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Voice of America, 00-03-29

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

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





    INTRO: International donors have started a two-day conference designed to match pledges with development projects that can be completed in the next year for Balkan countries. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, where representatives from 44-countries and 36-international organizations are discussing ways to help rebuild Balkan nations.

    TEXT: European Commissioner Chris Patten told the Balkan representatives -- this is a two-way street. He said - the more you do, the more we will be able to support you. To support his words, the E-U external affairs commissioner pledged about one-half-billion dollars to support so-called quick-start projects in the Balkans. These include seven-million dollars for infrastructure and re-building at the Blace border crossing between Macedonia and Kosovo. Conference organizers are hoping that by the time the meeting ends Thursday, they will raise one-point- eight-billion dollars for projects such as the border crossing. Mr. Patten says the object is to put people in the region to work on projects that will have an immediate impact on their lives. The European Commissioner told reporters following the first session that his problem is convincing European Union countries to provide money in the hope that some day Serbia will make reforms to join the seven Balkan countries benefiting from this conference.

    /// PATTEN ACT ///

    We are talking today about a quick start program, we are talking today about trying to ring Serbia with prosperous democracies and hope that Serbia follows that course of action itself, sooner rather than later. But whether it is sooner, rather than later, the European Union has to be committed to the region in the long term and it is going to cost us money to make a reality out of our rhetoric.

    /// END ACT ///

    Much of the money the European Union has committed to the Balkans during the next six-years is reserved for a democratic Serbia, after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is removed from the scene. Mr. Patten also has urged participating governments to do what they can to help the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro. That aid to Montenegro has to be bilateral. The co- sponsor of this donor's conference, the World Bank, is prohibited from helping Montenegro because it is not a sovereign country, but a part of Yugoslavia. World Bank President James Wolfensohn says Kosovo is a special case, but no exceptions can be made for Montenegro.

    /// WOLFENSOHN ACT ///

    In the case of Kosovo you had resolution 12-44 of the Security Council, which was then acquiesced to, which allowed us to set up a trust fund for Kosovo. But no such action has been taken on behalf of Montenegro, and we are at this moment unable to assist them, since they are not a sovereign state, a member of the Bank family.

    /// END ACT ///

    Before the meeting started, the U-S Overseas Private Investment Corporation signed an agreement with Montenegro, guaranteeing insurance for U-S investors in projects in that Yugoslav republic. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/RAE 29-Mar-2000 09:29 AM EDT (29-Mar-2000 1429 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: President Clinton, at his news conference Wednesday, urged patience and more commitment by the international community to resolve lingering ethnic strife in Kosovo. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House.

    TEXT: Mr. Clinton acknowledged that a year after NATO launched its air war against Yugoslavia over Kosovo, the province is still torn by fear, mistrust and a lot of hatred between its ethnic-Albanian and Serb communities. But in his session with reporters, Mr. Clinton said he thinks the problems of Kosovo are resolvable given the proper amount of international help, and a good measure of patience on the part of all those concerned. As bad as the situation may be now, he said, it would have been worse if the western allies had not taken the action they did last year:


    We're still at a point where in Kosovo, a lot of people are carrying their hatred and hurt around. And a lot of others seek political advantage over it. And all I can tell you is I think we did the right thing to go in there and let those people go back home. I think it's better that it would have been if we hadn't gone in there. And I think we're just going to have to work like crazy to try to make it work. I never thought it would be easy. But I do think it's possible.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Clinton said the "bad blood" between the communities in Kosovo will not disappear in a year or two, but cited diminishing ethnic tensions in Bosnia as evidence that the situation can eventually improve. He urged the international community to send more civilian police to the province and to keep money flowing in a timely manner to the U-N mission there.
    /// EDS: Rest may be outdated if Congress votes Wednesday night on the proposal. Rest of CR can still be used. ///
    He called on the U-S Congress to set the example by ending weeks of delay and approving the administration's two-billion-dollar supplemental funding request for U-S peacekeeping in Kosovo. (Signed) NEB/DAG/TVM/gm 29-Mar-2000 18:36 PM EDT (29-Mar-2000 2336 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    /// EDS: Final passage of emergency spending bill expected after 10PM ///

    INTRO: The U-S House of Representatives is debating an emergency spending bill that provides billions of dollars for anti-drug efforts in Colombia and military operations in Kosovo. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports the bill covers expenses not included in the current U-S budget that can't wait until the start of the new fiscal year in October.

    TEXT: Aid to Colombia is proving to be the most controversial element of the eight-point-six-billion dollar supplemental spending bill. President Clinton originally asked for about one- point-three-billion dollars to help Colombia battle narcotics traffickers. House Republican leaders added on another half-a-billion dollars for neighboring countries. Florida Republican Porter Goss opened the debate with a strong defense of the Colombia aid plan.

    /// Goss Act ///

    We cannot simply put our head in the sand and pretend that the emergence of a narco-state in our own backyard would not adversely impact our national security.

    /// End Act ///

    But there were quick cries of protest. Massachusetts Democrat Joseph Moakley said the Colombian military has a horrible human rights record, and the United States has no business getting involved.

    /// Moakley Act ///

    We must oppose this aid to a murderous Colombian military with a list of human rights violations a mile long.

    /// End Act ///

    The bulk of the money in the emergency spending bill is designated for Kosovo -- about five-billion dollars. The remaining funds will be used to provide relief for victims of natural disasters in the United States. Separate legislation will cover aid to disaster victims abroad -- such as the survivors of the floods in Mozambique. (signed)
    NEB/PW/JP 29-Mar-2000 12:47 PM EDT (29-Mar-2000 1747 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    ///// FIXES TO VILAGES IN 3RD ACT OF CR2-260722. /////

    INTRO: A U-N investigator is warning the international community of a humanitarian catastrophe if it gives in to demands by Albanians clamoring for an independent Kosovo. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the investigator has submitted a report on the worsening human rights situation in Yugoslavia to the U-N Human Rights Commission.

    TEXT: U-N Special Investigator, Jiri Dienstbier, has harsh words for the international community's handling of the Kosovo crisis. He says the situation of human rights throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is worse than it was a year ago. Mr. Dienstbier warns of future humanitarian catastrophes if the international community does not reconsider its present policies. He says the U-N administrative and peacekeeping missions in Kosovo have failed in their efforts to create a democratic, multi-ethnic society in Kosovo. The investigator says in his view, the only possible solution is for the United Nations and NATO to implement Security Council Resolution 12-44. The resolution states that Kosovo must remain part of Yugoslavia.

    /// DIENSTBIER ACT ///

    We just cannot accept the independence of Kosovo, especially under the rule of structures, which chased out practically all non-Albanian population. Under these circumstances, it will mean the spreading of the conflict and the new humanitarian catastrophes.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Dienstbier says the international community must do whatever it takes to prevent Albanian extremists from pursuing their goal of an independent Kosovo and a greater Albania. He says the international community must proclaim clearly that Kosovo will remain part of Serbia and Yugoslavia, even if that means engaging in armed conflict.

    /// 2ND DIENSTBIER ACT ///

    I think the only way is to respect resolution 12-44. But, it may mean that K-FOR may have to fight with extreme forces in Kosovo.

    /// END ACT ///

    The U-N Special Investigator says the failure of the international operation in Kosovo and the sanctions against Yugoslavia have strengthened the hand of Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic. He says the Milosevic regime is getting a lot of good propaganda out of the sanctions.

    /// 3RD DIENSTBIER ACT ///

    They are repairing bridges, villages , schools and hospitals, and so on. They argue that it all is done by them without any help from abroad, without a single dollar under the regime of sanctions.

    /// END ACT ///

    At the same time, Mr. Dienstbier says Yugoslav opposition leaders are painted as agents of those who destroyed the country. He says all opposition figures are convinced the situation in Kosovo has to be reversed and the sanctions have to be abolished. Otherwise, he says, there will be no hope for democratic change in Serbia. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LS/GE/RAE 29-Mar-2000 11:07 AM EDT (29-Mar-2000 1607 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji has met with European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy amid negotiations between the two sides on China's entry into the World Trade Organization. VOA correspondent Roger Wilkison reports from Beijing, concluding a deal with the E-U is the last major stumbling block in Beijing's 14-year quest to join the W-T-O.

    TEXT: Diplomats see auspicious signs in the fact Premier Zhu met for nearly an hour and a half with the E-U's top trade official. It was Mr. Zhu, after all, who stepped in at the last moment to help forge a market-opening deal with the United States last November. The reform-minded premier considers Chinese membership in the W-T-O crucial. His reasoning is that it will not only attract badly needed foreign investment, but also spur China's state-owned companies into becoming leaner and meaner so that they can compete internationally. Other than a terse report from China's state-run news agency, describing the Zhu-Lamy talks as friendly and frank, there were no other details on the meeting. Mr. Lamy and Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng were scheduled to hold a second day of negotiations, as part of the third round of talks this year between China and the E-U. European diplomats caution, however, that the talks are still at an early stage and that many obstacles must be removed before there are signs of the progress that both sides hope for. The E-U is seeking a better deal than the one the United States got, especially in the key automotive, insurance and telecommunications sectors. But Chinese officials have said Beijing will be hard-pressed to grant Brussels more concessions than it gave Washington last year. European diplomats say Mr. Lamy is ready to walk away from the talks if the E-U does not get what it wants. But one European commercial attache says he expects the talks to go on through the rest of this week, at least. The last round of China-E-U trade talks in February, in which Mr. Lamy did not take part, ended in a stalemate. China said a deal was close, but the EU insisted that not enough progress had been made. (signed)
    NEB/RW/FC 29-Mar-2000 04:36 AM EDT (29-Mar-2000 0936 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    /// EDS: Use Opt for long ///

    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Wednesday), as technology shares sold off for the third straight day. The Internet sector was especially hard hit. V- O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 82 points, about three-quarters of one percent, closing at 11-thousand-18. The Standard and Poor's 500 index went up less than one point. The technology-weighted Nasdaq composite dropped nearly four percent, adding to its two and one-half percent loss Tuesday. Analysts expect a rough two or three weeks for the Nasdaq, which is teeming with stocks many consider over-valued relative to their earnings. Oil stocks did well, after OPEC announced plans to pump more oil. Retail and consumer-products shares also traded higher, as investors anticipate good corporate earnings reports for the quarter.

    ///BEGIN OPT //

    Analyst Al Goldman sees a revival of interest in so-called "old economy" stocks this year. But he also predicts technology stocks will come out on top again, despite periodic corrections:

    ///GOLDMAN ACT///

    I do think the market is going to broaden and that "old economy" stocks are going to attract money. But when we close the book on 2000, I think the biggest winners will be in technology, but not at the expense of everything else, as was the case last year.

    ///END ACT///

    ///END OPT///

    The latest on the U-S economy shows new home sales dipped in February. But experts say the U-S housing market remains remarkably strong despite five interest rate hikes since last June.

    ///REST OPT ///

    Palm Computing, the number one maker of electronic organizers, reported better-than-expected quarterly profits. But it warned earnings will be squeezed this year because of rising costs. Analog Devices, a maker of computer chips that transform sound and video into digital data, says it expects revenues to grow more than 50 percent this year - well above previous growth targets. And giant chip-maker Intel has introduced a faster chip for less costly personal computers. Several more of the so-called "Celeron" chips are due out before June. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/PT 29-Mar-2000 16:48 PM EDT (29-Mar-2000 2148 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America




    INTRO: The standoff over Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy rescued off the Florida coast last November, is again a popular topic in today's U-S editorial columns. Other subjects of interest are the AIDS epidemic and its effects on the Caribbean, the trade deal with China, and Russia's new president. Now here is ___________with a closer look and some excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Since being rescued from a shipwreck that claimed his mother's life, Elian Gonzalez has been living with relatives in Miami,separated from his father in Cuba. After four-months of court rulings and U-S congressional interference, it appears the dispute over the six-year-old boy is nearing an end. A federal judge has ruled that the Immigration and Naturalization Service was acting lawfully when it decided that only Elian's father could speak on the behalf of the boy, and that the father wanted his son to come home. The New York Times warns that those involved should be mindful of the child's well being.

    VOICE: Everyone involved in the Elian Gonzalez case needs to pull back from the nasty confrontation that now looms so this matter can be resolved without disorder or further harm to young Elian. ...The Cuban-American community ought to cease its disruptive efforts to block Elian's return and to make him into a political symbol. ...The Miami relatives may have come to love Elian, but they cannot stand outside the law and break the bond between a young child and his parent.

    TEXT: The Press Herald in Portland, Maine argues the Cuban boy should be returned to his father without further delay.

    VOICE: If [Elian] Gonzalez's uncles and aunts want him to stay in the United States because it is a nation of laws (as opposed to Cuba's socialist dictatorship), failing to comply with a court's decision after due process (of the law) teaches a questionable civics lesson. America's laws, not its politics, should be determinative in this case. ...He should be returned to his family in Cuba without the made- made-for-television theatrics aimed to serve the goals of anti-Castro protestors.

    TEXT: The Miami Herald in Florida is giving attention to Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the region, as the plague is rapidly sowing its seeds of destruction around the Caribbean and in Central America.

    VOICE: The disaster in the making should be a major concern, especially for South Florida, which maintains close personal and economic ties to the region. It requires complex solutions; beginning with leadership from governments and support from civil society, religious communities and pharmaceutical companies that should make AIDS drugs more affordable to poor nations. .Besides the emotional havoc, AIDS is severely undermining development in the region. Affected countries can slow the epidemic, however, through testing and education, and a variety of other services. [U-S] Congress, too, should help by approving the Clinton administration's request for 342-million-dollars for H-I-V prevention. Doing nothing is not an option.

    TEXT: In Massachusetts, The Boston Globe says legal immigrants that come to the United States are getting a bad deal as a result of a 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The paper argues the law prevents immigrants' access to food and health benefits like food stamps and Medicaid and is clearly an injustice.

    VOICE: Immigrants who come to this country with permission of the government deserve full access to its resources. Instead, legal immigrants are getting a bum deal. They can pay taxes. But they can not access benefits that their taxes support. ...At the federal level, Congress should swiftly restore benefits that should never have been removed. It is a national embarrassment to have standing laws that cut people off from food. ...State and Federal governments can and should do better.

    TEXT: The Star in Kansas City, Missouri is reviving discussion on the possibility of China's entry into the World Trade Organization. It maintains that Congress should follow through with plans for a reformed trade deal with China.

    VOICE: True, China's record of compliance with trade agreements is not good, but for leverage in trade disputes would only be weakened if the deal is rejected ...The most effective way to encourage positive change in China is to further integrate its economy into the global economy. ...Opponents are raising a host of issues designed to distract public opinion, but beneath all the verbiage, the question to be decided is quite simple. Should Congress follow through on its part of the deal? Yes.

    TEXT: And finally, Russia's new president continues to spark some comment in many of today's editorials. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin in Hawaii says Vladimir Putin hopefully will strengthen Russia without jeopardizing democracy and human rights.

    VOICE: In his low-key presidential campaign, Putin promised to bring Russia's post-Soviet chaos to an end by restoring its military prowess and fighting corruption, poverty, and social injustice. The question is whether he will approach those daunting tasks within the framework of continued economic reform, democracy, and individual rights. Concerns are based on the former spy's image as a no- nonsense, strong-arm leader of the kind that some Russians identify with the stability of the Soviet era at its height. Others see a strong president able to eliminate corruption, challenge tycoons, fight white-collar crime and achieve a prosperous economy. Most Russians and Westerners share that hope for Russia's future.

    TEXT: With that thought from the Honolulu Star- Bulletin, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial columns of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ENE/RAE 29-Mar-2000 13:39 PM EDT (29-Mar-2000 1839 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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