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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 133, Part II, 12 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 133, Part II, 12 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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Headlines, Part II

* ANOTHER BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL SEEKS ASYLUM ABROAD

* KOSOVA SERB LEADERS 'END COOPERATION' WITH NATO, UN

* THOUSANDS PROTEST IN KIKINDA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

ANOTHER BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL SEEKS ASYLUM ABROAD.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alyaksandr Datsiy, former chief
editor of the Belarusian Interior Ministry's "Na
strazhe," has asked for political asylum in "one of the
democratic countries of Europe," RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service reported on 9 July. In a telephone conversation
with RFE/RL, Datsiy said he was pressured by Belarusian
special services to acknowledge that he illegally
sponsored the opposition activities of former Interior
Minister Yury Zakharanka, who disappeared in Minsk in
early May under unexplained circumstances. Datsiy added
that the authorities threatened to bring him to trial
and sentence him for financial offenses unless he
confessed to his ties with Zakharanka. JM

LUKASHENKA SAYS BELARUS-RUSSIA UNION MUST HAVE
PRESIDENT. In an interview with "Die Woche" on 9 July,
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said the
planned Belarus-Russia union must have the posts of
president and vice president as well as a government.
According to Lukashenka, as things currently stand, the
union's presidency should be assumed by Russian
President Boris Yeltsin, while the Belarusian president
should become the vice president. Lukashenka added that
he will not agree to a different model for the
distribution of power within the union. He said that
Russian ruble may become the union's single currency if
Russia shows its readiness to develop the union while
"taking into account the proposals of the Belarusian
side," Belapan reported. JM

SCHROEDER, KUCHMA FAIL TO AGREE ON CHORNOBYL. At a
meeting in Kyiv on 9 July, German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma failed
to reach agreement on the closure of the Chornobyl
nuclear power plant. Schroeder was unable to persuade
Kuchma to accept Western support for developing
conventional power plants in exchange for the Chornobyl
shutdown in 2000 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 1999).
Kuchma said later that Chornobyl will be closed only
after nuclear reactors in Rivne and Khmelnytskyy are
completed to compensate for the power loss. Schroeder
said Germany will take no decision on financial aid for
Ukraine until September, when the European Bank of
Reconstruction and Development is to decide whether to
finance the completion of the two reactors. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BANS SALE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS
GIANT. Ukrainian legislators on 9 July voted by 235 to
23 to reject a bill that would have sanctioned the
privatization of more than 25 percent of Ukrtelekom,
which employs some 130,000 people, while ensuring that
the state retains a majority stake in the company. The
parliament said there is no need to privatize Ukrtelekom
since the company is operating at a profit. Kuchma
criticized the decision as a political move, adding that
proceeds from the sale would have been used to pay off
wage and pension arrears. JM

BALTIC PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN PALANGA... Prime
Ministers Mart Laar (Estonia), Vilis Kristopans
(Latvia), and Rolandas Paksas (Lithuania) met in the
Lithuanian coastal resort of Palanga on 9 July under the
auspices of the Baltic Council of Ministers. Among the
topics discussed were NATO and EU enlargement, joint
energy issues, commerce and trade concerns, and the Via
Baltica transport link. Laar stressed that Estonia
supports the beginning of EU accession negotiations for
Latvia and Lithuania, ETA reported. At the same time,
Latvian Prime Minister Kristopans stressed support for
Baltic free trade, saying Riga would work to lift the
barriers against it. "The two other sides have been
critical of Latvia since it imposed an import tariff on
pork (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 1999)." The prime
ministers also agreed that all three countries will
raise defense spending to 2 percent of GDP within a few
years. MH

...LATVIA, LITHUANIA SIGN MARITIME BORDER DEAL. At the
same meeting, Kristopans and Paksas signed the long-
delayed treaty on the Latvian-Lithuanian maritime
border. ELTA reported that the agreement, which took
over five years to be completed, establishes the
territorial seas of the two countries up to Sweden's
fishing zone. Although some officials hinted that the
agreement was a compromise one, Lithuanian negotiators
called it "fair for both sides." The disagreement over
the maritime border has been acrimonious at times, with
the two countries fighting over rights to oil deposits
in the contentious area. The parliaments of both
countries must still ratify the treaty. MH

BALTIC, NORDIC DEFENSE MINISTERS IN OSLO. Defense
ministers from the Baltic and Nordic countries gathered
in Oslo on 9-10 July to discuss regional cooperation and
KFOR's deployment in Kosova. U.S. Secretary of Defense
William Cohen, who also attended the meeting, stressed
the need for good relations with Russia. However, AP
reported that Cohen, despite praising the Baltic States'
progress in defense and minority policies, gave no
assurances or timetables with regard to possible NATO
entry, saying "it's too early to tell how this will
unfold." MH

POLISH NURSES OBTAIN PAY HIKE, SUSPEND PROTEST. The
Nurses and Midwives Trade Union and the Health and Labor
Ministries have signed an agreement on a pay increase
equal to 2 percent above the inflation rate, ending a
52-day protest by the nurses. Under the 11 July
agreement, the pay increase will be backdated to 1 April
and implemented by the end of August. The hike will be
financed by hospital managements, whose debts incurred
by paying wage increases and bonuses last year have been
forgiven by the government. The cabinet will also ask
the hospital managements to reduce the number of medical
workers to be laid off. JM

CZECH PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW CITIZENSHIP LAW. The
Chamber of Deputies on 9 July approved a bill allowing
citizens of the former Czechoslovakia who emigrated
under communist rule to apply for Czech citizenship.
The bill must still be approved by the Senate. The law
allows former emigres to hold dual citizenship and
makes it easier for Slovak citizens who have lived in
the Czech Republic since the 1993 split to acquire
Czech citizenship, Reuters reported. MS

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES MINORITY LANGUAGE LAW. The
parliament on 10 July approved the government bill on
the use of minority languages in contacts with the
authorities, CTK reported. The vote was 70 to 18 with
one abstention. The Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK)
voted against the bill, while the opposition Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the Slovak
National Party boycotted the ballot. SMK parliamentary
group chairman Gyula Bardos said his party will have
to "re-evaluate" its further participation in the
ruling coalition. The SMK wanted the bill to be
extended to culture, education, the media, and the
courts. It also wanted the law to permit the use of
minority languages in contacts with the authorities in
localities where minorities make up 10 percent of the
population, rather than 20 percent, as stipulated by
the approved bill. MS

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SAYS ROMA MUST HELP FIND SOLUTION TO
INTEGRATION PROBLEM. Rudolf Schuster on 9 July said in
Presov that solving the problem of Romany integration
is not possible without the Romas' participation, CTK
reported. He said the Czech Republic can help Slovakia
solve this matter, which is why he discussed last week
with his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Havel, the
involvement of Romany organizations in seeking to
solve the problem. Schuster also said that if the
opposition's alleged participation in organizing the
recent mass exodus of Roma to Finland were confirmed,
oppositionists would have gone "beyond the limit of
what is acceptable in political life." Also on 9 July,
the Finnish ombudsman for foreigners, Antti Seppaelae,
told CTK that no Rom who has applied for political
asylum has a chance of being granted that status. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVA SERB LEADERS 'END COOPERATION' WITH NATO, UN.
Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Artemije and Kosova Serb
political leader Momcilo Trajkovic said in a statement
on 11 July that the Kosova Serbian leadership will
"cease cooperation [with the UN and NATO] as long as
violence continues" against Serbs in the province, the
"Financial Times" reported. The Serbian leaders stressed
they will not participate in UN Special Representative
Sergio Vieira de Mello's multi-ethnic "transitional
council" until the security situation improves. Artemije
and Trajkovic appealed to U.S. President Bill Clinton to
receive a delegation representing the Serbs of Kosova.
In Prishtina, a UN spokesman said that he agrees that
the "level of violence is too high" but added that the
statement nonetheless came as a "surprise," Reuters
reported. The spokesmen added that the statement
"doesn't seem to be a recipe for trying to improve the
situation." PM

RUSSIAN TROOPS MOVE INTO KOSOVA ZONES. Advance troops of
the Russian contingent moved into Kamenica in the U.S.
sector and Malisheva in the German sector of Kosova on
11 July. Over the weekend, hundreds more Russian troops
arrived at Prishtina airport. In Rahovec, near
Malisheva, about 3,000 ethnic Albanian protesters
continued demonstrations against the deployment of the
Russians (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 1999). In
Malisheva, ethnic Albanian children gathered around a
Russian armored personnel carrier with about 10 soldiers
and chanted, "UCK, UCK" in reference to the Kosova
Liberation Army. A "Financial Times" correspondent noted
that some of the Russian troops were "waving the
distinctive Serbian three-fingered salute." No further
incidents were reported. FS

U.S. TROOPS ARREST GUNMEN IN GJILAN. U.S. peacekeepers
arrested 11 unidentified people on 10 July in Gjilan, a
KFOR spokesman told AFP in Prishtina the next day. In
one incident, unknown gunmen fired shots in the vicinity
of a patrol that was investigating a grenade attack on
an apartment building. The soldiers arrested four men
and two women as they came out of the building and
another five men nearby. The peacekeepers later
discovered a dead body inside the building and a wounded
person. The peacekeepers also found several weapons,
including five rifles, seven pistols, and ammunition. In
a separate incident, U.S. troops fired at gunmen who had
earlier fired shots out of their car. No one was
reported injured in the incident. FS

