|Saturday, 19 September 2020|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 165, 97-11-21
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 1, No. 165, 21 November 1997
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 NAZARBAYEV GIVES CONFLICTING SIGNALS OVER IRAN PIPELINETwo days after saying he agrees with U.S. proposals that future pipelines avoid Iran, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on 20 November that talks with Iran on a pipeline through its territory will continue, Reuters and IRNA reported. In a speech at Rice University in Texas, Nazarbayev said the Iranian government has proposed building a Kazakhstan -Turkmenistan- Iran pipeline, adding that "the Iranians are asking me about it constantly." He said his country does not in "any way support terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism," but he questioned whether a blockade was an effective means to influence a country. Nazarbayev noted that the Iranian pipeline proposal will be discussed at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Tehran in December. BP
 FRENCH COUPLE STILL MISSING IN TAJIKISTANA French couple believed to have been kidnapped in Dushanbe on 18 November is still missing. ITAR-TASS reported on 21 November that the Tajik office of TACIS, for which the missing man works, has received a telephone call claiming Rezvon Sadirov's group kidnapped the couple to press for the release of his brother, Bahrom Sadirov, from prison. The Sadirov gang has kidnapped several foreigners since December 1996. However, when RFE/RL correspondents contacted the TACIS office in Dushanbe, workers denied they had received such a call. Meanwhile, the Red Cross has announced it will reduce its staff in Tajikistan until this latest incident is over, Reuters reported on 20 November. BP
 DID HILLARY CLINTON HELP IMPRISONED KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER?Topchubek Turgunaliev, the chairman of the Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz service on 19 November that he believes U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton was instrumental in securing his transfer to the capital. Turgunaliev was recently brought back to Bishkek, where he is under house arrest, from a prison in Leilek, near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. He said he has been told that Clinton raised his case in conversations with Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev during her recent visit to the former Soviet republic. Turgunaliev also claimed he had been sent to Leilek in attempt to "isolate" him. BP
 ARMENIAN JOURNALISTS BARRED FROM KARABAKH DISCUSSIONJournalists were not permitted to attend a session of the majority Hanrapetutyun parliamentary faction on 19 November at which President Levon Ter-Petrossyan discussed the ongoing Karabakh peace process, Armenian media reported the next day. Participants at the meeting refused to reveal details, with the exception of the chairman of the ruling Armenian Pan- National Movement, Vano Siradeghian, who told the daily "Aravot" that Ter- Petrossyan essentially repeated arguments he had made to that party on 10 November. "Aravot" also quoted Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsian as denying reports that he disagrees with the president's Karabakh policy. LF
 ARMENIAN VOUCHER PRIVATIZATION TO BE COMPLETED IN 1998Newly appointed Privatization Minister Pavel Ghaltakchian told journalists in Yerevan on 20 November that so-called voucher privatization will be completed by the end of 1998, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Ghaltakhchian said that more than 90 percent of all privatization certificates distributed to Armenian citizens in late 1994 have already been used, while the remaining 10 percent are valid until December 1998. According to Ghaltakhchian, more than 1,200 state enterprises have been privatized to date, mainly using vouchers. He said the government will adopt a "more flexible and diverse approach" in selling off the remaining state property, noting that auctions for cash will be the principal means of distributing such property. LF
 ARMENIA TO BEGIN FLIGHTS TO TURKEYRepresentatives of the Turkish Civil Aviation Department who were in Yerevan from 11-14 November reached agreement with the Armenian government on regular flights between Yerevan and Erzerum, Noyan Tapan reported on 20 November. On 21 November, a delegation from the Union of Industrialists and Businessmen of Armenia will travel to Erzerum, Kars, and Trebizond to discuss expanding bilateral economic contacts, Armenpress reported. Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations, but the indirect trade turnover between the two countries via Iran and Georgia is estimated at between $120 and $150 million. LF
 NEW AGREEMENTS ON REGIONAL ELECTRICITY SALESTurkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer told journalists on 20 November that Turkey will buy 300 megawatts of electricity from Azerbaijan in 1998, AFP reported. The electricity will be transported via Georgia. During bilateral talks in Tbilisi on 19 November, Armenian and Georgian government officials reached a preliminary agreement on the sale of electricity from Armenia to Georgia. The two countries' power grids were linked on 1 November, according to ArmenPress. LF
 HUNDREDS POISONED IN GEORGIA BY CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATERBetween 500 and 600 people in the Georgian industrial city of Rustavi are suffering from poisoning after drinking water contaminated by sewage. Thirty children are reported to have been hospitalized. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has set up a commission to investigate the incident and decreed that all those affected are to receive free medical treatment. LF
 AZERBAIJANI-IRANIAN CONSULATE DISPUTE CONTINUESTuran on 20 November quoted Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Tehran, Aliyar Safarli, as saying that if Iran continues to block the opening of an Azerbaijani consulate in the north Iranian city of Tebriz, Baku may close the Iranian consulate in Nakhichevan. That consulate was opened in 1992 following a visit to Tehran by Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, who at that time was still Nakhichevan parliamentary speaker. LF
 HUMANITARIAN AID EMBEZZLED IN AZERBAIJANThe state commission for receipt, registration, storage, and distribution of humanitarian aid has announced that executives of charity organizations and local government officials have misappropriated humanitarian aid worth several million dollars, Turan reported on 20 November. Part of the aid was destined for the estimated 800,000 displaced persons who fled their homes during the Karabakh conflict. LF
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 ALBANIA, YUGOSLAVIA TO HAVE FULL DIPLOMATIC TIESA Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Tirana on 20 November that Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agreed at the recent Balkan summit on Crete to establish full diplomatic relations. The spokesman said that "technical" problems are holding up the appointment of ambassadors. The previous Albanian government of President Sali Berisha refused to appoint an ambassador to Belgrade until Yugoslavia solved the Kosovo question to the satisfaction of the province's ethnic Albanian majority. The Kosovar and Albanian media have speculated since the Crete summit that Nano may have agreed to tone down Tirana's support for the Kosovars in return for better ties to Belgrade (see "End Note" in "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997). PM
 SPECIAL STATUS FOR KOSOVO?The Albanian Foreign Ministry spokesman added on 19 November that the Kosovo question can be solved only by granting the province autonomy within Yugoslavia and that West European countries will work toward that end. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, appealed to Milosevic to open talks with the Kosovars aimed at establishing autonomy for the province. Milosevic rose to power in the late 1980s on the pledge to end the autonomy that Kosovo then enjoyed, and he had kept that promise. Kosovar political leaders argue that the Albanians have no future in Yugoslavia and want independence. PM
 KOSOVAR PARTIES FORM ALLIANCESome 13 political parties, NGOs, and other organizations set up the Kosovo Democratic Forum in Pristina on 19 November, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from that city. Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) did not join the new grouping, which is led by the Parliamentary Party's Adem Demaci (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 November 1997). Demaci argues that Rugova's policies of non-violence and of appealing to the U.S. and the EU to help solve the Kosovo problem have not brought results. He said that the founding of the Democratic Forum proves that the Kosovars can take responsibility for solving their own problems themselves. PM
 SHOOT-OUT NEAR MACEDONIAN-ALBANIAN BORDERA Macedonian Defense Ministry spokesman said in Skopje on 20 November that a border guard was badly wounded near Struga the previous day in a shoot- out with intruders from Albania. This is the second violent incident in that area within several days and one of more than 100 shoot-outs near the frontier so far this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 November 1997). Also in Skopje, spokesmen for an independent truckers' union said on 20 November that police prevented drivers' attempts to block major highways and border crossings. The truckers want road usage fees reduced. PM
 YUGOSLAVIA TO RETURN CITIZENS' SAVINGSThe federal government agreed in Belgrade on 20 November on a plan to repay citizens' hard-currency savings. The government froze hard-currency accounts at the time of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. According to the new plan, each account holder may receive up to $200 in 1998, $250 in 1999, and additional payments at a fixed rate of increase in subsequent years. Western experts say that Belgrade's total hard-currency debts to its citizens amount to $6 billion, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital. PM
 SERBS GET ULTIMATUM OVER KARADZIC POSTERSRepresentatives of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is supervising the Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections on 22-23 November, said in Sarajevo on 20 November that the hard-line Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) must take down posters depicting indicted war criminal and former SDS leader Radovan Karadzic. Officials of the SDS replied in Pale that the SDS has nothing to do with the posters, which bear the name of the Serbian National Society. Under an agreement in June 1996 between the international community and the Bosnian Serb leadership, Karadzic was to have disappeared from public life at that time. Posters depicting him nonetheless appeared during the Bosnian election campaign that fall. PM
 MUSLIMS, CROATS URGED TO VOTEAlija Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of the Bosnia joint presidency, and Kresimir Zubak, his ethnic Croatian counterpart, urged their respective constituents to vote in the Republika Srpska's elections. Izetbegovic appealed to Muslims to go to the polls and "help those [candidates] who advocate an integral and democratic Bosnia." PM
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE SLAMS ALBANIAN POLITICIANSA delegation from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly said in Tirana on 20 November that members of the Socialist and Democratic Parties are not willing to engage in dialogue or make compromises, "Shekulli" reported. A delegation spokesman added that one of his group's concerns is the slow process in drafting a new constitution. He added that all political forces must be involved in the process. Elsewhere, the parliament's constitution drafting commission, meeting for the first time, failed to agree on a plan to carry out its work. The Democrats did not show up for the meeting, "Koha Jone" reported. FS
 ALBANIAN PYRAMID VICTIMS DEMAND ACTIONSpokesmen for the National Association of Creditors, which represents the interests of pyramid investors who lost their money when the schemes collapsed early this year, said that their association demands a roundtable of all political parties at the end of November to develop a joint strategy to deal with the pyramid issue. Association head Mistret Sahiti said that those who lost their money will be reassured that the authorities are serious about dealing with the pyramids only if all 10 political parties agree on a program. Turning his attention to the government, Sahiti threatened a nationwide hunger strike of failed investors if the government does not find a way of returning their money. FS
 ROMANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL ON ANTONESCU REHABILITATIONSorin Moisescu has responded to Senator Alphonse D'Amato and Congressman Christopher Smith's protest against the judicial procedure for posthumously rehabilitating six members of the interwar government headed by Marshall Ion Antonescu, "Advearul" reported on 21 November. Moisescu said the six ministers did not share any responsibility for the decisions of that cabinet. He noted that Romania's constitution had been "suspended" in 1940 and all power transferred to Antonescu, who was designated the country's "leader." Consequently, neither collective government nor personal responsibility applied under those circumstances. MS
 ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AMENDS BUDGETThe cabinet on 20 November issued an "urgent ordinance" increasing budget expenditures by 1.05 billion lei ($131.4 million). The bulk of that sum is for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (262 billion lei), the Defense Ministry (205.1 billion lei), and the Interior Ministry (193 billion lei).The government measure was requested earlier the same day by President Emil Constantinescu, who said parliamentary commissions debating amendments to the budget have been "unjustifiably procrastinating." An "ordinance" takes effect immediately, without the parliament's approval. MS
 TRADE UNIONISTS PROTEST IN BUCHARESTBetween 15,000 and 20,000 members of the Fratia trade union confederation marched in Bucharest on 20 November to protest the government's market reform program, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The protesters called on Victor Ciorbea's cabinet to resign. MS
 MOLDOVA TO SELL REMAINING FIGHTER PLANESPrime Minister Ion Ciubuc on 20 November said Moldova intends to sell its six remaining MiG-29C fighter planes. But he refused to disclose the identity of the buyer, saying the planes are now undergoing repairs in Belarus, Infotag reported. Ciubuc confirmed that the U.S. is to pay $80 million for the 21 planes bought from Moldova. He said Washington has already transferred $40 million, while the remainder of the debt will be paid in the form of equipment for "humanitarian operations." Ciubuc also said the cabinet may be "somewhat reshuffled" in the near future, noting that "compromising information" on several ministers was being examined. Also on 20 November, Ciubuc and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed an agreement for a $30 million credit to finance an overhaul of Chisinau's water supply system, RFE/RL's bureau in the Moldovan capital reported. MS
 MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH SEPARATIST LEADERPresident Petru Lucinschi met with separatist leader Igor Smirnov in Chisinau on 20 November, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau and ITAR-TASS reported. The two leaders failed to reach an agreement on how to dispose of the Russian military equipment in the Transdniester. Smirnov said he and Lucinschi "differ on who should benefit from that [process] and to what degree." Smirnov is insisting on a share of the weapons and has publicly claimed the entire arsenal is Transdniestrian property. The same day, Russian Minister for CIS Affairs Anatolii Adamishin, whom President Boris Yeltsin recently appointed as coordinator of the Russian team mediating the Transdniester conflict, met in Chisinau with Minister of Defense Valeriu Pasat. The problem of the withdrawal of the Russian arsenal remains "most difficult," but a policy of "small steps" may succeed in the end, Pasat commented. MS
 GAZPROM RESOLVES SOFIA-MOSCOW DISPUTEShareholders in TopEnergy, which is 50 percent owned by Russia's Gazprom company, have voted to exclude the controversial private Bulgarian Multigroup from a Russian-Bulgarian pipeline project. The vote requires Multigroup to sell their stakes in TopEnergy by 16 December to the state- owned Bulgargaz company, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. Multigroup is viewed by many Bulgarians as a dubious intermediary company set up by former communists and serving Russian interests. Last month, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova said Sofia's dispute with Gazprom was affecting relations with Moscow. MS
 BULGARIAN-TURKISH FREE TRADE ZONE IN OFFINGTrade Minister Valentin Vasiliev on 20 November said his country and Turkey will agree to set up a free trade zone before Turkish Premier Mesut Yilmaz's scheduled visit to Sofia on 4 December, an RFE/RL correspondent in the Bulgarian capital reported. He said a comprehensive agreement on trade liberalization between the two countries is still being negotiated but noted that a memorandum on the free trade zone can be quickly signed. Vasiliev spoke after meeting with Turkish Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Isin Celebi. MS
[C] END NOTE
 THE LANGUAGE OF HATEby Patrick Moore
Most analyses of the developments in the former Yugoslavia in the past 10 years have stressed the role played by the nationalist official media on all sides in fomenting ethnic hatred. Those media continue to convey a large part of their negative message not just in the way they select subject matter for their reports but in their use of language itself.
Part of the nationalists' manipulation of language has involved imposing rules of political correctness upon individual speakers and writers, both in the media and in public life in general. This has sometimes led to unintentionally amusing results as individuals struggle to speak a supposedly "pure" speech for their ethnic group, which may be based on a dialect spoken hundreds of miles from where those individuals were born or where they live. This is because the differences between Serbo-Croatian dialects are based on geography, not on ethnicity. It thus appears artificial when Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic affects the "real" Serbian of Belgrade.
But the language of hatred goes beyond mere political correctness. It involves selecting loaded terms that serve to demonize an entire ethnic group. On 14 November, RFE/RL discussed the phenomenon in a roundtable with social scientists and journalists from Croatia.
One participant noted that the language of hatred did not begin with the rise to power of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a decade ago. It has its roots in the communist, totalitarian practice of mobilizing support by blackening those who dare to have different opinions. It reflects an "us- against-them" mentality.
By using ethnic pejoratives, nationalists can easily characterize members of other nationalities in the blackest of terms. Thus, until recently, the Croatian official media regularly used the term "Srbocetnik"--linking the Serbian ethnic group as a whole with the chetnik rebel fighters--to characterize all Serbs as anti-Croatian.
The Serbian media, for their part, conjured up Serbs' worst memories of Croatian war crimes against Serbs during World War II by lumping all Croats together as "Ustashe," the fanatical followers of Hitler's ally Ante Pavelic. The Muslims' wartime enemies, for their part, characterized them as "fundamentalists." That term served to identify even secular individuals- -who happened to be descended from people who had embraced Islam--with the most hardened religious fanatics. In short, an entire nationality was tarred with the same brush.
The social scientists and opposition journalists told RFE/RL that they are pessimistic about the chances of overcoming the language of hatred and its legacy, even now that peace has come. First, the "us-against-them" mentality reflected in the language of hatred was propagated by the communists throughout society for more than 40 years and hence will be difficult to eliminate quickly.
Second, the new states that emerged from Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia were born amid hatred, as one panelist put it. Thus, he argued, hatred is already an internal component of those countries' domestic politics and is likely to remain so for many years to come. War only served to reinforce the negative feelings.
Third, the trends toward political correctness that developed during the war continue to be reinforced not only by the official media but by the school system as well. Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim children learn from books written in artificially "pure" languages. The texts, moreover, portray each respective people's history in only the most glowing of terms. That helps ensure that the "us-against-them" mentality will be passed on even to generations too young to remember the recent fighting.
But is their a way to break the vicious circle of ethnic hatred? Roundtable participants told RFE/RL that the negative system of values must be opposed by a positive one based on tolerance. That can come about only by promoting civil society and developing democratic institutions.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty