Browse through our Interesting Nodes Collection Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Saturday, 13 April 2024
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

Voice of America, 00-06-12

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

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





    INTRO: Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the international peacekeeping mission led by the United Nations and 40 thousand K-FOR (Kosovo stabilization force) troops. Correspondent Eve Conant in Pristina looks at how ethnic Albanians and Serbs feel about the past year.

    TEXT: Celebrations to mark the one-year anniversary of the replacement of Serb troops by NATO-led peacekeepers were marked with gunfire in the town of Lipljan outside Pristina.


    As in other small towns across Kosovo, thousands of ethnic Albanians gathered in the streets to listen to concerts, dance, and mark their freedom from the Serb police and military, who had expelled them from their homes last year. (OPT) Sixteen-year-old Fatmir Berisha says years of what he describes as Serb occupation made such celebrations impossible before.

    /// BERISHA ACT ///

    I have never seen anything like this. We Albanians have never been able to celebrate here like today. It is such a happy time for us Albanians.

    /// END ACT ///

    (END OPT) Twenty-one-year old Magbule Hajrullahi says she is celebrating because she will never live with Serbs again.

    /// HAJRULLAHI ACT ///

    Kosovo is free. There are no Serbs. We are free now.

    /// END ACT ///

    But the head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, looks back on a year of violence against Serb communities and the difficulties that face international K-FOR peacekeepers as they try to stop the revenge killings.

    /// KOUCHNER ACT ///

    You cannot stop violence by force. It is absolutely impossible to prevent someone from killing someone else. All the police officers of the world know that perfectly. We have to change the behavior and the mentality of the people. The future of Kosovo is completely linked to respect for human rights and to prevent the violence. We also have to speak about the missing persons, the re-opening of close to 400 mass graves. This is not a time for tolerance.

    /// END ACT ///

    As celebrations continued into night in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, and in town and villages across Kosovo, Serb communities kept to themselves. Fifty-nine-year-old Ruzica Radancic lives in a heavily guarded enclave in eastern Kosovo. She is almost 60 and begins to cry when she explains her children and grandchildren have fled to Serbia.


    She says I want to talk with them and see them, but I am by myself here. The Serb woman says this last year she has watched Kosovo fall into the hands of K-FOR peacekeepers and ethnic Albanians.


    Our president, Slobodan Milosevic, needs to understand and hear how we Serbs are suffering in Kosovo. She says it is time to take measures. He is our president and this is our Kosovo. (Signed)
    NEB/EC/KL 12-Jun-2000 19:21 PM EDT (12-Jun-2000 2321 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// Re-issuing with correct Background number ///

    INTRO: One year after the NATO bombs expelled Serb forces from Kosovo, several noted U-S Balkan specialists are calling for action to resolve the demands of Kosovo's Albanians for an independent state. They made their views known at a hearing (June 8) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. VOA's Pamela Taylor has more in this background report.

    TEXT: One year ago this month, a NATO air campaign forced Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his troops from Kosovo. The Serbian province was then placed under the protection of a United Nations entity known as UNMIK - the U-N Mission in Kosovo). The view of the international community at the time was that Kosovo would remain under U-N administration, until Yugoslavia as a whole embraced democracy. The Kosovar Albanian aspirations for independence would be determined at a future date. That view remains the official U-S position. The State Department's chief envoy for the Balkans, James Pardew, did not rule out the question of eventual independence for Kosovo but said it should not be discussed until democracy is well established:

    /// ACT ONE PARDEW ///

    Our focus right now is on defining what substantial autonomy means in this interim period, trying to do everything we can to give them effective governance under UNMIK structure for this interim period and set aside the long term status.

    /// END ACT ///

    But neither Serbs nor Albanians have been happy with this interim solution. The Serbs say Kosovo has always belonged to Serbia while ethnic Albanians remain united in their dreams for independence. After decades of Serb oppression of ethnic Albanians and a year of revenge attacks by them on Kosovo's Serb minority, both groups insist they cannot live together. The Serbs now want Kosovo to be partitioned. The Albanians want full independence. The three other witnesses who testified before the congressional committee, all noted Balkan experts, said until Kosovo's status is resolved, ethnic violence will continue, including revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians against the Serb minority. Morton Abramowitz, a former State Department official under several U-S administrations, questioned the premise that a new Serbian government will be more democratic.


