|Tuesday, 1 December 2020|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 49, 97-06-10
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 1, No. 49, 10 June 1997
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 RUSSIA SEEKS PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT TO AFGHAN SITUATIONRussia Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk has confirmed he met with a representative of Afghanistan's Taliban during his recent official visit to Pakistan, Interfax reported. Posuvalyuk said he told the representative that there is no military solution to the problems in Afghanistan. He added that he encouraged political dialogue between the various groups in Afghanistan. Posuvalyuk also positively assessed his meetings with Pakistani officials, saying the results showed that Moscow and Islamabad have "possibilities to cooperate..., to reconcile the Afghans, and to achieve a settlement." Posuvalyuk confirmed this was not the first time Russian officials had met with the Taliban.
 U.S.-UZBEK MILITARY EXERCISES FINISHThe Ultra Balance-97 military exercises were completed on 9 June, according to Interfax. The four-day maneuvers took place in the Fergana Valley 80 kilometers from the Uzbek-Tajik border in accordance with a 1995 bilateral agreement between the Uzbek Defense Ministry and the U.S. Defense Department. U.S. officers also inspected sites in Uzbekistan and Kazakstan where an 11-country military exercise is scheduled to be held in late September under the Partnership for Peace program.
 SENTENCES REDUCED FOR KYRGYZ JOURNALISTSA municipal court on 10 June reduced the sentences of four Kyrgyz journalists charged with libel, RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek reported. The four are from the Kyrgyz independent weekly newspaper Res Publica. Editor-in-Chief Zamira Sydykova's sentence was reduced from 18 months in prison to one year in a penal colony. Aleksandr Alyanchikov had also been given an 18-months jail sentence, which has been changed to a one-year suspended sentence. The decision to bar journalists Bektash Shamshiev and Marina Sivasheva from practicing journalism for 18 months was also overturned. Yrysbek Omurzakov, who is on trial for slandering the director of a Bishkek factory, has been released from detention until his case comes to court again.
 KYRGYZ SHARES ALLOTTED TO LOW-INCOME GROUPSPresident Askar Akayev has signed a decree whereby 8% of shares in leading enterprises will be distributed free of charge among pensioners, invalids, World War Two veterans, and low-income families, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 9 June. Shares will include those in leading companies scheduled to be privatized such as Kyrgyztelekom, Kyrgyzenergo, the national airline, and the two largest publishing houses, Uchkun and Akyl. The measure is intended to "ensure social justice."
 U.S. COMPANY TO SUPPLY FARM MACHINERY TO TURKMENISTANThe U.S. company Saba has signed a contract with Turkmenselkhoztekhnika to provide farming vehicles and irrigation equipment to Turkmenistan, according to ITAR-TASS on 9 June. Turkmenistan will pay for the machinery with a loan worth almost $100 million that the country received from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The U.S. company John Deere also supplies Turkmenistan with farming equipment.
 ARMENIAN SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN SUSPENDED SENTENCE IN "25 SEPTEMBER" TRIALDashnak party member Kim Balayan has received a two-year suspended sentence on charges of inciting mass disturbances, Noyan Tapan reported on 9 June. The charges refer to Balayan's alleged role in the 25 September attack on the Armenian parliament building, which occurred shortly after last year's disputed presidential election. Five other defendants were amnestied on 5 June after receiving sentences of between 18 and 30 months (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997).
 PREPARATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ABKHAZIA ALREADY UNDER WAY?In his weekly radio address, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said on 9 June that "hard work is under way" to convene an international conference on resolving the Abkhaz conflict, according to Interfax. Shevardnadze said Russia could organize such a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. He also reiterated that "Georgia's president and authorities have done everything to ensure the peaceful resolution of the conflict taking Russia's interests into account" but without success, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 10 June. Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba was scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Evgenii Primakov on 9 June, according to NTV. However, there have been no reports on whether the meeting took place.
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 ALBANIAN SOCIALIST LEADER PLEDGES TO REPAY PYRAMID MONEYSome 12,000 people welcomed Fatos Nano in Vlora on 9 June, Dita Informacion reports. He told a rally he will try to find and return the money people lost in fraudulent pyramid schemes, but he did not say how he will do this. Nano is one of the Socialist Party's candidates in the southern town. Meanwhile, local rebel leader Zani Caushi has announced he wants to run as a candidate for the Socialists. The deadline for registering candidates expired on 9 June, however. President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party has charged that there are close links between the southern rebels and the Socialists.
 UPDATE ON ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF ALBANIAN PRESIDENTThe Durres Prosecutor-General's Office says the man who tried to kill Berisha on 4 June does not have ties to the extreme left but does have psychological problems, Dita Informacion reported on 10 June. Democratic Party legislator Azem Hajdari accused the Socialists of being behind the assassination attempt but could not prove it. The office also said that Ceta had been found guilty of stuffing 100 ballot papers for the Democratic Party into a ballot box during last year's parliamentary elections. Relatives described the man as "ignorant [and]...without political motives." Gazeta Shqiptare adds that the Deputy Prosecutor-General Gani Dizdari said there is no proof that Ceta was paid for the assassination attempt, as secret service chief Arben Karkini has charged.
 ITALIAN COMMUNISTS WANT INVESTIGATION OF ITALY'S ROLE IN ALBANIAThe reformed Italian communist party has drafted a bill on setting up a parliamentary commission to investigate the involvement of Italian banks and companies in Albanian pyramid schemes and the arms trade. Former Ambassador to Albania Paolo Foresti, who was fired recently for obstructing the work of the OSCE there, would also come under investigation. Rome's new man in Tirana will be Marcello Spatafori, whose last posting was in Canberra, Indipendent reported on 10 June.
 REGIONAL DISPUTES SURFACE AT BALKAN CONFERENCEAn Albanian representative told a gathering of Balkan diplomats in the Greek port of Salonica on 9 June that the current instability in his country does not threaten the region. He added, however, that unresolved minority questions like Kosovo could ultimately destabilize the Balkans. The long-standing dispute between Skopje and Sofia over whether Macedonian is a separate language also came up. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova told reporters after meeting with Macedonian Foreign Minister Blagoj Handziski that they spoke in "our language," which underscores the Bulgarian view that Macedonian is simply a dialect of Bulgarian. Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic said the conference made progress in economic, political, and security affairs, but he added that talk about setting up a permanent Balkan security organization is "premature." Greek media spoke of a "Greek-Russian initiative for the region" that would include setting up a Balkan telecommunications center, BETA reported.
 CROATIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATE CRITICIZES POLICEOpposition parties in Zagreb on 9 June blasted the authorities for the way they handled President Franjo Tudjman's trip to Vukovar and the attack on opposition candidate Vlado Gotovac (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997). Opposition spokesmen said Tudjman used tax-payers' money "for his self- promotion...in a vain parade to satisfy an old dictator." The opposition also charged that the police were not tough enough in dealing with army Capt. Tomislav Brzovic, who struck Gotovac on the head last week. Gotovac said that Brzovic's attack was aimed at removing the opposition candidate from the race, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb. Pro-government media have portrayed Brzovic as angry and drunk at the time of the attack, while observers charge he is a well-known agent of the ruling party.
 BELGRADE, TEHRAN RESUME ECONOMIC TIESYugoslav Foreign Trade Minister Borislav Vukovic held talks with Iranian Economic Minister Morteza Mohammad-Khan in Tehran on 9 June. No details are available. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati told Vukovic the previous day that Iran's "sentiments have been deeply wounded by the massacre of the Bosnian people." The Yugoslav guest, for his part, said Belgrade "pays special attention to Muslim countries, notably Iran." Vukovic's visit is the first high-level contact between the two countries since the Bosnian war began in 1992. Iran was one of the staunchest supporters of the Bosnian Muslims against the Belgrade-backed Serbs.
 ROUNDUP FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIAMichael Steiner, the international community's deputy high representative in Bosnia, said in Sarajevo on 9 June that the Bosnian Serbs will suffer financial consequences if they continue to hold up economic legislation affecting both halves of Bosnia. In Ankara, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel, agreed that failure to enforce the Dayton agreement will affect security throughout the Balkans. In Sarajevo, representatives of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Islamic, and Jewish communities also called for respecting the peace treaty, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Bosnian capital. In Zagreb, the Interior Ministry slammed the UN peacekeepers in eastern Slavonia for failing to prevent the recent stoning of President Franjo Tudjman's train in Serb-held territory (see RFE/RL Newsline, 9 June 1997). And in Podgorica, parliamentary speaker Svetozar Marovic said that Serbia's proposed changes to the federal constitution are aimed at marginalizing Montenegro.
 SECOND NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION DEFEATED IN ROMANIAN PARLIAMENTBy a vote of 268 to 152, the governing coalition on 9 June easily defeated a second motion of no confidence moved by two opposition parties after Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea had submitted his reform program to the parliament (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 June 1997). Ciorbea mockingly noted that the two formations that proposed the motion--the Party of Social Democracy in Romania and the Party of Romanian National Unity--have "secured a place in history" for submitting two no-confidence motions within three days, RFE/RL Bucharest bureau reported.
 ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CLARIFIES STATEMENTS ON NATO MEMBERSHIPIn a statement released on 9 June, Emil Constantinescu's office said the president has "never expressed any doubt about Romania's ability to meet the obligations deriving from NATO integration. "The statement clarified that, in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's comments at the recent meeting of NATO foreign minster in Portugal, Constantinescu had expressed only "his understanding for the general view point that all NATO members need to have stable economies before being integrated," Radio Bucharest reported. The statement emphasized that the president has always expressed the opinion that Romania "meets all necessary criteria for immediate admission into NATO" and is a "pillar of stability and provider of security in the region." Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Petre Roman on 9 June began a five day visit to the U.S. to promote Romania's entry into NATO.
 ROMANIAN AIRLINE TO BE RESTRUCTUREDTransportation Minister Traian Basescu announced on 9 June that the TAROM national airline is to undergo rapid restructuring. The company will sale outdated Soviet-made aircraft and will dismiss or assign to other jobs personnel involved in their maintenance. TAROM will also seek to reach cooperation accords with foreign airlines.
 FORMER MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON POLITICAL SITUATIONMircea Snegur has said he hopes an alliance of the right-wing forces, to be called the Democratic Convention of Moldova, will be set up on 23 June, the day marking the seventh anniversary of the country's independence. Snegur, who is now chairman of the Party of Revival and Accord, wrote in an "Appeal to the Nation" recently published in Luceafarul that, six months after Petru Lucinschi took over as president, "only the naive" still believe that Lucinschi will keep his electoral promises. He noted that the president has not submitted to the parliament one single legislative initiative promoting reform. Snegur also said that Lucinschi is continuing the tactics he employed during Snegur's own presidency, when the incumbent president was chairman of the parliament, Infotag reported on 9 June.
[C] END NOTE
 NATO Is About Far More Than Russiaby Paul Goble
Both supporters and opponents of NATO expansion have tended to discuss the issue in terms of its impact on Russia. As a result, the increasingly heated debate has failed to pay much attention to the other purposes that the Western alliance has served and the purposes that the prospect of expansion has promoted.
Supporters of expansion typically argue that the Western alliance should expand now to provide an insurance policy for countries in Eastern Europe in the event that Russia regains its strength and reverts to the often aggressive ways of the past. Opponents of any growth in the alliance, on the other hand, have suggested that the Russian threat to Europe has disappeared along with the Soviet Union and that any expansion would undermine Russian reform at home and Russian cooperation abroad.
Unfortunately, the heavy focus on Russia has obscured the multiple reasons that lay behind NATO's founding in 1949, the multiple roles it has played and continues to play in a variety of spheres, and the enormous contribution that the prospect of expansion has made to laying the foundation for a more stable and peaceful Eastern Europe. As more than one commentator has observed, NATO was established to keep the Russians out of Europe, the Americans in, and the Germans down. During the Cold War, attention to the first often obscured the other two. Indeed, by preventing Soviet expansionism, NATO helped its member countries to focus on domestic developments rather than on defense, as they often had in the past.
But during the discussions on forming the alliance, most of its future members were far more worried about the two other factors: the possibilities of a resurgence of German militarism and an early U.S. exit from Europe, as had happened after World War I.
By rooting Germany in a broader security arrangement, NATO has made an important contribution to the rapprochement of Berlin and Paris and to the construction of a more united Europe. And by creating an institution that linked the U.S.'s fate to Europe's, NATO has served to limit the reemergence of traditional isolationism in the United States.
But NATO has, in fact, done far more than that. By promoting cooperation and interoperability among the military and political elites of its members, NATO has allowed them to explore their common interests and overcome their past suspicions. In times of crisis, this ongoing cooperation has allowed the West to act, as in the Gulf War, more quickly and easily than would otherwise have been the case.
Moreover it has helped promote democracy in member states such as Turkey and Spain. It has integrated the military industries of its members in ways that limit the ability of any one of them to act unilaterally. And it has even contributed to the economic growth of all by eliminating many of the fears behind national protectionism.
More recently, the possibility of the expansion of the alliance has made yet another contribution to European stability. It has prompted the countries that hope to be included in the alliance to try to resolve some of their historical quarrels. Among the pairs of countries that have done so are Hungary and Romania, Poland and Lithuania, and Ukraine and Romania.
And finally, because NATO leaders have made it clear that any country hoping to join must demonstrate a commitment to democracy, human rights, and a free market, all the countries seeking admission have done more in this direction than their past records on those issues might have led anyone to expect. Historians may ultimately conclude that those developments are among NATO's greatest achievements. But this particular contribution of the alliance will survive only if its current members demonstrate that they will admit new members not only now but also in the future.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty