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Newsline - June 14, 1999




CONFUSION OVER RUSSIAN ROLE IN KOSOVA

U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin tried in an hour- long telephone conversation on 13 June to end the standoff between NATO and Russian troops near the Prishtina airport (see stories in Part II). According to Yeltsin's press office, the two leaders "stressed the need for an intensive dialogue, including that between the military, to quickly coordinate decisions in the peacemaking operations," AP reported. White House spokesman Mike Hammer said that the two leaders agreed that their generals must work out details for the role of Russian soldiers in Kosova and that talks on the prospective command structure will continue. FS

WILL RUSSIA RECEIVE A 'ZONE OF RESPONSIBILITY?'

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott failed to convince Russian officials in Moscow on 13 June to give NATO full access to the Prishtina airport. Talbott, however, said the U.S. is considering establishing "a zone of responsibility" for Russian peacekeepers in Kosova that will be under NATO control. He stressed that "there will be parts of [Kosova] where Russian participation will be important and manifest," but made clear that there will be no partition of the province. FS

SHEA, COOK ENVISAGE SETTLEMENT WITH RUSSIA

NATO spokesman Jamie Shea told Sky News in Brussels on 14 June that "we have to sort out the business of how the Russians are going to be integrated into [the Kosova peacekeeping force] KFOR, where they will be, what role they're going to play, what the command arrangements will be." He added that "this business of the Russian participation is now well on its way to being sorted out," Reuters reported. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the BBC in London that Ivanov promised him during a telephone call that no more Russian troops will be moved into Kosova without prior agreement with the West. He added that "we will be holding the Russian government to that commitment and I have to say in the 24 hours since then they have done so." FS

WHO KNEW WHAT IN MOSCOW?

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Talbott on 12 June in Moscow that the Russian troop deployment was an "unfortunate mistake." Ivanov added that the government ordered the paratroopers to leave Kosova immediately, but he did not elaborate on who gave the order. The following day, however, Ivanov told Interfax that "everyone will stay where they are during the transitional stage." ITAR-TASS reported that the Russian Defense Ministry and unnamed high-level Yugoslav military officials took the decision to send the troops into Kosova as the first peacekeeping troops to arrive. Lieutenant-General Viktor Zavarzin commands the troops. Yeltsin promoted him to colonel-general after he led the forces into Kosova. Unnamed Russian officials told Reuters that the troop deployment to Kosova was part of a plan authorized by Yeltsin. Meanwhile, Yeltsin called a meeting of the Russian Security Council for 14 June to discuss Russia's role in KFOR. FS

AMNESTY BILL CLEARS FIRST LEGISLATIVE HURDLE...

The State Duma approved on 11 June on first reading a bill that would provide amnesty to more than 94,000 prisoners in Russian jails. If the bill passes all legislative hurdles, the amnesty would be carried out over a six-month period, according to Deputy Justice Minister Yurii Kalinin. Those eligible for amnesty would be prisoners who committed non- violent crimes, those who are war veterans or are pregnant, men over 60, women over 55, invalids, or inmates infected with tuberculosis or AIDS. According to Interfax, some 92,000 inmates have tuberculosis and about 2,300 are infected with the HIV virus. JAC

...AS DOES ANOTHER IMF BILL

Duma deputies also approved the same day on first reading a bill that amends existing legislation on the Central Bank and securities market. The legislation is part of a package of laws prepared in accordance with the Russian government's agreement with the IMF. Under the amendment, the Central Bank will be allowed to issue short-term bonds, the size of which will be set by the annual budget. Also in line with the IMF's wishes, the Central Bank plans to abolish twin trading sessions on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 29 June, according to Interfax (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 1999). Presidential envoy to international financial institutions Mikhail Zadornov had announced earlier that the bank would also lift its ban preventing foreign banks from buying hard currency from their ruble correspondent accounts. JAC

TAX MINISTRY BEGINS APPLYING MORE OVERT PRESSURE ON BANKS

The Tax Ministry named on 10 June six large banks that will lose their licenses to operate if they do not begin paying back taxes, "The Moscow Times" reported the next day. The list of the banks included SBS-Agro, Rossiiskii Kredit, Inkombank, Promstroibank, Mosbiznesbank and Bank Imperial; however, Inkombank already lost its license earlier this year. According to the daily, the commercial bank sector owes the government some 20 billion rubes ($823 million) in overdue taxes. Tax ministry officials admitted that the threat was somewhat empty, since they do not want to go beyond issuing a warning since a bank with a revoked license will no longer be able to make any tax payments at all. JAC

OVERLAPPING ALLIANCES COMPLICATE ELECTION BLOC FORMATION...

Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev, the informal leader of Vsya Rossiya (All Russia) movement, announced that talks were continuing with Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) over the formation of an alliance ahead of parliamentary elections, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 11 June. Shaimiev said that forming an alliance with Golos Rossii "could be more beneficial than with any other coalitions or parties." However, Shaimiev rejected the possibility of an alliance with Novaya Sila (New Force) headed by former Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko, with whom Konstantin Titov, Golos Rossii's informal leader, is also conducting talks on forming an election alliance, according to RFE/RL's Kazan bureau. According to the daily, Shaimiev's objections to an alliance with Kirienko center on the latter's plan to run in Moscow's mayoral elections. Russian media earlier reported that Vsya Rossiya and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's Otechestvo party were also discussing forming an election bloc (see "RFE/RL Russian Federation Report," 28 April 1999). JAC

RUSSIA CELEBRATES NINE YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

Russian citizens celebrated their country's independence from the Soviet Union on 12 June. In a speech to mark the occasion, President Yeltsin called for the renewal of the nation's "political elite" with "educated people capable of making laws" in a reference to upcoming Duma elections. According to Reuters, Yeltsin looked "wooden" and spoke slowly and in an exaggeratedly measured pace. JAC

PRIMAKOV DECLINES TO RULE OUT ELECTION BID

Former Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov dropped more hints that he is considering a return to politics on 11 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999). According to ITAR-TASS, Primakov, who is visiting Switzerland, said that "I do not rule out anything in the future." He continued, "I am very satisfied that after I stopped being prime minister, my ratings have grown. This is a phenomenal occurrence and naturally I cannot be indifferent to it." JAC

FORMER TOP AEROFLOT OFFICIAL CHARGED...

The office of the Prosecutor General charged on 11 June the former deputy head of Aeroflot, Nikolai Glushkov, with money laundering and illegal entrepeneurship, Russian agencies reported. The charges against Glushkov are part of a broader investigation of Aeroflot and its finances. Glushkov is barred from leaving Moscow. JAC

...AS NEW RIVAL AIRLINE SET TO EMERGE

Two Russian airlines, Vnukovo and Sibir, are set to merge into one company that would be several times larger than Aeroflot in terms of the volume of air traffic it handles in Russia and the CIS, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 11 June. The new joint company will serve around 10 percent of all Russian air passengers and control 40 of the existing 150 main air routes, according to the daily. The first step in the process was achieved when Novosibirsk-based Siber's general director, Vladislav Filev, was named director of Vnukovo. According to "The Moscow Times" the next day, Filev has until the end of the year to come up with a merger plan for the two airlines. JAC

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS CHECHEN PRESIDENT

Russian Premier Stepashin met with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov on 11 June in the new Ingush capital of Magas, Interfax reported. The two reaffirmed their commitment to the "unconditional fulfillment of all previous agreements" and agreed to expand cooperation in the field of law enforcement. Stepashin told the news agency that he would brief President Yeltsin on the meeting. The Russian and Chechen presidents are supposed to meet later this year, but no date has been set. PG

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE

Air traffic controllers in Kaliningrad declared on 11 June an indefinite hunger strike to protest low wages, ITAR-TASS reported. According to the head of the local air traffic controllers union, the controllers will continue to report to work but will not eat until their demands are met. JAC

BASHKORTOSTAN RIVER EXPERIENCING HEAVY OIL POLLUTION...

NTV reported on 13 June that an oil pipeline ruptured the previous day in the Republic of Bashkortostan, spilling at least 1,000 tons of oil into the Ai river. Republic's authorities were not informed about the spill until the next day. According to the television station, the spill could cause a serious ecological catastrophe in the region. JAC

...AS MORE DEAD SEALS TURN UP AT LAKE BAIKAL

Meanwhile, environmentalists in the Irkutsk Oblast reported that 30 dead seals had been discovered on the shores of Lake Baikal, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 10 June. The discovery follows a report earlier in June of another 100 dead seals. The environmentalists noted that the seals were discovered on the southern shore of the lake near a large paper and pulp mill. JAC

CHECHEN SECURITY FORCES TAKE CONTROL OF OIL PIPELINE...

The Chechen National Guard on 11 June took control of the Chechen portion of the pipeline that carries oil from Azerbaijan to Novorossiisk on the Black Sea, Interfax reported. The National Guard commander, General Magomed Khambiyev, said he had taken this step in order to "free the pipeline from numerous gunmen who have been pilfering oil recently." PG

...BEFORE IT IS ROCKED BY EXPLOSION

Three days later the pipeline was severed by an explosion near the Chechen- Dagestan border, ITAR-TASS reported. Local police say the explosion was most likely the result of an attempt by thieves to tap into the pipeline. The blaze caused by the explosion has been brought under control by firemen. PB




NEW ARMENIAN PREMIER TO NAME GOVERNMENT

Vazgen Sarkisian, who was appointed prime minister by Armenian President Robert Kocharian on 11 June, will announce the composition of his government in the next few days, Interfax reported. Sarkisian, whose Unity alliance won 57 of the 131 seats in parliament, will give up his post as defense minister. PG

PAPAL VISIT TO ARMENIA ALTERED

The Holy See announced on 14 June that an official visit to Armenia by Pope John Paul II scheduled for 2-4 July has been changed due to the illness of Armenian Catholicos Garegin I, who is recovering from cancer surgery performed in February. Instead of the July meeting, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the pope would fly to Armenia from Krakow, Poland on 18 June to visit the ailing Orthodox patriarch. John Paul will return to Rome that same day. PG/PB

AZERBAIJAN RATIFIES JAPAN OIL ACCORD

The Azerbaijani parliament on 11 June ratified a $2.3 billion agreement between Baku's SOCAR oil company and a Japanese oil consortium, Interfax-PIA reported. The agreements will go into effect after Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev signs them. Four Japanese firms control 50 percent of the deal-- SOCAR holds the other 50 percent. The joint enterprise will develop three areas in the Caspian Sea thought to contain upwards of 100 million tons of oil. PG

HAS GEORGIAN REBEL LEADER SURRENDERED?

Akaky Eliava and nine others involved in an insurrection against Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in October 1998 reportedly surrendered to Georgian authorities on 11 June, Interfax reported. But on 13 June, Eliava denied that he had surrendered and asked the country's parliament to guarantee his security. The confusion may reflect the fact that Eliava and his men were not formally arrested but simply gave written pledges that they would not flee the country and that they came out of hiding only after the authorities met their demands and released 39 others involved in their movement. PG

GEORGIAN SHIP TAKES PART IN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE EXERCISE

A patrol cutter from the Georgian navy will participate in a NATO Partnership for Peace program near Varna, Bulgaria, from 14-26 June, ITAR-TASS reported. PG

NAZARBAEV TO GET SPECIAL POWERS?

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev on 11 June asked the parliament to grant him the power to issue laws prior to the convocation of the next session of that body, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. His comments came during an address to parliament in which he called for the adoption of a number of bill's prior to the legislature's summer recess. Nazarbaev said that the country's rapidly changing economic situation "requires faster legal steps to enhance the ongoing reforms." Parliamentarians indicated to Reuters that the legislature is likely to go along with the measure, which will further concentrate power in the hands of Nazarbaev. Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbaev said on 14 June that he fully supports the president's request in order to clear a "backlog of legislation" that he said is crucial to lifting the economy out of a worsening slump. PG/PB

KAZAKHSTAN'S KURDS DENY PKK ACTIVITY

Nadir Nadirov, the president of the Association of the Kurdish People in Kazakhstan, said on 11 June that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has never been active in his country, Interfax- Kazakhstan reported. But he added that the Kurds of Kazakhstan "cannot be indifferent" to the fate of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is now on trial in Turkey. PG

KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA CONSULT ON PIPELINE ROUTES

Russian First Deputy Premier Nikolai Aksenenko met with Kazakh officials in Astana on 12 June to discuss possible pipeline routes for the export of Kazakhstan's oil to foreign markets, ITAR-TASS reported. The two sides also discussed the schedule of Russia's payments for the leasing of the Baikonur space center. Aksenenko reportedly promised that Moscow would make the first payment in July. PG

WORLD BANK LOAN FOR TAJIK PRIVATIZATION PROJECTS

The World Bank has approved a $20 million loan to support the privatization of farms in Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 June. The loan was made through the bank's International Association for Development, a program that makes loans to the world's poorest countries. PG

KARIMOV STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF SINO-UZBEK TIES

During a visit to Tashkent by Chinese Deputy Premier Qian Qichen on 11 June, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov called for expanding ties between the two countries as part of an effort to revive "the ancient Great Silver Road" linking Europe to Asia. PG




LUKASHENKA SAYS HE MAY RUN FOR BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN UNION PRESIDENCY

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told the 11 June "Tribuna" that he may run for the post of president of the Belarusian-Russian Union if such a position is created. "If my rating is fairly high, there will surely be people willing to nominate me. If not, why should I run?" Lukashenka said. The draft union treaty that was agreed to in early June does not provide for the post of union president (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 1999). Meanwhile, there has been speculation in the Russian press that Russian President Boris Yeltsin may take advantage of the creation of the Belarusian-Russian Union to remain in power by assuming the post of its first president. JM

THREE SENTENCED FOR MURDER, TERRORIST ACT PLOT AGAINST LUKASHENKA

Belarus's Supreme Court on 11 June sentenced three residents of Mahileu--Viktar Yancheuski, Anatol Haurylau, and Raman Radzikouski--for their roles in the murder of Yauhen Mikalutski, a regional presidential official in Mahileu, and for preparing a terrorist act against the president. President Lukashenka said last year that the case of Mikalutski, who was killed in a bombing on 6 October 1997, was connected to an attempt on his life and suggested that a plan to assassinate the Belarusian president was prepared in the Drazdy residential compound, near Minsk, where several Western ambassadors had their residences. The court sentenced Yancheuski to 11 years in prison, Haurylau to five years, and Radzikouski to four years, though Radzikouski was immediately freed under an amnesty. JM

KUCHMA CONDEMNS SOVIET REPRESSION AGAINST RELIGIONS

In a statement released on 11 June, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma condemned the Soviet policy of repression against religion and the Church, Interfax reported. Kuchma recalled the liquidation of Ukraine's Autocephalous Orthodox Church in 1930 and the Uniate Church after World War II, as well as repression against Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. "Although the Ukrainian state was not involved in these persecutions and bears no responsibility for them, I share the view that the Church should be exonerated morally and politically as a public institution harmed by the totalitarian regime," the statement reads. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS LAUNCH PROTEST MARCH FOR KYIV

Some 200 miners from the town of Krasnodon in eastern Ukraine have started a protest march due to reach Kyiv next month, Reuters reported on 11 June. Mykhaylo Volynets, head of the Independent Coal Miners Trade Union, told the agency that the march is a spontaneous protest action by people who have not been paid for more than 14 months. Volynets added that the government owes Ukrainian miners some 1.37 billion hryvni ($346 million) in unpaid wages and that miners are planning massive nationwide protests next month. JM

SPEAKER OF GERMANY'S LOWER HOUSE IN ESTONIA

German Bundestag speaker Wolfgang Thierse reiterated German support for Estonia's EU integration and the timetable for a targeted 2003 entry during a visit to Tallinn on 11 June. Thierse told his Estonian counterpart, Toomas Savi, that "I like Estonia's self-consciousness, which is expressed in setting a concrete date [for EU accession]," BNS reported. He stressed, however, that Estonia needs to accelerate the process of harmonizing its laws with those of the EU, as well as enhance public administration and personnel training. Estonian President Lennart Meri said while meeting with Thierse that German policy towards the Baltic Sea region could be strengthened. MH

LATVIA AND HUNGARY SIGN FREE-TRADE DEAL

Visiting Latvian Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed a free-trade agreement in Budapest on 10 June, as well as an agreement on the promotion and protection of investments. The signing ended a visit to Hungary by Kristopans and Defense Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis. MH

POPE TELLS POLES GOD ANSWERED HIS PRAYER

Pope John Paul II on 13 June celebrated a mass for some one million Poles on a square in Warsaw where 20 years ago he called for a new Poland. In 1979 the newly-elected pope--on his first trip to the communist homeland--ended his homily with a prayer for the Holy Spirit "to renew the face" of Poland. "Is not all that happened [within those 20 years] in Europe and the world, beginning with our own homeland, God's response?" the pontiff asked the crowd. During the mass, the pope beatified 1O8 Poles killed during World War II. JM

POLISH RABBI APPEALS TO POPE TO REMOVE LAST AUSCHWITZ CROSS

During the pope's meeting with Polish religious leaders in the parliament building on 11 June, Chief Rabbi of Poland Menachem Joskowicz addressed John Paul II with a request to have the last cross at the Auschwitz camp site removed. "The rabbi's plea was rather embarrassing and is not characteristic of Polish-Jewish dialogue. It was more of a protest," Polish government spokesman Krzysztof Luft told Reuters. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the cross is a "local matter," suggesting that the Vatican will take no action. Jerzy Kichler, head of the Association of Jewish Communities in Poland, condemned Joskowicz's impromptu request. "Rabbi Joskowicz was speaking on his own behalf. His term of office ends in two days time and I hope he will leave Poland then," Kichler said. JM

HAVEL WARNS AGAINST 'BALKAN ILLUSIONS'

President Vaclav Havel on 11 June said the end of the war in Yugoslavia was "a significant step towards peace" but that he feels compelled to "warn against the illusion that everything is solved by this and that this is an end of the Balkan conflicts, ethnic tension, and confrontation," CTK reported, citing presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek. On 12 June, Spacek cited Havel as saying that the situation in Yugoslavia "still includes many possible reverses and risky moments, such as the Russian units' unexpected entry" into Kosova earlier that day. Also on 12 June, Havel told a group of politicians and intellectuals that he was "seriously considering" visiting Kosova and will start making preparations for the visit "in the near future." MS

CZECH PREMIER REACTS TO RUSSIAN TROOPS' ARRIVAL TO KOSOVA

Milos Zeman on 12 June said that he would consider it "normal" for the operations of NATO and Russian peacekeeping forces in Kosova to be "coordinated by the relevant UN institutions," since KFOR's mission is based on a mandate from the UN Security Council. Zeman said that this will help avoid "conflicts similar to the ongoing one, which I consider unnecessary." Foreign Minister Jan Kavan on 13 June said he was "not much worried" about the Russian occupation of the Prishtina airport, explaining that the step would "speed up" an agreement on where the Russian troops will be deployed within the KFOR mission and what will be the structure of the KFOR command, CTK reported. MS

WORLD ASSOCIATION OF NEWSPAPERS CONDEMNS CZECH PRESS LAW

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) says a press law proposed by the Czech government is "an attack on the freedom of the press" and calls on President Vaclav Havel and the two chambers of the parliament to reject it, a WAN press dispatch released on 12 June says. The association is particularly disturbed by the envisaged bill's provision to grant the right of reply to anyone whose "honor, dignity or privacy" were infringed, "even if the reporting was true." WAN also deplores the provision imposing fines on publishers who contravened the law and making possible the suspension of newspapers for up to one year. MS

CORRECTION:

"RFE/RL Newsline" incorrectly reported the exchange rate of the Czech crown to the dollar on 11 June. The correct rate is approximately 36 crowns/dollar.

SLOVAK SUPREME COURT JUDGE CHARGED

Jozef Stefanko, deputy president of the Supreme Court, has been charged by the Justice Ministry with use of "extreme violence" to break into an apartment with an ax and of physically attacking an employee, CTK reported on 11 June, citing Slovak television. Stefanko's rent-free use of an apartment has been canceled by the court, which also ordered a change of its locks. He reportedly refused to accept the order, broke into the flat several times, and after the lock was secured with a steel plate, he "opened" it using an ax and attacked a court employee. Stefanko was elected Supreme court deputy chairman in February 1998, with the support of the then-ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. MS

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS VOJVODINA LEADER

Jozsef Kasza, chairman of the Federation of Vojvodina Hungarians, told Janos Martonyi in Budapest on 11 June that ethnic Hungarians could play a role in a future Yugoslav government, depending on domestic political developments in Serbia. Martonyi said that the inclusion of ethnic Hungarians in the government could boost Belgrade's democratic credibility. Kasza and Martonyi agreed that the three-tier autonomy scheme for Vojvodina (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 June 1999) should become part of the democratic process in Yugoslavia. MSZ

HUNGARY REJECTS RUSSIAN REQUEST FOR USE OF AIR SPACE

Hungary on 11 June refused to allow Russian planes carrying troops to Kosova to use its air space, Hungarian media reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath said foreign armed forces can enter the country's air space only with the approval of the parliament. "Russia originally was given permission for six planes with a 10-member crew each, but did not use the opportunity by the deadline, so the permission lost its validity," Horvath explained. "It turned out later that the Russian planes intended to carry an armed unit of 600 troops," he added. The parliament is expected to pass a resolution on the transit of KFOR forces later this week. MSZ




NATO FORCES ENTER KOSOVA

British peacekeepers crossed from Macedonia into Kosova on 12 June. By the early hours of 14 June, French, German, U.S., and Italian forces had entered their respective zones as well (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 June 1999). Crowds of ethnic Albanians turned out to greet the forces of Operation Joint Guardian with cheers and flowers. Some Kosovars, including males in Prishtina, said that this was the first time they had left their homes in nearly three months for fear of letting Serbian forces know where they are. PM

INCIDENTS REPORTED FROM THE START

British troops' progress toward Prishtina was slowed on 12 June by the need to clear mines and booby-traps. Once in the capital, they killed a Serbian policeman who reportedly fired on them. German troops in the Prizren sector killed at least one Serb who shot at them from a car the following day. Unknown gunmen killed two German journalists from the magazine "Stern" near Duha. They were photographer Volker Kraemer and reporter Gabriel Gruener. Deutsche Welle on 14 June quoted a German KFOR spokesman as saying that the journalists had "no business" being in Duha at that time. A third German journalist was killed near Prizren. The BBC reported that incidents are likely to continue as KFOR seeks to establish order and disarm Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) fighters emerging from hiding as well as retreating Serbs. Other incidents took place in which ethnic Albanians jeered retreating Serbs and threw objects at them. PM

RUSSIAN TROOPS, NATO IN STAND-OFF NEAR AIRPORT

Some 200 Russian paratroops arrived by land from Bosnia via Serbia on 11 June, thus becoming the first foreign forces to enter Kosova. Serbs in Prishtina gave them a hero's welcome. The Russians took control of the airport and denied access to British and French forces that wanted to enter, telling them that the airport is "their sector." NATO forces had planned to make the airport their headquarters in Prishtina. Much confusion surrounds the circumstances under which the Russians were ordered into Kosova and what their future role there will be (see stories in Part I). Observers note that, whatever the case, the Moscow leadership is clearly using the presence of Russian troops on the ground to strengthen Moscow's hand in its ongoing negotiations with Washington over Russia's unresolved role in Kosova. PM

UCK: RUSSIANS MUST GO

Hashim Thaci, who heads the UCK-backed provisional government, said in a statement in Tirana on 14 June: "We are concerned about the entrance of these Russian troops into Kosova without permission of the international community or the Provisional Government.... This partition of Kosova that Russians intend to [establish] will be unacceptable for the Provisional Government of Kosova. We cannot guarantee the security of the Russian troops that entered Kosova. They must leave Kosova as soon as possible." PM

ANOTHER MASS GRAVE IN KOSOVA?

Ethnic Albanians alerted KFOR peacekeepers over the weekend to a group of freshly-dug graves in a cemetery near Kacanik. On 14 June, peacekeepers inspected the site and called in forensic experts from the Hague-based war crimes tribunal. Local Kosovars told reporters that Serbian forces brutally killed an unspecified number of ethnic Albanians in May. The BBC said that this will be the first reported mass grave in Kosova to be examined by KFOR and the tribunal. PM

YUGOSLAV GENERAL PRAISES HIS TROOPS

General Vladimir Lazarevic, who commands the Yugoslav Army's Prishtina Corps, told state-run television on 13 June that his troops performed "brilliantly and heroically" in defending their country and defeating "separatist-terrorist" forces in Kosova, Reuters reported. "The Prishtina Corps was the focus of the defense of Yugoslavia." NATO, he continued, sought "to enslave, subjugate and humiliate an entire people...the Serbian people. [The allies] have done great evil to our country, committed unprecedented crimes against the entire population, against humanity and against peace." PM

SERBS FLEE KOSOVA

Retreating Serbian paramilitaries and other forces began leaving Kosova over the weekend with vehicles loaded with refrigerators, stereo equipment, televisions, bicycles, and other goods. Elsewhere, aid workers in Rozaje, Montenegro, said on 13 June that more than 9,000 ethnic Serb civilians had passed through the area in recent days. Some of the Serbs said they were leaving Kosova until their safety there was assured. Other Serbian civilians took all their possessions with them and said that they were leaving for good. In Prishtina, local Serbs appealed to villagers passing through the capital to stay. In Prizren on 14 June, some local Serbs waited for assurances of safe passage northward through areas held by the UCK. PM

SESELJ QUITS GOVERNMENT

On 14 June, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj made good on a previous threat to leave the government if a NATO force occupied Kosova and took his Serbian Radical Party out of the government. Seselj said that his party has no reason to stay in the government since Kosova "is under occupation." The Radicals hold two deputy prime-ministerships and 13 cabinet posts. The BBC reported from Belgrade that Milosevic will have "no trouble" finding other people to join his government by promising them jobs and patronage. PM

DJINDJIC CALLS FOR NEW ELECTIONS

Serbian Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic told Inforadio Berlin that new elections should take place this fall rather than in 2000, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" of 12 June reported. He stressed that the opposition can get its message to the voters if it has sufficient access to the media. He added that the opposition will also benefit when soldiers return from Kosova and tell people that the war was unnecessary and could have been avoided. PM

MONTENEGRO TO SECEDE?

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 14 June that "Yugoslavia needs a democratic turnaround. If Serbia remains a prisoner of the former policy, Montenegro will look for its own legal status." He has repeatedly said that he does not seek independence but stressed that Milosevic's policies are detrimental to Montenegrin interests. In Podgorica on 14 June, a group of intellectuals formed the Movement for the Independence of Montenegro and called for a referendum on separate statehood. They issued a declaration in which they said that "federal institutions, instead of protecting Montenegro, are the cause of instability and insecurity," AP reported. PM

IS THE UCK DISINTEGRATING?

An unnamed UCK fighter told the "The Observer" in Kukes on 12 June that "there [are] fights...between the officers and the [regular soldiers in an UCK camp in Albania].... The men want to go [into Kosova]. If NATO is there with hundreds of journalists, they feel they should be in there. It is also their victory and they're very [upset] that no one is acknowledging what they did." Another soldier stressed that "all the soldiers who are here on the front line want to go home and check out their own villages.... The UCK [is] going to have a hard time trying to keep their men together." A Dutch mercenary, who resigned from the UCK, said that "the commanders [are] battling for positions between each other. Every commander has two bodyguards.... The commanders are afraid of each other. Things are going to get very bad." FS

UCK, GERMAN TROOPS SEND REFUGEES BACK INTO ALBANIA

At the Morina border crossing on 14 June, UCK soldiers and German KFOR troops told about 300 Kosovar refugees to go back to their camps, AP reported. UNHCR officials want the refugees to remain in their camps until NATO peacekeepers have restored order, cleared minefields, and established conditions for an orderly return, an UNHCR spokeswoman said in Geneva. The priority of the UNHCR is the return of internally displaced persons before the refugees can come home from abroad. Meanwhile, the UNHCR is preparing to send its first humanitarian aid convoy into Kosova. Thaci's government issued an appeal calling on the refugees to remain in Albania. It added: "We appeal to the Kosovar people in Albania to be patient for a safe and organized return at the right time and in the right place." FS

GEORGIEVSKI CALLS FOR RECONSTRUCTION, RETURN OF REFUGEES

Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said in Taipei, Taiwan on 11 June that the return of the 250,000 Kosovar refugees and a comprehensive international plan for Balkan economic reconstruction are necessary if he is to realize his plans for his country's development. Unnamed sources with his party told AP that work will begin in July or August on a Taiwanese-financed "industrial zone" near Skopje airport. The project will cost some $200 million and include about 20 factories that will manufacture or assemble high-technology products for the European market. PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS MILOSEVIC SACRIFICED YUGOSLAVIA

Emil Constantinescu, in an address on national television on 11 June, said that peace in Yugoslavia has been achieved at the price of an "enormous destruction" for which "a whole generation [of Yugoslavs] will have to pay" because "the Milosevic regime preferred to sacrifice the country and its people" rather than opt for a "solution that would have been possible from the very beginning" of the conflict. Constantinescu said Romania has passed the test of its alliance with NATO "with flying colors," and despite the economic difficulties caused by the crisis has managed to avoid defaulting on its foreign debt. He pledged to personally support an initiative to set up an association of businessmen to promote Romania's participation in the reconstruction of Yugoslavia. MS

ROMANIAN OFFICER INVESTIGATED FOR TREASON

The Defense Ministry on 13 June confirmed a report published in the daily "Ziua" which said that a Romanian officer is under investigation by military prosecutors on suspicion of treason. The accused is suspected of having sold secret documents to a British citizen suspected of espionage, Mediafax and AP reported. The officer, who has been placed on reserve, is alleged to have sold the secret documents for $2,000 to the Sibiu-based Geo Strategies digital mapping company, a joint British-Romanian firm. Two Romanian civilians are also under investigation. In other news, the Teachers' Trade Union Federation on 12 June decided to reject the government-proposed agreement on ending its strike and is continuing the labor sanctions. MS

BULGARIA DELAYS RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN AIR CORRIDOR REQUEST

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry on 12 June said Russia has requested "through diplomatic channels" an air corridor for the transportation of troops to Kosova. The spokesman said that the request "was not made in line with existing requirements" and it "has been agreed" that Moscow send to Sofia "an additional note" detailing "the movement of the envisaged units." When the request is received it will be considered "in line with existing procedure," the spokesman said. He added that Bulgaria hoped that "by that time, the talks on the single command of the peacekeeping forces in Kosovo will be successfully completed and the order of their movement regulated." MS

BULGARIAN PREMIER DEFENDS GOVERNMENT POSITION ON KOSOVA

Ivan Kostov on 11 June said in the parliament that the government's position on the Kosova crisis has been praised by the international community and has led to a reconsideration of Bulgaria's "strategic role" in the restoration of peace and stability in the Balkans, BTA reported. Kostov was responding to Socialist Party deputy Ivan Genov, who accused the government of having "militarized its foreign policy" and of having "sacrificed national security" in order to ensure its stay in power.

BULGARIA, MOLDOVA DISCUSS TRANSIT OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

Visiting Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Nicolae Andronic on 11 June discussed with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov the transit of spent nuclear fuel from the Kozloduy nuclear plant to Russia via Moldova, BTA and Infotag reported. Andronic will present a report to the Moldovan parliament, which is to debate the ratification of the November 1997 agreement on the transit signed by Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. In 1998, the parliament rejected the ratification and allowed only a one-time transit of the spent fuel. Andronic told journalists that he also discussed with Stoyanov the lifting of visa requirements imposed by Bulgaria on Moldovan nationals. The talks also covered the status of the Taraclia district in Moldova. The ethnic Bulgarians there view the district's incorporation into the Cahul county as an infringement of there rights. MS




Moscow's Third Way


By Paul Goble

The introduction of some 200 Russian troops into Prishtina and their continuing occupation of the airport there reflect Moscow's continuing effort to navigate between cooperation with NATO and confrontation with Western creditor countries.

This essential continuity has been obscured over the weekend both by often apocalyptic Western commentaries and by Western governments anxious to overcome the difficulties that arose when 200 Russian soldiers unexpectedly showed up in the Kosovar capital.

Commentators in leading U.S. and West European newspapers speculated that this latest Russian action could mean one of two things: It could be a rogue operation by Russian generals and thus an indication that President Boris Yeltsin is no longer in control of the situation in Moscow.

Or, these same analysts suggested, it could mean that Yeltsin has had a change of heart and now shares the nationalist agenda of many of NATO's most vociferous critics in the Russian capital. In either case, the prospects for East-West relations are extremely gloomy.

At the other extreme were spokesmen for both NATO forces and Western governments who went to great lengths to suggest the Russian presence in Prishtina was a "bump in the road" and that the differences between Moscow and NATO that it reflected would soon be overcome.

Each of these three views--the notion that Yeltsin does not have total control of his government, the idea that Yeltsin's views about the West are evolving, and the belief that this "bump" will soon be overcome--captures part of the current East-West geopolitical reality.

And only a combination of the three provides not only an accurate description of what is going on but also a picture of just where Russian policy on Yugoslavia and on the West now is.

As reporting from Moscow on Saturday and Sunday shows, few Russians care very much about who ordered the introduction of Russian forces--Yeltsin, the Defense Ministry, or a particular general. Instead, they are pleased that Russia has been able to create a fact on the ground that NATO was earlier unwilling to grant but is equally unwilling to directly challenge.

Yeltsin will gain support abroad in at least two ways. On the one hand, the Serbs and other states angry at NATO and the United States will see Russia as their spokesman/protector, even if Moscow eventually backs down.

And on the other, the Russian president will almost certainly be able to extract some greater concessions from the West in order to bring the Russian forces into conformance with NATO's plans, something Yeltsin will be better positioned to do if there is confusion about just who gave the order to send them there in the first place.

Moreover, reporting from Moscow also makes it clear that Yeltsin is evolving in his views about the West under the impact of NATO's actions in Yugoslavia. Yeltsin is clearly less uncritical of the West than he was a year ago, and he is very much interested in demonstrating his own and his country's power, especially because both have so obviously declined.

But Yeltsin also remains very aware of his dependence on the West and also the dependence of his country, an awareness that helps to explain why Moscow has taken such a carefully calibrated action. It also supports the idea that the Russian president was very much involved in the deployment decision. If the introduction of Russian troops into Prishtina had been a rogue action or if it had been the product of a new anti- Western Yeltsin, it might have been both larger and more dramatic than it in fact has proved to be.

Indeed, the Prishtina operation appears to reflect a desire to put pressure on the West without taking a step that would totally alienate the leaders of countries to which Moscow still looks for assistance of various kinds.

NATO will certainly seek a compromise that will keep the Russians "on board" as various Western leaders have said. Indeed, precisely because some in Moscow--including Yeltsin-- have positioned themselves to deny full responsibility, the West may again as it has in the past give Yeltsin credit for backing away from something that he may have been responsible for starting.

And even if that happens--and the odds of a settlement on this point are probably quite good--Moscow and Yeltsin undoubtedly assume they will walk away winners, not only by signaling their support of the Serbs but also by underscoring the West's largely self-imposed requirement that Moscow be included in all future discussions about Kosova.

Consequently, Moscow's pursuit of a third way in this conflict appears likely to bring it far greater benefits than either of the extreme alternatives. And that in turn suggests that Yeltsin, who has practiced this style of politics before, almost certainly is heavily involved in this case as well.


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