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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 147, Part II, 30 July 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 147, Part II, 30 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

* BELARUSIAN EX-PREMIER TO REMAIN IN JAIL FOR ANOTHER
TWO MONTHS

* CROATIAN GOVERNMENT REJECTS HAGUE COURT'S CHARGES
AGAINST TUDJMAN

* SERBIAN MINISTER ADMITS LOSS OF KOSOVA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN EX-PREMIER TO REMAIN IN JAIL FOR ANOTHER TWO
MONTHS. The Prosecutor-General's Office has extended the
detention of former Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir by
another two months, until the end of September, Belapan
reported on 29 July. Chyhir was arrested on 30 April on
charges of "grand larceny" in connection with a loan to
a Canadian firm that he approved in 1994 in his capacity
as a bank head. Chyhir's wife told the agency that,
apart from the Canadian loan issue, there have been "no
new episodes" in the criminal investigation against her
husband. Meanwhile, Belarusian human rights and
opposition activists have set up a nationwide committee
to fight for Chyhir's release. JM

MINSK UNHAPPY ABOUT BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER'S STAY
IN VILNIUS. At a meeting with Lithuanian Foreign
Minister Algirdas Saudargas on 29 July, Belarusian
Ambassador to Lithuania Uladzimir Harkun voiced Minsk's
dissatisfaction with the "circumstances" surrounding
Belarusian Supreme Soviet Chairman Syamyon Sharetski's
stay in Vilnius (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 July 1999),
BNS reported. Saudargas assured Harkun that Lithuania
wants to continue developing good-neighborly relations
with Belarus. Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mikalay Barysevich said the same day that Sharetski's
stay in Vilnius is regarded by Minsk as a "private
trip." JM

TWO MORE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS REGISTERED. The
Central Electoral Commission has registered two more
candidates to vie for the Ukrainian presidency, bringing
the total so far to eight. The new candidates are
Natalya Vitrenko, chairwoman of the Progressive
Socialist Party, and former Environmental Minister Yuriy
Kostenko, leader of one of the two splinter groups of
the Rukh party. JM

CLARK IN LATVIA. NATO Supreme Commander Europe General
Wesley Clark, during his visit to Latvia on 28-29 July,
met with President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Prime Minister
Andris Skele, Foreign Minister Indulis Berzins, Defense
Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis, and armed forces
Commander Colonel Raimonds Graube. Clark told the press
that NATO is "happy with the progress Latvia has
achieved," BNS reported. At a press conference Clark
surprised Defense Minister Kristovskis when he said
"there are no pre-conditions of a military nature for
the countries wishing to join NATO." Kristovskis
immediately queried that statement, which Clark
reconfirmed, adding that the last round of NATO
enlargement "did not take into account pre-conditions of
a military nature." MH

POLAND'S SOLIDARITY COALITION DISTRIBUTES VOTING POWER
AMONG PARTNERS. The National Council of the ruling
Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), meeting in Gdansk on
29 July, announced that 25 percent of the votes on the
council will go to the Solidarity trade union, 23
percent to the Solidarity Electoral Action Social
Movement, and 16 percent each to the Christian National
Union, the Conservative Peasant Party, and the Center-
Accord Party of Christian Democrats. The remaining 4
percent of the votes will be divided later among the
AWS's smaller groups. The council elected Marian
Krzaklewski as AWS chairman. Krzaklewski is also
chairman of the Solidarity trade union. JM

CZECH SENATE PASSES ANTI-FORGERY LAW... The Senate on 29
July approved a government-sponsored bill aimed at
cracking down on the import and export of imitations of
brand products, CTK reported. The law enables custom
officials to destroy goods declared as forgeries by a
court of law and to impose a fine of up to 20 million
crowns ($577,200). The law is in line with EU
legislation. The Senate also approved the new
citizenship law, which allows former emigres to hold
dual citizenship and facilitates the citizenship process
for Slovaks living in the Czech Republic since the 1993
split. Both bills were approved by the Chamber of
Deputies on 9 July. MS

HUNGARIAN PREMIER LAUDS U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE RESOLUTION
ON VOJVODINA... Viktor Orban said on 29 July before
departing for the Sarajevo summit on Balkan
reconstruction that it is "a major success" for
Hungarian diplomacy to have the future status of
Vojvodina on the summit's agenda. Orban was responding
to a 28 July U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
resolution saying that President Bill Clinton should
"express deep concern" over reports about threats
against and intimidation of ethnic Hungarians in the
province. The same resolution called on the secretary of
state to "regularly monitor" the situation of ethnic
Hungarians in Vojvodina and said negotiations on
Kosova's future status must also establish "satisfactory
guarantees" for the rights of ethnic minorities in
Vojvodina, "including consultations with elected leaders
[from the province] about their proposals for self-
administration," Hungarian media reported. MS

...WHILE U.S. AMBASSADOR TO HUNGARY SAYS RESOLUTION IS
NOT ON THAT PROVINCE. In an interview with Hungarian
Radio on 29 July, Peter Tufo explained that the Senate
committee's resolution did not deal with Vojvodina but
with the democratization of Yugoslavia as a whole. He
said the paragraph on the province was introduced to
emphasize recognition of the "interest of the Vojvodina
people in [a possible measure] of autonomy." But he said
that the resolution does not deal with Hungarian
proposals for "three-pronged" autonomy for the region's
ethnic Hungarians. He also said that "one must wait and
see" what issues will be raised in Sarajevo "and in what
context." MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN GOVERNMENT REJECTS HAGUE COURT'S CHARGES
AGAINST TUDJMAN. The Croatian government on 29 July
denied that President Franjo Tudjman and other top
Croatian officials were responsible for atrocities in
central Bosnia in 1993 (see "RFER/RL Balkan Report," 27
July 1999). The government statement charged that recent
remarks by a Hague tribunal prosecutor on Croatia's
alleged involvement in the Bosnian conflict are
incorrect and politically motivated. Elsewhere, Justice
Minister Zvonimir Separovic said "we reject all
insinuations against President Tudjman." Separovic added
that his ministry is continuing negotiations with the
court over documents regarding Croatian military
operations in Krajina in 1995 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21
July 1999). PM

BALKAN SUMMIT OPENS IN SARAJEVO. Heads of state or
government from 39 countries and representatives of 17
international organizations meet in the Bosnian capital
on 30 July to discuss Balkan reconstruction. The
previous day, a smaller group of leaders from Slovenia,
Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey,
Albania, and Montenegro heard an appeal by Finnish
President Martti Ahtisaari to put an end to old hatreds
and work together for a better future. Ahtisaari, whose
country holds the rotating EU chair, warned that "the
ability of countries within the region to cooperate and
establish good neighborly relations...will be an
important criterion for evaluating their prospects of
full integration with the EU," the "Financial Times"
reported. He added that "the EU and NATO will not look
favorably at anyone dashing headlong towards Brussels
without even a backward glance" at their neighbors. The
daily noted that this is a criticism of Slovenia. In
separate remarks, EU aid coordinator Bodo Hombach
stressed the need to formulate and implement practical
programs. PM

ATTENTION FOCUSES ON SUMMIT'S 'EMPTY CHAIR.' U.S.
National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said in
Washington on 28 July that Serbia will be the only
Balkan country not represented by its leaders at the
summit. He stressed that Serbia cannot take part in
international reconstruction efforts as long as Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic remains in office. The
conference organizers invited as guests respected
Serbian banker Dragoslav Avramovic and several
opposition leaders, including Zoran Djindjic and Nenad
Canak, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 29
July. When questioned by a BBC reporter the following
day, Avramovic refused to say whether he thinks the
organizers are justified in excluding Milosevic's
representatives. Avramovic stressed that the conference
will not deal with concrete proposals and that therefore
it is unimportant whether Belgrade's representatives
attend (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 1999). PM

SUMMIT NOT TO CONDEMN MILOSEVIC? "The Daily Telegraph"
reported on 30 July that "a row between Russia and the
NATO countries...frustrated [U.K.-led] attempts...to
secure a [final resolution] insisting on an end to the
Milosevic regime before any aid can flow to Serbia." The
text will simply "call on the people of Serbia to
embrace democratic change," the daily reported. An
unnamed diplomat told the newspaper that "this
[formulation] is woolly even by the standards of
international organizations." PM

SKEPTICISM SURROUNDS SUMMIT. Also on 30 July, "The Daily
Telegraph" noted that many experts are skeptical whether
the summit will go beyond "wordy exhortations" and lead
to any practical results. The daily reported that
unnamed "senior officials from Britain, France, and
Finland, which is organizing the summit, say the whole
affair is a waste of time." It also quoted an unnamed
diplomat as saying that the "Germans dreamt up this
thing, got [U.S. President Bill] Clinton to agree, and
then dumped it into the lap of the Finns. It's too soon
[after the Kosova crisis] and too vague, and the Bosnian
government is such a shambles that it doesn't deserve a
summit." PM

KOSOVARS CHEER 'MOTHER' ALBRIGHT. Some 2,000 ethnic
Albanians welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright in Prishtina on 29 July. Members of the crowd
cheered her as "nona," or mother, a term ethnic
Albanians often reserve for the late Mother Teresa.
Albright told the Kosovars that she hopes that "never
again will people with guns come in the night, never
again will houses and villages be burned, and never
again will there be massacres and mass graves," AP
reported. She met with the Kosova Liberation Army's
(UCK) Hashim Thaci, with representatives of Ibrahim
Rugova's Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), and with
local Serbian leaders Momcilo Trajkovic and Serbian
Orthodox Archbishop Artemije. Some 200 pro-Milosevic
demonstrators heckled both her and Artemije after their
meeting. PM

RUGOVA RETURNS TO KOSOVA. LDK leader Ibrahim Rugova
arrived without fanfare at Prishtina airport on 30 July.
He later told AP that he and his family will stay in the
province (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 July 1999). PM

UCK DENIES POWER-GRAB IN KOSOVA. The "International
Herald Tribune" reported on 30 July that the UCK has
taken power in much of Kosova by setting up government
bodies in a "fait accompli." The UN's fledgling civilian
administration has not yet extended its authority to
many places outside Prishtina, the "Financial Times"
added. Thaci told the London-based daily that the UCK
"did not exploit the vacuum, which already existed. It
took on an obligation to bring back normality and order.
If we had not acted, there would have been anarchy
ruling Kosova." Observers note that the Kosova peace
agreement gives the UN exclusive control over civilian
administration. PM

SERBIAN MINISTER ADMITS LOSS OF KOSOVA. Serbian Deputy
Prime Minister Ratko Markovic said that the June peace
agreement meant that "Kosova was taken from Serbia," the
Belgrade weekly "NIN" reported on 29 July. He compared
Serbia's agreement on the loss of the province to the
decision of an injured person to have a leg or arm
amputated in order to save his life. Observers note this
is the first time that a top-ranking Belgrade official
has publicly admitted that Serbia lost Kosova as a
result of the recent conflict. Officials generally claim
that Serbia won the war because Kosova legally remains
part of Serbia and because the administration there is
in the hands of the UN, not of NATO or the UCK. PM

MONTNEGRO GIVES SERBIA SEPTEMBER DEADLINE. Montenegrin
Foreign Minister Branko Perovic told AP at the Sarajevo
summit on 29 July that his government will hold a
referendum on independence unless the Belgrade
authorities agree to changes in the rules governing the
Yugoslav federation by early to mid-September.
Elsewhere, Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic
told the Belgrade daily "Blic" of 30 July that Milosevic
must resign. Vujanovic stressed that "the country has no
future with a president like Milosevic." The previous
day, Vujanovic told the Madrid daily "El Pais" that
there is no danger of a pro-Milosevic coup in
Montenegro. He said that opposition by "our citizens,
state bodies, and the international community" would
block any coup attempt. PM

MONTENEGRIN RAILWAYS CHIEF SAYS SERBIA BLOCKING KEY
PROJECT. Rajko Medenica, who heads Montenegrin Railways,
said in Podgorica on 29 July that the Belgrade
authorities are "deliberately blocking" Montenegrin
proposals to revive traffic along the Belgrade-Bar
railway line. The Montenegrin authorities want to
quickly restore transportation along the bomb-damaged
line by introducing a combination of rail and bus
connections, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The
communist authorities built the line linking Belgrade to
the coast in the 1980s at great expense. It involves
many complex engineering projects through difficult
territory. Critics at the time charged that the
government built it as a concession to greater Serbian
nationalism. PM

ROMANIAN PREMIER CRITICIZES IMF. In an interview with
Reuters on 29 July, Radu Vasile accused the IMF of using
"double standards" and of constantly imposing new
conditions on Romania for the resumption of lending.
Vasile said Romania is being treated differently from
Russia or Ukraine and has been "put in the same basket
with Pakistan." He said he is ready to lead the National
Peasant Party Christian Democratic into the next
elections only if he is elected chairman of the party,
noting that he is also willing to form a coalition with
leftist parties. The electorate has turned to those
parties, he commented, because it is disillusioned with
other formations. Bickering among the coalition partners
has made matters worse, according to Vasile. MS

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN STATE-OWNED BANK. In
compliance with one of the IMF's demands, the government
on 29 July decided to close down Bancorex, which over
the years has issued $1.2 billion in non-performing
loans. The bank will be merged into the Romanian
Commercial Bank. The government also decided to instruct
the Prosecutor-General's Office to open an investigation
to find out who is responsible for the bank's
"disastrous performance." Meanwhile, Romania is
encountering difficulties in meeting the IMF's demand to
secure $350 million in loans from private international
lenders. Credit Suisse First Boston, which earlier
offered a $200 million loan at a 12 percent interest
rate, is now demanding an interest rate of 17 percent,
Mediafax reported. MS

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Janos Martonyi,
who is on a three-day visit to Romania, told his
counterpart, Andrei Plesu, that during the Kosova
crisis, Romania behaved like a "real NATO member" and
thus considerably enhanced its chances of integration
into Euro-Atlantic structures. The two ministers said
the crisis has had a "positive effect" on Romanian-
Hungarian relations. Martonyi also met with Defense
Minister Victor Babiuc, whom he informed that Budapest
wants to open a consulate in Miercurea Ciuc. Babiuc said
that in his opinion the two consulates in Cluj and
Constanta adequately cover Hungary's consular needs but
that the request will be examined as a "good-will
gesture." MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPOINTS NEW PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. The
parliament on 29 July voted to accept the resignation of
Prosecutor-General Valeriu Catana (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 July 1999) and to appoint Mircea Iuga as
his successor, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Until
now, Iuga has served as a judge at the Supreme Court. MS

MOLDOVAN COMMISSION DRAFTS CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE
PROPOSAL. The presidential commission on amending the
constitution has ended its work and will publish its
proposals on 2 August, BASA-press reported. The
commission envisages a "radical growth" of presidential
prerogatives and a "drastic reduction" of the
legislature's, the agency reported, citing commission
secretary Raisa Grecu. The cabinet is to be subordinated
to the president, rather than to the parliament, and
will be entitled to legislate. The president will have
the prerogative of dissolving the parliament. The draft
also envisages reducing the number of deputies from
present 101 to 71 and changing the electoral system.
Also, the president is to be elected for five years,
instead of the current four. MS

CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER IN BULGARIA. Vladimir Vetchy, who
is on a two-day visit to Sofia, met with his Bulgarian
counterpart, Georgi Ananiev, on 29 July to discuss NATO
enlargement, BTA and CTK reported. Vetchy said Prague
supports NATO's "open-door policy" in general, but he
added that it gives priority to Slovakia's candidacy for
membership in the alliance. He stressed that candidates
need to draw up a clear military-reform program as well
as five-year and 10-year programs for its
implementation. Vetchy and Ananiev also discussed the
situation in Kosova, agreeing that the region must be
given autonomy but must remain within Yugoslavia's
borders. MS

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