Browse through our Interesting Nodes on Education in Cyprus A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 109, 00-06-06

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. 109, 6 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN WAR VETERANS CLAIM OFFICIAL HARASSMENT
  • [02] ANOTHER ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTING SUSPECT RELEASED
  • [03] FORMER AZERBAIJANI POLICE OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF PLANNING COUP
  • [04] ABDUCTED UN OFFICIALS RELEASED IN GEORGIA
  • [05] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES COME TO BLOWS
  • [06] GEORGIAN PARAMILITARIES DEMAND IMPRISONED COLLEAGUES'
  • [07] KAZAKH INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN ARMS MURDER
  • [08] KYRGYZ ROUNDTABLE POSTPONED
  • [09] DROUGHT DAMAGE IN TAJIKISTAN ESTIMATED AT ALMOST $3 MILLION

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] KOUCHNER TO LAUNCH 'EMERGENCY' PRESS LAW FOR KOSOVA
  • [11] ANTI-SERB VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN KOSOVA
  • [12] INCIDENT ON KOSOVA-MACEDONIAN BORDER
  • [13] PROBLEMS BETWEEN MONTENEGRO, EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK?
  • [14] MONTENEGRIN OFFICIAL BARRED FROM BELGRADE FLIGHT
  • [15] DRASKOVIC DRAWING CLOSER TO MILOSEVIC?
  • [16] YUGOSLAV GENERALS PROPOSE MILOSEVIC FOR TOP MEDAL
  • [17] NEW ELECTION PLOY IN SERBIA?
  • [18] BOSNIAN SERB COALITION TO REMAIN
  • [19] KLEIN DETERMINED TO CATCH BOSNIAN MURDERERS
  • [20] BELGRADE, UNHCR WANT CROATIAN SERBS TO GO HOME
  • [21] PRELIMINARY RETURNS CONFIRM DEFEAT OF COALITION IN ROMANIAN
  • [22] ROMANIAN BANK SECTOR FACING MORE DIFFICULTIES
  • [23] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT BACKS DOWN ON GAGAUZ-YERI

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [24] PROMOTING STATESMEN OVER STRONGMEN

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN WAR VETERANS CLAIM OFFICIAL HARASSMENT

    Parliamentary deputy Ruben Gevorgian, who is one of the

    leaders of the Yerkrapah Union of veterans of the Karabakh

    war, said on 5 June that a comprehensive financial

    examination of businesses believed to be controlled by

    himself and his family constituted political harassment in

    retaliation for his repeated criticisms of President Robert

    Kocharian, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. He denied owning

    any financial interests in Armenia. Gevorgian is one of 12

    Yerkrapah members who last month split from their respective

    parliamentary factions to form the Hayastan faction (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 May 2000). LF

    [02] ANOTHER ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTING SUSPECT RELEASED

    Parliamentary deputy Mushegh Movsisian was released from jail

    on 5 June after spending seven months in detention on

    suspicion of complicity in the 27 October Armenian parliament

    shootings, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. A Yerevan court

    ruled last week that there were no grounds to detain him any

    longer. Movsisian refused to make any public comment on his

    arrest or release. Thirteen people still remain in detention.

    LF

    [03] FORMER AZERBAIJANI POLICE OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF PLANNING COUP

    Former Gyanja police chief Natik Efendiev, who was extradited

    to Azerbaijan in January, has been charged with planning to

    stage a coup in Azerbaijan in March-April 2000, Turan

    reported. He had fled to Turkey in January 1997 after being

    dismissed from his post following the fall from grace of his

    protector, former parliament speaker Rasul Guliev. Efendiev's

    son Yuksel accused the Azerbaijani authorities in April of

    systematic persecution of his family (see "RFE/RL Caucasus

    Report," Vol. 3, No. 4, 28 January 2000 and "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 12 April 2000). LF

    [04] ABDUCTED UN OFFICIALS RELEASED IN GEORGIA

    Two UN officials,

    an employee of the British Halo de-mining trust, and their

    Abkhaz interpreter, who had been abducted by unknown men in

    Abkhazia's Kodori gorge on 1 June, were handed over to the

    Georgian authorities on 5 June without payment of the

    $300,000 ransom demanded by their kidnappers. They

    subsequently told journalists that their captors, who escaped

    arrest, treated them well. Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei

    Shamba told Interfax the same day that he did not know on

    what terms the hostages were freed. LF

    [05] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES COME TO BLOWS

    Koba

    Davitashvili, one of the leaders of the Georgian

    parliamentary majority faction, traded blows on 5 June with a

    supporter of nationalist deputy Guram Sharadze over the

    latter's campaign to reintroduce the practice of designating

    the holder's nationality in passports and on documentation

    such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, Interfax and

    Caucasus Press reported. Last year, Sharadze had protested

    President Eduard Shevardnadze's decree abolishing any mention

    of the holder's nationality in such documentation. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN PARAMILITARIES DEMAND IMPRISONED COLLEAGUES'

    RELEASE

    Leaders of the paramilitary group Mkhedrioni last

    week demanded the release of some 400 of that organization's

    members who were not freed under President Shevardnadze's

    recent amnesty, Caucasus Press reported. They also protested

    as "an insult" claims by Mikhail Saakashvili, leader of the

    majority Union of Citizens of Georgia parliament faction,

    that amnestied Mkhedrioni members were responsible for

    several recent crimes, including the 1 June murder of

    Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze's brother Guram. LF

    [07] KAZAKH INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN ARMS MURDER

    An

    unnamed colonel in Kazakhstan's intelligence service has been

    detained in Astana on suspicion of committing several

    murders, including that on 15 April of Talgat Ibraev, who

    headed Kazakhstan's state-owned arms exporting company,

    Interfax reported. Ibraev's driver and his deputy's driver

    were detained last month in connection with the killing (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 April and 21 May 2000). LF

    [08] KYRGYZ ROUNDTABLE POSTPONED

    The roundtable discussion

    originally scheduled to take place on 3-4 June between

    representatives of the Kyrgyz leadership, opposition parties,

    and NGOs is now likely to take place on 8 June, RFE/RL's

    Bishkek bureau reported on 5 June. President Askar Akaev will

    participate only in the opening session before departing on 8

    June for the Economic Cooperation Organization summit in

    Tehran. At a press conference in Bishkek on 5 June,

    opposition and NGO representatives deplored the Kyrgyz

    leadership's decision to expand participation from nine

    representatives of each group to 25. They said this will turn

    the meeting into "a bazaar." They also called for the meeting

    to be held under the OSCE's aegis. Presidential press

    secretary Osmonakun Ibraimov said in Bishkek the same day

    that the right of all Kyrgyz NGOs to participate in the

    roundtable must be respected. LF

    [09] DROUGHT DAMAGE IN TAJIKISTAN ESTIMATED AT ALMOST $3 MILLION

    Interfax on 5 June quoted Tajikistan's Deputy Minister of

    Agriculture Ikhtier Ashurov as saying that drought has

    destroyed all grain and cotton crops in the south of Khatlon

    Oblast and the north of Leninabad Oblast. He estimated the

    total damage at $2.9 million. President Imomali Rakhmonov

    last week appealed to the UN, the U.S., and the EU for

    financial aid to counter that damage. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] KOUCHNER TO LAUNCH 'EMERGENCY' PRESS LAW FOR KOSOVA

    Nadia

    Younes, who is the spokeswoman for Bernard Kouchner, the head

    of the UN's civilian administration in Kosova, said in

    Prishtina on 5 June that he is preparing "emergency" press

    legislation that will be "quite limited and very temporary in

    nature," AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June 2000).

    The law will prevent publication of articles that could

    endanger the safety and lives of specific individuals. The

    move comes in the wake of Kouchner's decision to ban an

    Albanian-language daily for encouraging "vigilante violence."

    Local Albanian journalists, however, disagreed with the ban,

    arguing that Kouchner should concentrate his energies on

    setting up a functioning legal system that will try war

    criminals and thereby make vigilante justice unnecessary.

    Veton Surroi, who is arguably Kosova's most-respected

    journalist, said that Kouchner's attempt to control the press

    is likely to encourage ethnically-motivated violence rather

    than curb it, Reuters reported. PM

    [11] ANTI-SERB VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN KOSOVA

    Kouchner said in

    Prishtina on 5 June that the recent slayings of Serbian

    civilians in the province were "concentrated and organized

    within two regions" of Kosova, AP reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 5 June 2000). His remarks come in the wake of

    charges by local Serbs that organized Albanian groups are

    seeking to kill or drive Serbs out of the province as a

    prelude to declaring its independence. In Washington, State

    Department Spokesman Philip Reeker condemned "senseless and

    destructive" acts of violence by Albanians against Serbs. He

    added that various U.S. officials have "repeatedly urged

    ethnic Albanians...to refrain from violence and vengeance."

    On 6 June, unknown persons threw two grenades into a Serbian

    cultural center in Gracanica. AP reported that one woman and

    a child were injured, but details were sketchy as of 12:00

    p.m. local time, Reuters added. PM

    [12] INCIDENT ON KOSOVA-MACEDONIAN BORDER

    On 5 June, a group of

    angry Serbs blocked a section of the main road linking

    Prishtina with Macedonia to protest the recent killings,

    Radio Svobodna Evropa reported. On the border, unknown

    individuals wounded two Macedonian border guards after

    illegally entering Macedonian territory. In early April,

    armed ethnic Albanians captured and held four Macedonian

    border guards in a well-publicized incident (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 26 April 2000). PM

    [13] PROBLEMS BETWEEN MONTENEGRO, EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK?

    Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said in Lisbon on 5

    June that "EU support [for his reforms] should be even more

    generous and enhanced" than what he has received so far. The

    president added that he "must express concern as to why this

    wide spectrum of different forms of assistance is finding it

    slow to become operational," AP reported. Philippe Maystadt,

    who heads the European Investment Bank, told the news agency

    in Luxembourg that granting a proposed $14 million loan to

    Podgorica is "a huge political risk." The banker stressed

    that he will require "guarantees from the [EU's] budget"

    before making the loan. PM

    [14] MONTENEGRIN OFFICIAL BARRED FROM BELGRADE FLIGHT

    Rifat

    Rastoder, who is a deputy speaker of the Montenegrin

    parliament, was recently barred by officials at Belgrade

    airport from flying with a Montenegrin delegation to Vienna

    to open an art exhibition there, "Danas" reported on 6 June.

    Rastoder, who is a critic of the regime of Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic, said that airport officials have no right

    to turn back a passenger who has a valid ticket and visa (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 June 2000). PM

    [15] DRASKOVIC DRAWING CLOSER TO MILOSEVIC?

    Dejan Rajcic, who is

    an opposition leader in Nis, said that the Serbian Renewal

    Movement's leader Vuk Draskovic is increasingly following

    policies that serve the interests of the regime, "Danas"

    reported on 6 June. Rajcic noted that Draskovic has often

    been the stumbling block to opposition unity. Draskovic

    previously served in a Yugoslav coalition government with

    Milosevic's backers. Draskovic and his party represent a

    nationalistic, anti-Western line that is virtually

    indistinguishable from that of the regime. Persistent but

    unconfirmed reports suggest that Milosevic has blackmailed

    Draskovic with evidence of the latter's corrupt activities

    while holding a post in the Yugoslav government or in control

    of the city administration of Belgrade. PM

    [16] YUGOSLAV GENERALS PROPOSE MILOSEVIC FOR TOP MEDAL

    Members of

    the General Staff said in a statement that Milosevic should

    receive the Order of the National Hero, the state-run daily

    "Politika" reported on 6 June. The generals praised his

    unspecified "heroic exploits that serve as an example of

    heroism in the defense of the sovereignty, territory,

    independence, and constitutional order of the Federal

    Republic of Yugoslavia." The top officers also praised his

    "bravery and effectiveness as supreme commander, along with

    his personal bravery" against NATO forces in 1999. Milosevic

    displayed "military leadership that has rarely been found in

    modern world history," the generals added. They referred to

    him several times as their "supreme commander," a term that

    the pro-Milosevic media have frequently used in efforts to

    portray his defeat in Kosova as a victory. The private weekly

    "Vreme" recently pointed out that the title "supreme

    commander" is not mentioned in the Yugoslav Constitution. PM

    [17] NEW ELECTION PLOY IN SERBIA?

    Thousands of people stood in

    lines at banks on 5 June, which was the first day of a

    government program to pay out some of the money that has been

    blocked in hard-currency accounts for 10 years or so.

    Depositors may withdraw the dinar equivalent of $70 as of 5

    June or wait until 1 July to obtain that amount in hard

    currency. Several people waiting in lines told Reuters that

    the move is a ploy designed to influence voters in the runup

    to elections widely expected in the fall. Several depositors

    added that they do not trust the government to make hard

    currency available in July and prefer to take dinars now. PM

    [18] BOSNIAN SERB COALITION TO REMAIN

    Dragan Kostic, who is the

    new head of the Serbian People's Party (SNS), said in Banja

    Luka that his first task is to rid the party of the influence

    of its former leader, Biljana Plavsic (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    5 June 2000), "Dnevni avaz" reported on 6 June. He added that

    its new name will be the Serbian People's Party of the

    Republika Srpska (SNSRS). Kostic stressed that he has not

    thought "even for a minute" of leaving the Sloga (Concord)

    coalition, headed by Prime Minister Milorad Dodik. Some

    observers viewed Kostic's election as a Belgrade-inspired

    ploy to bring down Dodik and replace him with a pro-Milosevic

    government. PM

    [19] KLEIN DETERMINED TO CATCH BOSNIAN MURDERERS

    Jacques Klein,

    who heads the UN's mission in Bosnia, said in Mostar on 5

    June that he "will not leave" the republic until the

    murderers of Jozo Leutar are found, RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. Leutar was deputy interior minister of the

    mainly Muslim and Croatian Bosnian federation and a well-

    known fighter against organized crime. He was killed in a car

    bomb attack in Sarajevo in March 1999 (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    29 March 1999). PM

    [20] BELGRADE, UNHCR WANT CROATIAN SERBS TO GO HOME

    Bratislava

    Morina, who is the Yugoslav government's chief official for

    refugee affairs, joined representatives of the UNHCR in the

    Serbian capital on 5 June to urge Serbs from Croatia to

    register to return to their homes. She noted that only 10,700

    people out of a potential 350,000 refugees have gone back,

    "Danas" reported. The Croatian government that was elected at

    the beginning of 2000 has repeatedly said that the Serbs are

    welcome to return home and made funds available for them to

    repair their houses. A major remaining question is the right

    of Serbs to reoccupy to their former flats, many of which are

    now inhabited by Croatian refugees or veterans of the 1990-

    1995 war. Under Croatian law, citizens forfeit the right to a

    flat if they have not lived in it or paid rent for six

    months. PM

    [21] PRELIMINARY RETURNS CONFIRM DEFEAT OF COALITION IN ROMANIAN

    LOCAL ELECTIONS

    Preliminary returns from the first round of

    the local elections confirm that the opposition Party of

    Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) has scored a major victory

    over the ruling coalition. In Bucharest, PDSR candidate Sorin

    Oprescu is ahead with 41 percent, and for the first time in

    eight years the PDSR will dominate the municipal council,

    with more than 43 percent of the vote. Democratic Party

    mayoral candidate Traian Basescu has moved ahead of the

    Democratic Convention of Romania's candidate, Calin Catalin

    Chirita, but they are still neck and neck ahead of the runoff

    against Oprescu. Both Cluj Mayor Gheorghe Funar and Iasi

    Mayor Constantin Simirad will have to face run-offs, but both

    have a comfortable lead over the second-placed candidates. MS

    [22] ROMANIAN BANK SECTOR FACING MORE DIFFICULTIES

    The Romanian

    Popular Bank announced on 5 June that it has frozen deposit

    withdrawals "for six months at the most." It said it is

    facing "temporary" liquidity difficulties owing to the panic

    triggered by the collapse of the National Investment Fund

    (FNI). The same day, the supervisory body in charge of

    private investment regulations withdrew the license of

    Sovinvest, which had administered the FNI. For its part, the

    cabinet replaced the chairman of CEC, the country's largest

    state saving bank, and five of the seven members of its

    administrative council. It said the move follows a recent IMF

    recommendation to "de-politicize" CEC, replacing the

    administrative council with one composed of experts. On 6

    June, the IMF executive board will consider extending

    Romania's stand-by loan, after having received clarification

    on how the government intends to deal with the ongoing

    banking crisis. MS

    [23] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT BACKS DOWN ON GAGAUZ-YERI

    The parliament

    on 2 June voted to exempt from value-added tax and import

    duties the 6,000 ton fuel transport dispatched from Turkey to

    the Gagauz-Yeri autonomous region, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau

    reported. The region's Popular Assembly had earlier

    threatened to seek "third-party status" in the negotiations

    with the Transdniester and not allow the region's inhabitants

    to take part in this year's presidential elections in

    response to the earlier decision to impose a levy on the

    imports (see "RFE RL Newsline," 1 and 2 June 2000).

    Meanwhile, at a meeting in Tiraspol, experts representing the

    two sides in the Transdniester conflict again failed to reach

    agreement on the future status of the region. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [24] PROMOTING STATESMEN OVER STRONGMEN

    By Richard Giragosian

    Meeting on Cyprus on 22-23 May, the Council of Europe's

    Parliamentary Assembly reviewed Armenia's and Azerbaijan's

    outstanding applications for full membership in the council,

    where they have both had "special guest" status since early

    1996. Later this month, the Parliamentary Assembly is to

    formally review those applications.

    These pending applications for membership in the Council

    of Europe present the Council of Europe with an opportunity

    to help strengthen the fragile course of democratic reform in

    the South Caucasus. Indeed, the influence of the Council of

    Europe, on the other hand, could bolster the promising trend

    of governments of statesmen rather than governments of

    strongmen.

    However, with the recent discovery of yet another

    offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea, perhaps the largest

    find in 20 years, the Council of Europe's focus on the region

    coincides with a looming confrontation between the various

    players in the "petroleum game," which could further

    destabilize the region. It is to be hoped that the

    constructive nature of the council's engagement and its

    influence in the region will be used as an effective means to

    shape policy and encourage reform in the region.

    The recent Cyprus meeting established a new diverging

    policy toward the Armenian and Azerbaijani aspirants. The

    Council of Europe offered a revised stance on Azerbaijan,

    laying down new preconditions linked to the conduct and

    outcome of the November Azerbaijani parliamentary elections

    and pending a further inquiry into the issue of political

    prisoners. With regard to Armenia, the council gave a more

    positive assessment of Armenia's human rights practices and

    its progress toward democracy.

    For Azerbaijan, the timing of the Council of Europe's

    review could not have been worse. A series of political

    confrontations between President Heidar Aliev and the

    increasingly vocal opposition escalated into violent clashes

    on the streets of Baku during an unsanctioned opposition

    demonstration in late April. The country's opposition parties

    and groups have been steadily building a united front.

    Moreover, the opposition is seeking to mobilize segments

    of Azerbaijani society that have been marginalized by Aliev's

    government, such as the growing numbers of unemployed from

    industrial centers and the mass of disenfranchised citizens.

    By securing a wider political base, the opposition is

    advancing a new agenda stressing the inadequacy of reform,

    the blatantly uneven distribution of wealth, frustration with

    state corruption, and the failure to return Nagorno-Karabakh

    to Baku's control. . It is also articulating the population's

    disappointment over the government's failure to deliver the

    "petroleum profits" that have been long promised. And it has

    been successfully highlighting the government's policies of

    intimidation and repression of the opposition and independent

    media, while engaging in a direct confrontation with the

    government over amending electoral legislation ahead of the

    November ballot.

    Amid these developments, the Council of Europe may offer

    a much-needed impetus for a more open and transparent system

    of political dialogue in the generally authoritarian

    Azerbaijan. The elections are key to Azerbaijan's accession

    to the Council of Europe and an important step in overcoming

    the country's overall "democracy deficit." Also, the council

    may act as a spur for deepening reform and broadening the

    rule of law. And as talks on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh

    conflict proceed between the Armenian and Azerbaijani

    leaders, prospective membership in the council may ensure

    that the next generation of leaders adhere to a negotiated

    resolution.

    For Armenia, which has its own form of political change

    and confrontation, albeit a more open and democratic one, the

    Council of Europe offers an important check on the dangerous

    trend of an increasingly politicized military. In contrast to

    Azerbaijan, the pattern of political confrontation between

    the president and the opposition has remained within the

    confines of accepted democratic procedure, with political

    warfare confined to the parliament rather than spilling over

    into the streets. Prospective membership in the Council of

    Europe offers the opportunity to encourage a consolidation of

    these democratic trends.

    The most pressing challenge facing the Council of Europe

    in the region is the state of civil society. In both Armenia

    and Azerbaijan, civil society is very much "cynical society."

    The citizens of both countries are disillusioned with their

    governments, not least because of corruption, economic

    mismanagement, and soaring social disparities. This negative

    state of civil society prevents the long term building of

    true democratic institutions and hinders the effective

    maintenance of the rule of law.

    The civil foundation of these two societies needs to be

    strengthened by a concerted effort to combat corruption,

    correct socio-economic disparities, and encourage open,

    pluralistic, and democratic elections. Only in this way can

    the Council of Europe, or any other international

    organization, hope to remold the region's "cynic society"

    into a truly civil one.

    The author edits the monthly "Transcaucasus: A Chronology."

    06-06-00


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


    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    rferl2html v1.01 run on Tuesday, 6 June 2000 - 14:33:09 UTC