|Wednesday, 23 January 2019|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 1, 01-01-03
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 4, No. 1, 3 January 2001
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET FOR 2001Meeting in emergency session on 30 December, parliament voted by 99 to 14 with five abstentions to adopt the cabinet's final draft budget for 2001, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The draft, which underwent only minor changes since debates began one week earlier, sets expenditures at 247.2 billion drams ($450 million) and revenues at 193.4 billion drams. The resulting deficit, which is equal to 4.8 percent of planned GDP, will be covered mainly from external loans and grants. The volume of this year's budget is slightly smaller than that for 2000, reflecting a major shortfall in revenues last year that forced the government to abandon some spending programs. The military and related agencies will receive the largest slice of budget funds totalling 36.8 billion drams. Education will receive 30.7 billion drams, social security 28 billion and health care 18 billion. Some 17.5 billion drams is earmarked for servicing Armenia's external debt. Yerevan will also provide some 9 billion drams in financial aid to the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. LF
 ARMENIA RATIFIES COUNCIL OF EUROPE CHARTERAlso on 30 December, deputies voted by 115 to one to ratify the Statute of the Council of Europe, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Armenia is expected to be formally accepted into full membership of that body later this month. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian termed the ratification "historic," while Hovannes Hovannisian, chairman of the parliament committee on foreign affairs, said it "gives us a chance to find our place in the great European family." LF
 AZERBAIJAN'S PRESIDENT APPROVES REGULATIONS FOR STATE OIL FUND...Heidar Aliev approved the government-drafted regulations for the country's state oil fund on 29 December, exactly one year after instructing the cabinet to draft and submit such framework regulations within two months, Turan and Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 January 2000). Aliev had proposed the creation of such a fund, to be administered by the Azerbaijan National Bank, in November 1999. Aliev ordered the state oil company SOCAR to transfer the $270 million liable for payment into the fund to a special bank account by 5 January. Aliev has not yet named the president of the oil fund; in December 1999 the independent daily "Zerkalo" predicted that his son Ilham, who is SOCAR vice-president, would be appointed to that post. LF
 ...PROPOSES HOLDING WORLD CONGRESS OF AZERBAIJANISIn a 31 December address to mark the Day of Solidarity with Azerbaijanis world-wide, President Aliev proposed convening a world congress of Azerbaijanis, to be held some time in the next three years, ITAR-TASS reported. Aliev also appealed to fellow countrymen abroad "to unite around independent Azerbaijan and do their best to make the country prosperous, strong and mighty." LF
 AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PARTY WITHDRAWS FROM REPEAT ELECTIONSNine candidates from the opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party (AMIP) who had registered to contest the 7 January repeat ballot in 11 constituencies where the outcome of the 5 November parliamentary poll was invalidated (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 50, 29 December 2000), have now withdrawn from the ballot, Turan reported on 2 January. A party official explained that the decision was taken in response to the Azerbaijani leadership's failure to fulfill obligations it had given to the Council of Europe. LF
 GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES LINKAGE BETWEEN RUSSIAN BASES ABKHAZ CONFLICT SETTLEMENTIrakli Menagharishvili on 29 December denied that Tbilisi proposed during the visit one week earlier of a Russian delegation headed by Deputy Premier Ilya Klebanov to allow Russia to maintain its military bases in Georgia for a further 15 years in return for more intensive Russian efforts to resolve the Abkhaz conflict, Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 3, No. 50, 29 December 2000). Menagharishvili characterized the bilateral talks as "quite fruitful;" Russian media reports had described them as tense. Menagharishvili also announced that Georgia has completed drafting a new framework treaty on relations with Russia which will be submitted to Moscow "soon," according to Interfax. LF
 U.S. EMBASSY JEEP HIJACKED IN GEORGIAA group of unidentified armed men hijacked a jeep belonging to the U.S. embassy on 29 December in the town of Gori, west of Tbilisi, ITAR-TASS and Caucasus Press reported. The hijackers ordered three diplomats out of the vehicle, and handed over their belongings before driving away. LF
 KYRGYZ PRESIDENT NAMES NEW CABINET...Askar Akaev named the members of Kurmanbek Bakiev's new cabinet on 30 December-2 January, Reuters and RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Akaev named State Construction Committee Chairman Nikolai Tanaev, a Russian, as first deputy prime minister, to replace Boris Silaev, who resigned in November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 November 2000). Arzymat Sulaimankulov was named deputy premier and minister of industry and foreign trade, replacing his former boss Esengul Omuraliev, and Osh Oblast governor Temirbek Akmataliev was named finance minister, replacing Sultan Mederov. Djalalabad Oblast governor Kubanychbek Djumaliev was named minister of transport and communications, and former National Security Minister Tashtemir Aitabaev -- interior minister. Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev, Defense Minister Esen Topoev, Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Kostyuk and Health Minister Tilek Meimanaliev retained their posts. Three days later, Akaev reappointed General Bolot Djanuzakov to head the renamed National Security Service. He also appointed Roza Aknazarova minister of labor and social security and Kamila Sharshekeeva of the American University in Kyrgyzstan minister of education and culture. LF
