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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 223, 99-11-16

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. 223, 16 November 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] LOW-GRADE EXPLOSIVES FOUND IN ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT
  • [02] ARMENIA SENDS RESCUE TEAM TO TURKEY
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN ASKED TO RESPOND TO TORTURE ALLEGATIONS
  • [04] GEORGIA REJECTS RUSSIAN CRITICIM OVER CFE
  • [05] OSCE REGISTERS VIOLATIONS IN GEORGIAN RUNOFF POLL
  • [06] GEORGIA'S FUEL AND ENERGY MINISTER RESIGNS
  • [07] KAZAKHSTAN CALCULATES DAMAGE FROM RUSSIAN ROCKET EXPLOSION
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN ABOLISHES RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN-CURRENCY
  • [09] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT REJECTS BUDGET DRAFT IN FIRST READING
  • [10] KYRGYZSTAN ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH AFGHANISTAN
  • [11] TAJIK PRESIDENT SWORN IN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] THOUSANDS PROTEST MACEDONIAN ELECTION RESULT...
  • [13] ...WHILE OSCE GIVES ELECTION LUKEWARM APPROVAL
  • [14] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS KOSOVA CONFLICT 'WAKE-UP CALL'
  • [15] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH UN BALKAN ENVOY
  • [16] RADIO FREE MONTENEGRO BACK ON AIR
  • [17] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY VOWS GREATER COOPERATION
  • [18] REPORT ON SREBRENICA BLAMES UN AND SERBS
  • [19] DOCTORS CLAIM TUDJMAN RECOVERING
  • [20] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS PARALLEL GOVERNMENT TO BE SET UP
  • [21] SERBIA RELEASES SOME ETHNIC ALBANIAN PRISONERS
  • [22] ROMANIA TO RESUME ENERGY SUPPLIES TO MOLDOVA
  • [23] ROMANIAN UNION THREATENS TO START STREET PROTESTS
  • [24] VERHEUGEN REASSURES ROMANIA, BULGARIA
  • [25] MOLDOVAN CURRENCY LOSING VALUE

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [26] OVERCOMING CORRUPTION

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] LOW-GRADE EXPLOSIVES FOUND IN ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT

    Police on

    15 November evacuated the Armenian parliament building

    following an anonymous telephone warning to speaker Armen

    Khachatrian, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. They

    subsequently found under the presidium table a package

    containing low-level explosives. That package was rendered

    harmless, and Deputy Interior Minister Oganes Varyan denied

    it was life-threatening. Presenting newly appointed National

    Security Minister Karlos Petrosian to ministry personnel on

    15 November, President Robert Kocharian said it is still

    premature to give a final evaluation of the 27 October

    parliament shootings, in which eight people, including Prime

    Minister Vazgen Sargsian, died. LF

    [02] ARMENIA SENDS RESCUE TEAM TO TURKEY

    An Armenian government

    spokesman said on 15 November that Yerevan is ready to send

    relief supplies, including blankets, generators, and

    medicines, to those made homeless by the 12 November

    earthquake in northwestern Turkey, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau

    reported. A 24-strong Armenian rescue squad flew to the

    region on 13 November. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN ASKED TO RESPOND TO TORTURE ALLEGATIONS

    The UN

    Committee Against Torture in Geneva on 15 November asked

    Azerbaijan's Deputy Prosecutor-General Fikret Mamedov to

    respond to claims by human rights watchdogs that Azerbaijani

    prisoners are subjected to ill-treatment and torture, an

    RFE/RL correspondent in Geneva reported. Mamedov conceded

    that isolated cases of ill-treatment occur. He outlined new

    legislation intended to improve the rights of detainees and

    preclude police brutality. LF

    [04] GEORGIA REJECTS RUSSIAN CRITICIM OVER CFE

    In his weekly

    radio broadcast, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said

    on 15 November that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's

    claim that Georgia and Moldova are creating obstacles to the

    signing at the OSCE Istanbul summit of the revised CFE treaty

    is "unfair," ITAR-TASS reported. Shevardnadze told

    journalists later that day that Georgia will not give up the

    quota of armaments to which it is entitled under the CFE

    treaty. It currently shares that quota with Russia on a 50:50

    basis. He said Georgia is ready to make unspecified

    compromises, but not to the detriment of the country's

    interests. LF

    [05] OSCE REGISTERS VIOLATIONS IN GEORGIAN RUNOFF POLL

    In a

    statement issued in Tbilisi on 15 November, the OSCE/ODIHR

    Election Observation Mission registered "serious violations"

    during the runoff poll the previous day in 24 constituencies

    where no candidate had won a majority in the 31 October vote,

    Caucasus Press reported. Those irregularities included

    intimidation of members of local election commissions and

    ballot-stuffing in Tbilisi, Abasha, and Chkhorotsku. The

    statement also noted deficiencies in tabulating the first

    round returns. And it said that only 13 out of 19 members of

    the Central Electoral Commission signed the final protocol

    listing the first round results. LF

    [06] GEORGIA'S FUEL AND ENERGY MINISTER RESIGNS

    Temur Giorgadze

    announced at a Tbilisi press conference on 15 November that

    he has submitted his resignation following a public

    disagreement with Mikhail Saakashvili, who heads the majority

    Union of Citizens of Georgia faction in the Georgian

    parliament, Caucasus Press reported. President Shevardnadze

    said that Giorgadze's decision to step down was "in principle

    correct." Georgia has long suffered from intermittent and

    inadequate electricity supplies. A foreign study earlier this

    year calculated that $1.5 billion in foreign investment is

    needed in order to rehabilitate the entire power generating

    network. LF

    [07] KAZAKHSTAN CALCULATES DAMAGE FROM RUSSIAN ROCKET EXPLOSION

    The director of Kazakhstan's Space Research Agency, Meirbek

    Moldabekov, told journalists on 15 November that Russian and

    Kazakh experts have estimated that Kazakhstan should receive

    19 million tenges (approximately $36,000) in compensation for

    the damage caused when a Russian proton rocket exploded on 27

    October shortly after blastoff from the Baikonor cosmodrome,

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Kazakhstan's Deputy Premier

    Aleksandr Pavlov and his Russian counterpart, Ilya Klebanov,

    will sign an agreement on 17 November on the payment of

    compensation for the damage. Pavlov told both chambers of

    Kazakhstan's parliament on 12 November that when he meets

    with Klebanov he will insist that Russia pays promptly and in

    full the $115 million annual rent for the use of Baikonur,

    according to Interfax. LF

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN ABOLISHES RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN-CURRENCY

    EARNINGS

    National Bank of Kazakhstan Chairman Grigorii

    Marchenko told a congress of financiers in Almay on 15

    November that the bank has revoked its April requirement that

    exporters sell 50 percent of their foreign-currency earnings,

    Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Marchenko said the financial

    system has now stabilized following the de facto devaluation

    of the tenge in April. LF

    [09] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT REJECTS BUDGET DRAFT IN FIRST READING

    Parliamentary deputies on 15 November rejected the draft

    budget for 2000 after the government refused to increase the

    minimum wage for teachers and doctors, RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 November 1999).

    Meanwhile the Kyrgyz government has failed to reach agreement

    with the IMF on the terms of a second Economic Structural

    Adjustment Facility loan. Talks on that loan will resume in

    February. LF

    [10] KYRGYZSTAN ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH AFGHANISTAN

    Meeting in Moscow on 15 November, the Kyrgyz and Afghan

    ambassadors to Russia, Akmatbek Nanaev and Abdul Wahif

    Assifi, signed a protocol establishing diplomatic relations,

    RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. LF

    [11] TAJIK PRESIDENT SWORN IN

    Imomali Rakhmonov was sworn in for

    a second term as president on 16 November, Asia Plus-Blitz

    reported. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the foreign

    ministers of Iran, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and senior

    officials from China, India, and Uzbekistan attended the

    ceremony in Dushanbe. Rakhmonov said the most important

    objectives of his second term in office are creating

    conditions for political pluralism and media freedom,

    cracking down on crime, terrorism, and drug-smuggling, and

    making Tajik products more competitive on world markets. With

    regard to foreign policy, Tajikistan will continue

    strengthening ties with Russia, other Central Asia states,

    and the world community, he said. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] THOUSANDS PROTEST MACEDONIAN ELECTION RESULT...

    An estimated

    30,000 people gathered in central Skopje on 15 November

    charging that the 14 November election of Boris Trajkovski as

    president was fraudulent, AP reported. The state election

    commission said Trajkovski received some 77,000 more votes

    than did rival candidate Tito Petkovski. Turnout was reported

    to be about 70 percent. Petkovski supporters chanted

    "thieves, thieves" and waved Macedonian flags. Petkovski's

    Social Democrats--the former Communists--issued a declaration

    demanding that the election be annulled. Petkovski charged

    that vote counting at some 200 polling stations in western

    Macedonia--which is heavily populated by ethnic Albanians--

    was "completely falsified." The election commission said cast

    ballots outnumbered listed voters in five electoral

    precincts. PB

    [13] ...WHILE OSCE GIVES ELECTION LUKEWARM APPROVAL

    Election

    observers from the OSCE said on 15 November that the election

    was "generally carried out satisfactorily" but that officials

    should investigate a number of irregularities, particularly

    in the western part of the country and near the capital,

    Reuters reported. The OSCE noted that "large-scale proxy

    voting and instances of multiple voting" took place and that

    election officials should "carefully scrutinize" complaints

    of fraud. Mark Stevens, the OSCE's mission head, said there

    was an "extreme turnout of up to 97 percent" in some regions

    dominated by ethnic Albanians. He said if all those people

    did vote it was "a wonderful display of democratic practice."

    PB

    [14] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS KOSOVA CONFLICT 'WAKE-UP CALL'

    George Robertson said on 15 November in Amsterdam that the

    alliance's air campaign in Yugoslavia was a "wake-up call" to

    NATO that it must strengthen its military, AFP reported.

    Robertson, speaking to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said

    the alliance's military capabilities are insufficient to meet

    future security needs. Robertson also complained of European

    members' poor contribution to the air campaign compared to

    the U.S. He said European countries contributed less than 5

    percent to the NATO operation. In other news, Bernard

    Kouchner, the UN mission head in Kosova, said in Paris on 16

    November that he has received only 1,700 of the some 6,000

    international police he has requested for duty in Kosova.

    Kouchner added that he supports the idea of elections in

    Kosova before the summer of 2000. PB

    [15] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH UN BALKAN ENVOY

    Milo

    Djukanovic met with special UN envoy to the Balkans Carl

    Bildt in Podgorica on 15 November, AP reported. Djukanovic

    and Bildt urged the international community to step up its

    efforts in protecting the Serbian minority in Kosova. The two

    also discussed Montenegro's monetary reform and the

    republic's relations with Belgrade. Bildt said the West "will

    have to find effective mechanisms to help democratic

    Montenegro." He also met with Montenegrin Premier Filip

    Vujanovic. In other news, Ljubisa Krgovic, a member of

    Montenegro's Monetary Council, said the republic will ignore

    a ruling by the Yugoslav Constitutional Court that the

    decision by Montenegro to introduce the German mark as a dual

    currency is unconstitutional. PB

    [16] RADIO FREE MONTENEGRO BACK ON AIR

    The independent radio

    station Free Montenegro was allowed back on the air on 15

    November, the Belgrade-based independent agency Beta

    reported. The radio was banned by the Montenegrin government

    for not having proper "technical documentation." The radio's

    editorial board challenged that ruling as politically

    motivated. The station is broadcasting on FM frequency 103.

    PB

    [17] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY VOWS GREATER COOPERATION

    The three

    members of the Bosnian presidency agreed in a declaration at

    the UN in New York on 15 November to increase cooperation in

    an effort to fulfill the Dayton accords and create a

    multiethnic, democratic country, an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported. The declaration, proposed by U.S. Ambassador to the

    UN Richard Holbrooke, Croat Ante Jelavic, Muslim Alija

    Izetbegovic, and Serb Zivko Radisic pledged to strengthen

    Bosnia-Herzegovina's central government and condemned "forces

    advocating ethnic hatred and division." They agreed to

    establish 400-strong multiethnic border patrol, support one

    national passport, and create a permanent executive staff for

    the joint presidency. Bosnia's high commissioner, Wolfgang

    Petritsch, said he welcomes the statement but added "it is

    now time that actions supported words." In other news,

    Bosnian Serb customs officials said they have seized $1.4

    million worth of goods since beginning a "Stop Smuggling"

    campaign two months ago. PB

    [18] REPORT ON SREBRENICA BLAMES UN AND SERBS

    A report on the

    1995 fall of the UN safe haven of Srebrenica released on 15

    November sharply criticizes the UN for not using force

    against Bosnian Serb forces, Reuters reported. The document

    concludes that a fighting force and air strikes should have

    been used in Bosnia much sooner. It states that "a deliberate

    and systematic attempt to terrorize, expel, or murder an

    entire people must be met decisively with all necessary

    means." It adds that the UN "failed to do [its] part to help

    save the people of Srebrenica from the Serbian campaign of

    mass murder." The report is also critical of the Dutch

    peacekeepers that were supposed to protect the town. The

    report covers events before and after the fall of the mainly

    Muslim town, from which the Red Cross says some 7,300 men and

    boys are still missing. PB

    [19] DOCTORS CLAIM TUDJMAN RECOVERING

    Doctors attending Croatian

    President Franjo Tudjman said on 16 November that his

    condition continues to stabilize and that he is recovering

    from surgery performed two days earlier, Reuters reported,

    citing Hina. The independent weekly "Nacional" said the

    president no longer needs a respirator to breath but that his

    overall condition is critical. Officials from his ruling

    Croatian Democratic Community said they are not considering

    asking the Constitutional Court to declare Tudjman

    incapacitated. Tudjman must formerly declare a date for new

    parliamentary elections one month in advance. With the vote

    scheduled for 22 December, he thus has until 22 November in

    which to do this. If he or someone in his place does not do

    so, then the elections will be postponed. PB

    [20] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS PARALLEL GOVERNMENT TO BE SET UP

    Vladan Batic, the coordinator of the opposition movement

    Alliance for Change (SZP), said on 15 November that a

    parallel government will soon be established, Beta reported.

    Batic said he hopes the government will receive international

    recognition. He said the government will be led by Dragoslav

    Avramovic. Batic also said that the representatives from 11

    parties and associations have agreed to join the SZP

    electoral coalition, which is now composed of 19 parties,

    associations, and trade unions. PB

    [21] SERBIA RELEASES SOME ETHNIC ALBANIAN PRISONERS

    A group of 47

    ethnic Albanians was released by the Serbian Justice Ministry

    on 15 November and taken to Kosova, Beta reported. That group

    had been imprisoned in Leskovac and Zajecar. The ministry

    claims to have released 267 of the estimated 2,000 or so

    prisoners whom Serbian forces took with them to Serbia when

    they left Kosova ahead of NATO forces. In other news, a

    Serbian prosecutor in the central town of Pozarevac charged a

    Kosova Serb with murdering three ethnic Albanians during

    NATO's air campaign in the province. No trial date has yet

    been set. PB

    [22] ROMANIA TO RESUME ENERGY SUPPLIES TO MOLDOVA

    Romania

    announced on 15 November that it will resume energy

    supplies to Moldova at midnight the same day, Rompres

    reported. Romania cut off its energy supplies to Moldova on

    11 November, after the Moldovan government fell in a no-

    confidence vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 November 1999).

    Chisinau experienced power outages after Romania's

    decision. Romania supplies about 15 percent of Moldova's

    energy needs. Romanian Prime Minister Radu Vasile said on

    15 November that a new contract for energy supplies to

    Moldova will be signed soon. Moldova owes Romania about $16

    million. VG

    [23] ROMANIAN UNION THREATENS TO START STREET PROTESTS

    The

    National Trade Union Bloc on 15 November announced that it

    will launch street protests on 24 November if the

    government does not meet its demands to improve living

    standards, according to a 15 November Mediafax report cited

    by the BBC. The bloc is demanding that the government index

    wages to inflation, freeze prices for six months, and allow

    the bloc to take part in negotiations on next year's state

    budget. Union members warned that the street demonstrations

    could result in early elections. VG

    [24] VERHEUGEN REASSURES ROMANIA, BULGARIA

    EU Enlargement

    Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said on 15 November that he

    expects "positive results" for Romania and Bulgaria at the

    December EU summit in Helsinki, an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported. He added that he expects both countries to meet

    the conditions that the EU has set for starting accession

    negotiations with them. Verheugen was responding to French

    European Affairs Minister Pierre Moscovici, who expressed

    concerns that the EU was marginalizing Romania and Bulgaria

    by imposing extra membership conditions on them. The EU

    recently asked Romania to reform its orphanage system and

    Bulgaria to work out a plan for the closure of the Kozloduy

    nuclear plant before accession negotiations can begin. VG

    [25] MOLDOVAN CURRENCY LOSING VALUE

    The leu fell to a record low

    of less than 12 leu to $1 over the weekend, Infotag reported

    on 15 November. On the black market, it was trading at about

    13 leu to $1. Meanwhile, the associate director of the bread

    producer Franzeluta, Spiridon Danilescu, said bread prices

    will go up by 10 percent in Chisinau on 16 November. He noted

    that the wheat and flour market has "practically disappeared"

    in Moldova as suppliers are refusing to sell to Franzeluta

    owing to the devaluation of the leu. He said the company is

    also hampered in making purchases of supplies abroad because

    of a shortage of dollars in the country's commercial banks.

    VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [26] OVERCOMING CORRUPTION

    by Paul Goble

    Macroeconomic reforms--such as privatization, price

    liberalization and making national currencies convertible--

    are not in themselves sufficient to overcome the corruption

    now holding back many post-communist countries, according to

    the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

    In its annual report on transition economies released

    last week, the EBRD argues that such reforms have not had the

    effects on either relations between the state and the economy

    or hence on the level of corruption that both that bank and

    most other advocates of reform had expected.

    And it concludes that post-communist governments must

    do more to promote fair and transparent laws, strong

    regulatory agencies, and efficient and effective court

    systems if they are to bring corruption under control,

    something the bank said few of these countries have been able

    to do so far.

    In short, the solutions to the multifaceted problems of

    corruption are more often to be found in politics rather than

    economics.

    In the past, the EBRD, like other international lenders,

    has tended to shy away from discussing corruption in these

    countries, typically treating it as a transitional problem

    certain to be cured by the kind of free market reforms it and

    other Western institutions have advocated.

    But as the bank's report acknowledges, the high levels

    of corruption in these countries and, more important, the

    real sources of that corruption have prompted the EBRD to

    change its approach.

    The level of corruption in many of these countries is

    staggering. According to the report, officials in Georgia

    extract in the form of bribes some 8.1 percent of the annual

    revenues of companies operating there. In Ukraine, that

    figure is 6.5 percent, and in the Commonwealth of Independent

    States as a whole 5.7 percent.

    By adding to the costs of doing business, bribery keeps

    many firms from making a profit and thus dooms them to an

    early end. At the same time, demands for bribes discourage

    new investors from both within the countries involved and

    abroad.

    Indeed, the EBRD found that newly formed companies in

    these countries had to pay almost twice as much of their

    revenues in bribes as did more established concerns--5.4

    percent, compared with 2.8 percent. And thus bribes serve as

    yet another barrier to the establishment of new businesses.

    Perhaps the most striking aspect of this year's EBRD

    report on transition economies, however, is its focus on what

    macroeconomic reforms cannot achieve by themselves. The bank

    noted that most post-communist countries have privatized many

    firms and reduced direct state intervention in the economy.

    But those macroeconomic steps have not necessarily

    reduced "the overall level of intervention or the informal

    tax imposed on firms in the form of bribes and time spent

    dealing with government officials."

    Indeed, the EBRD found that state-owned firms and

    privatized ones of the same size were forced to pay

    approximately the same percentage in bribes, an indication

    that privatization has not had the impact on corruption that

    many had expected.

    Sometimes this appears to be because the new owners are

    the former communist-era managers, who have a special

    relationship with government officials. Sometimes it is

    because the firms or the government agencies with which they

    must deal have one or another kind of monopoly power,

    something privatization has done little to change.

    Because economic changes alone have failed to overcome

    corruption, the EBRD argued that these countries must turn to

    political means instead. Indeed, in releasing the report, the

    bank's president, Horst Koehler, said: "I underline this

    twice. Weak institutions are the main obstacle to economic

    growth in a number of transition countries."

    But in contrast to some analysts who have written off

    any chance for improvement in these societies, the EBRD notes

    that the fight against corruption can be won by leaders and

    governments willing to take the political risks involved in

    breaking with the past and building institutions capable of

    managing a modern, free market economy.

    16-11-99


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


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