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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 51, 00-03-13

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. 51, 13 March 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN MILITARY PROSECUTOR SAYS PARLIAMENT
  • [02] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE WARNS AGAINST CONTINUING
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN, TURKMENISTAN AGREE ON GAS EXPORT QUOTAS
  • [04] SEVEN GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FORMALLY
  • [05] GEORGIA ADOPTS STATE BUDGET
  • [06] KAZAKHSTAN, UKRAINE DISCUSS EXPANDING ECONOMIC, OIL
  • [07] RUNOFF ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN...
  • [08] ...AND TAJIKISTAN
  • [09] TAJIKISTAN TO RATION ELECTRICTY

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] U.S. WARNS AGAINST SPREADING BALKAN VIOLENCE...
  • [11] ...AS DOES NATO...
  • [12] ...WHILE THACI EQUIVOCATES
  • [13] U.S. FORMER GENERAL TO RUN MITROVICA
  • [14] FRENCH CONTINUE RETURNING ALBANIANS TO NORTHERN
  • [15] MACEDONIA WANTS PLAN FOR REFUGEES
  • [16] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES SHUT DOWN INDEPENDENT
  • [17] MONTENEGRIN SPOKESMAN WARNS OF YUGOSLAV ARMY
  • [18] SANDZAK UNDECIDED?
  • [19] SREBRINICA TRIAL OPENS IN THE HAGUE
  • [20] CROATIA PLEDGES COOPERATION PLAN FOR HAGUE
  • [21] ZAGREB CITY GOVERNMENT FALLS
  • [22] SLOVENIA WANTS CLARIFICATION FROM AUSTRIA
  • [23] ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR SEEKS ARRESTS IN AIRPORT
  • [24] FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER'S PARTY DENIED REGISTRATION
  • [25] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR END TO POLITICAL
  • [26] ROMANIA READY TO DISCUSS FIVE CHAPTERS WITH EU
  • [27] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET ON FIRST READING
  • [28] BULGARIAN POLITICIANS RESPOND CAUTIOUSLY TO

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [29] BAD NEIGHBORS, BAD FENCES

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN MILITARY PROSECUTOR SAYS PARLIAMENT

    SHOOTINGS CONSTITUTED COUP ATTEMPT

    Gagik Jahangirian, who is

    heading the investigation into the 27 October Armenian parliament shootings, told a press

    conference in Yerevan on 10 March that the five gunmen led by Nairi Hunanian were acting

    on the orders of unnamed powerful patrons and will be charged with "conspiracy to seize

    power" in addition to murder and hostage-taking, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    Jahangirian added that Hunanian had anticipated that his associates would rally to his

    support after the murders and that President Robert Kocharian would be coerced to appoint

    Hunanian premier in place of murdered Vazgen Sargsian. Jahangirian also disclosed that in

    December 1998 Armenia's National Security Ministry had considered recruiting Hunanian

    as a foreign intelligence operative. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE WARNS AGAINST CONTINUING

    STANDOFF

    Addressing a congress on his National Democratic Union (AZhM) in

    Yerevan on 10 March, Vazgen Manukian called on President Kocharian and his opponents

    led by Prime Minister Aram Sargsian to bury their differences or step down in order to

    avoid leading the country to ruin, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Manukian, who

    served in 1992-1993 as Armenian defense minister, also implicitly criticized the Yerkrapah

    Union of veterans of the Karabakh war for seeking to portray themselves and former

    Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsian as solely responsible for Armenia's military victory over

    Azerbaijan. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN, TURKMENISTAN AGREE ON GAS EXPORT QUOTAS

    In

    a telephone conversation on 9 March, Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev accepted the

    offer by his Turkmen counterpart, Saparmurat Niyazov, to allow Azerbaijan to export 5

    billion cubic meters of natural gas annually via the planned Trans-Caspian gas pipeline,

    Turan reported. A formal agreement to that effect will be signed during the Turkic summit

    in Baku in April. The pipeline project had seemed to be in jeopardy in recent weeks as

    Azerbaijan had insisted on 50 percent share of the pipeline's planned 30 billion cubic meter

    throughput capacity (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 February and 6 March 2000). Eduard

    Smith, president of the U.S. company PSG, which will operate the pipeline, had told

    Interfax earlier on 9 March that he intended to propose to Niyazov later this month that

    Azerbaijan's transit share be increased to 8 billion cubic meters. LF

    [04] SEVEN GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FORMALLY

    REGISTERED

    The Central Electoral Commission on 9 March formally registered seven

    of the 12 candidates who had submitted signatures in their support in the hope of contesting

    the 9 April presidential poll, Caucasus Press reported. The seven are incumbent president

    Eduard Shevardnadze; Adjar Supreme Council chairman Aslan Abashidze; former

    Georgian Communist Party first secretary Djumber Patiashvili; Progressive Party chairman

    Vazha Zhghenti; Mdzleveli movement leader Avtandil Djoglidze; Georgian Corporation of

    Lawyers chairman Kartlos Gharibashvili; and former Batumi mayor Tengiz Asanidze. The

    Central Electoral Commission rejected Davit the Builder Party chairman Roin Liparteliani's

    application last week, saying that not all of the 50,000 minimum signatures he had

    submitted were valid. Liparteliani said on 9 March he will appeal that ruling, according to

    Caucasus Press. LF

    [05] GEORGIA ADOPTS STATE BUDGET

    Parliamentary deputies on 10 March

    approved the 2000 budget in the second and third readings by a vote of 132 to 22, Interfax

    and Caucasus Press reported. Revenues are set at 874.4 million lari ($443 million) and

    expenditures at 1.264 billion lari. World Bank and other loans are expected to cover the

    resulting deficit. A total of 100 million lari has been earmarked for paying back pensions

    and wages and 174 million lari for foreign-debt repayment (see "RFE/RL Caucasus

    Report," 25 February 2000). LF

    [06] KAZAKHSTAN, UKRAINE DISCUSS EXPANDING ECONOMIC, OIL

    COOPERATION

    Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko met in Astana on 10-11

    March with his Kazakh counterpart, Qasymzhomart Toqaev, and President Nursultan

    Nazarbaev, Russian agencies reported. Their talks focused on increasing the amount of

    crude oil Kazakhstan ships to Ukraine for refining, the prospects for exporting

    Kazakhstan's oil to international markets via Ukraine, and Kazakhstan's desire to privatize

    the Kherson oil refinery, in which Kazakhstan has a majority stake. On 11 March,

    representatives of the two countries' governments signed a protocol on cooperation in the

    nuclear fuel industry. LF

    [07] RUNOFF ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN...

    Run-off elections were held in

    Kyrgyzstan on 12 March for 33 seats in the upper house of the new parliament and 35 in

    the lower, even though the Central Electoral Commission had failed to issue a list of

    candidates who qualified to contest those seats, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. On 11

    March, the Supreme Court had upheld five rulings by lower courts on the outcome of first-

    round voting, raising the number of deputies elected from single-mandate constituencies to

    a total of 16. The court also barred El (Bei Bechara) party chairman Daniyar Usenov from

    participating in the second round because of alleged irregularities in his income declaration

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 March 2000). Voters in Usenov's Bishkek constituency

    criticized the court ruling as "shameless" and undemocratic, but Prime Minister Amangeldy

    Muraliev told journalists he considers the poll was democratic, according to Reuters. Voter

    turnout was estimated at 61.87 percent. LF

    [08] ...AND TAJIKISTAN

    Runoff polls also took place on 12 March in Tajikistan in 12

    constituencies where no candidate won an overall majority in the 27 February first round of

    voting for the lower house of the new parliament, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 28 February 2000). Turnout was reported at between 70-80 percent. A second

    round of voting has been scheduled in two of the 36 single-mandate constituencies where

    the first-round poll was declared invalid. LF

    [09] TAJIKISTAN TO RATION ELECTRICTY

    At an emergency session on 9 March,

    the cabinet decided to reduce electricity supplies to domestic consumers outside Dushanbe

    to three hours a day until early April, ITAR-TASS and Asia Plus-Blitz reported. That

    measure is necessitated by the lower-than-average level of water in the Nurek reservoir,

    which supplies Tajikistan's main hydro-electric power station. Prime Minister Akil Akilov

    ordered the managers of the country's main aluminum smelter to arrange to receive

    alternative power supplies from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] U.S. WARNS AGAINST SPREADING BALKAN VIOLENCE...

    State

    Department spokesman James Rubin said in Prishtina on 12 March that Washington is

    "deeply disappointed by the failure of leaders of all aspects of [Kosova] Albanian life...to

    use their leadership" and prevent violence against ethnic minorities, Reuters reported. He

    stressed that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's government is seeking to provoke

    unrest in Kosova and neighboring southwestern Serbia. Rubin added, however, that the

    U.S. is opposed to what he called new "provocations" in the region by either side. The

    spokesman is on a three-day mission to Kosova with U.S. Balkan envoy Chris Hill to

    "solve some of the problems that are emerging," Rubin noted. He stressed that "this is not

    a happy-talk trip." Rubin developed good working relations with the former Kosova

    Liberation Army's (UCK) Hashim Thaci and other Kosovar leaders during the 1999

    conflict, AP reported. PM

    [11] ...AS DOES NATO...

    KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt said in Prishtina

    on 10 March that NATO's mission is "within the boundaries" of Kosova and does not

    include southwestern Serbia. He warned against any attempt to use Kosova as a base for

    spreading violence into Serbia's Presevo Valley, AP reported. NATO will soon step up

    security along the frontier between Serbia and Kosova to prevent any flow of weapons or

    guerrillas across the border, his spokesman added. PM

    [12] ...WHILE THACI EQUIVOCATES

    Speaking at the same 10 March press

    conference as Reinhardt, Thaci warned that Milosevic is manipulating tensions in

    southwestern Serbia in order to destabilize Kosova. The former guerrilla commander

    stressed that Milosevic wants "to put at risk everything that has been achieved so far in

    Kosova. This won't happen," AP reported. He added that the former UCK is "not going to

    fall into Belgrade's trap." At the same time, however, he pointed out that "ethnic cleansing

    is taking place" in southwestern Serbia. He did not condemn the ethnic Albanian guerrillas

    operating in that region. PM

    [13] U.S. FORMER GENERAL TO RUN MITROVICA

    William Nash will soon take

    charge of the UN's civilian administration in Mitrovica, "The New York Times" reported

    on 12 March. He is expected to give priority to establishing better security for all persons,

    regardless of their ethnicity. The former commander of peacekeeping forces in Bosnia will

    be the sixth UN administrator in the troubled town since June 1999. PM

    [14] FRENCH CONTINUE RETURNING ALBANIANS TO NORTHERN

    MITROVICA

    Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Chanliau, who is a spokesman for French

    peacekeepers in Mitrovica, said on 11 March that KFOR has recently returned 93 ethnic

    Albanians to their former homes in mainly Serbian northern Mitrovica, AP reported. He

    stressed that "this is not a negligible amount, and it is the beginning of something bigger."

    The UNHCR's Paula Ghedini warned, however, that the situation in Mitrovica is too

    unstable to enable the refugees to go home in safety. PM

    [15] MACEDONIA WANTS PLAN FOR REFUGEES

    President Boris Trajkovski said

    in Skopje on 11 March that his country is not prepared to take in a large number of ethnic

    Albanian refugees in the event of a conflict in southwestern Serbia. He called for

    preparations for establishing a land corridor from southwestern Serbia through Macedonia

    and on to the border crossing at Blace into Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. PM

    [16] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES SHUT DOWN INDEPENDENT

    BROADCASTER

    Police used force to enter the facilities of the independent radio and

    television station in Pozega on 12 March. They removed pieces of equipment essential for

    broadcasting. Officials of the Telecommunications Ministry said that the station has not

    paid its licensing fees. Branko Nikolic, who is the station's chief editor, showed reporters

    receipts confirming that the bills were paid. He stressed that "we won't let [the authorities]

    get away with this," AP reported. Opposition spokesman Vladan Batic said that the

    shutdown is part of a campaign by the Milosevic regime to silence independent media in the

    run-up to local and national elections widely expected by the end of the year (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 9 and 10 March 2000). PM

    [17] MONTENEGRIN SPOKESMAN WARNS OF YUGOSLAV ARMY

    Miodrag

    Vukovic, who is an adviser to President Milo Djukanovic, said in Podgorica on 12 March

    that the Yugoslav army is increasingly behaving as a law unto itself in the mountainous

    republic. Vukovic added that the army answers only to Belgrade and to unnamed pro-

    Milosevic Montenegrin politicians. This is just one more aspect of the ongoing "struggle

    between Montenegrin democracy and the Belgrade dictatorship," RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. PM

    [18] SANDZAK UNDECIDED?

    Sandzak Muslim leader Sulejman Ugljanin said in

    Belgrade on 12 March that both Belgrade and Podgorica are seeking to destabilize the

    Sandzak, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He cautioned local Muslims against

    supporting one side or the other so long as either of them "fails to clarify the [political]

    status" of the Sandzak Muslims. PM

    [19] SREBRINICA TRIAL OPENS IN THE HAGUE

    The trial of former Bosnian

    Serb General Radislav Krstic for genocide opened at the Hague-based war crimes tribunal

    on 13 March. He commanded the Drina Corps, which was directly responsible for the

    1995 massacre of some 7,000 mainly Muslim males at Srebrenica. This is the first trial at

    The Hague of an ethnic Serb who was directly involved in the planning and execution of

    genocide. His two superiors--General Ratko Mladic and former civilian leader Radovan

    Karadzic--were indicted for that crime in connection with the fall of the eastern Bosnian

    town. PM

    [20] CROATIA PLEDGES COOPERATION PLAN FOR HAGUE

    Parliamentary

    speaker Zlatko Tomcic told reporters in Zagreb on 10 March that the government will draft

    a precise plan within three weeks to outline how it plans to cooperate with the Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

    [21] ZAGREB CITY GOVERNMENT FALLS

    Two members of the city council for the

    Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) joined opposition deputies in bringing down the

    HDZ-run government of the Croatian capital on 10 March. New elections must take place

    within 60 days. HDZ hard-line leader Vladimir Seks subsequently blamed Zlatko Canjuga

    for the breakdown in party discipline and dismissed him as party vice president and as head

    of the party's Zagreb branch. The two men traded bitter accusations, "Jutarnji list" and

    "Vjesnik" reported on 13 March. The HDZ has recently been paralyzed by in- fighting,

    defections, and revelations of scandals. PM

    [22] SLOVENIA WANTS CLARIFICATION FROM AUSTRIA

    Foreign Minister

    Dimitrij Rupel said in Ljubljana on 12 March that he will use his upcoming meeting with

    Austria's Benita Ferrero-Waldner to clarify the new Austrian government's stand on

    Slovenia's admission to the EU, AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 March 2000).

    PM

    [23] ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR SEEKS ARRESTS IN AIRPORT

    CORRUPTION CASE

    Tirana's District Prosecutor Thoma Jani said on 11 March that

    he expects at least several arrests following the recent discovery that police at Tirana's

    Rinas airport have been allowing up to 40 persons to fly out of the country daily with

    forged documents, AP reported. Observers note that security arrangements at Rinas are lax

    and that staff sometimes openly demand bribes from passengers. PM

    [24] FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER'S PARTY DENIED REGISTRATION

    The Bucharest Municipal Tribunal on 10 March ruled against registering former Prime

    Minister Radu Vasile's Romanian Popular Party as the Party of Romanian Right (PDR). To

    circumvent the legal requirement that political formations must gather the signatures of

    10,000 supporters, Vasile and Party of Romanian Right leader Cornel Brahas had merged

    their respective groups (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 February 2000). That merger was

    contested by a rival group in the extreme-right PDR, and the tribunal ruled in that group's

    favor. The ruling can be appealed within five days. MS

    [25] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR END TO POLITICAL

    INFIGHTING

    Emil Constantinescu has called on the governing coalition to "quickly"

    put an end to a recent bout of "sterile" political infighting, Romanian media reported on 10

    March. He said Prime Minister Mugur Isarescu should call a meeting of the coalition

    leaders to resolve the crisis surrounding the resignation of Defense Minister Victor Babiuc

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 March 2000). The same day, the Democratic Party (PD)

    nominated Sorin Frunzaverde to replace Babiuc, Rompres reported. However, government

    spokesman Ionut Popescu noted that Babiuc's resignation will not come into effect until all

    the coalition parties sign a new cooperation accord. PD officials walked out of the 9 March

    meeting at which the accord was approved. VG

    [26] ROMANIA READY TO DISCUSS FIVE CHAPTERS WITH EU

    Romania will

    open membership negotiations with the EU on five chapters--research, education, foreign

    and common security policy, and small and medium-sized companies -- according to a 9

    March Foreign Ministry statement cited by Rompres. An aide to Prime Minister Isarescu

    said the Romanian leader will meet with political and business leaders on 13 March to

    discuss the strategy demanded by the EU for integration talks, Reuters reported. The

    country is to present a medium-term strategy to the EU by 15 March. VG

    [27] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET ON FIRST READING

    The Moldovan legislature on 10 March approved the 2000 budget in the first reading,

    Infotag reported. The IMF has called on the parliament to pass that document by 31 March

    as a precondition for receiving more credits. The budget predicts 2 percent GDP growth in

    Moldova this year and calls for a budget deficit equal to 2.4 percent of GDP. In other

    news, the Romanian Foreign Ministry's secretary of state, Razvan Ungureanu, said on 11

    March that Bucharest is prepared to help Russia with the withdrawal of its troops from the

    breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova, BASA-Press reported. VG

    [28] BULGARIAN POLITICIANS RESPOND CAUTIOUSLY TO

    MACEDONIAN CRITICISM

    Bulgarian politicians responded cautiously on 10

    March to the Macedonian parliament's recent criticism of the Bulgarian Constitutional

    Court's decision to ban the ethnic Macedonian OMO-Ilinden-PIRIN party. Prime Minister

    Ivan Kostov said that in law-abiding states, the executive and legislative branches of power

    do not comment on decisions by the Constitutional Court, let alone such courts in other

    states, Bulgarian Radio reported. He also noted, however, that the criticism is of "domestic

    importance" for Macedonia and that Bulgaria will continue to pursue friendly relations with

    its neighbor. Representatives of four parliamentary parties in Bulgaria said the same day

    that the legislature in Sofia should not officially respond to the Macedonian legislature's

    statement. However, individual representatives expressed their rejection of the criticism.

    Meanwhile, several hundred demonstrators gathered outside the Bulgarian Embassy in

    Skopje on 10 March to protest the ban on the OMO-Ilinden-PIRIN party, AP reported. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [29] BAD NEIGHBORS, BAD FENCES

    By Nick Megoran

    Strong protests by Kazakhstan's foreign minister over Uzbekistan's border

    incursion in late January drew attention to the boundary dispute between the two largest

    states in Central Asia. Little attention was paid, however, to an incident that occurred at the

    same time as part of a longer-running, more complicated, and potentially more disruptive

    border conflict in the region--namely, that between Uzbekistan and its smaller neighbor

    Kyrgyzstan.

    That conflict centers on Uzbekistan's unilateral demarcation of its border and its

    alleged seizure of large areas of Kyrgyz agricultural land lent to Uzbekistan for temporary

    usage during the Soviet period but never returned. It was intensified by bombings in

    February 1999 in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, that were blamed on Islamic militants and

    later the same year by the invasion of the Kyrgyz region of Batken by an armed group

    opposed to Uzbek President Islam Karimov. In response, Uzbekistan sealed its border and

    last fall began constructing a barbed wire fence around long sections of its Ferghana Valley

    border with Kyrgyzstan.

    The same week as the Kazakh-Uzbek conflict occurred, a 2-meter section of this

    fence on the road between the southern Kyrgyz regional capital of Osh and the small

    provincial town of Aravon was cut through and cleared away. By the time Uzbek officials

    discovered what had happened and had brought engineers to repair the damage, it was

    evident from tire marks in the mud that a number of vehicles had already crossed the

    border.

    But neither terrorists nor Kyrgyz protesters were responsible for this incident.

    Rather, it was local Uzbekistani citizens who cut through the border to transport goods to

    sell in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan's almost complete closure of the border to vehicles since

    last summer has led to shortages of certain goods and rising prices in Kyrgyzstan.

    Smuggling has mushroomed and is largely carried out by Uzbek citizens for Kyrgyz

    citizens who place orders for particular goods. Differences in prices mean that dangerous

    acts such as breaking through a border can be profitable.

    In addition, transport links have been seriously impeded in the Ferghana Valley by

    the border closure. The routes from Osh to almost all other towns in the south of

    Kyrgyzstan pass at least once through newly established or recently strengthened Uzbek

    checkpoints. Buses can be taken only to the border, where they stop and turn back, leaving

    passengers to walk through customs and take another bus to the next checkpoint. Journey

    times to some outlying mountainous regions have increased threefold, and costs have been

    pushed up not only by the need for more buses but also by bribes to be paid at checkpoints.

    Such costs hit hard in an area of rural poverty.

    Another group to be particularly affected by the border closures is the sizeable

    Uzbek minority of southern Kyrgyzstan, where tension between it and the Kyrgyz majority

    as well as the Soviet authorities' poor handling of the situation flared into bitter inter-

    communal violence in 1990, leaving 170 people dead. Although there has been no repeat of

    that incident, some mutual suspicion still exists, and last year's border disputes with

    Uzbekistan added to the tensions. Most of Kyrgyzstan's Uzbeks have extensive networks

    of family and friends across the border, and many had looked to Uzbek President Islam

    Karimov as a guarantor of their position. However, the border closures and recent

    tightening of the visa regime have largely destroyed that sense of security and left them

    with the feeling of not being entirely welcome in either state. Furthermore, anti-Uzbek

    rhetoric in Kyrgyzstan's press about the dispute has done little to help the image of the

    Kyrgyz Uzbeks, who are often suspected of being more loyal to Tashkent than to Bishkek.

    But it is not only communities immediately along the border that have felt the effects

    of its reinforcement. In the Kyrgyz parliament in 1999, the "border issue" became a key

    element in political battles between the government and the nationalist opposition in a year

    leading up to parliamentary and presidential elections. The response of the Kyrgyz

    government last year was markedly different from that of its Kazakh neighbors this

    January. It avoided almost all mention of the dispute, emphasizing instead President

    Akaev's 'Silk Road diplomacy' of regional co-operation, which, it said, would solve all

    border problems in the long term by re-opening the ancient trade routes to Europe and

    China. The opposition dismissed these as empty words, and pointed to the government's

    perceived failure to prevent Uzbekistan from advancing border posts into Kyrgyz territory

    as indicative of the presidential administration's weakness.

    Uzbekistan's efforts in 1999 and 2000 to secure its previously porous boundaries

    have shown how hard it is to introduce the concept of well delineated nation-states into the

    Ferghana Valley. In this area, any neat division of territory on the basis of ethnic mix or

    economic activity is almost impossible, and the complicated history of integrated use of

    border land makes it hard to determine ownership. However, neither these theoretical

    considerations nor the practical difficulties being experienced by ordinary inhabitants of the

    Valley have discouraged the Uzbek state from demarcating and militarizing its border as

    quickly as possible in order to stave off possible attacks. The isolated actions of local

    inhabitants cutting through sections of the border are unlikely to alter that commitment.

    The author is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Geography, University of

    Cambridge.

    13-03-00


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


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