The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 152, Part II, 6 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 152, Part II, 6 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

* UKRAINE STRUGGLES TO AVOID DEFAULT ON LOANS

* MONTENEGRO UNVEILS PLAN FOR FUTURE TIES WITH SERBIA

* AHTISAARI CALLS FOR KFOR TO TAKE CHARGE OF SECURITY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL CRITICIZES CIS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY.
Syarhey Posakhau, Belarus's permanent representative to
the CIS, told journalists in Minsk on 5 August that CIS
Executive Secretary Yurii Yarov is unwilling to tackle
urgent problems facing his secretariat, including the
energy crisis and falling trade turnover between CIS
countries. According to Posakhau, Yarov's current duties
are "issuing, filing, and storing pieces of paper,"
Interfax reported. JM

LUKASHENKA CALLS BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT 'DESTROYERS.'
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on 5
August that the recent congress of the opposition
Belarusian Popular Front (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3
August 1999) gathered "destroyers" who "are ready to
turn [Belarus] upside down," Belarusian Television
reported. He added that he will "most likely" have the
records of the congress published ad verbatim. If people
could listen to the congress, their "ears would close up
[out of fear]," Lukashenka noted. JM

UKRAINE STRUGGLES TO AVOID DEFAULT ON LOANS. The Finance
Ministry on 5 August said some 50 percent of its
Eurobonds sold through the U.S. Merrill Lynch bank have
been converted into new Eurobonds maturing in February
2001. Ukraine sold some $400 million in T-bills through
Merrill Lynch in 1997 and was to have redeemed them last
September. It needs around $3.5 million to service debts
by the end of 2000, but the National Bank has only $1.3
million and is dependent on the IMF's $2.6 billion loan
program. A government delegation will visit MF
headquarters in Washington next week to seek new loans.
"We have agreed on some questions but others demand an
elaboration of positions and wordings," AP quoted Deputy
Premier Serhiy Tyhypko as saying. Ukraine is counting on
receiving some $180 million in IMF credit this month. JM

UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR POWER WORKERS WARN OF SECTOR'S
'BANKRUPTCY.' The union representing workers employed by
the state-run Enerhoatom nuclear power company issued a
statement on 5 August warning that the atomic energy
industry is in a critical state. "An unbalanced tax
policy has brought highly profitable nuclear power
plants to the verge of bankruptcy," AP quoted the
statement as saying. The document also noted that the
industry lacks money to pay on time for nuclear fuel
supplies from Russia, thus casting doubt on the
"readiness of some reactors to be operational during the
fall-winter season." JM

ESTONIA HAS HIGHEST AVERAGE WAGE, PENSION IN BALTICS.
LETA reported on 5 August that in the first quarter of
1999, the average monthly wage in Estonia was $290.90,
while it was $257.98 in Lithuania and $229.43 in Latvia.
Compared with the first quarter of 1998, Lithuanian
wages increased by 13.6 percent, while Estonian and
Latvian wages were up 11.5 percent and 7.8 percent,
respectively. Estonia recorded the average monthly
pension at $110.20, followed by Latvia at $94.39 and
Lithuania at $77.07. Compared with pensions in the first
quarter of 1998, Estonia registered an increase of 29.5
percent, followed by Latvia (21 percent) and Lithuania
(12.9 percent). MH

ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS CORRUPTION 'BIGGEST
PROBLEM.' In an interview published in the 6 August
"Eesti Paevaleht," Juri Mois said corruption is the
"most dangerous" problem in the fight against crime. At
the same time, he noted that that the fight against
organized crime and violent crimes has been more
successful, adding that street crime is "not a big
problem," Mois said "we need to give the police greater
operational freedom" and close loopholes in criminal
legislation. MH

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS AMENDMENTS TO PENSIONS LAW...
Lawmakers on 5 August approved the controversial
amendments to the law on pensions by a vote of 51 to 36.
The amendments stirred controversy among trade unions
and pensioners as they gradually raise the retirement
age from 57.5 years old for women and 60 for men to 62
for both by 2006. The amendments also stipulate that
working pensioners will lose benefits starting the year
2000 if their wages exceed twice the pension level.
Several hundred people have staged demonstrations in
Riga recently to protest the amendments, LETA reported.
Also on 5 August, the opposition collected signatures
from more than one-third of the 100 deputies in order to
postpone the promulgation of the amendments by two
months. A referendum on the amendments will be held if
10 percent of the population supports such a vote. MH

...APPROVES BUDGET AMENDMENTS. The same day, lawmakers
also approved amendments to the 1999 budget cutting
spending by 64.4 million lats ($109 million) to take
into account a shortfall in expected revenues of 93.1
million lats. The total spending for 1999 is now 1.4
billion lats. The parliament also approved state
involvement in the revitalization of the failed Rigas
Komercbanka, proposing that 1 million lats be earmarked
for that purpose. And deputies voted in favor of
increasing the excises on fuel oil, tobacco, and alcohol
as well as raising the gambling tax. MH

POLAND TO HAVE LARGER BUDGET DEFICIT THAN EXPECTED? By
the end of July, the budget deficit had reached some 96
percent of the government target for 1999, PAP reported.
However, Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz told Polish
Radio on 5 August that this year's budget targets will
be met if the cabinet observes "appropriate budget
discipline." Meanwhile, Wieslawa Ziolkowska, a member of
the Monetary Policy Council, said the risk of a deficit
in the entire public sector is more dangerous than a
state budget deficit slightly larger than planned. The
state budget accounts for only 52 percent of all public
funds, the remainder being accounted for by local
government and health and other funds. According to
Ziolkowska, the public sector deficit is a time bomb
planted by the government when it introduced several
systemic reforms at the same time. JM

CZECH SENATORS SUBMIT BILL ON MEMORIAL TO OPPRESSED.
Twelve Senators on 5 August submitted a bill on the
construction in Prague of a Memorial to the Times of
Oppression. The center would apply to the period 1939-
1989 and would gather documentation, to be made
available via the Internet, on the periods of fascist
occupation and communist rule. It would be located on
the site of a former monument to Stalin. MS

SLOVAK POLITICIAN CALLS FOR COALITION SOLIDARITY.
Justice Minister Jan Carnogursky on 5 August told CTK
that Slovakia's national interests must come before
party interests and that the time "is not ripe" for
changing the premier. Carnogursky, who heads the
Christian Democratic Party (KDH), is considered a rival
of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda for the leadership of
the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK). The coalition was
set up last year by five parties, including the KDH.
Carnogursky said Slovakia must "present itself as a
stable, democratic, and pro-European country" to succeed
in its EU accession bid. He added the KDH will take a
"neutral stand" on the demand of the Hungarian
Democratic Coalition to reshuffle the cabinet because
"changing a few ministers would be seen abroad as a
normal step" and would not damage the country's image.
MS

SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA.
Jozef Migas, in an interview with ITAR-TASS on 4 August,
said that he is opposed to the "ideologization" of
relations with Russia, which "are now stable and not
burdened by any problems." Migas, who is expected to
visit Russia in the early fall, said the
"intensification of relations with Russia, above all in
the economic field, is one of the most important
priorities for us." Migas also said Russia "was, is, and
will remain a great power that exerts great influence on
international developments," adding that he is "certain"
its present economic difficulties will be surmounted. MS

HUNGARY'S SMALLHOLDERS REJECT FIDESZ CANDIDATE FOR
PRESIDENCY. During unofficial talks with the junior
coalition Independent Smallholders' Party, the major
coalition party, FIDESZ, has proposed Ferenc Madl,
former minister of culture in Jozsef Antall's
government, as the parties' joint candidate for
president. "Nepszava" reported on 6 August that the
Smallholders rejected the proposal and said they
continue to consider party chairman Jozsef Torgyan as
their candidate. Under a coalition agreement, the
Smallholders are to nominate a joint candidate for
president. In other news, FIDESZ has offered one seat on
its National Board and another on its Steering Board to
the Christian Democratic Federation, which was formed by
former members of the so-called "moderate wing" of the
Christian Democratic Party. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MONTENEGRO UNVEILS PLAN FOR FUTURE TIES WITH SERBIA. The
Montenegrin government approved a detailed plan on 5
August that would abolish the Yugoslav federation and
recast Podgorica-Belgrade relations as a loose
association of two sovereign states. The Montenegrin
parliament is slated to approve the measure "soon,"
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. It is unclear if
the government intends the proposal as a basis for
negotiations with Belgrade or as a "take-it-or-leave-it"
proposition. Top Montenegrin officials said recently
that they will hold a referendum on independence if the
Serbian authorities do not respond to the proposal by
late September. PM

MONTENEGRIN PROPOSAL PUTS POWER IN REPUBLICS. The plan
calls for establishing a "Union of Montenegro and
Serbia" with a unicameral legislature in which
Montenegro and Serbia would have equal representation,
BETA reported on 5 August. The cabinet would have a
maximum of six ministries with small staffs, while each
republic would, in effect, have its own foreign policy
and army, which would be loosely coordinated with those
of the other. Both sides would have to agree to broad
joint foreign- and economic-policy goals, which would
center on integration with Euro-Atlantic structures.
Each republic would have economic independence and the
right to introduce its own currency. Any joint currency
would have to be freely convertible. And each republic
would have a veto on joint decisions, including the
election of the union's president and any declaration of
war. PM

U.S. GIVES MONTENGRIN PROPOSAL CAUTIOUS BACKING. State
Department spokesman James P. Rubin said in Washington
on 5 August that the Montenegrin proposal is a "measured
and rational approach to political and economic reform."
He added that "we think that they should continue to
work within Yugoslavia to ensure their rights are
protected." PM

LESKOVAC TELEVISION EDITOR FREED. Ivan Novkovic left the
Leskovac jail on 5 August after completing a 30-day
sentence for broadcasting a call for an anti-Milosevic
demonstration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 July 1999). He
told a rally of some 4,000 people after his release from
prison that he does not regret broadcasting the appeal,
which led to a series of large demonstrations. Novkovic
added that he hopes similar anti-Milosevic protests will
take place in all Serbian towns. PM

RESERVISTS TO TAKE HUNGER STRIKE TO BELGRADE. A
spokesman for 10 army reservists staging a hunger strike
in Nis said on 5 August that they will continue their
10-day-old protest in Belgrade "next week." The
spokesman added that the only response they have had
from the authorities was a police threat to remove them
from the city center. The reservists demand back pay for
their recent service in Kosova. PM

SERBIAN INTERIOR MINISTER WARNS OPPOSITION. Vlajko
Stojiljkovic said in Kraljevo on 5 August that KFOR
troops have failed to protect Serbian civilians in
Kosova. He charged that this failure constitutes a
violation of their mandate, the Belgrade daily
"Politika" reported. Stojiljkovic accused unnamed
"outside factors" of using domestic "traitors and
hooligan elements, in other words, allies of NATO" to
undermine Serbia's economy, security, and political
life. He warned that the security forces will not allow
efforts to "destabilize" Serbia to continue. The
minister did not elaborate. PM

YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES MOVE AGAINST PRIVATE RADIO. Federal
Telecommunications Ministry officials on 5 August
informed the management of opposition leader Vuk
Draskovic's Belgrade-based Studio B Television that
Studio B faces legal action if it continues to allow the
private radio station B2-92 to use one of its
frequencies (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 1999). The
ministry officials stressed that only Studio B has the
legal right to broadcast on that frequency. A spokesman
for Studio B said that B2-92 will continue to use the
frequency under a new name that will include the term
"Studio B," VOA's Croatian Service reported. PM

YUGOSLAV ARMY DROPS CHARGES AGAINST DJINDJIC. On 5
August, the Yugoslav army prosecutor's office dropped
charges of draft-dodging against Democratic Party leader
Zoran Djindjic (see "RFE/RL. Newsline," 29 July 1999).
The opposition politician said that the decision shows
that the army is not willing to let the Milosevic regime
use it for political purposes. PM

