The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 186, Part II, 23 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 186, Part II, 23 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

* UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES TO EXCLUDE KUCHMA FROM ELECTION
RACE

* SERBIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS DWINDLING

* SERBIAN LEADERS IN KOSOVA RESIGN FROM COUNCIL OVER NEW
CORPS

End Note: LITHUANIA'S PRESIDENT ADAMKUS LOOKS BACK, FORWARD
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DECREES 1999 BUDGET ADJUSTMENT.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has decreed changing the 1999 budget to
increase revenues by 99.9 trillion Belarusian rubles ($348
million, according to the official exchange rate), Belapan
reported on 22 September. Under the decree, the budget
deficit is raised by 10.7 trillion rubles, up from 33.5
trillion rubles. The decree explains the need for the
adjustment by citing "deviations from the planned macro-
economic parameters as well as from [planned] revenues and
expenditures in the national, oblast, and Minsk City
budgets." JM

BELARUS REPORTS CONTINUED ECONOMIC GROWTH. According to the
Ministry of Statistics and Analysis, Belarus's GDP in
January-August rose 1.5 percent compared with the same period
last year. Industrial output increased by 6.6 percent and
agricultural output fell by 10.2 percent. Consumer prices
rose 111.1 percent, while real incomes fell by 3 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES TO EXCLUDE KUCHMA FROM ELECTION
RACE. The Supreme Council on 22 September voted 286 to 12 to
approve speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko's motion urging the
Central Electoral Commission to ban President Leonid Kuchma
from seeking re-election. The parliament cited alleged
violations by Kuchma of the presidential election law.
However, the motion is not expected to have any consequences
for Kuchma because the election law does not specify how to
remove registered candidates from the race. Kuchma commented
that the parliament's decision was a result of his
competitors' "hysteria and fear" of losing the vote,
according to AP. All except one of Kuchma's 14 rivals are
lawmakers. JM

UKRAINE, BULGARIA, ROMANIA APPEAL FOR EU HELP TO CLEAR DANUBE
OF DEBRIS. The transport ministers of Ukraine, Bulgaria, and
Romania have appealed to the EU for financial aid to clear
the River Danube of debris left by NATO air strikes against
Yugoslavia. The debris has brought the Danube fleets of the
three countries to a virtual standstill. Ukraine claims $70
million and Bulgaria $100 million in trade losses due to the
suspension of navigation on the Danube. Romanian ship owners
say they have had to lay off some 3,000 workers and have lost
$90 billion, according to AP. JM

MOLDOVAN PREMIER IN LATVIA. Ion Sturza continued his Baltic
tour on 22 September by visiting Latvia, where he met with
Premier Andris Skele. The two leaders signed agreements on
investments promotion and protection as well as on shipping
Moldovan goods via Latvian ports, LETA reported. The main
topic of Sturza's various meetings, including with Transport
Minister Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Economics Minister Vladimirs
Makarovs, was bilateral trade. MH

CRISIS BREWING WITHIN LITHUANIAN RULING PARTY OVER IGNALINA?
A crisis appears to be developing within the ruling
Conservative Party over the closure of controversial Ignalina
nuclear power plant. Former Prime Minister Gediminas
Vagnorius is currently lobbying to keep the first unit open,
saying the shutdown plan is "hasty and groundless," ELTA
reported. Recently, the government of Rolandas Paksas
approved an energy strategy for 2000-2005, which calls for
the shutdown of the first unit by 2005 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 September 1999). Parliamentary deputy speaker
Andrius Kubilius, also a member of the Conservative Party,
supports the plan and has called for a "pragmatic" discussion
on the shutdown. MH

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT VOWS TO PROSECUTE WAR CRIMINALS. Valdas
Adamkus has reaffirmed Lithuania's commitment to prosecuting
war criminals. Commemorating the 55th anniversary of the
Vilnius ghetto massacre on 23 September, Adamkus repeated
that Lithuania "firmly supports the further prosecution of
those who participated in Nazi war crimes," Reuters reported.
With regard to the suspension of the trial of accused war
criminal Aleksandras Lileikis (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10
September 1999), Adamkus insisted that it "should not be
interpreted in any way as a weakening of the Lithuanian
government's resolve to bring those who are guilty of such
crimes to justice." The suspension has drawn criticism from
Israel and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. MH

