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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 207, 99-10-22

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. 207, 22 October 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] MOSCOW TRANSFERS FOUR MIG-29S TO ARMENIA
  • [02] AZERBAIJANI MUSLIM LEADER SAYS RUSSIA GUILTY OF GENOCIDE
  • [03] SARA TV EMPLOYEES CONTINUE HUNGER STRIKE
  • [04] RUSSIA MAY ASK GEORGIA FOR PART OF ITS CFE ARMS QUOTA
  • [05] SHEVARDNADZE WON'T DEBATE WITH ADJAR LEADER
  • [06] GEORGIAN SUPREME COURT OVERRULES ELECTORAL COMMISSION
  • [07] RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM, SOVIET POWER TO BLAME FOR SLOW GROWTH OF
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN SECURITY CHIEF SEES ISLAMIST THREAT
  • [09] AMNESTY RELEASES 25,000 FROM KAZAKHSTAN PRISONS
  • [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S KURDS APPEAL TO NAZARBAEV, TURKEY
  • [11] KAZAKHSTAN'S COSSACKS DENY ASKING TO GO TO CHECHNYA
  • [12] RAKHMONOV SAYS TAJIKISTAN WON'T BE 'SECOND AFGHANISTAN'
  • [13] TAJIK OPPOSITION REJECTS COURT RULING IN THEIR FAVOR
  • [14] TURKMENISTAN, IRAN REPORTEDLY TO COOPERATE ON CASPIAN OIL

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] CROATIA TO VOTE ON 22 DECEMBER
  • [16] OPPOSITION, CHURCH CRITICAL OF TUDJMAN'S DECISION
  • [17] HDZ SLAMS FARMERS' PROTEST
  • [18] IS HDZ TRYING TO PACK HIGHEST COURT?
  • [19] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS ELECTIONS MUST BE AT ALL LEVELS
  • [20] MILOSEVIC'S PARTY REJECTS ROUNDTABLE TALKS
  • [21] SERBIAN REGIME CONTINUES INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN
  • [22] SECOND UN OFFICIAL ATTACKED IN PRISHTINA
  • [23] BERLIN DENIES REPORT OF MACEDONIAN ARMS SALES
  • [24] CAR BOMB ATTACK ON BOSNIAN SERB JOURNALIST
  • [25] PETRITSCH, BARRY PRESENT PROPOSED BOSNIAN ELECTORAL LAW
  • [26] ITALY CALLS FOR BETTER ECONOMIC TIES WITH ALBANIA
  • [27] ROMANIAN SENATOR BLASTS CHANGES TO NEW LAW ON SECURITATE
  • [28] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES FUNDING FOR HEATING CRISIS
  • [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES DEPUTY PROSECUTORS
  • [30] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES ECONOMIC PLAN...
  • [31] ...ADOPTS ARMED FORCES STRATEGY

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [32] RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN CHECHNYA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] MOSCOW TRANSFERS FOUR MIG-29S TO ARMENIA

    Colonel General

    Anatolii Kornukov, the commander of Russia's air force,

    arrived in Yerevan on 21 October to present four new Mig-29

    jet pursuit aircraft to the Armenian government, Turan and

    other agencies reported. This latest transfer means that

    Armenia now has 20 of the advanced fighter planes. PG

    [02] AZERBAIJANI MUSLIM LEADER SAYS RUSSIA GUILTY OF GENOCIDE

    In

    an appeal to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Sheikh ul-Islam

    Allakhshukyr Pasha-zade said that Moscow is guilty of

    genocide against the Chechen people, Turan reported on 21

    October. Pasha-zade demanded that Russian forces stop their

    efforts to annihilate Chechen civilians. Following a meeting

    with Russia's ambassador in Baku, the Muslim religious leader

    said that it is his "duty to protect Muslims wherever they

    are." PG

    [03] SARA TV EMPLOYEES CONTINUE HUNGER STRIKE

    Some 13 workers at

    Baku's SARA Television continued their hunger strike for a

    third day, Turan reported on 21 October. The strikers are

    protesting the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry's decision to

    shut down that station. PG

    [04] RUSSIA MAY ASK GEORGIA FOR PART OF ITS CFE ARMS QUOTA

    Shalva

    Pichkhadze, an adviser to Georgian leader Eduard

    Shevardnadze, told Interfax on 21 October that Moscow might

    ask Georgia to transfer to Russia part of its arms quota

    under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. But

    Pichkhadze said that at the OSCE summit in Istanbul next

    month, Tbilisi will require Russia to remain within the

    existing limits. PG

    [05] SHEVARDNADZE WON'T DEBATE WITH ADJAR LEADER

    Saying "I do not

    debate with my subordinates," Georgian President Eduard

    Shevardnadze rejected Adjar leader Aslan Abashide's call for

    a series of televised debates, Caucasus Press reported on 21

    October. Meanwhile, Tbilisi officials reported that the Adjar

    government has failed to make required financial transfers to

    the central Georgian government. PG

    [06] GEORGIAN SUPREME COURT OVERRULES ELECTORAL COMMISSION

    Georgia's highest court overturned a decision by the Central

    Election Commission and ordered the registration of the

    Revived Communists and People's Patriots bloc, Prime News

    reported on 21 October. In another election-related

    development, Tbilisi police prevented four buses carrying

    Revival of Georgia supporters from entering the capital even

    though they had permission from the Interior Ministry,

    Caucasus Press reported the same day. PG

    [07] RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM, SOVIET POWER TO BLAME FOR SLOW GROWTH OF

    DEMOCRACY IN KAZAKHSTAN?

    In Prague for meetings with Czech

    President Vaclav Havel, Kazakhstan President Nursultan

    Nazarbaev told journalists on 21 October that the

    democratization of his country is proceeding slowly because

    of the influence of Russian imperialism and later Soviet

    power, CTK reported. PG

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN SECURITY CHIEF SEES ISLAMIST THREAT

    General Alnur

    Musayev, the newly confirmed head of Kazakhstan's National

    Security Committee, said on 21 October that "there is a

    danger of religious extremism; it is becoming ever more real

    with every year that passes," Reuters reported. Musayev said

    that he is tightening border security to block illegal

    immigration and is prepared to deport fundamentalist groups,

    which he said are being prepared by "a system of

    fundamentalist theological instruction" within the country.

    Meanwhile, the authorities closed a religious school in

    Qarasu, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. PG

    [09] AMNESTY RELEASES 25,000 FROM KAZAKHSTAN PRISONS

    According to

    Interfax-Kazakhstan on 21 October, Astana has amnestied and

    freed approximately 25,700 prisoners, including youths, the

    sick, women, and invalids. The amnesty took place in

    connection with the proclamation of the current year as "A

    Year of Unity and the Succession of Generations." PG

    [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S KURDS APPEAL TO NAZARBAEV, TURKEY

    A conference

    of the Ethnic Kurds Association has called on Turkey to spare

    the life of convicted Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and to

    resolve the Kurdish issue in a peaceful way. The conference

    also appealed to President Nazarbaev to press their case with

    Ankara, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported on 21 October. But

    in making this appeal, the Kazakhstani Kurds said that they

    do not plan to stage any protest actions to advance their

    demand. PG

    [11] KAZAKHSTAN'S COSSACKS DENY ASKING TO GO TO CHECHNYA

    Vladimir

    Ovsyannikov, a leader of the Semirechye Cossack Union, on 21

    October denied reports that his union wants to be resettled

    on the left bank of Chechnya's Terek River once Russian power

    is re-established there, Interfax reported. But he did say

    that some Cossack families now living in Kazakhstan are

    willing to move to Stavropol Krai. Meanwhile, another Cossack

    leader in Kazakhstan, Gennady Belyakov, said his people are

    not going to leave that Central Asian country "no matter how

    difficult things will be here." PG

    [12] RAKHMONOV SAYS TAJIKISTAN WON'T BE 'SECOND AFGHANISTAN'

    Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmonov told a gathering of

    law enforcement officials that he is confident that

    Tajikistan will not become "a second Afghanistan" and thus

    serve as a base for terrorists, Interfax reported on 21

    October. In order to prevent such a scenario, the Tajik

    government has established a special commission to consider

    problems of the country's eastern region near Kyrgyzstan and

    to look into the case of the recently kidnapped Japanese

    geologists. PG

    [13] TAJIK OPPOSITION REJECTS COURT RULING IN THEIR FAVOR

    Leaders

    of Tajik opposition parties said that a decision by

    Tajikistan's Supreme Court allowing one of their number to

    run for president was simply a fig leaf designed to make the

    government look more democratic, Reuters reported on 21

    October. United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri

    said that "the government needs one candidate from the

    Islamic party to be registered in order to give an impression

    of democracy." The court decision came on the heels of a

    demand by U.S. Ambassador Robert Finn that Tajikistan improve

    its electoral arrangements. PG

    [14] TURKMENISTAN, IRAN REPORTEDLY TO COOPERATE ON CASPIAN OIL

    Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov and visiting

    Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi have agreed to work

    together to develop Caspian oil resources, Interfax reported

    on 21 October. No further details were given. PG


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] CROATIA TO VOTE ON 22 DECEMBER

    President Franjo Tudjman told

    the National Council of his governing Croatian Democratic

    Community (HDZ) on 21 October that parliamentary elections

    will take place on 22 December, "Jutarnji list" reported. He

    said that the lower house of the parliament will dissolve

    itself "around 10 November," after which he will formally

    announce the date for the ballot. The HDZ council agreed that

    there will be 10 electoral districts of about 380,000 voters

    each, plus one "district" for Croats living abroad. Elections

    are due in 2000, but the HDZ and opposition alike had

    frequently said that the vote would take place sooner. Public

    opinion polls suggest that a six-party coalition of

    opposition parties is likely to win more votes than the HDZ,

    which many voters hold responsible for Croatia's low standard

    of living and high level of corruption. The strongest single

    opposition party is Ivica Racan's Social Democrats. Tudjman

    and the HDZ have profited in the past from the virtually

    incessant in-fighting within the ranks of the opposition. PM

    [16] OPPOSITION, CHURCH CRITICAL OF TUDJMAN'S DECISION

    The

    opposition coalition will present its official stand on the

    elections on 25 October, but initial reactions of several

    opposition leaders are negative, "Jutarnji list" reported on

    22 October. The opposition politicians accused the government

    of seeking to profit from the "Christmas atmosphere." They

    added that the international community and Roman Catholic

    Church will most likely object to the timing of the vote so

    close to Christmas. In Rome, Archbishop Josip Bozanic, who is

    president of the Croatian Bishop's Conference, said that the

    important thing is that the election date is now finally

    known. Bozanic's spokesman said, however, that the government

    has clearly ignored a previous warning from the bishops that

    elections should not take place close to Christmas. PM

    [17] HDZ SLAMS FARMERS' PROTEST

    The government agreed on 21

    October that the purpose of the farmers' protests is to

    embarrass the HDZ in the runup to elections, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 October

    1999). The HDZ National Council took the same position as the

    government. Farmers' spokesmen stressed that the protesters

    want to demonstrate their unhappiness with the government's

    agricultural policies and will continue their protest

    actions. PM

    [18] IS HDZ TRYING TO PACK HIGHEST COURT?

    The parliament is

    expected to confirm on 22 October the nomination of eight

    individuals to fill vacancies on the 11-member Constitutional

    Court. Kresimir Rozman, who is vice president of a union of

    government workers, told AP that the authorities chose the

    eight on the basis of their loyalties to the HDZ. Any

    professional expertise that any of them may have is

    incidental, Rozman stressed. Vladimir Gredelj, who heads a

    professional organization of judges, told "Jutarnji list"

    that he has never heard of some of the nominees. Gredelj

    added that at least one nominee has made statements in public

    that reveal a lack of knowledge of even basic legal concepts.

    PM

    [19] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS ELECTIONS MUST BE AT ALL LEVELS

    Representatives of the principal opposition parties and

    coalitions agreed in Belgrade on 21 October that they will

    participate only in elections that are simultaneously to the

    presidency, the parliament, and local offices, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported. The government favors elections to

    local governments only. The opposition controls some 40

    municipal governments, including Belgrade and Nis. PM

    [20] MILOSEVIC'S PARTY REJECTS ROUNDTABLE TALKS

    Ivica Dacic, who

    is a spokesman for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's

    Socialist Party, said in Belgrade on 21 October that any

    talks about elections must take place in the parliament. He

    repeated his party's position that there is no need for an

    early ballot. The opposition wants a special roundtable to

    take up the issue of early elections. PM

    [21] SERBIAN REGIME CONTINUES INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN

    Unidentified

    persons in Vranje on 20 October threatened local Democratic

    Party leader Dragan Janjic, warning him not to organize any

    demonstrations calling for Milosevic's ouster. Police sought

    to break up a meeting of the opposition Alliance for Change,

    which was attended by about 100 people, the private Beta news

    agency reported. In Kragujevac, police broke up a meeting at

    which wreaths were to have been laid in honor of high-school

    students killed by the Communists at the end of World War II.

    In Uzice, local people prevented police from detaining the

    leader of an independent police union. PM

    [22] SECOND UN OFFICIAL ATTACKED IN PRISHTINA

    Unknown persons on

    20 October threw a grenade into the apartment of a Serbian

    interpreter for the UN mission in Kosova (UNMIK), injuring

    her seriously. A UN spokesman said the next day that she had

    previously been "harassed by Albanians," Reuters reported.

    Bernard Kouchner, who heads the UN mission, said that "this

    deplorable attack on innocent women [sic.] and on a UNMIK

    staff member deserves the world's condemnation." On 11

    October, a crowd of ethnic Albanians killed a UNMIK official

    of Bulgarian origin after mistaking him for a Serb (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 1999). PM

    [23] BERLIN DENIES REPORT OF MACEDONIAN ARMS SALES

    A German

    Defense Ministry spokesman has denied press reports from

    Macedonia that Germany has agreed to provide Macedonia's

    small army with a considerable quantity of arms (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 21 October 1999). The spokesman said on 21 October

    that the ministry is studying a Macedonian request for arms

    but has not made any commitment. PM

    [24] CAR BOMB ATTACK ON BOSNIAN SERB JOURNALIST

    A car bomb

    seriously injured independent journalist and publisher Zeljko

    Kopanja in front of the Republika Srpska government complex

    in Banja Luka on 22 October, Beta reported. His "Nezavisne

    novine" recently ran a series of articles on war criminals

    and speculators. Hospital spokesmen told the private Onasa

    news agency that Kopanja is not in a critical condition.

    Several bystanders were also injured, dpa reported. PM

    [25] PETRITSCH, BARRY PRESENT PROPOSED BOSNIAN ELECTORAL LAW

    The

    international community's Wolfgang Petritsch and the OSCE's

    Robert Barry presented a proposed election law to the three

    members of the Bosnian joint presidency in Sarajevo on 21

    October. Petritsch said that he hopes the Bosnian authorities

    will approve the law in time for the October 2000 elections.

    Observers note that the law is aimed at easing the grip that

    nationalist politicians have on their respective communities.

    It will require candidates to win at least some support on

    either side of the inter-ethnic boundary. At least one-third

    of all candidates must be women. Some anti-nationalist

    politicians say that the law does not go far enough because

    it does not enable many voters to cross ethnic lines when

    voting for members of the presidency. PM

    [26] ITALY CALLS FOR BETTER ECONOMIC TIES WITH ALBANIA

    On a short

    visit to Tirana on 21 October, Italian Prime Minister Massimo

    D'Alema called for replacing the blossoming illicit trade

    between the two countries with more legitimate activities.

    "We should interrupt the trafficking of guns, drugs, and

    cigarettes and the disgusting smuggling of people which

    offends the conscience of Europe. We should replace that with

    a safe sea where ships carrying goods travel between the

    coast of Italy and the fascinating but not [economically

    developed] Albanian coast. Security and development move

    together," he added. D'Alema stressed that Italian business

    needs a peaceful environment in Albania if it is to develop

    economic ties there. "We want to make contact with the

    Balkans and the East through Albania. This is the role that

    Italy should play in order that the [EU's] Stability Pact

    does not remain an empty phrase," AP reported. PM

    [27] ROMANIAN SENATOR BLASTS CHANGES TO NEW LAW ON SECURITATE

    FILES

    Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu on 21 October accused the

    parliament of "killing" the recently passed bill on public

    access to the files of the former communist Securitate,

    according to a Mediafax report cited by the BBC (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 21 October 1999). Dumitrescu, who drafted the

    original version of the bill, said parliamentary deputies had

    made so many amendments to his draft that it would now serve

    as a "veil" for the activities of the former Securitate. He

    said the fact that the new version of the bill does not allow

    people to study documents that do not deal with their own

    persecution defeats the original purpose of his draft. He

    also criticized the decision to allow the current secret

    service to lock away certain files on the pretext that they

    might be dangerous for state security. Dumitrescu called on

    President Emil Constantinescu not to sign the bill. VG

    [28] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES FUNDING FOR HEATING CRISIS

    The

    Romanian government on 21 October decided to increase the

    1999 budget deficit in order to secure funding for

    alleviating the country's heating crisis (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline." 21 October 1999). The government plans to allocate

    400 billion lei ($23 million) in subsidies to the country's

    heating distributors. Finance Minister Decebal Traian Remes

    refused to say whether the budget deficit increase would

    threaten the country's stand-by loan agreement with the IMF.

    The IMF has already expressed concern at the government's

    wage policies. VG

    [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES DEPUTY PROSECUTORS

    Lawmakers on

    21 October confirmed the appointment of three new deputies to

    the prosecutor-general, BASA-Press reported. The Christian

    Democratic Popular Front and the Communists voted against

    those appointments, saying that two of the candidates had

    been involved in attempts to interfere with police

    investigations. Prosecutor-General Mircea Iuga dismissed the

    accusations as "unfounded." VG

    [30] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES ECONOMIC PLAN...

    The cabinet on

    21 October approved an economic development plan, Bulgarian

    media reported. The plan calls for a host of measures

    designed to achieve stable GDP growth, including

    administration restructuring, infrastructure development, and

    investment in human resources. It aims at annual GDP growth

    of 4 percent and a maximum inflation rate of 3 percent.

    Economic growth for the first half of 1999 equaled just 0.5

    percent. Deputy Prime Minister Alexandar Bojkov said the

    government also plans to speed up the privatization process.

    Bojkov said this year's privatizations should bring in some

    $500 million. VG

    [31] ...ADOPTS ARMED FORCES STRATEGY

    The cabinet also approved a

    plan that calls for the personnel of the armed forces to be

    reduced by 44,800 from its current strength of 93,000 by

    2004, BTA reported. Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev said the

    armed forces would be divided into rapid reaction, defense,

    territorial, and reserve forces. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [32] RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN CHECHNYA

    The anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya was the state's

    logical response to a challenge to the whole of Russian

    society and the international community. The first stage of

    the operation was concluded when one-third of the republic's

    territory had been freed from terrorists.

    The Government of the Russian Federation hereby declares

    that in the future it will also act as decisively and

    strictly in order to achieve the complete restoration of law

    and order on the whole territory of the Chechen Republic [as

    well as] the freeing of Chechnya from terrorist and other

    bandit formations. The Chechen Republic cannot be and will no

    longer be an outpost of international terrorism and

    extremism.

    At the same time, the government of the Russian

    Federation unequivocally declares that the fight against

    terrorists and bandits must in no way turn into a fight

    directed against the peoples of Chechnya.

    The Government of the Russian Federation confirms its

    stance on amnestying all participants in the conflict who

    have not directly taken part in terrorist acts. We are

    categorically opposed to the persecution of people on ethnic

    grounds. This is inadmissible.

    The suppression of terrorism and armed extremism on

    Russian soil is an internal affair of the Russian Federation.

    At the same time, it is our duty before the entire

    international community.

    Russia's fight against terrorism and crime, including

    the blocking of their transnational channels, meets with

    understanding in the world. This is natural: the protection

    of citizens' rights and freedoms is the direct responsibility

    of any state.

    The firm and consistent policy of the president of the

    Russian Federation and the government on the settlement of

    the situation in Chechnya [and on] the return to peace and

    calm on the whole territory of Russia is supported by the

    overwhelming majority of citizens in the Russian Federation,

    including the peaceful population in the Chechen republic.

    The Government of the Russian Federation is open for a

    dialogue with those political forces in the Chechen Republic

    that are ready:

    to comply with the Constitution of the Russian

    Federation [and the] sovereignty and territorial integrity of

    Russia;

    to denounce terrorism in all its manifestations;

    to disarm illegal armed formations and hand over to the

    federal authorities persons guilty of terrorist acts,

    hostage-taking, and banditry;

    to free all hostages on the territory of Chechnya;

    to guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental

    freedoms;

    to create conditions for the safe return of people who

    had been forced to leave their homes.

    All questions of political settlement of the situation

    in the Chechen Republic must and will be decided at the

    negotiating table. The way to this is open.

    Chechnya's residents, as citizens of our country, should

    know that they will receive protection and assistance from

    the Government of the Russian Federation. In their actions,

    the federal authorities firmly take into account the

    interests of each people in Russia as well as the unity of

    the multinational Russian people.

    We remember all who have given their lives discharging

    their duties as soldiers and citizens.

    We remember all innocent victims of terror.

    The government thanks Russian servicemen, members of law

    enforcement agencies, volunteers, all those who today have

    taken upon themselves the enormous responsibility and heavy

    burden in the name of defending the interests of the

    Motherland.

    Above all, the Government of the Russian Federation

    values the wisdom and endurance of Russian citizens.

    Source: ITAR-TASS, 21 October 1999

    22-10-99


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


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