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Voice of America, 00-04-11

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

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





    INTRO: Turkey's foreign minister has met in Luxembourg with European Union officials -- the first such meeting of the so-called "association council" in three years. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Luxembourg reports the meeting means Turkey is moving one step closer to opening membership negotiations with the European Union.

    TEXT: Turkey was not allowed to start membership negotiations with the European Union when it was accepted as a candidate country last December. The E- U is requiring Turkey to satisfy political conditions before it can join 12 other countries that have already started enlargement talks. Turkey had abandoned the more informal so-called "association" talks with the European Union in 1997 when its application for E-U membership was rejected. The meeting Tuesday between the European Union and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem (pronounced Gem) here in Luxembourg marks the resumption of the "association" dialogue. The European Union is planning talks with Turkey in eight areas such as agriculture, environment, and economics. Enlargement Commissioner Gentler Verheugen says the talks, to begin in June or July, are only preparations for membership negotiations.

    /// OPT // VERHEUGEN ACT ///

    Turkey is a candidate and that means that we prepare Turkey for the opening of membership negotiations. But so far, these are not membership negotiations. These are preparations for that.

    /// END ACT // END OPT ///

    The Turkish foreign minister has appealed to the European Union to treat Turkey in the same manner it treats the other candidates, and he expressed satisfaction with the first steps taken by the resumed association council.

    /// CEM ACT ///

    This meeting has demonstrated that after the Helsinki European Council which constituted a watershed, Turkey-E-U relations are now back on track and that the mechanism has started working again.

    /// END ACT ///

    While the mechanism may be working, the European Union continues to tell Turkey that it must abolish the death penalty and improve human rights conditions for all Turkish citizens -- including Kurds -- if it hopes to satisfy the political conditions for membership. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou attended the Tuesday meeting. He acknowledges there is a better atmosphere in relations between Greece and Turkey but says differences still must be resolved over the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.

    /// PAPANDREOU ACT ///

    The Cyprus problem has not been solved. Greek-Turkish relations are very much in better climate, but that does not mean that we have a basis where we feel we can be absolutely satisfied. Obviously, there is great momentum but we see that there is an outstanding issue which is the continental shelf (in the Aegean Sea).

    /// END ACT ///

    Greece and Turkey have recently signed nine bilateral agreements and their foreign ministers expect more to be signed in the months ahead. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/KL 11-Apr-2000 09:10 AM EDT (11-Apr-2000 1310 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The U-S stock market was mixed today (Tuesday), after another wave of selling in technology. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: It's becoming a familiar story on Wall Street, with the "blue-chip" old economy stocks going higher and the Nasdaq market sinking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 100 points, almost one percent, at 11-thousand-287. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed down about four points. And the Nasdaq composite - repository of many of those "new economy stocks" - lost another three percent. Many analysts believe the Nasdaq correction is healthy for the U-S stock market, giving it some breadth and more realistic stock valuations. Motorola was a big drag on the technology sector. The world's number two wireless phone maker reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings but said the rest of the year will be lower-than-expected. Motorola shares plunged almost 20-percent.

    /// REST OPT ///

    The market has been very volatile lately. Investment strategist Alan Skrainka says that is because people have been trading more with their "hearts" than their minds:

    /// SKRAINKA ACT ///

    I think we have the volatility because investors are letting emotions drive their decisions. And, when fear and greed drive your decisions, you get big swings in the market. You know in the long run fundamentals drive the market and that's what people should focus on. And I think we're starting to see that, with the big hit we're taking in the technology stocks.

    /// END ACT ///

    In other news, Chase Manhattan - the number two U-S bank - is buying British investment bank Robert Fleming for seven-point-seven billion dollars. Analysts are worried that maybe that price is too high and could affect Chase's earnings. The estimated worth of the British bank had been put at about three- billion dollars less than Chase is paying for it. The acquisition, however, is expected to boost Chase Manhattan's global investment business and give it a firm foothold in Asia. On the earnings front again, International Paper - the world's number one maker of paper and forest products has reported an eight-fold increase in first quarter profits, mostly from higher prices and cost-cutting. The company says the next quarter will be even better. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/gm 11-Apr-2000 16:51 PM EDT (11-Apr-2000 2051 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The announcement of plans for a summit between North and South Korea spurred discussion in many of Tuesday's opinion pages. Other topics getting attention from editorial writers across the United States include Peru's recent presidential elections, the uproar surrounding scheduled World Bank and International Monetary Fund talks in Washington and the ongoing debate in the United States over a national missile-defense system. Now, here is _____________ with a closer look and some excerpts in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: World leaders have praised the decision by North and South Korea to hold their first-ever summit. The two sides, who are still technically at war, made the announcement Monday. Most editorials in Tuesday's newspapers are positive about the diplomatic developments in Korea. First we hear from the San Francisco Chronicle, which looks at the talks with cautious optimism.

