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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 93, 00-05-15

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. 93, 15 May 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] NEW ARMENIAN PREMIER NAMED
  • [02] DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION
  • [03] WORLD BANK ANNOUNCES NEW LOAN TO ARMENIA
  • [04] ARMENIAN REFUGEES REFUSED TRANSPORT FROM GEORGIA TO BULGARIA
  • [05] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR SOUTH CAUCASUS
  • [06] AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT PASSES ELECTION LAW IN SECOND READING
  • [07] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS NEW GOVERNMENT
  • [08] ABKHAZIA REJECTS UN PROPOSAL
  • [09] KYRGYZSTAN DETAINS, RELEASES DEMONSTRATORS
  • [10] TRIAL OF KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER OPENS
  • [11] U.S. GENERAL VISITS KYRGYZSTAN
  • [12] TURKMENISTAN RESTRICTS SEARCHES OF PRIVATE HOMES

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [13] YET ANOTHER HIGH-LEVEL KILLING IN SERBIA
  • [14] SERBIAN REGIME THREATENS CRACKDOWN ON OTPOR...
  • [15] ...WHILE OTPOR STANDS ITS GROUND
  • [16] REGIME TO PREVENT BELGRADE RALLY?
  • [17] DRASKOVIC TO SHED NON-VIOLENCE?
  • [18] OFFICIAL BELGRADE CELEBRATES SECURITY DAY
  • [19] SERBIAN JOURNALIST FREED
  • [20] FIRST WAR CRIMES TRIAL IN KOSOVA OPENS
  • [21] CROATIAN GOVERNMENT UNVEILS ECONOMIC PROGRAM
  • [22] NEW ZAGREB POLITICAL LINEUP
  • [23] SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE PROPOSES CABINET
  • [24] PETRITSCH CLARIFIES BOSNIAN PRIVATIZATION LAW
  • [25] ALBANIA'S BERISHA SPEAKS IN SOCIALIST CENTER
  • [26] ROMANIAN JOURNALIST BEATEN BY POLICE
  • [27] COMMUNISTS WALK OUT OF PARLIAMENT TO PROTEST
  • [28] ACCUSED BULGARIANS CLAIM CONFESSIONS MADE UNDER PRESSURE
  • [29] TOURISM IN BULGARIA REBOUNDS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] TRIAL OF 'SEPARATISTS' HIGHLIGHTS PLIGHT OF KAZAKHSTAN'S

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] NEW ARMENIAN PREMIER NAMED

    President Robert Kocharian on 12

    May named Republican Party of Armenia Chairman Andranik

    Markarian to head the next Armenian government. Markarian,

    who is a 49-year-old computer specialist, served a three-year

    prison sentence in the mid-1970s for his membership in the

    clandestine National Unity Party. Meeting on 13 May with the

    outgoing cabinet, Markarian and Kocharian pledged to end the

    infighting between president, premier, and parliament, which

    Markarian said "undermines the foundations of our statehood."

    He also pledged to continue the economic policies espoused by

    previous cabinets. LF

    [02] DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION

    Some

    2,500 people attended a protest demonstration in Yerevan on

    12 May to call for Kocharian's resignation, Interfax

    reported. The demonstration was convened by the Union of

    Rightist Forces, which brings together four small-center

    right parties that split in the late 1990s from the former

    ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    5 May 2000). In a written statement circulated before the

    demonstration, the union claimed that Kocharian is not a

    legitimate president and blamed his policies for ongoing

    emigration, which they termed a threat to Armenia's

    statehood. LF

    [03] WORLD BANK ANNOUNCES NEW LOAN TO ARMENIA

    World Bank

    officials told journalists in Yerevan on 12 May that the bank

    will release some $20 million in new loans to finance

    infrastructure projects intended to benefit the poorest

    strata of the population, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    But they said that disbursement of another $45 million

    Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC-4), earmarked for covering

    approximately half of this year's anticipated budget deficit,

    and $11 million remaining from last year's SAC-3 program is

    contingent on the privatization of four loss-making energy

    distribution companies. Parliamentary deputies voted on 25

    April to suspend the tender for that sell-off (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 26 April 2000). LF

    [04] ARMENIAN REFUGEES REFUSED TRANSPORT FROM GEORGIA TO BULGARIA

    Some 200 ethnic Armenians returned from the Georgian Black

    Sea port of Poti to Armenia on 14 May after being refused

    entry visas for Bulgaria, ITAR-TASS reported. The refugees,

    most of them women and children, had fled to Armenia from

    Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani town of Sumgait before

    the collapse of the USSR and possessed only Soviet passports.

