The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 188, Part II, 27 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 188, Part II, 27 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

* BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT ACTIVISTS FORM NEW PARTY

* ANTI-MILOSEVIC DEMONSTRATIONS PICK UP STEAM

* SOLANA URGES RECONCILIATION, ENDORSES CORPS

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT ACTIVISTS FORM NEW PARTY. Activists
of the Belarusian Popular Front (BNF) who support BNF exiled
leader Zyanon Paznyak held a congress in Minsk on 26
September, Belapan reported. Delegates formed a Conservative
Christian Party of the BNF and elected Zyanon Paznyak as its
leader. The congress reflects the deepening split within the
BNF, the most influential opposition group in Belarus.
Another BNF faction, which is grouped around Lyavon
Barshcheuski and Vintsuk Vyachorka, plans to elect its
leadership on 30-31 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13
September 1999). JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER FINED. A Minsk court ordered
the opposition newspaper "Naviny" and one of its editors to
pay 15 billion Belarusian rubles ($52,000) in damages to
State Security Secretary Viktar Sheyman, Belapan reported on
24 September. "Naviny" published an article earlier this
month saying that Sheyman had built a luxurious house and
risen from the rank of major to major general in five years.
Sheyman denied both allegations and filed a libel suit
against "Naviny." "We do not have such money. We will have to
close our newspaper, and that's what the authorities are
striving for," "Naviny" deputy chief editor Mikalay Khalezin
commented. According to Khalezin, "Naviny" make a $2,700
profit each month. JM

UKRAINE OFFERS TO PAY FOR RUSSIAN GAS WITH SHIPS. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma said on 26 September that Ukraine
plans to pay for Russian gas supplies with newly constructed
ships, ITAR-TASS reported. Kuchma was attending the launching
of a river-to-sea dry-cargo ship built at a cost of $7
million for Russia's Gazprom. Ukraine imports from Russia
some 70 percent of the gas it requires and currently owes
that country some $1.8 billion for gas supplies. JM

UKRAINIAN SPEAKER UPBEAT ABOUT PROSPECTS IN PRESIDENTIAL
RACE. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko has said he
expects to be proposed as the single presidential candidate
from among his election alliance with Yevhen Marchuk,
Oleksandr Moroz, and Volodymyr Oliynyk, Interfax reported on
25 September. Tkachenko added that the Communist Party may
also support his candidacy. "I think we will win. I think
I've have done a lot in this state," the news agency quoted
him as saying. Tkachenko noted that he had left the Communist
Party when it was banned, but he stressed that he remains a
"worthy son of the Communist Party" even if he is now a
member of the Peasant Party, which he founded. "I think that
by 31 October we will find the courage [with Communist Party
leader Petro Symonenko] to acknowledge that today we have no
right to work separately," Tkachenko said. JM

RUSSIA ISSUES REPORT ON BALTICS. In a report issued on 24
September, the Russian Foreign Policy and Defense Policy
Working Group stressed that the Baltic States will always be
included in the zone of Russia's vital interest, ITAR-TASS
and LETA reported. The report stated that bilateral relations
with each of those countries are slowly improving. It also
suggested that the "anti-Russian policy" of the Balts is
"amounting to nothing," just like their bid to gain entry
into the EU. Finally, the report noted that the "prospect of
Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia joining NATO" may deal a
serious blow to "Russian-Western and Russian-Baltic relations
in particular." MH

POLISH UNIONISTS DEMAND GOVERNMENT OUSTER. Some 35,000 people
marched in Warsaw on 24 September to protest the government's
socio-economic policies and demand the resignation of Jerzy
Buzek's cabinet and new parliamentary elections. The left-
wing National Trade Union Alliance and farmers' unions, which
organized the rally, had predicted that 100,000 people would
take part. The organizers later issued a statement saying
that unless the ruling coalition meets their demands, the
trade union will resort to all legal means of protest,
including a general strike. JM

CENTRAL EUROPEAN RIGHT-WINGERS PLEDGE COOPERATION. Leaders of
right-wing parties from 11 Central European countries met in
Gdansk on 24-25 September, pledging to boost mutual
cooperation, Polish media reported. The delegates established
a Warsaw-based Secretariat of the Center-Right Parties of
Central Europe, a foundation to support rightist forces in
the countries of the former Soviet bloc, and a tribunal to
judge communist crimes. They also announced that a conference
of the Central European right-wing parties will be held each
year. JM

EU MEMBERSHIP CANDIDATES MEET. The chief negotiators for the
six countries that have been invited to fast-track EU
accession talks met in Prague on 23 and 24 September, CTK
reported. The Estonian chief negotiator dismissed fears that
the acceptance of new members from Eastern Europe would
trigger mass emigration to the West. His comments were
supported by the other negotiators. Such meetings have been
held among EU membership candidates since 1997. VG

CZECH PRESIDENT, JUDGES WARN AGAINST CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES.
Vaclav Havel on 25 September said that the package of
constitutional changes being drawn up by the country's two
largest parties will paralyze the state apparatus for months,
CTK reported. Constitutional Court Chairman Zdenek Kessler
and Supreme Court Chairwoman Eliska Wagnerova have also
criticized the proposed changes, suggesting that they are
politically motivated, "Mlada fronta Dnes" reported on 27
September. The changes, which the Czech Social Democratic
Party and the Civic Democratic Party are working on, aim at
reducing presidential powers in granting amnesties,
appointing board members to the Czech National Bank, and
naming Supreme Court judges. VG

SLOVAK WORKERS STAGE PROTEST. Some 40,000 Slovak workers
staged a demonstration in downtown Bratislava on 25
September, the news agency TKE reported. The Slovak Trade
Unions Confederation (KOZ), which organized the
demonstration, submitted a list of 20 demands to the
government. Those demands include calls for pay rises, lower
taxes, and more jobs. KOZ chairman Ivan Saktor said the
unions will take "stronger action" if the government does not
respond. Finance Minister Brigita Schmognerova, the only
minister to address the rally, told the demonstrators that
the government cannot afford to fulfill all their demands.
While the rally was billed as an independent, union-organized
event, several demonstrators shouted slogans supporting
former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, "Mlada fronta Dnes"
reported. VG

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DROPS DEBATE ON 'EXTREMIST' PARTIES.
Hungarian Independent Smallholders' Party representative Geza
Pokol has expressed satisfaction that the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to drop a debate on
a report about extremist parties from its 24 September
meeting agenda, Hungarian Radio reported. An expert report
commissioned by the council had applied the term "extremist"
to the Smallholders' Party, which is a member of the
Hungarian government coalition (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
September 1999). The assembly dropped the debate because the
term "extremist party" had not been defined in the report. VG

HUNGARIAN BY-ELECTIONS CONSIDERED INVALID. By-elections in
the central Hungarian towns of Szekesfehervar and Siofok on
26 September have both been declared invalid owing to low
turnout, according to an MTI report cited by the BBC. Both
towns will hold another round of voting in two weeks. In the
26 September vote, the Hungarian Socialist Party was leading
in both towns. VG

RUSSIANS HOPE TO BUILD MIG-29 REPAIR CENTER IN HUNGARY. A
delegation from Russia's MAPO, which manufactures MiG-29s,
was in Hungary last week for talks on the establishment of a
maintenance center in the country, according to a 24
September MTI report cited by the BBC. The delegation also
discussed the possibility of selling spare parts or even new
aircraft to Hungary in exchange for payment in forints or
agricultural products. VG

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ANTI-MILOSEVIC DEMONSTRATIONS PICK UP STEAM. Tens of
thousands of Serbs took part in opposition protests on 26
September calling for the resignation of Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic, Reuters reported. A crowd estimated at
50,000 marched through the streets of Belgrade on the sixth
consecutive day of protests, which are organized by the
Alliance for Change. The previous day, 55,000 marchers were
reported. Vladan Batic, the alliance's coordinator, said the
protest movement has "clearly gained momentum." Momcilo
Persic, a former Yugoslav army general sacked by Milosevic,
said on 24 September that he will mobilize the "70 percent of
the population [that] is angry but doesn't want to join the
opposition." Demonstrations attended by several thousand
people were also reported in other Serbian towns and cities.
Observers point out that the nearly three months of mass
demonstrations in Belgrade in 1996-1997 also began with small
crowds. PB

YUGOSLAV MINISTER SAYS OPPOSITION WORKING FOR WEST. Yugoslav
Information Minister Goran Matic said on Yugoslav television
on 26 September that the opposition Alliance for Change's aim
is to "destroy Yugoslavia and take from it whatever they
like," Belgrade's B2-92 reported. Matic said the problem is
that "our citizens are being discreetly talked into
acting...in someone else's interests." He added that
opposition leader Zoran Djinjdjic is a NATO ally. The state
news agency Tanjug said on 26 September that the opposition
are "traitors" and "NATO lackeys," and it labeled the street
protests a "fiasco." PB

DRASKOVIC MEETS WITH BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS. Serbian opposition
leader Vuk Draskovic met with Bosnian Serb Premier Milorad
Dodik in Banja Luka on 24 September, AP reported. Draskovic
said there is only hope for Serbia if President "Milosevic
and his regime is removed." Dodik said he shares Draskovic's
views, noting that the democratization of Serbia would be in
the best interest of Bosnian Serbs. Draskovic said he has the
same goal as the Alliance for Change but disagrees "on how to
achieve it." Draskovic has refused to take part in the
alliance's nationwide street protests. PB

SERBS ARRESTED BY NATO FOR SUSPECTED INVOLVEMENT IN
ATTROCITIES. The NATO peacekeeping force in Kosova (KFOR) has
detained four Serbs suspected of committing crimes against
ethnic Albanians, AP reported on 26 September. The four were
in a convoy of Serbs driving toward the town of Rahovec. The
same day, a member of the new Kosova Protection Corps was
shot and killed in front of the corps' headquarters in
Prishtina. In the U.S. sector two days earlier, one person
was killed and four injured when a tractor carrying 12 Serbs
was ambushed near Kamenice. And three other Serbs were
injured by a bomb in Gracanice, just outside Prishtina. PB

SOLANA URGES RECONCILIATION, ENDORSES CORPS. NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana said on 27 September that political
leaders in Kosova must rebuild ethnic relations and will be
held responsible unless they "stop the violence and hatred."
Solana, on a visit to Prishtina, said he approves of the
controversial Kosova Protection Corps, saying "it will not be
a political force and it certainly will not be an army." He
held talks on 26 September with Kosovar Serb official Momcilo
Trajkovic and Oliver Ivanovic, the self-proclaimed mayor of
the divided town of Mitrovice, who are demanding the
formation of Serbian cantons and a similar protection force
for Serbs. In the Serbian town of Obrenovac, Yugoslav army
General Nebojsa Pavkovic said the multiethnic Kosova
collapsed with the formation of the corps. He remarked that
he believes Yugoslav forces will return to the province when
the UN Security Council mandate expires. PB

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL.
Mate Granic said in an address to the 54th UN General
Assembly on 26 September that the war crimes tribunal in The
Hague is "ignoring" atrocities committed against Croats
during the wars of Yugoslav succession, AP reported. Granic
said the indictments do not "reflect the true nature and
scope of war crimes committed by different sides in the
conflict." He said some 14,000 Croats died in the conflicts
between 1991 and 1995. Granic added that Croatia has taken
numerous steps to aid the tribunal in its work. Zagreb has
been criticized for not fully cooperating with the tribunal
in the handing over of indicted suspects. PB

IZETBEGOVIC IN MID-EAST. The Muslim member of the Bosnian
presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, arrived in Tehran on 26
September on a state visit, the Iranian news agency IRNA
reported. Izetbegovic, who is to meet with Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami, said he appreciated Iran's diplomatic and
humanitarian support for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Izetbegovic, who
also visited Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, has been
sharply criticized by Ante Jelavic and Zivko Radisic, the
Croatian and Serbian members of the Bosnian presidency, for
not informing them that he was to make the trip. The Sarajevo
weekly "Slobodna Bosna" reported that Izetbegovic is in bad
health and that the real purpose of his visit is to receive
secret medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Izetbegovic
suffered a heart attack in 1996. PB

DJINDJIC SEEKS SUPPORT IN MACEDONIA. Serbian opposition
leader Zoran Djindjic met with Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov in Skopje on 24 September, AP reported. Djindjic
said the two discussed a "new Balkans policy concept" that
would focus on democratization, economic development, and
demilitarization as a means of reducing the chance of further
conflicts. He said "our generation can halt the process of
Balkan suffering." In other news, Greece's state airlines
Olympic announced it has resumed twice-weekly flights from
Athens to Skopje owing to increased bilateral ties. The two
countries are locked in a dispute over the official name of
Macedonia, which is the same as that of a neighboring region
in Greece. PB

MONTENEGRINS SPLIT ON INDEPENDENCE. A poll released in the
Montenegrin capital of Podgorica on 24 September showed that
44 percent of the respondents would vote for independence
while 39 percent would back remaining part of Yugoslavia,
ITAR-TASS reported. The survey polled 1,000 people throughout
Montenegro and was taken by the Damar polling center. Sixty
percent said there is a need to revise relations with Serbia.
Only 8 percent supported Yugoslav President Milosevic. In
other news, Serbian Trade Minister Zoran Krasic said on 24
September that "Montenegro has just made another step toward
secession," in reference to Podgorica's declaration the
previous day that it is setting up its own customs and trade
regime (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 September 1999). PB

ALBANIA AGREES WITH OSCE ON CORRUPTION BATTLE. The Albanian
government and the OSCE agreed on 24 September to wage a
joint campaign against widespread corruption in the country,
dpa reported. Albanian Deputy Premier Ilir Meta said
"corruption poses a great danger to the future development of
Albania." The OSCE commented that foreign experts will be
involved in organizing and monitoring the Albanian
government's progress in the fight against corruption. It
added that the project is "indispensable for Albania to
participate fully in and benefit from the evolving aspects of
the stability pact for southeastern Europe." PB

ROMANIAN MINERS CALL OFF HUNGER STRIKE. A group of 162 miners
from the town of Lupeni called off their hunger strike on 24
September after the government promised them jobs, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. The miners had been fasting for three
weeks and were threatening to commit collective suicide. Two
years ago, they quit their jobs when the government promised
them compensation as well as new employment. However, the
miners were told recently that they no longer have a right to
such payments. VG

ROMANIAN CABINET PASSES BILL TO AMEND CRIMINAL CODE. The
government has passed a bill designed to bring the country's
criminal code closer into line with EU norms, according to a
24 September Rompres report cited by the BBC. Among other
things, the bill scraps provisions in the current criminal
code that outlaw homosexual relations. Justice Ministry State
Secretary Gheorghe Mocuta added that the new bill also makes
sexual harassment illegal. VG

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN MEMORIAL PLANNED. Hungarian Justice
Minister Ibolya David said on 25 September that Bucharest has
agreed to create a memorial park in the western Romanian city
of Arad to mark Hungary and Romania's "historical
reconciliation," Hungarian media reported. The two countries
will split the cost of setting up the park, which will
include an obelisk honoring the executed generals of the
1848-1849 War of Independence. The Hungarian and Romanian
prime ministers are to lay the foundation stone for the
obelisk on 6 October. VG

NEW GOVERNOR OF GAGAUZ-YERI INAUGURATED. Dumitru Croitoru,
the newly elected governor of the Gagauz-Yeri Autonomous
Republic in Moldova, was sworn into office on 24 September,
Infotag reported. Croitoru took the oath of office in three
languages--Gagauz, Romanian, and Russian. The new governor
promised to support market-oriented reforms. Croitoru won 61
percent of the vote in the 5 September gubernatorial
elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September 1999). VG

BULGARIA, U.S. AGREE ON MILITARY COOPERATION. Bulgaria and
the U.S. are preparing a draft agreement to increase military
cooperation, Reuters reported on 24 September. Bulgarian
government spokesman Nikolai Stoyanov said the agreement will
create a framework for providing U.S. troops with supplies in
exchange for payment. U.S. officials denied Bulgarian media
reports that the draft agreement is a plan for the creation
of U.S. military bases in Bulgaria. Both Bulgarian and U.S.
officials also denied Russian media reports that they are
discussing the establishment of a satellite facility for
spying on Russia. Nevertheless, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan
Kostov on 24 September said his government is studying the
possibility of setting up NATO bases within the country,
according to a BTA report cited by the BBC. VG

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
hermanoval@rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 25 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE
Broadcast Studio. http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble via
email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Asta Banionis, Pete Baumgartner, Victor Gomez, Dan Ionescu,
Zsolt-Istvan Mato, Jolyon Naegele, Matyas Szabo, Anthony
Wesolowsky, Martins J. Zvaners

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole