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Voice of America, 00-02-21

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>


  • [04] CN-001 AUSTRIA



    INTRO: NATO-led peacekeepers fired tear gas in Kosovo Monday to suppress a crowd of ethnic Albanians who marched to Mitrovica to protest the city's division into Serb and Albanian sectors. We have a report from Tim Belay, who has been watching the situation (from the neighboring Balkan nation of Albania).

    TEXT: British, Canadian, and French peacekeepers eventually succeeded in dispersing thousands of ethnic Albanians, many of whom traveled on foot to Mitrovica to protest its separation into Albanian- and Serb- dominated sectors. Sources say the confrontation cooled off after leaders of the group were assured their calls for a unified Mitrovica would be heard. Monday afternoon, the protesters ran into the northern Kosovo city, toward a bridge over a river that divides the city's Serbs and Albanians. Peacekeepers used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. An estimated 20-thousand ethnic Albanians made the 40- kilometer journey to Mitrovica from the provincial capital, Pristina, under difficult winter weather conditions. International troops formed a line to stop the Albanians from crossing the bridge to the Serb-dominated side of Mitrovica, but fighting eventually broke out between the peacekeepers and hundreds of protesters trying to break through the barrier. At one point, the marchers did push through a human cordon set up by British troops, but no injuries were reported. No incidents were reports on the north side of the river, where thousands of Serbs gathered to watch the confrontation. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/WTW 21-Feb-2000 17:46 PM EDT (21-Feb-2000 2246 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: China and the European Union have opened two days of crucial talks in Beijing on China's bid to join the World Trade Organization. VOA correspondent Roger Wilkison reports from the Chinese capital, the E-U is the most important of China's trading partners with which Beijing has still to strike a deal for accession into the W-T-O.

    TEXT: Neither E-U nor Chinese officials would comment Monday about the negotiations. But both sides have raised hopes of a breakthrough. Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji told W-T-O Director-General Mike Moore last week he hopes a deal will emerge from this week's talks. And E-U Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has indicated he is ready to take the first flight to Beijing if there are signs a deal can be struck. China has to reach agreements with all of the W-T-O's 135 members before it can join the organization that sets the rules for world trade. Besides the E-U, Beijing must still negotiate separate deals with such trading partners as Thailand, Malaysia and India. The Indian commerce minister was also in Beijing Monday for W-T-O talks with his Chinese counterpart. The final push for China's membership in the W-T-O comes after a market-opening deal that was struck between Beijing and Washington last November. U-S officials are hoping for a quick China-E-U agreement so that the Clinton Administration can submit its accord with Beijing to Congress. The longer a congressional vote is delayed, the greater the risk that the trade deal will fall prey to internal political pressures in a presidential election year. The Europeans want a deal that is as good -- if not better -- than the one the Americans got. Like Washington, Brussels is holding out for concessions in the fields of telecommunications and financial services. An E-U diplomat says E-U trade negotiators are especially anxious to make sure that European insurance companies have greater access to the Chinese market. Individual E-U member countries also have their wish lists. The British, for instance, want lower Chinese tariffs on gin, and the French on cosmetic products.


    The Chinese government is anxious to join the W-T-O after nearly 14 years of negotiation. It sees the market concessions it must make to get into the group as a spur to make Chinese companies more competitive. And it feels that, once China is perceived abroad as a nation that plays by global trading rules, billions of dollars in foreign investment will start flowing into the country. That -- say Chinese economists -- will help create much-needed jobs as China's creaky state- owned companies are overhauled and their employees are thrown out of work. (signed)
    NEB/RW/GC/FC 21-Feb-2000 05:43 AM EDT (21-Feb-2000 1043 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Northern Ireland's Protestant leader David Trimble says there can be no progress in the strained Northern Ireland peace process until the Irish Republican Army makes a move toward disarmament. Mr. Trimble spoke following a meeting at the White House (Monday) with U-S National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports.

    TEXT: It was the first visit to the White House by a Northern Ireland leader since Britain suspended the province's two-month-old power-sharing government February 11th, citing the failure of the Irish Republican Army to begin handing over weapons from its decades-old war against British rule. The I-R-A had offered a plan to disarm at the last minute - but without a time-line. London went forward with the suspension of the coalition government, believing the pledge to turn in weapons was insufficient. The I-R-A has since ended its contacts with the commission supervising disarmament and withdrawn its plan. Emerging from his talks with National Security Advisor Berger, Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble says he is willing to move forward with the peace process - but not until the I-R-A makes a concrete gesture toward disarming. He says the I-R-A can begin by resubmitting its last proposal.


    The clear need now is for Republicans to tell the world and myself precisely what it was that they were offering at the last minute, so we can then see if there is something there that we can deal with. What we cannot do, and what would be quite unrealistic, is that having taken the initiative as I did in November, and having in fact been let down by Republicans not responding, is that we cannot simply go back to where we were without there being clear movement from Republicans.

    /// END ACT ///

    Last November, in an effort to win his party's support for the power-sharing government in the absence of any I-R-A disarmament, Mr. Trimble pledged he would resign from the coalition if progress on the issue was not made by February 12th. But Britain sees Mr. Trimble, who served as First Minister to the power-sharing government, as key to keeping the Protestant party committed to the peace settlement. In an effort to head off his resignation, British Secretary for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson suspended the government a day earlier. Mr. Trimble is the first of several Northern Ireland leaders expected to meet with U-S officials in the near future, including Mr. Mandelson, and representatives of Sinn Fein, the I-R-A's political ally. Mr. Clinton - who helped broker the 1998 Good Friday Accords that launched the peace process - has made settling the conflict in Northern Ireland a top foreign policy priority. (Signed) Neb/dat/gm 21-Feb-2000 16:51 PM EDT (21-Feb-2000 2151 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] CN-001 AUSTRIA

    MAIN:CN-001 Austria (UPDATES CN-063 WITH SCHUESSEL COMMENTS) Austria's Chancellor says his new coalition partner and far-right Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider has changed and become more responsible. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel says in Monday's edition of the Paris-based Le Figaro newspaper his controversial new partner is serious and will not waste, what he calls, a historic chance. Mr. Haider strongly opposes immigration, European Union expansion, and has made remarks favorable to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis -- for which he has apologized. Chancellor Schuessel -- who leads the conservative People's Party -- told Le Figaro that Europe's anti- Haider outcry and threats of Austrian isolation are unfair. He says many European nations have a dialogue with Russia, despite Chechnya, but are refusing to talk to Austria. Meanwhile, more than 10-thousand people marched in Brussels Sunday during another anti-Haider rally.

    // rest opt //

    Belgian politicians and celebrities joined in the noisy demonstration, vowing not to let what they call racism and fascism re-emerge in Europe. Some marchers wore yellow stars similar to those the Nazis forced Jews to wear more than 60 years ago. (reu, ap, afp, prev) weu/kds/st HEAD:CN-001 Austria Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel says coalition partner and far-right leader Joerg Haider has changed and become more responsible. SUMMARY:CN-001 Austria Austria's Chancellor says his new coalition partner and far-right Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider has changed and become more responsible. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel says in Monday's edition of Le Figaro newspaper in Paris his controversial new partner will not waste, what he calls, a historic chance. Mr. Haider opposes immigration and has made pro-Nazi remarks for which he has apologized. Chancellor Schuessel says Europe's anti-Haider outcry and threats of Austrian isolation are unfair. Meanwhile, more than 10-thousand people marched in Brussels Sunday during another anti- Haider rally. The demonstrators vowed not to let what they call racism and fascism re-emerge in Europe. weu/kds/st 20-Feb-2000 19:28 PM EDT (21-Feb-2000 0028 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: This is the president's day holiday in the United States, when two of the nation's best-known leaders, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, are honored. In the editorial pages, two men who would be president, George Bush and John McCain are favorite topics following the South Carolina Republican primary. There is also a good deal of comment on the election in Iran, which moved more reformers into Parliament. Russia's acting President, Vladimir Putin comes in for a good deal of comment as he heads toward an election; and there are also thoughts about the situation in East Timor; and U-S involvement in some of Chile's darkest days. Rising gasoline prices are also discussed, and we have a few words, also, about President's Day and the men it honors. Now, here with a closer look is __________and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Texas Governor George W. Bush's resounding victory over Senator John McCain, in the South Carolina Republican primary election Saturday is the subject of numerous editorials. "The Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal Sentinel" says Mr. "McCain has his work cut out for him.

    VOICE: Given the amount of energy and money ... Texas Governor ... Bush spent in South Carolina, it is not surprising that he won its important Republican presidential primary Saturday. What was surprising was the size of [Mr.] Bush's victory, especially given the huge turnout. These results are, or ought to be, a matter of concern - even alarm - to the campaign of ... John McCain, [Mr.] Bush's chief rival. ... It is difficult to imagine how he can win the G-O-P nomination without the support of the party's core constituency.

    TEXT: "The New York Times" is not overly impressed by the Bush victory, noting:

    VOICE: was hardly a reassuring performance to swing voters troubled about whether Mr. Bush has presidential-scale experience and intellect. ... There is still a rote quality to his message and his content-free sloganeering. ... Even in victory, Mr. Bush seemed fearful of voyaging into expansive discussions of education, health care, budget policy and foreign affairs. Mr. McCain may have done himself as much damage with a scornful concession speech as Mr. Bush had inflicted at the polls. ... the testiness of Mr. McCain's comments about Mr. Bush's "negative message of fear"...gave voters an unsettling glimpse of a heretofore veiled aspect of Mr. McCain's personality.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In California, "The San Francisco Chronicle" feels both candidates wounded themselves in the rough and tumble primary.

    VOICE: The Bush victory ... came at a cost. His margin of victory could be attributed to a strong turnout from the conservative Christians he courted openly in his effort to bounce back from a stinging defeat in New Hampshire. ... [Mr.] Bush will have to explain how his rightward play in South Carolina ... squares with his original posture as a "compassionate conservative" who could expand the appeal of the Republican Party. [Mr.] McCain's candidacy also lost a little luster in South Carolina. His high-road rhetoric was contradicted by his smack-`em-low ads that alleged [Mr.] Bush twists the truth like [President] Clinton.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, in Michigan, where the next primary takes place Tuesday, "The Detroit Free Press" suggests:

    VOICE: Now [Mr.] McCain needs Michigan more than ever to avoid being reduced to a noisy backbencher who once turned a single primary victory into six national magazine covers and, oh, maybe 18-minutes of fame.

    TEXT: Another election, this one for a new parliament in Iran is a favorite topic of editorial writers, generally pleased by the victory of so many reformers. "The Washington Post" titles its comment: Iran's Evolution.

    VOICE: Preliminary results from Iran's parliamentary elections suggest that candidates supporting President Mohammed Khatemi and his reform agenda will win a majority of seats. That result, if it survives ... runoff elections, would nudge Iran farther along a gradual path away from full theocracy to something much more open and democratic. ... It is not clear whether society can continue to evolve despite determined resistance from hard- line clerics or whether the Iranian political system would collapse under the strain.

    TEXT: Today's "New York Times" is also pleased:

    VOICE: The peaceful revolt against clerical repression in Iran that began three- years ago with the election of Mohammad Khatami as president is gaining strength. ... The message of these elections is that an overwhelming majority of Iranians are weary of fundamentalist rule, an ailing economy and an abrasive foreign policy that has left Iran lagging behind at a time of expanding prosperity and freedom around the world.

    TEXT: Several papers are commenting on the more aggressive tone of statements coming out of Moscow from the government of acting President Vladimir Putin. One is "The Dallas Morning News", which asks: Is Russia making you nervous?

