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Voice of America, 99-07-27

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

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





    INTRO: A NATO spokesman says Friday's massacre of 14 Serb farmers may be part of a larger plot to destabilize Kosovo. Tim Belay reports from Pristina on the efforts behind the investigation into the incident.

    TEXT: On average, there have been about 30 murders a week in Kosovo since NATO arrived here about six weeks ago. While investigators from several organizations are busy trying to solve those crimes, last Friday's massacre south of Pristina is getting extraordinary attention. NATO's lieutenant commander, Louis Garneau, says there are a couple of reasons for the huge effort to find out who killed the Serbs from the village of Gracko.

    ///GARNEAU ACT ///

    It is indicative of something that is potentially much more serious. It could be sign of something organized at a much larger level in terms of criminal activity or individuals who are set on blocking the peace process that is ongoing in Kosovo.

    ///END ACT ///

    Lieutenant Commander Garneau says it is also very important to show the people of Kosovo and the international community that the NATO-led K-FOR alliance in the province takes its peacekeeping mandate very seriously and is investigating thoroughly crimes against both Serbs and Albanians.


    We have to stamp out subversive elements and we have to be seen stamping out subversive elements. Thirteen murders at once is a frightening thought. It could be. indicative of some people, organized groups who want to see NATO (and) they want to see the international community fail.

    /// END ACT ///

    All but one of the (14) bodies were found lying together in a farm field. The K-FOR alliance is getting help from the United Nations international police force in its inquiry into Friday's massacre and says it welcomes an offer of assistance from international war crimes investigators as well.

    /// REST OPT ///

    A NATO spokesman says nobody has been arrested yet in connection with the murders. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/PCF/KL 27-Jul-1999 09:29 AM LOC (27-Jul-1999 1329 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United Nations is appealing for 434-million dollars to provide 13 aid agencies with the money they need to carry out a huge humanitarian operation in the Balkans until the end of the year. Lisa Schiein in Geneva reports the United Nations warns that vital humanitarian work in five countries in the region could be jeopardized if it doesn't get the funds requested.

    TEXT: Most of the money will go to tackle (solve) problems directly related to the war in Kosovo. The rest will be spent to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people affected by earlier wars in the Balkans. U-N agencies have already received more than a half-billion dollars for the Balkans this year. While this is a lot of money, they say the rapidly changing situation in the region is forcing them to respond quickly and creatively to new needs. The spokesman for the U-N-H-C-R - Kris Janowski -- says the refugee agency has had to radically shift its operation. He says it was originally intended to help hundreds of thousands of Kosovo refugees living in neighboring countries get through the winter.

    ///JANOWSKI ACT///

    We now had a huge return of people. We've got a new exodus of non-Albanians from Kosovo, which is putting an additional strain on Yugoslavia. So, this is quite a serious situation which needs to be handled in terms of protection for the displaced people, in terms of food, in terms of looking after the children, in terms of mine clearance, in terms of all kinds of reconciliation projects.

    ///END ACT///

    Winter in the Balkans arrives in October. For that reason, spokesman Janowski says it is critical that emergency repairs to damaged houses in Kosovo be completed before then. The United Nations is assessing the housing situation in about one-thousand-500 Kosovar villages. A survey has just been completed of more than one-third of these villages. It shows that 54 percent of the houses suffered severe damage or were completely destroyed. And, it finds that 32 percent of the schools in those villages were also severely damaged or destroyed. But, Mr. Janowski says Kosovo is not the only concern. He says U-N agencies also have to help some 60- thousand ethnic Albanian refugees remaining in Albania and Macedonia. And, he says, a new exodus of Serbs and gypsies from Kosovo into Serbia and Montenegro is increasing strains in those societies.

    ///JANOWSKI ACT///

    These people need to be looked after, too. And they have put this exodus, which is treated by the Serbian authorities rather coldly and sort of brushed off . it needs to be dealt with as well. There are already a half-million refugees in Serbia from previous wars. And now we've got 170-thousand (refugees) from Kosovo on top of it.

    ///END ACT///

    The United Nations urges donors not to focus on the high-profile Kosovo crisis at the expense of less- visible crises in other parts of the Balkans. For instance, it says important humanitarian work is still needed in Bosnia-Herzegovina to shore up the Dayton peace agreement that ended that country's war. (Signed) NEB/LS/GE/rrm 27-Jul-1999 13:06 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 1706 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Turkey's top military official has denied reports that Turkish air-force jets bombed a Kurdish rebel base in Iran. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports the General, Huseyin Kivrikoglu, denied Iran's claims that Turkish planes had struck inside Iran, killing five Iranians, saying there is in his words no possibility of any mistake

    TEXT: General Kivrikoglu's statement followed a report published in the Turkish press Tuesday quoting Turkey's air-force chief as saying Turkish jets had struck a Kurdish rebel base inside Iraq on June 18th. The air-force chief, Ilhan Kilic, said the base belonging to rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (P-K-K) was located about one-and- one-half kilometers inside Iraqi territory, close to Iraq's border with Turkey and Iran. General Kilic says some Iranian officers, whom he says were training the rebels, probably died in the attack. His comments follow accusations from the Iranian government that Turkish planes had in fact hit a base of Iran's elite Islamic revolutionary guards, killing five people and wounding 10 others. Iran accused Turkey of acting under orders from the United States and Israel. Turkey has long accused Iran of providing arms and bases to the Kurdish rebel group, which has been waging a 15-year armed campaign for Kurdish self rule. Two Turkish soldiers were detained by Iranian authorities last week as they were pursuing P-K-K rebels inside Iran. Tensions between the two countries have been escalating ever since. Turkey says many P-K-K rebels shifted their bases to Iran, after Turkey threatened Syria with military action if it refused to expel P-K-K forces from Syrian territory last October. A high-level Turkish delegation of diplomats and security officials is set to travel to Iran Wednesday to secure the release of the Turkish soldiers, and to present Iran with what Turkey says is documented evidence of P-K-K activities in Iran. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/WTW 27-Jul-1999 11:20 AM LOC (27-Jul-1999 1520 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is in Washington for talks with senior US officials. In this report from Washington, former Moscow correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the significance of Mr. Stepashin's visit.

    TEXT: This is Sergei Stepashin's first visit to Washington since he was confirmed as Russia's Prime minister two months ago, replacing Yevgeni Primakov. This is also the first visit by a Russian Prime Minister to the United States since the end of the Kosovo crisis. Russia was vehemently opposed to NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia and made that clear to the U-S government. As a sign of displeasure, then Prime minister Primakov - on his way to the United States on March 23rd - turned his plane around when informed NATO'S bombing campaign was to begin. Experts agree NATO's air campaign against Serbia has strained relations between Washington and Moscow. Paula Dobriansky from the (New York) "Council on Foreign Relations" says despite the cooler ties, both sides agree good relations are essential.

    /// DOBRIANSKY ACT ///

    However, the problem has been that despite the fact that both sides attach a great deal of importance to the relationship, there have been fundamental differences. It is clear that the Russians see their global, strategic interests as different from ours. They see a multi-polar center. They want to have other kinds of power centers which would offset the United States. In other words, they feel uncomfortable with the uni-polar world in which the United States is the sole superpower.

    /// END ACT //

    Ms. Dobriansky says relations between Washington and Moscow are on the mend and Prime Minister Stepashin's visit to Washington indicates that. Whenever American and Russian officials meet, they have a host of issues to discuss - ranging from arms control to economic matters. But experts here do not expect any major breakthroughs while Mr. Stepashin is here. They say this is essentially a get-acquainted session between Mr. Stepashin and senior US government officials. Michael McFaul is a Russian Scholar at the (Washington-based) "Carnegie Endowment" Research Center. He does not expect much from the Stepashin visit, given the fact that both countries face presidential elections next year.

    /// McFAUL ACT ///

    And so on both sides neither the Americans nor the Russians are going to be wanting to engage in a set of negotiations that will be interrupted by the electoral cycle. Now having said that, my impression is that the Americans are much more optimistic and much more focused on trying to get some of those issues resolved before the elections in 2000. But the closer we get to both presidential elections in these countries, the less of an interest any candidate is going to have in committing to something. So I suspect we are in a holding pattern in US- Russian relations that we will only get out of after the elections are over.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr.Stepashin's visit here comes at a critical time for Russia. It coincides with a meeting (Wednesday)of the International Monetary Fund's Board of Directors. They are expected to unblock a four and a half billion dollar loan for Russia frozen since last August. Mr. McFaul says Mr. Stepashin's presence in Washington at the same time that the I-M-F is discussing disbursing new funds to Moscow is a pure coincidence.

    /// SECOND McFAUL ACT ///

    I do not think it was timed to be the case. But there is no question that it would be a big political victory for Mr. Stepashin if those loans came through - and by the way, I suspect they will. I think it will be one of the first achievements of the Stepashin government.

    /// END ACT ///

    Experts say a positive decision by the I-M-F to provide Russia with loans should open the door to new deals with other financial institutions to reschedule Moscow's debts inherited from the Soviet Union. Mr. Stepashin recently acknowledged those debts are a big burden on the Russian economy. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/KL 27-Jul-1999 14:29 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 1829 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United States and Russia have agreed to open talks next month in Moscow on a new round of cuts in their nuclear weapons arsenals. The announcement came at the end of a day of meetings between President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin here in Washington. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: The talks on a new Start Three nuclear arms treaty will begin next month even though the Russian Duma has yet to approve Start Two - which calls for major reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of long-range nuclear warheads. Vice President Gore renewed the administration's call on the Duma to move forward with ratification. But with the Russian Parliament still angered by NATO's bombing campaign over Yugoslavia, Mr. Gore says lawmakers may not be in any hurry to approve Start Two.

    // Gore actuality //

    Because of the tensions we have so recently survived in the relationship, you are not going to expect the kind of action in the Duma that we are talking about next week. But as soon as possible - the sooner, the better.

    // end act //

    Besides Start Three, the new arms control talks will also consider changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the United States is seeking to allow it to work on an anti-missile system announced by President Clinton in January. (signed) Neb/dat/gm 27-Jul-1999 19:30 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 2330 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The International Monetary Fund is set (Wednesday) to approve a four and a half billion dollar loan to Russia. V-O-A's Barry Wood reports the approval of the cash infusion comes at a time Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is visiting Washington.

    TEXT: The I-M-F loan has been in the works for many months. The monetary fund, which is owned by its nearly 190 member governments, is in a tough situation concerning Russia. Only one year ago the I-M-F approved a slightly bigger Russian loan, but that money vanished nearly as quickly as the cash was disbursed. Western governments believe the money was essentially stolen but they have been unable to identify the thieves. So the I-M-F has this year proceeded with considerable caution. Five I-M-F missions have been in Moscow over the past 12 months. The I-M-F managing director, Michel Camdessus, has been there twice. At last, the agreement is ready. While the money could be disbursed soon, in reality most of it will stay with the I-M-F. The cash will be used to repay past I- M-F loans that are coming due. At a news conference with Mr. Stepashin Tuesday, World Bank president James Wolfensohn said Russia is making progress and bouncing back from last year's deep recession. The World Bank is boosting its lending to Russia and plans to lend one point two billion dollars over the next year. But some experts believe Russia hasn't made enough progress in building a market economy and shouldn't be rewarded with more loans. Ben Slay is an economist specializing in Russia at Planecon, a private sector Washington research agency.

    /// Slay Act ///

    My opinion is that it is premature. I think Russia has come a long way. Fiscal policy is okay. And monetary policy is pretty tight, compared to where we were nine months or a year ago. But I think if you look at the list of things in the I-M-F's letter of intent that Russia is expected to do, Russia is a long way away from meeting a lot of those.

    // End Act //

    Mr. Slay mentions specifically the failure to restructure the Russian banking system and compensate both depositors and foreign creditors. But even skeptics like Mr. Slay concede that Russian policy makers are making progress. The predicted hyper-inflation hasn't happened. Government spending is being reduced and the budget deficit is no longer getting bigger. The I-M-F cash infusion is a vote of confidence in Russia's prospects for eventual economic growth. (signed) NEB/BW/TVM/gm 27-Jul-1999 18:29 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 2229 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up strongly today (Tuesday) in a rebound from recent selling. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-979, up 115 points or one percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred 62, up 15 points. The NASDAQ index gained more than two percent. Analysts say bargain hunters helped boost stock prices, especially many technology issues, which have fallen in the past two weeks. Stocks were also helped by a modest rally in the bond market

    /// Begin Opt ///

    David Katz of the Matrix Investment Advisory Service says stock market activity will likely remain volatile for the next few weeks.

    /// Katz Act ///

    On about one-half of all trading days this year the market has moved more than one percent up or down. We think if we had to peg (predict) the next five percent move in the market, we do think it would be higher. But we do think there will be sell-offs along the way.

    /// End Act ///

    /// End Opt ///

    An index of consumer confidence in the United States dropped this month, its first decline since October of 1998. Americans do seem somewhat concerned about the possibility of higher interest rates. However, buying plans remain strong and analysts say the drop in the confidence index does not signal any significant slowdown in U-S consumer spending.

    /// Rest Opt ///

    The Cox Communications Company will pay two-point- seven billion dollars in cash for the cable television assets of the Gannett Corporation. The Cooper Tire and Rubber Company will pay almost 600 million dollars for the Standard Products Company, an auto parts maker. The Chubb Insurance Company reported a six percent increase in quarterly earnings, but that was short of Wall Street expectations and Chubb's stock fell modestly. Monsanto, the chemical and pharmaceutical firm, reported an almost 25 percent jump in quarterly profits, well ahead of expectations. U-S drug regulators have given approval for the sale of a new influenza treatment produced by Glaxo Wellcome, the British-based drug company. The product, named Relenza, is administered through an inhaler and will cost about 45 dollars per treatment.(Signed) NEB/BA/LSF/TVM/gm 27-Jul-1999 17:23 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 2123 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Glancing at Tuesday's editorial pages across the United States, tributes to two men are the focus many commentaries. One is the late King Hassan the Second of Morocco, whose funeral took place Sunday. The other is former cancer patient Lance Armstrong, the American who has won the famed Tour de France bicycle race. Other topics include the very unsettled situation in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province after the murder of 14 Serb farmers: t major chance in this country's third political party: and the plight of our beautiful national parks. Now here is __________with a closer look that includes a few excerpts in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The heroic victory in the grueling weeks-long Tour de France by a formerly cancer patient from Austin Texas has caught the imagination of the nation, and of many editorial writers. "The Trenton [New Jersey] Times" speaks for many as it writes:

    VOICE: On rare occasions, sport transcends its customary role as a diversion from more important things, and becomes profoundly meaningful in itself. Such an occasion was Lance Armstrong's astounding victory Sunday. . In 1996, Mr. Armstrong, a competent but not sensational bicycle racer, was found to have advanced testicular cancer, plus lesions on his abdomen, lungs and brain. Given less than a 40 percent chance of survival, he underwent two operations and 12 weeks of chemotherapy that left him unable to walk on his own. . Now Lance Armstrong has somehow found the strength and speed and will power to win the world's most famous bicycle race. . His story sends a powerful message to all of us: Refuse to surrender to adversity; reject the reflexive assumption that any goal is impossible, that any Alp is too steep to climb.

    TEXT: In the Pacific Northwest, "The Oregonian" in Portland editoralized Monday:

    VOICE: The inspirational story of Lance Armstrong's comeback . is a refreshing contrast to the doping [drug] scandals that blemished the tour's stature a year ago. . An American hero? Absolutely.

    TEXT: "His performance would have been remarkable in any case," says "The New York Times," "but seems miraculous given that he was diagnosed just three years ago with . cancer." While Ohio's "Akron Beacon Journal" adds:

    VOICE: In a summer of American sports success (don't forget the U-S women's . World Cup . victory), Lance Armstrong has become a symbol of something more intrinsic in life than success -- survival. Text: The other set of tributes belong to the late Moroccan King Hassan the Second, whose funeral (on Sunday) attracted a long line of dignitaries, including President Clinton and his family. "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" remembers him as a "peaceable king."

    VOICE: It is fitting that Arab and Israeli leaders took advantage of the funeral . to further peace talks, and that the United States was represented at the rites by President Clinton, who participated in the funeral procession. The king . was among the first Arab leaders to accept the existence of Israel. That his dealings with the Jewish state were based in part on self-interest doesn't alter the fact that the king defied a taboo that prolonged the Arab-Israeli conflict and encouraged extremists on both sides.

