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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 160, 97-11-14

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. 160, 14 November 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] KAZAKHSTAN TO EXPORT OIL VIA GEORGIA, BULGARIA
  • [02] RUSSIA WILL FIGHT FOR CASPIAN MAIN EXPORT PIPELINE
  • [03] NEMTSOV CALLS FOR NEW TALKS ON STATUS OF CASPIAN
  • [04] COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION IN ARMENIA
  • [05] ABKHAZIA CUTS POWER SUPPLIES TO GEORGIA
  • [06] NEW KYRGYZ MEDIA LAW RESTRICTS FREEDOMS
  • [07] EU PROVIDES AID TO TAJIKISTAN
  • [08] U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY IN TURKMENISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] ATTACK ON PLAVSIC'S HEADQUARTERS
  • [10] MUSLIMS STONE UN BUS
  • [11] MUSLIMS WANT SERBS IN U.S. PROGRAM
  • [12] SARAJEVO INVESTIGATES CORRUPTION
  • [13] MISIC FORMALLY CHARGED WITH WAR CRIMES
  • [14] NEW PRESS LAW IN SLOVENIA
  • [15] ITALY WARNS CROATIA ON RIGHTS
  • [16] STATE OF EMERGENCY IN DALMATIA
  • [17] ALBANIAN COURT CURBS PYRAMID INVESTIGATORS
  • [18] ROMANIAN SENATE POSTPONES DEBATE ON EDUCATION LAW
  • [19] MOLDOVA, UKRAINE, ROMANIA TO JOINTLY COMBAT ORGANIZED CRIME
  • [20] BULGARIAN COMMISSION UNVEILS CORRUPTION IN ARMY

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [21] TWO SCENARIOS FOR BOSNIA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] KAZAKHSTAN TO EXPORT OIL VIA GEORGIA, BULGARIA

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova met with her Kazakh counterpart, Kasymzhomart Tokaev, and President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Almaty on 13 November to discuss cooperation in the oil sector. Mikhailova told Interfax that Bulgaria wants to buy part of the Kazakh oil exported via Azerbaijan and Georgia at its Burgas terminal. Tokaev said the proposed Burgas-Aleksandroupolis pipeline--a joint venture between Bulgaria, Russia, and Greece--was also discussed. In Tbilisi on 13 November, Minister of State Niko Lekishvili said President Eduard Shevardnadze had reached agreement with the Kazakh leadership in Almaty on 10-11 November on exporting 5-7 million metric tons of Kazakh crude via Georgian ports. LF

    [02] RUSSIA WILL FIGHT FOR CASPIAN MAIN EXPORT PIPELINE

    Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who is also fuel and energy Minister, said on 13 November that Russia will fight to have the main export pipeline for Azerbaijan's Caspian oil routed north to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, Interfax reported. The same day, First Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Kirienko said Russia proposes that the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), which oversees the exploitation of three Azerbaijani Caspian oil fields, should hold a tender to select the route for the main export pipeline. He noted that a tender would be advantageous for Russia, since the northern route is the most economic one. The AIOC has said the choice of route will be determined by economic, not geo-political, factors. LF

    [03] NEMTSOV CALLS FOR NEW TALKS ON STATUS OF CASPIAN

    Nemtsov also told journalists in Moscow on 13 November that it is time for new talks to resolve the deadlocked question of the international status of the Caspian Sea. In an indication that Russia may stop insisting that Caspian hydrocarbon resources be developed jointly by all five littoral states, Nemtsov had hinted in Baku the previous day that the Caspian could be divided into national sectors. Those sectors would be determined on the basis of dividing lines drawn by the former USSR Oil Ministry, Turan reported on 13 November. Meanwhile, Iran's Permanent Mission to the UN has sent a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan protesting Azerbaijan's "unilateral exploitation" of Caspian oil resources, AFP reported on 13 November. The letter claimed Azerbaijan's action violates international agreements and affirms Iran's readiness to take action to protect its interests in the Caspian. LF