POLISH PREMIER OUTLINES PRIORITIES FOR NEXT TWO YEARS. Jerzy
Buzek has unveiled his government's plan for the next two
years, listing as priorities internal security, job creation,
improving the situation in the agricultural sector, and
stepping up efforts to join the EU. In a televised address to
the nation on 22 September, Buzek said 1999 has been a
difficult year that saw the introduction of four major
reforms. "I am aware of all the mistakes we have made--we
want to correct them," Buzek pledged. He rejected demands
from the leftist opposition that his government resign and
early elections be held. "Those who want early elections do
not offer anything in exchange," he noted, adding that the
left-wing government, which lost the 1997 elections, steered
clear of tough but necessary reforms because it was afraid of
becoming unpopular. JM

CZECH REPUBLIC SUPPORTS BALTS' NATO ENTRY BID. President
Vaclav Havel on 22 September told visiting Latvian
parliamentary chairman Janis Straume that the Baltic States
have the "full support" of the Czech Republic in their quest
to join NATO, CTK reported. MS

POPULAR POLITICIAN SUPPORTS DEMAND FOR CZECH MINISTER'S
RESIGNATION. Petra Buzkova, deputy chairwoman of the ruling
Social Democratic Party (CSSD) said on 21 September that she
supports the Central Bohemian CSSD Committee's demand that
Deputy Prime Minister Egon Lansky resign from the cabinet
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 September 1999). Buzkova, who in
opinion polls is rated as the most popular CSSD politician,
told Czech Radio that local CSSD branches have the right to
asses the performance of party ministers and to exercise an
influence on the cabinet lineup. She said she will support
the demand for Lansky's dismissal if he does not resign of
his own free will, CTK reported. But Lansky told Prime
television that he will resign only if Prime Minister Milos
Zeman asks him to. MS

AUSTRIA 'DISAPPOINTED' BY SLOVAK NUCLEAR PLANT DECISION.
Eduard Kukan has informed Austrian Foreign Ministry State
Secretary Benita Ferrer-Waldner about the Slovak government's
decision to shut down the nuclear power plant at Jaslovske
Bohunice, CTK reported on 22 September, citing the Austrian
APA agency (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September 1999). Kukan,
who is attending the UN General Assembly in New York, told
Ferrer-Waldner that the first reactor will be closed in 2006
and the second in 2008. The Austrian diplomat said Vienna
takes note of the decision "with disappointment." "This is
not what we expected," she commented. MS

COUNCIL OF EUROPE REPORT REFERS TO HUNGARIAN EXTREMISTS. An
appendix to a Council of Europe report notes that two
extremist parties have been represented in the Hungarian
parliament since 1998, Hungarian media reported on 23
September. The Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP) is
referred to as a "xenophobic, anti-Semitic party" that
opposes NATO membership, while the ruling coalition
Independent Smallholders' Party is described as "Catholic,
conservative, xenophobic and anti-Western." MIEP Chairman
Istvan Csurka said he considers the appendix "a private
letter" commissioned by "Slovak, Romanian, and Serbian
elements that would very much like to ruin Hungary's
reputation." MSZ

HUNGARIAN, ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Janos Martonyi
told his Romanian counterpart, Andrei Plesu, in New York on
22 September that he is satisfied with the Romanian cabinet's
denouncement of Cluj Mayor Gheorghe Funar's recent attacks on
the new Hungarian consul general in Romania, Laszlo Alfoldi
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September 1999). Plesu told
Martonyi that the Romanian government will soon earmark space
for a proposed Romanian-Hungarian "reconciliation park." MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS DWINDLING... Far fewer people
turned out on the second day of opposition protests against
the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic,
Reuters and AP reported. A crowd estimated at 6,000-10,000
demonstrated in Belgrade on 22 September, compared with the
20,000 who protested on the previous day. Only about one-
third of the 10,000 people who protested on the first day in
Novi Sad showed up on the second day--a pattern repeated in
most of the nearly 20 cities in which protests were
organized. Zoran Djindjic, a leader of the movement Alliance
for Change, said the opposition is "doomed" if Serbs "do not
find the energy" to attend the protests. PB

