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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 19, 00-01-27

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. 4, No. 19, 27 January 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS TO RESUME KARABAKH TALKS
  • [02] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION REJECTS OFFICIAL RATIONALE FOR
  • [03] GEORGIAN OFFICIALS OFFER CONFLICTING EXPLANATIONS FOR ABKHAZ
  • [04] KAZAKH MIG SALE TRIAL RESUMES
  • [05] KAZAKH REGIONAL NEWSPAPER EDITOR CHARGED WITH ABETTING
  • [06] KAZAKH OPPOSITION PARTY OFFICIAL REFUSED EXIT VISA
  • [07] KAZAKHSTAN PROTESTS UZBEK BORDER DEMARCATION
  • [08] KYRGYZ POLICE DEFUSE CAR BOMB IN CAPITAL
  • [09] TAJIKISTAN UNVEILS 1999 ECONOMIC STATISTICS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] RACAN ANNOUNCES NEW CROATIAN GOVERNMENT
  • [11] DEFEATED CROATIAN PARTY DEADLOCKED
  • [12] TUDJMAN'S LEGACY CRUMBLING RAPIDLY
  • [13] PETRITSCH BLOCKS SAROVIC AS BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT
  • [14] KLEIN CALLS ON COUNCIL OF EUROPE TO ADMIT BOSNIA
  • [15] OSCE SEEKS REFORM OF BOSNIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE
  • [16] YUGOSLAV COURT REJECTS MONTENEGRO'S DUAL CURRENCY SYSTEM
  • [17] SERBIAN CROWN PRINCE CALLS FOR OPPOSITION UNITY
  • [18] ALBRIGHT APPEALS FOR MONEY FOR KOSOVA
  • [19] MACEDONIAN POLICE FILE CHARGES AGAINST ALBANIANS
  • [20] ROMANIAN PARTIES CONTINUE DEBATE ON TIMING OF ELECTIONS
  • [21] APPEAL COURT REINSTATES CLUJ MAYOR
  • [22] SPECIAL SUMMIT ON TRANSDNIESTER TO BE HELD IN JULY
  • [23] TRANSDNIESTER WANTS TROOP WITHDRAWAL COORDINATED WITH
  • [24] UKRAINE THREATENS TO CUT OFF ALL ELECTRICITY TO MOLDOVA
  • [25] BULGARIA WELCOMES EU PROPOSAL ON VISAS
  • [26] BULGARIA REJECTS RUSSIAN CRITICISM OF BALKAN SUMMIT

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [27] Capital Flight From Russia Continues

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTS TO RESUME KARABAKH TALKS

    Armenian President Robert Kocharian told journalists on 26

    January upon his return to Yerevan from the CIS summit in

    Moscow that he and his Azerbaijani counterpart Heidar Aliev

    will continue their talks on the Karabakh conflict on the

    sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,

    Russian agencies reported. Kocharian added that both he and

    Aliev agree on the need to reverse the slowdown in the peace

    process since the 27 October Armenian parliament shootings.

    Kocharian refrained from making any prognosis as to the

    likely outcome of the planned Davos talks. But Armenian

    Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on 26 January in

    Strasbourg, where he is attending the Parliamentary Asssembly

    of the Council of Europe session, that those talks will show

    in which direction the peace process is heading, according to

    ITAR-TASS. Also on 26 January, Kocharian briefed Arkadii

    Ghukasian, president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh

    Republic, on his talks with Aliev in Moscow on 24 January,

    RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION REJECTS OFFICIAL RATIONALE FOR

    ELECTRICITY RATIONING

    Azerbaijani opposition experts said on

    25 January that the planned introduction of energy rationing

    testifies to the incompetence of economic planners and the

    inefficient use of the energy generated, Turan reported (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 2000). Ali Masimov of the

    Azerbaijan Popular Front and Musavat's Gubad Ibadogly both

    said that Azerbaijan generates enough power to meet its

    domestic needs but that some of that power is illegally

    exported. LF

    [03] GEORGIAN OFFICIALS OFFER CONFLICTING EXPLANATIONS FOR ABKHAZ

    CLASH

    Tamaz Nadareishvili, chairman of the ethnic Georgian

    Abkhaz parliament-in-exile, told Caucasus Press on 27 January

    that the the five Abkhaz killed or wounded in western

    Georgia's Zugdidi Raion late on 25 January had been engaged

    in reprisals against local Georgians involved in cigarette

    smuggling (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 2000). But Temur

    Khetsuriani, who is Security Minister in the ethnic Georgian

    Abkhaz government-in-exile, said that the men had abducted a

    Georgian couple from a village in Zugdidi on 23 January.

    Interfax on 26 January said that the Abkhaz were attacked

    while conducting unsanctioned talks with local Georgians on

    the hostages' release. LF

    [04] KAZAKH MIG SALE TRIAL RESUMES

    The trial resumed in Almaty of

    26 January of Kazakh Army Chief of General Staff Bakhytzhan

    Ertaev and businessman Aleksandr Petrenko, RFE/RL's bureau in

    the former capital reported. The two men are accused of

    arranging the illegal sale to North Korea of 40 obsolete MiG

    fighters. The proceedings were suspended on 11 January after

    Ertaev suffered a minor heart attack (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    12 January 2000). Ertaev told journalists on 26 January that

    the accusations against him are groundless, and that he is

    confident he will be acquitted, according to Interfax. LF

    [05] KAZAKH REGIONAL NEWSPAPER EDITOR CHARGED WITH ABETTING

    SEPARATISTS

    Oleg Ablakaev, editor of the commercial

    newspaper "HBC-Press" in the town of Oskemen in eastern

    Kazakhstan, has been formally charged with supporting

    separatism, RFE/RL correspondents reported on 27 January.

    Publication of "HBC-Press" was suspended for three months

    earlier this week because the paper had printed an appeal

    last November to the region's ethnic Russian population by

    Viktor Kazimirchuk, the leader of a group of Russians accused

    of planning to establish an independent Russian republic on

    the territory of eastern Kazakhstan. One of Kazimirchuk's co-

    accused, former Oskemen municipal council member Nikolai

    Ivanov, is now in Russia trying to obtain political asylum.

    Kazimirchuk has been taken to a psychiatric hospital in

    Almaty. LF

    [06] KAZAKH OPPOSITION PARTY OFFICIAL REFUSED EXIT VISA

    Kazakhstan immigration officials this week rejected a request

    for an exit visa by Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan's

    Executive Committee Chairman Gaziz Aldamzharov, RFE/RL's

    Almaty correspondent reported on 27 January. Aldamzharov said

    he believes that refusal was politically motivated. The

    Republican Reople's Party of Kazakhstan is headed by former

    Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin. LF

    [07] KAZAKHSTAN PROTESTS UZBEK BORDER DEMARCATION

    Astana has

    lodged an official protest with the Uzbek government over

    unilateral moves by Tashkent to demarcate sections of the two

    countries' 230 km common border without prior consultation

    with the Kazakh government, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January

    citing Kazakhstan State Television. There have been several

    recent incidents of Uzbek border guards opening fire on

    Kazakhs in the vicinity of the border (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    14 January 2000). LF

    [08] KYRGYZ POLICE DEFUSE CAR BOMB IN CAPITAL

    Alerted by a street

    cleaner, Kyrgyz police defused a primitive explosive device

    detected under a car in the yard of a house in Bishkek, ITAR-

    TASS reported on 27 January. The residents of the building in

    question include two government officials, several Turkish

    businessmen, relatives of a Kyrgyz parliament deputy, and a

    priest from a Korean church. LF

    [09] TAJIKISTAN UNVEILS 1999 ECONOMIC STATISTICS

    Tajikistan's GDP

    grew by 3.7 percent in 1999 compared with the previous year,

    Interfax reported on 26 January quoting the State Statistics

    Commission. Industrial production rose by 5 percent, while

    agricultural output increased by 3.8 percent despite the loss

    of half the country's cotton crop due to adverse weather

    conditions. Annual inflation in 1999 was 24 percent, compared

    with 20 percent in 1998. The country posted a $24.8 million

    foreign trade surplus in 1999, compared with a deficit the

    previous year. Aluminium, average prices for which rose by 10

    percent in 1999, accounts for 45 percent of Tajikistan's

    export production. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] RACAN ANNOUNCES NEW CROATIAN GOVERNMENT