    VOICE: Since Vladimir Putin became acting president of Russia January first, Russia's muscle flexing appears to have increased. This is despite, or perhaps because of, that country's precarious financial and social condition. Consider recent events. After grizzly battles and reports of civilian massacre, Russian troops took control of Grozny in Chechnya. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov signed a friendship and cooperation pact with the maligned Kim Jong Il regime in North Korea. And the nation successfully test-fired a new- generation intercontinental weapon. /// OPT /// ... The Kremlin's rules for engagement of nuclear weapons have been expanded to allow the Russian head of state to use atomic weapons in conflicts that do not necessarily threaten Russian territory. /// END OPT ///... The U-S has an interest in helping Russia become a stable and free country, so it should support a presumed reformer like Mr. Putin. However, the U-S needs to be alert as Russia develops. Will it be friend or ... foe?

    TEXT: Honolulu's "Star-Bulletin" says, in talking of Russian relations with NATO - Conflicts such as those in Kosovo and Chechnya should not be allowed to disrupt progress on wider issues. ... The United States and NATO should continue to exert pressure on Russia to seek a negotiated peach in Chechnya. However, that pressure should not involve withholding financial assistance.

    TEXT: On the other side of the world, U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan has visited East Timor and The Boston Globe wonders whether he can make good on one key promise to the devastated little island.

    VOICE: [Mr.] Annan told the Timorese that if the government in Jakarta reneges on its promises to punish the Indonesian military and police officials behind the deliberate campaign of killing, raping, and destruction last autumn, then members of the Security Council "may revert to the international tribunal." In reality, it is highly unlikely that Russia and China would accede to such a proposal, since both wish to avoid any precedent that might appear to be interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

    TEXT: As to revelations of U-S involvement, or at least acquiescence in the deaths of two Americans during the overthrow of Chile's socialist government in the 1970's, "The Houston Chronicle" complains: [The] Truth [is] still Missing: Set the record straight about U-S involvement in Chile.

    VOICE: The passage of more than 25-years since the coup alleviates the danger that U-S security would be impaired or presidential privilege breached by the release of classified material from the time of the coup that resulted in the murder of Chilean President Salvador Allende.

    // OPT //

    State Department diplomats concluded at the time that Chilean security forces were responsible for the deaths of the two young American men, and suspected that the C-I-A had given a green light to their deaths. // END OPT

    TEXT: Domestically, rising prices for gasoline [petrol] and home heating oil have been hurting U-S consumers, but the "Washington Post" says they are not causing the economic damage they once did.

    VOICE: Thankfully ... the economy is not as hostage to oil as it once was. The jump from 10-dollars per barrel at the end of 1998 to around 30-dollars [a barrel] now is as steep as the two previous oil shocks, in `1990 and 1979, and not much smaller than the mega-shock of 1973. But the consequences are less painful.

    TEXT: And lastly, on this president's day holiday, Salt Lake City Utah's "Deseret News" worries that Americans are tending to forget their revolutionary history, to their detriment.

    VOICE: It is easy for Americans to take constitutional democracy for granted. Modern America is so far removed from this nation's early days that the founding fathers often get short shrift. Young people are more likely to know more about entertainers or sports contests than about the first president and his stand against British rule. ... how many Americans would sacrifice the comfort of their homes and financial security to take a stand against tyranny? Washington did not hesitate to finance and lead an army of one-thousand men to rescue the beleaguered Boston patriots who had rioted against British rule. That is one of many reasons [General] Washington is rightly distinguished as a patriot and as the father of this nation. // OPT // ... To get a sense of [General] Washington's struggle, we must look to tiny independent states engaged in civil wars. The people of Kosovo, East Timor and Chechnya risk their lives for only a taste of freedom. ... On this Presidents Day, let us pause to honor Washington and the visionary men who have succeeded him as president. // END OPT // May Americans resolve to cultivate the determination and love of liberty on which this nation was founded and make it truly great.

    TEXT: On that patriotic note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Monday's editorial pages in the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 21-Feb-2000 11:26 AM EDT (21-Feb-2000 1626 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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