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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 49, 00-03-09

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. 49, 9 March 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] LAWYER CLAIMS INVESTIGATORS DRUGGED ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT
  • [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT MAJORITY PONDERS NEW CHALLENGE TO
  • [03] ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS DOMESTIC TENSIONS HINDER
  • [04] TWO MORE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FAIL TO REGISTER
  • [05] STALIN'S GRANDSON TO BACK PROMINENT GEORGIAN OPPOSITION
  • [06] KAZAKH OPPOSITION LEADER UNDER PRESSURE
  • [07] PARTICIPANTS IN KYRGYZ RUN-OFF POLL STILL UNCLEAR
  • [08] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH MATERIALS CONFISCATED IN UZBEKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] YUGOSLAV ARMY CHIEF SAYS ETHNIC ALBANIANS MASSING WEAPONS ON
  • [10] YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT CLOSES DOWN RADIO STATION
  • [11] NATO DENIES BELGRADE HAD SPY DURING AIR STRIKES
  • [12] BRCKO DECLARED A NEUTRAL DISTRICT
  • [13] ALBRIGHT SAYS AID TO BOSNIAN CROATS TO BE TRANSPARENT
  • [14] THOUSANDS IN BOSNIA, CROATIA PROTEST WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL
  • [15] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS PROVOCATIONS WON'T BE TOLERATED
  • [16] CROATIAN PREMIER SAYS ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL LIKELY TO BE TRIED
  • [17] CROATIA SAYS CHANGES TO BE MADE AT STATE TV
  • [18] ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES WEST TO CONCENTRATE ON
  • [19] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LINEUP OF 'SECURITATE COLLEGE'
  • [20] BULGARIA READY TO START EU TALKS ON EIGHT CHAPTERS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [21] BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WANTS NO WESTERN MEDIATORS

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] LAWYER CLAIMS INVESTIGATORS DRUGGED ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT

    KILLINGS SUSPECT

    Ruben Rshtuni, who represents Armenian

    National Television Deputy Director Harutiun Harutiunian,

    told journalists in Yerevan on 8 March that his client was

    drugged on 8 March by investigators seeking to extract

    testimony about the 27 October Armenian parliament shootings,

    RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Harutiunian was detained in

    January on suspicion of complicity in the shootings (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 January 2000). LF

    [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT MAJORITY PONDERS NEW CHALLENGE TO

    PRESIDENT

    Andranik Markarian, who heads the majority

    Miasnutiun parliamentary alliance, said on 8 March that the

    bloc is considering appealing to the Constitutional Court to

    annul President Robert Kocharian's 6 March decree

    underscoring his right to make senior appointments within the

    armed forces, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Other

    deputies from the Republican Party of Armenia expressed their

    support for such an appeal. But two deputies from the

    People's Party of Armenia, the other member of Miasnutiun,

    disagreed, saying that Kocharian's decree does not violate

    the constitution and that challenging its legality would

    serve only to compound tensions. LF

    [03] ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS DOMESTIC TENSIONS HINDER

    KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS

    Addressing the Armenian parliament on

    8 March, Vartan Oskanian said that rising domestic political

    tensions have negatively affected the ongoing search for a

    solution to the Karabakh conflict within the framework of the

    OSCE Minsk Group, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Oskanian,

    who is a close political ally of President Kocharian, said

    that as a result of those tensions, he has cancelled planned

    trips abroad over the last three weeks. LF

    [04] TWO MORE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FAIL TO REGISTER

    The head of the Georgian Central Electoral Commission, Lia

    Sovdagari, told Caucasus Press on 8 March that another two

    candidates have been denied registration to contest the 9

    April presidential poll. She said that David the Builder

    Party leader Roin Liparteliani and Unity of Georgian

    Nationalists leader Gaioz Mamaladze failed to submit the

    minimum 50,000 signatures supporting their candidacies. Nine

    candidates out of the original 12 remain in the race,

    including incumbent President Eduard Shevardnadze and former

    Georgian Communist Party First Secretary Djumber Patiashvili.

    A spokesman for Adjar Supreme Council Chairman Aslan

    Abashidze said that Abashidze may withdraw his candidacy if

    the Georgian parliament fails to amend the election law to

    require that voters be marked with indelible ink after

    casting their ballots to prevent multiple voting. The

    parliamentary majority opposes that proposal. LF

    [05] STALIN'S GRANDSON TO BACK PROMINENT GEORGIAN OPPOSITION

    PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGER

    Yevgenii Djughashvili will join

    Patiashvili's campaign and tour Georgia calling on his own

    supporters to back Patiashvili, Caucasus Press reported on 9

    March, citing "Dilis gazeti." The Central Electoral

    Commission barred Djughashvili from contesting the poll on

    the grounds that he is a Russian citizen (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 22 and 29 February 2000). LF

    [06] KAZAKH OPPOSITION LEADER UNDER PRESSURE

    Amantay-Qaji

    Asylbek, leader of the Attan-Kazakhstan movement, has been

    summoned by the Almaty police for questioning after

    participating in an unsanctioned protest demonstration,

    RFE/RL's correspondent in the former capital reported on 9

    March. On 29 February, Asylbek had joined pensioners who

    demonstrate on the last day of every month to demand that

    their pensions be paid on time. Asylbek was barred from

    contesting the January 1999 presidential election on the

    grounds that he had participated in such protests in 1998. LF

    [07] PARTICIPANTS IN KYRGYZ RUN-OFF POLL STILL UNCLEAR

    As of 8

    March, Kyrgyzstan's Central Electoral Commission had still

    not issued a list of candidates to contest the 12 March

    runoff elections in an estimated 82 single-mandate

    constituencies where no candidate won a clear majority in the

    20 February poll, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Also on 8

    March, Ar-Namys Party representative Emil Aliev told RFE/RL

    that he has written to the Central Electoral Commission and

    the OSCE monitoring mission to protest canvassing by the

    Kyrgyz authorities for Ar-Namys chairman Feliks Kulov's rival

    in the run-off poll in a Talas Oblast constituency. LF

    [08] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH MATERIALS CONFISCATED IN UZBEKISTAN

    Uzbek

    police on 7 March confiscated materials from a Human Rights

    Watch representative who was monitoring the trial at the

    Syrdarya district court of 12 men accused of membership in

    Muslim Hizb-ut-Takhrir. That peaceable organization is banned

    in Uzbekistan. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] YUGOSLAV ARMY CHIEF SAYS ETHNIC ALBANIANS MASSING WEAPONS ON

    BORDER

    General Nebojsa Pavkovic said on 8 March in Belgrade

    that ethnic Albanian "terrorists" are gathering weapons in

    Kosova on the border with southern Serbia, Reuters reported.

    Pavkovic said that "under KFOR protection" they are massing

    weapons and "building facilities for attacks and protection."

    He said the ethnic Albanians are working together with their

    supporters in the southern Serbian towns of Bujanovac,

    Presevo, and Medvedja. Deputy Serbian Premier Dragan

    Todorovic said the Serbian government expects an

    intensification of "terrorist activities" in the spring aimed

    at creating a "Greater Albania." PB

    [10] YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT CLOSES DOWN RADIO STATION

    Yugoslav

    Telecommunications Ministry officials closed down the

    independent Boom 93 radio station on 8 March, Reuters

    reported. Boom 93's owner and editor, Milorad Tomic, said the

    officials arrived at the Pozarevac headquarters and told the

    staff it must stop broadcasting. Tomic was informed that the

    station's application for a frequency has been refused

    because Boom 93 "failed to satisfy the required demands."

    Pozarevac is the hometown of Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic. Tomic said the closure is the latest in a series

    of events aimed at "silencing free media in Serbia." PB

    [11] NATO DENIES BELGRADE HAD SPY DURING AIR STRIKES

    NATO

    spokesman Jamie Shea said on 9 March that there is

    "absolutely no evidence" that Yugoslavia had a spy within

    NATO who passed on top secret details about the alliance's

    bombing raids, Reuters reported. Shea was commenting on a

    story in the previous day's edition of London's "The

    Guardian" that quoted unidentified high-level U.S. sources as

    saying a spy within NATO had provided Belgrade with details

    of targets and flight paths of NATO planes during last year's

    air strikes. It also quoted a senior NATO source as saying

    the alliance's supreme commander in Europe, General Wesley

    Clark was heard to comment, "I know I've got a spy, I want to

    find him." Shea said the fact that Yugoslav forces shot down

    only two NATO planes during the 78-day bombing campaign

    suggests the Serbs did not have a spy. PB

    [12] BRCKO DECLARED A NEUTRAL DISTRICT

    The Bosnian town of Brcko

    was officially proclaimed a multiethnic district to be run

    jointly by Muslims, Serbs, and Croats while remaining under

    the sovereignty of the Bosnian state, an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said

    Brcko represents a "model solution" to the political problems

    in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The chairman of the Bosnian

    presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, said at a ceremony in Brcko

    that the town has become "a point that unites us...we cannot

    change history, but we can create a better future," Radio

    Bosnia-Herzegovina reported. Bosnian Serb Premier Milorad

    Dodik said the statute of Brcko "contains a lot of idealistic

    things which should be translated into reality." The final

    status of Brcko, which was predominantly populated by Muslims

    and Croats before the 1992-1995 war but was ethnically

    cleansed by Serbs, was the only territorial issue left

    unresolved by the Dayton peace agreement. PB

    [13] ALBRIGHT SAYS AID TO BOSNIAN CROATS TO BE TRANSPARENT

    Secretary of State Albright Albright said in Sarajevo on 8

    March that the U.S., Bosnia, and Croatia have agreed to make

    foreign military assistance to the Muslim-Croatian

    Federation's army more transparent, AFP reported. Albright

    said after meeting with Bosnia's tripartite presidency that

    all future requests for military aid to the federation will

    have to go through Bosnia's joint state military body.

    Albright and the members of the presidency also discussed the

    implementation of the Dayton accord. Bosnian President

    Izetbegovic said he was dissapointed by the poor state of the

    economy and the failure of refugees to return to their pre-

    war homes. PB

    [14] THOUSANDS IN BOSNIA, CROATIA PROTEST WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL

    SENTENCE

    Thousands of Bosnian Croats on 8 March protested

    the decision by the war crimes tribunal at The Hague to

    sentence General Tihomir Blaskic to 45 years in prison,

    Reuters reported. Several thousand demonstrated in Blaskic's

    hometown of Kiseljak, about 30 kilometers west of Sarajevo,

    while thousands more--many of them war veterans--protested in

    Mostar. Meanwhile in Zagreb, a demonstration was held outside

    the U.S. embassy. Croatian President Stipe Mesic objected to

    the fact that the protest was held outside the embassy

    because, he said, the U.S. "has nothing to do with the

    sentence." PB

    [15] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS PROVOCATIONS WON'T BE TOLERATED

    Lord Robertson said on 8 March in Brussels that NATO will not

    allow "extremists and troublemakers" to sow "division,

    separatism, and ethnic hatred" in Kosova, Reuters reported.

    He said KFOR will respond vigorously to any attacks on NATO-

    led troops, and he appealed to Serbs and ethnic Albanians in

    Kosova to "reject violence and hate-mongering." Momcilo

    Trajkovic, the chairman of the Serb Executive Council in

    Kosovo, said in Sofia after talks with Bulgarian Premier Ivan

    Kostov that "a solution (to the violence) can be found only

    through establishing the principles of democracy and

    multiethnic tolerance throughout Kosovo." He was accompanied

    on his trip by Serbian Orthodox Bishop Artemije. PB

    [16] CROATIAN PREMIER SAYS ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL LIKELY TO BE TRIED

    AT HOME

    Ivica Racan said on 8 March that Mladen "Tuta"

    Naletilic, indicted by war crimes tribunal in The Hague, will

    likely be tried for his crimes in Croatia, AP reported. Racan

    made that comment during a visit to Berlin. The previous

    government refused to send Natletilic to The Hague, citing

    his bad heart. UN doctors said last week that Naletilic was

    well enough to travel to Holland in order to stand trial. PB

    [17] CROATIA SAYS CHANGES TO BE MADE AT STATE TV

    Croatian Deputy

    Premier Zeljka Antunovic said on 8 March that the government

    will "undertake some urgent changes at HRT," Croatian Radio

    reported. Antunovic said the HRT's "unwillingness to accept

    [political] changes are forcing us to take those steps,

    although it does not make us happy." The administration of

    HRT was closely linked to late President Franjo Tudjman. It's

    three television channels are the main source of information

    for most Croats. PB

    [18] ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES WEST TO CONCENTRATE ON

    ALBANIAN, MACEDONIA

    Paskal Milo said on 9 March that there

    can be no stability in southeastern Europe until Albania and

    Macedonia get "special support from the Stability Pact," AP

    reported. Paskal said Albania and Macedonia are the two

    countries outside Yugoslavia most affected by the Kosova

    crisis and therefore need more aid. Paskal was speaking after

    meeting with his Greek and Macedonian counterparts in the

    Macedonian resort town of Ohrid. Macedonian Foreign Minister

    Aleksander Dimitrov said violence in Kosova and southern

    Serbia "represents a substantial threat to stability not only

    in Macedonia, but in the whole region." Greek Foreign

    Minister George Papandreou was two hours late for the meeting

    after he refused to board a plane in Athens because the

    flight plan included the name Macedonia, and not the Former

    Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. PB

    [19] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LINEUP OF 'SECURITATE COLLEGE'

    The parliament on 8 March approved the lineup of the

    leadership of the National College for the Study of the

    Securitate Archives, which is to supervise access to personal

    secret police files and verify the accuracy of public

    officials' statements about their links with the Securitate.

    The vote was 248 to two. The opposition Party of Social

    Democracy in Romania (PDSR), the Greater Romania Party, and

    the Party of Romanian National Unity boycotted the vote and

    said they will contest it in the Constitutional Court on

    grounds that the line-up contravenes legislation forbidding

    membership of people who were or are members of a political

    party. Those parties are opposed to the inclusion in the

    college lineup of Andrei Plesu and Mircea Dinescu, who were

    Communist party members but also dissidents. They also oppose

    Horia Roman Patapievici, whose press articles are very

    critical of those parties. MS

    [20] BULGARIA READY TO START EU TALKS ON EIGHT CHAPTERS

    Foreign

    Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaikov said on 8 March that

    Bulgaria is ready to start accession talks with the EU on

    eight out of the 31 chapters of the aquis communautaire,

    Reuters reported. Vlaikov said Sofia might be ready to open

    talks on another four chapters in May and on another five by

    the end of this year. He said the chapters Bulgaria is now

    ready to discuss are those on education, culture, science and

    research, foreign policy and security, small and medium-sized

    enterprises, statistics, foreign relations. and

    telecommunications. Also on 8 March, the EU announced that it

    will open talks with Sofia on just six chapters. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [21] BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WANTS NO WESTERN MEDIATORS

    By Askold Krushelnycky

    The latest attempt by European multilateral

    organizations to persuade Belarus President Alyaksandr

    Lukashenka to adopt more democratic practices has again

    demonstrated how contemptuous the authoritarian leader has

    become of international efforts to influence him.

