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Voice of America, 99-09-19

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] K-L-A / ARMS DEADLINE BY TIM BELAY (MITROVICA)
  • [02] KOSOVO/PACT (L) (CQ) BY TIM BELAY (PRISTINA)
  • [03] RUSSIA / CAUCASUS (S-L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [04] RUSSIA/DAGESTAN BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)
  • [05] EUROPE/COMMISSION (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [06] CHILE / SPAIN (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN FRANKLIN (SANTIAGO)

  • [01] K-L-A / ARMS DEADLINE BY TIM BELAY (MITROVICA)

    DATE=9/18/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254055
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO forces in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica are bracing for possible disturbances on the eve of the deadline for the Kosovo Liberation Army to lay down its arms. Tim Belay has a report from Mitrovica, a city divided between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

    TEXT: On Saturday, supporters of the Kosovo Liberation Army celebrated throughout the province

    /// NATURAL SOUND ///

    In the capital Pristina, for example, they were out in full force to pay tribute to the successes of the rebel army. Organizers called it a victory parade, timed to coincide with Sunday's deadline for the K-L-A to shut down completely. While it has been quiet in Mitrovica lately, the chief spokesman for French peacekeepers who are stationed here says the coming days could be difficult. Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Tanguy says if Serbian residents of Mitrovica view the closing down of the K-L-A as a chance to take aggressive action, NATO's Kosovo troops, known as K-FOR, will be ready to intervene.

    /// TANGUY ACT 1 ///

    If they think that they are moe powerful, they will find K-For in their way. For both communities here (Serbs and ethnic Albanians), we are impartial.

    /// END ACT ///

    There have been scattered, but persistent, reports that Serb paramilitaries have returned to the region around Mitrovica, but Lieutenant Colonel Tanguy says he has not seen anything to support those reports.

    /// TANGUY ACT 2 ///

    We have absolutely no evidence of presence of paramilitaries or militias in the northern sector from Mitrovica to the administrative border. If you have some proof that there are militias organizaed, people with weapons, we will arrest them.

    /// END ACT ///

    On Sunday, Kosovo's NATO commander, General Mike Jackson, and K-L-A Commander Agim Ceku will announce whether the K- L-A has met its deadline to turn in all its weapons. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/KL 18-Sep-1999 14:23 PM EDT (18-Sep-1999 1823 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] KOSOVO/PACT (L) (CQ) BY TIM BELAY (PRISTINA)

    DATE=9/19/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254070
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// Reissued to correct rank of spokesman after first actuality ///

    INTRO: NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo say they remain confident the Kosovo Liberation Army will meet a midnight deadline Sunday for complete disarmament. Tim Belay reports from Pristina that the assurances come as the K-L-A struggles internally over its future.

    TEXT: K-L-A leaders are said to be at odds over how to transform the rebel army into a civilian corps. The plan in place right now is for members to form what is being called a Kosovo Corps. The group would help with rebuilding projects in the province and be trained to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies. In addition, some K- L-A members have already started training to be members of a new Kosovo police force. But some K-L-A leaders are reportedly unhappy with the plan for the Kosovo Corps because it very clearly points out that the corps is intended to be a civilian and not a military organization. Only two hundred members of the five-thousand-member corps would be allowed the carry weapons and some fear that may not be enough to defend the province from Yugoslav armed forces. The chief spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo is Lieutenant Colonel Robin Clifford. He says the dispute is over the future of the K-L-A - or U-C-K, in the Albanian language - which formally ceases to exist as of midnight Sunday.

    /// CLIFFORD ACT 1 ///

    There are some areas of detail which the U-C-K leadership wishes to discuss. The role that the current U-C-K leadership will play in any future organization is something that is still being discussed at the moment, and I think it would probably be inappropriate of me to announce now what these discussions are.

    /// END ACT ///

    Lieutenant Colonel Clifford says that even though the K-L-A is having trouble transforming itself into a civilian corps, the disarming process continues to go well.

    /// CLIFFORD ACT 2 ///

    There's no last-minute glitch on that score at all.

