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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 115, 00-06-14

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. 115, 14 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PREMIER SAYS POLITICAL CRISIS OVER
  • [02] COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMITTEE ABIDES BY RULINGS ON ARMENIA,
  • [03] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES NEW AGRICULTURE MINISTER
  • [04] GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS THREATEN MASS PROTESTS
  • [05] RUSSIA QUESTIONS VERDICTS ON 'SEPARATISTS' IN EASTERN
  • [06] KAZAKHSTAN, TAJIKISTAN ASSESS BILATERAL RELATIONS
  • [07] TURKEY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR REFORMS IN KYRGYZSTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] PROTESTS GREET LI PENG IN SLOVENIA
  • [09] KOUCHNER BANS ALBANIA'S BERISHA FROM KOSOVA...
  • [10] ...TO THE CONSTERNATION OF RUGOVA'S SUPPORTERS
  • [11] ALBANIAN MEDALS FOR KOSOVA FIGHTERS
  • [12] DEL PONTE REJECTS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S CLAIMS
  • [13] U.S. 'WELCOMES' MONTENEGRIN ELECTION RESULTS
  • [14] MILOSEVIC AIDE BLAMES MINORITIES FOR PODGORICA VOTE
  • [15] MONTENEGRIN LOSERS TAKE THEIR HATS
  • [16] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES REFUSE TO REGISTER OTPOR
  • [17] KLEIN CALLS FOR MORE BOSNIAN POLICE TRAINERS
  • [18] ROMANIAN DROUGHT, THEFT DECLARED 'SECURITY THREAT'
  • [19] BANKING CRISIS CONTINUES IN ROMANIA
  • [20] MOLDOVANS TO NEED PASSPORTS FOR ROMANIA
  • [21] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SATISFIED WITH CHINESE VISIT
  • [22] UKRAINE TO CLEAR DEBT TO BULGARIA BY GAS SUPPLIES

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [23] OSCE URGES CENTRAL ASIA TO MOVE FASTER TOWARD DEMOCRACY

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PREMIER SAYS POLITICAL CRISIS OVER

    Meeting with

    foreign ambassadors in Yerevan on 13 June, Andranik Markarian

    said that the tensions that dominated Armenian politics for

    the seven months following the 27 October Armenian parliament

    shootings are now resolved, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    But he admitted that the negative impact of those tensions on

    the macro-economic situation is still being felt. He again

    pledged his government's commitment to the policy of reforms

    embarked upon by previous cabinets, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [02] COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMITTEE ABIDES BY RULINGS ON ARMENIA,

    AZERBAIJAN

    The Political Committee of the Parliamentary

    Assembly of the Council of Europe has endorsed its previous

    recommendation that Armenia be granted full membership in

    that organization, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 13

    June. Armenia's admission is unlikely to be delayed by the

    PACE Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committee's

    recommendation that Azerbaijan's full membership be made

    contingent on the conduct of the November parliamentary

    elections (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 21, 26

    May 2000). Meanwhile, Reporters sans Frontieres has appealed

    to the Council of Europe to demand that Azerbaijan liberalize

    its media laws and halt the persecution of journalists before

    it is given full membership, Turan reported on 13 June. LF

    [03] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES NEW AGRICULTURE MINISTER

    By a

    vote of 152 to two, deputies on 13 June approved the

    candidacy of David Kirvalidze as minister of agriculture,

    Caucasus Press reported. Kirvalidze, who was born in 1967 and

    graduated from the Georgian State Agrarian University,

    previously chaired the parliamentary committee for agrarian

    affairs. LF

    [04] GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS THREATEN MASS PROTESTS

    Opposition

    parliamentary deputy Djemal Gamakharia said on 13 June that

    Georgian displaced persons from Abkhazia plan to stage mass

    actions to protest the violent dispersal by Tbilisi special

    police the previous day of some 300 displaced persons who had

    gathered outside the Constitutional Court to demand payment

    of their overdue allowances, Caucasus Press reported (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 June 2000). Addressing members of his

    Party for the Liberation of Abkhazia on 13 June, Tamaz

    Nadareishvili, who is chairman of the Abkhaz parliament in

    exile (which is composed of Georgian deputies to the Abkhaz

    parliament elected in late 1991), expressed support for all

    actions by the displaced persons aimed at resolving their

    social problems. But he also warned the exiles not to give

    way to "provocations" intended to destabilize the political

    situation. Nadareishvili again called for military action to

    bring Abkhazia back under the control of the central Georgian

    government. LF

    [05] RUSSIA QUESTIONS VERDICTS ON 'SEPARATISTS' IN EASTERN

    KAZAKHSTAN

    In a statement summarized by Interfax on 13 June,

    the Russian Foreign Ministry questioned whether the sentences

    of between four and 18 years in prison handed down last week

    on Russian nationals in eastern Kazakhstan are justified. The

    Russians were found guilty of planning to overthrow the

    leadership of East Kazakhstan Oblast and declare the region

    an independent Russian Altai Republic (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    9 June 2000). Russian politicians and commentators had

    earlier suggested those charges were fabricated. LF

    [06] KAZAKHSTAN, TAJIKISTAN ASSESS BILATERAL RELATIONS

    Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev arrived in

    Dushanbe on 13 June for talks with his Tajik counterpart,

    Imomali Rakhmonov, on the eve of the Central Asian Union

    summit, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Rakhmonov told

    journalists that he and Nazarbaev agree on the need to

    realize the "vast" potential for greater integration in order

    to raise bilateral ties to a "qualitatively new level."

    Nazarbaev remarked upon the positive benefits of the Tajik

    peace process. He also called for a speedy solution to the

    war in Afghanistan, saying that the situation in that country

    poses a direct threat to Kazakhstan. LF

    [07] TURKEY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR REFORMS IN KYRGYZSTAN

    Following

    talks in Bishkek on 13 June with President Askar Akaev, Prime

    Minister Amangeldi Muraliev and his Kyrgyz counterpart,

    Muratbek Imanaliev, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem told

    journalists that he considers that Kyrgyzstan has made

    greater progress toward democratization and economic reform

    than its Central Asian neighbors, Interfax reported. He added

    that Turkey will continue to support Kyrgyzstan's cooperation

    with NATO and the OSCE. Cem also said that further bilateral

    talks on regional security will be held in late August. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] PROTESTS GREET LI PENG IN SLOVENIA

    Li Peng, who is the

    speaker of the Chinese parliament, laid a wreath on 13 June

    at the site of the bombed Chinese embassy building in

    Belgrade (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 June 2000). Li said that

    the bombing was "evidence of the barbarian character of the

    NATO action, headed by the United States," Tanjug reported.

    Prior to Li's visit to the Slovenian parliament in Ljubljana

    on 14 June, some 50 demonstrators marched in front of the

    building to protest Chinese policies regarding human rights

    and Tibet. Branko Grims, who is a leading member of the

    conservative Social Democrats, said that the government

    should not invite guests as controversial as Li in the

    future, AP reported. The Social Democrats belong to the

    three-party governing coalition. Li played a key role in the

    killings of hundreds or thousands of demonstrators on

    Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Foreign Minister

    Lojze Peterle defended the visit, saying it was in return for

    a previous trip by Slovenian leaders to China. PM

    [09] KOUCHNER BANS ALBANIA'S BERISHA FROM KOSOVA...

    Bernard

    Kouchner, who heads the UN's civilian administration in

    Kosova, told former Albanian President Sali Berisha on 13

    June that he must cancel a planned trip to Kosova on

    unspecified security grounds. Berisha hoped to arrive in

    Kosova the following day. Kouchner ordered police to bar

    Berisha if he tried to enter the province from Kukes, an aide

    to Kouchner said. Police controls were tight along the border

    with Albania on 14 June, AP reported. Berisha said in Tirana

    the previous day that he would not hold rallies in Kosova but

    would simply "greet the people" to mark the first anniversary

    of the end of Serbian rule. He added that the trip to Kosova

    would be the "visit of my dreams," "Albanian Daily News"

    reported. PM

    [10] ...TO THE CONSTERNATION OF RUGOVA'S SUPPORTERS

    Berisha's

    trip to Kosova was organized by his closest political allies

    in the province, namely Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of

    Kosova (LDK), the LDK's QIK news agency reported from Prizren

    on 14 June. LDK supporters who turned out to greet Berisha in

    western Kosova were very disappointed. "We are very

    surprised" by Kouchner's decision, said LDK Vice President

    Eqrem Kryeziu, AP reported. "The motives for this are

    completely unknown. The argument that Mr. Berisha's visit to

    Kosova will destabilize the situation in Kosova is a lie,"

