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Voice of America, 01-07-27

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

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

Latest:no SLUG: 2-278714 Macedonia DATE: NOTE NUMBER:





    INTRO: Talks aimed at ending five months of ethnic violence in Macedonia are set to begin Saturday. The talks had earlier been scheduled to take place in Tetovo, the scene of heavy fighting earlier in the week. But as Jeff Bieley reports from Skopje, the venue has been changed to the southern city of Ohrid.

    TEXT: President Boris Trajkovski had announced that talks between ethnic Albanian and Macedonian political parties would resume on Friday. However, political leaders did not travel to the western city of Tetovo, the venue set for the discussions because of security concerns. In the meantime, Western diplomats are reported to have met individually with senior Macedonian politicians, seeking to maintain momentum for the peace process. When the talks do resume, it is likely to be tough going because Albanian leaders say they will stand firm on their key demand for greater language rights. Menduh Thaci, the deputy leader of the largest ethnic Albanian party, said, "If somebody thinks that the Albanians should be killed because they demand to use their own language, then that is racism and apartheid." Macedonian state television reported that many of the ethnic Macedonian refugees taken back to their homes by a NATO-escorted convoy Thursday returned to Skopje after they found their belongings looted or destroyed. People from the village of Lesok near Tetovo said they felt they could not remain in their homes without police or army protection. Meanwhile, non-essential U-S government personnel in Macedonia have been ordered to leave the country, and those remaining are required to observe a curfew for security reasons. Anti-Western riots targeted the American Embassy Tuesday and led to the deployment of about 50 U-S Marines from Italy to guard U-S government property in Macedonia. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/GE/PFH SLUG: 6-12404 Friday's Editorials DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: China's recent human rights actions are a popular topic in the editorial columns of Friday's U-S press. The papers are reacting to the release, after trial and conviction, of two U-S based ethnic Chinese scholars, on the eve of Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Beijing. President George W. Bush's rejection of an international germ warfare treaty is also drawing a good deal of attention; as is Indonesia's new president; and another attempt at ending the travel ban to Cuba. Now, here with a closer look and an excerpt or two, is _____________ and today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: China has released a pair of U-S-based ethnic Chinese scholars it earlier tried and convicted of espionage. The move comes as Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives for talks in Beijing. But as for the releases, the U-S press is n o t impressed. Take, for example, The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia which fumes:

    VOICE: Let's hope ... Secretary of State ... Powell isn't as na´ve as he sounded in commenting on Beijing's decision to release two permanent U-S residents and a Chinese-born American just before his ... visit... "I think the relationship is on an upswing now...that these irritations are behind us," said [Secretary Powell..." Irritants? American business professor Gao Zhan and scholars Qin Guangguang and Li Shaomin, a U-S citizen, found it a lot more than irritating to be held in Communist custody for months before being convicted ... on trumped up charges of spying for Taiwan. ... the trio should never have been detained at all. And when they were, [Secretary] Powell and his boss should have turned [it] ... into an international ** cause celebre.** [Italics for foreign language.]

    TEXT: California's Los Angeles Times says of the releases: "...before the administration breaks out the champagne, it should be asking itself what the cases say about the nature of the Chinese regime." And Portland's Oregonian grumbles: "it doesn't look very much like engagement with China has led to improvement in the Communist regime's attitude toward human rights. Northern New Jersey's [Bergen County] Record snaps: "The question is why they were ever detained..." and in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is perplexed, suggesting:

    VOICE: It's hard to know what to think about this game of attack-and-relent - - especially after this month's decision to award 2008 Olympics to Beijing. Wasn't that ...supposed to make China more... mindful of its image?

    TEXT: Here at home, President George W. Bush is being accused of being "Treatyphobic" by Newsday on New York's Long Island. The paper is upset at the president's opposition to the Germ warfare treaty.

    VOICE: This setback mustn't be allowed to stand. ... No one claims this protocol is perfect, but it's premature to call it "unfixable," as one U-S official did.

    TEXT: Today's Wall Street Journal notes that the United States refusal to sign several important treaties recently is driving some people "crazy" but says there is a good reason behind the germ warfare decision.

    VOICE: The U-S has not opted out of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention ... to repudiate biological weapons of mass destruction. The original convention included no verification clause. For now, nobody knows, nor has nay means of finding out, who's cheating. Trouble is, we still won't know who's cheating even if we adopt the ... protocol intended to give the convention teeth, and that's what the Bush Administration just rejected ... for one good reason: I won't work.

    TEXT: That argument doesn't work for the San Francisco Chronicle, which complains:

    VOICE: Germ warfare, nuclear missiles, small arms sales and global warming are worldwide problems solvable only by multinational treaties. Yet, in a string of actions, the White House unwisely has refused to join international efforts to sub such threats. The reasons range from defensible to ludicrous. But the end result is that President Bush has isolated himself in a diplomatic corner. ...In place of providing leadership to solve common problems, President Bush is doing the reverse ... abdicating his global role and inviting anti-American sentiment.

    TEXT: The relatively peaceful change of leadership in Indonesia, from impeached President Wahid to now-elevated Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri, continues to rate praise from the U-S press, including today's Chattanooga, [Tennessee] Times.

    VOICE: The Indonesian people, by their recent actions, have shown a preference for self-rule. America should do what it can to further that goal.

    TEXT: And seconding that comment, Florida's Orlando Sentinel adds: "Although the political turmoil is upsetting, democracy appears to be on track." Turning to this hemisphere, a move in Congress to ease travel restrictions to Communist Cuba is drawing favorable comment from several quarters. Both the Miami Herald, and Florida's Times-Union in Jacksonville say "Ease the ban," with the Times-Union noting:

    VOICE: ... the Cold War is over. The Soviet Union no longer exists. Cuba's meddling ran out of steam after the Soviet subsidies stopped. Little wonder the U-S House voted this week to lift the travel ban. ... [It] has outlived its usefulness. The Senate should follow the House's lead...

    TEXT: Georgia's Atlanta Constitution however, while favoring an easing of the ban, holds out little hope for change.

    VOICE: ... the proposal ... stands even less of a chance of becoming law than it did last year. [President] Bush is indebted to the ultra-conservative Cuban exiles who helped him maintain a very narrow - and still controversial - - margin of victory in the Florida presidential vote. ... He [has] also pledged to keep in place the 40-year-old embargo.

    TEXT: As regards the Middle East, and Israeli-Palestine violence, today's Boston Globe discerns trouble within the ranks of the Palestinian Authority.

    VOICE: [Chairman] Arafat's Palestinian Authority has been downplaying the significance of two separate instances of internecine fighting, the first two weeks ago between rival militias in the West Bank ...and the second on Monday in Gaza, where 20 gunmen and hundreds of protesters ...[attacked] the house of ...Yasser Arafat's nephew. The intramural fighting ... and the stark differences it heralds suggest that [Chairman] Arafat may have to crush the mounting opposition to his rule before he can return to the bargaining table or that he may become the ultimate victim of the Intifada he seeks to channel to his own purposes.

    TEXT: The Boston Globe. Russia's seemingly endless conflict in Chechnya comes in for comment from Wisconsin's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which compares it to the U-S fighting in Vietnam.

    VOICE: General Vladimir Moltenskoi, the Russian military commander in Chechnya, made history of sorts recently when he admitted ... his troops had perpetrated "lawless acts" and large-scale crimes" against civilians in the breakaway republic. The general's confession is as welcome as it is unusual, but it constitutes only one of the changes Russia needs to make if it is to escape the ... quagmire that Chechnya has become.

    TEXT: And lastly, on the recent diplomatic and financial initiative in Africa by Libya's Muammar Gadhafi, as he attempts to increase his influence, Florida's Times-Union in Jacksonville, sniffs:

    VOICE: Gadhafi's activities should be monitored carefully ... But ... if he wants to waste his country's oil wealth trying to polish his image for the history books, that may not be bad.

    TEXT: And on that note, we conclude this editorial sampling from Friday's U-S press.

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