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Voice of America, 99-01-23

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] CASPIAN OIL VISION BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] ROMANIA/CEAUSESCU BY RON PEMSTEIN (BUCHAREST)
  • [03] FRANCE FRONT (S&L) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

  • [01] CASPIAN OIL VISION BY ED WARNER (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=1/24/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42429
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRODUCTION: THE VAST OIL RICHES OF THE CASPIAN BASIN ARE EAGERLY AWAITED BY ALL THE COUNTRIES OF THE REGION. BUT THERE IS STILL NO AGREEMENT ON HOW TO GET THE OIL OUT TO WORLD MARKETS. EVERY PROPOSED ROUTE SEEMS TO HAVE ITS PLUSES AND MINUSES, WITH EACH NATION INTENT ON PURSUING ITS OWN BEST INTEREST. VOA'S ED WARNER REPORTS THE INTENSE COMPETITION IN THE CASPIAN.

    TEXT: IT MARKS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA, SAYS ZURAB ZHVANIA, CHAIRMAN OF THE PARLIAMENT OF GEORGIA. ON A RECENT VISIT TO WASHINGTON, MR. ZHVANIA NOTED HOW HIS COUNTRY IS PREPARING TO DELIVER CASPIAN OIL:

    // ZHVANIA ACT //

    VERY SOON, WITHIN THE COMING COUPLE OF MONTHS, WE WILL INAUGURATE THE OPENING OF AN ABSOLUTELY NEW AND VERY IMPRESSIVE CONSTRUCTION, WHICH IS THE SUPSA OIL TERMINAL. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE UP-TO-DATE CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE BLACK SEA BASIN, AND I THINK THE PRESIDENTS OF A LOT OF COUNTRIES OF THE REGION WILL ATTEND THE LOADING OF THE FIRST TANKER FROM THIS TERMINAL.

    // END ACT //

    MR. ZHVANIA SAID HE EXPECTS NOT ONLY OIL TO PASS THROUGH THE NEW TERMINAL BUT RAW MATERIALS FROM CENTRAL ASIA - COTTON, ALUMINUM, BAUXITE - DESTINED FOR WORLD MARKETS.

    YET THE ROUTE FROM THE CASPIAN THROUGH GEORGIA TO THE BLACK SEA IS ONLY ONE OF MANY THAT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED. IT HAS THE DISADVANTAGE OF ADDING TO THE ALREADY HEAVY TRAFFIC PASSING THROUGH THE BOSPORUS.

    THE UNITED STATES WANTS TO BUILD A LONG PIPELINE FROM BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN THROUGH TURKEY TO THE MEDITERRANEAN PORT OF CEYHAN. THIS WOULD AVOID GOING THROUGH THE RUSSIAN CAUCASUS, WITH ITS POSSIBLE INSTABILITY, OR THROUGH IRAN, WHICH REMAINS UNDER U-S SANCTIONS.

    RICHARD MORNINGSTAR, PRESIDENT CLINTON'S SPECIAL ADVISER ON CASPIAN BASIN ENERGY, SAYS HE IS OPTIMISTIC THE OIL COMPANIES WILL OVERCOME THEIR OBJECTIONS TO THE LARGE COST OF THE TURKISH PIPELINE:

    // MORNINGSTAR ACT //

    I THINK THE COMPANIES UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE POLITICAL REALITIES WITHIN THE REGION THAT THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND THAT IF THEIR COMMERCIAL CONCERNS CAN BE TAKEN CARE OF IN THEIR NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY AND AZERBAIJAN AND GEORGIA, BAKU-CEYAN CAN BE AND WOULD BE A COMMERCIALLY VIABLE ROUTE.

    // END ACT //

    IN PRIVATE AT LEAST, THE OIL COMPANIES SAY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE LIES THROUGH IRAN. THEY WOULD PREFER LIFTING THE SANCTIONS AND MENDING RELATIONS WITH TEHRAN.

