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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 26, 01-02-07

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. 5, No. 26, 7 February 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER, ALLIES QUIT RULING COALITION PARTNER
  • [02] FORMER ARMENIAN DISSIDENT CALLS FOR DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT
  • [03] ARMENIAN EX-MINISTER CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION
  • [04] CORDON AROUND AZERBAIJAN WAR INVALIDS' HQ REINFORCED
  • [05] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER DENIES ARRANGING RUSSIAN FUNDING FOR 1999 ELECTION CAMPAIGN...
  • [06] ...SAYS GEORGIA SHOULD PAY PENSIONS BEFORE FOREIGN DEBTS
  • [07] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS SPANISH HOSTAGES IN DANGER
  • [08] KAZAKH CORRUPTION WHISTLE-BLOWER SENTENCED IN ABSENTIA
  • [09] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES INTERCEDE FOR JAILED OPPOSITION POLITICIAN
  • [10] EBRD DELEGATION VISITS KYRGYZSTAN
  • [11] TAJIKISTAN SEEKS TO ENSURE OPTIMUM USE OF WATER, ELECTRICITY RESOURCES
  • [12] TWO MORE TAJIKS KILLED BY LANDMINE ON BORDER WITH UZBEKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [13] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT: UNION WITH SERBIA WILL SLOW REFORM PROCESS
  • [14] DJUKANOVIC DENIES LINK BETWEEN MONTENEGRIN, KOSOVA QUESTIONS
  • [15] CROATIAN PRESIDENT: SERBIA MUST HAND OVER WAR CRIMINALS...
  • [16] ...AND NOT RECEIVE AID UNTIL IT DOES
  • [17] CROATIAN PRESIDENT: BOSNIA MUST REMAIN UNITED
  • [18] MILOSEVIC MINISTER FOUND DEAD
  • [19] SERBIAN GOVERNMENT PARTY BLAMES OLD REGIME FOR CAR ATTACK
  • [20] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES TO TALK TO 'TERRORISTS'?
  • [21] U.S. DIPLOMATS UNDER FIRE IN SOUTHWEST SERBIA?
  • [22] KOSOVARS TO IDENTIFY BODIES FROM BELONGINGS
  • [23] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY SPLITS
  • [24] BOSNIAN SERBS, CROATS UNITE AGAINST U.S. AMBASSADOR
  • [25] WASHINGTON DEFENDS ITS BOSNIAN REPRESENTATIVE
  • [26] CROATIAN COURT ORDERS WAR CRIMES RETRIAL
  • [27] U.S. JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS PROTEST AGAINST NEW ANTONESCU STATUE
  • [28] ROMANIAN SENATE CHAIRMAN RESIGNS BANK POSITION
  • [29] ROMANIA 'SATISFIED' WITH EU PRELIMINARY REPORT ON VISA LIFTING
  • [30] BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS PROTEST NOMINATION OF NEW RADIO CHIEF
  • [31] BULGARIAN PREMIER REJECTS CABINET RESHUFFLE OVER SURGING CRIME
  • [32] BULGARIAN PREMIER HINTS NATO DEVELOPMENTS IN OFFING

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [33] There is no end note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER, ALLIES QUIT RULING COALITION PARTNER

    Former Prime Minister Aram Sargsian and former Yerevan mayor Albert Bazeyan have announced their intention of forming a new "conservative opposition organization," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 6 February. Sarkisian also announced his resignation from the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), one of the two components of the majority Miasniutiun parliament coalition. Bazeyan had quit the HHK last week to protest its board's refusal to take up his recent dismissal with President Robert Kocharian. In a written statement released on 6 February, the two men accused Prime Minister Andranik Markarian of becoming "the appendage of a vicious government" which by its "total neglect of the rule of law" had diverged from the principles of the HHK's founder, Sargsian's murdered brother Vazgen. Eight other former HHK members who left that party last year to form the Hayastan parliament faction said the same day they will align with Sargsian's new opposition formation. LF

    [02] FORMER ARMENIAN DISSIDENT CALLS FOR DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT

    Self-Determination Union founder and chairman Paruyr Hairikian told journalists in Yerevan on 6 February that he hopes President Kocharian will "find the courage and help the people get rid" of the present Armenian parliament and call new elections, Noyan Tapan reported. Hairikian said dissolving the legislature would be an appropriate symbol of spiritual renewal to mark the tenth anniversary of Armenia's independence and the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the state religion. LF

    [03] ARMENIAN EX-MINISTER CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION

    Ashot Safarian, who served as industry minister under then President Levon Ter-Petrossian from 1991-1997, has been charged with large-scale embezzlement of public funds, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 6 February quoting law enforcement officials. Safarian is accused of having illegally written off a Georgian chemical company's $6.2 million debt to the Armenian government. LF

    [04] CORDON AROUND AZERBAIJAN WAR INVALIDS' HQ REINFORCED

    On 7 February some 200-300 Interior Ministry troops joined the police who last week cordoned off the Baku headquarters of the Society of Karabakh War Invalids, several hundred of whom began a hunger-strike on 22 January to demand an increase in their pensions and allowances, Turan reported. Meanwhile opposition party leaders and prominent members of the Azerbaijani intelligentsia are continuing to visit the hunger-strikers to pledge support for their demands. LF

    [05] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER DENIES ARRANGING RUSSIAN FUNDING FOR 1999 ELECTION CAMPAIGN...

    Speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi on 6 February, Zurab Zhvania denied Georgian press reports that the ruling Union of Citizens of Georgia (SMK) received $1 million from Russia to fund its October 1999 parliamentary election campaign, Caucasus Press reported. Zhvania said he will resign if those allegations are proven to be correct. He admitted that the SMK invited "two or three" unnamed Russian experts to advise on the conduct of the campaign, but argued that other political parties had done likewise. Interfax had quoted Georgian papers as reporting that Zhvania had travelled to Moscow several months before the parliamentary ballot to meet with an unnamed Russian deputy prime minister who agreed to finance the services of 12 Russian spin-doctors. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze had told journalists on 5 February that Zhvania had hired Russian spin- doctors to advise SMK parliamentary candidates, but added that he does not know who paid those advisors and how much they received. LF

    [06] ...SAYS GEORGIA SHOULD PAY PENSIONS BEFORE FOREIGN DEBTS

    Zhvania told a session of the Georgian parliament bureau on 6 February that he is "surprised" that the government should give priority to repaying the country's foreign debts rather than to wages and pensions, Caucasus Press reported. Last month the Social Fund did not receive any money for pensions from the central budget, as a result of which pensions were funded by only 43 percent. Georgia's foreign debt currently amounts to some $2 billion. But pensioned police officers who had been picketing the Georgian parliament since late last month to demand 11 months' pensions arrears began receiving those payments on 6 February. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS SPANISH HOSTAGES IN DANGER

    Caucasus Press on 6 February quoted Kakha Targamadze as telling "Moscow News" that the plight of the two Spanish businessmen abducted near Tbilisi on 1 December has deteriorated since their relatives began trying to ransom them. He said the kidnappers, who are believed to be holding the two men in the Pankisi gorge in north-eastern Georgia, are demanding a $3 million ransom, while the families of the two men can pay only $300,000 for their release. Targamadze had complained last month that relatives of the two men had embarked on their own mediation with the kidnappers, thereby creating problems for the Georgian police trying to mediate the Spaniards' release. But relatives of the two Spaniards later denied having established any contact with the kidnappers (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 and 18 January 2001). LF

    [08] KAZAKH CORRUPTION WHISTLE-BLOWER SENTENCED IN ABSENTIA

    The Shymkent City Court on 5 February sentenced Temirtas Tleulesov, author of a book on corruption among the Shymkent municipal authorities, to two years' imprisonment on charges of hooliganism, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported the following day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 November 2000). Tleulesov is currently in hiding, and a nation-wide search for him is underway. LF

    [09] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES INTERCEDE FOR JAILED OPPOSITION POLITICIAN

    Eight deputies to Kyrgyzstan's Legislative Assembly (the upper chamber of the legislature) appealed on 6 February to the Supreme Military Court to release former Vice President Feliks Kulov until the appeal against his seven year sentence has been heard, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. They also asked that Kulov be allowed to participate in a round-table between members of the government, the opposition, the media and NGOs that is scheduled for later this month. The Military Court passed sentence on Kulov last month on charges of abusing his official position while serving in 1997-1998 as National Security Minister, having acquitted him on the same charges last summer (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 August 2000 and 22 January 2001). Also on 6 February, some 20 Kulov supporters staged a picket in Bishkek to demand Kulov's acquittal and release. LF

    [10] EBRD DELEGATION VISITS KYRGYZSTAN

    A delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development met with Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev in Bishkek on 6 February, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. EBRD representative Fernand Pionel told journalists after that meeting that the Bank plans in future to give priority to the private sector and commercial banks when allocating loans to Kyrgyzstan, Interfax reported. Hitherto 65 percent of loans went to the public sector. The EBRD will establish an investment bank in Kyrgyzstan that will have initial charter capital of $7 million and will grant loans to small and medium businesses. LF

    [11] TAJIKISTAN SEEKS TO ENSURE OPTIMUM USE OF WATER, ELECTRICITY RESOURCES

    At a meeting of government ministers and specialists on 6 February, Prime Minister Aqil Aqilov charged First Deputy Minister of Irrigation Musoyabsho Nazriev with drafting by 1 June a draft program on the rational use of water resources, Asia Plus-Blitz reported. A government commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Qozidavlat Qimdodov has been formed to draft a broader state program on the use of both water and electricity. LF

    [12] TWO MORE TAJIKS KILLED BY LANDMINE ON BORDER WITH UZBEKISTAN

    Two Tajiks were killed and three more seriously injured by a land mine explosion on 6 February in the Isfara district of Sughd Oblast, Asia Plus- Blitz reported on 7 February. Dozens of Tajik civilians have been killed in recent months by landmines laid by Uzbek forces along that country's borders with Tajikistan in order to deter incursions by militants from the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [13] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT: UNION WITH SERBIA WILL SLOW REFORM PROCESS

    Milo Djukanovic said in New York on 6 February that "Serbia evidently prefers a joint state, a state which will constitute a single international entity. For us this is unacceptable because this implies returning to the former status. We believe that we have made considerable progress compared to Serbia in terms of economic and democratic reforms and any return into a federation and such a joint framework would entail slowing down such processes." Djukanovic added that "we fear that the new leadership remains prey to a historic view from Serbia of Montenegro. I would liken this to an attitude of an elder to a younger, smaller brother. Quite simply, Montenegro no longer feels the need for that excessive love," RFE/RL reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 19 and 23 January 2001). PM

    [14] DJUKANOVIC DENIES LINK BETWEEN MONTENEGRIN, KOSOVA QUESTIONS

    The Montenegrin president also said in New York on 6 February that it is wrong to link the question of Montenegro's political future with that of Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 6 February 2001). "We are being requested to give up our own interests to continue being victims and hostages to the resolution of the Kosovo problem. And all this without any prospect that if Montenegro gives up its national interests that will help resolve the Kosovo problem," RFE/RL quoted Djukanovic as saying. PM

    [15] CROATIAN PRESIDENT: SERBIA MUST HAND OVER WAR CRIMINALS...

    Stipe Mesic told Vienna's "Die Presse" of 7 February that the Serbian authorities must send all indicted war criminals to The Hague in order to establish individual guilt for war crimes. If Belgrade does not do this, Serbia's neighbors will be likely to assign collective guilt for war crimes to the entire Serbian people. The extradition of guilty parties would be part of a long-overdue "catharsis for the Serbian population" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 17 October 2000 and 6 February 2001). Mesic noted that Serbia must come to regard Serbian minorities in neighboring countries as "bridges...and not as outposts for aggression." PM

    [16] ...AND NOT RECEIVE AID UNTIL IT DOES

    Croatian President Mesic also told Vienna's "Die Presse" of 7 February that "if the international community is serious about [prosecuting war criminals], then it must not give Serbia financial and material assistance until it is clear that [Serbia] will cooperate with The Hague." Mesic noted that former President Slobodan Milosevic "did not want either a federal or a confederal Yugoslavia. He wanted an ethnically cleansed Greater Serbia. That's why he went to war. And now everybody, everywhere understands that." Mesic added that the main flaw facing the former Yugoslavia was that "there were too few integrating forces" to hold it together. He argued that a peaceful separation on the Czechoslovak model would have been possible had it not been for Milosevic's aggressive policies. PM

    [17] CROATIAN PRESIDENT: BOSNIA MUST REMAIN UNITED

    President Mesic further told Vienna's "Die Presse" of 7 February that one of the main accomplishments of the post-Tudjman Croatian leadership is that it convinced the Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina that they must seek solutions to their problems within that republic and not in Croatia. He noted that the time for changing borders is past, and that "Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be divided up any more than Switzerland can." PM

    [18] MILOSEVIC MINISTER FOUND DEAD

    Zoran Sokolovic, who was Milosevic's last federal interior minister, was found dead in his Lada Niva car on 6 February in his home village of Lepen near Knjazevac. The 68 year-old had a pistol in his hand, but current Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service unofficially on 7 February that he doubts the death was a suicide. Zivkovic pointed out that Sokolovic was killed with a rifle bullet, not a pistol shot. The Serbian Interior Ministry said in a statement, however, that suicide was "most probably" the cause of death. The former minister was already close to Milosevic at the start of the latter's meteoric rise to power in 1987 and stayed with him to the end. Sokolovic's power and influence were well known, but he preferred to keep a low profile and stay out of the political limelight, Hina reported. PM

    [19] SERBIAN GOVERNMENT PARTY BLAMES OLD REGIME FOR CAR ATTACK

    The Democratic Party said in a statement in Belgrade on 6 February that the fire that recently destroyed the jeep of a government political leader was a "deliberate terrorist act, targeting democratic and economic reforms undertaken in Serbia" by the new authorities," AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 February 2001). PM

    [20] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES TO TALK TO 'TERRORISTS'?

    In an apparent reversal of a long-standing policy not to acknowledge the existence of or talk to the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB), Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said in Belgrade on 6 February that "if Albanians believe that terrorists are their adequate representatives, then talks are possible" with the UCPMB, AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 February 2001). "Terrorists and separatists" are the terms that the Milosevic regime used and the current authorities employ to describe ethnic Albanian fighters in the Presevo region. Elsewhere, AFP quoted a Presevo Albanian political spokesman as saying that local Albanian leaders have met in Prishtina and worked out a joint negotiating position. It is not clear if the meeting included the UCPMB. PM

    [21] U.S. DIPLOMATS UNDER FIRE IN SOUTHWEST SERBIA?

    Cars carrying U.S. Balkans envoy James Pardew, Ambassador to Yugoslavia William Montgomery, and Yugoslav officials in the troubled region turned back from the village of Lucane on 6 February after gunfire was heard, a U.S. embassy spokesman said. He did not comment on official Serbian reports that Albanian fighters had shot at the convoy, AP reported. PM

    [22] KOSOVARS TO IDENTIFY BODIES FROM BELONGINGS

    The OSCE and ICRC have compiled a book of 750 photographs of personal belongings found in mass graves of Kosovar victims of the 1998-1999 conflict. Families of missing persons from all ethnic groups will have access to the book to help them identify relatives on the basis of those belongings, AP reported from Prishtina on 6 February. PM

    [23] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY SPLITS

    Genc Pollo, who heads the Democratic Party Reform Movement, said in a press statement in Tirana on 6 February that his group will soon formally split from the Democratic Party led by his combative former mentor, Sali Berisha. Pollo will head the party led by a five-member Secretariat and 22-member presidency. Two prominent members of the Secretariat are former Tirana Mayor Albert Brojka and reformist parliamentary faction leader Nard Ndoka. Deshamir Shehi's Movement for Democracy and Petrit Kalakulla's Right Democratic Party will merged with the new party. PM

    [24] BOSNIAN SERBS, CROATS UNITE AGAINST U.S. AMBASSADOR

    Zivko Radisic, who is the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency, said in Banja Luka on 6 February that he wants U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Thomas Miller and Ambassador Robert Barry--a U.S. diplomat heading the OSCE mission to Bosnia--expelled for interfering in domestic politics. Ante Jelavic, who is the Croatian member of the presidency, endorsed Radisic's proposal. Muslim Halid Genjac disagreed, saying that such expulsions would cause serious damage to Bosnia's relations with the U.S., AP reported. PM

    [25] WASHINGTON DEFENDS ITS BOSNIAN REPRESENTATIVE

    In Washington, a State Department spokesman said on 6 February that "the U.S. has full confidence in Ambassador Miller." The spokesman argued that Miller's activities are "completely compatible" with those carried out by ambassadors in all countries, adding that Radisic was engaging in domestic "political maneuvering" by criticizing Miller. In Sarajevo, Luke Zahner, who is Barry's spokesman, said that the Bosnian presidency members "should be engaged in the real issues concerning Bosnians and not play games like this." It is not clear whether High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch has the authority to overrule any decision by the presidency to actually expel the two diplomats, AP reported. PM

    [26] CROATIAN COURT ORDERS WAR CRIMES RETRIAL

    The Supreme Court ordered the Zagreb district court to hold a retrial of six Croats charged with the killings of several dozen ethnic Serbs in the Pakrac and Gospic areas in 1991, "Jutarnji list" reported. In 1999, the district court found four of the six not guilty and gave the other two short sentences. Critics at the time charged that the court ruling was the result of interference by the government of then-President Franjo Tudjman, which allegedly sought to cover up evidence of war crimes committed by Croats against Serbs. PM

    [27] U.S. JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS PROTEST AGAINST NEW ANTONESCU STATUE

    In a letter to President Ion Iliescu, the leaders of three large U.S. Jewish organizations have protested the recent decision by the Bacau municipality to erect a

    statue in memory of Romania's wartime Nazi ally Marshal Ion Antonescu, RFE/RL's Romanian service reported on 6 February. Abraham Fox, Daniel Mariaschin and Shulamith Bahat said that statues erected in the memory of the marshal "as well as plaques and street-naming in his honor" are tantamount to "paying homage to one of the darkest periods in Romania's past." They also wrote that they "would like to be able to support" Romania's quest for NATO membership but "for this to occur...Romania needs to make a clear break with the Antonescu legacy." MS

    [28] ROMANIAN SENATE CHAIRMAN RESIGNS BANK POSITION

    Senate chairman Nicolae Vacaroiu resigned on 6 February from the post of president of the Romanian Bank for Investment and Development, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He also resigned his membership on that bank's administrative board. MS

    [29] ROMANIA 'SATISFIED' WITH EU PRELIMINARY REPORT ON VISA LIFTING

    The Foreign Ministry on 6 February said it is "satisfied" with a preliminary report by the European Commission on Bucharest's fulfillment of conditions for lifting visa requirements on Romanian citizens traveling to the EU. The report lists both obligations fulfilled and those that are on the way to being met. The final version of the report will be presented by the EU commission to the European Parliament on 30 June. MS

    [30] BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS PROTEST NOMINATION OF NEW RADIO CHIEF

    In a declaration read over state radio, journalists working for that institutions on 6 February protested against the nomination of Ivan Borislavov earlier that day as director

    of Bulgarian Radio, AP reported. Borislavov, a poet and a translator, was appointed to the position by the National Council on Radio and Television and the journalists said the appointment was politically motivated (see "End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 2001). The council's members are nominated by the government, the president and the parliament and the vote in Borislavov's favor was 7 to 2. The protesters called for a staff meeting on 7 February and in a move reminding of the protests at Czech television one month earlier they said they will bar Borislavov from entering the building. MS

    [31] BULGARIAN PREMIER REJECTS CABINET RESHUFFLE OVER SURGING CRIME

    Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on 6 February told an emergency session of the legislature called to discuss the raising tide of criminality that he has no intention of reshuffling the cabinet months ahead of the general elections, AP reported. Opposition leaders had called on the premier during that debate to fire unnamed members of his cabinet. Opposition parties later walked out of the session and announced they will move a no- confidence motion in the cabinet. MS

    [32] BULGARIAN PREMIER HINTS NATO DEVELOPMENTS IN OFFING

    Prime Minister Kostov and Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova met on 6 February with President Petar Stoyanov, discussing with him Bulgaria's relations with NATO. After the meeting, Kostov said there will "soon be developments" in this area, but refused to divulge any details, Bulgarian radio, cited by the BBC monitoring service, reported. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [33] There is no end note today.

    07-02-01

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


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