The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 154, Part II, 10 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 154, Part II, 10 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

* SLOVAK TRANSPORT MINISTER OFFERS TO RESIGN

* SERBS, ALBANIANS FAIL TO AGREE ON MITROVICA SETTLEMENT

* SERBIAN OPPOSITION MEETS WITH PATRIARCH

End Note: MONTENEGRO SETS TERMS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT REGRETS STEPASHIN'S OUSTER. Citing
unnamed sources within the Belarusian president's
administration, Interfax reported on 9 July that
Alyaksandr Lukashenka "regrets" the dismissal of Russian
Premier Sergei Stepashin's cabinet. A statement issued
by the presidential press service the same day said that
Lukashenka highly appraised Stepashin's performance,
noting that he continued the course determined by his
predecessor, Yevgenii Primakov, and contributed to the
stabilization of the political and economic situation in
Russia. Lukashenka also expressed his concern about
"undercurrents" of Russia's developments, adding that
some forces "are sowing discord in brotherly Russia." JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER FEARS RETURNING HOME.
Syamyon Sharetski, chairman of the disbanded Supreme
Soviet, told "Lietuvos Rytas" that he would be
immediately imprisoned if he returned to Belarus from
Lithuania, BNS reported on 9 August. Sharetski arrived
in Vilnius last month out of fear he would be persecuted
in Belarus. The Lithuanian authorities have provided
Sharetski with an escort of three guards and a car. JM

UKRAINIAN HRYVNYA LEAVES EXCHANGE CORRIDOR. Ukraine's
National Bank on 9 August lowered the official hryvnya
exchange rate from 4.5 to 4.68 per $1, AP reported. This
move puts the hryvnya outside the previously established
exchange limits of 3.4 to 4.6 to $1, which were to have
remained valid until the end of the year. JM

MORE CONTENDERS JOIN UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE.
Following a Supreme Court ruling (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
9 August 1999), the Central Electoral Commission on 9
August registered Vasyl Onopenko, leader of the Social
Democratic Party, as the 10th candidate in the upcoming
presidential elections. The same day, the Supreme Court
ordered the commission to register Mykola Haber, leader
of the Patriotic Party, as another presidential hopeful.
The commission had formerly rejected Haber's
registration bid by declaring invalid some 452,000
signatures out of the 1.17 million he had submitted.
Meanwhile, Onopenko has called for the dismissal of
Central Electoral Commission head Mykhaylo Ryabets, whom
he accuses of giving in to "external pressures" during
the presidential election campaign. JM

RUSSIAN CITIZENS ON HUNGER STRIKE IN ESTONIA. Eduard
Shaumyan, a leader of the Russian Citizens League in
Estonia, began a hunger strike on 9 August. BNS reported
that Shaumyan's protest is aimed against both the
Estonian authorities and the Russian Embassy in Tallinn,
outside of which he is staging his protest action.
Shaumyan accuses the embassy of being passive in
defending Russian citizens and is protesting against the
Estonian authorities for the detention of Oleg Morozov,
who himself is on a hunger strike. Morozov is being
detained for 20 days for violating immigration laws. The
Russian Embassy in Tallinn and the Russian Foreign
Ministry both urged Morozov to follow Estonian law by
applying for a residence permit, something Morozov has
refused to do. Several Russian parliamentary deputies in
Estonia have nonetheless filed complaints with the
Council of Europe. MH

EU OFFERS FUNDING FOR CLOSING IGNALINA. The EU is
continuing its campaign for the early closure of
Lithuania's controversial Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
by offering "exceptional" financial support. A ranking
official from the European Commission, Francois
Lamoureux, told the daily "Respublika" that the EU will
grant 100 million euros ($107.5 million) annually to
Lithuania once a timetable for Ignalina's shutdown is
established, BNS reported on 9 August. The government is
due to announce the country's long-term energy strategy,
which is certain to discuss the fate of Ignalina.
However, Economics Minister Eugenijus Maldeikis warned
that "no rash conclusion" should be made, since Ignalina
generates more than 80 percent of Lithuania's
electricity. MH