ARBOUR INVESTIGATES KOSOVA WAR CRIMES IN REGION.
Louise Arbour, who is the chief prosecutor of the
Hague-based war crimes tribunal, arrived in Tirana on
11 July to discuss the ongoing Kosova war crimes
investigation with her Albanian colleagues. The
Albanian government has set up a special group of
legal investigators who over the past two months have
interviewed refugees in Albania to gather testimony
from witnesses and victims of war crimes. Albanian
officials have pledged to hand over all evidence to
the tribunal. Arbour is scheduled to fly to Skopje on
12 July and will subsequently visit Kosova. FS

HUGE MASS GRAVE IN KOSOVA? A NATO spokesman said in
Prishtina on 9 July that KFOR troops have sealed off a
site near Ljubenic, in western Kosova, so that forensics
experts from the Hague-based war crimes tribunal can
investigate reports of a mass grave there. Local ethnic
Albanian villagers recently told KFOR troops that in
April Serbian forces systematically killed and buried
some 350 Kosovars there. The villagers stressed that the
killings had no military justification because the UCK
was not strong in that area. If the reports prove true,
the mass grave would be the largest one found to date in
Kosova, Reuters reported. PM

ALBANIAN VILLAGERS LOOT REFUGEE CAMP. An Albanian was
killed on 10 July during a shoot-out between police and
a crowd that attacked and looted an Italian-run refugee
camp near Vlora, Reuters reported. An Albanian soldier
was injured during the shootout. The crowd surrounded
and looted the camp after the last refugees left for
Kosova and Italian officials turned over the camp to the
Albanian authorities. An unnamed eyewitness said that
"the situation was completely out of control because
armed men fired from all sides and the police could do
nothing." He added that the crowds took everything
"except the field hospital, which the Italians had
donated to the Vlora hospital a day earlier." The camp
had modern toilets, spacious tents, and electrical
wiring. FS

SHOOT-OUT AT AUSTRIAN CAMP. In Shkodra on 9 July,
Austrian troops shot and wounded two out of four
Albanians who drove up to the Austrian refugee camp and
began firing with automatic rifles, AP reported. An
Austrian Red Cross spokesman said that the attack was
apparently linked to fights among rival clans. FS

THOUSANDS PROTEST IN KIKINDA. More than 4,000 people
attended a rally in the eastern Vojvodina town of
Kikinda on 11 July to demand the resignation of Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic. Over the weekend, dozens
of army reservists protested in Vranje to demand back
pay. On 10 July, some 1,500 anti-Milosevic demonstrators
gathered in Leskovac (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July
1999). On 9 July, the town councils of Nis and Sombor
passed resolutions calling on Milosevic to resign. In
Novi Sad, university students held a protest meeting.
They later issued a statement calling on the federal
president to go because of "10 years of failed policies"
and appealing to the Serbian Orthodox Church and
Yugoslav Army to support the opposition, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. PM

DJINDJIC SAYS PROTESTS TO GROW. Serbian opposition
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic told Reuters in
Belgrade on 9 July that the strategy of his anti-
Milosevic coalition Alliance for Change "is to organize
protests in the 15 to 20 largest cities in Serbia during
the next 15 to 20 days. Our goal is daily protests
throughout the country. By mid-August, we should be able
to stage the biggest protest, [which will be] in
Belgrade" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 1999). Djindjic
added that a transitional government of experts could
take office in the interim between Milosevic's
resignation and the holding of new elections. The
opposition leader suggested that former Central Bank
Governor Dragoslav Avramovic would be an excellent
candidate to head an interim government. PM

OPPOSITION ACTIVIST SENTENCED. The Democratic Party said
in a statement on 11 July that Goran Vesic, who is a
party activist and member of the Belgrade City Council,
was sentenced by a military court in Uzice "in secret to
two years in prison for failing to respond to a military
call-up notice and for high treason." The statement said
that the sentence was designed to intimidate Vesic from
taking part in opposition activities. The text added
that military courts have launched proceedings against
12,000 men in Montenegro for allegedly failing to
respond to call-up notices. One leading Belgrade lawyer
noted that similar cases are pending against a total of
23,000 male Yugoslav citizens, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. As for Vesic himself, he denied that
he was ever drafted into a reserve unit or had received
a call-up notice, AP reported. PM

SREBRENICA SURVIVORS PROTEST. Several thousand mainly
Muslim women and children who survived the 1995 Serbian
conquest of Srebrenica demonstrated in Sarajevo on 11
July to mark the fourth anniversary of the capture of
the eastern Bosnian town. The survivors demanded that
the international community take action to clarify the
fate of the missing 8,000 Srebrenica males, who are
widely believed to have been massacred in the largest
single atrocity in Europe since the end of World War II.
PM

