Visit the American Hellenic Media Project (AHMP) Homepage A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 226, 99-11-19

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. 226, 19 November 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA STRUGGLES TO MEET TAX REVENUE TARGET
  • [02] FRAMEWORK DOCUMENTS SIGNED ON AZERBAIJAN OIL EXPORT
  • [03] ...TO RUSSIA'S CLEAR DISPLEASURE
  • [04] RUSSIAN OFFICIALS MAKE CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS OVER
  • [05] GEORGIA, RUSSIA TO CONDUCT JOINT INVESTIGATION INTO
  • [06] TWO MORE GEORGIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES DISPUTE RESULTS OF
  • [07] LABOR LEADER ANNOUNCES PLAN TO RUN FOR GEORGIAN PRESIDENT
  • [08] ABKHAZ GOVERNMENT IN EXILE REJECTS CHARGES OF EMBEZZLEMENT
  • [09] CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS AIR SECURITY CONCERNS IN ISTANBUL
  • [10] KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR LAUNCHES
  • [11] OPPOSITION NEWSAPER IN KAZAKHSTAN AGAIN PREVENTED FROM
  • [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT ADVOCATES OSCE ENGAGEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN
  • [13] TRANSCASPIAN GAS PIPELINE ACCORD SIGNED
  • [14] TURKMEN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN COUNTERPARTS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] U.S., EU, SERBIAN OPPOSITION TO PLAN FOR FUTURE
  • [16] MONTENEGRIAN PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC ASKS OSCE FOR HELP
  • [17] BRITISH EXPERTS: SERBS HID WAR CRIMES EVIDENCE
  • [18] MACEDONIAN ELECTION COMMISSION TO RECONVENE
  • [19] NATO, MACEDONIA AGREE TO END BORDER BOTTLENECK
  • [20] BREAKTHROUGH IN MACEDONIAN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT CASE?
  • [21] CROATIA TO AVERT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?
  • [22] BUDISA CALLS FOR SWEEPING REVISION OF CROATIAN CONSTITUTION
  • [23] OPPOSITION HEADING FOR VICTORY IN CROATIAN ELECTIONS?
  • [24] POLL: MOST ROMANIANS SAY THEY WERE BETTER OFF UNDER
  • [25] ROMANIAN WORKERS DEMONSTRATE
  • [26] ROMANIAN-LANGUAGE TESTS FOR MOLDOVAN STUDENTS
  • [27] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT DELAYS VOTE ON GOVERNMENT
  • [28] OSCE CONSIDERS FUNDING RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL FROM MOLDOVA
  • [29] USAID EXTENDS GRANT TO BULGARIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] FORMER LEADERS ARGUE OVER MEANING OF 1989

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA STRUGGLES TO MEET TAX REVENUE TARGET

    The Armenian

    government adopted unspecified urgent measures on 18 November

    to ensure that the remaining 35 billion drams ($67 million)

    needed to meet the annual tax revenue target of 191 billion

    drams are collected, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported.

    Minister for State Revenues Smbat Ayvazian told RFE/RL that

    the third tranche of a $65 million World Bank loan is

    contingent on meeting tax revenue targets. The second, $25

    million tranche of that loan was disbursed in late September

    after a three-month delay caused by Yerevan's higher-than-

    projected budget deficit. Ayvazian said tax collection slowed

    down after the 27 October assassination of Prime Minister

    Vazgen Sargsian and other top officials and the delay in

    naming a new cabinet. In addition, the August increase in

    excise duties on cigarettes and gasoline has not brought as

    much additional money to the budget as was expected, Ayvazian

    added. LF

    [02] FRAMEWORK DOCUMENTS SIGNED ON AZERBAIJAN OIL EXPORT

    PIPELINE...

    On the sidelines of the OSCE Istanbul summit, the

    presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey on 18 November

    signed agreements that constitute the legal framework for the

    construction and operation of a oil pipeline from Baku to the

    Turkish Mediterranean terminal at Ceyhan. Those agreements

    are a bilateral treaty between Turkey and Azerbaijan

    establishing the principles regulating transit issues; an

    agreement between pipeline investors and the governments of

    the countries through which the pipeline will pass; an

    agreement on construction of the pipeline with Turkey's

    state-owned pipeline company Botas; and Turkish government

    guarantees on the agreement with Botas. Construction of the

    1,730 km pipeline will begin after a feasibility study is

    completed, probably in 2001, and must be completed in three

    years. The Turkish government will meet costs exceeding $2.4

    billion, which no oil company has yet committed. The

    presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a separate

    declaration with their Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Georgian

    counterparts pledging to export oil via the pipeline. LF

    [03] ...TO RUSSIA'S CLEAR DISPLEASURE

    While the presidents of

    Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia as well as U.S. President

    Bill Clinton greeted the signing of the agreements on Baku-

    Ceyhan as "a historic event," Russian Fuel and Energy

    Minister Viktor Kalyuzhnyi predicted that the project will be

    difficult to implement, Interfax reported. He also noted that

    the tariffs agreed on are twice as high as those for the

    transport of Azerbaijan's oil via the northern Baku-

    Novorossiisk pipeline. Meanwhile in Moscow, a member of the

    board of Kalyuzhnyi's ministry told Russian State Duma

    deputies on 18 November that Russia may halt exports of

    Azerbaijan's oil via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline "for

    purely political reasons," according to Interfax. Russian

    Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, meanwhile, said that the U.S.

    resorted to "political pressure" to secure the multi-state

    agreement on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, according to Interfax

    on 19 November. He added that the World Bank and other

    experts doubt that the project is economically viable.

    LF

    [04] RUSSIAN OFFICIALS MAKE CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS OVER

    AZERBAIJANI AID FOR CHECHNYA

    Turan on 18 November quoted

    Russia's Minister for Emergency Situations, Sergei Shoigu, as

    telling Azerbaijani journalists in Istanbul on the sidelines

    of the OSCE summit that there is no evidence to substantiate

    Russian charges that arms and mercenaries have entered

    Chechnya via Azerbaijan. But he did suggest that criminals

    wanted by the Azerbaijani authorities may have sought refuge

    in Chechnya. A Russian Defense Ministry statement issued in

    Moscow on 18 November, however, named among international

    organizations said to have provided aid to Chechnya the Grey

    Wolves organization which it claims still operates in

    Azerbaijan, Interfax reported. The statement said that the

    Grey Wolves trained 16 gunmen, three of them from

    Afghanistan, whom they then sent to Chechnya. The Azerbaijani

    Grey Wolves were founded by former Premier Iskander Hamidov

    in the early 1990s and reportedly sent fighters to Chechnya

    in early 1995. Their name was changed in 1995 to Party of

    National Democracy. LF

    [05] GEORGIA, RUSSIA TO CONDUCT JOINT INVESTIGATION INTO

    HELICOPTER ATTACK

    A Russian Air Force commission is due to

    travel to Georgia on 19 November to investigate, together

    with Georgian officials, the circumstances under which three

    Rusian helicopters dropped landmines on a remote Georgian

    mountain village close to Georgia's frontier with Chechnya on

    17 November, Reuters and Caucasus Press reported. On 18

    November, Russian air force commander Colonel-General

    Anatolii Kornukov denied that his aircraft carried out the

    attack but added that Russian army helicopters may have been

    responsible. Speaking at the OSCE summit in Istanbul on 18

    November, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze called on

    his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, to take measures to

    prevent a repeat of the incident, Caucasus Press reported. LF

    [06] TWO MORE GEORGIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES DISPUTE RESULTS OF

    PARLIAMENTARY POLL

    Mamuka Giorgadze, leader of the People's

    Party of Georgia, said in Tbilisi on 18 November that

    contrary to the official electoral returns released by the

    Central Electoral Commission, his party succeeded in polling

    the minimum 7 percent of the vote to qualify for

    representation in the parliament, Caucasus Press reported. He

    accused the ruling Union of Citizens of Georgia of "usurping

    power" in the 31 October parliamentary poll. But Giorgadze

    added that he does not see any point in appealing the results

    in court. At an 18 November congress of the National

    Democratic Party of Georgia, chairwoman Irina Sarishvili-

    Chanturia similarly termed the 31 October poll "a devaluation

    of the concept of elections," according to Caucasus Pres. She

    said her party will immediately begin preparing for the next

    parliamentary elections in 2003 but will not propose a

    candidate for the presidential elections in April 2000. LF

    [07] LABOR LEADER ANNOUNCES PLAN TO RUN FOR GEORGIAN PRESIDENT

    Also on 18 November, Labor Party chairman Shalva Natelashvili

    said he will contend the presidential poll due next April,

    Caucasus Press reported. Natelashvili said he counts on

    receiving the votes of those "who are sick and tired of the

    fruitless promises of the ruling regime." While arguing that

    "fair elections are impossible in Georgia as long as

    Shevardnadze is in power," Natelashvili stressed that is

    crucial that Shevardnadze should be replaced as president by

    elections, rather than by force. He suggested that the

    election victory of the ruling Union of Citizens of Georgia

    was rigged in order to introduce amendments to the

    constitution to allow one individual to serve more than two

    consecutive presidential terms. Shevardnadze was first

    elected president in November 1995 and has announced his

    intention for running for a second term next year. LF

    [08] ABKHAZ GOVERNMENT IN EXILE REJECTS CHARGES OF EMBEZZLEMENT

    Speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi on 18 November,

    Londer Tsaava, who is chairman of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz

    government in exile, denied claims by the Georgian Finance

    Ministry that the government misappropriated budget funds,

    Caucasus Press reported. He added that the government has

    received only 65 percent of the monies it has been allocated,

    resulting in delays in the payment of salaries to government

    officials and of pensions and other allowances to displaced

    persons. LF

    [09] CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS AIR SECURITY CONCERNS IN ISTANBUL

    In their speeches to the OSCE Istanbul summit on 18 November,

    Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kyrgyzstan's Askar Akaev,

    and Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov called on the OSCE to do more

    to boost security in Central Asia, an RFE/RL correspondent in

    Istanbul reported. Karimov said regional security in Central

    Asia is as important as security in Europe, and he proposed

    the OSCE open an international center for fighting terrorism.

    Before departing for Istanbul, Karimov had accused the OSCE

    of focusing exclusively on human rights and ignoring

    security, economic, and humanitarian issues, according to

    ITAR-TASS. Akaev said Kyrgyzstan has become the front line in

    the battle against international terrorism following an

    incursion by Islamic militants this summer. In an allusion to

    OSCE criticism of this year's elections, Nazarbaev stressed

    that Kazakhstan is an "Asian state" and should not be judged

    by the same standards as Western countries. LF

    [10] KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR LAUNCHES

    During talks in Astana on 18 November, Kazakhstan's Deputy

    Prime Minister Aleksandr Pavlov and his Russian counterpart,

    Ilya Klebanov, agreed to resume rocket launches from

    Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome, with the exception of

    Proton rockets of the type that exploded after blastoff in

    July and late October of this year, AP reported. The

    government of Kazakhstan had banned all further launches

    until February 2000 following the October blast (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 29 October 1999). The two deputy premiers also

    signed related agreements on coordinating the schedules for

    launches from Baikonur and environmental protection measures

    close to that site, Interfax reported. LF

    [11] OPPOSITION NEWSAPER IN KAZAKHSTAN AGAIN PREVENTED FROM

    PUBLISHING

    Bigeldy Gabdullin, chairman of the independent

    daily "XXI vek," told RFE/RL's Almaty correspondent on 18

    November that the head of the Agricultural Ministry's

    publishing house informed him, on orders from the Kazakh

    National Security Committee, that the ministry is no longer

    prepared to print his newspaper. The ministry has printed

    "XXI vek" over the past few months after a private company

    had refused to continue doing so without offering any

    explanations for that decision. Gabdullin said he is seeking

    alternative possibilities to continue publication either in

    Kazakhstan or abroad. LF

    [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT ADVOCATES OSCE ENGAGEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN

    Meeting in Istanbul on 18 November with OSCE Chairman in

    Office Knut Vollebaek, Tajikistan's President Imomali

    Rakhmonov suggested that the OSCE should join forces with the

    UN to assist the latter in its attempts to mediate between

    the warring parties in Afghanistan, Asia Plus-Blitz reported.

    In a clear reference to the OSCE's refusal to send observers

    to monitor the 6 November presidential poll, in which he was

    reelected for a second term, Rakhmonov argue that in

    promoting democratization in Central Asian states the OSCE

    should bear in mind their specific traditions and cultural

    and moral values. He affirmed that efforts are being made to

    ensure that the February parliamentary poll will be free and

    democratic. LF

    [13] TRANSCASPIAN GAS PIPELINE ACCORD SIGNED

    At the same ceremony

    in Istanbul at which the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia

    and Turkey signed the Baku-Ceyhan oil export pipeline

    framework agreements, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat

    Niyazov and his Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Turkish

    counterparts signed a letter of intent on building an

    underwater Trans-Caspian pipeline to export natural gas from

    Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey, Reuters

    and Interfax reported. That pipeline will cost an estimated

    $3 billion, which the project operator PSG must now raise.

    Until recently, disagreements between Turkmenistan and

    Azerbaijan threatened to torpedo implementation of the

    project. The Turkmen and Turkish presidents and Turkey's

    Minister of Fuel and Energy Resources also signed a separate

    agreement on natural gas exports to Turkey beginning in 2002.

    Turkmenistan will eventually export 30 billion cubic meters

    of gas annually via the Trans-Caspian pipeline, of which 14

    billion cubic meters will be destined for European markets.

    LF

    [14] TURKMEN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN COUNTERPARTS

    Saparmurat Niyazov met with Boris Yeltsin in Istanbul on 18

    November on the sidelines of the OSCE summit, Interfax

    reported. Yeltsin underscored Russia's willingness to expand

    and strengthen mutually advantageous relations with

    Turkmenistan. The two presidents also reached tentative

    agreement that the next CIS summit will be held in Ashgabat

    in May 2000. (The most recent summit was in Moscow in April.)

    Meanwhile, Niyazov agreed with his Ukrainian counterpart,

    Leonid Kuchma, that a Ukrainian delegation headed by Premier

    Valeriy Pustovoytenko will travel to Ashgabat in the near

    future to discuss the terms for resuming shipments of Turkmen

    gas to Ukraine. Ashgabat suspended those shipments in May

    1999 in a dispute with Ukraine over that country's debts to

    Turkmenistan for earlier gas supplies and to Russia in

    transit fees for that gas. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] U.S., EU, SERBIAN OPPOSITION TO PLAN FOR FUTURE

    U.S.

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in Istanbul on 18

    November that representatives of her country, the EU, and the

    Serbian opposition will soon meet to begin making concrete

    plans aimed at promoting democratic change in Serbia. She

    stressed that "Yugoslavia, too, will soon begin the journey

    [to democracy] under new leadership." In Belgrade, Ivica

    Dacic, who is a spokesman for Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic's Socialist Party, said that the opposition leaders

    are foreign puppets who "went to do the bidding of the

    murderers of our children while the graves of all [those]

    killed in [NATO's] aggression are still fresh," AP reported.

    Dacic called on the OSCE summit to "condemn NATO's illegal

    aggression against Yugoslavia." PM

    [16] MONTENEGRIAN PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC ASKS OSCE FOR HELP

    Milo

    Djukanovic told the OSCE summit in Istanbul on 18 November

    that moves toward democratization in his country "are in a

    critical phase," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He

    appealed for unspecified "effective help." PM

    [17] BRITISH EXPERTS: SERBS HID WAR CRIMES EVIDENCE

    Catherine

    Nettleton, who coordinates British investigations into war

    crimes, said that Serbian forces tried to hide evidence of

    atrocities by burning the bodies of their victims, dropping

    them into rivers, or burying them in cemeteries, London's

    "The Guardian" reported on 19 November. She added that the

    real number of victims of the Serbian forces may never be

    known. British experts remain convinced that their original

    estimate of 10,000 victims is accurate, the daily added. PM

    [18] MACEDONIAN ELECTION COMMISSION TO RECONVENE

    The commission

    ruling on complaints of irregularities in the recent

    presidential vote suspended its work on 18 November. Chairman

    Josif Lukovski said the commission was unable to do its work

    with at least 25,000 angry protesters outside its building,

    who claimed that defeated Social Democratic candidate Tito

    Petkovski was cheated of victory. The commission will

    reconvene on 19 November to examine charges by the Social

    Democrats of extensive fraud, particularly in western

    Macedonia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 November 1999).

    Elsewhere in Skopje, French Ambassador to Macedonia Jacques

    Huntzinger said that the "election was not rigged," Reuters

    reported. Western officials have stressed in recent days that

    the election had some irregularities but was not basically

    flawed. Social Democratic leader Branko Crvenkovski

    nonetheless said in Skopje on 18 November that "we shall

    fight to topple this government...by democratic means...and

    call new elections," AP added. PM

    [19] NATO, MACEDONIA AGREE TO END BORDER BOTTLENECK

    Macedonian

    Interior Minister Pavle Trajanov and NATO's Hans Jorg Eiff

    agreed on 18 November in Skopje to ease traffic congestion at

    the Blace border crossing between Macedonia and Kosova. An

    additional lane will soon be added to the existing highway in

    order to speed up humanitarian aid shipments. The measure is

    an emergency one designed to relieve pressure until an $18

    million project to completely reconstruct the crossing can be

    carried out. Macedonian officials and NATO representatives

    have accused one another of being responsible for the

    bottleneck. PM

    [20] BREAKTHROUGH IN MACEDONIAN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT CASE?

    A

    Czech police spokesman said in Prague on 17 November that

    police have "detained" a 35-year-old Macedonian citizen whom

    the spokesman described as an "internationally wanted drug

    boss," CTK reported. The spokesman added that Macedonian

    police are "interested" in the detainee in conjunction with

    the October 1996 attempt on the life of President Kiro

    Gligorov. Macedonia has not requested the extradition of the

    man, whom the spokesman identified only by the initials A.N.

    Investigations into the assassination attempt have not

    yielded any results (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 November

    1999). PM

    [21] CROATIA TO AVERT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?

    Parliamentary speaker

    Vlatko Pavletic said on 19 November that he will meet later

    in the day with representatives of the parties represented in

    the legislature. An unnamed parliamentary official told

    Reuters: "They will be discussing the possibility of holding

    another parliament session. I assume they will be seeking a

    consensus to pass a law whereby Pavletic would act as

    temporary president." The legislature's mandate runs out on

    27 November. Key issues requiring immediate presidential

    attention include issuing a call for parliamentary elections

    on 22 December and approving the budget for 2000. President

    Franjo Tudjman has been hospitalized since 1 November, and

    most observers do not expect him to recover. The constitution

    is widely regarded to have been written for Tudjman and

    provides for sweeping powers for the president. PM

    [22] BUDISA CALLS FOR SWEEPING REVISION OF CROATIAN CONSTITUTION

    Opposition leader Drazen Budisa told the Rijeka daily "Novi

    List" of 19 November that time has come to change the

    constitution and reduce the powers of the president. He added

    that continuing the present system would mean "turning the

    government into a circus." Leaders of all six main opposition

    parties agree that the constitution must be changed quickly

    if a political crisis is to be averted, the daily added. PM

    [23] OPPOSITION HEADING FOR VICTORY IN CROATIAN ELECTIONS?

    The

    independent Zagreb daily "Jutarnji list" reported on 19

    November that a new poll by the U.S.-based International

    Republican Institute suggests that the main opposition

    coalition will win in eight out of 10 electoral districts.

    The coalition of the Social Democrats and Budisa's Croatian

    Social Liberal Party will take 35 percent of the overall

    vote, compared with 24 percent for the governing Croatian

    Democratic Community (HDZ), according to the poll. A

    coalition of four small opposition parties is in third place.