    VOICE: The animosities are deep-seated enough to wonder whether anything of substance can emerge out of their meeting in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, or even if something may happen between now and then to derail the scheduled summit. ... A meaningful dialogue with the south seemed out of the question as North Korea's isolation deepened. ... More recently, however, a combination of famine, floods and economic mismanagement has led North Korea to reach out to the rest of the world in hopes of getting aid. ... But, as President Clinton noted [Monday], the stabilization of the Korean Peninsula begins and ends with the state of relations between Seoul and Pyongyang. ... A bit of political desperation also appears to be a motive for South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. His promotion of economic engagement with the north had been ridiculed as ineffectual by some opposition candidates in this week's legislative elections. The scheduling of a summit gives him a marker of progress, however modest.

    TEXT: The San Jose Mercury News also applauds the announcement of talks, but gives the South Korean president a bit more credit.

    VOICE: Kim Dae-jung, who has made Korean peace a goal of his administration, will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from June 12-14 in Pyongyang. ... Two generations have grown up knowing only of the hostility and separation between the two Koreas. Reconciliation would be yet another triumph for the remarkable Kim Dae- jung, the former political prisoner who has pushed through broad reforms and kept his country from economic collapse since taking office two years ago.

    TEXT: In Peru, President Alberto Fujimori has shrugged off accusations of vote fraud as he draws closer to securing a third term in office. The Miami Herald had this view of Sunday's controversial election:

    VOICE: In a stunning turnabout, Peru's presidential elections ended in a squeaker [with a very narrow margin of victory]. One day after the vote, the official count was still too close to determine whether incumbent President Alberto Fujimori will be forced into a runoff by come- from-behind challenger Alejandro Toledo. But in an election rife with fraud, any victory by Mr. Fujimori must be questioned. ... Whatever the result, Mr. Toledo's remarkable performance provides a reason for optimism. Even Mr. Fujimori's spare-no-dirty-tricks campaign couldn't completely shut out viable opposition. ... There is good reason to suspect fraud. A litany of campaign irregularities had international observers condemning this election before the first vote was cast. ... Anything less than a runoff, and Peru will be the clear loser.

    TEXT: Critics of the I-M-F and World Bank are in the U-S capital getting ready to stage massive protests during the two groups' annual spring meetings next week. Seven protesters were arrested Monday, in what is possibly a sign of things to come. The Washington Post says the passion of the protesters "is partly wonderful and partly dangerous."

    VOICE: Generalized attacks on "globalization" fall into the dangerous category. The past half-century has taught that international flows of trade and investment are a tremendous spur to economic growth. ... Generalized attacks on the World Bank and I-M-F for their "structural adjustment" policies are similarly unhelpful. ... That said, some protesters make narrower arguments that hit closer to the mark. ... At times the international institutions have expected countries to cut public spending on health and education, though healthy and educated people are a key ingredient of economic growth. If the I-M-F and World Bank could get more resources to poor countries, structural adjustment would be less painful. This is why the protests aimed at blocking the bank's access to the capital markets are crazy. But it is also why last Sunday's demonstration in favor of debt relief for poor countries was right on the mark.

    TEXT: President Clinton is scheduled to decide sometime this summer about whether to order the deployment of a national missile-defense system. Backers of the plan say the United States needs a defense against emerging nuclear threats from states such as North Korea and Iran. But America's European allies and Russia vehemently oppose the plan, saying deployment of missile defenses will lead to another arms race. The Deseret News, in the western state of Utah, calls on the president to give the go ahead -- cautiously.

    VOICE: Billions already have been spent on similar systems, with no discernible returns. But that doesn't mean new technology won't work, nor does it mean the concept of developing a shield against nuclear attacks is a bad one. True, the theory of "mutually assured destruction" has worked through the years. ... But this is a new era, and enemies are a little harder to predict. ... It was, after all, the mere threat of a shield that helped the United States win the Cold War. Still, the administration should proceed cautiously, making sure the concept is sound and workable. In the event of an attack, the nation would have only one chance to protect itself. A system that allowed even a single missile to penetrate would be a horrifying failure. But the security that would come from erecting a shield against attacks is too good to pass up.

    TEXT: On that note, we end this look at the opinion pages of Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/JON/WTW 11-Apr-2000 12:22 PM EDT (11-Apr-2000 1622 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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