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Voice of America, 99-09-20

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

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





    INTRO: NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark has flown to Kosovo and is trying to persuade the Kosovo Liberation Army (K-L-A) to disband. Tim Belay reports from Kosovo's capital, Pristina, that General Clark's arrival follows an all-night negotiating meeting between the K-L-A and leaders of the Kosovo peacekeeping mission.

    TEXT: General Clark flew to the Kosovo capital after K-L-A leaders would NOT sign an agreement accepting NATO's proposed five-thousand member civilian guard, called the Kosovo Corps. The rebel army opposes NATO plans to allow only 200 members of the Kosovo Corps to carry weapons. The K- L-A says it wants twice that number carrying arms. A spokesman for NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo, Roland Lavoie, says there also is disagreement about when and where it would be appropriate for members of the Kosovo Corps to carry the weapons.

    /// LAVOIE ACT ONE ///

    How you could access your weapon and how they will be delivered to you and under what conditions -- the number we have on the table is 200 weapons total, strictly for body guard function of the v-i-p's and also for protecting vital key institutions.

    /// END ACT ///

    NATO's Kosovo commander, Mike Jackson, decided to allow a two-day delay in the rebel army's agreement to disband -- because of the disagreement between NATO and the K-L-A on the weapons issue as well as NATO's proposed command structure for the new Kosovo Corps. The delay is intended to give the two sides more time to talk. Major Lavoie says the corps is being formed to allow former K-L-A members to contribute to the reconstruction of Kosovo.

    /// LAVOIE ACT TWO ///

    They deserve a worthwhile place in the society, and the Kosovo Corps is a key element in the return to their civil life. So, basically we don't want to have a conflictual approach. We really understand their concern, but also we have a very firm position that we will continue to voice.

    /// END ACT ///

    Disagreement over the command structure centers on who will lead this national guard-style force. NATO says it does NOT want former K-L-A commanders in charge of the Kosovo Corps. But the K-L-A says it needs to keep a similar command structure in place in order to protect Kosovo from Yugoslav armed forces. (Signed)
    NEB/TB/JWH/JP 20-Sep-1999 14:33 PM EDT (20-Sep-1999 1833 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    // Changes "continue" to "resume" in graph 1, line 4 /

    INTRO: A top Serbian opposition leader -- Zoran Djindjic (GIN-jitch) -- says daily street protests are the only way to bring about the resignation of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Djindjic told V-O-A mass protests are planned for 30 to 40 cities and towns throughout Serbia for the next several weeks (beginning Tuesday). V-O-A's Pamela Taylor reports:

    TEXT: Despite the failure of massive street protests to bring down the government of President Slobodan Milosevic in 1997, Zoran Djindjic believes they must resume. Mr. Djindjic disagrees with rival opposition leader, Vuk Draskovic, of the Serbian Renewal Party, that elections are a better way.

    /// ACT ONE - DJINDJIC ///

    Elections with (President) Milosevic in power would be a joke. We had in the last ten years (other) elections organized by Mr. Milosevic and it was pure manipulation. We must mobilize millions of people on the streets to make pressure on Mr. Milosevic to have some kind of free election. The Opposition is not against elections, but we are against elections organized by Mr. Milosevic.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Djindjic says the people of Serbia may be exhausted and cynical about political change but he called on them to overcome their inertia:

    /// ACT TWO - DJINDJIC ///

    We don't have other options. We don't have a choice. We only have people on the streets. Our institutions are not able to achieve change. Our parties are not able. Our parliaments are not able. So in end it depends on individual people.

    // END ACT //

    // OPT //

    Opposition leader Djindjic says one thing that does worry him is the continuing attacks on the Serb minority in Kosovo by ethnic Albanians. He says this only strengthens President Milosevic. He says many Serbs blame the West for the war in Kosovo and Serbia's current isolation. For this reason, he says, they criticize Serbia's opposition parties for being pro-Western:


    In the minds of people we (the opposition) are connected with these international organizations and they ask us `if you have influence on the Western world, then do something to protect the Serbs (in Kosovo)'. But we can do nothing and it is a real problem of for us to be responsible in the minds of the people for the politics of international community and not to have impact on these policies.

    // END ACT //

    // END OPT //

    The question remains whether Serbia's opposition politicians can rally millions of people to take to the streets again. (Signed) NEB/PAM/TVM/gm 20-Sep-1999 17:38 PM EDT (20-Sep-1999 2138 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A conference on reconstruction in the Balkans (sponsored by Equity International) took place in Washington Monday. V-O-A's Barry Wood reports that some Kosovo Albanians say aid money could be used more effectively to reactivate factories and put people to work.

    TEXT: The European Union has committed one billion dollars to rebuilding Kosovo. But so, most of that money has been used for humanitarian assistance. Aslam Aziz is the development assistance specialist at the European Union embassy in Washington. Mr. Aziz says it is hard to commit money when it is unclear who owns what. He says since Kosovo is still technically part of Yugoslavia, aid agencies have to move with caution.

