To get full functionality you'll need either a Benq 1620 or LiteOn 1693 or older drive because all newer LiteOn models lack VCD record ability. The only place you might find one is eBay, but even that may be difficult with drives that old. If you will accept full DVD functionality, then a Sony DRU-120C (DW-G120A), Sony DRU-190A or Memorex MRX-530L will work fine. Also LiteOn SHW-160P6S and SHM-165P6S or SHM-165H6S may be cross flashed to Sony DRU-120C, and LiteOn 20A3P may be cross flashed to Sony DRU-190A. Note LiteOn models newer than 1693 will freeze on fast forward while the Sony rebadges don't which is the reason for cross flash.
To connect the IDE drive to computer, you'll need to get a PCI IDE adapter card if you have an available PCI slot. You're out of luck if you have no available PCI slot. You could connect the drive to a friends computer to set region if you know somebody that has a computer with IDE connections.
The initialize problems could be firmware related if it's not latest firmware. Another possibility is the media may not be supported. I suggest first checking the recommended media list and try another media if current media isn't listed.