 ...REGIONAL GOVERNORSOn 30-31 December, President Akaev named new governors for three of the country's seven oblasts where the former incumbents had joined the new cabinet. Former Minister for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense Sultan Urmanaev was appointed governor in Djalalabad and former state secretary Naken Kasiev in Osh. Issyk-Kul Oblast governor Toichubek Kasymov was transferred to the post of governor of Chu Oblast, which had been left vacant following the appointment of Kurmanbek Bakiev as premier. Osh City Mayor Jusupbek Sharipov replaced Kasymov as governor in Issyk-Kul. LF
 UZBEKISTAN CUTS NATURAL GAS DELIVERIES TO KYRGYZSTANFollowing up on a warning delivered on 22 December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 December 2000), Tashkent on 31 December cut natural gas supplies to domestic consumers in Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Uzbekistan had demanded immediate payment of Kyrgyzstan's outstanding $2 million debt for previous gas supplies, of which Bishkek then paid $600,000, according to a senior Kyrgyz government official. Uzbekistan is still supplying gas to fuel Kyrgyz heating and power stations in return for water supplies from Kyrgyzstan. LF
 ELECTRICITY PRICE HIKE IN KYRGYZSTAN POSTPONEDPrime Minister Bakiev told parliament deputies on 29 December that the planned 40 percent price hikes for electricity will not go into force this winter, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Also on 29 December, some 20 residents of the town of Naryn picketed the city administration building to protest non-payment of their social allowances for the past three months. LF
 CHURCH BUILDINGS BOMBED IN TAJIK CAPITALTwo separate bomb blasts in Dushanbe late on 31 December destroyed buildings belonging to a Russian Orthodox church and blew out windows at a Seventh Day Adventist church, Reuters and AP reported. No one was hurt by either explosion. In early October, seven people died when a bomb exploded at a Christian church mission in Dushanbe (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 October 2000). LF
 TAJIKISTAN'S SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS OPPOSITION PARTYAt the request of the Ministry of Justice, Tajikistan's Supreme Court on 26 December suspended for six months the activities of the Adolatkhoh ("Justice") Party, Asia Plus-Blitz reported on 2 January. Supreme Court judge Jalol Isroilov told the agency that the party's activities were suspended because it had violated the article of the Tajik Law on Political Parties that stipulates that all parties must maintain primary organizations in each of the country's oblasts. Adolatkhoh has primary organizations only in two raions of Sughd Oblast. In addition, Isroilov claimed, the party has failed to inform the local authorities of its activities in those districts, and has included in its membership lists persons who know nothing about the party's activities. Adolatkhoh's chairman Abdurakhman Karimov told RFE/RL on 29 December that the suspension is "an act of revenge" on the part of the Tajik leadership in retaliation for the party's opposition to incumbent President Imomali Rakhmonov and his Democratic Party of Tajikistan in the November 1999 presidential elections and the parliamentary poll in February-March 2000. LF
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER GOES TO WASHINGTON...Goran Svilanovic left for Washington on 3 January for a three-day visit, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He is slated to meet with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other State Department officials. A department spokesman said on 2 January that any trial of former President Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia will not reduce the need to try him in The Hague as well (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 November 2000). Svilanovic favors an internationally guaranteed political settlement in Kosova that "stacks the deck" against interests of the province's ethnic Albanian majority, which wants independence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 December 2000 and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 22 December 2000). PM
 ...OUTLINES POLICY GOALS TO MOSCOWSvilanovic is also expected to visit Russia on 17 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 December 2000). He told Moscow's "Nezavisimaya gazeta" of 28 December that Belgrade's primary foreign policy goal is to join the EU, with which Serbia seeks "close cooperation." Belgrade also wants "full- scale cooperation" with both U.S. and Russia. Svilanovic argued, however, that too much has changed in international political life in the past 20 years for Yugoslavia to return to the non-aligned policies of the late Josip Broz Tito. PM
 ETHNIC ALBANIAN FIGHTERS RELEASE SIX SERBSGuerrillas belonging to the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) freed six Serbs unharmed on 1 January in Gjilan, eastern Kosova, following mediation by KFOR. The UCPMB detained the men the previous day as they were travelling through the demilitarized zone in southwest Serbia bordering Kosova. The fighters did not detain nine other, mainly elderly Serbs in the same party. KFOR commander Lieutenant General Carlo Cabigiosu condemned the incident, calling it a kidnapping. "Incidents such as this threaten to undermine the current process that seeks a resolution of the situation in southern Serbia through peaceful means," Reuters on 2 January quoted him as saying. PM
 WHAT LED TO SOUTH SERBIAN INCIDENT?It is not clear why the UCPMB detained the six Serbs. A BBC report on 31 December suggested that the fighters wanted to exchange the civilians for some of the more than 700 ethnic Albanians held in Serbian prisons. UCPMB spokesman Shaqir Shaqiri told Reuters on 1 January, however, that the six were detained to determine whether they had ever participated in atrocities against Albanians. Zoran Djindjic, who is expected to head the next Serbian government, told Beta news agency in Belgrade that U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia William Montgomery "told me that Washington had taken a strong initiative" leading to the release of the detainees. Djindjic blamed their capture on Albanian "extremists" opposed to a 30 December agreement between Serbs and Albanians to dismantle two checkpoints on an important local road and guarantee freedom of movement. PM
 KFOR DEFUSES TENSIONS NEAR SERBIAN BORDER ZONETwo KFOR soldiers entered Serbian territory adjacent to the border zone on the night of 31 December to defuse tensions in the village of Veliki Trnovac after local ethnic Albanians raised an Albanian flag, London's "Guardian" reported on 2 January. The daily added that "despite technically having no right to operate in southern Serbia, KFOR is increasingly acting as a liaison point for Serbian and Albanian forces over troubles in the Serbian zone." Following the release of the six detainees, state-run Serbian television hailed the improved cooperation between the new Serbian authorities and KFOR. In the buffer zone, a UCPMB commander said that "we want a monitoring mission and KFOR based here" because the former Serbian and Yugoslav constitutional guarantees protecting minority rights were abolished under the Milosevic regime. PM
 NO SERBIAN REQUEST TO ENTER ZONEThe BBC on 2 January quoted a KFOR spokesman as saying that KFOR has not received any written request from the Serbian authorities for Serbian forces to enter the zone. PM
 DJINDJIC PAVKOVIC TOUR SERBIAN BORDER AREADjindjic and General Nebojsa Pavkovic, who commanded Milosevic's forces in Kosova in 1999 and now heads the General Staff, toured the Presevo valley on 31 December. Pavkovic kept his job the previous day when Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica sacked 13 top officers loyal to Milosevic. They included ex-Defense Minister Dragoljub Ojdanic, Admiral Milan Zec, General Geza Farkas, and Lieutenant-Colonel Aleksandar Vasiljevic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 December 2000). Kostunica promoted General Vladimir Lazarevic, who heads the Third Army in southern Serbia. Pavkovic announced that military courts will reexamine several cases in which officers were cashiered for political reasons during the Milosevic era, AP reported. They include former top commander General Momcilo Perisic, who subsequently became an opposition politician. PM
 SERBIAN COURT RULING DELAYS FORMATION OF GOVERNMENTThe Supreme Court ruled on 2 January that the recent parliamentary elections must be repeated in 19 out of 8,000 districts, London's "Financial Times" reported. The decision means that Djindjic will have to wait almost three more weeks before he can form a government, which he had wanted to do by mid-January. The governing coalition has a sufficiently strong majority that the outcome of the vote in the 19 districts will not affect the overall political balance. Djindjic plans to investigate past cases of corruption and introduce legislation to ensure transparency in use of government funds. He also wants to modernize industry, banking, and the overall legal and institutional framework in keeping with EU norms. PM
 KOSTUNICA: MONTENEGRO IS 'KEY PROBLEM'Kostunica said in his New Year's address on Serbian television on 31 December that Serbs should abandon the "need to...challenge others," AP reported. He stressed that Montenegro is his government's "key problem." He added that it will not be easy to find a solution, but that "we can do it... It is important that we know what we want and be able to talk and negotiate. We can preserve and constitutionally redefine our country, while building democratic institutions." He told the Belgrade daily "Blic," however, that Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic bears some personal responsibility for the constitution that he now wants to change. Kostunica argued that Djukanovic was part of Milosevic's ruling elite when the current federation was "hastily" formed in 1992. PM
 DJUKANOVIC: 'WE ALONE WILL DECIDE MONTENEGRO'S FUTURE'Djukanovic said in his New Year's address on 31 December that "the New Year is the beginning of a big, realistic hope for Montenegro and its people. We alone will decide our future, and this is what this [dispute with Belgrade] is all about." He argued that Montenegrins have "the right to decide our own destiny, choose our own path, and reach that point in a civilized and democratic manner," AP reported. Djukanovic concluded: "Let us create together a new Montenegro, the one we deserve, a reliable neighbor to all." In an interview with the daily "Pobjeda," Djukanovic said that the problem is that "we want to run our state, but Kostunica also wants to run our state." He accused the Belgrade leadership of "patronizing" Montenegro. PM
 MONTENEGRO HEADED FOR MINORITY GOVERNMENTSupporters of Djukanovic expect to continue in office with a minority government but do not rule out the possibility of early elections, AP reported from Podgorica on 29 December. Djukanovic had previously linked new elections to holding a referendum on independence. The governing coalition broke up on 28 December when the People's Party (NS) left it to protest the government's new "proposal" on Montenegro's political future. The leaders of the NS, which favors continued ties to Serbia, argue that the proposal goes too far toward full independence. The minority government has been assured of the support of the pro-independence Liberal Party. In Belgrade, Djindjic said that his chief objection to the proposal is that it calls for both Serbian and Montenegro to be internationally recognized states with their own respective seats in the UN. He nonetheless ruled out any attempt to keep Montenegro in the federation by force, Reuters reported. He added that there have been no "painless divorces" in the Balkans. PM
 PETRITSCH: 2001 IS 'MAKE OR BREAK' YEAR FOR BOSNIAIn his New Year's message, Wolfgang Petritsch, who is the international community's high representative in Bosnia, said that "the man who unleashed the violent beast of nationalism in former Yugoslavia and has been indicted for war crimes, Slobodan Milosevic, has at least been forced to leave the political scene," AP reported. The Austrian Balkan expert added, however, that "Bosnia has still not taken the decisive leap forward. Changes are occurring, but at a pace far too slow... The honeymoon [between Bosnia and the international community] is over for good. If we don't achieve a decisive breakthrough in 2001, Bosnia will find itself on the outskirts, but not part of European wealth and prosperity." He stressed that his three main priorities are carrying out economic reforms, building state institutions, and promoting the return of refugees and the implementation of property legislation. PM
 ROMANIA TAKES OVER OSCE PRESIDENCYThe Foreign Ministry on 30 December said in a statement that Romania will "promote the ideals of peace, cooperation and security within the OSCE space" and will defend "the values of democracy, the state based on the rule of law and respect for fundamental individual rights and freedoms." Romania has taken over the OSCE rotating presidency as of 1 January, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. In an interview with Mediafax on 2 January, Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana said the OSCE presidency is "the most important international task Romania has had in decades." He also said a meeting between President Ion Iliescu and members of the government will discuss ways to best discharge that task. MS
 ROMANIAN EXTREMISTS SAY PREMIER WAS SECURITATE INFORMERPrime Minister Adrian Nastase on 29 December said he "has no intention of engaging in polemics" with the Greater Romania Party (PRM) concerning allegations that Nastase served as an informer of the former communist secret services, Mediafax reported. In the last issue for 2000, the PRM weekly "Romania mare" wrote that Nastase is a Freemason (which the weekly often associates with an alleged "Judeo-Masonic" anti-Romanian conspiracy) and that he had been recruited by the Securitate as an informer. Nastase said that the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives has verified the personal files of all members of the parliament, adding that he may ask the council to verify again the files of all cabinet members. Also on 29 December, Nastase said the cabinet will set up an Office for Relations with the Moldova Republic. MS
 LUCINSCHI DISSOLVES MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTPresident Petru Lucinschi on 31 December signed a decree dissolving the parliament as of 12 January and scheduling early elections for 25 February, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. He later told journalists that he had signed the decree now "in order not to enter a new year, a new century and a new millennium with old debts." He also called on the electorate to cast their ballots for politicians who will be "more competent and more responsible" than the members of the outgoing legislature. Presidential spokesman Anatol Golea earlier said the new parliament should revise the decision to transform Moldova into a presidential republic. MS
 BALKAN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES POSTED ON INTERNETThe Bulgarian Investment Agency on 2 January announced that foreign investment opportunities for 11 countries in southeastern Europe have been posted on the Internet, AFP reported. Funded by the Balkan Stability Pact, the site www.seeurope.net contains macro-economic data and details of investment projects for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, Albania and Yugoslavia. MS
[C] END NOTE
 TEXT OF NEW RUSSIAN NATIONAL ANTHEMRussia, our sacred state!
Russia, our beloved country!
A mighty will, a great glory
[Are] your inheritance for all time!
May you be glorious, our free Fatherland,
An eternal union of fraternal peoples.
Popular wisdom given by our forebears.
May you be glorious, country! We are proud of you!
From the southern seas to the polar region
Extend our forests and meadows.
You are unique on earth! You are the only such!
Native land protected by God.
A broad space for dreams and for living,
The years open up the future to us.
Our loyalty gives strength to the Fatherland.
Thus it was, thus it is and thus it will be forever!
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty