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Voice of America, 99-03-10

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] CONGRESS-KOSOVO (L) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [02] CONGRESS-KOSOVO (L-ONITER) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [03] NATO-KOSOVO (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN ()
  • [04] NATO / EUROPE (L ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [05] EVALUATING THE EURO BY MICHAEL BOWMAN (MIAMI)
  • [06] IRAN / EUROPE BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [07] IRAN / ITALY (L ONLY) BY SABINA CASTELFRANCO (ROME)
  • [08] BRITAIN / FRANCE / AFRICA (L ONLY) BY JOHN PITMAN (ABIDJAN)
  • [09] EUROPE / BURMA (L ONLY) BY GARY THOMAS (BANGKOK)
  • [10] FRANCE LIBYA TRIAL (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)
  • [11] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [12] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] CONGRESS-KOSOVO (L) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246465
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    ///NOTE TO EDITORS: THE EXACT WORDING OF THE KOSOVO RESOLUTION - AS WELL AS PROPOSED CHANGES - - MOST LIKELY WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL JUST PRIOR TO THE HOUSE DEBATE///

    INTRO: TENSIONS ARE BUILDING BETWEEN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS OVER KOSOVO. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PLANS TO VOTE THURSDAY ON THE WISDOM OF SENDING U-S TROOPS TO KOSOVO IF A PEACE AGREEMENT IS SIGNED. V-0-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT SAYS A DIVISIVE HOUSE DEBATE COULD SET BACK NEGOTIATIONS.

    TEXT: THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS BLUNT. MADELEINE ALBRIGHT IS TELLING LAWMAKERS A POLITICALLY CHARGED DEBATE ON KOSOVO COULD UNDERMINE THE PEACE PROCESS.

    DURING AN APPEARANCE BEFORE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE, MS. ALBRIGHT ISSUED AN APPEAL TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    A CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE NOW, I CAN ASSURE YOU, WOULD COMPLICATE OUR EFFORTS TO GET THE SERBS AND THE KOSOVAR ALBANIANS ON BOARD.

    /// END ACT ///

    SHE SAID THE TIMING IS TERRIBLE BECAUSE NEGOTIATIONS ARE AT A DELICATE PHASE. SHE THEN TRIED TO EASE CONCERNS ON CAPITOL HILL THAT PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL IMMEDIATELY DEPLOY TROOPS TO KOSOVO ONCE AN AGREEMENT IS SIGNED....ROBBING CONGRESS OF ANY SAY IN THE PROCESS.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    WE WILL NOT MAKE A DECISION ON SENDING U-S TROOPS UNTIL WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT IN HAND AND CAN EVALUATE WHETHER IT MEETS THE CONDITIONS PRESIDENT CLINTON OUTLINED.

    /// END ACT ////

    BUT CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ARE SKEPTICAL. SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT ORDERED THE DEBATE BECAUSE HE FELT IT WOULD GUARANTEE A CONGRESSIONAL ROLE..

    THE SPEAKER HAS SAID LITTLE IN PUBLIC ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY, LIMITING HIS COMMENTS TO WRITTEN STATEMENTS. BUT OTHER REPUBLICANS ARE SPEAKING OUT.

    ARIZONA CONGRESS JIM KOLBE HEARD THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S PLEA.. HE WAS NOT MOVED.

    /// KOLBE ACT ///

    I AM DISTURBED THE ADMINISTRATION THINKS CONGRESS SHOULD NOT DISCUSS THIS.

    /// END ACT /////

    MR. KOLBE SAID HE IS NOT SURE HOW HE WILL VOTE....BUT HE SAID CONGRESS DOES HAVE A DUTY TO DEBATE A POSSIBLE DEPLOYMENT OF 4-THOUSAND U-S TROOPS.

    /// KOLBE ACT ///

    I DO THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR CONGRESS -- WHICH AS YOU KNOW UNDER THE CONSTITUTION HAS A RESPONSIBILITY FOR FUNDING THESE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES. SO I DO THINK THE FOUNDING FATHERS DID ANTICIPATE CONGRESS WOULD HAVE A ROLE IN THIS KIND OF FOREIGN POLICY DECISION.

    ////END ACT///

    THERE ARE A WIDE VARIETY OF VIEWS IN CONGRESS ON KOSOVO, AND IT IS UNCLEAR HOW THE DEBATE WILL EVOLVE. THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION HAS MAINTAINED ALL ALONG THAT IT DOES NOT NEED CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL TO DEPLOY TROOPS. BUT SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT LEFT NO DOUBT A VOTE OF DISAPPROVAL COULD DO IRREPARABLE HARM. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PW/LTD/KL
    10-Mar-99 1:04 PM EST (1804 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] CONGRESS-KOSOVO (L-ONITER) BY PAULA WOLFSON (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246476
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE U-S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES TODAY (THURSDAY) ON THE WISDOM OF SENDING AMERICAN TROOPS TO KOSOVO -- IF THERE IS A PEACE AGREEMENT. TECHNICALLY, THE MEASURE WILL NOT PREVENT PRESIDENT CLINTON FROM TAKING ACTION. BUT AS V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS, ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS FEAR A POLITICALLY CHARGED DEBATE WILL DO IRREPARABLE HARM TO THE PEACE PROCESS.

    TEXT: SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT SAYS THE TIMING OF THE DEBATE IS HORRIBLE. SHE IS URGING CONGRESS TO RECONSIDER.

    ///ALBRIGHT///

    MY REQUEST THIS MORNING IS SUCH A VOTE NOT BE TAKEN WHILE WE ARE AT THIS CRITICAL TIME IN OUR NEGOTIATIONS AND OUR ATTEMPTS TO SECURE A SETTLEMENT.

    ///END ACT///

    DURING AN APPEARANCE BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE, MS. ALBRIGHT ISSUED A STRONG APPEAL. SHE SAID A DIVISIVE DEBATE COULD DAMAGE EFFORTS TO GET SERBS AND ETHNIC ALBANIANS TO AGREE TO A PEACE PLAN.

    ///ALBRIGHT ACT///

    A DEBATE IN WHICH THERE IS SOME QUESTIONING ABOUT WHETHER WE HAVE AN APPROPRIATE POLICY IS DIFFICULT IN TERMS OF TRYING TO CARRY OUT THAT POLICY.

    ///END ACT///

    // OPT //

    HER VIEWS RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM FORMER SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER BOB DOLE. MR. DOLE RECENTLY WENT TO THE BALKANS AS PRESIDENT CLINTON'S EMISSARY. HE SAID A CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE IS WARRANTED, BUT NOT NOW.

    ///DOLE ACT///

    IF I WERE PRESIDENT, I WOULD HOPE THEY WOULDN'T VOTE ON THIS RESOLUTION AT LEAST UNTIL THERE HAS BEEN SOME AGREEMENT REACHED.

    ///END ACT - END OPT///

    BUT HOUSE SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT IS STANDING FIRM. IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT, HE SAID NO ONE SHOULD FEAR THE FREE EXPRESSION OF IDEAS. HE ALSO SAID THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO HEAR FROM THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES WHEN THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO SEND TROOPS INTO AN AREA OF ARMED CONFLICT.

