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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 14, 00-01-20

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. 14, 20 January 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER SAYS PRESIDENT SHOULD RESIGN
  • [02] COMMUNIST LEADERS ADVOCATE ARMENIA'S ACCESSION TO RUSSIA-
  • [03] GEORGIAN, ABKHAZ PREMIERS MEET UNDER UN AUSPICES...
  • [04] ...AGREE ON ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES
  • [05] KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA POSITIVELY ASSESS BILATERAL RELATIONS...
  • [06] ...SETTLE MUTUAL DEBTS
  • [07] KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING?
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN MIG SALE TRIAL AGAIN POSTPONED
  • [09] KAZAKH OPPOSITION FIGURE ALLEGES SYSTEMATIC HUMAN RIGHTS
  • [10] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT VOWS TO BRING YOUNGER GENERATION INTO
  • [11] TURKMENISTAN HOLDS TALKS WITH PIPELINE SCHEME PARTICIPANTS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] FINAL CROATIAN ELECTION RESULTS
  • [13] CROATIA'S MUSLIMS TO ASK FOR DEPUTIES
  • [14] SERBIAN OPPOSITION INCHING TOWARD UNITY?
  • [15] ARKAN FOLLOWERS BLAME REGIME FOR HIS DEATH
  • [16] DEL PONTE URGES NATO TO ARREST KARADZIC
  • [17] DIFFERENCES SETTLED OVER KOSOVA PROTECTION CORPS?
  • [18] IMF APPROVES NEW TRANCHE FOR ALBANIA
  • [19] ROMANIA'S LIBERALS INITIATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
  • [20] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST ATTEMPT TO BAR HIS
  • [21] UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN ROMANIA
  • [22] TIRASPOL AGREES TO OBSERVERS IN SECURITY ZONE
  • [23] UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE IN MOLDOVA SAYS 'NO CHECHEN TERRORISTS'

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [24] An Anniversary Of Unintended Consequences

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER SAYS PRESIDENT SHOULD RESIGN

    National Democratic Union (AZhM) chairman Vazgen Manukian,

    who served as prime minister in 1990-1991, told a press

    conference in Yerevan on 19 January that President Robert

    Kocharian should step down voluntarily to prevent a further

    deterioration in the political situation, which he described

    as "anarchy," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Manukian

    argued that Kocharian has no power base and does not behave

    as befits a head of state. He added that neither a referendum

    on amending the constitution nor new parliamentary elections

    would improve the worsening economic situation, according to

    Armenpress. Manukian said his party will seek to ensure that

    the new presidential poll is fair and to prevent unnamed

    members of the present leadership from rigging the poll to

    install their preferred candidate as head of state. Manukian,

    who was defeated in both the 1996 and 1998 presidential

    elections, did not say whether he would run in a new

    election. LF

    [02] COMMUNIST LEADERS ADVOCATE ARMENIA'S ACCESSION TO RUSSIA-

    BELARUS UNION

    Newly-elected Armenian Communist Party First

    Secretary Vladimir Darpinian told a press conference in

    Yerevan that membership in the Russia-Belarus Union would

    only strengthen Armenia's sovereignty, according to

    "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 20 January. The leader of the

    party's parliament faction, Leonid Akopian, argued that

    accession to the union would create new jobs in Armenia and

    thus improve living standards. In 1997 the Armenian

    Communists collected several hundred thousand signatures in

    support of Armenia's accession to the Russia-Belarus Union.

    LF

    [03] GEORGIAN, ABKHAZ PREMIERS MEET UNDER UN AUSPICES...

    Dieter

    Boden, the UN secretary-general's special representative in

    Georgia, chaired a session in Tbilisi on 18-19 January of the

    Coordinating Council for settling the Georgian-Abkhaz

    conflict. The meeting was attended by Georgian Minister of

    State Vazha Lortkipanidze, Abkhaz Premier Vyacheslav Tsugba,

    the commander of the CIS peacekeeping forces deployed along

    the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, and

    representatives of the U.S., France, Russia, Germany, and the

    U.K. The meeting had intended to focus on defining Abkhazia's

    political status within Georgia, but Tsugba refused to do so,

    saying that the population of Abkhazia had reaffirmed its

    desire for independence in last year's referendum (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 October 1999). Tsugba, who met

    separately on 18 January with Georgian President Eduard

    Shevardnadze, nonetheless affirmed that Abkhazia wants to

    resolve the conflict as soon as possible, Caucasus Press

    reported. LF

    [04] ...AGREE ON ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES

    Lortkipanidze and Tsugba

    on 19 January signed two sets of minutes of the proceedings

    of working groups dealing with acts of terrorism in

    Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion and with missing persons

    and the disinterment and reburial of war dead, Caucasus Press

    and Interfax reported. Under those minutes, the two sides

    undertook to cooperate in investigating acts of terrorism in

    Gali and in the reburial of 47 Georgians killed during the

    1992-1993 war. They also reached agreement on resuming talks

    on a peace settlement and on the repatriation of displaced

    persons. Boden termed the session "constructive," but

    Shevardnadze's international affairs advisor, Levan

    Aleksidze, was less optimistic. He told Interfax that no

    progress towards resolving the conflict will be possible

    unless the Abkhaz "abandon the idea of creating a separate

    Abkhaz state." LF

    [05] KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA POSITIVELY ASSESS BILATERAL RELATIONS...

    Visiting Moscow on 19 January at the head of a

    government delegation, Kazakhstan's Prime Minister

    Qasymzhomart Toqaev held talks with Prime Minister and acting

    President Vladimir Putin and with First Deputy Premier and

    Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Russian agencies reported.

    Kasyanov characterized bilateral relations as "on the

    upgrade," and noted "definite progress" in the political

    sphere, especially with regard to delimitation of the

    Russian-Kazakh border. Putin, for his part, remarked upon the

    absence of any complex political or economic problems between

    the two countries. LF

    [06] ...SETTLE MUTUAL DEBTS

    Kasyanov and Toqaev reached

    agreements on 19 January whereby Russia will supply

    Kazakhstan with civil aviation equipment in partial payment

    for the lease of the Baikonor cosmodrome. Kazakhstan in turn

    ceded to Russia's Unified Energy Systems a 50 percent stake

    in the state thermal power plant in Ekibastuz in payment of

    its outstanding $239 million debt for energy supplies from

    Russia. LF

    [07] KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING?

    Kazakhstan's

    national security advisor, Marat Tazhin, said on 19 January

    that President Nursultan Nazarbaev supports his proposal to

    increase defense spending in 2000 from the planned 0.78

    percent of the budget to a minimum of 1 percent, Interfax

    reported. Tazhin said the increase is needed to fund reform

    of the armed forces and the building of an effective defense

    system. Tazhin called for enacting legislation on government

    defense spending that would create tax breaks for both state-

    owned and private companies that manufacture equipment and

    goods for the armed forces. He added that unspecified laws

    should be amended to provide for stiffer penalties for

    inciting social, ethnic, or religious enmity. LF

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN MIG SALE TRIAL AGAIN POSTPONED

    The resumption of

    court proceedings against businessman Aleksandr Petrenko and

    Armed Forces Chief of General Staff General Bakhytzhan

    Ertaev, who are charged with arranging the illegal sale to

    North Korea of 40 MiG fighter aircraft, has again been

    postponed, RFE/RL's Almaty correspondent reported on 19

    January. The trial should have resumed on 18 January, but

    Ertaev is still hospitalized after suffering a minor heart

    attack in court a week ago (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 January

    2000). Defense lawyers for the two accused again said at a

    press conference in Almaty on 19 January that their clients

    are not guilty, RFE/RL's Almaty correspondent reported.

    Petrenko's lawyer claimed that his client's life is in danger

    as the persons responsible for the sale of the aircraft may

    try to kill him lest he divulge further details of the deal.

    LF

    [09] KAZAKH OPPOSITION FIGURE ALLEGES SYSTEMATIC HUMAN RIGHTS

    VIOLATIONS

    Speaking at a press conference in Almaty on 18

    January, Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan member

    Bauyrzhan Zharylqapov accused Kazakhstan's leadership,

    including President Nazarbaev, of regularly violating the

    country's laws and constitution, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau

    reported the following day. Zharylqapov added that the human

    rights of inmates of labor camps and jails in Kazakhstan are

    violated "on a daily basis." LF

    [10] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT VOWS TO BRING YOUNGER GENERATION INTO

    LEADERSHIP

    Askar Akaev told some 800 students invited to a

    belated New Year's party in Bishkek on 19 January that he has

    proclaimed 2000 "the year of youth," and called for the

    drafting of special policies and legislation of youth and

    education, Interfax and RFE/RL's correspondent in the Kyrgyz

    capital reported. Akaev vowed to bring "fresh blood" into the

    state administration in the interests of expediting economic

    reform. LF

    [11] TURKMENISTAN HOLDS TALKS WITH PIPELINE SCHEME PARTICIPANTS

    Delegations from Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and

    Turkey, together with U.S. special envoy on Caspian energy

    issues John Wolf, met in Ashgabat on 18-19 January to discuss

    a framework document for the planned Trans-Caspian gas export

    pipeline, Interfax reported. The delegations also discussed

    the agreements which each country will conclude separately

    with the operators of the pipeline project, PSG and Royal

    Dutch/Shell. Wolf said that Russia has also been invited to

    participate in the project, for which the U.S.'s Ex-Im Bank

    may provide some financial support. Cost of the project is

    estimated at $2.5 billion. Wolf said that the disagreement

    between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan over the amount of gas

    that Azerbaijan will be permitted to export via the pipeline

    was not discussed. Baku is reportedly demanding a 50 percent

    share of the facility's annual throughput capacity of 30

    billion cubic meters, whereas Turkmenistan is offering no

    more than a 20 percent share. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] FINAL CROATIAN ELECTION RESULTS

    On 19 January, the election

    commission in Zagreb released the final tally for the

    parliamentary elections for the 151-seat lower house. The

    main two-party opposition coalition of Social Democrats and

    Social Liberals took 71 seats. The coalition of four smaller

    parties allied to it won 24. The Croatian Democratic

    Community (HDZ), which has held power since the first free

    elections in 1990, holds only 46 seats. A right-wing

    coalition will have five deputies, as will the country's

    ethnic minorities. A spokesman for acting President Vlatko

    Pavletic said that Pavletic will ask Social Democratic leader

    Ivica Racan on 27 January to form a government. PM

    [13] CROATIA'S MUSLIMS TO ASK FOR DEPUTIES

    A spokesman for the

    Croatian branch of the largest Bosnian Muslim political

    party, namely Alija Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action

    (SDA), said in Zagreb on 19 January that the SDA will ask the

    new government to change the election law so that Muslims are

    guaranteed representation in parliament, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported. At present, the relatively large

    Muslim and Slovenian minorities have no guaranteed

    representation, while some smaller minorities of Central

    European origin do. The spokesman added that SDA voters

    supported the opposition against the HDZ in the parliamentary

    vote and lean toward Stipe Mesic of the four-party coalition

    in the 24 January presidential elections. In related news,

    the weekly "Globus" published a poll that shows Mesic with 31

    percent of the vote, followed by the two-party coalition's

    Drazen Budisa with 23 percent. The HDZ's Mate Granic is a

    distant third with 14 percent. PM

    [14] SERBIAN OPPOSITION INCHING TOWARD UNITY?

    Representatives of

    the fractious Serbian opposition presented their plans for

    concrete aid projects to officials of the EU and U.S. in

    Budva on 19 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 January 2000).

    EU ministers will meet in Brussels on 23 January to consider

    the proposals. The Democratic Party's Zoran Djindjic told

    Reuters that he hopes the EU will also consider lifting the

    fuel embargo and flight ban against Serbia. In Belgrade, some

    13 opposition representatives held their second meeting in

    ten days to coordinate their activities (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 11 January 2000). Goran Svilanovic of the Serbian

    Citizens' League told AP that the "opposition's disunity is a

    thing of the past." The Serbian Renewal Movement's Vuk

    Draskovic called on the West to support the opposition by

    lifting sanctions. PM

    [15] ARKAN FOLLOWERS BLAME REGIME FOR HIS DEATH

    Yugoslav Foreign

    Ministry spokesman Rade Drobac told AP on 19 January that the

    government had nothing to do with the recent murder of

    warlord Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan" (see "RFE/RL Balkan

    Report," 18 January 2000). Drobac added that "we are not

    interested in it.... Arkan was not a political figure." But

    one "Degi," who is a member of Arkan's militia, said that

    "there is no doubt that the [secret] service killed him.

    Those [communist] monsters who have been killing this country

    for 50 years have murdered my commander." Led by Arkan's

    tearful wife Ceca, some 2,000 friends and followers attended

    a commemoration ceremony for him in Belgrade. Elsewhere,

    media attention has focused on the town of Loznica near the

    Bosnian border, "Danas" reported on 20 January. There police

    are watching the hospitalized Dusan Gavric, whom some

    Belgrade media claim was an accomplice of Arkan's assassin.

    PM

    [16] DEL PONTE URGES NATO TO ARREST KARADZIC

    Carla Del Ponte, who

    is the chief prosecutor for the Hague-based war crimes

    tribunal, said in Brussels on 19 January that the Atlantic

    alliance should be more "aggressive" in catching war

    criminals still on the loose. She singled out Bosnian Serb

    leader Radovan Karadzic as the most important of them. Del

    Ponte noted that he "still wanders around the country"

    despite a public indictment going back several years. Jacques

    Klein, who heads the UN's mission in Bosnia, said recently

    that the continued failure to arrest Karadzic shows up the

    "impotence of the West in the face of evil," Reuters

    reported. He added that Western governments do not have the

    political will to accept the casualties that a fight with

    Karadzic's bodyguards would likely produce. PM

    [17] DIFFERENCES SETTLED OVER KOSOVA PROTECTION CORPS?

    Officials

    of the UN administration in Kosova and of the former Kosova

    Liberation Army (UCK) settled differences on 19 January

    regarding the question of ranks in the incipient Kosova

    Protection Corps (KPC), a UN spokeswoman said in Prishtina.

    As the UN prefers, there will be no ranks as such. But as the

    UCK wants, leaders will "wear insignias denoting their

    seniority in the organization," Reuters reported. The

    differences reflect the contrast between the UN view of the

    KPC as a civilian work force and the UCK hope that it will be

    the core of a new army. The ceremony to swear in 43 officers

    was postponed from 19 to 21 January "for technical reasons."

    PM

    [18] IMF APPROVES NEW TRANCHE FOR ALBANIA

    Officials of the IMF

    agreed in Washington on 19 January to approve a further $13

    million credit for Albania, dpa reported. The IMF hailed what

    it called that country's strong economic growth in 1999

    despite the disruption caused by the crisis in Kosova. The

    economy grew by about 8 percent, while inflation was near

    zero. One IMF official added that the Albanian "authorities

    will continue to face challenging tasks in implementing the

    deep-seated reforms required to establish a fully functioning

    market economy and to ensure its rapid growth." PM

    [19] ROMANIA'S LIBERALS INITIATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

    The

    National Liberal Party (PNL) on 19 January submitted to the

    Chamber of Deputies' Permanent Bureau a list of nearly

    700,000 signatures collected in support of a constitutional

    amendment, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The amendment

    envisages changing article 41 in the basic document, to read

    that "the state guarantees private property." Under the

    existing constitution, the article says the state "protects"

    private property. PNL chairman Mircea Ionescu-Quintus on the

    same day said that his party wants the local elections to be

    held "on time" and not later than "the first week in June."

    MS

    [20] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WARNS AGAINST ATTEMPT TO BAR HIS

    RUNNING

    Party of Socialist Democracy in Romania Chairman Ion

    Iliescu on 19 January said in Timisoara that the

    Constitutional Court would "discredit itself" if it ruled

    that he is barred from seeking a new term of office as

    president, RFE/RL reported. Iliescu said that in 1996 the

    court already ruled that his next term would not be a third

    term in office, which is barred by the constitution. Iliescu

    also said that "personally" he is not "particularly

    motivated" to seek re-election and would step aside if

    "someone at least equal to myself" would emerge as a credible

    candidate. In related news, Alliance for Romania Chairman

    Teodor Melescanu said he would "not be surprised" if

    political adversaries attempt to "fabricate" a file ahead of

    the 2000 elections proving that he collaborated with the

    Securitate, but that "lies are always short-lived." MS

    [21] UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN ROMANIA

    General Oleksander

    Kuzmuk and his Romanian counterpart Victor Babiuc on 19

    January agreed to finalize three bilateral accords by the end

    of the year, envisaging measures to increase mutual

    confidence, collaboration in procurement of materiel and

    logistics, and the protection of secret information, Mediafax

    reported. Babiuc said Ukraine is "more advanced than Romania"

    in its preparations for setting up a battalion with Hungary

    and Slovakia for intervention in case of natural disasters

    and that Romania will try to "recuperate its lag behind" to

    ensure the battalion is set up by the end of the year. MS

    [22] TIRASPOL AGREES TO OBSERVERS IN SECURITY ZONE

    The separatist

    Transdniester authorities on 18 January agreed "in principle"

    to grant access to observers to their military bases in the

    security zone that separates the belligerents in Moldova. The

    refusal of the separatists to do so in the past had led to a

    deadlock in the negotiations conducted under the auspices of

    the joint Control Commission. George Roman, the commission's

    Moldovan co-chairman, said that now the process of

    demilitarization in the zone "can finally begin," since

    previously Moldova had no way of checking whether the

    agreement on the Transdniester evacuation of armored vehicles

    would really be implemented, Infotag reported on 19 January.

    MS

    [23] UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE IN MOLDOVA SAYS 'NO CHECHEN TERRORISTS'

    REGISTERED AS REFUGEES

    Oldrich Andrysek, the UN High

    Commissioner for Refugees representative to Moldova, said on

    19 January that he agrees with President Petru Lucinschi that

    no terrorists from Chechnya must be granted refugee status in

    Moldova and that he is convinced that "not a single

    terrorist" will get that status. Andrysek rejected

    Lucinschi's accusation that his organization is "exceeding

    its authority" in Moldova. "We are present in this republic

    at the invitation of the Moldovan government and with regard

    to people seeking refugee status we act in accordance to

    international law," he said. Andrysek also said that in

    January alone 120 Chechens have applied for receiving the

    status from the UNHCR and said he does not think any of

    these, who had been checked many times on their long journey,

    could be terrorists. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [24] An Anniversary Of Unintended Consequences

    By Paul Goble

    Moscow's military intervention in Baku ten years ago

    this week exacerbated the three things it was supposed to

    quell: ethnic unrest between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, the

    influence of Islam in the Soviet Union, and support for

    independence movements across the non-Russian portions of the

    USSR.

    As such, the events in Baku a decade ago call attention

    to the unintended consequences which characterized so many

    aspects of Mikhail Gorbachev's reign as the last Soviet

    leader. And they serve as an object lesson of the ways in

    which the incautious use of military force by any government

    to address political problems can backfire.

    But even more, especially when viewed from the

    perspective of today, the gap between what Moscow said it

    wanted to do in Azerbaijan at that time and what it actually

    achieved suggests some almost eerie parallels between what

    the current Russian government says it is doing in Chechnya

    and what its actions there may ultimately lead to.

    For that reason, if for no other, the events of January

    1990 in the southern Caucasus are currently attracting more

    attention in the Caucasus, in Russia, and in the West than

    might otherwise be the case.

    The actual history is both complex and in some places

    still very much actively disputed.

    On 15 January 1991, President Gorbachev approved the

    airlift of some 11,000 military and security troops to

    Azerbaijan. The Soviet leader said he was taking this step to

    stop escalating violence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

    Violence between these two nations had been percolating

    since 1988, but it flared up at the end of 1989 and the

    beginning of 1990, following Baku's decision to blockade the

    railroad leading into Armenia and Yerevan's declaration that

    Nagorno-Karabakh should be integrated into the Armenian

    economy and that Armenian laws took precedence over Soviet

    ones.

    These actions in turn sparked demonstrations in

    Azerbaijan, some of which turned violent, and they led to the

    formation of volunteer militias and self-defense forces on

    both sides. In the face of this escalating violence,

    Gorbachev on 17 January ordered its troops to open fire in

    self-defense and to protect civilians.

    But this measure, designed to be intimidating and to

    limit the violence, had just the opposite effect. Over the

    next week, hundreds of people were killed--the exact numbers

    remain a matter of dispute--and Moscow upped the ante by

    introducing still more of its forces into Azerbaijan.

    Moscow's action initially enjoyed the support of major

    Western countries--the United States, for example, said that

    it recognized Moscow's right to use force to protect its

    citizens and to oppose "age-old tensions"--but that support

    ebbed as the violence continued.

    At home, this process was far quicker. Gorbachev soon

    faced mounting opposition from Russians who questioned the

    value of what he was doing. During the Soviet leader's visit

    to his native Stavropol Krai on 19 January, for example, one

    Russian woman told him that "I won't give you my son" for

    such campaigns in the Caucasus.

    Non-Russians were even more outraged by this action.

    Most saw it as a reversal of the cautious approach Gorbachev

    had adopted following the massacre of demonstrators in the

    Georgian capital of Tbilisi in April 1989. But an increasing

    number decided that such a use of force meant that autonomy

    within the Soviet Union was no longer an attractive option

    for them and that outright independence might be a better

    choice.

    The Azerbaijan SSR Supreme Soviet indicated on 22

    January, nearly a week after Soviet forces arrived, that the

    republic might seek to secede from the USSR. That move was

    followed within months by equally assertive actions from the

    Caucasus to the Baltics.

    Faced with this challenge and hoping to send a message

    far beyond the borders of Azerbaijan, Soviet forces sealed

    the borders of that republic, imposed a state of emergency,

    and sought to hide what they were doing by denying entry to

    foreign journalists.

    That show of force initially appeared very successful.

    For a few weeks, force appeared to have gained the upper

    hand. But in less than two years, Azerbaijan was independent,

    and the Soviet Union was no more.

    At least part of the reason for that dramatic

    acceleration of the pace of history in Azerbaijan and

    elsewhere was the misplaced effort of those in Moscow who

    sought to slow it down.

    20-01-00


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


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