|We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 171, Part II, 2 September 1999
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 171, Part II, 2 September 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * POLISH PREMIER SACKS DEPUTY OVER ALLEGED SECRET SERVICE TIES * CROATIA TO EXTRADITE 'TUTA' * U.K. POLICE FIND 50 BODIES IN GARBAGE DUMP End Note: LENNART MERI: 'A LIFE FOR ESTONIA' xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE LUKASHENKA STRESSES ECONOMY IN BELARUS-RUSSIA UNION. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 1 September admitted that the current draft treaty on a union with Russia does not provide for a full union state, Reuters reported. "There is no union state [in the draft], but this is what we, or rather Russia, can afford today," he said. Lukashenka stressed that economics rather than politics should form the backbone of the future treaty. "Primarily, equal conditions for companies and organizations must be put into practice," Interfax quoted Lukashenka as saying. The Belarusian president added that a supplement of a "purely economic nature" was drawn up for the treaty and that the supplement "must be reflected in Russian law the way it was done in Belarus." JM BELARUS INTRODUCES 5 MILLION RUBLE NOTE. Beginning 6 September, Belarus's National Bank will put into circulation a banknote worth 5 million Belarusian rubles or some $10, according to the street exchange rate. Four months ago, the bank introduced a banknote worth 1 million rubles. JM KUCHMA URGES 'CENTRIST PARTY POLICY.' Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told a 31 August meeting of the political bloc Our Choice--Leonid Kuchma! that he advocates a "centrist party policy," Interfax reported. "Establishing centrist politics and a middle class will signify a breakthrough toward a better life and pulling Ukraine out of the crisis," Kuchma noted. He said that Ukraine has 76 registered political parties but most people do not want to join any of them. In his opinion, Our Choice--Leonid Kuchma! could become instrumental in forming a government coalition and a parliamentary majority after the presidential elections. According to Yevhen Kushnarov, coordinator of the pro-Kuchma bloc, 19 parties with a combined membership of 800,000 belong to the grouping. JM UKRAINE, CZECH REPUBLIC SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION DEAL. On 1 September in Kyiv, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk and his Czech counterpart, Vladimir Vetchy, signed a protocol on cooperation in military aviation, CTK reported. Vetchy said Ukraine could supply engines for the new Czech L-159 plane. Vetchy added that Ukraine has a lot of experience in the production of aviation engines. He noted that U.S.'s Boeing company, the Czech Republic's strategic partner in the L-159 project, has been consulted about Ukraine's possible cooperation. JM ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER PLANS SHAKE-UP. "Eesti Paevaleht" on 2 September reported that Interior Minister Juri Mois is planning a major reorganization at the Interior Ministry. The daily said the plan entails halving the ministry's workforce, curtailing the autonomy of the various departments under the ministry, and abolishing three deputy under-secretary posts. Stressing the need to move quickly due to a cut of 70 million kroons ($4.7 million) in the ministry's 2000 budget, Mois said he believes the move will double the efficiency of the ministry's work. MH ESTONIAN CHIEF-OF-STAFF RESIGNS. Major General Ants Laaneots officially submitted his resignation on 31 August. Earlier the same month, Laaneots had announced his intention to quit that post, saying he had accepted a teaching post at the Baltic Defense College in Tartu. MH LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES NATO INTEGRATION PLAN. The Lithuanian government on 1 September approved the country's NATO Integration plan. Stating that the plan contains specific measures aimed at securing Lithuania's NATO membership, a high ranking Foreign Ministry official said Lithuania will "act jointly with NATO in preparing Lithuania for membership in the alliance," BNS reported. The document, which is classified, covers various areas, including military, political, legal, economic, and information protection. MH POLISH PREMIER SACKS DEPUTY OVER ALLEGED SECRET SERVICE TIES. Jerzy Buzek has dismissed Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Janusz Tomaszewski, PAP informed on 1 September. Buzek said he lost trust in Tomaszewski after the latter refused to confirm whether his lustration statement is currently being examined by the Lustration Court. Polish media recently alleged that Tomaszewski's statement denying his collaboration with Communist-era secret services has been queried and sent to the Lustration Court for examination (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). Tomaszewski told TVN Television the same day that he was never a Communist secret service collaborator, otherwise he "would have [resigned] much earlier or even refused to join the government altogether." JM EU COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE SAYS CZECHS MUST ABOLISH BENES DECREES... Guenter Verheugen, EU commissioner designate for enlargement, told the European Parliament on 1 September that the process of Czech integration into the union "could benefit" if the Czech parliament were to declare that the 1945 Benes decrees on expelling Germans are "obsolete," CTK reported. The Czech government has already made such a declaration. Speaking at his confirmation hearings, Verheugen warned against hastiness in admitting new members and against "unfeasible promises." He said he considers the membership of Slovakia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria to be conditional on the closure of those country's obsolete nuclear plants. MS ...WHILE CZECH EU NEGOTIATOR FEARS DERAILING OF 'FAST-TRACK' TALKS. In an interview with Reuters on 1 September, Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Telicka warned that unless the Czech Republic continues the course it embarked on several months ago, the EU's negotiations with the "fast track" countries "could definitely become 4 plus 1, not 5 plus 1." Telicka, who is the chief Czech negotiator with the EU, said that EU warnings are "taken very seriously" and that "it would be unfair to derail the Czech bid just now, as problems begin to be resolved." He said the EU's dissatisfaction with the Czech Republic's performance stemmed from "long delays in preparing legislation, a deep recession that has thrown economic reform into doubt while other candidates show growth, and a Czech image problem in Brussels." MS PRO-DZURINDA APPEAL LAUNCHED IN SLOVAKIA. Some 70 prominent members of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) published an appeal to the party's leadership on 1 September, Slovakia's Constitution Day, demanding a halt to debates on the future of the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), CTK reported. The signatories, who are KDH mayors, managers, and senior civil servants, said that the dispute on the SDK's future weakens the coalition's position in the government at a time when Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda is facing the "historical task of coping with the transition from Meciarism to democracy and prosperity." The premier, they said, should not be "obstructed, but helped." The SDK has been torn by the conflict between Dzurinda and KDH leader Jan Carnogursky, who wants the SDK to return to being a loose alliance of its individual components, of which the KDH is the strongest. MS SLOVAK MONUMENT DEFACED BY HUNGARIAN GRAFFITI. Unknown perpetrators in Bradlo, western Slovakia, have defaced a memorial to Milan Rastislav Stefanik, co-founder of Czechoslovakia, by writing anti-Slovak graffiti in Hungarian on it, CTK reported on 31 August. The graffiti reads "The Slovak is not a human being." The opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia said the blame must be taken by the Hungarian Coalition Party, whose "escalating demands," it argued, demonstrate "racism, chauvinism, and provocation." MS SLOVAK GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS AMENDMENT TO PRIVATIZATION LAW. Dzurinda's cabinet on 30 August withdrew from the parliament's agenda an amendment to the Privatization Act that would have allowed the privatization of large-scale enterprises, SITA reported. The Party of the Democratic Left, a member of the ruling coalition, insists that the state must keep a 51 percent stake in those enterprises. Several rounds of debate among cabinet members failed to achieve a compromise. MS SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CROATIA TO EXTRADITE 'TUTA.' The Zagreb County Court ruled on 2 September that there are no legal obstacles to sending indicted war criminal Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic to The Hague for trial (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). The court said in a statement that it has "decided to comply with the International Criminal Tribunal's demand for the handover of indicted...Tuta [because] legal conditions [for doing so] have been fulfilled." Tuta told the court the previous day that he is guilty of the charges "only if defending one's homeland is a crime." The U.S. had threatened Croatia with sanctions if it did not agree to extradite Tuta and provide documents that the tribunal has requested. PM HAGUE COURT: TUDJMAN NOT INDICTED. In The Hague, tribunal spokesman Paul Risley said on 1 September that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman is "not under a sealed indictment" at present. The announcement came in response to repeated speculation in the Croatian and international media that the tribunal may have issued a secret indictment against Tudjman in conjunction with Croatian policies in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 27 July 1999). Observers note that it will nonetheless be interesting to see whether Tudjman undertakes any foreign travel in the coming weeks. PM HOLBROOKE: UCK MUST DISARM BY 19 SEPTEMBER. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke said in Sarajevo on 1 September that he recently told ethnic Albanian leaders in Prishtina that the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) must meet its 19 September disarmament deadline (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 August 1999). Holbrooke added that he warned General Agim Ceku, who heads the UCK's general staff, that KFOR commander General Sir Michael Jackson has the legal right to "take all necessary measures" if the UCK does not comply. In Prishtina, Ceku told "Koha Ditore" that he will meet all his obligations under the UCK's agreement with NATO. He asked, however, that NATO give him a 10-day extension to complete the "transformation" of the UCK from a fighting force to its post-war role (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). He added that 5,000 out of the present 20,000 guerrillas will enter a new Kosovar National Guard, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM U.K. POLICE FIND 50 BODIES IN GARBAGE DUMP. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the UCK's Hashim Thaci in London on 2 September that the U.K. expects the UCK to meet its disarmament deadline. Thaci replied: "There is nothing perfect in this world. But I'm more than sure we will work in accordance with the agreement we've signed," AP reported. Cook also said that British KFOR police have found 50 bodies in a garbage dump in Ljubidza and are investigating. Cook promised to send all evidence to the Hague tribunal. The latest discovery brings to a total of 200 the number of bodies found by British KFOR in mass graves in their central sector. PM UCK MOVING TOWARD COMPROMISE ON RAHOVEC? On 1 September, Thaci met with local ethnic Albanians in Rahovec, where civilians have blocked the main road for more than one week in an effort to prevent Russian peacekeepers from taking up positions in the town. He expressed support for the roadblock but also told his hosts: "In the town of Rahovec you won't have Russian soldiers, but we can't guarantee that for the whole municipality and the whole thing is not definite yet." Local Albanians firmly oppose any Russian presence in the area, including in Serb-inhabited communities. PM TENSIONS MOUNT IN GRACANICA. A dozen or so Serbs set up a roadblock in Gracanica near Prishtina on 1 September to protest what they said was the recent kidnapping of a local Serb by ethnic Albanians. An ethnic Albanian doctor said the next day that an unspecified number of Serbs and Roma "beat up" five ethnic Albanians and the Bulgarian wife of one of the Albanians near the roadblock. The road-block protest continued on 2 September. Gracanica has a Serbian majority and is home to an important medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery. Elsewhere, Reuters reported from Paris that Kosova Serb leader Momcilo Trajkovic told "L'Humanite" that UN administrator Bernard Kouchner "has failed" to protect Serbs in Kosova. PM NAUMANN: MILOSEVIC PLANNED TO EXPEL ALL ALBANIANS. German General Klaus Naumann, who headed NATO's military affairs committee until his retirement in May, said in Brussels on 1 September that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic told him he planned to expel all ethnic Albanians from Kosova in his recent Operation Horseshoe campaign, Belgrade's "Danas" reported. Milosevic told Naumann and Supreme Commander Europe General Wesley Clark in Belgrade before NATO's bombing campaign began that he intended to "solve the Kosova problem once and for all." Naumann said in Brussels that he realized at that time that NATO could not sit by and watch the mass expulsion of Kosovars, "much as we sat back during the [1991 Serbian] shelling of Dubrovnik." In Washington on 1 September, Clark said that Milosevic made peace in June because his intelligence sources told him that a NATO ground attack was imminent, AP reported. PM MILOSEVIC FREES AUSTRIALIAN CARE WORKERS. Milosevic pardoned two Australian employees of the international aid organization CARE on 1 September. A Serbian spokesman said that the release of the men, who have been held since late March on charges of spying, came in response to appeals by ethnic Serbs living in Australia. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and former South African President Nelson Mandela have also appealed to Belgrade for their release. In Atlanta in the U.S., a CARE spokesman said that the organization will not resume its activities in Serbia until Belgrade frees the two Australians' Serbian colleague, who remains in prison. PM CLINTON, HOLBROOKE HAIL BOSNIAN NATIONAL DAY. Holbrooke announced in Sarajevo on 1 September that the three members of the joint Bosnian presidency have agreed that 21 November will be Bosnia's first national holiday. The date marks the conclusion in 1995 of the Dayton peace agreement, of which Holbrooke was the principal architect. In Auburn, N.Y., U.S. President Bill Clinton congratulated Bosnia on its new holiday. He added that the Dayton agreement is "the beginning of a new country and a blueprint for its future." PM NATO STARTS NEW MISSION IN ALBANIA. At Tirana airport on 1 September, NATO's General John Reith formally announced the end of the Atlantic alliance's mission to help Albania cope with the Kosovar refugee influx. AFOR, as the mission was known, will be followed by a new Italian-led force, called COMMZ W (Communication Zone West). Italy will contribute 1,400 soldiers to the 2,400-strong contingent under the command of General Pietro Frisone. The purpose of the new mission will be to provide support for KFOR and to show NATO's commitment to securing social stability in Albania. PM AIDE TO CHALLENGE ALBANIA'S BERISHA. Genc Pollo, who is a long-time spokesman for the Democratic Party and its leader Sali Berisha, said in Tirana on 1 September that he intends to challenge Berisha for the party chair. Pollo said that he wants to "present a serious and credible alternative" to Berisha at home and abroad. The vote will take place at the party congress on 30 September. Many observers regard Berisha as combative and at least partly responsible for the high degree of polarization that characterizes Albanian politics. Both Berisha and Pollo have their roots in the former communist-era nomenklatura and are highly educated. Pollo studied in Austria and is fluent in English and German. PM ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ON VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Simona Miculescu on 1 September warned that the ministry might be forced to minimize its activities unless its budget is supplemented by 187 billion lei (nearly $10 million) in the immediate future. Miculescu said the ministry might be forced to cut diplomatic representation by 25-30 percent, leaving only "skeleton staff" at representations abroad, and officially notify international organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe that it is unable to pay fees. MS MAUSOLEUM DEMOLITION DOMINATES NEW SESSION OF BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT. Opening the fall-winter session of the Bulgarian parliament on 1 September, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov said that immediate priorities of his cabinet are to ensure a "low-key" and "correct" campaign for the October local elections and to receive an invitation at the EU Helsinki summit in December to open accession talks. Criticizing the government, Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov said the "new political season" is dominated by the "confrontation policies" of the cabinet, which, he said, are reflected in the amended local election law and the demolition of the Dimitrov mausoleum. Alliance for National Salvation deputy Kemal Eyup said "the Berlin wall was destroyed to unify Germany, whereas the mausoleum was destroyed to divide Bulgaria" because the government is "frightened by any political situation other than a bipolar one," BTA reported. MS BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY. The parliament on 1 September ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which Bulgaria signed in September 1996, BTA reported. One day earlier, Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev said that next week the government will debate the plan for restructuring the country's defense forces. Under that plan, those forces will be halved by 2004 to 45,000 troops. Ananiev noted that by that date, Bulgaria will have 590 generals and colonels, 1,250 lieutenant-colonels, 1,950 majors, and 4,500 officers of lower rank. A total of 62,120 personnel will be discharged, including 10,620 officers, 12,530 sergeants, 18,630 soldiers, and 20,340 civilian employees. MS END NOTE LENNART MERI: 'A LIFE FOR ESTONIA' By Jan Cleave In February 1991, Hungarian-born journalist Andreas Oplatka visited Estonia to interview the then foreign minister of that country. Returning there in July 1997 and again in January 1998, Oplatka was granted permission to record extended conversations with the same interlocutor, who had since been elected and re-elected president. Out of those conversations was born "Lennart Meri: Ein Leben fuer Estland" [Lennart Meri: A Life for Estonia] (Verlag Neue Zuercher Zeitung: Zuerich, 1999). As Oplatka explains in his introduction, the intention of everyone involved in the book's publication was to render not only Meri's life story but also the history of 20th century Estonia. Consequently, "A Life for Estonia" is both an autobiography and, to use Meri's own term, a chronology. Reminiscences, anecdotes, and digressions are all on hand, revealing the inner world of the memoirist. At the same time, the chronology--the account of the world that the memoirist inhabits--is faithfully adhered to, defining the book's structure and, to a certain extent, its tenor. That Meri is supremely qualified to render this "Estonian chronology" is beyond doubt. By his own admission, he was "born into the history" of his country, and by universal acknowledgment, he has played a major role in shaping that history. His depiction of pre-World War II Estonia is based to a large extent on the experiences of his father, who fought against the Red Army in 1919 and later became a high-ranking diplomat, holding posts in Berlin and Paris in the 1930s before returning to Estonia shortly before the outbreak of war. Through his father's first-hand knowledge of events in Moscow and Tallinn during the summer of 1939, when Lennart Meri was just 10 years old, the reader is presented with a behind-the-scenes account of the futile struggle of a small, inexperienced, and, in Lennart Meri's own estimation, naive country about to be sacrificed to the Soviet Union. Beginning with the year 1945, when the Meri family returned to Estonia following four years of enforced exile in Russia, Lennart Meri gives his own eye-witness account of Estonian history. His student years at Tartu University (where he proved masterful at passing exams in Marxist- Leninism with minimal preparation), his early career as a radio journalist and author of travelogues, his writings on the origins of the Estonian people and his films on Finno- Ugric communities (for which he came to be regarded as a "bourgeois nationalist"), and his growing involvement in politics in the late 1980s--all these are described within the context of major developments in postwar Soviet Union and their direct impact on Estonia. Meri is a gifted raconteur who tells his story, as well as that of Estonia, in a matter-of-fact manner--one that allows the autobiographical and the chronological to merge effortlessly. Characteristically, his description of the family's exile in Russia focuses on the Russian countryside, its peoples, and the means of survival, rather than the sufferings and deprivations that he and his family experienced. By the same token, he often chooses to highlight the absurdities of Soviet rule, rather than dwelling on its gloomier manifestations, thereby revealing his renowned sense of humor. Particularly memorable is Meri's discovery of his own name on "ersatz" toilet paper in the "gentlemen's room" at Estonian state radio; that paper turned out to be the protocol of a Communist Party meeting at which Meri's "nationalist" inclinations had been discussed at length. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, however, Meri repeatedly sounds a somber note in recalling how the "double standards" (Doppelmoral) of Western democracies led to the acceptance of a divided Europe after World War II. Implicit in those reminders is a warning about the possible ramifications if the West again chooses not to defend the principles that it espouses. Against the background of the Baltic States' current bid to become members of NATO, Meri's descriptions of how he and other Estonians viewed Western inaction over the Soviet interventions in Budapest, Prague, and Afghanistan are especially resonant. Indeed, were Estonian diplomats looking for a few brief paragraphs to promote their country's bid to join the Atlantic alliance, they would be hard pressed to find more eloquent ones than those with which the book concludes: "If one sacrifices even a small country against its will, then one also sacrifices principles," Meri argues. "Now is not the best time in Europe to talk about principles. Most people would rather hear about material goods.... However, well- being and harmony...are linked to principles that democracies must never give up. That Europe will remain Europe only as long this connection is understood and respected, that is our common problem of the next century." Published to coincide with Meri's 70th birthday earlier this year, "A Life for Estonia" is a fitting tribute to that country's president as his second term in office begins to near its end. Readers may regret that more space was not devoted to Meri's experiences as head of state and to Estonia's transition following the regaining of independence, not least because of the obvious parallels--to which Meri himself alludes--between this period and the interwar one. Many will also regret, particularly in view of the book's scope, that no index is provided. This latter omission could easily be rectified, however, should the book appear in translation, which it indisputably deserves to do. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. 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