Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 145, Part II, 28 July 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 145, Part II, 28 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION CELEBRATES OLD INDEPENDENCE DAY

* CROATIAN MINISTER REJECTS HAGUE CHARGES AGAINST
TUDJMAN

* BELGRADE PLANNING WAVE OF TRIALS?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION CELEBRATES OLD INDEPENDENCE DAY.
Some 4,000 demonstrators marched through Minsk on 27
July to mark Belarus's old Independence Day. In 1996,
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka moved the holiday from
27 July--the day on which Belarus declared its
sovereignty in 1990--to 3 July, which marks the Soviet
liberation of Belarus from German troops in World War
II. The march was sanctioned by the authorities, but
organizers changed its route and protesters clashed with
the police some 500 meters from the presidential
administration building. According to Belapan, police
arrested several dozen people, including Mikalay
Statkevich, leader of the opposition Social Democratic
Party. JM

KALININGRAD GOVERNOR IN BELARUS. Kaliningrad Oblast
Governor Leonid Gorbenko said in Minsk on 27 July that
Russian regional leaders support the unification of
Russia and Belarus, Belarusian Television reported.
Gorbenko added that he fully shares the position of
Lukashenka with regard to creating a union state and
opposes "any transition stages and half-steps that delay
the resolution of the issue." Lukashenka stressed he is
interested in developing close ties with the Russian
exclave, including the use of the Kaliningrad port for
shipping Belarusian goods abroad. JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER MEETS WITH LITHUANIA'S
LANDSBERGIS. Supreme Soviet Chairman Syamyon Sharetski,
who fled last week to Vilnius, met on 27 July with
Lithuanian parliamentary speaker Vytautas Landsbergis.
Sharetski informed Landsbergis about the situation in
Belarus, stressing that Lukashenka's legitimate term has
expired. According to BNS, Landsbergis praised the
Belarusian opposition for its moderate tactics aimed at
restoring democracy in Belarus and later predicted that
relations between Vilnius and Minsk will not suffer
because of Sharetski's visit. "We act in a moderate,
restrained way," ELTA quoted Landsbergis as saying.
Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said
that Lithuania, though recognizing the legitimacy of the
Belarusian Supreme Soviet, must be guided in its
relations with Lukashenka by a "pragmatic approach and
the need to safeguard national interests through
friendly economic and political relations," according to
BNS. JM

UKRAINIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHTER ACCUSES PRESIDENT OF
ASSASSINATION PLAN. Hryhoriy Omelchenko, head of the
parliamentary anti-corruption investigation commission,
told journalists on 27 July that President Leonid Kuchma
ordered him killed, AP reported. "The [assassination]
order was made personally by the president or with his
tacit agreement," Omelchenko said, adding that two
groups of killers were organized in Russia and received
a contract worth $500,000 to dispose of him. According
to Omelchenko, the assassination plan was linked to his
investigation into foreign bank accounts held by
Ukrainian high-ranking officials. Omelchenko was
involved in the investigation into alleged money
laundering by former Premier Pavlo Lazarenko and
Oleksandr Volkov, the head of Kuchma's election team. JM

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT ENACTS LANGUAGE LAW REGULATIONS. The
Estonian government on 27 July issued the regulations on
implementing the language law, passed in February. Under
the law's provisions to be implemented, stricter
language requirements will be needed in the public
sector. The government is examining all the
ramifications before implementing those parts of the law
dealing with the private sector. However, implementation
will also affect the medical profession, with regard to
which Prime Minister Mart Laar commented "otherwise the
ramifications for people may be very serious or even
life-threatening," ETA reported. MH

LATVIAN REAL ESTATE OFFICIALS SACKED. The Latvian
government on 27 July sacked head of the State Real
Estate Agency (VNIA) Janis Motte. The five-man board of
the VNIA was also dismissed, LETA reported. Earlier this
week, acting Prosecutor-General Edvins Ziedins asked the
government to investigate the activities of VNIA and to
remove Motte. Ziedins accused Motte of violating the
anti-corruption law by assigning state-owned apartments
to people it had selected, including its own employees.
In early July, the Constitutional Court rescinded the
VNIA regulation on giving out apartments. Ziedins
suggested that at least 60 were illegally distributed.
MH

POLISH CABINET APRROVES PROPERTY RESTITUTION BILL. The
government on 27 July approved the long-awaited bill on
compensating people whose property was seized by the
communist authorities. The so-called reprivatization law
stipulates that the state compensate those former owners
or their heirs who are unable to regain their property
in kind. Compensation will amount to 60 percent of the
value of that property and will apply to possessions
confiscated from 1944-1962. Miroslaw Szypowski, head of
the Polish Union of Property Owners (PUWN), criticized
the draft law, saying it should extend to confiscations
dating from 1939-1943 as well and to property owned not
only by the State Treasury but also by local
communities. The PUWN supports a class action filed in
New York in June by 11 Jews who demand restitution of
their property in Poland. JM

CZECH ROMA EXODUS TO U.K. BREAKS RECORD. A record number
of Czech Roma requested political asylum in the U.K.
last month, despite the British authorities' repeated
refusal to grant that status to any of them, the daily
"Mlada fronta Dnes" reported on 28 July. In the first
half of 1999, more Czech Roma (588) requested political
asylum in the U.K. than in the whole of the previous
year (512). In June alone, there were 143 requests, but
the daily said that the actual number is three times
higher, since only family heads are registered for the
purpose of official statistics. MS

SLOVAK PRIVATIZATION HEAD SAYS UKRAINIAN MAFIA THREATENS
HIM. Ludovit Kanik, head of the National Property Fund,
on 26 July told Radio Twist that the "Ukrainian Mafia"
operating in Slovakia has started threatening him in
connection with "the uncompromising stand I took in the
Nafta Gbely sale case." Kanik said he has written to the
Interior Ministry asking for protection for himself and
his family. Mikulas Dzurinda's government has asked the
parliament to dismiss Kanik and his deputy for failing
to prevent businessman Vladimir Poor from selling Nafta
Gbely's subsidiary, Nafta Trade, to the U.S. Cinergy
Company. Nafta Gbely was privatized under Vladimir
Meciar's government and bought by Poor, who is close to
Meciar. During the election campaign, Dzurinda promised
to return the company to state ownership. MS

HUNGARIAN AIR FORCE MODERNIZATION PLAN REVEALED. A plan
for modernizing the air force envisages the purchase of
fighter planes as well as upgrading the existing air
fleet, the daily "Napi Magyarorszag" reported on 26
July. The plan calls for the purchase of 30-32 Western-
made combat aircraft to replace MiG-21s and says that
AN-26s transport planes must be replaced with four to
six Western-made medium-size transport aircraft "within
a few years." Meanwhile, air force command, which
drafted the plan, expects NATO members to donate to
Hungary aircraft held in reserve owing to military cuts
or to sell them for a symbolic sum. MS

HUNGARIAN AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES U.S. POSITION ON
VOJVODINA AUTONOMY. Former Foreign Minister Geza
Jeszenszky, who is now ambassador to the U.S., told MTI
on 27 July that the U.S. government is "fully aware" of
the situation of ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina but
believes that raising the issue of autonomy now will
make things difficult for the opposition in Yugoslavia.
Jeszenszky said it "has been clear throughout the
[Kosova] conflict that U.S. policy is to concentrate on
one problem at one time." He also said that the Serbian
opposition is not against the idea of an autonomous
Vojvodina where ethnic Hungarians would be granted
"adequate rights." MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN MINISTER REJECTS HAGUE CHARGES AGAINST TUDJMAN.
Justice Minister Zvonimir Separovic said in Zagreb on 27
July that the Hague-based war crimes tribunal has become
a "means of political pressure against a sovereign
Croatia by those who stand behind" the court, "Jutarnji
list" reported. He did not elaborate. Separovic was
responding to comments by a court prosecutor that
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman is ultimately
responsible for the actions of the Herzegovinian Croat
military in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war (see "RFE/RL
Balkan Report," 27 July 1999). Major Zagreb dailies
quote several other Tudjman supporters as also accusing
the court of playing politics. According to the same
newspapers, several opposition politicians and
journalists stress that the court is a politically
neutral institution and that justice must be allowed to
take its course. PM

BOSNIAN CROAT LEADER SAYS EXTREMISTS FOLLOWED ZAGREB'S
ORDERS. Stjepan Kljuic, who was the moderate political
leader of the republic's ethnic Croats until he resigned
in February 1992, told the tribunal in The Hague on 27
July that the hard-line leadership of the Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) carried out Zagreb's policies
during the 1992-1995 war. These polices included seeking
a deal with the Bosnian Serb leadership to partition the
republic between the Croats and Serbs at the expense of
the Muslims, Kljuic added. He said that Zagreb's top
representatives in the Herzegovinian HDZ were Dario
Kordic and the late Mate Boban. PM

BOSNIA READY FOR SUMMIT... Ante Jelavic, Alija
Izetbegovic, and Zivko Radisic, who are the three
members of the joint presidency, said in Sarajevo on 27
July that preparations are complete for the 29-30 July
summit on Balkan reconstruction and stability. Foreign
Minister Jadranko Prlic noted that representatives from
the Balkan countries participating in the summit have
agreed on a final declaration, which stresses
democratization and human rights. The only point in the
text on which the participants have yet to agree is that
dealing with Serbia and the war in Kosova. Prlic added
that he expects the participants to reach agreement on
that point by the time the conference opens, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. Some 4,000 SFOR troops
will provide security for the gathering, a NATO
spokesman said. PM

...AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION. Both houses of the Bosnian
parliament passed a resolution on 27 July calling on all
government bodies to do everything possible to fulfill
the conditions necessary for Bosnia's admission to the
Council of Europe. The lower house passed a resolution
urging the presidency to negotiate agreements on dual
citizenship with Zagreb and Belgrade as soon as
diplomatic relations are established with Yugoslavia.
The lower house also approved a law on Bosnian
citizenship, which the international community's Carlos
Westendorp previously issued as a decree. PM

WESTENDORP: BOSNIA NEEDS WORK. The international
community's Carlos Westendorp said at the UN in New York
on 27 July that there will soon be "social unrest" in
Bosnia unless the more than 40 percent unemployment rate
is cut. He stressed that privatization and foreign
investment are the keys to creating jobs, AP reported.
Westendorp noted that the authorities have done little
to promote free enterprise and that Bosnia suffers from
a lack of entrepreneurs. PM

AVRAMOVIC URGES AID FOR SERBIA. Dragoslav Avramovic, who
stopped hyperinflation during his tenure as National
Bank director in 1994, told the "Berliner Zeitung" of 28
July that continuing economic isolation of Serbia will
lead to a worsening of social conditions. That
development, in turn, will not necessarily bring about
the overthrow of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
but will certainly contribute to growing anti-foreign
sentiments among the population. Avramovic stressed that
Serbia needs hard currency to buy fuel and raw materials
for its industries. He argued that expanded industrial
output is the key to reviving Serbia's economy. Many
observers believe that the prestigious and popular
elderly banker will head the first post-Milosevic
government. Avramovic will attend the Balkan summit as
the guest of Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. PM

OPPOSITION DRAFTS STABILITY PLAN FOR SERBIA. Some 17
economists, opposition leaders, intellectuals, and
representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church announced
in Belgrade on 27 July that they have drafted a
stability plan for Serbia, Reuters reported. The text
calls for a package of political and economic reforms.
The first step would be to set up a transitional
government with a one-year mandate to create the legal
and political conditions for free and democratic
elections. A spokesman for the group stressed that
Serbia must avoid what he called a "Bucharest scenario,"
a reference to the violent overthrow of Romanian
dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989. PM

BELGRADE PLANNING WAVE OF TRIALS? Biljana Kovacevic-
Vuco, who heads the Yugoslav Human Rights Lawyers'
Committee, said in Belgrade on 27 July that the
authorities are preparing legal proceedings against up
to 28,000 men for having refused to answer their
military call-up notices during the war in Kosova. She
stressed that the authorities plan to use legal measures
to punish members of the opposition. On 28 July,
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic appeared before
the Supreme Military Court to answer charges of draft-
dodging. He told reporters that he hopes that the
publicity from his trial will serve to hasten the end of
the Milosevic regime. The previous day, he said on
Montenegrin Television that "the army must urgently do
everything it can to remove Milosevic from power if it
wants to defend the country." PM

UNHCR CONCERNED FOR SERBIAN REFUGEES. A UNHCR spokesman
said in Belgrade on 27 July that his agency urgently
needs $20 million to obtain food and shelter for some
173,000 Serbian and Roma refugees from Kosova. He added
that the UNCHR does not know where all the refugees are
or what needs they have. He added that the Serbian
government "has made no preparation" for helping the
refugees through the winter. The spokesman said that
most refugees are housed in schools and will need new
quarters once the school year begins, Reuters reported.
PM

MAJOR KOSOVA ATROCITY CONFIRMED. The New York-based
organization Human Rights Watch published a 25-page
report on 27 July confirming earlier reports that
Serbian forces killed 47 ethnic Albanian civilians on 17
April near Gllogovc. The dead included 23 children under
15 years of age. The Serbs threw a grenade into the room
where they were holding the civilians and then shot
those who tried to escape. PM

KFOR FINDS UCK ARMS CACHE. A spokesman for NATO
peacekeepers said in Prishtina on 27 July that KFOR
soldiers on 24 July found an unguarded arms cache near
Prizren "large...enough to support a platoon."
Representatives of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) told
NATO that the illegal cache was theirs, Reuters
reported. PM

ALBANIA'S BERISHA CALLS FOR CONSENSUS. Albanian
Democratic Party chairman Sali Berisha told party
leaders in Tirana on 27 July that the party needs more
"democratization and openness" in its internal
discussions. He added that the Democrats should also
work to "reach a consensus with other political forces
on major problems facing the country," dpa reported.
Berisha has taken several steps recently to reduce the
polarization that bedevils the country's political life
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 1999). PM

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL WEALTH.
Rexhep Meidani said in Tirana on 27 July that the
authorities should legalize the booming shadow economy,
Reuters reported. He stressed that legalizing wealth
regardless of its origin would encourage entrepreneurs
to reinvest their gains in Albania and discourage cash
outflow. The daily "Gazeta Shqiptare" wrote that
Meidani's suggestion makes a mockery of the legal
system. PM

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER BLASTS KOSOVA POLICIES. Party
of Social Democracy in Romania first deputy chairman
Adrian Nastase told journalists in Turnu Severin on 27
July that Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu "never
understood the stakes" of the Kosova conflict and that
Romania "placed all its bets on one card, and lost." He
said that during the conflict, Romania followed a policy
of "passivity and servility" and "supported decisions
that backed the interests of other countries" instead of
"having the courage to stand up for its own interests,"
Romanian Radio reported. MS

ROMANIA, ARMENIA SIGN DEFENSE AGREEMENT. Visiting
Armenian Defense Minister General Vagharshak Arutiunian
and his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc, on 26 July
signed a framework cooperation agreement between their
ministries, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest
reported. The agreement focuses on collaboration in the
defense industry, military training, and the protection
of military information. Also on 26 July, Foreign
Minister Plesu met with visiting Pakistani Foreign
Minister Sartaj Aziz and discussed bilateral relations
and the Kashmir crisis. The following day, Aziz and
Finance Minister Decebal Train Remes signed an agreement
on avoiding double taxation. MS

KURDISH REBELS THREATEN MOLDOVA... In a 27 July
declaration cited by Flux, the Kurdish Workers' Party
(PKK) said the recent abduction of Kurdish leader Cevat
Soysal (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 22 July 1999) "is a
continuation of the plot against President Abdullah
Ocalan," adding that the PKK and its allies have "every
right to respond to international terrorism and
abductions." The declaration said that "sooner or later,
Moldova, Kenya, and other forces that allied themselves
with Turkey will account for their deeds." Presidential
spokesman Anatol Golea said on 26 July that it "cannot
be ruled out" that leaks to the media on Moldova's
alleged involvement were purposefully misleading. Golea
said that during a visit to Turkey on 22-23 July,
National Security Minister Valeriu Pasat "demanded
explanations" from Ankara. The government of Bulent
Ecevit later denied any Moldovan involvement in the
affair. MS

...WHILE LUCINSCHI CANCELS TURKEY VACATION. President
Petru Lucinschi has canceled a planned vacation in
Turkey, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 July, citing Moldpres.
Presidential spokesman Golea said "vacationing in Turkey
is now risky for Moldovans," adding that in view of the
Kurdish threats, security in Moldova itself has been
tightened. MS

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT LAUDS BULGARIA. In a letter to Prime
Minister Ivan Kostov on 27 July, Al Gore said that "the
Bulgarian experience...on ways to grapple with a number
of issues can be of great value to other states in the
region and to Kosova in particular," AP reported. Gore
said the successes of the Bulgarian cabinet "in
promoting and implementing necessary economic and
political reforms in the past two years have been well
matched by your government's work to combat organized
crime and corruption." MS

BULGARIAN DEPUTY TO LOSE IMMUNITY? Prosecutor General
Nikola Filchev on 27 July asked the parliament to strip
Euroleft deputy Tsvetelin Kanchev of his immunity on
suspicion of involvement in "serious crimes," AP
reported, citing state radio. An official from the
Prosecutor-General's Office said the precise nature of
the charges will be announced to the legislature later,
while Filchev said that if the house lifts Kanchev's
immunity, he will order his arrest. MS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
hermanoval@rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 25 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour
LIVE Broadcast Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble
via email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Jeremy Branston, Victor Gomez, Mel
Huang, Dan Ionescu, Zsolt-Istvan Mato, Jolyon Naegele,
Matyas Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole