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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 139, Part II, 20 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 139, Part II, 20 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

* CZECH FINANCE MINISTER DISMISSED

* REHN CALLS FOR 'NEW MECHANISM' AGAINST RIGHTS
VIOLATORS

* UN TRIES TO GET RUGOVA'S PARTY ON TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL

End Note: HAS HUNGARY OVERSTATED ITS VOJVODINA CASE?
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION PARLIAMENT HEAD SEEKS REFUGE IN
MINSK HOTEL. Syamyon Sharetski, speaker of the
opposition Supreme Soviet, has moved to the Minsk hotel
at which the OSCE monitoring and consultative group's
offices are located, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service
reported on 19 July. Sharetski said that Belarusian
special services have recently been watching his
activities "very impudently" and, in his opinion, are
going to arrest him. Sharetski is to preside over a 21
July Supreme Soviet session that will debate the end of
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's five-year term on 20
July. According to the 1994 constitution, the Supreme
Soviet chairman assumes the powers of the head of state
if there is no legitimate president in the country.
Sharetski told RFE/RL that he will stay in the OSCE
Minsk office as long as "he deems it necessary." JM

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES SUPPORT TO PRIVATE
BUSINESS. Lukashenka on 19 July told the first session
of the newly created Council for the Development of
Entrepreneurship (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 July 1999)
that he will encourage and support the private
production sector "in every possible way." He appealed
to the council "to submit proposals intended to amend
relations between the authorities and entrepreneurs" and
pledged not to "obstruct" the work of private
businessmen. Lukashenka also promised to grant Tatsyana
Bykava, the chairwoman of the council, the powers of a
cabinet member and allow her to participate in the
cabinet's discussions on all economic problems, Belapan
reported. JM

U.S., POLISH ASSISTANCE FOR UKRAINIAN REFORMS. On 19
July in Warsaw, the Polish-American-Ukrainian
Cooperation Initiative (PAUCI) approved four projects
worth $150,000 to support small and medium-sized
business and the restructuring of local government in
Ukraine, PAP and AP reported. These are the first
projects under the scheme, which was set up in 1998 to
make use of Poland's free-market experience and $10
million in U.S. grants in the transformation of the
Ukrainian economy. JM

TWO WORKERS EXPOSED TO RADIATION AT CHORNOBYL. Two
workers were exposed to radiation at the Chornobyl
nuclear power plant as they carried out safety checks at
the plant's only operational reactor on 17 July. The
workers were using a gamma-ray emitting device to check
for radiation leaks when part of the device fell out of
its protective container, according to official reports.
One worker was exposed to a radiation dose of 9.8 rem
(roentgen equivalent in man) and the other to a dose of
8.3 rem. Under Ukrainian safety norms, a dose of 5 rem a
year is considered the upper safety limit. A Chornobyl
plant spokesman told AP that the radiation doses
received by the workers were "meager." JM

TRIAL OF DEPORTER BEGINS IN ESTONIA. The trial of
Mikhail Neverovski, a former KGB agent accused of
arranging deportations to Russia during the Soviet
occupation, began on 19 July in Parnu. The 79-year-old
Neverovski was charged for his role in the 1949
deportation of several hundred Estonians deemed as
"bandits, nationalists, or kulaks," BNS reported.
Neverovski, an Estonian citizen, denied all charges and
pleaded not guilty in pre-trial hearings. One survivor,
who was deported to Novosibirsk Oblast with his entire
family, told "Eesti Paevaleht" that Neverovski was "not
human" in his treatment of others. MH

LATVIAN RADICALS ATTEMPT TO REGISTER. The 17 July
formation of the NGO Kolovrat is causing controversy, as
several of its founders are alleged members of the
radical Russian nationalist group Russian National
Unity. The leader of Kolovrat stressed its goals are to
maintain Russian culture and improve the rights of the
Russian community, but he also noted that the Latvian
language should be respected, taught, and promoted as
the state language, BNS reported. The group also seeks
to promote activities such as self-defense, martial
arts, and shooting and wants to register with the
Justice Ministry as an NGO. For Fatherland and Freedom,
a member of the ruling coalition, criticized the
formation of the new group and its alleged links,
expressing concern that "such extremist groups that have
been banned even in Russia can operate freely in
Latvia." MH

LITHUANIA FILES CHARGES AGAINST WAR CRIMINAL IN
AUSTRALIA. The Lithuanian Prosecutor-General's Office on
19 July filed charges against Antanas Gudelis for his
alleged role in war crimes committed during World War
II. The 88-year-old Gudelis, currently residing in
Australia, is charged with genocide for a series of
killings in 1941 when he led a contingent under the Nazi
occupation forces. Lithuanian officials have asked
Australia for more information on the whereabouts and
status of Gudelis. They claim to have jurisdiction as
the crime was committed on Lithuanian soil. MH

POLISH OFFICIAL ASKS EU TO HALT SUBSIDIZED FOOD EXPORTS.
Deputy Agricultural Minister Jerzy Plewa said on 19 July
that the EU decision five days earlier to reduce
subsidies on pork exported to 10 Central and East
European countries will not "dramatically" reduce EU
pork exports to Poland, PAP reported. Plewa said Poland
does not subsidize food exports to the EU, adding that
it is now the EU's turn to make a reciprocal move. JM

CZECH FINANCE MINISTER DISMISSED. President Vaclav Havel
on 20 July dismissed Ivo Svoboda as finance minister and
appointed Pavel Mertlik as his successor. That move came
at the request of Prime Minister Milos Zeman, who told
journalists that he will make no other changes in his
cabinet, Reuters and CTK reported. Zeman said that the
reasons for Svoboda's dismissal are generally known,
while Havel commented that Svoboda "wants to do
everything to prove his innocence" of the charges
brought against him last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16
July 1999). As a member of Zeman's cabinet, Mertlik was
deputy premier in charge of the economy and often
clashed with Svoboda. MS

FORMER SLOVAK COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE CHIEF RELEASED FROM
CUSTODY. Ivan Lexa on 19 July was released from custody
after more than three months in detention, but the
investigation of the charges brought against him for
abuse of power and participation in the abduction of
former President Michal Kovac's son continues. Lexa was
released by order of a regional court, which ruled that
the original reasons for his detention no longer
applied. He had been ordered detained so that he could
not impede the investigation. Chief investigator
Jaroslav Ivor told CTK that there are grounds to fear
that Lexa may still try to influence witnesses. Prime
Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said he learned about the
court's decision with "surprise and consternation." And
Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner told journalists that
the investigation will take longer than would have been
the case had Lexa been kept in jail, CTK and AP
reported. Lexa's parliamentary immunity was revoked in
April. MS

OSCE WELCOMES SLOVAK MINORITY LANGUAGE LAW. The OSCE, in
a 19 July statement signed by its High Commissioner on
National Minorities Max van der Stoel, said it welcomes
the new Slovak law on use of minority languages in
contacts with the authorities, CTK reported. The
commissioner said that in passing the law, the Slovak
parliament returned to the norms stipulated in the
constitution, which, it added, was ignored by Vladimir
Meciar's cabinet. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

REHN CALLS FOR 'NEW MECHANISM' AGAINST RIGHTS VIOLATORS.
Former UN envoy to Bosnia Elisabeth Rehn said in
Helsinki on 19 July the international community must
"create a mechanism with which we can deal with the
actions of this kind of a terror state"--by which she
meant Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Serbia--
without resorting to a bombing campaign. "Every missile
cost around $1 million and, in a few years, we will pay
for the reconstruction. And so much sorrow and misery,"
Reuters reported. Rehn also called upon NATO not to
reduce its forces in the Balkans until the remaining
indicted war criminals have been captured. Rehn is a
former Finnish defense minister and has served the UN in
the Balkans for the past four years. PM

U.S. REJECTS AMNESTY FOR MILOSEVIC. State Department
spokesman James Rubin said in Washington on 19 July that
"Milosevic's future is only in one place, and that is
The Hague. We oppose any suggestion of granting
sanctuary or amnesty to indicted war criminals, and we
encourage any state that obtains custody over Milosevic
to deliver him directly to The Hague." Serbian
opposition politician Vuk Draskovic recently suggested
that Milosevic receive amnesty in return for leaving
office (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 1999). PM

CLINTON TO ATTEND BALKAN SUMMIT. U.S. President Bill
Clinton will attend the international summit on Balkan
reconstruction in Sarajevo on 30 July, the White House
said in a statement on 19 July. The statement noted that
"the leaders will discuss ways to strengthen peace and
stability, deepen democracy and civil society, and
promote economic reforms throughout southeast Europe."
On 28 July, international financial experts will meet in
Brussels to plan an aid package for the region. PM

EU REACHES 'MESSY COMPROMISE' ON BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION.
London's "The Independent" reported on 20 July that
European foreign ministers the previous day reached a
"messy compromise" dividing EU offices for Balkan
reconstruction between Thessaloniki and Prishtina. An
unnamed "senior European Commission official said the
member states were behaving in a 'disgraceful' way, and
United States diplomats [were] taken aback by the naked
self-interest of the infighting," the daily continued.
The ministers also agreed to lift the oil embargo on
Montenegro and Kosova "soon." PM

DJINDJIC WANTS 'CONCRETE PLAN' FOR EU ADMISSION. Serbian
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic told German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Bonn on 19 July that the
EU should offer Serbia a "concrete plan" for obtaining
EU membership. Djindjic stressed that Serbs will make
"great efforts" to join European structures once
Milosevic is out of power, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" reported. Djindjic added he considers that
"Milosevic is already history." The opposition leader
pointed out, however, that removing Milosevic from
office "will not be easy." Schroeder replied that he
"does not exclude" EU membership for Belgrade once
Milosevic is gone, Deutsche Welle reported. PM

BELGRADE CAMPAIGN AGAINST 'CRONYISM'? Serbian Deputy
Prime Minister Dragoljub Karic said that many
unspecified company managers with "membership in certain
political parties and with political connections" all
too often "channel [corporate] money into private
pockets," Reuters reported on 19 July. Observers
suggested that his reference was to a large number of
businessmen close to the respective political parties of
Milosevic and his wife. Former top banker Dragoslav
Avramovic told an opposition news conference that Karic
could not "give such a statement without a certain
security, certain guarantees for himself, according to
the way things work here." PM

BELGRADE SAYS UN VIOLATES ITS SOVEREIGNTY. Vladislav
Jovanovic, who is Yugoslavia's chief envoy to the UN,
said in a letter in New York on 19 July that Secretary-
General Kofi Annan's 12 July report on Kosova was
"biased and tendentious" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 20
July 1999). Jovanovic added that Annan showed "scant
respect" for Belgrade's sovereignty in the province.
Elsewhere, the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative
and Budgetary Questions approved an initial $200 million
to finance the UN's operation in Kosova. PM

UN TRIES TO GET RUGOVA'S PARTY ON TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL.
On 20 July in Prishtina, unnamed officials of the UN and
the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) discussed the
possible participation of moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova
in the UN-sponsored transitional council for the
province (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 1999). The
council's next session is scheduled for 26 July.
Rugova's foreign relations adviser, Edita Tahiri, told
AFP in Prishtina that the LDK declined to attend the
first council meeting on 16 July because the Christian
Democratic, Liberal, and Social Democratic Parties were
not invited. These small parties were represented in the
last shadow-state parliament. The UN instead opted to
invite all Kosovar representatives who were at the
Rambouillet conference, as well as representatives of
the Kosovar Serbs and Turks. A UN official told AFP that
inclusion of the smaller Albanian parties could lead to
further demands for representation by other small lobby
groups from other ethnic communities. FS

WORLD BANK GIVES $40 MILLION TO ALBANIA. Albanian
Prime Minister Pandeli Majko and World Bank President
James Wolfensohn signed an agreement in Tirana on 19
July providing for a $40 million loan, AP reported.
The loan will be used to upgrade infrastructure,
promote regional integration, and assist the
development of small enterprises. The credit has a 40-
year maturity period, a 10-year grace period, and an
annual interest rate of 0.75 percent. Wolfensohn told
President Rexhep Meidani that "now is the moment for
you to secure...Albania's position in the region and
world. The World Bank will be your partner." He urged
the Albanian government to continue its privatization
program and step up the fight against corruption.
Since 1991, Albania has received loans totaling $482
million from the World Bank in support of 33 projects.
FS

GREECE EXPELS MORE ALBANIANS. Greek authorities
continued to deport Albanian immigrants on 19 July, dpa
reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 1999). Within 24
hours, Greek police shipped 1,000 immigrants to the
border crossing of Kakavia. Many of them complained that
Greek police had torn up their bank documents, which
made it impossible for them to retrieve their savings
deposited in Greek banks. Others claimed that they have
the necessary papers to stay in Greece. One immigrant
told Albanian Radio that "the police did not bother to
look at my documents, they just tore them up and put me
forcibly on a bus for the border." Albanian officials
estimate that Greek authorities deported more than 3,000
emigrants to Albania the previous week. FS

