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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 150, Part II, 4 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 150, Part II, 4 August 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 OPPOSITION TO CREATE CONSULTATIVE BODY FOR
TALKS WITH AUTHORITIES

* TWO MORE SERBS KILLED IN KOSOVA

* UNHCR COMPLAINS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CUSTOMS FEES

End Note: DJUKANOVIC'S MOSCOW VISIT SEEN AS 'TURNING
POINT'
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION TO CREATE CONSULTATIVE BODY FOR
TALKS WITH AUTHORITIES. Meeting in Minsk on 3 August,
eight major Belarusian opposition parties and the
Supreme Soviet decided to work out a joint stance for
talks with the authorities under the aegis of the OSCE
and to set up an opposition consultative council,
Belapan reported. According to United Civic Party
Chairman Stanislau Bahdankevich, those attending the
meeting determined that Belarus's political opposition
consists of the Supreme Soviet and the parties that have
not recognized the results of the 1996 constitutional
referendum. Bahdankevich added that the opposition is
ready to enter a dialogue with the authorities, provided
that it is given access to the state media. JM

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT TO WATCH OVER VODKA, CIGARETTES.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has signed a decree on
strengthening state control over the production and sale
of alcohol and tobacco, Belarusian Television reported
on 3 August. The decree establishes that alcohol may be
produced only by methods and in quantities that are
approved by the state. Wholesale traders in alcohol and
tobacco products must have licenses issued by the
government "in coordination with the president."
Belarusian Television commented that the 900 or so
licenses issued so far to such traders is an "excessive"
number. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ON RISE OF MINIMUM
PENSION... Leonid Kuchma has signed a law raising the
minimum monthly pension from 16.6 hryvni ($4.15) to 24.9
hryvni, AP reported on 3 August. The parliament adopted
the law in mid-July after failing to overrule Kuchma's
veto on a previous bill that would have raised the
minimum monthly pension to 55 hryvni. Under the signed
law, those pensioners receiving less than 46 hryvni a
month will be paid a special living allowance of up to
21.1 hryvni. JM

...APPROVES PEACEKEEPING CONTINGENT TO KOSOVA. Kuchma
also signed a law on sending 800 Ukrainian peacekeepers
to Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 1999), AP
reported. The Ukrainian Ministry said the contingent
will include a 100-bed military hospital with a 246-
strong personnel, a four-helicopter unit with 90
servicemen, a 108-strong logistics company with 17
armored vehicles, and a 356-strong motorized infantry
battalion. The U.S. has pledged financial assistance to
install the Ukrainian contingent in Kosova (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 August 1999). JM

UKRAINIAN CURRENCY SLIDES TO LOWER LIMIT OF TRADE BAND.
Ukrainian commercial banks on 3 August were trading the
hryvnya at 4.52-4.56 to $1, AP reported. Some traders
even offered $4.6 hryvni for $1, reaching the lower
limit of the government's trade band of 3.4-4.6 hryvni
for $1, which was established in February and is valid
until the end of 1999. National Bank Chairman Viktor
Yushchenko has urged commercial bank directors to
personally monitor the mandatory sale to the central
bank of 50 percent of the foreign-currency profits of
their customers residing in Ukraine. The National Bank,
with its current reserves of some $1.3 billion, cannot
undertake a large-scale intervention on the currency
market, since Ukraine needs some $3.5 billion to service
various debts by the end of 2000. JM

IMF MISSION LEAVES KYIV WITHOUT RECOMMENDING MORE MONEY.
An IMF mission left Ukraine on 2 August without
recommending the release of a new tranche of the IMF's
$2.6 billion loan program, AP reported. An IMF statement
summing up the mission's two weeks of work noted that so
far this year tax revenues have been lower than
expected, while recent tax legislation changes have
further diminished expected revenues. The IMF promised
to resume discussion with Ukraine at the end of August
after the government takes steps to slash spending and
increase budget revenues. JM

ESTONIAN GDP GROWTH REVISED DOWNWARD. The Estonian
Finance Ministry on 3 August announced the widely
expected downward revision of GDP growth this year. The
ministry now anticipates that GDP in 1999 will rise by
only 0.4 percent, sharply down from the figure of 2.2
percent, which itself was a revision of the original
forecast. On a more positive note, the inflation rate of
1999 was revised from 4.5 percent to 3.7 percent. The
Finance Minsitry also predicted growth at 4-4.5 percent
and inflation at 3.6-4 percent for the year 2000. MH

POLISH PREMIER SAYS REPRIVATIZATION LAW WILL SATISFY
JEWISH CLAIMS. Jerzy Buzek on 3 August announced that
under the reprivatization bill his cabinet intends to
submit to the parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July
1999), the property restitution claims against Poland
filed by 11 Jews in a New York court in late June will
be satisfied. The text detailing those claims was
published by the 3 and 4 August "Gazeta Wyborcza." The
plaintiffs wrote that for the past 54 years, Poland has
followed the Nazi "Judenrein" plan of racial and ethnic
purges, forcing Jews out of the country and making a
profit from confiscated Jewish property. "Gazeta
Wyborcza" chief editor Adam Michnik denounced the text
for its "lying and despicable way" of dealing with the
"painful and true" issues of the wrongs done to Jews in
post-war Poland. JM

CONTROVERSY IN CZECH REPUBLIC OVER PROPERTY RESTITUTION
TO EXPATRIATES. Civic Democratic Alliance Senator Michal
Zantovsky on 3 August criticized Interior Minister
Vaclav Grulich for having misled the house the previous
week by saying the government will submit a draft law on
the restitution of Communist-confiscated property to
those Czech expatriates who regain citizenship, CTK
reported. On 30 July, one day after Grulich made that
statement, Prime Minister Milos Zeman said restitution
to expatriates who regain citizenship under the recently
approved bill is "out of the question." Zantovsky told
journalists that a restitution bill will be drawn up by
the senators "in the next days." He did not mention
which parties will support the initiative. Milan Spacek
of the Christian Democratic Party, who is chairman of
the Senate's Commission on Expatriates, said on 3 August
that "some way" must be found to compensate those
expatriates. MS

CZECH PRESS SAYS NUCLEAR KNOW-HOW EXPORT TO IRAN CANNOT
BE PREVENTED. Officials from the Foreign and Trade and
Industry Ministries were quoted by "Mlada fronta Dnes"
on 3 August as saying the authorities have no legal
mechanism to prevent the export of nuclear expertise to
Iran, CTK reported the same day. The officials said the
authorities have been searching in vain to prevent Czech
experts from advising the Iranian authorities on the
competition of the Bushehr nuclear plant, whose
construction was begun by Germany's Siemens and is being
continued by Russian firms. The officials said that
while Czech legislation prohibits the export of
materials for use in the construction of nuclear power
plants, there is no legal provision forbidding the
export of expertise. Recently, the Prague-based
Skodaexport company has made inquiries with the
authorities about acting as a consultant to Iran on the
construction of the Bushehr plant. MS

HUNGARIAN PARTY TO DEMAND SLOVAK GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE.
The Presidium of Slovakia's Hungarian Coalition Party
(SMK) on 3 August demanded a reshuffle of the government
in the fall, CTK reported. The presidium said it is
dissatisfied with the cabinet's performance so far. SMK
chairman Bela Bugar told Slovak Television that the
coalition has a "negative reputation" owing to both the
unsatisfactory performance of some ministers and to
scandals surrounding top officials. He said he "cannot
rule out" that the SMK will demand the resignation of
Economy Minister Ludovit Cernak, Transport Minister
Gabriel Palacka, and Agriculture Minister Pavel Koncos.
Party of Civic Understanding chairman Pavol Hamzik, also
speaking to Slovak Television, said that his formation
is prepared to support the dismissal of "some
ministers." CTK reported that the Democratic Left Party
is ready to accept a reshuffle but not to "sacrifice"
its own ministers. MS

HUNGARY'S BALANCE-OF-PAYMENT DEFICIT GROWING.
Preliminary figures released by the Hungarian National
Bank show that the balance-of-payment deficit in the
first half of 1999 was $1.2 billion, compared with $905
million last June, Hungarian media report on 4 August.
Capital influx during the first six months was almost
$1.6 billion, and observers are optimistic that the
second half of the year will see a continuation of the
influx of foreign direct investment. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

TWO MORE SERBS KILLED IN KOSOVA. A spokesman for KFOR
said in Prishtina on 4 August that peacekeepers have
found the bodies of two Serbs whom unknown persons shot
the previous night. At least two other Serbs died on 2
August as a result of acts of violence, including a 90
year-old woman. On 3 August, the New York-based Human
Rights Watch and the Budapest-based Roma Rights Center
issued separate reports in which they blamed the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) for recent violence against Serbs
and Roma. Both reports criticized KFOR for not doing
enough to protect members of Kosova's dwindling Serbian
and Roma minorities. PM

KFOR AT CENTER OF CONTROVERSY. Bishop Artemije, who is
Kosova's leading Serbian Orthodox cleric, told Vienna's
"Die Presse" of 3 August that KFOR must either protect
the province's minorities or leave. He argued that UCK
leaders Hashim Thaci and General Agim Ceku have not
sufficiently "distanced themselves" from the violent
incidents against Serbs. Belgrade's "Danas" on 4 August
quoted KFOR commander General Sir Michael Jackson as
saying that no one should be surprised that Serbs have
been the victims of violence in Kosova. He denied,
however, that the violence is systematic or amounts to
"ethnic cleansing." PM

KFOR ARRESTS FIVE ETHNIC ALBANIAN MURDER SUSPECTS. KFOR
soldiers arrested five Kosova Albanians in Peja on 3
August. The five are suspected of having taken a Serbian
couple hostage and killing the man after releasing his
wife the previous day. Meanwhile on 3 August in
Mitrovica, French KFOR soldiers arrested 15 Serbs who
tried to hinder ethnic Albanians from returning to their
homes in the Serb-held part of the city. The soldiers
also confiscated a machine gun and a grenade, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. One of those arrested was a
member of Serbian paramilitary forces and was suspected
of having committed atrocities against ethnic Albanians
between March and June. FS

RUGOVA PLEDGES PARTICIPATION IN KOSOVA TRANSITIONAL
COUNCIL. Kosovar Albanian moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova
on 3 August promised that his Democratic League of
Kosova (LDK) will participate in the Kosova transitional
council along with other political parties, "Bota Sot"
reported. He made the pledge at a meeting with UN
Special Representative Bernard Kouchner in Prishtina.
Rugova urged Kouchner to accelerate the process of
installing the international administration in Kosova at
"all levels" of government. FS

UNHCR COMPLAINS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CUSTOMS FEES. UNHCR
spokesman Chris Janowski told AP that Macedonian
officials demand "exorbitant" customs inspection fees on
humanitarian supplies passing through their territory.
Janowski said that the UNHCR refused to pay the fees,
arguing that "we are a relief agency which is exempt
normally from such fees and taxes.... There is no
justification whatsoever to charge [$348] for the so-
called inspection of a UNHCR truck.... The fee
is...totally out of proportion to the service rendered."
There are currently 86 trucks with 3,400 tons of aid and
17 rail cars with 850 tons of timber blocked inside
Macedonia. Macedonia's authorities imposed the fees in
July. The dispute is jeopardizing UN efforts to rush in
supplies to Kosova to rebuild destroyed or damaged
houses before the onset of the winter. Janowski stressed
that the UNHCR would face a monthly bill of $200,000 if
it agreed to pay the fees. FS

TAIWAN'S PREMIER VISITS MACEDONIA. Vincent Siew arrived
in Skopje on 3 August at the head of a 160-strong
business delegation, Reuters reported. Siew and his
Macedonian counterpart, Ljubco Georgievski, are
scheduled to inaugurate a tax-free economic zone in
Petrovac, near Skopje airport. Siew told "Nova
Makedonija" that "in the long term, our plan is that
Macedonia becomes Taiwan's gateway to southeastern
Europe, even to other European regions.... After the
zone is completed, Taiwanese companies will be the first
to invest in it, and we also expect foreign and local
companies to do so." He stressed that the creation of
similar free economic zones has greatly contributed to
Taiwan's economic development. Macedonia is the only
European country that recognizes Taiwan, apart from the
Vatican. FS

PETRITSCH SAYS MILOSEVIC REGIME 'BEYOND HOPE.' Austrian
diplomat and Balkan expert Wolfgang Petritsch said in
Belgrade on 3 August that he has "given up hope that the
regime [of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic] will
be ready to reform itself and become a partner in the
democratization and stabilization of this region."
Petritsch stressed that Serbia must follow Montenegro's
example and embrace democratization. He urged the
international community not to deny humanitarian aid to
the "Serbian people," Reuters reported. The Frankfurt-
based Serbian daily "Vesti" quoted Petritsch as saying
that the Milosevic regime could have prevented NATO
bombing had it been more willing to compromise at the
Rambouillet peace talks in February. Petritsch said that
Serbian delegates at one point offered to admit foreign
troops to Kosova but then withdrew that key concession
the following day. Petritsch ended his mission as
Austrian ambassador to Belgrade and will soon succeed
the international community's Carlos Westendorp in
Sarajevo. PM

SERBIAN PROTESTS CONTINUE. Some 3,000 people attended an
anti-Milosevic rally in Vrsac on 3 August, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. Several hundred people
attended separate rallies in Kragujevac, Valjevo, and
Leskovac. In Belgrade, Serbian Renewal Movement leader
Vuk Draskovic said that he accepts the invitation from a
group of independent economists to attend an opposition
rally in Belgrade on 19 August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3
August 1999). Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic
previously accepted the invitation. PM

SERBIAN AUTHORITIES THREATEN OPPONENTS WITH LAWSUITS.
The opposition Vojvodina Coalition said in a 3 August
statement that the authorities have threatened to launch
legal action against several farmers. The farmers
recently told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service that the
minister of agriculture should resign (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 August 1999). In Belgrade, Aleksandar
Nikacevic, who is the new, pro-Milosevic head of Radio
B-92, said he will launch legal proceedings against
Draskovic's Studio B Television. That station recently
gave one of its frequencies to Radio B2-92, which is run
by the independent journalists who formerly staffed B-92
before the authorities took it over in March. Nikacevic
charged that the creation of B2-92 has led to
unspecified financial losses for his station, Reuters
reported. Elsewhere, several senior Serbian officials
and state-run media said that the U.S. is "trying to
conquer Serbia" by placing Milosevic's opponents in
power, AP reported. PM

NEW ELECTION LAW FOR BOSNIA. Representatives of the OSCE
said in Sarajevo on 3 August that a draft election law
for Bosnia is ready. The law aims at breaking the grip
of Serbian, Muslim, and Croatian nationalist parties on
the electorate. The provisions require candidates to win
at least some of their votes both in the Republika
Srpska and in the mainly Croatian and Muslim federation.
In addition, voters will no longer be able to vote for
party lists but will have to mark the names of each
candidate individually. PM

BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTERS AGREE ON DEBT. Republika Srpska
Prime Minister Milorad Dodik and Edhem Bicakcic, who is
his counterpart from the federation, agreed in Banja
Luka on 3 August to divide between their respective
governments Bosnia's outstanding debts to the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The agreement
paves the way for the release of $170 million in new
loans from the bank to Bosnia, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER BOSNIAN BORDER AGREEMENT.
Republika Srpska Vice President Mirko Sarovic said in
Banja Luka on 3 August that the recent Bosnian-Croatian
border agreement violates the Republika Srpska
constitution. He called for the resignation of the two
top ethnic Serbian officials who approved the agreement
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 August 1999). In Sarajevo, a
spokesman for Westendorp's office said that the
agreement changes nothing and simply "reaffirms the
legal border." He charged that unnamed Bosnian Serb
leaders are trying to use the issue for their own
political ends. PM

DODIK BLASTS BOSNIAN TELEVISION LAW. Dodik said in Banja
Luka on 3 August that the new law establishing a public
broadcasting service for all of Bosnia is "not
acceptable" to the Republika Srpska (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 August 1999). In Sarajevo, Westendorp's
spokesman defended the law, which he said "is not about
politics [but] is about joining the real world," Reuters
reported. PM

CROATIA MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF 'OPERATION STORM.' Croatia
on 5 August celebrates a national holiday marking the
anniversary of the 1995 Operation Storm, during which
Croatian forces completed their conquest of the Serbian-
held Krajina region. Justice Minister Zvonimir Separovic
said that any persons who committed war crimes against
Serbian civilians during the offensive are now behind
bars, "Vecernji list" reported on 4 August. He added,
however, that the government must protect its "security
interests" and will not give the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal the documents about Operation Storm that it has
requested. In Knin, local police officials denied recent
charges by a human rights group that the rights of
returning Serbs are being systematically abused,
"Vjesnik" reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 August
1999). Some 200,000 Serbs fled Krajina in the wake of
Operation Storm, Belgrade's "Danas" reported. PM

ROMANIAN STATISTICS SHOW CONTINUED ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN.
Industrial production from January-May 1999 dropped by
9.4 percent, compared with the same period last year,
Rompres reported on 3 August, citing the National
Statistics Commission. The sharpest drop (13 percent)
was registered in the energy and mining sectors. The
foreign trade deficit stood at $831.6 million, compared
with $1.1 billion in 1998. That decrease is mostly due
to a drop in imports (18.6 percent), although exports
also dropped (8.6 percent). The inflation rate was 30.8
percent in the first six months of 1999 and 48.2 percent
for the past 12 months. Experts on the commission said
that the government's intention to keep inflation this
year at 32-35 percent (recently revised to 40 percent)
is unlikely to be met. Unemployment in June 1999 reached
11.3, up 2.4 percent on the level in June 1998. MS

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION TO COORDINATE POLICIES.
Representatives of five opposition parties on 3 August
agreed to set up a Consultative Coordination Group,
which will examine draft laws presented in the
parliament by the ruling coalition and will strive to
adopt a common stand on those legislative proposals,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Each party will be
represented on the new body by one deputy and one
senator. The formations included in the group are the
Party of Social Democracy in Romania, the Greater
Romania Party, the Party of Romanian National Unity, the
Alliance for Romania, and the Romanian National Party,
whose chairman, Viorel Catarama, initiated the setting
up of the group. The Union of Right Forces and the
National Christian Democratic Alliance declined to take
part in the new forum. MS

MOLDOVAN COMMISSION RELEASES CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE
PROPOSALS. The presidential commission on amending the
constitution on 2 August published its proposals. In
addition to the proposals made public last week (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1999), the commission
recommends that the president, rather than the
parliament, have the prerogative of appointing and
dismissing the premier and other ministers, Reuters and
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The president would
head the Supreme Council on National Security and
appoint the prosecutor-general and judges. And the head
of state would also have the right to dissolve the
parliament if deputies block a draft law for longer than
60 days. Deputies will be elected from constituencies
under a single-mandate representation system that will
replace that of single-constituency proportional
representation on the basis of party lists. MS