    THE TURKISH ROUTE HAS HAZARDS OF ITS OWN, SAYS ROBERT EBEL, DIRECTOR OF THE ENERGY AND SECURITY PROGRAM AT THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN WASHINGTON:

    // EBEL ACT //

    YOU HAVE PROBLEMS IN AZERBAIJAN, AND THE PIPELINE WILL PASS WITHIN A HANDFUL OF KILOMETERS FROM NAGORNO-KARABAKH, WHICH IS A POINT OF CONTENTION BETWEEN ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN. INTERNALLY, GEORGIA IS NOT ALL THAT SECURE, AND THEN YOU TURN SOUTH FROM GEORGIA AND PASS THROUGH TURKEY, AND YOU GO SOMEWHAT CLOSE TO KURDISH TERRITORY. SO IS THE ROUTE SECURE ALONG ITS WAY? WELL, NO.

    // END ACT //

    LET THERE BE MULTIPLE ROUTES, SAYS PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN ZHVANIA. ONCE OIL STARTS FLOWING, IT WILL REVIVE THE ANCIENT SILK ROUTE THROUGH CENTRAL ASIA AND BRING PROSPERITY TO THE ENTIRE REGION:

    // ZHVANIA ACT //

    ALTOGETHER, THIS NOW CAN BE CALLED A EURASIA CORRIDOR, OR THE NEW SILK ROAD. SENATOR (SAM) BROWNBACK CALLS THIS PROJECT "THE ROAD OF FREEDOM." THE POINT IS THAT THE EURASIAN CORRIDOR CONCEPT - THE CONCEPT OF THE SILK ROAD - GOES FAR BEYOND THE CONCEPT OF TRANSPORTATION. NOWADAYS IT IS MORE A COMMON STRATEGY, A COMMON VISION FOR ALL COUNTRIES AND LEADERS OF THIS REGION.

    // END ACT //

    MR. ZHVANIA SAYS AGREEMENT ON CASPIAN OIL CAN LEAD TO COOPERATION IN OTHER AREAS AND EVENTUALLY TO REGIONAL INTEGRATION. (SIGNED)
    NEB/EW/WFR
    24-Jan-99 5:05 PM EST (2205 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] ROMANIA/CEAUSESCU BY RON PEMSTEIN (BUCHAREST)

    DATE=1/24/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42427
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IT HAS BEEN NEARLY A DECADE (DECEMBER 1989) SINCE ROMANIANS EXECUTED THEIR COMMUNIST DICTATOR NICOLAE CEAUSESCU AND MOVED SLOWLY TOWARD POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS. RON PEMSTEIN IN BUCHAREST VISITED THE GRAVE OF MR. CEAUSESCU AND FOUND SOME ROMANIANS LONG FOR THE SECURITY OF THE CEAUSESCU DAYS.

    TEXT: CANDLES BURN IN THE MEMORY OF THE DEPARTED DICTATOR. THE STONE CROSS THAT MARKS THE GRAVE OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU IN THE GHENCHER CEMETERY WAS ERECTED IN 1996 BY THE COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY. THE MARKER CARRIES A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE YOUNG ROMANIAN LEADER WITH DATES OF HIS BIRTH, 1918, AND HIS DEATH, 1989.

    IT MAY BE PARADOXICAL THAT ROMANIANS HAVE ANY REASON TO PAY HOMAGE TO A MAN WHO KEPT THIS SOCIETY POOR AND UNDER SECURITY CONTROL WHILE HE PROTECTED ROMANIA'S INDEPENDENCE FROM MOSCOW WITH AN SELF-RELIANT FOREIGN POLICY. HOWEVER, ROUGHLY 100 PEOPLE VISIT THE CEAUSESCU GRAVE EVERY WEEK TO PAY THEIR RESPECTS.

    VASILE ADARAN, A 65 YEAR OLD RETIRED AUTO WORKER, CAME TO THE GRAVESITE WITH HIS CANDLE. HE SAYS THROUGH AN INTERPRETER THE CEAUSESCU TIME REPRESENTS A MIXTURE OF EMOTIONS FOR ROMANIANS.