    TEXT: "The Sun" in Baltimore has a more balanced appraisal of the King, while in the end praising him as a man of peace.

    VOICE: Some of King Hassan's opponents early on met death in mysterious ways, some while plotting his [death]. But King Hassan's rule was benign compared with the Islamic extremist revolution in Algeria, the tyranny in Iraq and Syria and Libya, or the closed society of Saudi Arabia. King Mohammed is said to want to curtail his powers, while preserving his role on the model of the Spanish constitutional monarchy. He will need all his father's wily skills to achieve and survive that.

    TEXT: In Texas, "The Houston Chronicle" poses what it sees as the key question:

    VOICE: . Who will ascend to leadership in the Arab world to replace Hassan and Jordan's late King Hussein with the kind of sway and respect to advocate peaceful coexistence with Israel[?].

    TEXT: Continuing violence in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, despite the presence of thousands of NATO troops draws this outcry from "The Philadelphia Inquirer."

    VOICE: The murder of 14 Serbian farmers near Pristina on Friday, as they harvested their wheat, raises important questions about whether NATO forces can maintain order in Kosovo. The farmers were part of a dwindling Serbian community in Kosovo; as many as three quarters of the 200-thousand Serbs who lived there (10 percent of the province's population) have fled since the bombing ended. // OPT // The wounds from this tragic war are still raw -- as more and more Kosovar Albanian mass graves are unearthed and Albanian refugees return to their pillaged homes. So it is unrealistic to expect all attempts at revenge to halt immediately. But there are steps which KFOR [the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo] and the United Nations could take that would improve the security for Serbs still in Kosovo. // END OPT //

    TEXT: On New York's Long Island, "Newsday" calls the situation "Kosovo Chaos," and warns: "There are too few police to keep order in a land of long-standing ethnic enmities." While in the Midwest, "The Chicago Tribune" knows where to put the ultimate blame for the farmers' massacre.

    VOICE: To blame NATO for the recent carnage, as Belgrade would have it, adds insult to the butchery and war crimes perpetrated by [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic. The fault lies with him and his regime. Perhaps the thousands of Serbs who have poured into the streets of Yugoslavia to call for his ouster will carry that message.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Several papers are taking note of a new trade agreement signed by the United States and its long- time enemy, Vietnam, as an indication the war of the 1960s and `70s is finally -- and irrevocably -- over. Today's "Dallas Morning News" says of the pact:

    VOICE: The Vietnam War's legacy is frozen in hellish images: . [Now,] after nearly three decades, there may be real closure to that bitter experience. A trade agreement announced this weekend should further exorcise the psychological and political demons that had separated the United States and Vietnam since the fighting ended.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Domestically, supporters of third-party political figure Ross Perot have lost control of his Reform Party, to supporters of the Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Says "The Boston Globe":

    VOICE: At the urging of Governor . Ventura of Minnesota, the convention chose Jack Gargen of Florida as national chairman over a Perot-backed candidate. Dissatisfaction with the major parties is now what it was in 1992, but the fact that there is a reform party underlines voters' continuing frustrations with the Democratic and Republican parties -- frustrations those parties have earned.

    TEXT: In Nebraska, the state's largest daily, "The Omaha World-Herald," is furious about the failure of Congress to appropriate money to repair the nation's national parks, which, the paper says, have been starved of capital-improvements funds since 1966. The neglect to such natural wonders as Yosemite, The Everglades and Yellowstone causes the "World-Herald" to ask:

    VOICE: What, exactly, will it take to get the problem addressed, ladies and gentlemen of Congress? Will it happen when tourists begin to smell sewage as Old Faithful erupts? When gridlock paralyzes the Grand Canyon area because the roads and parking areas are so inadequate? When the historic ruins at the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico finally disappear under the onslaught of weather, vandalism and looting? The American people, whose heritage is being squandered by neglect, deserve an answer.

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of comment from the pages of Tuesday's U-S daily papers.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 27-Jul-1999 12:12 PM LOC (27-Jul-1999 1612 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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