    Recent polls published in the same daily suggest that the top

    vote-getters in any future race to replace Tudjman would be

    the Social Democrats' Ivica Racan, followed by the moderate

    HDZ leader Mate Granic, who is currently foreign minister. PM

    [24] POLL: MOST ROMANIANS SAY THEY WERE BETTER OFF UNDER

    COMMUNISM

    A poll released by the Open Society Fund on 18

    November found that 61 percent of Romanians say they were

    better off under former communist ruler Nicolae Ceausescu,

    Reuters reported. The poll of 2,019 Romanians showed 84

    percent of respondents saying they lack confidence in the

    current government. More than 80 percent of respondents said

    they had lost confidence in the parliament and in political

    parties. The poll also found that 77 percent of Romanians

    favor a market economy. The results come after an earlier

    poll conducted by the Center for Urban and Regional Sociology

    found that most Romanians believe the switch from communism

    in 1989 has been a "success" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18

    November 1999). VG

    [25] ROMANIAN WORKERS DEMONSTRATE

    Thousands of Romanian workers

    marched through several major cities on 18 November to

    protest falling living standards, Reuters reported.

    Demonstrations took place in Constanta, Timisoara, Ploiesti,

    and Turnu Severin. Meanwhile, on 17 November, four major

    Romanian trade unions agreed to coordinate their protests

    against the government in the coming days, Mediafax reported.

    VG

    [26] ROMANIAN-LANGUAGE TESTS FOR MOLDOVAN STUDENTS

    Moldovan

    Education Ministry officials on 18 November announced that

    beginning next year, all university applicants will have to

    pass tests of their knowledge of the Romanian language and

    literature, BASA-Press reported. VG

    [27] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT DELAYS VOTE ON GOVERNMENT

    Prime

    Minister-designate Valeriu Bobutac on 18 November asked the

    parliament to postpone a confidence vote in the cabinet until

    next week, BASA-Press reported. Communist deputy Victor

    Stepaniuc said the vote was put off because of "some small

    misunderstandings." In other news, the Moldovan prosecutor-

    general asked the parliament to lift deputy speaker Iurie

    Rosca's immunity in connection with a September car accident.

    Also, the Democratic Convention of Moldova expelled

    parliamentary deputy Ala Mandacanu for supporting the new

    government structure proposed by the Communists and the

    Christian Democratic Popular Front. VG

    [28] OSCE CONSIDERS FUNDING RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL FROM MOLDOVA

    OSCE

    mission head to Moldova William Hill said the organization is

    prepared to fund the withdrawal of Russian forces from

    Moldova, but he added that the cost must first be determined,

    Reuters reported. A number of OSCE countries have proposed

    that the organization carry out an inventory of Russian arms

    and equipment in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniester

    VG

    [29] USAID EXTENDS GRANT TO BULGARIA

    The United States Agency for

    International Development has extended a $25 million grant to

    Bulgaria to deal with the effects of the NATO bombing

    campaign in Yugoslavia earlier this year as well as to ease

    the impact of economic reforms, AP reported on 18 November.

    In other news, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party

    expressed reservations about preparations for U.S. President

    Bill Clinton's upcoming visit to Bulgaria. The party on 18

    November protested plans to ban street traffic in parts of

    Sofia during the visit and complained that Clinton does not

    plan to address the parliament. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [30] FORMER LEADERS ARGUE OVER MEANING OF 1989

    By Jeremy Bransten

    Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former British

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former U.S. President

    George Bush, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former

    Polish President and Solidarity union leader Lech Walesa, and

    the wife of the late French President Francois Mitterrand

    were all awarded high state honors in Prague on 17 November.

    The awards were conferred by former dissident and current

    Czech President Vaclav Havel.

    The visit of the former leaders was planned as a largely

    ceremonial occasion. But at a panel discussion that preceded

    the award ceremony, participants sharply disagreed over the

    significance of the anti-communist revolutions and their

    aftermath. The talk laid bare the ideological rifts that

    still exist among some former adversaries and that could

    threaten to bring more divisions between East and West next

    century.

