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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 62, 99-03-31

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. 62, 31 March 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FOUR ARMENIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIANS TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN CONTINUES PROBE OVER INTERCEPTED MIGS
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI STATE ADVISER DENIES PLANS FOR PRESIDENT'S SON TO SUCCEED HIM
  • [04] IS CORRUPTION DETERRING FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN AZERBAIJAN?
  • [05] UZBEK DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS TBILISI
  • [06] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT SAYS ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES INADEQUATE
  • [07] ANTI-NAZARBAEV GRAFFITI REPORTED IN TWO KAZAKH CITIES
  • [08] KYRGYZ OFFICIAL ASSESSES IMPACT OF 'TRADE WAR.'
  • [09] ANOTHER TAJIK POLITICIAN SHOT DEAD
  • [10] UZBEK POLICE KILL THREE BOMBING SUSPECTS IN SHOOTOUT
  • [11] JAPAN TO ADVANCE NEW LOAN TO UZBEKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] CLINTON WARNS SERBIA MAY LOSE KOSOVA
  • [13] WESTERN LEADERS SAY MILOSEVIC MUST STOP KILLING...
  • [14] ...AND FACE CONSEQUENCES
  • [15] SERBS SEEK TO 'DRIVE ALBANIANS OUT.'
  • [16] HAGUE COURT INDICTS ARKAN
  • [17] KOSOVARS CONTINUE TO FLEE
  • [18] BRZEZINSKI'S PLAN FOR KOSOVA.
  • [19] RUGOVA BACKERS WANT GROUND TROOPS
  • [20] ALBANIA TO ALLOW WEAPONS SHIPMENTS
  • [21] ALBRIGHT WARNS MILOSEVIC OVER MONTENEGRO
  • [22] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON KOSOVA.
  • [23] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON POSSIBLE YUGOSLAV THREAT
  • [24] MOLDOVAN PARTY LEADER INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION COVER UP?
  • [25] BULGARIA REJECTS YUGOSLAV PROTEST

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [26] THE JACKALS AND THE LION

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FOUR ARMENIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIANS TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

    In a statement issued in Yerevan on 30 March, four close political associates of former President Levon Ter- Petrossian said they will not participate in the 30 May parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Former Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian, former National Security Minister David Shahnazarian, former Yerevan Mayor Vahagn Khachatrian, and former deputy parliamentary speaker Karapet Rubinian predicted that the poll will be falsified. "The constitutional order in the Republic of Armenia has been destroyed. The institute of elections, as a legal base for forming a government, is not operational," the statement continued. The four politicians said that President Robert Kocharian has failed in all policy areas during his one year in power, adding that the country's economy "is fully controlled by the power structures." LF

    [02] AZERBAIJAN CONTINUES PROBE OVER INTERCEPTED MIGS

    National Security Ministry press spokesman Araz Gurbanov on 30 March denied Russian and Czech reports that the criminal investigation into the 18 March detention of a Russian cargo plane carrying six MiG-21s has been shelved, Turan reported. Gurbanov said the plane violated Azerbaijan's air code by transporting fighter aircraft and weaponry without a license. And he argued that it also infringed the International Convention on Civil Aviation by transporting 16 persons not listed in the flight documents as either passengers or crew. Also on 30 March, CTK quoted a spokesman for the Azerbaijani presidential press service as saying that Azerbaijan is continuing its investigation into the role of the Czech company Agroplast in coordinating the transport of the MiGs from Kazakhstan to the Czech Republic. He said Azerbaijan will keep the MiGs until the investigation is completed. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJANI STATE ADVISER DENIES PLANS FOR PRESIDENT'S SON TO SUCCEED HIM

    State foreign policy adviser Vafa Guluzade has dismissed as a joke claims by former parliamentary speaker Rasul Guliev that Guluzade is implementing measures to ensure that Ilham Aliev succeeds his father, Heidar, as president of Azerbaijan, Turan reported on 30 March. The independent newspaper "Azadlyg" published Guliev's allegations on 30 March, adding that recent arrests of Interior Ministry officials were connected with the succession scheme. LF

    [04] IS CORRUPTION DETERRING FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN AZERBAIJAN?

    Ali Masimov, president of the Foundation for the Development of Democracy, has argued that corruption in Azerbaijan is so serious that bribes paid to bureaucrats by enterprise managers now stand at 200 percent of production costs, Turan reported on 29 March. Consequently, the total "production costs" are so high that domestically produced goods cannot compete with imports on the local market. Masimov also observed that the lack of import quotas for cheap liquor and cigarettes have resulted in a "deep crisis" in Azerbaijan's tobacco and viticulture industries. On 25 March, Turan had quoted Turkish media reports of a meeting between Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and Turkish businessmen, who said that 110 Turkish companies pulled out of Azerbaijan last year because of corruption among Azerbaijani officials. LF

    [05] UZBEK DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS TBILISI

    Hikmatulla Tursunov and his Georgian counterpart, Davit Tevzadze, signed a protocol on expanding defense cooperation in Tbilisi on 30 March, the final day of Tursunov's three-day visit to Georgia, Caucasus Press reported. On 29 March, Tursunov's delegation had visited the Tbilisi aircraft works, which manufactures SU-25 jets. Uzbekistan had reportedly shown an interest in purchasing such aircraft during Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's visit to Tashkent on 9-10 March. But at a press conference on 30 March, Tursunov said the possibility of buying SU-25s was never discussed. Tevzadze told journalists that he and Tursunov discussed the possibility of Uzbek participation in the peacekeeping battalion to be formed by the four GUAM states (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) but that a decision on whether Uzbekistan will do so is not within their competence. LF

    [06] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT SAYS ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES INADEQUATE

    Nursultan Nazarbaev chaired a session of the State Disciplinary Control Commission in Astana on 29 March, RFE/RL's bureau in Kazakhstan's capital reported the following day. Also present were Prosecutor-General Yurii Khitrin, Interior Minister Qayirbek Suleymenov, and National Security Committee chairman Nurtay Abyqaev. Nazarbaev criticized the work of the commission over the past year, noting that it targets "only small fry, not high- ranking officials," according to Interfax. In the future, the commission will convene monthly, and regional governors will be required to attend. LF

    [07] ANTI-NAZARBAEV GRAFFITI REPORTED IN TWO KAZAKH CITIES

    National Security Council chairman Abyqaev told RFE/RL correspondents in Astana on 30 March that a special group has been formed to investigate the appearance last week of anti-Nazarbaev slogans on fences and buildings in Almaty and Astana. Abyqayev said that the inscriptions were apparently the work of mentally sick people, adding that those persons may have been used by "criminal or illegal groups". LF

    [08] KYRGYZ OFFICIAL ASSESSES IMPACT OF 'TRADE WAR.'

    Arzymat Sulaimankulov, deputy minister of industry and foreign trade, said in Bishkek on 30 March that Kyrgyzstan has incurred losses totaling some $1.5 million as a result of the customs tariffs imposed by Kazakhstan on Kyrgyz goods one month ago, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Sulaimankulov predicted that those losses may rise to more than $4 million by the end of the year. He added that Uzbekistan has also increased customs duties on goods from Kyrgyzstan, but he did not provide further details. LF

    [09] ANOTHER TAJIK POLITICIAN SHOT DEAD

    Tajik Socialist Party leader Safarali Kendjaev was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside his home in Dushanbe on 30 March, AP-Blitz reported. One of Kendjaev's bodyguards also died in the attack, and a second was wounded. Kendjaev was chairman of the Tajik parliament's legislation and human rights committee. He is the third prominent politician to be assassinated in Tajikistan over the past year. LF

    [10] UZBEK POLICE KILL THREE BOMBING SUSPECTS IN SHOOTOUT

    Uzbek police claimed on 30 March to have killed three people suspected of involvement in the 16 February Tashkent bombings that killed 13 people, according to AP on 30 March and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" the next day. Three further suspects killed themselves, and several police were wounded during the shootout in an apartment building in Tashkent. LF

    [11] JAPAN TO ADVANCE NEW LOAN TO UZBEKISTAN

    The Japanese government will open a $107.6 million credit line to finance improvements to Uzbekistan's telephone network, Interfax reported on 30 March. An agreement to this effect was reached during Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov's visit to Tokyo last week. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] CLINTON WARNS SERBIA MAY LOSE KOSOVA

    President Bill Clinton said in Washington on 30 March that "if there was ever any doubt about what is at stake [in the Kosova conflict], [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic is certainly erasing it by his actions. They are the culmination of more than a decade of using ethnic and religious hatred as a justification for uprooting and murdering completely innocent, peaceful civilians to pave Mr. Milosevic's path to absolute power.... Today he faces the mounting cost of his continued aggression. For a sustained period, we will see that his military will be seriously diminished, key military infrastructure destroyed, the prospect for international support for Serbia's claim to [Kosova] increasingly jeopardized We must remain steady and determined with the will to see [the campaign of air strikes] through.... We must not allow, if we have the ability to stop it, ethnic cleansing or genocide anywhere we can stop it, particularly at the edge of Europe." PM

    [13] WESTERN LEADERS SAY MILOSEVIC MUST STOP KILLING...

    Clinton said in a statement in Washington on 30 March that Milosevic's conditional peace offer to visiting Russian Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov is "unacceptable." Clinton made the statement after a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whom Primakov had previously briefed in Bonn. The Serbian leader told Primakov he will "begin to withdraw part of his forces" from Kosova if NATO stops the bombing, ends any "support" for the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), and removes its forces from Macedonia, AFP reported. Schroeder said that the offer is "no basis" for a settlement. In London, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook stressed that Milosevic must stop the killing before the air strikes can end. Cook added that NATO is "now widening the range of military targets" for air strikes. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana told a Paris radio station on 31 March that "with the current situation on the ground, it is absolutely impossible to engage in political negotiations." PM

    [14] ...AND FACE CONSEQUENCES

    French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin told the parliament on 30 March that Milosevic and other Serbian leaders are responsible for the atrocities their forces have committed in Kosova. Jospin added that the Serbian leaders may soon be indicted by the Hague-based war crimes tribunal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 March 1999). In Brussels, a NATO spokesman said that the extent of Serbian "ethnic cleansing" in Kosova "is something we have not seen since the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s." Other alliance officials compared Serbian policies in Kosova to Stalin's terror in the USSR in the 1930s. PM

    [15] SERBS SEEK TO 'DRIVE ALBANIANS OUT.'

    Refugees fleeing Kosova gave virtually identical accounts of a "methodical, well-organized government campaign to drive ethnic Albanians out," "The New York Times" reported on 31 March. The behavior of the paramilitaries who spearhead the Serbian campaign is "systematic, methodical and deadly," the "International Herald Tribune" commented. One refugee told the newspaper that the paramilitaries of Franko Simatovic "will not leave even one [ethnic] Albanian alive" in Peja. An unnamed former interior minister, who now opposes Milosevic, called Simatovic's men "criminals and killers." The paramilitaries often give the Kosovars only a few minutes to leave their homes, which armed Serbs then loot and burn, according to consistent but unconfirmed refugee accounts. In Vienna, an OSCE spokesman said that some 20 local OSCE staff in Kosova are "missing." PM

    [16] HAGUE COURT INDICTS ARKAN

    Louise Arbour, who is chief prosecutor for the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, said on 31 March that the court indicted paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan" in 1997 for unspecified crimes but kept the indictment secret in the hope of arresting him. She added that "the time has come where the diminishing prospect of an arrest outside Yugoslavia must yield to the necessity of sending...an unambiguous signal to all his associates that they should be under no misapprehension as to whom they are dealing with," AP reported. PM

    [17] KOSOVARS CONTINUE TO FLEE

    OSCE monitors in Tirana told Reuters on 31 March that some 100,000 Kosovars have arrived in Albania in recent days, including 18,000 in the previous 24 hours. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told AP that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees did not adequately prepare for the influx. Some 20,000 Kosovars have recently sought shelter in Montenegro, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. In Skopje, Macedonian officials said they will continue to admit refugees, even though Macedonia is now hosting nearly 10, 000 more than the 20,000 it is willing to accept. The Foreign Ministry is holding talks with officials of unspecified "neighboring countries" to urge them to take some of the Kosovars, AP wrote. Macedonian ethnic Albanian leader Arben Xhaferi said that local ethnic Albanians will accommodate the refugees in villages. The Macedonian authorities have virtually closed the border by extending the amount of time they take to process each refugee's papers there, the BBC reported. PM

    [18] BRZEZINSKI'S PLAN FOR KOSOVA.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is a leading U.S. expert on Eastern Europe and was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, wrote in the "International Herald Tribune" of 31 March that air strikes are not enough to end "the mini-genocide and mass ethnic cleansing" in Kosova. First, Brzezinski recommends an "immediate shift to a combined strategic as well as tactical air campaign" in order to destroy Milosevic's ability to kill Kosovars. Brzezinski adds that Western policymakers should recognize that "one cannot expect to wage war without suffering casualties." Second, he argues that the West must arm the UCK in order to prevent the "social extinction" of the Kosovars. And third, Brzezinski stresses that Serbia has lost "any moral or political right" to Kosova. He concludes that NATO must not accept any settlement "that entails the retention of Mr. Milosevic's authority" in Kosova. PM

    [19] RUGOVA BACKERS WANT GROUND TROOPS

    Hafiz Gagica, who is a spokesman for shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova, said in Bonn on 30 March that the Serbian policy of "chaos, terror, and anarchy" has made the Rambouillet accords "history." He urged the international community to recognize an independent Kosova and to send in NATO ground troops. He added that Rugova has sustained unspecified injuries and gone into hiding. PM

    [20] ALBANIA TO ALLOW WEAPONS SHIPMENTS

    In New York, Albanian Ambassador to the UN Agim Nesho said on 30 March that his government will allow shipments of weapons to the UCK across its territory "if the international community sees that this is one of the ways to defend the innocent population and to save them from the genocide of the Belgrade regime." PM

    [21] ALBRIGHT WARNS MILOSEVIC OVER MONTENEGRO

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic by telephone on 29 March that she remains concerned "about a possible attempt by Belgrade to oust his government," State Department spokesman James Rubin revealed the following day. She stressed that any attempt to undermine Djukanovic would promote regional instability and increase Milosevic's isolation from the international community, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Milosevic seeks to destabilize Djukanovic by "flooding the country with refugees" and by undermining him politically, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on 31 March. PM

    [22] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON KOSOVA.

    The parliament on 30 March adopted a resolution calling for creating conditions for ending [NATO] military operations [in Yugoslavia], resuming negotiations, and "ending any violent repression of civilians, especially members of the Kosovar Albanian minority." The resolution also called for preserving Yugoslavia's territorial integrity, while stressing Romania's firm resolve for integration into NATO," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) leader Ion Iliescu criticized the "one-sidedness" of the government's position vis-a-vis the conflict, but the PDSR nonetheless voted for the resolution. The Greater Romania Party voted against the resolution, while 13 lawmakers from the Party of Romanian National Unity abstained. MS

    [23] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON POSSIBLE YUGOSLAV THREAT

    Defense Minister Victor Babiuc has said Romania "will not tolerate the violation of its air space" by Yugoslav aircraft and will react in such an event "as would any other state," namely, "by stopping those planes before they take off," Mediafax reported on 30 March. Babiuc, who was inspecting a military unit in Ploiesti, said that "many of those [Romanians] who are sentimentally backing the Serbs forget that in Yugoslavia there are several hundred thousand Romanians who cannot freely express their national identity." In an opinion poll conducted by INSOMAR and published by "Adevarul" on 30 March, 70.9 percent of respondents wanted Romania to take a neutral stand in the conflict. Only 11 percent wanted Bucharest to back NATO, while 6.1 percent were in favor of supporting Serbia. MS

    [24] MOLDOVAN PARTY LEADER INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION COVER UP?

    General Nicolae Alexei, chief of the government's Department for Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption, told Moldovan Television on 27 March that Party of Democratic Forces (PFD) leader Valeriu Matei has tried to cover up and influence an investigation into the Trans-Marconi company. In a letter of protest addressed to President Petru Lucinschi, Matei claimed the PFD headquarters, which are in the same building as the Trans-Marconi offices, were searched on 16 March. Alexei denies the allegation. Trans-Marconi is headed by PFD member and former Minister of Transportation and Communications Tudor Leanca, whom Alexei accuses of forgery and links with organized crime. He said he is suing Matei for "insulting" him during the search at Trans-Marconi. The department has complained to the Prosecutor- General's Office, accusing Matei of attempting to obstruct an investigation, RFE/RL Chisinau bureau reported. MS

    [25] BULGARIA REJECTS YUGOSLAV PROTEST

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova told journalists on 30 March that Bulgaria's ambassador to Belgrade has rejected a Yugoslav Foreign Ministry protest against NATO's alleged use of Bulgarian air space, Reuters reported. Mihailova said the note came on the heels of opposition Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov's statement to the parliament last week that the cabinet is concealing the fact that NATO is using the country's air space. "The government will not allow itself to become involved in speculation about taking sides in the conflict," she said, adding that Sofia pursues neither "a pro-Serbian nor anti- Serbian policy but the policy of Bulgarian national interest." MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [26] THE JACKALS AND THE LION

    by Paul Goble

    As the Commonwealth of Independent States prepares for a summit in Moscow on 2 April, one of Russia's leading foreign-policy commentators is arguing that Moscow should stop trying to integrate the former Soviet space on the basis of the CIS and instead deal one- on-one with each of the former Soviet republics.

    Appearing at a roundtable discussion organized by the Russian foreign- policy journal "International Affairs," Sergei Karaganov suggests that the CIS today "is a rare example of a retrograde movement in history" and that overcoming "illusions" about it will serve Moscow's interests as it attempts to expand its influence in the countries that now belong to the commonwealth.

    Karaganov, who is chairman of the prestigious Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy and deputy director of the Academy of Sciences' Institute of Europe, has frequently been a bellwether for Russian policy toward the former Soviet republics. And as a result, his argument now is likely to affect how Moscow approaches the upcoming CIS summit.

    According to Karaganov, the CIS "has long been moving increasingly in the direction of its own disintegration." He suggests it crossed that Rubicon five or six years ago, when it failed to serve as the basis for creating an integrated economic space on the territory of the former Soviet Union. It has been retained, Karaganov insists, largely because current Russian leaders bear some responsibility for the demise of the USSR.

    Because that opportunity was missed, Karaganov continues, the increasing differences among these countries have now made it impossible to create such an integrated economic space. The more than 1,000 CIS agreements that some of the commonwealth's members have signed have had the effect of discrediting the very idea of future cooperation.

    Karaganov goes on to argue that the non-Russian countries made "a major strategic mistake" in not agreeing to a tight political arrangement five years ago, one that would have restricted Russia's freedom of action even more than their own. Indeed, he suggests that this mistake was "a paragon of foreign-policy idiocy."

    But in fact, several CIS leaders, particularly Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, did push at that time for a more precisely defined arrangement among the commonwealth countries, while Russian leaders routinely refused to agree, a reflection of their recognition at the time of what Karaganov is suggesting now.

    Karaganov also suggests that the non-Russian leaders now recognize their "mistake" and are forming various coalitions and alliances--such as GUAM, which unites Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova and may expand to include others--to gang up on Russia as Karaganov suggests they did at the CIS summit in Chisinau in October 1997.

    In describing these moves, Karaganov offers the following metaphor. He suggests that the non-Russian leaders now recognize that "only a pack of jackals can tear a lion to pieces." He asks rhetorically what policy the lion, even if he is "sick and wounded," should adopt. And he suggests that "more likely than not" there is only one answer: "to crush the jackals one by one."

    Unfortunately, as Karaganov notes, Russia lacks "the political and economic resources" needed to do so and therefore should remain calm, recognizing that at present "there is no need to crush anyone."

    While some observers may see this comment as vitiating his metaphor, many of the leaders of the CIS member states are likely to perceive it as something else: an effort to pressure them into following Moscow's line lest Moscow deal with them one by one in the future, as Karaganov's wounded "lion" might deal with individual "jackals."

    While some of these leaders may be impressed by Karaganov's logic, others certainly will not be, thus setting the stage for a possibly contentious CIS summit on 2 April and an even more contentious future set of relationships between Russia and its neighbors.

    31-03-99


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


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