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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 62, 01-03-29

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. 62, 29 March 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN ENERGY PRIVATIZATION RESULTS POSTPONED
  • [02] ARMENIAN MILITARY COMMANDERS APPEAL ON BEHALF OF JAILED KARABAKH DEFENSE MINISTER
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN'S NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER LISTS PRIORITIES
  • [04] ARMENIA, GEORGIA SEEK TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL, REGIONAL COOPERATION
  • [05] GEORGIA DENIES IT PLANS TO HOST NATO BASES
  • [06] EDITOR OF KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PAPER WARNED AGAINST 'UNLAWFUL' PROTEST ACTIONS
  • [07] KYRGYZ SECURITY OFFICIALS BELIEVE NEW ISLAMIST INCURSION IMMINENT
  • [08] JAPAN ALLOCATES DROUGHT RELIEF FOR TAJIKISTAN
  • [09] TAJIK PRESIDENT WANTS ECO TO FOCUS MORE ON ECONOMY
  • [10] COMMUNIST PARTY OF TAJIKISTAN REPORTS INCREASE IN MEMBERSHIP
  • [11] UZBEKISTAN BANS MEAT IMPORTS FROM NEIGHBORS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] FIGHTING CONTINUES IN MACEDONIA
  • [13] MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES POSSIBLE
  • [14] EU OFFICIAL URGES MACEDONIAN, ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADERS TO BEGIN TALKS
  • [15] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT DENIES SERB MINISTER'S CLAIM OF AN AGREEMENT
  • [16] YUGOSLAV OFFICIAL SAYS AGREEMENT WITH IMF MADE FOR MULTIMILLION DOLLAR LOAN
  • [17] POLICEMAN INJURED IN BUFFER ZONE FIGHTING
  • [18] CROAT TROOPS CONTINUE TO ABANDON BOSNIAN ARMY
  • [19] CROATIAN PARLIAMENT ABOLISHES UPPER HOUSE
  • [20] DISMISSED ROMANIAN PROSECUTOR APPLYING FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM
  • [21] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES RUMORS OF CONFLICTS WITH PREMIER
  • [22] ROMANIAN LIBERALS SAY NEGOTIATIONS WITH IMF FAILED
  • [23] ROMANIANS GAIN ACCESS TO PERSONAL SECURITATE FILES
  • [24] ROMANIAN MAYOR DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM
  • [25] MOLDOVAN PREMIER JUSTIFIES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY
  • [26] MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PREMIER SAYS IMF, WORLD BANK TO SUPPORT DEBT RESTRUCTURING
  • [27] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SETS ELECTION DATE
  • [28] NATO TROOPS TO BE 'LONG TERM STATIONED' ON BULGARIAN TERRITORY?
  • [29] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO MEDIATE IN STATE RADIO CONFLICT?
  • [30] BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER DISMISSES OPPOSITION PROPOSAL ON FOREIGN DEBT

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [31] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN ENERGY PRIVATIZATION RESULTS POSTPONED

    The Armenian government commission to oversee the international tender for four electricity- distribution networks said on 28 March it will delay for three weeks announcing the outcome of that tender, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Energy Ministry spokeswoman Zhasmena Ghevondian explained that one of the three foreign firms involved, AES Silk Road, has requested more time to study the bid specifications (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2001). The outcome of the tender will now be made public on 19 April. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN MILITARY COMMANDERS APPEAL ON BEHALF OF JAILED KARABAKH DEFENSE MINISTER

    Several senior Armenian veterans of the Karabakh war, including popular General Arkadii Ter-Tadevosian, on 28 March appealed for the release of former Karabakh Defense Minister and army commander Samvel Babayan, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Babayan was sentenced last month to 14 years' imprisonment on charges of masterminding the March 2000 attempt to assassinate Arkadii Ghukasian, president of the unrecognized Nagorno- Karabakh Republic (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 27 February 2001). The signatories to the appeal argue that even if the charges against Babayan are true, he deserves clemency in the light of his past role in the military victory over Azerbaijan and the role he could still play in the event of renewed hostilities. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN'S NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER LISTS PRIORITIES