END NOTE

DJUKANOVIC'S MOSCOW VISIT SEEN AS 'TURNING POINT'

by Floriana Fossato

	Despite the lack of public comment from top Russian
officials following their talks with Montenegrin
President Milo Djukanovic in Moscow on 2 August, most
Russian media are describing the visit as a "turning
point" in the country's foreign policy.
	Djukanovic's official visit was the first time that
a leader who has challenged Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic was warmly received at the top levels in
Moscow.
	Ahead of the Moscow trip, Djukanovic had repeated
earlier warnings that Montenegro might declare its
independence unless Serbia--its larger partner in the
Yugoslav Federation--introduces substantial reforms
leading to democracy and a market economy.
	The Russian daily "Kommersant-Daily" wrote on 3
August that Djukanovic's visit showed that Russia
"intends to forge links with democratic forces opposing
Slobodan Milosevic." It added that "even more important,
[the visit indicates that] Moscow intends to sever ties
with the questionable friends it inherited from its
[Soviet] past."
	Djukanovic's talks with Russian Prime Minister
Sergei Stepashin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov focused on boosting political
and economic ties between Russia and Montenegro.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that both
sides agreed "on the need to solve problems in
Yugoslavia through dialogue and the existing
constitutional order."
	Luzhkov--a leading presidential candidate in
Russia--was the only Russian politician to comment
publicly on Djukanovic's visit. He spoke in support of
Montenegro, saying that "we must not allow Milosevic's
arbitrariness toward Montenegro. This is the most
important thing. It could lead to a new worsening of the
situation." At the same time, the Moscow major stressed
that that he still considers NATO's bombing campaign
against Yugoslavia "an act of aggression."
	Stepashin, in footage broadcast by Russian
television networks, only repeated his view that
humanitarian aid should be provided to all Yugoslavia,
not just the province of Kosova and Montenegro. Western
countries, including the U.S., say Serbia should be
excluded from receiving such aid as long as Milosevic
remains in power.
	"I think that the position of Russia and of its
president has played an important role in putting an end
to military operations," Stepashin commented. "This is
something that everybody acknowledges and was confirmed
also in Sarajevo [at the 29-30 July Balkans
reconstruction summit]. Those who, as a result of the
military operations, are now in a difficult situation,
independently of the place where they live, need the
support of international organizations and also of
Russia." During the Balkan reconstruction summit,
however, Stepashin did acknowledge that "the sufferings
of the Yugoslav population were caused not only by the
[NATO] bombings but chiefly by Milosevic's regime."
	Djukanovic, for his part, told "Kommersant-Daily"
in an interview published on 3 August that "it is very
important that Moscow recognized Milosevic's
responsibility for Yugoslavia's tragedy. This shattered
the illusions of many Yugoslavs whom Belgrade had
convinced that Russia supported Milosevic and would
defend him."
	During NATO's 11-week bombing campaign, Russia
clearly supported Milosevic. Most analysts in Moscow say
the new pragmatism in Moscow shows an understanding of
changed circumstances.
	Andrei Piantkovskii, director of the Moscow Center
for Strategic Studies, told RFE/RL that "this is not the
first time Russia changed position on an issue. Simply,
Russian officials have finally understood that support
for Milosevic leads nowhere and it is time for a
change."
	Sergei Rogov, director of the U.S. and Canada
Studies Institute, told "The Moscow Times" that Russia
now is "interested in participating in the Balkan
settlement and not in being associated with anti-Western
regimes."
	Russian news agencies reported that in the talks
with Djukanovic, emphasis was given to the issue of
reconstructing war-torn Yugoslavia. Russia has promised
some $150 million from its budget to finance fuel and
food supplies this year and to promote Russian
companies' efforts to win contracts for reconstruction
in Yugoslavia. Much of the country's energy
infrastructure was built with Soviet and Russian
assistance.
	Economy Minister Andrei Shapovalyants said recently
that his ministry will be in charge of controlling the
funds and that a special commission focusing on Russia's
participation in the reconstruction of Yugoslavia will
have only a "consultative character."
	"Kommersant-Daily" on 3 August reported that the
work of the special commission--chaired by Stepashin--
will likely be aimed at facilitating the participation
of Russian companies in the rebuilding works. It also
quoted controversial businessman Vladimir Potanin,
appointed as Stepashin's deputy on the commission, as
saying that in order to be able to join the group of
Western donor countries, Russia "will have to convince
the West that [by] rebuilding Yugoslavia, it does not
aim at strengthening Milosevic."

The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Moscow.
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