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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 213, 99-11-02

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. 213, 2 November 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT ASKS PRESIDENT TO CONVENE EMERGENCY
  • [02] ARMENIAN NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION
  • [03] KARABAKH LEADERSHIP DENIES LINK WITH GUNMAN
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN'S PRESIDENT RECEIVES ATATURK PRIZE
  • [05] GEORGIA AGAIN DENIES PERMITTING TRANSIT OF ARMS TO CHECHNYA
  • [06] JAPAN SUSPENDS GOLD-MINING IN KYRGYZSTAN
  • [07] TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER MEET

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] CROATIAN PRESIDENT UNDERGOES EMERGENCY SURGERY
  • [09] KOSOVA SERB POLITICIAN SHOT
  • [10] OSCE POINTS TO KOSOVA COURT CRISIS
  • [11] U.S. TO SUPPORT HEATING OIL AID TO YUGOSLAVIA
  • [12] BRITISH JOURNALIST SENTENCED TO JAIL IN YUGOSLAVIA
  • [13] YUGOSLAV CHIEF OF STAFF CONDUCTS TROOP INSPECTION NEAR
  • [14] DRASKOVIC TESTIFIES THAT POLICE TRIED TO ASSASSINATE HIM
  • [15] PETRITSCH NOTES WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS
  • [16] ARRAIGNMENT OF DOSEN DELAYED
  • [17] EUROPEAN ANALYSTS CRITICIZE INTERNATIONAL HANDLING OF BOSNIA
  • [18] PETKOVSKI LEADS MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE WITH ONE-THIRD
  • [19] ...WHILE BOTH LEADING CANDIDATES NOT HAPPY WITH RECOGNITION
  • [20] ROMANIAN PREMIER ACCEPTS EU COMMISSIONER PROPOSAL
  • [21] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE
  • [22] BULGARIAN PREMIER WANTS COMPENSATION FOR KOZLODUY CLOSURE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [23] THE AFTERMATH OF A BLOODBATH IN PARLIAMENT

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT ASKS PRESIDENT TO CONVENE EMERGENCY

    SESSION

    At a 1 November meeting of the Armenian parliament's

    unofficial "coordinating council," leaders of all factions

    asked President Robert Kocharian to convene an emergency

    parliamentary session the following day, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. That session is to elect a new speaker and

    two deputy speakers to succeed the three officials gunned

    down in the parliament on 27 October. Republican Party leader

    Andranik Markarian, who is regarded as the most likely choice

    for the post of parliament speaker, told Interfax on 1

    November that the parliament will not diverge from the

    political course set by the murdered leaders of the majority

    Miasnutiun (Unity) faction, speaker Karen Demirchian and

    Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian (see also "End Note" below).

    LF

    [02] ARMENIAN NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION

    Serzh Sarkisian submitted his resignation to President

    Kocharian on 1 November, Interfax reported, citing the

    presidential press service. On 28 October, the Defense

    Ministry had demanded the resignation of Sarkisian, the

    interior minister, and the prosecutor-general for failing to

    prevent the killings the previous day or to resolve two

    earlier murders of military officials (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    29 October 1999). Kocharian has not yet accepted the

    resignation of either Sarkisian or Interior Minister Suren

    Abrahamian, arguing that the present cabinet should remain in

    office until the naming of a new premier. LF

    [03] KARABAKH LEADERSHIP DENIES LINK WITH GUNMAN

    The government

    press service of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

    on 1 November issued a statement rejecting as "a deliberate

    and immoral provocation" allegations in an article in

    "Segodnya," MEDIAMAX reported. The Russian daily had

    suggested that Nairi Unanian, the leader of the five Armenian

    parliament gunmen, had established links to the enclave's

    present prime minister, Anushavan Danielian, when the two men

    were working in Crimea in the early 1990s. The newspaper also

    hypothesized that the Karabakh leadership could have

    commissioned the 27 October shootings in order to thwart the

    signing of a Karabakh peace agreement, the terms of which it

    considered unacceptable. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN'S PRESIDENT RECEIVES ATATURK PRIZE

    Heidar Aliev,

    who arrived in Ankara on a two-day official visit on 31

    October, was presented with the Ataturk Peace Prize by

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel the following day, AP

    reported. Aliev was to have traveled to Turkey in June to

    receive that award but was prevented by poor health from

    doing so. At the presentation ceremony, Demirel praised

    Aliev's "key role in the transformation of Azerbaijan to a

    free-market system, and his work for the welfare of his

    people." Demirel also said that Azerbaijan's interests should

    be protected during the search for a solution to the Karabakh

    conflict, Reuters reported. LF

    [05] GEORGIA AGAIN DENIES PERMITTING TRANSIT OF ARMS TO CHECHNYA

    Speaking in Tbilisi on 1 November, President Eduard

    Shevardnadze again affirmed that Georgia is capable of

    guarding its 80 kilometer frontier with Chechnya in order to

    prevent the transport to that republic of arms and

    mercenaries, Interfax reported. Russian officials have

    repeatedly claimed that arms are being transported to

    Chechnya across the unguarded border. Federal Security

    Service spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovich repeated those charges

    in Moscow on 1 November, adding that a French journalist

    taken hostage last month had been seized by Chechen militants

    on Georgian territory and taken across the border into

    Chechnya. Georgian Frontier Guards commander Valerii

    Chkheidze is to meet in Moscow on 2 November with his Russian

    counterpart, Konstantin Totskii, to discuss how to prevent

    Chechen guerrillas using mountain paths that cross the

    border. LF

    [06] JAPAN SUSPENDS GOLD-MINING IN KYRGYZSTAN

    A Japanese

    government agency engaged in the joint exploitation of the

    Altyn-Jylga gold mine in southern Kyrgyzstan has suspended

    operations there following the abduction in August of four

    Japanese geologists, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported on 1

    November, quoting Sheishenaly Murzagaziev, director of the

    Kyrgyz State Agency for Geology and Mineral resources. The

    Japanese, who were employed at the mine, were released late

    last month following negotiations between Kyrgyz security

    officials, Tajikistan's Minister for Emergency Situations

    Mirzo Zieev, and representatives of the Uzbek Muslim

    guerillas who seized the hostages. According to Tajik

    sources, Japan paid a $5 million ransom for the four men, but

    the Kyrgyz government denies this. Murzagaziev said that

    Japan is willing to invest $4 million in developing gold

    deposits in northern Kyrgyzstan. LF

    [07] TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER MEET

    Imomali Rakhmonov

    and United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri met for

    eight hours in Dushanbe on 1 November in an attempt to

    resolve the tensions arising from the UTO's decision to

    suspend participation in the Commission for National

    Reconciliation. That decision is to protest restrictions on

    the registration of opposition candidates wishing to contest

    the 6 November presidential elections, Russian agencies

    reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 October 1999). No details

    of those talks have been released. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] CROATIAN PRESIDENT UNDERGOES EMERGENCY SURGERY

    Franjo

    Tudjman was rushed to a Zagreb hospital for surgery on 1

    November to repair a perforation in his large intestine.

    Doctors declared the operation a success and said the

    president is "feeling well," AP reported. Tudjman, 77, was

    rushed to hospital after complaining of stomach pains. He had

    canceled several meetings with Roman Catholic officials and

    Croats living abroad during his recent visit to the Vatican.

    In 1996, Tudjman underwent surgery in Washington for what

    U.S. sources said was stomach cancer. However, he denied at

    the time that he was suffering from cancer. VG

    [09] KOSOVA SERB POLITICIAN SHOT

    Leading Kosova Serb politician

    Momcilo Trajkovic was shot in the leg on 31 October by an

    unidentified assailant. Trajkovic said he was shot outside

    his home in Prishtina by two men who spoke Albanian. KFOR

    commander Klaus Reinhardt denounced the attack as a

    "terrorist" act and said it was "absolutely intolerable."

    Reinhardt said Trajkovic, who is usually under KFOR

    protection, had asked for the guard to be temporarily removed

    on 31 October for "personal reasons." Bernard Kouchner, a top

    UN official in Kosova, said Trajkovic is one of the UN's top

    allies in building a "multi-ethnic Kosova." VG

    [10] OSCE POINTS TO KOSOVA COURT CRISIS

    Dean Everts, head of the

    OSCE mission in Prishtina, said the Kosova court system is in

    crisis and that international jurists are required to resolve

    it, Reuters reported. Describing the situation as a "massive

    problem," Everts said not a single court case has been

    brought to trial in Kosova since the arrival of KFOR troops

    in June. He said a number of factors are responsible for the

    crisis, including the insufficient number of judges, low pay,

    inadequate court facilities, and uncertainty about what laws

    should apply in Kosova. VG

    [11] U.S. TO SUPPORT HEATING OIL AID TO YUGOSLAVIA

    The U.S. will

    support an EU program to send millions of dollars worth of

    heating oil to Yugoslavia, "The New York Times" reported on 2

    November. The oil will be sent to Nis and Pirot, where the

    local governments are opposed to Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic. U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin

    announced that Washington will support any humanitarian

    initiatives that do not prop up the Milosevic regime. VG

    [12] BRITISH JOURNALIST SENTENCED TO JAIL IN YUGOSLAVIA

    A

    Yugoslav judge has sentenced a British journalist to 10 days

    in jail and expulsion. Dessa Trevisan, a Belgrade

    correspondent for London's "The Times," was found guilty of

    travelling through Serbia without an entry stamp in her

    passport. Trevisan's lawyer, Djordje Mamula, blamed the

    police for not stamping the journalist's passport at the

    border, Beta reported. He said Trevisan will appeal the

    decision. VG

    [13] YUGOSLAV CHIEF OF STAFF CONDUCTS TROOP INSPECTION NEAR

    MONTENEGRO

    Dragoljub Ojdanic on 1 November began what was

    described as a "regular" inspection of Yugoslav troops

    responsible for Montenegro, Reuters reported. The inspection

    comes amid statements by Montenegrin officials that they are

    preparing to introduce their own monetary system (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 1 November 1999). Ojdanic began his tour in the

    Serbian town of Uzice, where he also met with local

    authorities and businessmen. Tanjug reported that he is

    reviewing the housing situation of troops that were withdrawn

    from Kosova in June. He is scheduled to visit naval units in

    Montenegro later this week. VG

    [14] DRASKOVIC TESTIFIES THAT POLICE TRIED TO ASSASSINATE HIM

    Vuk

    Draskovic, chairman of the opposition Serbian Renewal

    Movement, testified in a court on 1 November that he was the

    victim of an assassination attempt in early October, Beta

    reported. After the hearing, Draskovic accused the Yugoslav

    secret police of having staged a 4 October road accident in

    which a truck swerved into a convoy of cars in which he was

    travelling (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 October 1999). VG

    [15] PETRITSCH NOTES WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS

    The West's top envoy to Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, said on 1

    November that the Bosnian Serb leadership has indicated a

    willingness to start cooperating with the tribunal, AP

    reported. Earlier, Petritsch met with the international war

    crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, in

    Sarajevo. Radio B2-92 reported the same day that top

    officials in the Bosnian Serb government are drawing up a law

    on cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal.

    The proposed law would reportedly envisage the arrest and

    trial of war crimes suspects on Bosnian Serb territory in the

    presence of international monitors. Petritsch also said the

    international community is determined to arrest former

    Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Reuters reported. VG

    [16] ARRAIGNMENT OF DOSEN DELAYED

    The arraignment of Bosnia Serb

    war crimes suspect Damir Dosen was postponed on 1 November

    after he injured himself playing volleyball, AP reported. VG

    [17] EUROPEAN ANALYSTS CRITICIZE INTERNATIONAL HANDLING OF BOSNIA

    A group of European academics and people with work experience

    in Bosnia-Herzegovina have released a report criticizing the

    international community's peace and restoration efforts in

    Bosnia, the "Frankfurter Rundschau" reported. The report,

    issued by the European Stability Initiative (ESI), concludes

    that efforts to establish a lasting peace process in the

    country since the 1995 Dayton agreement have failed. The

    group argues that the governing institutions set up by the

    West in Bosnia-Herzegovina "exercise no effective power" in

    the country. At the same time, the report notes that war-

    related power structures and the communist command economy

    have remained largely unchallenged. The ESI was set up last

    year by Christian Schwarz-Schilling, a former international

    arbitrator in Bosnia. VG

    [18] PETKOVSKI LEADS MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE WITH ONE-THIRD

    OF VOTE...

    With the vote tallied in 74 of Macedonia's 85

    constituencies, Social Democratic candidate Tito Petkovski

    had won about 33 percent of the vote in Macedonia's 31

    October presidential election, Reuters reported the next day.

    Deputy Prime Minister Boris Trajkovski was in second place

    with 21 percent. The two candidates will face each other in a

    run-off on 14 November. VG

    [19] ...WHILE BOTH LEADING CANDIDATES NOT HAPPY WITH RECOGNITION

    OF TAIWAN

    Both Petkovski and Trajkovski told Reuters on 30

    October that they are unhappy about Macedonia's diplomatic

    recognition of Taiwan. They said China is blocking every

    resolution related to Macedonia in the UN Security Council in

    retaliation for the recognition. Petkovski added that he will

    support closer ties with China if elected. Democratic

    Alliance presidential candidate Vasil Tupurkovski, who

    finished third in the vote, said the restoration of economic

    ties with China would be a disaster for Macedonia. Macedonia

    has received foreign investment from Taiwan as a result of

    the recognition. Tupurkovski said he will call on his voters

    to back the candidate who promises to maintain diplomatic

    relations with Taiwan. VG

    [20] ROMANIAN PREMIER ACCEPTS EU COMMISSIONER PROPOSAL

    Radu

    Vasile has approved EU commissioner for enlargement Guenter

    Verheugen's proposal to set up a working group of experts

    from Romania, the European Commission, the IMF, and the World

    Bank to draw up a plan for Romania's economic reforms and

    oversee their implementation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1

    November 1999). Vasile said he has accepted the proposal

    because radical economic reform cannot succeed without

    "massive external financing." The group is to set short-term

    targets as well as medium-range ones up to 2006, RFE/RL's

    Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [21] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN GREECE

    Visiting President Petru

    Lucinschi and his Greek host, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos,

    have signed agreements on economic, technological, and

    agricultural cooperation, AP reported on 1 November.

    Stephanopoulos said Greece will support Moldova in its

    efforts to integrate into European structures. Lucinschi

    invited Greek businessmen to increase their investments in

    Moldova. He also met with Prime Minister Konstantinos

    Simitis, with whom he discussed, among other things,

    bilateral relations, regional affairs, and the activities of

    the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. MS

    [22] BULGARIAN PREMIER WANTS COMPENSATION FOR KOZLODUY CLOSURE

    Responding to a question posed by Georgi Pirinski, Socialist

    Party parliamentary group leader, Ivan Kostov said in the

    parliament on 29 October that Bulgaria "will not budge" from

    its present energy strategy if the EU does not offer it

    compensation for the early closure of the controversial

    Kozloduy nuclear plant. The government asked the legislature

    for another mandate to conduct negotiations with the EU on

    the early closure of the plant's first and second units and

    the future of the newer third and fourth units, BTA reported.

    The current energy strategy approved by the parliament

    stipulates that the older reactors will be shut down in 2003

    and 2005 and the newer ones in 2008 and 2010. The agency

    reported on 1 November that parliamentary representatives say

    they are ready to grant the government's request for another

    mandate. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [23] THE AFTERMATH OF A BLOODBATH IN PARLIAMENT

    by Richard Giragosian

    The recent killings of the Armenian prime minister,

    parliamentary speaker, and other officials have raised

    concerns over the fate of Armenian democracy and political

    stability. While the tragedy of the murders cannot be

    overstated, it should be noted that the loss of these

    political leaders does not necessarily constitute a fatal

    blow to Armenian democracy. No political figure or figures

    are more vital to the strength of democracy than are the

    institutions of democracy themselves. Although democracy in

    Armenia is still significantly vulnerable as it continues

    strengthening the rule of law and consolidating the

    institutions crucial to the democratic process, the isolated

    murders committed in the Armenian parliament do not pose a

    potentially dangerous challenge to the political stability

    and democracy of Armenia. This tragic event is not so much

    the beginning of a downward spiral into national chaos and

    instability as an aberration of Armenian politics.

    Although the fragility of Armenia's emerging democracy

    is evident, there is no threat to the foundations of the

    country's rule of law and national stability. Even the

    gunmen's inarticulate message vowing to punish the ruling

    political elite for the socio-economic suffering of the

    people is rooted in the genuine concerns of the growing

    social disparity, marked by a sharp divide between the very

    rich and the very poor, and the legacy of economic isolation

    as a result of the Azerbaijani-imposed blockade of the

    country. The gunmen's actions only reinforce the need for the

    Armenian government to continue strengthening the rule of

    law, ensuring greater transparency in politics, and

    accelerating the fight against corruption in all levels of

    society. Armenian President Robert Kocharian, meanwhile, is

    faced with the challenge of returning to normal governance,

    including forming a new cabinet to reassure a shocked nation.

    Compounding the internal situation is the challenge of

    the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process under the sponsorship of

    OSCE. With the recent Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential and

    ministerial meetings seeking to forge a settlement before the

    OSCE Istanbul summit later this month, the peace process

    combines elements of "promise and pressure"--that is,

    promising regional economic development and pressuring the

    parties to negotiate. For Azerbaijan, a significant factor is

    the condition of 76-year-old President Heidar Aliev, who is

    still recovering from heart surgery. Aliev is determined to

    establish his own legacy for Azerbaijan but is faced with an

    urgent need to secure some degree of political victory.

    The path toward settlement is strewn with geopolitical

    considerations centered on the "pipeline politics" of the

    region and by the Russian military effort to reassert its

    influence in the Caucasus. Other factors are internal

    dissension in Azerbaijan, as seen by the departure of that

    country's foreign minister and long-serving presidential

    foreign policy adviser. For Azerbaijan, the Karabakh

    conflict, which is deadlocked both by the failure to settle

    the conflict militarily and Baku's inability to coerce an

    Armenian capitulation despite the blockade it imposed (with

    Turkish help) on Armenia and Karabakh, has frustrated many of

    Aliev's efforts to improve Azerbaijan's image and standing in

    the international community.

    Even more frustrating is the continued geopolitical

    maneuvering over the oil pipeline essential to allow

    Azerbaijan to fully profit from its Caspian energy reserves.

    Regional and world powers, each with an eye on their own

    interests, have exploited Azerbaijan's vulnerability stemming

    from its reliance on a pipeline route to export its oil. And

    with such reliance on only one sector of its struggling

    economy, Aliev's leadership has dangerously ignored the

    growing social needs of its population, as demonstrated by

    the critical situation of its neglected displaced persons and

    refugees.

    This internal frustration has led Aliev to increased

    political repression, intimidation, and consolidation of

    personal power, all of which is made possible by a stunted

    political apparatus that includes an ineffective parliament

    under the president's control, and a marginalized and

    disenfranchised political opposition, and a government marked

    by corruption and "cronyism" flourishing on the basis of

    petro-dollar graft. Moreover, Aliev has long been grooming

    his son to replace him as leader and has simultaneously

    sought to prevent any rivals from emerging as potential

    leaders. Such moves have thwarted the development of any

    class of true leadership and will likely deprive the country

    of any promise of real political stability in the post-Aliev

    period. These internal pressures, given their increasingly

    powerful effect on the president, may lead the Azerbaijani

    government to a new, more flexible stand on Karabakh.

    Combined with the external pressure, they may also induce

    Aliev to enter into substantive negotiations on Karabakh for

    the first time.

    The coming weeks present perhaps the most serious

    challenge to the Kocharian government. The OSCE Istanbul

    summit will focus on the draft "common state" proposal, a

    vague and as yet undefined concept of new "horizontal"

    relations between Karabakh and Azerbaijan as well as a

    possible means of launching final status talks, provided that

    Karabakh's security concerns are addressed. Although this

    "common state" proposal is the fairest and most realistic of

    all OSCE plans to date, the real test of its viability lies

    in the details.

    The author is editor of the monthly "Transcaucasus: A

    Chronology."

    02-11-99


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


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