    Nor did they have documentation proving their status as

    refugees. Of the more than 300,000 such refugees who fled to

    Armenia, only some 12,000 have acquired Armenian citizenship,

    Noyan Tapan reported last December. LF

    [05] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR SOUTH CAUCASUS

    STABILITY

    Heidar Aliev has written to outgoing Turkish

    President Suleyman Demirel to express his support for the

    Caucasus stability pact that Demirel proposed during a visit

    to Georgia in January, AFP reported on 14 May, citing an

    Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry statement (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 17 January 2000). Aliev said such a pact could be

    crucial in resolving the Karabakh conflict and contributing

    to a "permanent peace" in the South Caucasus. Aliev also

    expressed his thanks to Demirel for the latter's contribution

    to developing Azerbaijani-Turkish relations. LF

    [06] AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT PASSES ELECTION LAW IN SECOND READING

    Deputies on 12 May approved draft amendments to the law on

    the Central Electoral Commission in the second reading by a

    vote of 86 to six, Turan reported. None of the changes

    proposed by opposition deputies during the first reading was

    incorporated into the bill, which stipulates that the

    parliament majority, the opposition, and independent deputies

    should be equally represented on the 18-member commission.

    The opposition is demanding that the Azerbaijani authorities

    and the parliamentary minority be equally represented. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS NEW GOVERNMENT

    As required by the

    Georgian Constitution, Eduard Shevardnadze has submitted to

    the parliament his list of 19 proposed ministerial

    candidates, Caucasus Press and ITAR-TASS reported on 14 May.

    All but four ministers in the outgoing government retain

    their posts, including Agriculture Minister Bakur Gulua, who

    is implicated in a major corruption scandal and whose

    candidacy deputies had indicated they would reject. The new

    appointees are parliamentary Tax Committee Chairman Zurab

    Nogaideli as finance minister, First Deputy Minister of State

    Vano Chkhartishvili as economics and industry minister,

    Deputy Foreign Minister Sesilia Gogoberidze as minister of

    culture, and Georgia's ambassador to Russia Malkhaz Kakabadze

    as minister without portfolio with responsibility for

    conflict resolution. Observers had anticipated that

    Kakabadze's predecessor in Moscow, outgoing Minister of State

    Vazha Lortkipanizde, might be appointed to that post (see

    "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 19, 11 May 2000). LF

    [08] ABKHAZIA REJECTS UN PROPOSAL

    The Abkhaz leadership has

    rejected out of hand, and is not prepared even to discuss, a

    UN proposal on the division of constitutional powers between

    Abkhazia and the central Georgian government, Caucasus Press

    reported on 15 May. Astamur Tania, who is an aide to Abkhaz

    President Vladislav Ardzinba, said that at present Sukhum is

    prepared to begin talks only on economic restoration and the

    repatriation to Abkhazia of ethnic Georgian displaced

    persons. He argued that the UN has no right to impose a model

    for relations between Abkhazia and Tbilisi and that it is up

    to those two parties to reach agreement between themselves on

    the optimum model for relations. Tania also expressed doubt

    that the appointment of Kakabadze as Georgian minister

    without portfolio would expedite a solution to the conflict.

    He said Sukhum would have preferred to continue negotiations

    with Lortkipanidze, who is familiar with the Abkhaz problem

    and has a good working relationship with the Abkhaz

    leadership. LF

    [09] KYRGYZSTAN DETAINS, RELEASES DEMONSTRATORS

    Police in Bishkek

    on 12 May arrested some 30 participants in the ongoing

    demonstration to demand the release of arrested opposition

    Ar-Namys party chairman Feliks Kulov and the annulment of the

    results of the February-March parliamentary elections,

    RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. The arrested

    demonstrators had attempted to march to the Kyrgyztelecom

    building in violation of a 31 March police edict that they

    remain on the city's Maksim Gorky Square. Charges were

    brought against some of those detained, but all were released

    later the same day. On 13 May, Kyrgyz Security Council

    Secretary Bolot Djanuzakov met again with the demonstrators s

    to ask them not to stage further marches in Bishkek (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 May 2000). But the coalition of Kyrgyz

