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Voice of America, 99-12-03

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

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





    INTRO: The United States has sharply criticized the Yugoslav government for blocking a shipment of European Union heating oil bound for two Serb cities. From the State Department, VOA's Kyle King reports.

    TEXT: The convoy of European Union tanker trucks carrying 350 tons of heating oil were halted at the Yugoslav border more than one week ago. E-U officials describe the situation as intolerable. They say the trucks will now return to the Macedonian capital of Skopjie. The fuel is part of a European Union pilot project aimed at providing assistance to Serb cities that are controlled by opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. State Department spokesman James Rubin described the blocking of the shipment as a cynical maneuver.

    /// Rubin Act ///

    The United States regrets that Serbian authorities have not allowed these humanitarian shipments to go through, devising one false obstacle after another in a cynical maneuver to manipulate public opinion. If the regime of President Milosevic really cared about the welfare of its citizens, it would allow these and future humanitarian fuel shipments under the E-U's program to reach their destinations quickly and unencumbered.

    /// end act ///

    Serb authorities say they will provide heating oil to the opposition controlled cities that were slated to receive the E-U aid. U-S officials say the Yugoslav government is expected to have a shortfall of fuel oil this winter and is making a mistake by refusing aid. (signed)
    NEB/KB/PT 03-Dec-1999 16:01 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 2101 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: With only one more day left until the end of the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, delegates say a number of major hurdles remain that could threaten the launch of a new round of international trade talks. As Amy Bickers reports from the trade conference, anti- W-T-O protests also took place, but were much smaller and peaceful than those earlier in the week.

    TEXT: The clock is ticking down for the launching of a new global trade round and the trade ministers at the W-T-O meeting in Seattle know it. Some say they will work around the clock to reach a consensus on which issues should be on the new round's agenda , and delegates from many countries say that there is little agreement and a chance that no resolution will be reached. Among the possible issues to be taken up in the future round: cutting trade barriers in agriculture, revising global antidumping rules, and attaching environmental guidelines to future policies. These issues, and a host of others, have trade ministers bitterly divided. Despite the tension, top U-S officials continue to say they they are confident that agreement will be reached and a new trade round unveiled. However, U-S Trade Representative Charlene Barshevsky, who is also chairing the conference, told reporters that if all 135 members could not settle their differences, she could employ less democratic means to get the new round underway.

    /// BARSHEVSKY ACT ///

    If we are unable to achieve that goal, I fully reserve the right to use a more exclusive process to achieve a final outcome. There is no qurestion about either my right as the Chair to do it, or my intention to do it. But it is not the way I want this to be done.

    /// END ACT ///

    In the past ministerial meetings of the W-T-O and its forerunners, a minority of countries led the way on trade rules. This year, for the first time, all countries have a voice in the negotiating sessions. But some smaller countries are complaining that the most important consultations are taking place behind closed doors. After two days of mass anti-W-T-O protests and nearly 600 arrests, Seattle streets were much calmer Thursday. Local officials are keeping a tight watch over conference venues, and allowing only those with official business to enter the downtown area. At least one-thousand protestors marched peacefully to a jail were demonstrators are being held. The demonstrations continue to distract delegates. Many say they are shocked by the violence and vandalism that disrupted the conference earlier this week. Others, such as Abdul Mannan, a diplomatic minister from Bangldesh, say protestors do not understand that trade with rich countries is vital for some of the poorest nations of the world.

    /// MANNAN ACT ///

    We have not heard much about their concerns for small countries. They talk about turtles and trees, and fine we love them, but in our country people our dying without food and work, and on our list of priorities whether they agree or not, men come before turtles. We love turtles, but we love our children more.

    /// END ACT ////

    President Clinton made one last appeal Thursday for the WTO to link trade agreements with basic protections of worker rights in the upcoming negotiations. He ratified a new International Labor Organization Convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labor. His comments that he wanted to see labor violations punished with sanctions outraged some developing nations who say tying labor and environmental conditions to trade is a form of protectionism that will weaken their economies. (Signed)
    NEB/AB/PLM 03-Dec-1999 00:49 AM EDT (03-Dec-1999 0549 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Farm subsidies are among the issues being debated by negotiators in Seattle, as delegates to the World Trade Organization wind up four days of meetings. They hope to issue a statement Friday setting the world trade agenda for another three years. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Seattle, some leaders from the developing world complain they are left out of the process.

    TEXT: A number of African and Caribbean delegates complain of a lack of transparency in the W-T-O proceedings, despite their access to so-called "open- ended" negotiating groups. Clement Rohee, minister of foreign affairs of Guyana, says negotiators from the United States and other major countries control the trade agenda.

    /// ROHEE ACT ///

    We're now very much disappointed over the fact that coming from small economies, small-island developing states, we end up in a situation where we are totally marginalized from a process which has been virtually hijacked by the more wealthy developed countries.

    /// END ACT ///

    A negotiator from Canada acknowledged what he calls "creative tension" in the talks, especially between developed and developing nations. But First World countries have been at odds over many issues, from United States objection to subsidies for European farmers to Japan's opposition to U-S anti- dumping laws. The chaos in the streets at the start of this meeting, as protesters virtually shut down central Seattle, added to the frustration of people like Sonny (Sri Dath) Ramphal [pron: `RAHM-pahl], a Caribbean diplomat and long-time Commonwealth official.

    /// RAMPHAL ACT ///

    I've been in public life, I suppose, about 40 years. I must have attended international conferences for about 30 of those years. This is absolutely the worst, the worst organized international conference there has ever been. And that is not just my view.

    /// END ACT ///

    // OPT //

    Representatives of some non-government organizations present here as observers also express frustration at their lack of direct involvement in the trade talks. A few tried to launch an impromptu rally inside the conference center Friday. Police escorted them from the building.

    /// PROTESTERS ACT ///

    [1st protester] I represent Friends of the Earth, the largest environmental organization in the world with offices in more than... (fades) [2nd protester] They can take us away but they cannot silence us. Bill Clinton's political power does not stop people power.

    /// END ACT ///

    The protesters complained about the cutting of so- called "old-growth" forest, some of which would be permitted under a proposed Global Free Logging Agreement. // END OPT // Many delegates to the World Trade Organization meeting worked through the night Thursday in an effort to reach a compromise on a final statement. One Western delegate said the long hours and hard debates were expected, noting they are always part of trade negotiations. (Signed)
    NEB/MO/ENE/WTW 03-Dec-1999 17:35 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 2235 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: President Clinton wants worker rights to be included in global trade talks, but he's getting a cool reception from developing nations'leaders who say such measures could harm their ability to trade. As Amy Bickers reports from the site of the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle, officials say this divisive issue is one of the steepest hurdles to further trade liberalization.

    TEXT: Amid flashing camera lights and much fanfare, President Clinton signed a treaty Thursday banning child labor which was sponsored by the International Labor Organization. The event took place on the fringes of the World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle, which is scheduled to end Friday.

    /// CLINTON ACT ///

    The step we take today affirms fundamental human rights, ulitamtely, that is what core labor standards are about-not an instrument of protectionism, or a vehicle to impose nation's valures on another, but about our shared values: about the dignity of work the decency of life, the fragility and importance of childhood.

    /// END ACT ///

    The move won praise from many in the United States, including Bill Johnson, a labor union leader for the U-S aerospace giant, Boeing.

    /// JOHNSON ACT ///

    I think it is really important. We hear about how the various countries do business. We hear about prison labor and children building products and here in the United States we do not see many things like that. We all need to be a good citizen and address those issues.

    /// END ACT ///

    But many officials from the third world are uncomfortable with American viewpoint, which they view as part of the u-s government's policy to tie labor standards to trade policies. Elvis Musiba, president of Tanzania's Chamber of Commerce, says workers' rights should not be incorporated into W-T-O rules. In his country, children help pick cotton and tea, both important export crops. He worries that child labor laws could do away with this traditional practice, which is vital for small farmers.

    /// MUSIBA ACT ///

    We would not like this to be put together with trade. We would like this to remain with an international labor organization so that it can be dealt with separately. Because if it is going to be put together I am sure it is going to affect the trade on our side so we are not agreeing with that.

    /// END ACT ///

    Albert Shabungu, Swaziland's Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs, agrees.

    /// SHABUNGU ACT ///

    Trade issues are trade issues, labor issues are labor issues and there are various international organizations dealing with these matters. Our position is that the I-L-O is an adequate institution to deal with issues related to workers rights. We do not feel that the W-T-O should be used as an instrument for issues that are not really trade issues.

    /// END ACT ///

    At the W-T-O meeting, wealthy nations, led by the United States, are pushing their poorer trading partners to adopt more stringent regulations to protect workers. But officials from poor countries say that amounts to an unfair trade tactic and will hurt their exports. More than 100 of the W-T-O members are developing nations and the issue has become one of the most contentious at the trade talks. European Union Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy, calls it the biggest obstacle ministers now face as they try to launch a ninth global round of trade liberalization. Abdul Mannan, a diplomatic minister from Bangladesh, says his country supports a gradual incorporation of labor standards into trade rules, but says that the process cannot be rushed to fit in with rich countries' timetables and expectations.

    /// MANNAN ACT ///

    We would like that there are better labor standards, better toilet facilities, more airy rooms, who would not want it? But think of a country like mine where 90-percent of the people do not have access to electricity. 50-percent do not have access to a sanitary system if disposal, drinking water. Not all the children have access to shots, which is very necessary. Ideally, for sure, we would like to have better labor standards, but there is not one global standard at this moment.

    /// END ACT ///

    Not all western countries support President Clinton's position, which says that W-T-O rules should allow countries with bad labor standards to be punished with sanctions. Australia says it objects to having labor issues injected into trade issues and has suggested that better market access for poor countries will lead to higher labor standards. Japan and the European Union, have put forward a possible compromise: calling for a joint W-T-O /I-L-O forum that would discuss the issue, but remain outside of the trade body's official rule-making mechanism. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PT 02-Dec-1999 20:36 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 0136 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Trade ministers from around the world are meeting in (the northwest city of) Seattle, working against a deadline to hammer out an agreement on the next round of global trade talks. As Amy Bickers reports from Seattle, sharp divisions remain among different countries and a deal is uncertain.

    TEXT: Trade negotiators at the World Trade Organization conference are racing against a Friday deadline after spending all night trying to reach an accord. Representatives from the United States say the difficult discussions are moving forward in many areas, but European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy says there is a long way to go to reach agreement. He warns that big gaps remain between the European Union and the United States, and says Europe is still hoping for a comprehensive accord that will launch the next round of trade liberalization.

    /// LAMY ACT ///

    Our focus remains a big package. I hope that our American friends agree that a big package is the only way to cover not only our interests and those of other countries, but also the interests of our host.

    /// END ACT ///

    Poor countries are complaining that major powers are meeting behind closed doors and locking them out of the process. Some African nations are threatening not to sign a deal unless talks are more open. They are also critical the United States. Yash Tandon, a delegate form Zimbabwe, says the U-S negotiating team is trying to push its own agenda to appease American voters.

    /// TANDON ACT ///

    The United States has been arrogant, insensitive and, I am afraid, short-sighted. Because if the United States behaves the way it is behaving right now, it will not only undermine the present conference, it will undermine the W-T-O itself.

    /// END ACT ///

    Some developing countries say they will stand firm in rejecting ties between trade and labor standards, a link wanted by Washington and the European Union. South African delegate Mohau Pheku (prono: peck-q) says her country's negotiators are not sure that a deal will be reached by the Friday evening deadline.

    /// MOHAU PHEKU ACT ///

    They are really not confident they will walk away from here with a ministerial declaration.

    /// END ACT ///

    A W-T-O spokesman cautions that the talks are still at a fragile stage, and that the potential for a breakdown should never be underestimated. Among the many issues on the table are cutting export subsidies in farm products, banning tariffs in the electronic commerce sector and reworking anti-dumping rules. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AB/ENE/JP 03-Dec-1999 15:12 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 2012 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: President Clinton has telephoned Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi as part of a last-minute drive to achieve an agreement at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle. As V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House, the Clinton administration is eager to move ahead with a new round of negotiations to reduce obstacles to world trade.

    TEXT: Mr. Clinton left Seattle Thursday, but is continuing efforts by telephone to salvage an agreement at a conference marred by policy disputes and violent anti-W-T-O demonstrations. Despite reports the conference might end without an agreement on a new trade round, Mr. Clinton told reporters here that at least "a little progress" was being made and that he had spoken with Prime Minister Obuchi earlier in the day. Officials here said the 20 minute talk with the Japanese leader followed similar calls late Thursday with European Union President Romano Prodi, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and New Zealand `s new prime minister-elect, Helen Clark. Differences remain at Seattle over key issues including lowering tariffs on farm products and a controversial proposal by Mr. Clinton that the next trade round include consideration of labor standards. (Signed)
    NEB/DAD/ENE/JP 03-Dec-1999 15:01 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 2001 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    THIS IS THE FIRST OF TWO EDITORIALS BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 12/04/99. 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: Representatives from some one-hundred forty countries met in Seattle, Washington this past week to discuss ways of creating a more prosperous, open, and equitable global trading system. President Clinton wants a new trade round to focus on expanding prosperity and improving the quality of life around the world. In a recent joint statement, President Clinton and European Commission President Romano Prodi [Ro- MAH-noh PROH-dee] said the U-S and the European Union are mindful of the role free trade plays in "ensuring that democracy and free markets improve tangibly the lives of people in a rapidly globalizing world." Many people are concerned that expanding trade poses a threat to their livelihoods. Among those were groups representing European farmers, American workers, and environmental groups. In the streets around the Seattle meeting, some went so far as to riot, looting small businesses and trashing the downtown area, requiring police intervention. The concerns of N-G-O's with issues like child labor and the environment are serious, and indeed were on the W-T-O agenda. The U-S government also organized an N-G-O-Day on the eve of the W-T-O meeting, providing an opportunity for genuine and substantive dialogue between concerned organizations and government officials. But the beneficial consequences of world trade are indisputable. As barriers have come down in recent years, world trade has grown fifteen-fold. And as U-S Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky pointed out recently, expanded trade has helped Africa raise its non-energy exports to the U-S alone by nearly one billion dollars since 1997. But as she also said, the U-S believes the W-T-O and international financial institutions must help developing countries take full advantage of the international trading system. As President Clinton said to a group of farmers, students, and local officials, "some of the poorest countries in the world would get the biggest benefits out of this trade round if we continue to tear down the barriers to agricultural exports. 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. 03-Dec-1999 11:40 AM EDT (03-Dec-1999 1640 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Four central European presidents say their countries will work together with a new intensity on their way to membership in the European Union (E-U). V-O-A's Alena Kenclova reports from the Czech capital, Prague.

    TEXT: President Rudolf Schuster has gained support from his colleagues in neighboring Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, for Slovakia's bid to be invited to talks on European Union membership at this month's summit in Helsinki (EDS: December 10). The Slovak president met Alexander Kwasniewski, Vaclav Havel and Arpad Goencz in a mountain resort (Gerlachov) near the Slovak-Polish border on Friday. The presidents also backed Slovakia's efforts to become a member of NATO, like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which were admitted to NATO earlier this year.

    /// OPT ///

    The E-U put five central and east European countries on the fast track to membership two years ago. It left out Slovakia because of a lack of democratic reforms under then Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. With a new reform-minded government, Slovakia now says it is ready to catch up with neighbors who have already made progress in negotiations on joining the E-U. Bratislava sets the first of January 2004 as the target date for E-U membership. /// END OPT /// In a joint statement, the central European presidents expressed concern about the situation in Chechnya. President Havel said combating terrorism does not justify violations of human rights and the killing of civilians. The central European countries want to play an active role in the stabilization and reconstruction of the Balkans. The Slovak president said he discussed with Czech President Vaclav Havel joint projects to improve the situation of the Roma people in the two countries.

    //Rest opt//

    The central European countries had attempted to coordinate their efforts to be part of the European integration process in the first years after the fall of communism. They became known as the Visegrad group, then made up of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which has since split into two states. The Czech and Slovak governments then lost interest in the Visegrad idea. (Signed)
    NEB/AK/GE/KL 03-Dec-1999 12:45 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 1745 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Defense ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have ended two days of talks in Brussels, and much of the discussion centered on Russia - a country that stayed away from the meeting. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels.

    TEXT: Russia usually sends its defense minister to meet his colleagues from NATO - but not this year. NATO has always avoided commenting on Russian internal affairs - but not this year. During their two-day meeting, the NATO defense ministers urged Russia to exercise restraint in Chechnya and to cease what they called Russia's disproportionate use of force. The ministers also urged Russia to provide humanitarian relief to those in need and to prevent the spread of the conflict to other states. Russia responded angrily, with a spokesman in Moscow saying the NATO comments are intended to worsen the situation in Chechnya. The spokesman says the statements are cynical, coming from an alliance that dropped thousands of bombs and rockets on civilian targets in Kosovo earlier this year. U-S Secretary of Defense William Cohen dismisses the Russian reaction as understandable, considering Russia's economic and political troubles.

    /// COHEN ACT ///

    Because they are in Chechnya right now, and because of the bombings that took place in the last several months that prompted their action in Chechnya, I think it makes it more difficult, perhaps, to engage them at the E-A-P-C (Euro- Atlantic Partnership Council) or the Permanent Joint Council level. But I believe that over time they will realize, as everyone recognizes that Russia has to be engaged, that there cannot be a stable Europe without a stable Russia. And we want to keep the line of communication open.

    /// END ACT ///

    Defense Secretary Cohen met separately with his Ukrainian and Georgian colleagues. And, he signed an agreement with Ukraine's Aleksandr Kuzmuk for U-S military cooperation next year, including assistance to Ukraine in the non-proliferation of weapons. In a separate meeting with NATO's 19 defense ministers, Mr. Kuzmuk explained Ukraine's plan to cut its troop strength by one-half to 310-thousand. He also gave details of the withdrawal of Ukraine's 400 troops from Bosnia to concentrate on peacekeeping in Kosovo. NATO plans to reduce its Bosnia peacekeeping force from 34-thousand to 19-thousand by April. And NATO Secretary-General George Robertson says he is satisfied with Ukraine's move out of Bosnia.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    A number of countries have decided that they will concentrate their attention on one theater rather than the other, and the Supreme Allied Commander is more than satisfied that this is done because it gives us mobility and flexibility in each of theaters.

    /// END ACT ///

    As one example, the Netherlands is taking its troops out of Kosovo to concentrate on Bosnia. NATO officials say the peacekeeping force in Kosovo is already oversubscribed by NATO countries and their partners. (Signed) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/JP 03-Dec-1999 11:39 AM EDT (03-Dec-1999 1639 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were sharply higher today (Friday), as Wall Street reacted with exuberance to positive news on the U-S economy. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 247 points, over two percent, closing at 11-thousand-286 - with the blue-chips up 298 points for the week. Both the Standard and Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite closed at new highs. The Standard and Poor's rose 24 points to 14-hundred-33. The Nasdaq gained just under two percent. The big movement came as Wall Street got word that the U-S unemployment rate was unchanged in November - holding steady at four-point-one percent - and there was no sign of wage inflation. Meanwhile, new U-S factory orders fell in October two- tenths of one percent - showing, perhaps, that the U-S economy may be slowing down.

    ///begin opt///

    Despite the good numbers, analysts are still divided on whether the robust U-S economy eventually will show inflationary pressures. Joe Battapaglia, a perennial optimist, says the Federal Reserve Board (the U-S central bank) was alarmist when it raised short-term interest rates three times this year and warned that the U-S stock market is over-valued. He says the latest economic numbers justify investors' confidence:

    ///Battapaglia act///

    This is consistent with the pattern that has developed over the last several months. And that is to say while the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) had to do its work, the economy was going to demonstrate strength, earnings were going to come through in spades (strong), and the economy was going to show balance - the absence of inflation.

    ///end act///

    ///end opt///

    Financial shares led the Dow Jones rally. General Motors - another Dow component - was also up. The U-S auto-maker is negotiating business links with Japan's Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries.

    ///rest opt for long ///

    H-S-B-C, Britain's largest bank, says it will not delay its 10-billion dollar acquisition of Republic Bank of New York, despite the death of its founder - Edmond Safra. The Lebanese businessman died when two hooded men set fire to his luxury apartment in Monaco Friday. The attack came during the final stages of the purchase. Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellular phones, has revised its forecast for subscriber growth to one billion users world-wide by the end of 2002 - a year earlier than had been projected. The Finnish company this week overtook Deutsche Telekom as Europe's second largest company. Analysts say the growing demand for mobile telephones and the recent easing of export restrictions to China are boosting Nokia sales. China is Nokia's second- largest market. (signed)
    NEB/NY/EJ/LSF 03-Dec-1999 16:58 PM EDT (03-Dec-1999 2158 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Violent protests against the World Trade Organization now ending its meetings in (the western city of) Seattle, Washington continue to puzzle U-S editorial writers. The demonstrations, they conclude, have overshadowed serious problems with the W-T-O itself. Other topics coming in for comment on U-S editorial pages include the new era of Protestant and Catholic cooperation in Northern Ireland, the settlement of claims against Germany for Nazi slave labor during World War Two and the long-running dispute between Britain and Greece over a group of statues known as the Elgin Marbles. Here with a closer look at these issues is _____________ with today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: We begin our consideration of the protests against the W-T-O meeting with this comment from the Wichita Eagle in the state of Kansas. It says the violence in the streets of Seattle overshadowed what could turn out to be a major weakness in the trade organization.

