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Voice of America, 00-03-27

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

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





    INTRO: Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has given a positive assessment of the weekend talks between President Clinton and Syrian President Hafez al Assad. Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin where Mr. Arafat met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and called for more political support from the European Union.

    TEXT: President Arafat's statement was upbeat, despite the reported failure of the talks in Geneva between President Clinton and President Assad to achieve progress towards peace with Israel.

    Mr. Arafat said he is optimistic about the talks and believes they could lead to new negotiations with Lebanon and Syria. He said it is time for a just, comprehensive, and durable peace in the Middle East The Palestinian leader thanked Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for Germany's aid to Palestinians. Germany's contribution since the Oslo peace accords, mainly for infrastructure projects like a sewage plant for Gaza City, has totaled 220-million-dollars, including 50-million-dollars last year. In addition, Germany contributes 28-percent of the E-U aid package. That makes Germany the largest international donor to Palestinians. The Palestinian leader thanked the European Union for last year's Berlin Declaration, a document that specifically recognizes the Palestinians' right to an independent state. But he also called for greater European Union support, politically as well as economically. He said Egyptian officials have been helpful in a supporting role in the three-way talks between the Palestinians, Israel, and the United States. He said it would be useful if Europe could play a role too.


    Mr. Arafat said E-U participation would be a kind of guarantee for the Palestinians. He said it is not enough for Europe to provide only economic support. There also must be a political role for Europe to match its economic help. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JB/JWH/RAE 27-Mar-2000 09:23 AM EDT (27-Mar-2000 1423 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stock prices drifted lower today (Monday) with some profit-taking amid reports of problems for Microsoft corporation in its negotiations with the U-S Justice Department. VOA's Joe Chapman reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 86 points to 11-thousand-25 with Microsoft losing more than six percent to add downward pressure. A number of reports quoting sources say the software giant is not doing well in its attempts to negotiate a settlement of an anti-monopoly suit. The Nasdaq Composite fell just four points to finish at four-thousand-958. The Standard and Poor's 500 fell three points to finish at one-thousand-523. Microsoft is a major factor in all three indexes, but analysts say that volume was very light. Financial services stocks and other interest rate-sensitive shares were also lower.

    /// REST OPT ///

    But analysts say they still expect a move up this week as investment managers adjust their portfolios at the end of the quarter, a process known as "window dressing." Analyst Michael Molmar says despite the weakness in the big company blue chip stocks, he still believes these large, profitable companies are the place most investors should be.

    /// MOLMAR ACT ///

    It makes sense for the customers to focus on the large caps, the biggest and most visible names, because they are the least likely to disappoint. And the window dressing element will push money into those names. So I think the broader market may very well be sluggish but the big cap, the most visible names, is the best place to the money over the coming weeks.

    /// END ACT ///

    The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose modestly in February after two months of declines. Economists say Americans are feeling wealthy and in a mood to buy despite rising mortgage rates. In another development, Alan Greenspan, chairman of the U-S central bank, told a Senate committee any government budget surpluses should be used to pay down the national debt. But analysts say Mr. Greenspan's remarks did not offer anything new on interest rates and his speech did not affect the stock markets. (signed) NEB/NY/JMC/LSF/JO 27-Mar-2000 16:46 PM EDT (27-Mar-2000 2146 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: President Clinton's trip to south Asia and his Geneva meeting with Syrian President Hafez al Assad is drawing a good deal of comment in the U-S press. Domestically, another problem in the White House during the Clinton presidency is drawing comment, this one dealing with lots of missing electronic mail. Other topics under discussion include: the China- Taiwan situation; Russia's presidential election and overtures toward Iran. Now, here is ________ with a closer look and a few examples, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Orlando [Florida] Sentinel is pleased that President Clinton is pressing for peace in both the Middle East and on the Indian sub-continent, whatever his motives.

    VOICE: President Bill Clinton's latest round of Middle East peacemaking has drawn the criticism that he is just seeking a positive legacy. He denies it. Whether that is Mr. Clinton's goal or not ignores the real issue - taking advantage of a rare chance to press for peace. ...People should bear in mind that the window of opportunity to make progress toward peace never opens too wide in the Middle East. And it tends to slam shut at any sign of the slightest tension. Now it is open. Israel and the Palestinians have resumed their negotiations. ...The United States should take advantage of every opportunity.

    TEXT: Today's New York Times is a bit disappointed that the results of the president's journey did not bear much fruit.

    VOICE: This past weekend demonstrated the limits of presidential diplomacy, even at a time of great American influence around the world. Bill Clinton's efforts to further peace in South Asia and the Middle East proved frustrating and unproductive. Mr. Clinton's Saturday meeting with Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, and his talks yesterday with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria accomplished little because neither interlocutor was in a mood to do business.