    // OPT //

    MR. HASTERT'S WORDS WON PRAISE FROM CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN TOM CAMPBELL -- AN EXPERT IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

    ///CAMPBELL ACT///

    IT'S BEEN MY VIEW FROM THE START WHETHER YOU ARE IN FAVOR OR OPPOSED, THAT THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES CONGRESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT BEFORE (A DEPLOYMENT IS ORDERED), AND NOT SIMPLY BEING TOLD AFTERWARDS.

    ///END ACT (END OPT)///

    SENATORS ARE EXPECTED TO VOTE ON A SIMILAR RESOLUTION NEXT WEEK. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PW/JO
    10-Mar-99 6:46 PM EST (2346 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] NATO-KOSOVO (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN ()

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246469
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO PLANS TO HAVE NINE THOUSAND TROOPS READY TO GO INTO THE SERBIAN PROVINCE OF KOSOVO BY THE END OF THE WEEK WAITING FOR THE POLITICAL SIGNAL TO BEGIN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS THERE. RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM BRUSSELS, NATO MILITARY LEADERS ARE INSISTING ON LEADING THE FORCE WITHOUT ANY INTERFERENCE.

    TEXT: NATO MILITARY CHIEFS OF STAFF HAVE AGREED THE PEACE-KEEPING FORCE NOW BEING PREPARED IN MACEDONIA WILL BE LED BY NATO AND NOT SUBJECT TO ANY CONTROL BY THE UNITED NATIONS OR THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE. THE CHAIRMAN OF NATO'S MILITARY COMMITTEE, GENERAL KLAUS NAUMANN, HAS DISMISSED OBJECTIONS BY YUGOSLAVIA TO A PEACEKEEPING FORCE UNDER NATO'S FLAG.

    ///NAUMANN ACT///

    OF COURSE, WE ALL WAIT FOR THE RESUMPTION OF THE TALKS IN FRANCE AND THERE WAS A UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT IN THE MILITARY COMMITTEE AND THE CHIEFS OF STAFF SESSION THAT ANY PEACEKEEPING FORCE WHICH SHOULD BE SENT INTO KOSOVO HAS TO BE A NATO- LED FORCE AND THAT THIS FORCE HAS TO AVOID ANYTHING THAT COULD BE CALLED A DUAL KEY ARRANGEMENT.

    ///END ACT///

    GENERAL NAUMANN SAYS NATO HAS SEEN THE DISADVANTAGES OF A DUAL KEY ARRANGEMENT IN BOSNIA WHERE UNITED NATIONS CONTROL RESTRAINED NATO MILITARY ACTION IN 1994 AND EARLY 1995. IN SEPARATE MEETINGS WITH THE RUSSIAN AND UKRAINIAN CHIEFS OF STAFF, THE NATO OFFICIAL HEARD AN INSISTENCE THAT THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVE ANY NATO LED FORCE. UKRAINE'S OFFER OF A FIELD HOSPITAL AND INFANTRY FOR THE KOSOVO FORCE WAS MADE CONDITIONAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION.

    GENERAL NAUMANN SAYS NATO WILL HAVE NINE THOUSAND SOLDIERS READY TO ENTER KOSOVO JUST AS SOON AS THE POLITICAL SIGNAL IS GIVEN FROM FRANCE. NATO PLANS TO HAVE 26 THOUSAND SOLDIERS IN THE SERBIAN PROVINCE WHEN THE FORCE IS COMPLETE. HE INSISTS THAT IS NOT TOO MANY TO KEEP APART THE SERBS AND KOSOVO ALBANIANS.

    ///NAUMANN ACT///

    WE HAVE TO SEPARATE THESE CHAPS. WE HAVE TO KEEP THEM APART. WE HAVE TO BRING THEM INTO CANTONMENTS. WE HAVE TO DISARM THEM. MANYOF THEM WON'T LIKE THIS AND AFTER ALL, WE ARE PRESUMABLY NOT BEING WELCOMED BY SOME WITH BUNCHES OF FLOWERS.

    ///END ACT///

    GENERAL NAUMANN ESTIMATES SERBIAN FORCES ALREADY HAVE 24 THOUSAND SOLDIERS ON DUTY IN KOSOVO, PLAYING, IN HIS WORDS, THEIR DIRTY GAMES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PT
    10-Mar-99 3:19 PM EST (2019 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] NATO / EUROPE (L ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246456
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO'S EUROPEAN MEMBERS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO STRENGTHEN THEIR OWN DEFENSE IDENTITY. BRITAIN'S DEFENSE SECRETARY TOLD A LONDON CONFERENCE CELEBRATING NATO'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY THAT EUROPE MUST IMPROVE ITS MILITARY CAPABILITIES TO HELP SHOULDER NATO'S NEW DEFENSE BURDENS. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM LONDON.

    TEXT: BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY GEORGE ROBERTSON SAYS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A EUROPEAN DEFENSE IDENTITY WILL NOT UNDERMINE THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ONE ///

    OUR OBJECTIVE HAS BEEN QUITE SIMPLE. WE WANT TO STRENGTHEN THE ABILITY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO PURSUE FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES, TO GIVE THE EUROPEAN UNION A PLACE IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS WORTHY OF ITS SIZE, EXPERIENCE AND ECONOMIC STRENGTH.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. ROBERTSON INSISTS THE CONCEPT DOES NOT COMPETE WITH THE NATO ALLIANCE, WHICH HE DESCRIBES AS THE CORNERSTONE OF EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENSE. BUT HE SAYS EUROPE NEEDS TO STRENGTHEN ITS MILITARY CAPABILITIES TO KEEP UP.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT TWO ///

    WE NEED FORCES THAT ARE GENUINELY USABLE IN THE FIELD AND NOT JUST ON PAPER. PAPER ARMIES NEVER WON A WAR. PAPER ARMIES NEVER KEPT A PEACE.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS CALLED ON EUROPE TO TAKE UP MORE OF NATO'S BURDEN. BUT A SECURITY AND DEFENSE IDENTITY FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION -- KNOWN AS E-S-D-I -- HAS RAISED SOME CONCERNS.

    DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE TALBOTT TOLD THE LONDON CONFERENCE A EUROPEAN DEFENSE ALLIANCE MUST NOT CREATE IMPRESSIONS THAT COULD WEAKEN THE TRANSATLANTIC LINKS.

    /// TALBOTT ACT ///

    IF E-S-D-I IS MISCONCEIVED, MISUNDERSTOOD, OR MISHANDLED, IT COULD CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT COULD EVENTUALLY LEAD TO THE REALITY THAT A NEW EUROPEAN-ONLY ALLIANCE IS BEING BORN OUT OF THE OLD TRANS-ATLANITC ONE. IF THAT WERE TO HAPPEN, IT WOULD WEAKEN AND PERHAPS EVEN BREAK THOSE TIES THAT BIND OUR SECURITY TO YOURS.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. TALBOTT ALSO WARNS THAT STRENGTHENING WHAT IS CALLED THE EUROPEAN "PILLAR" OF NATO CANNOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY CURRENT OR NEW ALLIANCE MEMBERS WHO ARE NOT ALSO PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH
    10-Mar-99 10:04 AM EST (1504 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] EVALUATING THE EURO BY MICHAEL BOWMAN (MIAMI)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42814
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, 11 EUROPEAN NATIONS LAUNCHED A NEW, UNIFIED CURRENCY -- THE EURO. SOME ECONOMISTS PREDICTED THE EURO WOULD RAPIDLY GAIN STRENGTH AGAINST THE U-S DOLLAR. IN FACT, THE OPPOSITE HAS OCCURRED, AND THE NEW CURRENCY IS CURRENTLY TRADING ABOUT EIGHT-PERCENT LOWER AGAINST THE DOLLAR THAN WHEN IT WAS INTRODUCED. TOP EUROPEAN BANKING AND MONETARY OFFICIALS RECENTLY GATHERED IN MIAMI (FLORIDA) TO REVIEW THE EURO'S EARLY PERFORMANCE AND ASSESS THE CURRENCY'S LONG-TERM IMPACT ON GLOBAL MARKETS AND FINANCE. V-O-A'S MICHAEL BOWMAN REPORTS.

    TEXT: IF EUROPEAN MONETARY OFFICIALS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE EURO'S SLIDE, THEY AREN'T SHOWING IT. JEAN-RENE BERNARD SITS ON THE MONETARY POLICY COUNCIL OF FRANCE'S CENTRAL BANK (BANQUE DE FRANCE). MR. BERNARD SAYS THE DOLLAR IS BEING PROPELLED BY STRONG U-S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE, A GROWING BUDGET SURPLUS IN THE UNITED STATES, AND THE EXPECTATION THAT THE U-S FEDERAL RESERVE WILL BOOST INTEREST RATES TO KEEP INFLATION IN CHECK.

    // BERNARD ACT //

    THE SPARKLING GROWTH OF THE U-S ECONOMY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 1998 EXPLAINS THE RISE IN THE DOLLAR VIS-A-VIS THE EURO. (ALSO) THE UNITED STATES HAS A LARGE BUDGET SURPLUS, WHEREAS ALL THE COUNTRIES OF THE EURO AREA HAVE A DEFICIT. THESE ARE ELEMENTS THAT WORK IN FAVOR OF AN APPRECIATION OF THE DOLLAR.

    // END ACT //

    MR. BERNARD SAYS CURRENCIES GAIN AND LOSE VALUE RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER IN A CYCLICAL FASHION. FOR EXAMPLE, HE NOTES THE DOLLAR DEPRECIATED NEARLY 50-PERCENT AGAINST MAJOR EUROPEAN CURRENCIES BETWEEN 1985 AND 1988. MR. BERNARD SAYS, IF ECONOMIC GROWTH SLOWS IN THE UNITED STATES AND PICKS UP IN EUROPE, THE EURO WILL LIKELY RECOVER.

    THE EURO'S INTRODUCTION CONTINUES TO GENERATE EXCITEMENT AMONG BANKING OFFICIALS FROM THE 11 NATIONS THAT HAVE ADOPTED IT. NORBERT WALTER, CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR GERMANY'S 'DEUTSCHE BANK,' SAYS THE EURO WILL SERVE AS WHAT HE CALLS AN ECONOMIC FITNESS PROGRAM FOR EUROPE, ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND CHALLENGING THE DOLLAR'S DOMINANCE AS A GLOBAL RESERVE CURRENCY.

    // WALTER ACT //

    THE EURO WILL BE TO THE DOLLAR WHAT AIRBUS BECAME TO BOEING (IN AIRLINE COMPETITION). THAT GIVES YOU AN IDEA ABOUT WHAT IS COMING. SIXTY YEARS OF (U- S) HEGEMONY ARE OVER. THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE.

    // END ACT //

    DESPITE HIS OPTIMISM, MR. WALTER SAYS HE DISAGREES WITH THOSE WHO PREDICT THE EURO WILL EQUAL THE DOLLAR'S NEAR UNIVERSAL APPEAL AS A RESERVE CURRENCY IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

    // WALTER ACT //

    THE ECONOMIC POSITION OF EUROPE EQUALS THE U-S ECONOMIC POSITION. BUT IN TERMS OF POLITICAL AND SECURITY ISSUES, THERE IS ONLY ONE SUPERPOWER LEFT, THE UNITED STATES. SECURITY AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP HAVE A BEARING FOR ORIENTATING EXCHANGE RATES AND RESERVE CURRENCY STATUS. THEREFORE, I SUGGEST THAT THE DOLLAR WILL REMAIN IN THE VICINITY OF 50-PERCENT OF WORLD CURRENCY RESERVES, AND THE EURO MAY MAKE IT TO 35-PERCENT.

    // END ACT //

    MONETARY OFFICIALS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE MIAMI CONFERENCE EXPRESSED HOPE THAT OTHER E-U NATIONS -- ESPECIALLY BRITAIN -- WILL ADOPT THE EURO IN COMING YEARS. SUSAN DUNN, VICE-CONSUL OF BRITAIN'S INVESTMENT BUREAU AT ITS CONSULATE IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SAYS BRITAIN HAS GOOD REASONS FOR DELAYING ITS EMBRACE OF MONETARY UNION.

    // DUNN ACT //

    THE REASON WE ARE NOT IN IS THAT OUR ECONOMIC CYCLE IS MUCH MORE LIKE (THAT OF) THE U-S THAN THE REST OF EUROPE. OUR INTEREST RATE STANDS AT SIX-PERCENT; THE EURO-ZONE INTEREST RATE IS THREE- PERCENT. THE MESSAGE THAT WE'RE TRYING TO GIVE IS: YES, WE'RE NOT IN - BUT WE'RE TOTALLY PREPARED.

    // END ACT //

    MS. DUNN SAYS BRITAIN WILL HAVE A REFERENDUM ON MONETARY UNION ON OR ABOUT THE YEAR 2002. SHOULD THE MEASURE PASS, SHE SAYS BRITAIN WOULD LIKELY ADOPT THE EURO THE FOLLOWING YEAR. (SIGNED)
    NEB/MCB/GE
    10-Mar-99 10:45 AM EST (1545 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] IRAN / EUROPE BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42815
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: IRANIAN PRESIDENT MOHAMAD KHATAMI'S VISIT TO EUROPE THIS WEEK IS THE FIRST BY AN IRANIAN LEADER SINCE THE 1979 ISLAMIC REVOLUTION. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN LOOKS AT HOW THE TRIP MARKS ANOTHER STEP IN MR. KHATAMI'S EFFORTS TO END IRAN'S DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION AND RESTORE ITS CREDIBILITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ARENA.

    TEXT: IN THE EARLY YEARS AFTER THE 1979 ISLAMIC REVOLUTION TOPPLED SHAH REZA PAHLEVI, THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF IRAN WERE TREATED AS PARIAHS IN THE WORLD OF INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY.

    SINCE HIS ELECTION NEARLY TWO YEARS AGO, PRESIDENT MOHAMAD KHATAMI HAS SOUGHT TO MODERATE THE REVOLUTION'S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL POLICIES AT HOME AND TO REACH OUT TO END IRAN'S DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION ABROAD.

    GEORGE JOFFE (JAH FAY), THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE ROYAL INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS IN LONDON SAYS MR. KHATAMI'S VISIT TO ITALY -- AND HIS PLANS TO VISIT FRANCE AND GERMANY LATER IN THE YEAR -- UNDERSCORE HOW MUCH IRAN WANTS AND NEEDS TO BE RE-INTEGRATED BACK INTO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

    /// JOFFE ACT ///

    IT'S A DEMONSTRATION THAT IRAN IS NOW TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A MAJOR POWER IN THE GULF REGION -- AS A MAJOR PLAYER ON THE WORLD STAGE. AND THAT REALLY FOR MR. KHATAMI IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFIT HE CAN BRING BACK.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE TRIP ALSO HELPS REVITALIZE TRADE LINKS THAT ARE KEY TO IRAN'S EFFORTS TO REBUILD ITS BATTERED ECONOMY. TWO IMPORTANT OIL CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN SIGNED WITH ITALY. OTHER EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS ARE LOOKING FOR MORE OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAN'S MARKETS TOO. LAST MONTH, IRAN'S PARLIAMENT AGREED TO LET FOREIGN COMPANIES OWN UP TO 49 PERCENT IN ANY IRANIAN COMPANY.

    PRESIDENT KHATAMI ALSO HAS USED HIS ROME VISIT TO SEND IMPORTANT SIGNALS BEYOND EUROPE TO WASHINGTON. THE IRANIAN LEADER HAS DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM HIS GOVERNMENT'S PAST PRACTICES WHEN HE DENOUNCES TERRORISM AND PROMISES IRAN WILL OPPOSE THE SPREAD OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    BUT MR. JOFFE POINTS OUT THAT PRESIDENT KHATAMI STILL FACES A POWERFUL CONSERVATIVE OPPOSITION BACK HOME.

    /// JOFFE ACT TWO ///

    HE KNOWS, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THE SUPREME LEADER AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI IS NOT NECESSARILY CONVINCED OF THE NECESSITY OR DESIRABILITY OF DIALOGUE AT THIS LEVEL, ALTHOUGH HE'D CERTAINLY PREFER IT WITH THE EUROPEANS RATHER THAN WITH THE UNITED STATES. AND THAT BEHIND HIM STANDS THE BAZAAR (IRAN'S CONSERVATIVE BUSINESS CLASS) WHICH IS VERY ANXIOUS INDEED, NOT ONLY ABOUT THE STATE OF THE IRANIAN ECONOMY, BUT ALSO ABOUT THE PLANS THE KHATAMI GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE TOWARD THEIR INTEREST IN IT.

    /// END ACT ///

    STILL, MR. JOFFE AND OTHER IRAN-WATCHERS AGREE THE MODERATING TREND IN IRAN IS TAKING HOLD, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE OVERWHELMING SUCCESS OF REFORM-MINDED CANDIDATES IN LOCAL ELECTIONS LAST MONTH. THEY SAY EUROPEAN SUPPORT CAN HELP MR. KHATAMI AND HIS SUPPORTERS IN THEIR FIGHT AGAINST THE NAY-SAYERS BACK HOME. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/GE
    10-Mar-99 12:05 PM EST (1705 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] IRAN / ITALY (L ONLY) BY SABINA CASTELFRANCO (ROME)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246451
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: KHATAMI MEETING WITH POPE JOHN PAUL SCHEDULED AT 1000 U-T-C (5 AM EST) THURSDAY ///

    INTRO: IRANIAN PRESIDENT MOHAMMAD KHATAMI SAYS HE IS CERTAIN HIS NEW POLICY OF DIALOGUE WITH OTHER CULTURES WILL BE SUCCESSFUL. SABINA CASTELFRANCO IN ROME REPORTS MR. KHATAMI MADE THE STATEMENT AFTER TALKS WITH ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MASSIMO D'ALEMA.

    TEXT: AT THE END OF MORE THAN ONE HOUR OF TALKS WITH THE ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, PRESIDENT KHATAMI SAID HE IS CONVINCED OF THE ABSOLUTE NEED TO ESTABLISH DEMOCRACY AT AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL AND TO REJECT ANY KIND OF DICTATORSHIP.

    MR. KHATAMI ALSO SAID HE IS SURE THAT IRAN'S NEW POLICY OF DIALOGUE WITH OTHER CULTURES WILL BE SUCCESSFUL. "I AM PROUD", HE SAID, "AS PRESIDENT OF IRAN AT THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY TO HAVE BEGUN THIS DIALOGUE".

    ITALY'S PRIME MINISTER MASSIMO D'ALEMA PRAISED THE IRANIAN LEADER, SAYING HE FOUND MR. KHATAMI -- IN HIS WORDS -- PROUD OF HIS PEOPLE'S BATTLE TO AFFIRM THEIR DIGNITY AND INDEPENDENCE, OPEN TO DIALOGUE WITH OTHER PEOPLES AND CULTURES, AND ATTENTIVE OF THOSE VALUES OF DEMOCRACY WHICH ARE THE BEST PART OF EUROPEAN TRADITIONS.

    ITALIAN OFFICIALS HAVE GIVEN MR. KHATAMI A WARM RECEPTION DESPITE STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE VISIT BY ONE-THIRD OF THE COUNTRY'S PARLIAMENT AND BY IRANIAN DISSIDENTS.

    ITALY APPEARS READY TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT MR. KHATAMI'S EFFORTS TO PULL IRAN OUT OF INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION, BUT IT SAYS IRAN WILL HAVE TO DO ITS SHARE. ITALY'S FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBERTO DINI -- IN A COLUMN WRITTEN FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE SAID IRAN WILL HAVE TO MAKE CLEAR PROGRESS ON INTERNAL DEMOCRACY AND PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF ITS DISSASOCIATION FROM INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.

    MR. DINI SAID THAT IRAN IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH DIALOGUE ON AN EQUAL FOOTING WITH THE WEST, AND HE EXPRESSED THE CONVICTION THAT THE UNITED STATES ALSO IS BEGINNING TO VIEW IRAN IN A NEW LIGHT.

    /// OPT ///

    THE ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TRAVELLED WITH MR. KHATAMI TO THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE IN FLORENCE WHERE THE IRANIAN LEADER WAS TO GIVE A SPEECH. /// END OPT ///

    ON THURSDAY, MR. KHATAMI'S FINAL DAY IN ITALY, THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT IS SCHEDULED TO MEET PRIVATELY WITH POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND. THE MEETING, WHICH BRINGS TOGETHER KEY LEADERS OF THE WORLD'S TWO LARGEST FAITHS, IS CONSIDERED TO BE OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE FOR DIALOGUE BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SC/JWH
    10-Mar-99 9:42 AM EST (1442 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] BRITAIN / FRANCE / AFRICA (L ONLY) BY JOHN PITMAN (ABIDJAN)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246449
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF BRITAIN AND FRANCE ARE TOURING WEST AFRICA TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE MINISTERS BEGAN THEIR VISIT IN GHANA, A FORMER BRITISH COLONY, ON WEDNESDAY. THEY WRAP UP THEIR TOUR IN THE IVORY COAST, A FORMER FRENCH COLONY, ON THURSDAY. V-O-A'S JOHN PITMAN REPORTS FROM ABIDJAN.

    TEXT: THIS JOINT WEST AFRICAN TOUR BY BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ROBIN COOK, AND FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER HUBERT VEDRINE HAS ITS ROOTS IN A SMALL TOWN IN WESTERN FRANCE.

    LAST DECEMBER, BRITAIN AND FRANCE SIGNED A DECLARATION IN THE TOWN OF ST. MALO, IN NORMANDY, COMMITTING THEMSELVES TO CLOSER COOPERATION IN AFRICA -- ESPECIALLY IN THEIR FORMER COLONIES.

    GHANA WON ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN IN 1957. THE IVORY COAST GAINED ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM FRANCE THREE YEARS LATER IN 1960. IN THE FOUR DECADES SINCE INDEPENDENCE, HOWEVER, THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE MAINTAINED CLOSE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL TIES WITH THEIR FORMER COLONIAL RULERS -- TIES THAT HAVE FREQUENTLY PLACED LONDON AND PARIS AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER.

    THE ST. MALO DECLARATION CALLS FOR WHAT IS CALLED A "HARMONIZATION" OF BRITISH AND FRENCH POLICIES TOWARD AFRICA. ACCORDING TO A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE BRITISH EMBASSY HERE IN ABIDJAN, THIS NEW COOPERATION IS TO TAKE SEVERAL FORMS, SOME MORE VISIBLE THAN OTHERS.

    AT THE TOP OF THE AGENDA ARE JOINT MINISTERIAL VISITS, LIKE THIS ONE, AS WELL AS REGULAR BI-LATERAL CONFERENCES FOR BRITISH AND FRENCH DIPLOMATS IN AFRICA. THE ST. MALO DECLARATION ALSO SPELLED OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF THE TWO COUNTRIES SHARING EMBASSY SPACE IN PARTS OF AFRICA, OR REPRESENTING EACH OTHER IN AFRICAN NATIONS WHERE ONLY ONE OF THEM HAS A DIPLOMATIC MISSION.

    BEYOND THESE PHYSICAL SIGNS OF COOPERATION, THE TWO COLONIAL POWERS SAY THEY WILL COOPERATE MORE CLOSELY TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA. A JOINT APPROACH TO DEBT RELIEF FOR AFRICAN COUNTRIES IS ALSO A PRIORITY.

    IN A STATEMENT, BRITAIN'S FOREIGN SECRETARY, ROBIN COOK, SAID BASED ON THEIR COMMON INTERESTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN AFRICA, IT HAS BECOME, IN HIS WORDS, "SENSIBLE" FOR THE TWO COUNTRIES TO POOL THEIR ASSETS AND EXPERIENCES.

    /// REST OPT ///

    IN GHANA, THE TWO MINISTERS WILL MEET PRESIDENT JERRY RAWLINGS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS GOVERNMENT. ON THURSDAY, HERE IN ABIDJAN, THE MINISTERS WILL MEET IVORY COAST'S PRESIDENT, HENRI KONAN BEDIE, AND WILL LEAD A CONFERENCE ATTENDED BY BRITISH AND FRENCH AMBASSADORS IN AFRICA. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JP/JWH
    10-Mar-99 8:34 AM EST (1334 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] EUROPE / BURMA (L ONLY) BY GARY THOMAS (BANGKOK)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246439
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A MEETING BETWEEN FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS, SCHEDULED FOR THE END OF THIS MONTH IN BERLIN, HAS BEEN SCRAPPED BECAUSE OF DIFFERENCES OVER BURMA. AS VOA SOUTHEAST ASIA CORRESPONDENT GARY THOMAS REPORTS, DIPLOMATS ARE ARRANGING A LOWER KEY, FACE-SAVING MEETING IN ITS PLACE. TEXT; BANGKOK-BASED EUROPEAN DIPLOMATS SAYS THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TWO BLOCS OVER BURMA HAS FORCED THE SCHEDULED E-U / ASEAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING TO BE CALLED OFF. THE DIPLOMATS, WHO ASKED NOT TO BE NAMED, SAYS A SCALED-DOWN MEETING BETWEEN MINISTERS OF BOTH SIDES WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF THE FULL MEETING.

    THE ASEAN / E-U FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING HAD BEEN SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 31ST IN BERLIN. GERMANY CURRENTLY HOLDS THE ROTATING PRESIDENCY OF THE E-U.

    ASKED FOR COMMENT, A SPOKESMAN FOR THE GERMAN EMBASSY IN BANGKOK WOULD NOT DIRECTLY CONFIRM THE CANCELLATION, BUT SAID THAT IT WAS, IN HIS WORDS, "VERY, VERY UNLIKELY" THE MEETING WOULD TAKE PLACE. HE ADDED THAT THE E-U VERY MUCH REGRETS THAT ASEAN WOULD NOT CHANGE ITS STANCE ON BURMA'S PARTICIPATION.

    THE DISPUTE AROSE OVER WHETHER BURMA WOULD TAKE PART IN THE FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING. BURMA WAS ADMITTED AS A FULL MEMBER OF ASEAN IN 1997 AND ASEAN SAID THAT, AS SUCH, BURMA HAS THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BERLIN GATHERING. HOWEVER, THE E-U OBJECTS TO BURMA'S TREATMENT OF THE COUNTRY'S PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT. SOME MEMBER NATIONS -- LED BY BRITAIN, DENMARK, AND SWEDEN -- WOULD ONLY ALLOW BURMA'S PARTICIPATION IF DISCUSSION OF BURMA'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD WERE ALLOWED.

    THE E-U VISA BAN ON BURMESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WOULD ALSO HAVE TO BE LIFTED IF BURMESE FOREIGN MINISTER WIN AUNG WAS TO BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND.

    EUROPEAN DIPLOMATS SAY WHAT IS NOW ENVISIONED IS A SO-CALLED "CORRIDOR" MEETING ON THE EDGES OF THE ASIA-EUROPE MEETING, OR ASEM, IN BERLIN. ASEM IS AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT FORUM, AND BURMA IS NOT A MEMBER.

    THE DIPLOMATS SAY THREE FOREIGN MINISTERS REPRESENTING PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE PRESIDENTS OF THE E-U -- AUSTRIA, FINLAND, AND GERMANY -- WILL MEET WITH A SIMILAR BUT AS YET UNDETERMINED ASEAN DELEGATION. DETAILS, THEY SAY, ARE BEING WORKED OUT.

    EUROPEAN OFFICIALS ARE STILL HOPING A SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING OF THE ASEAN / E-U JOINT COOPERATION COMMITTEE CAN BE SALVAGED. THAT MEETING WAS ALREADY CANCELLED ONCE BEFORE, IN JANUARY, WHEN A COMPROMISE OVER BURMA'S PARTICIPATION IN THAT MEETING COULD NOT BE REACHED. (SIGNED)
    NEB/GPT/FC
    10-Mar-99 4:42 AM EST (0942 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [10] FRANCE LIBYA TRIAL (L-ONLY) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246458
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A FRENCH COURT WEDNESDAY CONVICTED AND SENTENCED SIX LIBYANS IN THEIR ABSENCE TO LIFE IN JAIL FOR THE 1989 BOMBING OF A FRENCH AIRLINER THAT KILLED 170 PEOPLE ON BOARD. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: THE SIX LIBYANS -- INCLUDING ABDALLAH SENOUSSI, A BROTHER-IN-LAW OF LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADHAFI -- WERE ALL GIVEN THE MAXIMUM LIFE SENTENCE FOR THE BOMBING OF A FRENCH D-C-10 AIRLINER OVER NIGER IN 1989. ALL OF THEM WERE ABSENT FROM THE TRIAL, HOWEVER.

    WHILE NONE IS LIKELY TO EVER SEE THE INSIDE OF A FRENCH PRISON CELL, THE VERDICT DOES MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR THE SIX -- ALL MEMBERS OF LIBYA'S SECURITY SERVICES OR DIPLOMATS -- TO TRAVEL. THEY RISK ARREST AND BEING HANDED OVER TO FRANCE, IF THEY GO ABROAD. IF THEY ARE EVER ARRESTED BY FRENCH POLICE, THEY WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE GUARANTEED A NEW TRIAL UNDER FRENCH LAW.

    THIS WEEK'S TRIAL BY A SPECIAL FRENCH ANTI-TERRORIST COURT LASTED JUST THREE DAYS. THAT'S BECAUSE ONLY THE PROSECUTION'S CASE AND STATEMENTS BY LAWYERS REPRESENTING THE FAMILIES OF THE 170 WHO DIED WERE HEARD.

    THE BOMBING OF THE FRENCH AIRLINER THAT WAS FLYING BETWEEN BRAZZAVILLE AND PARIS, ALONG WITH A SIMILAR ATTACK ON A PAN AMERICAN AIRLINER OVER LOCKERBIE, SCOTLAND NINE MONTHS EARLIER, LED THE UNITED NATIONS TO IMPOSE INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS ON LIBYA.

    THE AMERICANS AND THE BRITISH HAVE SOUGHT THE EXTRADITION OF THE LIBYAN OFFICIALS THEY HOLD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOCKERBIE TRAGEDY TO BE TRIED BEFORE AN INTERNATIONAL COURT. BUT FRANCE HAS NOT FORMALLY SOUGHT THE EXTRADITION OF ITS SIX SUSPECTS. IT HAS INSTEAD TRIED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO PERSUADE LIBYA TO SURRENDER THEM VOLUNTARILY.

    FRANCE'S ANTI-TERRORIST SERVICES CONCLUDED THAT LIBYA WAS RESPONSIBLE AFTER THEY ANALYZED 15 TONS OF WRECKAGE STREWN OVER THE TENERE DESERT. THEIR KEY ITEM OF EVIDENCE WAS PART OF A GERMAN-MADE TIMING DEVICE OF A KIND BOUGHT IN BULK BY LIBYA. THEY CONCLUDED THAT THE BOMB WAS CARRIED UNWITTINGLY BY A CONGOLESE WHO WAS GIVEN THE SUITCASE CONTAINING THE BOMB BY A LIBYAN DIPLOMAT IN BRAZZAVILLE.

    DURING THE INVESTIGATION, LIBYA ALLOWED FRANCE'S MAIN ANTI-TERRORIST INVESTIGATOR TO VISIT TRIPOLI TO INTERVIEW SUSPECTS.

    COLONEL GADHAFI HAS HINTED THAT HE MIGHT BE WILLING TO MAKE THE SUSPECTS SERVE WHATEVER SENTENCES ARE HANDED DOWN IN PARIS -- BUT ONLY THAT TIME IS SERVED IN LIBYAN JAILS. LAWYERS FOR THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES NOW SAY THEY WILL TRY AND PUT PRESSURE ON LIBYA TO MAKE THIS PROMISE COME TRUE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/PCF
    10-Mar-99 11:03 AM EST (1603 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [11] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

    DATE=3/10/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-246474
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: STOCK PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE UP TODAY (WEDNESDAY) AND OIL COMPANY STOCKS HELPED LIFT THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE TO A RECORD HIGH. VOA BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT BRECK ARDERY REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

    TEXT: THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE CLOSED AT A RECORD HIGH 97 HUNDRED 72, UP 79 POINTS. THE STANDARD AND POOR'S 500 INDEX ALSO CLOSED AT A RECORD HIGH 12 HUNDRED 86, UP SEVEN POINTS. THE NASDAQ INDEX GAINED ABOUT ONE-HALF PERCENT.

    A RISE IN OIL PRICES, TRIGGERED BY TALK OF PRODUCTION CUTBACKS, CAUSED OIL COMPANY STOCKS TO MOVE UP AND TWO BIG OIL COMPANIES, EXXON AND CHEVRON, ARE COMPONENTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE.

    ///OPT//

    ART CASHIN OF THE PAINE WEBBER INVESTMENT COMPANY SAYS ALTHOUGH TALK OF RISING OIL PRICES MAY HELP STOCKS IN THE SHORT RUN, TRULY HIGHER OIL PRICES COULD CAUSE INFLATION WHICH WOULD NOT BE GOOD OVER THE LONG TERM.

    ///CASHIN ACT///

    THIS HAS BEEN AN INTEREST RATE-SENSITIVE MARKET AND IF OIL IS REALLY GOING TO RE-ASSERT ITSELF, IT WILL CERTAINLY CAUSE SOME NEW QUESTIONS.

    ///END ACT & OPT///

    RELIANT ENERGY OF THE UNITED STATES IS ENTERING THE EUROPEAN ELECTRIC UTILITY MARKET. RELIANT WILL PAY TWO POINT FOUR BILLION DOLLARS FOR U-N-A, A MAJOR POWER GENERATING FIRM IN THE NETHERLANDS.

    GENERAL MOTORS HAS SIGNED A ONE BILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT TO BUY RECYCLED ALUMINUM OVER THE NEXT 13 YEARS. THE DEAL, WITH THE I-M-C-O RECYCLING COMPANY, WILL GIVE G-M SOME PROTECTION AGAINST POSSIBLE LARGE ALUMINUM PRICE INCREASES IN THE FUTURE. ALTHOUGH STEEL REMAINS THE DOMINANT METAL IN MOTOR VEHICLES, G-M SAYS IT EXPECTS ITS USE OF ALUMINUM TO GROW BY SEVEN PERCENT ANNUALLY FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS.

    ///REST OPT///

    DAIMLER CHRYSLER, THE GERMAN-AMERICAN AUTOMAKER, HAS DECIDED AGAINST AN INVESTMENT IN NISSAN MOTORS OF JAPAN. HOWEVER, ANALYSTS SAY DAIMLER CHRYSLER IS STILL COMMITTED TO INCREASING ITS MARKET SHARE IN ASIA AND MAY EXPLORE AN ALLIANCE WITH JAPAN'S MITSUBISHI MOTORS.

    AN EFFORT IS UNDERWAY IN FRANCE TO CREATE THE WORLD'S LARGEST BANK WITH MORE THAN ONE TRILLION DOLLARS IN ASSETS. THE NATIONAL BANK OF PARIS HAS LAUNCHED A 38 BILLION DOLLAR HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID FOR TWO OTHER FRENCH BANKS -- SOCIETE GENERALE AND PARIBAS. "TOYS R US," THE WORLD'S LARGEST TOY RETAILER, REPORTED AN 18 PERCENT DROP IN QUARTERLY EARNINGS, LARGELY BECAUSE OF FALLING VIDEO GAME PRICES. BUT THE RESULT WAS BETTER THAN WALL STREET ESTIMATES. SEARS, ROEBUCK, THE SECOND-LARGEST RETAILER IN THE UNITED STATES, WILL REPURCHASE UP TO ONE AND ONE-HALF BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF ITS SHARES DURING THE NEXT THREE YEARS. SHARE BUY-BACKS ARE OFTEN A POSITIVE SIGN AND SEARS STOCK ROSE ON THE NEWS.

    PHILIP MORRIS, THE HUGE FOOD AND TOBACCO COMPANY, SAYS IT WILL DONATE 100 MILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS TO FIGHT HUNGER IN THE UNITED STATES. THE DONATION WILL BE SPLIT BETWEEN CASH AND FOOD GIVEN TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS.(SIGNED) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/WFR
    10-Mar-99 5:21 PM EST (2221 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [12] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW N. GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=03/10/99
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11183
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    CONTENT=

    //// EDS: MATERIAL DATED AFTER 10 P-M EST ////

    INTRO: SCANNING THE EDITORIAL PAGES OF WEDNESDAY'S U-S PAPERS, ONE FINDS COMMENTARIES ON A WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS, INCLUDING THE SITUATION IN KOSOVO PROVINCE, YUGOSLAVIA; THE SKI GONDOLA ACCIDENT VERDICT; FACING THE FACTS OF HISTORY IN GUATEMALA; THE BANANA TRADE WAR; AND DEALING WITH THE BUDGET SURPLUS. NOW, HERE IS ______________ WITH A CLOSER LOOK AND SOME EXCERPTS IN TODAY'S EDITORIAL DIGEST.

    TEXT: TODAY'S "WASHINGTON POST" HAS A SARCASTIC COMMENT IN ITS LEAD EDITORIAL ABOUT U-S DEALINGS WITH YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC OVER KOSOVO. IT BEGINS BY QUOTING A STATEMENT THAT DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN MADE ON MARCH FIRST.

    VOICE: [QUOTE] IF THE SERBS, BY VIRTUE OF THEIR HEAVY ARMOR AND THEIR ARTILLERY, START TO ENGAGE IN MASSIVE ASSAULTS UPON INNOCENT VILLAGERS, THAT WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE AGREEMENT ... AND THAT WOULD PROMPT AN ATTACK BY NATO FORCES. [UNQUOTE] SO NOW WE KNOW. IT'S OKAY FOR SERB DICTATOR SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC TO VIOLATE THE AGREEMENT HE SIGNED WITH NATO JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO. IT'S OKAY FOR HIS SERBIAN TROOPS AND POLICE TO ENGAGE IN ASSAULTS UPON INNOCENT VILLAGERS, AS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING SYSTEMATICALLY FOR THE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS, AND TO SEND THOUSANDS MORE FLEEING INTO THE COLD MOUNTAINS. IT'S JUST NOT OKAY FOR THOSE ASSAULTS TO BE 'MASSIVE' -- HOWEVER NATO CHOOSES TO DEFINE THAT TERM. /// OPT

    /// THAT MR. MILOSEVIC IS OUT OF COMPLIANCE IN KOSOVO IS BEYOND QUESTION. ... HIS TROOPS ONCE AGAIN ARE ROAMING FREELY THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE, USING THEIR HEAVY GUNS TO SHELL VILLAGES, DESTROY HOMES AND KILL PEOPLE. ... GIVEN THE IMPUNITY WITH WHICH SERBIAN FORCES HAVE TRASHED THE EARLIER NATO PACT, IT'S NOT SURPRISING IF THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY HESITATES TO GIVE UP ALL ITS WEAPONS, AS U-S OFFICIALS ARE DEMANDING. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: STILL WITH EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" RETURNS TO THE ACQUITTAL OF THE MARINE PILOT WHOSE PLANE CUT A SKI GONDOLA CABLE IN THE ITALIAN ALPS, SENDING 20 PEOPLE TO THEIR DEATHS.

    VOICE: TO MANY AMERICANS, AND PROBABLY MOST EUROPEANS, THE ACQUITTAL OF CAPTAIN RICHARD ASHBY ... MAY SEEM A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. ... BUT THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT HIS COURT MARTIAL SHOWED THAT MANY OTHERS IN THE MARINE CORPS CHAIN OF COMMAND SHARED THE BLAME. THAT GAVE THE JURY REASON NOT TO HOLD CAPTAIN ASHBY CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE. ... THE BLURRING OF INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN NO WAY DIMINISHES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. WASHINGTON MUST GENEROUSLY COMPENSATE THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES. THE PENTAGON MUST ALSO MAKE SURE THAT OTHER PILOTS DO NOT MISINTERPRET THE ASHBY VERDICT AS A LICENSE FOR THE KIND OF INDIFFERENCE TO SAFETY RULES PORTRAYED IN THE TRIAL TESTIMONY.

    TEXT: "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" ALSO DEPLORES THE ACCIDENT, BUT RESISTS CALLING IT A "CRIME" AND POINTS OUT, IN RESPONSE TO ITALIAN OUTRAGE AT THE VERDICT:

    VOICE: THE AMERICAN PLANES FLYING OUT OF BASES IN ITALY THESE DAYS HAVE BOSNIA AND KOSOVO AS THEIR DESTINATIONS. AND ITALIANS HAVE BEEN AMONG THE FIRST TO FEEL THE FLOOD OF REFUGEES STREAMING OUT OF THE BALKANS, PARTICULARLY ALBANIANS WHO ARRIVE IN RICKETY BOATS. ... KEEPING THE FLOOD FROM BECOMING A DELUGE OF HUMANITY IS VERY MUCH ON ITALIAN MINDS. ... REGRETTABLE AND AWFUL AS THIS ACCIDENT WAS FOR EVERYBODY INVOLVED, IT WOULD NOT BE IN THE INTEREST OF ITALIANS OR OTHER EUROPEANS TO SEE THE AMERICANS LEAVE [UNDERSTOOD: "THOSE BASES."]