    /// END ACT ///

    There are an estimated 10-thousand members in the rebel army, and the transformation of the group into a civilian corps is expected to take two months. (SIGNED) NEB/TB/ALW/bk/gm 19-Sep-1999 17:43 PM EDT (19-Sep-1999 2143 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] RUSSIA / CAUCASUS (S-L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=9/18/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254050
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Russian Air Force continues its campaign to strike at what it describes as rebel bases inside Chechnya. Meanwhile, Chechen officials say Russian troops have crossed into Chechen territory. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Eve Conant has details.

    TEXT: Russian military officials say federal air strikes against guerrilla strongholds in Chechnya have intensified. They say more than one thousand gunmen have massed near the Chechen-Dagestani border in Russia's Caucasus region, and that the strikes are meant to prevent a possible incursion into Dagestan. The Interfax news agency quotes Chechen officials as saying federal motorized units had crossed into Chechen territory on Saturday. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman denied that report. Chechnya, which claims independence from Russia, has complained that federal troops are bombing civilian villages. Russian military officials say they are attacking only what they call "rebel bases" in the breakaway republic.

    ///REST OPT FOR LONG///

    Russian leaders blame a recent series of fatal apartment bombings in Moscow and southern Russia on Islamic militants from Chechnya but have produced little evidence to support that claim. The explosions have killed more than 300 people in the past three weeks. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, and Chechen militant leaders have denied any involvement. But Russia's leadership has imposed a strict security regime following the blasts and efforts to rout Islamic insurgents in southern Russia have gained new momentum. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has vowed to, in his words, "destroy the bandits." Chechen-led Islamic insurgents in Dagestan have been fighting with federal troops since early August. The militants want to create an independent Islamic state in Dagestan, but have been routed from several villages they had seized. The fighting is the worst in the region since Russia's 1994-1996 civil war with Chechnya. (Signed)
    NEB/EC/ALW/KL 18-Sep-1999 11:19 AM EDT (18-Sep-1999 1519 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] RUSSIA/DAGESTAN BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)

    DATE=9/19/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44282
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    [REPRINTING W/ CORRECT NUMBER]

    INTRO: Russian warplanes are stepping up air strikes on suspected rebel positions in the breakaway Chechnya region. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Peter Heinlein reports officials estimate 140 rebel fighters have been killed in the latest attacks.

    TEXT: A Russian military spokesman says fighter jets and helicopter gunships struck four suspected bases used by Islamic militants inside Chechnya. He described the attacks as preventive strikes at bases and concentrations of gunmen who had been planning a new invasion of neighboring Dagestan. Heavy rebel casualties were reported, but the figures could not be independently confirmed. In the past, government reports of casualties among the Islamic rebels have proven to be highly exaggerated. Russia's Interfax news agency quotes a Chechen government spokesman as saying the latest air strikes hit civilian population centers, not rebel camps, killing at least 20 people. Meanwhile, a heavy buildup of federal forces is reported along the Chechen border. Nabi Abdullaev, a V-O-A reporter in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, reports some of Russia's best-trained and equipped units are arriving in the region daily.

    /// ABDULLAEV ACT ///

    The best Russian forces, the elite forces, are coming to Dagestan, mostly Spetnaz and OMON and Marines from all over Russia.

    // END ACT ///

    Reporter Abdullaev says 25-hundred Russian officers have moved into Dagestan in the past 10 days, fuelling speculation that a major military campaign is being prepared. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the border with Chechnya sealed following four apartment block bombings this month that killed nearly 300 people. When asked on Russian television Sunday whether there was a link between the bombings and the conflict in the northern Caucasus, he replied "Of course there is." But the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, and the rebel leader Shamil Basayev have both strongly denied any involvement in the apartment bombings. As the air strikes and the troop buildup around Chechnya continued Sunday, Prime Minister Putin appealed for consolidation of opinion from all sectors of society for the current military campaign. The most recent war in Chechnya, from 1994 to 1996, was marred by strong public dissent. But this time, with the public enraged by the apartment building bombs, opinion appears to strongly favor a military response. The earlier Chechen war ended in an embarrassing defeat for Russia and the withdrawal of federal forces from the breakaway region. Since then, Chechnya has in effect governed itself. President Boris Yeltsin has in the past described the earlier Chechen adventure as the worst mistake of his presidency. Prime Minister Putin, who launched the latest campaign within days of his appointment last month, seems intent on correcting that mistake. (Signed)
    NEB/PH/ALW 19-Sep-1999 13:00 PM EDT (19-Sep-1999 1700 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] EUROPE/COMMISSION (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=9/18/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254051
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The new European Commission has held its first meeting since being sworn into office on Friday. V-O- A's Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, reform of the European bureaucracy was the first item on the Commission's agenda.

    TEXT: The image of change becomes apparent in the way the new Commission wants to brief the press. Two speaker's rostrums have replaced the former table, and three European flags and a plain, light-blue background have replaced the gold stars on a dark blue background. The intention is to give the press briefing room a more "sober" posture for the television cameras. The replacement of the table by the two rostrums, according to Commission Vice President Neil Kinnock, is to make the speakers uncomfortable.

    /// KINNOCK ACT ///

    I think it is great way of insuring that all press statements are a lot shorter than they used to be because people used to sit down and relax and get comfortable. If you are standing up here, then obviously no statement will take longer than 40-45 minutes.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Kinnock was wrong about that. Despite the new arrangements, the rare Commission meeting on a Saturday produced a two-hour press conference. The 20-member Commission was sworn into office on Friday and lost no time in holding its first formal meeting. As a Commission pledged to wipe out the stain of the previous Commission that was forced to resign, reform was the main topic. That is Mr. Kinnock's responsibility in this new Commission.

    ///KINNOCK 2ND ACT ///

    The objectives are to streamline the departments and to make them more efficient and better managed, to allocate personnel resources better in order to reflect the developing policy priorities, to make the Commission more transparent and enable the institution to communicate better with the people of the European Union.

    /// END ACT ///

    The previous executive board of the European Union was pushed to resign because of charges of mismanagement, nepotism and corruption. This Commission has been reorganized and gives a higher priority to enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Kinnock plans to have an initial reform plan by December and firm plan to present to the European Parliament by February, but he denies this means no immediate change.

    /// KINNOCK 3RD ACT ///

    Anyone who is worried about our inactivity over the next few months can sleep easy tonight. We will be as busy as hell, but it is only sensible if we are making a strategic change to plan that change, deliver upon it and organize it so that when it is published it will be so impressive as to leave you all aghast in admiration.

    /// END ACT ///

    Besides reform and codes of conduct in office, the first Commission meeting discussed how to help Union member Greece re-build from earthquake damage outside Athens and the situation in East Timor. A spokesman says there was concern about the suffering of the Catholic Church in East Timor and about the 200 thousand refugees in West Timor. External Affairs Commissioner Christopher Patten told his colleagues there had been 150 to 200 more victims Friday night of the hostilities in East Timor. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/ALW/KL 18-Sep-1999 11:48 AM EDT (18-Sep-1999 1548 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] CHILE / SPAIN (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN FRANKLIN (SANTIAGO)

    DATE=9/18/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-254056
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Relations between Chile and Spain worsened even more this week after Spanish authorities rejected a Chilean proposal to let an arbitration panel decide the fate of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Mr. Pinochet, the former military ruler of Chile, has been under arrest in London since last October, when Spain sought his extradition from Britain to put him on trail for human rights abuses committed during the years the military ruled Chile(1973-1990). From Santiago, Jonathan Franklin reports. Text: Chilean Foreign Minister Juan Gabriel Valdes called the Spanish officials involved in the Pinochet case "arrogant and pathetic" for refusing to agree to arbitration. The Chilean government has temporarily recalled (on Friday) its ambassador to Spain as a sign of its displeasure over the Spanish decision. The Chilean senate also took steps to show its displeasure. On Friday, it pushed forward new laws that would limit foreign control of the banking and electricity sectors, two areas where Spanish firms play a key role. Analysts say that, given the widespread indignation in Chile against Spain, the measures will attract a broad base of support and most likely force the Spanish companies to divest themselves of their electrical and banking interests in the country. Until several days ago, the Chileans hoped they would be able, by means of arbitration, to keep the Pinochet case out of European courtrooms. Though it is not clear which country first proposed arbitration, there were signs that both would agree to it, but these signs evaporated when Spanish socialists learned of the plan. Their protests are believed responsible for the Spanish rejection of arbitration. The poor relations between the countries could become even worse should the ailing General Pinochet die in either England or Spain. Right-wing paramilitary groups are threatening to kill leftist politicians should Pinochet die in custody. (Signed)
    NEB/JF/KL 18-Sep-1999 17:27 PM LOC (18-Sep-1999 2127 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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