I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of my existence, and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. - James Joyce
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 181, Part II, 16 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 181, Part II, 16 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

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Headlines, Part II

* FORMER SLOVAK PREMIER PROMISES COMEBACK

* MONTENEGRO: NO SIGN OF COMPROMISE FROM MILOSEVIC

* SESELJ'S PARTY MAY FACE BAN IN BOSNIA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA CANCELS HARVEST FESTIVALS. Following a 15
September cabinet meeting devoted to the situation in the
agricultural sector, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has decided to cancel the national harvest
festival in Shklou and all oblast harvest festivals,
Belarusian Television reported. The station cited no reason
for this decision. Belarusian media reported earlier that
this year's harvest totaled some 3.7 million tons, far below
the projected target of 6 million tons. JM

DIASPORA CALLS FOR AID TO BELARUS TO DEPEND ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
On 15 September in New York, a session of the Presidium of
the Belarusian Democratic Republic Council, which represents
the Belarusian diaspora in the West, adopted an appeal "On
Financial Assistance to the Republic of Belarus," RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported. The forum urged Western
governments and international financial organizations to make
financial assistance to Belarus conditional on the country's
compliance with international human rights standards, the
release of political prisoners, and the return to the rule of
law. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT OVERRIDES PRESIDENT'S VETO ON BUDGET
BILL. Lawmakers have overridden President Leonid Kuchma's
veto on a bill introducing amendments to the 2000 budget, the
"Eastern Economic Daily" reported on 16 September. The
amendments, adopted by the parliament in June, provided for
additional allocations to pay wage arrears to teachers,
finance the agricultural sector, and increase the financing
of the presidential elections. The parliament also rejected a
presidential bill on additional sources of revenues to pay
wage and pension arrears as "overtly populist." Kuchma
proposed state-owned assets such as non-arable land,
sanatoriums, spas, and hotels be sold to raise funds for this
purpose. JM

ALL ESTONIAN SOLDIERS TO BE INSURED. Defense Minister Juri
Luik announced on 15 September that all Estonian military
personnel will be insured. The Defense Ministry's 2000 budget
for next year has allocated more than 3 million kroons
($200,000) for this purpose, BNS reported. The ministry will
soon announce a tender for the insurance policy package,
Estonian media reported. MH

LASCO CONFUSION FORCES LATVIA TO ISSUE EUROBOND. The
government announced on 15 September that it will issue bonds
for 75 million euros ($77.9 million) in October. Finance
Minister Edmunds Krastins explained that the "delay in
privatization matters" means expected revenues will not be
forthcoming for an indefinite period, LETA reported. The
proceeds from the sale of the Latvian Shipping Company
(LASCO) are included for spending in the 1999 budget, but
intra-coalition disputes have held up the sale (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 18 June and 18 August 1999). Meanwhile, the
decision to issue the bonds in October is reportedly to
offset any possible disruptions in the global financial
market due to the so-called millennium bug. MH

VILNIUS TO HOST CONFERENCE ON IGNALINA SHUTDOWN. Lithuanian
Economics Minister Eugenijus Maldeikis told journalists on 15
September that an international donors conference will take
place in Vilnius this fall on the shutdown of the Ignalina
nuclear power plant. ELTA reported that the initial scheme to
fund the shutdown foresees the EU covering about half of the
costs for the first unit at Ignalina. The government recently
announced that it will close that unit in 2005 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 September 1999). Maldeikis also said that the EU
will issue grants worth 200 million euros ($209 million) over
the next decade to finance the closure of the first unit and
will provide possibly some 10 million euros for further
safety improvements at Ignalina. Experts believe that closing
the first unit will cost some 10 billion litas ($2.5
billion), excluding compensating the town of Visaginas, where
most of Ignalina's employees live, for its ensuing losses. MH

POLAND, RUSSIA DIFFER OVER 1939 SOVIET INVASION. Russia's
Foreign Ministry on 14 September issued a statement saying
the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September 1939 was
"dictated not so much by the wish to gain new territories as
by the need to protect our own country," PAP reported. The
ministry took issue with the comparison of the Soviet
invasion to Nazi Germany's attack on Poland on 1 September
1939. It also accused "certain circles in Poland" of
politicizing the issue in order to claim reparations.
Poland's Foreign Ministry responded on 15 September by saying
that the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland in 1939 bore the
"hallmarks of aggression," as defined in the London
Convention of 1933, to which the USSR was a signatory. The
Polish ministry added that Polish-Russian relations "cannot
be built on a denial of historical truths." JM

CZECH PREMIER HAILS ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. "We have fulfilled
our promise and have taken the country out of the [economic]
crisis," Prime Minister Milos Zeman told "Lidove noviny" on
15 September. He was responding to data released by the
Central Statistics Office, according to which GDP in the
second quarter of 1999 grew by 0.3 percent. Zeman said that
this is "the happiest day" since his Social Democratic Party
took over power one year ago. "Until now I and the entire
cabinet were like a pilot approaching the earth in a falling
plane. Now the pilot sees blue skies," CTK reported him as
commenting. MS

BAHAMAS REINTRODUCE VISA REQUIREMENT FOR CZECHS. The Bahamas
on 15 September announced the re-introduction of a visa
requirement for Czech citizens. A spokeswoman for the Bahamas
embassy in London told CTK that the Bahamas have unilaterally
abolished visa requirements for a number of countries but the
requirements have been re-introduced for the Czech Republic,
as well as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Russia, because
those countries did not reciprocate. In late August the
Bahamas, a member of the Commonwealth, introduced visa
requirements for Slovaks. It explained that the step was in
line with similar measures introduced by the U.K., which last
year introduced the requirement for Slovak citizens to halt
an influx of Roma seeking asylum there. MS

FORMER SLOVAK PREMIER PROMISES COMEBACK. "After last year's
election, I firmly intended not to return to politics, but
since the new government has made a lot of blunders, an
increasing number of people want my return," Vladimir Meciar
told the Austrian daily "Die Presse" on 15 September. He said
that early elections are very likely and that in the
meantime, social unrest cannot be ruled out because the
government's economic policies are "disastrous," CTK
reported. MS

SLOVAK POLITICIAN TO SET UP NEW PARTY. Robert Fico, whom the
polls show to be the most popular politician in Slovakia,
announced on 15 September he is leaving the Democratic Left
Party and will set up a new political formation, CTK
reported. He said that until the new party is established, he
will be an independent deputy in the parliament. His
departure does not affect the government parliamentary
majority, which now has 92 out of 150 deputies belonging to
the ruling four-party coalition. MS

MONTENEGRO PRESIDENT IN HUNGARY. Prime Minister Viktor Orban
on 15 September told visiting Montenegro President Milo
Djukanovic that Hungary would like to see Montenegro join the
OSCE and the Council of Europe, Hungarian media reported.
Djukanovic said Montenegro continues to rely on Hungarian
political and economic help. He said that the efforts of the
Vojvodina ethnic Hungarian minority to gain autonomy are
"legitimate." "I believe we have a common enemy, the last
anti-democratic and dictatorial regime in Europe, which not
only wants to strangle the autonomy of Vojvodina but also
totally ignores Montenegro," Djukanovic said in reference to
the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MONTENEGRO: NO SIGN OF COMPROMISE FROM MILOSEVIC. Montenegrin
Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic said in Paris on 15 September
that his government has received "no sign that [Yugoslav]
President Slobodan Milosevic is ready for talks about
[Montenegro's] demand for more autonomy within the Yugoslav
federation," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported.
Meanwhile in Budapest, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic
charged that Milosevic is bent on destabilizing Montenegro
and replacing the current government with "puppets."
Djukanovic added that outsiders should not pin too great
hopes on the Serbian opposition, noting that only the Serbs
can bring democracy to Serbia. He told his hosts that
Montenegro will seek admission to the OSCE and the Council of
Europe, even though it is not an independent country, the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. He also said that
Malev and Montenegro Airlines will begin flights between
Budapest and Podgorica in October. PM

UN INTERVIEWS CANDIDATES FOR KOSOVA CORPS. The UN's
International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 15
September began interviewing applicants for positions in the
Kosova Corps, a UN spokeswoman told an RFE/RL South Slavic
Service correspondent in Prishtina. The IOM has so far
registered over 10,700 applicants, most of them former Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) fighters. The Kosova Corps will have a
staff of 5,000, including 2,000 reservists. KFOR spokesman
Ole Irgens said the corps will not be a military or defense
force, nor will it be in charge of implementing the law or
maintaining public order and security. FS

KFOR GENERAL SAYS KOSOVA IS DEVELOPING 'VERY WELL.' Major-
General Pierre Giuseppe Giovanetti, who is the deputy head of
KFOR, told an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent in
Tirana on 15 September that "the general situation in Kosova
is going very well. Going very well means that the level of
incidents have decreased [considerably]. We are sure that we
[will see] a big improvement in the near future." Giovanetti
added that KFOR expects the UCK to meet its demilitarization
deadline of 19 September. Referring to recent threats by
Yugoslav Army General Vladimir Lazarevic to retake Kosova by
force, Giovanetti said the Yugoslav Army is "not a threat to
NATO" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 1999). He explained
that the June military-technical agreement between NATO and
the Yugoslav authorities envisages the return of several
hundred Serbian police to Kosova, but he pointed out that
this is not going to happen until "the atmosphere permits."
FS

KFOR DISCOVER WEAPONS CACHES. A KFOR official said in
Prishtina on 15 September that the peacekeeping troops raided
homes in various regions of Kosova that day and confiscated
arms, explosives, and ammunition, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. U.S. soldiers arrested three Serbs near
Gjilan, who were in possession of "large amounts" of weapons.
In Shtrpce, Polish soldiers arrested another Serb in
possession of arms and a Serbian paramilitary police uniform.
Meanwhile, "The Daily Telegraph" on 16 September quoted an
unnamed high-ranking NATO official as saying that UCK
commanders are seeking ways of keeping some of the
organization intact and are "squirreling away" some of its
guns. FS

BRITISH RAILWAY WORKERS SEND HUMANITARIAN TRAIN TO KOSOVA.
The Train of Events charity, a group of still active and
retired British railway workers, have loaded a train with
humanitarian aid for Kosova. Representatives of the
organization told Reuters on 15 September that it will be
"the first time" that a train runs directly from Britain to
the former Yugoslavia. The "Train for Life" is scheduled to
leave Britain on 17 September. It will carry 800 tons of aid,
including supplies to equip a school. The train's three
locomotives will be donated to the UN Mission in Kosova to
help deliver winter housing materials. FS

REFUGEES FROM PRESEVO LAUNCH HUNGER STRIKE IN MACEDONIA.
Ethnic Albanian refugees from the Serbian town of Presevo
recently began a hunger strike in the refugee camp of
Cegrane, near Gostivar, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service
correspondent reported on 15 September. The refugees demand
that either they be transferred to third countries while the
UNHCR prepares their return to Presevo or the UNHCR opens a
refugee camp for them in Kosova. UNHCR spokesman Bujar Idrizi
said "the UNHCR cannot organize their return to...Presevo,
because it cannot guarantee their security there." On 14
September, the Macedonian government ruled that residency
permits of all refugees will expire on 28 September. Idrizi,
however, said that "the UNHCR will negotiate with the
Macedonian government [and demand] that all refugees who
cannot return now to their homes will have their residency
rights extended." FS

CLARK DEFENDS WAR RECORD. NATO's Supreme Commander Europe
General Wesley Clark told NATO ambassadors that the
alliance's spring bombing campaign was highly effective. He
argued that pilots hit 181 Serbian tanks, of which 93 were
destroyed. A diplomat who attended the closed-door
presentation in Brussels on 15 September told Reuters that
Clark delivered an "impressive report. [He and his staff]
clearly applied very rigorous accounting standards" in
determining how effective the air strikes were. Reuters
suggested that Clark's presentation was intended to counter
Yugoslav claims that NATO destroyed only 13 Serbian tanks
during the bombing campaign. PM

KARADZIC REPORT JUST 'PROPAGANDA?' A spokesman for the
international community's Wolfgang Petritsch said in Sarajevo
on 15 September that a Muslim daily's recent report of a
public appearance by indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic
is "incorrect," Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15
September 1999). The spokesman suggested that Sarajevo's
"Dnevni avaz" had published the story as "propaganda" to show
that the international community has grossly neglected the
task of catching war criminals and bringing them to justice.
Mensur Osmovic, who is the editor-in-chief of "Avaz," told
the news agency that he stands by his story. He stressed that
"this is not about propaganda." PM

