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Voice of America, 99-11-02

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

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





    INTRO: NATO's new Secretary-General, George Robertson, says Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must go since he is an impediment to his country's future progress. Mr. Robertson talked about the lessons learned from the Kosovo conflict, NATO enlargement and relations with Russia in a wide-ranging interview with the Voice of America during his first trip to the United States (this week). National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera reports from Washington.

    TEXT: In one of his first interviews since becoming NATO Secretary-General in mid-October, Mr. Robertson reflected on this year's Kosovo air campaign - the alliance's first offensive military action in its 50 year history. Mr. Robertson says NATO learned an important lesson from its dealings with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    The key lesson was that unity pays off. And that unity among 19 nations strengthened as the conflict went on. We were determined to do the right thing - in the first place - and that was to stop this genocidal violence being inflicted on the Kosovar Albanians by Milosevic.

    /// END ACT ///

    At the same time, Mr. Robertson acknowledged the Kosovo campaign showed NATO some of its mistakes. He says in the future, the military alliance must deploy much more quickly than it did in Kosovo. He also says NATO must have longer supply lines and continue to develop highly accurate and sophisticated weapons to be used in future air campaigns. During NATO's military operation in Kosovo, Mr. Robertson was Britain's Defense Secretary. And in that capacity, he used very strong words against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. As NATO Secretary- General, Mr. Robertson continues to do so.


    My message to Milosevic is that he should go. He has been indicted for war crimes. He cannot lead the people of Serbia into the year 2000 with authority or conviction - and that they themselves should get rid of this drag on their future. So that is a very simple message. He must adhere to international law and to the demands of the international community - but it will be his people who will have the final reckoning on this man who has brought them so much trouble over the last decade.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Robertson says one of his major challenges during the next five years as NATO's chief, will be to forge better relations between the alliance and Russia. Moscow has been very upset about NATO's expanding membership - to include its former Cold War allies. The Kremlin is skeptical of NATO's intentions and sees a bigger alliance as a threat. Then when the NATO chose to launch its first-ever offensive against Yugoslavia, Russia objected and cut tentative contacts with the alliance. Mr. Robertson says Russia is his priority:


    But we have got to try and bring Russia back into the European security family. We have got to reassure her that our motives are pure and reasonable and that their perception about what we are doing are wrong./// OPT /// The Duma (parliamentary) elections that are upcoming in a few weeks time, the presidential elections next year will bring - I believe - a new era in relations between Russia and the outside world./// END OPT /// And given that that huge problems that Russia faces - problems of proliferation, problems of drug-running, money laundering, inter-ethnic conflicts - are exactly the same problems that we in the West are facing, then I think that we will see that Russia and NATO can get together and face these challenges together.

    /// END ACT ///

    The NATO Secretary-General says NATO expansion will continue, despite Russian fears because he believes it is good for stability in Europe. Earlier this year, NATO accepted three new members: Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Mr. Robertson says the next countries to be admitted will probably be named at the NATO Summit in 2002. Analysts say Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania are likely to top the list. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/JO 02-Nov-1999 15:42 PM EDT (02-Nov-1999 2042 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S stock prices closed mixed today (Tuesday) after a late session plunge wiped out a rally led by high technology stocks. V-O-A's Joe Chapman reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 66 points, or about one half of one percent, to 10- thousand-581. The Standard and Poor's 500 fell six points to one-thousand-347. But the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite squeezed out a 13-point gain to two- thousand-981 for its third record high in three trading days. The Dow Jones Industrials were up about 100 points in an early session rally while the Nasdaq Composite broke through the three-thousand level for the first time ever. But shares gave up most of the gains in the final two hours. Most analysts agree there was no change in the market fundamentals to cause the sudden price drop.

    /// Rest Opt ///

    Some market watchers suggest investors become edgy (nervous) when a stock average such as the Nasdaq breaks through a major barrier. Others blame a J-P Morgan projection for three more interest rate hikes by the U-S central bank in the next nine months. John Davidson, a senior investment executive, said the stock market's wild swings could continue for some time. But he says a strong economy and good corporate earnings will help push share prices higher through the year 2000.

    /// Davidson Act ///

    I think into next year, we are going to have a strong stock market. Earnings are strong. They are coming in strong this fall and winter quarters. I think we're going to have a good market in the year 2000. I believe the risk for investors is in being out of the market as opposed to being in.

    /// End Act///

    Mr. Davidson says investors believe the U-S central bank will increase interest rates only modestly and have factored that assumption into their market decisions. (Signed). NEB/NYC/JMC/LSF/JP 02-Nov-1999 17:05 PM EDT (02-Nov-1999 2205 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The crash of the EgyptAir plane off the coast of the eastern United States continues to attract the attention of the nation's editorial writers. Other topics include: renewed efforts to bring peace to the Mideast; a new voice against the U-S embargo on Cuba; and two major Christian religions settle a breach that endured five centuries. Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is ________________ and today's editorial digest.

    TEXT: "Staggering but true," says the Los Angeles Times today about Sunday's plane crash, the third major airline disaster off America's northeast Atlantic coast in just over three years. The paper writes:

    VOICE: What was learned from the previous crashes, which claimed a total of 459 lives in 1996 and 1998, may help speed the investigation into Sunday's crash of the EgyptAir Boeing 767- 300ER and the deaths of its 217 passengers and crew members. ... Mindful of the wild speculation on the cause of the TWA explosion three years ago, investigators said they anticipated a long process and downplayed the possibility of terrorism. One lesson ought to be clear. Boeing should hand over every bit of information it has on the plane (767-300ER) and let federal investigators decide what is pertinent.

    TEXT: Like the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald also comments on the need for more openness by Boeing.

    VOICE: The fatal crash occurred soon after news that the Boeing company (held up the release for years of a report) that might improve airline safety. ... Just a day before, the Washington Post reported that Boeing didn't provide all the information needed to investigators of the similarly sudden fatal plunge of TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, in 1996. For 16 years Boeing (did not release) its report about how heat builds up and creates explosive vapors in the center fuel tank of military version of the 747. That's unconscionable.

    TEXT: The Baltimore Sun has this comment on the service taking place in Oslo, Norway, to commemorate the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated four years ago by a Jewish extremist. Besides honoring the memory of Mr. Rabin, the Sun says the three leaders in attendance - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and U-S President Bill Clinton -- must also consider the future of the Mideast peace process:

    VOICE: The United States has always been Israel's ally when the issue is Israel's existence. On the most intractable issue now, the status of Jerusalem, Washington takes no position. But on two lesser, practical matters, United States policy - if expressed - is closed to the Palestinian view. One of these is the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Washington quietly deplores them. A Clinton contribution to this discussion would strengthen Palestinian leverage in the compromise to be reached.

    TEXT: The other issue, says the Baltimore Sun, is the extent of separation between a Palestinian state and Israel. Washington and Mr. Arafat, the paper says, want greater inter-dependence between Israel and the Palestinian authority, but Mr. Barak, sensitive to anxieties over terrorism, wants stronger fences between Israel and the land controlled by the Palestinians. Mr. Clinton's influence, the Baltimore Sun says, could be helpful to both leaders if they need an excuse to make a concession.

    TEXT: The New York Times comments today on Cuba and the latest U-S official to call for an end to the U-S embargo against the island. The Times writes:

    VOICE: Pope John Paul II last year deplored the United States' embargo against Cuba for the suffering it has caused and the way it isolates ordinary Cubans from outside ideas. A similar judgment has now been reached by the conservative Republican governor of Illinois, George Ryan, who visited Havana last week. ... Regrettably, the Clinton Administration remains trapped in the futile policies of the Cold War past. It criticized Mr. Ryan for meeting with Fidel Castro and restated its opposition to trade with Cuba. That will please some in the Cuban-American community, and their congressional allies. But it will not help bring constructive change to Cuba. The time is ripe for changing American policy toward Cuba from isolation to democratic engagement.

    TEXT: On Sunday, 482 years after the Protestant Reformation, leaders of the world's Lutheran and Roman Catholics signed a declaration settling the major disagreement that ended five centuries of division. U-S-A Today says of the agreement:

    VOICE: After five centuries of bitterness and backbiting, and hundreds of thousands of deaths in religious wars, Sunday's ceremonial reconciliation of an argument that today seems remote and obscure is, to say the least, overdue. ... (OPT) Martin Luther, a pastor and theology professor offended by corruption and fund-raising abuses in the church, challenged its authority in the 1510s. He declared that salvation - getting to heaven - was attainable only through individual faith and the grace of God. The [Catholic] hierarchy sharply defended its doctrine that actions, including generous contributions to the church, could make a critical difference. (END OPT) ... Personal attacks, half-truths and lies spread by both sides poisoned the atmosphere between Catholics and non-Catholics until very recently. ... If Catholics and Lutherans, after centuries of demonizing each other, can turn a new page of respect and reconciliation, surely the public has the right to expect as much from others who call themselves leaders in every community wracked by divisions.

    TEXT: With that editorial comment from U-S-A Today, we conclude this roundup of U-S editorials for Tuesday.
    NEB/KL/WTW 02-Nov-1999 12:29 PM EDT (02-Nov-1999 1729 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Turkey's top military official says at least 700-rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, the P-K-K, have withdrawn from Turkish territory in recent months. But as Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the commander in chief of Turkey's armed forces, Huseyin Kivrikoglu, says the rebels should not withdraw, but should surrender to Turkish authorities.

    TEXT: General Kivrikoglu said as many as 700 Kurdistan Workers' Party fighters have left Turkish soil in recent months for bases in Iran and Kurdish- controlled northern Iraq. He said it would be, in his words -- more meaningful for them to surrender with their weapons, rather than to withdraw. He said those who withdraw could always return. General Kivrikoglu made the comments in Diyarbakir the largest city in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast region. The Turkish army has been coordinating its 15-year battle against the P-K-K from the city. Turkish military officials say no more than 15-hundred rebels remain in Turkey, down from a peak number of 10-thousand in the early 1990's. The P-K-K fighters are apparently withdrawing in response to a call in September from their captured leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to halt their attacks and leave Turkey. The call is in line with Ocalan's efforts to prove to the Turkish government he is sincere about negotiating a peaceful end to the Kurdish rebellion he launched 15-years ago -- initially for Kurdish independence. In recent years Ocalan scaled back his goals to political and cultural autonomy. Since his capture by Turkish special forces in Kenya in February, Ocalan has been seeking to project himself as a man of peace, saying he all he wants is to help firm up Turkey's democracy. But Turkish officials say his sole aim is to avoid execution. They say they will never negotiate with a man they describe as -- a baby killer and terrorist. Ocalan was sentenced to death for treason by a Turkish court last June. An appeals court is reviewing the verdict and will announce its ruling November 25th. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/RAE 02-Nov-1999 11:50 AM EDT (02-Nov-1999 1650 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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