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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 195, Part II, 6 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 195, Part II, 6 October 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

* BELARUSIAN POLICE RAIDS OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP

* ONE DEAD, SEVERAL INJURED AFTER CLASH IN DIVIDED KOSOVAR
TOWN

* MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT GETTING IMPATIENT WITH BELGRADE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN POLICE RAIDS OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP.
Belarusian police officers, some of which were in
plainclothes, entered the office of the Spring-96 human
rights group in Minsk on 4 October without a search warrant
and confiscated its office equipment, Belapan reported on 5
October. Ales Byalatski, head of the Spring-96 group, said
the confiscated computers stored data on human rights
violations in Belarus. Byalatski is an expert for the
opposition delegation to the OSCE-mediated talks with the
authorities. Byalatski added that Deputy Interior Minister
Mikhail Udovikau was among those searching the office but did
not identify himself. JM

BELARUS, RUSSIA AGREE TO PUBLISH UNION TREATY DRAFT NEXT
WEEK. Russian Minister for CIS Affairs Leonid Drachevskii and
Belarusian Premier Syarhey Linh, meeting in Minsk on 5
October, agreed that the draft of a Russia-Belarus union
treaty and a program for its implementation will be published
in both countries' press next week, ITAR-TASS reported.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said last week
that the treaty draft is a "laughing stock" and that he does
not intend to publish it (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October
1999). Following the publication of the draft, the Executive
Committee of the Russia-Belarus Union will consider all
comments and proposals on the treaty. Drachevskii said the
two sides expect the treaty to be signed and ratified this
year. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SETS UP GROUP TO LOOK INTO ATTACK ON
VITRENKO... The Supreme Council on 5 October set up a special
commission of 16 lawmakers to investigate the 2 October
grenade attack on presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko.
Prosecutor-General Mykhaylo Potebenko told the parliament the
same day that the attack on Vitrenko was masterminded by
Serhiy Ivanchenko, a campaign organizer for Socialist Party
leader Oleksandr Moroz. The police arrested two suspects
immediately after the attack and spotted Ivanchenko in Rostov
Oblast, Russia, but failed to detain him. Meanwhile, the OSCE
has issued a statement saying that the attack is a "horrible
crime" and "fully contradicts the spirit and letter of OSCE
principles for free elections." JM

...OVERRIDES KUCHMA'S VETO ON ELECTION LAW AMENDMENTS. Also
on 5 October, the parliament overrode President Leonid
Kuchma's veto on amendments to the presidential election law.
One amendment stipulates that every member of the district
and territorial electoral commissions be given a copy of the
protocol listing voting results. Lawmaker Oleksandr
Yelyashkevich urged his colleagues to override the veto by
saying that without the above-mentioned amendment, Ukraine
will face a "large-scale falsification" of the vote. The same
day, the parliament failed to override Kuchma's veto on a
bill introducing immunity for local council deputies. JM

SEPTEMBER POLL SAYS KUCHMA STILL TOP HOPEFUL. In a poll
conducted from 17-24 September by the Ukrainian Institute of
Social Studies and the Social Monitoring Center among 3,079
Ukrainians, 24.8 percent or respondents said they will vote
for incumbent President Leonid Kuchma, Interfax reported.
Natalya Vitrenko has 12.2 percent support, Petro Symonenko
9.9 percent, Oleksandr Moroz 8.6 percent, Yevhen Marchuk 4.9
percent, Oleksandr Tkachenko 2.8 percent, and Hennadiy
Udovenko 1.2 percent. According to the poll, 81.5 percent of
respondents want to participate in the ballot, while 14.4
percent said they do not want to. JM

BALTIC MILITARY LEADERS MEET IN ESTONIA. The acting commander
of Estonia's Defense Forces, Colonel Urmas Roosimagi, met
with his Baltic counterparts, Colonel Raimonds Graube of
Latvia and Brigadier General Jonas Kronkaitis of Lithuania,
in Tallinn on 4-5 October. The three commanders discussed
various cooperation projects, such as the joint airspace
monitoring program BALTNET and the Baltic Defense College in
Tartu, Estonia. They also discussed preliminary plans to set
up a joint naval training center in the Latvian port city of
Liepaja. Graube spoke out in favor of joint training of
troops from the three countries and of opening joint training
centers in Latvia and Lithuania, BNS reported. Kronkaitis
announced that the BALTNET headquarters in Lithuania will be
opened in January 2000. MH

LATVIAN REFERENDUM PETITION DRIVE ENDS. The petition drive
for a referendum on government-proposed changes to the
pension system ended on 5 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7
September 1999). One-tenth of Latvia's electorate--about
135,000 individuals--have to sign the petition for the
measures to go to referendum. The results will not be
announced until 12 October. Both supporters and detractors of
the petition drive believe a sufficient number of signatures
were obtained, with preliminary information suggesting about
185,000 signatures were collected, "Neatkariga Rita Avize"
reported. The controversial amendments would raise the
retirement age to 62 and restrict pension payments to working
pensioners. MH

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAWS ON MAZEIKIAI SALE... The
parliament on 5 October passed a package of laws providing
for the sale of a stake in Mazeikiai Oil to the U.S. company
Williams International. Under the legislation, international
financiers and suppliers will also take smaller stakes. The
amendments also provide a state guarantee for loans totaling
up to $650 million for Mazeikiai's reconstruction. The
opposition has said it will contest the legislation in court.
MH

...BUT WILL CRUDE ALSO COME FROM IRAN? Following a trip to
Iran, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates, Lithuanian
Economics Minister Eugenijus Maldeikis has suggested that
Lithuania could get crude from Iran, BNS reported on 4
October. A Foreign Ministry representative subsequently told
journalists that the idea is not a "sensation." He added that
Lithuania concurs with the EU's "critical dialogue policy"
toward Iran. However, observers believe that given U.S.
policies toward Iran, such a deal could derail the teetering
negotiations between Williams International and Lithuania
over Mazeikiai Oil. MH

POLAND'S SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY CHIEF RESIGNS. Stanislaw
Alot, head of the social security agency (ZUS), resigned on 5
October after criticizing the government for providing too
little money for pensions in the 2000 budget draft. Both
Premier Jerzy Buzek and Deputy Premier Leszek Balcerowicz had
expressed anger over Alot's criticism, saying it was
"inexcusable" and "outrageous." Alot's resignation, if
accepted, will likely facilitate the current talks between
the Solidarity Electoral Action and the Freedom Union (UW) on
restructuring the cabinet. The UW's Balcerowicz has
repeatedly demanded Alot's dismissal, arguing that the ZUS is
mismanaged. JM

U.S. FIRST LADY APPLAUDS POLISH REFORMS. Hillary Rodham
Clinton said on 5 October in Warsaw that the results of
Poland's transition to democracy and the free market economy
are admired "not only in the U.S. but around the world." She
added that "the enterprise, the intelligence, and the hard
work of the Polish people will make Poland a leader...of
people looking for democracy and freedom all over the world."
The U.S. first lady met with Polish President Aleksander
Kwasniewski, visited a newly opened Jewish school in Warsaw,
and toured a clothing factory. JM

CZECH ROMA OBSTRUCT CONSTRUCTION OF CONTROVERSIAL WALL.
Romany residents of Usti nad Labem on 5 October obstructed
the start of construction of a wall intended to separate Roma
from other residents. Ondrej Gina, spokesman for the
association of Roma regional representatives, told CTK that
the protesters "prevented the construction with [their] own
bodies" because the wall is "proof that Roma are persecuted
in the Czech Republic." He added that Roma intend to file a
criminal suit against the town's mayor. A spokesman for the
local police said there are no grounds for the police to
interfere in the protest. MS

CZECHS 'UNDERSTAND' AUSTRIA'S APPREHENSION OVER TEMELIN.
Chief Czech negotiator with the EU Pavel Telicka on 5 October
said the Czech Republic "understands" the apprehensions in
Austria about the completion of the controversial nuclear
plant in Temelin, but he added that the intention is to
operate the plant with Western "state-of-the-art technology,"
CTK reported. On 1 October, Foreign Minister Jan Kavan
commented that "one state" has blocked the latest round of
negotiations in Brussels on nuclear energy and accession to
the EU. The previous day, Slovenian negotiator Janez Potocnik
said in Brussels that Austria demands that accession
candidates pledge to respect the "highest existing standards"
of nuclear safety. MS

SLOVAK ROMA DEPORTED FROM BELGIUM. A Slovak plane carrying 74
Roma deported from Belgium landed in Kosice on 5 October, CTK
reported. The Roma were expelled, despite the fact that the
European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg upheld a
complaint by the Belgian League for Human Rights and asked
Belgium to postpone the deportation by eight days pending a
verdict. A spokesman for the Belgian Interior Ministry said
that the ruling is nonbinding and that Belgium is acting in
accordance with the law since it is convinced that the court
would have reached the same conclusion. Earlier,
parliamentary deputies from the Ecolo (Green) party and the
Flemish Socialist Party, both members of the ruling
coalition, protested the Belgian police's alleged use of a
pretext to lure the Roma to police stations and then detain
them. MS

EU COMMISSIONER URGES ACCESSION TALKS WITH SLOVAKIA. Guenter
Verheugen, EU commissioner in change of expansion, told the
European Parliament in Strasbourg on 5 October that accession
talks with Slovakia must begin. Verheugen said that Mikulas
Dzurinda's cabinet has "eliminated" the political reasons
that hindered the beginning of the talks under the previous
government, CTK reported. MS

SLOVAKIA STARTS LOADING SECOND NUCLEAR REACTOR AT MOCHOVCE
PLANT. A spokesman for the Mochovce nuclear plant on 5
October told SITA that loading of the second nuclear reactor
at the plant began one day earlier. Foreign Ministry State
Secretary Jan Figel on 5 October told journalists that he
does not believe Austria will seek to undermine negotiations
with Slovakia on EU integration. Figel said all EU members
with the exception of Austria welcome the plan to close down
the Jaslovske Bohunice plant by 2008. He added that Slovakia
rejects Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima's position that
Bratislava broke its promise to shut down Jaslovske Bohunice
by 2000. Figel said the previous government made the pledge
on the assumption that it would receive a loan for this
purpose but the new government canceled the loan and the
pledge is therefore void, CTK and SITA reported. MS

HUNGARY, POLAND DISCUSS EU ADMISSION, AGRICULTURE TARIFFS.
Visiting Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and his
Hungarian counterpart, Arpad Goncz, told reporters in
Budapest on 5 October that both countries will be ready for
EU admission by 2002. The two sides agreed to make mutual
concessions in their dispute over tariffs on agricultural
products, Goncz said. Poland has imposed a special tariff on
wheat imports from Hungary to protect its domestic market, a
move that Budapest considers a violation of the Central
European Free Trade Agreement. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ONE DEAD, SEVERAL INJURED AFTER CLASH IN DIVIDED KOSOVAR
TOWN. One Serb was killed and 15 peacekeepers injured after
fighting broke out in Mitrovica between Serbs and ethnic
Albanians on 5 October, AP reported. The clash occurred when
a group of Serbs drove by a memorial service for 18 ethnic
Albanians found in a mass grave last week. The service was
attended by several thousand ethnic Albanians, who clashed
with the Serbs upon leaving the funeral. A Serbian man was
stoned to death. Four Russian and at least 10 French
peacekeepers were injured trying to separate the sides.
Officials from the former Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)
arrived at the scene and restrained the ethnic Albanians. The
northern part of Mitrovica is controlled by the Serbs, while
ethnic Albanians are in the southern part of the town. French
peacekeepers separate the two. PB

UCK PRESS ORGAN ACCUSES KOSOVAR PUBLISHER OF SPYING.
Kosovapress, the Prishtina-based press service of the
disbanded UCK, accused two prominent ethnic Albanians of
being spies for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on 5
October. Publisher Veton Surroi, a member of the Kosova
transitional council, and Aton Haxhiu, the chief editor of
the Kosovar daily "Koha Ditore," were called "dregs" for
"spying and cooperating with Milosevic's regime." Surroi said
the accusation comes after he recently said that "fascists
are in power in Kosova now and what is being done to the
Serbs [in Kosova] is a form of fascism." Surroi and his
newspaper, "Koha Ditore," have consistently spoken out
against the treatment of Serbs in Kosovar since the return of
ethnic Albanians after NATO troops took control of the
province. Surroi said the condemnations are "an invitation to
kill both me and Haxhiu." PB

SEVERAL HUNDRED PAY RESPECTS TO OPPOSITIONIST KILLED IN ROAD
ACCIDENT. Several hundred people attended the funeral on 5
October of Veselin Boskovic, the adviser and brother-in-law
of Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic, AP reported.
Boskovic was killed in a traffic accident on 3 October, which
Draskovic and other members of his Serbian Renewal Movement
have termed an assassination attempt (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
4 October 1999). Draskovic said at the service that President
Milosevic's government has "destroyed our state and caused
the death of millions...let them be damned, the devils who
have built their happiness on other people's misery for 10
years." Three other people were killed in the accident.
Neither the owner nor the driver of the truck that veered
into the cars carrying the SPO members has been identified.
PB

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS IN BELGRADE DWINDLING. Several
thousand people took part in opposition led protests against
the government on 5 October, the 15th straight day of
marches, Reuters reported. The crowd was one of the smallest
since the protests began on 21 September. Some 10,000 people
protested in Novi Sad and about 5,000 in Nis, the country's
second-and third-largest cities. Demonstrations were also
held in more than a dozen other towns. Around 400 employees
of the Zastava Namenska weapons plant in Kragujevac walked
off the job and rallied to demand higher wages and the
resignation of the Yugoslav government. PB

SERBIAN MINISTER FILES SUIT AGAINST OPPOSITION LEADERS.
Serbian Deputy Premier Milovan Bojic filed suit against the
leaders of the opposition movement the Alliance for Change
(SZP) on 5 October, AFP reported. Bojic complained that he
had been ridiculed at a mock trial held during a Belgrade
demonstration and is suing 11 people for 10 million dinars
($1 million) for the "moral damage" inflicted on him. Vuk
Obradovic, an SZP official who is being sued, said he will
not appear at court on 7 October because the proceedings are
illegal and he has not been allotted the eight days usually
given to prepare a defense. Vladan Batic, another SZP leader,
said "we should be the ones suing the regime for all the
insults and humiliation, not the other way around." PB

UN ENVOY WARNS THAT TROUBLE BREWING IN SANDZAK. Jiri
Dienstbier, the UN special commissioner for human rights in
the former Yugoslavia, said on 5 October that there is a
"certain danger" in the mostly Muslim region of Sandzak that
Yugoslav President Milosevic could exploit, CTK reported.
Dienstbier, speaking in the Sandzak capital of Novi Pazar,
said Milosevic could use the Sandzak Muslims in his political
struggle against Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic. He
noted that while 80 percent of the city's residents are
Muslim, about 95 percent of the police force is Serbian.
Similar proportions exist in other spheres, including health
care, according to Dienstbier, adding that "there are 1,000
little things which, if put together and incited, could lead
to a conflict." The same day in Podgorica, Montenegrin
Premier Filip Vucanovic rejected a call from a Sandzak group
for the region--which lies partly within Montenegro--to be
given a special status. PB

MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT GETTING IMPATIENT WITH BELGRADE. Milo
Djukanovic said on 5 October that Montenegro can only wait so
long for Belgrade to respond to Podgorica's call to redefine
federal relations, dpa reported. Djukanovic said the
government has set a deadline and that if Serbian authorities
fail to address the issue soon, Montenegro "will
democratically go its own way." He added that he "knows the
majority [of Montenegrins] is for independence, but there are
also 40 percent opposing it, and there are warmongers on all
sides." He said "our democratic consciousness obliges us not
to ignore this minority." In Washington, the U.S. State
Department said that Montenegrin leaders have used a
"measured and rational approach" to political and economic
reforms in Yugoslavia but that the U.S. opposes independence
for Montenegro. PB

CROATIA GETS WORLD BANK LOAN. The World Bank has approved a
$29 million loan to Croatia, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
on 5 October. The loan will be used to improve the country's
health care system, including training, technical assistance,
and purchasing of medical equipment. It is the 18th loan the
bank has made to Croatia since 1993. PB

PETRITSCH ORDERS RADICAL PARTY TO RE-REGISTER WITHOUT TOP
CANDIDATES. Wolfgang Petritsch, the high commissioner for
Bosnia-Herzegovina, ordered the Serbian Radical Party to
reapply to participate in next year's elections without its
top three candidates, AP reported. The decision in effect
bars former Republika Srpska President Nikola Poplasen and
two of his aides, Mirko Blagojevic, and Ognjen Tadic, from
participating in politics. The elections are scheduled for 8
April 2000. Petritsch's office said the decision was made
because the three officials have obstructed the
implementation of the Dayton peace agreement. PB

FORMER ALBANIAN PREMIER ACQUITTED OF CORRUPTION CHARGES.
Fatos Nano was acquitted of charges of corruption and abuse
of power by a Tirana court on 5 October, dpa reported. A
court spokesman said the court decided that a 12-year
sentence given to him five years ago was not "based on
facts." Nano was arrested in 1993 and sentenced a year later
for allegedly misusing funds given by the Italian government
in 1991, when he was premier. Nano has claimed the charges
were politically motivated. He served three years in prison
and was appointed premier again in July 1997, although he
resigned following unrest in the fall of 1998. PB

RECONCILIATION PARK HIGHLIGHTS EMBITTERED ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN
RELATIONS... The foundation stone of the Romanian-Hungarian
reconciliation park is being laid on 6 October in the
presence of a low-level delegation from either side, Romanian
Radio reported. Shortly after Prime Minister Radu Vasile's
decision not to attend, Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban
arrived in Arad on 5 October, where he attended a ceremony
commemorating the 13 Hungarian generals executed by the
Austrians in 1848 and a play on the generals staged by the
Oradea Hungarian-language theater. Orban said Vasile's
cancellation was prompted by the desire to avoid a
"confrontation" with Arad local council members who are
opposed to the park. He, too, decided not to take part in the
6 October ceremony and delegated Justice Minister Ibolya
David to attend as a "fittingly appropriate" representation.
On learning of Orban's decision, Deputy Premier Valeriu
Stoica, who was to have represented Vasile, also opted not to
be present. MS

...AS FATE OF CONTROVERSIAL SCULPTURE GROUP REMAINS UNCLEAR.
According to a Hungarian-Romanian decision, the
reconciliation park is to include the "Hungarian Liberty"
group of statues of the 13 generals. The monument was
dismantled in 1925 and kept in storage until recently.
Speaking on Romanian Radio on 5 October, Victor Chiujdea,
governmental state counselor for bilateral relations, said no
decision has yet been taken on displaying the monument in the
park. Romanian nationalists object to such a move, claiming
the monument represents the "executioners" of Romanians in
Transylvania. The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
rejects such an interpretation. Party of Social Democracy in
Romania Chairman Ion Iliescu on 5 October said he "warned"
Vasile to stay away from the ceremony, since the Hungarians
are "setting a trap" to make claims on Transylvania. The
Party of Romanian National Unity and the National Romanian
Party have demanded that the generals' monument does not go
on display. MS

TRANSDNIESTER SEPARATISTS LOOK FOR ALLIES IN ABKHAZIA. The
Transdniester separatists are seeking to establish relations
with other breakaway territories in the former Soviet Union
and is focusing in particular on Abkhazia, Flux reported on 5
October. The agency said delegates from Abkhazia participated
in the ceremonies last month marking the ninth anniversary of
Transdniester "independence." Two Transdniester Supreme
Soviet deputies were present as "observers" during the recent
Abkhaz presidential elections. MS

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