    Prime Minister

    designate Ivica Racan announced in Zagreb on 27 January that

    his six-party coalition has reached an agreement on the new

    22-member government. He added that he will ask acting

    president Vlatko Pavletic to appoint the cabinet later in the

    day. Of the three vice premiers, Social Liberal Goran Granic

    will be Racan's direct deputy. Slavko Linic, who belongs to

    Racan's Social Democrats and is mayor of Rijeka, will be in

    charge of the economy. Social Democrat Zeljka Antunovic will

    deal with political and social affairs. Social Democrats will

    head three key ministries: Finance Minister Mato Crkvenac,

    Foreign Minister Tonino Picula, and Interior Minister Sime

    Lucin. Defense Minister Jozo Rados is a Social Liberal. PM

    [11] DEFEATED CROATIAN PARTY DEADLOCKED

    Members of the presidency

    of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) failed at a three-

    hour meeting in Zagreb on 26 January to agree on who will

    head the party's factions in the new parliament, RFE/RL's

    South Slavic Service reported. The party is on the verge of

    disintegration following the death of President Franjo

    Tudjman in December and the subsequent outbreak of factional

    in-fighting in public. PM

    [12] TUDJMAN'S LEGACY CRUMBLING RAPIDLY

    Pavletic has reassigned

    command of the presidential honor guard from the president to

    the chief of the General Staff, "Jutarnji list" reported on

    27 January. A final decision on the unit's fate will lie with

    the new president, who will be elected on 7 February. Both

    candidates have indicated that they will eliminate the guard

    unit as well as other symbols of Tudjman's rule that are

    widely regarded as pompous. Elsewhere, the same Zagreb daily

    notes that moves by the HDZ to rename streets and squares

    after Tudjman have largely come to nothing. Only three towns

    have passed proposals to name a street or square after the

    late president. PM

    [13] PETRITSCH BLOCKS SAROVIC AS BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT

    The

    international community's Wolfgang Petritsch said in Sarajevo

    on 27 January that Republika Srpska Vice President Mirko

    Sarovic has no right to move into the vacant president's job.

    Petritsch called such an attempt "regrettable,

    unconstitutional, and illegal...with the clear and obvious

    aim of destabilizing" the Republika Srpska, AP reported. He

    added that Sarovic "will be held accountable" for his

    announcement the previous day that he will assume the

    presidency. Sarovic said that he wanted to end the political

    stalemate in the Republika Srpska and replace Milorad Dodik,

    the moderate prime minister. Carlos Westendorp, who was

    Petritsch's predecessor, offered the presidential post to

    Sarovic in March 1999 after sacking Nikola Poplasen, the

    nationalist president. Sarovic at that time declined the

    offer. Westendorp told him that he should reconsider but that

    he would need the approval of the international community to

    assume the presidency. Petritsch has since said that he does

    not want Sarovic in the post. PM

    [14] KLEIN CALLS ON COUNCIL OF EUROPE TO ADMIT BOSNIA

    Jacques

    Klein, who is the UN's chief representative in Bosnia-

    Herzegovina, appealed to the Council of Europe to admit that

    country even though it has not yet fulfilled all criteria for

    membership. In remarks he prepared to deliver in Strasbourg,

    Klein noted that "it may not be a Bosnia you wish to see

    sharing your home or even living in your neighborhood...[but]

    while it is clear that Bosnia still has a distance to go in

    fully meeting European standards, to deny accession again

    would only reward those who caused its misfortunes. Wise

    judgment must be made. Left outside for too long, one of your

    closest neighbors may become a breeding ground for anti-

    democratic and foreign tendencies sustained by exploitation

    and criminality," AP reported from Sarajevo on 26 January. PM

    [15] OSCE SEEKS REFORM OF BOSNIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE

    The OSCE,

    which supervises elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, will

    propose to the joint Bosnian parliament that it adopt a new

    election law. According to the proposal, voters will be able

    to cast their ballot for whichever of the three seats in the

    joint presidency they wish, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported on 26 January. Currently, voters in the Republika

    Srpska vote for the Serbian seat, while voters in the

    federation elect only the Muslim and Croatian

    representatives. PM

    [16] YUGOSLAV COURT REJECTS MONTENEGRO'S DUAL CURRENCY SYSTEM

    Meeting in Belgrade on 26 January, the Constitutional Court

    called illegal Montenegro's move in November 1999 to

    introduce the German mark as legal tender alongside the

    Yugoslav dinar. Montenegro is likely to ignore the ruling--as

    it has other Belgrade court decisions--because it does not

    recognize the authority of the Belgrade federal government.

    Podgorica argues that the introduction of the mark was

    necessary to shield Montenegro from rising inflation in

    Serbia. The Montenegrin authorities also note that the move

    was simply taking recognition of the reality that the mark

    has been widely used throughout the former Yugoslavia for

    decades. PM

    [17] SERBIAN CROWN PRINCE CALLS FOR OPPOSITION UNITY

    On his first

    visit to the Republika Srpska, Aleksandar Karadjordjevic said

    in Banja Luka on 26 January that "we must work to remove the

    regime in Belgrade," Reuters reported. He called Yugoslav

    President Slobodan Milosevic "the leader of 250,000 thugs who

    run the country through oppression." Aleksandar appealed to

    opposition politicians to stop "creating idiotic problems"

    among themselves and to "shut up, so that we can get on with

    life and hope." He stressed that he considers as enemies of

    the Serbian people all those who are anti-democrats, AP

    reported. PM

    [18] ALBRIGHT APPEALS FOR MONEY FOR KOSOVA

    Speaking in Washington

    on 26 January, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called

    on "our partners" to "pledge generously" to aid Kosova but

    also to be prompt with their payments. She argued that a

    "serious crisis" has emerged in the province for the UN

    administration because of a lack of money, AP reported. PM

    [19] MACEDONIAN POLICE FILE CHARGES AGAINST ALBANIANS

    A police

    spokesman said in Skopje on 26 January that the police have

    arrested 10 ethnic Albanians in connection with the murder of

    three policemen in the ethnic Albanian village of Aracinovo

    recently (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January 2000). An

    additional suspect remains at large, he added. Aracinovo is

    believed to be the center of an ethnic Albanian smuggling

    ring. PM

    [20] ROMANIAN PARTIES CONTINUE DEBATE ON TIMING OF ELECTIONS

    The

    chairman of the National Peasants' Party Christian

    Democratic, Ion Diaconescu, said on 25 January that his party

    wants local and general elections to be held "according to

    the usual schedule," Mediafax reported. He rejected rumors in

    the press that the PNT-CD intends to call for a postponement

    of the elections. The statement is the latest in ongoing

    discussions on the timing of the elections (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 21 January 2000). The president of the Hungarian

    Democratic Union of Romania, Bela Marko, said his party

    supports the idea of holding the local elections in June 2000

    and the parliamentary elections in November, Rompres

    reported. In other news, Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman

    Mihail Dobre on 26 January announced that Romania lost some

    $900 million in 1999 as a result of last year's conflict in

    Kosova, Mediafax reported. VG

    [21] APPEAL COURT REINSTATES CLUJ MAYOR

    An appeals court in Cluj

    reinstated Gheorghe Funar as the mayor of the city after he

    was suspended pending an investigation of allegations that he

    abused his position and damaged private interests (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 2000). Funar, who heads the

    chauvinist Greater Romania Party, will now be able to serve

    as Cluj mayor until a court rules on his indictment. VG

    [22] SPECIAL SUMMIT ON TRANSDNIESTER TO BE HELD IN JULY

    Moldovan

    President Petru Lucinschi on 26 January said he and his

    Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed at the CIS summit

    in Moscow to hold a special meeting on the break-away

    Transdniester region this July, BASA-Press reported. He said

    the meeting will be attended by representatives from Moldova,

    Transdniester, Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE. Lucinschi

    described the CIS summit as a "turning point" and said Putin

    "unequivocally supported Moldova's position on the resolution

    of the Dniester region problem," ITAR-TASS reported. VG

    [23] TRANSDNIESTER WANTS TROOP WITHDRAWAL COORDINATED WITH

    SETTLEMENT

    Representatives of the Transdniester

    administration said they support the Russian Foreign

    Ministry's position that a withdrawal of Russian troops can

    only take place in conjunction with a political settlement,

    according to ITAR-TASS. The representatives said the Russian

    troops are fulfilling a "stabilizing and peacekeeping

    mission" in the region. Meanwhile, Transdniester authorities

    refused to allow a military inspection team from Spain to

    enter the region on 26 January, BASA-Press reported. The

    Spanish team arrived in Moldova the day before with the

    intention of inspecting Russian army depots in accordance

    with the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. The

    Transdniester authorities said they were denied entry into

    the region because they failed to inform the Tiraspol

    government beforehand. VG

    [24] UKRAINE THREATENS TO CUT OFF ALL ELECTRICITY TO MOLDOVA

    Ukraine on 26 January threatened to cut off all electricity

    exports to Moldova because of unpaid debts, BASA-Press

    reported. Moldovan energy officials described the warning as

    a means of pressuring Chisinau into paying those debts.

    According to BASA-Press, Moldova owes Ukraine some $60

    million in unpaid energy debts. Meanwhile, the Chisinau

    energy distribution network has been cutting off power to

    various neighborhoods of the capital 3-4 times a day for 6-10

    hours. Temperatures in the capital have been oscillating

    recently between 15 C and 20 C degrees below zero. In other

    news, observers from the Helsinki Human Rights Committee on

    26 January said they noted "numerous" violations of the

    electoral rules during the 23 January elections in Taraclia

    county, BASA-Press reported. VG

    [25] BULGARIA WELCOMES EU PROPOSAL ON VISAS

    Bulgarian President

    Petar Stoyanov on 26 January welcomed the European

    Commission's proposal that visa requirements be dropped for

    Bulgarians and Romanians, BTA reported. Stoyanov described

    the proposals as confirmation that the two countries are

    moving in the right direction. The European Commission's

    proposal to include the two Balkan countries on a list of 48

    countries that have visa-free relations with the EU must now

    be approved by the 15 EU governments and the European

    Parliament. An official in the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry

    said Sofia expects the procedure to be completed this year.

    Bulgarian and Romanian experts are scheduled to meet on 28

    January to discuss measures to tighten border controls, which

    is one of the EU's key conditions for lifting visa

    requirements. VG

    [26] BULGARIA REJECTS RUSSIAN CRITICISM OF BALKAN SUMMIT

    Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaykov on 26

    January rejected Russian criticism of the recent Balkan

    summit in the Bulgarian town of Hissar, BTA reported. On 25

    January, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed

    "bewilderment" at the fact that Yugoslavia was not

    represented at the meeting and described the summit as

    "isolationist" with relation to Belgrade. Vlajkov said the

    meeting was not "isolationist" but rather represented "a new

    form of cooperation" in the region. He added: "At a time when

    cooperation with Yugoslavia is difficult, its participation

    in the event would have blocked positive results of the

    meeting," AP reported. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [27] Capital Flight From Russia Continues

    By Robert Lyle

    The global organization of commercial banks, investment

    firms and insurance companies--the Institute of International

    Finance (IIF)--says that capital flight from Russia continues

    to be substantial and should be around $20 billion again this

    year.

    The IIF says the flight of capital from Russia has been

    at about that level annually for the past year or two.

    Charles Dallara, managing-director of the institute,

    told reporters in Washington on 24 January that the problem

    for Moscow continues to be a lack of solid reforms and stable

    policies.

    "Obviously, it will be important for Russia to find some

    policy framework that will stabilize and turn around that

    situation at some point, but we don't have a clear sense that

    that's in the cards," he said

    The director of research for the IIF, Kevin Barnes, says

    there was some reduction in the amount of capital flight from

    Russia in December. But he says even if that decrease

    continues it will not have a major impact on the forecast of

    $20 billion fleeing this year.

    Overall, says Barnes, there are a lot of uncertainties

    ahead for Russia.

    "Perhaps the removal of some of the political

    uncertainty that we fear through a prolonged election period

    could make the situation even more difficult. That will not

    happen. We are having to reevaluate a number of developments.

    Russia has been helped by strong oil prices, (but is) still

    very uncertain on capital flight and what will happen on the

    debt picture."

    The institute says Russia's capital flight and other

    problems will turn private capital flows into the country

    from positive to negative this year--with money more leaving

    than coming in.

    For the rest of what the IIF calls "emerging Europe"--

    Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania,

    Slovakia, and Turkey--the picture is very positive. Private

    capital flows, which had dropped markedly during the 1998

    crisis, are beginning to return and are estimated to have hit

    nearly $32 billion in 1999. They should climb another $500

    million this year.

    Barnes says these countries are drawing external

    financing because of their progress in reforms:

    "We've seen some encouraging steps, such as in Bulgaria.

    But there needs to be continued efforts in that area to work

    toward the goal of convergence with the European union. In

    several of those economies, we see encouraging progress, but

    still more needs to be done."

    Capital flows into all of the emerging economies in the

    world are expected to increase from just below $150 billion

    in 1999 to nearly $200 billion this year. That all depends,

    says the IIF, on a continued strong U.S. economy and no major

    crises anywhere in the world this year.

    Robert Lyle is a former Washington-based correspondent for

    RFE/RL.

    27-01-00


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


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