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Voice of America, 96-12-22

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] BOSNIA REFUGEES BY KYLE KING (SARAJEVO)
  • [02] BULGARIAN RESIGNATION (S ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [03] O-S-C-E/SERBIA UPDATE (S) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (BELGRADE)
  • [04] SERBIA/VILLAGE BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (RAZANJ, SERBIA)
  • [05] TURKEY / IRAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

  • [01] BOSNIA REFUGEES BY KYLE KING (SARAJEVO)

    DATE=12/21/96
    TYPE=YEAREND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-35303
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT: 12/20/96 12:58 P.M.

    INTRO: OF ALL THE ISSUES THAT PLAGUE THE INTERNATIONAL EFFORT TO BRING PEACE TO BOSNIA, ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT HAS BEEN FINDING HOMES FOR THE TWO MILLION PEOPLE DISPLACED BY THE 43 MONTH WAR. DESPITE THE PROMISES OF THE DAYTON PEACE AGREEMENT, AND THE PLEDGES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, MANY REFUGEES SEE LITTLE PROSPECT OF A RETURN TO HOMES THAT NOW LIE IN AREAS CONTROLLED BY OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS. FROM SARAJEVO, VOA'S KYLE KING HAS A LOOK AT THE PROBLEM AND WHAT IS BEING DONE.

    TEXT: DRIVEN FROM HER HOME BY THE FIERCE FIGHTING WHICH ONCE RAGED AROUND THE SARAJEVO AIRPORT, 43-YEAR-OLD MIRHUMISA KOMARICA BECAME ONE OF THE FIRST REFUGEES OF THE BLOODY WAR IN BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA.

    SHE IS NOW ONE OF MORE THAN TWO MILLION PEOPLE WHOSE HOMES WERE DESTROYED, OR WHO WERE FORCED TO FLEE THE BRUTAL CAMPAIGNS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING IN THE 43 MONTH WAR.

    MS. KOMARICA, WHO HEADS A PRIVATE ASSOCIATION OF REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PEOPLE, SAYS LITTLE MORE THAN PRELIMINARY WORK HAS BEEN DONE TO FIND HOUSING FOR PEOPLE.

    // KOMARICA -BOSNIAN LANGUAGE- ACT //

    SHE SAYS IT HAS BEEN THE GENERAL OPINION OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE REFUGEES ARE A PROBLEM OF EUROPE AND NOT OUR PROBLEM. WE UNDERSTAND IT IS A COMPLEX SITUATION, BUT WHEN OUR ASSOCIATION TRIES TO EXPLAIN THAT EUROPEAN NATIONS HAVE ALREADY DONE MUCH TO HELP OUR PEOPLE AND IT IS TIME FOR THEM TO COME HOME, THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T ACCEPT THAT. THE REFUGEES, SHE SAYS, HAVE BECOME AN INSTRUMENT OF POLITICS.

    BUT THE ISSUE IS EXPECTED TO BECOME MORE URGENT WHEN ABOUT ONE-HALF A MILLION REFUGEES NOW LIVING IN EUROPE BEGIN SLOWLY RETURNING HOME IN THE SPRING.

    ARIANE QUENTIER, A SPOKESMAN FOR THE U-N REFUGEE AGENCY IN BOSNIA, SAYS SHE EXPECTS REFUGEE ASSISTANCE WILL SPEED UP NOW, ALTHOUGH SHE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT MISTAKES WERE MADE IN THE FIRST YEAR.

    // QUENTIER ACT //

    I THINK WHAT WE HAVE DONE AFTER THE DAYTON ACCORD WAS SIGNED MIGHT BE CRITICIZED, BUT WAS NOT THAT BAD. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THE CONDITIONS AT THE TIME THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED. AT THAT TIME EVERY OPTION WAS AVAILABLE AND WE HAD TO TRY EVERY OPTION, EVEN THOSE THAT LOOK NOW AS VERY NAIVE. BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT AT THE TIME OF DAYTON, AFTER FOUR YEARS OF BLOODY WAR WE HAD TO TRY ALL THESE OPTIONS. NOW IT MIGHT LOOK A BIT TO IDEALISTIC TODAY BECAUSE THINGS HAVE PROVEN NOT TO WORK, AND WE FULLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. BUT ONCE AGAIN IN JANUARY OF 1996 WE HAD TO GO THROUGH THESE STEPS THAT MIGHT LOOK LIKE MISTAKES TODAY BUT THAT HAD TO BE TAKEN BEFORE WE COULD SET UP ANOTHER STRATEGY, MORE REALISTIC MAYBE.

    // END ACT //

    SURROUNDED IN HER OFFICE BY MODELS OF HOUSING PROJECTS HER ASSOCIATION HAS PROPOSED, MS. KOMARICA SAYS SHE HAS HAD A BETTER RESPONSE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAN FROM HER OWN GOVERNMENT.

    BUT DESPITE THE PROBLEMS SHE HAS ENCOUNTERED, THE STYLISH LOOKING FORMER PROFESSOR AND MOTHER OF TWO SAYS SHE IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE.

    // SECOND KOMARICA ACT AND FADE //

    EVEN THOUGH WE LOST EVERYTHING SHE SAYS, I'M HAPPY BECAUSE MY CHILDREN ARE HEALTHY AND NORMAL. LIKE ALL THE KIDS OF BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA THEY REALLY ENDURED. EVEN IF I HAD TO DO IT OVER AGAIN, I WOULDN'T DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT, BECAUSE AS LONG AS I HAVE MY CHILDREN WITH ME, I REALLY HAVE SOMETHING PERMANENT.

    THE QUESTION NOW IS WHETHER THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES WAITING FOR HOUSING WILL CONTINUE TO BE AS PATIENT AND GRATEFUL AS MS. KOMARICA. (SIGNED)
    NEB/KBK/CF
    21-Dec-96 7:28 AM EST (1228 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] BULGARIAN RESIGNATION (S ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=12/21/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207796
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BULGARIA'S SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER ZHAN VIDENOV, WIDELY BLAMED FOR TWO YEARS OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP, SATURDAY PRESENTED HIS RESIGNATION AND THAT OF HIS ENTIRE CABINET. FROM BUDAPEST, STEFAN BOS REPORTS THAT MR. VIDENOV'S RESIGNATION WAS ANNOUNCED AT THE OPENING OF A SPECIAL PARTY CONGRESS IN SOFIA, BULGARIA'S CAPITAL.

    TEXT: THE RESIGNATION OF HIS GOVERNMENT CAME AS A SHOCK TO DELEGATES ATTENDING THE CONGRESS OF THE FORMER COMMUNIST PARTY, NOW RE-NAMED THE BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY.

    MR. VIDENOV SAID HE DID NOT INTEND TO RUN FOR ANY FUTURE POST IN THE SOCIALIST PARTY'S LEADERSHIP OR THE GOVERNMENT.

    COLLEAGUES, OPPOSITION PARTIES AND TRADE UNIONS BLAMED THE VIDENOV GOVERNMENT FOR BULGARIA'S WORST ECONOMIC TROUBLES SINCE THE FALL OF COMMUNISM IN 1989.

    EARLIER THIS MONTH SOME 400-THOUSAND BULGARIANS JOINED A NATIONAL STRIKE TO DEMAND A NEW GOVERNMENT AND BETTER ECONOMIC CONDITIONS. FAILURE TO MEET ECONOMIC REFORMS MEANT THAT INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AID PROGRAMS WERE SUSPENDED. ANNUAL INFLATION HAS EXCEEDED 250 PERCENT AND THE MAJORITY OF BULGARIA'S EIGHT AND ONE-HALF MILLION PEOPLE LIVE AT OR BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL.