    It is not at all clear that a post-Milosevic government will have the desire or the political backing to accept a change in Kosovo's status. One could argue that it's better for the international community and the Serb opposition to change Kosovo's status while (President) Milosevic is in charge.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Abramowitz, who is currently with the Century Foundation, a Washington policy institute, said even if a Serbian Abe Lincoln came to power, no Albanian would support retaining ties to Belgrade. Janusz Bugajski, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, agreed with that assessment:


    NATO may be faced with escalating anger among the Albanian community if the U-N insists on preserving Kosovo within Serbia. As we know, the vast majority of Albanians support statehood irrespective of any possible leadership changes or regime changes in Belgrade.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Bugajski said granting Kosovo conditional independence would also undermine demands by radical elements for a `Greater Albania'. [OPT] The third witness, Paul Williams, was formerly a legal advisor to the Kosovar Albanians. Now a professor of law at American University in Washington, he said Kosovo independence must be based on democracy, the rule of law and respect for minority rights.


    Unless the U-S wishes to create a permanent peacekeeping force in the region, it must develop an aggressive strategy for each zone of conflict in the former Yugoslavia. For Kosovo, that policy should be one of intermediate sovereignty and earned independence.

    /// END ACT/END OPT ///

    In the meantime, all the witnesses at the congressional hearing agreed, it is imperative NATO troops remain in the region until democratic forces are firmly in control. (Signed)
    NEB/PAM/KL 12-Jun-2000 17:37 PM EDT (12-Jun-2000 2137 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Municipal elections in two key cities of Yugoslavia's Republic of Montenegro lead to dissimilar results. Stephen Bos reports the capital, Podgorica, voted for the pro-Western parties, which have cautiously moved towards independence from Yugoslavia. But as Stefan Bos reports, supporters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic won in a smaller coastal town.

    TEXT: Election officials say the ruling "For a Better Life" coalition, backed by Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic, won a firm lead in Podgorica, where it is expected to receive 28 of the 54 seats in the local assembly. But supporters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic claimed victory in the smaller-but-crucial coast resort, Herzeg Novi, where they are expected to fill the local assembly with 19 of 35 seats. Pollsters already predict difficulties for the ruling parties in Herzeg Novi -- a traditional Serbian power base with many war veterans. President Djukanovic -- who steered Montenegro away from its larger sister, Yugoslav Republic of Serbia -- wanted to win in both cities. Still, he says he is pleased his coalition was victorious in the capital. Analysts say the strong showing of the opposition may have helped to dispel fears of violence in what is potentially an explosive republic -- with a police force controlled by Mr. Djukanovic and the Yugoslav Army by Yugoslav President Milosevic. Still, the strong showing of the pro-Milosevic politicians is expected to make it more difficult for the government to organize a contemplated referendum on independence. The ruling coalition sees its victory in the capital as showing approval for President Djukanovic's step- by-step approach towards looser ties with the Yugoslav federation. Montenegro now has its own foreign policy and took control of the economy late last year, when it legalized the German mark alongside the weakening Yugoslav dinar. It also controls some of its borders and issues its own visas. The United States and European Union have been supporting President Djukanovic because of his "pro- Western" stand and calls for ethnic tolerance. The living standard in the small mountainous republic of 600 thousand people is already increasing because of economic aid from the west. And, Montenegro has largely been spared the tough sanctions levied against the Milosevic government. This has angered Belgrade, which fears losing Montenegro -- its only remaining gateway to the sea. (signed)
    NEB / SB / WD 12-Jun-2000 03:26 AM EDT (12-Jun-2000 0726 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices closed lower today (Monday), with technology shares taking the biggest hit. Trading was especially light, as investors wait for clues on the economy with a retail report on Tuesday, followed by consumer price data Wednesday. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50 points, one-half of one percent, to 10-thousand-564. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed 10 points lower. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite dropped almost three percent. Oil stocks were the big winners, as the price of oil continues to rise. Analysts are not sure if OPEC will increase production anytime soon. Shares of software maker Citrix fell sharply after the company said its second-quarter profits would fall below expectations. It blamed reduced demand on slow business growth in Asia. Citrix was the most actively traded Nasdaq stock. Analysts say the market, in general, continues to look to economic data, as well as corporate earnings, for direction.

    ///REST OPT///

    Chuck Hill, a researcher who tracks U-S corporations, says rising U-S interest rates are not likely to impact earnings until next year:

    ///HILL ACT///

    So, the earnings picture in the near term is extremely positive. The concern is 2001, vis-a- vis what the "Fed" may do. The recent actions, the ones they're going to take over the next few months, are really going to impact 2001, rather than 2000 earnings.

    ///END ACT///

    The Federal Reserve Board - the U-S central bank - has raised interest rates six times over the past year as it tries to cool the U-S economy. Federal Reserve policy-makers meet again at the end of June to consider another increase. Investors worry that too many interest rate hikes will cut into corporate profits, as the cost of doing business gets more expensive. Home Depot - a leading retailer of home improvement products, and one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones - revised downward an earlier forecast for sales growth. Home Depot shares have fallen over 30 percent this year, as interest rates have gone up. On the positive side of the earnings front, fiber- optics maker Corning says its quarterly earnings will easily top Wall Street estimates - about 50 percent higher from the same period last year. Corning is the inventor of fiber-optic cable. The company's first-quarter profits also beat expectations. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PW 12-Jun-2000 16:39 PM EDT (12-Jun-2000 2039 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The death of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad over the weekend is the dominant editorial topic this Monday in the U-S press. Africa and its troubles also come in for a good deal of attention, with commentaries on the AIDS pandemic; the increasingly complex civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo/Kinshasa; and the problem of illicit diamonds financing the unrest. Other commentaries include; the pending Korean summit; and a search for justice in Chile. Now, here is ___________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Several papers are commenting on the death of the Syrian leader, who was known to be in failing health. Many feel the prospects for peace between Israel and Syria will be affected by the uncertainty surrounding Syria's immediate future. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is one.

    VOICE: When Syrian President Hafez al-Assad died ... the prospects of a formal peace with Israel may have died with him - - at least for now. Syria's new leader, Mr. Assad's 34-year- old son Bashar, is likely to be too busy consolidating his position to undertake dramatic initiatives. In the long term, however, Bashar Assad, part of a new generation of Western- educated Arab leaders, may be able to grasp the peace ... his father ultimately spurned.

    TEXT: Today's Chicago Tribune is somewhat more hopeful, suggesting:

    VOICE: His passing creates new possibilities for progress in peace, assuming ... Syria can weather new fears of instability. [President] Assad ... was the final holdout in peace talks with Israel, coming to the table well after other Arab leaders. Even though he had made the strategic decision to pursue talks ... his obstinate nature precluded any final agreement.

    TEXT: The New York Times notes that Mr. Al-Assad "has been a fixture of Syrian politics and diplomacy for so long ... it is hard to imagine the Middle East without him." However the prestigious New York daily is also suggestive of positive change in the not too distant future.

    VOICE: No negotiating breakthrough is likely soon. But if Bashar al-Assad consolidates control, he might be able to make the deal his father could not. Reestablishing the precise June 1967 [Israeli-Syrian] border had become a personal obsession for Hafez al-Assad. His son may have other priorities, like carefully opening up safety valves in Syria's Leninist policed state and guiding its backward and isolated economy into the Internet age.

    ///OPT ///

    TEXT: Still in New York, The Daily News says the death has:

    VOICE: ... thrown a giant question mark over the Middle East, with the Syrian track of the peace process no doubt to be put on hold, while factions inside this last of the front-line states at war with Israel rush to fill the power vacuum.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In a more sharply worded comment, The New York Post writes, under the editorial headline: No Tears for Hafez Assad:

    VOICE: To listen to President Clinton talking about the tremendous `respect" he had for Syrian President Hafez Assad ... one might have thought that the Mahatma Gandhi of the Middle East had passed on. Make no mistake: Hafez Assad was a murderous despot whose cruelty stood out even in a region known for such oppressive rulers. ( OPT )Whatever his new found willingness to take part in negotiations with Israel, he came to the table with blood on his hands - - most of it belonging to his own people. ... So weep no tears for Hafez Assad. He brought a measure of political stability to Syria - - but at a terrible, bloody price.( END OPT )

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, from The Los Angeles Times, a commentary on mixed prospects for the region.

    VOICE: The death ... brings new uncertainties along with new opportunities to the country he ruled for nearly 30 years and to the region where his influence vastly exceeded the military and economic resources at his command. The uncertainties stem from the threat to stability that arises when any autocrat dies. ... [However] [Mr.] Assad's death offers Syria a chance to reorient his policies, not just to make peace with Israel but to revive its stagnant and corruption-riddled economy, ease decades of repression and end its political isolation.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to Africa, there is a good deal of comment on that troubled continent. The Detroit [Michigan] Free Press feels that "With the right assistance, African nations can work past [their] troubles."

    VOICE: Beset by grinding poverty, rampant AIDS, famine, genocide, civil wars and oligarchies, Africa's future often looks as bleak now as it did at the dawn of the 20th Century. Wars seem to break out each week in countries whose names most Americans don't recognize. Disease racks countless victims Americans can't bring themselves to care about, in part because of geographic distance, in part because of race, in part because the problems seem so insurmountable. No quick fix. But the United States is uniquely situated to help this roiling continent pull itself together. First and foremost are the moral and human-security imperatives to do so. Beyond that are mutually beneficial economic incentives. ... To help the continent move toward thriving economies and democracies, relics of old attitudes need to be removed. Enormous debt burdens should be canceled, trade imbalances righted and the free flow of arms into hot regions halted.

    TEXT: In the Pacific Northwest, The Tacoma [Washington] News Tribune is upset about what it calls the "Human catastrophe unfolding in [the] Congo."

    VOICE: Congo today could be described as a carcass of a nation being picked apart by heavily armed vultures. ... As is usually the case in times of war, noncombatants are getting the worst of it. On Thursday, a humanitarian group ... released survey results that suggest as many as one-point-seven million Congolese have died as a result of the fighting in the last two years in Congo's five eastern provinces... A human catastrophe is unfolding here. Yet the sheer complexity of its interlocking struggles ... make it devilishly hard to identify a path to peace.

    TEXT: In Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Star Tribune wants Americans to stop buying diamonds "washed with African blood" as the paper puts it, because illicit diamond sales are financing civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Congo [Kinshasa]. The paper notes that Americans buy 65 percent of all retail diamonds and wants them to buy discriminatingly.

    /// OPT ///

    The Washington Post is also focused on an African civil war, and wants U-S policy in Sierra Leone clarified and made more cohesive.

    VOICE: The U-S ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke has ...[outlined] ... administration policy for that troubled country. ... The R-U-F's [Revolutionary United Front] captured leader, Foday Sankoh, should play no role in Sierra Leone affairs. The United States supports a residual British military presence, which the British ... appear willing to provide. Once some stability is reestablished, there should be a long-term international commitment to rebuild Sierra Leone's institutions.

    ///END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to Asia, we get this anticipatory comment from The Seattle Times, on the historic North and South Korean summit which is scheduled to begin Tuesday (local time) in Pyongyang.

    VOICE: If nothing else, the meeting has done wonders for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's intelligence quotient. For years he was portrayed as a dissipated hedonist who was transfused with the blood of virgins to ward off the ravages of his decadent lifestyle. Suddenly South Korean ... President Kim Dae-jung referred to [him] ... as "a pragmatic leader with good judgment and knowledge." The change of tone helped make the summit possible.

    TEXT: Lastly and quickly, to Latin America, where a search for justice from the past in Chile, draws this comment from today's Hartford [Connecticut] Courant.

    VOICE: The question of whether former [dictator] General Augusto Pinochet should pay a price for the nearly four-thousand people who died or disappeared while his junta was in power will be decided where it should be - in his homeland, Chile. A Chilean appeals court boldly stripped him of his lifetime immunity from prosecution last month, laying the groundwork for a possible trial. ... Bringing Mr. Pinochet to trial no doubt will be an arduous process. ... But the pursuit of justice is essential if Chileans are to heal.

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of editorial comment from the pages of Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/PW 12-Jun-2000 11:21 AM EDT (12-Jun-2000 1521 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The death of Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad, known to his nation as "the lion of Damascus," has brought mixed reactions from European commentaries. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman, in London, reports that most analysts offer cautious optimism for change in Syrian policy, both at home and abroad.

    TEXT: Britain's Guardian newspaper summed up most reaction when it noted that President Assad's death has sparked many crocodile tears [insincere grief]. The newspaper reminds readers of Mr. Assad's iron-fist rule and his reluctance to push forward in peace talks with Israel. In fact, most Western leaders do not plan to attend the funeral. French President Jacques Chirac is a notable exception. France has historical ties to Syria. It was President Chirac who welcomed Mr. Assad's son, Bashar, to Paris last year on his first official visit to the West. British dailies, like the Independent, see a visible nervousness in world capitals over the threat of instability as President Assad's son is about to assume power. As the French daily Liberation puts it, "the knives are out." Behind what it calls a phony stage set of unity, Liberation warns of behind-the-scenes rivalries both inside and outside the Assad family. Still, Britain's Independent (newspaper) says instability can also be an opportunity. President Assad's death, it says, is bad news tinged with hope. The newspaper calls on President Clinton and other leaders to press the Israelis and Palestinians to complete their peace talks. The Independent suggests that unsuccessful efforts to persuade President Assad to resume peace talks with Israel had undercut the Palestinian track. The Financial Times also offers some cautious optimism, calling Mr. Assad's death another important indicator of change in Middle East politics. The French daily Le Figaro echoes that sentiment in a front-page headline that reads, "The death that changes everything in the Middle East." (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/WTW 12-Jun-2000 09:16 AM EDT (12-Jun-2000 1316 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

    Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2023 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    voa2html v2.03a run on Monday, 12 June 2000 - 23:58:11 UTC