Browse through our Interesting Nodes on Human Rights Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

Voice of America, 99-08-12

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

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





    INTRO: Yugoslavia (Thursday) has released a 400 page book outlining what it says are NATO crimes against its government and people. Belgrade is asking that the book be issued as an official United Nations document, as we hear from our U-N correspondent Max Ruston.

    TEXT: The book details hundreds of alleged NATO atrocities during the air campaign earlier this year aimed at pushing Serb troops out of Kosovo. It offers an incident-by-incident list of the impact of NATO bombings on villages, cities, schools, communications facilities and hospitals. Gruesome color photographs including close-ups of severed heads and scattered limbs -- are used to support charges that civilians were targeted. NATO has admitted that it unintentionally hit some civilians during its air campaign. But it denies charges that it committed any atrocities or deliberately targeted civilians. NATO officials say they suspect Serbian forces are responsible for many of the killings now blamed on NATO. Yugoslavia's U-N representative, Vladislav Jovanovic, says the book submitted to the United Nations will be held up as evidence in his country's legal actions against NATO member states.

    /// Jovanovic act ///

    The Yugoslav government has submitted an application to the International Court of Justice against 10 member states of NATO -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Portugal, Belgium and Holland -- for violations of the obligation not to use force. And to request the preliminary measure of being indicted.

    /// end act ///

    Diplomats from NATO countries dismiss the book as propaganda aimed at rallying support for Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. They say Mr. Milosevic, who has been indicted for war crimes related to Serb actions in Kosovo, is steadily losing the support of Yugoslavia's citizens. (signed) NEB/UN/MPR/lsf/JO 12-Aug-1999 17:18 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 2118 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America





    INTRO: Two months after the 78-day NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslovia ended, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in the region have only just begun an assessment of the environmental consequences of the air war. According to experts with the World Wildlife Fund, the flow of toxic pollutants into the Danube River could have a serious and long-lasting impact on the economic and political stability of the region. VOA'S Rosanne Skirble has more.

    TEXT: Philip Wheller has been working for ten years to clean up and preserve the Danube River. Today he directs the World Wildlife Fund's assessment of the Danube in the aftermath of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. He says the countries of Central and Eastern Europe along the Danube Basin form an important economic and psychological link between east and west. TAPE CUT ONE: PHILIP WHELLER (: 15) "The people are connected through the Danube River and do feel of themselves as Danube River peoples, and this war in Yugoslavia has been quite dramatic in the sense of breaking that link and severing that connection that does exist there."

    TEXT: Some ten million people in Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine depend on the Danube for drinking water. The river also supports important economic activities like fishing, and its water is used to irrigate land for farming. The NATO bombing campaign left some eighty industrial facilities in ruins. According to the United Nations, chemicals and heavy metals were released into the ground, water and air. Philip Wheller describes the pollution at one damaged site, the Pancevo petro-chemical complex, which he visited last month on a World Wildlife mission to Yugoslavia. TAPE CUT TWO: PHILIP WHELLER (: 23) "The problem that exists is that there is a canal connecting that system, that whole complex, to the Danube River. And, (also) that the materials still on the site are directly going into the Danube River at present. It is likely that one of those (materials) is a very toxic carcinogenic substance -- ethylene dichloride - which you can actually smell in the canal that goes into the river, and we need to get the test results to confirm that that is the case."

    TEXT: Philip Wheller says clean-up efforts must begin as soon as possible to prevent long-term environmental devastation to the people and ecosystem of the Danube. TAPE CUT THREE: PHILIP WHELER (:25) "It's a long-term problem which has potential for genetic alterations in fish or other organisms, including human and (has) cancer causing materials that will not show up from today or tomorrow, but are going to. And I can only stress (it) will lead to an environmental instability in the region and environmental contamination that will continue to add to the political instability."

    TEXT: Philip Wheller says environmental concerns must be part of both the assessment and reconstruction of the region. TAPE CUT FOUR: PHILIP WHELLER (:26) "(We must first address) immediate environmental problems. (But, we also have the opportunity to apply) new technologies to improve overall environmental conditions. For example,(these newer technologies) applied in the housing or power industries or industrial facilities, could replace some of the older polluting technologies, making them a thing of the past. (We) hope this is done at the same time reconstruction efforts are taking place."

    TEXT: Philip Wheller says Yugoslavia doesn't have the money or technical resources to clean up the damage from the air war. And he urges western nations to provide assistance based on humanitarian need, not politics. TAPE CUT FIVE: PHILIP WHELLER (:24) "There is a strong opinion amongst western governments of no aid to Yugoslavia until Mr. Molosovich is (removed) from power. This we (the World Wildlife Fund) think, in this case these issues need to be addressed for the people of that area in terms of the potential dangers to people in Yugoslavia, but also to the larger region. And, they are, and will be humanitarian concerns if they are not addressed."

    TEXT: In addition to the independent assessment of the environment by the World Wildlife Fund, the United Nations Environment Program is monitoring the situation and is expected to report its findings to member nations by late September. (SIGNED) NEB/RS/nes 12-Aug-1999 14:01 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1801 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Russian military chiefs are making plans for a massive air campaign to crush a Muslim insurgency in the northern Caucasus. But as V-O-A's Peter Heinlein reports from Moscow, the rebels have shot down another Russian helicopter and appear to be holding their own.

    TEXT: President Boris Yeltsin was seen on Russian television Thursday, expressing confidence that government forces would put down the Muslim uprising in Dagestan, according to a well-orchestrated plan.


    He says, "We think that gradually, without any rush, we will overcome this problem as we planned". His deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov, was more specific. Briefing reporters, General Zubov admitted it is difficult to win a clear victory over guerrilla fighters. But he said a large-scale assault is being prepared, involving Dagestani volunteers on the ground and Russian jets in the air.


    He says, "In a couple days a massive operation will be launched." He gave few details, other than to say "the territory would be completely sanitized".

    // OPT //

    At a separate briefing, Air Force commander Anatoly Kornukov said there have already been about 200 air strikes against rebel positions.


    He says, "We have inflicted heavy losses." After the bombing missions of the past two days, he believes it may take only a couple more days to finish the job.

    // END OPT //

    But despite the optimism in Moscow, news from the front on day six of the Dagestan campaign was of another Russian helicopter downed by rebel fire. At least one crewman was killed, and three Interior Ministry generals were among the injured. . Agency reports indicate the insurgents, led by renegade Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, are putting up stiff resistance to the mostly irregular Dagestani fighters on the ground.

    /// REST OPT ///

    A defense analyst, Pavel Felgenhauer, writing in the Moscow Times newspaper, says Russia risks a repeat of the disastrous campaign in Chechnya in the mid-1990's because of poor coordination and distrust between the interior and defense ministries. In another development Thursday, the Chechen government sent a formal protest to the foreign ministry in Moscow complaining that Russian planes are carrying out air strikes inside Chechnya. Despite the presence of Chechen commanders and fighters on the front, the breakaway region's government has tried to maintain official neutrality in the fighting. But Chechen leaders charge the air strikes are provocations designed to drag the republic into a new war aimed at reversing the outcome of the last one, which ended with the humiliating withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya, and de-facto independence for the region. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/JWH/WTW 12-Aug-1999 11:30 AM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1530 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS A CORRECTED VERSION OF THE EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 8/13/99. (IN LAST PARAGRAPH, "PRIME MINISTER" ECEVIT, NOT "PRESIDENT.") Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Turkey and the United States share important interests and aspirations in the area of human rights and democracy. On a recent visit to Turkey, Harold Koh, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, listened to many concerns about human rights problems. They include restrictions on freedom of expression, the continued use of torture, and harassment of human rights defenders. These matters were raised not only by people who have suffered human rights abuses, but also by national, provincial, and local officials who have committed themselves to addressing the problems. The new government of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has pledged to make human rights a top priority. It already has removed military judges from the state security courts. It has also proposed legislation to increase the punishments for those found to have engaged in torture. And it has announced a "no tolerance" policy for human rights violations by law enforcement officials. In southeastern Turkey, particular problems include terrorism by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P-K-K, and other groups, forced village evacuations, and violations of the rights of ethnic Kurds. The U.S. continues to support Turkey's right to defend itself against the P-K-K, which has been responsible for many egregious human rights abuses, including the murder of thousands of civilians. But one can oppose terrorism and still support human rights. Most Kurds in Turkey do not support violence. They want to remain Turkish citizens, while enjoying the rights guaranteed by international law. Those include the freedom to express one's language and culture and the freedom to organize political parties. Far from hurting Turkey's territorial integrity, as Mr. Koh said, "an inclusive policy that acknowledged these rights would strengthen the Turkish state by giving the Kurdish community a genuine stake in their country's future." In recent months, Turkey has played a crucial role in helping to combat ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. This showed a commitment to fostering human rights and democracy abroad. Now there is reason to hope that Prime Minister Ecevit's government will show the same commitment to implementing human rights reforms at home. As these and other challenges are faced, the U.S. will continue to stand with Turkey as a friend and ally. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 12-Aug-1999 14:37 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1837 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: French trade officials are urging authorities in Beijing to remove a ban on French wine which was imposed last week. As Amy Bickers reports from Hong Kong, the ban has angered French wine merchants, who say the flap is about trade politics and not their products.

    TEXT: China is the world's fastest growing market for wine. Imports have climbed 65-percent in the last three years. But French wines -considered among the world's finest- have been barred from sale in China. Chinese authorities outlawed the sale of French wines last week, saying they feared that bovine blood infected with mad cow disease may have been used in the wine making process. They say wine must now carry a certificate of origin from the French Economics Ministry before it can be sold in China. The move comes after several small French winemakers from the South of the country were caught using a by- product of cow blood in wine production. The wine, which was never intended for export, was seized by French authorities. French trade officials in Hong Kong call Beijing's reaction baffling. Celeste Lim, of the French Trade Commission in Hong Kong, suggests the ban has little to do with public health and a lot to do with the development of the domestic fine wine industry in China.

    /// Lim Act ///

    I think the Chinese government would like to promote their local wine. They are using these measures to protect their market. We do not have any problems with other countries.

    /// End Act ///

    European officials say in the last six months, China has banned many farm products from around the world. They include pigs from Madagascar, horses from Zimbabwe and meat and dairy products from Belgium, Holland, France and Germany. Chinese officials say the bans are not about protectionism, but are based on hard evidence of potential risks to people and livestock. Johnny Chan, an importer of French wines based in Hong Kong, says Beijing's extreme caution is upsetting wine merchants. He says they do not know where to get the certificates China now requires.

    /// Chan Act ///

    I have some wine from Bordeaux sitting in the customs warehouse in Beijing waiting for a certificate to clear the customs. People in Bordeaux are aware of this requirement, but they do not know where or how to get the certificate, because they have not done such a thing before in their life.

    /// End Act ///

    French authorities say officials from both sides are holding talks on the matter. Meanwhile, French wine fans in China may find that the drink is still available. Millions of liters are smuggled in every year to avoid an import duty of more than 100-percent. (signed)
    NEB/AB/FC 12-Aug-1999 05:27 AM LOC (12-Aug-1999 0927 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Britain, Norway and Italy are coordinating diplomatic efforts to obtain the release of six aid workers abducted in Liberia near the border with Guinea. Four are British citizens. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London that the six have contacted their organizations to let them know they are safe and unharmed.

    TEXT: Britain is sending a special team to Liberia to help secure the release of the six aid workers, including four British nationals. Three of the Britons work for the medical charity group, known as Merlin. The company says it did have brief radio contact with them and were assured that all six are safe. The Merlin employees were in Liberia to help rebuild hospitals in the rural areas. A statement from the London-based charity says no demands have been made for their release. Another Briton, an Italian and a Norwegian were also seized, apparently during an attack near the border with Guinea. President Charles Taylor declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and rushed troops to the border area. He said dissident forces had invaded his country, and ordered the border with Guinea closed. Merlin Director of Operations Jules Pieters told British T-V the aid workers understood the risk of working in Liberia.

    /// PIETERS ACT ///

    This came as a surprise. There were no pre-warnings. Otherwise we would have taken the appropriate action, of course.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Norwegian and Italian volunteers also seized workers for the Paris-based aid group, "Doctors Without Borders." Last week, Britain had to send a special team to Sierra Leone to negotiate the release of five British soldiers held hostage by rebels there. They had been seized along with U-N officials and civilians trying to broker the release of women and children abducted by the rebels during Sierra Leone's civil war. Five British oil workers also were abducted and later released this week in Nigeria. The Foreign Office has issued an advisory against non-essential travel in Liberia and other parts of West Africa. (Signed)
    NEB/LMK/GE/WTW 12-Aug-1999 11:35 AM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1535 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were generally down today (Thursday) as an early rally fizzled and collapsed in the last hour of trading. V- O-A Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-789, up one point. But the Standard and Poor's 500 index was down 15 points, closing at 12- hundred-98. The NASDAQ index lost about one-half percent. Stock prices rallied strongly through mid-session, with the Industrial Average gaining more than 100 points. But profit-taking took hold late the session, wiping out the gains. Analysts say some traders wanted to sell stocks in advance of Friday's release of the Producer - or wholesale - Price Index, a key gauge of the U-S inflation rate. American consumers are still on a spending spree. The government reports retail sales rose by seven-tenths of one percent in July, ahead of expectations.

