Read the Schengen Convention (19 June 1990) A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Sunday, 26 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. 118, 00-06-19

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. 118, 19 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA, IRAN DOWNPLAY DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT
  • [02] ARMENIA UNVEILS PLAN FOR DEVELOPING MEGHRI
  • [03] ARMENIAN TV OFFICIAL ALLEGES TORTURE IN SHOOTINGS
  • [04] NAGORNO-KARABAKH HOLDS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
  • [05] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION POSTPONES PLANNED RALLY
  • [06] PAKISTAN DENIES OFFERING MILITARY AID TO AZERBAIJAN
  • [07] AZERBAIJAN DENIES SMUGGLING NUKES TO GULF STATES
  • [08] RUSSIA, ABKHAZIA DISCUSS CLOSURE OF MILITARY BASE
  • [09] GEORGIA CLARIFIES DEMANDS ON RUSSIAN ARMAMENTS
  • [10] GEORGIA SEEKS TO REPATRIATE CHECHEN REFUGEES
  • [11] GEORGIAN BORDER OFFICIAL SACKED OVER DISPUTED VILLAGE
  • [12] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY THREATENED OVER SMUGGLING
  • [13] KAZAKH PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE GIVING PRESIDENT LIFE-LONG
  • [14] KYRGYZSTAN MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF OSH KILLINGS
  • [15] CAN KYRGYZSTAN PAY ITS FOREIGN DEBTS?
  • [16] BOMB EXPLODES IN TAJIK CAPITAL
  • [17] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES SURVEILLANCE OF FOREIGNERS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [18] DJUKANOVIC: MILOSEVIC 'EXPORTING TERRORISM'
  • [19] DRASKOVIC: SERBIA IS 'TERRORIST STATE'
  • [20] SHAKE-UP IN MONTENEGRIN SECURITY FORCES
  • [21] BELGRADE REGIME BLAMES ALBRIGHT, DJUKANOVIC, OTPOR
  • [22] MILOSEVIC BACKERS TELL DEL PONTE TO STAY HOME
  • [23] AMNESTY APPEALS FOR SERBIAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS
  • [24] WAY OUT FOR MILOSEVIC?
  • [25] KFOR MAKES MAJOR WEAPONS HAUL
  • [26] CEKU DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF ARMS
  • [27] BRITISH COMMANDER BLASTS EU FOR AID DELAYS
  • [28] KFOR, MACEDONIA HOLD BORDER TALKS
  • [29] ALBANIA, CROATIA TO BOOST TIES
  • [30] PETRITSCH: BOSNIAN ELITE STUCK IN PAST
  • [31] BOSNIAN SERB POLICE ARREST FIVE IN BOMBING
  • [32] ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS RUNOFF PRODUCES SURPRISE IN
  • [33] ...WHILE ELSEWHERE RESULTS MORE OR LESS AS EXPECTED
  • [34] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT AGAIN POSTPONES TESTIFYING IN
  • [35] RUSSIAN PRESIDENT IN CHISINAU
  • [36] BULGARIA OPPOSED TO KOSOVA INDEPENDENCE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [37] ESTONIAN PRESIDENT PRESSES FOR 'BIG BANG' NATO EXPANSION

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA, IRAN DOWNPLAY DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT

    Meeting in

    Yerevan on 15 June with Iranian Ambassador Mohammad-Farhad

    Koleini, Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian expressed

    concern over the incident one week earlier in which Koleini

    was assaulted by a security guard at Yerevan's Zvartnots

    airport, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 16 June 2000). Markarian declined, however, to

    offer an official apology, Both he and Koleini expressed

    confidence that the incident will not impact on bilateral

    relations, noting that bilateral political and economic

    cooperation is "one of the most important factors for

    security and stability" in the region. An Armenian government

    commission is investigating the incident. LF

    [02] ARMENIA UNVEILS PLAN FOR DEVELOPING MEGHRI

    Koleini also

    assured Markarian of Iran's support for an Armenian

    government program to develop the southeastern Armenian

    region of Meghri, which borders on Iran, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. That program, which was drafted by former

    Premier Aram Sargsian and presented to the Armenian

    parliament on 15 June, outlines measures to improved economic

    and living conditions in the economically depressed region.