    [04] COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION IN ARMENIA

    Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan met with a delegation from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan on 13 November to discuss Armenia's possible full membership in that body and the political and human rights situation in Armenia, Noyan Tapan reported. The delegation also held talks with opposition party leaders. Speaking after that meeting, Paruyr Hayrikyan, head of the Union for Self-Determination, argued that Armenia's full membership in the council should be made contingent on the democratization of its political system, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Hayrikyan proposed that the council stipulate preconditions for full membership including free and fair elections. LF

    [05] ABKHAZIA CUTS POWER SUPPLIES TO GEORGIA

    Following an 11 November explosion at a substation in Abkhazia's southern- most Gali Raion, Abkhazia has reduced power supplies to Georgia from the Inguri hydro-electric power station, Interfax reported. The Abkhaz government has blamed the explosion on Georgian guerrillas operating in Abkhazia. The Inguri facility generates much of the country's electricity. LF

    [06] NEW KYRGYZ MEDIA LAW RESTRICTS FREEDOMS

    Doronbek Sadyrbayev, the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary commission on human rights, said a law on mass media passed by the parliament on 11 November, violates freedom of the press, Interfax reported on 13 November. Under the new legislation, journalists cannot report information on persons who are under criminal investigation until a verdict is passed. Mass media are not allowed to enter either public or private enterprises without permission or make public information about the private lives of individuals. Journalists must name their sources upon request. President Askar Akayev can veto the law within 10 days, but the parliament can override such a veto by a two-thirds majority. The new law reportedly enjoys "wide support" among law-makers. BP

    [07] EU PROVIDES AID TO TAJIKISTAN

    The EU has voted to grant Tajikistan $9 million ecu in humanitarian aid, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 November. The funds will be used for medicines and food supplies. BP

    [08] U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY IN TURKMENISTAN

    Federico Pena met with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov on 13 November, whom he urged to seek to solve the dispute with Azerbaijan over an oil field in the Caspian Sea. Niyazov proposed that a gas pipeline running along the sea bed would be the best route for exporting Turkmen natural gas. That line would run from Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan to Turkey. BP

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] ATTACK ON PLAVSIC'S HEADQUARTERS

    Two masked gunmen attacked the offices of Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic's Serbian People's League (SNS)on 13 November in Bijeljina. Damage was extensive, and UN police are investigating the incident. Plavsic founded the SNS in August after she broke with the Serbian Democratic Party (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August 1997). The attack comes less than two weeks before the Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections, scheduled for 22-23 November. PM

    [10] MUSLIMS STONE UN BUS

    A crowd of Muslim refugees near Tuzla stoned a UN bus carrying Serbian visitors from Serb-held areas into Muslim-controlled territory on 13 November. Two Serbian men and one Muslim woman were injured. The Muslims were blocking traffic in the area to protest the cutoff of electricity to their refugee camp owing to unpaid bills. It was the third attack by local Muslims against Serbian visitors this year. The Dayton agreements ensure freedom of movement across the former front lines. PM

    [11] MUSLIMS WANT SERBS IN U.S. PROGRAM

    Mirza Hajric, an adviser to Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of the Bosnian joint presidency, said in Sarajevo on 13 November that the Bosnian Serbs should be allowed to join the U.S.-sponsored "Train and Equip" military program. Hajric stressed that Serbian participation in the program, which already includes Muslims and Croats, would be a first step toward creating a joint army, which might then qualify for membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Washington recently turned down Plavsic's request to join the "Train and Equip" program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 November 1997). Bosnian Serb hard-liners oppose Serbian participation in the program. PM

    [12] SARAJEVO INVESTIGATES CORRUPTION

    The Bosnian federal government announced in Sarajevo on 13 November that it is launching a probe into the possible embezzlement of some $30 million in taxes, customs fees, and aid money. Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief representative in Bosnia, recently said he would make public a list of allegedly corrupt officials' names if the Sarajevo authorities failed to act against the embezzlers by 14 November (see "RFE/RL Bosnian Report," 5 November 1997). PM

    [13] MISIC FORMALLY CHARGED WITH WAR CRIMES

    Belgrade authorities formally charged Slobodan Misic with war crimes on 13 November. Misic recently told the Serbian media that he had killed some 80 Bosnian civilians during the war (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 November 1997). In Zagreb, a court sentenced Mario Maler, a Bosnian Croat, to one-and-a- half years in prison for mistreating Croatian prisoners when he was a guard in the Serb-run Stara Gradiska camp in 1992. PM

    [14] NEW PRESS LAW IN SLOVENIA

    Justice Minister Tomaz Marusic on 13 November said that criminal legislation will be changed so that journalists will no longer be prosecuted for disclosing state and army secrets if their aim in doing so is to expose wrong-doing. The move is part of a process to bring Slovenian legislation in line with EU standards. PM

    [15] ITALY WARNS CROATIA ON RIGHTS

    Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini told his Croatian counterpart, Mate Granic, in Rome on 13 November that Italy will support Croatia's integration into European institutions. Dini added, however, that Rome expects Zagreb to institute "European standards and behavior" in regard to human and minority rights. Dini and Granic signed several agreements, including one that will enable the citizens of each country to visit the other with only their internal identity papers. The conclusion of an overall Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, however, is being held up by differences regarding rights to and compensation for the property once owned by some 150,000 Italian citizens in Dalmatia and Istria. Italy also wants more schools for Croatia's remaining Italian minority. PM

    [16] STATE OF EMERGENCY IN DALMATIA

    The Croatian authorities on 13 November declared Split-Dalmatia County a disaster area, following heavy rains and floods. The power grid was damaged and the ferry service to the islands disrupted. PM

    [17] ALBANIAN COURT CURBS PYRAMID INVESTIGATORS

    The Constitutional Court on 13 November ruled that a key article of the new law regulating pyramid schemes is unconstitutional, "Dita Informacion" reported. The court argued that the law gives government-appointed administrators judicial functions over property owned by the pyramid companies, which, it said, is in violation of the principle of separation of powers. FS

    [18] ROMANIAN SENATE POSTPONES DEBATE ON EDUCATION LAW

    The Senate has postponed its scheduled debate on government regulations amending the 1996 education law. Bela Marko, the leader of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), appealed to President Emil Constantinescu on 13 November to mediate between his group and the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD). Marko said there have been accusations that the UDMR is "blackmailing" the PNTCD but the truth is, in fact, the opposite. He explained that the PNTCD is threatening to withdraw support for other amendments to the 1996 law supported by the UDMR if the ethnic Hungarian formation does not agree to history and geography being taught in the Romanian language in all schools, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [19] MOLDOVA, UKRAINE, ROMANIA TO JOINTLY COMBAT ORGANIZED CRIME

    The interior ministers of Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania are to sign in Chisinau on 14 November a declaration on collaboration in the fight against organized crime, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The declaration follows an accord on jointly combating organized crime that the three countries' presidents signed at the first meeting of the Moldova-Ukraine-Romania "trilateral" in Izmail, Ukraine, in early July. MS

    [20] BULGARIAN COMMISSION UNVEILS CORRUPTION IN ARMY

    Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev and Chief of Staff Miho Mihov told a press conference in Sofia on 12 November that a special audit commission has discovered large-scale corruption and theft at military facilities and in the ministry itself under the former cabinet of Socialist Zhan Videnov. The commission found irregularities in expenditures for peace-keeping troops assigned to the UN and established missing equipment from military depots. It said corruption was evident among officers and officials responsible for food supplies, spare parts for vehicles, and the safeguarding of weapons and ammunition, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [21] TWO SCENARIOS FOR BOSNIA

    by A. Ross Johnson

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, Jacques Klein, who is the international community's second most important representative in Bosnia, and other international leaders have recently called for continued NATO and U.S. military presence in Bosnia after SFOR's mandate expires in June 1998.

    Bosnia's future was debated at an October conference in Washington sponsored by the RFE/RL Fund, Inc. Participants included Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Senator Joe Biden, Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, and a number of experts on the Yugoslav region. Three major conclusions were drawn at that conference.

    First, continued U.S. involvement and military presence are essential to maintain peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, prevent the conflict from being rekindled (and perhaps spreading to neighboring countries), and give democratic institutions a chance to develop. While viewing a continued military presence as essential, participants had differing views on the efficacy of utilizing military forces to promote moderate, pro-Dayton Accord behavior on the part of the ruling Bosnian Serb elite in the Republika Srpska.

    Second, strengthened independent media are indispensable for maintaining peace and developing democratic institutions. Conference participants agreed that the wars of Yugoslav succession began in the media, most notably in the xenophobic, Serbian nationalist propaganda of Belgrade Television. Nationalist Serbian, Croatian, and, to a lesser degree, Muslim politicians in Bosnia-Herzegovina continue to utilize captive television and radio networks as well as newspapers to fan the flames of national separation and often ethnic hatred.

    The official Bosnian Serb media have the worst record in this regard. Some independent publications have emerged in the last year, such as "Nezavisne novine" in Banja Luka and "Slobodna Bosna" in Sarajevo. But major international assistance notwithstanding, indigenous electronic media remain mouthpieces of national parties and nationalist politicians. With few exceptions, it is only international broadcasters who provide balanced reporting on the airwaves.

    Third, international guarantees of self-determination are a prerequisite for a peaceful future in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Participants in the conference agreed on the minimum program for Bosnia's future: self-determination of peoples, no repetition of forced mass expulsions and mass murder, and emergence of pluralist and democratic institutions. But two quite different viewpoints were expressed about what that might mean in practice. One view maintained that, with the cessation of hostilities and with international encouragement and pressure, Bosnia-Herzegovina has been reestablishing itself as a country composed of two major federal or confederal units (the Serbian entity and the Muslim-Croatian federation). War criminals are being brought to justice. Some refugees expelled from their native regions are returning, and some infrastructure is being re-established. Bosnia will never be a nation-state, but its three peoples (Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims) will again accept one another as neighbors.

    According to Dennison Rusinow of the University of Pittsburgh, those peoples realize that "if we do not all hang together, we shall most assuredly continue to hang each other." The republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina may have been a constitutional artifact of Titoist Yugoslavia, but the region and its peoples have a common history. In due course, self- determination will manifest itself in loyalty to the new state of Bosnia- Herzegovina. Ambassador Holbrooke argued that the realistic objective as well as the moral obligation of the U.S. and Western Europe is to encourage that process. For " to impose partition would be immoral..., it would legitimize aggression."

    The second view was that Bosnia-Herzegovina can never become a state commanding even minimal loyalty from the majority of its inhabitants. The collapse of multi-national Yugoslavia and the outbreak of genocidal warfare for the second time in a half-century foreclosed such a future. Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats show loyalty to, and identify with, Serbia or Croatia, rather than Bosnia. That national exclusivism is reflected in both the independent and official media in the three parts of Bosnia.

    Moreover, the Croatian areas of Herzegovina, nominally part of the Muslim- Croatian Federation, are de facto part of Croatia--more so than in the case of the Republika Srpska and Serbia. The common Bosnian-Herzegovina institutions postulated in the Dayton accords are an external construct. Self-determination can mean only partition, with international military guarantees of new borders, especially those of a new state for the Bosnian Muslims (who suffered the most). Aleksa Djilas, a Belgrade-based sociologist and historian, commented that the "goal of a unified Bosnia is morally justified, but there are times when the best is the enemy of the good, and this is the case in Bosnia right now."

    Although participants in the conference found little common ground between those two viewpoints, there was consensus that continued Western and U.S. military presence is a prerequisite for even minimal stability in the region, while the peoples of Bosnia and the international community determine which of the two scenarios will prevail.

    The author is RFE/RL counselor.

    14-11-97


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


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