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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 71, 00-04-10

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. 71, 10 April 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJAN'S SOCAR TO RESUME OIL EXPORTS
  • [02] ALIEV, NAZARBAEV HOPE FOR CIS IMPROVEMENTS
  • [03] TURKIC SUMMIT CALLS FOR COOPERATION ON OIL, CRIME
  • [04] TURKIC COUNTRIES MARK 1300TH ANNIVERSARY OF LITERARY MONUMENT
  • [05] SHEVARDNADZE OVERWHELMINGLY WINS SECOND TERM
  • [06] VIOLATIONS MAR GEORGIAN VOTE
  • [07] GEORGIA SEEKS EXPANDED OSCE PRESENCE ON CHECHEN BORDER
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE PRODUCTION, EXPORT GAS VIA RUSSIA,
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S GDP UP 7 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER
  • [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S NAZARBAEV PROMISES HELP FOR UZBEKISTAN
  • [11] KYRGYZSTAN FEARS FURTHER DESTABILIZATION IN SOUTH
  • [12] CIS SECURITY TREATY GROUP MEETS IN TAJIKISTAN
  • [13] UN CLOSES OFFICE IN NORTHERN TAJIKISTAN
  • [14] U.S. FBI DIRECTOR IN TASHKENT

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] CROATS, SERBS CHOOSE NATIONALISTS IN BOSNIAN VOTE...
  • [16] ...WHILE BOSNIAN MUSLIMS TURN TO SOCIAL DEMOCRATS
  • [17] POLITICAL CRISIS IN SLOVENIA
  • [18] IS WASHINGTON SEEKING TIES TO MILOSEVIC?
  • [19] U.S. DISCIPLINES CIA EMPLOYEES OVER BELGRADE EMBASSY BOMBING
  • [20] JOURNALISTS DEMAND RESULTS OF SERBIAN MURDER PROBE
  • [21] FRENCH SEPARATE CROWDS IN MITROVICA
  • [22] CROATIA AGREES TO EXAMINATION OF MASS GRAVE
  • [23] CROATIA ONE STEP CLOSER TO NATO
  • [24] STRIKE EXPANDS IN CROATIA
  • [25] MOLDOVAN POLITICIANS DISMISS 'REPUBLIC' PROPOSALS
  • [26] MOLDOVA, RUSSIA SIGN DEBT RESCHEDULING
  • [27] BULGARIAN POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN MURDER OF LUKANOV
  • [28] BULGARIA WANTS COMMON INFORMATION STRATEGY FOR EU CANDIDATES
  • [29] BULGARIA URGES EU TO APPOINT CHIEF NEGOTIATOR

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] MONTENEGRO TO EXPAND ITS DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE ABROAD

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJAN'S SOCAR TO RESUME OIL EXPORTS

    SOCAR's press service told Interfax on 9 April that the state oil

    company will resume oil exports next week via the Baku-

    Novorossiisk pipeline. It plans to export approximately 2 million

    tons of oil by that route this year. So far this year, however,

    SOCAR has used this route for only three days in mid-January,

    pumping approximately 7,000 tons of oil. Meanwhile, SOCAR

    President Natik Aliev said that Baku does not look to Iran as a

    major market for selling its gas. He suggested that Turkmenistan

    would dominate that export sector. PG

    [02] ALIEV, NAZARBAEV HOPE FOR CIS IMPROVEMENTS

    Meeting on 8 April in advance of the scheduled Turkic summit,

    Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev and Kazakhstan President

    Nursultan Nazarbaev said that they hope the election of Vladimir

    Putin as president of Russia will make the CIS "a more efficient"

    body, Interfax reported. Aliev noted that the CIS has so far

    failed to live up to expectations. PG

    [03] TURKIC SUMMIT CALLS FOR COOPERATION ON OIL, CRIME

    The leaders of six Turkic-language countries--including the

    presidents of Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan as

    well as the parliamentary speakers of Turkmenistan and

    Uzbekistan--met in Baku on 8 April for their annual summit, ITAR-

    TASS reported. They agreed to work more closely to export raw

    materials, particularly oil, and to fight crime and international

    terrorism. Azerbaijani President Aliev said that this sixth

    Turkic summit (the first was in 1992) will help boost trade,

    economic, and cultural ties among the six. PG

    [04] TURKIC COUNTRIES MARK 1300TH ANNIVERSARY OF LITERARY MONUMENT

    Representatives from around the Turkic world met in Baku on 9

    April to mark the 1300th anniversary of the Turkic epic Kitab-i

    Dede Qorqut, generally considered to be the first literary

    monument in Turkic, ITAR-TASS reported. The original manuscript

    is in Dresden, Germany, but Azerbaijan was recently given a

    facsimile copy. PG

    [05] SHEVARDNADZE OVERWHELMINGLY WINS SECOND TERM

    With most votes counted, Eduard Shevardnadze won a second five-

    year term as Georgian president in the 9 April elections. He

    received more than 80 percent of the vote, with his nearest

    competitor, Dzhumber Patiashvili, garnering only 16 percent.

    Turnout was reported at 70 percent. Shevardnadze's victory came

    after two of his opponents, including Adjari's Aslan Abashidze,

    withdrew at the last moment. The day before the vote, Russian

    President-elect Vladimir Putin telephoned Shevardnadze to wish

    him luck, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 April. PG

    [06] VIOLATIONS MAR GEORGIAN VOTE

    The campaign office of defeated presidential challenger

    Patiashvili said that there were numerous violations of the

    electoral law, a charge the Georgian Central Election Commission

    denied on 9 April. But at least some of the 150 foreign observers

    also noted violations. One, OSCE representative Hans Gutbod, was

    ejected from a polling station in Western Georgia when he

    attempted to investigate ballot box stuffing and other violations

    of the law, ITAR-TASS reported. PG

    [07] GEORGIA SEEKS EXPANDED OSCE PRESENCE ON CHECHEN BORDER

    A Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman told dpa on 8 April that

    Tbilisi would like the OSCE to expand its presence on the

    Georgian-Chechen border. Tbilisi is concerned that with the

    coming of spring, Chechen fighters will cross the mountains into

    Georgia. Currently, the OSCE has 12 observers there, ITAR-TASS

    reported. PG

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE PRODUCTION, EXPORT GAS VIA RUSSIA,

    AZERBAIJAN

    Kazakhoil President Nurlan Balgimbaev announced on 9 April that

    his company may double production over the next two years and is

    considering exporting natural gas to Turkey via both Russia and

    Azerbaijan. To handle these increased exports, he said,

    Kazakhstan is vitally interested in the construction of a new

    pipeline to the West. PG

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN'S GDP UP 7 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER

    Kazakhstan's GDP grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2000,

    compared with the same period in 1999, Interfax-Kazakhstan

    reported on 7 April. PG

    [10] KAZAKHSTAN'S NAZARBAEV PROMISES HELP FOR UZBEKISTAN

    Kazakhstan President Nazarbaev said in Baku on 8 April that his

    country will regard actions directed against Uzbekistan as

    actions directed against Kazakhstan and will do what it can to

    oppose terrorism in the Central Asian region, Interfax reported.

    He said that he has information that extremists "operating under

    the cover of religion" plan to try to destabilize Uzbekistan.

    Meanwhile, Kazakhstan officials again denied any involvement with

    a truck allegedly carrying radioactive materials, Reuters

    reported on 8 April. PG

    [11] KYRGYZSTAN FEARS FURTHER DESTABILIZATION IN SOUTH

    Kyrgyzstan Security Council secretary Bolot Dzhanuzakov told

    ITAR-TASS on 8 April that "the danger of a new aggravation of the

    situation in the south of the country and of a new attack by

    international terrorists from outside are real." He said that "we

    know for sure that international terrorists are being trained in

    special camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some other countries.

    They are buying weapons and combat equipment, including transport

    means." And he called for regional cooperation to "do everything

    for the physical destruction of terrorists who pose a serious

    threat not only to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, but to the entire

    Central Asian region." PG

    [12] CIS SECURITY TREATY GROUP MEETS IN TAJIKISTAN

    Secretaries of the Security Councils of Russia, Belarus,

    Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Tajikistan met in Dushanbe

    on 8-9 April, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian Security Council

    Secretary Sergei Ivanov told the group that they must work

    together to fight the spread of narcotics, illegal migration, and

    terrorism. He added that he cannot rule out "pre-emptive strikes"

    against terrorist groups in Afghanistan. His comments were echoed

    by Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmonov, who welcomed the group

    to his country. PG

    [13] UN CLOSES OFFICE IN NORTHERN TAJIKISTAN

    The UN mission in Tajikistan closed its last office in the

    northern part of the country on 7 April, ITAR-TASS reported.

    Earlier, the mission had shut down its offices in the south. The

    mission is slated to complete its work in Tajikistan before 15

    May. PG

    [14] U.S. FBI DIRECTOR IN TASHKENT

    Louis Freeh, director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of

    Investigation, visited Tashkent on 8-9 April for discussions on

    cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism not only in

    Uzbekistan but in Central Asia as a whole, ITAR-TASS reported. He

    reportedly will discuss how the U.S. can cooperate in

    Uzbekistan's struggle "against extremism and religious

    fanaticism," the Russian news agency reported. PG


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] CROATS, SERBS CHOOSE NATIONALISTS IN BOSNIAN VOTE...

    Some 70 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the 8

    April municipal and local elections. Voters in some areas had

    difficulty finding polling stations, but international observers

    said that the vote was generally free and fair and without

    serious incident. Preliminary returns suggest that the

    nationalist Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) won in all

    predominantly Croatian areas. Radovan Karadzic's Serbian

    Democratic Party (SDS) has "swept" most areas in the Republika

    Srpska, "Vesti" reported on 10 April. Some observers said that

    the large vote for the SDS reflected many Serbs' anger over the

    recent arrest of prominent politician Momcilo Krajisnik and his

    deportation to The Hague (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 April 2000).

    Spokesmen for Prime Minister Milorad Dodik's Independent Social

    Democrats told Reuters that they are confident that their party

    will finish second in the Republika Srpska. Former President

    Biljana Plavsic's Serbian People's League and the Socialists

    appear headed for a "real catastrophe," "Vesti" reported. PM

    [16] ...WHILE BOSNIAN MUSLIMS TURN TO SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

    In contrast, many Muslim voters turned away from the nationalist

    Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and gave the Social Democrats

    control of up to 20 municipalities, including Sarajevo, Tuzla,

    Bihac, and Gorazde. A spokesman for the SDA conceded losing a

    majority in only six municipalities, VOA's Croatian Service

    reported. Several representatives of the international community,

    including U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Thomas Miller, hailed the

    Social Democrats' gains as the start of a "new era" in which

    voters will increasingly opt for issue-oriented, civic-based

    parties rather than nationalist ones based on ethnicity. Social

    Democratic leader Zlatko Lagumdzija called the election results

    the "biggest change since the [1995] Dayton" peace agreements. He

    added that "Bosnia has risen to its feet." Complete election

    results are expected in the course of 10 April. PM

    [17] POLITICAL CRISIS IN SLOVENIA

    Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek lost a vote of confidence on 8

    April, ending his eight years in office (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7

    April 2000). One observer said that the result is Slovenia's

    biggest political crisis since independence in 1991, AP reported.

    Marjan Podobnik, who heads the conservative People's Party, asked

    his party colleague Franci Demsar to try to put together a right-

    of-center government. Such a cabinet is expected to consist of

    the People's Party, the Christian Democrats, and the rightist

    Social Democrats, but they will lack a majority without the

    support of the far-right National Party of Zmago Jelincic.

    Jelincic has said that he will support Demsar only in return for

    the Interior Ministry portfolio. President Milan Kucan must call

    elections for no later than mid-July if Demsar fails to form a

    government within 30 days. PM

    [18] IS WASHINGTON SEEKING TIES TO MILOSEVIC?

    "The Sunday Times" on 9 April wrote that "there is a lot of

    bargaining going on at the moment" between Washington and

    Belgrade. The Yugoslav government of President Slobodan Milosevic

    wants to overcome its isolation. The U.S. State Department hopes

    to restore diplomatic ties to Belgrade in order to be better

    informed about what is happening inside Serbia, the British

    weekly added. The U.S. also concerned about expanding links

    between Serbia and China (see "RFE/RL South Slavic Report," 16

    and 23 March 2000). Russia and Greece acted as intermediaries in

    setting up contacts between the U.S. and Serbia, the newspaper

    noted. PM

    [19] U.S. DISCIPLINES CIA EMPLOYEES OVER BELGRADE EMBASSY BOMBING

    The CIA has fired one employee and reprimanded six others in

    connection with the bombing by U.S. aircraft of the Chinese

    embassy in Belgrade on 7 May 1999, AP reported on 9 April. U.S.

    officials claim that the bombing was a mistake and the result of

    faulty intelligence information. PM

    [20] JOURNALISTS DEMAND RESULTS OF SERBIAN MURDER PROBE

    The Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia issued a

    statement on 9 April in which it demanded that the Yugoslav

    Interior Ministry publish the results of its investigations into

    the murder of Slavko Curuvija. Unidentified gunmen killed the

    publisher of the banned daily "Telegraf" and weekly "Evropljanin"

    on 11 April 1999 in Belgrade after a pro-Milosevic newspaper

    accused him of supporting NATO air strikes. PM

    [21] FRENCH SEPARATE CROWDS IN MITROVICA

    French peacekeepers used tear gas to prevent some 100 angry Serbs

    from crossing into primarily Albanian southern Mitrovica on 9

    April. The Serbs were upset over a previous incident in which

    three ethnic Albanian employees of the OSCE crossed into northern

    Mitrovica and took photos. The Serbs were also concerned about

    large crowds forming on the Albanian side in conjunction with a

    soccer game. In a separate development, a Serb who escaped arrest

    by U.S. peacekeepers in southern Kosova the previous week turned

    himself in (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 April 2000). Local Serbs

    accused U.S. forces of "blackmail" by allegedly withholding

    escorts for Serbian convoys through Albanian areas until the man

    surrendered, Reuters reported. PM

    [22] CROATIA AGREES TO EXAMINATION OF MASS GRAVE

    The Croatian government on 9 April gave the Hague-based war

    crimes tribunal permission to examine a reported mass grave of

    ethnic Serbs in the Gospic area. The Serbs are believed to have

    been killed by Croatian nationalists in 1991 solely on the basis

    of their ethnicity. PM

    [23] CROATIA ONE STEP CLOSER TO NATO

    Javier Ruperez, who is chairman of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly,

    told Croatian parliamentary speaker Zlatko Tomcic in Zagreb on 10

    April that Croatia has been admitted to the assembly as an

    observer. PM

    [24] STRIKE EXPANDS IN CROATIA

    Workers at the Pik agricultural enterprise are continuing their

    protest for back wages by blocking roads in the Vrbovec area. The

    protest action began several days ago. Union representatives said

    in Zagreb on 10 April that workers will block the Zagreb-Budapest

    railway line at two unnamed places if they do not receive their

    wages by mid-day. Workers told "Jutarnji list" that they must

    continue their protest because "people are hungry." PM

    [25] MOLDOVAN POLITICIANS DISMISS 'REPUBLIC' PROPOSALS

    Moldovan parliamentary chairman Dumitru Diakov on 7 April

    rejected recent proposals by the Republic movement on how to

    solve Transdniester problems as "purely provocative," Infotag

    reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 April 2000). Presidential

    spokesman Anatol Golea said on 7 April that the head of state is

    open to any suggestions that do not contravene the constitution,

    which stipulates that Moldova is a neutral state. Golea said

    Republic's proposal is just one of many "extravagant" suggestions

    that have been made public recently. VG

    [26] MOLDOVA, RUSSIA SIGN DEBT RESCHEDULING

    Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Cucu said on 7 April that

    Moldova has signed an agreement with Russia to reschedule

    Moldova's $122 million state debt for 20 years with a five-year

    pardon period and an interest rate of 7.5 percent, BASA-Press

    reported. He said the two sides also initialed an agreement on

    the delivery of Russian gas, which is to be signed in two weeks.

    In other news, former Prime Minister Ion Sturza has said that he

    had "a relationship" with the former Soviet KGB between 1983 and

    1990, when he worked in institutions connected to foreign

    relations, Infotag reported. VG

    [27] BULGARIAN POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN MURDER OF LUKANOV

    Bulgarian police on 7 April arrested a Ukrainian man in

    connection with the 1996 murder of Andrei Lukanov, who was a top

    Socialist Party member. The Ukrainian citizen, Aleksandr Russov,

    is the sixth suspect to be arrested in connection with the murder

    of Lukanov. VG

    [28] BULGARIA WANTS COMMON INFORMATION STRATEGY FOR EU CANDIDATES

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova said on 9 April

    that the countries aspiring to EU membership should adopt a

    common information strategy to publicize the challenges involved

    in joining the EU and to clarify their political positions and

    strategies, AP reported. Mihailova made her proposal at a

    conference in Sofia that was attended by delegates from countries

    striving for EU membership. VG

    [29] BULGARIA URGES EU TO APPOINT CHIEF NEGOTIATOR

    A Bulgarian Foreign Ministry official said on 7 April that his

    country is concerned about the fact that the EU has yet to

    appoint a chief negotiator for membership talks with Bulgaria,

    Reuters reported. The official said it could be another two or

    three months before the EU appoints a negotiator, which, he

    argued, "is too slow." He added that the country fears that the

    delay will "not have a positive effect on the talks." VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [30] MONTENEGRO TO EXPAND ITS DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE ABROAD

    By Patrick Moore

    The Montenegrin leadership has been prudently pursuing a

    political framework that will enable it to develop its own

    democracy and economy. It is now preparing to gradually extend

    its activities on the diplomatic front.

    Last year, Podgorica proposed a concrete set of measures for

    redefining the terms of the federation with Serbia. It soon

    became clear that Belgrade was not willing to talk seriously and

    was more interested in undermining the leadership of President

    Milo Djukanovic through local Milosevic supporters, the military,

    and an economic blockade. Podgorica consequently continued with

    its gradualist approach toward what will certainly be all but

    independence.

    The gradualism is the result of a variety of considerations.

    First, Djukanovic and his team know what is possible and what is

    not. They know that they need the economic, political,

    diplomatic, and perhaps military support of the EU and U.S. if

    they are to succeed. Brussels and Washington, however, have made

    it clear that they do not relish the prospect of the further

    disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. Instead, they want

    Montenegro to stay within Yugoslavia and support the cause of

    democracy in Serbia.

    The Montenegrin leaders are under no illusions about what

    they can do for Serbia. They have said repeatedly and publicly

    that only the Serbs can reform and regenerate Serbia. But as long

    as the international community frowns upon Montenegrin

    independence, Djukanovic speaks of a referendum on the subject

    only in vague terms as something for the future.

    A second reason why he does not press ahead is that he does

    not have the strong domestic support for independence that

    Slovenia's Milan Kucan and Croatia's Franjo Tudjman had in 1991.

    The key issue is that there has never been a clear consensus

    among Montenegrins as to whether they are a distinct, separate

    people or a special branch of the Serbian nation. This problem

    has bedeviled Montenegrin politics since the 19th century and

    will not be resolved soon. It is the basic question that

    underlies the current dispute with Belgrade.

    Thus it is not surprising that Djukanovic won the presidency

    in late 1997 with barely half the vote. He defeated the pro-

    Milosevic Momir Bulatovic only with the support of the Muslim and

    Albanian minorities. Public opinion polls suggest that there is

    still no clear backing for independence, despite two years of

    provocations by Bulatovic's followers and by pro-Milosevic

    activities by the army.

    Bulatovic knows that and has sought to shore up his

    position. He and his supporters have sought to make political

    capital out of the fact that Djukanovic needed minority votes to

    get elected. The pro-Milosevic camp has also cynically noted

    cases of corruption and mafia-like activities among Djukanovic's

    backers, knowing full well that the two camps had not yet

    separated at the start of the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession in

    1991 and both profited handsomely from sanctions-busting in the

    following years.

    Milosevic's supporters have also sought to consolidate their

    backing among the "clans" and other people in the northern and

    mountainous territories that were added to the historical

    Montenegrin kingdom during or after 1878. People in this area

    tend to support union with Serbia.

    But not all matters are black and white. Djukanovic told

    "RFE/RL Balkan Report" in Prague in October 1999 that opinion in

    the north is changing and that, in any case, "we have things

    under control." In the long run, Podgorica is counting on growing

    support for its policies as voters increasingly come to perceive

    the link with Milosevic's Serbia as detrimental to Montenegro's

    and to their own personal economic interests.

    In the meantime, Djukanovic has been taking concrete steps.

    In November 1999, he introduced the German mark as a parallel

    currency to the Yugoslav dinar to guard Montenegro against

    exported inflation from Serbia. He and his lieutenants frequently

    go abroad and make their views known to the international media.

    His latest move is to expand Montenegro's fledgling

    diplomatic presence. His backers argue that Montenegro has the

    oldest tradition of statehood of any country in today's Balkans

    and that the demise of the Montenegrin kingdom at the end of

    World War I does not change previous history. They say it is only

    natural for Montenegro to have its own representatives abroad, as

    do, for example, many U.S. or German federal states.

    On 6 April, Foreign Minister Branko Lukovac was even more

    blunt. He charged that Belgrade's "diplomatic network does not

    serve the interests of [Montenegro]. Since Montenegro has great

    need for international cooperation and since the world is

    interested in supporting Montenegro to help it develop, we must

    establish our own state bodies and a network abroad."

    Podgorica already has missions in Washington, London,

    Ljubljana, and Brussels. Lukovac now wants to add New York,

    Moscow, Skopje, and Sarajevo to the list. And certainly an office

    in the Zagreb of President Stipe Mesic and Prime Minister Ivica

    Racan cannot be far off. Lukovac stressed that "we are also

    interested in establishing the best possible relations with

    Croatia."

    The main issue on the agenda for Zagreb-Podgorica relations

    involves Croatia's Prevlaka peninsula, which controls the

    entrance to Montenegro's Kotor Bay. Located there is the Yugoslav

    navy's only deep-water base. Podgorica has suggested that

    Montenegro and Croatia should quickly solve the problem between

    themselves, since Belgrade has shown little interest in doing so.

    So far, Zagreb has dealt with the federal government. That may

    not be the case for long.

    10-04-00


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


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