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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 218, Part II, 9 November 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 218, Part II, 9 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

* BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES GIVE BACK LICENSES TO INDEPENDENT
PRESS

* CLINTON OUTLINES BALKAN 'CHALLENGE'

* MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN CABINET
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES GIVE BACK LICENSES TO INDEPENDENT
PRESS. Mikhail Padhayny, head of the State Press Committee,
said on 8 November that his committee has registered the nine
independent publications whose licenses were revoked in
September. One of those publications is "Nasha svaboda,"
which was to have succeeded the opposition newspaper
"Naviny." The latter newspaper closed down after a court
imposed a heavy fine on it for publishing an allegedly
slanderous article about State Security Secretary Viktar
Sheyman ("RFE/RL Newsline," 29 September 1999). Meanwhile,
"Naviny" on 8 November lost its appeal lodged with the Minsk
City Court against a ruling whereby the newspaper was ordered
to pay a $50,000 fine. JM

BELARUSIAN ROCK MUSIC NOT WELCOME IN MALADZECHNA. The city
authorities of Maladzechna have refused permission for a rock
festival to take place in the city in mid-November, Belapan
reported on 8 November. In an official response to the
organizers, the city mayor wrote that Maladzechna "long ago
chose its direction in holding festivals--namely, festivals
of theater as well as Belarusian songs and poetry." The city
does not need a rock festival, he added. One organizer told
Belapan that the city authorities are afraid to host "such
unofficial events" as rock concerts. In August, a rock
concert in Maladzechna ended in arrests of performers as well
as members of the audience. "The authorities treated the
purely cultural action as a political one and took adequate
measures," the organizers said in a statement. JM

KUCHMA, MARCHUK MAKE ADVANCES TO EACH OTHER AHEAD OF RUNOFF.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has said in an interview
with the Lviv-based "Vysokyy zamok" that he is ready for
cooperation with Yevhen Marchuk, Interfax reported on 8
November. Kuchma, who faces Communist Petro Symonenko in the
14 November presidential runoff, is seeking support among
non-leftist candidates. In the first round of the election,
Marchuk obtained 8.13 percent of the vote on an election
platform similar to the incumbent's. Marchuk on 8 November
called on voters to take part in the 14 November ballot and
"to say 'no' to the Communists." He also commented that if
Kuchma supports his economic program as whole, he is "ready
to set about implementing it," provided that he is given
"appropriate powers in the state authority system." JM

BALTIC PRESIDENTS GATHER IN FINLAND. The presidents of
Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland gathered in
the Finnish town of Jyvaskyla on 8 November to commemorate
the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
Speaking at a forum titled "Ten Years of Freedom in Europe,"
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus cautioned that a Cold War
mentality remains with regard to Baltic membership in NATO,
ELTA reported. Estonian President Lennart Meri similarly
warned of the lingering feelings of the Cold War, noting that
"many Moscow politicians think that the Cold War continues"
and "believe that conflicts are settled only with force,"
"Eesti Paevaleht" reported. Among a series of bilateral
meetings, host and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari told
Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga that EU enlargement
will be able to proceed in 2003 after EU internal reforms
have been completed, according to BNS. MH

BALTIC, NORDIC PREMIERS MEET IN STOCKHOLM. The prime
ministers of the Baltic and Nordic countries met in Stockholm
on 8 November under the so-called "5+3" formula (which brings
together Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia,
Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden). The meetings focused on EU
enlargement, as well as regional cooperation issues in areas
such as security and energy policy. Estonian Prime Minister
Mart Laar expressed satisfaction over the European Commission
recommendation that Latvia and Lithuania begin membership
talks with the EU, ETA reported. MH

NEW LITHUANIAN PREMIER INTRODUCES GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. Andrius
Kubilius presented his government's program to the parliament
on 8 November. Foreign policy gives priority to NATO and EU
membership, while domestic policy focuses on a balanced
budget, the fight against organized crime and corruption,
lowering barriers to foreign investments, and selective
assistance to industry hurt by the regional economic slump,
dpa reported. Kubilius criticized those who claim that
Lithuania is experiencing severe financial difficulties,
saying "this is not a situation for panic." The same day,
Kubilius also said that the savings compensation scheme for
ruble deposits will be suspended for up to two years, BNS
added. The IMF has criticized that scheme. The parliament is
scheduled to vote on the new government's program on 11
November. MH

POLAND REOPENS TRIAL OF GENERAL JARUZELSKI. The Supreme Court
on 8 November ruled that the trial of General Wojciech
Jaruzelski and nine former communist officials accused of
being responsible for the death of 44 people during the 1970
protests will be reopened in Warsaw. The court decided to
move the proceedings to Warsaw from Gdansk because Jaruzelski
and two other defendants could not appear at the latter
location for health reasons. Jaruzelski was defense minister
in December 1970, when army troops and police killed 44
people protesting in Polish coastal cities against food price
hikes. In 1996, a parliamentary committee dominated by ex-
Communists decided that Jaruzelski should not stand trial for
imposing martial law in 1981, at which time he was prime
minister and first secretary of the communist party. JM

POLISH PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST 'EUROSKEPTICISM.' Aleksander
Kwasniewski told journalists in Finland on 8 November that
events marking the 10th anniversary of the demise of the
Soviet bloc are "the last chance to take advantage of...the
historic enthusiasm to overcome the West's Euroskepticism"
with regard to EU enlargement, PAP reported. Kwasniewski
pointed to the recent elections in Austria as evidence that
such skepticism is growing. He noted that the EU will soon
start addressing the issue of enlargement with less
enthusiasm, while the EU would-be members' ability to
overcome this skepticism is "very limited." JM

CONTROVERSIAL AD PROMPTS CZECH PROTEST. Prime Minister Milos
Zeman said after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright in Washington on 8 November that he is "glad" to
hear that the U.S. administration has "distanced itself" from
a controversial advertisement placed in "The Washington Post"
and "The New York Times" by businessman Ronald Lauder, CTK
reported. Lauder, who is the majority owner of Central
European Media Enterprises (CEM), warns that the Czech
government encourages foreign investors but does little to
protect them. The CEM is involved in a dispute over ownership
rights with Nova television and is currently suing that
station. Zeman had responded earlier to the advertisement,
saying it is "incorrect and untrustworthy." He pointed out
broadcasts are not regulated by the government but by the
independent Council for Radio and Broadcasting, which had yet
to rule on the dispute between Lauder and Nova. MS

CZECHS ASK RUSSIANS TO RETURN JEWISH GOLD. The Czech Republic
has officially asked the Russian government to return gold
originally belonging to Czech Jews and taken out of the
country by the Red Army after World War II, AP reported on 8
November, citing a Foreign Ministry statement. The statement
says 396 kilograms of gold that was deposited in the National
Bank during the Nazi occupation after being confiscated from
Jews were taken to the Soviet Union. So far Moscow has not
responded to the Czech request, which is based on the
findings of a group of historians investigating the fate of
Jewish valuables stolen during the occupation. Deputy Premier
Pavel Rychetsky on 8 November was quoted by "Mlada Fronta "
as saying "I doubt it will be possible to receive any
compensation from a country that still...owes us $3 billion."
MS

CZECH ROMA COMPLAIN OF RACISM IN LETTER TO PREMIER... The
Romany Board of Representatives, whose members have been
staging protests for several days near the wall erected in
Usti nad Labem, sent a letter to Prime Minister Milos Zeman
and his cabinet on 8 November asking them to "use all means"
to remove the wall and other manifestations of racism and
discrimination against the country's Romany population. The
board said the construction of the wall has shifted the
Czech's enmity toward the Roma "to the level of institutional
racism," CTK and AP reported. The protesters were joined
recently by Polish and German Roma. MS

...WHILE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS ROMA DISCRIMINATION
COMPLAINT. The Constitutional Court on 8 November rejected a
compliant by parents of Romany children whom the authorities
have sent to special schools, CTK reported. The parents
argued that the decision to send their children to special
schools deprived them of the right to education. The court
ruled, however, that the children had previously been in the
care of pedagogues and psychologists who had recommended they
be placed in those schools. The court said it has no power to
order the Education Ministry to draft an education reform
plan aimed at erasing racial discrimination, as demanded by
the plaintiffs. The parents intend to appeal to the European
Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. MS

SLOVAKS CAN TRAVEL TO FINLAND, NORWAY WITHOUT VISAS. The
Foreign Ministry on 5 November announced that as of the next
day Slovaks no longer need entry visas for Finland and
Norway. Finland introduced that requirement on 6 July, and
Norway followed suit three weeks later in response to the
influx of Slovak Roma asking for asylum in those countries.
The Foreign Ministry said Finland has warned that it may re-
introduce the requirement if the number of asylum-seekers
sharply increases again, CTK reported. MS

HUNGARIAN CABINET TO DISMISS CSER AGAIN? Imre Frajna, state
secretary for health insurance funds, told Hungarian media on
8 November that the government will again dismiss Agnes Cser
as director-general of the National Health Insurance Fund.
Cser attempted to resume her work after a court had
reinstated her in that post on 5 November (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 November 1999). Frajna said he does not require
Cser's services and will initiate her dismissal as soon as he
receives in writing the court verdict reinstating her. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CLINTON OUTLINES BALKAN 'CHALLENGE.' In a speech at
Georgetown University on 8 November marking the 10th
anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. President
Bill Clinton stressed that U.S. policy faces four challenges:
Russia, the Balkans, Greek-Turkish tensions, and the need to
maintain U.S. "leadership and engagement in the world" (see
Part I). Referring to Serbia and its neighbors, Clinton said
that it will be important to bring stability to the Balkans
so that "bitter ethnic problems can no longer be exploited by
dictators and Americans do not have to cross the Atlantic
again to fight in another war." In particular, Clinton called
for a democratic transition in Serbia from the rule of
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, whom the president
called "the last living relic of the age of European
dictators of the communist era," AP reported. PM

THACI ARGUES KOSOVA IS NOT CHECHNYA... Hashim Thaci, who
heads the provisional government appointed by the former
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), told Vienna's "Die Presse" of 8
November that Serbia no longer has any authority over Kosova.
The Kosovars have no intention of permitting "another
Chechnya" by allowing Serbian troops to return, he stressed.
Thaci condemned violence against non-Albanian minorities in
the province. He argued that there are armed groups active in
Kosova who are outside the control of the UCK. These groups
include people who entered Kosova after the recent armed
conflict. He did not elaborate but may have meant criminal
gangs that entered Kosova from Albania after the withdrawal
of Serbian forces in June. Frankfurt's Serbian-language daily
"Vesti" on 9 November reported that a previously unknown
masked group calling itself the Real UCK has carried out a
series of attacks on moderate Kosovars loyal to shadow-state
leader Ibrahim Rugova. PM

...SAYS SERBIAN CIVILIANS ARE WELCOME... Thaci said in Vienna
that all Serbian civilians who did not take part in
atrocities are welcome to stay in or return to Kosova, "Die
Presse" reported on 6 November. The daily quoted a Serbian
journalist who listened to Thaci's speech as saying that
Thaci's words are one thing, "but the reality in Kosova is
something quite different." Local Serbs have frequently
charged that Thaci calls for peace and inter-ethnic harmony
when speaking to foreigners but tells his own people that
they are now masters in the province. PM

...AND NOTES PROBLEMS REMAIN BETWEEN KOSOVARS. Thaci told
"Die Presse" of 8 November that relations between the UCK and
Rugova's Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) "could be better."
He accused Rugova of having a "totalitarian mentality," by
which he meant that Rugova considers himself the only leader
of the Kosovars. Thaci argued that the political scene "has
room for everyone and not just one man." He added that the
LDK continues to control funds from the diaspora and uses
some of the money for its own political purposes instead of
helping the population in general. Observers note that some
Kosovar critics charge that Thaci and the UCK have sought to
monopolize political power for themselves. They also note
that there are deep differences in political style and
outlook between the younger generation of leaders around
Thaci and older people, such as Rugova, whose political
careers began under Josip Broz Tito in the 1970s. PM

RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT WANTS POLITICAL SETTLEMENT. Russian
Ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov said in Prishtina on 8
November that talks should begin "as soon as possible"
between Belgrade and the various ethnic communities in
Kosova, AP reported. The news agency added that his remarks
reflect the "increasing frustration" among the Serbian
minority regarding their status and safety in the province.
He also criticized KFOR and the UN not doing enough to
protect ethnic minorities, Reuters noted (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 8 November 1999). PM

CALL FOR MONITORING OF KOSOVA 'POLITICAL TRIAL.' The New
York-based NGO Human Rights Watch appealed on 8 November to
diplomats and the media to monitor the trial of Flora
Brovina, which begins in Nis on 11 November. Brovina heads
the League of Albanian Women in Kosova and is charged with
"terrorism." She has been held for several months under
difficult conditions in the prison of Pozarevac. Among the
other prominent Kosovars still held in Serbian jails is
student activist Albin Kurti. PM

HAGUE COURT PRESIDENT DEMANDS ARREST OF BIG FISH. Judge
Gabrielle Kirk McDonald said at the UN on 8 November that the
world body and NATO must take action to arrest major war
criminals. She said it is unacceptable that only relatively
minor figures have been sent to the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal. McDonald also urged the international community to
get tough with the governments of Serbia, Croatia, and the
Republika Srpska. She charged that these three governments
"thumb their nose" at the court and do not cooperate with it,
as they are obliged to do under the 1995 Dayton peace
agreement. McDonald leaves her position at the court on 16
November and will live in New York. PM

EU READY TO START OIL DELIVERIES TO SERBIA. An unidentified
EU "source" told Reuters in Brussels on 8 November that the
EU will start heating-oil shipments to the opposition-run
cities of Nis and Pirot between 15 and 20 November. Mladjan
Dinkic of the independent G-17 group of Serbian economists
told "RFE/RL Newsline" in Munich recently that the opposition
will use independent shippers. He added that the deliveries
will receive much publicity in the independent media in order
to deter the government from stealing the fuel. The
deliveries are a pilot project of the opposition's Energy for
Democracy program. The program's goal is to show voters that
the opposition is able to obtain needed fuel from abroad at a
time when international sanctions weigh heavily against the
Belgrade regime. PM

GRAND OLD MAN OF SLOVENIA DIES. Leon Stukelj died of heart
failure in Ljubljana on 8 November, just four days before his
101st birthday. He was the world's oldest surviving Olympic
athlete and won a total of six medals in gymnastics for the
former Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1924, 1928, and 1936. He
regularly topped popularity polls in Slovenia and was
recently voted its Man of the Year. Stukelj attributed his
longevity to "moderation in all things and a glass of red
wine every day," VOA's Croatian Service reported. PM

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT SEEKING TO DEFUSE BRASOV LABOR CONFLICT.
Delegations from several ministries and unions representing
workers at Brasov's Roman truckmaker reached agreement on 8
November on several proposals, following riots in Brasov
three days earlier (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 November 1999).
Under those proposals, the Defense and Interior Ministries
will purchase some 320 vehicles in part payment of the
company's debts to the state budget, Romanian radio reported
on 9 November. The government is to meet on 9 November to
discuss the proposals. MS

JEWISH CEMETERIES VANDALIZED IN ROMANIA. Vandals have
destroyed more than 50 tombstones in two Transylvanian Jewish
cemeteries over the last days, Mediafax reported on 8
November, citing sources from the Federation of Jewish
Communities in Romania. On 5 November, 25 tombstones were
overturned, while others were smashed in the Satu Mare
cemetery. A few days earlier, the Resita cemetery was also
desecrated and 26 tombstones overturned, as a result of which
some were destroyed. Last February a similar incident took
place in the Alba Iulia cemetery, which is also in
Transylvania. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN CABINET. Fifty-
eight out of a total of 101 deputies have backed the motion
to dismiss Ion Sturza's cabinet, Infotag reported on 9
November. Deputies from the outgoing coalition did not take
part in the vote as a sign of protest. The previous day,
President Petru Lucinschi had told journalists that the
resignation or dismissal of the cabinet was "inevitable." He
said the government's performance is far less spectacular
than claimed by Sturza and that many of those claims are
"inventions." Asked how a cabinet could be formed by the
Communists and the ideologically opposed Popular Front
Christian Democratic, Lucinschi said the new government will
have to be "much less politicized" than its predecessor,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

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