    Speaking in Baku on 28 March, Azerbaijan's National Security Minister Namik Abbasov listed four factors that, he said, should influence the work of the country's security bodies over the next decade, Turan reported. The first is the possibility that Azerbaijan will become the venue for a struggle for influence between various major powers. The second is the country's potential role as a transit country and center for investments, which requires efforts to prevent illegal migration, money-laundering and the use of Azerbaijani territory for the burial of nuclear waste. The third is the need for information security. And the fourth is globalization, which requires that the work of Azerbaijan's security services conforms to new international legislative norms and standards. LF

    [04] ARMENIA, GEORGIA SEEK TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL, REGIONAL COOPERATION

    On a one-day working visit to Yerevan on 28 March, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili met with his Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian, Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and President Robert Kocharian to discuss bilateral ties, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Menagharishvili told journalists after those talks that agreement was reached on coordinating the two countries' activities in international, and particularly European organizations. According to an Armenian Foreign Ministry press release, Oskanian and Menagharishvili acknowledge that the relationship between their two countries serves as a stabilizing factor in the South Caucasus, and that their views on what the basic tenets of the planned South Caucasus security pact should be are very similar. Markarian assured Menagharishvili that while Yerevan has no intention of encouraging the predominantly Armenian population of Georgia's southern Djavakheti region in its bid for greater autonomy, it is nonetheless concerned by adverse socio-economic conditions in the region and is prepared to help alleviate them. Menagharishvili expressed his appreciation of that offer. LF

    [05] GEORGIA DENIES IT PLANS TO HOST NATO BASES

    Menagharishvili also told journalists in Yerevan on 28 March that media reports that Tbilisi plans to host a NATO military base are "groundless rumors," Russian agencies reported. He said the Georgian government is currently concerned with ensuring the closure of the Russian military bases in Georgia, and that "stationing any other military units in Georgia is out of the question." LF

    [06] EDITOR OF KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PAPER WARNED AGAINST 'UNLAWFUL' PROTEST ACTIONS

    Melis Eshimkanov, who owns the embattled opposition newspaper "Asaba," was warned on 28 March by Bishkek City Prosecutor Tologon Albanov that he will be held responsible for any "unlawful" actions during the protest planned for 30 March against the authorities' systematic reprisals against his paper, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Also on 28 March, an official from the Prosecutor-General's office informed Eshimkanov that Turdakun Usubaliev, former first secretary of the Communist Party of Kirghizia and currently a parliament deputy, has filed a new libel suit against Eshimkanov and is demanding the confiscation of his property. LF

    [07] KYRGYZ SECURITY OFFICIALS BELIEVE NEW ISLAMIST INCURSION IMMINENT

    An unnamed Kyrgyz National Security Service official told RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 28 March that his agency has information indicating that Djuma Namangani, a leading member of the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, has returned from Afghanistan to Tajikistan and that his fighters are currently congregating close to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border in preparation for a new incursion into Kyrgyzstan. Also on 28 March, the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry announced that it will stage military exercises in the south of the country during the first two weeks in April. LF

    [08] JAPAN ALLOCATES DROUGHT RELIEF FOR TAJIKISTAN

    The Japanese government will give its Tajik counterpart $3 million to purchase food for citizens of Tajikistan hardest hit by last summer's severe drought, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 March. LF

    [09] TAJIK PRESIDENT WANTS ECO TO FOCUS MORE ON ECONOMY

    Meeting on 29 March in Dushanbe with Abdurahim Guvohi, the visiting secretary-general of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov expressed the hope that ECO will in future devote greater attention to promoting economic cooperation and ties between its members, especially in the sphere of banking and finance, instead of concentrating its attention on science, education and culture as it has recently done, Asia Plus-Blitz reported quoting presidential press secretary Zafar Saidov. Rakhmonov and Guvohi agreed that resolving the Afghan conflict would facilitate such enhanced economic cooperation within ECO. LF

