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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 209, 99-10-26

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. 209, 26 October 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADING IN ARMENIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS
  • [02] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER RESIGN
  • [03] KARABAKH ARMENIANS RELEASE TWO POWS
  • [04] KAZAKHSTAN ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS...
  • [05] ...WHILE OSCE SLAMS IRREGULARITIES
  • [06] KYRGYZ PREMIER HOLDS TALKS IN MOSCOW
  • [07] TURKMEN PRESIDENT DEFENDS GRADUAL DEMOCRATIZATION
  • [08] UZBEK LEADER PLEDGES TO COMPLY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS
  • [09] WORLD BANK CONCERNED OVER SLOW PACE OF UZBEK ECONOMIC REFORM

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER QUITS
  • [11] NANO PLEDGES CONTINUITY, PROGRESS
  • [12] EU GIVES THUMBS DOWN TO ALBANIA, THUMBS UP MACEDONIA
  • [13] DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE IN SERBIA
  • [14] SERBIAN-MONTENGRIN TALKS END IN STALEMATE
  • [15] KFOR ARRESTS YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS...
  • [16] ...TEMPORARILY CLOSES SCHOOL
  • [17] SFOR ARRESTS BOSNIAN SERB FOR WAR CRIMES
  • [18] SESELJ'S PARTY BANNED FROM BOSNIAN VOTE
  • [19] THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE IN SARAJEVO
  • [20] PETRITSCH'S OFFICE SLAMS JELAVIC
  • [21] EUROPEAN CRITICISM OF CROATIAN ELECTIONS
  • [22] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS CALL FOR EARLY ELECTIONS
  • [23] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS AGREEMENTS IN KUWAIT
  • [24] BULGARIA, ALBANIA AGAINST BORDER CHANGES
  • [25] FINAL RESULTS OF BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [26] THE PROBLEM IS MORE THAN JUST ONE MAN

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADING IN ARMENIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS

    Andranik Markarian, whose Republican Party of Armenia (HHK)

    forms the ruling Miasnutyun (Unity) coalition with the

    People's Party of Armenia, told RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau on 25

    October that in the previous day's nationwide local elections

    in more than 900 communities, candidates affiliated with or

    endorsed by the HHK were elected mayor in at least 25 of more

    than 40 towns, cities, and administrative districts in

    Yerevan. No major incidents or protests by candidates were

    reported. Nationwide voter turnout was around 30 percent a

    few hours before polls closed, according to the Central

    Election Commission. The turnout in Yerevan was just 20

    percent. In what Markarian termed "our main defeat," a well-

    funded Republican candidate failed to unseat the incumbent

    head of Yerevan's central district, Ararat Zurabian of the

    former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement. Zurabian won by

    a comfortable margin. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER RESIGN

    At

    a meeting of Azerbaijan's Security Council on 24 October,

    Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov submitted his resignation

    to President Heidar Aliev, with whom he has disagreed on the

    optimum approach to resolving the Karabakh conflict, Turan

    reported. Eldar Namazov, who heads the presidential

    Secretariat, told Reuters on 25 October he has also informed

    Aliev of his desire to step down, but he declined to explain

    why. Aliev has not yet accepted either resignation. LF

    [03] KARABAKH ARMENIANS RELEASE TWO POWS

    The government of the

    unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic announced on 25

    October that it will release two Azerbaijani prisoners of war

    as a gesture of goodwill, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    Armenia released three and Azerbaijan four POWs last month

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 September 1999). Armenia and

    Karabakh admit still holding seven and three Azerbaijani

    POWs, respectively. Azerbaijan, for its part, says it no

    longer has Armenian captives on its territory. LF

    [04] KAZAKHSTAN ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS...

    Central

    Electoral Commission chairwoman Zaghipa Balieva told

    journalists in Astana on 25 October that results are

    available in 44 of the 47 constituencies where a second round

    of voting for the lower chamber of the parliament took place

    the previous day, RFE/RL's bureau in the capital reported.

    She added that the results in some constituencies may be

    ruled invalid, according to ITAR-TASS. In almost all 44

    constituencies, candidates from the pro-presidential Otan

    Party were elected. Exceptions were Marat Qabanbaev of former

    Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin's Republican People's Party of

    Kazakhstan, Valeryan Zemlyanov of the Communist Party of

    Kazakhstan, and former presidential candidate Gani Qasymov.

    The last-named was backed by the Pokolenie movement, which

    defends the rights of the elderly. LF

    [05] ...WHILE OSCE SLAMS IRREGULARITIES

    In an interim assessment

    released on 25 October, the OSCE Monitoring Mission said the

    two rounds of voting fell short of OSCE commitments to free,

    fair, and accountable elections. The mission noted that

    shortcomings identified in its preliminary statement after

    the first round of voting on 10 October were not rectified in

    all precincts; in particular, it noted restrictions on

    allowing international observers to the vote tabulation

    process. Dos Koshim, chairman of the Kazakh Local Observers'

    Center, told RFE/RL's Almaty bureau that the 865 observers

    deployed by his organization had registered instances where

    local officials interfered in the vote count and tabulation.

    LF

    [06] KYRGYZ PREMIER HOLDS TALKS IN MOSCOW

    Amangeldy Muraliev

    discussed bilateral military and military-technical

    cooperation with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev in

    Moscow on 25 October, Interfax reported. Those talks also

    focused on joint measures to eliminate terrorism and to

    prevent further incursions into Kyrgyzstan by ethnic Uzbek

    guerrillas. Colonel General Leonid Ivashev, who heads the

    Russian Defense Ministry's Department for International Ties,

    said that the two men agreed that there is a connection

    between the Muslim guerrilla operations in both Kyrgyzstan

    and Tajikistan and the events in Chechnya. The guerrilla

    threat also figured in Muraliev's talks with Russian Prime

    Minister Vladimir Putin, who assured him of Moscow's support

    in efforts to contain that threat. Muraliev is also scheduled

    to meet with Economics Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to discuss

    the payment of Kyrgyzstan's $150 million debt to Russia. LF

    [07] TURKMEN PRESIDENT DEFENDS GRADUAL DEMOCRATIZATION

    Meeting on

    22 October with the heads of diplomatic missions in Ashgabat,

    Saparmurat Niyazov denied that he has imposed a dictatorial

    regime in Turkmenistan, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.

    Niyazov stressed his success in preserving the country's

    national sovereignty, adding that Turkmenistan will proceed

    along the path of democratization and market reform, but at

    its own pace. He promised to unveil in December a new plan

    for gradual political and economic development over the next

    11 years. LF

    [08] UZBEK LEADER PLEDGES TO COMPLY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS

    Islam

    Karimov told visiting OSCE High Commissioner on National

    Minorities Max van der Stoel in Tashkent on 25 October that

    Uzbekistan "will implement the international community's

    human rights requirements," Interfax reported. Van der Stoel

    told journalists after the talks that Karimov had briefed him

    in detail on preparations for the 5 December parliamentary

    elections. He said that he also discussed with Karimov the

    threat posed to Uzbekistan by terrorism and Islamic

    fundamentalism. Interfax on 21 October quoted U.S. Ambassador

    David Johnson as calling for amending the election law to

    reduce the number of signatures a candidate must collect to

    register. Johnson added that the Uzbek leadership should meet

    minimum standards in allowing international observers to

    monitor the poll. LF

    [09] WORLD BANK CONCERNED OVER SLOW PACE OF UZBEK ECONOMIC REFORM

    In an assessment released on 21 October, the World Bank's

    mission to Uzbekistan warned that failure to proceed

    resolutely with comprehensive economic restructuring,

    including privatization, could pose a threat to medium- and

    long-term macro-economic stability, Interfax reported four

    days later. Noting that economic decline in Uzbekistan during

    the years immediately following the collapse of the USSR was

    less than in other former Soviet republics, the report

    pointed to factors that could undermine economic stability.

    Those factors include a drop in exports since mid-1998,

    falling world market prices for the country's main exports of

    cotton and gold, an increase in foreign debt, and the growing

    divergence between official and black market exchange rates

    for the national currency. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER QUITS

    Pandeli Majko handed his

    resignation to President Rexhep Meidani in Tirana on 26

    October. Information Minister Musa Ulcini said the previous

    night that Majko decided to quit because he recently lost a

    battle for the leadership of the Socialist Party to former

    Prime Minister Fatos Nano (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October

    1999). Observers note that it was unclear until late on 25

    October that Majko would indeed give up his government post.

    PM

    [11] NANO PLEDGES CONTINUITY, PROGRESS

    Nano told the BBC on 26

    October that he wants Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta to form

    a new government that includes many individuals who served in

    Majko's cabinet. Nano made little effort to conceal his

    pleasure at Majko's departure. The party leader did not rule

    out his own possible return to the prime minister's job at

    some future date but stressed that his main interest now is

    preparing the Socialists "for the 2001 elections." Nano said

    that the Meta government would continue the policy of drawing

    closer to Albania's Western allies, and he praised Meta as

    "young and charismatic." Observers note that these are

    precisely the characteristics for which Majko was known and

    that his departure is unlikely to lead to any significant

    change in domestic or foreign policy. The main reason for

    Majko's ouster appears to be the rivalry between him and Nano

    for political power. Majko's departure after only one year in

    office is likely to reinforce Albania's image abroad as an

    unstable country. PM

    [12] EU GIVES THUMBS DOWN TO ALBANIA, THUMBS UP MACEDONIA

    Fabrizio Barbaso, who heads the EU's department for the

    Western Balkans, said in Helsinki on 25 October that Albania

    needs more "institutional and political reform" before it can

    sign an association agreement with the EU. He added that "the

    situation there is still unstable." Barbaso praised

    Macedonia, however, and said that it will be ready to sign an

    association agreement in 2000. Macedonian Prime Minister

    Ljubco Georgievski said that "we will not disappoint the EU,"

    Reuters reported. Signing an association agreement with

    Brussels has been a major goal of the Georgievski government

    and of most Macedonian political parties. PM

    [13] DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE IN SERBIA

    Some 15,000 people

    demonstrated in several Serbian cities and towns on 25

    October to demand the resignation of Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic and free and fair elections. Democratic

    Party leader Zoran Djindjic told 10,000 protesters in Nis

    that he urged U.S. special envoy for the former Yugoslavia

    James Dobbins to end sanctions against Serbia as soon as

    proper elections are held, Beta reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 25 October 1999). The U.S. remains opposed to

    lifting sanctions as long as Milosevic remains in power. PM

    [14] SERBIAN-MONTENGRIN TALKS END IN STALEMATE

    A discussion

    between representatives of Montenegro's governing Democratic

    Party of Socialists (DPS) and Serbian Deputy Prime Minister

    Vojislav Seselj's Radicals ended in Sveti Stefan on 25

    October after only 90 minutes. Serbia's Tomislav Nikolic said

    that the talks should be transferred to the federal

    parliament in Belgrade. The Montenegrins did not publicly

    respond to that idea but have previously opposed such a move.

    They want direct talks between the two republics' respective

    governments. Filip Vujanovic, who is deputy chairman of the

    DPS, said after the talks that "we will continue on the

    course we have charted," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. PM

    [15] KFOR ARRESTS YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS...

    KFOR peacekeepers arrested

    three Yugoslav army soldiers just inside the border between

    Kosova and Montenegro after the three crossed into the

    province on 25 October. The NATO troops took the three to

    Peja until they can be "handed over to the Yugoslav

    authorities," AP reported. All Serbian forces were obliged to

    leave Kosova in June under an agreement between Belgrade and

    NATO. PM

    [16] ...TEMPORARILY CLOSES SCHOOL

    Norwegian peacekeepers on 25

    October closed the Serbian-held school in the village of

    Plemetina after the Serbs repeatedly refused to share the

    facility with ethnic Albanians. The school will be reopened

    once a separate school is available for the Albanian

    children. A KFOR spokesman said that would be "soon," Reuters

    reported. PM

    [17] SFOR ARRESTS BOSNIAN SERB FOR WAR CRIMES

    NATO peacekeepers

    arrested Damir Dosen near Prijedor on 25 October. The Hague-

    based war crimes tribunal has indicted him for crimes against

    humanity because of his activities at the Keraterm

    concentration camp, where he commanded guards in 1992. PM

    [18] SESELJ'S PARTY BANNED FROM BOSNIAN VOTE

    Representatives of

    the OSCE, which organizes elections in Bosnia under the 1995

    Dayton peace agreement, said in Sarajevo on 25 October that

    the Bosnian branch of Seselj's party cannot participate in

    local elections slated for 2000. The reason for the ban was

    the Radicals' failure to remove three ultra-nationalists from

    party offices, including former Republika Srpska President

    Nikola Poplasen. PM

    [19] THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE IN SARAJEVO

    Some 30,000 workers

    marched in central Sarajevo on 25 October "for greater social

    justice," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Federal

    Deputy Prime Minister Edhem Bicakcic declined an invitation

    from unions to speak to the workers, saying that mass

    protests are not the way to solve social problems. PM

    [20] PETRITSCH'S OFFICE SLAMS JELAVIC

    A spokeswoman for the

    international community's Wolfgang Petritsch said in Sarajevo

    on 25 October that Ante Jelavic, who is the ethnic Croatian

    representative on the joint presidency, is wrong in alleging

    that the republic's Croats are victims of discrimination (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 October 1999). She stressed that the

    Croats have the same rights as the Serbs and Muslims to block

    legislation in the federal parliament, "Dnevni avaz"

    reported. PM

    [21] EUROPEAN CRITICISM OF CROATIAN ELECTIONS

    A spokeswoman for

    the European Commission said in Zagreb on 25 October that the

    international community will soon send two formal protests to

    the Croatian government. One will object to the timing of

    parliamentary elections on 22 December and the other will

    criticize the electoral law, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1999). Elsewhere,

    opposition representatives boycotted a meeting with the

    governing Croatian Democratic Community that was to discuss

    the electoral law. An opposition spokesman said there is no

    purpose in talking about the law until President Franjo

    Tudjman makes it clear that he will accept the results of the

    ballot. PM

    [22] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS CALL FOR EARLY ELECTIONS

    Emil

    Constantinescu rejected a call by the opposition Party of

    Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) for early elections,

    Mediafax reported on 25 October, citing the BBC.

    Constantinescu described PDSR leader Ion Iliescu's proposal

    as "a simple electoral maneuver" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25

    October 1999). On 22 October, the president had criticized

    the governing National Peasant Party Christian Democratic

    (PNTCD), saying they are not giving him enough support. He

    also said the opposition Greater Romania Party (PRM) is

    waging "a campaign aimed at intimidating" him. Constantinescu

    noted that "tiny groups" of PRM supporters follow him

    everywhere. He said one PRM group recently hurled insults at

    him during his visit to Cluj-Napoca. VG

    [23] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS AGREEMENTS IN KUWAIT

    Constantinescu

    was in Kuwait on 25 October for a meeting with Emir Jabir al-

    Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah, Rompres reported. The reported

    purpose of the meeting is to increase bilateral economic

    relations between the two countries and to attract greater

    Kuwaiti investment in the Constanta free zone on the Black

    Sea. VG

    [24] BULGARIA, ALBANIA AGAINST BORDER CHANGES

    Bulgarian Prime

    Minister Ivan Kostov and his visiting Albanian counterpart,

    Pandeli Majko, said on 25 October that multiethnic states in

    the Balkans should remain intact and that borders should not

    be changed along ethnic lines. Both said they are committed

    to the stability and territorial integrity of their common

    neighbor, Macedonia. Kostov added that Bulgaria will support

    regional infrastructure projects in Albania and Macedonia,

    Reuters reported. The projects are aimed at connecting the

    Black and Adriatic seas by highway and railway links as well

    as constructing oil and gas pipelines that would run through

    Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania. VG

    [25] FINAL RESULTS OF BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS

    According to

    final results of the local election released on 25 October,

    the governing United Democratic Forces won 31.30 percent of

    the total vote and the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party

    29.39 percent, according to a Bulgarian Radio report cited by

    the BBC. The ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom

    and the Euro-Left took 11.06 percent and 7 percent,

    respectively. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [26] THE PROBLEM IS MORE THAN JUST ONE MAN

    by Patrick Moore

    The ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is

    the top priority of the Serbian opposition and of NATO's

    Balkan policy. While the removal of the man most responsible

    for the destruction of Tito's state and for four bloody wars

    will be a great step forward, it will hardly be the end of

    Serbia's problems or of other countries' Serbian problem.

    Once Milosevic is removed--however that may come about--

    there remains, above, all, the matter of his henchmen. Some

    300 prominent men and women from Serbia-Montenegro are banned

    from receiving EU visas, which suggests the approximate

    number of members of the elite closest to Milosevic.

    Particularly important are the four men whom the Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal indicted in May along with the Yugoslav

    president.

    The Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), among others, is

    counting on peacefully undermining Milosevic by appealing to

    some members of his power structure to save their own skins

    and defect to the opposition. There was much speculation at

    the end of the summer that no less a person than Serbian

    President Milan Milutinovic--who is one of the four indicted

    war criminals--may have unsuccessfully tried to do just that.

    Meanwhile, any successful defections remain very cleverly

    concealed.

    And even if the fractious opposition of some 150 parties

    and 800 NGOs were to oust Milosevic along with the most die-

    hard of his lieutenants, there is no telling what it would

    put in their place. The opposition, with its squabbling egos,

    took weeks to agree on a common platform on the vital issue

    of elections--the first such agreement in 10 years. Party

    leaders still fight among themselves over matters such as who

    will march or speak at whose rally and who will speak before

    whom.

    Thus, there is little likelihood that the rise to power

    of the opposition will prove a panacea for Serbia's ills. The

    squabbling that beset the Slovak cabinet once former Prime

    Minister Vladimir Meciar was out of the way offers a possible

    example of what might come to pass in a post-Milosevic

    Serbia. And it should also be noted that the governing

    coalition's behavior has been such that Meciar was able to

    make political capital out of the cabinet's disarray and

    prepare to launch his come-back.

    In all likelihood, Serbia's problem has less to do with

    the presence of one man than with the nature of its political

    culture. One aspect is the tendency to rely on strong

    leaders. Even foreign observers fall prey to this approach

    when they bemoan the lack of "an alternative" (read: another

    strongman) to Milosevic. Democracy, however, grows from the

    bottom up. The real alternative to "caudillo" rule is likely

    to come from the opposition-run cities and towns and their

    mayors and other elected officials. It is there that Western

    countries have wisely begun to concentrate their hopes and

    attention, not on the well-known egos of Belgrade.

    Another issue in the political culture is the all-

    pervasiveness of nationalism. Many of his once fervent

    supporters have turned on Milosevic not because they have

    become good democrats, but because he failed to live up to

    his promises to create a Greater Serbia. He is responsible

    for a disaster for the Serbian people that is as huge as

    Adolf Hitler's for the Germans in terms of territorial losses

    and migrations of Biblical proportions. It is primarily

    because of this that many opposition politicians seek his

    ouster. It is difficult to say how much peace and progress in

    the Balkans one could hope for if disgruntled nationalists

    are in power in Serbia (not to mention the problems Bosnia

    and Kosova will have regardless of who governs in Belgrade).

    A third problem is the lack of civic consciousness,

    which is another term for political immaturity. Many among

    the ranks of the opposition and intellectuals provide good

    examples of this. In the course of the Milosevic years, many

    Western governments and NGOs have spent tidy sums supporting

    Serbian NGOs and the independent media. But when Milosevic

    launched his full-fledged campaign of genocide in Kosova this

    spring, the private media for the most part censored

    themselves or generally fell into line. It is true that one

    could not expect them to write editorials in praise of NATO

    air raids or the Kosova Liberation Army. But it is telling

    that barely three dozen individuals were willing to sign a

    document that, though repeatedly slamming NATO, dared to

    criticize the genocide, if only in one short passage.

    At a recent OSCE-sponsored conference in Montenegro,

    several leading figures from the Serbian private media showed

    a high degree of defensiveness when Westerners criticized

    them for their docility during the genocide. Some of the

    journalists showed touches of the paranoia and xenophobia

    that is characteristic of the regime and its propaganda.

    Knee-jerk mistrust of the major powers--the Americans in

    particular--has never been far beneath the surface in Serbia.

    Perhaps the best that will come of gatherings such as

    the OSCE one is what an observer called the beginnings of a

    "thinking process" on the part of the Serbian intellectuals,

    opposition politicians, and journalists regarding their roles

    and responsibilities. This could lead to what some observers

    have called a "cleansing" or "denazification" of public life.

    Similar reflection by those foreigners who would promote the

    democratization of Serbia might also be of value. Perhaps

    they should not expect too much too soon from a society

    imbued with authoritarianism and nationalism and where the

    average per capita income is $50 per month.

    26-10-99


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


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