SESELJ'S PARTY MAY FACE BAN IN BOSNIA. Republika Srpska Prime
Minister Milorad Dodik has drawn up legal measures to ban
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj's Radical Party
from the Bosnian Serb entity, the Frankfurt-based Serbian
daily "Vesti" reported on 16 September. Dodik is only waiting
for an "opportune moment" to make the ban public, an unnamed
"high official of the international community" told "Vesti."
The ban would also remove 11 Radicals from the parliament. It
is unclear whether new parliamentary elections would be
necessary as a result. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard
Holbrooke recently called for a ban on the Radicals and on
Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party on the grounds that they
propagate ethnic hatred, which is banned under the 1995
Dayton peace agreement. PM

ALBANIA'S NANO BLASTS MAJKO FOR SUPPORTING BUKOSHI'S
FIGHTERS... Former Prime Minister Fatos Nano has accused his
successor, Pandeli Majko, of having allowed the Armed Forces
of the Republic of Kosova (FARK) of Kosovar shadow-state
Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi to smuggle arms through Albania
before and during the recent Kosova conflict. Nano made the
remarks in a speech to supporters in Fier on 15 September, an
RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent reported. Nano said
that Majko allowed FARK to train on Albanian territory. The
former premier charged that Majko did so even though he knew
that FARK was involved in arms smuggling and in an armed
uprising by the Albanian opposition one year ago (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 14 September 1998). FS

...WHILE SOCIALIST PARTY TO LOOK INTO ALLEGATIONS. Gramoz
Ruci, who heads the Socialist faction in the parliament, told
an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent on 15 September
that legislators will discuss Nano's allegations at a special
session. He pledged that "if there is such information, the
Socialist Party structures will respond in an appropriate
way." Jolos Beja, who is a Socialist deputy from Fier and
head of the parliamentary commission dealing with emergency
aid for Kosova, said that "Nano [must] give the National
Information Service (SHIK) the documents that prove his
charges." FS

BUCHAREST COURT DENIES REGISTRATION TO FORMER PREMIER'S
PARTY. Former Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea on 15 September
said that the decision of the Bucharest Appeals Court the
previous day to refuse registration to his National Christian
Democratic Alliance (ANCD) is "illegal, unconstitutional, and
undemocratic," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The court
upheld an appeal by the Prosecutor-General's Office and the
National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) against
the party's registration on grounds that its emblem too
closely resembles that of the PNTCD (from which the ANCD
split in April) and on several procedural grounds. The
Bucharest Tribunal, which decided to grant registration on 28
July, is to review the registration application once the ANCD
has dealt with the objections raised against it. Ciorbea
appealed to President Emil Constantinescu, saying he must
seek to stop political intervention in the judiciary. MS

ROMANIA DENIES INTENTION TO IMPOSE VISA REQUIREMENT ON
MOLDOVANS. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Simona Miculescu said
reports in the Moldovan press that Romania intends to impose
visa requirements for Moldovan citizens are "speculation"
aimed at "creating tension between the citizens of the two
states," Flux reported on 15 September. She noted that both
countries are striving for integration into the EU, which
"means that in the future they will both be part of the
Schengen agreements." Miculescu added that the process of
integration is "long and complex" and involves "certain
regulations on border crossing." She added, however, that
Romania's "political will" is to have "privileged relations"
with Moldova, meaning that "there will be no restrictions on
traffic between the two banks of the River Prut." MS

KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA. Nursultan Nazarbaev and
his Bulgarian counterpart, Petar Stoyanov, meeting in Sofia
on 15 September, signed seven bilateral agreements and a
declaration on promoting cooperation and friendship, BTA
reported. The declaration notes the "strategic importance" of
the TRACECA project, which will provide access for the
countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus to the trans-
European and trans-Asian transport networks, and of the
Interstate Oil and Gas Transport to Europe Program (INOGATE).
Nazarbaev said his country is ready to compete with OPEC
countries in supplying crude oil to Europe if pipelines
between Bulgaria and other Balkan countries are built.
Premier Ivan Kostov told journalists that Nazarbaev showed
"great interest" in the planned Bourgas-Alexandropolis
pipeline project, but "I was surprised to learn that I was
the first one to have told him about it," he added. MS

IMF RELEASES TRANCHE TO BULGARIA. The IMF on 15 September
released a $72 million tranche of its three-year $860 million
stand-by credit to Bulgaria, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Washington reported. IMF First Deputy Managing Director
Stanley Fischer said the fund's executive board noted that
the Kosova crisis has had an impact on Bulgaria and that the
closure of inefficient state enterprises has entailed new
social costs for the country. Fischer said the IMF is urging
Bulgaria to complete its privatization program. MS

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