    MR. VIDENOV HAS ALSO COME UNDER FIRE FOR HIS ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN CORRUPTION. PARTY OFFICIALS SAY FORMER PRIME MINISTER ANDREI LUKANOV WAS ABOUT TO REVEAL HIGH LEVEL GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION WHEN HE WAS SHOT DEAD IN OCTOBER. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SB/DW/CF
    21-Dec-96 12:43 PM EST (1743 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] O-S-C-E/SERBIA UPDATE (S) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (BELGRADE)

    DATE=12/21/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207790
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// EDITOR'S NOTE: THE REPORT WAS VOICED 3:36PM FRIDAY ///

    INTRO: A HIGH-LEVEL DELEGATION FROM THE EUROPEAN SECURITY ORGANIZATION HAS BEGUN A MISSION TO BELGRADE TO INVESTIGATE CLAIMS OF FRAUD IN LAST MONTH'S SERBIAN MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. THE DELEGATION, LED BY FORMER SPANISH PRIME MINISTER FELIPE GONZALEZ, ARRIVED IN THE SERBIAN CAPITAL AMID CONTINUING ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS BY OPPOSITION GROUPS AND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. FROM BELGRADE, VOA'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS.

    TEXT: THERE WAS NO SUBSTANTIVE COMMENT FROM THE O-S-C-E OFFICIALS AS THEY ARRIVED IN BELGRADE FRIDAY EVENING. FORMER PRIME MINISTER GONZALEZ SAID HE WOULD MAKE NO STATEMENTS UNTIL HE HAS CONCLUDED HIS TALKS HERE.

    THE DELEGATION WENT STRAIGHT FROM THE AIRPORT TO A MEETING WITH SERBIA'S PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC. AND AFTERWARDS, THE O-S-C-E OFFICIALS HELD TALKS AT A LOCAL HOTEL WITH THE LEADERS OF SERBIA'S THREE MAIN OPPOSITION PARTIES.

    ONE OF THOSE LEADERS, VUK DRASKOVIC, TOLD REPORTERS HE EXPECTS THE O-S-C-E TO STRONGLY URGE THE BELGRADE GOVERNMENT TO RECOGNIZE OPPOSITION VICTORIES IN LAST MONTH'S MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

    THE OPPOSITION SAYS ITS CANDIDATES WON A MAJORITY OF THE COUNCIL SEATS IN MORE THAN A DOZEN MAJOR TOWNS AND CITIES, INCLUDING BELGRADE, BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT ANNULLED THE RESULTS.

    EUROPEAN OFFICIALS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT THE O-S-C-E MAY RECOMMEND A NEW ROUND OF VOTING, MONITORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT HAS INDICATED IT MIGHT ACCEPT SUCH A PROPOSAL. BUT THE OPPOSITION HAS REACTED COOLY.

    OPPOSITION LEADERS SAY THE MASS DEMONSTRATIONS WILL CONTINUE HERE UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES THE RESULTS OF NOVEMBER'S VOTE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/DW/LWM
    21-Dec-96 6:48 AM EST (1148 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] SERBIA/VILLAGE BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (RAZANJ, SERBIA)

    DATE=12/22/96
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-35305
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: FOR MORE THAN A MONTH NOW, OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS HAVE BEEN STAGING MASS ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS IN SERBIA'S MAIN TOWNS AND CITIES. THE OPPOSITION CHARGES THAT THE GOVERNMENT ROBBED THEM OF ELECTION VICTORIES DURING NOVEMBER'S MUNICIPAL VOTING. THE BELGRADE GOVERNMENT DENIES THE ACCUSATION, AND THE RULING SOCIALIST PARTY HAS BEGUN TO ORGANIZE COUNTER-DEMONSTRATIONS. SERBIAN OFFICIALS HAVE LONG CONTENDED THAT A SILENT MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION, ESPECIALLY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, SUPPORTS THE GOVERNMENT. VOA'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS FROM THE VILLAGE OF RAZANJ, TWO HUNDRED KILOMETERS SOUTHEAST OF BELGRADE.

    TEXT: THE MASS PROTEST MOVEMENT IN SERBIA'S MAIN TOWNS SEEMS TO HAVE HAD LITTLE IMPACT ON THIS RURAL COMMUNITY. FARMERS, WITH TIME ON THEIR HANDS (WHO HAVE LITTLE TO DO) DURING THE LONG BALKAN WINTER, GATHER ONCE A WEEK IN THE CITY CAFE, SMOKING, DRINKING AND CHATTING WHILE THEIR WIVES SHOP IN THE LOCAL OUTDOOR MARKET.

    THE CONVERSATION THERE IS MUCH MORE LIKELY TO FOCUS ON PRICES THAN ON POLITICAL PROTESTS. BUT WHEN ASKED BY A VISITING REPORTER, MANY LOCAL RESIDENTS MADE IT CLEAR THEY HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR THE DEMONSTRATORS.

    /// DRAGOMIR ACT, IN SERBO-CROAT ///

    I AM AGAINST THESE PROTESTERS, SAYS DRAGOMIR, AN ELDERLY FARMER IN A LONG GRAY COAT AND CLOTH CAP. THEY SHOULD ALL BE PUT INTO A MEAT GRINDER, HE ADDS, AND USED FOR STUFFING PEPPERS.

    DRAGOMIR IS A PROUD VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR TWO CAMPAIGN BY YUGOSLAVIA'S PARTISANS AGAINST NAZI OCCUPATION. HE WAS AN ARDENT SUPPORTER OF LONG-TIME YUGOSLAV LEADER, JOSEF BROZ TITO, AND HE BELIEVES SERBIA'S CURRENT PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC IS CARRYING TITO'S MANTLE.

    ///DRAGOMIR ACT, IN SERBO-CROAT///

    THE WHOLE WORLD RESPECTS MILOSEVIC, HE SAYS, AND THESE STUDENT PROTESTORS ARE STAINING YUGOSLAVIA'S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE, AND FOR NO GOOD REASON.

    OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS CONTEND THAT PEOPLE LIKE DRAGOMIR ARE SIMPLY MIS-INFORMED ABOUT THE REASONS BEHIND THE PROTEST MOVEMENT VICTIMS, AS THEY PUT IT, OF SERBIA'S STATE-CONTROLLED MEDIA.

    RURAL SERBS HAVE NO ACCESS TO THE FEW INDEPENDENT BROADCASTERS IN THE COUNTRY. BUT SOME BALANCED ACCOUNTS OF THE PROTEST MOVEMENT ARE GETTING THROUGH HERE, WITH MANY RAZANJ RESIDENTS WATCHING TELEVISED REPORTS ON THE SITUATION BEAMED FROM NEIGHBORING BULGARIA.

    NO ONE UNDER SIXTY BELIEVES THE RHETORIC ON SERBIAN TEEVEE, SAYS A LOCAL MUNICIPAL WORKER. HE QUICKLY ADDS THAT HE HAS NO RESPECT FOR THE COUNTRY'S OPPOSITION POLITICIANS, BUT HE SAYS HE DOES SYMPATHIZE WITH THE DEMONSTRATORS BECAUSE THE RULING SOCIALISTS HAVE LOST ALL CREDIBILITY.

    I HAVE NOT BEEN PAID FOR THREE MONTHS, SAYS THE WORKER. AND THE ONLY HELP WE GOT FROM BELGRADE, HE ADDS, WAS A SHIPMENT OF PENCILS EMBLAZONED WITH SOCIALIST PARTY SLOGANS.

    DISCONTENT OVER SERBIA'S ECONOMIC WOES AND FALLING LIVING STANDARDS IS RIFE HERE, NO MATTER WHAT LOCAL RESIDENTS THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT PROTEST MOVEMENT.

    ///DRAGAN ACT, IN SERBO-CROAT///

    I AM NOT INTERESTED IN POLITICS, SAYS THIS MAN, BUT LIFE FOR SERBIA'S POOR PEOPLE JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE.

    ///DRAGAN ACT, IN SERBO-CROAT///

    THERE IS GREAT INJUSTICE HERE, HE ADDS. A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE GROWING RICH AT THE EXPENSE OF ALL THE REST. THE MIDDLE CLASS DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE. THERE ARE ONLY THE POOR AND THE CORRUPT. SO WHO KNOWS, HE ADDS, MAYBE THESE PROTESTS ARE JUSTIFIED.

    BELGRADE'S ATTEMPTS TO RALLY ITS SUPPORTERS HAVE SO FAR MET WITH ONLY LIMITED SUCCESS.

    EVEN THOUGH THE AUTHORITIES PROVIDE TRANSPORT, THE CROWDS AT PRO-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE BEEN FAR SMALLER THAN THOSE AT THE OPPOSITION RALLIES.

    THE GOVERNMENT IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT ITS SILENT MAJORITY OF SUPPORTERS, SAYS ONE OPPOSITION SYMPATHIZER. BUT IT WAS REALLY A HELPLESS MAJORITY, HE ADDS, AND IT NO LONGER SUPPORTS THIS GOVERNMENT. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/DW/KL
    22-Dec-96 2:40 PM EST (1940 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] TURKEY / IRAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=12/22/96
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-207818
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASHEMI RAFSANJANI HAS ENDED A FOUR-DAY OFFICIAL VISIT TO TURKEY THAT HAS RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT TURKEY'S RELATIONS WITH THE WEST. FROM ANKARA, REPORTER AMBERIN ZAMAN HAS THE DETAILS.

    TEXT: IT WAS THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S THIRD VISIT TO TURKEY AND, BY FAR, THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL. OVER THE COURSE OF THE FOUR DAYS HE SPENT TOURING TURKEY WITH A HUGE ENTOURAGE -- INCLUDING HIS WIFE AND ALL HIS CHILDREN -- PRESIDENT RAFSANJANI MADE NO SECRET OF HIS PLEASURE TURKEY IS NOW BEING RULED BY AN ISLAMIST-LED COALITION.

    PRESIDENT RAFSANJANI DESCRIBES THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN TURKEY AS "FLOURISHING" AND SAYS HE IS PLEASED AT THE NUMBER OF MOSQUES HE HAD SEEN DURING HIS TRIP.

    MAINSTREAM TURKISH NEWSPAPERS SAY MOST TURKS ARE FIRMLY ATTACHED TO THE SECULAR, PRO-WESTERN PRINCIPLES LAID DOWN BY THE FATHER OF MODERN TURKEY, KEMAL ATATURK.

    OFFICIALS SAY TURKEY WILL BENEFIT FROM SEVERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS PRODUCED BY THE RAFSANJANI VISIT. THE TWO COUNTRIES UNDERTOOK GRANTING EACH OTHER MOST-FAVORED-TRADING-NATION STATUS AND ESTABLISHING A JOINT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THEY HOPE TO EVENTUALLY DOUBLE THEIR VOLUME OF TRADE TO TWO BILLION DOLLARS. IRAN HAS ALSO PLEDGED TO FACILITATE TURKEY'S LAND ACCESS LAND TO CENTRAL ASIA AND AZERBAIJAN.

    THE NEW ECONOMIC TIES COME AT A TIME WHEN THE UNITED STATES IS TRYING TO ISOLATE TEHERAN -- BOTH POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY. FOR THAT REASON, ANALYSTS SAY IT IS HARDLY SURPRISING WASHINGTON HAS OPENLY EXPRESSED DISPLEASURE OVER THE COURSE TURKEY'S NEW PRO-ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT IS TAKING.

    BUT TURKISH OFFICIALS COUNTER IMPROVED ECONOMIC TIES WITH IRAN ARE CLEARLY IN TURKEY'S INTEREST AND THAT THIS DOES NOT REFLECT CHANGE IN TURKEY'S FUNDAMENTALLY-PRO-WESTERN STANCE.

    MANY TURKISH OFFICIALS ALSO BELIEVE STRONGER COMMERCIAL TIES BETWEEN TURKEY AND IRAN WILL HELP DISCOURAGE TEHERAN FROM SUPPORTING REBELS OF THE SEPARATIST KURDISTAN WORKERS' PARTY. THE REBELS HAVE BEEN WAGING A 12-YEAR ARMED CAMPAIGN FOR AN INDEPENDENT KURDISH STATE AND ARE WIDELY BELIEVED TO HAVE BASES IN IRAN, IRAQ AND SYRIA. (SIGNED)
    NEB / AZ / DW / WOD
    22-Dec-96 1:48 PM EST (1848 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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