    TEXT: Taking a more hopeful, but also a somewhat longer view, is The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    VOICE: [President] Clinton's South Asia journey could yield huge long-term benefits for global stability. No region of the world contains more promise and peril than South Asia. President Clinton's journey to Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan demonstrated the United State's recognition of the importance of promoting social and economic progress, democracy, and regional peace for global stability and prosperity. ...The crux of his message was that the United States stands ready to help because it is in America's interests to support democracy and expand trade in South Asia.

    TEXT: Turning to domestic affairs, there is yet another White House scandal brewing. Press reports say hundreds and perhaps thousands of electronic mail or E-mail - messages, regarding sensitive subjects like the Monica Lewinsky affair and questionable campaign financing activities, have been withheld from Congressional and other investigators. The messages were stored on an isolated White House computer. The Washington Times is sarcastic.

    VOICE: Al Gore cannot have it both ways. The vice president, who once asserted he played an indispensable role in the creation of the Internet, now wants the public to believe that he and his staff were unaware for years that the computer system in his office was enmeshed in so much chaos that it could not even keep track of its e-mails. ...In an equally implausible assertion, White House Counsel Beth Nolan insists ... her predecessor ... was somehow led to believe, ever so conveniently, that technicians had solved a separate White House computer glitch. That problem prevented the legally required archiving of an estimated 100-thousand incoming e-mail messages sent to nearly 500 White House computers. ... As in the case of the missing E-mails in the Executive Office of the President and the threats allegedly used to prevent their disclosure, the justice Department can hardly be relied upon to conduct an honest investigation of Mr. Gore's missing E-mails. Congressional oversight will be extremely important.

    TEXT: Turning to Asian affairs, the issue of granting China permanent, normal trade status, despite its belligerence over Taiwan's election, and continued human rights abuses, draws this comment from The Dallas Morning News.

    VOICE: The Clinton administration signed a good trade deal last year that exchanges U-S support for China's application to join the World Trade Organization for a vast opening of that country's fast-growing market. But for the United States to benefit from the arrangement, Congress must grant China permanent normal trade relations. Rejection would be a monumental error. It would seriously damage relations with the world's most populous country, hurt the cause of freedom in China and deny opportunities to U-S businesses and consumers. It would signal an isolationist phase in U-S politics ... Yet the outcome is in doubt. ... Rejection would not release one political prisoner, not mute one threat against Taiwan, not compel one free election. It would create business opportunities for Europeans and Japanese at the expense of Americans, weaken Chinese reformers who risked their careers to strengthen ties with the United States ... and reduce U-S-China economic interdependence, raising the risk of conflict.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: As regards the war of words crossing the Taiwan Strait, The [Tacoma, Washington] New Tribune comments:

    VOICE: There is too much at stake to let the rhetoric spin out of control. The United States, which has significant economic ties to China and Taiwan, must continue to urge both countries to turn down the volume and remind them the election results have not changed long-standing U-S policy which remains committed to seemingly irreconcilable objectives; Taiwan's defense and improved relations with China.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Results of the Russian presidential election, in which acting president Vladimir Putin won his first full term, draws this reaction from today's Wall Street Journal.

    VOICE: It is hard to know whether to cheer the largely democratic transition of power in Russia or lament an election that essentially pitted the Communist party against the K-G-B. Probably we should do a bit of both. Whatever one thinks about Mr. Putin's qualifications for the job, his election yesterday says much about the values of the Russian electorate. ...Tired of erratic now-you-see-it-now- you-do not leadership, most voters simply wanted a strong, steady hand at the helm. ... On some level then, Russian democracy works. Now the question is whether Mr. Putin can help Russia redefine its values or will his leadership draw easy strength from existing prejudices and power structures?

    TEXT: The Detroit News, mulling over the changes toward Iran announced last week by the Clinton administration, calls it a "Wise Gesture."

    VOICE: ... that managed both to applaud Iran's tentative move toward democracy while signaling America's continuing wariness of its still-powerful mullahs who control much of the state machinery. ...tacitly pegging further relaxation of sanctions with future democratic reforms would strengthen the hand of the newly elected moderates - which, in Iran's structure of government, remain subordinate to the clerics.

    TEXT: And lastly, a brief comment on what today's Charleston [South Carolina] Post and Courier is calling "El Salvador's success story."

    VOICE: The people of El Salvador deserve recognition and support for their enthusiastic embrace of democracy. The country that only a decade ago was a cockpit of violence and had the ugliest of reputations for atrocious violations of human rights, has become an example of political coexistence. ... The transformation of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, known as the F-M-L-N, from a guerrilla army that controlled large areas of the countryside during the 12-year civil war into a political party is a success story that should be more widely known.

    TEXT: On that hopeful note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Monday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 27-Mar-2000 10:56 AM EDT (27-Mar-2000 1556 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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