    [10] COMMUNIST PARTY OF TAJIKISTAN REPORTS INCREASE IN MEMBERSHIP

    Some 1,200 people applied last year for membership of the Communist Party of Tajikistan (CPT), and a further 40 have done so over the past two months, CPT Central Committee secretary Tuygun Bagirov told Asia Plus-Blitz on 29 March. The CPT's total membership is estimated at 65,000. LF

    [11] UZBEKISTAN BANS MEAT IMPORTS FROM NEIGHBORS

    A special government commission has banned the import of meat and dairy products from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in a bid to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease into Uzbekistan, Reuters reported on 28 March quoting an Uzbek Health Ministry official. Cases of the disease have been reported in all three countries, and some 90,000 cattle in border areas of Uzbekistan have been vaccinated against it. The last reported case of foot-and-mouth disease in Uzbekistan was in 1989, Interfax quoted Agriculture Ministry official Ruslan Ten as saying. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] FIGHTING CONTINUES IN MACEDONIA

    The Macedonian army pushed toward the Kosova border on 29 March in its offensive against ethnic Albanian rebels in the northern part of the country, Reuters reported. Shelling backed by helicopter landing troops and infantry was used to advance the army's position in and around the village of Gracani. A Defense Ministry spokesman said on 28 March that the insurgents "do not control a single village in Macedonia." An Interior Ministry spokesman said government forces seized four truckloads full of weapons abandoned by the rebels near Tetovo in the villages of Lavce and Selce. The arms were described as "modern and sophisticated." The army also continues to bombard suspected rebel positions in hills outside of Tetovo. One soldier was killed near Gracani when the jeep he was riding in hit a mine. He is the seventh member of a Macedonian security force to die in the violence. PB

    [13] MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES POSSIBLE

    Srgan Kerim said in Vienna on 28 March that it is not "taboo" to talk about changes to Macedonia's Constitution, as some ethnic Albanian leaders have called for, Reuters reported. Kerim said if ethnic Albanian parties in parliament decide to raise this issue, it "will be discussed and dealt with accordingly." But he added that "we must avoid the false impression that the terrorists succeeded in forcing this onto the agenda now." Kerim said that "the target of our security forces was and will remain terrorists and extremists, not the local Albanian population." Kerim was in Vienna for talks with his Austrian counterpart, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. He is to address the permanent council of the OSCE on 29 March. PB

    [14] EU OFFICIAL URGES MACEDONIAN, ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADERS TO BEGIN TALKS

    Javier Solana, the EU's top foreign and security policy official, said in Brussels on 29 March that Macedonian leaders must hold talks with ethnic Albanian officials to help resolve the crisis in the country, AP reported. Solana, speaking during a meeting of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said he told Macedonian leaders in Skopje that "after the consolidation of the military situation the time has now come to concentrate on the political agenda." He said ethnic Albanians "must be shown that there is a real opportunity for promoting the interests of their community through political means." He added that Macedonian leaders are worried that it will appear as though they are acceding to demands by the insurgents. Solana warned that the situation remains "dangerous" and that "the disintegration of Macedonia remains every Balkan expert's worst nightmare." Ethnic Albanians make up some 23 percent of the country's population. PB

    [15] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT DENIES SERB MINISTER'S CLAIM OF AN AGREEMENT

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica refuted a statement by Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic that he has agreed to extradite non-Yugoslav citizens living in Serbia to the UN war crimes tribunal, Reuters reported. In a letter sent to the Belgrade daily "Blic," Kostunica said that the claim by Batic that an agreement was made to extradite foreigners to The Hague "is not true." The letter highlights the differences between the Yugoslav president and many leading members of the Serbian government. Kostunica's comment comes days after Belgrade extradited Bosnian Serb Milomir Stakic to the war crimes tribunal. Stakic is accused of genocide. Kostunica said that move was "an exception that should not have been made," arguing that no one on Yugoslav territory should be extradited until a new law allowing such action is passed. PB

    [16] YUGOSLAV OFFICIAL SAYS AGREEMENT WITH IMF MADE FOR MULTIMILLION DOLLAR LOAN

    Deputy Premier Miroljub Labus said in Belgrade on 28 March that Yugoslavia has completed talks with the IMF and will receive a $260 million loan, Reuters reported. Labus said in a statement that the first tranche of the loan should be available in June. He said that a few technical issues still must be agreed on. The deal is seen as crucial for Yugoslavia to open debt rescheduling talks with its creditors. Yugoslavia rejoined the IMF in December. PB

    [17] POLICEMAN INJURED IN BUFFER ZONE FIGHTING

    A Serbian policeman was injured in a mortar attack on 28 March in the buffer zone between Serbia and the republic's southern province of Kosova, AP reported. The attack took place near the Serbian police checkpoint of Cerevajka. PB

    [18] CROAT TROOPS CONTINUE TO ABANDON BOSNIAN ARMY

    Ethnic Croat soldiers continue to desert the Muslim-Croat Federation defense forces, AP and Reuters reported. The barracks at Mostar and Kiseljak have been reported empty, though earlier reports of 1,900 soldiers leaving their barracks in Vitez (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2001) were dismissed by Western sources as inaccurate, as up to two-thirds of the troops had already been dismissed due to lack of funds for salaries. Federation Defense Minister Mijo Anic said on 28 March that the 940 soldiers in Orasje returned to their barracks after the appointment of a new, pro-government commander. Anic added that Croats leaving the army would simply be replaced by Bosnian Croats loyal to the government. "It is simply as if the workers of a company leave their jobs and the company hires replacements." DW

    [19] CROATIAN PARLIAMENT ABOLISHES UPPER HOUSE

    By a vote of 103 to 35, the Croatian parliament's 151-seat lower house passed changes to the constitution enabling the dissolution of the House of Counties, the nationalist-dominated upper house. House Speaker Katica Ivanisevic called the move "an act of political violence," Hina reported. The ruling six-party coalition said the upper house is a waste of money with little political impact. Prime Minister Ivica Racan and parliament Speaker Zlatko Tomcic admitted the changes should have been made with other changes to the constitution last November, but they had hoped the House of Counties could have dealt with regional administration. DW

    [20] DISMISSED ROMANIAN PROSECUTOR APPLYING FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM

    Ovidiu Budusan, who has recently been dismissed as Department for Combatting Organized Crime chief in the Prosecutor General's Office, on 29 March told the daily "Evenimentul zilei" that he has launched proceedings against Prosecutor General Joita Tanase, but is also applying for political asylum in France, Mediafax reported. Budusan's dismissal was due to his having dispatched to France, at the request of the authorities there, the transcripts of President Ion Iliescu's testimony last year in connection with the Adrian Costea money laundering affair (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2001). French embassy sources in Bucharest contacted by Mediafax said they have no knowledge of Budusan's request. Tanase said Budusan's interview "disqualifies him to be a magistrate." In the interview, Budusan also accuses Premier Adrian Nastase of infringing on the independence of the judiciary. MS

    [21] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES RUMORS OF CONFLICTS WITH PREMIER

    Iliescu said in Targu Jiu on 28 March that rumors repeatedly carried in the media about conflicts between himself and Nastase are the result of "infantile games" played by journalists who "have a passion for inventing and misinforming." Iliescu said there never were and there are no "Iliescu wing" and "Nastase wing" in the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. "We shall disappoint you all: there will be no rift in the PDSR, neither will there be one between Iliescu and Nastase," the president commented. MS

    [22] ROMANIAN LIBERALS SAY NEGOTIATIONS WITH IMF FAILED

    National Liberal Party Deputy Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu told journalists on 28 March that the government's negotiations with the IMF "have failed" and "a large question mark looms over the 2001 budget," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [23] ROMANIANS GAIN ACCESS TO PERSONAL SECURITATE FILES

    The first four people who examined their Securitate files on 28 March said they were "shocked" to realize what a "senseless waste of money" the shadowing of suspects was under the communist regime. Dorli Blaga, daughter of famous philosopher Lucian Blaga, said the apartment she had shared with her late husband, Cluj university professor Tudor Bugnariu, had been "bugged" in every room and even the "most intimate moments" did not escape electronic surveillance. Gheorghe Onisoru, chairman of the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives, said between one and two million Romanians had been shadowed by the Securitate, which had employed for this purpose not only its own staff, but also "up to some 700,000 informers, each submitting information on two to three suspects." Some 1,200 Romanians have so far applied to examine their personal Securitate files. MS

    [24] ROMANIAN MAYOR DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM

    Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare, reacting to allegations that he is promoting racial and xenophobic policies and views about Roma and the Turkish minority (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2001), told journalists on 28 March that the allegations stemmed from the fact that the mayoralty has taken measures against theft, begging and illegal trading, and advised his critics to "take up honest work." MS

    [25] MOLDOVAN PREMIER JUSTIFIES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY

    Outgoing Premier Dumitru Braghis told journalists in Chisinau on 28 March that "not victory, but participation in the ballot" is the motivation for his candidacy in the presidential elections due to be held on 4 April, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The premier's candidacy has been endorsed by the Braghis Alliance to avoid a legal deadlock, since the electoral law makes no provision for single candidacies. The other candidate, whose victory is certain, is Party of Moldovan Communists leader Vladimir Voronin. MS

    [26] MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PREMIER SAYS IMF, WORLD BANK TO SUPPORT DEBT RESTRUCTURING

    Outgoing Deputy Premier Andrei Cucu, briefing journalists on his visit to Washington last week, said on 28 March that both the IMF and the World Bank will support Moldova's request for debt restructuring. However, Moldova will have to negotiate separately the restructuring of its debts with the main lenders--Russia and the U.S. MS

    [27] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SETS ELECTION DATE

    President Petar Stoyanov said on 29 March he has set 17 June as the date of the next parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Premier Ivan Kostov's Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) won by a landslide in 1997, but polls show its popularity is declining and the SDS is now nearly on par with the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party. Kostov's government is the first to have served a full four-year mandate since the end of one-party rule in 1989. MS

    [28] NATO TROOPS TO BE 'LONG TERM STATIONED' ON BULGARIAN TERRITORY?

    Bulgarian Ambassador to NATO Konstantin Dimitrov said on 28 March the recent agreement signed with NATO and allowing NATO troop movements on Bulgarian territory without prior approval by the parliament could lead to the "provisional stationing" of those troops on Bulgarian territory for "a longer term, if necessary," AFP reported. The parliament is due to ratify the accord this week. MS

    [29] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO MEDIATE IN STATE RADIO CONFLICT?

    Stoyanov on 28 March met with members of the governing board of state radio and separately with a delegation of the journalists, whose protest has been on going for over a month. The president declined to make any comments after the meetings, the English-language daily "Monitor" reported. MS

    [30] BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER DISMISSES OPPOSITION PROPOSAL ON FOREIGN DEBT

    Finance Minister Muravei Radev on 28 March dismissed the suggestion of BSP leader Georgi Parvanov that a foreign financial institution should manage Bulgaria's foreign debt. Radev said no foreign bank will engage in such activity, unless it is persuaded that the country's government is unable to cope with the task, and this is not the case with Bulgaria. Parvanov made the suggestion last week after returning from Vienna, "Monitor" reported. He said Bank Austria is ready to undertake the task if the elections due to be held in June bring a change in the country's government. Radev said Parvanov either "misinterpreted" what Bank Austria officials told him, or this was "a slap in his own face...[reflecting] profound doubts as to the abilities of a cabinet headed by Parvanov to cope with the problem." MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [31] There is no End Note today.

    29-03-01

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


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