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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 153, Part II, 9 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 153, Part II, 9 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

* UKRAINIAN TOP BANKER BLAMES HRYVNYA FALL ON FUEL
CRISIS

* ETHNIC ALBANIANS CLASH WITH KFOR IN MITROVICA

* CROATIA EXTRADITES WAR CRIMES SUSPECT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

TWO BELARUSIAN ANARCHISTS FINED FOR 'SOLIDARITY' WITH
PROTESTERS. A Minsk court fined Syarhey Shmyalou and
Vadzim Kastsyukevich 20 million Belarusian rubles ($74)
each for taking part in an unsanctioned protest rally
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 1999), RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported on 6 August. Shmyalou and
Kastsyukevich had argued that they were at the place of
the rally only after the protesters had dispersed. The
court failed to prove that the accused had participated
in the protest, but the judge argued that by going to
the site of the protest and by speaking in Belarusian in
the courtroom, they had demonstrated their solidarity
with those protesting against the ruling regime. JM

UKRAINIAN TOP BANKER BLAMES HRYVNYA FALL ON FUEL CRISIS.
National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has blamed the
hryvnya's slide below the government's exchange rate
limit on recent gasoline shortages (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 5 August 1999). "The reason [for the fall] is
not in the hryvnya and not in the currency market. It's
in the increased demand for dollars to sign new fuel
import deals," AP quoted Yushchenko as saying on 6
August. That day, in trading among banks, the hryvnya
plunged to as low as 5.25 to $1, according to the news
agency. Yushchenko refused to intervene on the currency
market, stressing that the hryvnya will stabilize once
the government manages to satisfy the country's gasoline
demand. The same day, President Leonid Kuchma threw his
support behind Yushchenko, saying the National Bank is
right not to resort to intervention on the currency
market. JM

UKRAINIAN COURT ORDERS COMMISSION TO REGISTER 10TH
PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL... Ukraine's Supreme Court on 6
August ordered the Central Electoral Commission to
register Vasyl Onopenko, leader of the Social Democratic
Party, as a candidate in the presidential election,
bringing the number of contenders to 10. The commission
earlier refused to register Onopenko, saying that only
845,000 or so signatures out of the 1.44 million
submitted by him were valid. JM

...REINSTATES KYIV MAYOR IN OFFICE. The same day the
Supreme Court revoked the decision of the Vyshhorod
district court canceling Oleksandr Omelchenko's election
as Kyiv mayor (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 27 July
1999). JM

UKRAINE TO OBTAIN $569 MILLION FOR NUNN-LUGAR PROGRAM.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv announced on 5 August that
Ukraine will receive $569 million from the U.S. this
year for the implementation of the collective threat
reduction program, which is popularly known as the Nunn-
Lugar program. Both sides decided during U.S. Defense
Secretary William Cohen's visit to Kyiv on 31 July that
the Nunn-Lugar program will be prolonged until 2006 (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 1999). JM

CORRECTION: "RFE/RL Newsline" on 6 August incorrectly
reported Ukraine's hard currency reserves at $1.3
million and its debt obligations through 2000 at $3.5
million. The correct figures are $1.3 billion and $3.5
billion, respectively. JM

LATVIAN PREMIER HINTS AT DECREASING PENSIONS. Andris
Skele has suggested that pensions will be decreased if a
referendum defeats the government-sponsored amendments
to the law on pensions. BNS quoted Skele as telling
Latvian Radio on 6 August that he does "not rule out
that we will have to reduce [current] pensions because
we will not have any other source" with which to fund
pensions. For Fatherland and Freedom, a member of the
ruling coalition, accused the opposition of trying to
destabilize the new government and to force early
general elections. The Finance Ministry repeated Skele's
threat to pay for the referendum with money earmarked to
help revitalize the failed Rigas Komercbanka (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August 1999), LETA reported. MH

POLAND SAYS PROPERTY RESTITUTION CLAIMS NOT FOR U.S.
COURTS. Referring to the property restitution claim
against Poland filed by 11 Jews in a New York court in
late June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 1999),
government spokesman Krzysztof Luft said on 6 August
that the claimants can recover their property via Polish
courts, Reuters reported. Witold Danilowicz, a lawyer
representing Poland in the U.S., noted that legal suits
against Poland filed by Jewish U.S. citizens seeking to
recover their property are outside the jurisdiction of
U.S. courts. He argued that those suits should be filed
in Poland. JM

POLISH FARMERS UNHAPPY WITH STATE PROCUREMENT OF GRAIN,
RAPE. The National Council of the Farmers' Solidarity
Trade Union on 8 August criticized the state procurement
of grain and rape seed, PAP reported. "The network of
procurement points is inadequate, the procurement
campaign began too late, and the quality parameters of
grain are determined in a way unfavorable for farmers,"
Farmers' Solidarity leader Roman Wierzbicki noted. The
council decided to launch protests in September unless
the government increases the price of rape seed to
exceed 800 zlotys ($200) for 1 ton. JM

CZECH MEDIA COUNCIL WILL NOT RULE IN TV DISPUTE. The
Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasts said
on 6 August that it will not intervene in a months-long
dispute over television rights because no broadcasting
rules have been broken, CTK reported. The dispute is
between CET 21, the license holder of TV Nova, the
country's most popular station, and the Czech
Independent Television Company (CNTS), which supplies TV
Nova's programs. The previous day, the U.S.-based
Central European Media Enterprise (CME), which is the
majority share holder in the CNTS, asked the council to
intervene in the dispute. The conflict began in April,
when the CME fired Vladimir Zelezny, TV Nova's director-
general and the majority owner of CET 21, accusing him
of attempting to harm CNTS's business interests. CET 21
on 5 August terminated cooperation with the CNTS and
began broadcasting independently. MS

SLOVAK COALITION LEADERS REJECT CABINET RESHUFFLE
DEMANDS. The leaders of the four-party coalition
government, meeting behind closed doors on 6 August,
said there will be "no major cabinet reshuffle" in the
near future, although "changes in individual
ministerial posts might take place," Reuters reported,
citing TASR. CTK said that the decision was endorsed
by Bela Bugar, chairman of the Hungarian Coalition
Party (SMK). The SMK has recently demanded a reshuffle
of Mikulas Dzurinda's cabinet. The four parties'
leaders also decided to prepare by 31 October a
"comprehensive evaluation of the fulfillment of the
government's program." They also rejected opposition
demands for early elections. MS

FORMER HUNGARIAN PREMIER URGES SOCIALISTS TO REFORM.
Miklos Nemeth, in an interview with Hungarian
Television on 6 August, said he has not yet decided
whether to return to politics but if he does so, he
will join only a "genuinely reformed" Hungarian
Socialist Party. Nemeth, who is deputy chairman of the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has
met with former party colleagues during his vacation
in Hungary, and media have speculated that he is
considering a return to politics. He said that the
Socialist Party "has not yet reached the stage where
it can be described as a classic, Western-type social
democratic formation." MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ETHNIC ALBANIANS CLASH WITH KFOR IN MITROVICA... Up to
1,000 ethnic Albanians clashed with French KFOR soldiers
from 7 through 9 August at Mitrovica's central bridge
leading into the Serb-dominated northern part of the
city, Reuters reported. The soldiers were hindering the
protesters from entering that part of the city, fearing
bloodshed between armed ethnic Serbs and Albanians. The
protesters punched, spat, and threw cans at the
soldiers. KFOR detained one ethnic Albanian. A KFOR
spokesman said that "these mobs on the bridge were
certainly orchestrated by the Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK) to crank up the pressure on us [to let them take
over northern Mitrovica]. But this would cause major
violence." French troops also arrested four Serbs in the
northern part of Mitrovica for possession of weapons.
Meanwhile, unknown attackers fired a rifle-propelled
grenade from the south into northern Mitrovica, but
there were no injuries or serious damage. FS

...CAUSING CONCERN THAT UCK LOST CONTROL OVER HARD-
LINERS. Reuters reported on 9 August that KFOR commander
General Sir Mike Jackson told "The Scotsman": "I can't
say I'm fully confident that [the UCK is] in full
control [among ethnic Albanians]. They are going to have
to work with their own people to show that they have a
[Kosova] now which is hugely different from the [Kosova]
they had three months ago.... They've got a great deal
of what they fought for--O.K. not independence--but they
have a free [Kosova], which is almost the same thing."
Jackson warned: "We may get some difficulty with fringe
hotheads and we will deal with it. But for the [UCK] to
do anything other than conform to the [demilitarization]
undertaking they have assigned themselves...would be the
most foolish thing to do, and I'm sure they are not
going to be that foolish." FS

INTERNATIONAL POLICE BEGIN WORK IN KOSOVA. The first 500
international policemen formally assumed their duties in
Kosova on 8 August, AP reported. The UN Mission in
Kosovo (UNMIK) plans to deploy a total of 3,100
international police. So far, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile,
Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, and
the U.S have all contributed to the force. Meanwhile, 10
people, including eight Serbs, were injured in four
separate grenade attacks that day in various parts of
Kosova. In Prishtina on 6 August, KFOR raided the house
of the UCK's interior minister, Rexhep Selimi. The
peacekeepers found a submachine gun, a hand grenade,
ammunition, and 20 radio frequency scanners, along with
illegal identity cards, marked "Ministry of Public
Order," allowing the holder of the card to make arrests.
FS