    ///ADARAN ACT IN ROMANIAN W/ INTERPRETER///

    LIKE ANY PEOPLE THAT RESPECTS ITS LEADER, WE MUST RESPECT OUR LEADER. HE WAS BAD OR GOOD, THIS IS HIS CHOICE. WHEN CEAUSESCU WAS PRESIDENT, HE MADE MANY, MANY BUILDINGS, APARTMENTS, THE METRO, SO THESE ARE GOOD THINGS. SO IF WE DON'T LIKE IT, LIKE THESE BUILDINGS AND METRO BECAUSE HE MADE SOME PROBLEMS, NOW WE ARE PROUD OF WHAT WE BUILT WHEN CEAUSESCU WAS PRESIDENT.

    //END ACT///

    AN OPINION SURVEY LAST NOVEMBER SHOWS 51 PERCENT OF ROMANIANS POLLED SAY LIFE WAS BETTER UNDER COMMUNISM THAN IT IS TODAY. THREE-QUARTERS OF THOSE POLLED SAY ROMANIA NEEDS A STRONG LEADER, JUST LIKE NICOLAE CEAUSESCU.

    THE SAME OPINION SURVEY SHOWS A DROP IN POPULARITY FOR PRESIDENT EMIL CONSTANTINESCU, A CENTER-RIGHT POLITICIAN WHO HAS BEEN TRYING TO PUSH ROMANIA TOWARD CHANGE.

    THOSE ECONOMIC REFORMS WERE SET BACK LAST WEEK WHEN COAL MINERS MARCHED TOWARD BUCHAREST, USING VIOLENCE TO BREAK THROUGH POLICE LINES. TO STOP THE MINERS, THE GOVERNMENT AGREED TO HALT PLANS TO CLOSE MONEY-LOSING COAL MINES.

    THE ELDERLY MR. ADARAN SAYS HIS GENERATION MUST WAIT 50 OR 60 YEARS TO BE OKAY.

    ///ADARAN ACT W/ INTERPRETATION//

    WE LOST A REGIME THAT WAS STABLE FOR SOMETHING NEW BUT IS IT BAD EACH YEAR. UNTIL WHEN WE MUST WAIT? 75 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS NOT NOSTALGIC, IT IS ABOUT OUR LIFE BECAUSE WE WANT A DECENT LIFE, A NORMAL LIFE, NOT TO LOSE SLEEP IN THE NIGHT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW.

    ///END ACT///

    AS I LEFT THE GHENCHER CEMETERY, I ENCOUNTERED AN ORTHODOX PRIEST, NICOLAE MARIN. HE SAYS THROUGH AN INTERPRETER HE IS NOT SURPRISED THAT THERE IS A STEADY OF STREAM OF VISITORS TO THE CEAUSESCU GRAVE.

    ///MARIN ACT W/ INTERPRETATION///

    OUR COUNTRY IS SO POOR AND THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE PEOPLE GO TO CEAUSESCU AND THE EX-PRESIDENT THERE WAS STABILITY WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT, CEAUSESCU. ALL THE PEOPLE WERE THE SAME WITH THE SALARY AND EVERYTHING AND HE WAS SECURE BECAUSE TOMORROW DOES NOT HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THE MONEY, WITH THE APARTMENT AND ALL THIS SO THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE PEOPLE COME HERE TO THIS CEMETERY.

    ///END ACT///

    THIS LOSS OF SECURITY IS THE REASON COAL MINERS MARCHED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT LAST WEEK AND WERE JOINED BY VILLAGE PEOPLE IN THEIR PROTEST. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE MARCHED SILENTLY THIS WEEKEND HERE IN THE CAPITAL IN FAVOR OF ECONOMIC CHANGE AND AGAINST THE MINERS' VIOLENCE. OPINION SURVEYS SHOW MORE THAN HALF OF ROMANIANS FEAR THE UNCERTAINTY OF CHANGE AND LOOK TO THEIR TOTALITARIAN PAST FOR SECURITY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/DW
    24-Jan-99 1:28 PM EST (1828 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] FRANCE FRONT (S&L) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=1/24/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-244595
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: FRANCE'S EXTREME-RIGHT NATIONAL FRONT PARTY FORMALLY SPLIT INTO TWO SEPARATE FACTIONS SUNDAY WHEN A CONGRESS ELECTED THE FORMER SECOND-IN-COMMAND AS PARTY PRESIDENT. JEAN-MARIE LE PEN, THE PARTY'S FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT UNTIL NOW, SAYS HE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE DECISION. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: AT A TWO-DAY CONGRESS THE FORMER NUMBER TWO OF THE ANTI-IMMIGRATION NATIONAL FRONT PARTY, BRUNO MEGRET, CONFIRMED HIS HOLD ON PARTY OFFICIALS BY COLLECTING ENOUGH VOTES TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT.

    HE ADDED THE WORDS "NATIONAL MOVEMENT" TO HIS WING OF THE PARTY TO DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE FACTION STILL LOYAL TO THE NATIONAL FRONT FOUNDER, JEAN-MARIE LE PEN.

    IN DECEMBER, MR. LE PEN EXPELLED MR. MEGRET AND HIS FOLLOWERS BECAUSE, HE SAID, THEY WERE PLOTTING AGAINST HIM. THE PARTY, FOUNDED IN 1972, NOW TAKES AN AVERAGE 15 PERCENT IN NATIONWIDE ELECTIONS.

    IN THE SEVEN WEEKS SINCE THE SPLIT IN THE PARTY EMERGED, THE ATMOSPHERE BETWEEN THE LE PEN AND MEGRET FACTIONS HAS GROWN INCREASINGLY BITTER.

    ///REST OPT///

    MR. LE PEN ACCUSES MR. MEGRET, WHO IN FACT DRAFTED MUCH OF THE NATIONAL FRONT'S PROGRAM, OF BEING "A PSYCHOPATH" WHO BELIEVES HE IS A NEW NAPOLEON.

    AT THE CONGRESS, HELD NEAR THE SOUTHERN PORT OF MARSEILLES, MR. MEGRET'S SUPPORTERS HAD AN EMPTY CHAIR ON THE PODIUM, LIT BY A SPOTLIGHT, TO WHICH THEY INVITED THE ABSENT MR. LE PEN.

    THEY ELECTED AN ENTIRE NEW LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AND THEY DECLARED MR. LE PEN "HONORARY PRESIDENT." MR. LE PEN SAID HE REJECTED ALL THEIR DECISIONS.

    THE DISPUTE IN THE NATIONAL FRONT HAS BEEN ONE OF PERSONALITIES AND NOT OF POLICIES.

    IN HIS SPEECH CLOSING THE CONGRESS, MR. MEGRET UNDERLINED HIS HARD-LINE STANCE AND WON A ROUND OF APPLAUSE WHEN HE SAID HE WOULD FIGHT FOR IMMIGRANTS TO BE SENT HOME.

    ///ACT IN FRENCH///

    SEVERAL DELEGATES SAID IT WAS TIME TO DEVELOP A MORE RESPECTABLE IMAGE FOR THE PARTY. AMONG CRITICISMS LEVELED AT MR. LE PEN WAS HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH VLADIMIR ZHIRINOVSKY, THE RUSSIAN NATIONALIST LEADER. HOWEVER, OPINION POLLS STILL SHOW THAT MR. LE PEN HAS MORE VOTER SUPPORT THAN MR. MEGRET. THE TEST OF THEIR RELATIVE WEIGHT WILL COME IN JUNE DURING ELECTIONS FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT FOR WHICH BOTH THE NATIONAL FRONT LEADERS PLAN TO RUN.
    NEB/JN/DW/JO
    24-Jan-99 1:16 PM EST (1816 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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