
Tallinn of using the budget issue for the October local
elections campaign. The opposition stressed that the loan may
endanger Tallinn's credit rating and cause a budget crisis,
BNS reported. The opposition, protesting both the budget and
the privatization of Tallinn's Central Market, filed a no
confidence motion in City Council Chairman Edgar Savisaar of
the Center Party. "Eesti Paevaleht" reported that the motion,
signed by 22 members of the opposition, needs 33 votes among
the 64 council members to pass. MH

GREEK PRESIDENT VISITS LITHUANIA. Constantinos Stephanopoulos
began his three-day state visit to Lithuania on 30 June.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus met with him one day
later to discuss bilateral ties, Lithuania's integration into
the EU and NATO, and the Kosova crisis. Bilateral economic
ties featured high on the agenda. An agreement on the
readmission of illegal migrants was signed by the deputy
foreign ministers of both countries, as well as a cooperation
agreement between the Kaunas and Thessaloniki regions. MH

LITHUANIA, POLAND FAIL TO SOLVE MINORITY ISSUES. At meetings
in Warsaw on 29-30 June, delegations from Lithuania and
Poland failed to reach agreement on issues related to
minorities in their respective countries. Head of the
delegation and director of Lithuania's National Minorities'
Department Remigijus Motuzas told BNS that "issues of
national minorities should be solved on the basis of parity,
but the problem is that the Poles seem to be more concerned
for its nationals living outside the country than for the
situation of national minorities inside Poland." He added
that no resolution was found to any of the contentious
issues, including the spelling of names in official documents
and the controversial border troop base in the Polish town of
Punsk, inhabited by mostly Lithuanians. MH

POLAND ARRESTS ANOTHER OFFICER ON SOVIET SPY CHARGES. Polish
military authorities have arrested a high-ranking officer in
the Polish armed forces on charges of spying for the Soviet
KGB. Captain Jerzy Kwiecinski, spokesman of the Regional
Military Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, said the
investigation into the espionage case was launched on the
basis of evidence collected by the Military Intelligence
Services and the State Protection Office. Kwiecinski added
that the arrest was not connected with the case of two
retired officers detained in May on charges of spying for the
former USSR (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 May 1999). JM

RUSSIA APOLOGIZES TO POLAND FOR VIOLATING AIRSPACE. The
Russian Foreign Ministry has apologized for the violation of
Poland's airspace by four helicopters of the Baltic Sea Fleet
last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 June 1999), ITAR-TASS
reported on 1 July. The Russian ministry said the
helicopters, which performed training flights, were unarmed
and entered Poland's airspace because "the pilots temporarily
lost their visual references." JM

POLISH LEFT-WING OPPOSITION PARTY ELECTS LEADER. The new
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) on 1 July elected Leszek
Miller its leader. Miller will be SLD leader until a party
congress this fall. Earlier, Miller was chairman of the
disbanded Social Democracy of the Polish Republic (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 17 May 1999). JM

CZECH PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT, FOLLOWING PROGRESS
REPORT. The Chamber of Deputies has passed a resolution
saying that "the government's activities do not benefit the
Czech Republic," CTK reported on 2 July. The resolution was
proposed by deputies of the Christian Democratic Party and
the Freedom Union. The chamber, however, rejected a
resolution, proposed by deputies from the same formations,
calling on the cabinet to resign. One day earlier, Prime
Minister Milos Zeman said in a speech in the chamber
evaluating the performance of his cabinet after one year in
power that the government's domestic policy priority is
decentralization and ensuring social stability, CTK reported.
With regard to foreign policy, he said priorities are
accession to the EU, adding that "isolationism" is "a
dangerous policy that could back-fire." Zeman said this does
not mean, however, giving up the "defense of national
interests"; rather, it means a "struggle against some EU
bureaucrats" who "block rather than speed up genuine European
integration." MS

SLOVAK DEFENSE MINISTER DENIES BUGGING ALLEGATIONS. Pavol
Kanis on 1 July denied that the Slovak military intelligence
service bugged the Nafta Gbely oil company, which is at the
center of an ongoing privatization scandal, CTK reported.
Kanis was responding to reports in the media that he
submitted to the Coalition Council tapes proving that
National Property Fund (FNM) chief Ludovit Kanik was involved
in the sale of Nafta Gbely to the U.S. Cinergy company. He
did, however, confirm that classified materials on the affair
included taped telephone calls. A lawyer representing the FNM
accused the military intelligence service, which is
controlled by the Defense Ministry, of having bugged the FNM
leadership. In other news, the parliament on 30 June approved
the dispatch of 40 army engineers to join the KFOR
peacekeeping troops in Kosova, AP reported, citing the daily
"Sme." MS

ORBAN PROMISES CHANGE IN HOLOCAUST COMPENSATION. Prime
Minster Viktor Orban said in the parliament on 1 July that he
agrees with Peter Tordai, president of the Federation of
Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ), and with Chief
Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer that the 30,000 forint ($125)
compensation granted by the government to survivors of the
Holocaust and their and relatives is "indeed insulting."
Orban pledged that a solution will be found within a year and
asked MAZSIHISZ to make suggestions for amending the existing
law, Hungarian media reported. Orban also said t he agrees
with Schweitzer that existing legislation on racial
incitement has proved difficult to apply and must be amended.
He said it is "unacceptable" for neo-Nazi groups to parade
around Buda Castle without hindrance, arguing it is necessary
to "discourage" such behavior. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO TROOPS ARREST YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS. A spokesman for British
KFOR peacekeepers said in Prishtina on 2 July that KFOR
recently arrested five Yugoslav army soldiers and six
suspected members of the paramilitary police near Kosova's
northern border with Serbia proper. The armed men were in
Kosova in violation of the peace agreement, under which all
Serbian forcers should have withdrawn from the province. The
armed Serbs told KFOR that they were part of a border patrol
unit. The previous day, U.S. Brigadier General John Craddock
said that KFOR's mission "is not going to be a quick fix.
There are still too many acts of violence. There are still
too many homes burning at night," AP reported. PM

UN CALLS FOR END TO VIOLENCE. UN Special Representative
Sergio Vieira de Mello told a press conference in Prishtina
on 2 July that the situation "has stabilized at a fairly high
level of insecurity in certain parts of [Kosova,] and this
cannot be allowed to persist. Every effort must be made...for
the [Kosovar and Serbian] leaderships to contribute to the
reduction of tensions." He added that he hopes to set up a
multi-ethnic "transitional council" next week. Vieira de
Mello stressed that he wants the council's members "to agree
on a strong statement and possibly to deliver it together,
condemning all forms of violence and appealing to all
communities for restraint." PM

GANGS TERRORIZE PRISHTINA. "Gangs rule on the streets of
Prishtina [and] are becoming an increasing headache for
British soldiers trying to restore peace," "The Daily
Telegraph" reported on 2 July. The newspaper goes on to
describe the young men as "the violent underclass from
[Kosova] and Albania intent on profiting from the chaos."
Some of the men work in well-organized gangs, while others
are "free-lancers." Their victims include ethnic Albanians as
well as Serbs. The daily quoted several ethnic Albanians as
saying that they live in fear of the gangs and that they are
pleased when they learn that KFOR has arrested one or more of
the toughs. The role of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) in
relation to the gangs is ambiguous, the newspaper noted. An
additional source of difficulties is the presence of numerous
displaced rural Kosovars, whose homes have been destroyed and
who come to Prishtina seeking to occupy flats. PM

VOLLEBAEK OUTLINES KOSOVA POLICE RECRUITMENT. OSCE Chairman
Knut Vollebaek said in Vienna on 1 July that the 700-member
OSCE mission to Kosova will recruit and train the 3,000 local
members of a planned 6,000-strong, internationally supervised
police force (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 July 1999). The
additional 3,000 policemen will be from other countries.
Vollebaek added that "to create a real democracy...we have to
recruit [policemen] from as broad a sector as possible.... Of
course, we should not have people charged with criminal
activity. We have to create a secure environment and then we
have to establish trust in these policemen. [Therefore,] we
will have to recruit from environments, groups that have been
hostile to each other." Vollebaek also said that he has
appointed U.S. diplomat Robert Barry, who now heads the OSCE
mission in Bosnia, to coordinate OSCE efforts in the entire
Balkans. FS

UNHCR LAUNCHES REPATRIATION OF KOSOVARS FROM ALBANIA. The
Albanian government and the UNHCR on 1 July began to
repatriate the remaining 170,000 Kosovar refugees living in
Albania. An RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent
reported from Tirana that most refugees travel from central
and southern Albania by train to the northern village of
Mjeda, where the UNHCR has set up a transit center. Busses
and trucks provided by the Albanian government and NATO
leave from there to cities in Kosova. UNHCR officials
estimate that up to 2,000 refugees will pass through the
Mjeda center every day in the coming weeks. NATO troops
accompany the refugees on their return trips to Kosova.
Elderly people and the handicapped will be transported by
helicopter. Around 250,000 Kosovars have already returned
home from Albania on their own. FS

ROMA REFUGEES FROM KOSOVA FLEE TO ITALY. A fishing boat
carrying about 250 Kosovar Roma from Montenegro landed on
Italy's southern shore on 1 July. The new arrivals included
more than 100 children. Another ship carrying 500 Romany
refugees arrived in Italy on 29 June. The Italian coast
guard brought both ships to the port of Bari. Many Roma say
they fear reprisals by ethnic Albanians, who often charge
that the Roma collaborated with the Serbian forces during
the recent crackdown. FS

CLARK CALLS MILOSEVIC 'FORMIDABLE POWER.' NATO Supreme
Commander Europe General Wesley Clark told a Senate hearing
in Washington on 1 July that the Serbian "opposition is
fragmented and weak and traumatized by a decade of Milosevic
maneuvering against them" (see Part I). The general added
that "Milosevic retains formidable power in Yugoslavia, and
he's an expert in dividing the opposition." Clark noted that
the Yugoslav president continues to pose a threat to the
Montenegrin leadership. The general stressed that Milosevic
is "stubborn" and is seeking to "relegitimize himself" in
Serbian politics despite his recent loss of control over
Kosova, the "International Herald Tribune" reported. PM

PENSIONERS PROTEST IN BELGRADE. Several hundred pensioners
demonstrated on 1 July to remand the payment of back pensions
and the doubling of the size of pensions. The older Serbs
also called for Milosevic to resign. PM

POLICE ARREST OPPOSITION MEMBERS. Serbian police in Novi Sad
on 1 July arrested four members of the opposition League of
Social Democrats of Vojvodina who were passing out leaflets
calling on people to join an opposition demonstration in
Uzice slated for 2 July, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. The protest is organized by the Alliance for
Change, which recently held a demonstration in Cacak (see
"RFE/RL Balkan Report," 2 July 1999). PM

YUGOSLAV ARMY ISSUES WARRANT FOR DJINDJIC. Representatives of
the Office of the Military Prosecutor issued a formal request
to the Military Court on 1 July to launch proceedings against
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic. The charge is that
Djindjic did not respond to a call-up notice during the
recent crisis in Kosova. The opposition leader instead went
into hiding in Montenegro. PM

MONTENEGRO TO HAND OVER WAR CRIMINALS. President Milo
Djukanovic said in Niksic on 1 July that his government will
send to The Hague any persons indicted by the tribunal who
are found on Montenegrin territory. He added that Milosevic's
policies are "xenophobic" and have led Serbia into isolation
and self-destruction. Djukanovic stressed that Podgorica does
not recognize the current federal parliament or government.
PM

CROATIA CHARGES YUGOSLAVIA BEFORE HAGUE COURT. The Croatian
government agreed in a closed session on 1 July to charge
Yugoslavia with "aggression and genocide" before the UN's
International Court of Justice in The Hague. The charges stem
from the 1991-1995 war. Bosnia filed similar charges against
Yugoslavia several years ago, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

PASSENGER TRAIN LINKS SARAJEVO TO PLOCE. After an
interruption of seven years, a passenger train arrived in
Ploce from Sarajevo on 1 July. Earlier. goods transport
between the Bosnian capital and its natural outlet on the
Adriatic were restored. Bosnia's rights to use the Croatian
port's facilities have been the subject of years of disputes
between Sarajevo and Zagreb. In related news, Bosnian Foreign
Minister Jadranko Prlic said in Sarajevo that the two
countries will sign an agreement delimiting their joint
frontier on 7 July. PM

DISUINITY AND UNITY IN BOSNIA. The Bosnian federal parliament
adopted a new law governing radio and television on 1 July,
despite strong objections from the Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ). The HDZ is expected to block passage of the
measure in the federal House of Nations, which is the second
house of the parliament, in the near future, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. "Oslobodjenje" wrote on 2 July that
the international community's Carlos Westendorp has indicated
that he will enact the measure by decree if the Croats defeat
it in the House of Nations. Elsewhere, representatives of
Bosnia's Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian handball teams agreed
in Sarajevo on 1 July to play in a "joint league" next
season, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

ZANI RIDES AGAIN. The notorious southern Albanian gang leader
Myrteza Caushi "Zani" was injured in a shootout between rival
gangs in Vlora on 1 July, Reuters reported. Police then tried
to arrest Zani in the hospital, but he managed to escape.
Three men were killed and three wounded in the shootout, but
it remains unclear what triggered the confrontation. A court
in Tirana ordered Zani's release from prison on 22 March
1999. He had been in jail since 1997 awaiting trial on
charges ranging from robbery to murder. Witnesses declined to
testify at his trial, however, and the court o sentenced him
only for illegal arms possession (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
March 1999). Zani played a key role in the 1997 armed
uprising in southern Albania. FS

ROMANIAN OFFICIALS REASSURED ON TRIANON TREATY. On returning
from a visit to the U.S., Defense Minister Victor Babiuc said
Washington is "not preoccupied with the prospect of Romania's
federalization." Babiuc said that at a meeting with Defense
Secretary William Cohen, he had raised the issue of the
statement attributed to NATO Supreme Commander Europe General
Wesley Clark suggesting that the 1920 Trianon Treaty is
outdated. Babiuc said he was reassured that the position of
the U.S. "remains that expressed by President Bill Clinton,
namely that existing European borders must not be changed and
borders must not be modified according to ethnic criteria,"
Mediafax reported on 1 July. One day earlier, U.S. ambassador
to Bucharest James Rosapepe told Romanian Radio that Clark's
statement has been "misinterpreted"(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28
and 29 June 1999). MS

ROMANIA, RUSSIA AGREE TO 'RE-LAUNCH' RELATIONS. Meeting at
the annual Central and East European Economic Forum in
Salzburg, Austria on 1 July, Romanian President Emil
Constantinescu and Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin
agreed to "re-launch economic and political relations"
between the two countries, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Salzburg reported. They stressed that "urgent measures" are
needed to redress Romania's balance of trade with Russia.
Bucharest imports $1 billion worth of Russian goods and
exports goods totaling $80 million to Russia. Stepashin
pledged to clear Russia's $22 million debt to Bucharest by
deliveries of Russian machinery. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT, PRESIDENT ON COLLISION COURSE. The
parliament on 2 July approved a decision stating that
referendums cannot take place within less than two years of
one another. The decision virtually nullifies President Petru
Lucinschi's intention to submit to a referendum in the
immediate future the issue of changing to a presidential
system, since a non-binding referendum took place in May
1999. On 1 July, Lucinschi signed a decree on setting up the
commission whose task is to make recommendations for changing
the present system into a presidential one, RFE/RL Chisinau
bureau reported. Under the decree, the commission was to
present its findings within one month, following which the
change would have had to be either approved by a two-thirds
parliamentary majority or submitted to a plebiscite. MS

MOLDOVAN PREMIER PRESENTS 'HUNDRED DAY RECORD.' Presenting
the 100-day record of his cabinet to the parliament on 1
July, Ion Sturza said that "if circumstances are favorable,"
GDP in 1999 may "drop by only 5-7 percent," RFE/RL's Chisinau
bureau reported. Sturza forecast an inflation rate of 25
percent and a deficit totaling 3 percent of the GDP. He said
that in 1998, GDP dropped by 8.6 percent, in comparison with
the previous year, and inflation was 18.3 percent. Among the
main achievements of his cabinet, he counted the resumption
of relations with the IMF and the World Bank. He also said
that Moldova has paid two-thirds of the $230 million debt due
for payment this year. MS

BULGARIA OFFERS TO BE UZBEKISTAN'S 'GATE TO EUROPE.' Erkin
Khalilov, chairman of the Uzbek parliament, told his
Bulgarian counterpart, Yordan Sokolov, in Sofia on 1 July
that Uzbekistan regards ties with Bulgaria as a "priority,"
because of that country's geographical location, namely on
the "shortest route [for Uzbekistan] to Europe." Prime
Minister Ivan Kostov told Khalilov that the Black Sea ports
of Varna and Burgas may become "Uzbekistan's gate to Europe,"
BTA reported. Khalilov said that when TRACECA (Europe-
Caucasus-Asia Transport Corridor) is developed, his country
will indeed use Varna and Burgas. MS

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