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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 123, 00-06-26

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. 123, 26 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER DENIES ENERGY EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES
  • [02] LAWYER BELIEVES ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT KILLERS ACTED ON ORDERS
  • [03] IRAN DISCUSSES TRANSPORTATION COOPERATION WITH ARMENIA,
  • [04] GEORGIA, RUSSIA STILL AT ODDS OVER BASES CLOSURE
  • [05] MOSCOW AGAIN DEMANDS CLOSURE OF CHECHEN REPRESENTATION IN
  • [06] GEORGIA DENIES IT PLANS TO DEPORT CHECHEN REFUGEES
  • [07] TURKISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF VISITS GEORGIA
  • [08] MINISTER CLAIMS PLIGHT OF GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS
  • [09] GEORGIAN INDUSTRIALISTS SEEK TO EXPEDITE TAX REFORM
  • [10] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT AMNESTIES 87 PRISONERS
  • [11] ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN AZERBAIJAN
  • [12] NAZARBAEV DENIES HE WILL REMAIN KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT FOR
  • [13] ...PRAISES CABINET...
  • [14] ...PLANS DEVELOPMENT FUND
  • [15] KYRGYZ COURT REJECTS OPPOSITION POLITICIAN'S APPEAL
  • [16] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT CRITICIZES LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
  • [17] RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY RESPONDS TO TAJIK DEMARCHE
  • [18] TURKMENISTAN BANS FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNTS
  • [19] TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN HOLD BORDER TALKS
  • [20] TEN SENTENCED IN UZBEKISTAN FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [21] BRITISH TROOPS CAPTURE INDICTED BOSNIAN SERB
  • [22] MONTENEGRO'S DJUKANOVIC APOLOGIZES TO CROATIA
  • [23] QUALIFIED OPTIMISM FROM CROATIA...
  • [24] ...WITH CRITICISM FROM OFFICIAL BELGRADE...
  • [25] ...AND MIXED REACTION FROM OPPOSITION
  • [26] SUSPECTS DENY ROLE IN ATTEMPT ON DRASKOVIC
  • [27] JOURNALIST BEATEN IN SABAC
  • [28] KOSOVA SERB MODERATES RETURN TO KOUCHNER'S COUNCIL
  • [29] UNHCR KEEPS MITROVICA OFFICE CLOSED
  • [30] KFOR: ILLEGAL ARMS BELONGED TO UCK
  • [31] END OF ROMANIAN DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION IN SIGHT...
  • [32] ...AS PEASANT PARTY TRIES TO SET HOUSE IN ORDER
  • [33] MOLDOVA TRANSFERS TO GAZPROM BONDS IN DEBT REPAYMENT
  • [34] WORLD BANK APPROVES BULGARIAN LOAN

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [35] CROATIA'S 'SOFTWARE' FOR NATO

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER DENIES ENERGY EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES

    Hrant Bagratian, who served as Armenian premier from 1993-

    1996, told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau on 24 June that

    allegations of fraud and mismanagement in the energy sector

    during that period are unfounded. In a report unveiled on 14

    June, an ad hoc parliamentary commission estimated that

    Armenia incurred losses totaling $200 million since 1992 as a

    result of thefts and embezzlement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16

    June 2000). Bagratian denied that some 305,000 tons of fuel

    oil reportedly procured in 1992-1995 never reached Armenia or

    that the price of another 224, 000 tons was recorded as more

    than double the amount paid. For his part, he accused

    President Robert Kocharian, who served as prime minister from

    March 1997-March 1998, of condoning embezzlement and a joint

    venture with Russia's Gazprom that Bagratian claimed cost

    Armenia $80 million. LF

    [02] LAWYER BELIEVES ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT KILLERS ACTED ON ORDERS

    Artashes Pahlavuni, the former lawyer of Nairi Hunanian, the

    leader of the five gunmen who shot dead eight leading

    Armenian officials in the parliament building on 27 October,

    was quoted by Noyan Tapan on 23 June as saying that he

    believes unknown persons hired the gunmen to commit the

    killings. Hunanian insists that he acted on his own

    initiative (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 June 2000). Pahlavuni

    said he has resigned as Hunanian's defense lawyer, having

    originally agreed to represent him only for the duration of

    the preliminary investigation. LF

    [03] IRAN DISCUSSES TRANSPORTATION COOPERATION WITH ARMENIA,

    GEORGIA

    Iranian Transport Minister Mahmud Hodjati held talks

    in Yerevan on 23 June with Armenian President Kocharian and

    Prime Minister Andranik Markarian on increasing Iranian

    exports via Armenia, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    Hodjati expressed interest in transporting Iranian goods via

    Armenia and Georgia and then by ferry across the Black Sea to

    Bulgaria and Romania. That route is part of the EU's TRACECA

    program, in which Armenia wants Iran included. Hodjati said

    that the transport corridor requires a favorable business

    climate and improved customs administration and road

    infrastructure. He also said Iran is interested in

    participating in the EU- and World Bank-funded programs to

    upgrade highways in both Georgia and Armenia. Visiting

    Tbilisi on 21-23 June, Hodjati signed a Memorandum of

    Understanding with his Georgian counterpart, Merab

    Adeishvili, related to the TRACECA project, Caucasus Press

    reported. Hodjati also met with Georgian President Eduard

    Shevardnadze. LF

    [04] GEORGIA, RUSSIA STILL AT ODDS OVER BASES CLOSURE

    Talks in

    Tbilisi on 24-25 June between Georgian government officials

    and a Russian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya

    Klebanov resulted in agreement on "practically all" issues

    related to the first stage of the closure by mid-2001 of two

    of Russia's four military bases in Georgia, Interfax and

    ITAR-TASS reported. But, at the same time, Klebanov suggested

    that one of those two bases, in Gudauta, Abkhazia, should be

    transformed into a training center for the Russian

    peacekeeping force currently deployed in Abkhazia under the

    aegis of the CIS. The Abkhaz leadership has made clear its

    opposition to the closure of the Gudauta base (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 19 June 2000). Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli

    Menagharishvili said that on 1 August Russia will begin

    withdrawing military equipment in excess of the quotas it is

    permitted under the revised Conventional Forces in Europe

    Treaty, but he noted that unspecified issues remain

    unresolved. LF

    [05] MOSCOW AGAIN DEMANDS CLOSURE OF CHECHEN REPRESENTATION IN

    GEORGIA

    In a statement released on 23 June, the Russian

    Foreign Ministry again called for the closure of what it

    termed the "illegal" Chechen representation in Tbilisi,

    Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. The statement claimed

    the presence in Tbilisi of that body poses a threat to the

    security and stability not only of Georgia but of the entire

    North Caucasus. It added that the representation employs more

    than 100 people. Georgian officials have previously responded

    to such Russian pressure by saying that the Chechen

    representation is not officially registered with the Georgian

    authorities and therefore its registration cannot be revoked.

    LF

    [06] GEORGIA DENIES IT PLANS TO DEPORT CHECHEN REFUGEES

    Also on

    23 June, Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembskii

    expressed concern over the situation in the Pankisi gorge

    close to the Chechen-Georgian frontier, which he said has

    been divided into zones of influence by some 800 Chechen

    fighters who are planning to transport 150 mercenaries and

    quantities of military supplies from Pankisi to Chechnya,

    Caucasus Press reported. He said "such a wide network of

    Chechen terrorists and separatists could exist in Georgia

    only with the connivance of the local authorities," according

    to Interfax. Meanwhile, Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman

    Avtandil Napetvaridze rejected as "disinformation" media

    reports that Tbilisi and Moscow have held talks on forcibly

    deporting to Chechnya the estimated 8,000 Chechen refugees

    currently in the Pankisi gorge, Caucasus Press reported. LF

    [07] TURKISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF VISITS GEORGIA

    General

    Hussein Kivrikoglu held talks in Tbilisi on 23 June with

    Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili,

    parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania, and President Eduard

    Shevardnadze, Caucasus Press reported. Those talks focused on

    Turkey's ongoing financial and material assistance to the

    Georgian armed forces and the optimum format for the proposed

    South Caucasus security pact. Meeting with Shevardnadze,

    Kvirikoglu said Turkish-Georgian military cooperation

    contributes to stability in the South Caucasus, according to

    Interfax. LF

    [08] MINISTER CLAIMS PLIGHT OF GEORGIAN DISPLACED PERSONS

    DETERIORATING

    Minister for Refugees Valeri Vashakidze told

    journalists in Tbilisi on 23 June that outstanding allowances

    owed to the Georgian displaced persons who fled Abkhazia

    during the 1992-1993 war have reached 13.6 million lari ($7

    million). He added that he doubts that the Ministry of

    Finance will be able to make good on its commitment to pay

    those debts by the end of the year, Caucasus Press reported.

    Displaced persons in the west Georgian towns of Kutaisi and

    Zugdidi have staged recent protests to demand payment of

    their overdue allowances. Vashakidze also said that 1,140

    families who fled Abkhazia are still waiting to be allocated

    accommodation in Tbilisi. LF

    [09] GEORGIAN INDUSTRIALISTS SEEK TO EXPEDITE TAX REFORM

    Gogi

    Topadze, who heads the "Industry Will Save Georgia"

    parliamentary faction, told Caucasus Press on 23 June that

    his faction has begun collecting signatures for a petition

    demanding that the parliament begin debating the faction's

    draft bill on amendments to the tax code. The 15-member

    faction submitted that draft to the parliament's Committee on

    Legislation three months ago. Topadze also said that his

    faction has addressed an appeal to President Shevardnadze and

    parliamentary speaker Zhvania outlining proposed measures to

    overcome Georgia's worsening economic and budget crisis. LF

    [10] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT AMNESTIES 87 PRISONERS

    Heidar Aliev on

    25 June issued a decree amnestying 87 people serving prison

    sentences for crimes against Azerbaijan's sovereignty and

    independence, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported. Three of those

    released were aligned with Colonel Alikram Gumbatov, who in

    the summer of 1993 declared an independent Talysh-Mughan

    Republic on Azerbaijan's southeastern border with Iran.

    Twenty were among several hundred people sentenced for their

    participation in alleged coups in 1994 and 1995, but the

    alleged leader of the 1994 action, former Premier Suret

    Huseinov, was not among them. Also freed were some persons

    sentenced on political charges, such as slandering the

    president. The amnesty comes on the eve of a decision by the

    Council of Europe to grant Azerbaijan and Armenia full

    membership in that body. LF

    [11] ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN AZERBAIJAN

    Several hundred

    people attended a rally convened in Baku on 24 June by the

    opposition United Azerbaijani Forces, which unite the Vahdat,

    Social Democratic, and Namus parties, Turan reported. The

    municipal authorities had given permission for the rally to

    take place. Participants accused the country's leadership of

    corruption and inability to resolve the country's problems.

    They also protested the recently passed law on the Central

    Electoral Commission and demanded the release of all

    political prisoners, including former Premier Huseinov and

    former Defense Minister Rahim Kaziev. LF

    [12] NAZARBAEV DENIES HE WILL REMAIN KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT FOR

    LIFE...

    Nursultan Nazarbaev told journalists in Almaty on 23

    June that he had not been informed in advance of the draft

    law already passed in the first reading by the parliament

    that would enhance his powers even after he retires as

    president, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June

    2000). Nazarbaev said that he does not want "to become a khan

    or a president for life," but he added that the constitution

    allows him to run for another term after his current term

    expires in 2006. He said that he does not consider the draft

    legislation "helpful" but that he has no right to oppose

    legislative initiatives. LF

    [13] ...PRAISES CABINET...

    Nazarbaev told the same press

    conference that there is no need for Prime Minister

    Qasymzhomart Toqaev's cabinet to resign, warning the media to

    desist from speculation on that possibility, Interfax

    reported. Rumors that Toqaev would be fired first surfaced

    early this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February 2000).

    More recently, a spokesman for the premier denied rumors he

    is involved in corruption (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 April

    2000). LF

    [14] ...PLANS DEVELOPMENT FUND

    Nazarbaev also said on 23 June

    that he has drafted a decree setting up a development fund

    drawing on some of the proceeds from the export of oil, oil

    products, and precious metals, Interfax reported. The fund

    will be used "for the benefit of generations to come" and to

    cushion the impact of adverse world economic developments,

    such as the devaluation of the Russian ruble in August 1998.