POLISH RIGHTIST POLITICIAN MOVES TO LUSTRATE LEFTIST
LEADERS. Michal Janiszewski, a parliamentary deputy from
the right-wing Confederation for an Independent Poland-
Fatherland, is asking the Lustration Court to launch
lustration procedures against three major activists of
the Democratic Left Alliance: chairman of the alliance
Leszek Miller, former Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, and former Justice Minister Jerzy
Jaskiernia, Polish Radio reported on 9 August. According
to Janiszewski, Miller cooperated with Soviet secret
services, while Cimoszewicz and Jaskiernia had ties with
Poland's communist-era secret services. JM

POLAND ASKS U.K. TO EXTRADITE STALINIST-ERA PROSECUTOR.
The Polish Justice Ministry has asked the U.K. to
extradite Helena Wolinska, a former military prosecutor
in Stalinist-era Poland who is now a British citizen.
Wolinska is accused of signing illegal arrest warrants
that allowed communist authorities to jail and execute
General August Fieldorf, a hero of the Polish resistance
movement against the Nazi occupation. "I am happy that
the extradition warrant was finally sent to Britain,
justice was done. But I don't believe Britain will
extradite this prosecutor," Fieldorf's daughter told
Reuters. If convicted, the 80-year-old Wolinska could
face 10 years in prison. JM

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS DELAYED EU ENTRY 'NO
TRAGEDY.' Jan Kavan told the Frekvence 1 radio station
on 9 August that the Czech Republic will insist on being
told during the first half of 2000 the date of its entry
into the EU so that it can make preparations for the
referendum on membership in the union, CTK reported.
Kavan said that if the country joins the union in 2004
instead of 2003, as currently envisaged, this will not
be a "tragedy," since it would be "better prepared" by
then. On 6 August, EU ambassador to Prague Ramiro
Cibrian praised the recent efforts of the Czech
parliament and government to speed up the passage of
legislation in harmony with that of the EU. But he added
that "unfortunately" those laws "come too late" to have
an effect on the EU's upcoming progress report, due in
October. MS

SLOVAK TRANSPORT MINISTER OFFERS TO RESIGN... Gabriel
Palacka on 9 August told journalists he has "offered his
resignation" to Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Reuters
and CTK reported. Palacka, who is a close ally of
Dzurinda, explained his move by pointing to the
"unfounded criticism" of his ministry and the need to
strengthen the cabinet's position. The Transportation
Ministry and Palacka personally have been criticized for
alleged irregularities in appointments to the ministry
and in privatization tenders supervised by that body.
Dzurinda told journalists that it is "premature" to
speak of a replacement for Palacka, while President
Rudolf Schuster said he sees "no reason" to accept
Palacka's resignation, noting that before deciding
whether to do so he will meet with Dzurinda,
parliamentary chairman Jozef Migas, and Palacka. MS

...WHILE DZURINDA ATTACKS POLITICAL RIVAL... Dzurinda
sharply criticized the Christian Democratic Movement
(KDH) and its chairman, Justice Minister Jan
Carnogursky, for having demanded Palacka's resignation
and thereby causing "government instability." He said
that Carnogursky's recent appeal for coalition unity was
"insincere" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August 1999). He
added that the KDH's advocacy of a return to party
independence within the coalition alliance that formed
the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) before last year's
elections was "out of the question" and that he has no
intention of heading a SDK that is disunited. At the
same time, Dzurinda denied he intends to transform the
SDK into a "party of his own," as the KDH has alleged.
MS

...AND IS ACCUSED OF 'IRRESPONSIBILITY.' In response to
Dzurinda's criticism of him, Carnogursky said the
premier must "concentrate on solving problems in a
matter-of-fact manner, instead of adding to and
deepening the existing conflicts in the government
coalition." He said that Dzurinda's declaration displays
"a lack of responsibility toward the country's
interests". The KDH, Carnogursky added, will not follow
that example and will continue supporting the ruling
coalition. The KDH leader said he is "surprised" that
the attacks on his party came from former KDH members
such as Dzurinda and Palacka. And he repeated his
proposal that the SDK again become a five-party
coalition with a unified parliamentary group in the
legislature. MS

PROCEEDINGS SUSPENDED IN SLOVAK PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL.
The Bratislava Prosecutor-General's Office on 9 August
said it has suspended legal proceedings against
businessman Vladimir Poor and three other persons
suspected of fraud in the privatization of the Nafta
Gbely company, CTK reported. The office said it will
continue investigations into the case (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 30 June and 1 July 1999). MS

HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST DEPUTIES ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION. The
leadership of the opposition Socialist Party on 9 August
announced it will refer the case of deputy Laszlo
Paszternak to the party's Ethics Committee, "Magyar
Hirlap" reported. Paszternak met the same day with the
leadership to explain the details of his purchase of a
plot of land in a holiday complex belonging to the Vasas
steel workers' trade union, of which he is chairman. The
plot was later transferred to his children, who built a
hotel on it. On 6 August, leaders of the Socialist Party
affiliated National Federation of Trade Unions (MSZOSZ)
demanded that both Paszternak and MSZOSZ chairman Laszlo
Sandor resign as deputies, both of whom they accused of
"unethical business dealings," Hungarian Television
reported. Sandor's name was included in the so-called
"Postbank VIP list" of politicians who received
preferential loans from that bank. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS, ALBANIANS FAIL TO AGREE ON MITROVICA
SETTLEMENT... Representatives of the ethnic Serbian and
Albanian communities of Mitrovica, meeting on 9 August
under the mediation of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
and KFOR, failed to agree on ensuring freedom of
movement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 August 1999). Ethnic
Albanian Mayor Bajram Rexhepi told Reuters after the
meeting: "Our plan was to return the population in 15
days [but the] Serbs said the deadline should be
September 2000." A Serbian representative, however, said
that "there is a good will in both sides. I don't know
if we are going to sign an agreement, but both sides had
some concrete suggestions." FS

...WHILE TENSIONS CONTINUE. Ethnic Albanians injured a
French soldier in clashes on 9 August in Mitrovica. The
clashes occurred as French troops kept the city's main
bridge closed and installed a roadblock with barbed wire
and armored vehicles, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service
correspondent reported. The bridge links the ethnic
Albanian-dominated south of the city with the Serbian-
dominated northern part. In an effort to relieve
tensions, Mary-Pat Silveira, who is the UN's deputy
chief representative for north Kosova, addressed
hundreds of protesters. She tried in vain to explain to
the crowd that the international community is trying to
solve the problem through negotiations. Later that day,
local Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) commander Rahman Rama
asked the people to end their protests. FS

THACI SLAMS FRENCH KFOR... UCK leader Hashim Thaci told
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service on 9 August that
"according to all international agreements, the
territory of Kosova is [undivided]...but the partition
of Mitrovica is nonetheless a reality today. We cannot
accept such a reality. The [ethnic] Albanians have every
right to try to cross the bridge..., to go back to their
houses, and to reunite with their families." Thaci
charged the French KFOR forces with behaving in an
"undemocratic and arrogant" manner by blocking the
city's bridge. He also alleged that there are still
Serbian police and paramilitary forces in northern
Mitrovica in violation of the June peace agreement. In
Washington, State Department spokesman James Rubin
defended the French position. He argued that "at
present, there would be a serious risk of large-scale
violence if the Albanians were allowed to cross the
bridge." FS

...OPPOSES APPLYING YUGOSLAV LAWS. Thaci on 9 August
criticized UNMIK's plan to apply laws that were in force
in Kosova on 24 March 1999, when NATO began its bombing
campaign. He said that such laws prevailed under a
decade of repressive direct rule and added that "you
cannot establish a democratic society with undemocratic
laws." Thaci also criticized KFOR for briefly detaining
UCK Chief of the General Staff Agim Ceku and the UCK-
backed provisional government's Minister of Public Order
Rexhep Selimi last week for carrying guns illegally or
without the required documentation. Meanwhile, Ceku met
with KFOR commander General Sir Mike Jackson in
Prishtina to discuss the ongoing demilitarization of the
UCK. FS

SERBIAN OPPOSITION MEETS WITH PATRIARCH. Leading
opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic met
with Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle at his Belgrade
residence on 9 August to discuss their plans for
peaceful democratic change. Differences remain between
several leaders on some key points, most notably over
the nature of a transitional government, Belgrade's
"Danas" reported. Those present included the Serbian
Renewal Movement's Vuk Draskovic and the Democratic
Party's Zoran Djindjic. It was the first known face-to-
face meeting of the two powerful rivals since early
1997. Mladjan Dinkic of the G-17 group of independent
economists said that the Orthodox Church has "blessed"
his group's Stability Pact for a peaceful transition to
a democratically elected government, the Frankfurt-based
Serbian daily "Vesti" reported. The leaders agreed to
take part at a Belgrade rally that the G-17 has called
for 19 August. The Church leadership is expected to
decide on its position on the rally on 10 August. The
Holy Synod has previously called on Milosevic to resign
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 June 1999). PM

SERBIAN OPPOSITION HAILS MEETING... Vladan Batic of the
Alliance for Change said that the 9 August meeting at
the Patriarch's residence demonstrated the opposition's
"symbolic unity," "Vesti" reported. Batic stressed that
this display of unity showed a "new and brighter face of
Serbia" to both domestic and foreign publics. Both
Draskovic and Djindjic said that the Church has a key
role in promoting political change. PM

...WHILE REGIME CRITICIZES IT. Serbian Radical Party
leader and Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj warned
the Church not to give its blessing to "those seeking to
take power by force." He charged that those unnamed
individuals want to involve the Church in their efforts
aimed at launching a civil war, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported from Belgrade on 9 August. The state-
run Tanjug news agency said that the opposition leaders
are in effect calling on the Church to "violate the
constitution," which calls for the separation of Church
and state. PM

GENERAL PERISIC FOUNDS POLITICAL MOVEMENT. Former
General Momcilo Perisic has formed a Movement for
Democratic Serbia, "Vesti" reported on 10 August (see
"RFE/RL Balkan Report," 10 August 1999). Its guiding
principles are democratic change and the ouster of
Milosevic. Perisic is expected to issue a more detailed
program in the course of the week. He stressed that his
movement is not a political party and is open to members
of other political groups. Its founding membership
stands at 50. On 9 August, Perisic held separate
meetings with Patriarch Pavle and with representatives
of the Otpor (Resistance) students' movement. He did not
take part in the meeting of opposition leaders with the
Patriarch. PM

CACAK MAYOR: OUST GOVERNMENT THAT 'HATES THE PEOPLE.'
The Serbian opposition held rallies in Ruma, Mionica,
and Valjevo on 9 August. In Mionica, Cacak Mayor Velimir
Ilic urged his listeners to oust the "political riffraff
who are running Serbia and to replace those [leaders]
who hate their own people," "Vesti" reported. He chided
unnamed politicians who, he said, try in vain to steer a
middle course between Milosevic and his opponents.
Observers note that this is probably a reference to
Draskovic, who wants a transitional government that
includes Milosevic's supporters as well as his
opponents. PM

YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT THREATENS LOCAL BROADCASTERS. The
Telecommunications Ministry informed local television
and radio stations on 9 August that they will lose their
licenses if they do not pay their back taxes within
seven days, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported.
Observers note that many local stations are controlled
by the opposition. PM

SANDZAK RIVALS SPAR OVER PROGRAMS. Sulejman Ugljanin's
Muslim National Council has approved a Memorandum on
Autonomy for the Sandzak region, which straddles the
border between Serbia and Montenegro. The plan calls for
six districts in Serbia and five in Montenegro to form
the autonomous region that will be part of the Yugoslav
federation, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
reported on 10 August. Rasim Ljajic, who is Ugljanin's
political rival, criticized the plan, "Vesti" reported.
Ljajic charged that Ugljanin has, in effect, "stabbed
[Montenegrin President Milo] Djukanovic in the back" by
announcing the program before Belgrade and Podgorica
have discussed Djukanovic's plan for redefining
relations between the two republics (see "End Note"
below). Ljajic said that his rival's program is in
keeping with Milosevic's position that Yugoslavia must
remain a united country. PM

MILOSEVIC MEETS POPLASEN. Milosevic discussed
unspecified political issues with Republika Srpska
President Nikola Poplasen in Belgrade on 9 August,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Earlier, the
international community's Carlos Westendorp had removed
Poplasen from office for non-compliance with several
provisions of the Dayton peace agreement. Poplasen
refuses to accept Westendorp's decision. PM

BELGRADE REPLACES UN ENVOY. The Yugoslav Foreign
Ministry said in a statement on 9 August that Stanimir
Vukicevic has replaced Nebojsa Vujovic as Belgrade's
chief diplomat at the UN. Vujovic left his post for
"reasons of health," the statement added. He was the
Foreign Ministry's chief spokesman abroad during the
recent NATO air campaign against Serbia. PM

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ON 31 OCTOBER.
Parliamentary speaker Savo Klimovski announced in Skopje
on 9 August that the first round of the upcoming
presidential elections will take place on 31 October and
the second round on 14 November. The election campaign
will start on 1 October. Klimovski said: "I expect that
the...elections will take place in a fair and democratic
atmosphere." None of the major parties has yet announced
its candidate to replace Kiro Gligorov, who has been
president since 1991 and who is barred by the
constitution from running for office for a third time.
FS

ALBANIAN PREMIER WANTS BETTER COOPERATION WITH LOCAL
MAYORS. Pandeli Majko told a 9 August meeting of mayors
from throughout the country that "we have to understand
once and for all that we are all sitting in the same
boat and have the same route in front of us. This is
true regardless of the coloring of the government and
regardless of the name of the captain." Majko urged the
mayors, most of whom belong to the Democratic Party, to
overcome differences with his Socialist-led central
government, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent
reported. Majko stressed that misunderstandings between
the central government and local government officials
have led to a lack of coordination and that many mayors
have not made use of funds offered by the central
government or international donors as a result. He also
thanked the mayors for their efforts to cope with the
refugee crisis during the Kosova conflict. FS

ROMANIA AUCTIONS ITEMS BELONGING TO CEAUSESCUS. Hundreds
of items belonging to Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, who
were executed in December 1989, are being auctioned off
in Bucharest, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The
auction began on 9 August and will continue until end of
the week. The authorities launched the auction on the
eve of the solar eclipse, hoping that the influx of
tourists (the eclipse can be best watched in Romania)
will help raise at least $300,000. Among the items sold
on the first day of the auction were a black Buick
limousine presented by U.S. President Richard Nixon to
Nicolae Ceausescu, which fetched $15,000, and a wooden
chess set which chess champion Anatolii Karpov gave as a
present to the Romanian president shortly before to
latter's execution. Reuters said that the bid for the
latter item, which went for $2,368, was rumored to have
been made on behalf of the Russian Embassy. MS

FIFA ASKS ROMANIA TO PROBE OFFICIAL'S ALLEGED ANTI-
SEMITIC ACTIVITIES. Michael Zen Ruffinen, secretary-
general of the International Soccer Federation (FIFA),
has written to the Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF)
demanding that a probe be launched into the alleged
anti-Semitic activities of FRF deputy chairman Dumitru
Dragomir, Mediafax and AP reported on 9 August.
Dragomir, a communist-era police officer, is the owner
of the weekly "Atac la persoana," which frequently
publishes anti-Semitic articles. One of the weekly's
journalists is on trial for having published several
articles of an overtly anti-Semitic nature (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 and 10 September 1998). MS

MOLDOVA, U.S. HOLD JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE. A 10-day
military exercise involving military police from North
Carolina and a motorized rifle Moldovan brigade began on
9 August in Bulboaca, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported.
The exercise, called Blue-Shield 99, is focusing on
peace-keeping operations. MS

BULGARIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF DENIES CODES STOLEN FROM
U.S. EMBASSY. Angel Katsarov, chief of military
intelligence, has said that reports about stolen
military data from the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington
are "nonsense," BTA reported on 8 August, citing the
daily "Trud." The Bulgarian press recently began
reporting on the alleged theft last month of a computer
from the office of the military attache in Washington,
General Stoyan Tsonkov. Tsonkov refused to make any
comment to "Trud." The opposition daily "Duma" on 8
August wrote that during the Cold War, "this act of
carelessness would have been punished with death or a
prison sentence.... Times have changed now and General
Tsonkov may even be promoted." MS

END NOTE

MONTENEGRO SETS TERMS

by Patrick Moore

	The Montenegrin authorities have laid down tough
terms for continuing a joint state with Serbia. The
regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is
unlikely to accept those terms, but democrats in Serbia
might find them attractive.
	On 5 August, the Montenegrin government approved a
detailed plan that would abolish the Yugoslav federation
and recast Podgorica-Belgrade relations as a loose
association (zajednica) of two equal and sovereign
"member states." The Montenegrin parliament is slated to
approve the measure soon.
	It is unclear whether 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.
	 The plan calls for establishing an "Association of
Montenegro and Serbia" with a unicameral legislature.
Montenegro and Serbia would have equal representation,
while legislators would be subordinate to the parliament
of their own member state.
	The positions of president and prime minister would
rotate between Montenegrin and Serbian officials. The
president would be from one member state and the prime
minister from the other, while both would belong to the
governing political party or coalition in their own
state. "Bureaucratic" administrative structures would be
small. There would be a maximum of six ministries with
small staffs. Each republic would, in effect, have its
own foreign policy and army, which would be loosely
coordinated with those of the other.
	The two sides would have to agree to joint foreign
and economic policy goals aimed at integration into
Euro-Atlantic structures. Each republic would have
economic independence and the right to introduce its own
currency. Any joint currency would be freely convertible
and would be backed by a currency board and protected by
strict legal safeguards. Each republic has a veto on
joint decisions, including the election of the joint
president and a declaration of war.
	There would be a constitutional court to rule on
the validity of legislation passed by the association's
legislature. Montenegro and Serbia would have equal
representation on the bench.
	The text, in fact, reads more like a dull legal
document than a declaration of political principles.
Podgorica's intent was to make very sure that its rights
and privileges are carefully protected and that it would
no longer be Serbia's junior partner.
	Nor would this be a new Yugoslav federation to
which constituent "republics" would be subordinated.
Power clearly would rest with the two member states. The
joint state would exist solely to further the specific
interests of each member and not as an end in itself. It
would not be called Yugoslavia.
	The basic political principles are that the
association would be based on democratic values, the
rule of law, and human rights. Economic policy would
rest on the pillars of a market economy, free trade, and
a convertible currency. There are several references to
developing ties with the EU and integration into Euro-
Atlantic structures. There are no references, however,
to the proposed union of Serbia, Russia, and Belarus,
which the Belgrade hard-liners have so warmly embraced.
	The Belgrade regime is, in any event, unlikely to
accept the Montenegrin proposal, which would greatly
limit the powers that Milosevic enjoys within the
current federal structure. On 8 August, Ratko
Krsmanovic, who is a top official of the pro-Milosevic
United Yugoslav Left, called the plan "an attempt to
destroy our country and to provoke conflicts. It would
create a situation for foreign intervention." The
Radicals' Vojislav Seselj has blasted it as "illegal
secession."
	It could be argued that any Serbian politician
would have difficulty endorsing a plan that gives
Montenegro's approximately 600,000 inhabitants political
weight equal to that of the roughly 7 million people
living in Serbia (excluding Kosova). But initial
reactions suggest that many members of the democratic
Serbian opposition--such as the Democrats' Zoran
Djindjic and Vladan Batic of the Alliance for Change--
have responded positively to the Montenegrin proposal,
seeing it as a step toward the democratization of
Serbia.
	If the Milosevic regime remains silent on the
Montenegrin proposal or rejects it outright, Montenegro
is likely to declare independence. But if Serbia in the
coming months acquires a democratic leadership that is
willing to accept Podgorica's principles, the outcome
could be a democratic state with a sound and growing
economy. In such a case, might not the association
become attractive to some of its neighbors, such as
Macedonia or Bosnia--or even Albania or Kosova?

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