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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 18, 99-01-27

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. 3, No. 18, 27 January 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PRESIDENT CONDEMNS INDICTMENT ATTEMPT
  • [02] DEBATE OVER NATO PRESENCE IN AZERBAIJAN CONTINUES
  • [03] GEORGIA'S MOST WANTED MAN TO RUN FOR PARLIAMENT, PRESIDENT?
  • [04] IMF, EU TO GRANT FURTHER AID TO KYRGYZSTAN
  • [05] CAPTURED TAJIK WARLORD CONFESSES TO LATIFI MURDER
  • [06] TURKMEN, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] UCK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO SHADOW STATE
  • [08] U.S. WANTS KOSOVA AGREEMENT IN 'WEEKS'
  • [09] YUGOSLAV MINISTER CALLS RAKOVINA DEATHS 'TRAFFIC ACCIDENT'
  • [10] KOSOVARS INSIST ON PEACE BEFORE TALKS
  • [11] U.S. PLEDGES $25 MILLION AID FOR KOSOVA
  • [12] FINNS SAY TRUTH ABOUT RECAK MAY NEVER BE KNOWN
  • [13] U.S., ITALY TO HELP MONTENEGRIN AVIATION
  • [14] MACEDONIA RECOGNIZES TAIWAN
  • [15] NATO TO CUT BOSNIA FORCE
  • [16] WARNING TO BOSNIAN SERB LEADER
  • [17] CROATIAN OPPOSITION SHUNS TUDJMAN OFFER
  • [18] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION SUBMITS DRAFT LAW ON HAJDARI INVESTIGATION
  • [19] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT INVESTIGATING SECURITY FORCES FAILURE
  • [20] MOLDOVAN, TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADERS MEET IN TIRASPOL
  • [21] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES TO COOPERATE FOR ELECTIONS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [22] IS RUSSIA ANOTHER SOMALIA?

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PRESIDENT CONDEMNS INDICTMENT ATTEMPT

    Levon Ter- Petrossian issued a statement on 26 January condemning the failed bid by Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian to persuade parliamentary deputies to lift the immunity of former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1999). Ter-Petrossian rejected Hovsepian's claim to have evidence that Siradeghian ordered the murder of two police officers in January 1994, saying the "evidence" was the testimony of only one individual. He said Hovsepian is either incompetent or simply bowing to orders from his superiors. Siradeghian, who is chairman of the board of the former ruling Armenian Pan- National Movement, was one of Ter- Petrossian's closest associates. LF

    [02] DEBATE OVER NATO PRESENCE IN AZERBAIJAN CONTINUES

    Azerbaijani presidential foreign policy adviser Vafa Guluzade told Interfax on 26 January that he believes agreement should be reached during President Heidar Aliev's current visit to Turkey on the transfer of a NATO airbase from Turkey to Azerbaijan's Apsheron peninsula. Guluzade said the decision on relocating the base should be taken immediately as the transportation of Caspian energy resources via Azerbaijan is "in danger" and "tomorrow may be too late." But an unnamed source within the Azerbaijani presidential apparatus told Interfax the same day that Guluzade was expressing his personal opinion, not Azerbaijan's official policy. Also on 26 January, Russian State Duma Defense Committee chairman Roman Popkovich argued that there is no need for NATO or U.S. bases in Azerbaijan, ITAR-TASS reported. Popkovich termed Guluzade's statements "an attempt to influence decision- making in Russia" and warned that Russia has "even more" strategic interests in the Transcaucasus than does the U.S. LF

    [03] GEORGIA'S MOST WANTED MAN TO RUN FOR PARLIAMENT, PRESIDENT?

    Countless posters depicting Igor Giorgadze, the former Georgian intelligence chief accused of masterminding the August 1995 attempt to assassinate head of state Eduard Shevardnadze, decorated the streets of the west Georgian town of Zugdidi on 25 January, Shevardnadze's 71st birthday, Caucasus Press reported. Identical posters, bearing the slogan "The future Is Ours," have been sighted recently in other regions of Georgia. Giorgadze's father, Panteleimon, who heads the United Communist Party of Georgia, told Caucasus Press that Igor Giorgadze may be included in that party's list of candidates for this fall's parliamentary elections. Giorgadze fled Georgia in 1995 and is currently believed to be in hiding in Syria. Some Georgian observers have named him as a possible candidate in next year's presidential elections. LF

    [04] IMF, EU TO GRANT FURTHER AID TO KYRGYZSTAN

    Presidential press secretary Kanybek Imanaliyev said on 25 January that a visiting IMF delegation has agreed at talks with President Askar Akayev to increase from $15 million to $28 million its aid to Bishkek to cushion the impact of the Russian financial crisis, Interfax reported. The IMF delegation assured Prime Minister Jumabek Ibraimov the following day that the fund will disburse all previously planned loans to Kyrgyzstan for this year, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Ibraimov also met on 26 January with a European Commission representative who confirmed that the EU will grant Kyrgyzstan 1 million euros ($1.156 million) in 1999 to reform the country's health service. LF

    [05] CAPTURED TAJIK WARLORD CONFESSES TO LATIFI MURDER

    Ravshan Gafurov, who was arrested on the outskirts of Dushanbe earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January 1999), has confessed to the 22 September shooting of leading Tajik opposition figure Otakhon Latifi, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January, quoting an Interior Ministry spokesman. Gafurov has also confessed to 25 other murders. Tajik police announced last month that they had arrested a group of people suspected of killing Latifi. President Imomali Rakhmonov said that at the time, he was "99 percent certain" that those arrested committed the killing (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 December 1998). LF

    [06] TURKMEN, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET

    Meeting in Islamabad on 26 January, Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and his visiting Turkmen counterpart, Boris Shikhmuradov, discussed how to cooperate in halting the ongoing civil strife in Afghanistan, dpa reported. Attention focused on the possibility of convening a meeting in Uzbekistan of the so-called "six-plus-two" (Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, China, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan plus Russia and the U.S.) to discuss the Afghan situation. Both ministers agreed that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan would greatly enhance the possibilities for bilateral economic cooperation. Shikhmuradov also met with Taliban representatives, who termed their talks "very positive." Agreement was reached to hold trilateral discussions on the proposed Turkmen gas export pipeline via Afghanistan to Pakistan, but no date was set for those discussions. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] UCK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO SHADOW STATE

    U.S. special envoy Chris Hill discussed the political future of Kosova with representatives of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) at an undisclosed location in that province on 27January. The previous day, the guerrillas issued a statement in Prishtina calling on all Kosovar parties to help set up a "constituent assembly" for Kosova by 10 February. The statement also urged Kosovar politicians to transfer to the UCK money contributed to the shadow state by Kosovars abroad or face unspecified "measures...in the interests of the [ethnic] Albanian people." A spokesman for the UCK told "RFE/RL Newsline" that the guerrillas have already set up their own administrative structures in areas of Kosova under their control. Observers noted that the UCK statement is the guerrillas' strongest public challenge so far to the shadow state of President Ibrahim Rugova. The shadow state has its own elected legislature and maintains an extensive network of schools and health care facilities, which are financed by Kosovars abroad. PM

    [08] U.S. WANTS KOSOVA AGREEMENT IN 'WEEKS'

    State Department spokesman James Rubin said in Cairo on 27 January that Washington "expects to be able to develop a series of coordinated and parallel military and political measures to bring [Yugoslav] President [Slobodan] Milosevic into compliance [with pledges he has already made] and move both sides toward acceptance of a political settlement" for Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1999). Rubin added that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who arrived in Cairo from Moscow, wants Milosevic to implement the pact he made with U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke in October, which includes a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Serbian security forces. She also wants an agreement "within weeks" on a plan that will give the Kosovars broad autonomy within Yugoslavia for an interim period of three years. Meanwhile in Geneva on 26 January, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that use of force in Kosova by NATO may prove "unavoidable." PM

    [09] YUGOSLAV MINISTER CALLS RAKOVINA DEATHS 'TRAFFIC ACCIDENT'

    Federal Minister for Health, Labor, and Social Policy Miodrag Kovac said in Prishtina on 26 January that the recent deaths of five Kosovars whose bodies were found on a tractor near Rakovina were the result of "a traffic accident. The people who were on the tractor were unfortunately killed" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1999), Beta news agency reported. Foreign journalists had reported that the five were shot at close range. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj said that the only way to end the crisis in Kosova is through "the final destruction of Albanian terrorist gangs, which get massive support from their American mentors." His Serbian Radical Party called for "the use of the most brutal force" to end the crisis if the Kosovars refuse to negotiate with the Serbs. Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic urged the international community to stress that Kosova is an "internal part of Serbia." PM

    [10] KOSOVARS INSIST ON PEACE BEFORE TALKS

    Rugova's spokesman said in Prishtina on 26 January that Rugova will take part in talks aimed at obtaining a political settlement only if Milosevic first respects the cease-fire, withdraws his troops, and frees political prisoners. A spokesman for the UCK's Adem Demaci made similar remarks in describing the guerrillas' position. Reuters quoted Demaci's spokesman as adding that "there is no autonomy of any kind that will provide safety for Kosovars. Only in an independent Kosova can there be safety." PM

    [11] U.S. PLEDGES $25 MILLION AID FOR KOSOVA

    National Security Council spokesman David Leavy said in Washington on 26 January that President Bill Clinton has authorized up to $25 million "to meet the urgent and unexpected needs of refugees and migrants" displaced by the conflict in Kosova. The money will go to non- governmental organizations that are working to end the humanitarian crisis in the province. PM

    [12] FINNS SAY TRUTH ABOUT RECAK MAY NEVER BE KNOWN

    Helena Ranta, who heads a team of Finnish forensic experts investigating the killings of 45 Kosovars at Recak, said in Prishtina on 26 January that "there is a possibility of contamination and a possibility of fabrication of evidence" regarding the corpses. She added that these problems stem from a "chain of custody." Observers said this is a reference to the fact that the bodies were in the sole custody of the Serbian authorities for almost one week before the Finns arrived (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 January 1999). PM

    [13] U.S., ITALY TO HELP MONTENEGRIN AVIATION

    A group of air traffic and airport experts from the U.S. is expected to arrive in Montenegro shortly to help the Montenegrin authorities prepare the airports at Podgorica and Tivat for international jet traffic, AP reported on 26 January. Montenegro Airlines will soon begin flights to the U.S. On 25 January, that airline and Alitalia signed a cooperation agreement calling for technical aid for the two airports and the opening of Rome-Podgorica and Milan- Tivat flights. Officials of the Belgrade-based Jugoslavenski Aerotransport (JAT), which built the Podgorica and Tivat facilities, said that the airports belong to JAT, which will not give them up to the Montenegrin authorities, "Danas" reported on 27 January. PM

    [14] MACEDONIA RECOGNIZES TAIWAN

    Macedonian Foreign Minister Aleksandar Dimitrov and his Taiwanese counterpart, Jason Hu, established diplomatic relations in Taipei on 27 January. Dimitrov said that Macedonia regards Taiwan as a role model for economic development. Both ministers suggested that Taiwan will provide assistance to Macedonia in trade, agriculture, and technical fields. Macedonia's move brings to 28 the number of countries that recognize the island republic. The only other European state to do so is the Vatican. PM

    [15] NATO TO CUT BOSNIA FORCE

    Clinton's national security adviser Sandy Berger said in Washington on 26 January that the peace process in Bosnia is making progress and that the Atlantic alliance will reduce the number of its peacekeepers there by 10 percent within two months. The U.S. contingent will be cut from 6,900 to 6, 200 troops. PM

    [16] WARNING TO BOSNIAN SERB LEADER

    A spokeswoman for the international community's Carlos Westendorp said in Sarajevo on 26 January that time has come for Republika Srpska nationalist President Nikola Poplasen to stop "playing games and wasting time." She called on him to nominate a prime minister who can win the approval of the parliament, in which his fellow hard-liners are in a minority, an RFE/RL correspondent reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 1999). PM

    [17] CROATIAN OPPOSITION SHUNS TUDJMAN OFFER

    Social Liberal Party leader Drazen Budisa said in Zagreb on 26 January that President Franjo Tudjman offered to give his party seats in a proposed multi-party government but that he refused that offer. Budisa argued that to accept would have been "political suicide." Social Democratic leader Ivica Racan also spoke with Tudjman about the country's political future but noted that Tudjman did not offer him any seats in the cabinet. Racan suggested this was because Tudjman knew that any offer would be refused. Parliamentary elections are due by January 2000. Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community has fared poorly in recent polls. PM

    [18] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION SUBMITS DRAFT LAW ON HAJDARI INVESTIGATION

    The Democratic Party on 26 January submitted a draft law to Prime Minister Pandeli Majko providing for the creation of an "independent body" to investigate the killing of Democratic legislator Azem Hajdari in September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 January 1999). After meeting with Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha, Majko pledged to study the proposal and pass it on to the parliament, "Albanian Daily News" reported. He also said that "the government is determined to promote dialogue with the opposition and welcomes every legitimate step or initiative that helps solve the Hajdari case." He urged opposition supporters to assist state officials who are investigating the murder. Witnesses from the opposition have repeatedly refused to talk to state prosecutors investigating the case. FS

    [19] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT INVESTIGATING SECURITY FORCES FAILURE

    Emil Constantinescu on 26 January said that he will analyze the "inadequate performance" of security forces who failed to prevent striking coal miners from marching toward Bucharest, AP reported. Constantinescu summoned the Supreme Defense Council to review the incident and determine why the security forces failed. Constantinescu said a review will be made of some officers "who had [been ordered] to organize the troops' strategy and actually blocked the troops' efforts to carry out their mission." The Supreme Defense Council is made up of the president, prime minister, interior and defense ministers, and the heads of Romanian intelligence services. Some reports suggest that officers fled their positions during the clashes with miners, leaving the troops in disarray. PB

    [20] MOLDOVAN, TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADERS MEET IN TIRASPOL

    Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov met in Tiraspol on 26 January to discuss economic and political issues, Infotag reported. Talks focused, among other things, on a draft law defining Transdniester's "special status." Lucinschi said there is a need to "better clarify" the term "common state," which was mentioned in the Moscow Memorandum signed last year. He said the two sides interpret the term differently. Lucinschi also noted that "a necessity certainly exists" for a large-scale meeting on the Transdniestrian issue that would also be attended by Ukrainian and Russian officials. PB.

    [21] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES TO COOPERATE FOR ELECTIONS

    The Euro-Left and the Liberal Democratic Union on 26 January signed a political agreement pledging to coordinate activities during the local election campaign this year, BTA reported. Euro-Left leader Aleksandur Tomov said the agreement "has implications for future general elections." The agreement urges that an alternative government program be drawn up promoting Bulgaria as an "independent, prosperous nation-state in the European tradition of a socially-orientated market economy." Former President Zhelyu Zhelev is the honorary chairman of the Liberal Democratic Union. PB

    [C] END NOTE

    [22] IS RUSSIA ANOTHER SOMALIA?

    by Donald N. Jensen

    "Upper Volta with missiles" is how some foreigners described the USSR shortly before its demise, an allusion to the great disparity between the former Soviet Union's vast nuclear arsenal and its lagging economy. While Russia's economic miseries have hardly eased since then, the inability of the Russian state to carry out its core functions--the preservation of public order, the maintenance of a monetary system, tax collection, and income redistribution, and the provision of minimal social welfare-- invites comparison with developing countries such as Somalia, Haiti, and Liberia, where the nation-state has failed. Moreover, it is the collapse of the Russian state, not the breakup of the federation or economic depression, that may in the long run prove the greatest threat to Russian democratic development and international stability.

    In a recent paper, Thomas Graham, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, argues that a key trend in Russia over the past decade has been the fragmentation, decentralization, and erosion of political and economic power. To some extent, this is a result of the policies pursued by Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin as well as of global trends. But it has also been both an effect and a cause of the economic decline those policies precipitated. While in Africa the collapse is primarily the result of inter- tribal factionalism, in Russia it is the by- product of bitter inter-elite rivalries, greed, and administrative chaos in Moscow, all of which have eroded the center's capacity to govern effectively. To a large extent, however, Russia's degeneration reflects a society atomized to the point where the concept of national interest has been lost.

    The diffusion of power, contrary to widespread opinion in both Russia and the West, has not created strong regions. Rather, the striking feature of the Russian political and economic system, Graham argues, can be summed up as "weak Center--weak regions," that is, there is no concentration of power anywhere in the country capable by itself of managing the situation or creating coalitions for that purpose. As a result, neither the Center nor the regions fully control the political and economic situation. Thus, Russia's failure to police its borders, eradicate pollution, pay overdue wages, and prudently use loans from the IMF is not merely the result of corruption, obstructionist economic lobbies, or the lack of political will (the latter an explanation frequently used in the West to explain the economic collapse last August). They are due to the "gangrene," which is how one prominent newspaper recently referred to the weakening state.

    There are nevertheless some things the federal government can still do reasonably well. Its nuclear force would deter any potential aggressor from invading, while its ability to subsidize debtor regions is an important lever of control. Even in these areas, however, there are signs of disintegration. The government is increasingly unable to bear the costs of nuclear force modernization. The state is sometimes unable even to meet Weber's criterion that central to most viable nation-states is the legitimate monopoly on the use of force. The August economic collapse, moreover, has weakened the economies of the 13 regions (out of 89) that are net contributors to the federal budget.

    Collapsing states are, of course, nothing new. But today they are no longer isolated and can threaten their neighbors. Such states harbor international criminal organizations, serve as highways for narcotics trafficking, and can have a major effect on the world financial community. In Russia's case, the weak state may be unable to prevent the transfer abroad of nuclear weapons technology, while the natural gas firm Gazprom is so politically powerful that it conducts its own foreign policy, sometimes against the wishes of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    For Russia the central question is where power will finally be concentrated, both geographically and within the state bureaucracy. It is also a crucial question as to what consequences such concentration will have. Russia is likely far from having answers to those questions. For the United States, the challenge is how best to take into account the state's deterioration, while trying to make progress on the many issues of bilateral concern. At a minimum, Washington should take greater account of non-governmental actors such as Gazprom and LUKoil as well as the few regional leaders, including Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, who have political clout. The U.S. should also take care to create clearer and stronger incentives for the successful implementation of policies that it supports. In this context, the tight controls on Washington's food aid package and the recent ban on contacts with three scientific centers suspected of selling missile technology to Iran may prove small but nonetheless constructive steps.

    The author is associate director of RFE/RL broadcasting.

    27-01-99


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


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