    Kryeziu added. Albanian President Rexhep Meidani, whose

    Socialist Party is close to Rugova's rival Hashim Thaci of

    the former Kosova Liberation Army, visited Kosova recently

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May 2000). PM

    [11] ALBANIAN MEDALS FOR KOSOVA FIGHTERS

    On 13 June, President

    Meidani posthumously awarded the Order of the Golden Eagle to

    two Albanian citizens who died fighting Serbian forces in

    Kosova in 1999, AP reported. PM

    [12] DEL PONTE REJECTS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S CLAIMS

    Carla Del

    Ponte, who is the chief prosecutor at the Hague-based war

    crimes tribunal, said on 13 June that she stands by her

    previous decision not to investigate NATO for war crimes, as

    the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has

    demanded (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 2000). She rejected

    recent calls by Amnesty International for such an

    investigation: "I can only assume our experts are more expert

    than the experts at Amnesty International. And especially, my

    people have much more experience in [investigating]...crimes

    against humanity," Reuters reported. She added that Hague

    investigators found no conclusive evidence that NATO

    deliberately targeted civilians, as Belgrade and Amnesty have

    charged. PM

    [13] U.S. 'WELCOMES' MONTENEGRIN ELECTION RESULTS

    Speaking in

    Washington on 13 June, State Department spokesman Philip

    Reeker said that "the United States welcomes the peaceful and

    democratic municipal elections that took place June 11th in

    the Montenegrin cities of Podgorica and Herceg Novi. These

    elections mark an important step forward in the development

    of democracy in Montenegro, as well as in Yugoslavia. The

    successful conduct of these elections renews our hope that

    all of Yugoslavia will soon enjoy the freedom and protection

    of basic human rights already enjoyed by the people of

    Montenegro," an RFE/RL correspondent reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 13 June 2000). PM

    [14] MILOSEVIC AIDE BLAMES MINORITIES FOR PODGORICA VOTE

    Danilo

    Vuksanovic, who is Yugoslav deputy prime minister and a

    leader of Montenegro's pro-Milosevic Socialist People's Party

    (SNP), said that candidates supporting President Milo

    Djukanovic won in Podgorica because they had the votes of

    ethnic Albanians and Muslims. Vuksanovic added that the

    minorities know that they do not have enough votes to elect

    their own candidates and that they regard Djukanovic as their

    best hope "for the destruction of Yugoslavia," "Vesti"

    reported on 14 June. Vuksanovic argued that the Serbian

    "Orthodox population sees its future in the union of Serbia

    and Montenegro." Milosevic's supporters have charged for

    several years that Djukanovic needs the votes of ethnic

    minorities to win elections. Djukanovic responds that his

    program appeals to people across ethnic lines because it

    rejects nationalist politics. PM

    [15] MONTENEGRIN LOSERS TAKE THEIR HATS

    The two leaders whose

    respective coalitions lost in the Montenegrin local elections

    have accepted responsibility for those defeats and resigned,

    "Vesti" reported on 14 June. Predrag Bulatovic quit as head

    of the pro-Milosevic coalition in Podgorica, while Svetozar

    Marovic resigned as leader of the pro-Djukanovic group in

    Herceg Novi. PM

    [16] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES REFUSE TO REGISTER OTPOR

    A spokesman for

    the Otpor (Resistance) student movement said in Belgrade on

    13 June that the Yugoslav Justice Ministry has refused to

    register Otpor on the grounds that it has conducted "illegal

    activities." These allegedly include calling on "people to

    rebel and violently overthrow the constitutional order,"

    Reuters reported. The spokesman added that the decision shows

    that the regime is afraid of Otpor, which will begin to

    pursue its campaign for registration in the courts. Meanwhile

    in Luxembourg, the EU appealed to the fractious Serbian

    opposition to unite in the face of increased repression,

    RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

    [17] KLEIN CALLS FOR MORE BOSNIAN POLICE TRAINERS

    Jacques Klein,

    who is the UN's chief representative in Bosnia, said at the

    UN on 13 June that he is well on his way to meeting a target

    of training 20,000 police by 2002. He added, however, that he

    needs additional foreign experts to finish the job. Some

    10,000 Bosnian police have completed training in human

    rights, forensics, pathology, traffic control, and

    criminology so far, he noted. Klein also stressed that NATO

    must remain in Bosnia as long as each of the three ethnic

    groups maintains its own army, an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported. PM

    [18] ROMANIAN DROUGHT, THEFT DECLARED 'SECURITY THREAT'

    Romania's Supreme Council of National Defense on 13 June

    called for "the immediate and energetic intervention of the

    government" to deal with the effects of the drought that

    has affected 40 percent of agricultural land in the

    country. Damage is estimated at more than $200 million.

    President Emil Constantinescu said that the damage is due

    not to the drought alone but also to "generalized theft."

    Many irrigation pipelines have been stolen as well as oil

    pipelines, resulting in the threat of a "large-scale

    ecological catastrophe." MS

    [19] BANKING CRISIS CONTINUES IN ROMANIA

    Another banking

    institution, the Fortune Popular Bank, has ceased payments

    to depositors and announced it will "start liquidation

    procedures," Romanian media reported on 13 June. The IMF,

    meanwhile, has released the second, $116 million tranche of

    Romania's recently rescheduled stand-by loan. MS

    [20] MOLDOVANS TO NEED PASSPORTS FOR ROMANIA

    As of 1 July 2001,

    Moldovan citizens wishing to visit Romania will need

    passports, Flux reported on 13 July. The Romanian media

    earlier reported that the measure is aimed at improving

    border controls in line with EU recommendations. Until now,

    Moldovan citizens were able to visit Romania by presenting

    only ID cards at the border. MS

    [21] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SATISFIED WITH CHINESE VISIT

    President

    Petru Lucinschi, returning to Chisinau from a five-day

    visit to China, said on 13 June that the results of his

    trip "surpassed all my expectations," RFE/RL's Chisinau

    bureau reported. Lucinschi met with President Jiang Zemin,

    Premier Zhu Rongji, and other officials. A joint

    declaration signed by the two sides condemned separatism

    and noted the two countries' identical views on today's

    main international problems. Beijing expressed support for

    Moldovan efforts to settle the Transdniester conflict and

    to become integrated into European structures. Chisinau,

    for its part, said it views Taiwan as an integral part of

    the Chinese People's Republic. The two sides agreed on

    concrete measures aimed at boosting bilateral trade. MS

    [22] UKRAINE TO CLEAR DEBT TO BULGARIA BY GAS SUPPLIES

    Ukraine

    will export to Bulgaria some 600 million cubic meters of

    natural gas in exchange for Bulgaria's involvement in

    laying pipelines in the 1970s, AP reported on 13 June,

    quoting Bulgarian officials. The Ukrainian side will buy

    the gas from Russia, which recently rejected Bulgaria's

    request to lower the cost of gas deliveries. A total of 200

    million cubic meters will be delivered in 2000 and 378

    million cubic meters in 2001. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [23] OSCE URGES CENTRAL ASIA TO MOVE FASTER TOWARD DEMOCRACY

    By Roland Eggleston

    In her meetings with the Central Asian presidents

    earlier this month, OSCE Chairwoman Benita Ferrero-Waldner

    said her organization does not expect those countries to turn

    into full democracies overnight. But she said more can be

    done to implement the common values that underpin membership

    in the OSCE.

    She told the Central Asian leaders that the OSCE is

    disappointed with the conduct of the elections in the region

    over the past 18 months. All the countries failed in various

    ways to meet the OSCE's standards for a democratic poll. She

    recommended that roundtables be organized with the

    participation of the government, extraparliamentary political

    parties, and non-governmental organizations to introduce more

    democracy into the political process.

    In each of the five countries, the OSCE chairwoman was

    told that the government shares the values of the OSCE and is

    committed to democracy and human rights. But all the

    governments asked for understanding, saying it is not easy to

    sweep away the past and meet the standards of Western

    democracies. Ferrero-Waldner insisted, however, that by

    joining the OSCE the Central Asian countries committed

    themselves to moving forward on democracy. She called for

    steady steps forward and said her personal motto for Central

    Asia is "evolution, not revolution."

    In Turkmenistan, the chairwoman appealed to President

    Saparmurat Niyazov to release four prisoners who the OSCE

    believes were detained for political reasons. OSCE officials

    said Niyazov gave a long explanation as to why the men should

    stay in prison. But he said one of them--Nurberdy Nurmamedov-

    -might be freed under an amnesty at the end of the year.

    Nurmamedov is the leader of the opposition group

    Agzybirlik, which has been refused registration. In February

    he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on charges of

    hooliganism. International organizations suggest his arrest

    was related to his criticism of last December's elections and

    his political opposition to Niyazov.

    Niyazov told Ferrero-Waldner that Turkmenistan is

    creating its own type of democracy in accordance with its own

    traditions and at its own tempo. He argued that free media

    and a multi-party political system would be harmful to the

    secure development of the country. Niyazov repeated what he

    has told other OSCE leaders--that he expects "a form of

    democracy" will emerge in Turkmenistan in about 10 years.

    Of the six Turkmen NGOs that met with Ferrero-Waldner,

    two represented civil society movements and the other four

    were environmentalist groups. Some complained about

    government control of the media and said lack of information

    hinders democratic development.

    In Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE chairwoman sought the release of

    Feliks Kulov, the leader of the opposition Ar-Namys party,

    and she asked President Askar Akayev to review measures

    against Daniyar Usenov and other opposition leaders. Akayev

    said he would consider her appeal but gave no assurances that

    Kulov would be freed.

    A meeting of NGOs charged that Kyrgyzstan no longer

    deserves its previous image as a relatively liberal country

    allowing more freedoms than other states in Central Asia. The

    NGOs reported instances of police abuse and religious

    persecution, noting that the government fails to fulfill the

    promises it made to international organizations.

    The OSCE chairwoman said she recognizes that Kyrgyzstan

    has fallen short of its commitments but argued it is closer

    to meeting them than other countries, notably Turkmenistan.

    She urged the NGOs to support plans for a roundtable meeting

    between the government and other groups in society, saying it

    would be an important step in moving toward democracy.

    In Tajikistan, the OSCE chairwoman told President

    Imomali Rakhmonov that her group welcomes the end of the

    civil war and will offer all the help it can in building a

    new society. But she said the OSCE is concerned about the

    rights of women in Tajikistan. She quoted an international

    report suggesting that 27 percent of women in Tajikistan

    suffer violence.

    She also appealed for a review of the case against 21-

    year-old Dilfuza Nomonova, who in January was sentenced to

    death on murder charges in a trial that has drawn

    international criticism. The OSCE is not making a judgement

    on whether the woman is guilty, Ferrero-Waldner said, but it

    does believe she should have had a fair trial. The chairwoman

    said she is also disturbed at reports that the woman, who was

    pregnant when arrested, was forced to undergo an abortion. As

    a result, she became eligible for execution (in Tajikistan,

    pregnant women cannot be executed).

    In Kazakhstan, the OSCE chairwoman welcomed the

    implementation of an OSCE project on penitentiary reform,

    which, she said, should contribute to the improvement of

    overall conditions in prisons, including the treatment of

    prisoners.

    But at a meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev,

    Ferrero-Waldner also criticized the closure of some

    independent newspapers for political reasons. At the Kazakh

    NGO meeting, she was told that the state charges independent

    newspapers higher fees for distributing and printing.

    In Uzbekistan, the OSCE chairwoman asked President Islam

    Karimov about the repression of opposition groups. One

    prominent member of the opposition, Mikhail Ardzinov, had

    asked her to intervene on behalf of two imprisoned members of

    his organization.

    The chairman of the Human Rights Society, Talib Jakubov,

    said Uzbekistan is failing to meet its commitments to OSCE

    principles. He said there have been many arrests and

    detentions as well as reports of torture, and he asked what

    the OSCE can do to protect the rights of those arrested.

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

    14-06-00


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


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