|Wednesday, 27 January 2021|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 198, 00-10-12
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 4, No. 198, 12 October 2000
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 CIS SECURITY PACT SIGNATORIES AGREE TO CREATE JOINT FORCE...Meeting in Bishkek on 11 October, the presidents of the six member states of the 1992 CIS Collective Security Treaty (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) discussed and then signed an agreement on the creation of a joint rapid-deployment force that could be sent to any one of those states to help counter a threat of external aggression or terrorism, Russian media reported. The agreement must be endorsed by the parliaments of all six states and does not override restrictions in their constitutions on the dispatch of troops to fight abroad. Details of financing and the division of responsibility is to be decided by the six general staffs. LF
 ...ASSESS AFGHAN THREATThe six presidents also adopted a statement registering their concern at the increased threat posed to Central Asia by international terrorism and political and religious extremism, Interfax reported. The statement identified Afghanistan as the main source of instability in Central Asia and called on the international community to "actively seek ways to restore peace in Afghanistan," Reuters reported. Russian Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov told the meeting that while the agreement on a collective force had been drafted in the light of the recent escalation in fighting in Afghanistan, the signatories to the CIS Collective Security Treaty have no intention of launching strikes against that country, according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 12 October. Ivanov said that Russia would respond to a Taliban attack on Tajikistan according to the provisions of the Collective Security Treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the attention of the international community to the humanitarian problem that an exodus of refugees from Afghanistan into Tajikistan would create, Interfax reported. LF
 UN BEGINS DISTRIBUTING DROUGHT RELIEF IN ARMENIAA UN World Food program official told journalists in Yerevan on 11 October that distribution of international relief aid has begun to farmers in northern Armenia most seriously affected by this summer's drought, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. But he warned that the UN has received only approximately one half of the estimated 145,000 tons of cereal food aid needed and that if the shortfall is not met, "vulnerable groups" could be severely affected. He added that agricultural assistance to farmers is even more urgently needed than food aid. The Armenian government has estimated the overall damage caused by the natural disaster at more than $100 million. LF
 AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION ALLIANCE ON VERGE OF SPLITAt their weekly meeting on 11 October, representatives of 10 opposition parties aligned in the Democratic Congress failed to reach agreement over which wing of the divided Azerbaijan Popular Front Party to recognize as the legitimate successor to that party, Turan reported. The AHCP split in August into two wings, the "reformers" and the "conservatives" (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 34, 24 August 2000). Representatives of the 10 parties that formed the Democratic Congress in 1994 anticipate that it may collapse as a result of the disagreement over the AHCP. LF
 AZERBAIJAN, UKRAINE SIGN DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENTVisiting Kyiv on 10-11 October, Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiev signed a defense cooperation agreement for 2001 with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, AP reported. That agreement includes policy cooperation, bilateral cooperation within the NATO Partnership for Peace program, and cooperation within the GUUAM alignment, which is composed of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova. The two ministers told journalists on 11 October that the GUUAM member states intend to form a joint military sub-division that will participate in peacekeeping operations and protect the planned Caucasus transport corridor, including the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Turan reported. Abiev also met on 11 October with Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko, who pledged that his cabinet will seek ways of promoting joint training and data-exchange programs, Interfax reported. LF
 GEORGIAN WARLORD PLANS RETURN TO POLITICSFormer Mkhedrioni paramilitary leader Djaba Ioseliani has stated his intention of contesting an upcoming by-election in Tbilisi, "Rezonansi" and "Segodnya" reported on 10 and 11 October. Ioseliani, who is 73, was released from jail earlier this year, having been sentenced in 1998 to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of involvement in the August 1995 attempt to assassinate Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 November 1998 and 21 April 2000). Ioseliani's political program calls for Georgia to declare its neutrality and for the abolition of the presidency. LF
 KYRGYZ JOURNALIST RECEIVES AWARD FOR COURAGEZamira Sadykova, editor of the opposition newspaper "Res Publica," was presented in New York on 10 October with the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism prize, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Sadykova received an 18-month suspended sentence in 1995 for allegedly slandering Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev and was sentenced again libel in 1997 for reporting on corruption within a state-run gold-mining company. LF
 KYRGYZ CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION WARNS LOCAL AUTHORITIESThe Central Electoral Commission on 11 October issued a second warning to local authorities not to create obstacles to opposition candidates in the runup to the 29 October presidential poll, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. It had issued a similar statement on 7 October. LF
 FORMER KYRGYZ COMMUNIST LEADER BRINGS LIBEL SUIT AGAINST OPPOSITION POLITICIANKyrgyz parliamentary deputy Turdakun Usubaliev, who served from 1961-1985 as first secretary of the Communist Party of Kirghizia, has brought criminal proceedings for libel against opposition El (Bei-Bechara) party chairman Daniyar Usenov, who has accused him of leading the republic to ruin, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported on 11 October. Usenov told RFE/RL that Usubaliev has refused to accept his proffered apologies for that remark. Usubaliev is demanding 60 million soms (approximately $1.25 million) in damages. LF
 TAJIK FIRST DEPUTY PREMIER'S BODYGUARD ABDUCTEDA group of some seven gunmen abducted the bodyguard and chauffeur of Ali Akbar Turadjonzoda in central Dushanbe on 11 October, Interfax reported. A former leading member of the United Tajik Opposition, Turadjonzoda escaped injury when gunmen opened fire on his motorcade earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 February 2000). LF
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 KOSTUNICA: YUGOSLAVIA 'SITTING ON A VOLCANO'Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said in Belgrade that a "volcano of threats" is undermining stability, BBC Television reported on 12 October. He noted that his political friends are at least as much a source of trouble for him as are his enemies. He did not elaborate. His remarks follow statements by Branislav Ivkovic of former President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) that the Serbian government will remain in office until the next legislative elections take place, possibly in December. Ivkovic stressed that the Serbian government is the only legal authority in Serbia, AP reported. He accused the opposition of allowing "lawlessness and violence" to take hold throughout the country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 2000). Ivkovic added that Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic will take direct control of the police. Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic charged, however, that the Serbian government no longer controls "over 80 percent of the processes in the country" even if it declares itself "omnipotent." An unnamed "senior police source" told AP that the police will ignore Ivkovic's remarks. PM
 SERBIAN OPPOSITION THREATENS MILOSEVIC BACKERS WITH STREET PROTESTSLeaders of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) called upon the SPS and its Radical allies to hold urgent talks with the opposition aimed at setting up a transitional Serbian government and finalizing a date for the elections. The DOS offered the two parties shared control of four important ministries, adding that there will be no "important personnel changes" in those ministries in the runup to the elections, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Djindjic suggested that the SPS could name the new prime minister but that the person must not be Marjanovic. The DOS gave the SPS and Radicals until 13 October to begin talks and set the election date. If the deadline is not met, the opposition will urge the public to take to the streets to put pressure on the former regime. Opposition leader Zarko Korac said that, in the last analysis, the DOS can rely "only on the people in the streets," the BBC Serbian Service reported on 12 October. PM
 YUGOSLAV ARMY LEADERS WARN OPPOSITIONThe pro-Milosevic army leadership said in a statement on 11 October that there will be "negative consequences" if unnamed political leaders continue to "discredit" unspecified members of the military leadership, Tanjug reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 2000). The announcement follows a statement by Djindjic that Kostunica intends to replace General Nebojsa Pavkovic with former General Momcilo Perisic as chief of the General Staff. That same day, Kostunica met with top generals in Belgrade. An unnamed aide to the president told private Radio B-92 afterward that he does not intend to sack any generals at present. Elsewhere, Djindjic told "The Guardian" of 12 October that security forces are monitoring the telephones of DOS leaders from four locations in Belgrade. "It's more than it used to be [before 5 October]. They give the reports to Milosevic," he added. PM
 MILOSEVIC'S SERBIAN SOCIALISTS REORGANIZEThe SPS said in a statement in Belgrade on 11 October that it will hold an extraordinary party congress on 25 November. The announcement added that Secretary-General Gorica Gajevic has been replaced by Zoran Andjelkovic, who is Milosevic's former governor of Kosova. Serbian President Milan Milutinovic becomes party vice president. AP reported that the SPS will run its own candidates in December and not have a joint slate with the United Yugoslav Left, which is led by Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic. PM
 U.S. TO DROP SERBIAN SANCTIONSAn unnamed "senior White House official" told AP that President Bill Clinton will lift sanctions on oil sales to Serbia and a flight ban for Belgrade's JAT airlines on 12 October, as the EU has already done (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 October 2000). "The New York Times" reported that the administration has decided not to insist on the extradition of Milosevic to The Hague as a prerequisite for the lifting of further sanctions. Kostunica has repeatedly said that bringing Milosevic to justice is not a priority for him and that he will deal with the issue later. PM
 MONTENEGRO WARY ON KOSTUNICAMontenegrin Foreign Minister Branko Lukovac told AFP in Podgorica on 11 October that his government will initiate talks with Serbia on future relations between the two republics immediately after the Serbian elections. He said that recent remarks by Kostunica opposed to possible Montenegrin independence indicate that "the departure of Milosevic did not solve all problems" between Belgrade and Podgorica (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 October 2000). Lukovac added that Milosevic is not the only Serbian official who wants "to reduce Montenegro to the status of a Serbian district." The only basis for relations between Serbia and Montenegro is one of full equality, the minister added. He argued that "one of the possible options is that Serbia and Montenegro will be independent states that are members of the UN." PM
 KOSOVA'S CEKU SAYS NO COMPROMISE ON INDEPENDENCEAgim Ceku, who is a former Kosovar guerrilla commander and now head of the civilian Kosova Protection Force, said in Ferizaj that "no Serbian leader and no Serbian government, no matter how democratic, can block Kosova's path to independence, " Hina reported on 12 October. He stressed that the Kosovars are determined to be masters in their own house and have their own military organization with commands in Albania and under their own flag. Djindjic said in Belgrade, however, that "we insist that a small section of the Yugoslav army and the Serbian police should be stationed in Kosovo in areas populated by Serbs," dpa reported. PM
 SERBIAN COURT STALLS ON RE-TRIAL OF KOSOSVA ACTIVISTA Serbian judge in Nis has postponed until December the re-trial of Flora Brovina, whom is serving a 12-year prison sentence for "terrorism," Reuters reported on 12 October. Rajko Danilovic, who is one of her lawyers, said that the judges "are avoiding this trial. In our future democratic society, there will be no room for the sort of judges who are scared when their boss is gone." PM
 CROATIAN OLYMPIC HERO KILLEDA relative with apparent psychological problems shot and killed canoeist Matija Ljubek and another man after a family argument in eastern Croatia on 11 October. Ljubek was regarded as Croatia's most successful Olympic athlete, having won gold medals at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. He headed the Croatian Olympic Committee's Mission to the recent Sydney games, Hina reported. PM
 IZETBEGOVIC SUCCESSOR NAMED TO BOSNIAN PRESIDENCYHalid Genjac, who is a top official of the Party of Democratic Action, will be the Muslim representative on the joint presidency after Alija Izetbegovic leaves office on 12 October, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM
 ROMANIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES PRESIDENTIAL BIDPrime Minister Mugur Isarescu on 11 October officially launched his presidential bid in an atmosphere described by journalists as "sober" and "in stark contrast" to the one that prevailed when other presidential hopefuls announced their candidacy. Isarescu told journalists that 750,000 (more than double the legally required 300,000) signatures have been gathered in support of his candidacy, and he insisted that he is and will remain politically independent. He said that if the Party of Social Democracy in Romania wins the parliamentary elections, he will be able to cooperate with it because "when it comes to finances, I belong to the right [of the political spectrum], but when it comes to people's welfare, I am a man of the left." MS
 ROMANIAN PEASANT PARTY'S DISARRAY DEEPENINGThe National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) will ask for Environment Minster Romica Tomescu to be replaced by PNTCD Deputy Chairman Tanase Barde, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 11 October. The PNTCD leadership cited Tomescu's failure to put into practice the party's decision to dismiss Dorin Ciuca, director of the Romsilva state forest authority. Tomescu has been criticized by party colleagues for failing to implement the law on forest restitution. Also on 11 October, the PNTCD leadership decided to "suspend" for one year the membership of deputy Ion Beciu and to expel his wife, Liana Beciu, from the party. Ion Beciu has recently attacked PNTCD First Deputy Chairman Ioan Muresan, calling him " the party's grave-digger" and "a cancerous tumor." The attack came after Muresan placed Christian Democratic National Alliance leader Victor Ciorbea at the head of the Alba County lists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. MS
 SYNAGOGUE VANDALIZED IN ROMANIAA 19th century synagogue in Timisoara has been vandalized and several religious items stolen, AP reported on 11 October. Police said they are looking for the culprits, whom they believe were children. On several occasions in the past, Romanian police attributed to children various acts of vandalism against cemeteries and synagogues, but proof has never been produced. MS
 BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT WANTS MILOSEVIC IN THE HAGUEThe parliament on 11 October approved a resolution calling on Yugoslavia's new leaders to hand over ousted President Slobodan Milosevic to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Reuters reported. The resolution welcomes Yugoslavia's transition to democratization but says Belgrade has yet to fulfill international obligations as a step to restoring stability in the region. The resolution also called on Yugoslavia to pay particular attention to the respect of minority rights, encourage fair local elections in Kosova, and allow a continued NATO presence in that province. MS
[C] END NOTE
 EU ENLARGEMENT: MESSAGES SENT, MESSAGES RECEIVEDBy Christopher Walker
At a time when EU hopefuls in Eastern Europe are looking for a sense of coherence and stability from EU decision-makers, most of the recent messages from Brussels do not inspire confidence. Denmark's rejection of the Euro last month was one of two recent events that has altered the political landscape with regard to European integration and enlargement. The other event was the EU decision earlier this year to impose sanctions on Austria.
The Danish decision on the common currency and the EU sanctions on Austria have likely compounded concern among the Central European and Baltic candidates for EU membership that smaller states are getting short shrift and that larger states do not necessarily trust them. In arriving at their recent "no" vote, Denmark may have drawn certain conclusions from the Austrian episode. Accession states may, in turn, draw their own conclusions from the Danish experience.
The vote in Denmark came just two weeks after the removal of diplomatic sanctions against Austria. EU member states moved to lift the sanctions on Austria in advance of the Danish referendum, in part to take away a potent issue from opponents of Denmark's adoption of the common currency.
At the same time, the EU's action to normalize relations with Austria was taken to ease concerns that Vienna might make good on its threats to obstruct EU business, including enlargement efforts, so long as the sanctions remained in place. Supporters of the sanctions within the EU had argued that making an example of Austria for its inclusion of Joerg Haider's right-wing Freedom Party in the governing coalition would be an effective way of sending a message to capitals far beyond Vienna. By virtually any measure, the sanctions strategy backfired and turned Austria into an example of an entirely different category, namely that of tread- upon, smaller Member State.
The Austrian episode and the Danish rejection of the common currency have taken place at a delicate time with regard to the enlargement process and the position of accession states.
France currently holds the EU presidency, a term will culminate with the December Inter-Governmental Conference (ICG) in Nice. Many of the institutional reform issues on the agenda relate to enlargement of the union and tend to pit larger member states against smaller ones. All in all, this reform effort will require significant sacrifices from smaller states in order to be successful. Major agenda items for the IGC in December include reassessing the size of the European commission, the extension of the qualified majority vote, the reweighting of votes according to GDP and population, and the establishment of an "enhanced cooperation" clause.
For the EU countries that took the lead on punishing Vienna, the diagnosis of the basis for Joerg Haider's popularity was only partly correct. The attempted cure--diplomatic sanctions--exacerbated the problem, causing Austria's spine to stiffen and simultaneously reinforcing the notion that EU powers can take seemingly capricious action against smaller countries. Haider's fulmination on minorities and immigration attracts most of the international attention, but his recent success also is an expression of popular frustration with the thick bureaucracy and insular politics that represent a considerable part of the Austrian establishment. Indeed, this is precisely the condition that many citizens in other EU countries associate with Brussels, not to mention many of their own national governments.
This "democracy deficit," which is at the heart of the problem in Europe, manifests itself in different forms within the EU and in accession states. There has been as ongoing effort "to bring citizens closer to the EU" by improving transparency and decision-making procedures. This issue remains a top item on the union's agenda. For post-Soviet accession states, there are still large questions relating to the consolidation of democracy and the strengthening of "European identity."
While many citizens of EU member states are dissatisfied with the remote and secretive nature of EU governance, the gulf between citizens and elites in many accession countries is enormous, much of it the legacy of the Soviet system. For Hungarians, Czechs, Latvians, Lithuanians, and others in Central and Eastern Europe, the promise of the EU has been to anchor their countries in the West. But to the extent that the EU appears to prefer defending the interests of larger, more influential member states, the accession states, especially smaller ones, may find joining the ranks of the union less enticing.
The author is a New York-based analyst specializing in European affairs.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty