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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 50, 01-03-13

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. 5, No. 50, 13 March 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT REJECTS FORMER OFFICIALS' KARABAKH STRATEGY...
  • [02] ...BEGINS TURKEY VISIT...
  • [03] ...SIGNS GAS SALES AGREEMENT
  • [04] NO DATE SET FOR GEORGIAN PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT...
  • [05] ...AS OPPOSITION DISAGREES OVER WHETHER HE SHOULD RESIGN
  • [06] GEORGIAN TAX POLICE DENY AZERBAIJANI WOMAN WAS KILLED
  • [07] PRESIDENT SAYS KYRGYZSTAN VULNERABLE TO 'TERRORISM,' BUT NOT INTERNAL TENSIONS
  • [08] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTY PROTESTS COURT RULING ON ITS LEADER
  • [09] RUSSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION VISITS TAJIKISTAN
  • [10] TAJIK FOREIGN MINISTRY AGAIN CRITICIZES RUSSIAN PRESS COVERAGE OF AFGHAN DEVELOPMENTS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [11] NATO, PRESEVO FIGHTERS SIGN CEASE-FIRE
  • [12] NATO'S CABIGIOSU WELCOMES 'LEGITIMATE AUTHORITIES'
  • [13] SERBIA'S COVIC SAYS 'THINGS HAVE CHANGED'
  • [14] NATO SETS LIMITS ON SERBIAN FORCES
  • [15] MACEDONIAN FORCES RETAKE TANUSEVCI
  • [16] MACEDONIAN MINISTER REJECTS FEDERATION
  • [17] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: SIMIC SURRENDER NOT ENOUGH
  • [18] DEL PONTE EXPECTS COOPERATION FROM YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES
  • [19] CITIZENSHIP RESTORED TO SERBIAN ROYAL FAMILY
  • [20] YUGOSLAV DIPLOMATS INVOLVED IN DRUG TRADE?
  • [21] BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED
  • [22] BOSNIAN SERBS SLAM CROATIAN PROPOSALS
  • [23] ROMANIAN PARTIES TO CONTEST LAW ON STATE SECRETS
  • [24] CONFLICT BETWEEN SECURITATE ARCHIVES COLLEGE AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICE...
  • [25] ...WHILE PREMIER CRITICIZES CNSAS'S WORK AND ROLE
  • [26] MOLDOVAN COMMUNIST LEADER ON FOREIGN FINANCING
  • [27] GAS DELIVERIES TO CHISINAU STOPPED
  • [28] MOLDOVA'S ADMITTANCE TO WTO DELAYED
  • [29] BULGARIA'S STATE CARRIER DECLARED BANKRUPT
  • [30] MINE CLOSURES REFLECTED IN BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [31] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT REJECTS FORMER OFFICIALS' KARABAKH STRATEGY...

    President Heidar Aliev told journalists in Baku on 12 March that the approach to resolving the Karabakh conflict unveiled last week by his former aide Eldar Namazov and former Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov contains "nothing new" and cannot contribute to resolving the conflict, according to Azerbaijan State Television on 12 March, as cited by Groong. Aliev expressed regret that there has not been any response to his appeal during last month's parliament debate on Karabakh for suggestions on how to reach an acceptable peace. Aliev again commended last month's offer by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to mediate talks between Baku and Yerevan aimed at reaching a solution to the Karabakh conflict, but added that he thinks it is unlikely that Armenia would agree to such talks (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 and 20 February 2001). Aliev said "we should always be ready for a war." But he warned that "waging a war is more difficult than to hold talks," adding that "whoever is now talking about war is pursuing private goals," Reuters reported. LF

    [02] ...BEGINS TURKEY VISIT...

    President Aliev flew to Ankara on 12 March on a five-day state visit that is expected to give further impetus to bilateral political, economic, and military cooperation. He met the same day with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who noted an ongoing rapprochement between the two countries' foreign policy objectives. "Developments...revealed that the policies we follow should be complementary and support each other," Turkey's Anatolia news agency quoted Sezer as saying, according to Groong. Sezer said his talks with Aliev will cover the Karabakh conflict, Nakhichevan, and the implementation of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project. Nine bilateral agreements were signed, including protocols on cooperation between the two countries' finance, justice, and culture ministries, and their tax services. LF

    [03] ...SIGNS GAS SALES AGREEMENT

    Sezer and Aliev also signed a 15-year agreement whereby Turkey will purchase natural gas from Azerbaijan's Caspian Shah Deniz field beginning in 2004. That year, Turkey will take delivery of 2 billion cubic meters of gas, rising to 6.6 billion cubic meters in 2006 and as much as 20 billion cubic meters thereafter. Azerbaijan had hoped for a commitment from Ankara to purchase a minimum of 5 billion cubic meters annually. The price that Ankara will pay is likewise not clear: Aliev told journalists prior to his departure from Baku that Turkey had agreed to pay world market prices, but ITAR-TASS quoted Turkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer as saying that the price is the lowest of any agreed upon by Turkey for gas purchases. The "Financial Times" on 13 March estimated the cost of upgrading and extending the existing pipeline network to bring that gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia at $700 to $800 million. LF

    [04] NO DATE SET FOR GEORGIAN PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT...

    No date has yet been set for President Eduard Shevardnadze's annual address to the Georgian parliament, the daily "Dilis gazeti" noted on 13 March. The address is traditionally scheduled for the first week of the spring parliament session, but in mid-February Shevardnadze postponed it until March on the grounds that a bad cold was affecting his voice (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 February 2001). LF

    [05] ...AS OPPOSITION DISAGREES OVER WHETHER HE SHOULD RESIGN

    "Alia" on 12 March published the findings of a poll conducted among Georgian politicians. Asked whether they think Shevardnadze should step down as president, the leaders of the opposition Communist, Socialist, and Labor Parties and supporters of deceased former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia answered in the affirmative. Leaders of moderate and right- wing political groups answered "no," on the grounds that Shevardnadze's departure could unleash civil unrest and even civil war. Georgian Popular Front Chairman Nodar Natadaze said the question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," while National Democratic Party leader Irina Sarishvili-Chanturia declined to respond. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN TAX POLICE DENY AZERBAIJANI WOMAN WAS KILLED

    Temur Khevsuriani, the head of the Georgian Tax Ministry's special police, told "Caucasus Press" on 12 March that claims by members of Georgia's Azerbaijani minority that an Azerbaijani woman died after being trampled by tax police during a raid on a Tbilisi market are untrue (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 2001). Also on 12 March, Georgian parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania met with a visiting Azerbaijani parliament delegation to discuss the 5 March incident in which an Azerbaijani was shot dead by a Georgian frontier guard while trying to avoid border controls (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 March 2001). LF

    [07] PRESIDENT SAYS KYRGYZSTAN VULNERABLE TO 'TERRORISM,' BUT NOT INTERNAL TENSIONS

    In a 4,600 word article published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 13 March, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev rejects as "the fruit of a sick imagination" recent Russian press coverage that concludes that his country is "a powder keg" that could ignite as a result of tensions between Kyrgyz and other ethnic groups. Akaev claimed that measures intended to improve the position of Kyrgyzstan's Russian minority have resulted in a fall in emigration (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 March 2001). He denied the existence of tensions between the north and the largely Uzbek-populated south, and claimed that measures to counter poverty will preclude widespread social unrest. Akaev further called for massive international support and financial aid to combat the threat of a new incursion by Islamic militants who, he said, are supported by Afghanistan and whose ultimate aim he said is not merely to overthrow the existing regimes in Central Asia but to extend their influence to Russia and the entire planet. LF

    [08] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTY PROTESTS COURT RULING ON ITS LEADER

    The opposition Ar-Namys Party issued a statement on 12 March condemning as politically motivated the Bishkek Military Court's 9 March decision upholding the sentence handed down by the Bishkek City Court in January on the party's chairman, former Vice President and National Security Minister Feliks Kulov, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 12 March 2001). The Ar-Namys statement said the Kyrgyz judiciary remains dependant on the government, and that all statements by Kyrgyz authorities affirming their commitment to democracy and human rights are "no more than cynicism." LF

    [09] RUSSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION VISITS TAJIKISTAN

    A Russian Defense Ministry delegation met in Dushanbe on 13 March with Tajik Defense Minister Colonel-General Sherali Khairulloev to discuss the prospects for long-term military-technical cooperation, "Asia Plus-Blitz" reported. The delegation is to assess the condition of Russian-made arms and materiel supplied to the Tajik armed forces and determine how much needs to be repaired or replaced. LF

    [10] TAJIK FOREIGN MINISTRY AGAIN CRITICIZES RUSSIAN PRESS COVERAGE OF AFGHAN DEVELOPMENTS

    The Tajik Foreign Ministry has issued a statement criticizing as a deliberate distortion based on out-of-date information Russian TV reports on 11-12 March claiming that the situation on the section of the Tajik- Afghan border controlled by Russia's Moskovskii Frontier Detachment has deteriorated. The ministry claimed those reports were based on an assessment of the situation made by a group of Russian journalists who visited Tajikistan in mid-February, and that the situation on the border has been stabilized and has remained quiet since then. Tajikistan issued a similar criticism last month of Russian media coverage of the fighting in Afghanistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 February 2001). LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [11] NATO, PRESEVO FIGHTERS SIGN CEASE-FIRE

    Representatives of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) signed a cease-fire agreement with NATO officials near the border crossing at Merdare on 12 March, Reuters reported. Sejdullah Kadriu, who is an official of the UCPMB's political wing, said the agreement is for one week and in preparation for full-scale peace talks. The Serbian authorities previously agreed to the cease-fire, which they appear to regard as open- ended. PM

    [12] NATO'S CABIGIOSU WELCOMES 'LEGITIMATE AUTHORITIES'

    The agreement was concluded on the same day as a separate one between Belgrade and NATO to permit some Serbian forces to return to a section of the demilitarized safety zone separating Serbia from Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 2001). KFOR commander, General Carlo Cabigiosu, said near Merdare on 12 March that Serbian forces will move into the 25 square- kilometer area "within a few days," Reuters reported. He stressed that "the aim is to allow the legitimate authorities to exercise their authority in the area." But in Sofia on 13 March, Yugoslav Defense Minister Slobodan Krapovic said he is not sure when Serbian forces will enter the zone. "We have not received full assurances over the safety of our soldiers and police forces," he noted. Krapovic added that the agreement nonetheless opens up prospects for a political solution to the problems of the region, AP reported. PM

    [13] SERBIA'S COVIC SAYS 'THINGS HAVE CHANGED'

    UN civilian, ethnic Albanian, and NATO officials in Prishtina nonetheless expressed fears that the deployment will lead to instability in Kosova, the "Daily Telegraph" reported on 13 March. The previous day, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic told Reuters near Merdare: "I understand the concern over the issue of the army and the police, but Serbia has new authorities now. The authorities want broad international cooperation, as do the army and the police. We are convinced this can be achieved." What he did not say is that the army General Staff is commanded by General Nebojsa Pavkovic, who led regional army units during the 1999 ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosova. The national paramilitary police are now headed by General Sreten Lukic, who commanded the police in Kosova during the crackdown. PM

    [14] NATO SETS LIMITS ON SERBIAN FORCES

    General Cabigiosu told Milan's "Corriere della Sera" that Serbian forces will be allowed to use mortars and, under certain conditions, artillery, Reuters reported on 12 March. They will not be permitted to use armor, rocket launchers, antitank weapons, helicopters, or mines. Cabigiosu added that "we have demanded that they do not occupy houses [or] enter villages." PM

    [15] MACEDONIAN FORCES RETAKE TANUSEVCI

    Macedonian army and special police units have captured the border village of Tanusevci and linked up with KFOR troops on the other side of the frontier, London's "Daily Telegraph" reported on 13 March. In Skopje, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Macedonian forces "quickly and efficiently overcame" resistance by ethnic Albanian gunmen in the region, from which journalists are banned. The guerrillas vowed to fight on, however, saying that "if the international community wants one more war in the Balkans, we are ready." A guerrilla spokesman told the BBC that there are some 400 fighters in the field who can count on a civilian support network of 4,000 people. The BBC said that it is not possible to confirm these figures. PM

    [16] MACEDONIAN MINISTER REJECTS FEDERATION

    Speaking in Stockholm on 12 March, Macedonian Foreign Minister Srdjan Kerim rejected demands by ethnic Albanian nationalists that Macedonia be reorganized as a two-part federation, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 2001). This is a long-standing policy of the Macedonian government. But even some mainstream Albanian leaders -- such as Arben Xhaferi, whose Democratic Party of the Albanians belongs to the current government -- say that the current system enables Macedonians to easily outvote Albanians in parliament when issues are decided along purely ethnic lines, Ljubljana's "Delo" reported on 13 March. PM

    [17] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: SIMIC SURRENDER NOT ENOUGH

    The New York-based NGO said in a statement on 12 March that the surrender of a former Bosnian Serb mayor, Blagoje Simic, to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague should not be considered real Yugoslav government cooperation with the tribunal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 2001). "Too many people indicted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are still at large in Serbia," said Holly Cartner of Human Rights Watch. "The Yugoslav authorities are eager to portray Simic's surrender as 'voluntary' to avoid creating any precedent that might bind them. But that doesn't change the fact that Belgrade has a clear legal obligation to surrender indictees to The Hague tribunal." The statement added that real cooperation with the tribunal must include the arrest and transfer of indictees such as former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic and four others indicted for crimes against humanity in Kosova -- including current Serbian President Milan Milutinovic -- as well as former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic. PM

    [18] DEL PONTE EXPECTS COOPERATION FROM YUGOSLAV AUTHORITIES

    Referring to Simic's decision to turn himself in to the tribunal, chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said in The Hague on 12 March that "this development today is significant because it shows again, that the impartiality of [tribunal] is truly acknowledged, even by its indictee," RFE/RL reported. She added that "the fact that this surrender was carried out with the knowledge and approval of the authorities of the Republic of Serbia is a first encouraging signal. But I still expect positive action to be taken by the federal authorities of Yugoslavia on the number of issues I discussed with them in January, in particular, the proactive arrest and transfer of indictees" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 10 February 2001). PM

    [19] CITIZENSHIP RESTORED TO SERBIAN ROYAL FAMILY

    In a 12 March ceremony in the London hotel where he was born, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic received documents from Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic restoring his citizenship, Aleksandar's office said in a statement. Citizenship was also extended to his wife, Katarina, as well as to princes Aleksandar, Petar, and Filip. Yugoslavia's communist regime stripped the Karadjordjevic family of its citizenship, property, and titles in 1947 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February 2001). PM

    [20] YUGOSLAV DIPLOMATS INVOLVED IN DRUG TRADE?

    Marko Nicovic, a former head of the Belgrade criminal police and now vice president of the board of directors of the International Police Association, said that large quantities of drugs found in the vaults of the Komercijalna banka were most likely intended for the West European and U.S. markets, "Vesti" reported on 13 March. He noted that the vast quantities of drugs kept by the State Security were too large for the Serbian market alone. Nicovic added that upon recently receiving information about the discovery in the bank vaults "all major foreign intelligence services" began investigating how Belgrade might have shipped large quantities of heroin to Kosova and to the West. Yugoslav diplomatic and foreign trade missions are under scrutiny in this respect, he added. Observers recall that during the 1998-1999 crackdown in Kosova, Belgrade's propaganda often portrayed ethnic Albanians as bosses of the drug trade. Nicovic also said that foreign police have little trust in their Serbian counterparts because "98 percent" of the Milosevic regime's officials are still in place. PM

    [21] BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED

    Despite a boycott by most Croat deputies, the legislature approved the new, non-nationalist government in Sarajevo on 12 March (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 February 2001). PM

    [22] BOSNIAN SERBS SLAM CROATIAN PROPOSALS

    Leading officials of Republika Srpska criticized plans by the Herzegovinian branch of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to form a Croatian "self- administration" system, the BBC's Serbian Service reported from Banja Luka on 13 March (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 March 2001). The officials also blasted a suggestion by Zagreb politician Drazen Budisa to set up a canton- based political system in Bosnia, calling the idea unwarranted interference in Bosnia's internal affairs. Republika Srpska leaders stressed that Croatia is obliged to help enforce the Dayton peace settlement and not to scuttle it. Observers note that Bosnian Serb leaders regard Dayton's provision recognizing the existence of Republika Srpska as a major achievement. PM

    [23] ROMANIAN PARTIES TO CONTEST LAW ON STATE SECRETS

    Leaders of the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Party on 12 March announced they will contest the recently approved law on state secrets in the Constitutional Court, Mediafax reported. The law, adopted by parliament on 7 March has been vehemently contested by the press as it is seen as limiting public access to information (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 March 2001). Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said the Romanian Defense Ministry will ask NATO experts to examine the law and report on its provisions. ZsM

    [24] CONFLICT BETWEEN SECURITATE ARCHIVES COLLEGE AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICE...

    National College for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS) member Horia-Roman Patapievici accused the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) of interference in the college's activities by indirectly imposing priorities, Romanian media reported. The CNSAS asked the SRI to deliver 50 Securitate files on religious leaders and journalists, which SRI Director Radu Timofte has refused. Timofte proposed to hand over the entire Securitate archive, a proposal rejected by Patapievici, as the CNSAS does not have the necessary space to hold all of the files. ZsM

    [25] ...WHILE PREMIER CRITICIZES CNSAS'S WORK AND ROLE

    Prime Minister Nastase on 12 March said he "never believed and still doesn't believe in the CNSAS and its role," Mediafax reported. He added that while examining the Securitate files, the CNSAS offered "partial or untrue" data and that the opening of the files created only animosity in the country. Nastase said the CNSAS is "fighting with the past," a fight he considers useless. He added that the law on the Securitate files should be modified. Replying to Nastase's declaration, CNSAS member Mircea Dinescu said the new administration would like to close down the college, as the CNSAS will soon have to examine Party of Social Democracy in Romania Deputy Ristea Priboi, the head of the parliamentary commission supervising the Foreign Intelligence Service. Priboi is suspected of having served as a foreign intelligence officer in the former communist secret police (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 February 2001). ZsM

    [26] MOLDOVAN COMMUNIST LEADER ON FOREIGN FINANCING

    Party of Moldovan Communists (PCM) Chairman Vladimir Voronin on 12 March said Moldova will strictly respect all international commitments assumed by the former governments, Flux reported. Meeting with World Bank permanent representative in Moldova, Carlos Elbirt, Voronin said the PCM is interested in maintaining and extending relations with international financial bodies, as long as these relations favor economic revival. He added that the PCM's future activities will focus on economic issues. Elbirt replied that the World Bank will support "all reasonable projects" put forward by Moldova. ZsM

    [27] GAS DELIVERIES TO CHISINAU STOPPED

    Moldovagaz on 12 March halted supplying gas to Termocom, Chisinau's main thermal energy provider, Moldovan media reported. Moldovagaz is demanding payment of a $2.2 million debt it is owed by Termocom. Electrical power supplier Union Fenosa announced that it will also stop deliveries to Termocom, in an attempt to cash in on a $5 million debt. Chisinau Mayor Serafim Urechean said an additional decision by Spanish company Union Fenosa to stop deliveries to local enterprises is politically motivated. He added that if local enterprises are actually disconnected from the electricity net, it will mean "the beginning of the end" for the capital. ZsM

    [28] MOLDOVA'S ADMITTANCE TO WTO DELAYED

    The World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Council on 12 March rejected a request filed by the Moldovan government to examine Moldova's admittance in a special meeting of the board, Flux reported. The WTO will analyze Moldova's request only at its regularly scheduled meeting in May. Negotiations for Moldova's admittance were concluded last month. ZsM

    [29] BULGARIA'S STATE CARRIER DECLARED BANKRUPT

    The Sofia City Court declared Balkan Airlines bankrupt on 12 March, BTA reported. Judge Kamelia Efremova said the airliner has been insolvent since late 1998, several months before Israel's Zeevi Holding Group purchased a majority stake in the company from the Bulgarian government. The judge also banned the company from transferring any of the firm's funds or assets and asked all creditors to present their claims at a hearing on 3 April. Zeevi is suing the Bulgarian government for some $230 million, citing problems with the privatization contract. The head of Bulgaria's Privatization Agency, Levon Hampartsumyan, said Zeevi could expect "a fierce legal battle" and a countersuit. Balkan Airlines grounded all flights on 14 February and was placed under a receivership. PB

    [30] MINE CLOSURES REFLECTED IN BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT

    Sharp decreases in production by the mining sector led to a 20.7 percent decrease in Bulgaria's industrial output in January compared to the previous month, AFP reported. Several unprofitable mines were closed, leading to a 9.5 percent decrease compared to January 2000 in coal production, and a 29.7 percent decrease in the production of minerals. Food production also showed a serious decrease, dropping by 39.2 percent in one year. On the plus side, electricity, gas, and water production increased by 14.6 percent over January 2000. Truck output (14.6) and paper production (13.6) also grew. PB

    [C] END NOTE

    [31] There is no End Note today.

    13-03-01

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


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