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Voice of America, 00-03-06

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

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





    INTRO: The top civilian and military officials in Kosovo said today (Monday) that, despite the ethnic hatreds there, they remain optimistic that coexistence of Serbs and ethnic Albanians is possible. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: The head of the U-N Interim Administration in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, and the Commander of NATO's force in Kosovo, General Klaus Reinhardt, spent the day briefing the U-N Security Council in closed session. Afterwards, the two men met briefly with reporters and Mr. Kouchner said it will take years, not months, to bring genuine stability to Kosovo. However, he expressed confidence that there will be local, municipal elections in Kosovo before the end of this year. With ethnic tensions running high in Kosovo, Mr. Kouchner observed that its is way too early for reconciliation but that co-existence is possible. He said minorities in Kosovo must be made to feel safe.

    /// KOUCHNER ACT ///

    We need to start a very clear discussion about the future of all communities. For example, the Serbs. They want to know very precisely about their safety and their future, whether or not they should leave. We are not going to expel the Serbs. We are in charge of protecting them and offering them the chance to come back.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Kouchner invited members of the Security Council to visit Kosovo and the President of the Council said such a visit will be considered. Mr. Kouchner also expressed satisfaction that U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan will appoint someone to be in charge of missing persons in Kosovo -- believed to number in the thousands. General Reinhardt told reporters he briefed the Security Council on efforts to demobilize the Kosovo Liberation Army.

    /// REINHARDT ACT ///

    We talked about the transformation of the Kosovo Liberation Army, an army that fought for a new Kosovo. We are now transforming it into a civil organization which has no military context and has no political affiliation, and which will become a multi-ethnic organization. We are still in the transformation process but we are optimistic we will succeed.

    /// END ACT ///

    General Reinhardt said that, despite the recent ethnic violence in the city of Mitrovica, the overall level of security in Kosovo has improved considerably during the last nine months. (Signed) NEB/BA/LSF/gm 06-Mar-2000 17:53 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 2253 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The United Nations official in charge of humanitarian relief in Kosovo, Dennis McNamara, said today (Monday) a new refugee crisis may be looming there. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: Mr. McNamara says the level of ethnic tension and violence in Kosovo remains very high. The recent violence between Albanians and Serbs in the city of Mitrovica, he says, is just the "tip" of the Kosovo- wide problem of ethnic hatred. Mr. McNamara is alarmed by reports of ethnic violence in southern Serbia. He says the situation has driven some Albanians to flee into Kosovo.

    /// McNAMARA ACT ///

    We are assisting those new arrivals in Kosovo who are, generally speaking, rural Albanian families who got caught in a conflict which seems to involve armed elements, uniformed elements on both sides. By that I mean the Serb and Albanian side. This is very worrying. We think there are 60 to 70-thousand Albanians in that region.

    /// END ACT ///

    So far, Mr. McNamara told reporters, the flow of Albanian refugees from southern Serbia into Kosovo has been manageable. But he worries that a large-scale influx of Albanians would strain relief services. Mr. McNamara joined other U-N officials in calling for more police and judges in Kosovo. Currently, only about half of the 48-hundred civilian police authorized for Kosovo have arrived. Mr. McNamara says the protection of minorities in Kosovo must be the priority or the peacekeeping operation there has no point. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/LSF/KL 06-Mar-2000 14:34 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 1934 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: A Bosnian Serb man who was detained Sunday by British peacekeeping forces in Bosnia is being sent to the Netherlands for trial by the Yugoslav war crimes. Tribunal. As Lauren Comiteau reports from The Hague, Dragoljub Prcac faces charges that date back to the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from northwestern Bosnia eight years ago.

    TEXT: Prosecutors say the Bosnian Serb suspect, Dragoljub Prcac, was second in command at the Omarska prison camp. It was one of three camps where prosecutors say thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats suffered or died. Prosecutors say the prisoners were victims of a well-planned policy of persecution aimed at driving non-Serbs from the Prijedor region of Bosnia. And prosecutor Grant Nieman says the camps' commanders like Dragoljub Prcac -- were the people who helped make it happen.

    /// NIEMAN ACT ONE ///

    The Bosnian Serb authorities called Omarska a collection center. However, the evidence will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Omarska was a prison camp and an interrogation center, a place where murder, torture, rape and other cruel and inhuman treatment were a daily occurrence.

    /// END ACT ///

    Prosecutor Niemann has already started presenting evidence against four other men originally charged in the same indictment as Mr. Prcac -- three Omarska camp commanders and another man who Mr. Niemann says entered the camps to harass, torture and kill. At the start of their hearing last week, Prosecutor Niemann described conditions at Omarska.

    /// NIEMAN ACT TWO ///

    Open-space was so limited, that in some instances prisoners couldn't even sit or lie down. Detainees could not move at all unless they received permission, explicitly, to use the toilet or to eat. Often, guards beat them savagely on their way to use the toilet, so many preferred to defecate in their clothing rather than to risk this (punishment).

    /// END ACT ///

    If Mr. Prcac had been arrested earlier, he would be standing trial today with his alleged co-conspirators. He now will be tried separately for similar crimes. Or he could be tried with two other suspects who still are at large -- if the two other men are arrested. Prosecution spokesman Paul Risley hailed Sunday's arrest of Mr. Prcac by British peacekeeping troops as another sign of the tribunal's growing success in going after high-ranking officials. Last week, the court sentenced Croatian General Tihomir Blaskic to 45 years in prison for commanding troops that committed war crimes. And next week, a top commander in the Bosnian Serb army, General Radislav Krstic, goes on trial for his role in the massacre of Muslims following the fall of Srebrenica in 1995. Mr. Risley says the arrest of Mr. Prcac is the most recent example of the tribunal's progress. It is the second arrest by NATO-led forces this year, and Mr. Risley says it shows that such high-level detentions are becoming regular and routine. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/JWH/KL 06-Mar-2000 10:45 AM EDT (06-Mar-2000 1545 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright continued her four day visit (which began Sunday) to her native Czech Republic discussing the costs and responsibilities of democracy. During her various stops in (the Eastern city of) Brno and Prague, Ms. Albright focused on the rights of ethnic minorities and halting the spread of nuclear weapons technology. V-O-A's Kyle King is traveling with the secretary and reports Ms. Albright was generally greeted warmly, despite an egg-throwing incident.

    TEXT: Secretary of State Albright was making her way to sign a guest book at Masaryk University in Brno when the two eggs were lobbed at her. The eggs hit security guards but a small amount splattered on the back of the Secretary, who jokingly brushed off the incident, saying "we got up too early for breakfast, so here are our eggs." Authorities quickly detained the two men, who are described as anti-American anarchists. Czech President Havel called the incident the work of people who are unable to bother their minds with difficult issues and resort to egg throwing. President Havel also ignited speculation that Secretary of State Albright could become the country's next president, an idea she has repeatedly rejected.

    /// OPT ///

    With Secretary of State Albright standing at his side, Mr. Havel said it was up to Parliament to choose the next president, but he considered it an excellent idea. Speculation about a possible presidential bid has swirled around the Czech-born U-S secretary since last month, when the idea was reported by Time magazine. /// END OPT /// Ms. Albright is in the Czech Republic to help mark Tuesday's 150th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Masaryk, who is considered the father of Czech democracy. The Secretary began her day by meeting with students and young professionals from the Roma community, which has long suffered discrimination in Eastern Europe. They used the session to describe the despair that members of the minority feel because of unemployment and frequent racial attacks. In an address to students and faculty at Masaryk University, Ms. Albright alluded to the sensitive issue by saying democracy was about more than elections and the economy.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT 1///

    At its very base, it (democracy) is a commitment to the values of law and tolerance, education, and the participation of all citizens, including minorities, including the Roma, in community life.

    /// END ACT ///

    In her speech, Ms. Albright also returned to the theme of nuclear non-proliferation, an issue she said was on America's agenda with virtually every country.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT 2///

    As with any goal worth achieving, it is not without cost. To keep the best technology from falling into the wrong hands, American firms are required to forgo many potentially profitable contracts.

    /// END ACT ///

    Sunday, President Havel told the secretary his country would not allow equipment sales that could help Iran develop a nuclear weapons program. U-S officials say there was no discussion of possible compensation for a Czech firm that had signed a 30 million dollar contract to provide parts for a reactor in Iran.

    /// REST OPT ///

    In Prague Tuesday, Ms. Albright and President Havel will take part in anniversary celebrations of Thomas Masaryk's birth. Late Monday, cheering supporters greeted the secretary as she and Mr. Havel laid a wreath at a statue of the late president in the city of Hodonin, where he grew up. During the ceremony, Ms. Albright grew teary-eyed as she listened to the Czech national anthem and watched children dance in traditional costumes. (Signed)
    NEB/KBK/JO 06-Mar-2000 15:09 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 2009 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will join in 150th anniversary celebrations of the first Czechoslovak president today (Tuesday), as she wraps up an emotional visit to her homeland. From Prague, V-O-A's Kyle King has this report.

    TEXT: Secretary of State Albright is scheduled to hold talks with top Czech officials following a ceremony to honor the late President Thomas Masaryk, who is considered the father of Czech democracy. During a speech at Masaryk University on Monday, Ms. Albright called the late President an inspiration to an entire generation of Czechs.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    T.G. Masaryk's parents were not wealthy or aristocratic. But he would never allow any prejudice or artificial barrier to stand in his way. He knew that not every person would be equal in ability, but he believed that each was equal in rights, and each entitled to have his or her basic dignity respected.

    /// END ACT ///

    In a wreath-laying ceremony at a statue of Mr. Masaryk, the Secretary said that after a decade of strife in the Balkans and elsewhere, the late president's convictions are still relevant. During her talks with Czech officials Ms. Albright has praised the country's participation in NATO peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. She has urged the government to continue pressing economic and legal reforms, which she says are essential to attracting foreign investment. Monday, Ms. Albright also met with representatives of the Roma community, which has suffered discrimination in many Eastern European countries. She urged Czech officials to respect the rights of minorities. The Secretary has rejected suggestions that she become a candidate for the Czech presidency. The issue re- emerged again when President Havel said he thought the idea of Ms. Albright replacing him was an excellent one. (Signed) NEB/KBK/TVM/gm 06-Mar-2000 16:23 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 2123 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Profit-taking brought U-S stock prices lower today (Monday), ending a five-day winning streak for the beleaguered Dow Jones Industrials. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 196 points, just under two-percent, at 10-thousand- 170. The Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped 17 points. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite was in record high territory until the last hour of trading, when it slipped for a fractional loss. It was a disappointing day especially for holders of "blue-chip" stocks, who cling to the hope that any day now the Dow Jones Industrials will come roaring back. Even with last week's five-percent gain, the Dow is still down over nine-percent for the year.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    Analyst Ted Weisberg says higher oil prices and interest rates are creating a negative pull on the market:

    /// WEISBERG ACT ///

    Somehow when oil got through 25-dollars a barrel going to the level where it is now, it became a real concern. I would think an environment with higher interest rates, higher oil prices really is going to hurt the stock market. You know we're dealing with a Dow that's at 10, 11- thousand. There's still not a lot of room for error.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan spoke at a conference in Boston. He said nothing new to move the market. Mr. Greenspan reiterated his message that interest rates need to go up to cool the U-S economy.

    /// REST OPT ///

    U-S casino operators M-G-M Grand and Mirage Resorts have struck a merger deal. M-G-M agreed to buy rival Mirage for more than four-billion dollars in cash. It will also assume about two-billion dollars in Mirage debt. Leading computer-chip maker Intel has been outdone. Number-two chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices unveiled the first one-gigahertz chip for the personal computer which means one billion pieces of information per second can be processed. Advanced Micro, which already has 17-percent of the chip market, expects to double its market share within two years. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/gm 06-Mar-2000 16:54 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 2154 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: U-S editorial columns this Monday are filled with endorsements of presidential candidates in primary races that are scheduled for tomorrow in 13 states. Because of the large number of races, tomorrow is the so-called Super Tuesday of this primary season. The Mideast peace process and concern about new violence in the Balkans are also under discussion, as is General Pinochet's return to Chile; and some tough talk from a U-S diplomat about Mexico's illicit drug problem. Now, here with a sampling is ________ and today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Most New England states, plus New York, Ohio, and California, all vote in presidential primaries tomorrow, and polls are indicating that the two front runners of the major parties, Al Gore, the Democratic contender, and George W. Bush, the Republican, will be the big winners in their respective parties. Despite this prevailing wisdom, several papers, including the Boston Globe, [New York] Daily News, New York Post, and Newsday on Long Island, are all urging Republican voters to choose Arizona Senator John McCain over Mr. Bush. Most of those papers are also endorsing Vice President Gore over his Democratic challenger, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, whose campaign appears to be fading fast. The New York Post sums up its support for Mr. McCain this way:

    VOICE: John McCain is a common-sense conservative whose positions on most issues will attract broad support in the general election. And [Mr.] McCain is a man of principle; he's not perfect, but he's a standup guy - - as well as a fighter.

    TEXT: In Florida, another of the big states voting tomorrow, the Orlando Sentinel comes out for Vice President Al Gore on the Democratic side, noting:

    VOICE: As Americans study the contenders in the Democrats' race ... they easily can see that only one of the candidates swims in the mainstream: Vice President Al Gore. That's true in his approach to many issues, from paying down the nation's debt to encouraging free trade to maintaining a strong defense to dealing with foreign affairs.

    TEXT: And in California, the Los Angeles Times is pleased that, finally, after many years, the California primary will mean something.

    VOICE: Secretary of State Bill Jones forecasts a turnout of 52-percent of registered voters, ten percent more than four years ago. [Mr.] Jones attributes the anticipated heavy turnout in part to ... the chance for California to finally play a decisive role in nominating candidates for president. For decades, California held its primary in June, and the balloting was all but meaningless since the party nominations were decided before California voted. ... This time ... California will be a pivotal state along with (the) others holding primaries Tuesday.

    TEXT: Although Vice President Gore is expected to win handily in every one of tomorrow's important primaries, there are several negative editorials about the conviction of Maria Hsia, a key fundraiser [Editors: Pronounced Shaw in English] for Mr. Gore. Honolulu's Star-Bulletin suggests her conviction:

    VOICE: ... is an embarrassing reminder of [Mr.] Gore's involvement in the 1996 fund-raising scandals.

    TEXT: Calling Ms. Hsia "[Mr.] Gore's albatross," today's Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal says we will hear much more of her before the presidential election.

    VOICE: Remember Maria Hsia. She may not be a household political name now, but by November she'll become not only a familiar name but also cover girl for campaign finance reform and ads with which Republicans will attack Vice President Gore ... [Ms.] Hsia was convicted last week of five felonies for arranging more than 100-thousand dollars in illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic party and its 1996 candidates, including [Mr.] Gore and President Clinton.

    TEXT: The Augusta Chronicle is furious that most television networks failed to identify Ms. Hsia as "an agent" of Communist China, the description of her in congressional testimony. The paper accuses the major television networks of "liberal bias" because of their incomplete accounts of her convictions. To the Mideast now. The New York Times applauds Israel for moving to withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon. The paper writes:

    VOICE: Israel's cabinet acted responsibly yesterday in endorsing Prime Minister Ehud Barak's plan to withdraw Israeli troops from southern Lebanon by July. Israel's departure would be smoother if carried out in concert with a peace agreement with Syria, the dominant military power in Lebanon. But even if there is no accord with Damascus, Israel serves its own best interests by extricating itself from its 18-year-old occupation of Lebanese territory.

    TEXT: In another trouble spot, the Balkans, there is worry about a potential new wave of Serbian violence in this editorial from today's [Charleston, South Carolina] Post and Courier.

    VOICE: The time for President Clinton to respond is now, before the region is plunged into yet another war. ... NATO has detected radio contacts between police units in Serbia and Serbs in the divided Kosovo city of Mitrovica. The Associated Press reports [that] NATO intelligence officials believe [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic is orchestrating the rising violence which has sparked mob attacks on French and U-S NATO forces. /// OPT /// Serbian paramilitary police reportedly are conducting house- to-house searches, laying mines and beating ethnic Albanians in areas of Serbia adjacent to Kosovo. /// END OPT /// ... Against this background, it is not reassuring to learn that the White House has blocked NATO commanders from using U-S troops in Kosovo to help put down trouble in sectors patrolled by other allies.

    TEXT: In this hemisphere, the return to Chile by former military dictator Augusto Pinochet draws comment from Ohio's [Akron] Beacon Journal. The paper says General Pinochet's nearly two years under house arrest for alleged human rights abuses has set a new international precedent, even though he is escaping international justice.

    VOICE: For Chileans, the test remains. ... A Santiago judge has pursued an aggressive investigation into [Mr.] Pinochet's connection to political torture and death. What stands in the way is the official immunity granted [General] Pinochet when he stepped down. Even more formidable may be a military reluctant to disturb old wounds. ... Yet [Chilean] democracy endures, and the international community has a precedent that will bolster democratic rule by reminding brutal dictators that they cannot as easily escape the past.

    TEXT: Still on Latin America: the Chicago Tribune praises the U-S Ambassador to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow, for his blunt words about the extent of the illicit drug problem in Mexico.

    VOICE: [Mr.] Davidow said the obvious: Mexico has become a drug superhighway, carrying as much as 60 percent of the cocaine consumed in the U-S, and one of the chief world centers for sale and distribution of illicit drugs. Following a barrage of criticism from Mexican politicians, officials and the press, the ambassador tried to backpedal. He needn't have: Mexico is, indeed, one of the world centers of drug trafficking - - along with Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Russia, among others - - and recognizing that has to be the first step toward attacking the problem.

    TEXT: Lastly, the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times offers support for the Clinton Administration's effort to maintain normal trade ties with China, despite its recent hardening line on human rights.

    VOICE: The Clinton administration, led by U-S Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, should be proud of having produced [a trade] agreement so favorable to U- S interests. ... The concessions extracted ... could transform U-S-China trade. China agreed to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the board. ... Bringing China fully into the world economy shouldn't be seen as a reward for Beijing's Communist leaders, who deserve no reward. Instead, it should be seen as advantageous to U-S political and economic interests. It deserves Washington's support.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from Monday's U-S editorial pages.
    NEB/ANG/KL 06-Mar-2000 12:24 PM EDT (06-Mar-2000 1724 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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