    ///Rest opt///

    However Vincent Malenga of the LaSalle Economic Research firm says retail sales may moderate somewhat in the near future.

    ///Malenga act///

    I think it is important to keep in mind that the consumer savings rate is very depressed. That should put some pressure, some moderation in retail sales even as employment and income growth continue to be very good.

    ///end act///

    Several major U-S retailers reported better-than- expected quarterly profits. K-Mart, the nation's second largest discount chain, says its earnings jumped 44 percent. The Gap, the third-largest clothing chain, enjoyed a 43 percent profit rise. And Home Depot, the leading home improvement retailer, said it expects a 42 percent earnings increase when its quarterly profits are officially reported next week. The stock of Clorox, the household products company, dropped 14 percent after the company said it will be taking an additional 23 million dollars in charges against earnings. Clorox says the charges are related to its acquisition of the First Brands company. The stock of the Merrill Lynch Investment company rose on renewed speculation that Merrill is looking for a merger partner. The two companies most often mentioned as possibly merging with Merrill Lynch are the Chase Manhattan Bank and the American International Insurance group. The Ford Motor Company is planning a huge advertising and promotion campaign for its new Focus model small car that will be introduced in the United States in September. The campaign, estimated at 100 million dollars, will include more than 60 live television commercials. Focus will be a modestly-priced car aimed at the youth market. NEB/NY/BA/LSF/JO 12-Aug-1999 17:24 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 2124 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Scanning the nation's daily papers this Thursday, one sees the same two topics repeated again and again; the latest mass-shooting spree in the United States, and the Kremlin's revolving door of prime ministers and its potential consequences. Other topics include: rethinking U-S Cuba policy, and what to do about the huge U-S debt. There are also commentaries on the changing role of U-S troops in Kosovo; and the dangers of day trading. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Papers across the nation are reacting to the latest mass shooting, in which a man from Washington State, with a history of mental illness and neo-Nazi activity, shot and wounded five people at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles. "The Los Angeles Daily News" has a classic irony in today's lead editorial.

    VOICE: The well-known irony of Tuesday' s shooting was that several North Valley Jewish Community Center campers were touring the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance while a white supremacist, anti- Semite was wildly firing his gun in the center's lobby. The museum's sole purpose is to teach goodwill toward those who appear different.. The theme . underscored in the museum's name: tolerance.

    TEXT: "The Kansas City Star" decried the shooting, and focuses on the failure of the House of Representatives to pass a new, federal, hate crimes bill:

    VOICE: The . bill passed without debate in the Senate. It would remove limits to federal intervention in hate crimes, as well as expand coverage to currently unprotected groups, such as disabled persons and homosexuals. The legislation rests in the House and, perhaps because of its sexual orientation language, [ED'S: It would offer protection to homosexuals] no one there seems in a hurry to see it through.

    TEXT: Several papers, including "The New York Times", and "Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal", use in their editorial headlines the words of one of the children who survived unscathed from the shooting, that "the Monster" ran away. Here is "The Beacon Journal's" view:

    VOICE: Young children seeing evil have no trouble calling it by . name. `A bad man came in and started shooting,' said one child . `The bad monster ran away,' said another. . It is a bad state of affairs when people feel stripped, as one violent incident fades into another, of the capacity to feel safe in places they once considered havens. Violence, made ever so easy and random with high-powered guns, in time and unchecked will subvert the sense of security people feel in the public venues of their communities. . /// OPT /// A bad monster, indeed, is loose. On Tuesday, it turned up at a Jewish center in Los Angeles. Last month, it showed up at day-trading firms in Atlanta, and before that in other places too numerous to list. Where next? And what to do about it?

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Defending the right of citizens to own and use guns, and chastising President Clinton for blaming gun use for the shooting, is "The Manchester [New Hampshire] Union Leader".

    VOICE: I do not know about you, but I have really had it up to here with Bubba [Ed's: a nickname for President Clinton] blaming guns as the crime in the unfortunate and lunatic shooting in California. Instead of focusing the blame on a human being who has no sense of right or wrong and an indifference to life, President Clinton took it upon himself to blame the gun for the crime. The gun! What about the person holding the weapon . A gun crime. No, it was not. It is about a society that has lost its way with no values, no morals, and no responsibility. Blame the gun, not the shooter. Sorry, I will not buy (agree to) that.

    TEXT: Boris Yeltsin's latest cabinet and Prime minister reshuffle is also a major topic, with "The Fresno [California] Bee" suggesting:

    VOICE: Whatever else may have motivated him, [Mr.] Yeltsin clearly wants to show that he is in charge and to keep his adversaries off balance in the face of claims, by former aides and political enemies alike, that he has lost his grip. He may also want a prime minister . able to take a firm hand with restive regional governors.

    TEXT: In Arkansas, a famous quote gets re-worked in this comment from the Little Rock "Arkansas Democrat- Gazette."

    VOICE: . instead of a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, as Churchill famously summed up Russia, now it is only a sprawling mess. . Is Russia ever going to get to the 21st Century or is it about, God forbid, to repeat the 20th?

    TEXT: "The Florida Times-Union" suggests the sacking of yet another Prime Minister is further evidence that Russia is hopelessly adrift, while to the South, "The St. Petersburg [Florida] Times" says:

    VOICE: [Mr.] Yeltsin's government generally has worked cooperatively with Washington, but [President] Yeltsin should have no illusions about U-S priorities. Beyond the fate of any man, our government's interests are best served by the development of stable, democratic institutions in Russia. [Mr.] Yeltsin and his shrinking band of allies should understand that any effort on their part to subvert Russia's coming elections would have grave consequences for the future of Moscow's relations with Washington.

    TEXT: Quickly to other topics and, in "The Washington Post", a call for improved cooperation with Cuba in drug interdiction.

    VOICE: It should be a natural: Americans know well and detest the scourge of drugs, while Fidel Castro fears the infection of his people by America-bound drugs that, by criminal design or authentic accident, find their way to Cuba. . If Cuba passes a rigorous test of its fitness for pragmatic partnership on this issue, then the United States should explore what can plausibly be done.

    TEXT: The subject of this nation's multi-trillion- dollar national debt and how it relates to the projected budget surplus comes up for review in "The [Baltimore] Sun", which uses a personal analogy to make its point.

    VOICE: Your rich uncle dies, leaving you a fortune that promises to grow much bigger in future years. You are awash in cash. What do you do? A) Toss money at every friend, relative, and casual acquaintance. B) Sharply cut your spending. C) Pay off your mortgage, credit card debt, and your car loan. If you are the Clinton administration, the correct answer is C. Republicans in Congress have selected answers A and B. We cast our vote for the common-sense approach: Use surplus funds to get out of debt.

    TEXT: Back overseas, the dramatically changed role of the modern day soldier, and some new U-S Army training to deal with what U-S troops in Kosovo province are facing, is examined by Boston's "Christian Science Monitor".

    VOICE: The idea of teaching combat soldiers peacekeeping skills may bother some military planners. It could seem a detour from the forces' war-fighting work. But few can doubt that peacekeeping tasks will continue to spring up. It is reassuring to know that American officers and the soldiers under them will have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    TEXT: Today's "Philadelphia Inquirer" is worried about the social aspect of a new kind of investing on Wall Street called -- day trading. Using high-speed computers, both professionals and some amateurs, buy and sell stocks within minutes, to take advantage of tiny fluctuations in price. Says the "Inquirer":

    VOICE: A shooting spree in Atlanta last month forced attention on day trading -- the heart- stopping practice of betting how stock prices will change from moment to moment. . This week, an association of state regulators issued a report on day-trading problems based on seven- months' study. The report recommended ways to protect the public. There is a delicate balance to be struck. . regulators need to keep firms from misrepresenting day trading's balance of risk and reward.

    TEXT: That concludes this sampling of editorial comment from some of Thursday's U-S daily papers.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 12-Aug-1999 11:45 AM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1545 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: While a good deal of U-S press and foreign- policy staff attention has been focused on the Kosovo situation, or the North Korean missile threat, or relations with China, serious problems have been expanding in Latin America. Nowhere else is the situation more serious than in Colombia where the new president's peace efforts with guerilla groups have apparently stalled. And, there are U-S papers that see the potential emergence of yet another Latin dictator in nearby Venezuela. We get a sampling now of editorials on these topics from ____________ who joins us with today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: The U-S drug czar, former-general Barry McCaffrey returned recently from a tour of Colombia. He told Congress more money and a higher degree of U-S involvement is needed to help the government of President Andres Pastrana cope with narco traffickers and insurrection. Those comments, and reports from the field have caused a renewed debate on the U-S role in Colombia, and the country's immediate prospects on both fronts. We begin our sampling with "The Los Angeles Times" which mentioned the country's 35-year-old civil war, which has taken at least 35-thousand lives, and then suggests:

    VOICE: Achieving peace will not be easy. The drug traffickers, the paramilitaries and others have profited from the absence of the rule of law in Colombia. They will resist any diminution of their power. The Clinton administration has been a staunch supporter of [Mr.] Pastrana's peace initiative, and it is in Washington's interest to help where it can without pushing. A negotiated peace in Colombia offers America a long-term answer to a big part of the drug menace. But this view is not universally shared in Washington. A small, but powerful, group of conservative Republicans, including .Senator Jesse Helms (of North Carolina), believes it knows what is best for Colombia. [Senator] Helms and company have placed their bets on a continued militarized anti-drug policy despite its evident failure. . Colombia does not need more guns from America. Instead Colombia's leadership must reach out to the deprived in the jungles and the highlands and offer them an opportunity to build communities based on a fair standard of living.

    TEXT: Going from the specific to the general, Hawaii's "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" feels in general, the Clinton administration has not been minding the store in its Latin American relations.

    VOICE: The United States can not afford to ignore disturbing developments in these countries. The Clinton administration is accused of ignoring disturbing trends in Latin America. Critics cite weakness of democratic systems in many countries, accelerating urban crime, persistent corruption, drug trafficking, low rates of economic growth, wide gaps between rich and poor, and high rates of extreme poverty. . no secretary of state has attended the annual meeting of Western Hemisphere foreign ministers in a decade. .. In Colombia, civil war and drug trafficking are tearing the country apart. In neighboring Venezuela, widespread disgust with 40 years of multi-party democracy has led to the emergence of a populist leader, President Hugo Chavez, who might assume dictatorial powers. Violent crime is soaring in Mexico and at least three states are controlled by drug traffickers. Mark Falcoff, a Latin American specialist at the American Enterprise Institute, says, "All the Andean countries are falling apart."

    TEXT: As regards General McCaffrey's call for expanded funding and military support for Colombia's anti-narco trafficking efforts, "The San Diego Union- Tribune" sums up a recent commentary with these conclusions.

    VOICE: While [General ] McCaffrey and his Office of national Drug Control Policy deserve praise for investing considerable sums in treatment and prevention, we need a sweeping public-policy shift in support of demand reduction. Clearly, our heavy emphasis on cutting supply is not working.

    TEXT: In Florida, with its proximity to the region, and a large number of expatriates from many Latin nations, "The St. Petersburg Times" opines that, whatever may be going wrong in Colombia, it is not our war.

    VOICE: The recent crash of a U-S anti-narcotics reconnaissance plane in the jungle of southern Colombia should send a wake-up call to officials who determine U-S policy there. For a nation that claims a war on drugs as its primary goal, the United States is treading on the verge of Vietnam-like involvement in Colombia's ever- growing political violence. . despite U-S counter-narcotics aid to Colombia, which totaled 289-million-dollars in 1998 alone, coca cultivation has risen 50-percent. Drug trafficking is a billion-dollar business, and it will not disappear as long as cartels continue to profit. A more concerted effort to reduce narcotics consumption in the United States might do more damage to Colombian drug lords than attacks on their home turf.

    TEXT: Not to slight the disturbing trends in Venezuela, we turn to the Rhode Island capitol, Providence where the "Journal" titles a recent commentary "Venezuela's budding dictator". The paper reminds readers that president Hugo Chavez, winner of last December's election, and an avid admirer of Cuba's Fidel Castro, led an unsuccessful military coup in 1992 against the democratic government in Caracas, and now he is President. But . there is more.

    VOICE: Since his inauguration in February, President Chavez . has caused independent observers earlier concerns to turn into stark fears. The way things appear headed; it will be a miracle if Venezuela can manage to avoid becoming a burial ground for constitutional democracy. There are vast gaps between rich and poor in Venezuela. Too many in the elite are enmeshed in political corruption. . But dictatorship is not a cure for the defects of constitutional democracy. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: To conclude we read "The [Cleveland, Ohio] Plain Dealer's" foreign affairs correspondent, Elizabeth Sullivan, who suggests:

    VOICE: Colombia is losing its 35-year war with the rebels, who recently murdered three U-S missionaries. But America is losing its war against drugs in a nation where - despite intensive U-S-financed eradication - coca- growers have prospered. Colombia is now the world's top producer of cocaine and Number-one supplier of heroin to eastern U-S cities. More potent coca now in the ground means another 50- percent hike in output over the next two-years, the congressional General Accounting Office warned last month. .after suppressing the Cali drug kingpins, Colombia now must confront an insurgency that has become one of the best- financed on Earth, thanks to drug money. .in Mexico, they are talking about the "Colombia- zination" of politics-of society and of the anarchy that has resulted. .It is wake-up time for U-S policy. It is time to help a land just south of our shores, rich in talent and funds, awake to its own dangers and confront them. It is time to invest in the rescue of a society, and not just in a war.

    TEXT: With that assessment from Ohio's North Coast, and the Cleveland, Ohio, "Plain Dealer's" senior foreign policy analyst, Elizabeth Sullivan, we draw this Opinion Roundup on Latin American problems to a close.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 12-Aug-1999 13:28 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 1728 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America




    INTRO: Another budding civil war in an Islamic republic in southern Russia's Caucasus region and yet another swing of the revolving door at the Kremlin that brings in a new prime minister in Moscow highlight global press comment this week. We get a sampling of newspapers' reaction to the latest developments in Russia now from ______________ who has arrived with this week's World Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: Boris Yeltsin fired his prime minister Sergei Stepashin on Monday and replaced him with another former, high ranking K-G-B official from St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin. The move, the fourth such change in the past 18 months, came against a backdrop of new reports of insurgent fighting, and even a claim of independence for Dagestan, a mountainous region of southern Russia, bordering both the Caspian Sea and another province that became an internal policy debacle for Russia -- Chechnya. Editorial writers in Europe reacted with skepticism when Russia's new premier-designate, Vladimir Putin, suggested that the situation in Dagestan "would be back to normal" within the "space of two weeks." They noted similar remarks about Russia's relations with first Afghanistan and later, Chechnya, where revolts took considerably longer to quell. Some Russian dailies in Moscow editorially worried about the outbreak of "civil war in the Caucasus," and feared that Russia's "indecisive and incompetent federal forces" --their words -- would be "poor protection for the corruption-weakened Russia." As for the latest in a revolving-door cycle of Prime Ministers itself, many papers seemed to think Mr. Yeltsin's action was opportunistic, designed to help him retain political power in the run-up to next year's presidential elections, and give him a larger role in choosing his successor. With that background, let us plunge into the world's press, going first to Moscow, where Izvestiya ran this front-page commentary, noting:

    VOICE: Weak as never before, President Boris Yeltsin, it seems, has decided to bet on crude force. With [Mr.] Putin in the premier's office and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Yeltsin urging stability in the country, the influence of the "force ministries" will grow infinitely. And so will the influence of the government's staff.

    TEXT: Across town, Moskovskii Komsomolets was clearly upset, running this open letter to the President.

    VOICE: ... By sacking Mr. Stepashin without explaining your reasons, you violated a voter's right which, while not being written in the Basic Law, is natural in a democracy. It is the right to know.

    TEXT: In yet another commentary, Slovo fretted about the trouble in Dagestan.

    VOICE: Forming self-defense groups and arming the local population, which does not trust the local authorities to protect it from bandits, is the biggest threat to federalism in Russia. We may end up with a civil war in the Caucasus. This is exactly what the separatists are after.

    TEXT: Quickly to Western Europe, where in London, England's venerable Times newspaper notes:

    VOICE: Islamic rebels in the republic of Dagestan declared the region an independent Islamic state yesterday, sending shock waves throughout Russia. Russia's greater fear is the "Afghanization" of the Caucasus, where radical rebels could impose a Taleban-style regime ... It is the first challenge for Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister-designate.

    TEXT: The Daily Telegraph, focusing on the change in prime ministers, says:

    VOICE: By firing the Russian government, Boris Yeltsin is position his forces for next year's presidential election. The departure of Sergei Stepashin marks no change of direction. What distinguishes the new man, Vladimir Putin, is his anointing as Mr. Yeltsin's preferred successor. ... The electoral battle now being joined could transform Russia's relations with the West. In that struggle, Mr. Putin is more likely to be a puppet than a puller of strings.

    TEXT: An assessment from London's Daily Telegraph. From the business community, the Financial Times sniffs:

    VOICE: Boris Yeltsin's habit of firing his prime ministers is making Russian politics look farcical.

    TEXT: Across the channel, there was this gloomy assessment of the latest cabinet shuffle from Les Echos in Paris.

    VOICE: [President] Yeltsin's capacity to destroy can be compared to his loneliness and declining health: It is impressive

    TEXT: From Germany's financial capital, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is fretting about the latest bulletins from the Caucasus:

    VOICE: A driving force behind the rebels in Dagestan are fanatical Muslim rebels from the Arab world who support their Muslim brothers ... wherever they consider it appropriate. For more than 20 years, these "Afghans" ... have been troubling the entire Muslim world. The rebels have now proclaimed an independent state ... and have announced a "holy war" against the Russians ... But this is not what the majority of Dagestan Muslims want.

    ///OPT ///

    TEXT: From Germany's re-established national capital, Berlin, Die Welt comments:

    VOICE: Those who are searching for a trace of credibility in the policy of the Russian president will not find it any more. ... If the parliamentarians approve [Mr.] Putin, their credibility will suffer, since they voted with a broad majority for [Mr.] Stepashin. But credibility is no longer an issue in Russia...

    TEXT: A view from Belgium comes in this comment from Le Soir, in Brussels.

    VOICE: ...Vladimir Putin does not have a lot of experience. And it is no surprise either that, forgetting that those events were taking place in the Caucasus, he was foolish enough to declare "the situation in Dagestan would be back to normal within a week and a half to two weeks." What is surprising is that Vladimir Putin, the former boss of the secret service, did not draw the lesson from the war in Chechnya.

    TEXT: Belgium's Le Soir. Now to Zagreb, where Croatia's big daily Vjesnik brings in the economic factor of the Caspian sea region, as it suggests:

    VOICE: There is no doubt that the armed conflict in Dagestan is not only a war for territories and an Islamic state, but above all a war for the oil-rich Caspian Sea. ... It is not only about suppressing separatism, but also about protecting the pipeline...

    TEXT: Now to Riga, Latvia - a country occupied by the old Soviet Union - where we hear from Diena:

    VOICE: [Mr.] Putin at this time does not look like a politician who would satisfy the majority of the political elite.

    TEXT: And in another city well known for monitoring Russian affairs, the Finnish capital Helsinki, Helsingin Sanomat notes:

    VOICE: Boris Yeltsin is getting to be as unpopular as [Mr.] Gorbachev was during the final days of the Soviet Union.

    TEXT: To the Far East, and a Japanese reaction from Tokyo's huge daily Asahi:

    VOICE: It seems that more and more security or political police officials have assumed key positions close to the president. If [Mr.] Yeltsin should rely on those security officials -- many of whom may be currying favor with him, instead of other government policy planners -- he can hardly revitalize his government.

    TEXT: From nearby South Korea, Seoul's Chosun Ilbo notes:

    VOICE: Hit by yet another surprising move by its president, Russia is now back in a state of confusion.

    TEXT: And out in the Pacific, Manila's Philippine Star frets:

    VOICE: Mr. Yeltsin [has] ... appointed as his new prime minister the boss of the Federal Security Service, the no-less-powerful successor of the former, hated, terrorizing K-G-B -- in short, an enforcer and spook [slang for spy].

    TEXT: And lastly, from a former Soviet ally, Vietnam, where Hanoi's Lao Dong has some sympathy for the cabinet shuffle.

    VOICE: In a certain respect, Mr. Yeltsin's decision is a wise one. Better than anyone else, he is well aware that only with particular understanding of security can one administer Russia, which is regarded as a "rogue horse." Only such a person can win cooperation and respect (though with reluctance) from opposition parties.

    TEXT: On that note from one of Vietnam's leading dailies we conclude this sampling of global comment on the latest events in Russia.
    NEB/ANG/WTW 12-Aug-1999 16:16 PM EDT (12-Aug-1999 2016 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

    Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2022 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    voa2html v2.03a run on Friday, 13 August 1999 - 0:47:15 UTC