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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 45, 00-03-03

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 4, No. 45, 3 March 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARRESTED ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE DECLARES HUNGER STRIKE
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA COMMENT ON PIPELINE TALKS
  • [03] ONE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS
  • [04] KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS WORLD BANK FUNDING FOR INSURANCE FOR FOREIGN
  • [05] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SAYS STABILITY IN RUSSIA CRUCIAL FOR CENTRAL
  • [06] KYRGYZ PREMIER HOPES PARLIAMENT WILL SUPPORT REFORMS
  • [07] TAJIK, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN
  • [08] TURKMEN PRESIDENT WILL NOT ATTEND TURKIC SUMMIT

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] HAGUE COURT GIVES CROATIAN GENERAL 45 YEARS
  • [10] CROATIA TURNS DOCUMENTS OVER TO HAGUE
  • [11] MEDICAL TEAM SAYS TUTA FIT TO TRAVEL TO HAGUE
  • [12] U.S. TO PUBLICIZE REWARDS FOR WAR CRIMINALS
  • [13] OSCE SAYS MILOSEVIC 'SUBVERTING' BOSNIAN SERB MEDIA
  • [14] THACI DENIES LINKS WITH NEW ALBANIAN GUERRILLAS
  • [15] ALBRIGHT PLAYS DOWN 'MULTIETHNICITY' FOR KOSOVA
  • [16] SERBIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER TABLOID
  • [17] PETRITSCH WARNS BOSNIA ON COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMBERSHIP
  • [18] HDZ MODERATES LEAVE PARTY
  • [19] ROMANIA TO INTRODUCE VISAS FOR MOLDOVA
  • [20] NATO SUPREME COMMANDER IN EUROPE MEETS ROMANIAN OFFICIALS
  • [21] ROMANIAN SECURITY SERVICES GUARDING ILIESCU
  • [22] GAZPROM RESUMES SUPPLIES TO MOLDOVA
  • [23] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT 'REGRETS' BULGARIAN COURT DECISION
  • [24] NEW PARTY REGISTERS IN BULGARIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [25] INTERNATIONAL MONITORS IN MONTENEGRO: PROS AND CONS

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARRESTED ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE DECLARES HUNGER STRIKE

    Aleksan Harutiunian, who was detained in December and charged

    with complicity in the 27 October parliament shootings, has

    begun a hunger strike to protest his continued detention and

    demand that the investigation of his case be transferred from

    the military prosecutor to the Prosecutor-General's Office,

    RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 2 March. Military

    Prosecutor Gagik Jahangirian had rejected an appeal late last

    month by Harutiunian's lawyer, Ruben Sahakian, to transfer

    his client's case to the prosecutor-general (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 28 February 2000). Sahakian told journalists in

    Yerevan on 2 March that the investigators have found no

    evidence to substantiate Jahangirian's hypothesis that the

    killings were part of a coup attempt. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA COMMENT ON PIPELINE TALKS

    Azerbaijan

    state oil company President Natik Aliev told journalists in

    Baku on 2 March that the most recent round of talks between

    Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline

    project yielded agreement on one unspecified point about

    which Georgia had been adamant, Interfax reported. In Tbilisi

    the same day, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli

    Menagharishvili said that agreement was reached on all issues

    that concern Georgia as a transit country. But Interfax

    quoted unnamed Azerbaijani sources as saying Georgia

    continues to refuse to accept financial responsibility for

    any "force majeure damage" to the pipeline on Georgian

    territory. The costs of repairing one of the planned three

    pumping stations, should it be damaged by a terrorist attack,

    could reach $150 million, Interfax calculated. U.S. special

    envoy for Caspian energy issues John Wolf said on 1 March

    that the talks, which took place in Istanbul, did not cover

    the question of transit tariffs, according to AP. LF

    [03] ONE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS

    Less than one

    week after submitting some 57,000 signatures to the Georgian

    Central Electoral Commission, Party of National Ideology

    chairman Zurab Gagnidze has withdrawn his candidacy, Caucasus

    Press reported on 2 March. Gagnidze, who earlier accused the

    commission of favoring the three candidates with the greatest

    chance of success, called on his supporters to vote for one

    of those three, incumbent President Eduard Shevardnadze. The

    commission is currently verifying the authenticity of the

    signatures submitted by the remaining 11 candidates. LF

    [04] KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS WORLD BANK FUNDING FOR INSURANCE FOR FOREIGN

    INVESTORS

    Dulat Kuanyshev, the chairman of Kazakhstan's

    Foreign Investment Agency, told journalists in Almaty on 1

    March that his country is seeking $50 million from the World

    Bank toward providing insurance for foreign investors against

    the self-interest of bureaucrats and legislative anarchy, by

    which he presumably meant demands for bribes and frequently

    changing legislation, AP reported. Several days earlier,

    Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev had warned that shifts in

    government policy constitute a deterrent to potential foreign

    investment (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 February 2000).

    Kuanyshev said the government is hoping to attract $1.5-2

    billion in direct foreign investment this year, primarily in

    the mining sector. He estimated that direct investment in

    1999 totaled $1.3 billion, mostly in the oil and gas sector,

    Interfax reported. LF

    [05] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SAYS STABILITY IN RUSSIA CRUCIAL FOR CENTRAL

    ASIA

    Visiting the newly created Batken Oblast in southern

    Kyrgyzstan on 2 March, President Askar Akaev stressed that

    peace and stability in Central Asia are largely contingent on

    the outcome of the 26 March Russian presidential poll,

    Interfax reported. Akaev expressed the hope that Russian

    voters will elect a head of state who enjoys the trust of the

    Russian people. He advocated a preemptive strike to wipe out

    "international terrorists" in Tajikistan who took hostages in

    Batken late last summer. And he warned that any attempt by

    those "terrorists" to stage a repeat incursion into

    Kyrgyzstan will be repelled. LF

    [06] KYRGYZ PREMIER HOPES PARLIAMENT WILL SUPPORT REFORMS

    Amangeldy Muraliev told Interfax in Bishkek on 29 February

    that the strong showing by the Communist Party in the 20

    February parliamentary elections reflects the population's

    anger at declining living standards. He expressed the hope

    that the new parliament will back the government's reform

    program. Muraliev said that investment legislation must be

    amended to encourage both domestic and foreign investment and

    that the private sector must be strengthened. In particular,

    he advocated scrapping what he termed "populist" legislation

    on taxing farmers and peasants and abolishing the five-year

    moratorium on the sale of land, which was imposed after a

    1998 referendum (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October 1998). LF

    [07] TAJIK, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN

    During a

    telephone conversation on 2 March, Imomali Rakhmonov and

    Vladimir Putin expressed concern at the escalation of

    fighting in Afghanistan close to the Afghan-Tajik border over

    the previous few days, Russian agencies reported. The two

    presidents called for unspecified additional measures to

    reinforce that border within the framework of the CIS

    Collective Security Treaty, to which both countries are

    signatories. The Russian border guards deployed along the

    Tajik-Afghan border are monitoring the situation. LF

    [08] TURKMEN PRESIDENT WILL NOT ATTEND TURKIC SUMMIT

    Saparmurat

    Niyazov's work schedule will not permit him to attend the

    meeting of leaders of Turcophone countries in Baku next

    month, Interfax reported on 2 March, citing the Turkmen

    Foreign Ministry. In Baku, unnamed Azerbaijani officials

    expressed displeasure at Niyazov's decision. Relations

    between the two countries are strained over use of the

    planned Trans-Caspian gas export pipeline (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 1 and 2 March 2000). LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] HAGUE COURT GIVES CROATIAN GENERAL 45 YEARS

    The Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal on 3 March sentenced Croatian General

    Tihomir Blaskic to 45 years in prison for crimes against

    humanity, war crimes, and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva

    Conventions on the conduct of war. Most of the atrocities

    took place in the Lasva Valley between 1992 and 1994,

    especially in the Muslim village of Ahmici in 1993. Blaskic

    denied that he ordered the brutal attacks on Muslims and

    their property or that he was in a position to control the

    actions of his troops. Blaskic is the highest-ranking

    individual whom the tribunal has sentenced, and his sentence

    is the longest that it has handed down. His trial provided

    evidence of the links between the Croatian army and

    authorities on the one hand and the Herzegovinian Croat

    military on the other. PM

    [10] CROATIA TURNS DOCUMENTS OVER TO HAGUE

    Graham Blewitt, who is

    a spokesman for the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, said on

    2 March that the new Croatian government has turned over an

    unspecified number of documents dealing with the Croatian

    army's "Flash and Storm" campaigns in 1995. Blewitt added

    that the delivery of the documents is a clear sign that

    Zagreb truly intends to cooperate with the tribunal. The

    Hague wants to investigate charges that the Croatian army

    carried out atrocities against ethnic Serbian civilians

    during the two campaigns against the Krajina forces. The

    previous Croatian government balked at handing over documents

    on the grounds that they contained information that might

    compromise national security. PM

    [11] MEDICAL TEAM SAYS TUTA FIT TO TRAVEL TO HAGUE

    A spokesman

    for the Hague-based tribunal said on 2 March that a group of

    court-appointed doctors have examined Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic

    in Zagreb and concluded that he is sufficiently fit to travel

    to the Dutch city "under correct medical conditions," Reuters

    reported. Tuta's own doctors had previously said that he is

    not well enough to travel on account of a worsening heart

    condition. The tribunal indicted him in 1998 for the murder,

    torture, and persecution of "thousands" of Muslims in 1993.

    PM

    [12] U.S. TO PUBLICIZE REWARDS FOR WAR CRIMINALS

    David Scheffer,

    who is the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues,

    said in Washington on 2 March that the U.S. will soon put up

    10,000 wanted posters in Bosnia and Serbia to publicize up to

    $5 million in rewards for information leading to the capture

    of indicted war criminals. The posters will depict the three

    most-wanted war criminals: Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic, Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, and

    Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic. Scheffer said:

    "We...believe that the time has come for these individuals to

    move from the region to The Hague, so their influence will no

    longer impede the efforts of those citizens of Bosnia and

    Herzegovina and Serbia who want to advance democracy and the

    rule of law," an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Scheffer

    declined to say how the U.S. will distribute the posters in

    Serbia. He added that "it will simply happen." Karadzic is

    believed to be in eastern Bosnia and Mladic in Serbia. PM

    [13] OSCE SAYS MILOSEVIC 'SUBVERTING' BOSNIAN SERB MEDIA

    The

    OSCE's Robert Barry said in a statement in Sarajevo on 2

    March that "recent events in Banja Luka indicate that the

    government in Belgrade is not content with its clearly

    announced terrorist campaign against Serbia's independent

    media. It now feels it must move against the independent

    media in the [Republika Srpska] as well. The citizens of

    Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be subject to the whims of

    another government. I believe they've had enough of meddling

    politics." He was referring to a recent Bosnian Serb court

    inquiry at the request of a Serbian court against two

    journalists from the independent weekly "Reporter." The

    journalists had published a photo of Milosevic wearing a hat

    favored by the royalist Serbian Chetniks of World War II. In

    October 1999, a Serbian court indicted the two for harming

    the "reputation of Yugoslavia." PM

    [14] THACI DENIES LINKS WITH NEW ALBANIAN GUERRILLAS

    Hashim

    Thaci, who is the former leader of the Kosova Liberation Army

    (UCK) and now head of the Party for Democratic Progress, told

    Reuters on 2 March that he and the UCK have nothing to do

    with recent armed incidents in southwestern Serbia (see

    "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 29 February 2000). He said: "There is

    no more UCK. As you know, I was one of the UCK commanders. My

    impression is that the problem of Presevo, Medvedja, and

    Bujanovac and the appearance of uniformed people has been

    exaggerated in the media." Thaci added: "We and the

    international community are observing the situation in order

    to solve the problems [of Serbia's ethnic Albanian minority]

    in accordance with the rights of the citizens who are living

    there to overcome armed confrontations which are dangerous

    for the region." PM

    [15] ALBRIGHT PLAYS DOWN 'MULTIETHNICITY' FOR KOSOVA

    Secretary of

    State Madeleine Albright said in Washington on 2 March that

    the key principle that must be applied in Kosova is "respect

    for minority rights," Reuters reported. She added that "the

    word 'multiethnic' is harder to talk about for [Kosova]

    because the Serbs are really a minority there, so it is a

    matter of respect for minority rights." Her statement marks a

    departure from the practice of most Western leaders to stress

    that their goal is to restore a "multiethnic society" to the

    province. Ethnic Albanians make up approximately 90 percent

    of Kosova's population. Other minorities include Roma,

    Bosnian Muslims, Turks, Montenegrins, and the Gorani. The

    latter are a Slavic Muslim people unique to the region whose

    culture shows heavy Albanian, Macedonian, and Serbian

    influence. PM

    [16] SERBIAN GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER TABLOID

    The government said in

    a statement on 2 March that it has decided to "merge

    'Vecernje Novosti' into the Federal Public Institution Borba

    after being informed that the state is the majority owner" in

    "Vecernje Novosti." Pero Simic, who is the mass-circulation

    daily's editor, said in a letter to readers that as late as

    August 1999, a Belgrade court ruled that the newspaper is 76

    percent privately owned. He described as "slavery" the merger

    into a newspaper with a circulation 25 times lower than his

    own. Simic recently introduced an editorial policy that is

    more independent of the government than was previously the

    case. "Borba" is the mouthpiece of the United Yugoslav Left

    of Mira Markovic, who is Milosevic's wife. PM

    [17] PETRITSCH WARNS BOSNIA ON COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMBERSHIP

    The

    international community's Wolfgang Petritsch said in Sarajevo

    on 2 March that Bosnia must implement key reforms blocked by

    nationalists before it is allowed to join the Council of

    Europe, Reuters reported. He stressed that membership is a

    "carrot" that the international community should give to

    Bosnia only in return for its passing a reformed election

    law, speeding up refugee returns, accelerating privatization,

    and invigorating joint governmental institutions. PM

    [18] HDZ MODERATES LEAVE PARTY

    Former Foreign Minister Mate

    Granic and former Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) Vice

    President Vesna Skare-Ozbolt said in Zagreb on 2 March that

    they are leaving the HDZ to form the Croatian Democratic

    Center (HDC). The two moderate political leaders noted that

    the HDZ was founded just over a decade ago as a mass movement

    to end communist rule and achieve independence. They argued

    that the HDZ has, however, never succeeded in transforming

    itself into a political party based on clear policies and

    principles, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Granic

    and Ozbolt stressed that the HDZ now contains unnamed extreme

    rightists. Granic was the HDZ's unsuccessful presidential

    candidate in the 24 January elections. He blamed in-fighting

    in the HDZ for his defeat. PM

    [19] ROMANIA TO INTRODUCE VISAS FOR MOLDOVA

    Romanian Foreign

    Minister Petre Roman on 1 March said his country will impose

    visas on Moldovans, Rompres reported on 2 March. He did not

    say when Romania would introduce the visa restrictions. In

    other news, former Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea on

    2 March described a recent decision by customs officials to

    impound the printing press of the newspaper "Cotidianul" as

    an attack on the freedom of the press, AP reported. VG

    [20] NATO SUPREME COMMANDER IN EUROPE MEETS ROMANIAN OFFICIALS

    General Wesley Clark asked Romanian Prime Minister Mugur

    Isarescu for information on the country's efforts to reform

    its military, noting that NATO is ready to assist the country

    in carrying out those reforms, Rompres reported on 2 March.

    President Emil Constantinescu told Clark that Romania could

    play a key role in building East-West ties in the Black Sea

    region, adding that the sea should not become a "border" in

    the European integration process. Constantinescu suggested

    that oil resources from the Caucasus could be transported

    through Romania's ports on the sea. VG

    [21] ROMANIAN SECURITY SERVICES GUARDING ILIESCU

    The Romanian

    security services (SPP) are "tightly" guarding former

    president and current opposition leader Ion Iliescu after he

    claimed to have received a threatening anonymous letter (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 March 2000), Rompres reported on 2

    March. The SPP says it has received no indication of any

    plots against the life of Iliescu. VG

    [22] GAZPROM RESUMES SUPPLIES TO MOLDOVA

    Russia's natural gas

    company Gazprom on 3 March resumed gas supplies to Moldova

    one week after cutting them off, Reuters reported. An

    official from the company said Moldova has agreed to pay its

    $11.1 million debt to Gazprom for January and February by 16

    March. Moldova has also promised to make semi-monthly

    payments for future gas deliveries. VG

    [23] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT 'REGRETS' BULGARIAN COURT DECISION

    Boris Trajkovski on 2 March expressed regret at the recent

    decision by the Bulgarian Constitutional Court to outlaw the

    ethnic Macedonian political party OMO-Ilinden-PIRIN (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 March 2000), BTA reported. While

    Trajkovski acknowledged that it is "unusual" for a president

    to comment on a decision by another country's court, he said

    he felt compelled to express his opinion on what he described

    as a "sensitive issue." He added: "I hope that Bulgaria will

    be more sensitive in solving identical or similar issues."

    The same day, the Macedonian Foreign Ministry said the court

    decision appears to have been based on "political arguments"

    rather than on legal considerations, adding that it was an

    "unprecedented act." The opposition Social Democratic

    Alliance of Macedonia also criticized the court decision as

    well as the Macedonian government's "vague policy" toward

    Bulgaria and the rights of its Macedonian minority. VG

    [24] NEW PARTY REGISTERS IN BULGARIA

    A new party calling itself

    the George Ganchev Bloc registered in Bulgaria on 2 March,

    Bulgarian Radio reported. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [25] INTERNATIONAL MONITORS IN MONTENEGRO: PROS AND CONS

    By Jolyon Naegele

    The idea of deploying several hundred international

    monitors in Montenegro was raised on the sidelines of an

    international conference in Podgorica this week. The

    conference was convened as a dialogue between Montenegrin and

    Serbian pro-democracy politicians and activists to address

    constitutional differences.

    Montenegro has been Serbia's increasingly unwilling

    partner in the Yugoslav Federal Republic, founded eight years

    ago after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Montenegro is

    now on the road to sovereignty, with an increasingly

    democratic legislature, new reform laws and its own Western-

    oriented foreign policy.

    But Montenegro is rump Yugoslavia's sole outlet to the

    sea, and a potential hard currency earner through tourism and

    maritime trade. Those industries brought in some $320 million

    a year a decade ago but now are virtually nonexistent.

    The head of one of Montenegro's three ruling pro-

    democracy parties, Social Democrat Zarko Rakcevic, says that

    as long as Montenegro fails to gain international recognition

    as a sovereign state, it will be unable to borrow on

    international financial markets to rebuild its industry.

    Rakcevic says he hopes the international community

    changes its position toward Montenegro and accepts

    Montenegro's basic right to national self-determination--the

    right to separate its fate from Serbia, as he puts it. That,

    he believes, would prevent a repetition of recent tragic

    experiences in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosova. And he argues

    that Montenegro is the best example that Orthodox, Catholics,

    and Muslims can live together in harmony.

    Rakcevic, a Montenegrin parliamentary deputy, says the

    solution is to take preventive action in the field of

    security by deploying observers before trouble starts. He

    said argues that with some 200 international monitors, for

    example, in the republic, Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic "will decide completely differently."

    Rakcevic says deploying monitors would be a clear sign

    to Milosevic to cease his destabilization of Montenegro,

    which has included an economic blockade and the setting up of

    Yugoslav Television transmitters on Yugoslav military bases.

    But Rakcevic warns that if the international community waits

    until after Milosevic puts military and paramilitary pressure

    on Montenegro, it will be too late.

    A senior official with the international community's

    Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, Finnish diplomat Alpo

    Rusi, told RFE/RL that the international community is coming

    round to the idea that deploying monitors in Montenegro,

    possibly under the aegis of the OSCE, would make sense.

    Rusi notes that although Yugoslavia is barred from the

    Stability Pact for now, Montenegro is, in practice,

    functioning as a member state of the pact. But he says that

    putting together a monitoring mission for Montenegro is not

    yet part of the pact's official brief.

    The UN deployed observers along Macedonia's border with

    Kosova and Serbia more than six years ago, and their

    presence--including that of several hundred U.S. soldiers--is

    one of the reasons Milosevic never started trouble with

    Macedonia.

    In contrast, however, the EU's deployment in 1991 of a

    European military monitoring mission in Croatia after the

    fighting and ethnic cleansing began had little effect, except

    for providing the West with military intelligence. Serbian

    forces soon shot down a mission helicopter. and the mission

    did little if anything to hold back the fighting.

    Similarly, the presence of UN peacekeepers from UNPROFOR

    in Bosnia did not prevent the systematic destruction by

    Serbian forces of the areas that the UN had designated "safe

    areas." Nor did it deter Serbian forces from carrying out the

    massacres of some 7,000 men near one of those so-called "safe

    areas," Srebrenica, in 1995.

    Later, an unarmed OSCE mission in Kosova was slow to

    deploy, never reached full capacity, and was soon forced to

    withdraw after Serbian forces made its job impossible and the

    launching of NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia last Spring

    inevitable.

    Since the Serbian capitulation and withdrawal from

    Kosova last June, the international community has failed to

    deploy anywhere near the agreed-upon number of NATO-led

    peacekeepers and UN civilian police in Kosova. That is true,

    despite the worsening situation in Mitrovica and along

    Kosova's eastern border with Serbia.

    So it is far from clear whether there will be sufficient

    willingness to deploy observers in Montenegro. The issue

    poses many questions: Would the observers be armed? Would

    they stand firm or flee in the event of the likely Serbian

    provocation? And what would be the justification for

    deployment? Do humanitarian aid convoys bound for Kosova

    really require the security of observers in Montenegro when

    their main obstacles are Kosova customs agents just over the

    border. And what would the reaction be of the Yugoslav Second

    Army based in Montenegro, already in a heightened state of

    alert and now manning fresh barricades along Montenegro's

    sole border crossing with Albania.

    Based on the international community's record to date, a

    deployment of monitors in Montenegro is unlikely to be agreed

    upon until it is too late.

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent currently in

    Montenegro.

    03-03-00


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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