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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 213, Part II, 2 November 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 213, Part II, 2 November 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

* BELARUS RELEASES ONE OPPOSITION LEADER, KEEPS ANOTHER
DETAINED

* CROATIAN PRESIDENT UNDERGOES EMERGENCY SURGERY

* EUROPEAN ANALYSTS CRITICIZE INTERNATIONAL HANDLING OF
BOSNIA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS RELEASES ONE OPPOSITION LEADER, KEEPS ANOTHER
DETAINED. Mikalay Statkevich, the leader of the opposition
Social Democratic Party, was released from detention on 31
October, AP reported. Statkevich was arrested and charged
with organizing mass demonstrations last month following
clashes between police and protesters (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
18 October 1999). Statkevich said he was let go only after
signing an agreement not to leave the country. He added that
he was freed "because of the growing international solidarity
for [the] liberation of political prisoners in Belarus." In
other news, Belapan reported on 1 November that the pre-trial
detention of former Belarusian Premier Mikhail Chyhir has
been extended for one month. Chyhir, a candidate in the
opposition's parallel presidential election in May, was
arrested in April. He is now awaiting trial on charges of
abuse of power and criminal negligence. PB

INTERNATIONAL AGENCY PLEDGES MORE CHORNOBYL AID TO BELARUS.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) pledged on 31
October to increase its aid to Belarus for alleviating
problems from the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, Reuters
reported. Jihui Qian, the IAEA vice president, said "Belarus
badly needs our assistance...there is nothing more important
[here] than combating the consequences" of the disaster.
Jihui made his announcement after a tour of the most affected
areas. Some 25 percent of the country remains affected by
radiation released in the 1986 explosion. The IAEA is
involved in two programs in Belarus, one aimed at reducing
radiation in homes and property, the other providing funds
for the construction of a plant in the south that would
produce safe cooking oil. PB

KUCHMA, SYMONENKO LOOKING FOR SUPPORT FROM LOSING CANDIDATES.
The campaign manager for Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
said on 1 November that ahead of the runoff election for the
presidency Kuchma's campaign team will seek allies from among
"party leaders and our opponents from yesterday," Reuters
reported. Ivan Kuras said Kuchma will "cooperate with those
in a constructive mood...willing to be constructive allies."
Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, who will face Kuchma
in the 14 November runoff, said he will hold talks with left-
wing allies in a bid "to join forces with those who are ready
to struggle against the regime." Symonenko, who advocates
forming a Slavic union with Belarus and Russia, said he would
divide Ukraine's foreign debts into the categories of "those
that have to be paid and those whose legality should be
checked." He also said he would "exclude the dollar from
domestic circulation" and concluded a press conference asking
"Why should the West be afraid of us?" PB

OSCE SEES FAIR ELECTION, DIRTY CAMPAIGN IN UKRAINE. Election
observers said on 1 November that the Ukrainian presidential
election held the previous day was "carried out in a peaceful
and orderly manner," dpa reported. A joint statement by the
OSCE and the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly said
that "although the campaign was highly questionable, voting
in general was orderly and relaxed.... There is no immediate
reason to doubt that the outcome of the first round of the
election reflects the will" of Ukrainians. Simon Osborn, the
head of the OSCE monitoring mission, said serious violations
during the campaign included forged newspapers, the
confiscation of campaign materials, the improper involvement
of public officials in campaigning, and various media
violations. Mykhailo Ryabets, the head of the Central
Election Commission, said the commission received 37 claims
of irregularities but that it has found no evidence of vote-
rigging. More than 500 observers from 37 countries monitored
the vote. PB

SENTENCE COMMUTED FOR ESTONIAN WAR CRIMINAL. A Tallinn
district court on 1 November commuted the sentence of
convicted war criminal Mikhail Neverovski to three years'
probation. Neverovski was convicted in the summer for his
role in mass deportations in March 1949 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 2 August 1999). "I did not make any decisions
concerning anyone's deportation, nor did I draw up any lists
by which anyone was sent out of Estonia," Neverovski wrote in
his appeal, BNS reported. The 80-year-old originally was
sentenced to four years in jail. MH

LATVIAN GENOCIDE SUSPECT APPEALS FOR RELEASE. The lawyer for
72-year-old former KGB colonel Janis Kirsteins asked the Riga
Central District Court on 1 November to release the detainee
on the grounds of poor health and advanced age, BNS reported.
Kirsteins was arrested on 29 October and accused by the
Latvian Prosecutor General's Office of falsifying criminal
records and signing documents that led to the deportation of
residents in the central Latvian districts of Cesis, Gulbene,
and Madona during the 1940s. The investigation into
Kirsteins' case began in 1994. He is the third person this
month to be accused by the Latvian authorities of genocide on
the basis of actions in the 1940s. MJZ

RUSSIA'S FSB SENDS MESSAGE ABOUT LATVIAN NEWSPAPER'S CHECHNYA
COVERAGE. Russia's NTV reported on 31 October that according
to the Russian Federal Security Service, "Diena"
correspondent Atis Klimovics is in danger of being kidnapped
by Chechen forces and that Klimovics is currently on Chechen
territory. According to LETA and BNS on 1 November, however,
Klimovics is in Latvia, having returned there from Chechnya
one week ago. Klimovics told viewers of the Latvian
television news program "Panorama" on 31 October that this
incident shows that Russia is attempting to impose an
information blockade and that severe obstacles are preventing
journalists from covering events in Chechnya. "Russia is not
pleased about journalists' reports that diverge from the
views of the information center created especially for this
war in Moscow," Klimovics told "Panorama." MJZ

FORMER RUSSIAN PREMIER ARRIVES IN VILNIUS. Yevgenii Primakov,
who recently became leader of the Fatherland-All Russia
electoral bloc, has arrived in Lithuania for a private visit,
ELTA and ITAR-TASS reported on 1 November. Primakov will
nonetheless meet with President Valdas Adamkus and Foreign
Minister Algirdas Saudargas and deliver a lecture to students
and faculty at the Institute of Foreign Relations of Vilnius
University. He will then proceed to Kaliningrad Oblast. AB

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT PRAISES LITHUANIA'S DEAL WITH WILLIAMS.
BNS reported on 1 November that U.S. Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Ronald Asmus praised the signing of an
agreement between the Lithuanian government and U.S.-based
Williams International on sale of a stake in Mazeikiu Nafta,
Lithuania's oil complex. "This is good for Lithuania, good
for the U.S., [and] good for the region," Asmus commented. AB

SALARIES, PENSIONS DELAYED IN LITHUANIA. "Lietuvos Rytas" on
2 November reported that at the end of last month, the
Finance Ministry had paid the salaries of only parliamentary
deputies and the president's staff. All other government
ministries received only a portion of the amount due for
salaries, and no funds were provided for operating expenses.
October pensions are expected to be delayed after the
treasury failed to transfer 10 million litas ($2.5 million)
to the social security administration. The Finance Ministry
explained that in order to prevent the government from
defaulting on its bond, monies in the treasury are being held
to pay government obligations on six-month securities due at
the end of October. AB

POLISH MINERS PROTEST CLOSURE OF COAL MINE. Coal miners
staged a mock funeral on 1 November to protest the
government's decision to close the Siersza mine in southern
Poland, AP reported. The protest was the latest in a string
of protests over mine closures and layoffs. Some miners have
occupied the company's headquarters, while others started a
hunger strike last week. The mine, which employs 1,600
people, is being closed as part of government plans to
restructure the largely unprofitable coal mining industry.
The state hopes to reduce subsidies to the mining sector and
cut 40 percent of all coal mining jobs over the next three
years. PB

FORMER CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS CSSD 'SORT OF MAFIA.'
Former Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec on 1 November called
on the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) to disassociate itself
from Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Foreign Minister Jan
Kavan's accusations several months ago that Zieleniec bribed
journalists to promote a positive image of himself. They
promised to produce proof but have failed to do so to date.
Zieleniec said that Zeman's adviser, Jaroslav Novotny, has
tried to blackmail Foreign Ministry official Vaclav Hruby
into producing false evidence, which, Zieleniec noted,
demonstrates that the CSSD is "a sort of mafia," CTK
reported. In an open letter to Zeman, Freedom Union Deputy
Chairman Vladimir Mlynar on 1 November demanded that the
premier "immediately" apologize to Zieleniec. MS

CZECH PREMIER SAYS NO COMPENSATION FOR SUDETEN GERMANS.
Speaking to the private Berlin 100.6 radio station on 1
November, Zeman said he will not agree to compensate Sudeten
Germans for their loss of property following the 1945 Benes
decrees, but he added that former Czechoslovak citizens will
be able to settle in the Czech Republic after it joins the
EU, as will citizens of all other EU member states. Zeman
said, however, that the purchase of land by EU citizens will
have to be restricted for some time, until Czech prices reach
EU levels. He added that the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993
was "a mistake" that cannot be corrected by the EU's eastward
expansion. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT MAY OUTLAW EXTREMIST ORGANIZATION. Interior
Minister Vaclav Grulich on 1 November told journalists that
his ministry may outlaw the Patriotic Front and the National
Alliance because those organizations violate human rights,
CTK reported. Grulich said that in accordance with the law,
the ministry has sent a letter to the two organizations
pointing out those violations; the organizations now have 30
days to respond in writing. The two far-right organizations
demonstrated in Prague on 28 October, the anniversary of the
foundation of the former Czechoslovakia. The demonstrators
chanted nationalist slogans, and National Alliance leader
Vladimir Skoupy told them that the Holocaust was "an
invention." MS

EU COMMISSIONER SAYS SLOVAKIA LIKELY TO BEGIN ACCESSION
TALKS. Guenter Verheugen, EU commissioner in charge of
enlargement, said in Brussels on 1 November that the
commission is "seriously considering" recommending to the EU
summit in Helsinki in December that Slovakia be invited to
start accession talks, CTK reported. Verheugen spoke ahead of
a two-day visit to Bratislava. "I want to tell the Slovak
people that the EU is prepared to accept Slovakia as a
member, that we want it as a member, and that we shall do
everything we can to support Slovakia on the difficult path
of meeting membership criteria," he said. MS

SLOVAKS BELIEVE SITUATION WORSENED AFTER MECIAR'S ELECTION
DEFEAT. Nearly three Slovaks out of four (74 percent) say the
country's economic situation "has worsened" since the
November 1998 elections, which resulted in the ouster of
Vladimir Meciar's government. In an opinion poll conducted by
the Bratislava-based Institute for Public Affairs in October,
61 percent of respondents said their living standards have
since deteriorated, while 59 percent said they believe that
the security of citizens has also decreased, CTK and SITA
reported on 1 November.

HUNGARIAN CABINET WANTS TO AMEND ELECTORAL LAW. On returning
from Canada, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told journalists in
Budapest on 1 November that the cabinet intends to amend the
electoral law so that Hungarian nationals living abroad can
participate in elections. Orban noted that voters must be
citizens and thus ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring
countries who do not have Hungarian citizenship will not be
able to vote. The governing coalition and the extreme-right
Hungarian Justice and Life Party support Orban's proposal,
while opposition parties have rejected it. Without the
latter's support, the electoral law cannot be changed, since
a two-thirds majority in the parliament is required for such
amendments. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN PRESIDENT UNDERGOES EMERGENCY SURGERY. Franjo
Tudjman was rushed to a Zagreb hospital for surgery on 1
November to repair a perforation in his large intestine.
Doctors declared the operation a success and said the
president is "feeling well," AP reported. Tudjman, 77, was
rushed to hospital after complaining of stomach pains. He had
canceled several meetings with Roman Catholic officials and
Croats living abroad during his recent visit to the Vatican.
In 1996, Tudjman underwent surgery in Washington for what
U.S. sources said was stomach cancer. However, he denied at
the time that he was suffering from cancer. VG

KOSOVA SERB POLITICIAN SHOT. Leading Kosova Serb politician
Momcilo Trajkovic was shot in the leg on 31 October by an
unidentified assailant. Trajkovic said he was shot outside
his home in Prishtina by two men who spoke Albanian. KFOR
commander Klaus Reinhardt denounced the attack as a
"terrorist" act and said it was "absolutely intolerable."
Reinhardt said Trajkovic, who is usually under KFOR
protection, had asked for the guard to be temporarily removed
on 31 October for "personal reasons." Bernard Kouchner, a top
UN official in Kosova, said Trajkovic is one of the UN's top
allies in building a "multi-ethnic Kosova." VG

OSCE POINTS TO KOSOVA COURT CRISIS. Dean Everts, head of the
OSCE mission in Prishtina, said the Kosova court system is in
crisis and that international jurists are required to resolve
it, Reuters reported. Describing the situation as a "massive
problem," Everts said not a single court case has been
brought to trial in Kosova since the arrival of KFOR troops
in June. He said a number of factors are responsible for the
crisis, including the insufficient number of judges, low pay,
inadequate court facilities, and uncertainty about what laws
should apply in Kosova. VG

U.S. TO SUPPORT HEATING OIL AID TO YUGOSLAVIA. The U.S. will
support an EU program to send millions of dollars worth of
heating oil to Yugoslavia, "The New York Times" reported on 2
November. The oil will be sent to Nis and Pirot, where the
local governments are opposed to Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic. U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin
announced that Washington will support any humanitarian
initiatives that do not prop up the Milosevic regime. VG

BRITISH JOURNALIST SENTENCED TO JAIL IN YUGOSLAVIA. A
Yugoslav judge has sentenced a British journalist to 10 days
in jail and expulsion. Dessa Trevisan, a Belgrade
correspondent for London's "The Times," was found guilty of
travelling through Serbia without an entry stamp in her
passport. Trevisan's lawyer, Djordje Mamula, blamed the
police for not stamping the journalist's passport at the
border, Beta reported. He said Trevisan will appeal the
decision. VG

YUGOSLAV CHIEF OF STAFF CONDUCTS TROOP INSPECTION NEAR
MONTENEGRO. Dragoljub Ojdanic on 1 November began what was
described as a "regular" inspection of Yugoslav troops
responsible for Montenegro, Reuters reported. The inspection
comes amid statements by Montenegrin officials that they are
preparing to introduce their own monetary system (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 1 November 1999). Ojdanic began his tour in the
Serbian town of Uzice, where he also met with local
authorities and businessmen. Tanjug reported that he is
reviewing the housing situation of troops that were withdrawn
from Kosova in June. He is scheduled to visit naval units in
Montenegro later this week. VG

DRASKOVIC TESTIFIES THAT POLICE TRIED TO ASSASSINATE HIM. Vuk
Draskovic, chairman of the opposition Serbian Renewal
Movement, testified in a court on 1 November that he was the
victim of an assassination attempt in early October, Beta
reported. After the hearing, Draskovic accused the Yugoslav
secret police of having staged a 4 October road accident in
which a truck swerved into a convoy of cars in which he was
travelling (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 October 1999). VG

PETRITSCH NOTES WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS.
The West's top envoy to Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, said on 1
November that the Bosnian Serb leadership has indicated a
willingness to start cooperating with the tribunal, AP
reported. Earlier, Petritsch met with the international war
crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, in
Sarajevo. Radio B2-92 reported the same day that top
officials in the Bosnian Serb government are drawing up a law
on cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal.
The proposed law would reportedly envisage the arrest and
trial of war crimes suspects on Bosnian Serb territory in the
presence of international monitors. Petritsch also said the
international community is determined to arrest former
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Reuters reported. VG

ARRAIGNMENT OF DOSEN DELAYED. The arraignment of Bosnia Serb
war crimes suspect Damir Dosen was postponed on 1 November
after he injured himself playing volleyball, AP reported. VG

EUROPEAN ANALYSTS CRITICIZE INTERNATIONAL HANDLING OF BOSNIA.
A group of European academics and people with work experience
in Bosnia-Herzegovina have released a report criticizing the
international community's peace and restoration efforts in
Bosnia, the "Frankfurter Rundschau" reported. The report,
issued by the European Stability Initiative (ESI), concludes
that efforts to establish a lasting peace process in the
country since the 1995 Dayton agreement have failed. The
group argues that the governing institutions set up by the
West in Bosnia-Herzegovina "exercise no effective power" in
the country. At the same time, the report notes that war-
related power structures and the communist command economy
have remained largely unchallenged. The ESI was set up last
year by Christian Schwarz-Schilling, a former international
arbitrator in Bosnia. VG

PETKOVSKI LEADS MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE WITH ONE-THIRD
OF VOTE... With the vote tallied in 74 of Macedonia's 85
constituencies, Social Democratic candidate Tito Petkovski
had won about 33 percent of the vote in Macedonia's 31
October presidential election, Reuters reported the next day.
Deputy Prime Minister Boris Trajkovski was in second place
with 21 percent. The two candidates will face each other in a
run-off on 14 November. VG

...WHILE BOTH LEADING CANDIDATES NOT HAPPY WITH RECOGNITION
OF TAIWAN. Both Petkovski and Trajkovski told Reuters on 30
October that they are unhappy about Macedonia's diplomatic
recognition of Taiwan. They said China is blocking every
resolution related to Macedonia in the UN Security Council in
retaliation for the recognition. Petkovski added that he will
support closer ties with China if elected. Democratic
Alliance presidential candidate Vasil Tupurkovski, who
finished third in the vote, said the restoration of economic
ties with China would be a disaster for Macedonia. Macedonia
has received foreign investment from Taiwan as a result of
the recognition. Tupurkovski said he will call on his voters
to back the candidate who promises to maintain diplomatic
relations with Taiwan. VG

ROMANIAN PREMIER ACCEPTS EU COMMISSIONER PROPOSAL. Radu
Vasile has approved EU commissioner for enlargement Guenter
Verheugen's proposal to set up a working group of experts
from Romania, the European Commission, the IMF, and the World
Bank to draw up a plan for Romania's economic reforms and
oversee their implementation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1
November 1999). Vasile said he has accepted the proposal
because radical economic reform cannot succeed without
"massive external financing." The group is to set short-term
targets as well as medium-range ones up to 2006, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE. Visiting President Petru
Lucinschi and his Greek host, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos,
have signed agreements on economic, technological, and
agricultural cooperation, AP reported on 1 November.
Stephanopoulos said Greece will support Moldova in its
efforts to integrate into European structures. Lucinschi
invited Greek businessmen to increase their investments in
Moldova. He also met with Prime Minister Konstantinos
Simitis, with whom he discussed, among other things,
bilateral relations, regional affairs, and the activities of
the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. MS

BULGARIAN PREMIER WANTS COMPENSATION FOR KOZLODUY CLOSURE.
Responding to a question posed by Georgi Pirinski, Socialist
Party parliamentary group leader, Ivan Kostov said in the
parliament on 29 October that Bulgaria "will not budge" from
its present energy strategy if the EU does not offer it
compensation for the early closure of the controversial
Kozloduy nuclear plant. The government asked the legislature
for another mandate to conduct negotiations with the EU on
the early closure of the plant's first and second units and
the future of the newer third and fourth units, BTA reported.
The current energy strategy approved by the parliament
stipulates that the older reactors will be shut down in 2003
and 2005 and the newer ones in 2008 and 2010. The agency
reported on 1 November that parliamentary representatives say
they are ready to grant the government's request for another
mandate. MS

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