RUGOVA WANTS TO REMAIN KOSOVAR PRESIDENT. Moderate
Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova told "Der Spiegel" of 6
August that he will run in the Kosova presidential
elections in 2000. Rugova was elected as president of
the Kosovar shadow state twice in underground elections,
namely in 1992 and 1998. He stressed that "I remain the
president of Kosova and insist on a direct vote shortly
before or after [parliamentary] elections." Rugova added
that "within three years we will hold a referendum [on
independence]. After that the Serbs can only accept our
independence." FS

TRAJKOVIC: MILOSEVIC'S DEPARTURE IS KOSOVA'S HOPE.
Momcilo Trajkovic, who heads Kosova's Serbian Resistance
Movement, said in Belgrade that Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic must leave office if Kosova is to
remain multiethnic and part of Serbia. He stressed that
Serbia must become democratic if the Serbs are to have a
future in Kosova, the daily "Danas" reported on 9
August. Trajkovic said that he will seek the
establishment of five special "cantons" in the province
as an interim solution. Each canton would be multi-
ethnic, and Serbs and ethnic Albanians would share
political power. The five would be centered on the
cities of Prishtina, Mitrovica, Gjilan, Prizren, and
Peja. PM

GJILAN SERBS BOYCOTT UN AUTHORITY. The local Serbian
"Church and People's Committee" in Gjilan has turned
down a request by the UN's civilian administration to
take part in local government bodies. Committee leaders
said that they will not take part in UN-sponsored bodies
until the security situation for Serbian civilians
improves, "Danas" reported on 9 August. PM

MILOSEVIC BLASTS OPPOSITION. Milosevic told a gathering
of Serbian emigres in Belgrade on 6 August that his
opponents are "corrupt politicians" seeking to
destabilize Serbia. He charged that NATO is using those
politicians to achieve "the aims it failed to do with
22,000 tons of bombs dropped on our country." On 7
August, Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic told
state-run television that "big powers have their agents
in Yugoslavia." He was apparently referring to the
opposition. PM

SERBIAN OPPOSITION REMAINS ADAMANT. Vladan Batic, who is
one of the leaders of the Alliance for Change, told more
than 2,000 protesters in Vrbas on 7 August that
Milosevic should have responded to his critics sooner.
The president has "only now peeked out from his mouse
hole to call us traitors. But who is the traitor after
all," Batic added. His remarks reflect the view of many
Serbs that Milosevic betrayed Serbian interests by
provoking and losing a conflict with NATO. In Zabalj,
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic told 800 people
that the only way to oust Milosevic is to continue to
hold meetings in cities and towns across Serbia, the
Frankfurt-based Serbian daily "Vesti" reported. He urged
the people to "take their destiny in their hands [and
oust] "tyrants, thieves, and criminal gangs." PM

DRASKOVIC SAYS TRANSITION MUST BE GRADUAL. Serbian
Resistance Movement leader Vuk Draskovic told RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service on 7 August that Milosevic will
leave office only if there is a "political agreement"
between his government and the opposition leading to the
establishment of a transitional government. Draskovic
added, however, that Milosevic's Prime Minister Momir
Bulatovic must resign as soon as possible because
Montenegro does not recognize him. PM

MOST SERBIAN RESERVISTS END HUNGER STRIKE. Miodrag
Stankovic, who heads the local veterans' association in
Nis, said on 8 August that out of a group of nine
reservists, he is the only one who will continue the
hunger strike for back wages (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6
August 1999). Stankovic noted that the other men ended
their 13-day-old protest on doctors' advice. He added
that he has received no response from other veterans to
his recent call for a joint protest in Belgrade, Reuters
reported. PM

CROATIAN ARCHBISHOP IN VOJVODINA. Zagreb's Archbishop
Josip Bozanic arrived in Subotica on 7 August for a
three-day visit to Vojvodina. He appealed to local
Croats to remain in Subotica, "Jutarnji list" reported.
PM

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER CALLS FOR REVISING BORDER AGREEMENT.
Petar Djokic, who is speaker of the Republika Srpska's
parliament, said in Banja Luka that the recently signed
border delineation agreement between Bosnia and Croatia
should be changed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August
1999). He stressed that the Una River should form the
boundary between the two republics, RFE/RL South Slavic
Service reported on 7 August. PM

BOSNIAN-CROATIAN BORDER CROSSING OPENS. Representatives
of the office of the international community's high
representative in Bosnia opened the border crossing near
Ivanica on the Dubrovnik-Trebinje road on 6 August. No
local Croatian officials took part, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. The route linking southern
Dalmatia with the eastern part of the Republika Srpska
had been closed for eight years. PM

CROATIA EXTRADITES WAR CRIMES SUSPECT. Croatian
authorities placed Vinko "Stela" Martinovic on a flight
bound for The Hague on 9 August. The war crimes tribunal
previously indicted him for crimes committed in Bosnia
during the 1992-1995 war (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July
1999). The Croatian authorities' refusal until now to
extradite him has been a source of tension between
Zagreb and the tribunal. PM

MACEDONIA, TAIWAN SIGN ECONOMIC AGREEMENTS. Taiwanese
and Macedonian officials signed several economic
cooperation agreements in Skopje on 7 and 8 August, AP
reported. Taiwan will invest $200 million in a tax-free
industrial zone near Skopje. The signing of the
agreements came at the end of a visit by Premier Vincent
Siew and a high-ranking Taiwanese delegation (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 August 1999). Macedonian President
Kiro Gligorov, who is opposed to Macedonia's recognition
of Taiwan, refused to meet with Siew. FS

ROMANIAN AMBASSADOR HAILS U.S. CONGRESS DRAFT
RESOLUTION. Romanian Ambassador to the U.S. Mircea
Geoana, in an interview with Romanian Television on 6
August, hailed the draft resolution on Romania that
was submitted to the House of Representatives on 3
August but warned not to overestimate its
significance, which, Geoana said, is "mainly
political." Among other things, the draft says the
U.S. will "support Romania's territorial integrity and
will insist on that integrity being respected by all
neighboring countries" as well as by all political
formations in Romania or in other countries. The draft
also recommends that the U.S. assist Romania in
overcoming the costs incurred by the Kosova war and in
rescheduling or writing off debts to foreign
creditors. President Emil Constantinescu is currently
on a private visit to the U.S. MS

MINERS' COMMEMORATION STIRS UP ROMANIAN CONTROVERSY.
Former President Ion Iliescu, addressing a gathering
in Lupeni, Jiu valley, on 6 August to mark the 70th
anniversary of a miners' strike that was quashed by
the army, said that "unfortunately, history repeats
itself," noting that the current government has again
used violence against the miners. Iliescu called on
those present to "hold on" till he returns to power
and repairs the damage caused by the country's rulers.
Alliance for Romania chairman Teodor Melescanu also
attended the gathering, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Lupeni reported. A Ministry of Defense press release
on 7 August said the ministry views the "presence of
certain politicians" at the ceremony as "an insult to
the army." It said the 1929 miners' strike was a
"Comintern provocation" and the army's "energetic
intervention" at the time "re-established peace and
the rule of the law." MS

IMF APPROVES TRANCHE DISBURSEMENT FOR MOLDOVA. The IMF
executive board on 6 August approved the disbursement
of a $34 million tranche of a $195 million loan
approved in 1996, Reuters reported. The board said
that the financial crisis in Russia has had a severe
impact on Moldova, and it praised the steps taken by
Ion Sturza's cabinet toward tightening monetary policy
and accelerating privatization and structural reform.
But the board added that it is "concerned" about the
fact that "domestic arrears continue to mount" and
about Moldova's foreign-debt servicing difficulties.
It urged Chisinau to "seek a prompt negotiated
settlement with its creditors." The conditions for
disbursing further tranches include keeping the
decline in GDP below 5 percent this year, not allowing
inflation to exceed 24.2 percent, and ensuring that
the budget deficit is below 3 percent of GDP. MS

MOLDOVAN PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY DISTANCES ITSELF FROM
LUCINSCHI. The Executive Bureau of the pro-
presidential For a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova
movement has urged President Petru Lucinschi to
renounce the intention to hold a referendum on
changing the country's system to a presidential one,
Infotag and BASA-press reported on 6 August. The
bureau said the presidential initiative might
"negatively impact" Moldova's image abroad and that it
runs contrary to "the fundamental European democratic
principles." It also said it is ready to initiate a
debate in the parliament on strengthening the
president's executive prerogatives. MS

LUKOIL BID SELECTED FOR BULGARIAN REFINERY
PRIVATIZATION. LUKoil's bid for a 58 percent stake in
the Neftochim refinery, the largest in Bulgaria, has
been selected by the Privatization Agency from among
several bids, AP and BTA reported on 6 August. The
Russian oil giant has undertaken to pay $107 million for
the stake and to invest a "much larger" sum in the
refinery's modernization. The daily "Demokratsia," cited
by AP, said the price of the stake could be revised
after LUKoil experts carry out by the end of next month
a detailed examination of the refinery and its
equipment. MS

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