    TEXT: TURNING TO THIS HEMISPHERE, A RECENT U-N COMMISSION REPORT ON GUATEMALA'S THREE-DECADES-LONG CIVIL WAR, AND ALLEGED U-S COMPLICITY IN IT, DRAWS THIS RESPONSE FROM "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES."

    VOICE: THE TIME HAS COME FOR WASHINGTON TO CLEAR THE AIR ABOUT ITS ROLE. PRESIDENT CLINTON CAN HELP BY SUPPORTING AN EFFORT TO HAVE SOME C-I-A FILES ON ITS GUATEMALA OPERATIONS RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC. THIS CHAPTER OF U-S MEDDLING IN THE AMERICAS SHOULD BE ENDED WITH JUSTICE AND DISCLOSURE.

    TEXT: A GROWING TRADE WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE, THAT BEGAN OVER BANANAS, AND HAS SPREAD TO MANY OTHER PRODUCTS, IS "CHILDISH," POTENTIALLY VERY DESTRUCTIVE, AND SOLVABLE BY COMPROMISE, IN THE OPINION OF TODAY'S "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR" FROM BOSTON.

    VOICE: THREE HUGE ISSUES LIE BEYOND THE RELATIVELY SMALL MATTER OF WHETHER THE E-U [EUROPEAN UNION] IS FREEZING OUT [EXCLUDING] BANANA IMPORTS FROM U-S FIRMS IN CENTRAL AMERICA'S 'BANANA REPUBLICS' IN FAVOR OF [UNDERSTOOD: "BANANA IMPORTS FROM"] EUROPE'S FORMER COLONIES: ONE: THE WORLD'S TWO LARGEST ECONOMIC POWERS ARE ON THE BRINK OF A TIT-FOR-TAT TRADE WAR THAT CAN EASILY SPREAD AND DAMAGE NOT JUST THE BIG GUYS BUT MANY INNOCENT BYSTANDERS. TWO: SUCH A BATTLE COULD QUICKLY UNDERMINE THE STILL-FLEDGING WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION ... THREE: IT WOULD ALSO SAVAGE PROSPECTS FOR A NEW ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS TO FURTHER CUT GLOBAL TRADE BARRIERS AND EXTEND 'LEVEL PLAYING FIELD' RULES.

    TEXT: AS FOR MIDDLE EASTERN ISSUES, "THE BOSTON GLOBE" TALKS ABOUT DEALING WITH IRAN, AS PRESIDENT MOHAMMAD KHATAMI VISITS ROME, THE FIRST SUCH TRIP FOR AN IRANIAN LEADER SINCE THE 1979 REVOLUTION.

    VOICE: THE EUROPEAN EMBRACE OF IRAN COULD PAY OFF HANDSOMELY, IN BOTH ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL TERMS, BUT ONLY IF TWO ASSUMPTIONS ARE PROVEN TRUE. FIRST, THAT [MR.] KHATAMI WILL BE ABLE TO PREVAIL OVER HARDLINERS WHO STILL EXERCISE CONTROL OVER THE IRANIAN SECURITY FORCES, THE ARMY, FOREIGN POLICY, AND THE JUDICIARY. SECOND, THAT ON ISSUES OF FOREIGN AND MILITARY POLICY, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN [PRESIDENT] KHATAMI AND IRAN'S SUPREME LEADER, AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, WHO RECENTLY CONDEMNED YASSER ARAFAT AS A 'TRAITOR AND LACKEY OF THE ZIONISTS.' ... IF [MR.] KHATAMI'S REFORMS END UP PRODUCING ONLY MORE ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THE FREEDOM TO LISTEN TO ROCK 'N' ROLL, EUROPOLS SUCH AS ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MASSIMO D'ALEMA WILL END UP LOOKING LIKE DUPED APPEASERS.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: REGARDING THE RECENT ALLEGATIONS THAT CHINA HAS BEEN STEALING U-S NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, MAINLY FROM THE LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY IN NEW MEXICO, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS" WANTS A THOROUGH CONGRESSIONAL PROBE. AND THE PAPER ASKS:

    VOICE: WHY WOULD A NATIONAL SECURITY GURU [NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER SANDY BERGER] CHOOSE TO HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL AND SPEAK NO EVIL? ONE POSSIBILITY IS THAT MR. BERGER SUBSUMED THE NATIONAL SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE POLITICAL FORTUNES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON IN THE 1996 ELECTION. IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE CONSISTENT WITH A CAMPAIGN THAT, AS [NEW YORK TIMES] COLUMNIST WILLIAM SAFIRE PUTS IT, GAVE 'CHINA'S AGENTS ... THE RUN OF THE WHITE HOUSE AS THEY RAISED MILLIONS FOR THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN.'

    TEXT: SOME THOUGHTS FROM TODAY'S "CHICAGO TRIBUNE," ON THE POSSIBLE JETTISONING OF RUSSIAN PREMIER YEVGENY PRIMAKOV:

    VOICE: .AILING RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN, WHO POPS BACK INTO WORK OCCASIONALLY TO FIRE SELECTED OFFICIALS, MAY BE THREATENING, YET AGAIN, TO COMPLICATE AN ALREADY UNSTABLE SITUATION. ON SATURDAY, [MR.] YELTSIN DELIVERED A TOUGH WARNING TO HIS PRIME MINISTER, YEVGENY PRIMAKOV, ACCUSING HIM, THROUGH AN AIDE, OF COMPLACENCY IN DEALING WITH RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC NIGHTMARE. OMINOUSLY, THE MESSAGE CAME AMID SPECULATION THAT [MR.] PRIMAKOV, OR SOME OF HIS SENIOR CABINET MINISTERS, WERE ABOUT TO BE FIRED. [PRESIDENT] YELTSIN'S MOTIVES MAY BE WELL-INTENTIONED ... BUT AXING [FIRING] [MR.] PRIMAKOV AT THIS POINT WOULD BE ANOTHER DISASTER FOR RUSSIA.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: AND FINALLY, TO DOMESTIC AFFAIRS, AND ALL THE CONGRESSIONAL BATTLING OVER WHAT TO DO WITH THE NATION'S BUDGET SURPLUS. "THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER" SAYS THE SURPLUS MAY N O T BE REAL.

    VOICE: THE FUNDAMENTAL MIRAGE IS OF BURGEONING SURPLUSES - - CREATED BY THE FAILURE TO EXCLUDE SOCIAL SECURITY SURPLUSES FROM THE OFFICIAL 'UNIFIED' BUDGET. THIS LETS CONGRESS HIDE THIS YEAR'S OPERATING DEFICIT OF ABOUT 20-BILLION DOLLARS -- AND BRAG INSTEAD OF A 100-BILLION-PLUS SURPLUS. WHICH LEADS TO THE LOONY [CRAZY] BICKERING OVER WHAT TO DO WITH A SURPLUS, WHEN THERE'S STILL A MODEST DEFICIT TO ELIMINATE.

    TEXT: THAT CONCLUDES THIS SAMPLING OF COMMENTS FROM THE EDITORIAL PAGES OF SOME OF WEDNESDAY'S U-S PAPERS.
    NEB/ANG/KL
    10-Mar-99 10:54 AM EST (1554 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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