AHTISAARI CALLS FOR KFOR TO TAKE CHARGE OF SECURITY.
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who helped broker
the Kosova peace settlement, said in Helsinki on 6
August that KFOR and not civilian police should assume
responsibility for security in the province. He added:
"I fear the role of the international police has not
been fully thought out. They are perhaps needed when
[local] police are retrained...and in monitoring the
[local] police," Reuters reported. The president
concluded: "That 3,000 or 3,100 police should keep order
in the country is not of this world. [Keeping order]
requires close cooperation between KFOR and the
international police." Foreign governments have
contributed fewer police than expected to the
international police force. PM

SERBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST SAYS PARAMILITARIES WERE
ATTACHED TO REGULAR UNITS... Natasa Kandic of the
Humanitarian Law Fund (FHP) told Reuters in Belgrade on
5 August that most of the killings in Kosova were
carried out by paramilitary units "established by orders
from a very high level" and attached to regular forces.
"Their task was to expel people from villages, and to
kill," she said, adding that they included Bulgarian and
Russian mercenaries. Kandic called on Serbs to "start
talking about responsibility, to support the UN war
crimes tribunal, and the investigation and punishment
not just of perpetrators, but also those responsible at
a high level, starting with Milosevic." The FHP was the
only Serbian NGO to investigate Serbian war crimes
during the conflict, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
noted. FS

...WARNS OF ALBANIAN 'CULTURE OF BLOOD FEUDS.' Kandic on
5 August also urged the Kosovar Albanians to "face up"
to the wave of revenge killings of Serbs since June. She
added that the revenge attacks are rooted in the
Albanian "culture of blood feuds" and warned that if
left unchecked they could "spiral out of control."
Kandic stressed that "this is not revenge in the usual
sense--'you robbed me, I'll rob you.' Nothing like this
happened in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. It is part
of the Albanian mentality." She urged "new discussion"
of the problems, adding that "otherwise it will go on
till the last minority [in Kosova] is eliminated." FS

RUGOVA, THACI MEET WITH KOUCHNER. Ibrahim Rugova,
the leader of the moderate Democratic League of
Kosova (LDK), met on 4 August with the Kosova
Liberation Army's (UCK) Hashim Thaci in the
residence of UN Special Representative Bernard
Kouchner in Prishtina, an RFE/RL South Slavic
Service correspondent reported. The three discussed
the situation in Kosova and forms of possible
cooperation between the rival Kosovar political
groups and the UN civilian administration. Bilal
Sherifi, who is the head of Thaci's UCK-backed
provisional government, told RFE/RL on 5 August
that "the two sides discussed the agreement signed
[by the Kosovar Albanian delegates] in Rambouillet
about the creation of the provisional
government.... Both sides agreed to create a joint
commission to administer financial resources that
have been collected by the fund administered by
[the LDK's shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar]
Bukoshi." FS

LDK JOINS TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL. LDK officials told an
RFE/RL correspondent in Prishtina on 5 August that they
have appointed their representatives to the UN's
transitional council, following their meeting with
Kouchner. Kosovar Albanians, Serbs, and small ethnic
minorities are represented on the council, along with
representatives of the international community. Rugova
and LDK senior leader Fatmir Sejdiu will represent the
LDK. Mark Krasniqi of the Christian Democratic Party of
Kosova will also participate in the council. On 16 July,
the first meeting of the transitional council took
place, but Rugova refused to attend it, arguing that
smaller shadow-state political parties must also be
represented. FS

TAIWAN FREEZES KOSOVA AID AFTER CANCELING PREMIER'S
VISIT. A spokesman for Taiwanese Prime Minister Vincent
Siew said in Taipei on 5 August that Taiwan will "re-
evaluate" a planned $300 million donation to Kosova. The
announcement came after NATO notified Siew the previous
day that it "cannot guarantee his security" in the
region during a planned visit, dpa reported. The
spokesman stressed that the donation can be made only
"after we have made contacts with and gained
understanding of the region." Siew had planned to visit
Kosova on 5 August after his visit to Macedonia,
together with a 160-strong business delegation (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August 1999). FS

MACEDONIA LIFTS FEE FOR RELIEF TRUCKS. A UNHCR spokesman
said in Geneva on 6 August that the Macedonian
authorities have agreed to lift a $348 per-truck
inspection fee for UNHCR relief vehicles bound for
Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 1999). The
spokesman added that "aid trucks will start rolling this
morning." At least 90 aid trucks are waiting in Skopje
alone. PM

ALBANIAN SPECIAL POLICE TAKE CONTROL OF DURRES PORT.
Prime Minister Pandeli Majko on 5 August ordered special
police troops to take control of the main port of Durres
to stem corruption and smuggling, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. Majko stressed that local police have
proven unable to deal with highly organized and well-
armed criminals. FS

IMF APPROVES ROMANIAN STAND-BY LOAN. The IMF executive
board on 5 August approved the $547 million stand-by
loan on which the Romanian government and the IMF had
agreed in April. The loan will be disbursed over eight
months and the first $73 million tranche released
immediately, Reuters reported. IMF First Deputy Managing
Director Stanley Fischer said that Romania must continue
efforts to obtain credits from international private
lenders. Fischer added that the full implementation of
the government's program would "mark a major step
forward in Romania's quest for financial stability and
establish the basis for sustainable growth." Under the
approved loan, Romania is aiming at an inflation rate of
some 40 percent, a decline in output of no more than 3.5
percent, and a consolidated deficit not exceeding 3.7
percent of GDP in 1999. MS

HUNGARIAN LEADER IN ROMANIA URGES CHURCH PROPERTY
RESTITUTION. Bela Marko, chairman of the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), sent a letter
to President Emil Constantinescu, Prime Minister Radu
Vasile, and Justice Minister Valeriu Stoica on 5 August
urging the restitution of Church property confiscated by
the Communists. Marko says the UDMR cannot comprehend
why the restitution of such property is not included in
a bill on the restitution of real estate currently being
debated by the parliament, Mediafax reported. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE MEETS
MORE CRITICISM. Party of Democratic Forces leader
Valeriu Matei told journalists in Chisinau on 5 August
that the presidential drive to change the constitutional
system is aimed at "setting up a dictatorship." He
warned that if the drive is successful, President Petru
Lucinschi will extend his mandate, following the
examples of Belarus and Kazakhstan. Parliamentary
chairman Dumitru Diacov said that the presidential
commission draft on changing the constitution was "a
surprise for the deputies," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported. He argued that the draft is an "anti-
democratic document" that violates the principle of the
separation of powers. Meanwhile, 38 deputies on 5 August
asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the
constitutionality of a draft law initiated by them. The
draft envisages curtailing presidential powers and
introducing a full-fledged parliamentary system in
Moldova. MS

TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER WARNS AGAINST ATTEMPT TO EVACUATE
RUSSIAN ARSENAL. "The Russian arsenal in Transdniester
belongs to the Transdniestrians and only to them. We
have just temporarily lent it to Russian troops,"
Transdniester Supreme Soviet Deputy Chairman Vladimir
Atamanyuk said in an interview with Infotag on 4 August.
Atamanyuk added that "if Russia attempts to withdraw the
military equipment by force, the Transdniestrians will
foil the attempt by lying on the rail tracks." MS

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DEFENSE INDUSTRY BUY-OUT.
The government on 5 August approved the sale of the
Arsenal military industrial enterprise to an employee-
management company. The company, called Arsenal 2000,
will acquire a 51 percent stake in the enterprise for
$2.1 million. Under existing legislation, the company's
debts to the state budget will be written off,
Privatization Agency chief Zachary Zhelyazkov told
journalists in Sofia. The cabinet also approved the sale
of the Elatsite-Med copper-producing enterprise to
another employee-management company. The latter is to
pay 10 million leva (some $5.5 million) for a 79 percent
stake in the enterprise, BTA reported. MS

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