    Thatcher called the fall of communism a triumph of

    freedom and capitalism, especially as espoused by Britain and

    the U.S. She took a large measure of credit for the collapse

    of communism and said the two countries provided a shining

    example for the East to follow. Thatcher said the best thing

    the U.S. and Britain could do would be to continue exporting

    their values and way of life abroad. "I think our task today

    is not to ponder on what happened in the last 10 years but to

    see how we extend liberty to those countries that do not know

    it," she commented.

    Thatcher's views earned a gentle rebuke from the

    moderator, Oxford history professor Timothy Garton Ash, who

    noted that other European democracies had also perhaps

    contributed to inspiring the East's quest for freedom.

    But it was Gorbachev who took on Thatcher directly,

    accusing her of communist-style rhetoric in the service of a

    narrow ideology. He said that if anything, the past 10 years

    have proven that new ideas are needed--something approaching

    a synthesis between capitalism and communism, to solve

    problems in an increasingly global world economy: "I think

    that just as an inferiority complex is a bad thing, a

    victor's complex is no less harmful. I think we should say

    that no single ideology at the end of the 20th century can

    answer the challenges of the 21st century and the global

    problems that stand before us--neither liberal, nor

    communist, nor conservative."

    Gorbachev also reminded Thatcher that it was the

    Communists who saw everything in black and white, and he

    questioned whether she had not stumbled down the same path.

    Former union leader and ex-President Walesa chastised

    the West for congratulating itself over the end of communism

    without providing sufficient aid and assistance to those

    countries now trying to transform their economies. He drew a

    parallel with the end of World War II and said Western Europe

    has benefited from U.S. assistance through the generosity of

    the Marshall Plan.

    But Walesa noted that 10 years after the fall of

    communism in Eastern Europe, no comprehensive assistance has

    been forthcoming from the U.S. and a now prosperous Western

    Europe. He warned that in many countries across the East,

    democracy is now endangered by the failure of economic

    reform, crime, corruption, and a nostalgia among some people

    for the old regime.

    Czech President Havel called the year of revolutions a

    magic moment. But he said that it was not, as some once

    predicted, the end of history. The revolutions of Eastern

    Europe, he said, marked a victory for human dignity and

    universal human values, not any particular ideology.

    "If I posed myself the question: what triumphed over

    what or who triumphed over whom 10 years ago, then I wouldn't

    answer that it was the victory of one ideology over another,

    of one state over another state, or of one superpower over

    another," he said. "But I'd say certain values triumphed.

    Freedom triumphed over oppression. Respect for human dignity

    triumphed over humiliation. Respect for human rights

    triumphed over disdain for human rights. But it was one small

    battle in an unending chain of battles, because the war

    continues."

    Kohl said the revolutions of 1989 were clearly

    interconnected, and he praised the bravery of those Central

    and Eastern Europeans who stood up against communism and

    overthrew it. But Kohl noted that both the former Soviet and

    U.S. leaders deserve recognition for their role as catalysts

    to the process. "No one in Europe, and this is my considered

    opinion, should think there would have been success had it

    not been that the two great powers set out on a rational

    road."

    Bush, like Thatcher, noted the leadership of Britain and

    the United States in ending the Cold War. But he also spoke

    of Washington's initially cautious approach to the momentous

    events of 1989: "The U.S. was concerned that if we provoke,

    needlessly provoke, then President Gorbachev, who knows how

    the forces to his right, his military, might have reacted.

    And so we tried to be very careful about not dancing on the

    [Berlin] Wall, for example."

    Bush paid homage to his host, Havel, and to Walesa. He

    called both men heroes of the democratic revolutions of 1989,

    whose example inspired the U.S. people. He argued that what

    "got through" to the U.S. people were the "symbols" of the

    new-won freedom, in this case, Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa.

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague.

    19-11-99


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


    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    rferl2html v1.01 run on Friday, 19 November 1999 - 15:33:18 UTC