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Voice of America, 00-01-28

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

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






    INTRO: A senior United Nations official says he believes the improved climate between Greece and Turkey will boost U-N efforts to try to resolve the decades-long dispute over the divided island of Cyprus. Lisa Schlein reports a new round of peace talks on Cyprus begins Monday (January 31) at U-N headquarters in Geneva.

    TEXT: Negotiators hope this second round of so- called proximity talks will keep up the momentum achieved last month in New York. That was when, after a two-year break, the Greek and Turkish representatives in the Cyprus dispute re-opened discussions about ways to end the island's division. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the northern third of the island to prevent it from being united with Greece. Over the years, numerous difficult and complex negotiations have failed to reunite the island. The United Nation's chief mediator, Alvaro DeSoto, hopes this time will be different. He says the improved political climate between Greece and Turkey has played an important role in getting these negotiations back on track.

    /// DE SOTO ACT ///

    With the improved climate in the region, the (U-N) Secretary-General feels is providing fertile ground for reaching meaningful progress down the road.

    /// END ACT ///

    The talks will be headed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Glafcos Clerides. But the two men will not talk directly to each other. Under the format of the proximity talks, each side will meet separately with a U-N mediator present. The mediator will shuttle between both delegations and report on what each side has discussed.

    /// OPT ///

    U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan will preside over the talks, Monday. After his return to New York on Tuesday, his deputy, Alvaro DeSoto, will take over the Geneva mediation role.

    /// END OPT ///

    Mr. De Soto says he hopes the two parties will focus on four core issues during this round.

    /// 2ND DE SOTO ACT ///

    These being security, the distribution of powers, property including compensation for property and also territory. Other issues can also be raised by the parties at the table. And, indeed they have done at New York and we expect that they quite likely will continue to do so in Geneva.

    /// END ACT ///

    The United Nations has put a blackout on the substance of the talks. Both Turkey and Greece are expected to send high-level envoys as observers. Mr. De Soto says Greece and Turkey are important in the proceedings and will be the guarantors of any peace accord that might emerge. He says the proximity talks, which are expected to last for about two weeks, are being held to prepare the ground for, what he calls, meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/GE/KL 28-Jan-2000 12:35 PM EDT (28-Jan-2000 1735 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Turkish leaders, fresh from their triumph (last month) of winning a European Union (E-U) commitment to open membership talks, are courting foreign business and government leaders at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And as V- O-A's Barry Wood reports, Turkish officials are promoting an oil pipeline and regional cooperation with the former Soviet states in the Caucasus.

    TEXT: Turkish diplomacy here in Davos is directed both east and west. Thursday, the prime minister and foreign minister hosted a dinner for mostly west European business and government leaders to assert their commitment to market-based reform. They promised far-reaching privatization of Turkey's state dominated economy. They appealed for foreign investment to provide jobs and economic growth. On Friday, Turkish officials turned their attention to their northern and eastern neighbors, promoting Turkey's commitment to regional economic and security cooperation. Foreign Minister Ismail Cem appeared on a panel with the presidents of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan and the foreign minister of Iran. Mr. Cem pledged Turkish support for the development of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Turkish officials have been strongly promoting the recently approved Azerbaijan-to-Turkey (Baku to Ceyhan) pipeline route as the best way to get Caspian Sea oil to western markets. In an interview with V-O- A, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit says he has no doubt that the pipeline will be built.

    /// Ecevit Act ///

    Definitely, definitely. All the agreements have been reached. I'm sure about it.

    /// End Act ///

    Western oil companies are not enthusiastic about the expensive Turkish route, which is supported by the United States and strongly opposed by Russia. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi called for rethinking the pipeline issue and suggested that the Turkish route was selected for political rather than economic reasons. Eager to promote Iran's pipeline alternative, Mr. Kharrazi says the pipeline issue should be de-politicized and demilitarized. Earlier this month, the Turkish president visited Georgia - through which the Turkish (pipeline) route passes - seeking to win full Georgian support for the project. Further talks between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan on the 17-hundred kilometer pipeline are expected next month. (SIGNED)
    NEB/BW/GE/JP 28-Jan-2000 13:58 PM EDT (28-Jan-2000 1858 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// Re-running w/correct number ///

    INTRO: U-S stocks sold off today (Friday), as investors displayed new anxiety about interest rates. The major indices were sharply down for the week, with the Dow Jones Industrials shedding more than four percent. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 289 points, or two and one-half percent, to 10-thousand- 738. The Standard and Poor's 500 index lost 38 points, more than two percent. And the technology- weighted Nasdaq composite dropped nearly four percent its third straight day of losses. The market was reacting to news of a stronger-than- expected U-S economy. The economy grew five-point- eight percent in the last three months of 1999 with some signs of inflation. That spurred concern that the Federal Reserve Board will raise interest rates aggressively when it meets next week.