    Those measures include the creation of a wholesale and retail

    market close to the Iranian border that will enjoy a

    particularly favorable trade regime. In recent months the

    Armenian leadership has repeatedly denied rumors of an

    impending territorial exchange whereby Armenia would cede

    Meghri to Azerbaijan in return for Nagorno-Karabakh (see

    "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 23, 8 June 2000). LF

    [03] ARMENIAN TV OFFICIAL ALLEGES TORTURE IN SHOOTINGS

    INVESTIGATION

    Armenian National Television Deputy Director

    Harutiun Harutiunian told RFE/RL on 17 June that he has

    demanded a "public explanation" from Armenia's Military

    Prosecutor of what he termed the "brutal and unprofessional"

    investigation of his possible involvement in the 27 October

    Armenian parliament shootings. Harutiunian was arrested in

    January after being implicated by two of the five gunmen but

    released earlier this month after the two retracted their

    testimony and the investigators discovered no evidence to

    warrant his further detention (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6

    January and 5 June 2000). Harutiunian claims he was subject

    to physical and verbal abuse during his five month detention.

    LF

    [04] NAGORNO-KARABAKH HOLDS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

    Voting took

    place "calmly" on 18 June throughout the unrecognized

    Nagorno-Karabakh Republic for a new parliament, Reuters and

    ITAR-TASS reported A total of 113 candidates representing

    five parties contested the 33 seats in the new legislature.

    Voter participation was estimated at 56.8 percent of the

    84,000 registered voters, and 50 monitors from several

    countries observed the proceedings, the legality of which is

    not internationally recognized. The previous day the

    unrecognized enclave's president, Arkadii Ghukasian, was

    discharged from the Yerevan hospital where he underwent

    surgery following the 22 March attempt on his life and

    returned to Stepanakert. LF

    [05] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION POSTPONES PLANNED RALLY

    The 10

    opposition parties aligned in the Democratic Congress on 16

    June called off a demonstration planned for the following day

    after failing to reach a consensus with the Baku municipal

    over the route for that march, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 16 June 2000). The opposition politicians said

    they did not to wish provoking a clash between demonstrators

    and police on the eve of the session of the Parliamentary

    Assembly of the Council of Europe that is to rule on whether

    and when Azerbaijan should be admitted to full membership in

    the council. LF

    [06] PAKISTAN DENIES OFFERING MILITARY AID TO AZERBAIJAN

    Pakistan's embassy in Baku has issued an official statement

    denying media reports that at a meeting on the sidelines of

    the Economic Cooperation Organization summit in Tehran on 10-

    11 June, Pakistan's leader Pervez Musharraf offered military

    assistance to Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev in resolving

    the Karabakh conflict, Turan reported on 16 June (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 12 June 2000). The statement reaffirms Pakistan's

    support for a peaceful solution to that conflict. It also

    stresses the "routine" nature of the Pakistan-Azerbaijan

    military training program, which is one of several in which

    Pakistan is engaged. Groong cited "Kommersant-Daily" on 14

    June as reporting that Musharraf has offered "the whole

    spectrum of aid," including the participation of Pakistani

    military units in a new offensive to win back control of the

    enclave. LF

    [07] AZERBAIJAN DENIES SMUGGLING NUKES TO GULF STATES

    Azerbaijan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Elman Arasli, was

    quoted by the London-based newspaper "Al-Sharq al-Aswat" on

    17 June as denying media reports that Azerbaijan has secretly

    supplied nuclear weapons and warheads to unnamed Gulf and

    Middle Eastern states, according to Groong. He said even

    prior to the demise of the USSR no such weapons were deployed

    on Azerbaijani territory. LF

    [08] RUSSIA, ABKHAZIA DISCUSS CLOSURE OF MILITARY BASE

    During

    "constructive" talks in Sukhum on 16-17 June, the Abkhaz

    leadership and visiting Russian Foreign and Defense Ministry

    officials failed to reach agreement on the closure of

    Russia's military base in Gudauta, Caucasus Press reported.

    Under an agreement signed last November in Istanbul on the

    sidelines of the OSCE summit, Moscow pledged to close that

    base by mid-2001 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 November 1999).

    Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba expressed understanding

    for Russia's position but added that the Abkhaz leadership

    opposes the withdrawal of the Russian forces before a

    solution to the Abkhaz conflict is reached. The Gudauta base

    plays a key logistical role for the CIS peacekeeping

    operation in Abkhazia. LF

    [09] GEORGIA CLARIFIES DEMANDS ON RUSSIAN ARMAMENTS

    Georgian

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Avtandil Napetvaridze told

    journalists in Tbilisi on 16 June that Georgia will not lay

    claim to any of the equipment or armaments to be withdrawn

    from Russia's military bases on its territory, Caucasus Press

    reported. But he explained that Georgia will demand

    compensation for equipment, valued at several billion

    dollars, removed from Georgia to Russia in the early 1990s.

    Georgian parliamentary Defense and Security Committee

    Chairman Vazha Adamia recently took issue with senior Russian

    Defense Ministry official Colonel General Leonid Ivashov's

    statement that Georgia has no legal claim on Russian military

    equipment (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 and 16 June 2000). LF

    [10] GEORGIA SEEKS TO REPATRIATE CHECHEN REFUGEES

    Napetvaridze

    also told journalists on 16 June that Tbilisi is in constant

    contact with Moscow in an attempt to expedite the return to

    the Russian Federation of an estimated 7,000 Chechen refugees

    currently temporarily domiciled in the Pankisi gorge close to

    the Georgian-Chechen border. He rejected as impossible those

    refugees' recent request to be relocated elsewhere in Georgia

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 and 13 June 2000). Napetvaridze

    said Tbilisi had appealed to both Turkey and Azerbaijan to

    consider accepting some of the Chechen refugees, but both had

    refused to do so. LF

    [11] GEORGIAN BORDER OFFICIAL SACKED OVER DISPUTED VILLAGE

    Georgian State Border Guard Department head Colonel General

    Valeri Chkheidze has dismissed his deputy, Gela Khutsishvili,

    in connection with the dispute over the village of Pichvni,

    which is located on an undemarcated section of the Georgian-

    Russian border, Caucasus Press reported. Khutsishvili set up

    a border post in the village earlier this year without

    consulting his superiors, who subsequently ordered it

    withdrawn. Thereafter Russian border guards occupied the

    village, expelling the inhabitants (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15

    June 2000) Khutsishvili believes the village is located on

    Georgian territory, while Chkheidze reportedly thinks it is

    Russian. LF

    [12] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY THREATENED OVER SMUGGLING

    ALLEGATIONS

    Georgian parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania on

    16 June asked the Interior Ministry to provide protection for

    the family of parliamentary deputy Temur Jgushia, which has

    received "open threats" after accusing Georgian guerrillas of

    involvement in smuggling goods from Abkhazia to Georgia,

    Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 and 13 June

    2000). The following day, Abkhaz parliament in exile chairman

    Tamaz Nadareishvili, whom Jgushia claimed condones the

    guerrillas' smuggling activities, appealed to Georgian

    President Eduard Shevardnadze to take measures to halt the

    smuggling and to punish "slanderers," Caucasus Press

    reported. LF

    [13] KAZAKH PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE GIVING PRESIDENT LIFE-LONG

    POWERS

    The pro-presidential Civic Party has drafted a bill,

    which will be debated later this month, to give incumbent

    President Nursultan Nazarbaev special powers for life,

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported on 16 June. Those powers

    would include the right to address the nation, parliament,

    government bodies, and officials on key initiatives; to lead

    the Peoples' Assembly; to be a member of the Kazakh National

    Security Council; to award an annual prize for peace and

    progress; to make suggestions to future presidents on

    appointments to and dismissals from official positions; and

    to advise presidents on declaring a state of war or

    emergency. Communist Party leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin

    condemned the draft bill as unconstitutional, according to

    Reuters. LF

    [14] KYRGYZSTAN MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF OSH KILLINGS

    President Askar

    Akaev traveled on 16 June to Osh Oblast, where he and the

    governors of the neighboring Uzbek oblasts of Namangan,

    Andijan, and Fergana commemorated the clashes in Osh between

    local Kyrgyz and Uzbeks 10 years ago, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau

    reported. According to official data, 238 people were killed

    in 10 days of fighting; unofficial estimates claim as many as

    1,100 people died. LF

    [15] CAN KYRGYZSTAN PAY ITS FOREIGN DEBTS?

    Urkalyi Isaev, who

    chairs the State Commission on Foreign Investments, told

    RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 16 June that the country's foreign

    debt currently totals $1.12 billion, of which 14.6 percent is

    owed to the IMF. He said that the government will no longer

    act as guarantor for any enterprises or organizations

    soliciting foreign loans. Interfax on 16 June quoted U.S.

    economist Anders Aslund as telling journalists in Bishkek

    that the optimum solution would be for Kyrgyzstan to

    reschedule its $220 million debt to Russia. Aslund estimated

    the total foreign debt at $1.5 billion (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 3 September 1999 and 31 January 2000). LF

    [16] BOMB EXPLODES IN TAJIK CAPITAL

    A bomb exploded in Dushanbe

    early on 19 June in a building used by Russian border troops,

    but no one was injured, AP and ITAR-TASS reported. The

    previous day, police had located a bomb concealed under a

    rail and road bridge in the city and defused it 15 minutes

    before it was due to explode. LF

    [17] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES SURVEILLANCE OF FOREIGNERS

    Addressing a cabinet session on 15 June, Saparmurat Niyazov

    expressed support for the creation of a council comprising

    National Security Committee, Interior Ministry, and Foreign

    Ministry personnel that would monitor the movements of

    foreign nationals arriving or temporarily resident in

    Turkmenistan, Reuters reported. A government source quoted

    the president as saying such surveillance is intended to

    prevent violations of the law, such as the unsanctioned sale

    of real estate. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [18] DJUKANOVIC: MILOSEVIC 'EXPORTING TERRORISM'

    Montenegrin

    President Milo Djukanovic said in Venice on 18 June that the

    recent "assassination attempt [against Serbian opposition

    leader Vuk Draskovic] has political motives," Reuters

    reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 June 2000). Djukanovic

    argued that "[Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic and his

    regime are taking drastic, repressive measures against our

    government. Terrorism in Serbia is being exported to

    Montenegro." On 17 June, Djukanovic, Prime Minister Filip

    Vujanovic, and Interior Minister Vukasin Maras visited

    Draskovic in Budva. PM

    [19] DRASKOVIC: SERBIA IS 'TERRORIST STATE'

    In Budva on 17 June,

    Draskovic told reporters that Serbia is a "terrorist state"

    and the "Iraq of the Balkans." He likened Milosevic to the

    late Ayatollah Khomeini, the German weekly "Welt am Sonntag"

    reported. Draskovic complained, however, that the only

    Serbian opposition leader to telephone and express sympathy

    for him was former General Momcilo Perisic, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported. PM

    [20] SHAKE-UP IN MONTENEGRIN SECURITY FORCES

    Montenegrin police

    arrested an unspecified number of individuals on 16 June in

    connection with the apparent attempted killing of Draskovic.

    A police spokesman said in Podgorica that the suspects came

    from Serbia with the intention of murdering the opposition

    leader, whom they stalked after his recent arrival in

    Montenegro. The spokesman declined to provide the suspects'

    names or additional information, saying that the

    investigation is continuing, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported on 17 June. One top security official in Budva and

    his colleague in Bar have lost their jobs in what appears to

    be the start of a purge in the wake of the attempted

    assassination. Much of the speculation surrounding the

    Draskovic case in the Yugoslav and international media has

    centered on the fact that no police or bodyguards were

    present at the time the gunman struck. Draskovic is usually

    well guarded. PM

    [21] BELGRADE REGIME BLAMES ALBRIGHT, DJUKANOVIC, OTPOR

    The

    Socialist People's Party (SNP) of Montenegro, which is loyal

    to Milosevic, said in a statement on 18 June that it deeply

    regrets the assassination attempt on Draskovic, an RFE/RL

    correspondent reported from Podgorica. The statement added,

    however, that there "is no basis" for speculating that the

    Belgrade authorities are behind the attempt to kill a man

    "who has greatly lost political influence" in recent months.

    In Belgrade on 17 June, Ivan Markovic, who is a spokesman for

    the United Yugoslav Left of Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic,

    blamed U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Milo

    Djukanovic, and the "terrorists" from the Otpor (Resistance)

    student movement for the incident. An Otpor spokesman denied

    the charge and said that Ivan Markovic is trying to make

    political capital out of the assassination attempt. PM

    [22] MILOSEVIC BACKERS TELL DEL PONTE TO STAY HOME

    The SNP said

    in a statement on 16 June that Carla Del Ponte, who is the

    Hague-based war crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor, is not

    welcome in Montenegro on her upcoming Balkan trip. The

    statement added that if she comes to Montenegro, the party

    and its supporters will "show her what honest Montenegrins

    think of NATO criminals and their accomplices," by which they

    meant Del Ponte, Reuters reported. In The Hague, Del Ponte's

    spokesman said that she regrets that the Serbian authorities

    did not respond to her request to go to Serbia to interview

    Serbs who were victims of violence in the recent conflict in

    Kosova. Del Ponte is slated to arrive in Macedonia on 19 June

    on a trip that will include Montenegro and Croatia. PM

    [23] AMNESTY APPEALS FOR SERBIAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

    Amnesty

    International said in a press release on 19 June that

    Yugoslav conscientious objectors "are still paying a high

    price for their convictions" and face huge legal dangers from

    the Belgrade authorities. AI criticized Western governments

    for not doing more to help the young men and appealed to

    those governments not to deport conscientious objectors or

    deserters who "face arrest, prosecution, or imprisonment" at

    home. PM

    [24] WAY OUT FOR MILOSEVIC?

    The "New York Times" reported on 19

    June that the U.S. and unnamed other NATO governments are

    sounding out possibilities for Milosevic to relinquish power

    and go into exile with his "safety and savings" guaranteed.

    Greek diplomats and senior politicians are reportedly playing

    a key role in the contacts and discussions. Washington is

    reluctant, however, to be seen publicly as being conciliatory

    toward the indicted war criminal. Furthermore, it is not

    clear whether Belgrade is sincere about making a deal or

    simply "seeing how the ground lies," the daily added. The

    main argument in favor of a deal with the Serbian leader is

    that anything that helps get him out of the way quickly would

    be a boost for the democratization of Serbia. The article

    added that U.S. officials will most likely deny any report of

    an impending deal with Milosevic. PM

    [25] KFOR MAKES MAJOR WEAPONS HAUL

    British Brigadier Richard

    Shirreff said in Prishtina that British and other KFOR troops

    operating in the central Drenica valley have made the "King

    Solomon's Mines of all weapons finds," "The Independent"

    reported on 19 June. British Major Simon Blake added that the

    huge stores of arms and ammunition, which KFOR will soon

    destroy, are "enough...to support a battle group of several

    hundred men for over a week." The troops also found four

    underground bunkers in Klecka, which will be destroyed.

    Shirreff said that the search will continue for at least

    another several days because "we're on a roll," Reuters

    reported. PM

    [26] CEKU DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF ARMS

    The Klecka bunkers, which were

    filled with weapons, are approximately 1,000 meters from the

    headquarters of General Agim Ceku, who is the former

    commander of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) and now head of

    the Kosova Protection Force. Shirreff said on 17 June that

    the illegal weapons are most likely "former UCK material,"

    which suggests a "degree of noncompliance" on the part of the

    ethnic Albanian military, who were obliged to surrender all

    such stocks to KFOR in 1999. Ceku called the charge

    "unacceptable," AP reported. He stressed that he has no

    "knowledge of the origin of these weapons, or the roads and

    channels by which they could have come.... I want to assure

    everyone...that the UCK is not behind these weapons. The UCK

    turned in all the weapons it had," Ceku added. PM

    [27] BRITISH COMMANDER BLASTS EU FOR AID DELAYS

    The loquacious

    Brigadier Shirreff said in Prishtina that bureaucratic in-

    fighting within the EU has held up the delivery of vital aid

    materials necessary for reconstruction of thousands of

    Kosovar homes in the runup to the coming winter, London's

    "Sunday Times" reported on 18 June. The central problem is

    rivalry between an administrative agency based in Greece and

    the Brussels-based committee that controls its funding.

    Lousewies van der Laan, who is vice president of the European

    parliament's budget control committee, described the behavior

    of many of the officials involved as "childish." PM

    [28] KFOR, MACEDONIA HOLD BORDER TALKS

    KFOR commander General

    Juan Ortuno held talks in Skopje on 17 June with Macedonian

    President Boris Trajkovski on possible ways for peacekeepers

    to improve security on the Macedonian-Kosovar border. That

    frontier has been the scene of several serious incidents in

    recent months involving armed ethnic Albanians and Macedonian

    border troops. The Macedonian authorities have demanded that

    KFOR improve security there. PM

    [29] ALBANIA, CROATIA TO BOOST TIES

    Croatian President Stipe

    Mesic and his Albanian hosts agreed in Tirana on 17 June to

    strengthen bilateral relations. An Albanian spokesman noted

    that the two countries "share similar views on the problems

    in the region," dpa reported. Both Mesic and his Albanian

    counterpart, Rexhep Meidani, stressed that there will be no

    peace in the Balkans as long as Milosevic remains in power.

    PM

    [30] PETRITSCH: BOSNIAN ELITE STUCK IN PAST

    Wolfgang Petritsch,

    who is the international community's high representative in

    Bosnia, told the Vienna daily "Kurier" of 18 June that real

    progress is beginning to be made in the rebuilding and

    development of Bosnia's infrastructure. He added, however,

    that the thinking of the political leadership remains rooted

    in the past. PM

    [31] BOSNIAN SERB POLICE ARREST FIVE IN BOMBING

    Police in Banja

    Luka arrested five persons on 16 June in conjunction with the

    car-bombing of journalist Zeljko Kopanja in October 1999 (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 2000). A breakthrough in an

    unrelated case led to the arrest of the suspects, AP

    reported. PM

    [32] ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS RUNOFF PRODUCES SURPRISE IN

    BUCHAREST...

    With some 97 percent of the votes counted,

    Democratic Party candidate Traian Basescu is leading in the

    race for the post of Bucharest general mayor, having garnered

    50.6 percent backing. Party of Social Democracy in Romania

    (PDSR) candidate Sorin Oprescu, who had a comfortable lead

    after the 4 June first round, has 49.3 percent support.

    However, the PDSR won the mayoralties of all six of the

    capital's districts. MS

    [33] ...WHILE ELSEWHERE RESULTS MORE OR LESS AS EXPECTED

    Extreme

    nationalist Cluj Mayor Gheorghe Funar, who ran as a candidate

    of the Greater Romania Party, received more than 53 percent

    of the vote, compared with 46.7 percent for the Democratic

    Convention of Romania's (CDR) candidate, Serban Radulescu.

    CDR candidate Dorin Florea surprisingly won by a small margin

    in Targu Mures against incumbent Mayor Imre Fodor of the

    Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. In Timisoara, CDR

    Mayor Gheorghe Ciuhandu scored a comfortable victory over

    PDSR challenger Simion Sultan. Iasi Mayor Constantin Simirad

    was re-elected with more than 60 percent backing. In Sibiu,

    German Democratic Forum candidate Johanis Klaus won with a

    comfortable 70 percent share of the vote. And the Black Sea

    port of Constanta will have Radu Mazare, who ran as an

    independent, as its new mayor. MS

    [34] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT AGAIN POSTPONES TESTIFYING IN

    MONEY-LAUNDERING AFFAIR

    PDSR chairman and former President

    Ion Iliescu has again failed to heed a summons by the

    Prosecutor General's Office to testify in the investigation

    launched on behalf of the French authorities into the Adrian

    Costea money-laundering affair (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13

    June 2000). PDSR spokesman Ioan Mircea Pascu said Iliescu's

    agenda continues to be "heavy" and that the PDSR "intends to

    launch its own investigation in France" into the affair,

    Mediafax reported. In an interview with the French daily "Le

    Figaro on 19 June, Iliescu said that the affair is "nothing

    but a gross political manipulation" and that Costea

    contributed to his party's 1996 electoral campaign "out of

    patriotism," Romanian Radio reported. But according to an 18

    June Mediafax report, the French company Groupe Saintonge

    Editions, which is headed by Costea, is now threatening to

    sue Iliescu for his failure to pay for posters and other

    electoral materials printed by the group in 1996. The company

    is demanding that the former president pay nearly 9 million

    French francs (some $1.3 million). MS

    [35] RUSSIAN PRESIDENT IN CHISINAU

    President Vladimir Putin told

    journalists on 17 June after talks with his Moldovan

    counterpart Petru Lucinschi that he will set up a "special

    commission," headed by former Premier Yevgenii Primakov, to

    "accelerate" finding a solution to the Transdniester

    conflict, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. He said Russia

    will stand by its pledge to withdraw by the end of 2002 its

    troops and armaments from the separatist region. Putin also

    said he and Lucinschi have agreed to have experts work on a

    new bilateral treaty between the two countries. Putin said it

    is in Russia's interest that Moldova's territorial integrity

    be respected but added that this required "the respect of the

    interests of all ethnic groups in Moldova and in particular

    those [residing] in the Transdniester region." Separatist

    leader Igor Smirnov was in Chisinau but was not received by

    Putin. He held talks, however, with one of the president's

    advisers. MS

    [36] BULGARIA OPPOSED TO KOSOVA INDEPENDENCE

    Defense Minister

    Boiko Noev on 16 June told an international conference in

    Sofia that Bulgaria "staunchly opposes independence for

    Kosova...and the creation of an Albanian state" in the

    province, AP reported. The conference focused on the Kosova

    conflict and its consequences for Bulgaria. Foreign Minister

    Nadezhda Mihailova told the forum that Bulgaria's trade

    losses as a result of the recent "crises" in Yugoslavia

    amount to $6 billion and that the implementation of the

    Balkan Stability Pact must be sped up. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [37] ESTONIAN PRESIDENT PRESSES FOR 'BIG BANG' NATO EXPANSION

    By Andrew F. Tully

    Lennart Meri, the president of Estonia, was in

    Washington last week to make his case for what is known as

    the "Big Bang" expansion of NATO.

    In May, the leaders of the nine candidates for inclusion

    in NATO met in Vilnius and urged that they all join the

    alliance simultaneously. These countries--the so-called

    "Vilnius Nine"--are Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia,

    Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

    Addressing the headquarters of the Center for Strategic

    and International Studies in Washington on 15 June, Meri

    offered several reasons for supporting the "Big Bang"

    approach. A more gradual approach, he argued, would be long

    and laborious. He said no NATO candidate could reasonably be

    expected to try to join with a diminished armed force and

    added that all candidates have been stressing internal

    stability and good relations with their neighbors.

    Meri said the "Big Bang" approach also would be good for

    Russia by quickly pushing it through the painful process of

    seeing its former satellites join the Western alliance. He

    likened that process to swimming in cold waters such as those

    of the Baltic Sea: "I find it much easier to jump in all at

    once rather than wading in gradually. And then the water

    feels fine," he joked.

    Meri was asked how he thought Russia and its president,

    Vladimir Putin, would react to the "Big Bang" enlargement of

    NATO. He replied, "So far we have seen that President Putin

    is a very predictable leader, and I have every reason to

    assume that he does not want to be a loser. So the very

    moment when he sees that the enlargement of NATO is something

    indispensable, he will find a way to agree with it."

    The Estonian president stressed he believes the smaller

    countries of Europe unequivocally support the rapid

    enlargement of NATO. He sees resistance from the so-called

    "Big Three"--Britain, France and Germany--which are still

    preoccupied by their roles in the Western alliance. "There is

    some period where the Big Three are looking for their place

    in the NATO," he said. "I think that those are the main

    problems we have to face."

    But the president stressed that "Big Bang" enlargement

    is not applicable to entry into the EU. He explained that

    membership in NATO requires far less precise standards. The

    alliance, he said, is really nothing more complex than an

    expression of what he called "political will." The EU, on the

    other hand, is technically more demanding of its members.

    "The union is workable only if there is a certain level

    regarding the productivity, regarding the standards. Any new

    member must be able to fulfill some very precise criteria."

    Still, Meri said he believes the enlargement of NATO and

    the enlargement of the EU are "organically linked" and

    "different sides of the same coin." Together, he said, the

    two enlargements would lead to what he called a "new,

    unified, and completed Europe."

    The Estonian president said he was in Washington to mark

    an important anniversary for both the U.S. and his country.

    In June 1940, he noted, the Soviet Union took over the Baltic

    states but the U.S. formally refused to recognize Moscow's

    sovereignty over the three countries.

    Meri noted that political leaders of both parties in the

    U.S. took this stand. He said this gave Estonians, Latvians

    and Lithuanians the moral support to maintain their

    identities throughout Soviet domination and eventually to

    regain their independence.

    The writer is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Washington.

    19-06-00


    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 Monday, 19 June 2000 - 14:33:16 UTC