WESTENDORP TELLS BOSNIAN MAYOR TO RESIGN. The
international community's Carlos Westendorp called on
Sanski Most Mayor Mehmed Alagic to resign or take a
leave of absence until corruption charges against him
are cleared up, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported
on 9 July. Westendorp also called on the town council of
Sanski Most to lift Alagic's immunity from prosecution.
Alagic was a prominent Muslim general during the 1992-
1995 war. Corruption is endemic throughout Bosnia and is
the largest obstacle to reviving the economy. PM

SLOVENIA, ROMANIA AGREE, DISAGREE. Romanian Prime
Minister Radu Vasile and his host, Janez Drnovsek, said
in Ljubljana on 9 July that NATO should admit several
countries of southeastern Europe to the alliance. Vasile
mentioned Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria by name,
Reuters reported. Drnovsek did not specify which
countries NATO should take. Vasile also stressed the
need to develop "quadripartite cooperation between
Italy, France, Slovenia, and Romania." Drnovsek
responded, however, that the proposal is not
sufficiently clear because it does not specify the
concrete role that each country would play in the group
of four countries, Radio Bucharest reported. PM

ROMANIAN PARTIES BRACING FOR EARLY ELECTIONS? The
Romanian National Party (PNR) on 10 July announced it
will start negotiations with the Party of Romanian
National Unity (PUNR) on setting up an alliance for
the 2000 local elections and on a "possible merger of
the two formations," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. The next day, however, PUNR leader Valeriu
Tabara said that his party does not envisage any
electoral alliance and that any party that wants to
join the PUNR would have to merge with it rather than
vice versa. The PNR also elected former Romanian
Intelligence Service chief Virgil Magureanu as its
first deputy chairman to replace Mihai Berca, who left
the party on 22 April to become deputy chairman of the
Alliance for Romania Party. Also on 9 July, the
nationalist Vatra romaneasca organization said it will
begin negotiations with the Party of Social Democracy
in Romania on forming an electoral alliance. MS

MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN DISMISSED.
Valeriu Matei, leader of the Party of Democratic
Forces (PFD), was dismissed as deputy parliamentary
chairman on 9 July by a vote of 59 to four, RFE/RL's
Chisinau bureau reported. The Party of Moldovan
Communists (PCM) had demanded his dismissal, accusing
him of corruption. Apart from the PCM, deputies from
the Christian Democratic Popular Front (FPCD) and the
pro-presidential For a Democratic and Prosperous
Moldova Bloc voted for Matei's ouster. The PFD and the
Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM) did not
participate in the vote. In an interview with RFE/RL
on 10 July, Matei said he was "a victim" of "communist
machinations" and President Petru Lucinschi's
"scenarios for destabilizing the [ruling] Alliance for
Democracy and Reform (ADR)" and for "introducing an
authoritarian regime." MS

MOLDOVAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL RESIGNS... Prosecutor-
General Valeriu Catana resigned on 9 July,
parliamentary speaker Dumitru Diacov announced the
same day. His resignation came after the activities of
the Prosecutor General's Office were criticized in an
8 July report to the legislature by the Committee for
National Security and Public Order and after the
demand by PFCD leader Iurie Rosca that Diacov tender
his resignation because he was allegedly covering up
Catana's links with the underworld. Catana resigned
without waiting for the house to vote on whether to
dismiss him, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

...AS DEMANDS FOR PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN'S RESIGNATION
GROW. CDM parliamentary group leader Mircea Snegur on
9 July told journalists that Diacov "has no moral
right" to remain in his post, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported. The former Moldovan president said that the
CDR will demand Diacov's resignation "even if this
means the breakup of the [ruling] ADR." Parliamentary
deputy chairman and FPCD leader Iurie Rosca, repeating
his earlier demand for Diacov's resignation, said the
speaker must depart as soon as possible. He added,
that he doubted Diacov would do so "of his own
accord." MS

GREEK, DUTCH CONSORTIUM BUYS MAJORITY STAKE IN
BULGARIAN TELCOM. Bulgaria on 9 July sold a 51 percent
stake in the state-owned Telcom company to a
consortium of the Greek OTE and the Dutch KPN NV. The
consortium paid $502 million for that stake and
another $8 million for shares owned by a manager-
employee Telcom association. The consortium will also
invest $200 million in the company. BTA reported that
this is the largest privatization sell-off in Bulgaria
since 1989. Also on 9 July, Privatization Agency
executive director Zahari Zhelyazkov said in a report
on the agency's activities over the last six months
that 80 percent of the state-owned companies slashed
for privatization or liquidation this year have been
sold off or closed. The private sector now accounts
for more than 65 percent of the country's GNP, he
said. MS

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