    ///BEGIN OPT///

    Not everyone is alarmed about that meeting. Analyst Alan Skrainka believes policy-makers will move slowly, raising rates a quarter of one percent to start:

    ///SKRAINKA ACT///

    We still don't see strong evidence of inflation here. So the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) has a little time yet to work with this. And by the March 21st meeting, they'll have both January and February first-quarter data, when they can become more aggressive.

    ///END ACT///

    Some experts believe the U-S economy will start showing signs of a slowdown by the time the "Fed" holds its second meeting of the year in March.

    ///END OPT///

    Interest rate fears have overshadowed a good earnings season. Many U-S businesses are reporting better- than-expected quarterly profits, as Asian economies come out of recession.

    ///REST OPT for long ///

    Analysts believe this is a good opportunity for investors to buy those big-name stocks that have been slipping in recent days. They say the solid performers of "corporate America" will eventually climb back because business is good and the U-S economy is fundamentally strong. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/ENE/PT 28-Jan-2000 17:50 PM EDT (28-Jan-2000 2250 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: President Clinton's final state of the Union address Thursday night is naturally the subject of many editorials today. Coming in a close second is the race for president, as New Hampshire prepares to hold the first primary election in the nation next week. Other topics include China's efforts to control the Internet; and tracking down the hijackers of an Indian airliner. Now, here is __________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: President Clinton addressed the Congress and the nation Thursday night in his final State of the Union address and proclaimed the country to be in good financial and social shape. He called for a wide range of new and expanded programs in the areas of education, health care, and gun control, and proposed a tax cut for most Americans. The response to the speech is somewhat mixed. In the northwestern part of the country, the Oregonian in Portland phrased it this way:

    VOICE: Bill Clinton's final State of the Union address was full of promise, politically audacious and, for some, tiresomely long. ...At moments his speech was deeply inspiring, at others it was overly ambitious and overtly political. In other words, it was vintage [Bill] Clinton. ... as the president finished his address, we wonder how many people turned away from the television, as we did, with a sense of disappointment. Not about the speech. But about the president ... [Mr.] Clinton might have been.

    TEXT: Far to the southeast, the Miami Herald says:

    VOICE: Last night's finale was a suitable valedictory delivered with the mixture of bombast and inspiration that the nation has come to expect in this annual appearance. ... His earlier scandals aside, President Clinton remains a man of big ambition, "great goals" and determined to build a legacy. The agenda he proposed last night would go far toward doing that.

    TEXT: The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant, giving one New England view, suggests that although the plans are bold, few will come to fruition.

    VOICE: A year ago, Mr. Clinton, just impeached by the House and facing trial in the Senate, gave what was considered the speech of his life. But very little of what he proposed in that address was enacted. ... Thursday night in his swan song (final State of the Union address)... there he was, again pushing initiatives galore in a speech that was at once his last bid for the history books and a kickoff for Vice President Al Gore's campaign to succeed him.

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post was not overly impressed either, and sees the speech as focusing on something other than what the nation's founders intended.

    VOICE: The State of the Union address long ago ceased to be about the union. It's about the presidency - - a defense of the siting administration's achievements, goals and program. That's all the more true in an election year in which the president seeks as a further badge of accomplishment to have his vice president succeed him ... His is not a bad program, but Mr. Clinton ... once again systematically ducked the largest such problem within the government's purview - - how to finance the baby boomers' retirement.

    TEXT: Lastly, The Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Journal says Mr. Clinton's plan are too ambitious.

    VOICE: Many of [Mr.] Clinton's programs deserve sympathetic consideration, such as enactment of a patients' bill of rights, a boost in the minimum wage and an increase in (spending to educate the poor). But a tax cut now, at a time of economic prosperity, is as unnecessary as it is premature. /// OPT /// If [Mr.] Clinton wants his last year in office to be memorable, let him keep the economy on its present course. That would be the best possible gift, not only to [Vice President] Gore, but to all Americans.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The presidential election campaign is becoming more aggressive, as the candidates criss-cross New Hampshire in anticipation of that state's primary next Tuesday. In a front-page editorial, Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the Manchester Union-Leader, castigates Texas Governor George Bush for what he describes as an arrogant attitude.

    VOICE: It is now clear why his handlers wanted to keep Texas Governor George Bush's pre-primary appearances in New Hampshire to a minimum. They were rightly concerned that his smug attitude and smart remarks would not do him any good. ... [Governor] Bush's favorite line with the other candidates seems to be, "let me tell you," and his attitude is one of ill-disguised contempt that he should even have to appear with them and suffer their questions. That attitude seems to extend to the "good folks of New Hampshire," too.

    TEXT: In Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman criticizes Vice President Al Gore's for the way he is campaigning against Bill Bradley for the Democratic ... nomination ... "

    VOICE: It's not that we harbor warm feelings for Bill Bradley's candidacy ... an unapologetic liberal whom we do not want to become president. Yet you've got to feel for him ... trying to counter Al Gore's take-no- prisoners bid to win the . nomination... Distort the other guy's record, then deny that's what you're doing. ... Lie when necessary and then lie some more.

    TEXT: Internationally today's Chicago Tribune is one of several papers commenting on China's campaign to restrict its citizens' access to the Internet.

    VOICE: The Chinese government's crackdown this week on freedom of information on the Internet is reminiscent of the little Dutch boy putting his finger in the dike. No way is it going to work. The People's Republic of China might find it as easy to stop the sun from shining as to curb the Internet. ... The Beijing government is doing its best to curb political information while opening doors to economic change. But you can't let in one without the other.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In California, the Los Angeles Times readily agrees with the Trib. VOICED: China aims to erect a Great Wall in cyberspace to keep out unwanted news and comment. Time will show that can't be done.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In the wake of the skyjacking of the Indian airliner at the end of the year, today's Sun in Baltimore has a message for the U-S government:

    VOICE: Washington should increase the pressure on the new military regime of Pakistan to suppress terrorists operating from its land. Pakistan is entitled to dispute India's possession of part of Kashmir. But ... is not entitled to give sanctuary to an organization that explodes bombs in India and hijacked an Indian airliner last month.

    TEXT: Now to Latin America, where charges against three Guatemalan army officers for human rights violations in the murder of Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi, are being praised by today's Chicago Tribune.

    VOICE: The arrests may signal a break in an investigation so bungled from the start that hardly anyone expected it to lead anywhere. ... [Bishop] Gerardi was murdered just days after releasing a report that blamed most of the atrocities during Guatemala's 36-year-old civil war on the military.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Lastly, regarding the short military coup in Ecuador that resulted in the ouster of President Jamil Mahuad, and installed the Vice President as the new leader, the Dallas Morning News writes:

    VOICE: Ecuador's instability stems from its sick economy. But overthrowing the constitutional order is no way to restore economic health. Indeed, illegally deposing an elected president is a sure way to make recovery more elusive.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 28-Jan-2000 12:04 PM EDT (28-Jan-2000 1704 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    NUMBER=1-00818 SHORT #1

    INSERTS AVAILABLE IN AUDIO SERVICES THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE Anncr: On the Line - a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. This week, "The Future of the Former Yugoslavia." Here is your host, ---------. Host: Hello and welcome to On the Line. The area comprising the former Yugoslavia has been plagued over the past decade by wars, ethnic strife, economic decline and repressive government. But several recent events may alter this grim pattern. On January 3rd, parliamentary elections were held in Croatia. The ruling party of the late President Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian Democratic Union, was decisively defeated. Earlier this week, in presidential primary elections in Croatia, the ruling party was again decisively defeated. Meanwhile, in Belgrade, for the first time since the street demonstrations of 1996 and 1997, seventeen opposition parties have united against President Slobodan Milosevic. They are calling for early elections by April. Dusko Doder is a former foreign correspondent for The Washington Post newspaper and co-author of Milosevic, Portrait of a Tyrant. He says that he is encouraged by the coalition against Milosevic, but not optimistic about its chances for success. Doder: I think there has to be some kind of incident to spark a popular revolt. It is not going to be sparked by a declaration of seventeen parties because, at this point, it is very unclear whom they represent. The fact is that there is an opposition and that there is discontent. That we can say. But whether this is an organized unit that is going to bring down Mr. Milosevic -- if NATO could not do it with thirty-eight thousand sorties [bombing runs], what are these people going to do? Host: Mihajlo Mihajlov, a former Yugoslav dissident and writer, is a senior associate at George Washington University's program on transitions to democracy. He says that their past association with Milosevic compromises the leaders of the opposition. Mihajlov: The main problem is that Vuk Draskovic cooperated for a while with Milosevic. Zoran Djindjic, the leader of this Alliance for Change, he also had some very strange connection with Milosevic during these demonstrations. And with this grass roots movement in south Serbia, I heard recently, the main request is: "Down with Milosevic, Draskovic and Djindjic." So do not make too much of a difference between the leaders of the opposition and Milosevic. This is a problem. Host: Author Dusko Doder says that the recent elections in Croatia are good news for the entire region, especially since the winners plan to renounce Croatian claims on Bosnia. Doder: I think this is a very positive development. Basically what has happened is a major change in Croatia which will have an impact on other areas of former Yugoslavia. But in particular, I should stress that, if the Croatian position vis-a-vis Bosnia is changed, it seems to me that perhaps that will allow for an evolution of a new Bosnian policy. But we have to wait for the demise, political or otherwise, of Mr. Milosevic. Host: Mihajlo Mihajlov from George Washington University's Program on Transitions to Democracy agrees that the victory of reformist forces in Croatia will have a positive impact on other areas of the former Yugoslavia. For On the Line, this is . Anncr: You've been listening to "On the Line" - a discussion of United States policies and contemporary issues. This is --------. 28-Jan-2000 15:29 PM EDT (28-Jan-2000 2029 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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