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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 37, 97-05-23

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 37, 23 May 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] TAJIK TALKS BEGIN
  • [02] CHEVRON BOSS ANTICIPATES DELAYS IN BUILDING CASPIAN PIPELINE
  • [03] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT CURBS PRIVATIZATION
  • [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON UN TO TAKE MORE PRINCIPLED STAND ON ABKHAZIA

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] VRANITZKY SAYS ALBANIAN ELECTIONS WILL GO AHEAD
  • [06] ALBRIGHT SAYS U.S. HAS LONG-TERM INTEREST IN BOSNIA
  • [07] DUAL CITIZENSHIP FOR BOSNIAN SERBS
  • [08] MILOSEVIC BLASTS FOREIGN CONSPIRACIES AGAINST SERBIA
  • [09] CROATIAN OPPOSITION UNITES BEHIND LIBERAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
  • [10] SLOVENIAN RAIL STRIKE ESCALATES
  • [11] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE
  • [12] LEADING U.S. LEGISLATORS BACK ROMANIA'S ENTRY TO NATO
  • [13] ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY ORGANIZES DEMONSTRATION AGAINST TREATY WITH UKRAINE
  • [14] DAEWOO ACCUSED OF BREAKING INVESTMENT PROMISES IN ROMANIA
  • [15] MOLDOVAN PREMIER ON AGREEMENT WITH WORLD BANK

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] TAJIK TALKS BEGIN

    Representatives of the Tajik government and United Tajik Opposition resumed talks in Tehran on 22 May, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported. The talks broke off in mid-April. UN special envoy to Tajikistan Gerd Merrem presented a proposal for resolving the Tajik conflict by giving the UTO 30% of seats in government, reforming the government's power ministries, and disarming of the UTO. No details have been made public, while the two sides review the proposals and formulate counterproposals. Because of the Iranian presidential elections today, the two sides will not meet again until 24 May.

    [02] CHEVRON BOSS ANTICIPATES DELAYS IN BUILDING CASPIAN PIPELINE

    Richard Matzke, head of international operations for the U.S. oil company Chevron, says that construction of the export pipeline from Kazakstan's Tengiz oil field to Novorossiisk may fall behind schedule, according to the Financial Times on 23 May. Matzke said that talks on tariffs have not yet begun with four Russian regions through which the pipeline will pass. A 25 April Russian government decree, published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 23 May, instructs the government of the Republic of Kalmykia and the administrations of Astrakhan Oblast and Stavropol and Krasnodar Krais to make land available for construction of the pipeline. Matzke argued that export pipelines should be owned by the companies engaged in exploiting the oil fields in question. He also criticized unnamed "independent promoters" of export pipelines as a "disruptive force."

    [03] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT CURBS PRIVATIZATION

    Askar Akayev on 22 May signed a decree banning all forms of privatization except auctioning, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Akayev said "state- owned facilities" have been sold at "unjustifiable" low prices. (An RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek reports that the Osh silk factory was valued at 93 million som [$5.5 million] but its sale price last year was only 1.5 million som.) He ordered Procurator-General Asanbek Sharshenaliev to prepare a report on privatization to date "in the shortest possible time." Batyrbek Davletov, the head of the president's economic policy department, said the ban is not the end of privatization but a way to keep a check on "offenses and outrages" before the third privatization wave begins. Forty of Kyrgyzstan's leading companies are slated to pass into private ownership during that wave. Since 1992, Kyrgyzstan has privatized 61% of state-owned industrial enterprises.

    [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON UN TO TAKE MORE PRINCIPLED STAND ON ABKHAZIA

    Meeting in Tbilisi on 21 May with UN Under Secretary-General Marrack Goulding, Eduard Shevardnadze said that although the UN has played an important role in creating the legal framework for a settlement of the Abkhaz conflict, it should take "a more principled position" in order to expedite the peace process, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 23 May. Shevardnadze argued that the presence of a CIS peacekeeping force along the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia is an obstacle to the negotiating process. He also said its withdrawal would not lead to a resumption of hostilities, Interfax reported on 22 May.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] VRANITZKY SAYS ALBANIAN ELECTIONS WILL GO AHEAD

    Voting seems set to go ahead on 29 June following the Socialists' announcement in Tirana that they will take part (see RFE/RL Newsline, 22 May 1997). OSCE special envoy Franz Vranitzky said in Vienna that Socialist Prime Minister Bashkim Fino told him that the other opposition parties will also participate. Vranitzky added that the international community will help Albania in its political and economic recovery. He stressed, however, that the ultimate responsibility lies with the Albanians themselves, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Austrian capital. Vranitzky told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he can well imagine Operation Alba being extended for three months beyond the elections. He said that the Albanian political scene contains many "absurdities" rooted in that country's recent history but that the elections should nonetheless go ahead because they will contribute to stability.

    [06] ALBRIGHT SAYS U.S. HAS LONG-TERM INTEREST IN BOSNIA

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in New York on 22 May that Washington has a lasting concern over Bosnia's stability and will do all it can to preserve peace and promote unity there. She warned that the U.S. insists on full implementation of the Dayton accord and "the parties cannot pick and choose [to enforce only] those elements they prefer." Albright added that "Bosnians should either join the effort to make [Dayton] work or get out of the way." She said that SFOR could expand its role to provide "a secure environment for managed refugee returns" and to help with civilian reconstruction projects, such as restoring telecommunications links. However, Pentagon officials stated that NATO already does such things. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns added that there are no plans to keep SFOR troops in Bosnia after their mandate runs out in June 1998. The New York speech was Albright's first major address on Bosnia as secretary of state and marks the end of a six-week policy review.

    [07] DUAL CITIZENSHIP FOR BOSNIAN SERBS

    Nasa Borba reported on 23 May that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic discussed federal Yugoslav citizenship for Bosnian Serbs in his recent meeting with Bosnian Serb leaders. Such a move would contradict the provision of the Dayton accords saying Bosnia is a unitary state made up of two entities. Milosevic also wants dual citizenship for Croatian Serbs but denies it to Yugoslavia's own Albanians, Muslims, Hungarians, and Croats. In another move that may run counter to the spirit of Dayton, the Bosnian Serb authorities said on 21 May that they will set up a company to be called RS Airlines to connect Banja Luka with five or six neighboring countries.

    [08] MILOSEVIC BLASTS FOREIGN CONSPIRACIES AGAINST SERBIA

    Milosevic told supporters in Arandjelovac, in the Serbian heartland of Sumadija, on 22 May that the "opposition parties with foreign assistance are trying to destabilize Serbia," an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the area. The Serbian president also promised his audience that this year their country will enjoy the highest growth rate in Europe, which, he claimed, will be twice as high as that of any other country. Independent Belgrade media, meanwhile, suggested that Milosevic will replenish state coffers before the elections due later this year by selling off half of the state telephone monopoly to an Italian firm for $923 million.

    [09] CROATIAN OPPOSITION UNITES BEHIND LIBERAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

    At least six opposition parties agreed in Zagreb on 22 May to back the Liberals' candidate, Vlado Gotovac, in next month's presidential elections, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the capital. The move in effect narrows down the race to Gotovac, President Franjo Tudjman of the Croatian Democratic Community, and the Social Democrats' Zdravko Tomac. Polls suggest that Tudjman will easily win another term. Also in Zagreb, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia wants to extend by six months the mandate for a reduced UN peacekeeping force in eastern Slavonia. Tudjman insists the mandate end as scheduled on 15 July.

    [10] SLOVENIAN RAIL STRIKE ESCALATES

    Railroad workers halted all freight traffic throughout the country on 23 May after management sacked the members of the strike committee. The unions say they will stop all trains later in the day if the strike leaders are not given back their jobs. Also in Ljubljana, President Milan Kucan said on 22 May that he will seek another term when elections take place later this year. The 56-year-old Kucan has been in office since 1990 and was last re- elected in 1992 with 64% of the vote. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has put off a decision on the legality of foreigners owning land in Slovenia. The issue must be clarified before Slovenia can join the EU. Many Slovenes fear that Italians with family ties to Slovenia will buy up land if allowed to do so.

    [11] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE

    At the beginning of his three-day visit to Greece, Emil Constantinescu met with his Greek counterpart, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, and Premier Costas Simitis on 22 May, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The talks focused on bilateral relations. Stephanopoulos reiterated Greece's full support for Romania's accession to NATO in the first wave of expansion. Constantinescu said the two countries are united in a "strategic political partnership" that may enable them to become an "axis of stability in the region." The two countries' foreign ministers, Theodoros Pangalos and Adrian Severin, signed a cooperation memorandum providing for Greek support for Romania's bid to join NATO and the EU. Greece pledged to inform other members of the two organizations on Bucharest's progress in the democratization of its legal, economic, and military systems.

    [12] LEADING U.S. LEGISLATORS BACK ROMANIA'S ENTRY TO NATO

    Senator Alphonse d'Amato and Representative Christopher Smith, the joint chairmen of the U.S. Congressional Helsinki Commission, have called on U.S. President Bill Clinton to back Romania's quest to become a NATO member in the first wave of expansion, an RFE/RL Washington correspondent reported. In a letter addressed to Clinton on 22 May, they say Romania deserves to be invited because of its recent progress toward meeting admission criteria and because of its strategic position in what will be NATO's southeastern tier. The U.S. legislators also say that, in particular, Romania meets the criteria on respect for human rights, treatment of national minorities, freedom of expression, and a free press.

    [13] ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY ORGANIZES DEMONSTRATION AGAINST TREATY WITH UKRAINE

    The extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM) and several other associations staged a demonstration in Bucharest on 22 May against the forthcoming signing of the basic treaty between Ukraine and Romania. PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor said the government's decision to conclude a treaty that recognizes Ukrainian sovereignty over northern Bukovina, southern Bessarabia, and the Herta territory (incorporated into the former Soviet Union in 1940) is an act of "national treason." He added that the government had no right to sign the treaty without first submitting it to a national referendum. The demonstrators carried maps showing the old borders of the country.

    [14] DAEWOO ACCUSED OF BREAKING INVESTMENT PROMISES IN ROMANIA

    A Romanian parliamentary commission says the South Korean Daewoo Motor Company has broken pledges made when it acquired 51% of the ownership of a Craiova car manufacturer, AFP and Romanian media reported. Daewoo undertook to ensure that 60% of the parts were produced in Romania, but only 10% are in fact produced locally, the commission said. The commission accuses the Koreans of wanting to "give work to the South Koreans only" and to "profit from facilities without honoring its commitments." It says Daewoo has imported 20,000 cars into Romania at "dumping prices" and benefited from exemption of custom duties because it declared the cars were spare parts needed for production. A spokesman for Daewoo said more time is needed to ensure that the pledges undertaken will be fulfilled.

    [15] MOLDOVAN PREMIER ON AGREEMENT WITH WORLD BANK

    At a press conference in Chisinau on 22 May following his return from Washington, Ion Ciubuc said the memorandum signed by Moldova and the World Bank in the U.S. capital earlier this week provides for a loan of $100 million, which is to be repaid by Moldova over 30 years, an RFE/RL correspondent in Chisinau reported. Ciubuc said that 20% of the loan carries a 2% interest and that the first installment of the loan, worth some $35 million, could reach Chisinau as early as June. The loan is conditional on Moldova's reducing the budget deficit to 3% of GDP by the end of this year, land privatization, demonopolization of the agricultural and energy sectors, and speeding up the reform of the social protection and pension systems.

    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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