    LF

    [15] KYRGYZ COURT REJECTS OPPOSITION POLITICIAN'S APPEAL

    The

    board of the Bishkek City Court on 22 June upheld the

    suspended sentence handed down last month on opposition El

    (Bei Bechara) Party Chairman Daniyar Usenov but commuted it

    from three to two years, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz

    capital reported. Usenov was found guilty of assaulting a

    fellow businessman (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 May 2000). LF

    [16] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT CRITICIZES LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

    Chairing a meeting in Bishkek on 24 June of senior law

    enforcement officials, bank directors, and oblast and

    district administrators, President Askar Akaev criticized the

    law enforcement agencies for their inability to lower the

    incidence of economic and organized crime, RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported. He noted that 14 senior officials have

    recently been arrested on suspicion of corruption, but none

    of them was proven guilty. LF

    [17] RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY RESPONDS TO TAJIK DEMARCHE

    In a

    statement issued on 22 June, the Russian Foreign Ministry

    conceded that some Russian media coverage of developments in

    Tajikistan is one-sided, Asia Plus-Blitz reported. Noting

    that such bias does not benefit bilateral relations, the

    Russian statement added that the Russian government can

    hardly dictate to the media what approach they should take.

    Earlier this month, the Tajik Foreign Ministry had protested

    what it termed biased Russian media coverage (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 20 and 22 June 2000). LF

    [18] TURKMENISTAN BANS FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNTS

    In a move that he

    said is intended to prevent capital flight, President

    Saparmurat Niyazov has signed a decree making it illegal for

    either individuals or businesses to hold foreign bank

    accounts, AP reported on 23 June, quoting the state news

    agency TDH. All hard-currency savings must be transferred to

    local banks within the next few months. LF

    [19] TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN HOLD BORDER TALKS

    Following talks

    in Ashgabat on 23 June between Turkmen government officials

    and a visiting Uzbek delegation headed by Vice Premier Rustam

    Yunusov, the two sides issued a protocol saying neither has

    territorial claims on the other, ITAR-TASS reported. They

    agreed on the creation of an intergovernmental commission to

    delimit and demarcate their common border and prepare a draft

    treaty on the state border for signing by the two countries'

    presidents. LF

    [20] TEN SENTENCED IN UZBEKISTAN FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE

    The

    municipal court in the eastern city of Namangan on 21 June

    handed down sentences of between seven and 17 years in prison

    to 10 people, four of them women, on charges of undermining

    the constitution and organizing criminal groups, Reuters

    reported on 23 June. Those charges were based on the alleged

    support of the accused for the banned Islamic Movement of

    Uzbekistan. Nosyrzhon Khodjiev, brother of the movement's

    leader, Djuma Namangani, was among those sentenced. He

    received a 14-year prison term. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [21] BRITISH TROOPS CAPTURE INDICTED BOSNIAN SERB

    British SFOR

    troops, including members of the elite SAS, captured Dusko

    Sikirica in his home in Prijedor in the early hours of 25

    June. He arrived in The Hague later that day. The Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal had indicted Sikirica and 12 other

    Bosnian Serb officials and guards on charges of

    responsibility for war crimes at the Keraterm concentration

    camp near Prijedor, where Sikirica was camp commander in

    1992. In particular, the tribunal holds Sikirica ultimately

    responsible for one single incident in which 140 Muslim males

    were killed by machine-gun fire. Sikirica will join two of

    the 12 in the dock in The Hague. He is the 21st suspect to be

    arrested by NATO troops in Bosnia since 1995 and the eighth

    since Lord Robertson became the alliance's secretary-general

    in 1999. Some 27 publicly-indicted suspects and an

    undisclosed number of suspects wanted under sealed

    indictments remain at large, London's "The Guardian"

    reported. Approximately 40 suspects are in The Hague,

    including some who surrendered voluntarily. PM

    [22] MONTENEGRO'S DJUKANOVIC APOLOGIZES TO CROATIA

    Croatian

    President Stipe Mesic and his Montenegrin counterpart, Milo

    Djukanovic, discussed "practical issues," including economic

    cooperation and cross-border traffic, in Cavtat, near

    Dubrovnik, on 24 June, the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" reported.

    Djukanovic also said: "I'd like to express in my name and

    behalf of Montenegro...my sincerest apologies to all citizens

    of Croatia and especially of Dubrovnik...for all the pain and

    suffering and material losses inflicted by Montenegrins"

    during the Belgrade-led campaign against Croatia in 1991. He

    added that "Montenegro has paid a dear price [for its

    participation in the conflict]. We have paid in the lives of

    our people, the severance of traditional good ties between

    Croatia and Montenegro, and our banishment from the

    international community," AP reported. Djukanovic was

    Montenegrin prime minister when Yugoslav forces shelled

    Dubrovnik and Montenegrin reservists and other forces

    pillaged Cavtat, the Dubrovnik airport, and several other

    places in the area. PM

    [23] QUALIFIED OPTIMISM FROM CROATIA...

    Most leading Croatian

    politicians responded positively to Djukanovic's apology,

    "Jutarnji list" reported on 26 June. Most political leaders

    added, however, that Djukanovic's remarks were prompted by

    the pragmatic need to improve relations with Zagreb and that

    the question of Montenegrin responsibility for the 1991

    conflict remains open. Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic

    said that Podgorica will now have to follow Djukanovic's

    words with concrete deeds. Opposition leader Vladimir Seks

    noted that Djukanovic did not offer to pay for war damages or

    to assist the Hague tribunal in investigating and indicting

    Montenegrins who committed atrocities during the conflict. PM

    [24] ...WITH CRITICISM FROM OFFICIAL BELGRADE...

    Belgrade's state-

    run Tanjug news agency sharply criticized Djukanovic on 24

    June for his public apology. Tanjug charged that the

    Montenegrin "practically praised Mesic for his secessionist

    policies...which led to the tragic events in former

    Yugoslavia." The news agency added that Mesic had demanded as

    a precondition for the meeting that the Montenegrin apologize

    "for something that never existed--the alleged aggression

    against Croatia." Mesic was slated to be the rotating

    chairman of the former Yugoslav collective presidency in

    1991, but then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his

    allies (including Montenegro) prevented Mesic from taking

    office. PM

    [25] ...AND MIXED REACTION FROM OPPOSITION

    The Democratic Party's

    Vojislav Kostunica said in Belgrade on 24 June that

    Djukanovic "during the war not only implemented but literally

    created the policy of Montenegro and Yugoslavia, but he is

    now representing himself differently.... He came to power by

    manipulating the deepest national and patriotic sentiments.

    Now he is denying all that and is starting a new ruse," dpa

    reported. Alliance for Change leader Vladan Batic said that

    Djukanovic "must have had his reasons [for

    apologizing]...probably related to the interests of

    Montenegro." Batic added that it is Djukanovic's right as

    president to make such an apology if he chooses. Predrag

    Simic, who is foreign policy spokesman for Vuk Draskovic's

    Serbian Renewal Movement, hailed the apology as "not a move

    of a politician, but of a statesman who wants the past to

    become part of history, to take a new direction." Simic added

    that the apology "opens the question of the cause and the

    purpose of the war" for the citizens of Serbia and

    Montenegro. PM

    [26] SUSPECTS DENY ROLE IN ATTEMPT ON DRASKOVIC

    The brothers

    Milan and Ivan Lovric told a court in Podgorica on 23 June

    that they had no role in the recent attempt on the life of

    Draskovic in Budva (see "REFE/RL Newsline," 23 June 2000).

    Their lawyer told AP that the prosecution must now cross-

    examine them about where they were on the night in question.

    PM

    [27] JOURNALIST BEATEN IN SABAC

    Three bodyguards of Cedomir

    Vasiljevic, who is a local leader of Vojislav Seselj's

    Radicals, beat journalist Hanibal Kovac in Sabac on 23 June.

    Kovac told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service, for which he is a

    reporter, that his attackers beat him "very professionally."

    He added that they chastised him for his unspecified writings

    about their boss, adding "next time you'll be dead." He was

    treated briefly in the local hospital and then reported the

    incident to the police. He has heard nothing from them to

    date, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 26 June. PM

    [28] KOSOVA SERB MODERATES RETURN TO KOUCHNER'S COUNCIL

    Father

    Sava, who is a leader of moderate Serbs in Kosova, said at

    the Gracanica monastery on 25 June that most members of the

    Serbian National Council (SNV) agreed to return to the

    advisory body set up by Bernard Kouchner, who is the UN's

    chief administrator in the province. Sava stressed that his

    supporters realize that they must be present at Kouchner's

    meetings if they are to have a say in the decisions made

    there, the VOA's Croatian Service reported. Four of the 83

    delegates, including Kosova Serb political leader Momcilo

    Trajkovic, walked out of the meeting to protest the decision,

    the BBC's Serbian Service noted. The SNV said the decision to

    end its weeks-old boycott is contingent on the UN's written

    agreement to send special anti-terrorist police to areas

    where Serbs are threatened by violence and to add more Serbs

    to the UN-sponsored Kosova police force. The Serbs launched

    their boycott to protest what they called the UN's failure to

    protect Serbian civilians against attacks by ethnic Albanian

    extremists. PM

    [29] UNHCR KEEPS MITROVICA OFFICE CLOSED

    A spokeswoman for the

    UNHCR said in Prishtina on 26 June that the refugee agency

    will keep its office in Serb-held northern Mitrovica closed

    pending a daily review of the security situation there. The

    UNHCR closed the office on 23 June after an unspecified

    number of rioters attacked humanitarian aid workers and their

    property, AP reported. The rioters destroyed five UN vehicles

    and damaged another 20. PM

    [30] KFOR: ILLEGAL ARMS BELONGED TO UCK

    A KFOR spokesman said in

    Prishtina on 23 June that the weapons seized by NATO troops

    earlier that week in the Drenica valley were illegally "in

    the possession" of the former Kosova Liberation Army (UCK),

    AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 June 2000). He added,

    however, that there is no evidence that former UCK commander

    Agim Ceku, whose headquarters are near the bunkers where the

    arms were hidden, was aware that the weapons were there. The

    spokesman stressed that "to say that Ceku had overriding

    authority [in the UCK] is a misconception." Observers note

    that the UCK was not known for tight discipline and that many

    of the commanders have become bitter political rivals since

    the conflict ended in June 1999. Ceku is a professional

    military officer and a former leading general in the Croatian

    army. PM

    [31] END OF ROMANIAN DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION IN SIGHT...

    The

    leadership of the National Peasant Party Christian

    democratic (PNTCD) on 24 June said its main partner in the

    Democratic Convention of Romania, the national Liberal

    Party (PNL), must decide by 15 July whether it will run

    jointly with the PNTCD on the lists of the Democratic

    Convention of Romania (CDR). If the PNL does not accept the

    PNTCD's offer of equal representation on the CDR lists for

    the parliamentary elections, the PNTCD will run alone. PNL

    First Deputy Chairman Valeriu Stoica said on 24 June that

    running jointly with the PNTCD would be "risky, since the

    PNTCD bears "the main responsibility for having compromised

    the CDR in the electorate's eyes." PNL Chairman Mircea

    Ionescu-Quintus said the PNL could run alone if it manages

    to "unify" around itself those opposition forces that would

    ensure the PNL "at least 15 percent" of the vote. MS

    [32] ...AS PEASANT PARTY TRIES TO SET HOUSE IN ORDER

    A

    relatively narrow majority of 46 out of the 77 members of

    the PNTCD's Leading Committee voted confidence in the

    party's interim-leadership on 24 June. The committee also

    decided that the PNTCD will initiate a constitutional

    amendment to simplify lifting the immunity of parliamentary

    deputies, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. PNTCD First

    Vice Chairman and Agriculture Minister Ioan Muresan, who

    has been accused by the opposition of being involved in

    illegal privatization transactions, said he is ready to

    renounce his immunity to prove his innocence. On 23 June, a

    Bucharest court canceled the sale of a state-owned tobacco

    company on suspicion of favoritism toward one bidder on the

    part of the Agriculture Ministry. MS

    [33] MOLDOVA TRANSFERS TO GAZPROM BONDS IN DEBT REPAYMENT

    The

    Ministry of Finance on 23 June transferred to Russia's

    Gazprom $90 million in state bonds. The bonds have a seven-

    year maturity and yield 7.5 percent interest, to be paid

    quarterly. The Moldovan parliament had approved this

    arrangement earlier this year, but Gazprom had raised

    objections. The two sides reached agreement during last

    week's visit to Chisinau by Russian President Vladimir

    Putin, who was accompanied by Gazprom chief Rem Vyakhirev,

    Infotag reported. Also on 23 June, President Petru

    Lucinschi signed a decree withdrawing the citizenship of 12

    Moldovan residents who are also citizens of other (unnamed)

    countries, in violation of the Moldovan Constitution, and

    have refused to renounce their dual citizenship. MS

    [34] WORLD BANK APPROVES BULGARIAN LOAN

    The World Bank on 23

    June approved a $63 million loan to Bulgaria to improve the

    country's health care system, an RFE/RL corespondent in

    Washington reported. The total value of the project is $87

    million, and the Bulgarian government will make up the

    difference. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [35] CROATIA'S 'SOFTWARE' FOR NATO

    By Christian Buric

    Croatian foreign policy achieved some notable successes

    in May, reflecting how far the country has come in the short

    time that the new government has been in office.

    The greatest success was Croatia's admission to NATO's

    Partnership for Peace program. But that was not all.

    Officials in Washington talked of Croatian membership in the

    WTO. Zagreb's relations with the EU improved, and Brussels is

    considering possibilities for Croatia's admission to EU-

    related programs. Previously, Zagreb's integration was partly

    made dependent on developments in other former Yugoslav

    republics. Now, however, the EU has acknowledged that Croatia

    deserves to be considered separately from Bosnia-Herzegovina

    and Serbia on both economic and political grounds.

    The governing coalition of six parties will thus be

    remembered for its swift attainment of some key foreign-

    policy goals. In no more than five months, Prime Minister

    Ivica Racan's government achieved things that former

    President Franjo Tudjman and his followers were unable to do

    in 10 years.

    Stanko Nick, who is a political scientist and President

    Stipe Mesic's adviser for foreign policy, said in Zagreb that

    Croatia has never had a better political image than it does

    now, "Slobodna Dalmacija" reported on 27 May. Foreign

    Minister Tonino Picula told "Nacional" on 31 May that the

    reason for the change in Croatia's image is its development

    of democracy, human and minority rights, and the freedom of

    press. In the parliament, Mesic said he foresees Croatia's

    becoming a full member of NATO and an equal partner in the

    international community, "Jutarnji list" reported on 31 May.

    Partnership for Peace does not include an automatic

    process of integration into NATO, however. NATO spokesman

    Jamie Shea told "Nacional" at the end of May that any

    decision about new NATO members will be made in two years at

    the earliest. Ensuring freedom of the press, transforming

    Zagreb's relations with the Croatian population of Bosnia,

    and promoting further democratization will be milestones on

    Croatia's possible path to Euro-Atlantic integration. Croatia

    will have to prove in the next few years that it can make

    some crucial contributions to NATO, Shea stressed, adding

    that it would be wrong if Zagreb is motivated only by the

    advantages it expects from being a member of the most

    powerful military organization of the world.

    Shea also noted that the modernization of the Croatian

    army is a "hardware" problem and that it is more important to

    look at the Croatian "software," where, he explained, Zagreb

    has something to offer. This means that Croatia can be useful

    to NATO not only in traditional military and geopolitical

    terms. Croatian officers are experienced in fighting against

    Serbian forces, and Croatian knowledge of the situation in

    southeastern Europe can be very helpful for the peace process

    in Bosnia and for peacekeeping in Kosova. Croatia's

    cooperation with the alliance will strengthen NATO's Balkan

    flank and stabilize the whole region. And the two partners

    could even work together to promote the democratization of

    Serbia.

    Another aspect of this "software" is promoting the

    development of a "common identity" between the Croatian army

    and NATO. Shea said that this aspect is much more relevant

    than introducing weapons compatible with NATO standards.

    Common identity is a prerequisite, for instance, for the

    Croatian army's participation in missions in hot spots and in

    peacekeeping operations.

    "Software" for NATO is about political culture, too.

    According to Shea, civilian specialists on military questions

    are needed in the government, the media, and the

    universities. Political culture is of special interest

    regarding the civilian control of the military, which is one

    of the pillars of NATO. The army has to be integrated into

    society, and therefore it is necessary that civilians have a

    sound understanding of military affairs.

    From Shea's comments, it follows that Croatia needs to

    gather, assemble, and package what it knows to eventually

    secure its place in the Atlantic alliance. This can be

    achieved by encouraging university projects dealing with

    security issues in southeastern Europe.

    Moreover, the reorganization of Croatian military

    academies in accordance with the standards of the

    Bundeswehrhochschule that was set up in West Germany after

    World War II could be another step in the same direction. The

    fact that professors at the Bundeswehrhochschule are

    civilians guarantees that the army has links to civilian

    life. This would help prevent the Croatian army from becoming

    a "state within a state," as was the case with the German

    army before 1945 or in Yugoslavia during the Tito era.

    Croatian civilian and military analysts will now have to

    pool their knowledge and present Croatia's "software" to the

    public and to NATO institutions. This kind of information-

    management can also be a useful strategy for approaching NATO

    in a more dynamic way than has been the case among most other

    former communist countries, possibly gaining an advantage

    over those Partnership for Peace members that have not

    sufficiently demonstrated that they have something to offer

    as well as something to gain.

    The author is a freelance writer and copy editor based in

    Munich, Germany.

    26-06-00


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


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