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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 36, 01-02-21

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. 36, 21 February 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] EU DELEGATION VISITS ARMENIA
  • [02] ARMENIA, UKRAINE PLAN TO EXPAND BILATERAL TRADE
  • [03] OSCE KARABAKH PEACE PROPOSALS LEAKED
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI WAR INVALIDS VACATE HEADQUARTERS
  • [05] IRATE AZERBAIJANI TRADERS DEMOLISH GEORGIAN BORDER
  • [06] GEORGIA RULES OUT RUSSIAN TROOP PRESENCE IN PANKISI
  • [07] KAZAKH PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS INTEREST IN BAKU-CEYHAN
  • [08] KAZAKH PREMIER OUTLINES PREPARATIONS FOR SPRING
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN REDUCES UNEMPLOYMENT
  • [10] KYRGYZ PREMIER EXPLAINS UZBEK GAS SUPPLIES CHAOS
  • [11] KYRGYZ COURT POSTPONES APPEAL BY OPPOSITION

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] SERBIA OFFERING NEW TERMS TO PRESEVO ALBANIANS?
  • [13] SERBIA AND MACEDONIA TO COOPERATE AGAINST
  • [14] MACEDONIA CALLS ON KFOR TO DO MORE FOR BORDER
  • [15] COVIC CALLS FOR SERBIAN ROLE IN KOSOVA SETTLEMENT
  • [16] POWELL: U.S. TROOPS TO STAY IN BALKANS
  • [17] MONTENEGRO SETS DATE FOR KEY VOTE
  • [18] MONTENEGRO SAYS THAT BELGRADE DOES NOT REPRESENT IT
  • [19] CROATIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON SERBIA TO 'CHANGE
  • [20] HAGUE NOT TO SEEK CROATIAN GENERAL
  • [21] SLOVENIA TO CLOSE DUTY FREE SHOPS
  • [22] FORMER ROMANIAN DISSIDENT TO SUE SECURITATE ARCHIVES
  • [23] ...SUSPECTS FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF HAVING BEEN
  • [24] IMF PROLONGS ROMANIAN VISIT
  • [25] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT AGAINST 'BABY EXPORTS'
  • [26] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ANNULS
  • [27] RUSSIAN MINISTER TO VISIT MOLDOVA
  • [28] BULGARIAN OFFICIAL CLAIMS EU NOT PROVIDING FUNDS FOR
  • [29] BULGARIAN AIRLINES PERSONNEL GIVEN PAID LEAVE OF

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] EU DELEGATION VISITS ARMENIA

    Three top EU officials --

    chairwoman and Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, Foreign

    and Security Policy Commissioner Javiar Solana and External

    Relations Commissioner Chris Patten -- visited Yerevan on 20

    February on the first leg of a tour of the South Caucasus. Lindh

    told journalists after talks with President Robert Kocharian and

    Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian that she is aware of "a clear

    commitment and political will" on the part of the Armenian

    leadership to resolve the Karabakh conflict. She added that a

    peaceful and long-lasting solution to that conflict would

    facilitate closer cooperation between the EU and the states of

    the South Caucasus. Lindh said the EU intends to devote closer

    attention to the region in future. Patten for his part said the EU

    will continue to fund regional cooperation programs such as the

    TRACECA transport network and the INOGATE program. LF

    [02] ARMENIA, UKRAINE PLAN TO EXPAND BILATERAL TRADE

    Following a session in Yerevan on 20 February of the Armenian-

    Ukrainian inter-governmental economic cooperation

    commission, government delegations from the two countries

    finalized the text of a 10-year agreement outlining the main

    priorities for commercial ties, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau

    reported. That agreement, which is to be signed during

    Armenian President Robert Kocharian's visit to Kyiv next week,

    provides for expanding bilateral trade from the 2000 level of

    $15.5 million to $38 million by 2003. Vladimir Novytskii, who

    heads Ukraine's State Committee on Industrial Policy,

    reaffirmed Kyiv's interest in participating in the construction of

    a pipeline to export gas from Iran to Armenia. He said that

    pipeline could be extended to Georgia and further westwards,

    thereby enabling Ukraine to purchase Iranian gas and minimize

    its present dependence on deliveries from Russia and

    Turkmenistan. LF

    [03] OSCE KARABAKH PEACE PROPOSALS LEAKED

    The Azerbaijani

    official press on 21 February published in Russian and

    Azerbaijani what it claims is the text of the three successive

    draft proposals for resolving the Karabakh conflict offered by

    the OSCE Minsk Group in July 1997, December 1997 and

    November 1998, RFE/RL's Baku bureau reported. Also on 21

    February, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported that it and several

    other Armenian media outlets have received an Armenian

    translation of the five-page November 1998 OSCE proposal

    that Azerbaijan and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh

    Republic form a "common state." Baku rejected that proposal.

    The leaked document confirms that the proposal gives the

    unrecognized republic de facto independent status, with the

    right to its own constitution and armed forces and to veto any

    legislation enacted by the central parliament in Baku. The

    document contains a separate provision on the withdrawal of

    Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories

    contiguous to Nagorno-Karabakh. A senior Armenian diplomatic

    source confirmed the authenticity of the document, while a

    Karabakh official noted that the Armenian translation contains

    minor inaccuracies. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI WAR INVALIDS VACATE HEADQUARTERS

    Following further clashes on 20 February between police and

    supporters of the Karabakh war invalids, members of the

    Society that represents the invalids' interests on 21 February

    abandoned the hunger-strike they began last week to demand

    an increase in their pensions and allowances, Turan reported.

    An estimated 500 veterans and invalids vacated the society's

    headquarters on 21 February and handed the premises over to

    police in return for assurances that they will not be arrested.

    On 20 February, the Prosecutor-General's office and Interior

    Ministry had issued a joint statement accusing the invalids of

    "organizing mass disturbances," "incitement to illegal actions

    and violence," and the embezzlement of some 1 billion manats

    ($217,000). LF

    [05] IRATE AZERBAIJANI TRADERS DEMOLISH GEORGIAN BORDER

    POST

    A convoy of some 30 vehicles carrying up to 300

    Azerbaijani traders crossed into Georgia on 19 February and

    demolished a border post to protest the 420 lari ($200)

    customs tariffs they are routinely required to pay, Caucasus

    Press reported. LF

    [06] GEORGIA RULES OUT RUSSIAN TROOP PRESENCE IN PANKISI

    GORGE

    Georgian presidential spokesman Kakha Imnadze said

    on 20 February that Tbilisi will "in no circumstances" allow

    Russia to deploy troops in the Pankisi gorge in northern

    Georgia, bordering on Chechnya. Russian officials have

    repeatedly claimed that the estimated 7,000 Chechens who

    have fled the fighting in Chechnya to take refuge in Pankisi,

    which is home to Georgia's Chechen minority, include numerous

    armed fighters. LF

    [07] KAZAKH PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS INTEREST IN BAKU-CEYHAN

    PIPELINE

    Nursultan Nazarbaev has written to his Georgian

    counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze to reaffirm Kazakhstan's

    interests in exporting oil via Georgia, Caucasus Press reported

    on 20 February. Nazarbaev noted that by signing the March

    1999 Ankara and November 1999 Istanbul declarations,

    Kazakhstan affirmed its support for construction of the

    planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline for Caspian oil. He said that the

    capacity of the Tengiz-Novorossiisk oil pipeline that is expected

    to become operational later this year is not sufficient to export

    the 67 million tons per year that Kazakhstan envisages

    producing. LF

    [08] KAZAKH PREMIER OUTLINES PREPARATIONS FOR SPRING

    SOWING

    Addressing a cabinet session on 20 February,

    Qasymzhomart Toqaev said he has ordered oil companies and

    refineries to produce an additional 9 million tons of diesel for

    agricultural use during the spring sowing campaign, and that

    the export of diesel fuel will be banned during that period. He

    added that farmers will not be supplied with diesel at reduced

    prices this year, Interfax and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

    Toqaev further expressed concern that 70 percent of the

    country's agricultural machinery is worn out. LF

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN REDUCES UNEMPLOYMENT

    Labor and Social

    Insurance Minister Alikhan Baimenov told the cabinet session on

    20 February that 264,000 new jobs were created last year,

    and registered unemployment fell as a result to 12.8 percent,

    ITAR-TASS reported. He also said that the population's cash

    incomes increased by 4-5 percent last year, while the average

    wage rose by 19.2 percent. Reuters last month gave the

    minimum wage in Kazakhstan as 3,484 tenges (about $42). LF

    [10] KYRGYZ PREMIER EXPLAINS UZBEK GAS SUPPLIES CHAOS

    Addressing the upper chamber of parliament on 20 February,

    Kurmanbek Bakiev attributed Uzbekistan's failure to resume

    natural gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan by the absence of any

    formal agreement between the two countries on gas supplies

    for this year, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Bakiev said

    that the only current agreement in force is one on gas supplies

    to the Bishkek heating plant. In December 2000 then Deputy

    Prime Minister Esengul Omuraliev announced that he and his

    Uzbek counterpart Rustam Yunusov had signed an

    intergovernmental agreement on oil, gas and electricity

    supplies for 2001 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 December 2000).

    Uzbekistan halted gas supplies to Kyrgyzstan on 25 January.

    LF

    [11] KYRGYZ COURT POSTPONES APPEAL BY OPPOSITION

    NEWSPAPER

    The Bishkek City Court on 20 February postponed

    indefinitely hearings on an appeal by the opposition newspaper

    "Asaba," RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. A

    Bishkek district court ordered the paper last fall to pay 5

    million soms (about $105,000) in compensation to parliament

    deputy and former Communist Party of Kirghizia First Secretary

    Turdakun Usubaliev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 26

    October 2000). Usubaliev had complained that "Asaba" has

    insulted him systematically over a period of eight years. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] SERBIA OFFERING NEW TERMS TO PRESEVO ALBANIANS?

    Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic sent a letter on

    20 February to elected Presevo Valley ethnic Albanian leaders

    Riza Halimi and Zekerija Fazliu. AP reported the message "is

    also clearly meant to include the armed guerrillas" operating in

    the region. Covic appealed to the Albanians to "take immediate

    measures" to "stop the terrorist actions" and appoint

    negotiators for talks as part of a "dialogue" between Belgrade

    and the local Albanian community. In an apparent break with

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica's position and in a clear

    concession to Albanian views, Covic said there can be

    "international mediation" but did not elaborate (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 13 February 2001). The Albanians want autonomy,

    disarmament, and international mediation. Covic recently

    outlined Belgrade's proposals aimed at defusing tensions in the

    region in a lengthy document (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 16

    February 2001). In his latest letter, Covic stressed the

    government's commitment to "human rights" and pledged to

    withdraw security forces once "extremist" groups are disarmed

    and disbanded., Reuters reported. PM

    [13] SERBIA AND MACEDONIA TO COOPERATE AGAINST

    'EXTREMISTS' IN REGION

    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran

    Svilanovic and his Macedonian counterpart Srdjan Kerim said in

    Belgrade on 20 February that there are no outstanding

    problems between their two countries (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    16 February 2001, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 20 February

    2001). Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and Macedonian

    Premier Ljubco Georgievski said that their talks centered on the

    security situation in southern Serbia and the need to oppose

    "extremist" actions that can destabilize the region, "Vesti"

    reported. Georgievski reiterated his support for the Serbian

    plan for Presevo. Djindjic said that the two countries'

    cooperation is limited to "exchanging information" and that

    there is "no need" for coordinated efforts by their respective

    security forces. Asked to comment on recent "terrorist actions

    by extremists from Kosovo" on Macedonian territory,

    Georgievski said only that Skopje has not yet determined

    exactly who the recent intruders are (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    19 February 2001). PM

    [14] MACEDONIA CALLS ON KFOR TO DO MORE FOR BORDER

    SECURITY

    President Boris Trajkovski met in Skopje with KFOR

    representatives on 20 February, urging them to take steps to

    prevent further infiltration by uniformed, armed groups from

    Kosova into his country. The president also discussed security

    issues with top Macedonian Defense and Interior Ministry

    officials. In the latest incident, some 200 armed ethnic

    Albanian fighters crossed from Kosova into the area near

    Tanusevci on 20 February, dpa reported. Skopje has often

    complained to KFOR about lax security on the porous and in

    many places rugged border. PM

    [15] COVIC CALLS FOR SERBIAN ROLE IN KOSOVA SETTLEMENT

    On

    a visit to the divided city of Mitrovica, Serbian Deputy Premier

    Covic said on 20 February that "anyone who believes that the

    Kosovo crisis can be resolved without Serbia and Yugoslavia is

    completely wrong." He added that Belgrade's "new democratic

    authorities have...the formula to achieve this with the help of

    the international community," AP reported. He did not

    elaborate. He may have been referring to the plan set down by

    Kostunica's foreign policy advisor to enable Serbia to reassert

    itself in Kosova with the help of the international community

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 February 2001). It is not clear how

    Belgrade hopes to make such an eventuality palatable to the

    90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, which wants only

    independence and nothing to do with Serbia (see "RFE/RL

    Balkan Report," 15 and 22 December 2000 and 23 January

    2001). PM

    [16] POWELL: U.S. TROOPS TO STAY IN BALKANS

    U.S. Secretary of

    State Colin Powell told visiting German Foreign Minster Joschka

    Fischer in Washington on 20 February that the U.S. remains

    committed to keeping its troops in NATO peacekeeping

    operations in Bosnia and Kosova, Deutsche Welle reported (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February 2001). PM

    [17] MONTENEGRO SETS DATE FOR KEY VOTE

    President Milo

    Djukanovic announced in Podgorica on 20 February that

    legislative elections will take place on 22 April. "I'm convinced

    that the elections are the most democratic step in the building

    of Montenegro as a free and open democratic society," AP

    quoted Djukanovic as saying. The elections are expected to be

    followed by a referendum on independence (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 20 February 2001). Djukanovic stressed that

    independence "is more rational than trying to build a fourth

    Yugoslavia on the wreck of three Yugoslav failures," Reuters

    reported. PM

    [18] MONTENEGRO SAYS THAT BELGRADE DOES NOT REPRESENT IT

    ABROAD

    Montenegrin Foreign Minister Branko Lukovac said in

    Sarajevo on 20 February that the Belgrade authorities do not

    have the right to represent Montenegro or its interests in

    Bosnia or anywhere else, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. He said that the reason that he has come to Bosnia is

    to familiarize the authorities there with Montenegro's proposals

    on the future of Belgrade-Podgorica relations. His Bosnian

    counterpart, Jadranko Prlic, said that Bosnia will respect

    whatever decision Montenegro's people make about their

    future, Deutsche Welle reported. PM

    [19] CROATIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON SERBIA TO 'CHANGE

    MILOSEVIC'S COURSE'

    Speaking in Vienna on 20 February,

    Stipe Mesic called on the Belgrade leadership to make it clear

    to the Serbian public that the government has indeed broken

    with the nationalistic Milosevic era (see "RFE/RL Balkan

    Report," 13 February 2001, and "RFE/RL South Slavic Report,"

    15 February 2001). Austrian President Thomas Klestil praised

    the Croatian government for setting a new course over the

    past year by promoting democracy, media freedom, refugee

    return, and cooperation with the Hague-based war crimes

    tribunal, dpa reported. PM

    [20] HAGUE NOT TO SEEK CROATIAN GENERAL

    The office of war

    crimes chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said in a statement on

    21 February that "the prosecution of Mirko Norac -- for events

    in Gospic in 1991 and for any other alleged crime committed

    between 1991 and 1995 on the territory of the Republic of

    Croatia -- is the responsibility of the relevant authorities of

    Croatia," AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 February

    2001). PM

    [21] SLOVENIA TO CLOSE DUTY FREE SHOPS

    The parliament voted

    on 21 February to close duty free shops on EU borders in June.

    The government is under pressure from Rome and Vienna to

    shut down the shops but is reluctant to approve a measure

    that will cost some 1,000 jobs, Reuters reported. Minister for

    European Affairs Igor Bavcar argues that any delay in the

    closure will slow down EU membership negotiations. PM

    [22] FORMER ROMANIAN DISSIDENT TO SUE SECURITATE ARCHIVES

    COLLEGE...

    Gabriel Andreescu, a prominent anti-Ceausescu

    dissident, on 20 February told journalists he is suing the

    National College for the Study of the Securitate Archives

    (CNSAS), Mediafax reported. Andreescu said the college

    "infringes the legal right of citizens to have access to their own

    [Securitate] file." He said he has several times applied to the

    CNSAS to see his file but has never received a reply. Andreescu

    also said he is suing the CNSAS for having refused his request

    to make public information on the collaboration of Romanian

    Orthodox Church Synod members with the former secret

    police. Andreescu said CNSAS members are "defying Romania's

    citizens through their impertinence and lack of competence."

    MS

    [23] ...SUSPECTS FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF HAVING BEEN

    SECURITATE AGENT

    Andreescu also said he suspects CNSAS

    member and former Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu was a

    Securitate collaborator, but cannot prove his suspicion. The

    Group of Social Dialogue (GDS), at whose seat Andreescu met

    journalists, distanced itself from his declarations and said that

    Andreescu, a former GDS chairman, "ceased to be an active

    GDS member" more than one year ago. MS

    [24] IMF PROLONGS ROMANIAN VISIT

    The IMF delegation headed by

    Neven Mates, chief negotiator for Romania, has decided to

    extend its stay in Romania to 25 February, Mediafax reported

    on 20 February, citing Finance Ministry sources. Prime Minister

    Adrian Nastase said earlier on 20 February that the delegation

    will end its visit on 22 February and might return for further

    discussions at the end of March. Also on 20 February, Ziad

    Alhadad, head of the World Bank mission to Romania, said

    Romania needs to improve economic stability and continue

    structural reforms in order to be better positioned to attract

    foreign investment. MS

    [25] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT AGAINST 'BABY EXPORTS'

    Ion Iliescu

    said in Bucharest on 20 February that he opposes the "export

    of babies" from Romania, Mediafax reported. Iliescu made his

    comments at a foreign investment forum in response to a

    question about the situation of the thousands of homeless or

    institutionalized children in Romania. Iliescu pledged that the

    state will establish "appropriate new living conditions" for all

    such children and that legislation on this issue will be drafted

    before the end of the current parliamentary session. He said

    the bill will include an action program for the central and local

    governments. A lack of contraceptives and Romanian dictator

    Nicolae Ceausescu's policy forbidding abortions led to

    thousands of children being abandoned by their parents,

    making Romania the locale for thousands of legal and illegal

    adoptions -- mostly by Westerners -- after Ceausescu was

    executed on Christmas Day 1989 and the communist regime

    fell. PB

    [26] MOLDOVAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ANNULS

    PARLIAMENTARY DECISION

    Moldova's Constitutional Court has

    declared unconstitutional essential provisions in the law on

    restructuring agricultural enterprises undergoing privatization,

    Infotag reported 20 February. Last April, parliament amended

    the law in such a way that the property of such enterprises

    was not subject to confiscation by court decisions. Moreover,

    even property confiscated or seized previously was supposed

    to be returned to the owners. The Constitutional Court decided

    that parliament had exceeded its authority by amending the

    law in such a way, because in effect it overruled court

    decisions, which only a higher court may do. DW

    [27] RUSSIAN MINISTER TO VISIT MOLDOVA

    Russian Emergency

    Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Moldova on 21

    February to discuss technical issues, Infotag reported. Part of

    these discussions will include Russian assistance to Moldova in

    setting up an emergencies ministry of its own, as well as

    providing training and equipment for rescue teams. DW

    [28] BULGARIAN OFFICIAL CLAIMS EU NOT PROVIDING FUNDS FOR

    NUCLEAR REACTORS

    Kiril Ermenkov, the chairman of the

    National Assembly's Energy Committee, said on 20 February

    that the EU has not kept its pledge to provide Bulgaria with

    money needed for the early closure of two reactors at the

    controversial Kozloduy nuclear power plant, BTA reported.

    According to an agreement signed with Sofia, the EU was to

    have already provided 200 million euros ($182.5 million) as

    compensation for early decommissioning of the two 880 MW

    reactors. Ermenkov said the EU is planning on giving Bulgaria

    some 100 million euros next year, but that the country needs

    the money now in order to shut down the reactors on time. PB

    [29] BULGARIAN AIRLINES PERSONNEL GIVEN PAID LEAVE OF

    ABSENCE

    The Israeli owner of Bulgaria's financially-troubled

    Balkan Air company announced on 20 February that most of

    the company's employees have been given a one-month paid

    leave of absence, AP reported. Balkan Air spokesman Victor

    Melamed said 70 percent of the some 2,100 employees

    received the paid leave. Balkan Air has been grounded since 14

    February (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 February 2001). The

    Zeevi Holdings Group, which owns the airline, is suing Bulgaria

    for $230 million for breaching the sale contract. Balkan Air is

    also facing bankruptcy proceedings for unpaid debts. PB


    [C] END NOTE

    [30] There is no End Note today.

    21-02-01

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


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