    NGOs said the same day that it will appeal the 31 March edict

    as unconstitutional. LF

    [10] TRIAL OF KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER OPENS

    Opposition El (Bei

    Bechara) leader Daniyar Usenov went on trial on 12 May in a

    Bishkek district court on charges of assaulting businessman

    Kengseh Mukaev in 1996, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The

    same day, Mukaev, who has repeatedly said that he bears no

    grudge against Usenov, formally appealed against a medical

    statement that Usenov caused him serious injury and requested

    a new medical examination, which the court rejected. He

    denounced the court proceedings as politically motivated. LF

    [11] U.S. GENERAL VISITS KYRGYZSTAN

    General Anthony Zinney held

    talks in Bishkek on 10-11 May with Kyrgyz government and

    military officials on assessing bilateral military

    cooperation, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Zinney also

    attended a simulated peacekeeping operation by special units

    trained under U.S. supervision, according to Interfax. LF

    [12] TURKMENISTAN RESTRICTS SEARCHES OF PRIVATE HOMES

    In a move

    apparently intended to rein in the Turkmen security services,

    which some observers believe have become a law unto

    themselves, President Saparmurat Niyazov on 12 May signed a

    constitutional law banning searches of private homes without

    the prior sanction of a special commission comprised of

    senior government officials and representatives of public

    organizations and law enforcement agencies, Interfax

    reported. In the future, searches of private homes may be

    undertaken only after that body has given permission and only

    if there are grounds for suspecting that arms. ammunition, or

    more than 5 kilograms of drugs are stored there. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [13] YET ANOTHER HIGH-LEVEL KILLING IN SERBIA

    Security guard

    Milivoje Gutovic fatally shot Bosko Perosevic at an

    agricultural trade fair in Novi Sad on 13 May. Perosevic was

    head of the Vojvodina provincial government and of the local

    branch of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist

    Party. This is the latest in a series of high-level murders;

    none of the previous killings has been solved. This was the

    first such shooting that took place outside Belgrade and in

    which the gunman was quickly identified and captured.

    London's "The Daily Telegraph" suggested on 15 May that

    Gutovic might be "psychologically troubled" or that the

    slaying may be the result of a "bloody turf war" between

    criminal syndicates. Alcohol may have been a factor

    determining the behavior of Gutovic, who comes from the

    village of Ratkovo, as did his victim, the "Los Angeles

    Times" added. Zarko Jokanovic of the New Democracy party

    suggested that Socialist hard-liners may have disliked

    Perosevic, whom Jokanovic described as "tolerant, educated

    and ready for [political] cooperation," Reuters reported. PM

    [14] SERBIAN REGIME THREATENS CRACKDOWN ON OTPOR...

    Police said in

    a statement that Gutovic, who is 50, was "beyond doubt" an

    activist in the Otpor (Resistance) student movement and in

    Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), AP reported

    from Belgrade on 14 May. The statement added that a search of

    Gutovic's home revealed "posters and propaganda material of

    Otpor and the SPO as well as brochures on terrorism."

    Yugoslav Information Minister Goran Matic said that "all

    those who perform activities against the state will be

    treated in accordance with the law. The time of their street

    demonstrations is over." He stressed that the killing "was

    not the work of a single maniac but an organized murder with

    a deep political background, with the aim of destabilizing

    Yugoslavia." Socialist Party Secretary-General Gorica Gajevic

    added that "the NATO aggressors are now putting their weapons

    in the hands of their servants here, to do their dirty job

    for them and to spread fear and chaos." Gajevic called Otpor

    activists "ordinary NATO mercenaries." PM

    [15] ...WHILE OTPOR STANDS ITS GROUND

    Asked if police will arrest

    opposition supporters if they hold a planned rally in

    Belgrade at 3:00 p.m. on 15 May, Matic said "that is

    correct," "The Guardian" reported on 15 May. Opposition

    leader Vladan Batic confirmed that the rally will go ahead

    nonetheless. "The citizens of Serbia must view this rally as

    the struggle for survival, freedom, and democracy," he told

    Draskovic's Studio-B Television. The previous day, the SPO

    said in a statement that "if the murder has a political

    background, the real culprits should be sought within the

    regime,...which instigates bloody conflicts." The statement

    also called Gutovic a "monster" and denied any links to him.

    Otpor's Ivan Marovic accused the regime of spreading "lies"

    and "political marketing tricks" in an effort to "use the

    tragedy...to crack down on political opponents," AP reported.

    Otpor said in a statement that "this is the last opportunity

    to take decisive action against a further escalation of

    violence that could turn into chaos and anarchy," "Danas"

    reported. PM

    [16] REGIME TO PREVENT BELGRADE RALLY?

    Police detained "several"

    anti-Milosevic activists during the morning of 15 May,

    Reuters reported from Belgrade. An unspecified number of

    busses filled with police arrived in the capital from

    outside. PM

    [17] DRASKOVIC TO SHED NON-VIOLENCE?

    Draskovic told a rally in

    honor of the World War II monarchist Chetnik leader Draza

    Mihajlovic in Ravna Gora on 14 May that the SPO "in the

    future will no longer defend itself from repression only with

    speeches, meetings, and declarations," RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. Draskovic added that his movement will use

    "all possible means" to carry out its "holy patriotic duty"

    against what he called "the occupation regime" of Milosevic.

    He did not elaborate. The themes of the rally were "Uprising"

    and "On to Belgrade," "Vesti" reported. PM

    [18] OFFICIAL BELGRADE CELEBRATES SECURITY DAY

    Serbian Security

    forces marked the Day of the State Security Bodies in

    Belgrade on 14 May. General Obrad Stevanovic of the State

    Security Services said that employees of the Serbian Interior

    Ministry have had "good results" in investigating and

    catching criminals over the last 12 months, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported. The previous day, Defense Minister

    Dragoljub Ojdanic noted that this year's Security Day comes

    at a time when Serbia is under great pressure from external

    enemies. Army chief-of-staff General Nebojsa Pavkovic issued

    a similar statement. PM

    [19] SERBIAN JOURNALIST FREED

    A military court in Nis freed

    Miroslav Filipovic on 12 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 May

    2000). His lawyer told the private news agency Beta that "the

    actions of the military prosecutor and court were very

    correct. The military judicial system proved efficient."

    Filipovic denied that he had been involved in espionage and

    noted that he signed every article he published. PM

    [20] FIRST WAR CRIMES TRIAL IN KOSOVA OPENS

    The trial of Milos

    Jokic began in Kosova on 15 May for alleged war crimes

    stemming from his activities as leader of a nine-member

    paramilitary band during the recent conflict in Kosova,

    Reuters reported. Jokic denies those charges and argues that

    there was no paramilitary activity in the area where he is

    alleged to have committed the crimes. His is the first war

    crimes trial to be held in the province. The trial was

    adjourned the same day after the defendant failed to appear.

    Meanwhile in Prishtina, a UN spokeswoman said that trials of

    other Serbs and Roma will begin in Mitrovica starting 6 June.

    She said that security preparations for the trials cannot be

    completed before that date. Some 30 Serbs and five Roma are

    on a hunger strike to demand that their trials take place as

    soon as possible. PM

    [21] CROATIAN GOVERNMENT UNVEILS ECONOMIC PROGRAM

    The government

    on 13 May unveiled a 100-day program aimed at promoting

    growth and creating jobs. "Jutarnji list" wrote on 15 May

    that the government will have its work cut out for it. On 12

    May, the parliament annulled legislation requiring the

    government to bail out failing banks at taxpayers' expense.

    The previous government is widely believed to have used the

    legislation to rescue banks that had made bad loans to

    government supporters. PM

    [22] NEW ZAGREB POLITICAL LINEUP

    Leaders of the victorious

    parties in the recent Zagreb municipal elections agreed on 13

    May that the Social Democrats' Milan Bandic will be the new

    mayor and that the Social Liberals' Filip Borac will head the

    city council. The Square of Croatian Heroes will receive back

    its former name of Square of the Victims of Fascism (see

    "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 12 May 2000). PM

    [23] SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE PROPOSES CABINET

    Andrej

    Bajuk will be finance minister as well as government head in

    his new cabinet. Lojze Peterle, who was the first prime

    minister after independence in 1991, will be foreign

    minister, Reuters reported from Ljubljana on 13 May. The

    parliament has yet to approve the cabinet. PM

    [24] PETRITSCH CLARIFIES BOSNIAN PRIVATIZATION LAW

    Wolfgang

    Petritsch, who is the international community's chief

    representative in Bosnia, has decreed changes in the

    privatization law to protect investors in cases in which the

    ownership of assets are disputed, Reuters reported from

    Sarajevo on 12 May. His moves also clarify restitution

    procedures. International officials have said repeatedly that

    Bosnia needs investments if it is to make the transition from

    an aid-dependent economy to a market one and that investors

    will not invest until substantial reforms are enacted. PM

    [25] ALBANIA'S BERISHA SPEAKS IN SOCIALIST CENTER

    Democratic

    Party leader and former President Sali Berisha told a small

    gathering in Vlora on 14 May that his government's conduct

    helped avert a civil war after the collapse of pyramid

    schemes in 1997. He added that subsequent Socialist policies

    have turned Vlora into a "paradise of the Albanian and

    regional mafias," AP reported. Local officials had previously

    said that Berisha is not welcome in Vlora, but his relatively

    low-key rally passed without incident. His appearance marks

    the opening of campaigning for local elections slated for

    October (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 2 May 2000). PM

    [26] ROMANIAN JOURNALIST BEATEN BY POLICE

    Valentin Dragan, a

    journalist for a Constanta-based newspaper and a Reuters

    correspondent, was severely beaten by police on 12 May while

    trying to photograph a "private party," the daily "Ziua"

    reported on 15 May. The party was hosted by Constanta

    county's police chief, Ion Carlig, who was celebrating his

    promotion to the rank of general. Dragan suffered several

    injuries, including a broken leg, and will remain

    hospitalized for some two months. According to the newspaper,

    Dragan received most of his injuries from press officer Major

    Marian Saragea. The Romanian Journalist Association protested

    the incident and asked for Carlig's suspension pending

    investigation, while the Interior Ministry said it has begun

    a probe into the matter. ZI

    [27] COMMUNISTS WALK OUT OF PARLIAMENT TO PROTEST

    'ROMANIANIZATION' OF MOLDOVA

    The Communist Party faction of

    the Moldovan parliament walked out of the chamber on 12 May

    to protest the absence of Moldovan language classes at

    universities, Infotag reported. Party leader Vladimir Voronin

    said the fact that "Romanian language and literature" is

    listed on the curriculum of higher education institutions in

    Moldova but no reference is made to "Moldovan language and

    literature" is a violation of the country's constitution.

    Voronin said the Communists want the vote postponed so that

    the government can study the constitution. He said if the

    cabinet refuses to do so, the Communists will dismiss it. The

    Communist Party holds 40 of the 101 seats in parliament. PB

    [28] ACCUSED BULGARIANS CLAIM CONFESSIONS MADE UNDER PRESSURE

    Two

    of the six Bulgarian medics charged with intentionally

    infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus said

    they confessed to the charges under duress, the medics'

    lawyer said in Tripoli on 12 May. The six, five nurses and

    one doctor, are charged with contaminating 393 children in a

    Benghazi hospital. Libya says 40 of the children have died

    from AIDS. The six Bulgarians were detained 15 months ago and

    face the death penalty if convicted. The trial is scheduled

    to begin on 4 June. PB

    [29] TOURISM IN BULGARIA REBOUNDS

    The government reported on 12

    May that tourism in the first quarter of this year was up 27

    percent compared with the same period in 1999, AP reported.

    Tourism suffered badly last year owing to the war in

    Yugoslavia. The Economy Ministry said that 506,870 people

    have visited Bulgaria from January to April and that it

    expects some $1.2 billion in revenue from the sector this

    year. PB


    [C] END NOTE

    [30] TRIAL OF 'SEPARATISTS' HIGHLIGHTS PLIGHT OF KAZAKHSTAN'S


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


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