    A tripartite delegation of representatives from the

    European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the

    Council of Europe, and the OSCE was in Belarus on a three-day

    visit last week. The delegation met with both Lukashenka and

    members of the Belarus opposition. whom he has been trying to

    squeeze out of the country's political life. It sought not

    only to encourage dialogue between the opposition and the

    government but also to secure Lukashenka's agreement to hold

    democratic parliamentary elections in October and allow the

    opposition press to operate freely. It failed to achieve any

    of these aims.

    The representatives from the three European

    organizations had hoped to build on the OSCE 's work eight

    months earlier. The 54-state organization had reached an

    agreement with Lukashenka allowing it to mediate talks

    between his government and the opposition and advise on

    organizing elections that would be recognized as free and

    fair by the international community.

    Many Western countries do not recognize Belarus's

    current parliament, which Lukashenka filled with obedient

    supporters in 1996 after amending the constitution and

    dissolving an elected and troublesome parliament. Belarusian

    opposition leaders--many of them members of the former

    parliament-- say Lukashenka, who was elected president in

    1994, has stayed in power illegally beyond his term, which

    expired last July.

    On the eve of the delegation's visit, the Belarus

    monitoring association Vyasna issued a report saying that the

    country's human rights situation had worsened last year, as

    many members of the opposition were either jailed or simply

    disappeared. Vyasna also said the regime routinely harassed

    and arrested opposition protesters.

    As if to illustrate that point, just hours before the

    delegation arrived, police arrested three protesters who

    demanded that the government explain what happened to

    opposition figures who had disappeared. Those figures include

    opposition leader Viktar Hanchar, former Interior Minister

    General Yury Zakharanka, and Hanchar's friend, publisher

    Anatol Krasouski.

    In the days before the European groups' arrival,

    Lukashenka himself sent overtly negative signals about their

    visit. He said that his country does not need outside

    mediation and that, in any case, he wants to hold what he

    called "broad" talks with a representative spectrum of

    Belarusian society. Without consulting the opposition,

    Lukashenka also changed the rules for the upcoming elections

    in a manner that opposition spokesmen say is designed to

    diminish their chances of winning seats.

    In his meeting with the European delegation, Lukashenka

    said the same things--and more. He made clear that he does

    not regard the opposition as part of any broad spectrum of

    national society. He did say that he would talk to the

    opposition, but not with the help of outside mediators.

    Also, Lukashenka indignantly told the delegation that

    Belarus has a good human rights record and that the elections

    will be conducted in keeping with the highest international

    standards. He added that he sees no need for the OSCE, which

    maintains a mission office in Minsk, to remain in the

    country.

    After the meeting, the European delegation issued a

    statement that expressed "shock [at the] the derailment of

    the negotiation process that was begun last year [by the

    OSCE]." The group urged the government to re-open talks with

    the opposition and ensure equal electoral opportunities,

    including media access for the opposition.

    The head of the OSCE mission in Minsk, Hans-Georg Wieck

    said later he had pointed out to Lukashenka that the

    Belarusian president had agreed to an OSCE presence in Minsk

    "for advice and consent" and that this is the basis of the

    OSCE's presence in the Belarusian capital. .The government,

    he added, no longer wants something that they it had agreed

    and implemented eight months ago, "namely the OSCE aegis for

    negotiations between government and opposition."

    Wieck said that although the OSCE's mediation role

    between government and opposition is now no longer feasible,

    the mission will stay on to monitor the preparations for and

    the holding of parliamentary elections in October. He urged

    the opposition to explore whether the kind of talks

    Lukashenka has offered will be serious. And he warned that if

    the elections are not fair, they will not be internationally

    recognized.

    If preparations for the elections continue as they have

    begun, it seems those elections will not be fair. Lukashenka,

    for his part, has given no indication that he will halt the

    crackdown on political dissent.

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague.

    09-03-00


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


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