    // AZIZ ACT //

    You know a lot of the (factory) owners have to establish their ownership, first of all. Number two, the laws of Kosovo need to be looked at again. Are they the laws that are appropriate to Kosovo today? Compared to what they were? Then we have to establish the corporate laws that apply to today. How do we deal, for example, with corporate disputes? How do we deal with profits and so on? So there are a number of issues here that are very new, that have to be dealt with.

    // END ACT //

    But to Ahmed Shala, a top official in Kosovo's de facto economy ministry (in Pristina), these explanations are no more than bureaucratic obstacles. Mr. Shala appealed to the conference, sponsored by private aid agencies, to move quickly to get factories up and running.

    // SHALA ACT //

    Our workers don't care very much who is the actual owner of the factory. They are very much interested in starting to work, producing bricks and tiles to rebuild the houses in Kosovo.

    // END ACT //

    With aid of only a quarter million dollars per factory, says Mr. Shala, 25 factories could reopen and allow 27 thousand Kosovars to take paying jobs and stop receiving international assistance. Another speaker, Vasil Tupurkovski, the head of the reconstruction agency in Macedonia - and a candidate to be his country's next president - says growth in Macedonia requires growth throughout the Balkan region. Mr. Tupurkovski says it is vital that a democratic Yugoslavia be included in the aid effort.


    We can succeed in the Balkans only if we act economically as a region. Each of us is too small as a market to be attractive to a foreign investor. All together we are a serious market. Together with Turkey we are a market of more than 120 million people. And we can be very attractive to foreign investors.

    // END ACT //

    Bilateral donors as well as multi-lateral agencies like the European Union and World Bank have made it clear that as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power, Serbia will be eligible only for the most basic humanitarian assistance. (Signed)
    NEB/BDW/TVM/JP 20-Sep-1999 16:12 PM EDT (20-Sep-1999 2012 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Monday) in lackluster trading. VOA Business Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10- thousand-823, up 20 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 13-hundred-35, up a fraction of one point. The NASDAQ index gained more than one-half percent, reflecting strength in technology stocks. Ed Lavarnway of the First Albany investment firm says concerns about Year 2000 computer problems, or Y-2K, are actually helping many technology stocks.

    ///Lavarnway act///

    Investors are increasingly ready to look beyond Y-2K to the prospects of potentially deferred demand for technology finding its way to the marketplace and that translates into higher stock prices for the leading names.

    ///end act///

    Although there was strength in many technology stocks, overall stock market trading lacked clear direction, and volume was light. Many traders took the day off in observance of the Jewish holy day.

    ///Rest opt///

    In business news, The Voice Stream Wireless Corporation will acquire Aerial Communications, another wireless telephone company. The deal, a mixture of cash and stock, is worth about one-point- eight billion dollars. The Quaker Oats Company plans to close plants and cut 12 hundred jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force. Quaker says the cutbacks will improve the food company's efficiency and profits. The Dole Food Company says its quarterly earnings will fall below Wall Street expectations. Dole blames low banana prices for the profit shortfall. The stock of Phillips Petroleum rose on speculation that talks with the Chevron Oil Company will result in some kind of joint venture. The companies have declined comment, but analysts say Phillips may form a joint chemical unit with Chevron. Sun Microsystems, a leading producer of computer servers, announced a two-for-one stock split for the second time this year. Sun's stock has more than tripled in the past 12 months.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/JP 20-Sep-1999 17:17 PM EDT (20-Sep-1999 2117 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Comments about the latest mass killing in the United States and the corruption and terrorist bombings in Russia are among the day's most popular editorial topics. There are also comments on the Mideast peace efforts; the debate on paying the U-S debt to the United Nations; the United Nations moves peacekeepers into East Timor; and the huge clean-up and continuing problems caused, along the Southeastern seaboard by Hurricane Floyd. Now, here with a closer look including some excerpts is ___________ and today's editorial digest.

    TEXT: The nation continues to grieve over the murder last week of seven people at a Forth Worth, Texas, church service. In Northern New Jersey, The Record says:

    VOICE: America's latest mass shooting ... was eclipsed last week by Hurricane Floyd. That's too bad, because right now Congress is wrestling with gun control and could have used the pressure of public outrage to do something substantive. ... This month, a House-Senate conference is trying to resolve differences in two versions of a juvenile crime bill. The Senate version includes significant gun-control provisions that would require background checks at gun shows. The House version has no gun-control provision, and opponents are hoping to keep it that way in the final measure.

    TEXT: Boston's Christian Science Monitor points out that a wave of mass killings is a relatively new phenomenon, while guns have been around for a much longer time.

    VOICE: America once again finds itself soul-searching after the murder[s] . in . Texas. In Washington, the cry quickly went up for more gun control, specifically provisions passed by the senate. While we'd like to see those provisions become law, we also know anything short of a full ban on guns would not have prevented this tragedy. . Such crimes began occurring regularly in the mid-1960s and since the mid-`70s have averaged two per month. Guns have been around a lot longer than that.

    TEXT: Trouble in Russia continues to occupy many editorial columns. In Florida, The St. Petersburg Times focuses on the reports of corruption, noting:

    VOICE: Boris Yeltsin called President Clinton the other day to tell him he didn't need to pay any attention to those nasty rumors of rampant corruption within [Mr.] Yeltsin's inner circle. Thanks for the call, Boris. But the evidence of widespread corruption - official thievery on a scale that threatens the political and economic reforms that are crucial to Russia's future - cannot.

    TEXT: Today's New York Times, focusing on the wave of terrorist bombings, criticizes the response of the Russian police, who are arresting people merely on their looks.

    VOICE: The fear and anger in Russia are understandable. Terrorism has struck people in their homes, with bombs exploding in Moscow and . the south.... Government officials, including President Boris Yeltsin, have spoken admirably about the need to find these terrorists without turning a crucial search into a racist crusade. . Yet among the alarming reports coming out of Moscow in the past few days are stories of police officers conducting the wholesale roundup of those who look as if they come from the Caucasus region of the country. .. The bombing deaths of so many innocent Russians are a terrible tragedy that can only be made worse by any overreaction that tampers with Russia's democratic progress.

    TEXT: A comment by The New York Times. Today's Washington Post is pleased with recent developments in the Middle East, where peacemaking is underway.

    VOICE: The quiet you hear . is the sound of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators embarking on their third attempt - the first two fizzled - to initiate talks on a final settlement. The six years of sound and fury they just have completed were devoted to negotiating limited self-rule for Palestinians and matching security measures for Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. .. [However] it is hard to imagine that issues encrusted by a century of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can be taken down by the negotiators in only a year's time - a pace dictated in some measure by the American political calendar./// OPT ///

    This is the plain lesson of the postponements and delays that have marked even what are regarded as the swift and successful parts of past diplomacy. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Washington Post on the progress of the peace talks in the Mideast. Now to the failure of this country to pay its U-N dues, something approaching a billion dollars, and these thoughts from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    VOICE: Washington tries, on one hand, to [direct the debate] in U-N councils, while, on the other, refusing to pay its obligations. The United States already has been voted off a key financial committee. Unless at least 350-million dollars is paid by December 31st, the world's sole superpower could face the embarrassing loss of its General Assembly vote. The failure to pay is absurd.

    TEXT: While that debate goes on, the U-N is busy spending more money sending a peacekeeping force, led by Australia, to East Timor, to restore order there in the wake of violence and widespread killing after the pro-Independence vote last month. Today's Wall Street Journal says of the effort:

    VOICE: [There is] . a fatal flaw in most such U-N missions: they get their priorities backward. Holding a vote is easy. Making it stick is the hard part. Thus 75-hundred peacekeepers are to be sent into a province where as many as 300-thousand Timorese have already been made homeless, where there is a well- armed pro-Indonesian faction and where, truth to tell, some Timorese leaders are not exactly the sainted democrats they would have the world believe. We wish the men in the blue helmets luck. But we can't help thinking it might never have come to this had some brutal interests been taken into account earlier. . such efforts require there be a clear definition of victory and [that]they be fought by someone who has a stake in relaxing it.

    TEXT: The Wall Street Journal on U-N peacekeeping ventures.

    ///OPT ///

    TEXT: There is a comment in today's St. Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press on the fight against AIDS in Africa from Abbe Maine, director of a Zambian news agency in Lusaka. Africa will enter the new millennium heavily burdened by the scourge of HIV/AIDS but with hope and optimism that the disease will be reduced to manageable levels. At Thursday's close of the 11th International Conference on AIDS and STDs [shorthand for sexually transmitted diseases] in Africa, the conference chair, Zambian Health Minister Nkandu Luo struck an optimistic tone: "Let us adopt a positive culture and re-focus our attention," she urged . one of the worst tragedies of Africa is that we get ashamed of our traditional heritage and culture, she told reporters. "We have very good cultures that we can bank on as we fight the scourge."

    TEXT: In Nebraska, The Omaha World-Herald takes on the difficult question of what to do with a just revealed Soviet spy in Britain, who is an 87-year-old retired government worker. The World-Herald asks of the British:

    VOICE: How, in a hypothetical case, would Britain treat an 87-year-old woman who had slipped Hitler information to help him fight the Battle of Britain? If a difference exists, what is it? This is not to say that Melita Norwood ought to be prosecuted. Perhaps she should. Perhaps not. .the fact that there's even a debate illustrates the difficulty that some people find in looking Stalinism in the eye. And that fact, to anyone who hopes that history will accurately record the reasons for the Cold War, can hardly be encouraging.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, some comments on Hurricane Floyd and the debate over whether a massive evacuation of the Southeast was really needed.

    VOICE: . affluence breeds a contemptuous forgetfulness. Whenever an anticipated catastrophe fails to materialize, complaints about cost and inconvenience begin. So it went . with Hurricane Floyd. And when Floyd was milder than expected, the carping began. "This is a joke," said a resident of Long Island, New York. "I didn't even take in my furniture." .. Depends on where you were. In North Carolina, at least 20 people died. Crop and livestock losses are in the hundreds of millions, and Floyd- related flood waters were still rising Sunday. If a few false alarms cause us to underestimate even one such future storm, we will have squandered more than money.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial opinion from Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 20-Sep-1999 13:38 PM EDT (20-Sep-1999 1738 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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