    VOICE: Consider, for example, the treaty that President Clinton signed Thursday banning ... child labor - slavery, bondage, prostitution, pornography, drug trafficking and inherently hazardous work. Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand, who takes over the top W-T-O post in 2002, says that linking trade sanctions to such labor-rights violations would be "highly detrimental." If we can't all agree that children shouldn't be chained to machinery, sexually abused and covered with deadly chemicals, how in the world are we going to come to terms with regulations to protect adult workers and the environment ... ?

    TEXT: The Christian Science Monitor, a national newspaper based in Boston, agrees that the street violence masked serious issues at the W-T-O meeting.

    VOICE: The protests were not the real action in Seattle. Rather, the unspoken W-T-O agenda is a plan by Europe, Japan and others to thwart the longstanding U-S goal of expanding free trade in agriculture and services, two of its economic strengths. To protect (their own) farmers, Europe and Japan have tried to put other issues, such as antitrust rules, on the W-T- O table in hopes of using them as bargaining chips against U-S demands for more free trade in agriculture.

    TEXT: However these issues are settled, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer seemed relieved that the W-T-O meeting in its city was drawing to a close.

    VOICE: We feel compelled to apologize to the W-T-O delegates for the unfriendly treatment they endured as the result of a few mindless demonstrators and our city's lamentable failure to anticipate their irresponsible antics. ... That said, we also want to offer a few words of counsel to the members of the W- T-O as they flee our disheveled city: Until you open your business to the world's citizens, your organization will look like trouble to any city that would consider offering you an invitation. Without change, you can be assured that the same public unhappiness that you experienced here will dog your footsteps around the globe.

    TEXT: Turning to other international issues, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the southern state of Georgia praises the new power-sharing government of Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. It warns, however, that more needs to be done before peace is assured.

    VOICE: Thanks to Catholics and Protestants willing to share power, thanks to U-S mediation, and, most of all, thanks to a widespread wish to be done with 30 years of futile conflict, the people of Northern Ireland have a chance to manage much of their own affairs and learn to get along in the process.

    TEXT: But while all sides in Northern Ireland made difficult concessions to achieve their new power- sharing arrangement, the Atlanta newspaper notes that "the giving in cannot stop there."

    VOICE: The hard-line leaders of the Protestant paramilitaries and the I-R-A (Irish Republican Army) guerrillas must agree to turn over their arsenals to a Belfast-based disarmament commission headed by a neutral party ... This is not negotiable. If they fail to respond promptly - within the next few months the whole peace process could unravel.

    TEXT: The New York Times devotes part of its editorial page to criticizing German industry for what it considers a less than generous approach to dealing with the issue of Nazi slave labor during World War Two.

    VOICE: More than 50 years ago, millions of citizens of Central and Eastern Europe were compelled to work under monstrous conditions for German companies and the Nazi state. ... Hundreds of thousands of people who survived these ordeals are still alive. But all are elderly and thousands die each month. If they are ever to be compensated for their nightmarish suffering, it must be soon. The German government, though financially strapped, has offered to contribute substantially to a settlement. But the chance for an early deal may now be lost because of the unjustified intransigence of German private industry. ... German industry now insists that its two-point-eight-billion dollar (compensation) offer is final. If the survivors' groups do not accept by December 10th, the companies threaten to pull out of the talks. Considering that the victims have waited more than 50 years for compensation, setting such an abrupt and artificial deadline is particularly offensive.

    TEXT: With that comment from the New York Times, we turn to a dispute that had its beginnings in the early days of the 19th century when Britain's Lord Elgin took pieces of marble sculpture from the Parthenon in Athens and shipped them to London. The Wall Street Journal sides with the British against Greek demands that the sculptures now be returned to Athens.

    VOICE: Curators everywhere fear that should Greece succeed in prying the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum, it would incite an international scramble to wrest national antiquities from all foreign collections. ... Were all works of art restored to their point of origin, museums would be condemned solely to represent indigenous work. ... The British Museum's justification that the marbles are currently seen free of charge by six-million people per year is persuasive.

    TEXT: With that view from the Wall Street Journal, we conclude this sampling of Friday's editorial comment in the U-S press.
    NEB/JP/KL 03-Dec-1999 11:31 AM EDT (03-Dec-1999 1631 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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