...AS PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA ATTACK DEMONSTRATIONS. State-
controlled media have been deriding the opposition movement.
Tanjug called the coalition "NATO mercenaries" who want to
"create chaos [and] provoke upheavals and clashes." The
state-run daily "Politika" said that all the opposition does
is "deliver empty promises for a handful of dollars donated
by their foreign mentors." Independent news agency Beta also
reported on 22 September that there is no sign that the
Association of Free and Independent Unions' call for a
general strike the previous day was heeded. PB

MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT SAYS MILOSEVIC MAY PROVOKE ANOTHER
CRISIS. Milo Djukanovic said in Strasbourg on 22 September
that he "cannot rule out" the possibility of Yugoslav
President Milosevic's initiating a crisis in Yugoslavia,
Belgrade-based Radio B2-92 reported. Djukanovic, who gave an
interview to the radio station one day before he is to
address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
said such a crisis could take the form of using force against
demonstrators in Serbia, attempting to gain control of
Montenegro, forcibly suppressing a referendum there, or even
sending troops into Kosova. Djukanovic said that the
international community would defend both Kosova and
Montenegro in the face of such an attack. He blamed Milosevic
for the current situation in Kosova, saying "Milosevic's whip
always resulted in a backlash for his own people." PB

MEDIA WATCHDOG PROTESTS CONFISCATION OF WEEKLY. The media
watch group Reporters sans Frontieres sent a letter to
Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic on 22 September
protesting the seizure of the latest issue of the independent
weekly "Reporter" as it was being transported from Bosnia-
Herzegovina into Serbia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 September
1999), Beta reported. The letter urged that the impounded
copies of the weekly be released immediately and that
Belgrade allow future issues of the publication and other
Bosnian Serb press to be sold freely in Serbia. PB

SERBIAN LEADERS IN KOSOVA RESIGN FROM COUNCIL OVER NEW CORPS.
Serbian Resistance Movement chairman Momcilo Trajkovic and
Prizren Bishop Artemije on 22 September resigned from the
multiethnic Kosova Transitional Council to protest the
formation of the Kosova Protection Corps, Beta reported.
Trajkovic said "the international community wants to solve
Kosovo's problems on an ethnic basis, and by forming this
Kosovo Corps, it's over for [a] multiethnic Kosovo."
Trajkovic and Bishop Artemije were seen as influential
moderate leaders of the Serbian community in Kosova. Bernard
Kouchner, the head of the UN Mission in Kosova, said "they
did not refuse to cooperate and we will remain in everyday
contact.... We need them." He said time is needed to
establish trust between the Serbian and ethnic Albanian
communities. PB

NATO COUNTRIES DEFEND CREATION OF CORPS. The foreign
ministers of Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and the U.S.
defended the decision to transform the Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK) into the civilian protection force for Kosova, AP
reported on 22 September. During a press conference at the UN
in New York, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said
she thought it is "quite remarkable" that ethnic Albanians
have been handing in weapons. She said it is "very hard to
ask people to give up their weapons and not give them
something in exchange." But at a rally for the corps in
Skenderaj, at which many people were still wearing their UCK
uniforms, former UCK political leader Hashim Thaci told
onlookers, many of whom were armed, that "this force will
guard and protect every foot of Kosova." PB

UN TRIBUNAL SAYS THOUSANDS EXHUMED FROM MASS GRAVES. The UN
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said on 22 September that
war crimes investigators have recovered thousands of bodies
from some 150 mass graves in Kosova and that more are exhumed
each day, Reuters reported. Tribunal spokeswoman Kelly Moore
said there are still some 350 suspected mass grave sites to
investigate. She added that more charges of genocide will be
filed for crimes committed in Kosova. Meanwhile in that
republic, one Turkish soldier was killed and five German
peacekeepers were injured in separate incidents on 22
September. PB

U.S. OFFICIAL WARNS CROATIA OVER STANCE ON TRIBUNAL. A U.S.
government official said on 22 September that Croatia's
economy has a real opportunity to "revive" if Zagreb
cooperates with the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague and
extradites an indicted suspect, AP reported. But David Aaron,
U.S. undersecretary for commerce, added that if Croatia does
not hand over Mladen Naletilic to the tribunal, its economy
could suffer "extremely negative" consequences. Aaron made
his comments in Zagreb at the end of a tour of Balkan states.
He did not elaborate. The U.S. is the largest foreign
investor in Croatia. Naletilic is in custody in Zagreb and is
awaiting a verdict on an appeal he made to the Croatian
Supreme Court to block his extradition to The Hague. Local
newspapers claim the U.S. has given Croatia two weeks to hand
over Naletilic. PB

IZETBEGOVIC CRITICIZES PEACEKEEPERS. Alija Izetbegovic, the
Muslim member of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian presidency, said
on 21 September in Kuwait City that the NATO peacekeepers in
Bosnia are ineffective, the Kuna news agency reported.
Izetbegovic said the situation is Bosnia is negatively
affected by the "presence of leading criminals who are at
large but cannot be caught." He said it would be better if
NATO forces were "more active" in detaining them. Izetbegovic
left Kuwait the following day for an official visit to
Turkey. In other news, Rajko Vasic, a member of the Bosnian
Serb government of Premier Milorad Dodik, denied a report by
the Onasa news service that Dodic recently met with Yugoslav
President Milosevic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 September
1999). PG

GERMAN CHANCELLOR PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR ALBANIA. Visiting
Albania on 22 September, Gerhard Schroeder thanked Albanian
Premier Pandeli Majko for the government's support during the
war in Kosova and pledged that Germany will aid Tirana in
securing an association agreement with the EU, Reuters
reported. Schroeder said that because of Albania's
"stabilizing" role during the Kosova conflict, it has "the
right to enjoy the solidarity of Europe." He said this means
that an EU association agreement will be reached "as soon as
possible." Schroeder, the first German chancellor to visit
Albania, praised the government's fight against corruption
and lawlessness and said winning such a fight "is important"
in attracting foreign investment. Majko told Schroeder that
Germany has played an important role in the history of
Albania. Germany is Albania's second-largest donor country.
PB

ILIESCU, PDSR CONTINUE TO LEAD IN ROMANIAN POLL. Former
President Ion Iliescu and his Party of Social Democracy in
Romania (PDSR) top a public opinion poll conducted in early
September by the Center for Public Opinion and Market
Research. Both Iliescu and the PDSR are backed by 40 percent
of the electorate, well ahead of President Emil
Constantinescu (17 percent) and the Democratic Convention of
Romania (CDR, 21 percent). The findings are in line with a
survey conducted by the same institute in June. The September
poll also shows former Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu with
14 percent backing, followed by Greater Romania Party (PRM)
leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor (9 percent). The extremist PRM is
third in party preferences, with 9 percent support. Nearly
half of those polled (48 percent), however, were either
undecided or did not respond, Mediafax reported. MS

IMF AGREES TO HIGHER ROMANIAN BUDGET DEFICIT. The IMF has
agreed to a deficit of 4.1 percent of GDP this year, instead
of 3.9 percent as previously agreed. The chief IMF negotiator
for Romania, Emmanuel Zervoudakis, made that announcement at
the end of his visit to Romania on 22 September, Mediafax
reported. Zervoudakis said the higher deficit is a result of
budgetary allocations for orphanages. He said that during its
fact-finding mission over the previous two weeks, the fund
established that the program agreed on earlier this year with
the Romanian authorities has been "by and large implemented
within its established parameters." He added that some
positive developments have been noted as a result of reducing
the current account deficit. On the other hand, inflation has
been higher than planned and the economic decline steeper
than envisaged. Zervoudakis said Romania will have to borrow
$470 million from international financial lenders to cover
its budgetary deficit. MS

MOLDOVA TO RENOUNCE WEAPONS SHARE IN TRANSDNIESTER ARSENAL?
At talks with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow
earlier this month, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi
proposed that Chisinau renounce its share of the Russian
arsenal deployed in Transdniester and in return have its debt
for deliveries of Russian natural gas written off, Infotag
reported on 22 September, citing the Russian daily
"Izvestiya." MS

COUNCIL OF EUROPE APPROVES BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTION LAW.
Amendments to Bulgaria's local election law are "not
inconsistent" with the European Charter on Local Self
Government, the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and
Regional Authorities of Europe said in a note to the
Bulgarian parliament, BTA reported on 22 September. The
opposition Socialist Party had requested that the council
rule on the amendments after the Constitutional Court refused
last month to deem them unconstitutional. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DENIES OFFERING U.S. MILITARY BASES.
Petar Stoyanov has dismissed reports in the media that
Bulgarian officials recently conducted talks with the U.S. on
setting up military bases on Bulgarian territory, BTA
reported on 22 September. However, Stoyanov remarked that "we
must not approach this problem shyly [sic] if Bulgaria wishes
to prove its orientation toward NATO." He said that the
devastating earthquake in Turkey has destroyed a large U.S.
military base there and that "it is possible [that] U.S.
warships [will] take shelter in Bulgarian ports, if the U.S.
navy command makes [such] a request." MS

END NOTE

LITHUANIA'S PRESIDENT ADAMKUS LOOKS BACK, FORWARD

by Breffni O'Rourke

	It's a big step from being a worker in a Chicago
automobile factory to becoming the head of state of
Lithuania. But Valdas Adamkus has managed such a leap in the
course of a lifetime marked by sharp contrasts. In fact, it
could be said that his life reflects the kaleidoscope of
events in the Baltics over most of this century.
	Born in Kaunas in 1926, when Lithuania and neighboring
Estonia and Latvia were independent, the young Adamkus was
caught up in the tragedies of the Soviet annexation and the
German occupation. A teenage resistance member during the war
years, he and his family fled westward in 1944. Five years
later, in 1949, they emigrated to the U.S., where Adamkus
began working at the Chicago auto plant and then went on to
study civil engineering.
	In the early 1970s, Adamkus joined the new U.S.
Environment Protection Agency, eventually becoming U.S.
coordinator for the Baltic states on environmental
protection.
	Adamkus then rose through the U.S. federal civil
service, before returning to his homeland to contest
Lithuania's 1998 presidential election. He won that ballot by
a narrow margin and has managed to steadily increase his
popularity since then.
	This week, Adamkus paid his first state visit to the
Czech Republic for talks with President Vaclav Havel and
other Czech leaders. While in Prague he visited RFE/RL's
headquarters, where he spoke to foreign and domestic
journalists.
	Asked about how the time he spent in the U.S. impacted
on his political thinking, Adamkus said that "50 years is
almost a lifetime for the grown individual, and I have to say
that definitely I grew up within a democratic society, with
democratic principles. Like I said, democracy cannot be
learned from books, and I feel I am part of that system, part
of the principles and thinking."
	On the broader theme of democratization, Adamkus spoke
of his pleasure at the slow but steady transformation in
social consciousness now taking place in Lithuania. He said
the whole country seems to be striving toward accepting
individual responsibility, the new philosophy so different
from that of the last half-century: "What really is
delightful is that the attitude, philosophy, and outlook
among the people is changing, especially I would say among
the younger generation. What is disappointing for me is that
these changes, in terms of the economy, in terms of improving
standards of living for people, are not happening as rapidly
as I would like."
	Turning to foreign policy issues, Adamkus noted that
Lithuania's geo-political situation is very sensitive and its
policy based on the EU's guidelines of recognizing states but
not becoming internally involved in them. He said Lithuania
is strongly committed to good working relations with its
eastern neighbors, Russia and Belarus. Asked specifically
about ties with Belarus, Adamkus replied: "I believe there is
a very warm feeling [on the part of Lithuanians] toward the
people of Belarus, but the difficulty we have right now is
the very uncertain situation as to whom we should speak to,
because the [Belarusian] people are divided on that issue.
Legally they say that the present regime does not represent
actually the people, it represents only the government, the
bureaucracy. And of course this is not for us to decide;
that's what makes things very difficult".
	Turning to the issue of Lithuania's integration into
Western structures, the president expressed confidence in
prospects for joining both the EU and NATO.
	 He said he believes there are good prospects that at
its Helsinki summit in December, the EU will invite Lithuania
to begin formal membership negotiations. He played down
Lithuania's dispute with the union over the timetable for
closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which the EU
considers unsafe. He said there is a common European
understanding of the need for safety in nuclear power issues.
	As for NATO, he said he believes that barring unexpected
developments, Lithuania will become a member early next
century. Commenting that all signs are positive, he noted
that Lithuania is already playing a supporting role in
international peacekeeping operations, such as in Kosova.

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