CROATIA REBUFFS ARBOUR. Croatian Minister of Justice
Zvonimir Separovic told Louise Arbour, who is the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal's special prosecutor, in
Zagreb on 19 July that the Croatian authorities will not
extradite Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic and Vinko "Stela"
Martinovic until court cases against them in Croatia
have been completed. She had demanded that the two
appear before the tribunal to face charges of war crimes
that they allegedly committed in Bosnia during the 1992-
1995 war. Separovic also refused to give Arbour all the
documents the latter had requested regarding alleged
atrocities committed against Serbs in Croatia between
1991 and 1995. Separovic commented that "we have to take
care of our national interests." He stressed, however,
that "no country" has given the court as many documents
as Croatia has. PM

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DEFENDS CONVICTED GENERALS.
Victor Babiuc on 19 July said his ministry will appeal
not only the decision of the Supreme Court obliging his
ministry to pay damages to the victims of the 1989
uprising in Timisoara but also the sentencing of
Generals Victor Stanculescu and Mihai Chitac (see
"RFE/RL Newsline,"16 July 1999). Babiuc said the
sentence was "not just a legal mistake" but "a blunder,
with strong political bias" aimed at discrediting the
army as a whole. He emphasized that the army in 1989
"sided with the revolution" and that Stanculescu "played
a key role in that decision." Chief of Staff General
Constantin Degeratu said the sentence was "bizarre,
unfounded, and illegal" and undermined the principle of
"fulfillment of orders" by the military. MS

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DENIES ALLEGATIONS OF ESPIONAGE.
Presidential spokesman Razvan Popescu on 19 July said
that Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor's recent allegations
that Emil Constantinescu spied for the U.S. were "just
another aberration circulated by Tudor and the team of
retired Securitate people that surrounds him." Popescu
called on the Prosecutor-General's Office to indict the
senator. During an interview with a private television
station on 15 July, Tudor played a videotape in which a
former officer of the communist secret police made the
allegation. Interviewed by the daily "Cotidianul" on 19
July, the officer repeated the allegations but added
that he cannot produce proof. His colleagues who were in
charge of shadowing Constantinescu under the former
regime are all dead, he added. MS

TRANSDNIESTER LEADER ON KYIV SUMMIT. Speaking on
Tiraspol television on returning from the Kyiv summit
(see "RFE/RL Newsline, 19 July 1999), separatist leader
Igor Smirnov said the negotiations were "constructive"
and that the documents submitted by his delegation were
"highly appreciated" by Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma and "particularly by [Russian Prime Minister]
Sergei Stepashin." Smirnov said that according to
Stepashin, the agreed declaration on a single Moldovan-
Transdniestrian state "may successfully serve as a model
for solving relations between the Russian Federation and
Chechnya," RFE RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Smirnov
also said that Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi "did
not share Stepashin's optimism," pointing out that the
Moldovan Constitution defines the country as a "unitary
state." MS

RUSSIA REBUFFS BULGARIA ON AIR CORRIDORS FOR KFOR
TROOPS. Russia has said it rejects as "unacceptable" the
conditions set by Bulgaria on air corridors for the
transportation to Kosova of Russian KFOR peacekeepers.
An embassy spokesman said on 19 July that Bulgaria
insists that Russia present a list of the exact number
of troops, their weapons, and ammunition five days prior
to the transit. He argued that it is "impossible to
satisfy these demands," ITAR-TASS reported. The
spokesman also said that the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry
has informed the embassy that the transit requires
parliamentary approval and that the legislature cannot
discuss the request now because of the parliamentary
recess. MS

BULGARIA BANS USE OF POLICE FORCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS.
Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev on 19 July issued an
order prohibiting police from using force against
journalists, AP reported, citing BTA. The ban comes
after several incidents involving such force. Most
recently, police in Varna confiscated and exposed the
films of a local newspaper photographer who was taking
pictures of municipal workers pulling down illegally
constructed buildings. Last week, military police in
Sofia handcuffed a newspaper photographer taking
pictures of guests arriving at a reception at the French
embassy. Earlier, police on the Bulgarian-Turkish border
attacked a radio reporter covering the transit of
Turkish peacekeepers to Kosova. MS

END NOTE

HAS HUNGARY OVERSTATED ITS VOJVODINA CASE?

by Michael Shafir

	 There are indications that Budapest's repeated
insistence on the need for the autonomy of neighboring
Vojvodina is having diminished returns. Hungary's new
allies in NATO and its prospective future EU partners
have distanced themselves from the Hungarian position,
according to which the Vojvodina Magyars must be
safeguarded against the idiosyncrasies of Slobodan
Milosevic's regime in Belgrade. There are three reasons
for this development.
 	First, Hungarian leaders have been using vague
terminology, such as "personal autonomy," borrowed from
the program of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania. That term, which has been widely employed but
seldom clarified, means little more than ensuring that
Vojvodina ethnic Hungarians living in settlements where
there is no Magyar majority have the right to
participate in electing provincial representative
bodies. The lack of understanding of this term is self-
evident: The Hungarian language is not exactly an
international communications tool, nor are leaders of
Hungary's new allies known for browsing through
Hungarian publications over their morning porridge or
croissants.
	Second, Budapest's behavior during the Kosova
conflict failed to meet the expectations of its new
allies. While that behavior was not as unsatisfactory as
that of the Czech government--prominent members of which
criticized the alliance as air strikes took place
against Yugoslavia --the Hungarian cabinet obviously
considered it had done its duty by allowing the alliance
to use the Taszar air base for anti-Yugoslav sorties.
Moreover, according to a report in the daily
"Vilaggazdasag" on 25 June, Prime Minister Viktor Orban
had vetoed in April a planned NATO ground operation from
Hungary.
	Budapest repeatedly emphasized that Yugoslavia's
likely reprisals against the 350,000-strong Magyar
minority in the province prevented it from contributing
troops to a possible ground force. Its worries about
such reprisals are likely to have been the reason for
Orban's vetoing an invasion from Hungary. But after the
conflict ended and Hungary escalated its own Vojvodina
autonomy campaign, her allies were little inclined to
follow a course that could lead to a new conflict, one
for which neither domestic nor international public
opinion were prepared.
	Not that the Hungarian argument lacks in
persuasiveness. Orban, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi,
and other Hungarian officials have all pointed out that
since the region's autonomy was abolished by Milosevic
in 1989, Vojvodina has lost much of its multi-ethnic
character. The break up of Tito's Yugoslavia saw Serbs
from Croatia and Bosnia settled in Vojvodina, and the
region's ethnic balance was further altered by the
recent conflict in Kosova. In an address to a NATO
workshop in Budapest on 21 June, Orban said that no
fewer than 250,000 Serbs fled from Kosova to Vojvodina
once Milosevic's defeat became clear. Even more
worrisome, as Hungarian President Arpad Goncz indicated
during a visit to Norway in late June, members of
Serbian paramilitary organizations from Kosova had
appeared in Vojvodina, increasing the prospect of
ethnic-cleansing in the province.
	The third reason for NATO's reluctance to support
the Hungarian position stems from the reaction of
Hungary's neighbors, other than Yugoslavia, which fear
that the next step in applying the autonomy model might
be "imported" to their territory. When NATO Supreme
Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark spoke in Budapest
last month about the obliteration of the Trianon legacy
(by which he meant non-interference in so-called
"internal affairs" when human rights are at stake),
Romania's politicians were united in denouncing the
declaration and calling for "clarification." It was not
sufficient for NATO headquarters in Brussels to send a
verbatim report of Clark's statement to Bucharest, which
the media printed in full. Clark himself had to reassure
his hosts, during a brief visit of Bucharest on 15 July,
that he had not suggested that borders would in any way
be questioned after Kosova. NATO was pursuing regional
stability, he stressed, and "stability means no change
of borders."
	When William Cohen visited Budapest on 12 July, the
U.S. defense secretary's hosts were confronted with his
obvious reluctance to back ethnic Hungarians in
Vojvodina. "Magyar Hirlap" reported that when Orban
asked for such support, Cohen "politely" changed the
subject. The look on his face, according to an AP
report, was "not again!" A senior US official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, told AP that the U.S. would
certainly not meet Orban's request that the issue be
included on the Western agenda for talks on the future
of the Balkans. "The last thing we need," he said, "is
another push for autonomy."
	Likewise, a Foreign Ministry official from one of
the EU member states told "Nepszabadsag" that the issue
of autonomy for Vojvodina's Hungarians will be at the
bottom of the list of priorities in talks on the
region's stability. The official rejected the Kosova-
Vojvodina link, noting that the two provinces are not
comparable, since one's population is 90 percent
Albanian and the other's 17 percent Hungarian. When
Orban was asked whether his demand that NATO "guarantee"
autonomy meant using military force, he replied "How
else?"
	He would have been well advised to come up with a
different answer. Unless, of course, he is ready to
settle for an air base in the U.S, from which Hungary
would launch air strikes to defend its Vojvodina
brethren.

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